WWA-Indianapolis #6 Page #2

The undercard had Ivan Koloff beating semi-perennial whipping boy Wilbur Snyder for the European title. Ivan actually had a new belt which he defended. Usually, they would bill someone as champ but no belt was ever in evidence. The Strangler was successful in beating Bobo Brazil on countout to retain his WWA title, and in a shocking upset, Moose Cholak and Paul Christy stopped the Bounty Hunters to win the WWA  tag team titles! Historically speaking, this was the first time that the tag team title was put on a babyface team that didn't have either Bruiser or Snyder as one of the members. Its true,its true! Attendance was listed as 9,200. On the 18th in Champaign, Illinois, Jimmy Valiant made his return to the WWA, a tag team match with Johnny Starr as his partner, losing to Steve Regal and Spike Huber. February 25th in Ft. Wayne saw Bobo Brazil win via the DQ route over the Sheik in a U.S. title match. 

The culmination of Strangler interfering was a blowoff match on March 5th for the WWA title between Bruiser and Strangler. The stips were, that each man wore a mask (of course, Strangler was always masked, and Dick never did, so the logic escaped me); Dick's $6000 vs. the WWA belt, and they would be chained ankle to ankle with the loser leaving town. Dick managed to beat the Strangler, who of course was Guy Mitchell, unmask him and win the title. On the undercard, Ivan Koloff retained his European title with a win over Moose Cholak, and co-won a Battle Royal with returning Zarinoff LeBeouf, who was going as Igor Volkoff now. Apparently, it was slated to team the two Russians at some point, but it later got cancelled. Paul Christy and Art Thomas came out the winners over the departing Bounty Hunters. A crowd of 8,500 was on hand. 

The April 2nd show saw the WWA title against the European title, as Bruiser wrestled against Ivan Koloff. There was a real buzz out on this match at the time, much like Bruiser's confrontations with Sheik, Ladd and others. The highlight of the bout, however, was watching the ref pass the blade to Bruiser, who turned to the camera and gaffed between the eyes, then gave the stomach claw to Koloff, passing the blade into Ivan's tights. After getting Dick to release the hold, Ivan reached down and pulled it out, and used it after Bruiser ran his head into the ring post. The match itself, while a good one, seemed to lack some of the intensity it should have had. Still, a good one over all. Christy and Moose put up their belts against the returning Valiant brothers, who lost on DQ. The finish was amusing as Jimmy was supposed to jump on Moose from the top rope after Moose had El Squasho'd Johnny, but Jim actually slipped and fell off the top onto Moose and Johnny instead. I can't imagine how John felt under all of that. Chris Taylor made his last Indy appearance by beating Johnny Starr and Jim Lancaster in a handicap match. The handicap was that Taylor couldn't work (RIP). The April 30th show saw a no-DQ rematch between Koloff and Bruiser, which saw the main ref knocked out, and having Bruiser get the pin as a sub ref came into the ring After the decision, Koloff kneed Bruiser in the back and the sub ref was knocked down, and the original ref came to and counted Bruiser down. The two refs disputed who won, and Koloff in the confusion ran off with the championship belt, ala Kiniski in 1965. The belt was held up pending a review by the commission (ie:rematch). On television, Christy and Moose were presented with new belts to replace the battle-scarred straps that had been abused for so many years. Imagine everyone's surprise, after all of the fanfare, when Moose and Christy came into the ring to defend them against the then latest version of the Kangaroos (Al Costello and Bruce"Hefner"Swazye) with old straps still in hand. Seems that Christy had forgotten and left them at home. Moose and Christy had a successful defense, beating the Kangaroos when Christy won with a sunset flip. In another bout, Christy was defeated by Igor Volkoff! (This was the problem with doing TV out of the house, this bout was designed to get heat for the title defenses on the road that Moose and Christy had against Volkoff and various partners, but it looked stupid at a house show.) Koloff hit Christy in the back of the head while Christy had Volkoff in the sleeper. The ref was checking Volkoff and didn't see Koloff interfere.  Bruiser and Snyder seldom ran in May because of the race, so the next big show was June 16th, and had a Texas Death Match to decide who was the WWA champ after all, between Koloff and Bruiser. 

