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Vancouver


NWA - Vancouver (1949-1968)
In 1949, wrestler Cliff Parker claimed Vancouver for the National Wrestling Alliance. After Percy Hicks' operation closed in the mid-40s, various promoters had tried to capitalize on the city, but Parker ended up being the right man for the job. For the next thirty years, Vancouver would be an NWA city with various promoters behind it. Parker aligned with nearby promoters Don Owen and Stu Hart to build the city through the golden age of the 1950s. Vancouver was the biggest city in Western Canada by the time, Parker's disciple Rod Fenton took over. Fenton had been promoting in Arizona, which was a weak region, but had NWA support. However, Fenton was able to scout University of Arizona star Gene Kiniski, who became a huge star for Vancouver during the 1960s. Fenton secured a television deal with Stu Hart's Big Time Wrestling out of Calgary in what was to be a mutually beneficial. Calgary had great TV and a strong product, while Vancouver had larger population and bigger stars. The trade ended up bankrupting Hart. Fenton continued on for several more years after that before selling the promotion to Kiniski and his booker Sandor Kovacs. That duo would helped take Vancouver to new hieghts in the 1970s. 

 
Mitsu Arakawa
Red Bastien
Red Berry
Tony Borne
Primo Carnera
Edouard Carpentier
King Curtis
Doc Gallagher
Pepper Gomez
George Gordienko
Gorgeous George
Gypsy Joe
Hard Boiled Haggarty
Stu Hart
John Paul Henning
Dick Hutton
Don Jardine (The Spoiler)
Don Leo Jonathan
The Kalmikoffs (Ivan & Karol)
Duke Keomuka
Gene Kiniski
Nick & Jerry Kozak
Luther Lindsay
Reggie Lisowski (The Crusher)
Prince Maivia
Earl McCready
Tex McKenzie
Danny McShain
Bill Miller
Al & Tiny Mills
Bull Montana
Mr. Moto
Rocky Munroe (Sputnik Monroe)
Leo Numa
Pat O'Connor
The Outlaw (Dory Funk Sr.)
Angelo Poffo
Nelson Royal
Dave Ruhl
Harold Sakata
Joe Scarpa
Dutch Schultz (Dutch Savage)
George & Sandy Scott
Ben & Mike Sharpe
Kenji Shibuya
Lou Thesz
Chief Thunderbird
Tarzan Tourville (Tarzan Tyler)
Maurice Vachon
Paul Vachon
Fritz Von Erich
"Whipper" Billy Watson
Billy Wicks
Bearcat Wright








NWA - All-Star [Vancouver] (1968-1980)
In the late 1960s, Sandor Kovacs and Gene Kiniski took over the Vancouver promotion from Rod Fenton. In the 1970s, they were able to turn All-Star Wrestling into one of the premier Canadian promotions. Both Kovacs and Kiniski were widely respected and well travelled wrestlers who were able to bring in some of the best talent of the day, not to mention the NWA Champion. Kovacs was always the brains of the office and he booked clean singles matches almost all of the time. It was a very "old school" promotion and the wrestling world was changing. When Kovacs sold his half of the company to Al Tomko in 1977, the company changed dramatically. Tomko, aligned with Don Owen's Portland office, used much of their talent and began booking matches very differently than Kovacs had. It turned Kiniski off and he sold his half after three years. 


Kovacs and Kiniski Years

Abdullah the Butcher
Skandar Akbar
Andre the Giant
The Assassins
Tony Borne
Bobo Brazil
Wayne Bridges
Jack Brisco
Bob Brown
Haystacks Calhoun
Edouard Carpentier
Ripper Collins
Emile Dupre
Keith Franks (Adrian Adonis)
Dory Funk Jr.
Terry Funk
Flash Gordon (George Gordienko)
Gorgeous George Jr.
Jerry Graham
Dean Higuchi
Leroy Hirsch (Al Tomko)
Rocky Johnson
Don Leo Jonathan
Paul Jones
Tor Kamata
Gene Kiniski
Ivan Koloff
Sandor Kovacs
Mark Lewin
Dale Lewis
Al Madril
Frenchy Martin
Lonnie Mayne
Roy McClarty
Tex McKenzie
Don Morrow (Don Muraco)
Angelo Mosca
"Mighty" John Quinn
Harley Race
Bull Ramos
Bob Remus (Sgt. Slaughter)
Mr. Saito
Dutch Savage
Mr. Sekigawa (Mr. Pogo)
Bobby Shane
Kenji Shibuya
Tiger Jeet Singh
Jimmy Snuka
Stan Stasiak
Texas Red (Red Bastien)
Lou Thesz
John Tolos
Paul Vachon
Jesse Ventura
Kurt Von Hess
Kurt & Karl Von Steiger
Larry Whistler (Larry Zbyzsko)
Sailor White
Billy Whitewolf (Adnan Al-Kaissie)
Wild Samoans (Sika & Afa)
Bearcat Wright


Tomko Years

Adrian Adonis
Bobby Bass
Ron Bass
Matt Borne
J.J. Dillon
Eric Embry
Ryuma Go
Iron Shiek
Bobby Jaggers
Guy Mitchell
King Parsons
Roddy Piper
Bruce Reed (Butch Reed)
Jake Roberts
Rip Rogers
Buddy Rose
The Sheepherders (Luke Williams & Butch Miller)
Gama Singh
Al Tomko
Gary Young
Mr. X (Guy Mitchell)





All-Star Wrestling (1980-1989)
Al Tomko, the AWA's promoter in Winnipeg, helped squash the local competition that Winnipeg had experienced for decades. However, he wanted more, so Tomko gave up Winnipeg to the AWA and bought Sandor Kovac's half of Vancouver, an NWA affiliate. Tomko aligned himself with nearby Portland promoter Don Owens, also an NWA member and the two exchanged talent in the late 1970s and early 1980s. However, he and partner Gene Kiniski did not see eye to eye, so Kiniski left in 1980. Kiniski had been the barrier between Calgary and Vancouver for years, but once he left things opened up. Tomko decided to pull out of the NWA and expand into Stu Hart's territory and Hart tried to do the same thing by running the Vancouver region. While it did not really work for either in the long run, Tomko's severing of ties with the NWA saw his talent pool greatly depleted. Tomko shifted from the top heel to the top babyface spot and while pushing himself and his sons strongly road All-Star until it sunk to the ground. The company's bad production and angles eventually caught up with them and closed up in 1989. 

 
Andre the Giant
Ron Bass
Matt Borne
Johnny Boyd
Bob Brown
Eric Embry
Bruce Hart
Dean Ho
Don Leo Jonathan
Gene Kiniski
Rick Martel
Mighty Igor
Rip Oliver
King Parsons
Roddy Piper
Harley Race
Rip Rogers
Buddy Rose
Dutch Savage
Buzz Sawyer
The Sheepherders (Butch Miller & Luke Williams)
Stan Stasiak
John Tolos
Ed Wiskoski
Jay Youngblood

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