1959

JANUARY:

Lee Fields ended 1958 by defeating Billy Wicks to win the Gulf Coast title on Christmas night. Lee won the bout in two straight falls, but Wicks had been at a decidedly disadvantage as he had been jumped on the way to the ring by Rocky (Sputnik) Monroe and severely injured. As a result, Lee agreed to give Wicks a rematch after the holiday break had given Wicks sufficient time to heal. Lee should have thought twice about it because Wicks came back to beat Lee on New Year’s night to regain the Gulf Coast crown.

The man who had cost him the title in the first place, Monroe, quickly challenged Wicks. Monroe claimed that he was the top contender since he was coming off a victory over the famed Chick Garibaldi. Wicks agreed to the match since he wanted to get his hands on Monroe, but refused to put the title on the line. Wicks tore after Monroe from the opening bell and battered the Sputnik for a full ten minutes. Monroe’s eye was blackening and swelling but he gamely fought back and soon was giving as much as he was taking. Wicks and Monroe turned the bout into a full-fledged brawl as they pulled each other’s hair, choked kicked and punched each other. Finally referee Tommy Roland called for the bout to be thrown out but neither man was willing to stop. They continued to batter each other for another twenty minutes until they were finally separated. Both men were a bloody mess as they were led to the dressing room. This match was the beginning of a blood feud, which would move from Mobile to Memphis as these two fought each other for years afterwards.

A rematch was quickly set up and as was the case before, the Gulf Coast title would not be on the line. In the first fall, Monroe took advantage of and elastic elbow brace he was wearing by using it to smother Wicks into submission. After the fall Monroe continued to deliver knee drops to the helpless Wicks despite the efforts of referee Rocky McGuire to stop him. Wicks gained a measure of revenge in the second fall when he battered Monroe about before using his step-over toehold/bridge combination to pin him and take the fall. The third and deciding fall saw Monroe back Wicks into a corner and give him a going over with his fists and his braced elbow. Rocky McGuire was trying to pull Rocky Monroe off of Wicks and finally resorted to pulling him by the hair as Monroe clung to the ropes. Wicks took advantage of this opening and delivered a haymaker to the chin of Monroe. Monroe fell like a ton of bricks and was pinned by Wicks. The fall and the match went to the Gulf Coast champion.

Wicks also faced stiff competition from former Southern Heavyweight Champion Count Brawner in a title defense in Pensacola. Brawner used every trick in his arsenal, but Wicks emerged victorious with his crown intact.

It was announced that Pat O’Connor had defeated Dick Hutton on January 9th in St. Louis, Missouri to win the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.

Lee Fields had another instance of bad luck as he teamed with Buddy Fuller to face a new tag team entering the area. Billed as holders of the British Empire and Canadian Tag Team titles, came The Sharpe Brothers, Mike & Ed.

The bout between the Sharpes and Fuller & Fields had the fans on their feet. In the first fall the 6’6″, 265 pound Big Mike Sharpe handled both Fuller and Fields single-handedly before pinning Lee Fields to take the fall. In the second, Buddy Fuller had taken the advantage when he hit Ed Sharpe with a series of flying dropkicks.

Ed managed to make it to his corner and tagged Big Mike. As Mike entered the ring he was hit three times with Fuller’s dropkicks. But Buddy’s flying tactics had no effect on Big Mike and he remained standing throughout the aerial assault. So in order to even up the odds, Fuller knelt down and Fields climbed onto his back and launched himself at Sharpe with a dropkick. This time Big Mike went down like a fallen tree and Buddy Fuller pinned him to take the second fall. The third fall saw Big Mike once again use his size to his advantage as he battered Buddy and Lee around the ring. Then Buddy Fuller astounded Big Mike, the fans and perhaps even himself as he picked the big man up and delivered a resounding full bodyslam. Even more amazing was when Buddy repeated this action several more times. Unaccustomed to being manhandled like this, Big Mike was out on his feet. Ed Sharpe rushed into the ring and he, too, was bodyslammed by Fuller. Lee Fields entered the ring and he and Fuller fell on top of both Sharpe boys in pin attempts. But referee George (Baby Blimp) Harris refused to toll a count and ordered that Fuller and Fields let the Sharpe Brothers up. As Harris was pushing Fields from the ring, the Sharpes worked over Fuller, whose strongman act had exhausted him. Big Mike lifted Fuller up onto his shoulder as Ed slugged him in the jaw. Mike then dropped Fuller in a heap onto the mat and Ed pinned him to take the fall and the match.

Lee Fields wasn’t satisfied and demanded a rematch with the big boys from Canada. Unfortunately Fuller was unavailable so Lee took a new partner in newcomer Sandor “Sandy” Kovacs. Fields & Kovacs held their own as a team as the engaged the Sharpes in a wild brawl before Mike Sharpe tossed Kovacs into the ropes and hit him in the throat with a judo chop on the rebound. Kovacs fell to the mat and was pinned to give the first fall to the Sharpe Brothers. Ed Sharpe and Lee Fields opened the second fall and Fields flew at Ed from the opening bell. He slammed Ed several times and pinned him as Kovacs held Big Mike at bay. The second fall went to Fields & Kovacs. The advantage swung back and forth in the third fall until Fields pinned Big Mike Sharpe in the corner and was working over his midsection with a series of lefts and rights. In a desperation move, Sharpe rammed his elbow into Lee’s throat and Fields dropped to the mat. Big Mike then lifted Fields up by the throat and placed his big hands under Lee’s chin. He then lifted Fields off his feet and up into the air. He held Lee in the air for a full five minutes until finally dropping him to the mat. Lee was unconscious and unable to continue. The fall and the bout were awarded to the Sharpe Brothers. Lee Fields would be out of action for the rest of the month after this match.

Now it was Kovacs turn to seek revenge on the Sharpes and he recruited Gulf Coast heavyweight champion Billy Wicks to be his partner. Wicks proved to be a worthy partner for the Hungarian as he pinned Ed Sharpe with a step-over toehold/bridge combo to take the first fall. The Sharpes both worked Wicks over in the second fall, punishing him with strangleholds. Wicks finally managed to make it to his corner and tagged in Sandor. Kovacs ran into the same situation Wicks had been in and was battered silly by both Sharpe Brothers and was defeated for the second fall. The Sharpes threatened Wicks between falls and tried to make good their threats in the third and deciding fall. Again both Ed and Big Mike worked over Wicks until Wicks again made his way to tag Kovacs. And just as in the second fall, both Sharpe boys battered Kovacs. Big Mike attempted four times to lift Kovacs up into the chinlock hold that he had used to injure Lee Fields, but each time, Wicks dashed into the ring and slugged Sharpe in the stomach causing him to drop Kovacs. Finally all four men were in the ring battling it out when Wicks managed to tie Ed Sharpe into the ring ropes. Wicks then backed Big Mike into a corner and gave him a going over. Mike kept trying to break free and untie his brother but kept getting knocked back into the corner. The Sharpes were finally saved by another set of Canadian brothers, Red & Doug Donovan, who rushed into the ring and chased Wicks & Kovacs back to the dressing room. The Sharpes were disqualified for the interference and the fall and match were awarded to Wicks & Kovacs.

Red & Doug Donovan made their debut on the same night they aided the Sharpes and had faced the team of Angelo Martinelli & newcomer Jimmy Valentine. Each team had won a fall when Doug Donovan pinned Valentine to take the third and deciding fall.

Kovacs was not satisfied with the DQ win over the Sharpes and recruited Buddy Fuller to be his partner. Fuller was anxious to get back at the Sharpes, who had given him such a beating in their debut a few weeks earlier. Fuller used flying dropkicks on both Sharpes before pinning Ed Sharpe to take the first fall. The Sharpes worked Fuller over in the second fall and had his nearly out on his feet. In a desperate attempt to defend himself, Fuller swung wildly at the Sharpes. But instead of hitting one of his opponents he clobbered referee Bud Clardy. Clardy was sent flying and when he finally collected his wits he awarded the fall to the Sharpes. Kovacs was the victim of Big Mike Sharpe’s “hanging” chin-lock and soon lost consciousness. Sharpe then dropped him to the mat and pinned him to take the fall and the match.

Gulf Coast champ Billy Wicks was hot at the Donovan’s interference in his & Sandor Kovacs’ match with the Sharpes and challenged them to a match. He chose veteran Angelo Martinelli as his partner as Martinelli also had a score to settle with the Donovans since they had beaten he and Jimmy Valentine in their debut. Wicks scored a quick advantage as he used a flying dropkick to pin Doug Donovan to take the first fall. The Donovans made him pay for that in the second fall as they both battered him until he was a bloody mess and easily pinned by Red Donovan. Wicks was so battered in the second fall that he was unable to compete in the third fall. Martinelli gamely took on the two Canadians alone and for a while was doing a good job. But the Donovans began double-teaming him and he was severely weakened. A still bleeding Wicks managed to come to the ring just as Doug Donovan was pinning Martinelli to take the third fall and the match. The Donovans grabbed Wicks, dragged him into the ring and continued their earlier beating of the Gulf Coast champion. Finally referee Johnny Edenfield pulled them off Wicks and sent them back to the dressing room. The fans showered the Donovans with paper cups and other debris for their handling of the popular champion.

Southern Heavyweight champion, Freddie Blassie made an appearance in the area and put his title on the line against the popular Buddy Fuller. Fuller had earned the right to meet the champ by outlasting Pancho Villa, Lester Welch, Rocky Monroe and Joe McCarthy in a 30 minute, one fall elimination match. Fuller pinned Monroe to win the battle. Fuller gave Blassie all he had, but the blonde badman emerged victorious and returned to Atlanta with his title intact.

Lee Fields regained the Mississippi State title from Joe McCarthy by defeating him in a boxing match in Laurel.

It was announced that Pat O’Connor had defeated Dick Hutton on January 9th in St. Louis, Missouri to win the National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Championship.

Also in the area in January was Jack Welch.
FEBRUARY:

The Sharpe Brothers faced another brother duo at the beginning of the month as Lee Fields returned and had his brother Don Fields at his side. Lee was anxious for a crack at the Sharpes who had injured him at the beginning of January. And with his brother Don at his side he was determined to prove that it was the Fields Family that ruled the Gulf Coast. Lee & Don began the first fall swiftly as they battered the Sharpe boys from pillar to post. Don then slammed Ed to the mat and leaped on him for the pin to take the first fall. The Sharpes protested the decision and kept arguing with the referee until the Fields’ jumped them and gave them more punishment until they scurried from the ring.

