Greg Gillies “Mr. Gillis” 12/23/07
Greg Gillies, better known to fans in British Columbia as Mr. Gillis and Doby Gillis, died on Sunday of a heart attack at his home in B.C. He was 44.
Born in Coronach, Saskatchewan on June 14, 1963, Gillies broke into pro wrestling in 1985, trained by the likes of Leo Burke, Ron Ritchie, Ron Starr, Bulldog Bob Brown and Stompin’ Paul Peller in and around Calgary.
Besides the Canadian west and the Pacific Northwest of the United States, Gillies spent time in Mexico as Mr. Atlas, Puerto Rico as The Lion, Missouri as Greg Montana, and he also worked in Germany, Tennessee and Florida. He is survived by two children.
“The Equalizer” Tim Foster 11/27/07
Tim Foster, of Rushville, IN, died November 27 at Rush Memorial Hospital. Tim wrestled as The Equalizer for Wild Championship Wrestling Outlaws in Indiana and was 46 years of age.
Dave Sheldon (Angel of Death) 11/24/07
“Angel of Death” Dave Sheldon, passed away on November 24 at his home in Bedford, TX.
CAC’s Red Bastien was instrumental in Sheldon’s training in his quest to become a pro-wrestler. Sheldon worked for many North American territories during the 1980s and early 1990s including Stampede Wrestling, World Class Championship Wrestling, and Bill Watts’s Universal Wrestling Federation as the bodyguard of The Freebirds.
Sheldon was also part of the California-based Powerteam USA group, which included Sting, Ultimate Warrior and Mark Miller. He first started wrestling with Stampede Wrestling with Owen Hart, Brian Pillman, and Chris Benoit.
Jack Dempsey (Thomas Moore) 11/20/07
Thomas Moore, who was among England’s top five wrestlers during the sport’s television heyday has passed away at the age of 87. Tommy was trained to wrestle in Wigan’s infamous “snakepit,” Riley’s Gym and went on to win the British Welterweight Title from Mick McManus in 1957. Moore had a major television documentary filmed about him in 1995.
“Little Andre” David Casey 11/19/07
David Casey, a midget wrestler for a brief period in the early 1980s as Little Andre passed away on November 19 at the age of 43.
Countess Victoria de Beaulais 11/17/07
Ruth Gohman who wrestled in Venice, CA in the 1950’s as Countess Victoria de Beaulais passed away on November 17 at the age of 71 after a battle with cancer. After leaving wrestling, Gohman moved on to Texas and worked for AT&T until retirement.
El Gran Markus 11/15/07
Juan Chavarria Galicia, the original El Gran Markus, who was a major star in Texas and also appeared in California during the 1970’s passed away at the age of 68 froma heart attack after a long battle with diabetes. Markus held the Texas Heavyweight Title in 1974/75 and feuded with Jose Lothario and Red Bastien.
El Satanas, Enrique Navarro Camargo 11/08/07
Enrique Navarro Camargo who began wrestling at age 16 in California and Mexico in 1945 and continued until 1956 passed away on November 8 at the age of 78. Camargo, who wrestled as El Satanas, held the Mexican Middleweight title in 1950 and often teamed with his brother who wrestled as Golden Rogers and later as El Enfermero.
In 1974 he established the first sanctioned wrestling school in the United States known as PWS in Los Angeles. For the next 20 years he worked with various wrestlers teaching the kids of Los Angeles to stay off drugs and developed their talents in life and used wrestling as teaching tool. He first became a member of the CAC in 1978 and was active for a few years before moving to the Bay area. He recently rejoined the club in 2005 and attended the reunion in Las Vegas that year, enjoying the opportunity to see some of his old friends. Camargo looked forward to returning to the CAC again, but ill health kept him away.
The Fabulous Moolah, Lillian Ellison 11/02/07
Lillian Ellison, known throughout the world as The Fabulous Moolah, passed away on Friday, November 2, 2007 at approximately 10:30 PM at the age of 84. Ellison, the youngest of 13 children, was a wrestling fan from a young age and set out to join the profession while still a teenager. She started her career working as a valet and worked as “Slave Girl” Moolah for names such as Buddy Rogers. Moolah won her first version of the World Title in 1956 and would go on to hold some version of the belt throughout her career which lasted nearly until her death, having made appearances for WWE in 2007. Ellison was an important part of the 2005 movie, “Lipstick & Dynamite” and, has been inducted to the WWE Hall of Fame (Class of 1995) and the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame (Class of 2003). One thing is undeniable: she was an institution in the world of professional wrestling.
JR Hogg 10/27/07
Charles Milliser of Lancaster, OH, known in professional wrestling as JR Hogg, who wrestled in the Midwest, passed away peacefully in his sleep on October 27, 2007 at the age of 59. We are awaiting more details.
