Days of Studio Wrestling
debuted in 1959 on Channel 11 Wiic Tv In Pittsburgh
and was originally hosted by Mark Schaffer.
Schaffer was a
newsman with a terrific voice but probably had no
real interest in wrestling.
took over the announcing duties sometime in 1960 and
continued till the end of the run.
In the early
days of Studio Wrestling it was almost all squash
matches with big name stars of the NWA appearing
beating prelim or local talent.
made his debut on Studio Wrestling in 1959 and
became an instant fan favorite.
regular appearances on Studio Wrestling taking on
generally prelim talent from out of town and then
would do an interview with Bill Cardille.
Heating Company was the main sponsor of the show and
former Pirate Pye Traynor would do the spots live.
Bruno Sammartino would generally headline the cards
at the Civic Arena.
promotion would bring in decent competition for
Bruno in the likes of Nature Boy Buddy Rogers, The
Crusher, Killer Kowalski, Gorilla Monsoon, T.N.T.
Napolitan, Masked Destroyer, Killer Buddy Austin,
Hans Mortier, and others.
was the most popular opponent of Bruno Sammartino in
the pre-Wwwf days.
Of all of
Bruno's early challengers Gorilla Monsoon had to be
the toughest, these two had some real physical
battles that went on for close to an hour on some
The Civic Arena
cards in the early 60's were generally filled out
with babyface wrestlers such as Haystacks Calhoun,
Bobo Brazil, Edouard Carpentier, Argentina Apollo
Jumping Johnny Defazio made a name for himself
defeating many of the lower and mid card
challengers. Defazio's early rivals were Chet
Walik & T.N.T. Napolitan.
another local wrestler who was getting up in years
still competed on a regular basis in the early 60's
and worked mainly as a mid card guy.
matches involving Bruno Sammartino some highlights
from the early to mid 60's include the Civic Arena
match with the Masked Destroyer, Duke Hoffman &
Ron Romano taking on Cheif White Owl, Ace Freeman
& Johnny DeFazio. The good guys won that
match by pinning all 3 villans.
Wrestling Chief White Owl was wrestling prelim
wrestler Frank Pickens, the Chief fell wrong and
broke his leg (legit)...Cowboy Bill Watts came to
the ring in just a towel and finished off Pickens
then assisted the stage hands in getting the Chief
onto a stretcher. After the Chief recovered
there was a big grudge match at the Civic Arena, I
was told some years later that Pickens felt real bad
about this and didn't want to do the grudge match
but I guess the money was too good to pass up.
A number of
wrestlers left the area when Pittsburgh became part
of the Wwwf in 1963. T.N.T. Napolitean was one
of them, he had a match against Bruno in Mc Keesport
Pa. lost the match and was never heard from
Austin never returned to the area after Bruno became
champ and Chet Walik was killed in 1964.