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 - Rich Tito

CHICAGO, Summer of 1966

July 25, 1966

This card was going to feature a double main event with both AWA titles to be on the line. Bruiser and Crusher were to defend the belts against The Assassins and Manager Pretty Boy Bobby Heenan with Mad Dog Vachon defending the singles title against Ernie Ladd.

The opening match was a fifteen-minute draw between fan favorite Luis Martinez against Golden Moose Cholak. Cholak was still an in-betweener then, sometimes a heel and sometimes a face. This night Martinez was definitely the face. It was a good opener that went the full 15 minutes. I remember Moose missing an "El Squasho" and Martinez couldn't apply his finisher, "The Octopus" because Moose was too big.

The second match saw Jay York, The Alaskan, easily handle Johny Kace. York won the bout by using the thumb to the throat and pinning Kace.

The third match was between two veteran stars, Angelo Poffo and Wilbur Snyder. At the time, I didn't realize that these two had a very strong rivalry going against each other in the 50's. Snyder and Poffo were both holders of the U.S. Title, and at that time, a Poffo-Snyder match held at The Olympia in Detroit was credited with reviving wrestling in The Motor City. Snyder won this match with his finisher, the abdominal stretch. A side note, sitting at second row ringside with us that night, and many nights after, were Poffo's sons, Randy and Lanny. Many years later, I showed Randy some pictures from that era and he kind of laughed at the pics.

The fourth match was my first time of viewing Verne Gagne in action. He was everything he was advertised to be and easily defeated Chris Markoff with the sleeper hold. Gagne got a tremendous ovation that night.

After a short intermission, Ernie Ladd made his way to the ring to challenge Mad Dog Vachon for the AWA title. This was when all title matches were best of three falls. The Mad Dog came out of the locker room like a madman and I have the recollections of him always doing that. When he got to the ring, he would do that famous kangaroo hop around the ring.  More...

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