Lee & Don Fields slug away at Ed & Mike Sharpe

The Sharpes took out their frustration on Don Fields in the second fall as they battered him around the ring. Big Mike then tied up Lee Fields as Ed pinned Don to take the second fall and even the score. Ed Sharpe had been suffering from an arm injury and had been wearing an arm brace earlier in the match. Don Fields discovered that the brace was missing quickly and began working on Ed’s arm hoping to make him submit. Both Fields boys were delighting in making Ed howl in pain as they worked over his arm. Big Mike Sharpe tried to go to his brother’s aid, but was stopped each time by referee Sonny Boy Fargo. Finally Ed was able to tag his brother in and Mike was soon suffering the same fate his brother had. Lee forced him into the Fields’ corner and they battered him down. Lee then applied his version of the hanging chin-lock hold that Big Mike had injured him with. Referee Fargo finally broke this up and was leading Big Mike back to the center of the ring when Sharpe turned around and charged the Fields’ corner. Lee grabbed him and dragged him halfway out of the ring and was strangling him on the ropes as Don held Ed Sharpe at bay. Don Fields then grabbed Mike Sharpe in a full nelson as Lee Fields climbed the ropes. Lee then leaped onto Big Mike feet first and pinned him to take the fall and the match. The Sharpes had finally been defeated and the thousands of fans screamed in delight as they limped back to the dressing room, unable to flash their Churchill-like “V” for Victory sign that infuriated the fans over the past weeks.

After their decisive victory over the Sharpe Brothers, Lee & Don Fields set their sights on another pair of brothers, Doug & Red Donovan. The Fields boys found that they Donovans weren’t going to go quietly as they absorbed quite a beating at their hands in the first fall. But Lee managed to upend Red Donovan to take the fall. Both Donovans worked Lee over during the second fall and had him out on his feet. Doug then kneed Lee in the groin and pinned him after a series of bodyslams. Don Fields was on the receiving end of the Donovan’s punishment in the third fall and was finally tossed from the ring. As Lee went to his brother’s aid, the Donovans grabbed him and double bodyslammed him. Doug then pinned Fields to take the fall and the match. A wild melee broke out after the match when a fan jumped into the ring and went after referee Johnny Edenfield. Several more fans followed suit and several wrestlers came out of the dressing room and battled the fans. The police soon had everything back under control and everyone went their separate ways.

Don Fields wound up with a leg injury in the match with the Donovans, so Lee recruited the youngest of the Fields clan, Bobby Fields to replace their brother in a rematch. Lee & Bobby took the first fall of the rematch when they double-teamed Doug and Lee pinned him before Red could interfere. Things got out of control in the second fall as Bobby Fields was tossed from the ring and suffered a bloody cut on his forehead. Lee managed to help his youngest brother into the ring, but the Donovans continued to batter him in their corner. Lee Fields jumped into the ring and in a wild attempt to rescue his brother flattened referee Johnny Edenfield. Just as Edenfield was regaining his footing, the Donovans knocked him down and then tossed him from the ring. The Donovans then jumped the Fields’ and the battle was on. They battled head to head, but the Donovans began to gain the advantage. They tossed Bobby, then Lee from the ring. Even Edenfield took another trip from the ring as he tried to regain order. The ringside fans began helping the Fields boys to their feet and back into the ring only to see them tossed out again. Finally Lee & Bobby fought their way back and were giving the Donovans fits. Rocky McGuire came out to the ring and helped Edenfield restore order. Edenfield, by now bloody, called the match to a halt and awarded the fall and the match to the Fields boys.

Another honor went to the Fields Family when Don & Bobby Fields defeated Corsica Joe & Corsica Jean in Chattanooga, Tennessee on February 14th to win the World Tag Team Championship.

It was announced that Ivan the Terrible had defeated Angelo Savoldi on February 29th in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to with the NWA World Jr. Heavyweight Championship. Ivan would hold the title for 2 weeks but never appeared in the Gulf Coast.

A newcomer from Amarillo, Texas arrived in the area. His name was Art Neilson and was a former Southern Heavyweight champion. Neilson faced another newcomer named Bobby Red Cloud in the debut match for both men. Neilson won the match between the two easily in two straight falls with choking tactics and knee drops to the throat. Neilson quickly became one of the most hated men in the area by the fans after his match with the colorful Indian grappler.

Next on Neilson’s dance card was Gulf Coast champion Billy Wicks. The two met in a non-title match that saw Neilson using his most foul tactics to try and do in the popular champ. Wicks took the first fall with a series of knee drops to Neilson’s chest to drive the air out of the big man and weaken him for the pin. Neilson also used knee drops to take the second fall from Wicks, only his were illegal ones to the throat. Neilson continued to choke and stomp Wicks in the third fall and was caught by the referee using another illegal knee drop to Wicks’ throat and was disqualified. Thus Wicks was awarded the third fall and the match.

Another newcomer to the area was a sensational wrestler named “Leaping” Larry Chene. Chene was a native of Detroit, Michigan and was extremely popular all over the U.S. due to his television exposure. He made his Gulf Coast debut by facing the rugged Pancho Villa. Villa looked as though he would spoil Chene’s debut by taking the first fall after hitting him with a loaded elbow pad. Chene bounced back (literally) in the next two falls. Villa trapped Chene in the corner in the second fall and referee Speedy Hatfield had stepped between the two combatants. Chene the leapfrogged Hatfield and hit Villa with a dropkick. The stunned Villa was quickly pinned and Chene claimed the second fall. In the third fall, Chene tried a flying dropkick but missed Villa entirely. Miraculously, Chene was able to turn this mistake to his advantage as he caught himself feet first on the ropes in the corner, turned leaped to the mat and then jumped and hit Villa with a dropkick. Villa was dizzy and stunned and wound up pinned once again. The third fall and match were awarded to Leaping Larry Chene.

Chene faced a rugged opponent in his next bout. He was matched against the returning Rocky (Sputnik) Monroe. The first fall went to Chene after he applied an Atomic Drop to Monroe and pinned him. Rocky came back in the second and battered Chene in and out of the ring before pinning him to take the fall. Chene used his flying headlocks to keep Monroe’s head spinning in the third fall. Chene then used an Oklahoma Roll, a hold most Gulf Coast fans associated with Lee Fields, to pin Monroe to take the third and deciding fall. Monroe climbed to the second turnbuckle in the corner of the ring and was protesting the decision. Chene had heard enough and took a flying leap at Monroe, caught him in a flying headscissors and sent him crashing to the mat. This brought the house down as the fans roared their approval of Chene’s handling of the hated Monroe.

Chene faced his toughest test in Big Mike Sharpe. Sharpe had an decided size advantage over Larry, outweighing him by some fifty pounds. Chene made up the difference by using his exceptional speed. Big Mike proved just what a bully he was when he pinned Chene to take the first fall by holding him down by his tights. In the second fall, Chene attempted a body block off the ropes. He hit Big Mike and bounced off like he had hit a brick wall. He bounced so hard that he bounced right into referee Sonny Boy Fargo. Fargo went down. Chene bounced off the ropes to try the maneuver again, just as Fargo got to his hands and knees. Just as Chene hit Sharpe with his shoulder, Fargo was behind Sharpe and Big Mike fell over him. Chene jumped on the surprised Sharpe and pinned him. The third fall looked like it would go to Sharpe when the big man caught Chene in his hanging chinlock. Chene used his agility to escape from the hold and hit Sharpe with four straight dropkicks and pinned him to take the fall and the match.

Yet another newcomer debuted in the area. His name was Eddie Sullivan and unfortunately his debut was not a successful one. He lost to Rocky Monroe in his initial match.

The Mississippi end of the territory fell into a state of disarray in February. Reigning Mississippi State Heavyweight champion Lee Fields had been stripped of the title after attacking Rocky Monroe with a chair outside the ring during a title defense. A tournament was set up to declare a new champion. Two matches were held in Laurel to start they tournament. Those matches saw Art Neilson defeat Eddie Sullivan and Big Mike Sharpe defeat Mario Galento. The Sharpe/Galento match resulted in a riot as the fans took exception to referee Rube Wright’s failure to see Ed Sharpe interference on behalf of his brother.

On that same card Brownie the wrestling bear took on members of the audience in a special exhibition. One of the participants, a man named Lige Clark actually managed to pin the bear to the thunderous applause of the crowd. A second man named Percy Gamble was also having some success with the bear but made the mistake of sticking his finger inside the bear’s muzzle. Brownie bit down on the finger causing it to be severed from Gamble’s hand. Gamble, with his severed finger in tow, was rushed to the hospital.

As a result of these two developments, wrestling was briefly suspended in the southern part of Mississippi.

 

 

MARCH:

The family feud between the Fields Brothers and the Donovan Brothers continued. After referee Johnny Edenfield was battered in the last meeting between the two teams, promoter Buddy Fuller brought in a referee who could better handle the rough stuff. He brought in Joey Maxim, the former light-heavyweight boxing champion of the world. The match got off to a quick start when both Bobby and Lee took turns slamming Doug Donovan to the mat before Lee pinned him in less than two minutes to take the fall. The Donovans also scored a quick one in the second fall after they took turns kneeing Lee in the stomach as he bounced off the ropes. Red finally pinned Lee to even the score. The third fall saw the Donovans pitching both Lee and Bobby from the ring and them kicking them each time they tried to reenter the ring. Maxim grew tired of warning the Donovans and promptly belted Red, knocking him silly. Lee Fields took quick advantage of this situation and fell on Red to score the pin, the fall and the match. An irate Doug Donovan challenged Maxim only to face the same fate his brother had. As the Donovans lay on the canvas they managed to trip Maxim and get him on the mat. They were starting to work him over until the Fields’ leaped into the fray. They pulled the Canadians off the former boxer and sent them scurrying from the ring.

Another rematch was signed and this time promoter Fuller figured out a foolproof way of curbing the illegal tactics and double-teaming that both teams had been engaged in their last two meetings. I added a stipulation that the member of each team not wrestling in the ring would be handcuffed in the corner. Only the referee would have the key to the handcuffs and would only free a man when he was legally tagged into the match. Furthermore, each team would have an assigned “handcuff handler” to ensure that someone would remained cuffed during tagged exchanges. Things didn’t quite work as planned when Rocky Monroe was assigned as the handcuff handler for the Donovans. Monroe was a little slow handcuffing the Donovan that wasn’t in the ring and therefore allowed the Donovans to get in a little double-teaming. Meanwhile the Fields boys were held to doing things by the book. Doug Donovan pinned Bobby Fields after slamming him to take the first fall. In the second fall, Monroe had let the Donovans roam free and while Doug had Bobby Fields pinned down in the corner, Red raced over to the Fields’ corner and began wailing on the handcuffed Lee Fields. In the process, Red knocked down the Fields’ handcuff handler. The referee herded the Donovans back to their corner and tried to maintain some order. In the meanwhile, the Fields handcuff handler regained his senses and freed Lee from the cuffs. Lee made a beeline for the Donovans and the war resumed. Lee & Bobby battered the Donovans, Monroe and the referee! Monroe and Red Donovan both wound up with bloody heads and the referee disqualified the Fields’ and awarded the match to the Donovans. This match was so wild that Buddy Fuller declared that he would not allow the two teams to face each other again. He did allow Doug Donovan and Lee Fields to square off in a singles bout. That match was just as wild as the tag team matches had been. Donovan took the first fall by pinning Fields after a series of knees to the stomach as Lee bounced off the ropes. Lee came roaring back and took the second fall in less than two minutes by pinning Donovan after a series of monkey flips. Lee went for a monkey flip again in the third fall when Donovan spun him and tossed him over the ropes and out of the ring. Doug then followed Lee to the floor and the two began a wild battle among the ringside spectators. Referee Sonny Boy Fargo counted both men out, but neither one cared as they continued to batter each other.

