Profiles‎ > ‎

Canada



Professional wrestling has a storied history and in recent times, three countries have been considered the major homes of the sport - Mexico, Japan and the United States. However, Canada has featured pro-wrestling longer than the former two and perhaps longer than the US. Unfortunately, it is often relegated to an extension of the US as it is very close stylistically and it is seen today as part of the World Wrestling Entertainment empire. However, Canada has its own proud history and has long been a trendsetter and economic opportunity that numerous pro-wrestling promoters and wrestlers have looked to over the past century.

Although there are records of pro-wrestling in Toronto, Ontario as far back as 1876, it is not until the first decade of the twentieth century that pro-wrestling became a regular happening throughout the country. Toronto was the first, followed closely by Montreal, Quebec; then spot shows in the Maritime Provinces started up and Vancouver, British Columbia and Alberta were soon to join them. Over the next decade, Victoria, British Columbia and Winnipeg, Manitoba joined the circle that would feature the premier touring pro-wrestlers of the day - Tom Jenkins, Frank Gotch, Stanislaus Zbyszko, "Strangler" Lewis as well as national heroes like Jack Taylor and Eugene Tremblay. The appeal grew throughout the 1920s in Eastern and Western Canada, but during the 1930s, it exploded with at least a dozen reputable promotions starting up across the country.

Toronto promoter Ivan Michailof began running weekly shows in 1929 and was this really the first major operation in Canada. His success inspired Jack Corcoran to open his own group, Queensbury Athletic Club, which eventually took over the city from Michailof. Although this was the first promotional war fought on Canadian soil, it would not be the last. Regular groups were cropping up all over the country, although many were short lived attempts to capitalize on the popular sport that were plagued by widely dispersed populations, financial troubles and promotional ignorance. Josef Zabaw had a Calgary-based promotion, which faced some competition from a wrestling/boxing promoter named Darby Melnick. Fred Richardson's Victoria-based Tillicum Athletic Club was soon overrun by Vancouver's Percy Hicks and his Big Time Wrestling. Maritimes promoter Len Hughes' Provincial Sports Association was unopposed, but struggled to find its footing in the region. Montreal however had become part of Boston promoter Paul Bowser's circle and it ran well throughout the decade although its regional leadership held back the potential of Canada's largest city. In 1939, Eddie Quinn came to town for Bowser, whom he cut out before taking Montreal to new hieghts over the next few decades. A similar situation occured in Toronto when Jack Corcoran turned the city over the the Tunney brothers in 1939. Frank Tunney turned Maple Leaf Wrestling into the biggest promotion in Canada and Toronto became one of the great pro-wrestling cities in the world. The power that Quinn and Tunney gained was retained through memberships in the National Wrestling Alliance.

While Montreal and Toronto became pro-wrestling hubs and even the Maritimes enjoyed some regularity through the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. Western Canada was in constant turmoil. The Vancouver region had been claimed by Percy Hicks, but small groups, like Vancouver Wrestling Club, continually popped up and weakened the product. Winnipeg had been taken over by Alex Turk Promotions but he to was continually fighting with small groups in the city. Calgary had been taken over by Darby Melnick, but he struggled with it and was forced to sell out in what became the Foothills Athletic Club. Nearby Edmonton, which was in the midst of an oil boom, had been opened up by Stu Hart under the banner Klondike Wrestling. Hart's successes there led him to expansion and eventually a buying out of Calgary, where he opened Big Time Wrestling and became a major player in the region.

The formation of the National Wrestling Alliance in the United States quickly spread to Canada. Don Owen's Pacific Northwest Wrestling based out of Portland, Oregon was an original affiliate and he maintained a strong product in the region and regularly traded talent with Western Canadian promotions. NWA was joined by three promoters in Western Canada, which helped them maintain their regional strength - Cliff Parker out of Vancouver, Alex Turk out of Winnipeg and Stu Hart out of Calgary. These three remained mainstays, but that does not mean that smaller groups did not pop up here and there, but they largely did not intrude on the NWA's main cities. Groups started up in Madison, Manitoba and Hamilton, Ontario.