Around the area, Jimmy Valiant and Koloff and Volkoff were the top main eventers. March 10th in Ft. Wayne saw Bruiser beat the Sheik in a cage bout when Sheik left and was counted out. Snyder and Brazil beat Jimmy Valiant and Igor Volkoff in the undercard. The 18th in Terre Haute saw Bruiser and Moose beat the Russians when Jimmy Valiant interfered. March 23rd saw Bruiser successfully defend his title in Anderson, getting a DQ win over Jim Valiant. April 1st in Terre Haute saw the reunited Valiants beat Bruiser and Moose. April 2nd saw the Valiants loss to Moose and Christy in Indianapolis. The Valiants had changed their image quite a bit from the last go around. Jimmy had trimmed down considerably and had grown a Fu Manchu mustache. Johnny had cut his hair short, and they had acquired the services of Major Duke George as their manager. Duke was a long time job boy for Bruiser who claimed that his father was Gorgeous George. He wasn't much of a worker, but seemed to fit in good with the Valiants, even if he did wear a major's outfit that made him look like a Boy Scout. Most of the matches where Jimmy lost by DQ that are listed were through Duke's interference, usually hitting Jimmy's opponent with a riding crop that George carried to the ring with him. As Johnny Starr was gradually turned babyface, George was brought in to take his place as top area manager. The fact that Duke was blond and could juice until he was bathing in blood probably played a large part in his ascension to the top, as Dick had a weakness for bleeding blonds.  On the 15th of April, Moose and Christy had a successful title defense against Jimmy Valiant and Igor Volkoff in a match that had Johnny Starr make the save for the champs. The 19th in Wabash, Indiana, Moose and Christy again won, beating the Russians by DQ. In a WWA title match, Bruiser and Jim Valiant went to a double DQ. 

The month of May had a lot of action on the road. The 6th in Kokomo had Jimmy Valiant winning a Battle Royal, as well as going to a draw with Wilbur Snyder. Terre Haute on the 14th Huber and Snyder beating Volkoff and Starr and Jim Valiant beating Moose. The 18th in Bedford, Indiana had Bruiser keeping his title with another DQ win over Jimmy, and Snyder and Huber again beating Starr and Volkoff. May 20th in Columbus, Indiana had Bruiser and Moose beating the Russians. Apparently, Igor Volkoff had given his notice (to go work for Gulas, no less) which is why he was being jobbed out. Bruiser brought in Phil Heddon as Russian Ivan Volkoff. Phil was from down in Kentucky, and was a fair hand, but no where near the caliber of the Valiants, Koloff etc. The 26th saw the debut of the new Strangler (Karl Afflis, later Bobby Van)and Ivan Volkoff lose to Steve Regal and Spike Huber. Snyder beat Jim Valiant by (are you ready for this?) DQ. 

The month of June saw Art Thomas re-team with the Bruiser to go to a double DQ with Jimmy Valiant and the Strangler in Joliet, Illinois on the 3rd.The next night in Terre Haute saw the Valiants defeating Bruiser and Christy. On the 10th in Richmond, Indiana, Moose and Christy successfully defended their belts against the Strangler and Jim Lancaster, with the Bruiser beating Jimmy Valiant by DQ once again in the main event. The big show in Indianapolis on June 18th saw Bruiser and Ivan Koloff go at it in a Texas Death Match to decide who would get the held up WWA title. After 7 falls, Bruiser had things pretty much his way, with Ivan out on the mat bleeding profusely, when the Valiant Brother came out of the dressing room and were threatening Sam Menacker. Dick went out to help and the Valiants picked up the ringside table and hit Bruiser over the head, ko'ing Dick, who was counted OUT of the ring (even though Ivan was out IN the ring) and the belt was given to the barely concious Koloff. In the other main event, the Valiants regained the WWA belts, beating Christy and Moose when they dropped Paul throat first over the top rope while the ref was pushing Moose out of the ring. 

KM Ed. Note:  Chris has stepped to the plate for a visit and provided a new article for the region. 


June, 1966

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