It was announced that Angelo Savoldi had defeated Ivan the Terrible on March 6th in Oklahoma City to regain the NWA World Jr. Heavyweight title.

NWA World Jr. Heavyweight Champion Angelo Savoldi made his first appearance in the Gulf Coast and met challenger Red Donovan. Savoldi proved why he was the champion by disposing of Donovan in two straight falls. Referee Bud Clardy disqualified Red in the first fall for continuing to knee Savoldi’s leg while it was tied in the ropes. In the second fall, Red had Savoldi reeling with a series of body blocks. Savoldi managed to side-step one, caught Donovan, slammed him to the mat and pinned him for the fall and the match.

Gulf Coast champion Billy Wicks continued to have his troubles. He faced big Art Neilson in a rematch (again a non-title match) with special referee Joey Maxim. Neilson used a series of knee drops to the throat to take the first fall. Billy came back strong in the second fall, giving Neilson quite a pounding before finally subduing him with a series of dropkicks. In the third and deciding fall, Neilson managed to trip Wicks up and held him to the mat with the help of having his feet in the ropes. Referee Maxim failed to see the infraction and counted Wicks out. Neilson continued to kick Wicks after the match until Maxim flattened him with a hard right hand. Then Maxim turned to help Wicks to his feet and was kicked in the back by Neilson. Neilson then fled the ring before Maxim could get back to his feet.

This led to a boxing match between Neilson and Maxim, which saw Maxim handle Neilson with ease until Neilson started tripping, kneeing and rabbit-punching the former boxing champ. Referee Speedy Hatfield continued to warn Neilson but to no avail. Finally after the fourth round, Neilson sneaked up behind Maxim and hit him in the head with a bucket. Hatfield disqualified Neilson and awarded the bout to Maxim.

Maxim also faced off with rugged Pancho Villa in another boxing bout. Maxim totally outclassed Villa for the first two rounds and had the Mexican reeling from his blows. In the third fall, Villa maneuvered Maxim into his corner where Villa’s second Rocky Monroe was waiting. As Villa held Maxim in the corner, Monroe removed Villa’s gloves. Villa then tossed Maxim to the mat and punished him with a hammerlock. Maxim’s second, Charlie Whatley, tried to go to the boxer’s aid but was knocked from the ring by Monroe. Then Villa and Monroe started stomping Maxim. Referee Bud Clardy finally got Maxim from the ring and awarded the match to him on a disqualification.

Newcomer Pepi Pasquale made a surprising debut in the area. He faced off with Billy Wicks in a Gulf Coast title bout. Pasquale and Wicks matched each other hold for hold in a clean, scientific match that thrilled the fans. Pasquale stunned Wicks with a dropkick and pinned him to take the first fall. Pepi had Wicks spinning with body blocks in the second fall until Wicks caught him in the head with a knee. A stunned Pasquale was easy prey for a Wicks dropkick and was pinned for the second fall. The same thing occurred in the third fall, but this time Pepi avoided the knee and stunned Wicks with a dropkick. Wicks was stunned and easily pinned. Pepi Pasquale was the new Gulf Coast champion.

Pasquale proved to be a fighting champion as he immediately put his title on the line against burly Art Neilson, the man who had given former champ Wicks such a hard time. Pasquale stunned the big blonde with a series of flying headscissors to take the first fall. Neilson came back in the second and used a rope, unseen by referee Johnny Edenfield, to choke Pepi into unconsciousness. Neilson continued this tactic in the third and deciding fall. He also managed to unwrap the cover from one of the ring ropes and used that to choke the new champion. Pasquale finally managed to kick free and reversed the situation. He wrapped the rope around Neilson neck and used it to flip the Texan all around the ring. Referee Edenfield managed to take the wrapping from him and as he was tossing it from the ring, Pasquale went for another flying headscissors. But Neilson spun him around and tossed him over the top rope. This should have been an immediate disqualification, but Edenfield didn’t see it. Neilson the grabbed Pasquale as he was trying to reenter the ring and rammed his head into the corner ringpost. A woozy Pasquale managed to get back in the ring, but was quickly pinned by Neilson. Edenfield tolled the three count and awarded the match and the title to Art Neilson. Neilson wrapped the championship belt around his waist and strutted back to the dressing room among the jeers of the crowd. Suddenly promoter Buddy Fuller appeared and took the belt away from Neilson. He came to the ring and announced that Neilson was disqualified for tossing Pepi over the top rope and that he was giving the title back to Pasquale.

Former champion Billy Wicks got a shot at Angelo Savoldi and his NWA World Jr. Heavyweight championship. Savoldi made things tough on Billy in the first fall, but Wicks managed to catch the wily champion in his step-over toehold/bridge combination for the pin to win the first fall. Savoldi decided to be twice as tough in the second fall and he battered Wicks from one end of the ring to the other. He choked, kicked and gouged Wicks until the former Gulf Coast champ was helpless but refused to pin him. Each time referee Bud Clardy reached a count of two, Savoldi would jerk Wicks up by the hair. After a half dozen instances of this Savoldi finally pinned Billy to take the second fall. Wicks was so battered that he was unable to compete in the third and deciding fall so the bout was awarded to Savoldi allowing him to retain his title.

A boyhood friend of Wicks’ from Minnesota made his debut in the area. His name was Greg Peterson and he was no match for big Art Neilson in his first match. Peterson would vastly improve over the years and go on to be a perennial favorite in the Gulf Coast area.

Mario Galento made a brief visit to the area in an attempt to halt Leaping Larry Chene’s winning streak. Galento looked like he might do just that as he pinned Chene after a bodyslam to win the first fall. Chene got rough in the second fall and pinned Galento after hitting him with several right hands to the jaw. In the third fall Galento made the mistake of turning his back on Chene to argue with referee Bill Napoliten over a call he had made. Chene grabbed Galento, applied a backbreaker and pinned the bearded ruffian to take the fall and the match. Chene also beat Rocky Monroe in a one-fall match with a series of dropkicks.

Wrestling resumed in Mississippi  when Pancho Villa defeated Lee Fields in the final match of one night tournament in Laurel to win the Mississippi State title.
APRIL:

NWA World Jr. Heavyweight Champion Angelo Savoldi was pretty cocky after having easily handled Red Donovan and Billy Wicks. His next challenge came from popular Lee Fields. Savoldi made things rough on Lee in the first fall using every illegal trick in the book which referee Bud Clardy seemed to miss. Savoldi pinned Lee after slamming him headfirst into the turnbuckles four times. The first fall went to Savoldi. Savoldi continued his tactics during the second fall, ignoring Clardy’s warnings to cease the rough stuff. Finally Fields managed to slide out of the ring to collect his thoughts. When he returned to the ring it was all a different story. Lee tore into Savoldi and gave the champion a real beating for about five minutes before tossing him over the ropes and out of the ring. Lee was kicking Savoldi as he lay on the ring apron. Clardy tried to pull Fields away and wound up getting slugged for his trouble. As Fields continued his kicking at Savoldi, Clardy got to his feet only to be sent flying again by the enraged Fields. Savoldi managed to get into the ring and was begging Fields for mercy. Lee responded by stomping the champion. Again Clardy tried to calm Fields down and was knocked down for the third time. This time Clardy had had enough and called for the bell. He disqualified Fields and awarded the fall and the match to Savoldi who therefore retained his title.

Art Neilson was awarded a rematch with Gulf Coast champion Pepi Pasquale after the confusion of their last match. Neilson took up where he left off in the last match and had the champion in a bad way. Pepi managed to fight back and wore Neilson down enough to pin him to take the first fall. Pasquale had spent all of his energy in taking the first fall and was exhausted at the start of the second fall. Neilson took full advantage of this and battered the popular Italian from one end of the ring to the other, finally tossing him out of the ring. Neilson got a little carried away with himself and slammed Pepi’s head into the corner ringpost and wound up disqualified by referee Bud Clardy. Pepi Pasquale was still the Gulf Coast champion.

Pepi teamed with Leaping Larry Chene to face the dangerous Donovan Brothers, Red & Doug in a wild battle. The Donovans scored the first fall as Doug pinned Pasquale. Referee Speedy Hatfield was inadvertently helping the Donovans as he constantly lectured Chene about staying in his corner as both Donovans worked over the Gulf Coast champion. Chene & Pasquale got a little revenge in the second fall as Hatfield took to lecturing the Donovans as Larry & Pepi double-teamed the Donovan that was in the ring. The end of the fall came when Chene whipped Red into the ropes and then dropped to the mat. Red tripped over Chene and fell into the corner where Pepi was waiting to punch him. Red went down to the mat and Chene pinned him to take the second fall. The third fall was a real slugfest with all four men punching the daylights out of each other. Just as Chene & Pasquale gained the advantage, Rocky Monroe hit the ring to aid the Donovans with the help of a chair. Lee Fields rushed into the ring to even up the sides and a wild melee ensued. All six men were wailing away at each other and the spectators were pitching chairs into the ring. After about 10 minutes of this wild action, the wrestlers wore themselves out and order was restored. This naturally led to a six-man tag team battle that saw Monroe & the Donovans face Fields, Chene & Pasquale. Fields was triple-teamed for most of the first fall and was forced to submit to a chinlock applied by Monroe. Fields evened the score by pinning Monroe for the second fall after Monroe and Red Donovan had their heads rammed together by Chene & Pasquale. Things looked good in the third and final fall for Fields and company until Art Neilson hit the ring. He, the Donovans & Monroe tossed all three of their opponents out of the ring, followed by referees Speedy Hatfield and Bud Clardy. The match was declared a no-contest and that’s how it ended.

