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Author Topic: Repost from Thesz board---Bearcat Wright (who is now on the ballot)
Crimson Mask from FL
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I'll copy this over there and leave it open both places.

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So long from the Sunshine State!

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Crimson Mask from FL
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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Yohe:


White guys telling stories about a black guy, doesn't really ring a bell for me.

Yeah. Me either.

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So long from the Sunshine State!

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Steve Yohe
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In doing the record I found that Kinji Shibuya wrestled Bearcat a lot...in a lot of places. I thought they had to be guys who were friends.

Koji Miyamoto lived in SF during Kinji Shibuya's last years and the two were very close & spent a lot of time together. So knowing Koji, I figured he asked Kinji about Wright. So I emailed Koji about it.

He said that Kinji only said good things about Wright, and in any debate over who was the best black wrestler...he felt it was Bearcat. Said he was very smooth & not stiff. Kinji said Brazil was stiff and broke his teeth twice doing his flying leg scissors. And said he was "no good". Bearcat didn't do "such a crazy sudden move" and Shibuya felt safe working with him.

Bearcat only made one Japanese tour with NJW from Oct. 25, 1975 to Dec. 11, 1975. He was 45 & Koji said he just looked Ok. They treated him well. In around 45 matches he only did two clean jobs to Antonio Inoki and one to Seiji Sakaguchi. He had draws with both & beat most of the other Japanese wrestlers.---Steve Yohe

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Steve Yohe
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These are some of the Bearcat Wright cards that I thought showed he was a draw. Most he was in the main event & drew. I put in some other Cow Palace cards to show the difference between being in the main event & someone else. These are copied from the record I'm working on, and may not look good in the WC format.

1956
FEB. 14 EDMONTON SKY HI LEE WON
(ATT: 6,000)

1959
DEC. 7 MSG, NYC & ANTONINO ROCCA (ATT: 12,751 & $36,773.05)
VS DR JERRY GRAHAM & JOHNNY VALENTINE DRAW

1960
APRIL 1 CHICAGO JOHNNY VALENTINE (1:36:00) DRAW (1-1)
(ATT: 10,160)

MAY 27 CHICAGO JERRY GRAHAM WON
(ATT: 8,217)

JUNE 24 CHICAGO PAMPERO FIRPO WON
(ATT: 10,633)

JULY 18 WASHINGTON DC BUDDY ROGERS (US TITLE) WON (DQ (ATT: 16,521---LARGEST CROWD IN WASHINGTON HISTORY—GRIFFIN STADIUM--REFEREES : JERSEY JOE WALCOTT & TONY GALENTO)

JULY 29 CHICAGO BUDDY ROGERS (US TITLE) LOST (COMISKY PARK ATT: 30,275—GATE $89,675—CO-MAIN EVENT WITH O'CONNOR VS YUKON ERIC)

AUG. 8 WASHINGTON DC & SWEET DADDY SIKI (ATT: 16,380)
VS BUDDY ROGERS & EDDIE GRAHAM WON (UTC 2-1)

AUG. 19 CHICAGO & SWEET DADDY SIKI (COMISKY PARK ATT: 17,206)
VS BUDDY ROGERS & EDDIE GRAHAM DDQ (1-1)

SEPT. 16 CHICAGO KILLER KOWALSKI WON (DQ 2-1)
(COMISKY PARK ATT: 26,731)

SEPT. 19 WASHINGTON DC & SWEET DADDY SIKI (ATT: 11,565—GRIFFEN STADIUM)
VS BUDDY ROGERS & EDDIE GRAHAM WON (DQ)

OCT. 7 CHICAGO & SWEET DADDY SIKI (ATT: 11,020)
VS KANGAROOS: AL COSTELLO & ROY HEFFERNAN DRAW (1-1)

1962
JAN. 22 MSG, NYC & JOHNNY VALENTINE (ATT: 20,777 GATE $63,561.45)
VS BUDDY ROGERS & BOB ORTON LOST (1-2)

1963
JULY 3 LOS ANGELES DON LEO JONATHAN WON (2-0)
(THIS WAS A TV CARD BUT THE WRIGHT/JONATHAN MATCH WAS OFF TV. IT DREW 8,971 AND THE BALCANY HAD TO BE OPENED.)

AUG 15 SAN FRANCISCO RAY STEVENS (US TITLE) LOST
(ATT: 8,034)

AUG. 23 LOS ANGELES FREDDIE BLASSIE (WWA WC WIN) WON (COR 2-1)
(ATT: SELL OUT 10,400)

SEPT. 7 FRESNO RAY STEVENS DDQ (2-1)
(ATT: SELLOUT—GATE $10,743)

SEPT. 13 LOS ANGELES FREDDIE BLASSIE (WWA WC) DCOR (1-1)
(ATT: 10,400—SELLOUT)

OCT. 18 LOS ANGELES COUNT BILLY VARGA (WWA WC) WON (DQ)
(ATT: 10,400—SELLOUT)

NOV. 22 LOS ANGELES EDWARD CARPENTIER (WWA WC)(60:00) DRAW (1-1)
(ATT: 6,500)

DEC. 13 LOS ANGELES FREDDIE BLASSIE (WWA WC) WON (2-1)
(THIS IS THE FAMOUS DOUBLE-CROSS MATCH IN WHICH WRIGHT REFUSED TO DROP THE TITLE & PINED BLASSIE. ATT: 10,400—SELLOUT, BUT AT VERY LOW PRICES.)


