Georgia Championship Wrestling
Georgia Championship Wrestling was a professional wrestling promotion whose self-titled TV program aired in the 1970s and 1980s on Atlanta, U. S. superstation WTBS. Though based in Atlanta, the company ran live wrestling shows throughout its geographic "territory" of Georgia; the territory was affiliated with what had been the world's top sanctioning body of championship titles for decades before, the National Wrestling Alliance. The TV show, hosted by Gordon Solie, was recorded in one of WTBS' studios on West Peachtree Street near 10th Street, in Midtown Atlanta. Shows were taped before a small, live in-studio audience, as were most professional wrestling TV shows of that era; the show featured wrestling matches, plus melodramatic monologues and inter-character confrontations—similar to the programming offered by other territories, including the Northeast-based World Wrestling Federation. GCW's show, which aired on Saturday evenings, was complemented with a Sunday evening edition. In Savannah and Augusta, Georgia in the 1960s and early 1970s there was a 60-minute wrestling program titled "Big Time Wrestling" produced Saturday afternoons at the studio of WAII channel 11 in Atlanta.
The NWA program was hosted by ring announcer Charlie Harben and referee Leo Garibaldi. The show was broadcast at various times on WJBF 6 in Augusta and at 11pm Saturdays on WTOC 11 in Savannah; the program included. On WJBF the interviews pertained to matches held on Monday nights at the Bell Auditorium promoted by Steve Manderson and on WTOC they pertained to upcoming matches held Tuesday nights at the Sports Arena at the Savannah Civic Center promoted by Aaron Newman; the program for Savannah was taped in Atlanta on Saturday afternoons delivered by Greyhound Bus to Savannah to be broadcast that night. Ole Anderson Bob Armstrong, Brad Armstrong, The Assassin, Tony Atlas, Abdullah the Butcher, Jack Brisco, Jerry Brisco, Ted DiBiase, "Nature Boy" Ric Flair, Robert Fuller Ron Fuller, Ronnie Garvin, Dick Garza, Stan Hansen, Hulk Hogan, Austin Idol, Paul Jones Junkyard Dog, Steve Keirn, Ivan Koloff, Gino Hernandez, Killer Karl Kox, Mark Lewin, The Masked Superstar, Rick Martel, Wahoo McDaniel, Mongolian Stomper, Jerry Oates, Thunderbolt Patterson Ken Patera Rowdy Roddy Piper, Baron Von Raschke, Tommy Rich, Jake Roberts, Dusty Rhodes, Dick Slater, The Iron Sheik, Ricky Steamboat, Kevin Sullivan, Nikolai Volkoff, Mr. Wrestling, Mr. Wrestling II Larry Zbyszko, The Fabulous Freebirds, The Road Warriors The Brisco Brothers Jerry Brisco, & Jack Brisco, Georgia Championship Wrestling was formed in Atlanta in 1944 by promoter Paul Jones as ABC Booking.
ABC held its matches at Atlanta's Municipal Auditorium every Friday night. Jones operated ABC for thirty years until his retirement in 1974, though from about 1970 until 1972 he was assisted by his booker Ray Gunkel. Jones was so infirm by this time that Gunkel ran the promotion. On Christmas Day of 1971, Georgia Championship Wrestling aired its first television show, considered a Christmas special, since the actual series didn't begin airing until late January 1972; the promotion underwent some big changes in 1972. Firstly, it started. Secondly, it switched its television outlet from its original home, WQXI-TV to an upstart UHF station called WTCG but renamed WTBS; the new television deal would be one of Gunkel's last decisions. Ray Gunkel died of a heart attack that year after a match versus Ox Baker in Savannah, Georgia; the death set off some internal problems, with Ray's widow Ann, who had worked with Ray and expected to get his share of the promotion being shut out in favor of Bill Watts, with the promotion being renamed "Mid-South Sports."
Ann Gunkel decided to start her own promotion outside of the National Wrestling Alliance, which she named the "All-South Wrestling Alliance." It didn't look good for Mid-South at that point, most of their wrestlers had gone with Ann, Ann's promotion had gotten Mid-South's television time slot, though both promotions aired on WTBS. After two years of strife, a trouble-shooter was called in: Jim Barnett, who had owned promotions in Indiana, Ohio and Australia. At this point, Ann's promotion went downhill, being locked out of arena dates, with wrestlers defecting to Mid-South, Ann Gunkel's All-South Wrestling Alliance folded in 1974; when WTBS went on satellite in 1976, making the station available to cable systems all across the USA, the renamed Georgia Championship Wrestling became the first NWA promotion to be broadcast nationally. Many of the NWA's regional promoters were unhappy, but Barnett claimed since he was only using Georgia-based wrestlers, that there was no harm. Whether or not Barnett was in fact taking the promotion national is a matter of dispute.
