Wily Coyote

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

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.

More Police Protection

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)

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.

Call the Cops

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

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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Aliquippa 1950-1970

Includes nearby spot shows

September 19, 1950
Aliquippa High School Gym (att. 1,700)
1) Sandor Kovacs b. Ivan Rasputin, DQ, 20:12
2) Jean Holland & Carol Cook b. Beverly Lehmer & Nell Stewart
3) Little Beaver b. Tom Thumb

July 16, 1951
Aliquippa High School Stadium (att. 1,100)
1) Primo Carnera b. Jim (Goon) Henry, 18:50
2) Lily Bitter b. Mae Weston
3) Bobby Ford & Joe Scarpello b. Paul Orth & Jack Vansky. DQ

February 17, 1959
Beaver Falls High School Gym (att. 1,150)
1) Gene Stanlee drew The Sheik, one fall each, 60:00
2) Ed Faetti drew Arnold Skaaland, 30:00
3) Charles DeVona b. Chris Averoff, 22:00
4) Abe Jacobs b. Tom Bradley, 19:00
 
November 9, 1959
Aliquippa Hopewell High Gym (att. 1,600)
1) Johnny Valentine drew Bearcat Wright, one fall each, 60:00
2) Haystack Calhoun b. Jack Terry and Ed Faietta, 15:00
3) Bruno Sammartino b. Jack Vansky, 3:27
4) Abe Jacobs b. Kenny Ackles, 2/3 falls

February 25, 1960

Midland High School Gym (att. 950)
1) Johnny Valentine b. Marvin Mercer
2) Bearcat Wright b. Pat Kelly, 2/3 falls
3) Pampero Firpo b. Luis Martinez
4) Pampero Firpo b. Tony Altomare
(Firpo wrestled twice due to snow preventing other wrestlers from getting to gym)

June 20, 1960
Aliquippa Hopewell High Gym
1) Red Taylor & Handy Andy b. Irish Jackie & Billy the Kid
2) Dick Beyer b. Baron Gattoni, DQ
3) Waldo Von Erich b. Danno O'Shocker, 21:23

September 3, 1960

Aliquippa High School
1) Yukon Eric vs Ed Faietta
2) Red Taylor vs Pee Wee James
(Free admission show sponsored by United Steelworkers during Labor Day festivities.)

December 10, 1960
Aliquippa Hopewell High Gym (att. 1,000)
1) Dick Beyer & Reggie Parks b. Waldo Von Erich & Baron Gattoni, 2/3 falls
2) Bobby Bell b. Ramon Lopez, 2 straight falls
3) Billy Parks b. Frank Valois

February 4, 1961

Beaver Falls High School Gym
1) Crusher Lisowski vs Ace Freeman
2) Farmer McGruder vs Pee Wee Lopez
3) Jack Vansky & Pete Kovacs vs Marvin Mercer & Charlie Fox

November 16, 1963
Center Township High Gym (att. 1,233)
1) Ace Freeman & Sonny Boy Cassidy b. TNT Napolitan (Tinker Todd)) & Fuzzy Cupid, 2/3 falls, one by DQ
2) Klondike Bill drew Baron Gattoni, DCOR
3) Johnny DeFazio drew Chet Wallick, one fall each

April 17, 1964
Rochester High School Gym
1) Cowboy Bill Watts b. Masked Destroyer, DQ
2) Cowboy Bradley & Jamaica Kid b. Farmer Pete & Pedro Gonzales
3) Ace Freeman b. Joe Abby, 13:04
4) Baron Gattoni b. Chuck Martoni, COR
5) Johnny DeFazio drew Duke Hoffman, 20:00
 
April 15, 1967
Rochester High School Gym
1) George Steele b. The Battman
2) Spiros Arion b. Dr. Bill Miller, DQ
3) Johnny DeFazio & Ace Freeman b. Jim Grabmire & Ron Romano, 2/3 falls
4) Bobby (Hurricane) Hunt drew Chuck Martoni

May 19, 1967
Beaver Falls High School Gym
1) Bruno Sammartino vs George Steele
2) Dr. Bill Miller vs The Battman
3) Fuzzy Cupid & Little Brutus vs Jamaica Kid & Irish Jackie

November 23, 1967
Beaver Falls High School Gym
1) Bruno Sammartino & The Battman vs Prof. Toru Tanaka & Smasher Sloan
2) Johnny DeFazio vs Tony Altomare
3) Ace Freeman vs Johnny Rodz
4) Frank Holtz vs Miguel Serrano

July 15, 1968
Beaver Falls High School Gym, (att. 1,000)
1) Bruno Sammartino NC Lou Albano & Tony Altomare, 15:38, after The Battman jumped into the ring
2) Johnny DeFazio b. George Steele, DQ
3) Man Mountain Cannon b. Frank Holtz, 12:00
4) The Battman b. Jim Grabmire, 18:48
5) Ron Romano drew John L. Sullivan, 15:00