Tom Stanton 10/22/07
Tom Stanton, who wrestled from the late 1970’s to the late 1980’s, passed away in hospital in the early morning hours of October 22, 2007, in Kelowna, British Columbia. He suffered a stroke over a year ago, then doctors discovered a malignant brain tumor that ultimately claimed his life. Tom began his career on the U.S. east coast, and after working with several American promotions including Gulf Coast and Memphis, he established a new home base in British Columbia. His career in Canada covered much of the 80’s, under his own name, Elton or “E.T.” Stanton, and under a mask as The Mercenary. Tomï¿½s travels included many stints with All-Star Wrestling and later Michelle Starr’s promotion in Vancouver, sizeable parts of five years with Stampede Wrestling out of Calgary, and appearances across the nation’s maritime provinces.
Widely credited as a fine journeyman wrestler, Tom always enjoyed a reputation as an easy-going, unselfish and dependable member of any crew. Always the quiet one on the road, he nevertheless had a sly sense of humor that surfaced occasionally in ribs on “the boys”.
Tom is survived by his wife Debbie, son James and daughter Candis in Kelowna, B.C., and sons Tom and Brian in New Jersey. Funeral services were held in Kelowna on Wednesday, October 24.
Hector Silverstone 10/20/07
Hector, the beloved pet and family member of Dean and Ruth Silverstone passed on to the next stage of life on Saturday, October 20, 2007. Because of his loving nature and familiarity with wrestling and wrestlers, he is honored in these pages.
“Many of you met and played with Hector, our 85 pound Black Lab. As of this morning, he is at rest. Hector never met a wrestler he didn’t fall in love with.
He convinced Lou Thesz to take him for a walk.
He wrestled Nick Bockwinkel and Lou Shoulders Newman acted as the referee and counted Nick out when Hector placed his paw on Nick’s shoulder.
He climbed into Johnny Valentine’s lap because he thought Johnny needed to smile.
He rode to the grocery store with Ray Stevens.
He visited Mad Dog Vachon up in Anacortes and didn’t find him to be a Mad Dog.
In 1994, Red Bastien gave Hector a stuffed toy train. He slept with it every night for a dozen years and wouldn’t retire it even if it needed mending from the hands of Ruth.
He ate pizza with Buddy Rose, but waited until he was sure Buddy had has his fill.
He went to Snoqualmie Falls with Bob & Chris Kelly, sitting right between them in the car.
He went out to restaurants many times with people like Ox Anderson, Eddie Sullivan, and Don Leo Jonathan.
He shared New York steaks with Fritz von Goering and Rey Urbano.
He befriended Ivan Koloff and wouldn’t leave his side.
He was fascinated with Charlie Smith’s voice.
Being a Chicago Cubs baseball fan, he always urinated on Ichicaro Suzuki’s front lawn everytime we walked passed his house.
He played endlessly with Billy Wicks, because he could tell Billy was a dog person.
He got Moondog Moretti to roll on the floor in laughter with some of his tricks.
He never met a wrestler he didn’t like. Hector was a special talent and brought joy and pleasure to all who knew him.”
Rey “The Great Kabooki” Urbano 10/16/07
Rey Urbano who wrestled as the original Great Kabooki, Tokyo Tom and Taro Sakuro in the 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s passed away on Tuesday, October 16 at a nursing home in Las Vegas. For a full obituary and history of his career, please visit the SLAM! Wrestling site.
Isak Rain 10/10/07
Isak Bjerknes who wrestled as Isak Rain in the UK and throughout Europe died in an auto accident in Norway at the age of 22. No other information is available at this time.
Sean “Shocker” Evans 10/02/07
Sean Charles Evans, 36, of McKeesport and Atlanta, GA, died, Oct. 2, 2007, in Pittsburgh after a long and brave battle with cancer. Born January 28, 1971, in McKeesport, Sean was a graduate of McKeesport High School and the University of Pittsburgh, holding a Bachelor of Arts degree in Administration of Justice. He worked as a protection specialist for Target Corporation in Atlanta. Many will remember him as Sean “Shocker” Evans, his professional wrestling name. While undergoing cancer treatments, Sean met many young children fighting cancer. The pain they endured and the courage they showed never left Sean and he requested that if someone chose to do something in his memory, in lieu of flowers, would they support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105 or the Make-A-Wish Foundation of America, P.O. Box 29119, Phoenix, AR 85038.
Dean Ross 09/24/07
Ross David Bentley, ring name Dean Ross, who wrestled as enhancement talent for the WWWF in the early 1970’s passed away on 9/24 from cancer at the age of 64.
Dave Diamond 09/24/07
David McCombs who wrestled in Jim Crockett Promotions under the name of Dave Diamond in the 1970’s and 1980’s passed away at the age of 51. After leaving wrestling, he served as the pastor of a church in North Carolina. No further information is available.
Zack Murray 09/23/07
Zack Murray, a former referee for Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling, passed away on Sunday at Select Specialty Hospital in Bristol, TN. Zack was 61 years old. No further information is available at this time.