1965
JAN. 23 SAN FRANCISCO MITSU ARAKAWA WON
(SEMI TO MAIN EVENT OF SHIBUYA VS GOMEZ THAT DREW 9,723.)

FEB. 20 SAN FRANCISCO KINJI SHIBUYA (US TITLE) (60:00) WOF ?
(ATT: 11,575. WRIGHT EITHER WON THE ONLY FALL IN 60:00 MATCH OR GOT THE DECISION, BUT NOT THE TITLE.)

MARCH 20 SAN FRANCISCO KINJI SHIBUYA (US TITLE) (60:00) DRAW
(ATT: 12,245)

APRIL 17 SAN FRANCISCO KINJI SHIBUYA (US TITLE) LOST
(ATT: 11,576)

MAY 8 SAN FRANCISCO & RICKY ROMERO
VS KARL & KURY STROHEIM WON
(MAIN EVENT OF SHIBUYA DEFEATING GOMEZ DREW 7,130.)

MAY 29 SAN FRANCISCO JUAN SEBASTIAN WON
(MAIN EVENT OF SHIBUYA VS JACK LANZA DREW 6,939)

JUNE 19 SAN FRANCISCO KINJI SHIBUYA (US TITLE) LOST
(ATT: 10,502)

JULY 17 SAN FRANCISCO & PEPPER GOMEZ (WTC)
VS RAY STEVENS & PAT PATTERSON LOST
(THE MAIN EVENT OF SHIBUYA VS JACK LANZA DREW 8,188.)

AUG. 14 SAN FRANCISCO RAY STEVENS COR
(SEMI FINAL TO SHIBUYA VS LANZA THAT DREW 7,215.)

1966
JUNE 4 SAN FRANCISCO RAY STEVENS COR (1-2)
(SEMI TO GORILLA MONSOON DEFEATING BILL WATTS FOR THE US TITLE. ATT: 13,000)


1967
DEC. 2 SAN FRANCISCO RAY STEVENS (US TITLE WIN) WON (2-1)
(ATT: 8,448)

DEC. 30 SAN FRANCISCO RAY STEVENS (US TITLE) WON
(ATT: 11,237)


1968
JAN. 27 SAN FRANCISCO RAY STEVENS (US TITLE) WON (DQ 2-1)
(ATT: 11,237)

FEB. 17 SAN FRANCISCO KINIJI SHIBUYA (US TITLE LOSS) LOST
(ATT: 8,760)

MARCH 16 SAN FRANCISCO KINJI SHIBUYA (US TITLE) DQ
(ATT: 10,622)

APRIL 13 SAN FRANCISCO KINJI SHIBUYA (US TITLE WIN) WON
(ATT: 8,172)

MAY 11 SAN FRANCISCO RAY STEVENS (US TITLE) WON (DQ)
(ATT: 6,343)

JUNE 8 SAN FRANCISCO RAY STEVENS (US TITLE) WON (COR)
(ATT: 6,343)

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Steve Yohe
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I don't know if Wright will ever get his just due as a major wrestling star & draw, because every bio or article written about him concentrates on his strange attitude, bad behavior, and the Blassie double-cross. The quotes, from mostly whites, are all about what a jerk he was. Just about any writer will have to focus on the negative stuff & not about what happened in the ring & the crowds he drew. To any person new to the subject, he has to come off as a strange guy who didn't play by the rules, and they will dismiss him.

The major article about him is the Steve Johnson/Greg Oliver piece from HEROES & ICONS on page 250. It spend much of it's time going over the negative.

In working on Wright's record, I'm having trouble finding some of the events stated.

When was Bearcat suspended by the NY Commission for missing a match. I can't find it or see it in the record. Ken....you talked about this....can you put a date on it.

When was the match in Gary, Indiana where he refused to just wrestle just blacks & got a brief suspension. The story was in EBONY magazine and he got support from the NAACP. I need a date. It's claimed to have been in 1960, but he worked for McMahon in NY for all of that year.

When did he blow off a "March of Dimes" benefit....and who cares.

What we get, for the most part, is a white man's version of Bearcat Wright. Can we trust that? Was a white man's sport bias against a black man in the early 1960's? Is that believable? Could it be possible? Should Bearcat Wright have just taken it & not bitched....like some women used to do when sexually bothered by men...and refuse to do now? Should he have been like Bobo Brazil & never complained & been nice to every white man? Just kept his place & not tried to change things? Did him speaking out for what he felt he earned & thought was right, make him a stronger candidate for the WON HOF or any HOF?

On top of that, the guy had sickle cell anemia...a very painful disease that start from a early age & kills you between 40 & 60.

What Thunderbolt Patterson, Rufus R. Jones or JYD said or did isn't important to me...because as wrestlers they didn't have my respect. Bearcat, I saw, was great & a major wrestler white or black.

I say throw out all the talk...and just go by what he did in the ring, how he drew, and his importance to wrestling & its history.---Steve Yohe

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Ed Lock from Sydney, Aust
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G'day All,

Bearcat Wright wrestled in Australia in 1953, 1966 and 1967.

Here are the results and some details of those three tours:

Wright was born on 13 January 1932 so only he was 21 years old in his first tour of Australia in 1953. Steve Yohe has compiled a great ring record for Bearcat. The earliest professional wrestling match that Steve has found for Wright is 17 December 1951 whilst Bearcat was still competing as a professional boxer. Thus, Wright had just barely 1 ½ years of pro wrestling experience when he made his Australian wrestling debut.

Bearcat made his wrestling debut in Australia on 21 May 1953 and toured until the end of July that year. His name was acknowledged as Eddie Wright but he was generally billed as Bobo “Bearcat” Wright. His professional boxing statistics credited Wright as being 6 foot 6½ inches tall. In Australia Bearcat was billed as 6 foot 7 inches tall and from 18 stone 6 pounds (258 pounds) to 19 stone (266 pounds) in weight.

