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» WrestlingClassics.com Message Board » WON Information Forum » The Destroyer Obit --a b*tch from Yohe

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Author Topic: The Destroyer Obit --a b*tch from Yohe
Steve Yohe
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In Dave's Dick Beyer Obit, he stated that there was three Destroyer vs Shohei Baba matches at The Olympic Auditorium for the WWA World Title in 1963. You will find this story on the CAC web site and Dick himself resided the story that way. I told Dick he was wrong, as I'm telling everyone in this post. There was only two Destroyer/Baba single title matches at the Olympic that year, or at any other time. I don't blame Dave for repeating the story, because he was using the Beyer book in creating the obit, I would like to just let the mistake alone, but I'm a dick when it comes to wrestling history, and I see this as important to Japanese history. These are the two cards:
*) FEB. 4, 1963—OLYMPIC AUDITORIUM (ATT-10,400-SELLOUT)
(WWA WORLD TITLE)
1) THE DESTROYER LOST TO SHOHEI BABA 2/3 FALLS VIA WOF AFTER 60:00
2) ENRIQUE TORRES & DICK HUTTON DREW MR. MOTO & BOBBY DURANTON
3) DON MANOUKIAN OVER JACK ALLEN
4) ERNIE LADD OVER OX ANDERSON
5) ART MAHALIK OVER JERRY BENSON
6) THE GREAT TOGO OVER PEDRO SANCHEZ

The time limit ran out after 60:00, with Baba winning the only fall. Under WWA rules, for that night, you had to win two falls to win the world title. This was the first title loss at The Olympic for The Destroyer & a big deal. The story is that Dick saw they had drawn a sellout, and told Jules Strongbow he wanted to put Baba over, to set up a rematch. I wasn't there, but the result flipped me out & I remember it. It also got written up in THE RING MAGAZINE.

*) FEB. 22, 1963—OLYMPIC AUDITORIUM (ATT-10,400-SELLOUT)
(WWA WORLD TITLE)
1) THE DESTROYER OVER SHOHEI BABA 2/3 FALLS
2) ED CARPENTIER & DON LEO JONATHAN OVER DON MANOUKIAN & BOBBY DURANTON
3) ERNIE LADD OVER ART MAHLIK
4) COWBOY DICK HUTTON OVER OX ANDERSON
5) ENRIQUE TORRES OVER MR. MOTO
6) THE GREAT TOGO OVER RON LOCKE

Leading up to this card, on interviews, Baba was showing off how strong he was. They were billing Baba as 7 foot and 320 pounds...and he probably was the true giant in pro wrestling at the time. Los Angeles wrestling wasn't as racially bias as the rest of the country, and Shohei was always billed as a face in the city. The Destroyer walked in and threw him one of his masks, and Baba stretched it until it ripped apart. This was my first year watching pro wrestling full time. I saw it as worked, but I wasn't going to miss seeing the Destroyer get unmasked. I believe it was possible too, because of Rikidozan having taken the WWA title from Fred Blassie the year before. So I bitched & carried on until I got my brother to take me. It was my first major card. Baba won the first fall using his chops. In the 2nd fall, both men were counted out. This meant that the giant had won the match, but not the title....under that night's WWA rules. The first match had a screw finish, & Baba wanted the title before everything else. So Strongbow, Baba & Dick decided to wrestling one more fall to a finish & the winner would be WWA World champ. After about 10 minutes of The Destroyer getting thrown around the ring, the masked man came off the ropes and hit Giant Baba with a tackle for the pin. Today, I think of it as the greatest match I've ever seen. The film of this match made Baba a major star back in Japan. It also made Rikidozan jealous, so Baba found himself wrestling every huge American & doing jobs to set them up for Dozan. When The Destroyer toured Japan, he met his friend Baba at a train station. Shohei was all beaten up. At least that's the story told by Dick. I thing Riki's jealousy made be the reason Toyonobori was picked to lead JWA after Rikidozan's death.
There was another match in San Diego, where The Destroyer defeated Baba clean.
*) MARCH 15, 1963—SAN DIEGO
(WWA WORLD TITLE)
1) THE DESTROYER OVER SHOHEI BABA 2/3 FALLS
2) ERNIE LADD OVER DON MANOUKIAN VIA UTC
3) FRED BLASSIE & BOBBY DURANTON OVER DICK HUTTON & MEXICAN ATLAS
4) DON LEO JONATHAN OVER DON DUFFY
5) MR. MOTO OVER VIC CHRISTY

I have the clipping, but Ernie Ladd was a NFL Charger star in San Diego & all the report talked about was his win over Manoukian. Seems Dick beat Baba clean. Maybe this is why Dick always claimed there was three match at The Olympic. I told him he was wrong....but he had his story.---Steve Yohe

[ 03-30-2019, 08:22 PM: Message edited by: Steve Yohe ]

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