This page is dedicated to those great wrestlers of
the 60's and 70's.
We are extremely pleased to have as our interview for this month a man who along with his brother, Karl dominated the scene on Portland Wrestling and anywhere else that they wrestled. We are speaking of Kurt Von Steiger. Below is a list of his accomplishments and Championships which is not all inclusive.
American Wrestling Association:
AWA World Tag Team Championship
National Wrestling Alliance:
NWA Hawaii Tag Team Championship, NWA Pacific Northwest Tag Team Championship- 7 times, NWA World Tag Team Championship- 2 times.
Eastern Sports Association:
ESA International Tag Team Championship- with Fred Sweetan.
NWA Arizona Heavyweight Championship
We are happy to have us with you today Kurt. Please tell us how you got involved in Professional Wrestling.
Oh man, that is a tough question. There were little clubs and gyms that I went to that were run by small time promoters. That is how I got started.
What year did you and Karl get started and how did your tag team partnership come about?
Karl was up in Canada and I was down in Mexico. I called him and asked him why we were both just spinning our wheels. We decided to form a tag team. We started up in Canada for Stu Hart around 1965. We also worked in Vancouver
Which wrestlers did you have your most notable feuds with?
Oh man, the biggest feuds were with Luther Lindsey and Shag Thomas and Tony Borne and Lonnie Mayne
What do you think of the current state of Pro Wrestling?
Well, I would do it all over again today but not with today's standards. Wrestling has become too much Hollywood. Too many lights, smoke and special effects.
What was it like wrestling the following men:
DUTCH SAVAGE- You know, he was very good.He was unpredictable in the ring. Dutch has a real ring presence and excellent timing.
TOUGH TONY BORNE- Tough is right. He is not a big man. You never judge a book by its cover. Tony could handle himself in the ring. Especially when he threw that left handed solar plexus punch.
Lonnie Mayne- Lonnie was a totally different individual. He was one crazy @#$.
Beuregarde- He was a good wrestler. But he was more of a showman. He definetely was not in the same class as Lonnie.
STAN STASIAK- Oh yeah, he was another individual who we met up in Canada.
JIMMY SNUKA- An all around great athelete. Cowboy Frankie Layne brought him in to the Portland territory. Jimmy was a natural athelete.
THE ROYAL KANGAROOS-We met Jonathan Boyd in Australia. We later met him in Oklahoma. They were good but never in the same class as us.
DON LEO JONATHAN- We met Don in Vancouver. You cannot say enough about the guy in or out of the ring.
What is your favorite finishing move?
What is your opinion of Wrestling Schools?
I suppose they are alright. If I was going to train today I would do it like we used to do it, one on one. One has to develop a ring presence and that tells the whole story.
Would you recommend the profession of Professional Wrestling to any young man or woman out there today?
With whom did you and Karl engage in your longest going feud?
Oh well, I guess the longest going feud would be Lindsey and Thomas and then Borne and Mayne.
We understand that you spent some time as wrestling promoter in the Southwest. What was that experience like?
We had matches at Madison Square Garden Arena in Phoenix. It was alright but there were a lot of headaches involved with it. All we had was local talent and people do not want to see local talent. I had Tito Montez for awhile.
What do you think killed off the pro wrestling that we remember?
I think New York did it with national television and the Hollywood style productions that pro wrestling has become.
What was it like working with Don Owen?
Don was very fair with us. I don't know what he did for the other wrestlers as we minded our own business but he was a fair pay off man and helped us to get our green cards.
Who is your favorite television announcer?
Les Thatcher out of the Carolinas was about the best I saw. Frank Bonnema was also very good.
Did you prefer live TV or taped Tv matches with built in interviews?
We preferred live matches. The crowd would help set the tone.
What territory had the wildest crowds that you ever saw?
Oh well, it would have to be Tennessee and Kentucky.
What was it like working with Karl?
It could not have been better. You know when you work night after night with a guy and live with them on the road, you get a sense of what to do and what works and what doesn't. Sometimes one could have an off night but eventually it would all come together.
When did you retire from the ring?
That is a tough question. Around 25-30 years ago. I wrestled for 12 years.
What are you doing now?
I currently work for the City of Salem, Oregon as a project works manager. I also work on our farm
We wish to thank you today for this interview and another glimpse into the great sport of professional wrestling
You are so welcome.
BE ON THE LOOK OUT HERE FOR ANOTHER INTERVIEW COMING SHORTLY FROM PROMOTER AND RING ANNOUNCER FROM YAKIMA WASHINGTON- JACK WEBB
We are exremely pleased this month to have for our wrestling interview a man who was indeed not just a huge part of the success of Portland Wrestling, but of professional wrestling in other parts of the world as well. We are speaking of one half of THE ROYAL KANGAROOS Norman Frederick Charles III
We appreciate you joining us today Norman. What possessed you to get into professional wrestling and where did you get your start?
Well, it was my Dad who got me to look for something to help keep me out of trouble. I started working out and the gym and fell into pro wrestling.
Who trained you?
A fellow by the name of Al Morgan in Australia. I started in 1960-1961
How did that famous team "THE ROYAL KANGAROOS" come into being?
Well, I was in Europe and John my cousin and I met up in the Oklahoma territory. We got in touch with the Fabulous Kangaroos and got their permission to use the name The Royal Kangaroos.
What other names beside Norman Frederick Charles III have you wrestled under?
Oh my, I have used the name Murphy the Surfy, Murph the Magnificent and Wild Red Berry.
How woudl you compare todays professional wrestling to what it was when you were in the sport?
(laughing) Let me put it this way... half the guys wrestling today could not fight there way out of a paper bag. When I wrestled, you had to be able to take care of yourself.
