1952

MARCH:

Wrestling returned to the Gulf Coast area on a full-time basis for the first time since the onset of World War II. Promoter Joe Gunther was once a popular wrestler in the area in the 1930s and early 1940s. He was now serving as the promoter in Birmingham, Alabama and New Orleans, Louisiana. Mobile, Alabama was a usually a layover spot for the wrestlers travelling between the two cities, so Gunther decided to start running shows there in the early 1940s, soon spreading out to other towns in the Gulf Coast area. Now after a 7 year absence professional wrestling returned.

The initial card in Mobile was held on March 21st at the Shrine Auditorium. The action on this card saw Billy Venable defeat Al Perry in the opening match and Jack Steele defeat Charley Keene in the semi-final. The main event saw Pat (Bad Boy) Cronin lose to popular Canadian grappler Johnny Harmon. After each man had won a fall, Cronin used a head butt to knock Harmon from the ring, causing him to be counted out after a count of 20. Cronin, not satisfied with a count out win, left the ring himself, picked Harmon up and slammed him to the arena floor. Referee Jack Curtis reversed the decision and disqualified Cronin.

The following week saw Pat Cronin on the losing end again, this time losing by pin fall to Jack Kelly. The semi-final on that card saw Elmer Davis rally to take the final two falls from Billy Venable to win their match. The main event saw rouged Jack Steele taking on Al Getz in a two out of three fall match. Steele took the first fall after by pinning Getz after delivering a knee drop across his neck. Steele tried the same tactic in the second fall only to have Getz move. Getz then applied a single leg Boston Crab to Steele’s injured knee causing him to submit the fall. In the deciding fall Getz had Steele reeling with a series of flying tackles. Finally Steele sidestepped one of the tackles and smashed Getz across the back. This opened Getz up for another knee drop across the neck as he was pinned to give Steele the win.

 

APRIL:

A couple of new ruffians made their way to the territory in April. The Super Zebra Kid, a hulking 280 pound masked man made an immediate impression by defeating popular Jack Kelly in his debut.

The other new face, Baron George Von Harben teamed with Jack Steele to defeat the team of Al Getz and yet another newcomer, Dick Hatcher.

The Super Zebra Kid was anxious to prove himself the roughest man in the area so he challenged the equally tough Pat (Bad Boy) Cronin to a match. The Kid won the first fall with his backbreaker and was about to do the same in the second fall when Jack Steele interfered on Cronin’s behalf, pushing the Kid down allowing Cronin to pin him. However referee Elmer Davis disqualified Cronin and gave the fall to the Kid. A wild melee ensued that led to the Super Zebra Kid challenging both Cronin & Steele to face him in a match the following week.

Steele had teamed with Baron Von Harben earlier in the evening to defeat Dick Hatcher & Al Perry.

The handicap match was a wild one with the Super Zebra Kid pinning Pat Cronin to take the first fall rather easily. He found Steele a little tougher during the second fall and soon found himself trapped in Steele’s full-nelson. Cronin decided to put things on ice and entered the ring to belt the Kid as Steele held him in a tight grip. The Kid managed to duck, however, and the full force of Cronin’s blow landed on Steele’s chin, allowing the Super Zebra Kid to pin him and take the second fall and the match. Steele was so upset with his erstwhile friend that he challenged him to a match.

 

MAY:

The challenge match between Jack Steele and Pat (Bad Boy) Cronin was decided to be a best two out of three fall match with the loser of the match to leave the area. Steele took the match in two straight falls. Cronin had no choice but to leave town, because after the match he took a swing at the referee and drew a 60 day suspension.

The Super Zebra Kid continued his winning ways as he defeated Sheik Ben-Ali in a best two out of three fall match. Ben-Ali had taken the first fall by forcing the Kid to submit to a leg lock. The Kid roared back taking the next two fall with his patented backbreaker.