Ivan Radocaj 09/14/07
Ivan Radocaj was found dead in his rural Interlake home last week. Radocaj was once a professional wrestler and sumo wrestling champion in Manitoba. He was famous for his size — nearly 6-foot-10 and more than 275 pounds — and added more weight after he quit wrestling, local promoters said. In the 1980s, Radocaj wrestled in Winnipeg under the names “Big” John Radocaj, the Croatian Giant and Ivan the Giant.
He got his start when, in his mid-teens, his parents took him to New Brand Wrestling promoter Walter Shefchyk in 1981 and asked him to train their son. Shefchyk taught him the ropes and put him in the ring at events that were taped at Chalmers Community Center for broadcast on a local cable access channel. Radocaj also appeared at Central Canadian Pro Wrestling events in the early ’80s. He rarely entered a ring after New Brand Wrestling folded in 1984.
In 1985, he became the first champion of Shefchyk’s North American Sumo Wrestling. Opponents had a hard time pushing Radocaj out of the ring because of his size. Many people in the local wrestling industry said they had not seen or heard from Radocaj in more than a decade.
Enrique Torres 09/10/07
Enrique Torres, part of the legendary Torres family brothers, passed away on September 10 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Born July 25, 1922 in Santa Ana, CA, Enrique did some high school and collegiate wrestling was trained for pro wrestling by Baron Ginsberg. Enrique made his pro debut in 1946 and would go on to wrestle throughout the United States and hold the version of the World Title that preceded Los Angeles’s WWA World Title. Enrique retired in 1968 to Calgary where he lived the remainder of his years.
Monty Black 09/9/07
Keith Montgomery Black passed away suddenly on September 9, 2007 at his home at the age of 45. No other information is available at this time.
Billy Darnell 09/06/07
We are saddened to report the death of long-time CAC member and past CAC Honoree, Billy Darnell. Billy passed away on Thursday, September 6 in New Jersey. We have no more details at this time.
Mablo Cardoza 09/04/07
Mablo “Rocky” Cardoza, 60, of Reno, NV passed away on September 4, 2007 in Reno. Rocky was born in Oakland, CA and lived a varied and exciting life having been a Professional Wrestler and Chief Line Inspector for GMC, also working security for The Silver Legacy and retiring as Security Supervisor for the RSCVA.
Karloff Lagarde 09/01/07
Carlos de Lucio Lagarde, a 1960’s legend in Lucha Libre as Karloff Lagarde, passed away on the morning of September 1 at the age of 79. Lagarde, who was born on July 27, 1928 and made his professional wrestling debut in June of 1955, had suffered a stroke several weeks ago and has been in poor health since.
In addition to wrestling most of Mexico’s top stars and forming a legendary tag team with Rene Guajardo, Lagarde was also featured in several movies including the 1969 “Santo en el frontera del terror” (El Santo on the Edge of Terror), 1966’s “La Mano que aprieta” (The Hand that Forces) and “Los Endemoniados del Ring” (The Possessed of the Ring) and the 1965 movie “El Asesino invisible” (The Invisible Killer).
John Meek 08/29/07
John Meek, who was trained by and wrestled for Boris Malenko as “Iron” Mike Steele was killed in a hit-and-run crash. Meek wrestled against several Malenko students including Dean Malenko and Marc Mero.
Meek’s motorcycle friends have organized a memorial ride and benefit in his honor scheduled for September 8.
Lightning Leni 08/23/07
Fineaso Po’a, also known as “Lightning Leni,” “Leni” and “Loleni,” 50, of Volcano, Hawaii, a Hawaii Pacific Wrestling professional wrestler, Mana Enforcer Security founder and owner, and Hawaii Porter Services location supervisor, died in Kona Community Hospital on August 23, 2007. He was born in Aoloau, American Samoa. He is survived by wife Desiree; daughters Natasha, Minosi and Dezlenn Paglinawan-Po’a; mother Minosi; brothers Solofua Moananu and Masani Po’a; sister Ruta Paga; and three grandchildren.
Frank Fozo 08/23/07
Frank Fozo, who wrestled throughout Canada, the United States and Australia, passed away on August 23 at the age of 79. Fozo was the first wrestler to use the name “The Great Malenko” and film exists of him wrestling Ricki Starr in what is thought to be Starr’s debut match in Chicago. After retiring from wrestling, Fozo found success in real estate and a car dealership. He was married to wife Ethel for 59 years having three daughters, Susan, Francie and Diana and one son, Frank Jr.
Frank Butcher 08/22/07
Frank Butcher, a long-time fixture on the Mexican and Spanish wrestling scenes who finished his lengthy career in Stampede Wrestling, passed away in Calgary, Alberta on August 22, 2007. He was 84 years of age.
Born Francisco Garcia in Monterrey, Mexico on February 12, 1923, he developed into a highly capable journeyman wrestler. He spent many years touring his native country and Spain before immigrating to Canada and Johnny Rougeau’s Montreal promotion in 1971. From there he moved westward to Stu Hart’s Stampede Wrestling in the fall of 1971, a seasoned veteran in a territory where the old guard and the new formed a cohesive crew.
