Studio Wrestling With
Growing up in Pittsburgh during the 1960's a
weekly Saturday Night would include Studio Wrestling on WIIC Channel
11 hosted by Bill Cardille.
As Bill would say "90 minutes of
unorganized mayhem featuring the greatest wrestlers in the
In the early days of Studio Wrestling you would
see big stars of the NWA come to town to take on the local
In the early 60's Buddy Rogers was the NWA
Champion and he appeared often on Studio Wrestling.
Rogers was a real pro, not just in the ring but
on the mic too. Rogers had a manager named Bobby Davis who was
really good too.
Although Rogers wrestled as a villain most of
the time he had his share of fans, mostly females.
Besides Buddy Rogers the other big villain in
the early 60's was Crusher Lisouski.
The Crusher was from Milwaukee but he had a big
following here in Pittsburgh.
Bruno Sammartino started his career about the
time Studio Wrestling went on the air & Bruno was becoming a big
star in wrestling.
In 1963 the WWWF was formed and Buddy Rogers
was their first champion. It wasn't long when Bruno Sammartino
defeated Buddy Rogers in Madison Square Garden to win the title.
Bruno Sammartino took on all the top villains
such as Gorilla Monsoon, Dr. Bill Miller, Killer Kowalski, Hans
Mortier, Waldo Von Erich, Fred Blassie & The Crusher.
After the WWWF took over some of the local guys
retired. T.N.T. Napolitean & Billy Fox both retired while
Chet Walik & Gypsy Joe both died.
The local guys who continued were Johnny De
Fazio, Hurricane Hunt, Chuck Martoni, Frank Holtz, Killer Joe Abby,
John L sullivan, Frank Durso, Jim Grabmire & Ron Romano
Bruno had some help taking on all these tough
guys as Cowboy Bill Watts was Bruno's main partner along with Bobo
Brazil, Haystacks Calhoun, Edouard Carpentier, Argentina Apollo,
Chief White Owl and local guys Ace Freeman & Johnny DeFazio.
In 1964 Chief White Owl was wrestling on TV and
an accident happened where the Chief actually broke his leg for
real. Cowboy Bill Watts came out of the dressing room in just
a towel and finished off the opponent and then gave aid to Chief
White Hall who had to be taken to a local hospital. After
White Owl healed he had grudge matches all over town with the guy
who broke it.
In 1965 Cowboy Bill Watts turned on Bruno
Sammartino in a tag match. Watts & Bruno feuded for about
a year then Watts left the area.
Tag Teams were popular in the mid 60's and we
had our share of some pretty good ones including Magnificent Maurice
& Johnny Barrend, Lou Albano & Tony Altimore, The
Kentuckians & Baron Gattoni & Klondike Bill just to name a
By 1967 some new faces started to turn up in
the likes of George Steele, Baron Scicluna, Professor Tanaka, The
Battman & Dominic DeNucci.
In 1968 Dr. Bill Miller turned from bad guy to
good guy after being double teamed by Lou Albano & Tony Altimore.
In 1969 Gorilla Monsoon became a good guy after
he was being beat up badly by The Sheik, Bruno Sammartino went in
and saved him.
In 1970 some more new names showed up including
Ivan Koloff, Ernie Ladd & one of the best tag teams ever The
In late 1970 at a match at the Civic Arena
George Steele hit Bruno with a chair and badly injured his shoulder,
a short time later while wrestling Ivan Koloff, Samartino lost the
Koloff would not hold the belt long as he was
beaten by Pedro Morales.
In 1972 there were two top TV matches, the
first had Geeto Mongol & Johnny Defazio wrestling the tag champs
Luke Graham & Tarzan Tyler, DeFazio pinned Tyler and he &
Geeto won the tag titles. This was a local tag team title not
recognized by the WWWF.
Another great match had Billy Red Lyons beat
North American Champion Stan Stasiak on TV with a sleeper hold.
Larry Zbyszko made his local debut on Studio
Wrestling in 1972.
Studio Wrestling left the air on Channel 11 and
went to Channel 53. The shows were taped in Erie Pa. The
local promotion at this time was run by Geeto Mongol and then Pedro
Martinez who ran the Buffalo shows.
Studio Wrestling left the air for good in 1974
replaced by the weekly WWWF syndicated show.
Many people have inquired over the years if any
of the Studio Wrestling footage exists, sadly to say it does not.
There are some matches from the 60's featuring guys who wrestled on
Studio Wrestling but its not the Pittsburgh show.
There is one old show from Chicago that
actually has Bill Cardille hosting, its from 1961. If you have
questions regarding Studio Wrestling feel free to e-mail
TVofyourlife.com at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below we have found some video clips of the
wrestlers who participated on Studio Wrestling, we hope you enjoy
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