November 30, 1968

Monaca St. John's School Gym
1) Kentucky Butcher) & Killer Kowalski NC Antonio Pugliese & Tony Marino
2) Lou Albano b. John L. Sullivan
3) Johnny DeFazio drew Tony Altomare

December 21, 1968
Aliquippa High School Gym
1) Bruno Sammartino vs John Quinn
2) Killer Kowalski vs Tony Marino
3) Lou Albano vs John L. Sullivan
4) Tony Altomare vs Antonio Pugliese

January 17, 1970
Beaver Falls High School Gym
1) Bruno Sammartino & Tony Marino vs Killer Kowalski & Prof. Toru Tanaka
2) Johnny DeFazio vs Jim Grabmire
3) John L. Sullivan vs Ron Romano

November 6, 1970
Rochester High School Gym (att. 1,000)
1) Joe LeDuc & Baron Mikel Scicluna b. Bruno Sammartino & Johnny DeFazio
2) Vicki Williams & Sharon Joyce b. Toni Rose & Tippy Wells (Fran Gravette)
3) Bobby (Hurricane) Hunt drew Jim Dillon, 20:00

Thanks to J Michael Kenyon

NWF Title History


NWF World Title

Johnny Powers (announced as champion June 11, 1971 after having said to have beaten Freddie Blassie in California)

Waldo von Erich (b. Powers, August 18, 1971, Cleveland, Ohio)

Dominic DeNucci (b. von Erich, December 2, 1971, Cleveland)

Waldo von Erich (b. DeNucci, January 5, 1972, Buffalo, NY)

Ernie Ladd (b. von Erich, June 2, 1972, Cleveland, Ohio)

Abdullah the Butcher (b. Ladd, June 24, 1972, Akron, Ohio)

Johnny Valentine (b. Abdullah the Butcher, October 19, 1972)

Jacques Rougeau (won tournament January 24, 1973, Buffalo, NY after Valentine stripped for non-defense. Actually had a money dispute)

Belt not defended through much of 1973

Johnny Powers

Antonio Inoki (b. Powers, December 10, 1973, Tokyo)

 

NWF North American Title

Moose Cholak (announced as champion November 1968)

Johnny Powers (champion as of May 1969, no recorded bout with Cholak and they were tagging)

Dick Brower (b. Powers, January 1, 1970, Cleveland, Ohio)

Johnny Powers

Dick Brower (b. Powers, July 2, 1970, Cleveland, Ohio)

Johnny Powers

Ernie Ladd (b. Powers, November 1970, Cleveland, Ohio)

Johnny Powers (b. Ladd on WUAB TV, April 3, 1971)

Waldo von Erich (b. Powers, May 27, 1971, Cleveland, Ohio)

Johnny Powers (b. von Erich, November 17, 1971, Buffalo)

Johnny Valentine (b. Powers, September 1, 1972, Cleveland, Ohio)

Ernie Ladd (b. Valentine, November 22, 1972, Buffalo, NY)

Johnny Powers (b. Valentine, Nov. 23, 1972, Cleveland, Ohio)** (yes, two changes to different wrestlers)

Eric the Animal (b. Powers, February 17, 1973, Akron, Ohio)

Johnny Powers (b. Eric the Animal, May 5, 1973, Cleveland, Ohio)

J.B. Psycho (b. Powers, June 16, 1973, Buffalo, NY)

Johnny Powers (b. Psycho, June 24 1973, Akron, Ohio)

Ernie Ladd (b. Powers, January 31, 1974, Cleveland, Ohio)

belt retired

 

NWF World Tag Team Titles

Mitsu Arakawa and Dr. Moto (announced as champions upon promotion opening in 1968)

Doc & Mike Gallagher (announced as champions, only recorded bout with Arakawa and Moto has Gallaghers defending)

Johnny Powers & Moose Cholak (b. Gallaghers, January 23, 1969, Cleveland, Ohio)

Hartford & Reginald Love (b. Powers & Cholak, April 3, 1969, Cleveland, Ohio)

Donny and Johnny Fargo (as of 1971)

Chief White Owl & Luis Martinez (as of mid-1971, declared champions by virtue of fictitious victory in Cincinnati; actually Johnny suffered broken leg)

Kurt von Hess & Eric the red (won tournament, July 22, 1971, Cleveland, Ohio)

Mitsu Arakawa and Yoshino Sato (January 19, 1972, Buffalo, NY)

Dominic DeNucci & Tony Parisi (early 1972)

Donny & Johnny Fargo (b. Parisi and DeNucci, May 11, 1972, Cleveland, Ohio and May 24, 1972, Buffalo, NY)

Johnny Powers & Jacques Rougeau (May 2, 1973, Buffalo, NY, won tournament)

Geeto Mongol & J.B. Psycho (May 1973)

belt retired

 

Numerous teams were advertised in print as tag team champions during this era. This is the most complete NWF title history and it's certainly lacking, as you will find print ads touting guys as champions who weren't. This is based on my own records, correspondents reports, live shows attended and other material.

 

The NWF also advertised a U.S. tag title and a Brass Knucks title sporadically during this period