What is the story behind your coming to the Pacific Northwest?
Ok, my partner was in the Northwest first and he called me in and said that he needed me up there and I came to Portland.
What were your matches with Dutch like?
There were so many of them. I do not remember wrestling Dutch in single matches but there were plenty of tag team matches. I do remember one time in Eugene, Oregon I miscalculated a move and Dutch nailed me and Iost all the feeling in my right arm. I had to go to the Doctor the next day.
Give us a list of people with whom you had your most notable feuds.
Dutch Savage and Jimmy Snuka, Beuregarde, Bull Ramos and Jesse Ventura, Buddy Rose, The Von Steigers
If you could change one thing about professsional wrestling what would that one thing be?
Well, I would say that years ago we wrestled in all the small towns and the people had a chance to see us in person. Now it is just held in the big cities. I would like to see it changed back to the old territorial system and be able to have wrestling in the smaller towns again.
We always noticed that you and Jonathan Boyd tried to cut that ring down to a third and work in the corner. That was one of your many strategies.. What else must a tag team do to gain success in the ring?
A tag team needs to know what the other fellow is thinking and doing. Me and John, used to get into the ring knowing what the other guy was going to do. You also need to know when to tag.
Did you have any other wrestlers that you tag teamed with?
I did tag team with a guy in Europe named Majunbanla. I also tag teamed with Moondog Lonnie Mayne.
What was your favorite finishing move?
I believe it was called the neck breaker
Name something that a person has to do to be successful as a wrestler
To keep his head. Don't let it go to your head. The fans can make you or break you. Without the fans you are nothing.
How many years did you spend in the ring professionally?
I was in the sport of professional wrestling about twenty five years.
We understand tha you spent some time as a sheriff in Florida, tell us a little about that.
When I retired from Wrestling I went into the sheriffs office as a Deputy Sheriff I was one of the guys who worked in the homicide department investigating homicides
What are you doing now?
I am retired now. I don't do anything but enjoy my family, grandkids, the beach and I do whatever I want.
Your matches in the Pacific Northwest at times could cause near riots. Share with us one of your memories of working with Dutch and Snuka
It would have to be one of those times when John and I would go up into the Crows nest for an interview with Frank Bonnema. Tom Peterson had Tv's and such up there for advertisement and John and I would pick one of the Tv's up and drop it on the floor and break it. We would then go down to the ring and beat the dayslights out of Dutch and Snuka.
One other time, I remember after the matches John and I were met by the FBI and apparently someone did not like what we were saying on TV. They took us to the airport and sent us to Canada. We were met in Canada by the authorities there and were sent to a hotel room where we spent four days before we were allowed to come back to the states.
Is there anything you would like to say to the fans?
I appreciate all the fans that came out to the matches to see us. They were responsible for helping to make us what we were. Without the fans we would have been nothing.
We want to thank you Norman for sharing some time and memories with us today. Thank you again for all of those wonderful matches.
Yes, you are most welcome. I enjoyed working this industry and I thank you for calling me today.
Be sure to be on the look out here for our next interview. Not sure at this time who it will be, but it should be another great glimpse into the glory days of professional wrestling.
What is necessary to be successful in pro wrestling?
If you are not blessed with great size and have the ability to move I would suggest selecting another career.
What do you think of the current state of professional wrestling?
If you are looking at what is on network TV today you know as well as I what it is.
Do you think the territorial system of professional wrestling can ever return and if so, how.
That is years away. As soon as network TV is tired of the bullshit they can see what it would take to make it come back.
I hate asking this question because I hate using the word. KAYFABE. Do you think the breaking of Kayfabe has injured this business?
Truthfully, since the 70's there were only about a half dozen of us who really knew what that word meant.
We see from your website that you keep active and still keep in touch with some wrestlers. Who have you recently visited with?
I talk on a weekly basis to Lex Luger, Still visit with Ted Dibiase, Jimmy Snuka and Trevor Murdoch. We also are involved with NOAH and send wrestlers to them.
What is your favorite finishing move?
I really do not have a favorite finishing move. I did like using the verticle suplex and was one who really developed that move.
Where do you think pro wrestling will be in say the next ten years?
Pretty much as it is right now. The only one out there who could make it work would be Triple H.
We remember your character "The King" What was that experience like?
It was great. It put me up there with the likes of Hogan and others.
We want to thank you so very much Mr. Race for spending this time with us today. We wish you all that is good!!
You are welcome. Give Dutch my best.
Interview with Apache Bull Ramos
Our first interview is with one of the great wrestling stars of the 60's and 70's. Apache Bull Ramos, I hope you like this new addition to the site.
We are very pleased to be able to have as our first addition to this page, None other than one of the great grapplers of all time
Apache Bull Ramos
How and when did you get started in pro wrestling.
I had an Uncle Phillip who used to love wrestling. He took me to matches at the old Civic Auditorium in Houston, Texas. It cost $1.00 apiece for us to get into the matches. He told me "Bull, you should become a pro wrestler.It is sad, he passed away before he got a chance to see me wrestle.
Have you wrestled under any name besides Bull Ramos?
No, that is it. Bull Ramos.
As you are aware, this is a site dedicated to 60's and 70's pro wrestling. What do you think of the caliber of todays pro wrestler.
There is a lot more show to it than there was when I wrestled. All the music, lighting, etc. When I wrestled it was man against man.
Are there any series of matches or "feuds" that stand out for you?"
The feud I had with Dutch Savage and the specialty matches with the strap and coal miners glove stand out to me as the greatest matches of my career.
