Monday, December 1, 2014

PWHF XIV 2015 INDUCTION CLASS

The Class of 2015 for the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame has been announced, and there's a decidedly Canadian flavour. Quebecers Rick Martel and Vivian Vachon are two inductees, plus Canadian icon Whipper Billy Watson is going in. Add to that Buddy Roberts of Vancouver, as a part of the Fabulous Freebirds in the tag team division, and maple syrup should be on the menu at the induction banquet.
But there are plenty more flavours as well. Pedro Morales, former WWWF World champion, is originally from Culebra, a small island off the east coast of Puerto Rico. As a teen, he moved to New York City and became a storied pro wrestler in 1958, especially with his runs in California and in the WWWF, where he reigned as champion from 1971 to 1973. He is entering the PWHF in the Television Era, which spans from 1943 to 1984. Also going in the Television Era division is Whipper Billy Watson, who is easily the best-known Canadian professional wrestler of all-time. Like Gorgeous George in the United States, Watson was credited with selling many television sets as the technology was in its infancy. Besides his runs on top of the world as NWA champion, Watson was involved in the promotions in Toronto and St. Louis, and is famed for his charitable works. He died in 1990. The late Jumbo Tsuruta, who died in 2000, was one of the greatest wrestlers ever from Japan, and enters in the International division. After competing for his country at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich in Greco-Roman wrestling, he became a pro wrestler. To fans in North America, Tsuruta is best known from his 1984 AWA World title reign. In 1989, Tsuruta became the first Triple Crown Heavyweight champion (unifying the Pacific Wrestling Federation, All Japan United National and All Japan International titles).

In the Pioneer Era, The Great Gama is recognized as the greatest wrestler ever from India in a career that lasted 50 years. Joe Malcewicz began his career in the 1920s, and became known as the "Utica Panther" for his roots in upstate New York; he later became well known as the promoter in San Francisco. The Modern Era (1985 - present) inductees, Curt Hennig and Rick Martel, both found success in the midwest's AWA and in the nationally-run WWF. Martel followed his brother, Michel, into pro wrestling as a teen and was a quick study, his athleticism and his good looks propelling him to the top of the card wherever he worked -- Portland, Hawaii, WWWF, Montreal, the AWA, Japan. He was AWA World champion from 1984 to 1985. An injury while working in WCW in 1998 ended Martel's career. Curt Hennig is the son of Larry "The Axe" Hennig and the father of WWE star Curtis Axel and retired female wrestler Amy Hennig. But to most fans, he was "Mr. Perfect." Immensely talented at whatever he tried, the gimmick in the WWF was one that perfectedly suited the Minnesota native. He was AWA World champion from 1987 to 1988. Hennig died in 2003. Like Hennig, for Vivian Vachon in the Ladies division, it's all about family. Her big brothers, Mad Dog Vachon and Paul "The Butcher" Vachon are both already in the PWHF, and her niece, Luna Vachon, might follow one day. Vivian, who was also known as Diane, died in a car accident in 1991 alongside her daughter, Julie, when their vehicle was hit by a drunk driver. The Tag Team division had better prepare for a shaking up with the induction of the riotous Fabulous Freebirds. Originally a pairing of long-time friends Michael "P.S." Hayes (Michael Seitz) and Terry "Bam Bam" Gordy in Georgia, the team took off in the early 1980s as a trio when veteran Canadian grappler Dale Hey joined up as Buddy "Jack" Roberts. The Freebirds were rock stars in pro wrestling, life-loving party guys who could perform in the ring, and headlined in Texas and Mid-South especially. Gordy died in 2001 and Roberts in 2012. For non-wrestlers, there is a Colleague category at the PWHF, and this year's honouree is Jim Crockett Sr., who was the long-time promoter in Charlotte, North Carolina. Crockett's promotion started in the 1930s, and his reach extended into minor league baseball and hockey in the area as well. His sons Jim Jr., David and Jackie, all worked in the wrestling business in various times as well. Crocket passed away in 1973. This is the 14th induction class for the PWHF. The ballots are sent to a select group of Professional Wrestling Hall of Famers and their peers, along with a select few historians (this writer included). "Cowboy" Johnny Mantell was the head of the selection committee this year. Induction weekend is May 15-16, 2015, in Amsterdam, NY. A meet and greet and a banquet will both take place on the Saturday, and tickets will be on sale in the new year. Dave Burzynski, who was manager Supermouth Dave Drason in the Detroit territory, will host the banquet. There is usually a wrestling show on the Friday night as well. Here is the full induction list:
  • Pioneer Era (1800-1946) - Joe Malcewicz and Great Gama (Ghulam Muhammad)
  • Television Era (1943-1984) - Pedro Morales and Whipper Billy Watson
  • Modern Era (1985 - present) - Curt Hennig and Rick Martel
  • Ladies - Vivian Vachon
  • Tag Team - The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael Hayes, Buddy Roberts and Terry Gordy)
  • Colleague - Jim Crockett Sr.
  • International - Tomomi "Jumbo" Tsuruta
  • PWHF XIV INDUCTION WEEKEND TICKET FORMS


    Wednesday, November 26, 2014

    SUPERMOUTH DAVE DRASON TO MC PWHF XIV

    Long before he gained notoriety in the wrestling business as the evil manager of champions under the moniker Supermouth Dave Drason, Dave Burzynski started watching professional wrestling in 1959. His upstairs neighbor at his parents two story home, just happened to be the most famous wrestler in Detroit at the time, Leaping Larry Chene. Influenced by his celebrity, Dave would watch him on the weekly TV tapings which led to his lifelong obsession with the sport of wrestling.
     
