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Posts Tagged ‘Terry Funk’

Bob Backlund & Édouard Carpentier Inducted into the St. Louis Wrestling Hall of Fame

Posted by flairwhoooooo on September 11, 2017

By Brian Kelley

MWR was honored to be a special guest at the induction ceremony of Bob Backlund and Édouard Carpentier into the St. Louis Wrestling Hall of Fame this past Saturday.

 

The Hall of Fame is located inside the historic South Broadway Athletic Club in St. Louis, Missouri. Bob Backlund made his way for the historic moment and took time afterwards for a special Q and A with his fans as well as a meet and greet with his fans.

Bob Backlund spoke highly of his time in St. Louis including the contributions of promoter Sam Muchnick, Harley Race and Terry Funk impact to his success in the squared circle.

Ben Simon, Herb Simmons, Bob Backlund, Tony Casta and Nick Ridenour

 

Bob Backlund sat front and center for the matches at the Historic South Broadway Athletic Club including MWR Missouri Champions second title match of the night. The first one was at the house of Harley Race at WLW.

Later in the evening Bob Backlund sat front and center throughout the night to visit the fans and watch all the matches as well as giving his advice to the wrestlers that asked him.

Young CJ Shine is getting better with each match. Getting advice from a legend like Bob Backlund is a wise move for any wrestler, young or old.

MMWA Wrestling returns on October 10th at the historic South Broadway Athletic Club.

 

Bob Backlund’s nephew Tim inducted him into the Hall of Fame.

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NWL STL Signs Texas Wrestling Talent to Multiyear Contract Plus NWL STL Tickets on Sale NOW

Posted by flairwhoooooo on December 8, 2016

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Kansas City, Mo. December 08, 2016

NWL STL has signed national wrestling star Moonshine Mantell, who will compete under the name Maverick as part of the terms of his multiyear deal with the League. Maverick will make his NWL STL debut at the promotion’s first live event at the on January 12.

“Maverick is very much a modern-day gunslinger who has established a national reputation as one of the toughest competitors in the business today,” says Travis Bowden, VP of marketing for the NWL, who oversaw the signing during a press conference at NWL  Headquarters in downtown KC. “The League commends NWL STL for continuing to look beyond the Midwest to bring some of the country’s top wrestlers into the League.”

The 6-foot, 240-pounder from Austin, Texas, says he has set his sights on becoming the League’s first St. Louis heavyweight wrestling champion.

“I signed with NWL STL for the opportunity to become a champion in what I feel is the fastest-growing wrestling promotion in the United States,” says Maverick, who has patterned his wrestling style after such fellow Lone Star State greats as Terry Funk and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. “I’ll always be loyal to Texas, but I am looking forward to establishing myself in the great city of St. Louis and competing in what has traditionally been one of the best wrestling cities in the world.”

During the press conference, NWL STL also announced that tickets are now on sale for its inaugural event at the Casa Loma Ballroom, where the promotion will be running shows every other Thursday beginning January 12. Fans can reserve seats now at http://www.ticketfly.com/org/7326.

About NWL

The National Wrasslin’ League (NWL) is reviving the historical roots of the business. Fueled by intercity rivalries, the NWL prides itself on family-friendly, storyline-driven programming that delivers thrilling athletic action and entertaining characters

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Ron Powers Wins the Terry Funk Title Tournament to Once Again Become the Classic Wrestling Champion

Posted by flairwhoooooo on May 14, 2016

By Patrick Brandmeyer

Photos By Brian Kelley

“Memories Of Elvis” star Steve Davis sang the National Anthem; after that, they had a ten-bell salute to Blackjack Mulligan and Balls Mahoney (R.I.P.).

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Bobby D vs. Attila Khan(w/ Travis Cook): Travis gave a grand reintroduction to Khan, who hadn’t been seen in SICW since his cage match loss to Gary Jackson in December. Other than a brief flurry of offense by D (somersault plancha included), Khan dominated most of this opening bout. Khan pulled him up from a pin attempt after the inverted DDT, then hit the finisher a second time for the easy win in 3:02.

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The dynamic duo of Terry Funk and Larry Matysik did a random draw to determine the first-round matches in the Funk Title Tournament; the winner would be guaranteed a shot at the Classic Wrestling Championship. The draw produced several interesting bouts.

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Ron Powers vs. Big Jim Hoffarth, Terry Funk Title Tournament Quarterfinal: I didn’t expect a lot of technical wizardry in this one, but the two heavyweights did start the match with an exchange of holds. Of course, it quickly turned into a slugfest that culminated in two straight instances of simultaneous clotheslines. The power game was the deciding factor as Ron delivered a huge released German suplex for the win in 4:17; the two shook hands after the match. Given the tournament field, Powers seemed like the clear favorite to emerge victorious…but a few new wrinkles would surface in the big picture.