Some wrestlers, such as Roddy Piper, say that he was in fact doing so, but was prevented by fears of crossing organized crime figures involved with the sport. Throughout the 1970s, Georgia Championship Wrestling was one of the main shows that kept the Superstation alive. In 1982, Georgia Championship Wrestling changed its main programming name to World Championship Wrestling. GCW ran shows in Michigan.
Anthony Gareljich is a New Zealand retired professional wrestler, better known by his ring name, Tony Garea. He is best known for his appearances in the United States with the World Wide Wrestling Federation/World Wrestling Federation from 1972 to 1986; the son of Croatian-born Ivan Gareljich, Anthony Gareljich was born in Auckland, New Zealand to parents of Yugoslavian and Irish descent. He was an accomplished sprinter and a rugby player. Garea was trained by Wild Don Scott, he made his professional wrestling debut in his native New Zealand. He worked in NWA San Francisco territory where he and Pat Patterson defeated Don Muraco and Invader I for the NWA San Francisco Tag Team Championship in May 1976. Garea left New Zealand in 1972 and went to the United States where he signed a contract with Vince McMahon, Sr.'s World Wide Wrestling Federation. He made his WWWF debut at a TV taping in the Philadelphia Arena on 20 September 1972 as a babyface, defeating Davey O'Hannon. On 30 May 1973, he teamed with Haystacks Calhoun and defeated Mr. Fuji and Professor Toru Tanaka to win his first WWWF World Tag Team Championship.
Garea and Calhoun feuded with Fuji and Tanaka for the rest of the summer before losing the titles back to Fuji and Tanaka on 11 September. Garea continued the feud with Tanaka with a new partner, Dean Ho. On 14 November, Garea and Ho defeated Fuji and Tanaka for Garea's second and Ho's first WWWF World Tag Team Championship. Garea's second tag team reign was better than his first reign, they held the titles for five and a half-month before losing them to the Valiant Brothers on 8 May 1974 episode of All Star Wrestling. They continued working on their own. Garea, successful as a tag team wrestler, began a singles career. Garea continued his singles career for three years before forming a tag team with new partner Larry Zbyzsko in August 1977, they began teaming after entering a tag team tournament for the vacant tag titles, where they were defeated by Mr. Fuji and Toru Tanaka in the finals on 27 September 1977, they continued to challenge for the titles before defeating The Yukon Lumberjacks for Garea's third and Zbyzsko's first WWWF World Tag Team Championship on edition of 21 November 1978 of Championship Wrestling.
They held the titles for four months before losing them to Valiant Brothers on edition of 24 March 1979 of Championship Wrestling. That same month, Wide was dropped from the promotion's name, renaming the promotion World Wrestling Federation. Garea continued to wrestle in the tag team division, with another former WWF Tag Team Champion Rene Goulet; the two participated in a tag team tournament for the titles, where they were defeated by The Wild Samoans in the finals on 27 September 1980. Garea formed a tag team with new partner Rick Martel, Garea's most successful and most popular tag team, they defeated Wild Samoans on 8 November for Garea's fourth and Martel's first WWF Tag Team Championship. Garea and Martel continued to feud with the former champions for the rest of the year. After Wild Samoans left WWF, the champions began feuding with The Moondogs, they dropped the titles to Moondogs on edition of 17 March 1981 of Championship Wrestling. Martel and Garea continued to feud with Moondogs. On 8 June, Garea beat a young rookie named Man Mountain Canyon in Madison Square Garden, who returned to WWF four years as King Kong Bundy.