What enticed you to come to the Pacific Northwest
A Mistake... A promoter in Texas came to me saying that Don Owen needed a heel in Portland Oregon. I got into my car and drove for three days and three nights to get there. When I first got to town I knew no one and did not know my way around. I ended up renting a house from Tony Borne. My first match in Portland was against Lonnie Mayne.I broke his arm and was on my way.
What titles in Pro wrestling have you held?
Southern States Heavyweight Championship, California Heavyweight title, California Heavyweight tag team championship, Pacific Northewest Heavyweight title Pacific Northwest tag team championship with Jesse Ventura. I did not win the world title but wrestled three times for the NWA World championship belt.
Do you have any advice for anyone out there who is considering a career in Pro wrestling.
It isn't like it used to be in the old days. You had to know someone who would be willing to break you in. It isnt like that today. Mr. McMahon Sr. helped me greatly in getting started. He was a real gentleman.
Dutch has been asked this question now we will ask you...Do you think there could ever be a return of the "territorial" promotion in pro wrestling and if so, how?
It can never be done. Cable Tv has ruined the sport. There is no one there to teach the guys how to generate real heat in the ring.
Who in your opinion is the greatest wrestler to ever get into the ring?
The best wrestler I ever worked with was Dutch Savage. There were others like Jimmy Snuka and Lonnie Mayne. But bottom line the best wrestler to get into the ring is me Bull Ramos. Dutch Savage has never seen a wrestler as great as Bull Ramos.
Why do you think Portland Wrestling folded after you and Dutch left the business?
That was the end of the best workers. When the best in the world is gone, what is left? Dutch and I have the formula for what works but no one wants to listen. My years in the Pacific Northwest were the greatest in my career.
WE ARE PLEASED TO HAVE WITH US TODAY ANOTHER WRESTLER FROM THE GREAT DAYS OF PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING
A MAN WHO HAS HELD COUNTLESS TITLES INCLUDING 7 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP BELTS. HE ALSO WILL BE INDUCTED
ON MAY 20,2006 INTO THE PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING HALL OF FAME IN AMSTERDAM, NEW YORK.
WE ARE SPEAKING OF "THE MORMON GIANT" DON LEO JONATHAN.
WE THANK YOU FOR JOINING WITH US TODAY.
You are welcome, it is good to talk with you.
What year did you retire from the ring and what have you been doing since then?
I retired in 1980 and went full time into water blasting and diving. We had a business that cleaned piers,
oil rigs and also did repairs. I have a love for the ocean. I have dived basically all over the world.
Your Father was a pro wrestler known as Brother Jonathan. Did you get a chance to wrestle with him?
I trained with him and worked with him in the gym starting before I was five years old
What titles have you held.
2 time international champion, 2 time international champion (Montreal) 1955
2 time NWA Texas champion- 1957- 1960, Canadian tag team champion (Toronto) with Gene Kiniski
2 time world champion (Omaha) 1961, US tag team champion (Los Angeles) with Freddie Blassie
15 time Canadian tag team champion (Vancouver) 1964-78
2 time international tag team champion (Winnepeg) 1965, World tag team champion with Dominic Denucci 1966
IWA World tag team champion (Australia) with Tony Parisi 1969
I also held the Rocky Mountain Heavweight championship in 1951 and the West Virginia Heavyweight championship in 1954
3 time NWA Pacific Coast Champion (Vancouver) 1970-77
Grand Prix champion ( Montreal) 1974, EWU World Super Heavyweight champion (South Africa) 1975
CWA World Champion (Australia) 1978
I was also recognized as World Champion in South Africa (1975) and Europe (1978
When we first spoke, you indicated that you were in the first match on television that was broadcast coast to coast
who was that match with, and what was that experience like?
It was with Nick Roberts in the early 1950's. The match was held in New Jersey during a house show in an arena. It was exciting
We have heard the term "generate real ring heat" what in your opinion does that mean?"
It is just a guy that is real good and can read the crowd and respond to it. The crowd can change the tone of a match.
Years ago in Japan the crowd was very subdued and not that vocal. That has changed. The wrestling audience
can make or break a wrestler and a good wrestler will know how to read their reaction,
What advice would you give to someone who is interested in becoming a pro wrestler.
Right now, I don't understand it like I did during my time. If you had the ability you could do it. Most of the guys in my time
were collegiate or high school wrestlers Now there are all the wrestling schools. It is totally different wrestling
pupil they are dealing with today then they were dealing with in my day.
Dutch used "The Thumb" and "The running pile driver as finishing moves. What was your finishing move?
I had several. In Japan I had the upside down hijack. It was kind of like an upside down airplane spin.
I also had what was called "The Mormon sickle" you would grab a leg and roll your opponent over
your knee and hang onto their chin at the same time. It stretches things that arent supposed to be stretched.
I also had extensive training in the martial arts and they worked to my advantage as well.
Is there a "Specialty Match" that was your favorite?
I really do not have a favorite specialty match. Just plain wrestling is my specialty.
Speaking earlier of Dutch, it is our understanding that there is an interesting story about you and Dutch fishing for
ling cod. What's the story behind this?
His story is different than mine... We were fishing off of Vancouver Island and were not doing very good.
I decided to put on my diving gear and told him to follow my bubbles. I got quite a few fish and when I come
up, DUTCH WAS GONE! I looked all around no boat, no Dutch I finally saw that he was fishing over near
the shore. Dutch had lost my bubbles and figured that I had gone into shore. In the meantime I was out there
yelling for him to come back.