Australian newspaper articles in 1953 acknowledged Wright as “the biggest wrestler to visit Australia” possessing an “abnormal reach of 87 inches”, being “remarkably fast for a big man” and “in perfect condition and strong in proportion to his great weight”. It was noted that Bearcat would turn heads as he walked down main streets as he “dwarfed” the average Australian of the time.

Other newspaper reports were that Wright had “a chest measurement of 50 inches”, wore “size 13 shoes and “6 ½ yards of cloth are required to make him a suit”. It was published that Bearcat was formerly a professional heavyweight boxer who “in August 1951 was named in The Ring (magazine) as prospect of the month”. Wright’s pro boxing record was embellished from actually winning all of his 8 professional boxing contests - 5 by knockout – to having “had 37 fights for 35 wins”. Bearcat was quoted as saying he “would like to fight Kevin Brady, heavyweight (boxing) champion of Australia.”

A gimmick at some of his matches was that “all ladies attending the wrestling will receive a free picture of Wright”.

Technically all of Bearcat’s 1953 Australian matches were main events as back then shows were headlined by a wrestling match featuring overseas stars supported by preliminary matches featuring local wrestlers and/or boxing bouts. At Sydney Stadium the undercard contained 2 matches featuring local wrestlers plus boxing bouts; at Leichhardt Stadium (in suburban Sydney) the undercard contained 3 matches featuring local wrestlers plus boxing bouts; whilst the undercards at West Melbourne Stadium, Brisbane Stadium and Newcastle Stadium contained only boxing bouts. On rare occasions there would 2 matches featuring overseas wrestlers. Of course, by these standards all overseas wrestlers wrestled only main event matches.

Overseas wrestlers working in Australia during Wright’s campaign were Chief Little Wolf, Pat McGill, Johnny Moochy, Pierre La Salle (Eddie Auger – uncle of Johnny and Jacques Rougeau), Mario De Souza and Nick Kapitan.

The results of Wright’s matches in Australia in 1953 were:

Thursday 21 May 1953 at Sydney Stadium, Sydney, NSW, Australia
* 8 Rounds: Bearcat Wright defeated Mario DeSouza 2 falls to 1 - Bearcat Wright’s Australian debut.

Tuesday 26 May 1953 at Newcastle Stadium, Newcastle, NSW, Australia
* 8 Rounds: Bearcat Wright defeated Mario DeSouza 1 fall each on disqualification - DeSouza was disqualified in Round 5 for repeatedly gouging Wright’s eyes

Thursday 28 May 1953 at Sydney Stadium, Sydney, NSW, Australia
* 8 Rounds: Bearcat Wright drew with Pierre LaSalle 1 fall each

Tuesday 2 June 1953 at Newcastle Stadium, Newcastle, NSW, Australia
* 8 Rounds: Pat McGill defeated Bearcat Wright 1 fall each on a points decision

Monday 15 June 1953 at Brisbane Stadium, Brisbane, QLD, Australia
* 8 Rounds: Bearcat Wright defeated Chief Little Wolf 1 fall each on disqualification in Round 5

Saturday 20 June 1953 at Leichhardt Stadium, Sydney, NSW, Australia
* 8 Rounds: Bearcat Wright drew with Pat McGill 1 fall each

Thursday 25 June 1953 at Sydney Stadium, Sydney, NSW, Australia
* 8 Rounds: Bearcat Wright defeated Chief Little Wolf 1 fall each on disqualification

Monday 29 June 1953 at Brisbane Stadium, Brisbane, QLD, Australia
* 8 Rounds: Bearcat Wright defeated Pierre La Salle 2 falls to 1 in 6 rounds

Thursday 2 July 1953 at Sydney Stadium, Sydney, NSW, Australia
* 8 Rounds: Johnny Moochy defeated Bearcat Wright 2 falls to 1

Tuesday 7 July 1953 at Newcastle Stadium, Newcastle, NSW, Australia
* 8 Rounds: Bearcat Wright drew with Pat McGill 1 fall each

Saturday 11 July 1953 at West Melbourne Stadium, Melbourne, Victoria (VIC), Australia
* 8 Rounds: Pat McGill defeated Bearcat Wright 2 falls to 1 (3rd fall: McGill with a pin using his feet on the top rope.)

Monday 13 July 1953 at Brisbane Stadium, Brisbane, QLD, Australia
* 8 Rounds Chief Little Wolf defeated Bearcat Wright 1 fall each COR in 6 Rounds (3rd fall: after both wrestlers had fought outside the ring in the sixth round, Wright was unable to regain the ring inside the 10 seconds allowed and was counted out).

Saturday 18 July 1953 at Leichhardt Stadium, Sydney, NSW, Australia
* 8 Rounds: Mario De Souza defeated Bearcat Wright 1 fall each on disqualification (3rd fall: Wright was disqualified for punching referee Jim Deakin in Round 6

Tuesday 21 July 1953 at Newcastle Stadium, Newcastle, NSW, Australia
* 8 Rounds: Bearcat Wright drew with Chief Little Wolf 1 fall each

Thursday 23 July 1953 at Sydney Stadium, Sydney, NSW, Australia
* 8 Rounds: Pat McGill defeated Bearcat Wright 1 fall each on disqualification (3rd fall: Wright was disqualified in Round 7 for attacking the referee)

Saturday 25 July 1953 at Leichhardt Stadium, Sydney, NSW, Australia
* 8 Rounds: Bearcat Wright drew with Pat McGill 1 fall each

Monday 27 July 1953 at Brisbane Stadium, Brisbane, QLD, Australia
* 8 Rounds: Pat McGill defeated Bearcat Wright 2 falls to 1 in 6 Rounds

Tuesday 28 July 1953 at Newcastle Stadium, Newcastle, NSW, Australia
* 8 Rounds: Mario DeSouza defeated Bearcat Wright 1 fall each on disqualification (3rd fall: Wright was disqualified in Round 7 for head butting referee Joe Dawson)

Thursday 30 July 1953 at Sydney Stadium, Sydney, NSW, Australia
* 8 Rounds: Johnny Moochy defeated Bearcat Wright 2 falls to 1

In summary, Wright wrestled 19 matches for a record of 5 wins, 9 losses and 5 draws. The 9 losses included 3 disqualifications, 1 COR, 1 points decision and 1 via opponent’s feet on the ropes.