Another masked man entered the territory in May. Calling himself The Skull, he teamed with Jack Steele in his initial match to face the team of Dick Hatcher & Joe Corbett. Corbett used his sleeper hold on Steele to win the first fall, but Hatcher fell to the Skull & Steele’s knee drops in the second. Hatcher was injured so severely that he was unable to continue in the third fall, so Corbett decided to go it alone rather than forfeit the match. He was doing very well for himself and had Steele once again trapped in the sleeper when the Skull pulled him off. Steele and the Skull then applied their knee drops to Corbett and took the final fall.

This led Joe Corbett to challenge the Skull to a singles match. Each man had won a fall when the Skull tossed Corbett from the ring in the third and deciding fall. Each time Corbett tried to reenter the ring the Skull would knock him from the ring apron. Finally Corbett managed to doge the Skull and clamped his sleeper hold on him. He put the Skull to sleep, but did so while standing outside the ring ropes. Referee Jimmy Barrett counted Corbett out and awarded the match to the Skull who was on his back sound asleep.

The Skull fared better when he met the challenge of fellow ruffian Jack Steele. Steele had an unbeaten streak going into the match and challenged the Skull, who he had teamed with just two weeks prior. Steele took the first fall with a backbreaker, but the Skull came back with a series of knee drops before pinning Steele to take the second fall. The Skull used a series of body slams and a pin to take the third and deciding fall, ending Steele’s unbeaten streak.

Popular Nick Carter returned after an absence of several years and challenged another unbeaten man, the Super Zebra Kid, to a match. Things looked bleak for Carter as the Kid took the first fall rather handily with his backbreaker. Carter came back with a series of dropkicks and a pin to take the second. Carter pinned the Kid in the third fall after a series of body slams on the giant masked man. Upset that his streak had ended, the Kid tried to take on Carter and referee Charley Keene after the match but found himself overwhelmed and left the ring.

Lady wrestlers made their initial appearances in the area as Mars Bennett faced off with Ida May. Bennett, a former circus performer, took the first fall in 12 minutes after a series of flying mares subdued May long enough to be pinned. Ida came back taking the second fall in 8 minutes after a series of dropkicks and a pin. In the third fall, Mars pulled every rough trick she had, but found herself caught in a jackknife and pinned, giving the third fall and the match to Ida May.

Gorgeous George made his first ever appearance in the Gulf Coast area and took on the popular sleeper hold expert, Joe Corbett. Things looked good for Corbett after he won the first fall with his sleeper, but George proved to be too rough in each of the following falls. He battered Corbett to take the last two falls and the match.

Others in the area in May were Baron George Von Harben, Elmer Davis, Al Perry, Price Omar and Howard Cantowine.

 

JUNE:

The Super Zebra Kid and the Skull decided to form a team and challenged their main foes, Joe Corbett & Nick Carter to a match. The masked duo continually double teamed Carter in the first fall. Finally as referee Jimmy Barrett was tried to get the Skull out of the ring, Joe Corbett jumped on the Kid’s back and applied his sleeper hold. As the Kid slumped to the mat, referee Barrett turned around to see Carter pinning the unconscious Kid. In the second fall, Carter found himself the victim of double teaming once again as the Super Zebra Kid continually rammed his head into the outreached boot of the Skull. After suffering this maneuver several times, Carter was pinned by the Kid to give the masked men the second fall. The hooded duo attempted to do the same trick to Joe Corbett in the third fall, but Carter yanked his partner free at the last minute. This caused the Kid to ram his own head into the Skull’s boot and he was quickly pinned by Corbett to lose the fall and the match. The Kid was so upset that he threw the Skull from the ring and chased referee Jimmy Barrett out as well.