Could there ever be a return to the "Territorial Promotion" in pro wrestling? If so, how could it be done
It could happen. Anything is possible. Back in the territorial days you had wrestlers who were just coming
up and you would go to the smaller towns with a couple of already established wrestlers and some new
wrestlers that were working their way up the ladder. Right now it would be difficult going against the
big promotions. People watch that on TV and expect a big show when they watch wrestling. They
are not interested in seeing someone who is just starting and the shows in the smaller towns
had that kind of talent.
Are there any notable "feuds" that stand out for you?
There were lots of feuds going on all the time. A lot of them I cannot remember. Dutch and I had a good run.
Is there a future for pro wrestling?
There always has been. Wrestling is an old sport. Running was probably the first sport and when you stopped to fight
there was wrestling... It is probably the world's second oldest sport.
Those of us living in the PNW have fond memories of Portland Wrestling and especially announcer Frank Bonnema.
and his ability to set up an interview which would in turn promote upcoming cards. Are there any other announcers
that you could name with similar abilities?
Ron Morrier was quite good. He started announcing in Montreal in the 1950's. Another one was Sammy Manniker
who was a wrestler and announcer in Australia and he also worked the mike in Detroit. Lord Layton
a wrestler from Australia was also a great announcer.
In your opinion, who is the greatest wrestler to ever get into the ring?
In the thousands of matches I have had and seen there are lots of great wrestlers. Ed Stangler Lewis,
I never wrestled but I knew him. There are lots of great wrestlers out there.
We want to thank you again Don Leo for joining us today and sharing your thoughts and answers to our questions.
We congratulate you on your induction into the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame. You are still a "Giant"
You are welcome. It was nice talking with you today.
Our interview for May 2006 is with a man who has held many championship belts including both NWA and AWA World Championships. We are talking about "Canada's Greatest Athelete" - Gene Kiniski.
Here is a brief run down of Gene Kiniski's career title wins. This list may not be all inclusive but is very impressive
3 NWA World tag team titles (San Francisco version) in 1988
3 British Empire championships between 1959 -1963. The NWA World Tag team championship in 1960.
2 AWA World Tag team titles, 2 Hawaiian Heavyweight titles, 9 NWA Canadian tag team titles between 1963-1976.
The Asian tag team title in 1964 with Cyclone Negro. The US Tag team title in 1964 with Fritz Von Erich. On July 7, 1961 he defeated Verne Gagne in St. Paul, Minnesota for the AWA World Heavyweight title. In 1965 the WWA World Heavyweight title. In 1966 The NWA Heavyweight title against one of the world's greatest wrestlers. Lou Thesz. He held that title for three years. In 1970 the NWA Pacific Coast (Vancouver) Championship.
What have you been doing since retiring from the ring?
Actually not too much. I work on my physiotherapy, go on two hunting trips a year, Iam an avid reader and I find politics very intriguing.
You've certainly lived up to your reputation as Canada's greatest athelete with all of your accomplishments and how many World Title belts?
I have held both the NWA world title and the AWA world title. The NWA title was recognized around the world.
We have had several wrestlers come to the Pacific Northwest out of Canada. They always seemed rough and tough. What makes these wrestlers so special?
Let's face it... Canada has an unusual climate. It is either very hot or very cold. If you didn't play hockey you were wrestling. Wrestling in Canada is referred to as hockey on the rocks.
There is a great photo of you crawling under a wrestling ring (see photo above) and you have this determined look on your face. Would you please share that story with us?
It was in 1956. The fans were after me throwing bottles, chairs, any kind of missle you name it they were throwing it. They were even starting newspaper on fire and throwing that at me as well. I was trying to get away from them.
What is the most embarrassing thing to happen to you as a pro wrestler?
God, I think it was when I was in a 2 out of 3 fall match. I wrestled the first fall and won the fall. I left the ring and had to be reminded that it was a 2 out of 3 fall match and to return to the ring for the second fall. Another time in Niagra Falls, Ontario I was attacked by a woman who had jumped into the ring and started pummeling me with her high heels. The only way I could get her to stop was to pull her dress down and then she quit hitting me.
Who is the toughest opponent you ever came accross?
That would be unfair to answer as there were so many.
It is our understanding that you still work out.. What do you do to keep in shape?
People call it working out. I call it physiotherapy. Stretching, swimming, bicycling, calesthetics, I do all of these things and work on my physiotherapy five days a week. The tragedy of old age is not that we are old but one is still young.
When was your last match and who was it with?
If I remember correctly, it was in Winnepeg in 1994 and for the life of me I cannot remember his name.
If you were promoting today what would you do to bring back the old school of wretling and do you think there could ever be a return to the style of wrestling that was in your day?
I would recruit from the college ranks and make sure that they could do good interviews to sell their product. There will never be a return to the style of wrestling that there was in my day.
We have talked with other wrestlers such as Dutch Savage, Bull Ramos and Don Leo Jonathan about wrestling in Japan. What was that experience like for you?
I made 42 trips over there. Wrestling is wrestling wherever you go in the world. You have a ring set up two guys and the people come. It is the same everywhere.
We never cease to be amazed at the level some fans will go to during a match. What is the strangest thing tht ever happened to you caused by a fan?
One night, a big tough guy jumped into the ring and came at me. I grabbed him and he said, "For God's sake don't hit me. I don't know what Iam doing here"
You have a pro football background. How long did you play pro ball?
I played for the University of Arizona and was drafted by the LA Rams. I ended up playing for the Edmonton Eskimos for two years but made more money wrestling and could not afford to go back to football.
Who trained you and started you in your pro wrestling career?
Oh my gosh, so many wrestlers.. Dory Funk, Sr. Tony Morelli, Rod Fenton and Pierre Labelle to name a few.
