1957

JANUARY:

Lee & Bobby Fields started the year off on a fine note when they defeated the rugged team of Rube Wright & Stan Kowalski in a wild battle. It didn’t start out well for the Fields boys as Al & Mario Galento jumped them on the way to the ring. They Galentos gave Lee & Bobby quite a beating and then rolled them into the ring where Lee was pinned by Kowalski to lose the first fall. The Fields’ got their second wind between falls and jumped Stan & Rube before they could even get into the ring and slammed their heads together. Lee then fell on Kowalski and even up the score. Lee and Bobby continued to slam their opponents around after the fall, until Wright & Kowalski rolled from the ring and headed for the dressing room. The third fall saw the advantage switch back and forth several times. Bobby Fields nearly had Wright pinned several times only to be pulled off by Kowalski. Finally Kowalski was tagged in and entered the ring legally only to be kicked in the face by Lee Fields who had bounded from the ring ropes after tagging Bobby. Lee again pinned Kowalski and the third fall and match went to the Fields team. Wright and Kowalski had words among themselves after the match. Rube blamed Stan for the loss since he was the one pinned in both falls. Stan pointed out that he was the one who had won the first fall, but Rube would have none of it. A challenge was thrown out and a grudge match between the two meanies was set.

The match between them saw both men pull out all stops until they were both bloody and battered. Mario Galento, a friend of both men entered the ring and called a halt to the proceedings. He had a lengthy talk with both men and convinced them to shake hands and patch up their differences. After a long delay, the two men shook hands and Kowalski and Galento left the ring, followed shortly by Wright. Galento had already entered the dressing room and Kowalski was about to when Wright clobbered him with a ringside chair. Wright then ran back to the ring and dared Kowalski to come back down. Kowalski was prepared to do just that until three policemen grabbed him and dragged him back to the dressing room. Wright stood alone in the ring as the fans showered him with cups and verbal abuse.

Lee & Bobby Fields challenged Al & Mario Galento to a match after they had been jumped by the Galentos prior to their match with Wright & Kowalski. The Galentos took the first fall after Al used a piece of cord that he had hidden in his trunks to choke both Lee & Bobby. Finally Lee was so weakened that he was pinned by Mario. Lee made up for this at the beginning of the second fall as he raced into the ring and gave both Mario and Al severe beating and pinned Al to take the fall in less than a minute.

Al "Spider" Galento illegally yanks the hair of Bobby Fields to keep him from escaping a hammerlock.

Al “Spider” Galento illegally yanks the hair of Bobby Fields to keep him from escaping a hammerlock.

The third fall was wild from the start! Al Galento had found a metal door handle in the dressing room and brought it to the ring with him. He beat Lee bloody with it and managed to keep it hidden from referee Jimmy Barrett. Lee managed to tag Bobby in, but the youngest Fields brother suffered the same fate and he, too, was soon bleeding. Three ringside fans were so upset at this turn of events that they jumped into the ring and went after the Galentos and Barrett. Barrett wound up with his shirt torn during the melee, before the police hauled the interlopers from the ring. During all of the confusion, Lee managed to obtain a ringside chair, which he proceeded to use to crack Mario’s head with. Mario was now bleeding as bad as Lee & Bobby. Alabama State Boxing & Wrestling Commissioner C. H. (Boony) Adler came down to ringside and brought a halt to the proceedings by declaring the match a “no contest”. This failed to stop the action though, as all four men continued to flail away at each other for another full twenty minutes. Rube Wright entered the ring to try and calm things down only to have Lee Fields tear his clothes from him. It took a police escort to get all four men out of the ring and into the confines of the dressing room.

Lee Fields then challenged Al “Spider” Galento to a singles match. It, too, was a wild one. Lee won the first fall after Al had tossed him from the ring. As the Spider was parading around berating the ringside fans, Lee mounted the ropes and hit Al flush in the face with a dropkick as he turned around. Al came out of the dressing room between falls armed with a leather belt, which he used to choke Lee into unconsciousness to take the second fall. At the start of the third fall, Al had replaced the belt with a small piece of metal pipe that used to batter Lee with. After one particularly strong loaded punch, Al fell on Lee for the pin. As referee Charlie Carr was raising Spider’s hand, Bobby Fields charged the ring and demanded that Carr search Galento for the weapon. As Bobby and Carr debated, Mario Galento came to ringside and relieved his brother of the pipe. Finally Carr came around and searched Al and of course found nothing. The fans at ringside were screaming that Mario now had the weapon and for Carr to search him. Mario managed to pass the object back to Al as Carr was searching him. Again the fans were in a frenzy until Al dropped the pipe and Carr spotted it. He immediately awarded the bout to Lee Fields who was all but out on the canvas. As Bobby climbed back into the ring to assist his brother when the Galento boys jumped them both and proceeded to dish out a lot of punishment. This brought several fans into the ring for the second week in a row and another melee ensued. When order was restored referee Charlie Carr had suffered a severe laceration on his head.

The Galentos had better luck against other teams as they had defeated the teams of Jack Welch & Chris Belkas and Guy LaRose & newcomer Tom Drake in previous bouts. Mario also teamed with George “Baby Blimp” Harris to down the team of Bobby Fields & Guy LaRose.

Drake made quite an impression on the fans right away. A former All-American College football star, he had played in the 1954 Senior Bowl in Mobile. He had many offers to play pro football but instead became a professional wrestler. He had just begun his career when he was called into service for the U.S. Army. After a two-year hitch in the Army, he was just returning to the ring.

Southern Jr. Heavyweight champion Herb Welch returned to the area at the beginning of the year. He was scheduled to put his title on the line against longtime enemy Rowdy Red Roberts, but Roberts pulled out of the match at the last minute. He was replaced by a blonde dandy known only as The Canadian Nature Boy. The two had clashed on TV and Welch was seeking a measure of revenge. Herb totally outclassed Nature Boy and pinned him in two straight falls to hold onto the title. Even the efforts of Nature Boy’s midget valet Francis failed to give him the edge over the popular Welch.

Eduardo Perez returned to the area and made an immediate splash by winning a five-man battle royal. Besides Perez, the combatants were Guy LaRose, Mario Galento, Rube Wright and Stan Kowalski. LaRose was the only clean wrestler in the event and he suffered a battering by the four villains and was tossed out of the ring. He proceeded to take a ringside chair and became a spectator for the time being. His absence went unnoticed by the referee, as the other action in the ring was so intense. Kowalski managed to pin Wright and Perez eliminated Galento. As Kowalski and Perez squared off, LaRose jumped back into the ring and pinned a surprised Stan Kowalski. But Perez proved to be too much for the popular Canadian and eliminated him for the win.

 

FEBRUARY:

Boris Malenko, younger brother of the Great Malenko, made his first appearance in the area in February as he teamed with Rube Wright only to lose to Lee & Bobby Fields in a tag team match.

Another newcomer made his way into the area in February. His name was Ronnie McKay. He drew the always rough Mario Galento as his first opponent. McKay won the first fall by pinning Galento after applying a flying head-scissors. Galento even up the score by taking the second fall after a series of body slams. McKay had the edge in the third and final fall and was near a sure victory when Al “Spider” Galento interfered on his brother’s behalf. This resulted in Mario’s disqualification and a victory for McKay in his debut. McKay also teamed with Lee Fields & Tom Drake to defeat Mario Galento, Rube Wright & Eduardo Perez in a six-man tag team match.

Perez fared better in singles action as he defeated the rugged King Karl Kowalski in a one-fall match. He also defeated Jack Dunnavant in a thrilling match. Perez won the first fall in that one by ramming Dunnavant’s head into the turnbuckle and dropping a knee across his throat. Dunnavant roared back in the second fall with a series of flying tackles to pin Perez to even the score. Perez proved too rough in the third and final fall and again pinned Dunnavant after a knee drop to the throat.

Rowdy Red Roberts finally returned to the area and faced off against newcomer Ben Bentley. Roberts gave poor Bentley such a swift and brutal beating that he had him bleeding and defeated in a matter of minutes. Roberts wasn’t satisfied, though, and issued a challenge to anyone who wanted to come out to the ring and get the same. Charlie Carr, Bobby Fields and Ronnie McKay all answered the call, but Roberts stated that none of them were enough to give him a contest and called Lee Fields out. Lee and Roberts battered each other silly for fifteen minute before the match was declared a draw. Lee wasn’t satisfied though and continued to try and get at the Rowdy one, despite the efforts of his brother Bobby and Ronnie McKay to hold him back. Roberts wasn’t ready to quit either and he knocked Bobby and McKay from the ring only to have Lee tear into him again. Finally the police managed to drag Roberts from the ring and back to the dressing room, with Roberts yelling his defiance all the way.

Rowdy Red Roberts tosses Lee Fields

Rowdy Red Roberts tosses Lee Fields

Lee challenged Roberts to a rematch but Red refused to meet him in a singles match. Instead a six-man tag team match was scheduled with Roberts teaming with Eduardo Perez & the huge Garza Lozano to face Lee, Tom Drake & newcomer Billy Parks. In the first fall, Lee took the lead for his team and was cleaning house to the delight of his many fans. He battered Roberts and Perez into the mat and turned to face the 300-pound Lozano. Lozano dared Fields to try and body slam him, which Fields successfully did. Lee attempted to try in a second time and had the huge Mexican in the air when Roberts tripped him allowing Lozano to fall on him to take the pin and the fall. The Fields team roared back to take the second fall as Drake pinned Perez after hitting him with a series of football tackles. The third fall saw Drake and Parks hold Lozano in the middle of the ring as Fields mounted the ropes. He leaped and hit Garza in the face with his feet and fell on him as referee Skip Wetjen tolled the final count.

Lady wrestlers made an appearance in the area as Millie Stafford met Verne Bottoms. Bottoms won the first fall as she managed to get Stafford off balance as she attempted a body slam. Millie was giving Verne a real going over in the second fall when referee Charlie Carr stepped in to warn her about her rough tactics. Stafford was so enraged by this that she pitched Carr from the ring and was disqualified.

It was announced that Tor Yamato had defeated Herb Welch on February 25th in Birmingham to win the Southern Jr. Heavyweight title.

 

MARCH:

Lee Fields continued his winning ways as he brought the winning streak of Eduardo Perez to an end. Lee won the first fall of their match by slamming Perez from pillar to post and then pinning him after a series of body blocks and a boot to the head. Perez returned the favor in the second fall as he punched and battered Fields all around the ring. He finally slammed Lee’s head into the turnbuckles and pinned him after a knee drop to the throat. The third fall saw Perez again slamming Lee’s head into the turnbuckle, but on a second attempt Fields held onto the ropes and flipped both himself and Perez out of the ring and into the laps of the ringside customers. As referee Jimmy Barrett tolled the count, Lee began to climb back into the ring, only to have Perez pull him back out by the leg. Lee countered this by slamming Perez onto the hard arena floor. This allowed Fields to climb back into the ring and Perez was counted out. Perez also suffered a chipped bone in his elbow as a result of the slam on the floor.