On edition of 21 July of Championship Wrestling and Garea defeated Moondogs in a rematch to win their second WWF Tag Team Championship as a team, though, it was Garea's fifth and final individual reign. Garea's final run as a tag team champion ended on edition of 17 October of Championship Wrestling after Garea and Martel were defeated by Mr. Fuji and Mr. Saito for the tag titles. Garea and Martel continued to feud with Fuji and Saito, trying to regain the titles but failed to do so. Martel left WWF in 1982. Garea teamed with newcomers to the WWF such as Eddie Gilbert and B. Brian Blair in 1983 and 1984 but was unable to recapture the success he enjoyed as a tag-team champion, he moved to the jobber to the stars status, jobbing to rising newcomers before retiring in 1986. Garea was employed as a road agent by a position he continues to hold, he appeared with former tag team partner Rick Martel at Vengeance: Night of Champions in June 2007. They came to the aid of the team of Sgt. Slaughter and Jimmy Snuka, who were being attacked following their losing to Deuce'n Domino.
When WWE came to New Zealand on 11 June 2008 in Auckland, Garea was a guest on the first international V. I. P Lounge along with Bushwacker Butch; the segment's host, Montel Vontavious Porter announced him as Bushwhacker Luke but apologised. MVP attacked Butch and Garea with the microphone. Butch and Garea recovered and fought off MVP celebrated with the Bushwhacker walk. On 3 March 2009 he was featured on WWE.com exclusive segment Top-rope Theater posing as "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan. On 29 March 2010 episode of Monday Night Raw Garea appeared as a lumberjack in the Christian vs. Ted DiBiase lumberjack match. Towards the end of the match, Garea brawled with other legends. Big Time Wrestling NWA World Tag Team Championship – with Pat Patterson Pro Wrestling Illustrated PWI Rookie of the Year tied with Bob Orton, Jr. PWI ranked him #236 of the top 500 best singles wrestlers during the PWI Years in 2003 PWI ranked him #74 of the top 100 tag teams with Rick Martel during the PWI Years in 2003 Universal Wrestling Association UWA World Heavyweight Junio
Calgary is a city in the Canadian province of Alberta. It is situated at the confluence of the Bow River and the Elbow River in the south of the province, in an area of foothills and prairie, about 80 km east of the front ranges of the Canadian Rockies; the city anchors the south end of what Statistics Canada defines as the "Calgary–Edmonton Corridor". The city had a population of 1,267,344 in 2018, making it Alberta's largest city and Canada's third-largest municipality. In 2016, Calgary had a metropolitan population of 1,392,609, making it the fourth-largest census metropolitan area in Canada; the economy of Calgary includes activity in the energy, financial services and television, transportation and logistics, manufacturing, aerospace and wellness, tourism sectors. The Calgary CMA is home to the second-highest number of corporate head offices in Canada among the country's 800 largest corporations. In 2015, Calgary had the highest number of millionaires per capita of any major city in Canada.
In 1988, Calgary became the first Canadian city to host the Winter Olympic Games. Calgary has been recognized for its high quality of life. In 2018, The Economist magazine ranked Calgary the fourth-most liveable city in the world in their Global Liveability Ranking. Calgary is classed as a Beta global city. Calgary was named after Calgary on the Isle of Scotland. In turn, the name originates from a compound of kald and gart, similar Old Norse words, meaning "cold" and "garden" used when named by the Vikings who inhabited the Inner Hebrides. Alternatively, the name might be Gaelic Cala ghearraidh, meaning "beach of the meadow", or Gaelic for either "clear running water" or "bay farm"; the indigenous peoples of Southern Alberta referred to the Calgary area as "elbow", in reference to the sharp bend made by the Bow River and the Elbow River. In some cases, the area was named after the reeds that grew along the riverbanks, which were used to fashion bows. In the Blackfoot language, the area was known as Mohkínstsis akápiyoyis, meaning "elbow many houses", reflecting its strong settler presence.
The shorter form of the Blackfoot name, Mohkínstsis meaning "elbow", has been the popular Indigenous term for the Calgary area. In the Nakoda language, the area is known as Wincheesh-pah or Wenchi Ispase, both meaning "elbow". In the Nehiyaw Language, the area was known as Otoskwanik meaning "house at the elbow" or Otoskwunee meaning "elbow". In the Tsuut'ina language, the area is known as Kootsisáw meaning "elbow". In the Slavey language, the area was known as Klincho-tinay-indihay meaning "many horse town", referring to the Calgary Stampede and the city's settler heritage. There have been several attempts to revive the indigenous names of Calgary. In response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, local post-secondary institutions have adopted "official acknowledgements" of indigenous territory using the Blackfoot name of the City, Mohkínstsis. In 2017, the Stoney Nakoda sent an application to the Government of Alberta, to rename Calgary as Wichispa Oyade meaning "elbow town", however this has been challenged by the Piikani Blackfoot.