The Donovans faced another family team, except this was a father & son team as opposed to a brother team. Jack Curtis had campaigned in a successful team with his brother George Curtis. Now Jack was back in the Gulf Coast teaming with his son Jack Curtis Jr.. The Donovans took full advantage of referee Tommy Roland and kept him after one of the Curtises or the other as they double-teamed the one in the ring. This allowed the Donovans to take the first fall as Red pinned Jack Sr. The second fall went the other way as Jack Sr. had Doug Donovan in a hammerlock and was spinning him around the ring. On one spin Donovan was met by a kick to the chin which was delivered by Jack Jr. as he jumped from the ropes. This allowed Jack Sr. to pin Donovan to take the second fall. In the third fall, the Donovans continued there double-team tactics. At one point, Red had Jack Jr. in a double toehold near the Donovans corner. Jack’s shoulders were pinned but he was about to flip Red over when Red reached out and grabbed Doug’s hands. The added pressure allowed Red to pin Jack Jr. to take the fall and the match. The Curtises demanded and were given a rematch. The Curtises took the first fall of that match when Jack Jr. flattened both Donovans with dropkicks and then hit Red with a mule-kick and pinned him. The Donovans got their revenge on Jack Jr. in the second fall as they took turns tossing him into the ropes and kneeing him in the groin as he came off. Then Red clamped on a Boston Crab and forced young Jack to submit. The advantage swung back and forth in the third and deciding fall until the Donovans got the Curtises in headlocks and rammed their heads together. But they made a mistake when they tried it a second time. This time the Curtises slipped free and slammed the Donovans into one another. A dizzy Jack Jr. fell on Doug Donovan to win the fall and the match.

Art Neilson continued to run roughshod over everyone, but kept losing his bouts by disqualification. Such was the case when he met newcomer Joe Scarpa. Scarpa took the first fall after hitting Neilson with several flying dropkicks. Neilson came back to take the second with a series of knee drops to the throat. Neilson also sent Scarpa flying into the lap of a policeman sitting at ringside, resulting in Scarpa receiving a scraped cheek and a black eye. Neilson came out of the dressing room for the third fall carrying a towel that he used to strangle Scarpa. Neilson also slugged the referee and was disqualified for his tactics.

Neilson went on television and claimed that he was tired of being disqualified and the referees protecting his opponents. He challenged anyone to meet him in a no-disqualification match. Leaping Larry Chene stepped up to take the challenge and the match was set. Neilson took full advantage of the no DQ rule and choked, kicked and punched Chene before pinning him after a knee drop to the throat. In the second fall Chene took after Neilson with flying headscissors and pinned him in less than 30 seconds. Neilson had Chene in a bad way and in fact had him pinned in the third fall. But just before the referee counted three, Chene slipped his hand out and tapped Neilson on the shoulder. Thinking it was the referee signaling the end of the match Neilson rose to his feet raising his hands in victory. Chene then leapt to his feet, spun Neilson around and punched him in the face. A stunned Neilson was then an easy prey to be pinned. Chene won the fall and the match and gave Neilson his first real defeat in the area.

Chene next met the challenge of John Smith, returning to the area after a lengthy absence. Smith, best known as a tag team wrestler along with his brother Al, was as rugged and rough as they come and would give Chene all he could handle. Chene managed to hit John with several dropkicks before pinning him to take the first fall. Smith came back in the second fall and whipped Chene into the corners several times before pinning him to take the fall. In the third and final fall, Smith not only roughed up Chene, but referee Tommy Roland as well. Roland took matters into his own hands and clamped a full nelson on Smith and allowed Chene to dropkick him full in the face. Chene then pinned Smith and the fall and match went to Leaping Larry.

Lee Fields faced a wild opponent as the famed Antone “Ripper” Leone came to the area. Leone jumped Fields before the introductions were made and the match went non-stop from there. Leone had Fields helpless but refused to pin him. Each time referee Don Wayne (AKA Don Fields) tried to count him out, Leone would Lee up by the hair. Finally Wayne pulled a fast count and counted Fields out. Leone, upset that Wayne had spoiled his fun, knocked the referee out of the ring and continued to beat on Fields. At this point Pepi Pasquale and Larry Chene hit the ring and started punching the Ripper. After a few minutes of this Fields had recovered and he took over where Pepi and Larry left off. He battered Leone around and once Wayne was back in the ring, Lee pinned Leone for the second fall. But he didn’t let up there. Lee continued to punch away at Leone and soon the Ripper was fighting back. Wayne let it continue and the two went at each other hammer and tongs, with Leone using his fingernails to rake Fields across the back. Finally Leone tossed Fields and then Wayne from the ring. By this time Wayne had had enough and declared Fields the winner of the match. All this and the opening bell never rang!

Lee Fields also regained the Mississippi State title from Pancho Villa after a wild battle in Laurel.

Others appearing in the area this month were Eddie Sullivan, Angelo Martinelli, Billy Wicks and Carlos Romero.

 

 

MAY:

The Fabulous Fargos, Jackie & Don returned to the area in May. They faced off with the Curtises to determine the number one contender for the World Tag Team title held by Don & Bobby Fields.

The Fargos double-teamed Jack Jr. during much of the first fall and had him bleeding from the head. Donnie pinned Jr. to take the first fall. Jack Sr. got a little revenge for his son’s pounding by pinning Jackie with a cradle to take the second fall. As the father and son combo prepared to leave the ring after the second fall, the Fargos jumped them. Jackie and Donnie tossed Jack Jr. from the ring and as Donnie held Jack Sr. on the mat, Jackie scaled the ropes and jumped onto him with both knees. The elder Curtis was severely injured and had to be carried to the dressing room. As the third fall started Jack Sr. was unable to compete. Jack Jr. gallantly tried to carry on alone and did well for a while. He managed to pummel both Fargos good before they managed to double up on him. They battered young Jack from pillar to post but refused to pin him each time they had the chance. Finally after three atomic drops were applied to him Jack Jr. was pinned and the fall and match went to the Fargos. Like his father, Jr. had to be carried to the dressing room after the match.

The Fargos now set their sights on the Fields Brothers and their tag team title. But an obstacle would arise that would spoil their plans.

Lee Fields & Billy Wicks, who had battled over the Gulf Coast crown just a few months earlier, had formed an impressive tag team. They had defeated former World tag champs the Corsicans in a wild battle in Chattanooga and were now gunning for the Fargos. Promoter Buddy Fuller matched the two teams and stated that the winners would meet Bobby & Don Fields for the World crown. That meant if Fields & Wicks won, Lee would be facing his own brothers for the World titles.

As expected, the battle between the Fargos and the team of Fields & Wicks was a wild one. The Fargos took the first fall as Donnie used an atomic drop on Fields and pinned him. What had not been seen by referee Bud Clardy was that Donnie had not legally tagged into the match prior to this maneuver. Fields & Wicks made a strong comeback in the second fall and beat the Fargos mercilessly. They finally rammed Jackie and Donnie’s heads together and Wicks pinned Jackie after a tremendous backdrop. The match was even at one fall apiece. The third fall became a full melee with all four battling it out in the ring at the same time. Wicks had Jackie down on the mat as Fields and Donnie battled it out in the corner. Finally Donnie Fargo sent Fields flying across the ring with a right hand and then scaled the ropes. His plan was to jump on top of Wicks who now had Jackie pinned down to the mat. But before he could make his leap Fields hurdled over the pair battling on the mat and sent Donnie flying to the floor with a hard right. Referee Clardy then proceeded to count Donnie out and the fall and the match were awarded to Lee Fields & Billy Wicks.

Next Wicks & Fields faced off with the unusual team of Dick Dunn & a masked newcomer known as The Mighty Yankee. Dunn was returning to the area after a lengthy absence and nothing at all was known about the masked man. The fans were surprised as Dunn was known as a clean, scientific type and usually masked men are ruffians, so they found the pairing strange. Things would be much stranger before the match ended. The match began swiftly with Dunn matching holds with both Fields and Wicks. But the Yankee was a little rougher whenever he was in the ring. Some visible friction was showing between Dunn and his masked partner. Finally Fields used a series of bodyslams on Dunn and pinned him to take the first fall. The second fall ended in confusion as Dunn and his partner continued to argue over the Yankee’s use of rough tactics. It got so heated, as a matter of fact, they Wicks held the Yankee while Dunn slugged him. Dunn then rushed the masked man and they tore into one another. Suddenly the Yankee slipped a piece of metal into his mask and butted Dunn clean out of the ring. He then turned and left for the dressing room, leaving his own partner laying on the stadium floor. The match was stopped and awarded to Fields & Wicks.

The Mighty Yankee then demanded a match with Dunn and Dunn agreed since he was anxious for some revenge on his former partner. Dunn won the first fall after a series of dropkicks and a pin on the masked man. The Yankee pulled out all stops in the second and really gave Dick a going over. He caught Dunn in a piledriver and slammed his head to the mat. Since the piledriver is an illegal hold, referee Rube Wright immediately disqualified the Yankee. The Yankee was so incensed that he grabbed Wright and applied the piledriver to him. Still not satisfied, he applied the hold once more to both Dunn and Wright and left them laying in a heap in the ring.

Mario Galento returned to the area and was gunning for Leaping Larry Chene. Chene, who was undefeated in the area, had beaten Mario the last time Galento was in town and Mario was itching to erase that loss from the fans mind. It looked as though history would repeat itself in the first fall as Chene dominated the bearded New Yorker and pinned him after a series of dropkicks. In the second fall, Galento showed why he had such a good record in the area as he battered Chene bloody before pinning him to take the fall. Mario continued his mistreatment of the popular Chene in the third and deciding fall, but added a new dimension as he did it. He had managed to sneak a clothespin into the ring and used it to further open the cut on Chene’s already bleeding forehead. Each time referee Bud Clardy searched him Galento would hide it in a different place, including his long hair, his trunks, under his arm and even his mouth. Finally Galento tossed Chene from the ring and wouldn’t let him get back in. Then Mario jumped from the ring himself and battled Chene among the ringside patrons. Just as Clardy was about to count both men out, Galento slid into the ring and Chene was counted out. The fall and the match went to Galento. But Chene wasn’t through. He jumped into the ring and knocked both Galento and Clardy out of the ring. Galento managed to get back into the ring and sneak up on Chene from behind. He grabbed Chene, stuck his head through the ropes and began strangling him. Chene struggled but his head was now tied between the ropes and he was helpless. Galento finally let go and headed back to the dressing room as Clardy recovered and began to free Chene. Galento was confronted by an angry mob of fans as he headed for dressing room and as he argued with them, Chene caught up with him again. Galento again hammered Chene to the floor and headed for the dressing room. Just as Galento reached the door, Chene grabbed him again but the result was the same. Galento knocked Chene to the floor and finally entered the safety of his dressing room.

Galento immediately set his sights on Pepi Pasquale and the Gulf Coast title. Galento had enjoyed two long reigns as Gulf Coast champ and was anxious to get back what he considered was his title, but promoter Buddy Fuller threw another obstacle in his way. That obstacle was a young man named Joe Scarpa. Scarpa had been impressive in his last match in the area, a disqualification win over rugged Art Neilson, and the fans were clamoring to have him back. Fuller felt that Galento would be a good test for him and the match was set. Things didn’t start well for Joe as Galento jumped him before he good even get his jacket off. He was helpless as his jacket was halfway off and had his arms pinned at his side. Galento gave him a good pounding before referee Joe Skipper could get Scarpa’s jacket off him. Galento then whipped Scarpa into the corner turnbuckles several times and pinned him to take the first fall. Galento continued his punishment in the second fall, but Scarpa managed to fight back.

