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Great St. Louis Heels of the Late 1970s and Early 1980s

 - John Edwards

As 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. Louis.

Baron Von Raschke

Unlike 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.

Ivan Koloff

Another 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.    More...

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