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“Unstable” Dave Vaughn vs. Ax Allwardt(w/ Big Daddy), Terry Funk Title Tournament Quarterfinal: Big Daddy managed both men, so he entered on his own after both wrestlers made their way to the ring. Vaughn returned to wrestling as a member of Big Daddy’s new stable as the veteran manager returned to his rulebreaking ways; the group also includes Bubba Troll, who was absent on this night. Vaughn had said that Big Daddy got him out of an insane asylum; he had “SANE” written on his wrist tape, though his demeanor would indicate otherwise. Vaughn had only recently returned to action after a layoff of several years, so it may take some time for him to get back into prime ring shape. With a matchup of two rulebreakers, the fans weren’t too invested in the bout; Vaughn seemed to be the lesser of two evils in this case. Big Daddy loudly proclaimed that he didn’t care who won as he got the winner’s share of the purse money in either case; however, he distracted the referee after Vaughn hit his signature spear. That distraction enabled Ax to hit Vaughn with his chain behind the referee’s back, scoring the tainted win in 5:54. On the heels of Vaughn and Ax’s tag team loss in March and this outcome, Big Daddy fired Vaughn from his stable…but a YouTube video showed Vaughn attacking Sean Vincent later in the night, so that feud will continue. At any rate, Ax was set to face Ron Powers in the semifinals.

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“The Fury” Jason Vaughn & “Dead Sexy” Daniel Gunner vs. Britton Tucker & Waco: In the tradition of Wrestling At The Chase, this tag match had two referees; Earl Hebner was the main referee and Jay King was on the floor. Vaughn and Tucker are newcomers to SICW; I first heard of Tucker from his days in World League Wrestling. Vaughn(market confusion~!) recently started with the promotion and I don’t know much about him. I would have expected the official’s roles to be reversed, but it was Hebner who was knocked down during the match’s closing moments. Vaughn small-packaged Tucker and Jay King entered the ring to count the fall in 8:40.

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“Ironman” Ken Kasa vs. “The Icon” Chris Hargas(w/ Travis Cook), Terry Funk Title Tournament Quarterfinal: Kasa was booted from the Travis Cook Organization and it was his old friend Hargas who dished out the beating to accentuate that executive action. Kasa was looking for payback, but Hargas attacked him from behind as he was entering the ringside area. Hargas hit him across the back with a chair for the fun of it…and this happened before the opening bell, so it put Kasa at a several disadvantage. Kasa fought back and nearly won with a rear naked choke, but Travis reached through the ropes to rake Kasa’s eyes out of the referee’s line of sight. The fight repeatedly spilled out of the ring, finally resulting in a double countout in 7:12.

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Promoter Herb Simmons interviewed the special guests for the evening: Terry Funk and Director Of Affairs Cowboy Bob Orton. Classic Champion Flash Flanagan entered the ring with some harsh words for the legends and said he had PLANNED to make a name for himself at their expense…but circumstances dictated otherwise as he has a torn rotator cuff. Flash admitted that he’s not cleared to compete and had to surrender the championship…he seemed to be in the process of a turn to fan favoritism in recent months, mostly through common enemies with the other “good guys” on the roster. Simmons, Funk, and Orton mutually agreed that the winner of the night’s tournament would earn the vacant championship…it seemed like the tourney winner would be next in line for the belt anyway.

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“Your Canadian Hero” Sean Vincent vs. “The Tokyo Monster” Kahagas(w/ Travis Cook), Terry Funk Title Tournament Quarterfinal: The winner of this match would get a bye to the finals due to the Kasa-Hargas double countout. Travis was on fire with his pre-match promo as Kahagas was his last horse in the race. While Vincent had a good run of momentum in the previous months, this seemed like a foregone conclusion as the former titleholder was driven to regain his gold. Kahagas got the win after a huge lariat in 6:22…and Vincent’s night got worse as he was attacked by Vaughn outside the building (as noted earlier).

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Ron Powers vs. Ax Allwardt (w/ Big Daddy), Terry Funk Title Tournament Semifinal: Big Daddy’s distraction backfired this time as Powers gave Ax a taste of his own chain, notching the victory in 5:07 to go to the finals.

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“Night Train/Gorgeous/Great One” Gary Jackson vs. “Volatile” Curtis Wylde(w/ Wyldefyre): This stemmed from Wylde wanting to rebound from his cage match loss to Sean Vincent in December, making a statement by attacking Jackson after his own cage match with Attila Khan. They caused each other’s eliminations in a six-man tag, then Wylde got suspended for attacking a referee during a singles bout between the two. Wylde bought a ticket to the March show and attacked Jackson AGAIN…Herb Simmons wanted to fire him outright, but Gary convinced him to let them settle things in the ring.