The following week, Lee Fields faced off once again with Rowdy Red Roberts. Fields was anxious to prove he could beat the rowdy one since their last match ended in a no contest. Red was just as anxious and he battered Fields around in the first fall. He tossed Lee from the ring and slammed him into the ring post headfirst. He then dragged the woozy Fields into the ring and whipped him into the turnbuckles and pinned him. Roberts continued to dominate Fields in the second fall by constantly choking him. Lee finally fought back and tossed Roberts from the ring. Every time Roberts attempted to get back in, Lee would knock him back out. After several minutes of this, Fields allowed a groggy Roberts to enter the ring, only to body slam him three times and pin him to take the second fall. The third fall was a complete slugfest between the two until Roberts knocked Fields from the ring. Roberts followed Lee out and was met by a chair across the noggin. Despite the crowning, Roberts made his way back into the ring but was no longer able to put up much of a fight. Fields slammed him to the mat with a powerful body slam and pinned him to take the fall and the match.

Perez returned after a couple of weeks’ healing and challenged Fields to another showdown. Perez won the first fall by picking Lee up and dropping him headfirst into the top turnbuckle. He then dropped a knee into Lee’s throat and pinned him for the fall. Fields quickly won the second fall by the same method when he dropped Perez headfirst into the turnbuckle and pinned him. The two battered each other for ten minutes into the third fall when suddenly Perez pitched Fields from the ring. He followed Lee out and slammed him headfirst into the steel ringpost. Perez then rolled Fields back into the ring and proceeded to just batter him at will. Fields tried valiantly to battle back only to have the evil Perez laugh at him. When Perez finally tired of the game, he simply slammed Fields to the mat and pinned him to win the match.

Popular Chief Little Eagle returned to the area after a lengthy absence. He teamed with Tom Drake to take the measure of the huge tandem of George “Baby Blimp” Harris & Garza Lozano. He then teamed with Bobby Fields to defeat Mario Galento & Rube Wright.

Mario Galento takes Chief Little Eagle down with a side headlock.

Mario Galento takes Chief Little Eagle down with a side headlock.

Promoter Buddy Fuller announced that a tournament would began on March 27th in Mobile. The winner of the tournament would be named the inaugural Gulf Coast Heavyweight Champion and be awarded a gold 1957 Cadillac automobile. All matches were best two out of three falls with a one-hour time limit.

Fuller also announced that Bud Clardy would serve as the special referee on the opening night of the tournament.

The first round went as follows:

* Rube Wright vs Bob Boyer – Boyer won the first fall after hitting Wright with a series of flying tackles and pinning him. Boyer tried the same tactic in the second fall but the wily Wright hit him with a knee to the groin (unseen by referee Clardy) and pinned him to even the score. The third fall saw the advantage switch back and forth until Wright whipped Boyer into the ropes and again sent a knee into his groin. Wright then pinned Boyer to take the fall and the match to advance in the tournament.

* Tom Drake vs Stan Kowalski – Kowalski surprised the fans by wrestling clean in his match with Drake. That was until Drake pinned him with a backslide to win the first fall. An upset Kowalski reverted back to his rough ways in the second fall. He punched Drake around until finally kicking him into submission to take the second fall. Kowalski continued his rugged ways in the third fall and whipped Drake into the ropes and attempted a judo chop to the throat as Drake rebounded. Drake was able to duck the judo chop and rebounded off the ropes a second time and hit the stunned Kowalski with a dropkick. This allowed Drake to pin big Stan to take the fall and the match. Tom Drake advanced to the next round of the tournament.

* Lee Fields v Eduardo Perez – This match was the most anticipated both by the fans and the participants. Both men had a win over the other and they had previously battled to a draw on television, so both were anxious to prove their superiority over the other. Lee had the advantage when he used a series of body slams on Perez and pinned him to take the first fall. Perez was seething in the dressing room between falls and came out for the second prepared to do his worst. The two men battled back and forth for nearly ten minutes until Perez knocked Fields from the ring. Perez then caught Lee outside the ring and slammed his head to the arena floor with a deadly piledriver, unseen by the referee who had been knocked aside during the brutal battle. As Lee lay unconscious among his adoring fans, Perez helped the referee to his feet. They referee counted Fields out and then climbed out of the ring to check on his condition. As Lee slowly regained consciousness, he started punching everything in sight, including the referee and the other wrestlers who had come to his aid. Perez stood mid-ring laughing as this strange turn of events unfolded. Finally the police were able to snap a pair of handcuffs on Fields and he passed out again from a combination of exhaustion and the ill effects of the illegal piledriver. He was placed, still in handcuffs, onto a stretcher and was carried off to the local hospital were he remained overnight for observation. Perez stood in the ring watching gleefully, but his celebration didn’t last too long. Members of the State Athletic Commission ruled the match a no contest with neither man the winner. Perez protested vehemently but to no avail.

Also appearing in the area in March was Billy Parks.

 

APRIL:

The Gulf Coast Championship tournament continued with the following matches:

* Chief Little Eagle vs Eduardo Perez – Perez was allowed to stay in the tournament despite being involved in a non-contest match against Lee Fields. It was also ruled that should Fields recover from his head injury suffered at the hands of Perez before the tournament’s end, he also would be allowed to participate. Little Eagle was determined to end Perez’s streak right away and at first it appeared that he might. He won the first fall of the match by making Perez submit to his Bow and Arrow hold. Perez came back to take the second by dropping Little Eagle headfirst into the turnbuckle and pinning him. The third fall was nip and tuck for awhile until Perez weakened Little Eagle with a series of body slams. This allowed him to pin Little Eagle to take the third and deciding fall and further advance.

* George “Baby Blimp” Harris vs The Red Devil – Harris used his considerable weight to push the hooded grappler around and pinned him after a powerful body slam to take the first fall. Surprisingly, the Devil managed to slam Harris’ bulk, which stunned the Baby Blimp long enough for the Red Devil to pin him to take the second fall. Harris was just too much for the masked man in the third, and the Devil, fearful of suffering a loss started to rough it up. He was so rough that he wound up punching referee Jimmy Barrett, which resulted in his losing the fall and the match by disqualification. George Harris advanced in the tournament.

The following week the tournament continued with the following matches:

* Tom Drake v Tony Ricco – Drake, making his second round appearance faced newcomer Tony Ricco and was in for a surprise. Ricco jumped Drake before the bell and continued to batter him until he was able to pin Drake in under 5 minutes. Drake was furious and the two continued to fight during the rest period. As soon as the bell rang to start the second fall, Drake hit Ricco with several dropkicks and pinned him to even the score. The third fall lasted another 10 minutes of slam-bang action until Drake hit Ricco with a crushing knee-lift and then body slammed him to the mat. Drake then fell on Ricco and pinned him to take the match.

* Bobby Fields vs Walter Sirois – Sirois was making his return to the Gulf Coast area after a lengthy absence and was facing the youngest of the Fields clan. Bobby proved to be too fast for Sirois in the first fall and pinned him after a tremendous dropkick. Sirois came back and grounded the popular Fields with some roughhouse tactics and pinned him to take the second fall. Fields went back to what worked in the first fall and again hit Sirois with dropkicks and pinned him to take the third fall and the match.

* Mario Galento vs Ronnie McKay – The evil Galento made his initial appearance in the tournament, as did the colorful Scotsman, McKay. Galento was considered a favorite to win it all considering his considerable success in the territory over the years. Galento started out with some pretty rough tactics and had McKay reeling in the first fall. But McKay surprised everyone by giving Mario back just as much. So surprised was Galento by this turn of events that he fell victim to a pin and McKay took the first fall. Galento was determined to be the rougher of the two in the second fall and gave McKay quite a beating before whipping him into the turnbuckles. McKay collapsed to the mat and Galento fell on him for the pin and the second fall. The third fall was another rough encounter, but Mario slowly gained the upper hand. He hit McKay with a haymaker and then dove on him for the pin. The referee counted McKay out, despite the fact that he had both feet under the ring ropes. The fans howled in protest, but the decision stood. Mario Galento was the winner and advanced in the tournament.

* Eduardo Perez vs Jack Welch – Perez faced his toughest match yet in the tournament when he faced Jack Welch, second eldest of the four Welch Brothers. But Perez continued to be invincible, even against such stiff competition. He won the first fall with his Argentinean Backbreaker. After Welch submitted, Perez carried him over to the corner and dropped him headfirst into the top turnbuckle. This left Welch groggy during the rest period and really in no condition to handle Perez’ onslaught during the second fall. After roughing Welch up considerably, he landed his dreaded knee-drop to the throat and pinned him. Eduardo Perez continued on in the tournament.

Lee Fields returned after a three-week absence fully recuperated from his injury. The first man he wanted was the man who had inflicted that injury, Eduardo Perez. Fields wanted it to be counted as part of the Gulf Coast Championship tournament, but Perez refused to meet him under those circumstances. Lee wanted revenge so bad that he agreed to Perez’ terms and the match was set.

Fields entered the ring with his right hand heavily taped, due to an injury caused by the handcuffs that had been placed on him during his last match with Perez. Perez protested loudly, but referee Skip Wetjen allowed it to stay. Fields used it to his advantage and soon Perez was sporting a large bruise over his right eye. Fields battered the South American from pillar to post as the fans roared their approval. Finally after a series of body slams, Fields pinned Perez to take the first fall. The second fall was just as rough with both men throwing the rules out the window and pounding away at one another. Finally, Perez hit Fields with a couple of flying tackles, but tried it once too often. As he charged at Fields one final time, Lee sidestepped him and tossed him over the top rope. Fields was disqualified for this action and Perez was declared the winner of the second fall. During the rest period, Perez didn’t move. He just lay on the floor seemingly unconscious. As the bell rang, he began to stir and began crawling back to the dressing room. Fields decided not to let him off so easy and began following him, kicking him in the back the entire way. Perez made it to the safety of the dressing room, but Fields was still right behind him. Lee followed him in and another wild fistfight ensued. Mario Galento and Tom Drake attempted to break it up, but wound up fighting themselves. Referee Wetjen had had enough and disqualified Fields for instigating the whole thing and declared Perez the winner of the match, although Eduardo was in no shape to celebrate the victory.

Two more tournament matches took place as follows:

* Mario Galento v Tom Drake – Galento was making his second appearance in the tournament and Drake his third. The match was a corker with Drake taking the first fall after hitting Galento with a devastating dropkick. Galento came right back and slammed Drake’s head into the turnbuckles several times and pinning him after he collapsed from the punishment. The third fall seesawed back and forth with neither man able to gain an advantage, despite both men pulling out all stops to defeat his opponent. The bell rang at the sixty-minute mark, signaling the expiration of time, but both men continued to batter each other before they could be separated. It was determined that despite the draw, both men would be allowed to advance in the tournament. These same two would get into another confrontation later the same evening when they tried to separate Lee Fields and Eduardo Perez during their dressing room brawl.

Tom Drake slams Mario Galento

Tom Drake slams Mario Galento

* Herb Welch vs Rube Wright – Former Southern Jr. Heavyweight champion Welch was making his first appearance in the tournament and Wright was making his second start. Wright was sporting a heavy cloth bandage on his right arm, which he used to great advantage by rubbing it across Herb’s nose and eyes. Rube got a little carried away with this action and was disqualified by referee Skip Wetjen to lose the first fall. Wright had Welch in trouble in the second fall with a series of body blocks. Finally Welch sidestepped him enough top catch Wright with a back body drop and fell on him for the pin. Herb Welch won the match and advanced in the tournament.

The following week saw five more tournament matches take place:

* Lee Fields vs Charlie Carr – Both Fields and Carr were making their first tournament appearances. In fact, Lee was scheduled for a second match that same evening should he get past the rugged veteran Carr. Carr didn’t make it easy on Lee as he roughed him up enough to score the first fall. Fields was determined, though and fought back and beat Carr in the next two falls to stay alive in the tournament.