Joe Scarpa kicks Mari Galento between the shoulder blades

He even managed to knock Galento from the ring, but that turned out to be a big mistake. Galento reached through the ropes and dragged the exhausted Scarpa to the floor. Mario then proceeded to bodyslam Joe to the arena floor and left him laying there as he scrambled back into the ring. Scarpa was counted out and the fall and the match went to Galento. But Mario wasn’t through there. As Scarpa was being helped to the dressing room, Galento kicked him to the floor. For added measure, Galento then climbed back into the ring and tossed referee Skipper out to the floor. Galento the strutted triumphantly to the dressing room as the fans jeered.

Galento was next scheduled to face Pepi Pasquale for the Gulf Coast crown. Galento further agitated the situation by attacking Pasquale on television. The match was set for May 20th in Mobile, but the night before a fan in Pensacola took a knife and sliced Mario bad enough that he required 13 stitches to close the wound. Galento was in Mobile the next night but the commission would not allow him to compete. Galento got into the ring and challenged the whole crowd, but found no takers.

The following week Pasquale did defend the title in Mobile against Galento. But it wasn’t Mario, it was his brother Al (Spider) Galento. Spider hadn’t been in the area in quite a while and was anxious to take up his younger brother’s battle. Galento took the first fall when he pinned Pasquale after punching him in the groin as he bounced of the ropes. Pepi evened the score with a series of flying dropkicks to pin Galento and take the second fall. In the third fall Spider began choking Pasquale with a piece of twine that he managed to keep hidden from referee Paul Clary. When Clary did manage to spot it he made Galento break it up and regretted that action. Galento promptly tossed the referee from the ring and then tossed Pasquale for good measure. Each time Pepi tried to get back in the ring, Galento would kick him back out. When the champ did finally manage to get in the ring, Galento draped him throat first across the top rope and proceeded to choke the life out of him. This continued for some time until Lee Fields came out to ringside and tried to pull Pasquale free. Galento gave Lee a quick boot to the face but soon regretted that action. Fields jumped into the ring and proceeded to beat the daylights out of the Spider. When Pasquale was recovered sufficiently, he joined in the fray and together Fields and Pasquale slammed Galento and kicked him from the ring.

It was announced that Iron Mike DiBiase had defeated Angelo Savoldi on May 29th in Oklahoma City. DiBiase would hold the title for 3 months but never appeared in the Gulf Coast.

The ladies made their first appearance of the year as Millie Stafford took on Jessica Rogers. Miss Rogers was a protégé of Mama Villa, who had been badly beaten by Miss Stafford in the area the year prior. Each girl had won a fall and Millie was on the verge of pinning Jessica to take the third and deciding fall when Mama Villa suddenly appeared. She got into the ring and grabbed Stafford from behind and gave her a real beating. Referee Joe Skipper declared the bout a no contest, but Mama Villa had riled the fans so much with her actions that she nearly had her clothes ripped from her as she made her way back to the dressing room. This led to a match between Stafford and Villa, which was a wild one. Both girls had won a fall when the match turned into an all-out brawl in the third fall. Not only did the girls knock each other around, but referee Bud Clardy got conked a few times as well. Clardy finally called the whole thing off and declared the match a no contest.

John Smith became the new Mississippi State Heavyweight Champion by virtue of a win over Lee Fields in a match in Laurel.

Other competing in the area in May were Red Donovan and Greg Peterson.
JUNE:

Al (Spider) Galento was incensed at Gulf Coast champion Pepi Pasquale and Lee Fields for the rough treatment he had received at their hands, so he challenged them to a match. Since his brother Mario was still out of action, he approached Pancho Villa and asked him to be his partner. It didn’t turn out to be a good pairing as Galento & Villa spent more time arguing with each other than wrestling Pasquale & Fields. Villa lost the first fall for his team when he was slammed and pinned by Lee Fields. But Galento evened the score by taking the second fall after choking Fields into submission. In the third fall, Galento pretty much was on his own. Each time he tried to tag in Villa, Pancho complained of a sore arm and refused the tag. Finally Galento got so frustrated he knocked Villa off the ring apron. Pancho promptly got up from the floor and left for the dressing room, leaving his partner at the mercy of Fields & Pasquale, who showed no mercy. They each took turns slamming the Spider and then pinned him to take the fall and the match. Next Galento recruited Chico Cortez as a partner to face Fields & Pasquale. That pairing didn’t fare much better but they gave it a good effort. Galento & Cortez tried to use a towel to choke Fields & Pasquale in the first fall, but Lee took it away from them and choked the tow of them with it. Fields pinned Cortez to take the fall. Galento & Cortez tried the same thing with a piece of twine in the second fall with the same results. It was taken away from them and used to choke them into submission. The fall and the match went to Fields & Pasquale.

At last Mario Galento was sufficiently healed enough to join his brother and the Galentos faced off with Pasquale & Fields. Spider and Lee Fields took turns pinning each other to even the match at a fall apiece. In the third and deciding fall, Spider and Pasquale slammed their heads into one another and both lay motionless on the mat. Mario and Fields both entered the ring, but Mario managed to knock Lee from the ring. Mario then dragged his prostrate brother across the unconscious Pasquale for the pin winning the fall and the match for the Galento Brothers.

Fresh off this win, the Galentos began making noise about a match with Don & Bobby Fields for the World Tag Team title. But another team was also considering itself the number one contenders. That was the team of George & Chuck Grant. The Grant Brothers had recently gained wins over former champions Joe & Jean Corsica and Tex Riley & Len Rossi. Matchmaker Eddie Pericola decided to match the Galentos and the Grants with the winning team to face the Fields Brothers for the title. Guess they forgot about Lee Fields & Billy Wicks, who were no longer teaming.

The Galentos took the lead in the match when Al Galento pinned Chuck Grant to take the first fall. George Grant came back for his team to pin the Spider to take the second fall. In the third fall, Al tossed Chuck out of the ring and all four men wound up fighting on the outside of the ring, swinging chairs at one another. Referee Billy Strong got clocked during the melee and decided to stop the match and call it a no contest. The Galentos climbed into the ring and declared themselves the winners despite Strong’s ruling. They argued with Strong who suddenly reversed his earlier decision and awarded the match to the Grant Brothers.

The Mighty Yankee continued to make his presence known with his rough ways. He faced off with popular Joe Scarpa in a match at Ladd Memorial Stadium in Mobile. Scarpa took the first fall by whipping the masked man into the turnbuckles and then slamming him to the mat and pinning him. The Yankee came back and worked over Scarpa’s knee in the second fall. A weakened Scarpa was easy prey for a series of bodyslams and after ramming Scarpa’s head into the turnbuckle, the masked terror pinned him. Scarpa took the advantage at the start of the third and deciding fall and held it until the Mighty Yankee managed to slip a piece of metal into his mask and headbutt him. A couple more blows with the loaded mask left Scarpa bloody and reeling. The Yankee then pinned Scarpa to win the fall and the match. A bloody and dazed Scarpa was left wandering under the stands trying to find his masked tormentor.

Scarpa demanded a rematch and the confident Yankee quickly agreed so the match was set for Hartwell Field in Mobile. Scarpa insisted that the Yankee be searched before the match and the officials did search him. But they weren’t thorough enough when it came to the knee brace he was wearing since they only looked in the top part of it. Scarpa held the advantage as he battered the masked man all around the ring. Just as it appeared Scarpa may put the masked menace away, the Yankee reached into his knee brace and pulled out his metal weapon. He held it in his fist and clobbered Scarpa in the head with it. Scarpa went down and when he arose he was covered in blood. Spurred on by the sight of his opponent’s blood, the Yankee continued to pound on Scarpa, finally knocking him from the ring. Scarpa grabbed a ringside chair and attempted to get back into the ring with it, but the Yankee took it away from him and used it to knock him back into the audience. An enraged Scarpa managed to get back into the ring and the two combatants tore into one another. They battered each other silly until the ring filled up with other wrestlers who tried to separate the two. Pepi Pasquale, Jack Curtis Jr., Al Galento, Chico Cortez, Rube Wright, the referee and an unidentified fan all tried to pry the men apart. The police quickly grabbed the fan and hauled him from the ring. Alabama Boxing & Wrestling Commission inspector Henry Brown quickly stepped in and halted the whole proceeding. The bout was declared a no contest and the ring was cleared of all combatants.

A third match was quickly arranged and this one proved to be a little calmer than the last one had been. Scarpa took the first fall when he pinned the Yankee after a series of bodyslams. The Yankee came back with a series of knees to the stomach to pin Scarpa for the second fall. Scarpa was on the verge of victory in the third and deciding fall when the Yankee hit him with the metal object and split him open once again. The bloody Scarpa was no match for the masked man and was quickly pinned. The fall and the match went to the Mighty Yankee.

Lester Welch returned to the area and won a one-fall match over Red Donovan by disqualification.

Donovan also lost a one-fall match to bout to Buddy Fuller, who had turned the promotional reigns over to Eddie Pericola and Rocky McGuire in order to return to the ring.

Others appearing in the area in June were John Smith and Dick Dunn.

 

 

JULY:

After running roughshod over everyone in the Gulf Coast, especially Joe Scarpa, the Mighty Yankee demanded a shot at Pepi Pasquale and the Gulf Coast heavyweight title. Pasquale was anxious to prove that he was a fighting champion and the match was set. Pasquale managed to pin the Yankee to win the first fall, but did so after the masked man had opened a bloody gash on his head. The Yankee battered the champion from one end of the ring to the other before pinning him to take the second fall. Pasquale was so beaten that he could not answer the bell at the beginning of the third fall. Referee Billy Strong made the decision that since the match had only gone two falls, he declared it a no contest. That meant that Pasquale was still the champion. The Yankee was incensed as he grabbed the belt from Strong and stalked to the dressing room with it. Pasquale was loaded onto a stretcher and taken to a waiting ambulance, which took him to a nearby hospital for X-rays.

Next up for the Mighty Yankee was Pancho Villa who was out to prove that he was the toughest man in the area. He challenged the masked man to meet him in a Mexican Death Match. In this type of match there are no rules and falls do not count. There was a 30-second rest period between falls and the bout would only end when one man could no longer continue. Villa seemingly had the advantage as he kept winning fall after fall on the masked man. Little did he know that the Yankee was allowing him into a false sense of security. After about ten minutes, Villa had completely worn himself out and fell easy prey to the Yankee’s rough tactics. He slammed Villa’s head into the turnbuckle and had him bleeding profusely. The Yankee then picked Villa up and draped him across the top corner turnbuckle. Grabbing Villa’s head and feet, the Yankee stretch Villa’s body nearly to the breaking point. Villa dropped to the canvas as soon as the masked man turned him loose and then stomped him before pinning him to take his first fall. That would be all that the Yankee would need as Villa was unable to answer the bell after the rest period. The Mighty Yankee had beaten Pancho Villa at his own game.