What is your opinion of the current state of wrestling?
It would be so unfair for me to comment. I never watch it.
Who in your opinion is the greatest wrestler to ever get into a ring?
That is impossible to answer.
Where do you think the "Wildest pro wrestling fans reside"?
It would be in London, Ontario and Ottawa, Ontario. Those are the craziest fans in the world.
What would you change about the sport of pro wrestling if you could.
Yes, we sold ourselves too short. We got paid too little. TV shows were inexpensive to produce the fans came in and filled the arenas.
What is your favorite finishing move?
The one I win the match with.
Dutch Savage considers you to be his mentor.What do you think of him?
I think that is a beautiful comment coming from Dutch. He was a formidable opponent. Dutch never fatigued and always kept himself in great shape.
The matches in BC were always an hour or more long. In Portland before Dutch took over they were three or four minutes under Don Owen. Why was that?
Match limits were set so they could get TV commercials in. Commercials pay for the TV.
I understand one of the last bouts in Lou Thesz's career was with your in Portland for Dutch. You and Lou went to a 30 minute draw. Care to comment on that match?
Yes, all the wrestlers came out of the dressing room to watch the match. They all learned something.
How many years did you promote in Canada and Washington State?
I really don't know. Probably from 1969 to 1980. Iam not real sure.
What did you think when Dutch bought you guys out and started promoting in the old Washington territory that was dead.
I think it was the greatest move he ever made. Besides being a good wrestler Dutch was a fantastic promoter and good business man. I have a lot of respect for him.
How come Don Owen never gave Dutch any credit for all of the on fire years in Washington and Oregon?
Don was a selfish individual and was a jealous person. It was all about him.
Mr. Kiniski, we want to tell you today how much we really appreciate your taking the time for this interview and we thank you again for giving of your time and for all of those great matches.
You are very welcome. It was wonderful talking with you today and give everyone my best.
We are please to have as our guest for June 2006. Professional wrestling great and referee Sandy Barr. Sandy worked for many years in the Pacific Northwest and other territories as a wrestler and spent many years in the squared circle as a referee.
Thanks for joining us today Sandy. How did you break into pro wrestling and who was your mentor?
I worked with a man who was a professional wrestler and promoter in Idaho Fall, Idaho. His name was Cliff Thiede. He was originally from Texas. An interesting thing about him also was that he went to school with John Wayne. I started wrestling pro on March 5, 1957. I wrestled in Hot Springs Idaho and wrestled for my first match with a man named Treacherous Phillips. I was as nervous as heck. We went to a time limit draw.
Most of us remember you from your days in the Pacific Northwest. What other territories did you wrestle in?
I mostly worked in the west, Canada, Idaho, Utah, Nevada and Arizona.
What got you to make the transformation from wrestler to referee?
Well, I was married and had kids and refereeing enable me the ability to stay home. I worked the armory for Don Owen and ran concessions When Don bought the Sports Arena I told him that you only use this building one day a week. Let me put a flea market in there . I paid for that building three times over with the rent that I paid.
One night Dory Funk Jr back dropped Dutch Savage and he went so high into the air that he knocked out the ring lights. Tell us about that.
Boy, do I ever remember that. Dutch knocked out the ring lights. In those days the lights were great big 1000 watt light bulbs. The glass beat Dutch back to the mat and he landed on it driving a big chunk of glass into his shoulder. He was severely hurt. I stopped the match and we had to call an ambulance.
One of the most legendary series of specialty matches ever held were the coal miners glove matches. Tell us about the first one you were involved in.
Oh Boy! Dutch had lots of them I don't know if I can remember the first one. I think that the most memorable one to me was one with Bull Ramos in Tacoma, Washington. Dutch won the matchBull then insisted on having a chain match. A guy came up into the ring and hit Bull in the nose. He broke the chain loose and chased that guy down. Bull was back to the ring before the twenty count.
Another memorable match was one in Seattle. Killer Tim Brooks was choking Dutch. A guy came up and hit Brooks in the forehead with a big bolt that we used to ring the bell and cut open Brooks' head. Brooks was bleeding and still would not let go of the choke hold on Dutch.
Tell us about your wrestling school and the cards you promote.
I started teaching around 1980. My son graduated in 1978 after a couple of years of working on and off he asked me to teach him to wrestle. We arranged to get together at the Sports Arena and practice after he got off work and we would work out prior to the doors opening. One night he came in late and we started to work out. By that time the doors were opened and almost immediately we had around 200 people around ringside watching us. The crowd loved it. We currently have several wrestlers who are learning the trade. We have matches on Tuesday nights at 8:00 PM here at 7220 N. Burlington in Portland.
There will be more information released soon on a special upcoming wrestling card set for July 4 location of the matches will be released shortly.
In the past I have trained many wrestlers including Velvet Mcintire and Princess Victoria who went on to become the worlds women tag team champions in the WWF.
We spend about 9 months training a wrestler before they are turned out. Some have it and some don"tOur program includes weight lifting, putting weight on the arms, calesthetics, diets to gain or lose weight and cardiovascular workouts. We work with them to build speed and most of all strength.
In your opinion what does a person have to possess to make it as a pro wrestler.
A lot of fortitude and integrity. They also must be able to accept some failures.
What was it like being pro wrestlings first "Teenage Idol"?
At first I had quite a fight. When I started in 1957, most of the wrestlers were older and bigger than me. After I was able to prove myself in the ring the promoters loved me.
We surmise the style of wrestling that you teach in your school is the " old school" style. What are you doing to promote that style?
We keep our matches family friendly. We allow no foul language or any of the kind of nonsense you currently see in todays wrestling that is out there.
