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 - Greg Mosorjak

Lots of top stars began their careers in the Pittsburgh-Cleveland-Buffalo territories.  Some started off as rookies and others while already stars in Canada moved here to gain national prominence in the United States.  Others moved here to try new gimmicks to raise them above the preliminary status that they experienced in other promotions.  For whatever the reason, this was a hotbed of young talent getting a push to stardom.  

Jos LeDuc had already established himself in Montreal and parts of Canada as a rising young star with a great future.  Jos came to Pittsburgh prior to his debut in the WWWF rings in New York and Boston and Philadelphia, to prepare for that territory.  Here Jos Leduc took off as the Canadian Lumberjack strongman.  They had him do feats of strength on TV including a large team of men in a tug of war.  He had great battles with Bruno Sammartino, The Battman, and Johnny DeFazio.  His famous TV match against Victor Rivera helped push an already known Victor Rivera to a higher level as well.  Rivera bloodied LeDuc in a wild TV match that is often regarded as one of the most memorable TV matches ever on Studio Wrestling.  LeDuc would go on to main event in just about every territory in the US, with his greatest fame coming in Memphis.    

Future AWA World Champ and local Pittsburgher Larry Whisler got his start here and became Larry Zbyszko, and would eventually feud with his mentor Bruno Sammartino and call himself the "Living Legend".  Zbyszko was a great example of homegrown talent that Bruno had an eye for and helped build into one of the better-known superstars of the 1980's.  Larry would leave Pittsburgh and become a star in the WWWF, Georgia and the AWA.  He would also have a successful run in the Crockett promotion and WCW.    

Another young Pittsburgher who sought out Bruno was Johnny Valiant.  Johnny would break in as John L. Sullivan and did ok as a baby prelim wrestler.  Bruno sent him off to other areas and he returned a few years later as a heel John L Sullivan and then quickly took on the Johnny Valiant persona and rocketed to stardom.  Along with Jimmy Valiant- The Valiant Brothers became one of the most dominant tag teams in the 1970's.  Johnny would go on in the 1980's as a successful manager in the WWF and AWA.    

Bill Eadie was another Pittsburgh guy who began wrestling in the Pittsburgh area.  Bill met Geeto Mongol in the early 1970's at State College, PA in the dressing room of a show and was convinced to became a wrestler.  After some training by Geeto, Eadie began wrestling preliminary matches in Pittsburgh as the Paramedic.  He would travel around to Detroit as well before Geeto convinced him to shave his head grow a big moustache and become Bolo Mongol.  The Mongols would join the new IWA and later move to the Mid Atlantic area.  After Geeto left, Eadie donned a mask and became The Masked Superstar, one of the greatest masked wrestlers in the history of the sport.  He would in the 1980's change his gimmick again, this time become AX as part of the WWF tag team Demolition.  One of the nicest guys in the business, Bill still wrestles on the independent circuit.    

George "The Animal" Steele didn't start out in Pittsburgh, but after moving his weekend and summer matches to the Pittsburgh area, George Steele went from a mid carder to a main eventer.  His crazy antics (much toned down from his 1980's persona on WWF TV) made him a hated villain and a sure challenger for Bruno Sammartino.  Bruno and Steele main event in the territory for many years and has to be consider the Pittsburgh areas top feud.  George might have started in Detroit but he rose to fame in Pittsburgh.    

Orwell Paris was a TV jobber who would come down from Canada and put over Bruno Sammartino, Battman and others on Pittsburgh's studio Wrestling.  Changing his name to Red McNulty, he returned to Canada and honed his craft, later changing his name to Ivan Koloff and returned to Pittsburgh as a main event superstar and eventually the man who ended Bruno's title reign.  More...

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