Bearcat registered 2 wins against Mario DeSouza and 2 DQ losses for striking the referee.

He also split his matches against Pierre La Salle – 1 win and a DQ loss for striking the referee.

Wright scored 2 DQ wins over Chief Little Wolf, drew 1 bout and lost 1 match via COR. Little Wolf was an absolute legend in Australia who wrestled here in 1937, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957 and 1958!

Bearcat held Pat McGill to 3 draws and lost 4 matches (1 loss via DQ for striking the referee, 1 loss when McGill used the ropes to gain the third fall and 1 on a referee’s points decision). McGill received a big push Down Under in 1953.

Wright also lost 2 bouts to Johnny Moochy (who also received a big push in Australia at this time). Moochy sported shoulder length hair which he would comb in the ring, often utilising a mirror. It should be noted that Australian fans would not witness Gorgeous George in action until 1956.

Wright’s second tour of Australia was in July to September 1966 for the World Championship Wrestling promotion of Jim Barnett and Johnny Doyle. In typical pro wrestling manner, Bearcat was then billed as 6 foot 9 inches tall and 20 stone (280 pounds) in weight.

Wright was nicknamed “the world’s most spectacular wrestler” (due largely for his ability to deliver drop kicks, flying head scissors and somersault splashes despite being as such a huge man) and “the Houdini of the mat” (for his smooth escapes from opponents’ holds).

Australian newspaper articles of the day proclaimed Bearcat as “a giant” who “dwarfs his opponents not only in physique but also in skill, speed and showmanship.”

Wright debuted in 1966 with great fanfare, wrestling in special event matches directly before the main events in capital cities and major towns throughout Australia. After a week Down Under Bearcat was headlining World Championship Wrestling events. After 2 weeks in Australia Wright teamed with Mark Lewin to win the International Wrestling Alliance (IWA) World Tag Team Title from Skull Murphy & Brute Bernard. After 5 weeks in this country Bearcat defeated Skull Murphy to become the IWA World Champion.

At one stage Wright held both the IWA World Championship and the IWA World Tag Team Title simultaneously.

On this tour Bearcat had great matches against Professor Tanaka, Skull Murphy, Brute Bernard, Bob “the Bruiser” Baker (Larry Hulin aka Bobby “Hercules” Graham), Mitsu Arakawa, Mark Lewin, Dan Miller and the masked Destroyer (John Hill aka Guy Mitchell).

The results of Wright’s matches in Australia in 1966 were:

Friday 15 July 1966 at Sydney Stadium, Sydney, NSW, Australia
* Bearcat Wright defeated Professor Tanaka

Saturday 16 July 1966 at Sydney TV Taping, Sydney, NSW, Australia
* Bearcat Wright & Mark Lewin defeated George Lackey & Ted Sinkowski 2 falls to nil

Saturday 16 July 1966 (date of telecast – date of taping was earlier) at Newcastle TV Taping, Newcastle, NSW, Australia
* Bearcat Wright drew with Professor Tanaka

Saturday 16 July 1966 Melbourne Festival Hall, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
* IWA World Tag Team Title Match: Skull Murphy & Brute Bernard (Champions) defeated Bearcat Wright & Dominic DeNucci 2 falls to 1

Sunday 17 July 1966 at Melbourne TV Taping, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
* Bearcat Wright defeated Abe Lightfoot; Bearcat Wright defeated Al Woods (in consecutive matches)

Monday 18 July 1966 at Geelong Palais, Geelong, VIC, Australia
* Bearcat Wright defeated Brute Bernard

Wednesday 20 July 1966 at Brisbane Festival Hall, Brisbane, QLD, Australia
* Bearcat Wright defeated Bob “the Bruiser” Baker (Larry Hulin aka Bobby “Hercules” Graham)

Friday 22 July 1966 at Sydney Stadium, Sydney, NSW, Australia
* IWA World Tag Team Title Match: Bearcat Wright & Mark Lewin defeated Skull Murphy & Brute Bernard (Champions) 2 falls to 1 but the belts were held up as the legal wrestlers were not involved in the 3rd fall.

Saturday 23 July 1966 at Sydney TV Taping, Sydney, NSW, Australia
* Bearcat Wright defeated Johnny Boyd (later known as Lord Jonathan Boyd)

Saturday 23 July 1966 (date of telecast – date of taping was earlier) at Newcastle TV Taping, Newcastle, NSW, Australia
* Bearcat Wright defeated Mitsu Arakawa

Saturday July 23 1966 at Melbourne Festival Hall, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
* Bearcat Wright defeated Brute Bernard 2 falls to 1

Sunday 24 July 1966 at Melbourne TV Taping, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
* Bearcat Wright defeated Johnny Boyd; Bearcat Wright defeated Ted Sinkowski (in consecutive matches)

Wednesday 27 July 1966 at Newcastle, NSW, Australia
* IWA World Tag Team Title: Bearcat Wright & Jim Hady defeated Skull Murphy & Brute Bernard (Champions) on disqualification so the championship did not change hands