The Calgary area was inhabited by pre-Clovis people whose presence has been traced back at least 11,000 years. The area has been inhabited by the Niitsitapi, îyârhe Nakoda, the Tsuut'ina First Nations peoples and Métis Nation, Region 3; as Mayor Naheed Nenshi describes, "There have always been people here. In Biblical times there were people here. For generations beyond number, people have come here to this land, drawn here by the water, they come here to fish. He was the first recorded European to visit the area. John Glenn was the first documented European settler in the Calgary area, in 1873. In 1875, the site became a post of the North-West Mounted Police; the NWMP detachment was assigned to protect the western plains from US whisky traders, to protect the fur trade. Named Fort Brisebois, after NWMP officer Éphrem-A. Brisebois, it was renamed Fort Calgary in 1876 by Colonel James Macleod; when the Canadian Pacific Railway reached the area in 1883, a rail station was constructed, Calgary began to grow into an important commercial and agricultural centre.
Over a century the Canadian Pacific Railway headquarters moved to Calgary from Montreal in 1996. Calgary was incorporated as a town in 1884, elected its first mayor, George Murdoch. In 1894, it was incorporated as "The City of Calgary" in what was the North-West Territories; the Calgary Police Service was established in 1885 and assumed municipal, local duties from the NWMP. The Calgary Fire of 1886 occurred on November 7, 1886. Fourteen buildings were destroyed with losses estimated at $103,200. Although no one was killed or injured, city officials drafted a law requiring all large downtown buildings to be built with Paskapoo sandstone, to prevent this from happening again. After the arrival of the railway, the Dominion Government started leasing grazing land at minimal cost; as a result of this policy, large ranching operations were established in the outlying country near Calgary. A transportation and distribution hub, Calgary became the centre of Canada's cattle marketing and meatpacking industries.
By the late 19th century, the Hud
James Reiher Snuka, was a Fijian professional wrestler. He is better known by the ring name Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka. Snuka wrestled for several promotions from the 1970s to 2010s, he was best known for his time in the World Wrestling Federation in the 1980s and was credited with introducing the high-flying style of wrestling to the WWF. He was inducted into the WWF Hall of Fame in 1996. Snuka was the inaugural ECW World Heavyweight Champion in Eastern Championship Wrestling, his children, Sim Snuka and Tamina Snuka are wrestlers and grew up to both get signed by WWE. Snuka was indicted and arrested in September 2015 on third-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter charges, in relation to the May 1983 death of his girlfriend, Nancy Argentino. Snuka pleaded not guilty, but was found unfit to stand trial in June 2016 due to being diagnosed with dementia; as his health declined, the charges were dismissed on January 3, 2017. He died twelve days later. Snuka was born in the British colony of Fiji on May 1943 to Louisa Smith and Charles Thomas.
Thomas was married to another woman, Smith was engaged to Bernard Reiher. Before Snuka was born, his mother married Reiher; as a child, Snuka moved with his family to the Marshall Islands and to Hawaii. Snuka was active in amateur bodybuilding in Hawaii in the 1960s, he enjoyed some success as a professional bodybuilder, earning the titles of Mr. Hawaii, Mr. Waikiki and Mr. North Shore. Snuka opted to go into the more lucrative career of professional wrestling due to the uncertainty of his making a living in bodybuilding. While working at Dean Ho's gym in Hawaii, Snuka met many of the wrestlers who worked in the South Pacific region and decided to try the business. Snuka made his debut as Jimmy Kealoha fighting Maxwell "Bunny" Butler in Hawaii in 1970, he moved to the mainland and wrestled for Don Owen’s NWA Pacific Northwest territory where he held the belt as heavyweight champion six times. He first won the title by pinning Bull Ramos on November 16, 1973, it was in this territory. Snuka held the NWA Pacific Northwest Tag Team Championship six times with partner Dutch Savage.