Pasquale had fully recovered and issued a challenge to the Yankee and once again put the Gulf Coast belt on the line. Pepi was doing well as he took the first fall after a series of flying headscissors on the masked man. The Yankee came back to take the second fall after pinning Pasquale following a knee drop to the throat. The two men tore at each other from the bell indicating the start of the third fall. They tussled on the mat, neither one able to pin the other long enough for referee Lee Wagner to toll a three count. As they got to their feet, the Yankee picked Pasquale up for a bodyslam. Pasquale managed to shift his weight, which threw the masked man off balance and he staggered towards the ropes. Both men fell over the ropes and to the ground with Pasquale managing to land on his feet. Pasquale climbed back into the ring and referee Wagner began to count the Yankee out. The masked man managed to make it back into the ring and Pepi was waiting for him. The champion battered the Yankee from corner to corner and when Wagner tried to break this up, Pasquale belted him for good measure. The dizzy Wagner bumped into the Yankee who in turn shoved him into Pasquale, knocking both men to the mat. The Yankee then jumped on Pasquale and Wagner rolled over and counted the pin to give the fall, the match and the title to the Yankee. Pasquale recovered quickly and attacked both the Yankee and Wagner and drove them both from the ring. But it was all for naught. The Mighty Yankee was the new Gulf Coast champion.

Another mysterious masked man arrived and challenged the Yankee to put up not only the Gulf Coast title, but his mask as well. This man called himself The Proud Rebel and he offered to put his mask on the line as well. The Yankee agreed and the match was on. The Rebel proved to be no match for the Yankee as he was battered mercilessly and pinned in two straight falls. The Mighty Yankee removed the Proud Rebel’s mask to reveal Herb Larson.

Next on the Yankee’s list of challengers was the Southern Heavyweight champion, Freddie Blassie. The two ruffians started punching each other from the outset and that was pretty much how the bout went. Blassie took the first fall by pinning his masked for after a series of low blows. The Yankee came back with a series of body drops and a pin to take the second fall. The two stood toe to toe slugging it out in the third fall. A backhand by the Yankee caught the referee by mistake and knocked him from the ring. Then Blassie managed to apply a crushing backbreaker on the Yankee and fell on him for the pin, but the referee was still on the ground outside the ring. Blassie climbed out of the ring to help the referee back into the ring and as he and the referee were getting back into the ring the Yankee was busy loading a metal object into his mask. He then hit Blassie with a headbutt and bodyslammed him. The dizzy referee counted Blassie out and it was all over. The Yankee had retained his title. As soon as the bloody Blassie recovered, he grabbed a ringside chair and chased the Yankee back to the dressing room.

A tournament was announced to name new Southern Tag Team title-holders. The Southern Tag Team Championship had not been recognized in the Gulf Coast area since late 1956 when held by Lester Welch & Buddy Fuller. The first tournament bout saw Al & Mario Galento defeat George & Chuck Grant in straight falls to advance to the next round.

Lee Fields regained the Mississippi State title when he defeated John Smith in Laurel.

Others in the area in July were Tom Drake, Billy Wicks, Chico Cortez, Lester Welch, George “Baby Blimp” Harris, Joe Scarpa and Jack O’Reilly.
AUGUST:

Bobby & Don Fields, the World Tag Team champions finally made an appearance in their home area and defended their belts against Al & Mario Galento. The Fields Brothers won the first fall easily and were on their way to taking the second fall when John Smith came to the aid of the Galentos. Soon the Galentos and Smith had the Fields duo down and were beating them left and right when referee Larry Jolia stopped the match and declared it a no contest. Smith and the Galentos were hit by several chair-wielding fans on the way back to their dressing room. The Fields brothers asked their big brother Lee to join them in a six-man match against Smith & the Galentos. Bobby Fields won the first fall of that bout by pinning Al (Spider) Galento. Bobby was triple-teamed in the second fall before losing the fall to Al Galento after being choked. Lee took the third and deciding fall for he and his brothers by pinning John Smith with an Oklahoma Roll. The Galentos and Smith then jumped the Fields boys after the match and were giving them a good pounding. They even tossed referee Lester Welch from the ring. Welch took off one of his cowboy boots and jumped back into the ring and cleared house of the villains.

All of this led to a challenge match between Welch and the three Fields boys against the Galentos, Smith and the Gulf Coast champion, the Mighty Yankee. The bad boys took an early advantage as John Smith pinned Bobby Fields to win the first fall. Bobby came back and evened up the score by pinning Mario Galento to take the second fall. Mario’s luck got worse in the third and deciding fall when his teammates got fed up with the officiating and left for the dressing room. Mario looked around and found himself alone against four opponents. They battered poor Mario from pillar to post before finally pinning him.

Lester Welch, Don, Lee & Bobby Fields

Mario blamed the Mighty Yankee for his partners, including his own brother, for deserting him and he begged matchmaker Eddie Pericola to match him against the masked man. The Yankee agreed but said that he would not put his title on the line. The Yankee forced Galento to submit to a half Boston crab to win the first fall. Galento turned the tables in the second when he forced the champion to submit by using a Boston crab of his own. When the bell rang to start the third fall, Galento was caught off-guard and was jumped by the Yankee. He battered Galento mercilessly before pinning him to take the fall and the match.

The Yankee also whipped Lester Welch in a non-title match by winning two straight falls. Welch, the popular Oklahoma cowboy, was the fans greatest hope of taking the Yankee, as he had a reputation of unmasking hooded villains in the territory. In fact, Welch was so busy trying to unmask the Yankee that it cost him the first fall. He refused to break on referee Charlie Whatley’s count and was disqualified. The Yankee used an atomic drop to score the pin on Welch to win the second fall and the match.

Next up the Yankee faced the man he had defeated for the title, Pepi Pasquale. Pasquale was determined to regain the title and the Yankee was just as anxious to rid himself of the pesky Italian. The Yankee took the first fall with an atomic drop and pin on Pasquale. Pepe hit the masked man with several dropkicks and took the second fall quickly. In the third fall, the Yankee slugged Pasquale, knocking him to the mat, and pinned him with illegal use of the ropes. Pasquale protested the decision and refused to leave the ring for several minutes after the match, but the decision stood. The Mighty Yankee was still the Gulf Coast champion.

It was announced that Angelo Savoldi had defeated Iron Mike DiBiase on August 21st in Oklahoma City to regain the NWA World Jr. Heavyweight title.

The tournament to determine new Southern Tag Team champions continued. The team of Joe Scarpa & Pepi Pasquale faced of with newcomers Don & Al Greene. The Greene Brothers were a colorful pair who wrestled with their hair dyed green. Al Greene won the first fall for his team by simply pounding Scarpa into submission with his fists. Although Pasquale managed to open a cut on Don Greene‘s head during the second fall, the Greenes were just too rough for he and Scarpa. The Greenes took turns tossing Pasquale before Don pinned him to take the second fall and the match.

Also appearing in the area in August were Jack O’Reilly, Rocky Colombo and Henry Spindola.
SEPTEMBER:

The Mighty Yankee, the Gulf Coast champion, faced his stiffest challenge yet when he faced Lee Fields. Lee had enjoyed a one-week reign as champion and was itching to get the title back. The fans had been clamoring for Lee to square off with the masked man, as he had been defeating everyone else thrown at him. Fields awarded the fans for their belief in him by slamming the Yankee to win the first fall. The champion came back in the second and had Lee bleeding before pinning him for the fall. Fields and the Yankee tore into each other in the third and deciding fall, with Fields getting the better of the masked man. Referee Rube Wright tried to keep Fields away from the Yankee and wound up getting punishment from Fields himself. By the time Lee was done with Wright, his shirt had been torn off and he was bleeding from the eyebrow. Fields finally tossed Wright out of the ring and went back to work on his masked foe. Wright climbed back into the ring and raised the Yankee’s hand indicating that he was awarding the bout to the champion. Fields responded by knocking both men down, grabbing the championship belt and walking out with it.

A rematch was quickly signed and matchmaker Eddie Pericola announced that he would serve as the special referee. The Yankee was in a foul mood at the start of the match and it proved to be bad for all involved. He pounded Fields something terrible until Lee managed to turn the tables and pin the masked man after several dropkicks to take the first fall. The Yankee accused Pericola of giving him a fast count and threatened the matchmaker/referee. At the start of the second fall, the Yankee grabbed Fields as he climbed through the ropes and from that point on, never let up on the popular Oklahoman. He not only battered Fields, but Pericola as well. At one point he had them both trapped in the corner and gave them a real going over. John Smith, who had been serving as the Yankee’s second, also got in a few licks as he hit Fields in the head with the Gulf Coast championship belt. After 20 minutes of this brutal beating, Smith and the Greene Brothers managed to get the Yankee out of the ring and back to the dressing room. A representative of the Alabama Boxing & Wrestling Commission declared the match a no contest. He further announced that the Yankee would be suspended for 10 days. But the masked man was still the Gulf Coast champion.

Eddie Pericola turned the promotional reigns over to Skip Wetjen following his run-in with the Mighty Yankee. Wetjen immediately reinstated the Gulf Coast champion and booked him in a match with the one man who might be able to handle him. That man was former World Heavyweight champion, Lou Thesz. The Yankee showed that he wasn’t impressed with Thesz or his reputation as he gave the former champ a hard time during the first fall. Thesz surprised the masked man with his “Thesz Press” as he rebounded off the ropes and won the first fall. The Yankee got a little carried away in the second fall and it cost him the match. He had Thesz pinned down on the mat and continued to kick him in the kidneys. Referee Rocky McGuire tried to stop the masked man and got tossed from the ring for his troubles. McGuire promptly disqualified the champion and awarded the match to Thesz.

Southern Jr. Heavyweight champion Jesse James appeared in the area. James was enjoying his third reign as champion having defeated Yvon Roberre on January 12th in Birmingham, Alabama. James won on disqualification over John Smith in a one-fall non-title bout. Smith continually used a choke hold on James and it cost him the match. James also gained a victory of Bob Clay in a crowd-pleasing one-fall battle.

Next up for James was a match with Jackie Fargo with the Southern Jr. Heavyweight crown on the line. Fargo wore the champion down in the first fall with choke holds before applying an atomic drop and pinning him to take the fall. James came back and took the second fall in short order after a series of bodyblocks. James looked as though he was well on his way to retaining the title until he missed a flying dropkick and landed on the back of his head. Fargo quickly grabbed up the champion and applied another atomic drop. Fargo then pinned James and was crowned the new Southern Jr. Heavyweight champion.

