The Gadsden Times – April 10, 1983
By Clarke Stallworth
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) – This story, which may go down alongside Watergate and Jimmy Carter’s killer rabbit in the annals of American investigative reporting, began as a small item in The Birmingham News.
It was a story about an ex-Marine from Albertville who went to the wrestling matches at Boutwell Auditorium one Monday night. Stories differ about what happened, but he said four wrestlers came out of the ring and “stomped the living tar” out of him.
He sued the four wrestlers for $250,000, and that’s where I got the idea for an investigative story. He named three wrestlers – Dennis Condrey, Randy Rose and Norvel Austin, and then he named The Mongolian Stomper, “whose real name is not known.”
It was a challenge, a gauntlet flung in the dust. In the great tradition of American journalism, I would dig deep into the story and come up with the answer. It was a tough, dirty little job, but somebody had to do it.
I read in the story that The Mongolian Stomper was described as a “300-pound Mr. Clean.” But how to find him? Well, I could get in touch with his manager. I called Bill Gardiner, manager of the auditorium.
Gardiner said yes, Ron Fuller ran Southeastern Wrestling out of Pensacola, Fla., and that Southeastern put on wrestling exhibitions in Dothan, Montgomery, Mobile and Birmingham. The Stomper worked for Fuller.
I asked for Fuller’s phone number in Pensacola, but Gardiner said Fuller had a private line and he couldn’t let me have it, because Fuller had asked that he not give it out.
On the off chance he might be listed, I called Pensacola information and asked for Ron Fuller. No Ron, but there’s an R.C. Fuller. I called the number and a lady answered. She said her husband’s name was not Ron, but that she got a lot of calls from people looking for Ron. She said Ron used to stay at the Royal Arms.
I called the Royal Arms Motel and a foreign-sounding voice asked me who I wanted. Ron Fuller, I said. There was a pause, then she said there was no Ron Fuller registered there.
I wasn’t getting anywhere trying to chase down Fuller, so I decided to go in another direction. I called Washington, D.C., information for the number of the Mongolian Embassy. If The Stomper had a Mongolian visa, maybe I could find his name there. There is no Mongolian Embassy, the operator said.
So I called the U.S. State Department and asked to speak to someone on the Mongolian desk. Maybe they could help. A woman at the State Department said Keith Powell was the Mongolian desk officer, but he wasn’t there that day. I asked where he was, in Mongolia? She snickered half-heartedly.
I had a basic investigative question: The Mongolian Stomper. Did this mean that he is a Mongolian who stomps other people? Or does it mean that he is a person who stomps Mongolians?
I went down to the auditorium to see if the wrestlers warm up before their Monday night matches at Boutwell. I also wanted to find out what hotel they used.
No, said Mrs. Jeanne Reid, a helpful lady in the manager’s office, they just drive up from Pensacola on the night of the matches. And afterwards, they get in their cars and go back to Pensacola.
She gave me a Monday night card, which showed The Stomper meeting Austin Idol in a “Mongol Strap Match.” I asked a man in the office what a Mongol Strap Match was.
He said he thought it was when they strapped an opponent to The Mongolian Stomper. I told him I wouldn’t like to be strapped to The Mongolian Stomper, in or out of the ring.
Then Mrs. Reid found an item on the card, which said that The Box would be there Monday night. What’s The Box, I asked.
“Well, I saw it on television,” she said. “They had this big box out there, and they warned everybody not to open the box, whatever they did. But this one wrestler – they had taken away his belt by doing him dirty – he opened the box. Out jumped this wild man, and he ran all around in the audience. Then he jumped up into the ring and bit The Mongolian Stomper on the leg.”
This was a real break in the case. If The Stomper was bitten, maybe he went to the hospital. And if he did go to the hospital, maybe his real name was on the hospital records. But Mrs. Reid said she didn’t think The Box Man bit The Stomper hard enough to send him to the hospital.
On Monday night, I made the big decision: I would go to the auditorium and find The Mongolian Stomper myself, and ask him what his real name was.
I went behind the auditorium, and sneaked up the iron steps, into the dressing room area. Several barrel-chested men came down the stairs and looked at me funny. I felt funny, but I asked where The Mongolian Stomper was. Upstairs, one of them said. I asked him if I could talk to him, and he went upstairs to tell The Stomper he had a visitor.
Finally, a smaller, barrel-chested man with a brown beard came to the stairs and yelled down to me. The Stomper don’t want to talk to anybody from the newspaper, he said.
My hopes were dashed. I hung my head in defeat and walked out of the dressing room, down the iron steps.
Even though I have not – as yet – found The Mongolian Stomper’s real name, I have raised some questions:
Is The Stomper’s real name Jumjaagiyn Tsedenbal, or Jambyn Batmunkh? If my name was Batmunkh, I believe I would change it too.
Why the veil of secrecy around The Mongolian Stomper? Why will no one come forward with the real story? Is Southeastern Wrestling a cover-up for a ring of Mongolian spies, smuggling military secrets from Dothan to Birmingham?
No, I will not give up. I will find out The Mongolian Stomper’s real name. In the great tradition of American investigative journalism, I will continue my search.