Friday 29 July 1966 at Sydney Stadium, Sydney, NSW, Australia
* IWA World Tag Team Title: Bearcat Wright & Mark Lewin defeated Skull Murphy & Brute Bernard (Champions) 2 falls to 1 to become the new titleholders

Saturday 30 July 1966 at Sydney TV Taping, Sydney, NSW, Australia
* Bearcat Wright defeated Mark Anthony

Saturday 30 July 1966 at Melbourne Festival Hall, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
* Bearcat Wright defeated Professor Tanaka 2 falls to nil

Sunday 31 July 1966 at Melbourne TV Taping, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
* Bearcat Wright defeated Al Woods

Monday 1 August 1966 at Geelong Palais, Geelong, VIC, Australia
* Bearcat Wright defeated Brute Bernard

Wednesday 3 August 1966 at Brisbane Festival Hall, Brisbane, QLD, Australia
* Bearcat Wright defeated Professor Tanaka

Friday 5 August 1966 at Sydney Stadium, Sydney, NSW, Australia
* Bearcat Wright defeated Professor Tanaka 2 falls to nil including 1st fall by COR

Saturday 6 August 1966 at Sydney TV Taping, Sydney, NSW, Australia
* Bearcat Wright defeated George Lackey

Saturday 6 August 1966 at Melbourne Festival Hall, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
* IWA World Tag Team Title: Skull Murphy & Brute Bernard defeated Mark Lewin & Bearcat Wright (Champions) 2 falls to 1 to regain the championship

Sunday 7 August 1966 at Melbourne TV Taping, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
* Bearcat Wright drew with Dan Miller

Wednesday 10 August 1966 at Newcastle, NSW, Australia
* Bearcat Wright & Jim Hady defeated Professor Tanaka & Dan Miller 2 falls to 1

Friday 12 August 1966 at Sydney Stadium, Sydney, NSW, Australia
* Skull Murphy defeated Bearcat Wright 2 falls to 1 – ref bump, Wright pins Skull while ref down, Bearcat goes to help ref, Murphy attacks Wright from behind (with head butts to back of neck) and knee drop off top rope and pins Bearcat as the ref recovers to count the fall.

Saturday 13 August 1966 at Sydney TV Taping, Sydney, NSW, Australia
* Bearcat Wright defeated Professor Tanaka 2 falls to 1

Saturday 13 August 1966 (date of telecast – date of taping was earlier) at Newcastle TV Taping, Newcastle, NSW, Australia
* Bearcat Wright defeated Mark Anthony; Bearcat Wright defeated Al Woods (in consecutive matches)

Saturday 13 August 1966 at Melbourne Festival Hall, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
* IWA World Tag Team Title: Mark Lewin & Bearcat Wright defeated Skull Murphy & Brute Bernard (Champions) 2 falls to 1 to regain the championship - Rocky Marciano and Jim Hady were the special guest referees

Sunday 14 August 1966 at Melbourne TV Taping, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
* Bearcat Wright drew with Professor Tanaka

Monday 15 August 1966 at Geelong Palais, Geelong, VIC, Australia
* Bearcat Wright defeated Professor Tanaka 2 falls to 1

Wednesday 17 August 1966 at Brisbane Festival Hall, Brisbane, QLD, Australia
* Bearcat Wright defeated Brute Bernard 2 falls to 1

Friday 19 August 1966 at Sydney Stadium, Sydney, NSW, Australia
* IWA World Title: Bearcat Wright defeated Skull Murphy (Champion) 2 falls to 1 to become the new champion

Saturday 20 August 1966 at Sydney TV Taping, Sydney, NSW, Australia
* Bearcat Wright defeated Ted Sinkowski

Saturday 20 August 1966 at Melbourne Festival Hall, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
* Bearcat Wright, Mark Lewin & Jim Hady defeated Professor Tanaka, Skull Murphy & Brute Bernard 2 falls to 1

Sunday 21 August 1966 at Melbourne TV Taping, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
* Bearcat Wright drew with Dan Miller

Wednesday 24 August 1966 at Newcastle, NSW, Australia
IWA World Title: Bearcat Wright (Champion) defeated Dan Miller 2 falls to 1 to retain the championship

Fri 26 August 1966 at Sydney Stadium, Sydney, NSW, Australia
* IWA World Title: Bearcat Wright (Champion) defeated Mark Lewin 2 falls to 1 (3rd via COR) to retain the championship

Saturday 27 August 1966 at Melbourne Festival Hall, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
* The Destroyer (John Hill aka Guy Mitchell) & Dan Miller defeated Bearcat Wright & Jim Hady 2 falls to 1

Monday 29 August 1966 at Geelong Palais, Geelong, VIC, Australia
* IWA World Title: Bearcat Wright defeated Dan Miller 2 falls to 1

Wednesday 31 August 1966 at Brisbane Festival Hall, Brisbane, QLD, Australia
* IWA World Title: Bearcat Wright (Champion) defeated Skull Murphy 1 fall each on disqualification when Murphy hit the referee with a chair in the 3rd fall

Friday 2 September 1966 at Sydney Stadium, Sydney, NSW, Australia
* IWA World Tag Team Title: Skull Murphy & Brute Bernard (Champions) defeated Bearcat Wright & Vittorio Apollo 2 falls to 1 to retain the championship

Saturday 3 September 1966 at Sydney TV Taping, Sydney, NSW, Australia
* Bearcat Wright & Vittorio Apollo defeated Mark Anthony & Ted Sinkowski

Saturday 3 September 1966 at Melbourne Festival Hall, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
* IWA World Title: The Destroyer (John Hill aka Guy Mitchell) defeated Bearcat Wright (Champion) 2 falls to 1 to become the new champion

