Thesz Unveils The Red Mask And Finds Hefner

Globe & Mail – June 12, 1953
By Steve York

If that don’t beat the Dutch!

Champion Lou Thesz defeated the Red Mask last night at Maple Leaf Gardens and he turned out to be Dutch Hefner.

A crowd of 6,000 devotees of mat art saw Thesz floor the Mask with a backdrop at 21:50 of their no time limit main match. The National Wrestling Alliance championship, held by Thesz, was on the line.

When the news of Hefner’s unmasking spread through this sports department a veteran observer said there was a Dutch Hefner here years and years ago. However, this Dutch Hefner said he had never been in the Queen City prior to his tour of duty as a masked menace.

The Mask (this is before his identity was revealed to the palpitating public) gave Thesz quite a workout before being jarred so hard the preserves for miles could feel it. Just before the end, Mr. Mask nearly had two men to contend with, Thesz and Strangler Lewis, the manager of Thesz. The Mask had Thesz on the mat under the ropes and wouldn’t release his headlock despite referee Bunny Dunlop’s insistence.

This prompted the Strangler, seated at the ring edge, to rise and reach at the Mask’s foot. That broke the hold all right and brought on a menacing gesture at Lewis by the Mask. Lewis responded by taking off his coat. That is as far as it went. The Mask retreated to the ring and shortly after was lifted high in the air while having a head lock on Thesz and brought down crashing to the canvas.

Thesz crashed, too, but he landed face down while the Mask lighted on his back. Big Lou had enough left to put an arm across the Mask and hold him down while Dunlop counted three.

Hefner didn’t want to take off his head covering. Maybe that was because he literally had his teeth in it and the way Dunlop and Thesz went after him he may have thought his snappers would come away with the mask.

Patience, friends, patience. Halfway through the match Thesz tore the mask from the left eye hole to the nose opening. The champion concentrated on the disguise until he had ripped the other side and he was able to pull the top half back over Hefner’s head. This gave the ringsiders a glimpse of his face but Hefner pulled the ripped section back down and over his eyes andclamped his teeth on the broken ends. Now operating with no eyeholes, Hefner saw Thesz the rest of the match through a red haze, so to speak.

Dick Raines and Lou Plummer, a couple of jaspers from Texas, retained their Canadian open tag team championship when they romped to victory over Bill Stack and Bobo Brazil. Raines pinned Stack at 27:10 of a scheduled one-hour semi-final after a series of backnbreakers, legal and illegal. Blustering Hans Hermann drew with Don Leo Jonathan (the most intriguing name alignment since John Charles Thomas). Hermann caused Jonathan to show his best since appearing here.

In the scheduled, 30-minute opener, Pat Flanagan rolled over Jan Gotch with a body scissors at 21:48.

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