In 1967 a series of bouts over the Toronto version of the U.S. Title would captivate Wrestling fans in Toronto.
Veteran star Johnny Valentine was already well known in the city, his battles with all of the top stars of the era was the stuff of legend whether battling as a good guy or as a hated heel.
On the other side Tiger Jeet Singh was fairly new to the scene, but under the tutelage of manager and tag partner Fred Atkins he was making a fast name for himself.
When the two worlds collided it resulted in some record breaking bouts, mostly held outside in the elements at the old Maple Leaf Stadium.
Singh had won the U.S. Title at MLG on June 4 beating Valentine- without the help of Atkins who had been barred from ringside. In the re-match on June 18 the bout ends in a 31 minute draw because of the 11pm curfew.
Tunney would line the two up again on the 25th with the stipulation that the bout start by 10pm. The two would battle the full 60 min again ending in a draw.
As the cards moved to the Maple Leaf Stadium for the summer schedule, Tiger would battle Edouard Carpentier and NWA champ
Gene Kiniski before returning his sights to Valentine. The bout on July 30 outdoors by the lake would see one of the longest bouts in the modern era in Toronto, ending after a 90 min time limit had elapsed.
Aug 6th would see the two return to the Stadium for a 2 hour time limit bout, this time set to start at 9pm. Singh would get disqualified to end this one to set up the return bout with the same stipulation.
The Aug 13th bout would go down in history as the longest bout of the modern era in Toronto going the full 2 hours to a draw.
Back in the early days around the turn of the century wrestling bouts were commonly going 90 minutes or more, sometimes hours of grappling on a 2-3 bout card. Post war wrestling got away from the long drawn out holds and quickened the pace.
These bouts would stand out in the history of Pro Wrestling in Toronto for the endurance and skill of the participants involved.
Apart from a Sicilian Death Match on Aug 27 the two would go their separate ways for a time , Valentine challenging Kiniski for the NWA crown, while Tiger would get 2 consecutive tries at Bruno Sammartino and his WWWF Title.
Valentine would continue to wrestle in Toronto until 1975, capping off a long and illustrious run at the top of the Wrestling scene in the city. Tiger would go on to have epic battles vs The Sheik and set some more records, this time in attendance, then go on to stardom in Japan before returning to Toronto in the late 1970's.
Thanks to Roger Baker for the fabulous photo of the two
battling in the rain at Maple Leaf Stadium July 30 1967
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