Throughout its 42-year history, Stampede Wrestling has always been a tremendous training ground, given its usual mix of young and older talent, and the six and sometimes seven nights-a-week schedule. Beyond their formal training, young wrestlers gained much more than just ring time working with the veterans — every match was a learning experience, not only technically but from the feel and the feedback gained from a live crowd. Even the long car trips between towns contributed to the educational process: lots of time to discuss wrestling, and pick the brains of the old pros.
Frank’s honest, open nature formed the basis of a natural penchant for passing on his wide knowledge to the youngsters in Stampede. He took an active part in training Bruce Hart, Smith Hart, Rick Martel and Kim Klokied, among others, who were just breaking into the business.
“Frank was a very patient, even-tempered trainer, much the same temperament he showed in all his dealings,” recalls Ross Hart, who is no stranger to the training and development of pro wrestlers. “With his background in a number of styles, having worked both heel and face throughout his career, and being the very smooth worker he was, he was very effective.”
“To this day, Bruce thinks very highly of Frank Butcher as a person, a wrestler and a trainer. And I fully agree.”
Butcher toiled in Stampede rings from 1971 to 1974 — including a six-week run in 1973 as the masked Shadow, that ended when many fans identified his rather unique style through the disguise. He then spent a short stint with Sandor Kovacs’ and Gene Kiniski’s All Star Wrestling in Vancouver. Frank returned to Stampede in 1976, wrapped up his active career in 1977, and did some refereeing for Stu Hart into the 1980’s. He remained in Calgary for the rest of his life, with his wife and daughters.
Frank Butcher’s personal side was all positive. He was quiet and respectful of all, seldom without a broad smile and a cheerful disposition, friendly towards all, and always ready to do whatever was needed in the ring. Knowing him was indeed a pleasure.
Dewey “The Missing Link” Robertson 08/16/07
Byron John Robertson, known to the pro wrestling world as “Dewey”, passed away at 3:30 a.m. ET on Thursday, August 16 in Hamilton, Ontario. He had been hospitalized for the past week, the final round of his valiant battle against cancer. He was 68. Robertson started wrestling in his native Canada in the 1960s, under his own name and became a very popular babyface in the Toronto area after attracting the favorable attention of the legendary Whipper Billy Watson. He left to wrestle in the southern United States in 1973, but returned a year later as The Masked Crusader with manager John St. John. He was on a crusade to keep wrestling scientific but was soon unmasked by The Sheik. Robertson then formed a tag team called “The Crusaders” with Billy Red Lyons, first under masks and later without the hoods. The pair held the Ontario version of the International Tag Team Championship three times, in 1974 and 1975.
Always a weight-training fanatic, Dewey also owned a gym in the 1970’s, and did a memorable television spot promoting the gym where he tore up a phone book.
In 1979, Robertson wrestled in the NWA’s Jim Crockett Promotions as a heel with “Nature Boy” Buddy Rogers as his manager. He used Rogers’ figure-four leg lock as his finisher. Returning to Toronto, he captured the N.W.A. Canadian Championship in September 1979 and held it for eight months.
He changed his look and his demeanor radically to become The Missing Link in 1983 in Mid-South Wrestling. The shaved head, wild eyes, blue and green face paint and insane behavior got over with the fans, and Dewey was signed by the World Wrestling Federation in 1985. He was managed by Bobby Heenan, who often had to stop him from doing a flying headbutt on a chair after a match. Sports Illustrated even did an article on him, a real rarity in their coverage of the sports world.
Dewey left for World Class Championship Wrestling in 1986 and was managed there by Sunshine. In late 1986, he left for the Universal Wrestling Federation where he was managed by Dark Journey.
He retired in the 1990’s when his health began to break down, but amazingly came back to do independent shows as The Missing Link starting in 2004. In 2006, on the heels of his autobiography co-authored by Meredith Renwick, The Missing Link joined us at the annual CAC Reunion in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Brian “CRUSH” Adams 08/13/07
WWE has reported that Brian Adams, who worked as Demolition Crush and was half of the Kronik tag team, has been found dead. He was 43.
Bronko Lubich 08/11/07
Penny Banner informed us of the death of former wrestling great, Bronko Lubich in Dallas, TX yesterday.
Bronko’s career begin in the early 50’s. He worked throughout Texas, Georgia and Florida as both a wrestler and also served as a manager, having managed Boris Malenko at one point in his career. He is remembered by many for his time as a referee working in Dallas. Bronko’s most noteworthy manager role was with Angelo Poffo, over a number of years. He was the quintessential wrestling manager of that time, tux and cane and interfering ways. He also did a lot of tag work with Poffo.
Scott Dumas 08/07/07
Scott Dumas who wrestled under the name Scotty Williams from the mid-80’s through the mid-90’s passed away on August 7. Dumas worked for Championship Wrestling from Florida and frequently worked as enhancement for the WWF when they would run TV tapings in Florida. Scott worked for the City of Pompano Beach, FL for 16 years, was the owner of “Just Call Scott” lawn service and was a member of The Moose Lodge #2267.
