Where Wrestling's Regional History Lives!
- Mike Dupree
Pro wrestling in this area took an upswing in 1977 with
the Sheik/Bruiser feud topping the bill. On the
January 15th show, they went at it to a double
DQ decision, fighting all the way back to the
back area where the wrestlers would come out.
Dick ran Sheik's head into the wooden back fence
several times, and Sheik did nothing to block
it, causing loud thuds to resound throughout the
arena. The match itself lasted only a few
minutes, but the fighting through the crowd went
fifteen minutes. Sheik at one point scaled one
of the metal bleacher sections and went after
the fans. In Indianapolis in that time period,
the fans had never seen anything so out of hand.
Several people were actually hurt as the crowd
surged to get around the combatants.
Just when the Sheik would retreat and you
thought it was over, out the Sheik would come
and attack Brusier, and it would start all over
again. It was hard to doubt the intensity
between these two after that, and it went along
way to restoring some credibility to the
proceedings. Attendance was about 7,000 for this
show. Even though it had been advertised as no
TV, they did tape and show a clip of the
"riot" after the match was over. I
can't help but note the contrast to today's
performers who look like they are waiting to be
hurt to show how tough they are, or whatever
they're trying to prove; Sheik and Bruiser did
look like they were fighting for their lives.
Afterward, as the ring was being dismantled,
Sheik and his manager Eddie Creatchman came to
the ring and did a promo. There were still
several hundred people milling around while it
was being cut. It was a pretty strange scene as
most were still riled from the main event. The
canvas had been taken off of the ring as well,
and the ropes were just hanging. It made for a
very strange evening. The Bruiser and Sheik had
also started working a program in Ft. Wayne,
starting on the 13th, going to a double DQ, as
well as working a few other towns in the region.
The undercard had the Strangler defeat Ox Baker
in a WWA title bout with the stip that the loser
had to leave town. The Bounty Hunters kept their
WWA belts against Snyder and Bobo Brazil, losing
by DQ. Ivan Koloff also debuted, defeating
perennial whipping boy, Paul Christy.
The next big event saw them move to the larger Market Square Arena on February 12th for the Sheik/Bruiser confrontation in the steel cage. A clip of this bout can be seen in the movie "I Like To Hurt People", the finish having the masked Strangler come down and kick the door down to gain entrance and attack the Bruiser. This allowed the Sheik to escape and be counted out (no job tonite, eh Eddie??). Sheik took a metal bar from the broken cage door and chased fans throughout the arena. He was a sight to behold (Writer's note: I helped set up the cage that night and never suspected the cage door had been gimmicked).More...