Longson Takes Roughhouse Mat Battle From Ali Baba

Minneapolis Tribune – April 1, 1942
By George A. Barton

It is said Bill Longson, new world’s heavyweight champion wrestler, learned the tricks and holds of the catch-as-catch-can pastime as a student at the University of Utah.

But, some 3,500 mat addicts who watched Longson defeat Ali Baba at the auditorium Tuesday night gained the impression that Bill learned his trade among the longshoremen on the docks of some seaport city.

Bill staged a regular pier brawl when battering Baba into submission in a tussle lasting 17 minutes and 3 seconds.

He did everything to the squat Turk except rip out a ringpost and wrap it around Ali’s well-shaved noggin.

Minneapolis wrestling fans, who thought Lou Plummer, Abe Kashey, Dick Raines and Joe Cox were rough guys, decided they were Little Lord Fauntleroys after seeing Longson in his local debut.

“Wild Bill,” as he is called back in Utah, starts in where the other four mat ruffians left off.

There are no dull moments with Longson in action. He kept the crowd in a frenzy from the time he greeted Baba with a punch on the chin until he crushed the Turk like a collapsed accordion with his deadly piledriver hold. This crusher device consists of slapping a leg-scissors hold around an opponent’s neck, then gripping him around the waist with his arms and banging the other guy’s head against the mat.

The champion knocked out Baba with his punishing hold, but the gritty little Turk quickly recovered and walked out of the ring under his own power.

Judging from his actions, Longson must have taken a vow to make the public despise him.

At least, he worked along that line in manhandling Baba. On several occasions, Wild Bill caused the fans to question his gameness by leaping out of the ring when Baba retaliated by smacking the champ on the kisser with his fists.

Baba lost the match but he won the admiration of the crowd because of willingness to absorb punishment. The Turk wrestled the champ virtually on even terms up to the time he fell victim to Longson’s piledriver hold.

The fans cheered Baba and jeered Longson. It was evident they would like to see some rough guy take Longson apart next time he appears here.

Longson weighed 238, Baba 205.

Bill Kuusisto increased his prestige by wrestling Ray Steele, former world’s champion, to a draw in 30 minutes.

The youngster made an impressive showing against Steele in a spirited match. Kuusisto weighed 228, Steele 216.

In the other matches, Rudy Strongberg, 233, and John Grandovich, 251, tussled to a draw in 30 minutes, while Johnny Carlin, 196, threw Johnny Seal, 197, in 17 minutes and 19 seconds.

Whitey Koopman refereed all of the matches.

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