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 - Rich Tate

It 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.  

However, 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.  

The 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.  

What 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.  

Freddie Blassie  

Blassie's 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.  

Blassie 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.  

Later 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.  

Nick Bockwinkel  

Nick 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.  

One 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 professional ranks.  

Still, 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.  

Bruiser and Crusher  

Dick 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.  

Bruiser 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.     More...

 

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