    It wasn't until 1965 when he attended his first live show at the famed Cobo Arena in Detroit, seeing firsthand all the icons of the heyday of wrestling, that he became seriously hooked. So much so, he began to collect every wrestling magazine available to him, started trading pictures with other local fans, started writing to other wrestling pen pals around the world, to the point where professional wrestling consumed his young life.
     
    He began traveling to other cities in the territory to watch the Big Time Wrestling events, and then, unbeknownst to his parents, began traveling to cities such as St. Louis, Atlanta, Boston, LA and parts unknown, meeting and staying with fans who shared his same passion, documenting his trips with photographs along the way. It was then he began submitting those photo's to all the national magazines of the day such as Wrestling Revue, Wrestling World, Ring Wrestling, Wrestling Monthly and the various Apter mag's. It was hard to pick up a copy each month and not see his name in print with either photo's or a feature story in each issue.
    Along with many other historians such as Don Wilson, Tom Burke, Diane Devine and a host of others from around the country, he played a big part on the Board of Directors of the WFIA (Wrestling Fans International Association). The organization would hold yearly conventions, bringing together fans from across the world, to a different city each year, happily hosted by the local promoter. Over the years, Dave served as MC for many of these annual gatherings.
     
    Very popular in its day were fan clubs, a fans way to let other wrestling addicts know about their favorite wrestler or the happenings in their local promotion. Dave was no different, as he was the president of the Michigan Scene Fan Club which was honored in 1971 as the WFIA Fan Club of the Year.
     
    With the help of then NWA President Sam Muchnick, who allowed Dave to photograph ringside whenever he came to St. Louis, he was instrumental in helping him become the full time photographer for The Sheik's Detroit promotion in his own hometown. It was there he used his writing and picture taking skills to take over the reigns of the Body Press program, to this day, highly regarded as the premier wrestling publication sold at any arena across the country.
     
    After years of working for Big Time Wrestling, it was then at the urging of many of the wrestlers he grew to know and travel with, that he was given the opportunity to fulfill his dream of becoming a wrestling manager. Beginning in 1974, under the tutelage of Abdullah Farouk, Bobby Heenan and George Cannon, he embarked on causing havok ringside and riling fans to a boiling point alongside such legends as Killer Brooks, Ben Justice, The Fabulous Kangaroo's, Eric the Red, Hartford Love, Al Snow, Mickey Doyle and most notably, his childhood hero, The Sheik. Only a few years into his managing career, he was regarded as one of the best in the business when he took Manager of the Year honors in 1976.
     
    In 1993, with the territory days long gone and the independent scene waning, he ended his managing career to pursue his next phase in his life of wrestling: giving back.
     
    Since then, he has become a huge supporter of the PWHF, the CAC, the Titans in Toronto (where he was the MC for the PWHF fundraising event in 2008) and the Alicia's House Charity in Chicago, run by former wrestler Juan Hernandez. He continues to lend his historian expertise to many worldwide radio programs, legends TV stints, and also appearing in numerous wrestling documentaries.
     
    After a 55 year obsession, where he worked and experienced nearly every phase of the wrestling business possible, Dave Burzynski returns to the 2015 PWHF Induction ceremonies not only as MC, but as a lifelong fan of the sport he continues to love and support.

    Wednesday, October 29, 2014

    GREG VALENTINE TO APPEAR AT PWHF NOVEMBER 15TH, 2014

    Greg "The Hammer' Valentine to appear at the PWHF on Saturday November 15, 2014 from 1pm until 4pm....cost of autograph of Greg will be $15.00 ea... and a picture of Greg/or with Greg $10.00ea.... PWHF poster of Greg will be available....hope to see you there!!!!


    Thursday, September 25, 2014

    THE GENIUS LANNY POFFO TO SIGN AUTOGRAPHS OCTOBER 25th 2014

    FANS...THE GENIUS LANNY POFFO WILL BE SIGNING AUTOGRAPHS AT THE PWHF SATURDAY 10/25/14 FROM 10am until 1pm...LANNY IS FROM THE FAMOUS POFFO FAMILY OF WRESTLERS AND IS LOOKING TO MEET ALL HIS FANS AT THE PWHF...THE PWHF WILL HAVE A SPECIAL POSTER MADE FOR THIS EVENT...COST OF AN AUTOGRAPH 15.00 EACH...COST OF PICTURE WITH/OF LANNY POFFO 10.00 EACH....HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE!!!!!

    Wednesday, July 30, 2014

    LARRY ZBYSZKO TO VISIT PWHF SATURDAY AUGUST 23RD FROM 1-4PM

    Fans... on Saturday August 23rd from 1-4pm in Amsterdam, New York...one of Wrestling's legends will be at the Hall to visit and sign autographs...price of autograph 15.00 each...picture 10.00 each...so come down and meet Larry Zbyszko and visit the PWHF....hope to see you there!!!!!!!!!!

    Thursday, June 12, 2014

    LONGTIME VOLUNTEER JON SOTO TO RUN DAILY OPERATIONS AT PWHF

    Fans...longtime volunteer Jon Soto has a new title...PWHF Hall Manager....Jon's new duty will be to oversee the daily operations of the PWHF Hall of Fame in Amsterdam, NY...Jon has been with the PWHF since 2005, helping Tony Vellano with running the Hall and its functions....Vellano says; "it is time to start delegating more authority to others...for this Hall to move forward, others must be involved, and I am proud to have Jon as the Hall manager"....the PWHF wishes Jon much success in his new endeavor...