Snuka had a two-year feud with another rookie, Jesse "the Body" Ventura. Snuka wrestled in several other National Wrestling Alliance regions, including Texas. In 1977, he won both the Texas heavyweight and tag team titles. Snuka left for the Mid-Atlantic where he formed a tag team with Paul Orndorff. In their first television match they defeated the NWA World Tag Team champions Jack and Jerry Brisco in a non-title bout. Orndorff and Snuka defeated Baron von Raschke and Greg Valentine to become the tag team title holders in 1979. On September 1, 1979, Snuka defeated Ricky Steamboat to hold the United States title. Snuka formed a tag team with Ray Stevens while with this promotion, his career led him to Georgia, where he teamed with Terry Gordy to win the NWA National Tag Team Championship by defeating Ted DiBiase and Steve Olsonoski." In January 1982, Snuka entered the World Wrestling Federation as a villainous character under the guidance of Captain Lou Albano. Snuka lost several title shots at WWF champion Bob Backlund, including a steel cage match at Madison Square Garden on June 28, 1982, in which Snuka leapt from the top of the cage, onto Backlund who managed to escape the cage for the win just seconds prior.
The contest was declared Match of the Year by Pro Wrestling Illustrated. Though Snuka portrayed a violent villain, he won fans because of his athletic style. In a storyline in 1982, Buddy Rogers told Snuka that Albano was cheating him financially, as a result, Snuka fired Albano. Snuka took on Rogers as his manager during the feud with Albano, Freddie Blassie, Ray Stevens; the attack solidified Snuka's new role as a fan favorite seeking to settle the score. Snuka defeated Stevens in the majority of the series of matches between the two, he faced several other of Albano's wrestlers, defeated Albano in a steel cage match in Madison Square Garden. Snuka feuded with Don Muraco in 1983, which began after Snuka entered the ring for a match against Don Kernodle on the June 18 episode of Championship Wrestling while Muraco, the Intercontinental Heavyweight champion, was being interviewed. Muraco, enraged at the perceived lack of respect, confronted Snuka at ringside; this feud led to a defining moment of Snuka's career on October 17, 1983, in a steel cage match at Madison Square Garden.
The match ended in a loss for Snuka, but afterward he dragged Muraco back into the ring and connected with the most famous "Superfly splash" of his career, off the top of the 15-foot high steel cage. Future wrestling stars the Sandman, Mick Foley, Tommy Dreamer, Bubba Ray Dudley were all in attendance at the event and cite this match as the reason they decided to pursue professional wrestling. Snuka was named the 1983 Wrestler of the Year by Victory Magazine for his efforts. In June 1984, Snuka became embroiled in a feud with one of the WWF's top villains, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper. In a segment of Piper's Pit, Piper hit Snuka on the back of the head with a coconut; the attack led to a series of grudge matches between the two that were played out over venues across the US throughout the summer of 1984. In late 1984, Snuka entered a rehabilitation facility; the Tonga Kid, billed as Snuka's nephew, continued the feud on Snuka's behalf. The remainder of Snuka's initial WWF stint had him tangling with Piper one way or a
Sylvester Ritter was an American professional wrestler and college football player, best known for his work in Mid-South Wrestling and the World Wrestling Federation as the Junkyard Dog, a nickname Ritter received while working in a wrecking yard. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame class of 2004. Entering the ring with his trademark chain attached to a dog collar, to the music of Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust," JYD headlined cards that drew large crowds and sold out the Louisiana Superdome and other major venues, becoming "the first black wrestler to be made the undisputed top star of his promotion". WWE author Brian Shields called Junkyard Dog one of the most electrifying and charismatic wrestlers in the country during his peak in the early 1980s. JYD was most known for his headbutt and upper body strength, the latter of which saw him bodyslam such large wrestlers as the One Man Gang and King Kong Bundy; the word "thump," which referred to JYD's powerslam, was prominently displayed on his wrestling trunks.
Ritter played football at Fayetteville State University, twice earning honorable mention All-American status, is a member of The Sports Hall of Fame. He graduated with a political science degree. Ritter debuted in the Tennessee territory, working for promoter Jerry Jarrett, before moving to Nick Gulas's company and using the ring name Leroy Rochester. From there he moved to Stu Hart's Stampede Wrestling as Big Daddy Ritter, where he captured the North American Heavyweight Championship twice. In the early 1980s Ritter moved to Mid-South Wrestling, where booker "Cowboy" Bill Watts gave him the name and gimmick Junkyard Dog, as he would wear a long chain attached to a dog collar, white boots, he came to the ring pushing a cart filled with junk called the "junk wagon" and lost most of his early matches before his character caught on and became the top face in the company. While on top he feuded with some of the top heels in the company, including a now infamous angle with the Fabulous Freebirds where they blinded him with hair cream.
