Dr. Bonica Whips Ex-Gridder At Civic Center

The Bremerton, Wash., Sun – April 13, 1945

Dr. John Bonica, who has ingratiated himself with Bremerton rassle fans, last night proved more popular than ever when he came from a first-fall loss to take the next two and whip Cliff Thiede, 220-pound former University of Southern California football star, as a large audience howled with glee at Civic Center.

The army medico, considerably shorter than the ex-grid star, proved clever from the start and had Thiede guessing as to what grip to try in an effort to subdue the Ft. Lewis mat instructor.

Then somebody became angry — perhaps both Thiede and Bonica — and a few punches were landed to add oil to the flames. Thiede, who became the “bad boy” in fans’ estimation, found the secret in a series of arm locks that practically paralyzed Dr. Bonica’s left arm. Thus, after 15 minutes of having the arm worked over and bent like a pretzel, the doctor gave up for the first fall.

But he came back — and how! First he threw Thiede out of the ring into the laps of the cash customers, just to show them that Thiede was still alive at that moment and to indicate to the footballer what was yet to come. Then the two started to slug it out, even giving Referee Hal Erickson some punishment only to have the hefty Swede dish out some of his own; but the opportunity Dr. Bonica had awaited came in a series of slams and he pinned the bemuscled Thiede to the mat for a three-count.

On the third fall, Thiede lasted only a few minutes in a rough go, the medico finally subduing Thiede in a series of slams and a climaxing body press.

Referee Erickson also got a bad time in the other main event between Lt. Bud Higgins and Frank Stojack, former Washington State College footballer. But three body slams and a press after 27 minutes of the one-hour limit bout gave Higgins the first fall. Then things began with a vengeance, Stojack kicking Higgins out of the ropes and into the throes of the ringsiders, but a forthcoming body scissors by Stojack forced Higgins to plead and lose the second fall.

Stojack won the third fall, too, by reversing the tables on Higgins when the latter made a flying body tackle and found himself bent over helpless.

In the opener, Urgel Rivard, pride of the P.S.N.Y. machine shop, lasted for 10 minutes and 20 seconds with experienced Bob Kruse, the “Oswego Cabbage King” from Portland. Kruse heaved Rivard out of the ring, but the X-31 favorite came back — not quite as he left, however, and an arm bar and body press was what turned the trick for Kruse.

A profound silence fell over the large crowd last night when one minute’s meditation over the president’s death was observed. The next pro wrestling show will be held next Thursday night.

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