Ties to the National Wrestling Alliance were both beneficial and harmful. For some it meant helping others at your own cost. Stu Hart's Big Time Wrestling aligned with NWA All-Star out of Vancouver, which was being run by Sandor Kovacs and Gene Kiniski. The co-promotion worked out for Vancouver, but Hart was losing money fast and found himself stuck in a deal that ultimately forced him to close shop. For some, the NWA would not assist them and they could be quickly conquered by competition as happened in Winnipeg. Verne Gagne's American Wrestling Association had became one of the most significant promotions in the United States. It was not an NWA affiliate, but did not aggressive attack the Alliance, but rather took over cities that the Alliance had mostly abandoned. One such city became Winnipeg, which Al Tomko helped undermine before turning over to the AWA for the next twenty years. Not being affiliated with the NWA could lead the bitter local wars. In Montreal, Johnny Rougeau took over for Eddie Quinn and remained independent of the NWA, but when some disgruntled employees started up a rival company, a tremendous promotional war between he and the Vachon's Grand Prix Wrestling raged for several years until both companies died as did the city. In the Maritimes, Al Zinck, secured the region under his Eastern Sports Association banner and eventually aligned with the NWA. Don Owen's Pacfic Northwest Wrestling boomed during this time as it had a solid core of talent and regularly brought in the NWA Champion as an attraction. The 1970s, saw the NWA going through difficult changes and people were more willing to create small companies like Dave McKigney who frequented London and Northern towns in Ontario, Tony Condello who toured Northern Alberta and Saskatchewan and George Cannon who toured around the Maritimes before settling in Windsor, Ontario.

As the 1970s came to a close, pro-wrestling was definitely on the verge of great changes. Toronto maintained its status by aligning itself with Jim Crockett Promotions in the Carolinas, Al Tomko had bought into Vancouver and eventually pulled out of the NWA to battle with Stu Hart's Stampede Wrestling out of Calgary. Although neither side truly defeated the other, it illustrated the decline of the Alliance's authority. In the Maritimes, Emile Dupre's Atlantic Grand Prix Wrestling took over the region, which had fallen into chaos and the NWA did nothing to clean things up. In Montreal, the International Wrestling Association finally brough pro-wrestling back to the dead city, but it still remained independent of the NWA. In the early 1980s, the WWF began its national expansion and eventually everyone fell.

The World Wrestling Federation began its national expansion into Canada in 1984 and by 1988, it had conquered every major market in the country through touring and television. Vincent J. McMahon and Frank Tunney had been partners for many years. Both men died in 1984 and a younger generation of promoters took over. McMahon's son, Vince, was the man behind the company's push outside of the Northeast and into other regions in the United States and Canada. Frank's nephew Jack was not as trusted as his uncle and his talent exchange with the Crocketts (NWA stalwarts) dried up, leaving him with no choice but to align with McMahon. In 1984, the WWF ran its first Canadian show in Toronto. Within the year, Stu Hart had sold his Stampede company and his top stars to Vince and he helped the WWF move into Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and Winnipeg. The following year, the WWF ran Quebec City and the IWA out of Montreal saw the writing on the wall, so they created an alliance with McMahon as well. A huge card was lined up with WWF's Hulk Hogan facing IWA's Dino Bravo, but the WWF pulled out of that match and Bravo left and returned to the IWA. Canada was now left with five companies other than the WWF. Vancouver's All-Star was a low budget affair, Montreal's IWA lost too much talent to rebuild effectively, Winnipeg was merely an outpost of the AWA, which had been rocked hard by the WWF than perhaps any other promotion, Emile Dupre's Atlantic Grand Prix Wrestling was never going to be more than a small, seasonal group and Bruce Hart's new Stampede Wrestling was a shell of its former self. As the 1990s rolled in, only Dupre's group remained alive because it was so small.


Toronto is arguably the Canadian capital of pro-wrestling. It was one of the first places in North America to host marquis pro-wrestling, first in 1876 and later in the first decade of the twentieth century. It was a growing city in Canada, but did not take over as the nation's largest city until the 1980s. However, Toronto was an early focal point comparable to Chicago in the United States. The first major promoter to run the area was Ivan Michaillof, who was the first man to regularly run the Arena Gardens beginning in 1929. Michaillof made a big splash in the city, but was faced with competition the following year from Jack Corcoran. Although Michaillof had partnership with Boston-based promoting powerhouse Paul Bowser, many suspect Bowser for his promotion's downfall in 1932. After he was decomissioned, Michaillof was forced to try his hand in Winnipeg before returning to Toronto in 1935. A promotional war ensued and Corcoran held his own and Michaillof was forced to stop promoting regularly. He eventually lost his license in 1938 and left for the United States.  