Karl Gotch 07/28/07
Karl Charles Istaz, known internationally as Karl Gotch, passed away at 9:45 p.m. Eastern time tonight. He would have been 83 in just a few days. A former place-winner in the 1948 Olympics in London, Istaz went to the famed Wigan school where he learned submission wrestling. He migrated to the U.S. where he had a reputation in some circles as the toughest man alive.
In 1961, he adopted the ring name of Karl Gotch (after Frank Gotch). He captured his first major championship, the AWA (Ohio) Heavyweight Title in 1962 by defeating Don Leo Jonathon. Gotch held the belt for two years before dropping the title to Lou Thesz, one of the few American wrestlers he respected because of the similarities of their styles (the two also share a common German/Hungarian heritage).
He ended up becoming a legend in Japan, where he was eventually nicknamed “The God of Professional Wrestling.” He was the trainer for New Japan Pro Wrestling and later the original UWF, and his influence in students like Akira Maeda and Nobuhiko Takada led to the rise of shootfighting and eventually MMA in that country.
Tor Kamata 07/23/07
TOR KAMATA, who wrestled across much of North America and in Japan during a career that spanned over 25 years, has passed away at the age of 70. He died in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, where he had lived almost continually since retiring from wrestling, on Monday, July 23, 2007.
Born in Honolulu, Hawaii as McRonald Kamaka, the husky young wrestler was re-named Tor Kamata as a reference to the brutal head of the Spanish Inquisition, Tomas de Torquemada. He developed a tough, torturing, oriental-based ring style that he continued for the rest of his career. The persona totally belied the man’s true nature — Tor was a joy to work with in the ring, never endangering his opposite number, and outside of it the soul of Hawaiian gentleness in all his dealings. His hospitality toward visitors to his home was legend, and his friends were legion.
Ronnie P. Gossett 07/23/07
It has been reported that Ronald Paul Gossett passed away last night in a Nashville, TN hospital. There are no other details at this time.
Lita “LATIN HELLCAT” Marez 07/21/07
Women’s wrestling legend Lita “Latin Hellcat” Marez passed away this morning. Lita held several World championships throughout her 13 year career. She was trained by WWE legend Mae Young and had many memorable feuds with her back in California during the 60’s for the States Women’s Championship Division title. She trained for the LA T-Birds in Pico Rivera, CA; however, was unable to master the craft of roller derby. Later she found the wrestling training school in Reseda, CA operated by the late great Mildred Burke and trained by Johnnie Mae Young. Lita mastered the “Boston crab” and the “Rocker”. They became her signature moves.
Eugene Stezycki 07/19/07
It is with sad regret we report the death of Eugene Stezycki who lost his fight with cancer last Thursday 19th July 2007. He passed away at his Ilford home with his wife and family around him.
John Kronus 07/18/07
George Caiazzo, better known to wrestling fans as John Kronus, passed away in his sleep on Wednesday, July 18 in New Hampshire at the age of 38. Born in Everett, MA, Caiazzo had one son, Gage, and was engaged to be married to long-time fiancee, Brandy. Kronus, who was trained for professional wrestling by Killer Kowalski, was most widely known as being one half of “The Eliminators” tag team along with Perry Saturn. They were a very popular team in ECW rings during the mid-1990’s.
Devil Bhudakhan 07/15/07
James Fawcett who wrestled under the name Devil Bhudakhan passed away at the age of 31. He was found on July 15; however, probably died two to three days before that. Fawcett was a long-time Pittsburgh area independent wrestler.
Moondog Nathan 07/04/07
Mr. Nathan Brian Randolph, 37 of Athens, Alabama passed away Wednesday, July 4, 2007. Born June 23, 1970 in Limestone County, AL, he was an avid guitar player. He was a wrestler in Tennessee independents as Moondog Nathan.
Chris Benoit 06/25/07
To all of those touched by this tragedy, the Cauliflower Alley Club wishes peace, comfort and healing.
Nancy Benoit 06/25/07
To all of those touched by this tragedy, the Cauliflower Alley Club wishes peace, comfort and healing.
Boogie Woogie Brown 06/23/07
Longtime East Coast Wrestling Alliance wrestler Boogie Woogie Brown died yesterday. While the specific cause of death is unreported as of this moment, Brown had battled lupus for several years.
Brown was a major babyface and favorite for children in Jim Kettner’s East Coast Wrestling Alliance, the longtime Wilmington, DE based promotion which is best known for sponsoring the ECWA Super Eight, the first of many one night independent tournaments. Brown also wrestled for the defunct Pennsylvania Championship Wrestling promotion out of Reading, PA. Brown was so popular among children that one brief attempted heel turn several years ago actually upset up so many children at the ECWA shows that the turn was abandoned. Brown was a former ECWA Tag Team Champion with Danny “Inferno Kid” Gimondo, was twice ECWA Mid-Atlantic Champion, and served briefly as storyline Commissioner.
Biff Wellington 06/24/07
Shayne Bower, known professionally as Biff Wellington, age 42, was found deceased in his home. Wellington was a major name in Stampede Wrestling and was also a regular in Japan. Wellington trained with the Hart Brothers in the 1980’s, but credited Mr. Hito and Hiro Hase as being his primary trainers.