* Lee Fields vs Chico Ortiz – Ortiz was making his return to the Gulf Coast after a two-year absence and was determined to eliminate his old foe, Fields. He taunted Fields before the beginning of the match, going so far as to take Lee’s beautiful ring jacket from his corner and tossing it to the crowd. Lee retaliated by taking Ortiz’ jacket from his corner and tearing it to shreds! This infuriated Ortiz and he charged Fields like a mad bull. He battered Lee into a corner and using a piece of his own torn jacket, began to choke him. Finally Lee was so weakened that he was unable to keep Ortiz from pinning him and taking the first fall. Lee was not about to be outdone, though, and came back to beat Ortiz in the next two falls to win the match and to advance in the tournament.

* Freddie Blassie vs Bobby Fields – Blassie, the former Southern Heavyweight champion, made his first appearance in the tournament facing the youngest of the Fields boy who was making his second go. The veteran Blassie gave young Bobby a going over in the first fall and took the fall by slamming Bobby into the turnbuckle and pinning him. Fields was impressive in the second fall, using his fists and dropkicks to take Blassie down in less than a minute. Blassie came back in the third and just totally out-roughed Fields to take the fall and the match.

* Tom Drake vs George “Baby Blimp” Harris – Drake was in his fourth start of the tournament while the Blimp was making only his second appearance. In the first fall, Drake used his great speed to stay ahead of the bulky Harris, hitting him with a dropkick to pin him for the fall. Harris was determined to slow down the speedy Drake in the second fall. A little too determined it seemed. He was disqualified for choking Drake on the mat. After Drake was declared the winner of the fall and the match, Harris loudly protested claiming that Drake had held his hands there to make it appear that he was choking. His pleas fell on deaf ears and the decision stood. Tom Drake advanced in the tournament.

* Eduardo Perez vs Herb Welch – Perez had eliminated Herb’s older brother Jack in his last tournament appearance and he was determined to get rid of Herb as well. Herb was just as determined to avenge his brother’s loss by being the man to finally knock Perez out of the tournament. Welch started out well as he surprised Perez with a backslide to pin him for the first fall. Perez came back and pinned Welch in the second following a vicious knee drop to the throat. Things really got wild in the third fall. Both men were battering each other about when Herb tossed Perez through the ropes and onto the ground. Welch then followed Perez to the floor and the two continued to trade punches as the referee began to count them both out. Perez managed to catch Welch and body-slam him to the floor and slid into the ring at the count of 18. Welch was counted out and Perez won the fall and the match. He advanced once again in the tournament.

Others making appearances this month were Al “Spider” Galento and lady wrestlers Penny Banner and Bonnie Watson.

 

MAY:

The Gulf Coast Championship Tournament continued with the following matches:

* Lee Fields vs Charlie Laye – Fields faced another rugged veteran in his third tournament appearance. In Laye, making his initial start, Fields would have a true test. Laye had Fields in trouble in the first fall after hitting him with a series of charging body blocks. Lee managed to avoid one such charge and ducked behind Laye and forced him into the ropes. As Laye bounced back, Fields rolled him up and pinned him to win the first fall. Laye tried more of the same tactics in the second and this time as he charged for a body block, Fields stunned him with a dropkick and pinned him to take the fall and the match. This win moved Lee Fields into the semi-final round.

* Tom Drake vs Lester Welch – The youngest of the Welch clan made his initial appearance in the tournament and was hoping to fare better than his two older brothers had. In Drake he was facing someone with five tournament bouts to his credit and someone who equaled him in scientific skills. In a good, clean match which had the fans on their feet, each man had won a fall when Drake attempted a flying tackle only to have Welch sidestep him. Drake flew through the ropes and injured himself when he hit the floor. He was unable to continue and Welch was declared the winner by default. After the match, Welch helped Drake back to the dressing room to the approval of the crowd. Lester Welch moved to the semi-final round with this win.

* Freddie Blassie vs Angelo Martinelli – Newcomer Angelo Martinelli made his initial start in the tournament by facing the hated Freddie Blassie. Blassie, fresh off his first round win over Bobby Fields was determined to make short work of the newcomer and he did, winning in two straight falls. Martinelli put up a game defense but fell to Blassie’s low blows. Freddie Blassie was now in the semi-final round.

* Eduardo Perez vs Mario Galento – In a match that was just the opposite of the Drake/Welch match, this one saw the two most hated ruffians in the area squaring off against one another. The first fall went to Perez who simply manhandled Galento into defeat. The second fall went to Galento in much the same manner. No wrestling holds between them, just flat out brawling. The third fall continued in much the same manner until the referee stepped between them to try and restore order. Both men then took turns knocking the referee down. Then Freddie Blassie came into the ring and grabbed Galento from behind and held him in place as Perez flailed away at him. Finally the referee regained his feet and disqualified both men.

Galento and Perez were both eager to face off again and a rematch was set up. As a stipulation, promoter Buddy Fuller stated that whichever man won this match, he would be allowed to move to the semi-final round of the Gulf Coast title tournament. Furthermore the match would be a best two out of three-fall match with no time limit. There must be a winner. Galento was determined to be that winner and looked like he might just be as he battered Perez mercilessly in the first fall. A strange thing occurred as well as the fans were cheering the widely hated Galento as he beat the more despised Perez. Galento rammed Perez’ head into the turnbuckle several times and then pinned him to take the first fall. Perez made good use of the top turnbuckle as well as he dropped Galento headfirst into them several times and then pinned him to take the second fall. The third fall was nip and tuck with both men dishing out plenty of punishment on the other. Perez gained an edge as he tossed Galento from the ring and followed him out. He rammed Mario’s head into the steel ringpost and climbed back into the ring. Galento slowly found his way back into the ring, but was tossed out again. And once again Perez followed him to the floor and slammed his head into the ringpost, this time drawing blood. At the sight of his own blood, Mario went wild. He climbed into the ring with a chair and was determined to crown Perez with it. Referee Charlie Carr stepped between them and attempted to disarm Galento, but Mario brought the chair crashing down across Carr’s head. This brought about an immediate disqualification and Perez was declared the winner as the crowd loudly booed the decision. Eduardo Perez was in the semi-finals for the Gulf Coast Championship.

The semi-final matches were as follows:

* Freddie Blassie vs Lee Fields – Lee was determined to make the finals, but he had to get by the vicious Blassie first. Fields was aware of the horrific beating Blassie had given Angelo Martinelli in his last tournament appearance, so he decided to strike first. He hit Blassie at the opening bell and didn’t let up. He battered the blonde badman from pillar to post, finally pinning him to take the first fall. Blassie came back in the second fall and gave Lee a beating equal to the one he had received in the precious fall. Several times he slammed Lee’s head into the turnbuckle before falling on him for the pin to even up the match. Lee’s hand had been injured trying to protect his head from being slammed into the turnbuckle so during the rest period in the dressing room he heavily taped up his hand. Blassie noticed this as Lee returned to the ring for the third fall, but before he could protest to the referee Lee jumped Freddie and pounded him into submission in less than five minutes. Lee Fields would now face the winner of the next match in the tournament finale.

* Eduardo Perez vs Lester Welch – Perez had been the conqueror of both Jack and Herb Welch during the tournament and he was just as determined to knock Lester Welch out as well. Perez won the first fall with his typical attack. He picked up Welch and slammed the Oklahoma cowboy headfirst into the top turnbuckle. He then dropped his dreaded knee-drop across Lester’s throat and pinned him to take the fall. Welch came roaring back in the second fall and hit Perez with a series of flying tackles. He then mounted the ropes and leaped onto Perez, wrapping himself around Perez’ body and riding him to the mat for the pin. The match was now even at one fall apiece. Welch continued with the upper hand in the third fall and again leaped onto Perez from the ropes, but this time instead of falling to the mat, Perez fell against the ropes. Lester’s momentum carried him over the ropes and he slammed hi back into the apron of the ring. As he lay writhing on the ground, the referee counted him out and declared Perez the winner of the fall and the match.

May 22, 1957 – The final match of the tournament was set. It would be Lee Fields against Eduardo Perez. The winner would be crowned the very first Gulf Coast Heavyweight Champion and receive a gold Cadillac. 12,000 screaming fans packed into Ladd Memorial Stadium in Mobile, Alabama to witness this historic event.

Perez got off to a good start by battering Fields around both in and out of the ring. Several times he slammed Fields to the hard ground and stomped him. Fields was so weakened by these tactics that he was at the mercy of Perez. But Perez showed no mercy and dragged Lee into the ring and further beat him down with illegal tactics before pinning him to take the first fall. Just as he had done in his semi-final match with Freddie Blassie, Fields heavily taped his right hand between falls. And just as he had done with Blassie, Fields used it to his great advantage and battered Perez senseless and pinned him to take the second fall. The third fall saw both men brutally beating on the other. Perez managed to open a nasty cut over Lee’s right eye, but Lee kept fighting. He finally slammed Perez and mounted the ropes. Just as Perez got to his feet, Fields flew off the ropes at him feet first. Lee managed to hit Perez with enough force to take him off his feet, but misjudged the distance and failed to get the full force of the impact. As a result Fields slammed his own head to the mat and was dazed. Both men lay on the mat near exhaustion as the fans screamed for Lee to get to his feet first. However, Perez was the one to his feet first, followed closely by Fields. The slight advantage that Perez had was enough. He slammed Fields to the mat three times and fell on him for the pin. Three seconds later it was all over. To the dismay of 12,000 fans, Eduardo Perez was crowned the very first Gulf Coast Heavyweight Champion and would drive away in a brand new gold Cadillac!

Some old faces returned in May. Rugged Joe McCarthy arrived and was furious to find out that he was too late to get in on the tournament. Instead he teamed with Freddie Blassie to face Lester Welch & Angelo Martinelli in a tag team match. Welch & Martinelli won the first fall when Welch pinned Blassie after hitting him with a dropkick. In the second, Martinelli wound up on the floor having been tossed out by McCarthy. Then McCarthy and Blassie double-teamed Welch until referee Charlie Carr disqualified them, giving Welch & Martinelli then fall and the match.

Popular Canadian Guy LaRose also returned after an absence. He faced Tom Drake in a clean, scientific match that went to a thirty-minute draw. The fans roared their approval during this match and gave both men a standing ovation at the end of the match. LaRose also teamed with Bobby Fields to face the rough team of Joe McCarthy & Rube Wright. Wright pinned LaRose after kneeing him in the stomach as he came off the ropes to take the first fall. Bobby Fields evened up the score as he knocked Wright senseless with a dropkick and pinned him to take the second. McCarthy and Wright got carried away in the third and final fall. McCarthy tied LaRose into the ring ropes and was pounding on him mercilessly while Wright had Fields trapped in the corner and was smothering him. The referee disqualified Wright & McCarthy and gave the fall and match to Fields & LaRose. LaRose also faced off against Freddie Blassie in a singles match. Despite the fact that Blassie received a nasty cut over his eye, he was able to take the win when LaRose missed a dropkick and Blassie pinned him before he could recover.

Another returnee was the hated Great Malenko. The Russian faced Angelo Martinelli in his return.

Like McCarthy, Malenko was upset that he wasn’t able to participate in the tournament. He claimed that his invitation was purposely sent late to keep him from entering in the tournament. Malenko rabbit-punched Martinelli while the referee was looking elsewhere and then clamped him in a half Boston Crab hold to take the first fall. Martinelli evened the score when he surprised Malenko and caught him in a split-leg cradle and pinned him to take the second fall. Malenko got up and went berserk, grabbing Martinelli and choking him along the ropes. As the referee tried to break it up he was knocked down several times by the Great One. Finally the referee called for the bell and disqualified Malenko for his actions, awarding the fall and the bout to Martinelli.

