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Wrestling News! Jun 20...
New entry on the Maple Leaf Blog looks at Whipper collecting Masks, also Whippers Beverages, and a look at the 1976 Ali-Inoki closed circuit at MLG
...Also added the Q&A with Roger Baker to the Blog so others may see it...Feature on 'Tiger Tommy Nelson' coming up, and lots more in progress.
Classic Photo: Whipper vs Masked Marvel 1947
With special ref Jack Dempsey looking on, Whipper tries to start on his collection of Masks. Whipper would collect many of them in the years to come but not on this night.
Former boxing champ Dempsey would referee many big bouts here in the classic era as would many other former boxers including Jack Sharkey, Max Baer, Rocky Marciano, and 'Jersey' Joe Walcott.
This Marvel was the third version, a previous one had been unmasked in 1938 as Ted Cox
Whipper meanwhile would finally collect this Masked Marvel's mask in February 1949 revealing Lew Reynheer under the hood.
Pages From The Scrapbook - Raphael Halpern
Into the classic scrapbooks again , this time 1961-1962 and the Wrestling Rabbi Raphael Halpern.
Halpern came into Toronto in late 1961 and was a popular wrestler and a real Rabbi who left a long legacy both in wrestling and in his many other pursuits. We look at his time here and his battles with our #1 heel at the time -Bulldog Brower.
Hope you enjoy these looks inside these fantastic scrapbooks covering the Toronto scene in the 1950's and 1960's ! If you want the full size images drop me a line
Roger Baker talks Sweet Daddy Siki
We get to ask Roger Baker about Sweet Daddy Siki who is the feature of a new Documentary on his life and career. Siki was a regular here for many years while Roger was taking photos from ringside at MLG and around the area, and writing stories for the major magazines of the day.
Roger's 8mm film is a big part of the doc (great footage of Bruno/Whipper vs Siki/Brower) and he is featured himself in segments shot at his world famous 'wrestling room' in Ontario. With a unique perspective and vast wrestling knowledge, we are very pleased to spend a few minutes picking his wrestling mind on 'Mr Irresistible' Sweet Daddy Siki.
Classic Photo: Weaver vs Hayes 1982
A shot of the MLG Cage from Jan 1982 prior to a Johnny Weaver vs Lord Alfred Hayes bout. This was the first of 2 cage bouts that night, followed by a Mosca Studd brawl which saw Mosca take the Canadian Title from Studd.
Weaver would come back out to assist Mosca after Studd attacked him with the title belt after their bout, Weaver would get re-bloodied when Studd took a whack at him with the gold.
Classic Photo: The Gallaghers 1960
A classic photo from 1960 with the Gallagher Brothers tag team on the losing end of a battle with local heroes Whipper Watson and Ilio DiPaolo.
Action on the ramp was popular in every era dating right back to the ramp's inception in 1948 to serve as an 'escape hatch' for the bad guys. In addition to allowing the heels to escape the fans grasps (but not the projectiles!) the wrestlers quickly figured out that it could serve as a tool in the bouts.
This time Whipper and ilio use brother Mike as a battering ram heading for brother Doc who is tied up in the ropes.
Fritz Von Erich in Toronto
More with Fritz Von Erich. We look at his time in Toronto and his run as one of the top heels in the area. Fritz had a strong career in MLW at the top of the cards for several years in the 1950's.
He would earn top bouts both in singles and in tags. His team with Gene Kiniski may be one of the best teams ever to grace the squared circle. Frank Ayerst described the twosome as 'hovering somewhere between grumpy and miserable even on their most jovial days.'
From his first bout at Maple Leaf Gardens in 1955 to his last in 1965 Fritz would earn a place in the top tier of all-time Toronto wrestlers.
THANKS TO ROGER BAKER for contributions to the MLWP. Many of the Classic photos come from Roger's collections from his many years as a fan and then Professional Photog shooting Wrestling & Boxing bouts at MLG and around Ontario. We are fortunate to have his contributions to the articles as he shares his memories from the classic days of Ontario Pro Wrestling. Roger wrote many great stories for the Wrestling mags of the day that featured his photos and time spent with many of the biggest stars ever to appear at Maple Leaf Gardens. Thank you Roger!
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You Asked...who were your favorite wrestlers... Along with most of the other fans I was cheering for the faces though there were some heels I really enjoyed seeing, just depended on who they were facing if I wanted to them to win. My favorite heels were the Anderson Brothers Gene and Ole, those 2 were real, easily the best tag team ever, Greg Valentine and Ric Flair as well, Flair was as good a heel as he was a favorite here, the fans were cheering him before he turned and for most of the M-A era he was a good guy here while heel most everywhere else... In no particular order here are my others Ricky Steamboat, Bob Backlund, Dino Bravo, Dewey Robertson, Jimmy Snuka, Hossein The Arab/The Iron Sheik, Masked Superstar, Andre The Giant, Jay Youngblood....will omit Mosca from that list though he had some good bouts here and was a good top guy for a time, Harley Race, Nick Bockwinkel, Dusty Rhodes, honorary mention, if they had appeared here more... favorite feud or multiple bouts - Race-Flair and Backlund-Valentine...guy I wished I hadn't missed - Hulk Hogan vs Andre in '81, and the Japanese themed card in 1980 with Bruiser Brody