Wyldefyre put herself between Wylde and Jackson at the opening bell and was a constant nuisance for Gary…Wylde repeatedly used her as a human shield whenever Gary gave chase. The end came when Wyldefyre interjected herself AGAIN as Jackson was preparing to finish off her man. Gary avoided her slap attempt and picked her up to throw at Curtis Wylde, causing her to deliver an unintentional rana on Wylde! However, the referee made the unusual decision to call for the bell, disqualifying Jackson in 9:12 for using Wyldefyre as a weapon. The Wyldes celebrated their ill-begotten win while Gary confronted the referee over his thought process…that brought Herb Simmons into the situation.
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Gary wanted one more shot at Wylde and Herb made it so for the May 21st show…with Wyldefyre locked in a cage to keep her out of things!

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Ron Powers vs. “The Tokyo Monster” Kahagas(w/ Travis Cook), Terry Funk Title Tournament Final: The tournament was originally to determine the next challenger to Flash Flanagan’s Classic Wrestling Championship, but Flanagan’s injury and forfeiture meant that the tournament winner would become the new titleholder.

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It didn’t take long for this battle of heavy hitters to get out of hand…the two brawled out of the ring and all the way around the Community Center, whacking each other with chairs and other furniture. The referee allowed a lot of leeway with the stakes involved in the matchup, so they eventually made it back to the ring as the match continued. Seemingly out of nowhere, Powers hit the RKO for the win in 6:05 to become the NEWWWWW SICW Classic Wrestling Champion!
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After the match, Flash Flanagan entered the ring…tension ensued, but he graciously handed the title belt over to Powers and then beat down Travis Cook with his kendo stick. That brought out the rest of Cook’s troops(Attila Khan and Chris Hargas), but Terry Funk and Cowboy Bob Orton hit the ring to help Powers fight them off! Once the dust settled, Herb proposed that Flash give the belt to the tournament’s namesake Funk; Funk then presented it properly to the new champion Ron Powers to close the show!

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SICW Promoter Herb Simmons Still Having Fun After All These Years

Posted by flairwhoooooo on May 4, 2016

By Promoter Herb Simmons

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Is it WRESTLING or RASSLIN, that is the question that has been asked for many years, and it depends on who you are talking with. Years back they pronounced it RASSLIN, in the good old days of “Good Versus evil” as time went on it became Wrestling. Today after forty one years of that debate, I call it fun. Yes and this past April of 2016 that is just what we did at SICW All-star WRESTLING. I had the honor of being invited back to Las Vegas to the CAC where all the greats of the WRESTLING business attended, among the talented upcoming workers to the legends that are still with us. Legends like Paul Orndorff, Sgt Slaughter, Ricky Steamboat, JR Ross, Mean Gene Okerlund, Howard Fnkle, The Killer Bee’s, Ken Patera and a host of others. My main reason for returning this year was spend time with my friend, one of the greatest of all times, Terry Funk. Terry and I was in Vegas last year along with Stan the Lariat Hansen and Barbara Goodish the widow of the late Bruiser Brody.

I wanted to make sure this year that I met up with Terry because the following weekend he was coming to SICW All-Star WRESTLING in East Carondelet to make an appearance. The main attraction that weekend was the “Terry Funk Title Tournament”. It was to be several matches to see who became the number one contender for the SICW Classic Championship that was currently held by Flash Flanagan. I wanted to make sure Terry remembered he was going to be a big part of the double weekend shot, you see not only was he and another Legend, Cowboy Bob Orton appearing in East Carondelet Illinois, the next day they were traveling for SICW to Cape Girardeau Missouri for not only a WRESTLING show, but during the day a Comic Con.
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Well just as it was back in the days of RASSLIN, you always expect the worst and hope for the best. My lovely wife Mickey and I returned home on that Thursday and immediately began the final steps of preparing for the first ever SICW Friday Night Event. That’s right, in all the forty plus years I never remember doing a Friday night, yes it was scary. You may ask then why, well as I stated above, my friend Ken Murphy from the Cape had his annual Comic Con scheduled and he wanted Funk and Orton along with Ron Powers, Kahagas the Tokyo Monster, and Earl and Dave Hebner from the WWE referee era to participate.

So I arranged to move our monthly Saturday night event to a Friday to help accommodate the Cape show. And as you can figure we were all ready for the Friday night action, Terry Funk, Cowboy Bob Orton, Larry Matysik and all the SICW stars were ready, the capacity crowd was fired up, we were ready for some good old WRESTLING or RASSLIN.