Mario Galento proved that his sudden popularity due to his battles with Eduardo Perez was to be short-lived. In a match with Tom Drake he showed that he was just as rough and dirty as he had always been. Drake used a series of flying tackles on Galento and pinned him to win the first fall. Galento came back quickly and won the second fall with his feared Hangman’s hold. At the end of the second fall, Galento tossed Drake to the ground and continued to kick him during the rest period despite the warnings of the referee. Finally Galento let up just as he was about to be disqualified and climbed back into the ring. By that time it was time for the third and final fall to begin. The confidant Galento was prancing around the ring taunting the fans and didn’t notice that Drake had mounted the ropes. When he turned around Drake leaped on him and scored the pin. Galento was furious as the fans howled with delight as Drake was declared the winner of the match.

Galento demanded and received a rematch with Drake. Galento was relentless as he battered Drake in the first fall. But just as he closed in on Drake, Tom surprised him with a sudden right across the chin. Drake then spun the stunned Galento into the turnbuckles twice and pinned him to take the first fall. During the second fall, Mario tossed Drake from the ring. He then followed the popular All-American out and slammed him to the hard ground. Galento then re-entered the ring and waited for Drake to get back in. When he did he was easy prey for Galento who slammed him and pinned him to take the second fall. The action got a little carried away in the third fall and the referee was knocked to the ground. Drake tossed Galento from the ring and he landed at the feet of the ringside customers. As Mario tried to get back into the ring, Tom hit him with a flying tackle and knocked him back to the ground. Mario tried to enter the ring again and Drake flew at him again with a flying tackle. This time at the last minute Galento held up a ringside chair and Drake bounced off of it. As the groggy Drake hung draped over the ropes, Galento hit him again with the chair, knocking him backward into the ring. It was simply a matter of Galento covering him for the pin, which he did just as the referee recovered in time to toll the three count.

Lady wrestlers returned to the area. Popular Judy Glover faced off against The Lady Angel, billed as the world’s ugliest woman. Standing close to six feet tall, with her head shaved and scarred face the Lady Angel was quite a site. Reportedly the scars were due to a car crash that she had survived. In the first fall, the Lady Angel sent Miss Glover hurtling into the ropes stomach first. As Judy rebounded, the Angel tripped her and fell on her for the pin. The Lady Angel tried the same tactic in the second fall, but the wily Glover held onto the ropes this time. She then turned and kicked the surprised Lady Angel. The angry bald lady complained to referee Rocky McGuire. When she got no response from McGuire she kicked him in the seat of the pants. An angry Rocky responded by kicking the Lady Angel in the seat of her pants, This shocked her long enough for Glover to surprise her with a dropkick to the chin. This allowed Judy Glover to score the pin to take the second fall. During the third and final fall, Glover had the Lady Angel trapped in the corner and was whaling away on her. McGuire grabbed Judy from behind in an attempt to pull her off the Angel. As he pulled her away, they both tripped and crashed to the mat. Seizing upon this opportunity, the Lady Angel jumped on the stunned Judy Glover and pinned her to take the fall and the match.

Lee Fields was still smarting over losing the final of the Gulf Coast title tournament to Eduardo Perez and he challenge the Argentinean to a rematch. Perez refused but agreed to face Lee and his brother Bobby in a tag team match. As his partner Perez chose the equally vile Freddie Blassie. The Fields boys jumped Perez & Blassie at the sound of the opening bell and battered them senseless. Bobby Fields hit Blassie with a dropkick at the 90-second mark and pinned him to take the first fall. The second fall ended just as quick as Blassie hit Bobby with a low blow and pinned him after a body slam. In the brief time prior to this action, Blassie & Perez battered both Bobby & Lee all over the ring and out of it as well. In the third fall all four men wound up in the ring fighting again. Blassie wound up with a busted right eye. Lee Fields wound up being pitched out of the ring but soon returned brandishing a chair which he bounced off of Perez’ head. This caused referee Charlie Carr to call an end to the match and declare it a no contest. An Alabama State Athletic commissioner disagreed, however, and awarded the match to Lee & Bobby Fields.

The Gulf Coast promotion also started venturing into the state of Mississippi in May. The state had two main promotions running at the time, Rex Mobley was running a promotion based in Hattiesburg and ran towns in the lower part of the state. George Curtis and his Vicksburg based promotion was running towns in the central and northern part of the state. Buddy Fuller chose the small town of Wiggins, Mississippi, which is about 35 miles north of Gulfport. The initial card there saw the team of Mario Galento & Rube Wright defeat Jack Welch & Bobby Fields. On the undercard, Galento defeated Welch and Fields and Wright battled to a draw.

 

JUNE:

A return match was set up between Lee & Bobby Fields against Freddie Blassie & the new Gulf Coast champion, Eduardo Perez. This time however one member of each team would wear boxing gloves during each of the three falls. In the first fall Blassie and Lee wore the gloves. The end of the fall came when Lee swung wildly at Blassie who ducked. Lee’s punch instead landed on the chin of referee Hercules McIntire. McIntire hit the mat and Lee bent over to help him. Blassie, meanwhile, tagged in Perez who slammed the unaware Fields and pinned him in time for McIntire to recover and toll the three count. In the second fall Lee and Freddie were still the ones wearing the gloves. Blassie got to close to the ropes and Bobby grabbed him from the outside. Lee wound up and landed a haymaker on the chin of Freddie Blassie. Lee then tagged in Bobby who added a crushing knee-lift for good measure. Bobby then pinned Blassie to take the second fall. The third fall saw Bobby Fields wearing the boxing gloves while Blassie kept the gloves on for his team. Blassie had loosened the laces on his gloves, however, and as Perez distracted the referee, Blassie would slip a glove off and punch Bobby in the face or choke him. Finally Lee had had enough and jumped into the ring and stripped the gloves off of his brother. Then all four men went at each other with fists flying. Just as the Fields boys gained the advantage, Mario Galento charged into the ring. Evidently he’d found it in his heart to forgive Blassie & Perez for what they had done to him a couple of weeks earlier for he helped them tear into the Fields brothers. The sides were evened up some when Tom Drake came to the aid of the brothers. The villains had the advantage and soon tossed Drake and the Fields brothers from the ring. As if this wasn’t wild enough, two female spectators got into a row and fought in the aisles. What a wild night!
All of this led to a six-man tag team match between Blassie, Galento & Perez against Lee, Don & Bobby Fields. Tom Drake offered to help the brothers after helping them the week prior, but was tied up by a previous engagement. This led Lee & Bobby to recruit their brother Don who had been absent from the territory since the end of the previous year. The ruffians took the first fall when Blassie pinned Don Fields after choking him to near unconsciousness. Lee evened up the score by scoring the pin on Perez to take the second fall. This was after Lee tossed Galento out of the ring. Galento had previously tossed Bobby Fields out. Bobby then punched Mario on the floor and left him laying as he climbed back into the ring. All three Fields boys gave Perez and Blassie a severe beating before Lee pinned Perez. Before the bell rang to start the third and final fall, an angry Galento rushed into the corner of the Fields brothers and began punching them all, Blassie joined in but soon wished he hadn’t. Don Fields grabbed Blassie in a full nelson and held him while Lee punched him in the face. Blassie went down and Lee climbed the ropes to jump on him, but referee Skip Wetjen got in the way and was accidentally kicked in the head by Lee. With the referee down the threesome of Blassie, Galento & Perez gave the Fields boys a serious pounding. Referee Rocky McGuire raced from the dressing room and tried to calm things down. He was pretty much ignored as all six men continued to pound on each other. Finally Lee knocked Blassie to the mat with a right hook and fell on him. McGuire, sensing an opportunity to end things quickly tolled the three count and awarded the match to the Fields clan. After the match, Blassie, Galento & Perez were forced to stay in the ring for 15 minutes while dodging chairs and other objects being hurled at them. Finally the police were able to get them from the ring and to the safety of the dressing room.

The three brothers were victorious in another six-man tag team match later in the month as they defeated Rube Wright, Perez & newcomer Speedy Martinez in two straight falls.

Mario Galento spent a lot of time taunting promoter Buddy Fuller on TV and at the arenas. Knowing full well that Buddy couldn’t respond as long as he was a promoter and no longer an active wrestler, Mario felt safe that he would get away with needling the mild-mannered promoter. What Galento didn’t expect was how riled up his taunts got Fuller. Fuller petitioned the Alabama Boxing & Wrestling Commission to give him permission to enter the ring for one night only. He was issued a wrestling license for the night and turned the promotional reigns over to Colonel Herb Langston and answered Galento’s challenge. 10,000 fans piled into Ladd Memorial Stadium in Mobile to witness the match. They got their money’s worth as Galento and Fuller battered each other bloody until referee Rocky McGuire stopped the match and sent both men back to the dressing room to get patched up. When they returned to the ring a State Athletic commissioner examined both men and decided neither man could continue due to their wounds. The match was stopped. And so were Galento’s taunts towards Buddy Fuller.

Buddy Fuller applies an armbar to Mario Galento

Buddy Fuller applies an armbar to Mario Galento

The Great Malenko returned and gave a severe beating to newcomer Bob Clay.

Another newcomer made the scene in the person of Pete Zarnoff. Managoff teamed with Mario Galento only to lose by disqualification to Tom Drake & Bob Clay. Zarnoff & Galento may have lost the match but Drake & Clay received quite a beating. Zarnoff also teamed with Eduardo Perez, but these two ruffians lost to the team of Lester Welch & Lee Fields. Perez was still ducking a singles match with Fields.

In Wiggins, Mississippi Eduardo Perez & Rube Wright teamed to defeat Bobby Fields & Angelo Martinelli. The following week saw a blindfold Battle Royal where all of the contestants wore blindfolds. Those entered were Rube Wright, Bobby Fields, Bob Clay, Pete Zarnoff and Jack Welch. Bobby Fields came out as the winner.

It was announced that on June 17th Tor Yamato lost the Southern Jr. Heavyweight title to Cyclone Anaya in Birmingham.

 

JULY:

Eduardo Perez made the first defense of his new Gulf Coast Heavyweight championship against the challenge of Tom Drake, the All-American from Cullman, Alabama. Drake had earned the title shot by way of an impressive win over Mario Galento in a wild and woolly match. Things looked good for Drake as he caught the wily Perez trying to sneak up on him as the bell rang. Drake quickly hit him with a flying tackle and two dropkicks and pinned him in 15 seconds to take the first fall. Perez came back and won the next two falls with his dreaded headfirst drops to the turnbuckle and knee-drop to the throat.

Lee & Bobby Fields started making noise about challenging for the World’s Tag Team Championship held by The Fabulous Fargo Brothers, Jackie & Donnie. The Fargos were under contract to make a title defense in the area soon and the Fields Brothers felt they were the logical challengers. But promoter Buddy Fuller told them that the Fargos had sent word that they had to prove themselves worthy first. So a match was set up between Lee & Bobby against the rugged team of Eduardo Perez & Pete Zarnoff. The Fields boys wasted little time and disposed of the Perez & Zarnoff tandem in straight falls.

