Memories Of Studio Wrestling
 Studio Wrestling In Pittsburgh - The 1960's

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Ray Morgan Tony Altimore & Angelo Savoldi Crusher Lisowski  Chief White Owl Professor Tanaka




 Studio Wrestling - The 1960's


In May of 1963 Bruno Sammartino defeated Buddy Rogers to win the Wwwf Title.

This meant Bruno had to travel more and would not be able to appear on Studio Wrestling as often as he previously did.

Now being a part of the Wwwf the Pittsburgh booking office had many additional wrestlers to promote on the Saturday night Studio Wrestling.

Some big name heels came to town including Gorilla Monsoon, Hans Mortier, Dr. Bill Miller, Killer Kowalski and they all had a number of title defenses against Bruno Sammartino.

In order to get the title shot a challenger now had to work his way up the ladder and defeat a number of Bruno's allies. 

Cowboy Bill Watts was Bruno's main sidekick during the first two years of his title.  Chief White Owl, Bobo Brazil, Argentina Apollo & Edouard Carpentier were wrestlers you had to beat to get to Bruno.

On Tv you never saw any of these top names lose, as a matter of fact it was rare if their opponent got in any offense at all.

Gorilla Monsoon continued to be a real problem for Bruno, Monsoon was big, pretty fast and in great shape during the mid 60's, nobody got out of the big splash if Monsoon came crashing down on you.

Hans Mortier had an incredible stomach and he could make it roll, his finishing move was the full nelson, only Bruno could get out of it, no one else.

Killer Kowalski was a real tough wrestler and he came off as being a little crazy, if the Killer put the claw on you it was lights out.

Dr. Bill Miller had a great amateur background and was in his prime in the mid 60's, Dr. Bill Miller used the backbreaker as his finisher, very few were able to escape.

In 1965 Cowboy Bill Watts turned on Bruno during a tag match, Bruno and Watts feuded for more than a year without Watts taking the title, Watts left the area in 1966 and never returned.

With Watts turning heel the Wwwf needed a new sidekick for Bruno, they came up with Don Mc Larity, he was an ok wrestler and went on to co-hold the tag title but he was no Bill Watts.

Tag teams were really making a name for themselves in the mid 1960's.  The toughest team was Killer Kowalski & Gorilla Monsoon.  At the Civic Arena in about 1964 Kowalski & Monsoon went up against Bobo Brazil  & Haystacks Calhoun.  In the first minute of the match Bobo & Gorilla run the ropes, the ring falls down and the match is called "no contest".  The ring announcer says we'll bring back Monsoon & Kowalski, they came back alright taking on Frank Holtz & Frank Pickens.

Tag Teams making names for themselves in Pittsburgh included Duke Hoffman & Ron Romano, Ace Freeman & Johnny DeFazio, Baron Gattoni & Klondike Bill, Magnificent Maurice & Handsome Johnny Barrend, The Sicilians & others.

On Studio Wrestling you started to see a little bit better competition especially in the first or second match.  Someone such as Hurricane Hunt might wrestle Jim Grabmire and each may win a fall and take it to the 10 or 15 minute time limit.

In 1966 Paul Degalles brought the Wwwf Junior title to the Pittsburgh area, he eventually lost this title to Johnny DeFazio in 1967 and DeFazio supposedly held this title until 1972.  DeFazio only wore the Junior belt for a short time.

Bruno's cousin Antonio Pugliese (right) came to the area and was Bruno's sidekick after Bill Watts had turned on him.  Pugliese and Spiros Arion became tag team champs around this time.

The Forbes Field card in 1966 was one of the best shows of the year as the Mortier Brothers wrestled White Owl & Big Heart.  Smasher Sloan took on Argentina Apollo, Killer Kowalski defeated Bobo Brazil and Bruno headlined the card.

1967 was the year of change in the world and also on Studio Wrestling.  More wrestlers came & went during 1967 than any other year.

Some of those leaving the area included Chief White Owl, Chief Big Heart, Miguel Perez, The Beast, Argentina Apollo, Smasher Sloan, & Prince Iaukea.

Some of the heel wrestlers used managers in the 1960's, Buddy Rogers, The Beast And Prince Iaukea all used Bobby Davis as their manager, Wild Red Berry managed Gorilla Monsoon & Bull Ramos and Tony Angelo managed Ivan Koloff when he first came into the area.

The year 1967 brought us George the Animal Steele, Professor Tanaka, Waldo Von Erich, Baron Scicluna,   Killer Kowalski and Dr Bill Miller all had title matches.

Bruno now had two new allies, Dom Denucci & The Battman (Tony Marino).  While in Pittsburgh Denucci & Marino rarely got beat but in other Wwwf arenas they were mid card at best.

Starting in 1967 you were seeing more & more heel vs heel matches.  Gorilla Monsoon wrestled Dr. Bill Miller & Baron Scicluna.  The Bill Miller match was real boring, the Scicluna match was exciting although Scicluna was a great heel throughout his career and made every match good.

Dr. Bill Miller turned babyface in 1968 and feuded with Tony Altimore.  Miller was getting up in age and had slowed down considerably, his matches as a babyface were pretty boring but he did help sell tickets and that was the reason he was still here.

The Battman left in 1968 and went to compete as a tag team partner of Victor Rivera, they won the championship in 1969.

In 1969 Gorilla Monsoon turned babyface when The Sheik attacked him after a match, Bruno Sammartino made the save and Gorilla became a babyface for the rest of his career.





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