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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