At the peak of the feud JYD's wife gave birth to their first child, made part of the storyline. It was explained that JYD could not see his new daughter, something that increased the heat on the Freebirds to the point where they needed police escorts in and out of arenas; the feud ended with the still-blinded JYD and Freebird leader Michael "P. S." Hayes wrestling in a steel cage dog collar match. Other notable feuds involved Ernie Ladd, Ted DiBiase, King Kong Bundy, "Butch Reed; the 1982 feud with DiBiase was notable as DiBiase, once JYD's friend and tag-team partner, turned heel and subsequently won a loser-leaves-town match against JYD with the help of the loaded glove, a DiBiase calling card, at the time forcing JYD to leave town for an extended period of time. It was during the time that JYD in 1982 would be involved in a cross promotional Match for NWA and AWA against the Nick Bockwinkel that would air on NWA Mid South Wrestling on 2 Oct 1982 and AWA programming which he won by Pinfall After losing the Loser Leaves Mid South match to DiBiase & Matt Borne when tagging with Mr. Olympia) A masked man physically resembling JYD, known as Stagger Lee, subsequently appeared in the region and began to defeat the competition, one by one, including DiBiase.
Though DiBiase and the other heels suspected that Stagger Lee was in fact JYD, they were unable to unmask him to prove their suspicions. Stagger Lee disappeared once the loser-leave-town clause in the JYD-DiBiase match had expired, JYD returned and reclaimed the North American Heavyweight Championship; the feud with Reed was notable in that a protégé of JYD, had turned heel. Reed with the help of Buddy Landell attacked the Dog many times. On a couple of occasions, they covered the Dog in chicken feathers; the two had a series of matches, many of were bouts for the prized North American Heavyweight Championship. These matches were notable for their brutality, which included "ghetto street fights," "dog-collar matches," two-out-of-three pin-fall matches and steel-cage matches. JYD was lured to the WWF at the peak of the feud with Reed. In the summer of 1984, Ritter left Mid-South for the World Wrestling Federation, where he was a mid card wrestler but still a over face. JYD would debut on a Georgia Championship Wrestling taping held at the Kiel Auditorium on August 10, 1984 when he defeated Max Blue.
While in the WWF, JYD made a habit of interacting with the growing number of young people in attendance bringing them into the ring after matches and dancing with them. Ritter won The Wrestling Classic tournament by defeating Randy Savage by countout in the finals, as well as beating Moondog Spot and The Iron Sheik in earlier rounds getting to the final; the tournament is cited as the first-ever WWF pay-per-view. JYD's most notable feuds in the company came against King Harley Race, the Funk Brothers, Adrian Adonis, Greg "The Hammer" Valentine and "Outlaw" Ron Bass before he left the company in October 1988. Ritter would make his debut for the National Wrestling Alliance on December 7, 1988 at the Clash of the Champions IV, he would appear during an altercation between The Russian Assassins and Ivan Koloff, saving the latter. His first match came shortly after in a television taping in Atlanta against Trent Knight. JYD finished the year winning a $50,000 bunkhouse battle royal on December 26, held as a dark match after Starrcade'88 went off the air.
He spent the first few months of 1989 teaming with Ivan Koloff and Michael Hayes against The Russian Assassins. On April 2, 1989 JYD defeated Butch Reed at Clash of the Champions VI in New Orleans. Before the match he was accompan
Solofa F. Fatu Jr. is an American professional wrestler, best known under the ring names Rikishi and Fatu with World Wrestling Entertainment, where he is a one-time Intercontinental Champion, two-time World Tag Team Champion, one-time WWE Tag Team Champion. He is a member of the Anoaʻi family of Samoan wrestlers, he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame by his sons, wrestlers Jey and Jimmy Uso, in 2015. Fatu was born on October 1965 in San Francisco, he is a member of the famous Anoaʻi family. He attended Balboa High School in San Francisco. Solofa Fatu Jr. started out in 1985 for Gino Brito and Dino Bravo’s Lutte Internationale promotion in Montreal. There, he worked as a high flying babyface, he teamed with the territory’s top faces. His cousin Samula Anoaʻi, was a wrestler and the two cousins signed with the World Wrestling Council in Puerto Rico and became The Samoan Swat Team, they used the "Samoan savage" gimmick their relatives, The Wild Samoans used, working barefoot, never publicly speaking English and no-selling attacks to the head.