Sunday 4 September 1966 at Melbourne TV Taping, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
* Bearcat Wright defeated Mark Anthony

Wednesday 7 September 1966 at Newcastle, NSW, Australia
* IWA World Tag Team Title: Skull Murphy & Brute Bernard (Champions) defeated Bearcat Wright & Jim Hady 2 falls to 1 to retain the championship

Friday 9 September 1966 at Sydney Stadium, Sydney, NSW, Australia
* IWA World Tag Team Title – No Disqualification: Skull Murphy & Brute Bernard (Champions) defeated Bearcat Wright & Vittorio Apollo 2 falls to 1 to retain the championship

Saturday 10 September 1966 at Melbourne Festival Hall, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
* Bearcat Wright, Jim Hady & Vittorio Apollo defeated Skull Murphy, Brute Bernard & The Destroyer (John Hill aka Guy Mitchell) 2 falls to 1

Monday 12 September 1966 at Geelong Palais, Geelong, VIC, Australia
* Bearcat Wright defeated Brute Bernard

Wednesday 14 September 1966 at Brisbane Festival Hall, Brisbane, QLD, Australia
* Skull Murphy defeated Bearcat Wright 2 falls to 1

Friday 16 September 1966 at Sydney Stadium, Sydney, NSW, Australia
* Bearcat Wright, Jim Hady & Vittorio Apollo defeated Skull Murphy, Brute Bernard & The Destroyer (John Hill aka Guy Mitchell) 2 falls to 1

Saturday 17 September 1966 at Melbourne Festival Hall, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
* Texas Death Match for the IWA World Title: The Destroyer (John Hill aka Guy Mitchell) (Champion) defeated Bearcat Wright to retain the championship

In summary, Wright wrestled 54 matches for a record of 40 wins, 10 losses and 4 draws. This equates to 38 singles matches for a record of 30 wins, 4 losses and 4 draws plus 16 tag team matches for a record of 10 wins and 6 losses.

In 26 main event calibre singles matches Bearcat registered 18 wins, 4 losses and 4 draws. The breakup of this record is:

6 wins, 0 losses and 2 draws against Professor Tanaka;

5 wins, 0 losses and 0 draws against Brute Bernard;

2 wins, 2 losses and 0 draws against Skull Murphy;

2 wins, 0 losses and 2 draws against Dan Miller;

0 wins, 2 losses and 0 draws against Destroyer (John Hill aka Guy Mitchell);

1 win, 0 losses and 0 draws against Mark Lewin;

1 win, 0 losses and 0 draws against Mitsu Arakawa;

1 win, 0 losses and 0 draws against Bob “the Bruiser” Baker (Larry Hulin aka Bobby “Hercules” Graham).

Wright’s final matches of his 1966 tour in the major markets of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane were all main events thus Bearcat was booked as a headliner throughout his campaign and even on his way out of the World Championship Wrestling promotion.

Wright’s third tour of Australia was in August and September 1967 for the World Championship Wrestling promotion of Jim Barnett and Johnny Doyle. Bearcat retained his billing at 6 foot 9 inches tall and 20 stone (280 pounds) in weight. The nicknames of “the world’s most spectacular wrestler” and “the Houdini of the mat” also remained.

Australian newspaper articles of the day continued to praise Wright, noting his great physical presence, ability, agility, speed and showmanship.

Wright arrived in Australia in 1967 as a proven main event wrestler by virtue of his accomplishments the previous year. Once again Bearcat won the IWA World Championship by defeating his ring enemy Skull Murphy.

On this tour Bearcat had top matches against Killer Kowalski, Skull Murphy, Art Nelson, Jay “the Alaskan” York, Roy Heffernan, Mario Milano and Larry O’Day.

The results of Wright’s matches in Australia in 1967 were:

Friday 4 August 1967 at Sydney Stadium, Sydney, NSW, Australia
* Bearcat Wright defeated Mark Anthony

Saturday 5 August 1967 at Sydney TV Taping, Sydney, NSW, Australia
* Bearcat Wright defeated Johnny Boyd

Saturday 5 August 1967 at Melbourne Festival Hall, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
* Bearcat Wright defeated Art Nelson

Sunday 6 August 1967 at Melbourne TV Taping, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
* Bearcat Wright defeated Johnny Boyd

Friday 11 August 1967 at Sydney Stadium, Sydney, NSW, Australia
* Killer Kowalski & Skull Murphy defeated Bearcat Wright & Tex McKenzie

Saturday 12 August 1967 at Sydney TV Taping, Sydney, NSW, Australia
* Bearcat Wright defeated Johnny Boyd

Saturday 12 August 1967 at Melbourne Festival Hall, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
* Bearcat Wright defeated The Alaskan

Sunday 13 August 1967 at Melbourne TV Taping, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
* Bearcat Wright defeated George Lackey

Wednesday 16 August 1967 at Brisbane Festival Hall, Brisbane, QLD, Australia
* Bearcat Wright defeated The Alaskan

Friday 18 August 1967 at Sydney Stadium, Sydney, NSW, Australia
* Bearcat Wright defeated Killer Kowalski on disqualification

Saturday 19 August 1967 at Sydney TV Taping, Sydney, NSW, Australia
* Bearcat Wright defeated Johnny Boyd

Saturday 19 August 1967 at Melbourne Festival Hall, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
* IWA World Title: Bearcat Wright defeated Skull Murphy (Champion) to win the championship

Sunday 20 August 1967 (date of telecast – date of taping was earlier) at Brisbane TV Taping, Brisbane, QLD, Australia
* Bearcat Wright defeated Mark Anthony

