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Wrestling News! Jul 6...
New entry on the Maple Leaf Blog has a Jack Corcoran portrait from the Toronto Archives, a look at Whipper collecting Masks, also Whippers Beverages
...Also added the Q&A with Roger Baker to the Blog so others may see it...working on some new stuff over the summer to post in Fall, if you can add any info to any of the articles on this site please contact me...
Have a safe and healthy summer! hope you do as well as Whipper on the right in a photo from the late 1940's. Whipper was an avid fisherman though he normally did it in more angling-appropriate attire. There were several photos in the papers over the years with Whipper sharing his catch of the day - and recipes for same.
There's a cool feature on our favorite Mid-Atlantic site. A re-creation of the old TV set and the wrestlers of the time. Our pal Griff did a great one of our ring and guys, here's another with my favorite TV wrestling show of all time, they did a great job
its at Midatlanticgateway.com -Action Figures this is an external link and will open in a new window.
'Tiger' Tom Nelson
The name may not be too familiar for us younger fans but Tommy Nelson, or 'Tiger Tom' as he was known in his wrestling days was a big part of the Toronto history both as a wrestler and as a promoter in the area.
He was one of the group that sailed to the U.K. in 1936 that set off the chain of events that would shape the city's wrestling landscape for many years to come (see Watson, Whipper!).
When he returned to Canada and was done with grappling Tommy would work alongside Frank Tunney in promoting cards all over the region right through the 1960's.
We take a look at his story in our newest feature on the names that shaped the history of the Toronto scene.
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.
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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Pulling them in... Looking back at history, The Sheik doesn't seem to get the respect he deserves outside of the Detroit-Toronto corridor. A lot of fans (who never saw him in his prime) dismiss him as a one trick pony. It's kind of hard to explain if you were never a few feet away while he made his way to or from the ring. Even near the end of his career here he was still an imposing character. Beyond that he proved it by putting fans in the seats. He filled up MLG because fans wanted to see him get beat. He was that hated and feared. The act grew thin over time and the natural change in wrestling to the younger faster type sealed his fate here but as far as star power he would have to rank second next to Whipper. Whip starred in the days of weekly cards and high points would see 10k at MLG for the big bouts, occasionally 12-13k+ but reg cards were in the 6-7k range. Still, over a month of big cards that could equal 40k. The Sheik, in the bi-weekly days had a run between 1969-1974 where they were pulling 10-15k regularly and a couple of full sellouts 18k over that span. In 1970 alone with Sheik on top they drew 17 times over 10k. Eight of those were over 15k. 1971 was more of the same. Say what you want but at that time he was likely the biggest star in North America, at least alongside Andre in terms of star power.