Nick Carter was so anxious to get his hands on the Skull that he challenged him to a “hair vs. mask” match. If Carter fell to the masked man, he would allow a local barber to shear his locks in the middle of the ring. However if the Skull lost, he would have to unmask and reveal his identity to the world. Although hesitant at first, the Skull agreed and the match was set. The Skull took the first fall after driving his knee into Carter’s back several times and finishing him off with a series of body slams. Carter came back in the second with his own set of body slams and a pin. Carter then used a series of dropkicks and a body press to take the final fall and the match. The Skull was forced to unmask and was revealed to be Don Martin.

A newcomer calling himself The Baby Blimp made his way to the area in June. Standing under 6 feet but weighing close to 300 pounds, he proved to be a rough customer. He was disqualified for mauling Joe Corbett in his debut. The Blimp then teamed with Prince Omar to take on Elmer Davis & Don Martin, who appeared to have a change in philosophy after losing his mask as the Skull. The Blimp dropped all of his weight down on the prone Davis and pinned him to take the first fall. Davis came back and pinned Omar in the second fall to even up the match. In the third fall, Martin tried several times to knock the Baby Blimp off his feet with body tackles, but each time the Blimp would not go down. Finally the Blimp wandered to close to Davis in the corner and was conked on the head. This left him stunned and he fell victim to one last tackle by Martin and was pinned, giving the fall and the match to Martin & Davis.

Others in the area in June were Raoul Lopez and Jack Steele.

 

JULY:

Popular Tarzan White returned after an absence of several years. White was a legend due to his football career at the University of Alabama as well as his professional career with the New York Giants. He made his home in nearby Atmore, Alabama and was a big favorite in the Gulf Coast area. He faced off with  Eddie (Pat) Malone in his return to the area. Malone was himself a veteran who had campaigned for many years as the masked Green Shadow. White took the first fall after stunning Malone with a flying head scissors. Malone came back with a shoulder slide to pin White in the second fall. The third fall saw White use a shoulder slide himself to pin Malone for the fall and the match.

Tarzan White also defeated Rube Wright, who was making his return to the area.

Rugged Jack Steele finally found an opponent he couldn’t bully when he was matched with Ginger the wrestling bear. Ginger toyed with Steele for a few minutes before pinning him simply by sitting on him. For his success, Ginger was rewarded with two bottles of orange juice.

Tiger Joe Marsh, who was a well known screen actor when not wrestling, came into the area and faced off with the Super Zebra Kid. The Kid took the first fall with a backbreaker but Marsh roared back and pinned the Kid for the second fall in just 60 seconds. Embarrassed at losing the second fall so quickly, the Kid really worked over Marsh in the third. Referee Jack Welch tried to control the huge 280 pounder but was slugged for his effort. Welch thus disqualified the Kid and awarded the match to Marsh.

The ladies returned in July as Cora Combs faced off against Ella Waldek. Combs proved to be too much for Ella as she took the match in two straight falls

Fans were treated to a rare scientific wrestling match between Nick Carter and Joe Corbett. Corbett took the first fall with his sleeper hold. Carter took the final two fall, using a body press in each to secure a clean victory.

Carter next teamed with Tarzan White as the faced off with the Super Zebra Kid & Raoul Lopez. The Kid & Lopez took the first fall after Lopez rammed White’s head into the Kid’s knee several times and pinned him. White gained the second fall for his team after flattening Lopez with a series of football tackles and a pin. In the third fall the Kid & Lopez got a little too rough with referee Bob O’Regan and were disqualified. Nick Carter and the Super Zebra Kid also got into a scuffle after the match.

Nick Carter challenged the Super Zebra Kid to a fight to the finish. In this type of match there would be no disqualifications and falls would not count. There would be a 3 minute rest period between falls and the match would continue until one man could not answer the bell. The two men battered each other severely for 5 falls but slowly the Kid gained the advantage. The Kid took the final fall scored with his backbreaker. Carter had blood streaming from his forehead as he lay on the mat unable to continue. After the victorious Kid left the ring a doctor was summoned to examine Carter. Although badly hurt, Carter managed to make it to his feet, took the ring microphone and issued another challenge to the Super Zebra Kid.