Sunday 20 August 1967 at Melbourne TV Taping, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
* Bearcat Wright defeated Len Holt

Friday 25 August 1967 at Sydney Stadium, Sydney, NSW, Australia
* IWA World Title: Bearcat Wright defeated The Alaskan

Saturday 26 August 1967 at Melbourne Festival Hall, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
* IWA World Title: Bearcat Wright (Champion) d Killer Kowalski 2 falls to 1

Sunday 27 August 1967 (date of telecast – date of taping was earlier) at Brisbane TV Taping, Brisbane, QLD, Australia
* Bearcat Wright defeated Col Currie

Sunday 27 August 1967 at Melbourne TV Taping, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
* Bearcat Wright defeated Larry O’Day

Wednesday 30 August 1967 at Brisbane Festival Hall, Brisbane, QLD, Australia
* IWA World Title: Bearcat Wright (Champion) defeated Killer Kowalski 2 falls to 1

Friday 1 September 1967 at Sydney Stadium, Sydney, NSW, Australia
* IWA World Title: Killer Kowalski defeated Bearcat Wright (Champion) 2 falls to 1 to win the championship

Sunday 3 September 1967 (date of telecast – date of taping was earlier; thought to be Thursday 31 August 1967) at Brisbane TV Taping, Brisbane, QLD, Australia
* Bearcat Wright defeated Roy Heffernan – heel turn by Wright

Sunday 10 September 1967 (date of telecast – date of taping was earlier; thought to be Thursday 31 August 1967) at Brisbane TV Taping, Brisbane, QLD, Australia
* Bearcat Wright vs Mario Milano – no decision declared after Wright continued a heel turn by attacking the referee. Bearcat announced that he wanted to be known as Muhammad Abee – a play on Cassius Clay becoming Muhammad Ali in 1964.

In summary, Wright wrestled 22 matches for a record of 19 wins, 2 losses, 0 draws and 1 no contest. This record includes only 1 tag team match for 1 loss.

In 12 main event calibre singles matches Bearcat registered 10 wins, 1 losses and 1 no contest. The breakup of this record is:

3 wins, 1 loss and 0 draws against Killer Kowalski;

3 wins, 0 losses and 0 draws against Jay “the Alaskan” York;

1 win, 0 losses and 0 draws against Skull Murphy;

1 win, 0 losses and 0 draws against Roy Heffernan;

1 win, 0 losses and 0 draws against Art Nelson;

1 win, 0 losses and 0 draws against Larry O’Day;

0 win, 0 losses and 1 no contest against Mario Milano.

Wright’s final matches of his 1967 tour in the major markets of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane were all main events thus Bearcat was booked as a headliner throughout his campaign and even on his way out of the World Championship Wrestling promotion.

Cheers!

Ed

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Steve Yohe
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When does the voting stop this year? I had a bunch of ideas & was going to write some stuff from the record.....but I felt a need to work on my timeline project. Wondering if it's too late & I should save it for next year.

My feeling are that he'll have enough to end up between 30% & 40%. So he'll need some talk next year to get him up higher.

This is one fact that can't be disputed....he was the 2nd best black wrestler of his era...until Rock...his only competition was Bobo Brazil....and Bobo was a no brainer who went in on the first ballot without a argument. And Wright was a better worker than Bobo. Brazil had a great look & a huge style. Wright earned his stasis by his work. So why is it so hard for #2 to get in, when #1 doesn't even need to be thought about.

There in no doubt that he was used terribly in Minneapolis & Winnipeg early in his career. While he got a nice push in Honolulu & Australia (1953)....he came home to be jobbed for years in Minneapolis. Doing his recorded it just pissed me off. Everybody does jobs when your starting out...that is a given...but it's hard to job a guy who is 6' 7". Losing to 5 8" guys in hard to explain. The move would have been to job him some & then moved him out to someone looking for a big guy. There were a lot of killer heels in the 50's (Kowalski, Kiniski, Von Erich, Miller,) who needed a big face to work with. But the Stechers (Dennis ?) kept him around for years as a jobber.

Minneapolis had to have been one of the worst places for a black to work. When the owner of the Washington Senators was trying to move to Minneapolis, a reporters in the city ask him why he wanted to move to their town. He said, in 1960, "there are only 15,000 Negros in your city". What Black guys did Verne Gagne push? Not even Bobo.

Getting stuck there jobbing, when he had talent & had been pushed in other territories with good results, probably drove him nuts. A black guy arguing with a white boss probably wasn't a good thing in the 50's. I can see why this treatment stuck with Wright & maybe that's why he fought for everything he got. And maybe created his reputation. Some of that is earned, but how much is unknown.

Another thing that can't be disputed, (maybe I see this because my back ground is Los Angeles)....no one can write an article or story about Wright...without all the negative stuff that was outside the ring...and in most it leads off the story. I'm not saying it's all untrue...but it's stuff from the 1950's to 1970's from white people about a strong willed black. Bruiser Brody & Shawn Michaels had terrible reputations.....and there are others. And it didn't stop them.

Yes he refused to give the WWA Title back to Blassie & it killed the territory for a long time. Killed the glory period of Blassie, Carpentier, & Destroyer. But the was the end of 1963, with the death of a President and the very peak of the civil rights moment. He was the first major black World Champion, and he had to have had great pressure to keep it, so.... A smart promoter would have worked with him (he was a huge draw) & just pushed the title change back until he was cooling off. Getting all upset, sending Gene LeBell out to assault him, and breaking KF and getting the business exposed on TV....was a bad move. Not smart. Then after driving him out, Jules Strongbow spent years trying to find another black wrestler to replace him. That wasn't resolved until they got Bobo Brazil to work full time. Strongbow even brought Wright back three times. The Destroyer ( who was a white guy under that mask) refused to job & unmask to Hercules Cortez & let to Portland. Did they send LeBell after Dick? No...they brought him back & made him world champ two more times. But Beyer wasn't black...was he?