Another team making noise for a title shot was the rugged team of Mario Galento & Rube Wright. They faced Don Fields & Lester Welch in another elimination match to decide the number one contenders. The first fall of this match saw all four men in the ring battling each other for most of the fall. Finally, Lester Welch and Galento battled outside the ring while Fields and Wright fought on the inside. Just as Welch and Galento rolled back into the ring, Wright tossed Fields out. That left Welch at the hands of both Galento & Wright and they pounded him until he was easy prey for Wright to pin him and take the first fall. Fields & Welch came back strong in the second fall, jumping their rivals before the bell rang. Galento & Wright absorbed quite a beating before Welch forced Wright to submit to an abdominal stretch to win the second fall. During the third fall all four men were going at it again when Welch was thrown from the ring. And as they had done to Lester in the first fall, Galento & Wright double-teamed Fields until Wright was able to pin him, taking the third fall and the match. On the way back to the dressing room Wright also had to fight with a man wielding a chair at ringside. Wright took the chair away from the man, knocked him to the ground and held him there with his right foot until police could arrive and escort Wright & Galento to the dressing room.

This led to a showdown between Mario Galento & Rube Wright against Lee & Bobby Fields, with the winning team to receive a shot at The Fabulous Fargos and the World’s tag team championship.

Each team had won a fall apiece with Lee having pinned Wright to win the first fall, while Galento pinned Bobby to take the second. The third fall saw the advantage switch back and forth several times and all four men spent time in the ring battering each other. After the action spilled out onto the ground, referee Jimmy Barrett called the match a no contest and attempted to end things. But no one was ready to quit and the four just continued to pound at each other. Wright ended up with a severely bloody head while everyone else just grew tired from swinging at each other. Referee Rocky McGuire came out to help Barrett restore order and finally got the four men separated. Despite no one winning this battle, promoter Buddy Fuller awarded the title shot to Lee & Bobby Fields.

In Wiggins, Lee Fields teamed with Angelo Martinelli to take a win over the team of Rube Wright & Pete Zarnoff.

The Fabulous Fargos were on top of the world and rightfully were considered the best tag team in existence at the time. They had defeated Reggie & Stan Lisowski to earn the World’s Tag Team title in the spring of 1955. They had sold out arenas all over the country including the famed Madison Square Garden in their hometown of New York City. They had successfully defended their titles against such teams as Verne Gagne & Ricki Starr, The Corsican Brothers, Herb & Lester Welch and the Smith Brothers. Now they were to face the Fields Brothers. They arrived in Mobile along with their valet and brother Sonny Boy Fargo.

The match was played out in front of 7,000 screaming fans at Ladd Memorial Stadium in Mobile on July 24th. The first fall ended when Lee Fields had Jackie Fargo in trouble and was pounding him from pillar to post. But Lee made the mistake of following Jackie into his own corner and was knocked senseless by Donnie Fargo. Jackie then fell on Lee and pinned him to take the first fall. The Fargos tried the same trick in the next fall when they had Lee trapped in their corner once again. This time Donnie was holding Lee from the outside of the ring and Jackie reared back to deliver the knockout punch. Lee ducked at the last minute and Jackie sent his brother flying into the first row of ringside seats. With Jackie looking dumbfounded at his brother on the floor, Lee rushed over and tagged Bobby and together the two Fields boys hit Jackie with a double dropkick as he turned his attention back inside the ring. Bobby then pinned Jackie to take the second fall. Things looked good for the Fields brothers as they kept Donnie in the ring during the third fall and gave him quite a going over. Donnie was nearly out on his feet when Lee made the mistake of knocking him from the ring and out onto the ground. Jackie rushed to his brother’s aid and helped him to his feet. While referee Al Carter was busy trying to keep Lee back, Jackie switched places with Donnie and slid into the ring, feigning exhaustion. Lee grabbed him by the hair to pull him to his feet and Jackie delivered a low blow that was not seen by Carter. Then the fresh Jackie jumped to his feet and slammed Lee to the canvas and leapt on him for the pin. Three seconds later the Fargos had kept their title in tact. Bobby and the ringside fans protested that the Fargos had switched but by the time Carter turned to question them, the Fargos had switched places again and Donnie was back in the ring. The Fargos left with their belts still in their firm grasps.

Next up for the Fabulous Fargos was a match with the runner-up team in the area, Mario Galento & Rube Wright.
Another crowd of over 7,000 people filled Ladd Stadium to see two of the world’s roughest tag teams have a go at one another. The Fargos held the upper hand in the first fall, with Galento on the receiving end of most of the abuse. Wright didn’t escape totally unharmed, either. At one point Jackie worked him over on the inside of the ring while Donnie choked him from the outside using Sonny Boy’s cane. Jackie finally hit Galento with a knee-drop to the throat and pinned him to win the first fall. Wright & Galento came back prepared for the second fall. By prepared I mean Galento was armed with a sharp piece of metal that he used to blind Donnie Fargo. Wright & Galento beat Donnie something awful and Galento pinned him after smashing him twice into the turnbuckles. They match was now tied at one fall apiece. Galento began the third fall just as he had ended the second, raking the metal object across Donnie’s eyes to blind him. Then he went a step further and used it to open a gash on Donnie’s forehead. That was enough for Jackie. He reached into his tights and pulled out a pair of brass knuckles. He slipped them onto his right hand and entered the ring. Jackie punched Mario twice opening a huge gash over his right eye and knocking him from the ring. As Wright entered the ring he received the same treatment and he was soon bleeding as well. Galento climbed back into the ring only to be slammed once again by Jackie Fargo. Jackie then fell on Galento. As Donnie held Wright back, referee Bill Holland counted the pinfall. The Fargos win the fall and the match to retain their World’s Tag Team title.

A newcomer named Tony Martin arrived on the scene and quickly became one of the most hated men around. He battered popular Bob Clay into submission in his debut. As Martin tried to leave the ring after this match a fan jumped onto the ring apron in an attempt to get at him. The police managed to pull the man down just before Martin kicked him back to the floor.

Martin then faced the extremely popular Chick Garibaldi, returning to the Gulf Coast after an absence of more than two years. Garibaldi took the first fall of this encounter after slamming Martin’s head into the mat several times. Martin came back in the second fall and hit Garibaldi with a series of judo chops to the throat to score a pin. In the third fall Martin attacked fast. He picked Chick up and brought him down groin first across the top rope. He continued to kick Garibaldi around for a few more minutes before pinning him and taking the third and final fall. As Garibaldi limped back to the dressing room, Martin continued to taunt him and the ringside fans.

Martin also teamed with Gulf Coast champ Eduardo Perez to face Lee Fields & Tom Drake. Things looked bad for the heroes as Perez & Martin double-teamed Drake in the first fall. Martin sent Drake bounding into the ropes and hit him with a judo chop to the throat as he bounced off. Martin then tagged Perez who delivered a vicious knee-drop to Drake’s throat and pinned him to take the first fall. Things turned for the better in the second fall as Lee Fields had Perez spinning with a series of hip tosses. Lee then tagged in Drake who hit the groggy Perez with a dropkick and jumped on him for the pin. Lee kept Martin from interfering by hitting him with a dropkick and the match was tied at one fall per team. In the third fall Drake and Perez were going at it hot and heavy with Perez getting the worst of it. Both men tagged their partners and Lee hit Martin with a dropkick just as he entered the ring. This stunned Tony and allowed Fields to score the winning pin.

The final card of July in Wiggins, MS saw Lee Fields & newcomer Juan Llanes teamed to defeat Pete Managoff & Speedy Martinez.

Also appearing in the area in July were lady wrestlers Bonnie Watson and Millie Stafford.

 

AUGUST:

Promoter Buddy Fuller issued an order to Gulf Coast champion Eduardo Perez that he put his title on the line against either Lee Fields or Mario Galento. Fuller stated that Perez was being lax in his championship role, having only defended it once against Tom Drake since winning it in May. Perez had definitely been avoiding Fields and he chose Galento. He felt that even though Galento had been requesting a title shot, they were still allies and that Galento would go easy on him. Nothing could be further from the truth. Galento was still smarting from the fact that Perez had eliminated him from the tournament and wanted his crack at the title that he thought was rightfully his.

A crowd of 6,222 fans sat in the seats of Ladd Stadium in Mobile to watch these two roughnecks go at it. If Perez thought his “friend” was going to let him have an easy time of it, he was soon awakened to reality. Galento kicked and stomped the South American into a crumpled heap, but he was just getting started. He strangled Perez into submission and then clamped on the Hangman hold to win the first fall. Perez got his fire up during the rest period and let Galento have it in the second fall. He tore out of corner and punched and kicked Mario to the mat. Then he dropped a knee into the throat of Galento and pinned him in less than a minute. The match was now even at one fall apiece. The third fall turned into an all out brawl as the two men knocked each other all over the ring and out of the ring as well. Mario finally got the upper hand and whipped Perez into the corner turnbuckle. As Perez fell to the mat, Galento fell on him and referee Rocky McGuire tolled the three-count. Mario Galento was the new Gulf Coast champion. But before Galento could celebrate, Tony Martin jumped into the ring and kicked him. Martin then helped Perez to his feet, raised his hand and then two of them proceeded to lace into Galento. Bob Boyer and referee Hercules McIntire ran into the ring and everyone started swinging in a wild melee. Order was finally restored and Galento was presented with the belt.

Galento proved that he was unafraid to defend the title as he immediately took on challenger Tom Drake. Drake had come close to upending Eduardo Perez for the title in the only defense Perez made prior to dropping the belt to Galento. Drake took command of the match early and pinned Mario in just a few minutes after a series of flying mares to win the first fall. Galento resorted to trying to smother Drake to gain the advantage in the second fall. Galento then whipped Drake into the corner turnbuckles several times and pinned him to even up the match. In the third fall, Galento tied Drake headfirst into the ring ropes and choked him to near unconsciousness. Drake was then easy prey to another pin and Galento won the fall and the match to retain his title. After the match, Drake attacked Galento in retaliation for his rough tactics but was still too weak to give it much fight. As a result, Galento locked him in a Hangman hold and refused to let him go. Drake was out completely when he was finally released. It took a full 10 minutes to revive him enough to get back to the dressing room.

In Wiggins, MS Rube Wright & George “Baby Blimp” Harris defeated Bobby Fields & Juan Llanes.

Galento next decided to challenge Cyclone Anaya for the Southern Jr. Heavyweight crown. The two met on August 21st at Ladd Stadium before 8,000 fans. Anaya had things well under control as he forced Galento to submit to the pressure of his “crucifix” hold to win the first fall. Galento shook that off, however, and used his usual bag of rough tricks to beat Anaya from pillar to post in the second fall. Finally he caught the popular Latin in his Hangman hold and the second fall was his. The third fall went back and forth until Anaya backed Galento into the ropes. As referee Hercules McIntire was forcing the break, Galento climbed out to the ring apron, grabbed Anaya by the head and began choking him on the middle ring rope. As McIntire counted, Mario would break just short of a disqualification and then start all over again. By the time he broke for good, Anaya was an easy victim for another Hangman hold. Anaya submitted and the fall and the match went to Galento. Mario had added the Southern Jr. Heavyweight crown to his Gulf Coast title.

Anaya wasn’t just going to go away, though. He stayed in contention for a rematch by challenging former Gulf Coast champ Eduardo Perez to a match. The two Latinos were evenly matched until Perez started the rough stuff. He proved to be too rough for his own good though as referee Rocky McGuire disqualified him in the first fall for refusing to break a choke-hold on the ropes. Perez continued to batter the weakened Anaya around in the second until Cyclone surprised him and caught him in a crucifix. Perez submitted and the fall and match went to Anaya.