Shortly before the sound of the first bell one of those wrenches got thrown in to the game plan, our Champion Flash Flanagan, who I knew was having shoulder issues informs us that it’s not only one should that needs repaired but both of them. Being the true professional that he is, he wanted to go out and compete to help give the fans the best show possible. After a long discussion with Larry Matysik, Terry Funk Bob Orton , it was determined that it wasn’t in the best interest for Flash to wrestle that night.
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So, as during the history of this crazy business we call WRESTLING or RASSLIN, we went to a plan B, yes Plan B that in a matter of a few minutes it was determined that instead of naming the winner of the “Terry Funk Title Tournament” the number one contender, the winner would become the SICW All-Star Champion. Simple right, you got it, the event went on and the action was great as always. The new champion was named, Ron Powers recaptured the gold and the celebration with him, Terry Funk and Cowboy Bob Orton took place in the ring.

 

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Look for a recap of the exciting night of wrestling soon at this very website

After being jet lagged from the trip from Vegas and making sure Terry got in town on time, the night was long and I must say my wife and I was a little tired. We ended taking Terry to the hotel. We dropped him off at midnight and told him we would pick him up at 7am, what another true professional, no complaints at all. We arrived home around 12:45 am. As always after a show I need to unwind, I laid down around 4am.

As the sun came up I knew it was going to be a long day. Even though I was looking forward to my two and half hour drive with Terry Funk, it was still stressful, new territory, hadn’t ran a show in Missouri for many years. We arrived shortly to find Terry Funk standing outside the hotel waiting on us. As the true veteran he is, he was bright eyed and bushy tailed. I must say there isn’t anything more rewarding than to spend a couple of hours in a car with such a legend as Terry Funk. We talked about everyone and everything pertaining to the WRESTLING or RASSSLIN business. The stories that man has could have kept me entertained for hours. I thought that with him flying in late, then being at the show all evening and getting in to the hotel late that he may fall asleep on the drive to Cape, boy did he fool me. The only smart one was my wife, she curled up in the back seat and took advantage of my driving.

Terry talked about how the business was back in the day, how guys he helped get into the business, like our late friend Bruiser Brody. He talked about how it was in Japan and how guys back then respected the business. I must admit, the guy has a memory, he talked about the show in the high school gym we did years ago when Greg Valentine, Orton, Spike Huber and Chris Adams who were are working with us. He talked about the first time Brody told him about our small independent promotion. He stated the name of Larry Matysik and Herb Simmons is known way beyond the St. Louis area, I must admit I wasn’t surprised about Larry, but me, big old Herb Simmons that had just been fortunate to be in the right place and the right time and have a friend like Larry to introduce me to Sam Munchnick, Brody, Murdoch, Valentine, Dory, Dibiase, Ox Baker, Jerry Blackwell, Dick The Bruiser, Bulldog Bob Brown, Harley Race and man the list could go on for a long time. It has been a real treat to be able to say I have done what only some other have dreamed of. I truly owe a lot to not only Larry, but to my wife who allowed me the time to live this dream.

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The Walking Dead Actor was excited to come see Terry Funk after meeting his fans at the Comic Con earlier that day.

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After spending the day in Cape Girardeau with Ken Murphy and standing for hours while Terry and Bob signed pictures, I must say the day seemed like it was never going to get over. There were hundred’s of fans that wanted to get a picture and talk with the WRESTLING or RASSLIN legends. They began signing a little after 9:30 and only for about an hour from 3-4pm when they did a Q&A, did they take a break from meeting and talking with the fans. Around 4:30 we went to lunch, Terry, Orton, Kahagas, Ron Powers, my wife and I. Again sitting with that crew was another experience, they had all worked together and they all had the stories. Around 5:30pm we headed to the AC Brase Arena, the building that was home to the ICW, operated by Angelo Poffo, Randy Savage and other legends from back in the day. It was a beautiful building and upon our arrival fans were already standing in line, see Terry and Orton and the boys were scheduled to do another Meet & Greet. So not only was I scheduling that, I had to get the card ready for the night. My right hand man, Dr. Drew, SICW ring announcer and Television Play by Play guy was a life saver. He jumped in and help get it lined up. Between him, Ron Powers and Gary Jackson the show went off great. The crowd was in to all the action and our friend Ken Murphy was pleased.

I lucked out that after we got the ring down my good friend Gary Jackson decided he would stay in town and take Terry Funk to the airport early in the morning. It was midnight when we left Cape, so it was good for me and the wife not to worry about getting back down there to get him to the airport. My wife repaid the favor for me driving down, she drove home. It was a great weekend both in East Carondelet where the best WRESTLING or RASSLIN fans are, and then to meet new fans in Cape was just as good. The talent worked hard both nights and without them and great fans there is no show.

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So I hope this painted the picture of two shows in April, back to back with two Legends, Funk and Orton, and all the other great SICW Stars, oh, and did I mention, the next morning we started on working on the third show for April that was scheduled for the last Saturday in April in Millstadt Illinois, my point is in this business its run run run, and fun fun fun. Until next time we meet at the matches take care and be sure to support independent wrestling and also Check out MRW (Missouri Wrestling Revival) for all the greatest information on WRESTLING or RASSLIN.