I think the territory went dead, not because of the double-cross, but because the fans lost the hero they were into and supporting. And they also got lied to by the promotion on TV, when they knew the truth.

Strongbow & the others were & are great guys. Mike LeBell maybe had problems. But The Olympic, in my believe, wasn't a racist place. But in the early 60's a intelligent black worker standing up to a white boss....would most likely get a bad reaction....from just about any white boss. In my mind Wright should get credit for standing up. Wright probably knew he couldn't get away with stuff that whites could.....and he did what he felt was right.

I don't know if everything he did was right or not....or if he was a good guy....it's just not enough to keep him out of the WON Hall of Fame.

Another thing you have to look at is that a major babyface didn't have many places to go where he could be the long term #1 in a territory. Bruno & Rocca had NYC, Carpentier had Montreal, Thesz had St Louis, Pepper Gomez has SF & Texas, Snyder & Bruiser had Indianapolis, Ilio had Buffalo, Baba & Inoki had Japan, etc. Heels could also turn face & be very good in those positions. For a major black wrestler in those years....you had to rule out everything in the South (until the 1970's---both Brazil & Wright stayed away from there). For Wright he lost NYC & more important Washington DC...then Detroit....to Bobo Brazil.

You just couldn't be good....you had to find a spot. I think Bearcat Wright thought Los Angeles was going to be his city. And it looked good...until.

Another point I want to get to....Wright was never going to drop the title to Ed Carpentier. So he never refused to drop the title to him. Faces didn't drop titles to face in 1963. I was there, the match had draw written all over it. If Carpentier was going to get the title, he'd have beaten Blassie early in the year. That was not a good match & Ed had been in a car accident & didn't look his self. The third Blassie/Wright match at the Olympic had been pulled back because of the reaction to Bearcat. First they pull Varga in with him & then Carpentier...and waited for the right time for the third Blassie/ Wright match & the title change (the booking style was doing every thing in three's). The Carpentier match was just entertaining "fill". Dave keeps telling this story in the Observer & it upset's me...because it's wrong. It's in Blassie's book, but Blassie got everything wrong about the Wright period & I can prove it ....with logic. In 1963, Jeff Walton was just a fan, so he really doesn't know either.

Ok...Wright's working style. I think he was a great worker & today's fans may not get it from the few films we have. So I worry. He had a unorthodox style...that's why he was popular. He was playing a wrestling Harlem Globetrotter, and it was over with white fans. He had long arms & legs but weight 260 pounds with no fat. I think he quit boxing because in the 1960's no expert in boxing thought a tall boxer could fight. They were said to lack stamina & couldn't take a punch. Ali was a big heavyweight at 6' 3" & 220. Ernie Terell was a freak & rare but not fun to watch. But as a wrestler, I think the only major star bigger than him was Sky Hi Lee. (Who is kind of forgotten at 6' 9".) In Australia they billed Wright as the tallest wrestler to ever come to the Island. So Wright was only a step below the Andre or Baba position in pro wrestling in 1953. Anyone taller was a freak who didn't last long. Wright could move & did flying moves very well. He had a corkscrew leg scissors, that I've only seen done by some lucha guys today. He had dropkicks & did Carpentier's flips and had the Rogers figure 4. He gimmick was defensive wrestling. Like Rubberman Johnny Walker, he would slip out of every hold & the heels would go nuts complaining he was greeced. Had better headbuts than Brazil and his slaps looked better than Rikidozan's chops. I think he was great, but there is no one else in wrestling history with the same style or moves. To me he passed that test without question. It's why he liked by fans...he was really different.

So I could go on, but I get the feeling that the voting period is about over. I don't think he is a no brainer like famous long term stars like Londos, Stecher, Bruno, Gagne, Thesz, Baba, Inoki, Rogers, Blassie etc. But he fits the bill. He deserves a spot more that Murdoch, Taue, Sakaguchi, Masa Saito, and all the other considered borderline, and he is very important historically because of wrestling's race issue. Should go in.

I have a record if anyone wants it.---Steve Yohe

[ 10-13-2016, 03:21 PM: Message edited by: Steve Yohe ]

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Ed Lock from Sydney, Aust
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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Yohe:
When does the voting stop this year? I had a bunch of ideas & was going to write some stuff from the record.....but I felt a need to work on my timeline project. Wondering if it's too late & I should save it for next year.

G'day Steve,

The deadline for e-mail ballots is Saturday 15 October 2016. [Smile]

Cheers champion!

Ed

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Steve Yohe
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Dec. 7, 1959--Madison Square Garden, New York City, NY: Antonino Rocca & Bearcat Wright drew with Jerry Graham & Johnny Valentine when the match was stopped by the curfew after 30:35 with a fall each. Also The Mighty Zuma defeated Wildman Don Stevens after 5:07, Miguel Perez defeated Jackie Fargo in 11:24, Killer Kowalski defeated Haystack Calhoun, and the Sheik & Bull Curry defeated Red Bastien & Rito Romero two falls to one after 29:00. Attendance was 12,751, with a gate of $36,773.05. With this match, Bearcat Wright became the first black man to main event a Madison Square Garden card. On November 5, 1898, Tom Jenkins drew with Hali Adali a successor to the “The Terrible Turk” in MSG. Racist in 1898 may have considered Adali a “colored man” and not truly human....but I don't.

[ 05-31-2018, 11:04 PM: Message edited by: Steve Yohe ]

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