The Fabulous Fargos returned and brought their World Tag Team title with them. Promoter Buddy Fuller had been trying to arrange a return match between them and Lee & Bobby Fields for the title, but the Fargos were demanding 30% of the gate to agree. Fuller at first refused this, but public demand and pressure from the Fields boys caused him to finally agree to the Fargos’ demand.

The rematch was set for August 14th at Ladd Stadium. Over 10,000 fans were on hand to witness the rematch. As a special stipulation two referees, Skip Wetjen and Rocky McGuire were assigned to the match. It was believed that this would keep the Fargos from pulling the switch that enabled them to win the initial match with Lee & Bobby. The Fields brothers were ready for this match and were determined not to let the fans down. They had the Fargos reeling in the first fall until Jackie was able to pull a switch with Donnie despite the two referees. Jackie then slammed Lee and pinned him to take the first fall. In the second fall, Jackie had Lee in trouble with a series of whips into the turnbuckles. Jackie was setting up the finish as he whipped Lee into Donnie’s awaiting knee. Lee managed to avoid the knee and instead sent Donnie flying with a right to the jaw. With Donnie out of the way, both Lee & Bobby hit Jackie with flying dropkicks. As Lee pinned Jackie, Bobby dropkicked Donnie, who was just getting back into the ring, to keep him from interfering. The second fall went to the Fields brothers. In the third fall the Fargos managed to keep Lee in serious trouble. Jackie would keep the referees distracted while Donnie choked, kicked and punched Lee at will. As if that weren’t bad enough, valet Sonny Boy Fargo got into the act and whacked Lee across the head with his cane. That was too much for Lee and he tore out of the ring after Sonny Boy. He caught the valet and knocked him to the ground. He then jumped back into the ring and he and Bobby cleaned house. They not only knocked the Fargos around but also punched both McGuire and Wetjen. This resulted in a disqualification, costing the Fields’ the fall and the match. As the Fargos scrambled to get out of harm’s way, they left there glittering gold championship belts behind. Lee & Bobby grabbed them and left the ring with them to the delight of the screaming fans. The belts were later taken from them and returned to the Fargos.
Lee & Bobby then challenged all three Fargos to a six-man match. To even up the sides, Don Fields joined his brothers. Thus a family feud was brewing. The Fargos won the first fall of the match when just as Don Fields was about to slam Jackie Fargo to the mat, Sonny Boy raced in and tripped Don. He fell backward with Jackie on top of him and was counted out. Fall number one went to the Fargo family. Things didn’t look any better for the Fields clan in the second as the Fargos managed to tie Don in their corner and were giving him a real going over. Lee & Bobby tried to untie him, but were held at bay by referee Bob Boyer. Don finally worked himself loose and soon all six men were going at it. The Fields’ tore the same strip of the ring rope that had been used to tie Don in place and fashioned “neckties” for Donnie & Sonny Boy Fargo to wear. Lee choked Sonny down to the mat and pinned him to give the second fall to the Fields family. The third fall saw all six men in the ring going at it again. Lee Fields got tossed from the ring and stomped down by Jackie and Donnie. As they climbed back into the ring, Lee was right behind them….with a chair. He beaned all three Fargos and fell on Sonny Boy for the pin. The Fields family had won the fall and the match. And just for good measure, Bobby Fields crowned the Fargos with the chair one more time.

Jackie Fargo punishes Don Fields with a hammerlock during a six-man tag team match

Jackie Fargo punishes Don Fields with a hammerlock during a six-man tag team match

Lee Fields, satisfied that his brothers and he had shown their superiority over the Fargos, issued a challenge to archenemy Mario Galento for a shot at the Gulf Coast title. These two always provided rough action and the title match was no exception. The two slugged and kicked each other from the opening bell. Mario got the advantage when he twice spun Fields into the corner turnbuckles and pinned him to take the first fall. In the second, Galento had pummeled Fields to his knees and was about to unload a haymaker when Lee grabbed him by the legs. He upended Galento, rolled him over onto his stomach and applied a Boston crab. This caused Mario to submit, giving Fields the second fall. The third fall just turned into an absolute brawl that saw both men bleeding from gashes on their foreheads. Referee Bob Boyer, tired of trying to maintain the two crazed warriors, stopped the match and declared it a no contest. It took the combined efforts of Boyer and referee Rocky McGuire to get the men separated.

Also appearing in the area in August were Tony Martin, Juan Llanes, Walter Sirois, Guy LaRose, Chris Tolos and lady wrestlers Dot Dotson and Judy Glover.

 

SEPTEMBER:

A return match between Lee Fields and Mario Galento was set up. This time Galento’s Gulf Coast title was not the only thing on the line. He was forced to put up his Southern Jr. Heavyweight title as well. With so much to lose and so much to gain, both men were willing to do whatever it took to defeat his opponent. That included gnawing on each other as Galento spent much of the match chewing Lee’s fingers while Fields spent just as much time biting Galento’s ears. The two battered each other about mercilessly, at one point choking each other so wildly that it took referee Johnny Edenfield a full five minutes to pry them apart. Once when Lee was tossed from the ring his ankles got entwined in the ring ropes and he was left hanging upside down on the outside. Galento took full advantage of this situation and stood with all his weight on Lee’s chin. Later, Fields caught Galento in the same predicament and stood on his chin. And since the taller Galento had his head resting on the ground, Lee walked around him stomping his head. This led to Galento suffering a cut over his eye. When they got back into the ring, a blinded Galento mistook Edenfield for Lee and wrestled him to the mat as Lee stood by and watched in amusement. When a groggy Galento got to his feet, Fields grabbed him and slammed him to the mat. When Lee went for the pin, Edenfield was still laying on the mat, in no condition to make the count. This was as close as either man came to winning a fall and the two continued to battle it out. A one point Galento tired of Edenfield constantly warning him and tossed the referee out of the ring. With the referee out of the way again, Galento and Fields just continued to pound on one another. Just as second referee Rocky McGuire came out to take over the match, the bell sounded signaling that the one-hour time limit had expired. It took McGuire about five minutes to get the point across to the two men that the match was over, getting knocked down a few times in the process. After this match, promoter Buddy Fuller stated that he would not match the two against one another again. Galento was still the Southern Jr. Heavyweight and Gulf Coast Heavyweight titleholder.

Mario Galento gouges the eyes of Lee Fields out of view of the referee

Mario Galento gouges the eyes of Lee Fields out of view of the referee

In a strange turn of events, Galento decided to try and add the World’s Tag Team title to his growing list of belts and issued a challenge to the Fabulous Fargos. The Fargos agreed and told him to find himself a partner. And who do you think he found? Lee Fields!!! Galento approached Fields and stated that after the wild matches they had just had, he knew how tough he was. He also knew how badly Lee wanted to take the World Tag Team title from the Fargos. The offer was tempting but Lee declined. He just didn’t trust Mario Galento. So the night was quickly approaching and Galento didn’t have a partner. A the last minute rugged Joe McCarthy stepped up. He and Galento had teamed some in the past and had fared pretty well.

The Fargos had things going pretty much their way for the first fall. They kept using the tape that they had wrapped around their wrists to rub into the eyes of Galento & McCarthy, blinding them. Mario managed to send Jackie Fargo spinning into the corner turnbuckle and pinned him to take the first fall. During the rest period between falls, Galento heavily taped his wrists and in the second fall gave the Fargos a taste of their own medicine. McCarthy and Donnie Fargo were going at it in the ring, with Fargo getting the upper hand. In the meantime, Galento was preoccupied fighting with Jackie outside the ring and wasn’t there to relieve his partner. Donnie gave McCarthy a low blow and then applied a back-breaker and pinned him. The match now stood at one fall per team. The third fall started just as the last one had ended with Galento choking Jackie Fargo with a towel on the outside of the ring while Donnie Fargo pummeled McCarthy on the inside. As referee Speedy Hatfield spent time trying to break up the Jackie / Galento melee on the floor, Donnie constantly fouled McCarthy until he beat him into submission. Hatfield got back into the ring just in time to hear McCarthy call it quits. The Fargos had retained their title. Galento wasn’t through though as he continued to punch the Fargos around until they left the ring. Galento demanded another match with the champs and again they agreed. Galento approached Lee Fields again and again was turned down. So Galento went out and got Tom Drake, another man he had had many battles with.

Galento & Drake worked surprisingly well considering that just a couple of weeks earlier they had been trying to knock each other’s blocks off. The match was delayed getting started when an argument ensued over Sonny Boy Fargo’s right to be at ringside. Drake & Galento were demanding that he return to the dressing room, while his brothers were insisting that he be allowed to stay. Galento settled things when he grabbed Sonny Boy’s cane and broke it across his top-hatted head. Sonny then scrambled back to the dressing room. In the first fall, Drake kept Donnie Fargo’s head spinning with a series of dropkicks and then tagged in Mario who whipped Fargo into the turnbuckles and pinned him to win the fall. The Fargos both worked over Drake in the second fall, using their taped wrists to rub across his eyes to blind him. Finally Donnie drove a fist to Drake’s head that sent him crashing to the mat. Donnie tagged Jackie who leapt unto Drake from the ropes and pinned him to take the second fall. Then the Fargos insisted that Sonny Boy be allowed to come out of the dressing room and raise their hands in victory. But as soon as Sonny Boy got into the ring, an enraged Mario Galento jumped him and tore his clothes until he was stripped down to a pair of wrestling tights that matched the ones his brothers were wearing. Just as things were settling down, the bell rang to start the third fall. A still-groggy Drake thought Sonny was one of his brothers and grabbed him going for a quick pin. As the referee was trying to warn Drake of his mistake, Jackie Fargo hit Galento with a pair of brass knuckles and pinned him. The Fargos won the fall and the match and were still the World Tag Team champions. Galento wound up with a bloody head for his troubles.

Galento got more bad news after the match when it was announced that he had been stripped of the Southern Jr. Heavyweight title for not defended it for 30 days. Guess they didn’t consider that it had only been 27 days since he won it and that he had defended it 14 days prior against Lee Fields. In any event, the title was returned to the man Mario had beaten for the belt, Cyclone Anaya. Galento was still the Gulf Coast Heavyweight champion.

After the last match with the Fargos, Lee Fields approached Galento and finally agreed to be his partner. Unfortunately for Galento & Fields, the Fargo lost the World’s Tag Team title to the Corsican Brothers two days prior to the match. That meant that there would be no titles on the line. Galento & Fields didn’t care; they just wanted to get their hands on the Fargos. Most of the first fall saw all four men in the ring battling away. Just past the 15-minute mark, Lee hit Donnie Fargo with a flying dropkick and pinned him to win the fall. Between falls, Galento picked Jackie Fargo up, slammed him and covered him. Fields acted as referee and counted Fargo out and raised Galento’s hand. The fans went wild at this unusual sight. The Fargos got revenge on Fields in the second fall. Most of the time it was Donnie who spent the fall battering Fields from pillar to post. Donnie then applied an Atomic Drop on Lee and pinned him to even the score. The Fargos continued to work Lee over in the third fall and eventually pitched him from the ring. Then they both went to work on Galento, bloodying him. As they were knocking him around, the Fargos failed to see Fields return to the ring with a chair. He used it on both Fargos, sending them to dreamland. Galento then fell across Jackie and pinned him to win the match.

