WWA-Indianapolis #23 Page #2
Heenan recovered though, and
continued to make a nuisance of himself. He had a couple of bouts
against the angered Indian, but each time would vacate back to the
dressing room, never staying in the ring to fight. Two weeks before the
February 29th Coliseum show the promotion ran their usual
Tuesday night show at the Tyndall Armory, and on that card, former tag
champs Wilbur Snyder and Paul Christy had a non-title bout against the
men that dethroned them, the Blackjacks, with the promise of another
title bout should they be victorious. For this reason, Snyder had agreed
to team with Art Thomas and the Bruiser on the 29th show
against the Blackjacks and Gene Kiniski, hoping to possibly help soften
the Blackjacks up before he and Christy got their return bout. Sadly, it
was not to be. During the course of the bout that saw Snyder and Christy
handling the big cowboys with relative ease (especially considering how
badly the Blackjacks had slaughtered Christy and Snyder to win the
belts), Heenan once again stuck his two cents in, holding the top rope
so Christy couldn't grab it as he has back dropped over it by Lanza.
Hitting the floor with a sickening thud, Christy was not only counted
out, but also put out of action. Snyder, without a partner now,
volunteered to not only drop out of the 6 man tag, making it another
title shot for Bruiser and Thomas against the Blackjacks, but he also
agreed to referee the bout to keep Lanza and Mulligan from their usual
shenanigans. The final problem was, "what to do to keep Heenan from
interfering?" The solution was simple, put him in an Indian chain
match with Red Cloud, and let Billy take care of Heenan. It was those
two bouts that got
us fired up enough to buy tickets and attend.
And what an all-star card it was,
too! You also had Moose Cholak challenging Baron Von Raschke for his
World title, Prince Pullins and The Professor were taking on Ken
Dillinger and his manager Big Bad John, the girls were there when Paula
Steele faced the challenge of ultra fine Donna Lemke, and Angelo Poffo
was taking on Killer Cortez. I couldn't wait. My cousin Corky, his dad,
my mom and assorted others piled into the station wagon and up to the
Coliseum we went. Going to the Coliseum was always a trip back in time.
It was built in the 30's, and it has its original ticket windows that
were installed back then. I think it also has the same toilets but I'm
not sure. Sure seemed like it.
Anyways, we get there, get out our
tickets, have them torn, and we enter another world. Program sellers
hawking programs, pictures, and a Crusher Country All Star Wrestling
book that featured stars I had never heard of before. As a matter of
fact, I didn't know half the people on my lineup program poster. Who was
this bald headed old guy, Gag-knee? Hennig? Finally, after scoring the
stalest popcorn in existence (probably popped in the 1930's) we make our
way to our seats. Seating back then was pretty free form. It's not a
sell out so you can pretty much sit anywhere, and the lack of security
means we had free run of the place.
The lights go down, there are just a
battery of lights over the ring, the rest of the place is pitch dark.
Out come two grapplers. Killer Cortez I recognize. The young, well-built
black man I don't. His name according to announcer Sam Menacker is
Frankie Adonis. Adonis is pretty much eaten alive by Cortez, and he gets
very little offense. Still, he manages to gut out the 10-minute time
limit. It weirds me out to not hear a TV announcer calling the match,
just the sound of the ring and the sound of bodies hitting together.
Also, with the mat being white and red ring ropes, it gives the
grapplers an eerie red glow. Next up are the girls, and the fine looking
Donna Lemke triumphs over her heavier opponent after taking some abuse.
This 13 year old was sad to see Donna go. Out next come Angelo Poffo and
Ken Dillinger. Angelo I'd been seeing on my TV screen for years. Ken had
been one of those aforementioned "dummy guys" for years, what
the heck was he going to do. Next out were Prince Pullins and the
popular Professor. Well, I knew who was going to win this one. Pullins
and the Pro were pretty much having things their own way when Pullins
mistimed a dropkick over the top rope coming into the ring. The
Professor, usually an even tempered individual, let go on Pullins and
beat the snot out of him, making him an easy prey for Dillinger and
Poffo, now calling themselves the Graduates, to eek out a win. (The P.A.
was so bad I at first thought they called them "the Cratchetts",
God bless us all!) What in the world was wrong with that idiot, we all
knew it was a mistake?
Next out was Billy Red Cloud, and we
were comforted in knowing there was NO WAY Heenan was going to get away
without a beating. Finally, Bobby comes out and informs us this is a
regulation match, not a chain match. I couldn't ever figure out why if
he thought that he tapes his wrist. I guess he wanted to be safe? The
referee, Red Cloud and one of Indianapolis finest hold Bobby long enough
for the ref to lock the padlock on Heenan's wrist, and the game was
ON!!!! Bobby ran out of the ring, Red Cloud pulled him back, again it
happens, and again. Billy is just toying with Heenan. He puts he chain
in Bobby's mouth and runs it back and forth, he chokes Bobby. That darn
Heenan HAD THIS COMING for what he did to Red Cloud's personal
belongings. Finally, Bobby fights back. He starts hitting Red Cloud in
the head with the chain, and the Indian IS BLEEDING! Billy's in trouble.
We all stamp our feet and do Indian war whoops to rally our hero, and it
works. Billy goes into his war dance. Heenan's dead meat now! Red Cloud
pounds Bobby's forehead with the chain until he's a bloody mess. And
then he whips the hated manager with the chain. No WAY that's fake, NO
WAY! Finally, Billy ties Bobby into the ropes with the chain and chokes
him, and Heenan concedes. My cousin and other rush down to the main
floor where Heenan was being carted out, his feet dragging, blood
spurting, SPURTING out of his forehead. We all chant, "Bleed,
Heenan, bleed". He tore up Red Cloud's belongings, pulled the rope
down injuring Christy, Heenan DESERVED this.