Wrestling expanded into Florida as matches began to be presented in Fort Walton at the Fort Walton Motor Speedway. The initial card there saw Tarzan White & Prince Omar defeat the Baby Blimp & Raoul Lopez in a tag match. The main event saw the Super Zebra Kid defeat Joe Corbett.

Nick Carter challenged the Super Zebra Kid to one more match, this one a hair vs. mask match with a best 2 out of 3 falls. Further there would be no referee in the ring, the referee outside only to enter the ring to count a fall. The match was another wild and bloody one and each man had scored a fall when referee Jack Garcia called a foul on Carter and awarded the match to the Kid. As White and the crowd was protesting the decision Harold Irby, associate Alabama boxing and wrestling commissioner entered the ring and reversed the decision. The Super Zebra Kid was forced to unmask and was revealed to be Ben Morgan. Irby also ordered a rematch to be held between Carter and Morgan for the following week, with two referees assigned.

Others appearing in the area in July were Tom Bradley, Elmer Davis, Charley Keene and Paddy Mack.

 

AUGUST:

The commission ordered match between bitter rivals Nick Carter and Ben Morgan, the former Super Zebra Kid, took place the first week of August. The two referees assigned, Bob O’Regan and Jim McNamara had a hard time containing the furious action which saw Carter take the first fall by body slamming and pinning his huge rival. Morgan came back to take the second fall with a backbreaker in only 49 seconds. Carter took the final fall after 11 minutes of wild action and won the match. Morgan was so upset after the match he roughed up referees O’Regan and McNamara. Carter beat Morgan again two weeks later in a rematch.

Morgan continued to wear the mask for the matches in Fort Walton, Florida until losing it there in a match with Tarzan White. After that Ben Morgan left the area.

Another large wrestler made his way to the area as huge Mexican grappler Garza Lozano made his retun. Unfortunately he lost his debut match by disqualification to Tarzan White. Lozano was disqualified for rubbing shaving cream in White’s face during the third fall. After the loss, Lozano gave quite a beating to White and referee Bob O’Regan before leaving the ring to a chorus of boos from the crowd.

White next teamed with newcomer Chris Millssovas to face off with Lozano and Raoul Lopez. White & Millssovas took the first fall after White used a series of football tackles and a pin on Lopez. In the second fall, Lozano & Lopez continually worked over Millssovas’ arm before forcing him to submit to take the fall. Between falls, it was discovered that Millssovas had sustained a dislocated shoulder and he was unable to continue. White agreed to continue the match alone, but only if Lozano & Lopez observed tag team rules. The Mexican team agreed but it was short-lived. After about 5 minutes they began double teaming White until they were disqualified.

Carter beat Lozano in a singles match at the end of the month, but needed the help of Nick Carter to do it. After each man had won a fall, Lozano had White tied in the ropes and was giving him quite a beating. Carter came to ringside, pushed Lozano and freed White from the ropes. A stunned Lozano was quickly pinned by White but vehemently protested Carter’s interference.

Others in the area in August were Charlie Laye, Tom Bradley, Paddy Mack, Tiger Joe Marsh, Prince Omar and Joe Corbett.

 

SEPTEMBER:

Garza Lozano complained about Nick Carter’s interference costing him a match against Tarzan White so a match between the two was arranged. Lozano was relentless as he battered Carter around, taking the first fall after a vicious attack. During the second fall, Lozano tossed Carter from the ring and unto the arena floor. While Lozano was arguing with the referee he failed to see Carter crawl under the ring and emerge on the other side. Carter surprised Lozano with a body slam and quick pin to even up the match. The third fall saw both men throw the rulebook out the window as they took turns punching, kicking and biting each other. Finally an exhausted Lozano collapsed on the mat and was pinned by Carter for the third and final fall.