Rickey Raye Fowler 06/18/07
USWA Dallas worker Rickey Raye Fowler, who was known at various times as Buster Fowler, Buster Blackheart and The Dog of War, passed away.
Fowler was frequently seen in prelim and mid-card matches on Championship Sports and the syndicated USWA Challenge throughout 1989 and 1990, sometimes teaming with Mike Morrow (Mike Blackheart) as The Dogs of War. He appeared at the final WCCW show promoted by Kevin Von Erich in November of 1990, and in the Joe Pedicino/Max Andrews version of the GWF the following year. In late 1997, Buster was also one of the last to try his hand at promoting indy cards at the Sportatorium, running a low-budget group that, unfortunately, only lasted two months.
Buster, who had reportedly suffered from a lengthy illness, was 52 years old.
Princess Tona Tamah 06/15/07
The Arizona Republic newspaper has reported that Tona Ford, 72, also known as Princess Tona Tomah, of Whitearth, MN, a former professional wrestler and boxer died in her sleep, at home, with her caregiver, son Piper Carle. She was preceded in death by her daughter, Tona Illa. She worked with law enforcement and also had a youth club and trained boxers & wrestlers. Formerly rated as one of the top female wrestlers in the world, she passed away on the 15th of June. She is survived by her granddaughter, Javette Goostree.
Sherri Martel 06/15/07
“Sensational” Sherri Martel died this morning at the age of 49 at her mothers home in Birmingham, Alabama according to her husband of 10 years, Robert Schrull. Born Sherri Russell in New Orleans. Martel debuted in 1980. Martel resided in Jacksonville Florida. Sherri was a past honoree of the CAC. And was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2006. She managed such greats as Shawn Michaels, Randy Savage, Harlem Heat to name a few.
El Caballero Rojo 06/15/07
Humberto Reynoso, a legendary wrestler in the TV program, “Titanes en el Ring” (Titans in the Ring), died June 14 of undisclosed causes in San Pedro, Argentina. He was 72.
Reynoso was a star in the program, which aired 1962-1972 on Canal 9 after gaining a following at carnivals, circuses and fairs around the country. Canal 13, a bigger network, aired it Sunday evenings in the 1970-80’s with strong numbers, especially of kids. He went against his main rival, “The Mummy,” who also built a huge fan base, at Luna Park in one legendary live match.
Known as “The Red Knight,” Reynoso took to the ring in a bright red outfit and red and white mask. He kept his identity hidden for over 40 years. After the program ended, he worked as a longshoreman in his native San Pedro, a port city up the river from Buenos Aires.
Sandy Barr 06/02/07
Sandy Barr, a longtime fixture on the Pacific Northwest wrestling scene as a wrestler, referee, trainer and promoter, has died of a heart attack at his Portland, Oregon flea market.
Barr got into wrestling in 1957, in Idaho Fall, Idaho, for a promoter named Cliff Thiede. He mostly worked in the west, including stints in Calgary, Vancouver, Idaho, Utah, Nevada and Arizona. He was not a big man, and worked a lighter style, going barefoot in the ring. Barr worked programs with Gorgeous George and Dr. Jerry Graham at various times.
Sonny Myers 05/07/07
Sonny Myers, a burly local wrestler and former Buchanan County sheriff, died Monday at age 83. Mr. Myers led a diversified life as a carnival brawler, title wrestler, traveling amusement show owner, car dealer, and Wal-Mart greeter.
The lifelong St. Joseph,Missouri resident started on the killing floor of Swift’s packinghouse. One day in 1943, St. Joseph wrestling promoter Gust Karras approached the 6 foot, 2 inch strapping man at the YMCA and proposed a wrestling career. Throughout the next 40 years he became known for moves like the headlock, drop-kick, and his trademark clincher move – the sleeper hold.
“Everybody wanted to see him put the sleeper hold on guys,” former News-Press sports editor Bill Scott said. “He came up behind and grabbed ’em. I don’t know if he actually put them to sleep, but the crowd thought so.”
Mr. Myers became tag-team heros with wrestler Larry Hamilton on Friday and Saturday nights.
Any kid growing up in St. Joseph, Missouri in the 1950s and 1960s remembers Mr. Myers as a childhood hero, said Pat Conway. The 59-year-old’s favorite memory was Mr. Myers matched against the bleached blond bad guy “Rip Hawk.”
“He’d get on his knees and cry, and the crowd would be screaming, but the good guy (Mr. Myers) would not hit him,” Mr. Conway said.
Wrestler Harley Race climbed through the ropes of the squared circle and grappled with Mr. Myers more than a few times.
“Sonny was probably the best of the best when it came to the clean side of wrestling,” Mr. Race said.
Bob Slater, News-Press managing editor at the time, remembers the two-term Buchanan County sheriff’s unforgettable handshake and imposing presence. During his two terms in the 1970s, Mr. Myers followed his own rules, which sometimes landed him in hot water with politicians, he said.