Henri DeGlane
Ed "Strangler" Lewis
Jim Londos
Joe Malcewicz
Gus Sonnenberg
Jack Taylor
George Zaharias
Wladek Zbyzsko
Stanislaus Zbyzsko



Montreal was the largest city in Canada for most of the twentieth century and it has been hosting top notch pro-wrestling since the turn of the century. Tom Jenkins competed numerous times in Montreal, which was for the first quarter of the century the largest Canadian city. Montreal featured bouts with legendary figures before Paul Bowser out of Boston took over the territory in the 1930s. Bowser began featuring his own great stars and Montreal largely became a profitable extention of the Boston-based American Wrestling Association under George Kennedy, Lucien Riopel and Tommy Gorman throughout the 1930s.  


Tom Jenkins
Frank Leavitt
Ed "Strangler" Lewis 
Dr. Benjamin Roller
Joe Stecher
Stanislaus Zbyszko 
Wladek Zbyszko




The Maritime Provinces in Eastern Canada are comprised of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, New Foundland and Prince Edward Island. They have traditionally always run pro-wrestling in the summer as a seasonal attraction. Due to the small towns, popularity of hockey and travelling conditions, running year-round has never been profitable. The first regular promoters in the region were Henry Irslinger and Art Robinson, but the seasonal nature of the Maritimes was not an attractive quality to promoters during the Depression-era. 


Ed Don George 
Taro Miyaki
Stanislaus Zbyszko 



Vancouver is one of Canada's most distinct cities throughout the twentieth century. It grew steadily after the Klondike Gold Rush, becoming a major seaport along the Pacific seaboard. Although volatile throughout much of the early part of the century, Vancouver and nearby Victoria became routine stops for the premier pro-wrestlers of the day. By the 1930s, Vancouver was the third largest metropolis in Canada and promoter Emil Klank had a regularly running promotion. He brought in the very best talent of the day and established Vancouver as a great city for pro-wrestling and it would play home to numerous promotions over the next fifty years. His successor, George Fitch, also brought in a variety of stars, but had the biggest Canadian star of the day, Earl McCready, frequently appearing. The man who took over after him, Percy Hicks, took over and built the framework for the TV wrestling that would become a hit across the country.  


Fred Beell
Paul Boesch
Jim Browning
Vic Christy
Dean Detton
Ed Don George 
Frank Gotch
Dan Koloff
Ed "Strangler" Lewis 
Jim Londos 
Joe Malcewicz
Man Mountain Dean
Everett Marshall
Earl McCready
Karl Sarpolis
Oki Shikina
Gus Sonnenberg
Joe Stecher 
Ray Steele
Sandor Szabo
Jack Taylor 
Chief Thunderbird
Ted Thye
Chief War Eagle
Rube Wright
Stanislaus Zbyszko 
Wladek Zbyszko



Calgary in Southern Alberta was a rugged cowboy town that had began regularly hosting pro-wrestling under the guidance of promoter Josef Zabaw. Their big attraction, Jack Taylor, drew well and had become a national celebrity who wrestled numerous legendary wrestlers. After the Taylor years, Zabaw struggled to find another winning formula. He secured name talent when they were touring the region. Some success came when Calgary became the first Canadian city to feature tag team matches, mud matches, battle royals and other gimmicks to bring in curious fans. Ultimately, Zabaw surrendered the city to Darby Melnick, who had been competing with joint boxing shows and eventually began running regularly in 1944.  


Paul Boesch
Ted "King Kong" Cox
Ed Don George 
Ed "Strangler" Lewis 
Earl McCready
Karl Sarpolis
Gus Sonnenberg
Ray Steele 
Jack Taylor 
Chief Thunderbird
Ted Thye
Wladek Zbysko


Victoria on the southern tip of Vancouver Island and the capital of British Columbia was a major Western Canadian city in the late nineteeth century. It had a population boom around World War I, but it was never able to rival nearby Vancouver. However, Victoria's close proximity to the United States made it a popular stop for touring pro-wrestlers throughout the early twentieth century. Promoter Fred Richardson formed up the Tillicum Athletic Club in 1930 and it featured numerous big names throughout its eight year run. Ultimately, the club collapsed and Vancouver promoter Percy Hicks took over the city and it remained part of the Vancouver territory for good.  