Well, things are looking up. Next
out was Von Raschke taking on Moose Cholak for the belt. Moose will stop
Baron, no problem. And this is odd, this bout is a best 2 out of 3 fall
bout. I don't recollect seeing one of those. Oh well, Moose'll squash
him. And he does. He throws the Baron in one corner and runs into him,
the ring moves a half a foot. Then he repeats it in the other corner,
the ring moves again. Finally, Moose mounts the 2nd rope and
comes down with an El Squasho, breaking a ring slat in the meantime, and
Baron is pinned. Moose gets up giving us all the victory (peace) sign.
Well, Baron is finished. He's lying there clutching his ribs, what can
he do? Baron keeps stalling in the 2nd fall, and wait!, that
dirty Nazi is untying the tag team rope and putting it in his trunks.
The stupid ref doesn't see him use it to choke Moose. C'mon ref, how can
you be so BLIND?????????? Moose is weakened from being choked and gets
pinned in the 2nd fall. That
stupid ref!!!!!!!!!!! In the 3rd fall, Moose finally
gets the rope, but he's weakened. Still, he manages to pummel Raschke,
but the Baron's playing possum. Moose, DON'T GET ON THAT ROPE AND
JUMP!,............too late, Baron moves and Moose hits the mat with a
loud thud. 1-2-3, its all over, and the Baron is the winner.
intermission, I and several of my generation HAVE to go down and check
this thing called a ring out.
thing we do is stick our fingers in the blood left over from the chain
match. It sure LOOKS real enough. We watch as the ring crew takes the
broken slat out from under the ring as they race to retighten the ring
ropes, loosened from Moose standing on them. They retie the tag team
rope that the Baron removed. I slap my hand on the canvas. It's a LOT
harder than I thought. I get INTO the ring, but only briefly before I'm
chased out. What a neat feeling it was, too, being up there. Hmmmmmmm
out comes Wilbur Snyder to the ring, then the Blackjacks, and who's that
with them, Heenan all bloody and bandaged, and Raschke! You know he's up
to no good, the rotten cheat! Then the wrestler we all want to see, Dick
the Bruiser and his partner, the powerhouse Art Thomas! These guys will
take those belts off of the Blackjacks, Raschke and Heenan or no Raschke
and Heenan. And we have an honest ref in there. I'm in the aisle in the
front row, and I can hear the shots hit, this stuff ain't fake. No Way.
NO WAY. Lanza accidentally hits HIS OWN PARTNER when Bruiser ducks, and
Mulligan falls straight back onto the floor. The cowboys take a
drubbing, Art wins the first fall handily when he puts Mulligan in a
bear hug. When Wilbur isn't
looking, both Blackjacks pick Art up and drop him over their knees in a
backbreaker, and Art is pinned in the 2nd. Geez Wilbur, who"s side
you on? During the start of the 3rd fall, the chant goes up
for Red Cloud to come out and even things up. "We want Red Cloud,
We want Red Cloud", out comes Billy to the entrance area with a
huge bandage on his forehead, but he doesn't venture to ringside.
Finally, Heenan provides a distraction, and Lanza, in an illegal corner,
loads his gloves and ko's Bruiser from behind, enters the ring and pins
Bruiser. I mean 1-2-3. Wilbur finally rules after conferring with Sam
Menacker and ALL OF US, that Lanza made an illegal tag in the wrong
corner, and gives the bout to Bruiser and Thomas! Yea! New tag team
champions! Lanza takes his loaded glove and hits Snyder. Wilbur goes
down and comes up bleeding, but by then the villains have left. Bruiser
and Thomas take their belts and leave the ring, and I got to walk right
up to them, shake their hands and TOUCH THE BELTS! New champs, and I was
this being on a Tuesday night, I went to school the next day with no
voice, and I told everyone where I had been. Even though many scoffed at
that faked stuff, I could tell just as many were envious they hadn't
an extra bonus, when I got home mom had the Indianapolis paper with a
shot of Red Cloud choking Heenan from last night's bouts. Imagine my
disappointment when I read the results, that a title CAN'T change hands
on a disqualification. I knew I had to get up on these rules, because
after that night, I was a fan!
sitting here 32 years later typing this, looking at the newspaper
clipping and account, looking at my original program that has survived
all of these years, and in my hand, the tag team belts that were the
cornerstone of so many of the angles from back then. The next day after
this show I met my buddy Joe Cagle at school, and within two years of
that first night at the Fairgrounds, we were helping with setting up the
ring. Six years later, we made our pro debuts. Over the years we were
blessed with meeting many of our heroes so many that are no longer with
us. A big thank you to all of them for still entertaining me all these
years later. I can't imagine what life would have been like without
them. I had fun.
Donna Lemke went on to change her name to Dawn, and then marry Dusty Rhodes. I still don't get it. Mulligan is retired and is a scuba instructor, plagued with arthritis from his ring years. Raschke is retired after having his own business, working at the Minneapolis zoo and doing substitute teaching. Wilbur and Dick died 6 weeks apart in 1991, Wilbur passing away on Christmas day. Moose died on Halloween 2002. Lanza works for the WWE, and Heenan survived a bout with throat cancer and has just finished his second book. You can find him at one of his many personal appearances, or at the Cauliflower Alley club banquets in Vegas. Red Cloud passed away in 1983. Art Thomas passed away after a brief illness at the age of 79. By all accounts a satisfied man with a large family.
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