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SPOTLIGHTING THE WWF

by A. Nonymous and Doug McLeer

SECTION 1 BY A. NONYMOUS

Here are some memories of The WWWF/WWF before it became a total circus act with no credibility or sense of programming!

KING CURTIS
Was brought in as a challenger to then champ, Pedro Morales, under the program that years ago, Morales had rammed Curtis's head into the ringpost in a Hawaii bout, scarring his forehead and driving him insane! Naturally, this made him want revenge. He never did get vengeance on Morales (usually Morales made a comeback, rammed Curtis into the ringpost, gave him one or two more scars, and pinned him), but he and Baron Scicluna did win the World Tag Team Title for a spell.

MIKE PAPPAS
This little Greek was flying through the air long before the likes of Taka and the others whom hardcores put over in the contemporary sheets and on the net. Unlike the contemporaries, who know only fancy spots but have no sense of how to work a bout or time one, he was a tremendous technician, but usually used as a "carpenter" to build up the various heels brought in to eventually face the champion. Very little is mentioned of him any more.

CHIEF JAY STRONGBOW
One of the many non-Indian Indian routines. Actually an Italian known as Joe Scarpello or sometimes Joe Scarpa before he became an instant Indian. Feuded with Greg Valentine, Jimmy Valiant, and George Steele, among others. Also over in tag team events with "brother" Jules Strongbow (the name is also a play on words--Jules Strongbow was a pioneer promoter decades ago--Frank Hill took the name as Jay's brother). Sources say, years later he was constantly saying Steve Gator Wolf and Tatanka both would have "made money" if they'd listened to him and did the Indian gimmick "right." The Chief must have done something right, as he was with the WWF office for many years, prior to having his duties tapered off when McMahon wanted to start listening to the young punks instead. This faulty decision shows in today's booking--believe me!

"SUPERSTAR" BILLY GRAHAM
Easily the most colorful champion with this group, the man who beat Bruno the second time around and then put Backlund over as champ, but not before a lengthy run as the kingpin. Later came back as a contender to Backlund and gained tremendous heat by smashing the championship belt. Again made a comeback as a babyface, following hip surgery, and did the manager role, but by this time the WWF was in transition from fine promotion to circus act! He soon dropped out. Filed a lawsuit against the WWF, and launched an anti-steroid, pro-Jesus campaign. One of their greatest champions, he was savaged in a WWF magazine article titled, "Now it's our turn," which provoked outrage from the fans, who saw exactly what the "new" WWF was doing and protested so loudly, the column (which was intended to become a monthly, slamming Vince Junior's enemies), was cut. The WWF basically pretends Graham doesn't even exist, counting, as always, on their marks to believe everything they are told and remember nothing prior to two weeks beforehand. A sad end to a great wrestler.

BRUNO SAMMARTINO, JR.
Actually, David Sammartino. Sure, he was pushed because he was Bruno's son, but the guy was a good worker and deserved it. In truth, his better bouts were with independents and a feud with Larry Zybsyko, when Dommenic Denucci and a hoard of disgruntled WWF and ex-WWF guys formed a short-lived promotion of their own (including Strongbow, Johnny Valiant, Bruno Sr., Denucci, Bill Berger, Ken Jugan, Baron Scicluna, and others).

"BAD" BILL COLEMAN
An interesting case, because this guy, a main-eventer for Ohio indys, was a jobber who caused nothing but trouble for them. There was a TV taping where he got stiff on Ivan Putski when he was supposed to do a job, but tried to either hog the spotlight on the Polish star or refused to sell. He picked the wrong guy to get cute with, as Putski nailed him with a stiff Polish hammer, then changed the finish himself, forcing Coleman to give up with a headlock which nearly crushed his skull. The audience didn't have a clue as to what they had seen. Coleman was later dropped from WWF TV dates due to incidents like this, then had his career cut off period.

CRUSHER VERDUE
The challenger brought into the area by manager Lou Albano. Before this, he was pushed heavily as heel by the Buffalo-based group run by Pedro Martinez and had lengthy feuds with the likes of Tex McKenzie and Johnny Powers prior to the stint with Albano. Pushed as a strongman, he faded from view shortly after the East Coast sting and dropped out of sight. Does anyone know anything about him? He was a dead ringer for upcoming midwestern indy star Adrian Lynch. Are they related? Doe anyone have a scoop? Where's Meltzer, Keller, and other "experts" when you need them? Do any WT&N people know?

SECTION 2 - A LOOK BACK AT WWWF JOBBERS OF THE 1970s BY DOUG MCLEER

Here's a sampling of some of the jobbers and undercard workers who were regulars on WWWF TV and at the small arenas during the 70s.

FRANK HICKEY
"The Spaceman" was a holdover from the 50s, who wore a leather helmet in the ring during his matches.

JOE TURCO
Known as "The Continental Nobleman," he hailed from Catania, Sicily. He formed a heel tag team with Pancho Valdez. His hand gestures were hysterical.

LEE WONG
Billed as being from Hong Kong, he wrested barefoot. Jobbed for all the stars on TV, and occasionally appeared in MSG and at small arena shows in opening events.

JUAN CARUSO
Argentina's "Wild Bull of the Pampas," a nickname he shared with Pampero Firpo, he would come to the ring swinging bolos over his head.

VINCENTE POMETTI
Called "The Bull" due to his size and strength, these attributes did not help him much in the ring.

TOMAS MARIN
A real seasoned veteran, he later went on to be a top referee for Carlos Colon's promotion in Puerto Rico.

MIGUEL FELICIANO
The pride of Wilmington, Delaware. I never saw him win a match.

MIKE CONRAD
"The Wildman" sported long blonde hair and a crazed look. Won a few matches on the small arena shows.

PAUL FIGUERORA
From Vineland, N.J., he always put up a good fight before ultimately losing.

PANCHO VALDEZ
A scary-looking individual, with long, frizzy hair, a beard, and mustache.

AL NELSON
A Washington, D.C. Native, later became a star on the west coast and mid-south as "Pork Chop" Cash.

RICKY SEXTON
Popular in the Boston area, was around for several years and got a few wins in the smaller arenas.

PINKY LARSEN
Wrestled in pink tights. When not jobbing, his real "job" was transporting and setting up the ring for the events.

TONY ALTAMORE
Tough veteran and former partner of Lou Albano in "The Sicilians." He ran a wrestling school in Connecticut for some time.

DAVEY O'HANNON
One of my favorites, got quite a few mid-card wins at some of the smaller arena shows in the area.

Some of the other guys that I remember are: Mike Paidousis, Ben Ortiz, Tito Torres, Chuck Richards, The Black Demon, Jerry Novak, Cowboy Hondo, El Gaucho, and Mike Pappas.

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