Paul Boesch
Vic Christy
Ted "King Kong" Cox
Ed Don George 
Abe Kashey
Ed "Strangler" Lewis 
Joe Malcewicz
Man Mountain Dean
Earl McCready
Don McIntyre
Taro Miyaki
Leo Numa
Ole Olson
Karl Sarpolis
Oki Shikina
Gus Sonnenberg
Joe Stecher 
Sandor Szabo
Jack Taylor 
Chief Thunderbird
Ted Thye 


Winnipeg has the most surprising and volitile history of any Canadian city in terms of pro-wrestling. While many remember it as a frozen AWA outpost, Winnipeg has had numerous successful and unsuccessful promotions that dramatically shaped the pro-wrestling scene throughout the country. The city of Winnipeg was Canada's third largest city as it grew rapidly between 1890 and 1920. During this period, pro-wrestling first debuted in the city. In the 1920s and 1930s, the Empire Athletic Club became the most notable promotion as the place where Canadian legend Jack Taylor built his legacy. After travelling and honing his craft, Taylor became a national celebrity as the country's champion.

Ed "Strangler" Lewis
Taro Miyaki
Joe Stecher 
Jack Taylor 
Stanislaus Zbyszko
Wladek Zbyszko


Queensbury Athletic Club (1930-1939)
Jack Corcoran began running shows in Toronto after Ivan Michaillof began having success running the Garden Arena on a regular basis. Corcoran had been a boxing promoter in the city, but wanted to capture some of the Russian promoter's success for himself. Although his early shows bombed, Corcoran aligned himself with the people to gain exclusive rights to the new Maple Leaf Gardens when it was completed in 1931, hence his company frequently went under the banner of "Maple Leaf Wrestling." This gave him an edge on Michaillof and by 1935 Corcoran had the only license to run pro-wrestling in the city. Although Michailoff made several attempts at reclaiming his spot, Corcoran was too deeply rooted to be threatened. Even a three-way promotional war could not stop the top promoter in Toronto. Two of Corcoran's employees during this time were the Tunney brothers - John and Frank. When the old man was ailing and wanting out of the business, the Tunneys bought him out. Frank Tunney would take Toronto wrestling to new hieghts over the next forty-five years.  


Paul Boesch
Jim Browning
Vic Christy
Henri DeGlane
Dean Detton
Dusek Riot Squad
Gino Garibaldi
Ed Don George 
Jim Londos 
Joe Malcewicz
Man Mountain Dean
Everett Marshall
Masked Marvel (Ted Cox)
Earl McCready
Danno O'Mahoney
Yvon Robert
Frank Sexton
Dick Shikat
Ray Steele 
Sandor Szabo
George Zaharias





Provincial Sports Association (1936-1964)
Pro-wrestler Len Hughes began appearing in the Maritimes in the 1930s as the Masked Marvel. After operations continually dried up in the area during the 1930s, Hughes needed to reassess how to effectively run his own company. Hughes devised a strategy of running a seasonal promotion that focused on the cities and running spot shows elsewhere. His main focus was always Halifax, Nova Scotia, but Hughes also ran Dartmouth, Nova Scotia as well as St. John, Moncton and Fredericton in New Brunswick. Although he brought in several big names over the years, Hughes mainly stuck to his local talent to fill up the undercards. One of his stars, Emile Dupre, became his right-hand man in the 1960s and would make an impact as a promoter himself several years later. However, it was another local wrestler, Al Zinck, who took over the region using Hughes' approach.  


Bull Curry
Pat Patterson
Emile Dupre
Don Jardine
Killer Kowalski
Bulldog Brower
Bull Montana
Dory Dixon
Ivan Kalmikoff
Jerry Graham
Luke Graham
Sweet Daddy Siki
Pancho Rosario (Gypsy Joe)
Stan Stasiak
The Beast (Yvon Cormier)
Rene Goulet


Big Time Wrestling (1937-1947)
Percy Hicks took over Vancouver in the late 1930s and built the dominate promotion there for the next decade. Although he had frequent competition throughout the time, few posed much of threat because of his established product. Unlike his immediate predecessor, George Fitch, and like Fitch's predecessor, Emil Klank, Hicks utilized some of the best talent of the time and it made him "big time," just as he claimed to be. Major drawing cards like Jim Londos, "Strangler" Lewis and former boxing champion Primo Carnera were brought in for shows that drew very well. Hicks was able to continue the legacy of wrestling in Vancouver and luckily those who followed him learned from his promotional style.

