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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 world."
In the early days of Studio Wrestling you would see big stars of the NWA come to town to take on the local wrestlers.
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 few.
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 Mongols.
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 title.
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 email@example.com.
Below we have found some video clips of the wrestlers who participated on Studio Wrestling, we hope you enjoy these.
Bruno Sammartino vs Giant Baba 1967
Blackjacks Take on Jim Grabmire & Frankie Adonis
Dr. Bill Miller & Ox Baker vs Wilbur Snyder & Pepper Gomez
Studio Wrestling 1966 The Crusher & Ace Freeman
Spiros Arion vs Hans Schroeder
Chief White Owl vs Steve Stanlee
Don Leo Jonathan vs Strong Kobiyashi
The Wolfman vs Tony Garea
The Sheik vs Giant Baba 1972
Bob Backlund vs George Steele
Contest Keyword = Tanaka