Southern Jr. Heavyweight Champion Jimmy Siksay made his way to the Gulf Coast area in September. He defeated veteran Charley Keene in a hard fought one fall battle in his first appearance. Next up he faced off with Charlie Laye in a non-title match. Siksay took the first fall with a dropkick and pin after 26 minutes of action. Laye tossed the rules aside in the next two falls. He pinned Siksay in the second fall with a rolling leg scissors. Then during the third fall he continually rammed Siksay’s head into the turnbuckles before pinning him for the fall and match. This naturally led to a title match with Siksay defending the Southern Jr. Heavyweight title against Laye. Siksay took the first fall of the title match with a shoulder slide after 23 minutes. Laye came back with a flying headlock and shoulder slide of his own to even up the match. The two battled for 10 minutes in the third fall when Siksay pinned Laye to the mat. It appeared that Laye escaped the pin and when both men rose to their feet their heads collided and both men fell to the mat unconscious. Referee Bob O’Regan declared tha Siksay had scored the pinfall before Laye kicked out and awarded the match to him. Siksay was not satisfied and vowed to return and give Laye another title shot in the near future.

The Dusek Brothers, Wally & Danny appeared in the area in September. Wally Dusek teamed with Charley Keene to defeat the team of Charlie Laye & Chris Millssovas in a tag team affair.

Danny Dusek faced off with Nick Carter in a singles match with the winner promised a shot at the NWA World Heavyweight Championship held by Lou Thesz. Dusek took the first fall after a series of body slams and a pin. Carter came back in the second to pin Dusek with a rolling leg scissors to take the fall. Carter had the upper hand in the deciding fall when Wally Dusek came to his brother’s aid. This caused referee Bob O’Regan to disqualify Danny Dusek, giving the fall, the match and the title shot to Nick Carter.

Lady wrestlers returned when Ethel Brown met Mary Jane Mull. Mull won the first fall, but Brown came back to win the next two falls and the match.

Others in the area this month were Raoul Lopez, Cowboy Jack Purdin and Danny Novak.

 

OCTOBER:

NWA World Heavyweight Champion Lou Thesz, along with his manager Ed (Strangler) Lewis appeared confident entering the ring to face Nick Carter. The popular Carter had the fans on his side as he gave the champion all he could stand for 16 minutes. After wearing the champion down with headlocks, Carter was tossed into the ropes by Thesz and given a backdrop coming off. Carter landed on his neck and fell to an easy pin to give Thesz the first fall. Carter was unable to continue and was taken to a local hospital by ambulance. By virtue of winning the only fall in the match, Thesz was given the match and thus retained his title.

A new masked man arrived on the scene calling himself The Red Bat. He faced off with Tom Bradley in his initial appearance. He totally dominated the talented Bradley and pinned him in 2 minutes. The Bat then teamed with Wally Dusek & Rube Wright in a losing effort against the team of Charley Keene, Al Getz & Bradley.

The following week the Bat defeated Al Getz in a best two out of three fall match, then a week later participated in a mixed tag team match. The Bat teamed with Therese Theis in a losing effort against Tom Bradley & Cora Combs.

Tom Bradley was anxious to avenge an earlier loss to the Red Bat and challenged the hooded grappler to a best two out of three fall match. Bradley took the first fall, but the Bat quickly tied the match up by winning the second. The Red Bat was disqualified for rough tactics in the third fall giving the fall and the match to Bradley.

Southern Jr. Heavyweight Champion Jimmy Siksay returned and put his title on the line against the rough Raoul Lopez. Lopez earned his shot in a strange way. Siksay’s opponent was supposed to be the winner of a match between Charlie Laye and Tarzan White. With was injured in an automobile accident and Laye contracted pneumonia. Thus Lopez was named as Siksay’s opponent. Lopez won the first fall in less than a minute after a series of body slams weakened the champion enough to be pinned. Siksay evened things up in the second fall with a series of body tackles also in less than a minute. The third fall went longer and Siksay pinned Lopez to win the match and retain his title.