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Terry Funk and Midgets at SICW in the month of April

Posted by flairwhoooooo on April 6, 2016

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Huge SICW Event at the Cape Comic Con on April 16 Terry Funk, Cowboy Bob Orton, Kahagas

Posted by flairwhoooooo on March 31, 2016

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Terry Funk Comes to SICW on April 15th

Posted by flairwhoooooo on March 27, 2016

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A special Friday night show just like the old days of Sam Muchnick! This one price gets you into the meet and greet with Terry Funk and your ticket to that nights show! Also that night, the Terry Funk SICW Classic title tournament. Funk will personally pick the names of the wrestlers to compete in the tournament. The eventual winner will be guaranteed a future title shot!

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Terry Funk and the Midgets are on their way to SICW

Posted by flairwhoooooo on February 28, 2016

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From the office of SICW Promoter Herb Simmons

SICW- Brings you the weekend of the year, starting FRIDAY NIGHT April 15th in East Carondelet Illinois at 5:30pm when you get your chance to sit down with Legendary Terry Funk and talk wrestling business, and then join all the SICW action at 8pm. One price allows you to the Meet and Greet and the show that evening.

Then the next day SATURDAY April 16th we move to Cape Girardeau Missouri as we are honored to be a part of the annual Cape Con Comic. Terry Funk along with Cowboy Bob Orton, Ron Powers, Kahagas the Tokyo Monster and others will be there signing Autographs, and then that night at the Arena made historical by Randy Savage and the Poffo family all the SICW action will take place. Check out Wrestling at the Arena for upcoming information. Then Saturday April 30th SICW is returning to Millstadt Illinois Featuring not only all the SICW top wrestlers but the Mighty Midgets will be at the St.James Parish Center. Tickets for that night are on sale at the Millstadt Village Hall.

As you see SICW is keeping up to the commitment of bringing you the finest in Professional wrestling.

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Flash Flanagan Back on Top, Red River Jack is Cowboy Bob Orton and Sean Vincent Survives the Elimination Match

Posted by flairwhoooooo on January 19, 2016

Photos Brian Kelley

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SICW returned in 2016 with a bang as Flash Flanagan for the third time became the SICW Classic Champion by defeating the man who had pinned him for the title in December Travis Cook’s client Kahagas in a fierce brutal battle that in the end,  Ron Power‘s powerful right punch were the deciding factor.

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Travis Cook quickly made his presence known early and often as he continued to interfere in the match on the behalf of the Champion. Flanagan was reeling when Powers came out from the back to confront Cook walking with the crutches thanks to an injury he had suffered the month prior in the fatal three way title match. Due to Powers being in crutches, Cook arrogantly mocked the former champ, but it would not last long as the Powers wrapped his powerful hands around the neck of Cook as the crutches fell to the floor.

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Cook’s other henchman Brandon Espinosa attempted to jump Powers but was quickly dropped to the ground with a right hand. Kahagas was pounding on Flanagan when he saw that his manager was in trouble and as the ref was checking on the challenger Powers slugged the Champ allowing Flanagan to capitalize for the 1-2-3.

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Earlier in the night the Sean Vincent continued his climb up the championship title hunt after a huge win against his arch rival Curtis Wylde in a cage in December, Vincent became the sole survivor in a 6-man tag elimination match when he teamed up with Ken Kasa and Gary Jackson to defeat Wylde (accompanied by Wyldefyre), Chris Hargas and Dave Vaughn with manager Travis Cook.

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The victory would be a painful one though as Vaughn drilled Vincent when they were the final two remaining with a brutal low blow costing him and his team the match thus making him the winner of the match.

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The main event was exciting but there was no doubt that shocking moments of the night would come in the Red River Jack and Bubba Troll clash. The contest started off simple enough as Red River Jack came to the ring with his manager Big Daddy and the two men locked up to see who was the best on that night.

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Bubba Troll looked to use his power early on but Red River Jack used his experience to gain the advantage. When Red River Jack went to bounce off the ropes for leverage, Big Daddy tripped his own man allowing Troll to pounce. Still Red River Jack was able to get the advantage and Big Daddy called out the hired guns of Ax Alwardt and Dave Vaughn to attack.

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Red River Jack leveled the three men with RKO’s and punches and then turned his attention to Big Daddy who had entered the ring hoping to land a cheap shot. Big Daddy’s fear got the best of him and he feel down as he was trying to get away and was trapped against the ring post when out of the blue Red River Jack unmasked himself to show to the crowd that he was the WWE Hall of Famer “Cowboy” Bob Orton. Orton justifiable payed back his manager for his betrayal and left him reeling in pain. As Orton left the building Big Daddy promised revenge in the coming months at SICW.

