Where Wrestling's Regional History Lives!
- Rich Tate
is impossible for most people within the majority of the internet
wrestling website demographic to think of wrestling in Georgia without
recalling names like Tommy Rich, Tony Atlas, the Andersons, Mr.
Wrestling #2, the Masked Superstar, Austin Idol, Wahoo McDaniel, etc.
In contrast, many people in that same demographic may find it
hard to associate names like Freddie Blassie, Butcher and Mad Dog Vachon,
Buddy Colt, Bobby Shane, Nick Bockwinkel, Reggie "Crusher"
Lisowski, Buddy Fuller, etc.
as strange as that may be for some, Georgia has seen most of the top
names in the business spend time working regularly here. For example, about a year ago on another website's message
board, someone posed the question "Has So-and-So ever worked in
Georgia?" Well, it
would have been easier to just call out the names of those who didn't
work here at one point or another.
history of wrestling in Georgia is rich and deep, and Georgia
Wrestling History has uncovered a vast collection of
results, among other things, outlining that history on paper and in
pictures. Our current
material dates as far back as 1904 through the year 1965, with no end in
sight. It has been an eye
opener to even those of us who thought we had seen it all when it came
to the history in our state.
follows is a listing of some of the people that wrestling fans typically
associate with other territories, and rightfully so. We are not attempting to change the perception that these
people called Georgia home more than another promotion, but wanted to
take the time to bring some of it to light where we believe it to be a
surprise to most people.
first appearance was in 1947. He
came back in 1953 and continued to be a staple on and off (more on than
off) until 1965. Blassie
would come back occasionally and make appearances, but never to the same
degree as in the past. Still,
for that thirteen year span, he was probably the most famous name on the
scene. And just so you have
something to compare that thirteen year string to, think of Johnny
Walker using the Mr. Wrestling #2 gimmick here for only an eleven year
run from 1973 to 1983.
also had some of the more memorable feuds during his time in Georgia.
For many years his top nemesis was Don McIntyre, with whom he
battled over the Southern Heavyweight Title in some of the roughest
matches Georgia has reportedly ever seen.
McIntyre was the only other wrestler to hold the title more times
than Blassie. When Ray
Gunkel came to Georgia, he soon found himself a target for Blassie's
antics as well.
in years, Blassie became a favorite of the local fans.
He also had a second home in Georgia that he kept for many years,
even when he was working elsewhere.
At one point he was the most famous car salesman in the Atlanta
area, working for Al Means Ford dealership.
His final appearance working in the state found him managing Hulk
Hogan in a match against Andre the Giant on New Year's Day 1981.
worked in Georgia between 1969 and 1972, and made appearances here in
later years. Over those
four years, he was consistently in main events and held multiple titles. He wore the Georgia Heavyweight belt two times, and he also
claimed the Georgia Television Title at least twice.
thing about Bockwinkel that was different according to the research I
have collected is that he seemed more concerned with winning titles as
opposed to getting involved with long running feuds.
Perhaps the promotion realized they had something special, as
Nick is still considered one of the finest workers to join the
he got involved in some subtle angles involving wrestlers such as Joe
Scarpa, the Professional, Bobby Shane, Buddy Colt and El Mongol, while
partnering with people like the Assassins and Paul DeMarco.
He would return a few more times in the late 1970's and defend
his AWA Heavyweight Title, facing people such as Mr. Wrestling #2, Tommy
Rich, Dusty Rhodes and Dick Slater.
the Bruiser and Reggie "Crusher" Lisowski are two guys
typically associated with the midwestern part of the United States.
However, both made their presence felt here many years ago.
first came to Georgia in the 1960's, defending the AWA Heavyweight
Title, which was even billed as a World title at the time, despite the
Atlanta office being a member of the NWA.
Bruiser was here for relatively short periods of time, but it
could be said he came and left like a tornado.