Don & Al Greene went after their second win in the tournament to crown new Southern Tag Team champions. They faced tough opponents as Don & Bobby Fields, current World Tag Team champions, entered the tournament. The Greenes took the first fall as they double-teamed Don Fields in their corner as referee Charlie Whatley was busy keeping Bobby Fields out of the fray. Don was finally worn down and pinned by Al Greene. The Greenes continued the rough stuff in the second fall as they tossed both Fields boys from the ring. When they got back into the ring, Bobby & Don found their second wind and they gave the Greenes fits before Don pinned Al Greene to take the second fall. The Fields boys continued their dominance of the Greenes in the third fall. They worked the green-haired ruffians over for 10 minutes until Don Greene and Don Fields collided in mid-ring and both collapsed to the mat. As they both lay on the mat, referee Whatley was busy keeping Bobby Fields and Al Greene from entering the ring. As Don Fields managed to crawl on top of the prostrate Don Greene in a pin attempt, Al Greene faked climbing into the ring. Bobby Fields jumped into the ring to prevent the move and was stopped by Whatley. Al Greene took advantage of Whatley being distracted and rolled his brother on top of Don Fields and when Whatley turned back around he counted the pin fall and declared the Greene Brothers the winners of the fall and the match.

Next up for the Greenes was the team of Buddy Fuller & George Curtis. Fuller took the first fall when he pinned Al Greene after a series of dropkicks. The Greenes pulled some sneaky stuff to take the second fall. Don Greene pitched Curtis from the ring and went out into the crowd after him. Fuller then took out after Greene and as the two of them battled it out, Curtis staggered back into the ring only to have Al Greene apply an atomic drop to him. Since referee Bud Clardy couldn’t tell the green-haired Greenes apart, he allowed Al to pin Curtis although he wasn’t the legal man in the ring. A similar event decided the third fall as Fuller knocked Al from the ring. Don sneaked in an applied the atomic drop to Buddy as Clardy was counting Al out of the ring. Al managed to get back into the ring and pinned Fuller as Clardy turned his attention back to the ring action. The Greenes won the fall and the match and advanced in the tournament. Fuller & Curtis were so enraged at Clardy that rather than explain to him what had happened, they each demonstrated by applying an atomic drop to the hapless referee.

The Greenes didn’t fare quite as well in their next match-up. They faced Lee Fields & newcomer Don Kent. Kent made a fine partner to Fields and the two did very well considering that they had never teamed before. It didn’t start so well as the Greenes beat down Kent in their corner. Al rammed Kent’s head into brother Don’s knee and pinned him to take the first fall. Kent got his revenge in the second as he spent most of the fall punishing Don Greene with a hammerlock. Each time Al Greene tried to come to his brother’s aid, either Fields or referee Rocky McGuire stopped him. Finally Kent hit Don Greene with a series of dropkicks and pinned him to take the second fall. At the start of the third fall, Don Greene had his right hand wrapped in tape claiming that it was injured. What he did was use it to rub across Kent’s eyes to blind him. Finally Kent & Fields managed to tie Don in the ropes and Kent unwrapped the tape while Lee kept Al at bay. Fields & Kent then battered both Greenes around the ring at will. Lee Fields ended it all when he pinned Don Greene to take the third fall and the match.

The ladies returned as Mama Villa & Joyce Adams faced off with Cora Combs & Lois Cook in a tag team match. Combs & Cook took the first fall as Cora pinned Adams. Mama Villa came back and forced Cook to submit to a toehold to take the second fall. In the third fall, Villa was in the middle of a series of bodyslams on Cook when Combs came in and pushed Villa down with Cook on top of her. Referee Charley Whatley tolled the three count and the match was over. When Mama Villa realized what had happened she and Adams tore Whatley’s shirt off to express their displeasure.

The midget wrestlers also returned to the area as Cowboy Bradley defeated Tiny Roe.

A newcomer arrived in the area by the name of Tosh Togo who defeated another newcomer named Alex Medina in his debut.

Others in the area this month were Jack Curtis Jr., Carlos Rodriquez, Joe McCarthy, Joe Scarpa, Henry Spindola and newcomer Howard Martin.
OCTOBER:

The Mighty Yankee continued his superiority in the area, beating everyone in sight and holding tight to the Gulf Coast Heavyweight title. But that was all about to come crashing down. Lee Fields laid down a winner take all challenge to the masked man. He requested a no disqualification, no time limit battle in which not only the title would be at stake, but also the Yankee’s mask. Promoter Skip Wetjen agreed to make the match and to ensure that there be a referee who could handle the situation he recruited former undefeated heavyweight boxing champion of the world, Rocky Marciano. The Yankee was supremely confident and agreed to all terms. His confidence seemed well founded as he won the first fall in less than a minute as he attacked Fields at the bell and didn’t let up until he had Lee pinned. Not satisfied, the masked ruffian then kicked Fields out of the ring, which drew a warning from Marciano. The boxing great herded the Yankee into a corner and was giving him a stern lecture. The Yankee gave Marciano a little back talk and had the “Brocton Bomber” on the verge of exploding. The Yankee quickly realized the error he had made, so he jumped over the ropes and fled for the dressing room. The second fall saw both grapplers drawing warnings from Marciano for their rough tactics. Fields finally used a series of bodyslams and dropkicks to pin the Yankee and win the fall. The third fall was hot and heavy with the advantage seesawing back and forth several times. At one point the Yankee had Fields trapped in a corner and was giving him a real going over. Marciano warned the masked menace several times to break things up. When it became apparent that he had no intentions of heeding Rocky’s warning, he was grabbed by the ex-champ and dragged to the middle of the ring. Fields, sensing an opportunity, took advantage of the situation and laid a haymaker onto the jaw of the Yankee and fell on him for the pin. Marciano quickly counted to three and the Yankee’s days as a masked champion were over. Or were they? The Yankee was livid over what he rightly deemed Marciano’s interference and refused to unmask. He berated Marciano severely, but never made the mistake of raising his fists to challenge him, much to the dismay of the 5000 fans in attendance. After giving the Rock a severe tongue-lashing he went to the dressing room….still masked. Alabama Boxing & Wrestling Commissioner Preston Hall followed him into the dressing room and the fans waited with bated breath for someone to emerge. Someone did emerge and it was the Yankee. He still had his mask on, but it was pushed up to the top of his head so that his face was exposed. Hundreds of fans converged on him, hoping to get a look at the face that they had hated for so many months but had been unable to see. No one recognized him at all. The Yankee walked up to the edge of the ring, got the announcer’s microphone and stated that his name was Ray Villmer. But the fans didn’t care what his name was, their hero Lee Fields was the new Gulf Coast champion. As it turned out the Mighty Yankee, with or without the mask, was never to be seen in the area again.

Fields and the Mighty Yankee also had a wild series of battles over Fields’ Mississippi State title, which would see the title held up after a particularly chaotic match in Jackson.

Lee’s brothers, Don & Bobby Fields didn’t start the month well as they dropped the World tag team title to Don & Al Greene in Nashville on the 13th.

The Fields Brothers came home and faced the rugged team of Joe McCarthy & John Smith in an exiting bout. Don used a monkey-flip to pin Smith and take the first fall. Smith came back to force Bobby to submit to his Russian bear hug to take the second fall. Smith & McCarthy had softened Bobby up by continually whipping him into the turnbuckles. In the third fall, both of the Fields boys took turns whipping Smith around the ring until he managed to tag out to McCarthy. McCarthy didn’t fare any better as Bobby hit him with a series of body tackles and then clamped on a Boston crab to force him to submit, giving the fall and the match to the Fields boys.

This win must have done wonders for Don & Bobby because five days later on the 26th, they defeated the Greenes in Birmingham to regain the World tag team titles.

Fresh off their World title triumph, Don & Bobby returned to the Gulf Coast to face off against John Smith & Tosh Togo in the final bout of a tournament to name the new Southern Tag Team champions. Smith, incidentally, was now demanding to be called “Soldat Gorky” and claiming his Russian heritage. The Fields boys worked over Gorky’s leg in the first fall before Don was able to make him submit to take the fall. Togo came back in the second to even the score as he forced Bobby to submit to a claw hold. In the third both Don & Bobby spent much of the fall knocking Gorky around the ring. Don finally caught the Russian in double toehold and had him pinned. But referee Rocky Smith was busy trying to chase Bobby, trying to keep Tog from breaking up the pin, out of the ring. As Smith’s back was turned, Togo hit Don with a judo chop. When the referee turned back around, he found Gorky on top of Don and tolled the three count. Tosh Togo & Soldat Gorky were the new Southern Tag Team Champions.

Don & Bobby had defeated Joe McCarthy & Al (Spider) Galento earlier in the evening to make it to the final. Gorky & Togo had beaten Dick Dunn & Howard Martin.

Others in the area in October were Don Kent, Carlos Rodriguez, Jesse James, Charlie Whatley, Alex Medina and Jesse Venegas.
NOVEMBER:

NWA Heavyweight Champion of the World, Pat O’Connor made an appearance in the area. He put the title on the line against the always-rugged Joe McCarthy. O’Connor had McCarthy reeling with a series of bodyblocks in the first fall. O’Connor tried it once too often and missed his final try. McCarthy took advantage of O’Connor’s temporary blunder and tossed the champion over the top rope. The referee didn’t notice this infraction, but the ringside fans quickly clued him in on the fact. Swayed by their protests, the referee disqualified McCarthy and gave the fall to the popular champion from New Zealand. O’Connor captured the second fall with a rolling shoulder slide to pin McCarthy and remain the World heavyweight title-holder.

Jackie & Donnie, the Fabulous Fargos immediately challenged Tosh Togo & Soldat Gorky for the Southern Tag Team title. Jackie Fargo took the first fall for his team as he pinned Gorky after applying an atomic drop. Referee Rube Wright went ahead and counted Gorky out although neither he nor Jackie were the legal men in the ring at the time. In fact, Wright had a hard time maintaining any control of the wild comings and goings throughout the whole match. In fact, the first fall was the only fall that was officially fought. After Wright had made his ruling and left the ring, all four men locked horns again and the war was on. All four men choked, kicked and slugged themselves silly all of the building. They fought among the fans and sent spectators and chairs scattering across the arena. Finally, the Fargos got the better of Togo & Gorky and left them laying among a pile of broken chairs. They climbed back into the ring and declared themselves the winners and new champions. They grabbed the belts and paraded around the ring with them around their waists until a state athletic commissioner took up the belts and declared the bout a no contest. The belts were held up briefly then returned to Togo & Gorky.

The Japanese/Russian coalition next faced the team they had defeated in the tournament to went the titles, Don & Bobby Fields. Gorky took the first fall for his team as he managed to choke Don Fields down enough to pin him. The Fields boys captured the second fall in less that 90 seconds as Bobby held Gorky in a full-nelson and Don leapt off the ropes and hit the Russian in the chest with both feet. Don then pinned the former John Smith to take the fall. In the third, Togo tortured Bobby with judo chops and had him bleeding from the forehead. Then Gorky grabbed Booby and pinned his arms behind him as Togo reached into his tights for a hand full of salt. Just as Togo released the salt, Bobby managed to duck and Gorky got the whole load in his face. As Soldat writhed around on the mat in pain, Togo bowed over his partner trying to apologize. Don Fields rushed into the ring and grabbed the surprised Japanese terror and slammed him to the mat. Don then pinned Togo winning the fall and the match. Don & Bobby Fields were now the Southern tag team champions as well as World tag team champions.

