Tag Archives: Don Curtis

Girls Return On Mat Card

St. Petersburg Independent – April 17, 1960

ELLA WALDEK

ELLA WALDEK

A change is on tap for viewers of the grunt and groan sport this Wednesday night, as Miss Ella Waldek and Miss Bonnie Watson return to the local scene to highlight weekly wrestling action at the new Armory. Continue reading

Grapplers Mix With Fans, Riot Ends Pro Card

Moline Daily Dispatch – December 19, 1960

The Quad-Cities’ first wrestling show in two years ended in a riot Saturday night.

With all four wrestlers from the feature tag-team match going at it with the customers in the aisles at Wharton Field House, the Illinois State Athletic Commission disqualified everybody in sight and declared the match no contest. Continue reading

Pro Wrestling Still Has A Grip On Fans

Florida Times-Union – January 13, 1998
By Mike Bianchi

This column is about professional wrestling.

I will completely understand if you turn the page. Continue reading

Two Wrestling Crowns At Stake Tuesday Night

St. Petersburg Times – January 20, 1963

Tampa – Southern heavyweight wrestling champion Eddie Graham and world tag team champions Roy Heffernan and Al Costello, the Kangaroos managed by Wild Red Berry, will defend their titles at the Fort Homer Hesterly Armory Tuesday night. Continue reading

Tampa Grapple Card Monday

St. Petersburg Times – January 27, 1963

Tampa – Wrestling will switch to Monday night at the Fort Homer Hesterly Armory tomorrow night for two weeks and promoter Cowboy Luttrall has capped his four-event program with a six-man Australian tag team match with Wild Red Berry and Saul Weingeroff in action.

Berry and the Kangaroos, Roy Heffernan and Al Costello, will meet Weingeroff and Kurt and Karl Von Brauner under Texas death match rules on a winners-take-all basis.  Regular falls will give wrestlers rest periods of one minute but will not count toward the decision.  Action will continue until a team concedes or wrestlers are unable to answer the bell.

Other events arranged by promoter Luttrall are Reggie Parks vs. Hiro Matsuda, Don Curtis vs. Billy Parks, and Harry Smith vs. Dale Lewis.

Mat ‘Actors’ Irk Champ

Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville, FL – June 28, 1963
By Hubert Mizell

“They should keep those characters who wrestle almost entirely as showmen, rather than athletes, out of wonderful places like the Coliseum here in Jacksonville.”

How many times have you heard the antiwrestling bugs come up with those words? Many times, probably.

Even fans who claim to love bonafide mat work do plenty of yelling about the “actors” of the ring. This time, however, the words seemed to mean more.

They were uttered yesterday by Lou Thesz, the world’s heavyweight wrestling champion, who successfully defended his crown here last night against Don Curtis before 11,085 fans.

This may seem a bit odd since Thesz, a 47-year-old St. Louis product, makes something like $150,000 a year on the mat. But, he has a special reason.

“Wrestling is a wonderful sport that molds a beautiful body,” Thesz said while gobbling up a rich dessert. “Athletes need sugar,” he added when the interviewer looked rather surprised at the strawberry tart.

The fact that wrestling has become associated often with showmen more than with athletes, ires the hulking, 6-2, 228-pound Thesz.

“You will usually find that fellows who are long on showmanship are short on wrestling ability,” he commented. “Don’t get me wrong. All forms of sports need a bit of showmanship. Take Leo Durocher and Jim Piersall of baseball. They break me up, but they’re loaded with ability, too.”

As for the matmen who depend on what he calls “local television hate campaigns,” Thesz said “they belong under a tent with the other clowns.”

Thesz said that financial success of wrestling in Florida is “due to constructive promoting. The promoters who dwell on showmen, and not athletes, stink as far as I’m concerned. None of them are where these fellows in Florida are, moneywise. There are some fine athletes among the wrestlers who appear here regularly. They aren’t all that good, of course.”

It was Lou’s second trip to Jacksonville and, needless to say, the city’s growth impressed the man who now resides in Phoenix, Ariz.

“It’s amazing,” Thesz said while looking at the local skyline. “All these great buildings have replaced the old ones. But the greatest improvement of all lies in the Coliseum over that other place.”

The “other place” referred to by the mat king is the old Arena at Main and Beaver Streets, now an indoor parking garage. “That’s a good thing for that spot,” he added with a grin on his bronzed face.

Thesz recalled his first visit, sometime shortly after World War II, with a laugh:

“When I saw those ropes in the Arena taped with back tape, I knew this was ‘it.’ You’ve seen these movies portraying a small, dim-lighted fight club? That was even worse. I’ll tell you the truth – they had men with .22 rifles between matches who went around to the holes in the floor to look for rats who came up for a bite off the hot dogs and buns.”

The next question was going to be “What is the worst place you ever wrestled before as far as conditions?” That one was scratched for obvious reasons. No use making him repeat himself.

Ed (Strangler) Lewis, a one-time mat great who is now totally blind and lives in Tulsa, Okla., was on that trip with Thesz. “Mr. Lewis coached me in public relations for awhile,” Lou said. “But as far as a manager, I’ve never had one. I like to handle my own money.”

Thesz is an ultrasuccessful businessman outside the ring. His holdings include a resort in Phoenix and several apartment buildings in La Jolla, Calif. “I make as much money off real estate as wrestling,” he said. “I usually get about a dollar a mile when on tour. I make about 150,000 miles and dollars a year.”

Thesz learned wrestling from his father, who performed on the mat in his native Hungary. Lou’s physical condition is amazing from his 50-inch chest to his 32-inch waist. “I don’t follow other sports too much,” he freely admits. “My family and I stick to the sports we can compete in.”

Thesz and wife of 18 years, Fredda, have one son, Jeffrey, 11.

“He wants to be a wrestler,” Thesz says with typical fatherly pride.

Rogers, Orton Tag Partners On Mat Show

Chicago Tribune – October 20, 1961

Buddy Rogers, claimant to the heavyweight wrestling championship, and Bob Orton will meet Johnny Valentine and Bruno Sammartino tonight in one of three Australian tag team matches on a wrestling card in the Amphitheater in the stockyards.

Featured in the preliminary bouts will be Haystacks Calhoun, a 601-pounder, who will wrestle Crusher Lisowski, and Shohei Baba, a modest 350, who will wrestle Jack Allen. Other bouts:

Mark Lewin and Don Curtis vs. Jim Hady and Luis Martinez; Billy Goelz and Johnny Gilbert vs. Mister Sato and Great Togo; Sweet Daddy Siki vs. Jack Terry.

Rogers-Orton Team Beaten In Tag Match

Chicago Tribune – October 21, 1961

The tag team of Johnny Valentine and Bruno Sammartino beat Buddy Rogers and Bob Orton last night in the feature event of a wrestling show in the Amphitheater at the stockyards.

The show drew 5,706 who paid $15,293.49. They saw Sammartino end the match with a bear hug on Rogers, the world’s champion, in the third and deciding fall. Other results:

Mark Lewin and Don Curtis and Jim Hady and Luis Martinez were disqualified in a tag team match; The Crusher beat Carl Engstrom; Mr. Sato and Great Togo beat Billy Goelz and Johnny Gilbert; Shohei Baba beat Jack Allen, and Sweet Daddy Siki beat Johnny Kace.