George Becker
Paul Boesch
Primo Carnera
Ted "King Kong" Cox
Dean Detton
French Angel
Lee Henning
Abe Kashey
Ed "Strangler" Lewis 
Jim Londos 
Man Mountain Dean
Earl McCready
Al Mills
Bronko Nagurski
Leo Numa
Danno O'Mahoney
Ole Olson
Tiny Roebuck
Oki Shikina
Ray Steele 
Sandor Szabo
Lou Thesz
Chief Thunderbird
Rube Wright
Wladek Zbyzsko




Montreal (1939-1961)
Montreal had become a key city for Paul Bowser in the 1930s, but it was his associate Eddie Quinn who truly took Montreal to the next level when he took over in 1939. Quinn found a shining star in Yvon Robert in the 1930s while working for Bowser. He headed into Montreal and eventually cut Bowser out. Then as pro-wrestling reached new hieghts, Quinn was the man at the helm in Quebec. By supplying the market with a steady flow of new and capable superstars, Montreal became a significant pro-wrestling city as television transformed the sport. As a member of the National Wrestling Alliance, Quinn kept his product within the French-speaking province, although he did buy into the profitable St. Louis market run by NWA president Sam Muschnick. Quinn brought in all the top stars of the 1940s and 1950s to wrestle and consistantly drew big houses at the old Montreal Forum. In 1957, Muschnick met with outlaw promoter Jack Pfefer and Quinn sold off his interest in St. Louis, left the Alliance and began running competition in Chicago. His connections limited, his health declining and the the top stars leaving, Montreal began to decline quickly in the late 1950s. Johnny Rougeau, one of the former top stars, had largely left pro-wrestling to pursue other business interests. Hoewever, when Quinn wanted to get out, he joined up with Bob Langevin in 1961 to take over and rejuvenate Montreal.  


CLICK HERE for a full Montreal alumni list


Dick "The Bruiser" Afflis
Dick Beyer
Bobo Brazil
Jim Browning
Primo Carnera
Eduoard Carpentier
Steve "Crusher" Casey
Vic Christy
Henri DeGlane
Emile Dupre
Dusek Riot Squad (Rudy, Ernie, Emil)
Chief Don Eagle
Ron Etchison
French Angel
Verne Gagne
The Gallaghers (Doc & Mike)
Gino Garibaldi
Ed Don George 
Pepper Gomez
Gorgeous George
The Great Togo
Gypsy Joe
Hard Boiled Haggarty
Swede Hanson
Lee Henning
Hans Hermann
Dick Hutton
Don Leo Jonathan
Kalmikoffs (Ivan & Karol)
Gene Kiniski
Sandor Kovacs
Killer Kowalski
Guy LaRose (Hans Schmidt)
Mark Lewin
Luther Lindsay
Reggie Lisowski (The Crusher)
Jim Londos 
"Wild" Bill Longson
Billy Red Lyons
Prince Maivia
Joe Malcewicz
Bobby Managoff
Gino Marella (Gorilla Monsoon)
Everett Marshall
Earl McCready
Danny McShain
Mighty Ursus (Jesse Ortega)
Bill Miller
Rocky Monroe (Sputnik Monroe)
Larry Moquin
Mr. Moto
Skull Murphy
Pat O'Connor
Danno O'Mahoney
Yvon Robert
Antonino Rocca
Tiny Roebuck
Buddy Rogers
Jacques Rougeau Sr.
Johnny Rougeau
Bruno Sammartino
Frank Sexton
Sharpe Brothers (Ben & Mike)
The Sheik 
Wilbur Snyder
Gus Sonnenberg
Ray Steele 
Sandor Szabo
Lou Thesz
Tosh Togo
Enrique Torres
Camille "Tarzan" Tourville (Tarzan Tyler)
Maurice Vachon
Johnny Valentine
Johnny Walker (Mr. Wrestling II)
"Whipper" Billy Watson
Bearcat Wright




