WWA-Indianapolis #4 Page #2

Wilbur won the first fall with an abdominal stretch over LeBeouf, lost the second fall when he tried a dropkick and LeBeouf low shotted him between the legs, and Lou lost the 3rd in the same fashion against Goulet. The pace was so fast (for the era) that the finishes came out of nowhere, and worked very well. It sure beat the Bruiser/Crusher vs. Legionnaire matches cold, and its a shame they didnít try to book this as an Indianapolis main for TV. Louís last match in Indianapolis was on July 19,when he worked Johnny Starr in a "grudge match". It was the last bout on the card, following a "Street Fight Match" between Bruiser and Ox, and was annouced as 1 fall,1 hour. The match ran out of TV time about 4 or 5 minutes into it, and as soon as the camera went off, Chuck OíConnor, who had been seconding Starr, jumped into the ring and they both attacked Lou, leaving him laying. It was an anti-climactic finish to say the least, and Lou never worked for the WWA again, although he did come back in the 80ís to do some announcing for Spike Huberís PAWA promotion that originated from French Lick ,Indiana. Lou never looked more embarrassed.

Ox Baker continued to dominate the wrestling scene here as heavyweight champ, turning back challenges from Bruiser, Ladd, Snyder, Thesz, and Bill Miller, before meeting Pepper Gomez, who had returned on October 10th. Apparently, Bob Ellis was slated to resume his program with the Ox to regain the title, but Ellis left, and Gomez took his spot.

Pepper and Bruiser had apparently had a blarny about money, so Dick put Pepper on top as champ, and then buried him, as I will explain. Gomez got DQíd against Ox in their first encounter, November 11,1975. In the no-DQ rematch, Gomez won when Chuck OíConnor (John Studd) hit Ox with a gimmick, and Pepper pinned him. So far, so good. On the December 13th show, Pepper won on a disqualification over Chuck OíConnor after taking a beating. On December 26th,he won over the Ox on a count out, when Bruiser got into a fight with Baker on the floor while Pepper was laid out in the ring. The January 17,1976 show saw Pepper get pinned illegally by Chuck OíConnor, only to have the Moose come down and tell the ref about the infraction, having the ref reverse the decision. Pepper successfully defended his title on February 21st by getting a double DQ decision against the Masked Strangler (Guy Mitchell). As you can see, Pepper wasnít booked to get over, and he wasnít. Pepperís reign came to an end, to the surprise of no one, on May 1st,when the Strangler pinned Pepper. Pepper pretty well became Mitchellís job boy for the remainder of his tenure, leaving (for a time, anyway) after an October 23rd loss to the Strangler in a $2,000 vs. the mask bout.

With Bruiser and Crusher winning the WWA belts again on September 20th,1975(as reported last month), the welcome news that the Valiant brother would be returning to challenge Reg and Dick for the coveted titles. Dick and Crush had actually been working a program on the AWA circuit, where B&C were also champs, against the popular blond villains for a while, and these matches followed pattern. The first encounter on October 18th ended in a ultra bloody double DQ. Jimmy accidentally sliced himself down to the side near his left eye, and was pouring buckets. Crusher was also bleeding after Jimmy whacked him on the head with one of the belts. Both falls ended in double count outs, and both belts, chairs,and other implements were used during the match. It sounds a lot more exciting than it really was, actually. The Valiants looked tired from too much touring and blading, and Jimmy was really paunchy by this time. That, and Bruiser and Crusher had slowed down considerably from the 72-73 era. The rematch was no DQ, and it went down much better. (Getting back to the too much touring line of thought, I got to talk to Johnny early in the evening, and we were talking about the deal that the Valiants had signed with Epic records to record an LP. Johnny went on about the mammoth schedule he and Jimmy had, and then just said, there wasnít enough time to do it. If they could have, it would have been a head of its time. Jimmy, several years later as a solo in Memphis, told me that he sold something in the neighborhood of 50,000 copies of his single, Son of a Gypsy Man just on the Memphis circuit,at $5 a piece. He told me that his payoffs were paled by his concessions. I wonder what would have happened if they had gotten a national spot in 1975?) Before the show, Johnny and Jimmy werenít on good speaking terms backstage. Once they got into the ring, everything seemed to click. First fall went to the Crusher over Jimmy.S econd, Jimmy over Crusher with brass knuckles. The third fall, B&C got the knuckles away, Johnny got color, and then got pinned when Dick threw Jimmy off the top rope onto Johnny and pinned him. After the match, whatever the problems were between Jimmy and Johnny had vanished, as they came to the backstage area in total character, telling how they were robbed, how great they were, and then went upstairs to the dressing room area arm in arm. Afterwards, out back, Johnny and Jimmy were trying to hustle a ride to the airport instead of hailing a cab. The dialogue out there was more amusing then the match had been, with Johnny rattling off one one liner after the other.

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1976

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