After running wrestling cards in Fort Walton in July and August, promoter Joe Gunther abandoned that part of the Gulf Coast. An announcement was made in the Panama City, Florida paper that Atlanta promoter Paul Jones was going to soon start presenting matches at the Beach Theater on Panama City Beach. Despite the formal announcement, Jones never presented any wrestling in Panama City or any other part of the Gulf Coast.

Others in the area in October were Danny Dusek, Charlie Laye, Danny Novak and Johnny Harmon.

 

NOVEMBER:

The first card in November saw an unusual event take place, a 7 man “Rassle Royal”. Under the rules of this match 7 men would enter the ring at the same time and as a man is pined he is eliminated. The first man eliminated would serve as the referee for the remainder of the matches on the card. After that, as each main is eliminated they would be matched against one another according to the order in which they were eliminated. The participants were Wally & Danny Dusek, Jimmy Siksay, Johnny Harmon, Tom Bradley and a pair of newcomers Lou & Tony, the Da Vinci Twins. Wally Dusek was the first man eliminated and thus wound up as the referee for the remainder of the card. The order of elimination was then as follows: Jimmy Siksay, Tom Bradley, Lou Da Vinci and Johnny Harmon, leaving Tony Da Vinci and Danny Dusek as the last two men and thus they would face off in the main event.

The matches that followed saw Jimmy Siksay and Tom Bradley display a clean, scientific match with Siksay pinning Bradley at the 18 minute mark. Lou Da Vinci battered Johnny Harmon into submission, also in 18 minutes.

Tony Da Vinci loudly protested having Wally Dusek officiate his own brother’s match, but all of his protests fell on deaf ears. As expected Wally let Danny get away with all sorts of fouls tactics. When Da Vinci tried to respond in kind he drew severe warnings from Wally. Lou Da Vinci was watching from ringside and finally decided he had seen enough. He charged into the ring and chased the Duseks out, only to have Wally Dusek disqualify Tony Da Vinci for outside interference.

Naturally this led to a match between the two sets of brothers the following week. The Da Vinci Twins took the first fall in 14 minutes of wild action with the Duseks coming back to even the score after 11 minutes in the second fall. That’s as far as the match got. Several fist fights broke out amongst the spectators and several chairs were tossed into the ring. Wisely the match was called a no contest and the ring was cleared.

Al Getz had recently defeated Jimmy Siksay for the Southern Jr. Heavyweight crown and a rematch was set. Unfortunately for Siksay he only managed a draw against Getz and therefore failed to regain the title. A second return match was arranged and this time Getz took two straight falls and retained the title.

Getz also faced off with Danny Dusek in a non-title match that turned out to be a wild and wooly affair. The first fall saw Dusek win with a knee drop and pin. Getz even the score by pinning Dusek with a shoulder slide to win the second fall. In an unexpected turn of events, Dusek pinned Getz in the third and deciding fall to win the match.

The lady wrestlers returned to the area as Betty Hawkins faced off with Terry Majors. Majors took the last two falls in their match to emerge victorious.

Others in the area in November were Charley Keene and Danny Novak.

 

DECEMBER:

By virtue of a non-title win over Southern Jr. Heavyweight Champion Al Getz, Danny Dusek was awarded a title match. Dusek won the first fall after a series of knee drops allowed him to pin Getz. Getz came back and forced Dusek to submit to an arm bar to take the second fall. Dusek upended Getz with a shoulder slide to pin him, winning the fall and the match. Danny Dusek was the new Southern Jr. Heavyweight Champion.

Midget wrestlers made their way to the territory in December. The fist match between the mighty mites saw Tiny Roe take the measure of The Mighty Schultz. The following week saw Pee Wee James defeat Pancho the Bull.

 

Others in the area at the end of the year were Tom Bradley, Johnny Harmon, Charley Keene, Jimmy Siksay, Elmer Davis, Al Warshawski and the Da Vinci Twins.

 

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