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 - Rich Tito

CHICAGO  AMPHITHEATRE

AUGUST 11, 1967

Heading toward the Amphitheatre that night I had the feeling that this would not be an ordinary night of wrestling. We had a rematch for the AWA title between Verne Gagne and the great Lou Thesz. A battle of the villain tag teams with Larry Hennig & Harley Race against Bobby Heenan's team of Chris Markoff & Angelo Poffo, plus a special attraction between Johnny Valentine and Dick the Bruiser.

The first match of the card was a pretty good match where popular Frenchman Rene Goulet put away The Assassin, who was Joe Tomasso that night. The second match was The Destroyer, Dick Beyer, beating young Eddie Sharkey with the figure four leglock. Beyer would later become Dr. X in the AWA rings.

Bobby Heenan was at ringside for the next match when he managed Blackjack Lanza against veteran star Wilbur Snyder. This was Lanza's first appearance as Blackjack Lanza in Chicago. The card before he wrestled John Powers as babyface Cowboy Jack Lanza. Now that Lanza had Heenan in his corner that made him twice as dangerous and Lanza would become a solid star in  Chicago for years to come. Snyder had Lanza trapped a few times in some great holds but Heenan would interfere. When Snyder had Lanza caught in his abdominal stretch, Heenan couldn't take anymore and jumped into the ring to break up the hold. This action gave Snyder the victory as Lanza was disqualified.

Next was a battle of the bullies as Dick the Bruiser met Johnny Valentine. They both hit each other with everything they had and Bruiser finally gained the pin after an atomic drop off the rope.

Battle of the heel tag teams as Larry Hennig and Harley Race met The Devils Duo, Chris Markoff and Angelo Poffo. Heenan came out again to manage the Duo.  The fans actually cheered Hennig & Race in this match because of Heenan's presence with the Duo. It ended when Hennig & Race were disqualified when they brought Heeanan in to the action.

AWA Title showdown between what I think may have been the two greatest wrestlers that I have ever seen. Verne Gagne put the title on the line against the legendary Lou Thesz. It was a great scientific battle as they matched hold for hold with Thesz playing a subtle heel role every once in a while. The wrestlers fell out of the ring and Gagne got back in before Thesz who was counted out. Thesz took the mike and explained that Illinois may have been the only state with a 10 count for being out of the ring. Thesz then stated that he was used to a 20 count and got mixed up. There are some record books that give Gagne a clean victory over Thesz but they are wrong. Thesz lost on a count out of the ring.

SEPTEMBER 2, 1967

Another big night of wrestling started out with Stan Kowalski, The Big K, getting a victory over Al Kashey. Next up, Yukon Moose Cholak beat veteran Jack Pesek with a big splash, which he called his "El Squasho".  More...

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