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 - Greg Mosorjak

Pittsburgh's Studio Wrestling debuted on Channel 11 in 1958. The Pittsburgh territory was resurrected by promoter Toots Mondt. Pittsburgh ran a monthly show at the Civic Arena usually on a Friday night. On Saturdays the TV show was done live at the Channel 11 studio in Pittsburgh and followed by a spot house show. Johnstown, Altoona, McKeesport and other smaller towns ran monthly. Ace Freeman and Rudy Miller worked with Toots in running the territory. In 1966, Toots sold the promotion to WWWF champion and Pittsburgh resident Bruno Sammartino. 

Bruno acted as booker and got promotional help from Miller and Freeman. Bruno ran the territory as a separate entity from WWWF, using talent from the neighboring Cleveland/Buffalo territory, WWWF talent as well as a excellent core of local Pittsburgh stars including Johnny DeFazio, Frank Holtz, Bobby "Hurricane" Hunt, Frank Durso, Hangman Jim Grabmire, and others. 

In 1970, Bruno sold the territory to Geeto Mongol, who continued to use the formula that Bruno used to make the territory successful. In 1972 Geeto sold out to Cleveland/Buffalo promoter Pedro Martinez and his NWF. Martinez tried to introduce talent from his promotion and lost the fan interest. He turned back to Bruno to help but by late 1974 the territory closed and the WWWF moved in and began running Pittsburgh and the surrounding towns. Pittsburgh recognized the WWWF champion as world champ but always called that title holder (largely Bruno) the World Champion and not WWWF champion. 

Other titles were introduced on a sporadic basis. The Mongols were the International tag team  champs. After Geeto Mongol & Johnny DeFazio won the International Tag titles from Crazy Luke Graham & Tarzan Tyler on Studio Wrestling, that title disappeared. The North American Title which was rooted with the NWF promotion appeared in Pittsburgh during 1974, with the title changing hands between Dominic DeNucci and Stan Stasiak. 

But Pittsburgh Studio Wrestling was Bruno Sammartino. Bruno would defend against heels leaving the WWF, or still in programs with him in the WWWF (Blackjack Mulligan, Stasiak, Ivan Koloff) George Steele, Killer Kowalski, Waldo von Erich, Baron Scicluna always seemed to be around and were frequent Bruno opponents. The Bruno vs. George Steele feud has to be the prominent feud from the Pittsburgh Territory. 

From the late 1960's and early 1970's Batman (Tony Marino) was the number two babyface and would headline when Bruno had other commitments.

Later Dominic DeNucci would be elevated to that position, especially for the smaller shows in Johnstown and Altoona. The Live TV show from Channel 11 each Sat was hosted by "Chilly Billy" Bill Cardille, a Pittsburgh icon in broadcasting, who also hosted the Sat late night horror movie show "Chiller Theatre". Billy was over animated and full of great lines, "Welcome to Studio Wrestling, where anything can happen, usually does and probably will." 

Pittsburgh fans will remember the old Pittsburgh Pirates star Pie Traynor doing the American Heating Commercials live in the Studio, and the show concluded with Cardille interviewing the fans as the filed out of the studio. The local talent was enhanced, by bringing in jobbers from Canada like Terry Yorkston, Bull Johnson, Al Hayes, Al Schiller, Rujack Woods and others. Young stars like John L. Sullivan (Johnny Valiant) and Jos Leduc would get their first real pushes in Pittsburgh before moving on to the WWWF and other territories.

We are combining the Pittsburgh Territory with the Cleveland/Buffalo territory in the 1970's associated with Pedro Martinez. The obvious is that Martinez ran Pittsburgh until he folded promotions in 1974. (many feel Pittsburgh could have survived with a different promoter). The NWF was recognized by some as a World Championship, it traces its title origin in 1970, where Johnny Powers beat Freddie Blassie in LA to win the title.   More...

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