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SICW once again had proved that anything can happen at the East Carondelet, Illinois Community Center. Fans were also thrilled to hear that former NWA World Champion Terry Funk will be a special guest on a rare Friday night SICW event on April 15 and on the 16th when SICW joins up with Mr Ken Murphy, and the Cape Comic Con for a huge show in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

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One on One with “The Voice of Minnesota Wrestling” Ring Announcer Mick Karch

Posted by flairwhoooooo on May 13, 2015

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It is a pleasure today to be joined with “The Voice of Minnesota wrestling” Mick Karch for this edition of Missouri Wrestling Revival’s One on One. MWR fans will have a special oppurtunity to get to meet Karch in East Carondelet, Illinois on May 16th during the SICW “Bruiser Brody Memorial” event that will also include the afternoon “Meet and Greet” with several Wrestling Legends including Brody’s lovely widow Barbara Goodish, former American Wrestling Association (AWA)Champion Stan Hansen, Wrestling at the Chase announcer Larry Matysik, Wrestling superstar “Cowboy” Bob Orton, the first ever WWE (Then known as the WWF) female ring announcer Mike McGuirk starting at 3:30pm that will conclude with a memorable night of action featuring the stars of SICW.

Please note: All photos courtesy of Mick Karch.

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With Terry Taylor and Missy Hyatt, my broadcast colleagues in the American Wrestling Federation Warriors of Wrestling.

Brian: Mick, thank you so much for taking the time to be with us at MWR today.

Mick: Brian, it’s my pleasure. You do a terrific job.

Brian: Today’s wrestling fans have many opportunities to discover wrestling through the WWE on the USA Network, TNA on Destination America, Ring of Honor on Sinclair as well as various outlets on the internet including Youtube and promotions own websites. Yet, as a man that started his career in the 70’s, I have to ask what was your first exposure to the sport as a fan and who was it that created that spark for the love of pro wrestling?

Mick: I did behind the scenes print publicity for the AWA from 1973-1986. In 1987, I was hired on as their ring announcer and occasional color guy for their ESPN tapings at the Showboat in Las Vegas. It is so ironic to have eventually worked for them, because my hero as a child was Verne Gagne. I was flipping through the TV channels at the age of nine, and I saw big Tiny Mills, a 6’3″, 275 pound lumberjack, pushing around the TV announcer, Marty O’Neill. Marty was all of about 5’6″. Tiny was ranting and raving about wanting a match with Verne Gagne.

I saw my first live event May 17, 1960, in Minneapolis, and Verne was in the main event, teaming with football and wrestling star Gene “Big Daddy” Lipscomb to face Mills and Stan “Krusher” Kowalski. I was hooked on wrestling for life.

Brian: You entered the business during a time that it was hard to break in due to the laws of Kayfabe being enforced. At what point did you realize that the matches were predetermined and how were the doors open for you to be included among the circle of people that were involved in the sport?

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Mick: Like any kid from that era, I refused to listen to my parents and siblings, who told me that wrestling wasn’t on the “up-and-up.” Of course, I refused to believe it—for a while. As time went on, I began to pick out certain things that didn’t seem quite right. When I ventured down to the Dyckman Hotel in downtown Minneapolis, which housed the Minneapolis Boxing & Wrestling Club (AWA) a few years later and saw Reggie Parks and Moose Cholak standing by the elevators, laughing and joking, the light bulb went off. Parks and Cholak were in the midst of a “feud” at the time. Now it all made sense.

You are so correct that this was the “kayfabe” era, and the wrestling business was protected to the hilt. No one was automatically allowed even remotely close to the inner circle. I literally hung around the TV tapings and the arena matches for years before I was semi-trusted. That is certainly a far cry from today’s scenario, when it seems just about anyone can finagle their way into a locker room or back stage.

Brian: Before we go any further with the AWA we have to mention the great Verne Gagne. Last month on April 27th , Gagne passed away at the age of 89, but his contribution to the sport of wrestling as a Champion, promoter and trainer defined an era of wrestling that continues to this day. What were your memories of Verne Gagne and out of those three different aspects of wrestling do you feel was his biggest accomplishment?

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Former AWA World Champ Verne Gagne by the Artist of Champions Rob Schamberger

Mick: As it relates to Verne Gagne, I don’t think his impact and imprint on the business can be overstated. His influence was monumental, going back to the mid-1950’s when he was really the first national “babyface” wrestler on the old Dumont Network. Televised pro wrestling was an absolute mainstay back then, and Verne was its original big star. As the years went on, his star shone brighter and brighter. He was the epitome of a champion: good looks, tremendous conditioning, smart, articulate, and always the ultimate professional. As a promoter, he had a keen eye for talent and he ruled with an iron fist. Verne was first and foremost a WRESTLER, and you damn well better know how to wrestle if you worked for him. The AWA had its share of off the wall characters, too, but nothing like the circus “sports entertainment” that the WWF/WWE foisted on the world.