Maple Leaf Wrestling (1939-1984)
Jack Corcoran started Maple Leaf Wrestling in 1931. Two of his employees were the Tunney brothers - John and Frank. In 1939, Corcoran was ailing and wanting out of the business, so the Tunneys bought him out. Sadly, John passed away a year later at 32 years of age, but Frank would turn Toronto into one of the hottest cities in the world during the 1950s and 1960s with Whipper Watson on top. Watson was a national hero and he vanquished all the heels of the television era from Gene Kiniski to Gorgeous George. Toronto became a major market and it featured numerous NWA World title changes over the years. Tunney even became a partner in the St. Louis office and later an NWA President for a short time. Toronto under Frank Tunney gained a special reputation as he had a great rapport with the sports journalists. It helped make Maple Leaf Wrestling the premier Canadian wrestling company and one of the very best in North America during the "Golden Age." Frank slowly brought John's son Jack into the office as his partner. In the 1970s, The Shiek became a huge attraction in Toronto. But like his hometown Detroit, The Shiek and his antics slowly began to hurt the houses. This led to a split and Tunney struggled to get the city back on track, he brought in top stars from the WWWF and AWA, but that did not work. Instead, Tunney used Mid-Atlantic star Ric Flair to turn his company around. The relationship developed as Tunney and Jim Crockett Jr. began working together despite the distance between their home bases. George Scott even bought into the Toronto office. Like Toronto itself, Maple Leaf Wrestling grew steadily into the 1980s. However, the company saw massive changes following Frank's death in 1983. Scott had jumped to the WWF and Crockett did not trust Jack Tunney, so he stopped sending him talent from Mid-Atantic. As the Toronto houses declined, Maple Leaf Wrestling looked like it was headed for a swift death and then someone else, either Vince McMahon or Jim Crockett would step in. Instead, Tunney secured a deal with McMahon and became the first major NWA promoter to make such an arrangement. He organized the 1986 match between Hulk Hogan and Paul Orndorff, which was the first million dollar gate in North American wrestling history. Maple Leaf Wrestling had an amazing run that lasted over fifty years.  