They became the new WWC Caribbean Tag Team Champions on November 7, 1987, in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico when they beat Invader I and Invader III. They held the title for just over a month before dropping it to Mark and Chris Youngblood before leaving the promotion. Samu and Fatu next appeared in Texas, working for Fritz Von Erich’s World Class Championship Wrestling. Storywise, Buddy Roberts brought them in to fight his fights against the Von Erich family and former Fabulous Freebirds partner Michael Hayes; the SST was given a big push right away. They remained undefeated in WCCW until they dropped the belts to Hayes and his new partner, Steve Cox, on September 12, they recaptured the title four days later. Hayes and Cox beat them for the title again on October 15, two days lost it back again. On September 12, 1988, The Samoan Swat Team became double champions by beating "Hollywood" John Tatum and Jimmy Jack Funk for the WCWA Texas Tag Team Championship, they made their pay-per-view debut at AWA SuperClash III, the AWA's first and last PPV.
They defended their World Tag title against Michael Hayes and Steve Cox. In the beginning of 1989, the SST left WCCW. Swat Team signed with Jim Crockett Promotions, introduced as manager Paul E. Dangerously’s replacement for The Original Midnight Express, who had left the promotion; the SST took over the Express’ feud with The Midnight Express, beating them at Clash of the Champions VI: Ragin' Cajun on April 2, 1989. The SST teamed with former rival Michael Hayes, Terry Gordy, Jimmy Garvin at the 1989 Great American Bash, losing a WarGames match to The Road Warriors, The Midnight Express, Steve Williams. In fall 1989, Paul E. Dangerously was phased out and the SST took a new manager, "The Big Kahuna" Oliver Humperdink, they were joined by Fatu's brother, The Samoan Savage. The SST lost more and more matches as 1989 drew to a close, but got a break when Sid Vicious was injured, leading his team, The Skyscrapers, to pull out of the "Iron Team Tournament" at Starrcade 1989. Fatu and The Samoan Savage, rebranded as The New Wild Samoans, replaced them.
For the rest of their WCW career and Savage teamed, while Samu only wrestled singles matches. After leaving WCW in the summer of 1990, Fatu and Savage worked for several independent promotions in the US, Puerto Rico and Japan teaming with cousin Kokina Maximus; the three worked for the Universal Wrestling Association in 1991, where they won the UWA Trios Tag Team Championship and held it for just under two months. They headlined the UWA’s 16th anniversary show, losing the title to Dos Caras, El Canek, Mil Máscaras. After Samu and Fatu joined the World Wrestling Federation, they were renamed The Headshrinkers, but their savage gimmick remained. Kokina Maximus joined the WWF, but was repackaged as Japanese sumo wrestler Yokozuna, his relation to The Headshrinkers was not acknowledged; the Headshrinker's first notable angle came when they interfered to help Money Inc. beat The Natural Disasters for the WWF World Tag Team Championship. Soon after, The Headshrinkers feuded with The Natural Disasters and the formed High Energy.
Between 1992 and early 1994, The Headshrinkers challenged for the tag title and made sporadic PPV appearances, feuding with The Smoking Gunns and Men on a Mission. Fatu would receive a WWF Championship match against Bret Hart on the March 1, 1993 episode of Monday Night RAW. Despite interference by Samu, Fatu was unsuccessful; the Headshrinkers helped Yokozuna win a casket match against The Undertaker at the 1994 Royal Rumble. In April, they turned face, took Lou Albano as their manager and challenged tag champions The Quebecers, they won the gold on the May 2 episode of Monday Night RAW. At King of the Ring on June 19, they defended the title against Yokozuna and Crush, their title reign ended at a house show in Indianapolis on August 28, when they lost to Shawn Michaels and Diesel. This happened a day before they were scheduled to defend against Irwin R. Schyster and Bam Bam Bigelow at SummerSlam; the match went on without the title, The Headshrinkers lost by disqualification. Soon after, Samu was replaced by Sione.
They were called The New Headshrinkers. The storyline reason for Samu’s departure was that he was not coping well with manager Lou Albano’s attempts to civilize him about wearing boo
Ernest Ladd, nicknamed "The Big Cat", was an American collegiate and professional football player and a professional wrestler. A standout athlete in high school, Ladd attended Grambling State University on a basketball scholarship before being drafted to the American Football League's San Diego Chargers in 1961. Ladd found success in the AFL as one of the largest players in professional football history at 6' 9" and 315 pounds, he helped the Chargers to four AFL championship games in five years, winning the championship with the team in 1963. He had stints with the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Oilers. Ladd took up professional wrestling during the AFL offseason, after a knee injury ended his football career turned to it full-time in 1969; as a wrestler, Ladd became one of the top heels in the business. For much of his career he played a villainous character who would arrogantly taunt both opponents and crowds. Ladd feuded with many popular wrestlers of the time, including Wahoo McDaniel, André the Giant, Bobo Brazil, Dusty Rhodes, Mr. Wrestling.
