WWA-Indianapolis #16 Page #2
3. BOBBY HEENAN...A Chicago mainstay also. He started out in WWA land and then went straight to the AWA; thus he never left Chicago at all. Nobody has ever come close to getting the heat that Heenan drew in Chicago. His feuds with Crusher and Bruiser are legendary. The Heenan Family and Heenan's Stable of Champions were always a force here. Biggest star he managed was Nick Bockwinkel of course. Stevens and Bockwinkel may have been the best team ever to appear in Chicago and Heenan managed them. Some of the men he managed were The Blackjacks, The Assassins, Ernie Ladd, Baron Von Rashcke, Bobby Duncum and many others. Great feuds with Pepper Gomez, Buck ZumHoffe and Greg Gagne. Two of his greatest Chicago moments were when jersey Joe Wolcott labeled him at Soldier Field and when he turned on Bruiser when they teamed up against The Chain Gang. Heenan could never be replaced in Chicago wrestling history.
4. NICK BOCKWINKEL...In my opinion he was the best worker in Chicago during my years of attending the matches. Great singles and tag team champion with Ray Stevens. Absolutely great on the mike with prematch interviews. Could wrestle with anyone and have a great match. In Chicago alone he wrestled Andre the Giant, Bruiser, Crusher, Wilbur Snyder, Bobo Brazil, Larry Hennig, Pepper Gomez (Hammond), Vern Gagne, Ernie Ladd, Otto Wancz, Billy Robinson, Jerry Lawler and Curt Hennig among many others he faced before he took the title. Got to meet him in Minneapolis many years ago and was a great gentleman.
5. VERNE GAGNE... probably the best pure wrestler in my time. Gagne brought respect to the sport. One of my highlights was seeing him wrestle the great Lou Thesz twice in the late 60's. They were classic matches. Also faced Mad Dog Vachon, Mitsu Arakawa, Blackjack Lanza, Jerry Blackwell, Ox Baker, Jim Valiant, Ivan Koloff and Shozo Kobayashi among others in title defenses. He would also have scientific battles with Billy Robinson, Bill Watts and Pat O'Connor that thrilled the fans.
6. RAY STEVENS... one half of the top team of Bockwinkel and Stevens. Probably the best bump taker of all time. Great feud with Dr.X. When he turned on The Heenan Family it was done so beautifully that you really believed he wanted to cripple them.
7. MAD DOG VACHON...good enough to replace Gagne as champion in the 60's. His interview style grabbed you immediately. Probably the most hated heel in the 60's and he was totally believable in character. Great tag team champions with brother Butcher Vachon. When he did his face turn he still turned in great performances against Jerry Blackwell. Also had a memorable match with King Kong Brody in Chicago. That was a wild one.
8. BLACKJACK LANZA...started as Cowboy Lanza and was going nowhere fast. When he became Blackjack Lanza that was it, his star rose fast. With Blackjack Mulligan made up the great team of The Blackjacks. Drew huge crowds here in tag battles and single matches with Gagne and Bruiser.
9. DOCTOR X... he was also The Destroyer here too. Dick Beyer was an accomplished wrestler plus he played the role of the villain to the hilt. His run in the late 60's and early 70's was a great one as everybody tried to unmask him but couldn't do it. Gagne, Snyder, Watts, Crusher and Bruiser all failed to unmask Beyer.
10. WILBUR SNYDER... hard to believe that in my years he only held the tag title once with Pat O'Connor. Great scientific matches with Robinson and O'Connor. Had a 60-minute draw with Vachon in 1966. He was one of the early high flyers and could dropkick with the best of them. A little bland on the mike but the fans loved him.
11. PEPPER GOMEZ... a great attraction and he had the fans really behind him. His feud with Heenan was his best work here in Chicago. A frequent guest on Bob Luce's studio shows.
12. MOOSE CHOLAK... beloved big man started as a heel but was soon to become Yukon Moose. A native Chicagoan, fans came out to cheer him on. A big moment was when he was picked by the fans to wrestle Dr.X when Ed Carpentier was snowed in one night. Moose and Beyer put on a heck of a show.
13. BILLY ROBINSON... this was the guy that everyone thought was going to dethrone Gagne at Comiskey Park. The fans loved Billy and he had great matches with Gagne and Bockwinkel.
14. BARON VON RASHCKE...in his initial run he was just an
unbelievable heel. Wrestled Gagne in front of 30,000 at Comiskey. Who
could forget his Gestapo Death matches with Bruiser?
15. ERNIE LADD... played the Andre the Giant role in Chicago before Andre entered wrestling. As a face he wrestled Mad Dog for the AWA title and it was a brutal match. As a heel, he reached his peak and had great matches with Bruiser, Cholak and Wahoo McDaniel.
16. JIMMY VALIANT...Handsome Jimmy made his name in Chicago for his parts in Luce's studio shows. His skit with Pepper Gomez was an all time great. With John Valiant made up the famous Valiant Brothers team.
17. OX BAKER... another studio great. He was built up as a killer heel and received the title shot against Gagne at Super Bowl 1. He was a loud mouth and it just made the fans boo him even more.
18. JERRY BLACKWELL... big man who was great in the ring. Feuds with Crusher, Mad Dog and The Baron. Blackwell even gained a pinfall victory over Bruiser at Comiskey Park.
19. LARRY HENNIG...made a great team with Harley Race. Bloody battles with Crusher and Bruiser made him an object of the fans' wrath. Later became a face and had some great matches with members of The Heenan Family.
20. BOBO BRAZIL...an all time Chicago favorite going back to Chicago's NWA days under Fred Kohler. Received a title shot at Bockwinkel and put on a pretty good match before Bock won.
21. HULK HOGAN...the AWA and Chicago were the places where Hulk first hit the big time. Tremendous matches with Bockwinkel.
22. SUPERSTAR GRAHAM
23. RED BASTEIN
24. KING KONG BRODY
25. WAHOO McDANIEL
Again, just my opinions.
The Top 10 Tag Teams in Chicago
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