The Dutch Savage- Bull Ramos feud lasted for over four years. What other famous feuds do you remember?
Professor Roy Shire's feud with the Brunitti brothers. When TV first started in Chicago, Bill Melby who had been Mr. America in 1949.
Any interesting road stories?
Yes, one time about six of us were going about 250 miles to a town to wrestle. We got there and the promoter came up to us and told us that only 36 people had shown up. Tickets were $1.00 each. So for six dollars a piece we wrestled. We had to we needed money to buy gas to get back home. Don Leo Jonathan was with us on that trip.
Most everyone we have talked to has said that there can never be a return to the old style of wrestling. Do you agree with this assessment or do you think it is possible.
A lot of people say it, but I don't believe it. There are a couple of territories out there that are doing OK and some of those territories are booking cards four or five nights a week. It is possible.
What notable feuds did have and with who during your career?
My first one was with Gorgeous George. That was in 1958 in Mesa, Arizona. I beat him in eight minutes and he was mad at me after that. Another one was with Dr. Jerry Graham in Calgary.
Another series of feuds not with me but Kiniski and Don Leo Jonathan. They wrestled a one hour time limit match to draw. Later they came back and went 1 1/2 hours to a draw Later they had another bout with no time limit. They wrestled 2 hours and the commisioner at one minute after midnight had the bell rung due to the blue law that was in effect that sports events needed to be over by midnight. The fans attacked. We ran to the dressing room. The fans were so incensed that again there was another draw that they tore the ring canvas apart.
Do you have any memories of Don Owen what was your experience like with him?
I must have paid for that Sports Arena three times over with the rent that I paid to him for the flea market.
Sandy, we want to tell you today how much we appreciate your taking the time to relive some of the good old days of wrestling with us.
OUR INTERVIEW FOR JULY 2006 IS WITH ONE OF THE TRUE GREATS IN THE WRESTLING BUSINESS. WE ARE TALKING ABOUT NONE OTHER THAN 'THE BLACK AVENGER" MOOSE MOROWSKI. WE WOULD LIKE TO TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO THANK MR. MOROWSKI FOR HIS TIME AND SHARING WITH US SOME MORE OF THE GOOD OLD DAYS OF PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING.
Thanks for joining us today Moose. Your bio indicates you started amateur wrestling at the age of six and turned pro at seventeen. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
I started in Winnepeg working out at the 400 Club and Crescent Club. I enjoyed sports and was strong for my age. Stu Hart gave me my start and one of my first big matches was with Brokin Nigorski.
You indicate that Stu Hart gave you your start in pro wrestling. Is there anyone else out there that you would consider to be your mentor?
That is a pretty tough question to answer. There were so many. Stu Hart and Al Tomko stand out for me.
What titles have you held?
I had numerous titles. I held the Canadian Heavyweight championship. I held the Tag team championship with Nick Kozack and won tag team tournaments in Japan. Each part of the country had different championships and titles.
Who did you have notable feuds with?
I had a lot of them. I had several with Dutch Savage, Don Leo Jonathan, Terry and Dory Funk there were many others.
What is your opinion of the current state of pro wrestling?
In my opinion times have really changed. The guys out there today are great athletes. The promotion of pro wrestling today is totally different than it was when I was wrestling. The mats are softer and the moves are different.
We asked Gene Kiniski this and would like to ask you. Why do the wrestlers who come down out of
Canada seem so tough and resiliant? What makes them so special?
It was a hard tough life in Canada. It was the lifestyle we lead. Most of the workers grew up having to work and work hard. We took that attitude with us into the ring.
Dutch probably will not forgive me for this, but do you have any interesting stories about him?
I have a lot of them. Dutch is a great person. One time we went fishing fished all day after being promised that there were fish out there and never got a bite. Dutch was a true professional in every sense of the word. He was always watching in the ring for whatever he could to insure that the people would want to come back the following week.If I were in charge of a territory, Dutch Savage would be one of the first ones I would call to work for me. Another one would be Don Leo Jonathan.
It has been noted that you made over 20 trips to Japan. What was that experience like for you?
I was the first one ti have a cage match in Vancouver BC and the first one to have a cage match in Japan. It was a great experience. The crowds were different. At first they were very quiet and would make no cheering or yelling. As the American style of pro wrestling came over the crowds would start yelling and screaming as they do here. I got to be good friends with Giant Baba. Another time I was wrestling in Japan with Andre the Giant. One night after the matches we decided to go out to one of those places which were open all night. We had beers. I drank I think a quart or two and Andre drank 16 quarts of beer. He had to wake me up so we could go back to the Hotel.
It has been said that Stu Hart wa a key influence on you. Why is that?
Stu was very good with workers who possessed a good attitude. If you could wrestle and do what you were supposed to he never complained. If you were tough, he liked you. I admire him very much.
It is our understanding that you have done volunteer work with people who have had brain injuries. Could you please tell us about that?
Yeah, I got involved. My wife and daughter were in a serious car accident. My daughter was severly injured. I got involved and started that way. We have helped to sponsor golf tournaments and the like to help with the efforts in helping and assisting people with brain injuries.
On the site you were tagged with Dutch in Portland and Vancouver. What kind of a promoter was Dutch when you worked for him?
When I first started wrestling for Dutch there were matches which might get 200 people in attendance. After he started promoting that figure to grow to over 2,000. In Seatlle we had 9,000 one night for the matches. Dutch was a mastermind at promotion.
Why do you think the matches in Portland under Don Owen would sometimes last 3-4 minutes while in Canada those matches could last for over an hour?