One Saturday night, he busted into long-tolerated illegal cockfighting in southern Buchanan County and arrested 35 people.
“The magistrate court was overflowing Monday morning,” Mr. Slater said. “Sonny was not one of the good ole boys.”
He would later train young wrestlers, including World Wrestling legend Hulk Hogan, wife Elaine Myers said. He died Monday following a two-month illness – an old man unbeaten by life, she says.
“He didn’t realize his own strength, even to the end,” Mrs. Myers said. “He died a gentle giant.”
Abe Coleman 03/28/07
Abe Coleman (born Abe Kelmer) was a retired professional wrestler and, at the time of his death, believed to be the oldest member of his profession in the world. His wife, June Miller, who he married in 1939 died in 1987. Coleman says he landed in Miller’s lap after being thrown from the ring in Madison Square Garden.
Coleman was born in Zychlin, Poland, and moved to the United States in 1923, by way of Canada, to avoid the fate many of his family members faced who perished in the Holocost. Coleman’s first match took place in 1928 in New York City when local promoter Rudy Miller offered Coleman $25 to wrestle after seeing him work out in a Brooklyn gym.
Coleman’s notability comes from claims that he invented the dropkick. He claimed the move was inspired by kangaroos he saw on a tour of Australia in 1930.
Coleman’s nicknames included Hebrew Hercules and Jewish Tarzan. A Jewish man, he wrestled at a time when there were few Jewish athletes.
Coleman’s fighting size was 5’3″, 200lbs, 18″ biceps, and an 18.5″ neck. He earned approximately $10,000-$12,000 per match, a high sum during the Great Depression.
Coleman retired from wrestling in 1958 after which he served as a wrestling judge, and inspected license plates for the New York State DMV. Outside of wrestling, Coleman’s interests included poker and horse racing.
Coleman died on March 28, 2007 in a nursing home in Queens, New York.
Arnold “GOLDEN BOY” Skaaland” 03/14/07
“Golden Boy” Arnold Skaaland was a professional wrestler for many years, before retiring from in ring competition. Skaaland owned shares in the World Wide Wrestling Federation, and helped with the daily running of the company. Skaaland’s only title came during 1967, when he captured the WWWF US Tag Team Titles with Spiros Arion. Arnold Skaaland would occasionally make his way out of retirement to substitute for a no-show wrestler or to lose to up and coming wrestlers. Skaaland moved into the managerial role in the 1970s, where he managed Bruno Sammartino during his WWWF title reign. He would later manage Bob Backlund during his WWWF Title run.
Ernie “THE CAT” Ladd 03/11/07
CAC member and 2005 honoree, Ernie “THE CAT” Ladd, a talented football player who made his name nationally as a wrestler, died overnight, according to family members. Ladd, 68, had battled cancer ï¿½ first in his colon, then later in his stomach and bones ï¿½ since 2004. Born Nov. 28, 1938, in Rayville, but raised in Orange, Texas, he worked through his final years as a pastor in the Louisiana town of Franklin.
Today, he’s the only person in both the American Football League and World Wrestling Federation halls of fame. Ladd is also a 1994 inductee into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, and joined the San Diego Hall of Champions in 2004.
Ladd began wrestling on the side during his rookie season, and the “Big Cat” found that wrestling paid more, and would give up football for the ring. Ladd ran feuds with the 70’s two biggest draws, Andre the Giant and Dusty Rhodes, and was considered a major part of the 1970’s wrestling scene. Ladd is survived by his wife of more than 45 years, Roslyn and 4 children.
Allan “BAD NEWS ALLEN” Coage 03/06/07
Allan Coage, renowned far and wide as Bad News Allen during his lengthy run with Stampede Wrestling and other promotions in North America and Japan, and as Bad News Brown during his WWF tenure, passed away at 5:30 a.m. on Tuesday, March 6, 2007.
Coage was taken to Calgary’s Foothills Hospital on Monday evening, suffering from severe chest pains, and went into cardiac arrest early Tuesday morning. He was 63. He had undergone hip replacement surgery three weeks previous, and apparently was recovering well. He was originally from New York City, and took up judo at an early age, capping his career in that sport by capturing an Olympic bronze medal. Coage’s professional wrestling career started in high gear in Japan, and continued unabated in North America.
The intensity of his promos was matched by very few in the business, and added to his tear-away, give-no-quarter ring style, made believers of uncounted numbers of fans. After his retirement, Bad News brought his outspoken style to the TV microphone alongside Mauro Ranallo, now the voice of The Fight Network in Canada, during some eight months with the reborn Stampede Wrestling in 1999-2000.
Ray “THUNDER” Stern 03/06/07
Walter Bookbinder, professionally known as Ray “Thunder” Stern, died on March 6, 2007 due to complications following heart surgery.
Born in Brooklyn, New York on January 12, 1933, Stern (his mother’s maiden name) was known for his wrestling skills and business savvy. He began wrestling in 1950 at the tender age of 17, working for Rudy Dusek, and worked into the mid-1960s. While wrestling, he started his own health club and airline. Truly a diverse and amazing individual.
