Morgan’s Corner – 01/18/09

Welcome to the first edition of Morgan’s Corner. Here you will read about different subjects pertaining to Pro Wrestling. In this edition of Morgan’s Corner you will learn where the fictitious name for this section came from.

It all began on August 3, 1934 in a small town called, McKinney Texas. A suburb in Collin County, some 30 miles north of Dallas. A man by the name of William Dee Calhoun was born. William was unusually large as a child. By the time he reached 14 years of age, he already weighed 300 lbs. By the time he was in his early 20s, Calhoun had tipped the scales at over 600 lbs. Due to Williams enormous size, he owed an astonishing degree of physical strength in that he was usually able to perform the manual labor of several men while working on his family’s farm. In fact, legend says that Calhoun was eventually discovered by a group of traveling wrestling promoters while physically moving his cows by literally picking them up off the ground and carrying them across the field. Regardless, Calhoun first broke into the sport in 1955; and he began competing for local promoter (and the inaugural NWA World Champion) Orville Brown, who recognized that a behemoth of his size could become a major box office attraction for a sport that was in great need of added popularity.

Initially performing under the name Country Boy Calhoun, he soon established himself as a feature attraction due to his mammoth size while performing in various regional territories, including Houston, Kansas City, and even in Canada. However, he first burst upon the national scene while appearing on Art Linkletters House Party, a televised variety show where Calhouns brute strength was showcased as he tossed bales of hay into a high loft. As a result, he was consequently given the nickname Haystacks; and recognizing the showbiz potential of such a gimmick, Calhoun looked to exaggerate on his hillbilly persona by adopting the stage birthplace of Morgans Corner, Arkansas while sporting a bushy beard, white tee-shirt, blue overalls, and a genuine horseshoe around his neck. Despite his imposing presence, Haystacks Calhoun nevertheless possessed a mild-mannered reputation as a charming country boy; and he thus became a favorite of the fans as word quickly spread of this 640 pound colossus. Moreover while promoters rarely considered Calhoun to be championship material, he seldom ever lost a match; and he was often booked in special attraction bouts, competing in handicap matches and battle royals, much the same way Andre the Giant would be booked a couple of decades later.

Throughout the 1960s, Haystacks Calhoun continued to serve among the sports most sought-after box office attractions, as his presence usually ensured sell-outs and record gate receipts for industry promoters. Being the only man to lift Haystacks off his feet contributed to the career and legend of Bruno Sammartino. Although mainly active in the eastern half of the United States, he also wrestled in Australia on tour with other American wrestlers in bouts promoted by U.S. promoter Sam Menacker. He also wrestled for NWA All Star Wrestling in Vancouver, where he twice won the NWA Canadian Tag Team title with Don Leo Jonathan. He formed a tag team with fellow 600+ pounder Mountain Man Mike on the west coast. At combined weight of over 1200 pounds they are still today the heaviest tag team ever in professional wrestling. After engaging in a memorable feud against legendary rule-breaker Dick the Bruiser, Calhoun then generally traveled from territory to territory, never staying in one region for too long so as to maintain his status as a celebrated babyface enforcer. As a result, Haystacks subsequently established himself as one of the most well-known celebrities in North America, with his mainstream popularity often even eclipsing that of the World Heavyweight Champion. Moreover, Calhoun soon emerged as perhaps the sportâ??s premier break-out television superstar, as he was a familiar sight on Thursday night televised wrestling shows across the country

Despite never really challenging for the World Title, Haystacks Calhoun nonetheless excelled in the tag team division; and in 1966 he won both the Tri-States U.S. Tag Team Titles and the NWA Canadian Tag Team Titles while teaming with Jack Brisco and Don Leo Jonathan, respectively.

Moreover, he then helped attract fans to a fledgling Northeast promotion known as the World Wide Wrestling Federation, where he was a consistent attraction at New Yorks famed Madison Square Garden. On May 30, 1973, Calhoun even paired with Tony Garea to defeat the feared Japanese duo of Mr. Fuji & Prof. Toru Tanaka for the WWWF Tag Team Titles; however, his massive weight and ailing health eventually forced him into retirement, and he was ultimately confined to a double-wide trailer after losing his left leg to diabetes in 1986.

He died at age 55 on December 7, 1989; and WWE has since honored him among its 50 greatest wrestlers. He is buried in Scott Cemetery, Collin County, Texas. His daughter donated mementos of his wrestling career to the Collin County museum.

From a town that never existed rose a giant of a man, Haystack Calhoun. Haystack was known all across the world. And I dedicate this article to the big men of Pro-Wrestling. That hardly ever held a title but for some reason always won our hearts

So now you know what created the name of this section. Theres many Morgans Corners around the country. But the one that never existed is the most dearest to me.

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