At one time in Canada we might have only 8 people to fill the card. You had to give a show of at least two hours to make it worthwhile for the fans. Don sometimes would have 8 or 9 matches on his cards. When Dutch took over he organized things to make the matches last longer and he would program into the future.
You wrestled under the name "The Black Avenger" How did that get started?
It got started in Minneapolis under Al Tomko. I started wrestling for him as the Black Avenger
Dutch thinks you are one of nicer guys in the business is he correct or are you too modest to comment?
I could always talk to Dutch and he could always talk to me. Of course over the years we had a couple of set backs but those things can happen. He is one great gentleman and I respect him.
Did you have a favorite finishing move?
I was one of the first ones to use the suplex and reverse pile driver.
Have you ever wrestled for the AWA or NWA World Championship?
Yes, I wrestled both Terry and Dory Funk and Harley Race.
what kind of a worker was Dutch?
He was the type of fellow who was always doing everything he could do to sell the match he was always looking for ways to make sure the people would want to come back. Dutch could read the fans. He was a fantastic wrestler.
what territories did you wrestle in?
Oh, so many. I wrestled for many many promotions all over the United States, Canada and all over the world.
Do you still keep in touch with any of the boys and if so who?
Stu Hart, Angelo Mosca, Freddie Baron, Bob Geigel, Don Leo Jonathan, Mad Dog Vachon and Dutch Savage and many others.
We wish to thank you today for taking the time to share with us Moose.
You are entirely welcome. I enjoyed speaking with you and give the fans and Dutch my best!!
We are pleased to announce that for August 2006 our featured interview is with
Big John Quinn
Big John Quinn wrestled not only in the Pacific Northwest but extensively in Europe and Great Britain.
Here is a list of his accomplishments:
9 time Canadian tag team Champion (Vancouver) 1970-78
3 time Stampede North American Champion 1971,74
Mid- South North American Champion as the Stomper
Stampede International tag team champion with Mr. Hito 1975
2 time Pacific coast champion (Vancouver) 1976-78
WWWF tag team Champion (Japan) with Kurt Von Hess 1977
2 time World Heavyweight Champion (England)
IWA World tag team Champion with Kurt Von Hess
Brass Knuckles Champion in Oklahoma
We would like to thank you for joining us today John. What have you been doing since your retirement from the ring?
Well, retirement is not a fair word for it. The promotions had changed and Vince McMahon did not want to hire anyone like me. It had become a different kind of business.
In your career you have wrestled a list of men that looks like a "Whos Who in regards to pro wrestling. What can you say about the following wrestlers.
Dutch Savage- Always a great card. Dutch was always trying to figure out ways to make the money.
Jimmy Snuka- A pioneer
Gorilla Monsoon- Great guy
Hulk Hogan- All around fantastic guy
Andre the Giant- One of the most wonderful people I have ever met and wrestled with.
Moose Morowski- A good friend
Don Leo Jonathan- Pound for pound, the most incredible wrestler of our time
Gene Kiniski- Tenacious. I always thought that I could beat him He would always come up with some fantastic move. I would put Gene with Lou Thesz and Danny Hodge
Your list of accomplishments lists wrestling in Europe. What are the fans like there.
In England especially the fans were very outgoing. Imagine the scene with little old ladies waving their canes and yelling.
How did you break into pro wrestling?
Whipper Watson was holding a wrestling camp and wanted to put together a summer crew in Ontario. I was brought in as a practice partner for some of his boys. Whipper liked what I did in the ring and asked me to join them.
When you were wrestling for the WWWF you had the name "The Kentucky Butcher" how did that get started.
The Sheik (Eddie Farhat) was promoting then. I was teamed up with Big Bad John and that is how I became The Kentucky Butcher.
You wrestled in the Pacific Northwest around 1972-73 What was that experience like for you?
It was a good promotion. I had a great time there. Every time Dutch was on the card it was a sellout.
Is there a town or territory that you can name that had the wildest fans?
The wildest fans have got to be in Great Britain. Kamloops was wild as well.
What year did you retire and do you remember when your last match was and who it was with?
I finished up in Europe in 1988. I came back out of retirement shortly and my last match was in Cloverdale with Danny Biback.
Many agree that cable TV has basically ruined the sport of pro wrestling. Do you agree with that assesment?
I don't watch TV
Could there ever be a return to the old territorial promotion of professional wrestling and if so how could it be done?
It would be hard work but with the right promoter, promotion and wrestlers it could be accomplished.
Are there any series of matches or "feuds that stand out for you?
I liked the guys who would challenge me technically. Dory and Terry Funk, Grizzly Smith and the Assassins.
Do you have a favorite finishing move?
I like them all... Especially when I use one and hear the referee say three on a pinfall.
Is there anything about pro wrestling that you do not like?
nitpicking, gossip and tattletailing.
Matches in Canada could last up to an hour or more. In the Pacific Northwest before Dutch took over, matches would sometimes last 3-4 minutes Why were these Canadian matches so long?
Basically you a running on a smaller card in Canada. Dutch and Don had more wrestlers.
Do you have an interesting story from the road?
I remember one time I was traveling with three fellows from Yorkshire. I could not understand a single word they were saying. There are many many many stories from the road. Johnny Valentine once told me " Keep your mouth shut" What happens on the road stays on the road.
What can you tell us about wrestling with Dutch?
It was good. Dutch is a great wrestler. You had to cheat to get out of one of his holds. Especially a nerve hold.
Who is the greatest wrestler you ever saw in the ring?
There are three
Lou Thesz, Gene Kiniski, Edward Carpentier
Thank you so very much Mr. Quinn for taking time with us today. We appreciate your reminding us again of the great days in professional wrestling.