In Wiggins, the rugged team of Tony Martin & Joe McCarthy defeated Bobby Fields & Jack Welch.

Freddie Blassie made a return to the area and faced off against Bobby Fields. They engaged in an exciting battle that saw Blassie take the first fall after whipping Bobby into the turnbuckles. Fields came back strong in the second fall and pinned Blassie after a series of dropkicks. Bobby had things going in the third and deciding fall and had Blassie on the verge of being pinned when Freddie sneaked in a low blow. Bobby was easy prey for a pin after that and Blassie stole the win.

Another returning warrior was Lester Welch, the popular Oklahoma cowboy. Welch teamed with Bobby Fields to beat the team of Eduardo Perez & George “Baby Blimp” Harris in straight falls. Welch used flying tackles and dropkicks to beat Harris in the first fall, while Fields did the same to Perez in the second.

Welch also faced off against the hatred Tony Martin in a singles encounter. Martin used a judo chop to the throat to win the first fall from Welch, but the cowboy came back in the second to win with an abdominal stretch. Martin tried the judo chop again in the third fall, but Lester ducked him and belted him with a solid right to the jaw. Welch pinned Martin to take the fall and the match.

Others in the area in September were Guy LaRose and Rube Wright.

 

OCTOBER:

By virtue of their win over the Fabulous Fargos, Lee Fields & Mario Galento were given an opportunity to face the Corsican Brothers for the World’s Tag Team title. The Corsicans, Jean & Joe were a swashbuckling team that looked like pirates from the days of yore. But the fact that they had defeated the Fargos for the World title proved that they were a team to be reckoned with.

The Corsicans showed why they were the champs in the first fall, giving both Fields and Galento a rough going over. Finally Jean sent Galento into the ropes and met him with a knee in the midsection. After repeating this two more times, Jean easily pinned Galento to win the first fall for his team. Fields & Galento were more successful in the second fall. They concentrated on Joe wearing him down. Finally Galento tagged Fields and held Joe in a full nelson as Lee mounted the ropes and jumped. Galento turned Joe loose just as Fields hit him in the face with both feet. Lee then pinned Joe for the fall. Things turned ugly in the third and deciding fall. Corsica Joe had Galento trapped in the ropes and had opened a nasty cut over his eye, while Corsica Jean just battered Fields all over the ring. Just as Galento & Fields turned the tide, referee Skip Wetjen stepped in and tried to calm things down. An enraged Lee Fields tossed him from the ring and then business really picked up. Galento & Fields battered the Corsicans from stem to stern. Wetjen tried to get back into the ring and restore order, but Galento kicked him and sent him flying back to the feet of the ringsiders. That was enough for Wetjen. He had the timekeeper ring the bell and stopped the match. He got back into the ring and awarded the match to the Corsicans. But Lee & Mario demanded a rematch. Furthermore, Galento stated that if they didn’t win the World title in the next match, he would quit wrestling.

The rematch saw just as much wild action as the first one had. In the first fall Lee Fields got caught in a piledriver applied by Corsica Joe and was knocked unconscious. Joe then simply pinned him and took the fall. It took a full ten minutes and a ringside physician with smelling salts to bring Fields around. Galento noticed the effect the salts had had on his partner and sneaked some out of the physician’s bag. As soon as he got into the ring he applied it to the nose and mouth of Corsica Jean, who was rendered helpless by the strong aroma. Mario then applied a Hangman hold on Jean and won the second fall. The Corsicans took advantage of Lee’s weakened state and worked him over in the third fall. Joe whipped Fields into the corner three times but before he could do it a final time, Galento grabbed Lee and whipped him into Joe. This knocked Joe silly and Galento pinned him. Lee Fields & Mario Galento, once the worst of enemies, had won the World Tag Team title. But Fields was upset at how Galento had scored the winning fall and squared off on Mario with fists clenched. Galento explained that he was desperate for the win since he had put his career on the line and Lee eased up some. He still wasn’t happy as he took his championship belt and left for the dressing room.

The new champs didn’t have it easy as they were immediately signed to defend the titles against the Fabulous Fargos. Fields & Galento were confident since they had previously beaten the blonde boys from New York, but under the surface things didn’t seem right with the champs.

Lee Fields won the first fall for the defending champions when he hit Jackie Fargo with a series of dropkicks and pinned him. The second fall didn’t go as smooth as Galento and Jackie Fargo were engaged in a slugging match on the floor while Fields and Donnie were going at it on the inside. Donnie slammed Fields upside the head and had him very woozy. Galento had managed to choke Jackie Fargo down and had rolled into the ring. Fields managed to break away from Fargo and started swinging wildly. He decked Fargo, referee Hercules McIntyre and Galento. Galento got to his feet and tore into Fields. He punched him and then whipped him into the turnbuckle. Galento then turned, climbed out of the ring and left the premises. That left Fields alone at the mercy of the Fargos who battered him at will for the next ten minutes. Every time they had him down for a pin, they would yank him up by the hair and continue the punishment. Several fans made an attempt to get into the ring to help Lee and one fan slid a chair into the ring. But Lee was helpless and was finally pinned. It took some fifteen minutes for Fields to recover sufficiently to return for the third fall. When he came out he was alone. Galento had washed his hands of the whole thing and was no longer interested in defending the titles. Bobby Fields came out and tried to take Galento’s place but was not allowed to by the officials. They stated that it was Galento’s responsibility to defend his half of the tag team crown. So Lee had to carry own alone and was doing an admirable job of out-punching the Fargos when the bell rang signifying that the one-hour time limit had expired. Bobby climbed into the ring and together he and Lee chased the Fargos out. But it was ruled that since Galento had abandoned the titles, they would be awarded to Jackie & Donnie Fargo. The Fabulous Fargos were once again the World Tag Team Champions.

It was announced that Tor Yamato defeated Cyclone Anaya on October 1st in Nashville to regain the Southern Jr. Heavyweight title.

A mixed tag team match occurred between the teams of Freddie Blassie & Millie Stafford and Lester Welch & Penny Banner. Stafford pinned Banner to take the first fall, but Penny evened things up in the second. In the third fall referee Skip Wetjen disqualified Blassie & Stafford because Blassie was holding Welch down in a choke and Stafford was riding around on Wetjen’s back and pulling his hair.
Blassie scored a win over Tom Drake and teamed with the Corsican Brothers & Rube Wright to defeat the team of Welch, Drake, Bobby Fields and newcomer Leo Wallick in an eight-man tag team match. Blassie and Welch came to blows several times during the tag match and were then matched in a singles math.

Freddie won the first fall of that one by hitting Lester with a low blow. Welch even the score when he forced Blassie to submit to an abdominal stretch in the second. Lester had things going his way in the third as he flattened Blassie with dropkicks and a series of tackles. Just as Lester was about to hit Blassie with another tackle, the wily blonde pulled referee Skip Wetjen into Welch’s path. As Wetjen lay writhing on the mat, Welch again applied the abdominal stretch and Blassie gave up. Welch released Blassie and went over to Wetjen, informed him that Blassie had given up and asked that his hand be raised. Wetjen went over to Blassie, who was now on his feet, and asked him if he had conceded the match. Blassie crossed his heart and swore that he did not. As Welch continued to argue with Wetjen, Blassie sneaked up behind him, blasted him with a fist to the head and pinned him.

Another mixed tag team match took place in Wiggins, MS. In that match Bobby Fields teamed with Barbara Baker to defeat Pete Zarnoff & Penny Banner.

Lester Welch took notice when a new masked man arrived on the scene. The Red Shadow evidently didn’t know of Lester’s fondness for collecting masks but would soon find out. Lester beat him and unmasked him revealing Don Greene.

Also making appearances in the area in October were Tony Martin, Jack Dunnavant, Hank Lovett and Tommy Roland.

 

NOVEMBER:

Lester Welch and Freddie Blassie met again in another wild and woolly match. For this one two referees – Jimmy Barrett and Skip Wetjen – were assigned to officiate. At one point during the first fall Lester got his foot tangled in the ropes. Blassie took advantage of this and stomped down on Welch’s ankle. He continued to work the leg over until Lester was barely able to walk. This left him vulnerable to Blassie’s attack and he was soon pinned to lose the fall. Welch maintained an edge on Blassie during the second fall because between the two referees Freddie was unable to get away with any of his usual tricks. At one point he became so frustrated by the constant warnings of Wetjen that he tossed the referee into Jimmy Barrett and knocked them both from the ring. At that moment Welch caught Blassie in the abdominal stretch and forced him to submit. Lester wasn’t about to fall victim to the circumstance that had occurred in their first match so he kept the hold on Blassie until referee Barrett made his way into the ring and heard Blassie concede the fall. Still, Welch held the hold until Barrett assured him that he had heard Blassie give up and rang the bell. Blassie lay helpless on the mat during the rest period and when the bell rang to start the third and final fall, he was unable to continue. Lester Welch was awarded the fall and the match while Blassie was helped back to the dressing room.

After making inroads in Mississippi with the shows in Wiggins, Buddy Fuller bought out Rex Mobley’s promotion in Hattiesburg and expanded into the southern part of the state, using Skip Wetjen as the main promoter. The first card in Hattiesburg saw Fred Blassie defeat Tom Drake and Lester Welch take the measure of Rube Wright.

It was announced that Dick Hutton had defeated Lou Thesz on November 14th in Toronto, Ontario, Canada to win the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. Hutton would hold the title for 14 months but never appeared in the Gulf Coast.

Mario Galento put his Gulf Coast title on the line against Tom Drake in an exciting match. Drake won the first fall after hitting Galento with a flying dropkick. Galento was enraged at this turn of events and really punished Drake during the second fall. Drake fought back, however, and managed to knock Galento from the ring. Galento climbed up on the apron, grabbed Drake and pulled him through the ropes out to the apron. Galento then proceeded to apply an illegal piledriver on Drake, bouncing his head off the ring apron. Drake rolled onto the floor and was obviously done for the night. He was carted off and sent to the local hospital for overnight observation. Galento was disqualified, but kept the title.

Galento also defeated Chief Little Eagle in a special one-fall match with no time limit. Initially this match was scheduled to be Galento against Lee Fields, the man who had been Galento’s hated enemy, tag team partner, and then hated enemy again. The match was selected by a straw vote of the fans that wanted to see Fields get his hands on the man who had abandoned him to the hands of the Fabulous Fargos. But Lee was previously committed so Little Eagle took his place and fell victim to Galento.

Lee & his brother Bobby Fields were embroiled in a series of confrontations with the Corsican Brothers. It started when Bobby teamed with Tom Drake to face the Frenchmen in a tag team match. In that one, Drake flattened Corsica Joe with flying tackles followed by a flying dropkick by Fields to win the first fall in less than a minute. The Corsicans meted out their revenge on Bobby Fields in the second fall. Jean held Bobby down while Joe climbed the ropes and leapt off onto Bobby’s back. This left Bobby open for Joe to apply a back-breaker to which he submitted. In the third fall, Drake was again rocking Joe with a series of tackles when Joe sidestepped one. As Drake neared the ropes, Jean separated them and caused Drake to go flying out of the ring. Referee Skip Wetjen then counted Drake out and awarded the fall and the match to the Corsicans. Bobby Fields then explained to Wetjen that Corsica Jean had been the cause of Drake’s departure and Wetjen ordered the Corsicans to get back into the ring and continue the match. They refused so Wetjen reversed the decision and awarded the match to Fields & Drake. Bobby wasn’t satisfied with this and challenged the Corsicans to face he and big brother Lee.

