Where Wrestling's Regional History Lives!
Great St. Louis Heels of the Late 1970s and Early 1980s
- John Edwards
I have mentioned before in earlier columns on this site, the St. Louis
NWA promotion during the Sam Muchnick years had clearly defined faces
and heels. With some very few exceptions, everyone was one or the other.
Even the TV jobbers were (by definition) faces or heels. For example, a
jobber facing Pat O’Connor or one of the Von Erichs, would, by
definition, be a heel. Last month, we took a look at some of the most
“over” faces during the late 70s and early 80s. This month, we will
take a look at some of the wrestlers that generated the most “heel
heat” during the same time frame. I am not ranking these legends of
the St. Louis mat wars in any particular order as all were huge talents to this young mark during the great years of the NWA in St.
his stints in the AWA, where the Baron would sometimes vacillate between
heel and face (with the occasional “turn”), in St. Louis, the Baron
was a solid heel. While the PC police today would have a fit with the
Baron’s Nazi salute and goose step, it generated tons and tons of heat
with the south St. Louis contingent at the Kiel and at the Chase. He was
great! And since I missed Fritz Von Erich, the Baron was the first I saw
use the claw. And on top of his heat-generating ability, the Baron was a
great talent in the ring.
of the ethnic talents – unlike the German WW II Nazi villain, Koloff
did it one better by being a Commie! Younger readers may not remember,
but during the late 70s and early 80s the Cold War was raging again –
Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Reagan, and Evil Empires were all in the news.
And St. Louis was (is) a very conservative town. Dress up somebody as a
Soviet, have him spout anti-US nonsense, and beat the hell out of
jobbers on TV – TA DA!! Instant mega-heel. Koloff has had a great
career, from winning the WWWF title from Bruno, to years of headlining
in the Mid-Atlantic. He was a major name in St. Louis and a major heat
machine that squeezed many a victory from opponents with his bear hug.