Globe & Mail – March 7, 1947
By Allan Nickleson
Whippah Billy Watson retained his newly won world wrestling championship before a jam-packed, roaring multitude of some 15,000 fans at Maple Leaf Gardens last night – and he accomplished the feat fairly easily against the caddish chappie he beat for the bauble.
While movie cameras whirred and photographers’ flash bulbs popped, the moustached hero from East York came back from a wicked series of elbow smashes to smash balding Wild Bill Longson with the dreaded Canadian Avalanche – and that was all, brother! The largest crowd in at least 15 years saw it all.
The end came at 20:24, the mob streamed out happy and Wild Bill was in a terrible rage, indeed. He arose from the floor feeling his noggin and then, when the handsome Whip offered his hand, what did that loutish Longson do but give Whip his elbow – right in the chops.
The outraged Whipper gave that back with interest before special referee Jack Sharkey, imported from the land of the cod to officiate, broke it up by threatening to wallop all concerned with one of the fists that won him the world heavyweight boxing crown many years back.
As for the bout, the Whip never looked better. He held command most of the way, broke holds cleanly like the gent he is. The only work the thin-haired Sharkey had to do was to once whistle a right past Wild Bill’s ear when that ruffian swung at Boston John who had made him give up an illegal hold.
There were a few anxious moments, of course, for the world monarch (National Wrestling Association version, that is). Just before The Whippah came out of an apparent coma, induced by Longson’s knobby elbow joints as Watson came off the ropes, the 233-pound Canuck was down with Longson atop. The Whippah managed to separate his shoulder from the mat just as Sharkey’s hand was coming down for the third and final time.
The multitudes roared with glee ere that when Watson managed to entangle Longson’s feet and hands in the ropes, then belabored his helpless form with smashes to the chin and tummy. The Whip also ran Wild Bill’s cranium into the turnbuckles, which didn’t improve the temper of the oaf from St. Louis one iota.
When Watson applied the Avalanche – a dainty little thing he devised whereby the victim revolves like a pinwheel, striking his noggin hard on the floor each time the circle is completed – he revolved Longson four times, then leaped on him. Mr. Sharkey did the rest.
Before the main event, Col. Harry J. Landry of Friar’s Point, Ky., suh, presented The Whip with a bronze trophy, emblematic of the crown, and told the gathering that the championship belt would be along later. Mr. Watson has been expecting the belt since he took the title in Longson’s hometown two weeks ago when Wild Bill was disqualified.
Col. Landry happens to be president of the NWA as well as vice-president of the National Boxing Association, a cotton farmer, and as a banker, to boot, he probably helped promoter Frank Tunney count the house.
Indeed, Mons. Tunney was observed blowing huge clouds of cigar smoke and actually beaming along about the semi-final when the electrician away up in the beams was testing special blue spotlights to be used for better movie-lighting in the final.
That semi-final, incidentally, came close to stealing the show. The perfect cad, Strangler Bob Wagner, and the hero, Larry Moquin, did everything but throw the referee from the ring in wrestling to a 30-minute draw. The Strangler, a perfect longhair, was most unpleasant to Mons. Moquin and when Moquin replied in kind, with such tricks as kicking in the tummy, the crowd cheered like crazy.
There was humor, too. Once, Moquin entangled Wagner’s head and arms in the ropes so that the villain was looking at the audience with popping eyes and hanging tongue. An urchin popped up from nowhere and offered The Strangler a piece of hot dog. Mr. Wagner failed to accept.
Fred Von Schacht, towering smooth-dome, beat a hasty retreat to the showers past fist-swinging fans after training Fred Blassie something horrible to win with a chinlock and head smash. In the first two preliminaries, Ernie Dusek bodyslammed Ben Sharpe into defeat in 10:32 and John Katan wrestled 20 minutes to a draw with Lou Newman.