As a trainer, there were none better than Verne. Look at the roster of guys he turned out: Ric Flair, Ricky Steamboat, Sgt. Slaughter, Greg Gagne, Jim Brunzell, Scott Irwin, Bob Backlund, Khosrow Vaziri, on and on. Amazing.

Brian: The AWA was filled with several larger than life characters throughout the years that thrilled fans with exciting action in the ring and memorable interviews that drew huge crowds night after night. Men such as a Nick Bockwinkel , Mad Dog Vachon, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, Dick the Bruiser, Larry Hennig and Baron Von Raschke just to name a few. Who were your favorites to work with personally and can you share a story with the MWR fans of one of those stars?

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With Nick Bockwnkel, 1982.

Mick: My favorite wrestlers over the years tend to be the “heels.” My all time favorite, bar none, is Nick Bockwinkel. I honestly believe that he was the standard bearer for the wrestling business in the 1970’s and early 80’s. I was also a huge fan of the late Dr. Bill Miller, Dick (Dr.X/Destroyer) Beyer, Stan “Krusher” Kowalski, and Bobby Heenan. The stories about these guys could fill a book, but I’ll share one kind of bizarre and scary one.

Dr. Bill Miller wrestled in the AWA under a mask as “The Mysterious Mr. M.” He won the AWA title from Verne in January 1962. In August of that same year, Verne won the title back in Minneapolis. The end of the match saw Verne twist the mask so Miller couldn’t see, then he dropkicked and pinned him. The stipulation was if Miller lost, he would unmask, which he did right after the match. On his way back to the locker room, a crazed fan leaned over the railing of the balcony and viciously hit Miller over the head with a 2 x 6 board with a 1/8″ steel spike on the end. A nearly unconscious Miller was assisted back to the locker room.

Some 12 years later, Miller returned for a short stint in the AWA and I spoke with him at the TV tapings. We discussed the incident, which Miller said he remembered like it was yesterday. He explained that when he went back to the locker room and was regaining his senses, he could actually put his pinky finger into the top of his head a feel his brain! Miller was a veterinarian and he knew how serious it was. He showed me the scars which were still clearly visible. The perpetrator, by the way, was never caught.

“The World’s Most Scientific Wrestler” Wilbur Snyder teams with “The Man With The Cast Iron Stomach” Pepper Gomez, to go against the feared master of the heart punch Ox Baker and Dr. Big Bill Miller. This is the first of a two fall battle.

Editors note: SICW fans were fortunate enough to meet OX Baker in 2014 at the East Carondelet Community Center , before he passed away months later.

Brian: Here at Missouri Wrestling Revival, we work with many ring announcers throughout the MWR coverage area. What would be your advice to someone that is looking to become the best ring announcer that they can be?

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With AWA/WWF announcer Ken Resnick, 2015

Mick: To aspiring ring announcers, here’s a few tips. Take a deep breath and relax. The audience will pick up on it right away if you are nervous. Do your homework. Make sure you are clear on all the weights, hometowns, and match stipulations. Most importantly, don’t be too overbearing. Deliver your intro forcefully and clearly, but don’t try to be flamboyant and outshine the wrestlers. Remember, it’s about them, not you.

Brian: On December 29th, 1985 Stan Hansen defeated Rick Martel to become the AWA World Champion? Hansen was also a Mega Star in Japan with his good friend and partner Bruiser Brody who is set to be honored next week at SICW with the Bruiser Brody memorial event in East Carondelet Illinois. As a fan that Grew up in the 80’s, Hansen’s version of the clothesline, the Lariat was a feared move that every wrestling fan “knew” had broken WWWF Heavyweight Champion Bruno Sammartino’s neck in the 70’s. I don’t remember a match that involved Hansen that the commentator put over the fact that he could win the match with the lariat if he was able to land the move. Who and what were some of your favorite finishers to call during a match while you did color commentary?

Mick: My favorite finishing maneuvers to call play by play on? Wow, that’s a tough one. I would say Bruiser Brody’s boot to the face and flying knee drop, Greg Gagne’s sleeper hold, Jerry Blackwell’s big splash, and Mad Dog Vachon’s piledriver rank right up there. It’s sad how the business has changed and the finishers I’ve mentioned are just another move in the matches these days, and usually the opponents kick out at least once.

Brian: Fans of today can relive the AWA through the WWE DVD release WWE: The Spectacular Legacy of the American Wrestling Association. Was this a worthy look of the AWA, and what would you have liked to have seen showcased more or less on the DVD?

Mick: I thought the AWA DVD was pretty decent, especially when you consider it was a WWE release. Watching some of the old footage is particularly great to an old school fan like me. If there is anything I had a problem with it would be how much emphasis was placed on the erosion of the promotion. I guess that’s to be expected, but the AWA had 50 years of greatness before the wheels fell off the bus.

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At Cauliflower Alley Club with Sir Oliver Humperdink.