However, their dual championship reigns did last long as the Fields boys dropped the World tag team titles to the Fabulous Fargos on the 23rd in Birmingham, Alabama.

Togo was upset at Gorky and blamed him for the loss of the titles. He felt he needed a better partner and therefore recruited fellow Japanese warrior Tor Yamato to be his new partner. The Japanese duo issued a challenge to Don & Bobby Fields. The champions accepted but would not put the titles on the line. Togo & Yamato made good use of their judo chops in the first fall as they battered the Fields boys around until finally pinning Bobby to take the fall. Don Fields came back in the second fall, whipping Yamato several times into the turnbuckles and pinning him to take the fall. Yamato fell victim again to the Fields boys in the third. Don maneuvered Tor into the Fields’ corner close enough for Bobby to grab him from behind. As Bobby held Yamato, Don blasted him with a dropkick. Bobby then released Yamato and he crumbled to the mat. Don simply pinned him to take the fall and the match.

A newcomer named Luigi Macera arrived on the scene and in his first match in the area he went to a 30-minute draw against another newcomer, Ricky Monroe, billed as the brother of Rocky (Sputnik) Monroe. This would be Ricky Monroe’s only appearance in the area.

Macera made an enemy in Pancho Villa as the two faced off in a match. Macera took the first fall by pinning Villa after a series of dropkicks. Villa came back to take the second when he pinned Macera who had missed a flying dropkick. Macera had Villa trapped in a corner in the third fall and was giving him a good pasting when Villa loaded something into the elbow brace he was wearing and cracked Macera on the jaw with it. Macera went down and Villa pinned him to take the fall and the match. Macera demanded and received a rematch and was bent on revenge. He jumped Villa before the bell even rang and soon had the Mexican badman bleeding from the head. Macera just kept beating on Villa, who could only keep bleeding. Finally Macera pinned the totally beaten Villa to take the first fall. The two went at it again during the rest period and try as he might, Villa was no match for the angry Macera. Finally the referee stopped the match because of Villa’s bloody condition and awarded it to Macera. Now it was Villa’s turn to make demands and he challenged Macera to meet him in a Mexican Death Match. Macera agreed, but wound up wishing he hadn’t. Villa totally outclassed the young Italian and battered him senseless with a metal object hidden in his elbow brace. The only thing that kept Macera from being totally destroyed was a surprise visit to ringside by Lee Fields. Fields had been taking it easy since winning the Gulf Coast title from the Mighty Yankee several weeks prior and was not even on the card. He came out to ringside, knocked Villa off of Macera and carried the youngster back to the dressing room. Macera was counted out and Villa was awarded the match.

Pancho Villa was on a winning streak in November. He defeated Lee Fields in a tournament final in Laurel to claim the Mississippi State championship.

An opposition group reared its head in November. Former Gulf Coast referee Jimmy Barrett was listed as the matchmaker and was staging shows at the Fort Whiting National Guard Armory in Mobile, which was the same building Buddy Fuller was staging his shows in. Furthermore, they were putting their cards on Thursday nights, the night following Fuller’s cards. The actual promoters behind this was Clyde Walker and Joe Gunther. Gunther had been the promoter in the Gulf Coast area in the 1940s and early 1950s before selling the territory to the Welch Family in 1953. He was still promoting in Louisiana and most of the wrestlers used on these cards were working there at the time.

Here are the results of the cards they ran:

Thursday November 5th –

· China Mira defeated The Black Kitten by disqualification
· Frankie Kovac defeated Carlos Mendoza
· The Black Panther defeated Nick Carter

Thursday November 12th –

· Nell Stewart defeated the Black Kitten by disqualification
· Nick Carter defeated Firpo Zbyszko
· The Black Panther & The Black Kitten defeated Frankie Kovac & Nell Stewart

Thursday November 19th –

· Nick Adams vs Carlos Mendoza
· The Black Panther vs Frankie Kovac

Note: the November 19th card was canceled when less than 60 customers showed up to witness the card. This was the last this promotion was heard from.

Others appearing for the Gulf Coast promotion this month were Dick Dunn and Lester Welch.
DECEMBER:

Pancho Villa was hopping mad a Lee Fields for spoiling his fun while beating Luigi Macera in a Mexican Death Match. He challenged Fields to a match and Lee quickly accepted. He and Villa were old enemies and Lee was more than willing to face him. Villa showed that he was more than a match for the popular Oklahoman as he battered Fields about in the first fall. He pinned Fields with a little help of pulling Lee’s trunks, a move unseen by referee Joe Skipper. Fields was counted out and Villa was awarded the first fall. Lee came back strong in the second fall and had Villa reeling with a series of flying tackles.

Lee Fields slams Pancho Villa

But Fields went to the well once too often and Villa sidestepped one the tackles and sent Lee flying from the ring. Fields grabbed up a ringside chair and tried to reenter the ring but was stopped by Skipper who was conked in the head with the chair for his trouble. With Skipper down on the mat, Villa grabbed the chair from Fields and knocked him back down to the ground. Villa then helped Skipper to his feet and pointed out to him that Fields was still outside the ring. Skipper counted Fields out and awarded the fall and the match to Villa. Bruce Austin, who had been serving as Fields’ second, climbed onto the ring apron to protest the decision, but a right hand from Villa sent him sprawling on the floor right next to Fields.

Villa was now making noise about a Gulf Coast title match and told matchmaker Rocky McGuire to bring anyone on. Villa told the fans that he was a winner and that “everyone loves a winner”. McGuire brought in Buddy Fuller and matched him with the Mexican badman. Fuller started out in fine fashion as he hit Villa with a series of dropkicks and pinned him to take the first fall. Villa came back strong in the second fall, pounding Fuller into submission before pinning him to take the fall. Villa continued to pound on the weakened Fuller in the third fall until Buddy managed to pick the hefty Mexican up for a bodyslam. Just as Fuller got him up Villa shifted his weight and the weakened Fuller staggered to the ropes. Villa was tossed over the top rope and as a result Fuller was disqualified. The fall and the match went to Villa.

Billy Wicks returned to the area and quickly regained the Gulf Coast title as he defeated Lee Fields in Pensacola.
Wicks was named as the next opponent for Pancho Villa, who was amassing quite a string of victories. Wicks had a surprise waiting for him as he entered the ring. The referee was a newcomer to the area known as “Treacherous” Phillips. Wicks seemed to recognize the man and didn’t want to have anything to do with him. But Phillips assured him that he was indeed an official referee and would serve impartially. As Wicks turned to remove his ring jacket, Phillips quickly signaled for the bell, allowing Villa to get the jump on Wicks. Wicks, whose arms were tied up in his own jacket was no match for Villa and absorbed a terrible beating. Villa then pinned Wicks as Phillips counted to three. The first fall was awarded to Villa. Wicks was fully recovered at the start of the second fall and went right after Villa. He was giving the badman a real going over until Phillips grabbed him by the hair and pulled him off of Villa. Wicks was incensed but went right back after Villa. Again Phillips grabbed him by the hair and pulled him away. This time Wicks started giving Phillips quite a tongue-lashing. But he made the mistake of turning his back on Villa, who smashed him in the back of the head. Wicks went down like a shot and Villa pinned him to take the fall and the match. Pancho and the “Treacherous” one barely made it back to the dressing room ahead of a lynch mob.

Wicks quickly challenged Treacherous Phillips to a match. Phillips accepted and the match was set. Wicks took the first fall when he pinned Phillips after a devastating backdrop. Wicks tried it again in the second, but the wily Phillips held onto the ropes and delivered a kick to Wicks’ face. Billy went down and Phillips fell on him for the pin to even the match at a fall apiece. The two combatants charged each other at the bell signaling the third and deciding fall. As they fought they rolled out of the ring and continued their battle on the arena floor. Referee Charlie Laye tried to separate the two but soon gave up and declared the bout a no contest.

Lee Fields defeated Pancho Villa to win the Mississippi State title in Laurel.

Mario Galento returned after a brief absence and defeated Dick Dunn after a rousing battle. Galento choked the popular Dunn into submission and pinned him to take the one-fall match. Galento tried the same tactic in a match with Luigi Macera but wound up being disqualified by referee Charlie Carr for choking Macera on the top rope.

Lady wrestlers returned as Ella Waldek teamed with Tosh Togo to face Billy Wicks & Dot Dotson. Dotson pinned Waldek to take the first fall for her team. Waldek had whipped Dotson into the corner and Dotson was hung in the ropes. Waldek took advantage of the situation and bounced off the ropes and dove into Dotson’s midsection. Not satisfied, Waldek bounced off the ropes and tried it a second time. This time Dotson worked herself free and moved out of the way just in time as Waldek spun upside down into the turnbuckle. Dotson then picked Waldek up, slammed her to the mat and pinned her for the fall. In the second fall, Togo used a series of judo chops to open up a cut on Wicks’ head. Just as Wicks seemed through, he surprised Togo with a dropkick and pinned him to take the fall and the match for his team.

The Corsicans, Joe & Jean made their way to the Gulf Coast and faced off with the quick team of Dick Dunn & Luigi Macera. Corsica Jean pinned Macera after a series of bodyslams to take the opening fall for his team, but Dunn evened things up in the second by pinning Corsica Joe. In the third fall, Dunn had Jean reeling with a series of monkey flips. But Dunn miscalculated a dropkick and slammed into the mat headfirst. Jean took advantage of this and punched and kicked Dunn mercilessly. But each time Jean had a chance to pin Dunn, he would snatch him up by the hair at the count of two. After several warnings by referee Bud Clardy Jean finally pinned Dunn and took the fall and the match for the Corsicans.

On December 30th, it was announced that Lee Fields was making his final appearance in a Gulf Coast ring. It was explained that he had purchased the promotion from Buddy Fuller and effective January 1, 1960 he would be the new promoter.

For Lee’s final appearance he teamed with his brothers Don & Bobby, the Southern tag team champs, to face the Corsicans & Pancho Villa. Villa took the first fall when he pinned Don Fields after slamming him in the face with a knee. Bobby Fields pinned Corsica Jean after all three Fields boys took turns slamming him to the mat. The third fall saw all six men in the ring at the same time slugging it out until referee Charley Laye gave up all hope of gaining control and declared the match a no contest. His actions were ignored, however, and the combatants continued to slug it out for another ten minutes. Laye finally called for backup from referee Rocky McGuire and commissioner Preston Hall. It took the three officials and a squadron of policemen to restore order and separate the free-swinging wrestlers.

Don, Bobby & Lee Fields

Also in the area at the end of the year were Joe McCarthy and Lester Welch.