Tracy Richards 02/25/07
Tracy Richards one half of the famous, “Arm & Hammer connection” with Beverly Shade, passed away Sunday night after a strong battle with cancer. Tracy was trained by Beverly Shade & Natasha in 1976. Tracy stunned everyone with her massive power body slam and was the first female wrestler to use the power body slam due to her major back ground in power lifting. Tracy lived in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and was married with three children.
Mike “AWESOME” Alfonso 02/17/07
Mike Alfonso, better known as Mike Awesome, was found dead on Saturday evening in the Tampa area according to those close to the family. He was 42.
Mike Awesome was one of the top foreign stars in FMW in Japan, was ECW champion on two occasions in 1999 and 2000. During his wrestling career he had notable feuds with stars such as, Masato Tanaka, Scott Steiner, Diamond Dallas Page, Lance Storm, Steve Corino. He worked for a few months with WWF after the collapse of WCW, as well as with All Japan. Awesome had not been active in Professional Wrestling for some time. He was working as a realtor at Coldwell Banker at the time of his death.
James C. ” Jim” Melby 02/10/07
Jim Melby, Cauliflower Alley Club’s board of directors member passed away Saturday night. Jim was a close and dear friend of everyone in the wrestling business and was the man behind the AWA publicity department and writer. Jims great knowledge of professional wrestling history will be missed by many.
Jims contributions to the CAC website and newsletter was always a welcome addition. If ever I had questions about certain wrestlers for the website, Jim was the go to man. Jims “Melby’s MAT MEMORIES” have been famous throughout different venues of professional wrestling. Jim authored several books in his life time and was editor of numerous magazines and news letters.
Today is a sad day for anyone that new Jim. Jim was a true champion and friend to everyone.
Bob Luce 02/08/07
Former CAC member and wrestling promoter Bob Luce passed away Thursday February 8th.
Ahead of his time in the sports-as-entertainment world, Luce was a wrestling promoter extraordinaire in the 1960s and ’70s.
Luce died Thursday on the eve of his 79th birthday. Bob’s passion became wrestling in general and marketing it in particular. He was literally wedded to the game, marrying a star female wrestler named Sharon Lass.
He brought noted grapplers such as Andre the Giant, Dick the Bruiser, Buddy Rogers, Gorgeous George and Verne Gagne to Chicago, showcased them in appearances, including his weekly local TV show leading up to his events, and introduced them with elaborate music as they entered the arena.
His main place of business was the International Amphitheater, where he reportedly drew 120,000 fans to 14 shows with gross receipts in excess of $325,000 in 1968, all impressive numbers at that time.
Doug Gentry 01/26/07
Gentry, 34, one of the original minds behind Ring of Honor and one of the original founders of RF Video with Rob Feinstein, passed away on January 27th, due to complications from a bacterial infection in his heart according to SLAM! Wrestling.
Scott “BAM BAM” Bigelow 01/19/07
Bigelow was found dead early Friday morning in his home in Hudson, Fla.
Bigelow, 45, worked for WWE, ECW and WCW extensively throughout his 20-year sports-entertainment career. A former ECW Champion, ECW Television Champion and WCW Tag Team Champion, he is perhaps best known for his rivalry with Lawrence Taylor that culminated in the main event of WrestleMania XI in 1995. In a previous Wrestlemania, Bigelow was managed by CAC Honoree Sir Oliver Humperdink.
Bigelow was found Friday morning in his home in Florida by his girlfriend around 10 A.M.
Cocoa Samoa 01/09/07
ULUALOAIGA ONOSAI TUAOLO EMELIO, 62, of Killeen, Texas, died Jan. 9, 2007. Born in Pago Pago, American Samoa. A professional wrestler and evangelist. Survived by wife, Esperanza; sons, Emelio, Maliuga, Tama, Onosai and Spencer; daughters, Tapuni Lualemana, Vinora Emelio and Lelani Momosea; brother, Amazon; sisters, Fiapaipai Fruean, Tusipasi Peneuta and Lotoleaga Emelio; 31 grandchildren; three great-grandchildren. Overnight vigil 6 p.m. Friday at the Waipahu Lighthouse Outreach Church. Visitation also 8:30 a.m. Saturday at the church; service 10 a.m.; burial 2 p.m. at Hawaiian Memorial Park. Arrangements by Moanalua Mortuary.
Cowboy Lang 01/04/07
Cowboy Lang, midget professional wrestler in the 1960s-1980s, was found dead in Portland, Oregon January 4th, 2007. His age was said to be either 60 or 70.
He worked in frequent spot shows as recently as 1998 and was well liked especially by the office staff of the WWE who would book him whenever possible. In 1994, he, along with Pat Patterson, Pepper Martin, and H.B. Haggerty had a mini-reunion in Seattle where he captivated all the reunion guests with his amazing stories. Unfortunately, he fell on hard times the last decade of his life and very little is known about his family or there whereabouts.