Brian: Recently you and I had the pleasure of spending time in Las Vegas at the 50th Anniversary of the Cauliflower Alley Club. The event was filled with memories and moments that will last a lifetime including what I felt was one of the most entertaining acceptance speech’s of All-time when one of my heroes, Harley Race presented Hennig  the “Iron” Mike Mazurki Award. The two, along with Hennigs’ wife Irene could easily take their show on the road as they delivered laughs and good times that exhibit what the CAC is all about. This is a multi-part question, how long have you been a member of the CAC, what have been your highlights of attending the reunion and why should a wrestling fan join a club that we feel so passionate about?

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Mick: I have been attending the CAC reunions since 2000. There is no way to describe the feeling you get rubbing elbows with the legends of the business. I have met so many amazing people. Since I started going there, I have seen the likes of Steve Austin, Roddy Piper, Ricky Steamboat, Antonio Inoki, Pat Patterson, the Vachons, Hard Boiled Haggerty, Tex McKenzie, Kurt Angle, Sputnik Monroe, Larry Hennig, Harley Race, Lou Thesz, Bobby Heenan, The Crusher, Jim Cornette, JJ Dillon, Nick Bockwinkel, Terry Funk, The Fabulous Moolah, Mae Young, Judy Grable, Stan Hansen, Tim Woods and Johnny Walker (“Mr. Wrestling” 1 & 2), Ox Baker, Superstar Graham, Jimmy Valiant, on and on and on. Hundreds of superstars. I would tell anyone who is truly passionate about the wrestling business, you NEED to attend at least once. You owe it to yourself. I would also say, don’t wait. Many of the people I just mentioned have passed away. You just never know.

Brian: As we prepare for an exciting weekend built around the memories of Bruiser Brody at the show of the year for SICW, what were your memories of Bruiser Brody?

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With Bruiser Brody, 1987

Mick: My memories of Bruiser Brody. God, so many. I was a fan of his long before I ever saw him wrestle in person. Watching him on various syndicated wrestling programs and reading about him in the magazines, I always looked forward to seeing him. When he first arrived in the AWA area, it was incredible. His aura, his mystique, his sheer presence. I don’t know if I have ever seen a feud to match the one he had with Jerry Blackwell. In 1986, I had the tremendous honor of doing two television interviews with him at a show in Winnipeg, Canada. Bruiser main evented against the guy I know many fans in this area are very familiar with, “Bulldog” Bob Brown. Their match was a war and spilled out into the crowd. Even though I had been announcing for a couple years at that point, Brody was my first “big time” interview, and needless to say I was initially scared to death. But he spoke with me beforehand, laid down a few guidelines, and the promos went perfectly. When he thanked me for a job well done, I felt as if I had truly arrived as an announcer in the wrestling business. I will never forget that.

Brian: Since AWA has closed doors you have stayed active in the world of pro wrestling. Please tell the fans what you have been up?

Mick: During the time frame that the AWA was shutting down, I left there and became host of a four-hour wrestling block in the Twin Cities called “Saturday Night at Ringside.” Joe Pedicino and Paul Heyman were instrumental in getting me the job. Besides carrying NWA Worldwide, World Class, Pro Wrestling This Week, and Windy City Wrestling, I incorporated localized tie-ins for independent wrestling shows, brought in both local and national wrestlers, created angles and storylines, did trivia contests, answered viewer questions, and had fans appear as a “Ringsider of the Week.” In fact, the famous lady wrestler “ODB” was a “Ringsider” on my program at the age of 8 !!

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On the set of “Saturday Night at Ringside,” with Stan Kowalski, Baron Von Raschke, Larry Hennig, Al DeRusha, Wally Karbo and Mad Dog Vachon (1990.)

I have worked for the American Wrestling Federation “Warriors of Wrestling” under the direction of Sgt. Slaughter and Tito Santana; I have done television for literally dozens of independent promotions in the United States, Canada, and Australia. For the past 17 years, I have been lead booker and TV host for Ed Hellier’s Steel Domain Wrestling, based out of Minnesota.

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Hosting Steel Domain’s “Championship Wrestling from the Twin Cities” program with promoter Ed Hellier, 2015.

In the early days, SDW had future world champions C.M. Punk, Adam Pearce, Colt Cabana, Ken Anderson, Shawn Daivari, and Austin Aries on the roster AT THE SAME TIME!!!

Brian: Mick, thank you so much for taking the time with Missouri Wrestling Revival and we look forward to seeing you at SICW’s Bruiser Brody memorial event that starts with the 3:30 Q and A. Do you have anything that you would like to mention as we end this interview and prepare for such an exciting weekend?

Mick: I would like to extend my most sincere thanks to you for the opportunity to share part of my story, and to Herb Simmons and Larry Matysik for inviting this old AWA guy to such a wonderful event!!

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