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In what is an effort to reduce my overall workload, and removing the dilemma of how to create something to share with Kayfabe Memories and not duplicate from Georgia Wrestling History, I am going to begin using my year by year summaries at KM rather than GWH.  You may have read these already, as they have appeared at GWH in the past.  However, they will no longer be found there.  As I add future years to GWH, I will now be writing those summaries for KM exclusively. 

 

I am in the midst of adding the years 1967 and 1968 to GWH at the moment, so I anticipate having those summaries in to KM soon to be used as follow-ups to this column.  Hopefully this will happen by the end of February, and those summaries should be to Vince Fahey the first week of March in time for the KM update.

 

1945

The leading names in Atlanta during 1945 were Al Massey, "Sailor" Barto Hill, Dick Lever, Ben Bennicasa, Jack Dillon, Rudy Strongberg, Babe Zaharias, Wally Greb, Cowboy Luttrall, Dan O'Connor, World Heavyweight Champion "Wild" Bill Longson, Jack Hader, Dick Shikat, Jack Kelly and Jack Wentworth. Other names of note making appearances in the territory were Tarzan White, Don Lee, Nell Stewart, June Byers, Nick Carter, Chief Saunooke, Elvira Snodgrass, Mae Young, Don McIntyre, George Koverly, World Junior Heavyweight Champion Herb Welch, Mildred Burke, Ralph Garibaldi, Red Vagnone, Jim Coffield, "Tiger" Joe Kirkland and Roy Lee Welch.

The Atlanta City Heavyweight Title dates back to at least 1934 as far as we have been able to determine thus far. Our research has allowed to us to compile a complete listing of all Atlanta cards since 1945, and there is only one time this title was used in the area. Son Almand, the defending champion, lost the title to John Mauldin on March 9. Mauldin made more appearances after this date, but the matches were never billed as title matches, nor was the title referenced in any of the material from which the results were compiled.

Ralph Garibaldi and Cowboy Luttrall had some rough matches leading up to 1945. In February, Babe Zaharias was used as a special referee. Garibaldi got the win when Luttrall was disqualified by Zaharias.

One thing we have noticed that was commonplace on Atlanta cards were preliminary bouts used to showcase amateurs squaring off with each other. One particular match of interest occurred on June 29, when Creed Hunter defeated Ken Jernigan. What makes this match so compelling is that both combatants were legally blind.

"Wild" Bill Longson, the World Champion as recognized by the National Wrestling Association, made numerous defenses here during the year, retaining his title against Chief Saunooke, Blockbuster Talun, Babe Zaharias, "Sailor" Barto Hill, Nick Carter, Al Massey and Abe Yourist.

On July 6, he defended the belt against the Green Hornet, a masked heel who was making a lot of noise since his debut in the area just a few weeks earlier. During the bout, Longson unmasked the Hornet, who turned out to be David Mann. Mann would eventually lose the match and continue to wrestle in the area for about one more week after being unmasked.

He was to put the belt on the line against George Koverly on December 28, but Koverly didn't make it to the arena. Paul Jones got on the PA system and took a poll of the fans, allowing them to determine Longson's opponent for the evening. Not surprisingly, they overwhelmingly chose Al Massey, but he was slated to square off with Jack LaRue. Jones inserted Laverne Baxter, who went to a draw with LaRue, who was obviously exhausted after winning the preceding match over Vic Emanuel. Massey went on to lose in his challenge for Longson's crown.

Bruce White, a local police officer, made his in ring debut on August 10, and got the win over Jack Purdin. White would wrestle a few more times in 1945-46, but apparently life as a law enforcement official was more to his liking because he disappeared after only a handful of matches.

The Black Demon came onto the scene in the fall and began terrorizing the local fans and wrestlers alike. He met his match on November 23 when Atlanta favorite Al Massey beat him and unmasked him. The fans immediately recognized him as Marvin Jones. Jones would leave the area within a month of the unmasking.
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