Pages from the Scrapbook
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Pro Wrestling in Oshawa, Ontario
Classic Photo The Lisowski's
Stan was actually Stan Holek while Reggie Lisowski would later become the world famous 'The Crusher'
Walcott was a semi regular ref here from 1957 - 1962 coming in for big bouts and also worked in Ottawa and other spots. Al 'Bunny' Dunlop is also in the shot at far right, there were usually 2 refs for the tag bouts in this era.
Classic Photo Ivan Koloff
The re-styled 'Boogie Woogie' Valiant was huge here at this time, the fans crazy for him. The bouts were short but at high excitement from the moment he bounced down the ramp.
Koloff, more of a traditional star was as hated as Valiant was loved. The 'Russian Bear' had a long history here going back to 1968, had challenged for both the NWA (Funk Jr.) and WWWF (Backlund) Titles at MLG, and was a big part of the M-A years here.
The two would feud for a few months before Valiant beat him in June at MLG to win the title. The feud would start again in October with them trading it again although the lineage here is different than in the Carolinas.
Pages from the Scrapbook O'Connor vs Thesz
The following night in St Louis Pat O'Connor takes the title from Hutton and the main in Toronto gets changed to O'Connor vs Thesz.
O'Connor returns to Toronto less than a week after his win to take on the then 2 time NWA (Alliance) champ and former 3 time NWA (Association) champ Thesz. The papers hype it as a bout that will have 'sharp, scientific wrestling, highlighted by speed and agility'.
Classic Photo Layton vs Kalmikoff
Layton was a beloved local star both as a wrestler and TV personality and later in his role with Bacardi in the Toronto area. It was said that his change from heel to fan favorite was precipitated by his kids being razzed about their fathers dastardly deeds at school.
Ref Bert Maxwell, officiating here was also a long time area star. A former wrestler he worked bouts at MLG and around the area from the mid 1940's into the early 1960's and also served as Head Gateman at MLG for over 25 years.
History of the CCWA
From his home turf in Langstaff, part of Richmond Hill, Red would put on weekly shows year round at the Richmond Hill Arena, Thornhill Farmers Market, Weston Arena, Lakeshore Arena, and across the region including Aurora, Newmarket, Stoufville, Guelph, and other towns.
Garner would train young amateur wrestlers to learn and work the pro circuit. He maintained a 'Middleweight' division with many of the stars in the under 180lb range. There were heavyweights too and many of the stars of the CWWA went on to long careers in other regions as well.
Some of Red's trainees or regulars such as Ed/Gori Mangotich found success in England wrestling the tough British style while others, most notably Baron Von Sieber (Waldo Von Erich, Jacques Dubois (Dave McKigney/The Canadian Wildman), and Mike Scicluna (Baron Mikel Scicluna) would go on to pave long careers across North America and abroad.
The NWA Title in Toronto
The AWA Title, though dating from 1960 only started appearing here in the late 1970's through 1982 (total of 16 appearances), while the WWWF Title made its first appearance in 1964 and would be a frequent visitor through 1983 with over 50 appearances.
With the possible exception of the very popular in Toronto Bruno Sammartino (28 total defenses in Toronto) a visit by a NWA champ was the prized must-see bout out of all the feds.
The NWA Title would make over 130 appearances here between 1949 -1984 including 4 title changes.
CCWA Canadian Middleweight Title
From 1951 to at least 1960 the main Title defended on these cards was the Canadian Middleweight Title. There were also Tag Titles, a Labbatt Tag Trophy, and at times the heavyweight Canadian Title but the most active during those years was the Middleweight Title.
This is a look at the lineage of that title, sourced from results. As with the North American Title lineage it is followed as best as we can with whats available. It will be ongoing as we source more results from the other towns on the circuit where some of the unknown changes took place.
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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Wrestling News!...Happy to have been a part of getting Billy Stack recognized for his contributions to Wrestling. On Oct 1 2106 Stack is to be inducted to the Clarington Sports Hall Of Fame - congrats to Billy's family and friends for this well-deserved honour -external link opens in a new window.
August 2016...Trying a new look for our 13th year online, hope you like it ! Will have some new stuff coming soon, a look at Whipper Watson's early days, another Classic Photo or two, and a look at the WWWF/WWF Title in Toronto among other planned entries
Our latest Pic of the Month features Dino Bravo and Greg Valentine in a bloody battle on the ramp over the Canadian Heavyweight Title from 1979. Valentine goes on to win the belt.
Our latest Blog entry has a look at Toronto Programs from the 1930's to 1980's. Looking to fill in some gaps for the missing years.
The Blog now has over 165 entries covering over 70 years of Ontario and Canadian wrestling history
It Happened in August!...1937 Frank Tunney marries Edna Kirby...1948 Fred Atkins debuts at MLG beating Jack Moore...1952 Watson & Flanagan win the Calvert Trophy beating Layton & Hermann...1961 The NWA Convention is held in Toronto... 1962 Bruno beats Buddy! but refuses the NWA title...1982 vs WWF champ Bob Backlund Jimmy Snuka leaps from the cage-and misses!...1983 Steamboat & Youngblood win the tag tiles from Slaughter & Kernodle in the cage!
Fun Facts What do Gene Kiniski, Ilio DiPaolo, Mighty Igor, Andre The Giant, Chris Tolos, Gorilla Monsoon, Blackjack Mulligan, Tony Parisi, Mike Valentino, Wilbur Snyder, Johnny Weaver, Salvatore Bellomo, Tony & Adrien Baillargeon, Frank Townshend, Haystack Calhoun, Luther Lindsay, Timothy Geohagen, Ernie Ladd, and The Fabulous Kangaroos all have in common?
They all served as 'Special Referees' at MLG during their active wrestling careers. Read about them as well as all the boxing champs and the many regular refs at Referees in Maple Leaf
1981 Aug 30: New NWA champ Dusty Rhodes makes his only title defense in Toronto beating John Studd... Other bouts include Fuji/Ole Anderson defeating Flair/Youngblood...Mosca over Valentine...Volkoff/Markoff get the win over Robertson/Parisi...Destroyer over Bolus...Billy Red over Frankie Laine
1982: Johnny Valiant practicing his swing on a fleeing Crazy Chris Colt in Cornwall, Ontario