The Corsicans were extra rough in the match against the Fields Brothers and seemed to be allowed to get away with murder by referee Hercules McIntyre. McIntyre looked the other way as Joe & Jean pounded Bobby into oblivion and pinned him in the first fall. Lee made up for the beating his brother took by giving the Corsicans the same treatment in the second fall. He pinned Jean to take the fall despite an extremely slow count by McIntyre. The third fall was a wild one. Twice Bobby had Jean pinned but McIntyre refused to count until Lee and Joe left the ring. Of course Joe waited until his brother had escaped Bobby’s clutches before he moved from the ring. After the second instance of this, Lee blew his cool and rapped McIntyre on the chin and tossed him from the ring. McIntyre climbed back into the ring and he and the Corsicans pummeled the Fields boys. At one point the Corsicans were holding Lee and McIntyre was really unloading on him. This brought a fan up out of his seat and up onto the ring apron brandishing a chair. The police managed to get him down before he caused any harm, but then the chairs started flying. Not until promoter Buddy Fuller raced into the ring to declare the Fields boys the winners did things calm down.

In the rematch, Corsica Joe found himself in the crossfire as Lee & Bobby took turns body-slamming him. Finally Bobby hit him with a well placed dropkick and pinned him to win the fall. In the second fall Joe had Lee down on the mat while referee Charlie Carr was distracted trying to keep Bobby out of the ring. Jean took advantage of this and climbed to the top rope to deliver an illegal knee-drop to Lee’s exposed back. When Carr turned his attention back to the action in the ring, Joe had Lee pinned to win the second fall. The Corsicans got a taste of their own medicine in the third and final fall. The Fields’ dragged Jean into their corner and when Joe entered the ring to assist him, Carr turned his back on the action and was forcing Joe from the ring. At this point Bobby held Jean down on the mat while Lee climbed to the top rope and came crashing down on Jean. Carr turned around to see Bobby pinning Jean and the match was over.

A third match was set as a best of five falls with no time limit. A special referee named Bernard Hjalmer brought in and assigned to officiate the match. Little was it known what a role he would play in the match. Things were moving at a merry clip with both teams having won two falls apiece when things got out of hand. Hjalmer was making some questionable calls that went in the favor of the Corsicans. Finally the Fields boys had enough and cornered him and began to give him a tongue lashing. As the Fields’ had Hjalmer hemmed into a corner, they had their backs to the Corsicans. Jean & Joe jumped the Fields boys and quickly left the ring with Hjalmer in tow.

The Corsicans also defeated the team of Bobby Fields & Jack Dunnavant in Hattiesburg.

The following week in Hattiesburg, Bobby Fields challenged Mario Galento for the Gulf Coast Heavyweight title. The match was a wild affair that saw both men disqualified in the third fall and the title held up by the Mississippi Boxing & Wrestling Commission. A rematch the following week saw Galento victorious to regain the title.

It was announced that Tor Yamato had lost the Southern Jr. Heavyweight title to Ray Stevens on November 11th in Birmingham.

Rowdy Red Roberts returned to the area and immediately issued a challenge to old rival Lester Welch. Welch accepted and the match was set. Roberts had Welch reeling in the first fall as he propelled him off the ropes and met him with a knee into the stomach. Roberts tried it a second time only to have Welch dive back off the ropes fist first. This drove Roberts to the mat and made him an easy prey for Welch to pin him and win the fall. Roberts worked over Lester’s arm in the second fall. He constantly stomped it and drove his knee into the injured limb. Welch finally submitted to a painful hammerlock. Roberts continued to work on the arm in the third fall. When he couldn’t get Welch to submit a second time, he tossed Lester from the ring. Referee Tommy Marlowe repeatedly warned Roberts about his tactics but was ignored. After tossing Welch out of the ring a second time, Roberts was disqualified by Marlowe. It was learned after the match that Welch had suffered a couple of cracked ribs.

Roberts didn’t fare as well when he faced newcomer Yvon Roberre from Canada. Roberre pinned Roberts in the first fall using a flying head-scissors. In the second fall, Roberts attempted to slow down his speedy opponent. He pounded him with fists until he had him dazed. Roberts then whipped Roberre into the turnbuckles. When the rowdy one went to try it a second time he got a surprise. As Roberre spun towards the turnbuckles he leaped up onto the top rope and jumped completely over a stunned Roberts. As Roberts turned to face him, Roberre hit him with several dropkicks and pinned him, taking two straight falls. Roberre was an instant hit with the fans. Roberre further cemented his place in the hearts of the fans when he handily defeated Rube Wright in straight falls the following week.

Also appearing in the Gulf Coast in November was Jack Welch.

 

DECEMBER:

As a result of the last tag team match between the Fields Brothers and the Corsicans, it was decided that if Bernard Hjalmer wanted to help the Frenchmen, he could do it from the ring. Thus a six-man tag team match was set with Hjalmer & the Corsicans facing Lee & Bobby Fields and their tag team partner Yvon Roberre.

Corsica Jean won the first fall for his team when he pinned Bobby Fields after a series of body slams. In the second fall Corsica Joe was giving Roberre a going over by tossing him into the ropes and giving him a knee to the stomach as he rebounded. Joe tried this once to often as Roberre managed to avoid one knee, slide past Joe and leap onto his back. Roberre the rolled Joe forward and pinned him to win the second fall. All six men took time pounding each other around in the third fall. Much of the time all six were in the ring at the same time. Suddenly Lee Fields grabbed Hjalmer in a flying head-scissors, flipped him to the mat and pinned him. The third and final fall and the match went to Roberre & the Fields boys.

A “Russian” Battle Royal was held, in which the participants could only eliminate the competition by tossing them over the top rope. The participants were Corsica Joe, Corsica Jean, Rowdy Red Roberts, Lester Welch and Yvon Roberre. Lester Welch was eliminated first followed by Corsica Joe. Red Roberts was sent flying and that left Corsica Jean and Roberre. Jean used his fists to try and weaken Roberre while the popular Canadian countered with a series of flying head-scissors. Finally Roberre grabbed Jean by the arm and simply flung him over the ropes. Roberre had survived the battle royal and was declared the winner.

Mario Galento put his Gulf Coast title on the line in a match with Chief Little Eagle once again. Little Eagle, fully aware of Galento’s tricks jumped the champ as he was taking off his ring jacket and slammed him several times. Little Eagle then clamped his Bow and Arrow hold on Galento. Galento submitted and Little Eagle had taken the first fall in about 10 seconds. Galento came back strong in the second fall knocking the popular Indian all over the ring and tossing him out of the ring several times. At one point, Little Eagle took a seat cushion from a ringside fan and swatted Galento with it. It didn’t help and Galento caught Little Eagle in a Hangman hold and forced him to submit to take the second fall. Things looked good for Little Eagle in the third fall as he once again applied the Bow and Arrow to Galento. Galento was close enough to the ropes, though, to kick the middle rope and force himself backward with his body weight crashing back against Little Eagle. Both men fell to the mat with Galento on top as the referee counted Little Eagle out with a pin. Galento was still the Gulf Coast champion.

Galento continued his battles with Bobby Fields over the Gulf Coast title in Mississppi. A third title match between the two saw Galento constantly fouling Bobby in the third fall. This brought Lee Fields out to the ring and he tore into Mario with a vengeance. After retaining his title due to a disqualification, Galento challenged the Fields Brothers to a tag team match with Rowdy Red Roberts as his partner. That bout wound up as a free-for-all and saw both teams counted out as they fought outside the ring.

Tom Drake was also granted another shot at Galento’s title. Drake had been injured several weeks earlier in another title match with Galento. Galento had used an illegal piledriver to put Drake’s head through the ring apron and Drake wound up in the hospital. So Drake was not only after the title, he wanted revenge as well. Drake tore into Galento at the opening bell and had him reeling with right hand punches and knee lifts. Then a well placed dropkick put Galento down for the pin. Drake had won the first fall. Drake was doing well for himself in the second fall until Galento started his rough stuff. He started stomping Drake and then picked him up and tossed him from the ring. Galento the left the ring himself, stomped Drake several times as he lay on the floor. Galento then climbed into the ring as referee Charlie Carr reached the count of 15. Drake was unable to return to the ring and was counted out. Galento was rewarded the second fall. The advantage swung back and forth during the third fall until Drake caught Galento and delivered a viscous piledriver to him. It was the same hold Galento had used to send him to the hospital. Drake then covered Galento but referee Carr refused to count. He informed Drake that the piledriver was an illegal hold and that he was disqualified for using it. Drake argued with Carr as Galento lay on the mat. Finally Drake gave up his argument and seeing that he had nothing to lose, grabbed Galento up and gave him a second piledriver. Drake then left the ring. He hadn’t won the title but he was satisfied just the same.

By virtue of his winning a five-man “Russian” Battle Royal, Yvon Roberre moved into contention for a shot a Galento’s Gulf Coast title. Lee Fields was also making noise for a title shot. Promoter Buddy Fuller decided that the best way to name a new contender was to match Fields against Roberre. The fans eagerly anticipated this match which would pit two extremely popular scientific grapplers against one another.

The match was a great one as the two swapped holds for over twenty minutes with neither gaining an advantage. Finally Fields whipped Roberre into the ropes and attempted to apply a back body drop. Roberre leap-frogged over Fields and then picked him up onto his shoulders. Roberre then spun around with an airplane spin and dumped a dazed Fields onto the mat and pinned him. In the second, Fields reversed things on Roberre. Fields had slammed Roberre to the mat with a couple of body slams and then bounced off the ropes to hit him with a body block. Roberre bent over hoping to catch Lee with a backdrop, but instead Fields applied a sunset flip and pinned Roberre. Not only was Roberre pinned for the second fall, it was the first time Roberre had been pinned since arriving in the Gulf Coast area. In the third fall Lee tried to apply another sunset flip, but before he could lock his heels under Yvon’s arms, the Canadian reversed it and slammed Fields to the mat. Lee had the wind knocked out of him and Roberre pinned him to win the fall and the match. Next up for Roberre was Mario Galento and a shot at the Gulf Coast crown.

In the title match, Roberre was wrestling rings around Galento and won the first fall by taking Galento for a ride in his airplane spin and pinning him. Galento came back in the second and forced Roberre to submit to his Hangman hold. Things got completely out of hand in the third and deciding fall as both men forgot about wrestling and simply tried to knock each other senseless. Before too long both men were bleeding profusely and the referee stepped in to stop the match. It was declared a no contest and the Gulf Coast title was held up. That was how the title picture remained at the end of the year.

A newcomer arrived on the scene in December. His name was Rocky Monroe. Monroe was extremely rugged and didn’t endear himself to the fans at all. In his first match in the area he faced the popular Tom Drake. Monroe was so rough on the former All-American football star that he was disqualified.

Monroe’s first appearance on TV had become the stuff of legends. When he strutted out to the ring with his sneering face and the blonde streak in the front of his jet-black hair, a female ringsider started taunting him. As they jawed back and forth she uttered the words that would go down in wrestling history. She said to Monroe, “Well, your just a damned Sputnik!” Sputnik, of course being what the Soviets had called their recent space flight. Thus the fan was accusing Monroe basically of being a Communist, the worst insult one could suffer in the USA in the 1950s. And therefore a legend was born. Rocky Monroe would from that day on be known as Sputnik Monroe.

Others in the area at the end of the year were newcomers Ali Bey and Ken Kenneth.