He retired from the ring in 1986. Ladd was inducted into the San Diego Chargers Hall of Fame in 1981, the Grambling State University Hall of Fame in 1989, the WWF Hall of Fame in 1995. Ladd was diagnosed with colon cancer in the winter of 2003–2004, he died on March 10, 2007 at the age of 68. Ladd was born in Rayville and raised in Orange, where he was a high school football and basketball star, his football coach was Sr. father of NFL star Bubba Smith. Ladd subsequently attended Grambling State University on a basketball scholarship, he was the nephew of Houston Oilers teammate Garland Boyette. Ladd was drafted in the fourth round of the 1961 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears, he was taken by the American Football League's San Diego Chargers with their 15th pick in the 1961 AFL draft. He chose to sign with the Chargers. At 6'9" and 315 pounds, Ladd was said to be the biggest and strongest man in professional football during his era, his physical measurements included a 52-inch chest, 39-inch waist, 20-inch biceps, 19-inch neck, size 18D shoes.
Ladd played in four AFL championship games, helping the Chargers win the American Football League title in 1963 with teammate Earl Faison, both members of the original Fearsome Foursome. Ladd, an American Football League All-Star from 1962 through 1965, was one of the AFL players that organized a walkout on the 1965 AFL All-Star Game due to the racism they experienced in New Orleans. Although Ladd found success with the Chargers, he had a contentious relationship with the Chargers front office, he started the 1965 season being indefinitely suspended from the team by Coach/General Manager Sid Gillman. Ladd stated that he and teammate Earl Faison would play out their contract options, opting to take a 10 percent cut in salary in exchange for becoming free agents at the end of the season. A planned trade with the Oilers in early 1966 would have sent Ladd to Houston. However, both were declared free agents by AFL commissioner Joe Foss, who ruled that Oilers owner Bud Adams had tampered in trade dealings with the Chargers.
Ladd refused to re-sign with the Chargers and suggested he might instead turn to professional wrestling full-time. Ladd signed with the Oilers and spent the 1966 season playing for them before moving in 1967 to the Kansas City Chiefs. There, with king sized Grambling teammate and future NFL Hall of Famer Buck Buchanan, he filled out what was the biggest defensive tackle tandem in history. Both Ladd and Buchanan were inducted into the Grambling State University Athletic Hall of Fame. Boston Patriots center Jon Morris said. I couldn’t see the linebackers. I couldn’t see the goalposts, it was like being locked in a closet." In 1981, he was inducted into the San Diego Chargers Hall of Fame. Ladd started wrestling in 1961; as a publicity stunt, some wrestlers in the San Diego area challenged Ladd to a private wrestling workout. Before long, Ladd was a part-time competitor in Los Angeles, during football's off-season. Ladd became a huge draw in short order; when knee problems cut his football career short, Ladd turned to the more financially lucrative business of wrestling full-time in 1969.
After a run as a fan favorite, Ladd became one of wrestling's most hated heels during the 1970s, as well as one of the first black wrestlers to portray a heel character. He riled crowds with his arrogant and colorful demeanor during interviews with his less than politically correct nicknames for opponents such as Wahoo McDaniel, Mr. Wrestling. Ladd controversially employed a taped thumb, claiming the support was needed due to an old football injury; when Ladd appeared to be in serious trouble during a match he would walk out of the arena and accept a countout loss, known since as "pulling an Ernie Ladd". Ladd wrestled for a number of different professional associations, including the World Wide Wrestling Federation where he was managed by The Grand Wizard of Wrestling. Additionally, he had several successful runs in the NWA territories, The Mid - South promotion, NWF, WWC promotion. Known for his immense size and power, it was natural for Ladd to engage in feuds with other giants, including famously with André the Giant.
In certain areas, Ladd's wrestling nickname was "The King", he would wear an ornate crown. In other wrestling associations, he was "The Big Cat", entered wearing a big cowboy hat. After handily pinning Earl "Mr