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 Wes Mulholland

Whereas today we have the famous Royal Rumble in the WWF,the Battle Royal dates back to the late 1960ís. One of the most famous was the annual Battle Royal in the LA Booking office under the LaBelles.  Their idea for the Battle Royal started about 400 miles north of the Olympic auditorium in a wrestling arena known as the Cow Palace in a suburb of San Francisco known as Daly City. 

The Cow Palace which sat just under 15,000 fans was the home of the San Francisco Battle Royal. The first Cow Palace Battle Royal was held November 11th 1967 and the very first man to win the over the top battle royal was the great Bearcat Wright. The following year the Battle Royal was on November 9th, in 1968 and the winner of that battle royal was Big Bill Miller.

On November the 15th 1969 Ray Stevens won his first of three Battle Royal victoryís. In both 1970 and 1971 there were no Battle Royals at the Cow Palace, though in cities like Sacramento they had an annual 14 man Battle Royal. By the time of the 1972 18 man Battle Royal, this annual event was the one to wait for in the San Francisco area. 

The rules were simple or at least they were in the way they were explained to us fans. Each wrestler put up $500.00 for a total of $9,000 and the promoter Roy Shires put up the additional money. I can still see Roy Shires on TV telling the fans how hard it was to get wrestlers to come in to take this kind of chance at ending their career in such a match. Then Roy would look at the announcer Hank Renner and tell him thatís why Hank was going to put in an additional $3,000.00 to the winner.  He'd then whisper "you know for that kind of money Hank, Its every man for himself, you have no friends." 

They'd bring out tag team partners whether it was Ray Stevens and Peter Maivia or Pat Patterson and Paul DeMarco and they would talk about how it was friends up till the Battle Royal, but once in there, it was time to watch your back. The buildup was tremendous for the annual event.  More...

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