Where Wrestling's Regional History Lives!
- Mike Norris
Welcome back to
our continuing time machine tour of the Gulf Coast Wrestling promotion.
It's been awhile since I have posted a write-up here at Kayfabe
Memories, so I hope this one is worth the wait.
This time we
want to look at the year of 1959.
Big changes are in store for the Gulf Coast area as the decade of the
1950s comes to an end. The territory becomes a virtual family reunion, as
the territory is flooded with brother tag teams and even a father and son
team. By the end of the year an opposition promotion rears its head and
the ownership of Gulf Coast Wrestling changes hands as well. So let's get
ended 1958 by defeating Billy Wicks to win the Gulf Coast title on
Christmas night. Lee won the bout in two straight falls, but Wicks had
been at a decidedly disadvantage as he had been jumped on the way to the
ring by Rocky (Sputnik) Monroe and severely injured. As a result, Lee
agreed to give Wicks a rematch after the holiday break had given Wicks
sufficient time to heal. Lee should have thought twice about it because
Wicks came back to beat Lee on New Year's night to regain the Gulf Coast
The man who had
cost him the title in the first place, Monroe, quickly challenged Wicks.
Monroe claimed that he was the top contender since he was coming off a
victory over the famed Chick Garibaldi. Wicks agreed to the match since he
wanted to get his hands on Monroe, but refused to put the title on the
line. Wicks tore after Monroe from the opening bell and battered the
Sputnik for a full ten minutes. Monroe's eye was blackening and swelling
but he gamely fought back and soon was giving as much as he was taking.
Wicks and Monroe turned the bout into a full-fledged brawl as they pulled
each other's hair, choked kicked and punched each other. Finally referee
Tommy Roland called for the bout to be thrown out but neither man was
willing to stop. They continued to batter each other for another twenty
minutes until they were finally separated. Both men were a bloody mess as
they were led to the dressing room. This match was the beginning of a
blood feud, which would move from Mobile to Memphis as these two fought
each other for years afterwards.
A rematch was
quickly set up and as was the case before, the Gulf Coast title would not
be on the line. In the first fall, Monroe took advantage of and elastic
elbow brace he was wearing by using it to smother Wicks into submission.
After the fall Monroe continued to deliver knee drops to the helpless
Wicks despite the efforts of referee Rocky McGuire to stop him. Wicks
gained a measure of revenge in the second fall when he battered Monroe
about before using his step-over toehold/bridge combination to pin him and
take the fall. The third and deciding fall saw Monroe back Wicks into a
corner and give him a going over with his fists and his braced elbow.
Rocky McGuire was trying to pull Rocky Monroe off of Wicks and finally
resorted to pulling him by the hair as Monroe clung to the ropes. Wicks
took advantage of this opening and delivered a haymaker to the chin of
Monroe. Monroe fell like a ton of bricks and was pinned by Wicks. The fall
and the match went to the Gulf Coast champion.
Lee Fields had
another instance of bad luck as he teamed with Buddy Fuller to face a new
tag team entering the area. Billed as hailing from England and as holders
of the British Empire and Canadian Tag Team titles, came The
Sharpe Brothers, Mike & Ed. Big Mike Sharpe was actually a
Canadian who had teamed with his true brother Ben
Sharpe. The Sharpe Brothers were the top tag team on the West Coast
and had held many tag team titles. When Ben left the fold, Big Mike
recruited an Italian wrestler named Salvatore
Baragiola, who adopted the name Ed
Sharpe. Big Mike Sharpe would make another contribution to the
wrestling world, as he was the father of "Iron"
Mike Sharpe, who competed throughout the United States in the late
1970s through the 1990s.
The bout between the Sharpes and Fuller & Fields had the fans on their feet. In the first fall the 6'6", 265 pound Big Mike Sharpe handled both Fuller and Fields single-handedly before pinning Lee Fields to take the fall. In the second, Buddy Fuller had taken the advantage when he hit Ed Sharpe with a series of flying dropkicks.More...