This photo is from May 1973. Out of the blue, a fellow appeared in the crowd at the wrestling matches at Jamestown (N.Y.) High School, claiming to be a wrestler. He was wearing a garish purple suit, a cowboy hat and had a tiny cigar in his cigarette holder. Best of all, he had a championship belt. My brother and I went over to investigate between matches, and he said his name was Stephan Dale Douglas Rupp, and he was The Coyote.
The Coyote with his belt; for what title, I do not know.
At the time, we didn’t know what a mark was. After all, we were just teenagers. People didn’t just walk down the streets with wrestling belts over their shoulders in that era; the days of Dave Millican and Rico Mann were quite a ways off. In retrospect, we should have inspected the belt, but I didn’t think of that at 15.
Not that we totally bought the story. We were savvy enough readers of wrestling magazines that “The Coyote” was an unfamiliar name. He was a little vague about where he had been wrestling—”all over” was his response, I think. But we took him more or less at face value, and tried to figure out what was next. Perhaps the NWF had created a new champion and sent him to mingle among the hoi polloi before his debut. The fed was losing momentum at that time and maybe it was looking for a new face with a new angle. The results from the card that May 31, 1973 night testify to that.
Needless to say, we never saw The Coyote in any results from the Buffalo-Cleveland-Pittsburgh area. I suspect this is the lone surviving picture of him in our territory. Maybe he tried the same work elsewhere; I don’t know. But you know—looking back 41 years, it wasn’t a half-bad gimmick.
Continuing with the theme of police protection, the Love Brothers were a riot and also could cause one. Johnny Powers put John Evans and Wes Hutchings together as Reginald and Hartford Love in the spring of 1969. They were together for about eight years, almost exclusively around the Great Lakes area until they finished up with the IWA.
The Love Brothers, March 1972 (credit: Bill Wippert)
This shot by Bill Wippert probably was taken March 29, 1972, when the Loves were disqualified at the Buffalo Aud against Tony Parisi and Dom DeNucci. It looks like four guards here, unless there’s one standing behind Hartford. The security was essential; the Loves got shot at in Akron, Ohio, an incident we related in The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: The Tag Teams. Cleveland was trouble, too. Reggie was signing a rare autograph for a kid when a flying bottle hit him in the shoulder, ricocheted into the youth, and knocked him out. As Reggie recalled:
I looked over, and the whole place was looking at me except for one guy. I knew that was him. He was looking off somewhere else, see? He could have killed me or that boy. It was a full bottle of beer. I chased him right up and out of the street. Here, right beside the arena in Cleveland, is two bars, and one of them is a black bar. This guy was black. I thought, “What the hell am I doing? I get this guy here, but if we empty out that bar, I’m dead.” So I just let him go. Here there was a bus pulling up, there’s snow all over the place, and I’m walking around in my wrestling gear in the wintertime.
Still getting the kinks worked out as we move this to more of a blog format, which seems to be the trend these days. I have to relink a lot of photos.
Waldo von Erich, 1972
I wanted to add this photo though, which is was in a different pile than the ones of Waldo von Erich on the site. Bill Wippert took this in Buffalo on Feb. 9, 1972. von Erich successfully defended the NWF world title against Tony Parisi on that card. His reign as NWF world champ was the longest in the brief history of the promotion. To my knowledge, this is the only shot of him with the world belt, which Johnny Powers told me the promotion had made. I suppose others could be in someone’s basement; if so, I wish they’d materialize.
What’s noteworthy about the picture is the sheer number of Buffalo’s finest. There’s four visible in the picture and they are very tightly knit around Waldo. It’s a sign of the hatred he riled up; Parisi and Dom DeNucci were big-nosed spaghetti benders, and those were Waldo’s gentler remarks. Greg Oliver profiled him in his Canadians book, and Greg and I wrote a long piece on him in our Heels book. Still, there was a lot that we left out of the bios. One was his explanation of the style that earned him so much police protection:
I never went out there and told people I would rip the guy’s arm off, or bury him, because they know that’s bullshit. I would just go out and say, [dropping into a low voice] ‘I enjoy twisting their arms, making them hurt and suffer.’ See, people grasp that.
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Gorgeous George bombed in his first Madison Square Garden showing in 1949. That's well known. What's less known is that he fared no better in Pittsburgh the next night. Here's the story.
Slowly but surely as we work in a new scanner. Here is a rare Monday show at the Civic Arena and one from 1949 that reads like real wrestling journalism. Also take a look at the details from this 1953 card.