Our featured wrestler for December 2006 is a man many of you will remember. We are talking about Ricky Hunter also known as 'THE GLADIATOR'
Thanks for joining us today Rick. In our intital conversation you mentioned a man who trained you in the ring. Who was that and how did you get your start as a professional wrestler?
I am originally from Winnepeg, Manitoba. My teacher was a man by the name of George Gordienko. He was one of the top ten wrestlers in the world.He was known far and wide for his knowledge in the ring. He was considered by many to be the professor of wrestling. He used to say to me "Walk quietly but carry a big stick"
What have you been doing since your retirement?
Not an awful lot. When I retired, I still was wrestling from time to time if the promoter had a wrestler who got hurt or someone who did not make it to the arena. I would fill in. Sometimes I would wrestle two matches in one evening. One as Rick Hunter and the next one as The Gladiator. At the end of my career I would set up the ring and still fill in wherever I was needed. When I wrestled as the Gladiator, the fans could not make their mind up whether to like me or not. I played it on the edge.My last five years in the WWF I was working also as a referee. My retirement came in phases I basically have been out of the sport for about the last ten years. For 36 years I was a professional wrestler and loved every minute of it.
What was it like wrestling with Dutch Savage?
Every time you got into the ring with Dutch you knew that you were going to learn something new.He was a man of many many moves. Dutch was very universal He was a fantastic wrestler. You learned from him every time you wrestled him.
In your opinion what is the "formula" for putting on a great match
That is a good question. When you go into the ring you can give a man 3/4 of the match. By doing that you give more than you get. When I got into the ring with a "green" wrestler I had to work twice as hard to make the match go over. I would give a wrestler 70% of the match to show that I was a teacher and had humility. The genius of this business is to diversify and make sure to put "Butts" in the seats.
What was your favorite finishing move?
I used a lot of different moves. I liked using the suplex or some kind of submission hold.
If a wrestler wanted to leave a territory and go to another territory, How did he go about it?
A lot of times we would have designated time that we would be in an area. Sometimes two or three months. A wrestlers drawing ability was carefully looked at by the promoter. If a wrestler was drawing he could be kept for up to a year or longer. It was all about drawing ability.
We see where you spent some time in California wrestling for Roy Shires. How did you become "The Gladiator"?
Well we developed the Gladiator in California. Roy was a genius and great promoter. Some of the greatest tag teams like Pat Patterson and Ray Stevens were electric. If Roy Shires asked you to come back to his promotion it was the greatest compliment you could ge gt.
One of our favorite and most beloved "Heels" on this website is Apache Bull Ramos. What was it like working with him in the ring?
He was magnificent. He was a master. Once Bull stepped into the ring the match was made. Dutch also created that same kind of effect when he got into the ring.
We might be putting you on the spot with this one... Who was the greatest wrestler you ever saw in the ring?
I would have to say George Gordienko of course. This is a tough one to answer. There were so many great wrestlers. Apache Bull Ramos, Dutch Savage, Gene Kiniski, Don Leo Jonathan. George Gordienko commands such respect from me. I would consider Dutch to be amoung the top five.
Would you recommend the profession of professional wrestling to any young man or woman and if so, what advice would you give them?
To keep your mouth closed, your ears open. LISTEN AND WATCH. Pro wrestling is the greatest university in the world. Today it is totally different. They are not putting out the wrestlers today that they used to. Todays wrestling is embarassing.
What do you think of "Wrestling Schools"?
Depending on the teacher a school is only as good as the teacher.
What do you think of the current state of Professional wrestling?
I am very dissappointed. It shows me nothing.
We constantly hear the term "Ring General". What makes up a ring general?
A ring general is one knows the most about wrestling and can actually guide and control the match. There are not a lot of ring generals. I see no ring generals in todays wrestling.
Do you think the "territorial" style of pro wrestling can ever return and if so how can it be accomplished?
They are going to have to go back to the basics and learn how to wrestle. Pro wrestling today is dying.
This may seem unfair and if you want to decline we understand. What territory was your favorite territory to wrestle in.
By far Portland Oregon was my favorite territory. It was considered by many to be the Shangila of professional wrestling. I loved Portland and the fans very much. I also enjoyed wrestling in San Francisco.
What was it like working with Dutch Savage when he was a promoter?
About the same as when you wrestled him. Dutch never changed. He was a master at the business.
I see where you have a yahoo.com group dedicated to your career. How did that get started.
Oh my goodness... I had no idea there was a site out there like that.
Do you keep in touch with any of the boys from the old days and if so... couWho?
Once in a awhile I hear from Dutch. Every so often I will hear from two or three others. Nothing makes me happier than to hear a voice from the past.
Part of the making of a great wrestler is the ability to be good on the microphone. Is this something that comes naturally or does it need to be developed?
In most cases it would have to be developed. You need to know what to say to get to the crowds.
Did you have a favorite play by play television announcer?
Hank Renner out of California was very good and knew this profession like the back of his hand.
Who was your favorite guy to work with?
I have a lot of favorite guys. Dutch Savage, Lonnie Mayne, Don Leo Jonathan and many many others.
Dutch has stated that you would do anything to get a match over and that you could work with a broom and make it look good.
(laughing) That is such a nice compliment. I appreciate hearing that!!
We want to thank you so much Rick for spending time with us today. It has been great talking with you and we wish you good health and all that is good.
You are so very welcome. I have enjoyed this so much today. It has been wonderful talking about something I spent 36 years doing and loved so very much.
Please be on the look out here for our next interview. Not sure at this time who it will be but it should be another great visit and remembrance of the great days in professional wrestling.