CLICK HERE for a full Maple Leaf Wrestling (Toronto) alumni list


Abdullah the Butcher
Adrian Adonis
Adnan Al-Kaissie
Gene Anderson
Ole Anderson
Andre the Giant
Mitsu Arakawa
Spiros Arion
The Assassin
Tony Atlas
Buddy Austin
Bob Backlund 
Ox Baker
Johnny Barend
Bobby Bass
Ron Bass
The Beast
Brute Bernard
Dick Beyer (The Destroyer)
Tully Blanchard
Freddie Blassie
James Blears
Nick Bockwinkel
Paul Boesch
Matt Borne
Dino Bravo
Bobo Brazil 
Jack Brisco
Jerry Brisco
Gino Brito
Bruiser Brody
Tim Brooks
Bulldog Brower
Leroy Brown
Guy & Joe Brunetti
Jim Brunzell
Leo Burke
Haystacks Calhoun
Edouard Carpentier
Vic Christy
Ripper Collins
Carlos Colon
Ted "King Kong" Cox
Bull Curry
Len Denton
Domenic Denucci
The Destroyer
J.J. Dillon
Ilio DiPaolo
Bobby Duncum
Emile Dupre
Dusek Riot Squad
Don Eagle
Eric the Red
Fabulous Kangaroos (Al Costello & Don Kent)
Don Fargo
Johnny Fargo (Greg Valentine)
Abdullah Farouk (Grand Wizard)
Jean Ferre (Andre the Giant)
Pampero Firpo
Ric Flair
Keith Franke (Adrian Adonis)
French Angel
Mr. Fuji
Dory Funk Jr.
Terry Funk
Greg Gagne
Verne Gagne 
The Gallaghers (Doc & Mike)
Tony Garea
Gino Garibaldi
Jimmy Garvin
Ron Garvin
Ed Don George 
Giant Baba
Gorgeous George 
Karl Gotch
Archie Gouldie
Jacques Goulet (Rene Goulet)
Billy Graham
Luke Graham
The Grapplers (Len Denton & Tony Anthony)
Great Hossein (Iron Shiek)
Great Kabuki
Great Togo
Ray Gunkel
Gypsy Joe
Hard Boiled Haggarty
Larry Hamilton
Buddy Hart (Bret Hart)
Gary Hart
Rip Hawk & Swede Hanson
Alfred Hayes
John Paul Henning
Lee Henning
Hans Hermann
Mr. Hito
Danny Hodge
Hulk Hogan
Tim Horner
Sam Houston
Len Hughes
Oliver Humperdink
Dick Hutton
King Curtis Iaukea
Austin Idol
Don Jardine (The Spoiler)
Rocky Johnson
Don Leo Jonathan
Paul Jones
Rufus R. Jones
The Kalmikoffs (Ivan & Karol)
Kamala
John Katan
Don Kernodle
Killer Khan
Gene Kiniski
Ivan Koloff
Sandor Kovacs
Killer Kowalski
Killer Karl Kox
Ernie Ladd
Frankie Laine
Jack Lanza
Athol Layton
Jos LeDuc
Sky Hi Lee
Mark Lewin
Ed "Strangler" Lewis 
Reggie Lisowski (The Crusher)
"Wild" Bill Longson 
Love Brothers (Hartford & Reginald)
Billy Red Lyons
Bobby Managoff
Chief Peter Maivia
Gino Marella (Gorilla Monsoon)
Everett Marshall
Frenchy Martin
Masked Assassin (Guy Mitchell)
Masked Superstar
Masked Superstar #2 (John Studd)
Roy McClarty
Rick McCord (Austin Idol)
Earl McCready
Wahoo McDaniel
Tex McKenzie
Mighty Igor
Mighty Ursus (Jesse Ortega)
Mil Mascaras
Bill Miller
Al & Tiny Mills
Guy Mitchell
Bolo Mongol (Masked Superstar)
Sputnik Monroe
Gorilla Monsoon
Larry Moquin
Pedro Morales
Angelo Mosca
Mr. Moto
Blackjack Mulligan
Blackjack Mulligan Jr. (Barry Windham)
Don Muraco
Dick Murdoch
Bronko Nagurski
Leo Numa
Pat O'Connor 
Danno O'Mahoney
One Man Gang
Paul Orndorff
Jesse Ortega
Bob Orton Jr.
John Quinn
Tony Parisi
King Parsons
Ken Patera
Pat Patterson
Thunderbolt Patterson
Roddy Piper
Angelo Poffo
Lanny Poffo
Randy Poffo (Randy Savage)
Johnny Powers
Harley Race 
Dusty Rhodes
Victor Rivera
Yvon Robert
Jake Roberts
Dewey Robertson (Missing Link)
Billy Robinson
Antonino Rocca 
Buddy Rogers
Buddy Rose
Mike Rotundo
Jacques Rougeau Sr.
Raymond Rougeau
Gary Royal
Big Bill Terry (Kurt Von Hess)
Lou Thesz
Art Thomas
Tosh Togo
John Tolos
Jumbo Tsuruta
Tarzan Tyler
Mr. Saito
Bruno Sammartino 
Tito Santana
Buzz Sawyer
Hans Schmidt
Baron Scicluna
George & Sandy Scott
Frank Sexton
Red Shadow (Leo Numa)
Mike & Ben Sharpe
The Sheepherders (Butch Miller & Luke Williams)
The Sheik
Tiger Jeet Singh
Dick Slater
Sgt. Slaughter
Jimmy Snuka
Gus Sonnenberg
Stan Stasiak
Ricky Steamboat
Ray Stevens
The Stomper (Guy Mitchell)
Big John Studd 
Sweet Brown Sugar (Skip Young)
Sweet Daddy Siki
Sandor Szabo 
Paul "Butcher" Vachon 
Maurice "Mad Dog" Vachon
Greg Valentine 
Jimmy Valiant 
Jesse Ventura 
Nikolai Volkoff
Karl Von Brauner
Fritz Von Erich
Waldo Von Erich
Kurt Von Hess
Baron Von Krupp
Baron Von Raschke
Karl Von Steiger
"Whipper" Billy Watson 
Johnny Weaver
Wild Samoans (Sika & Afa)
Bearcat Wright
Jim Wright
Mr. X (
Earl McCready)
Jay Youngblood
Yukon Eric
Zebra Kid



Vancouver Wrestling Club (1943-1949)
Vancouver had developed into Canada's third largest city and was a booming port city in the post-war years. Although Percy Hicks had the major promotion in the region, numerous people involved in the sport made attempts at promoting. Some, like those run by Cal Smith, Lew White and Jack Keeling were brief and used just local stars. The most successful were run by local wrestlers like Harry Miller's Vancouver Sports Club, Sam Nolan's Pender Wrestling Club and most notably Jack Whelan's Vancouver Wrestling Club, which survived for six years. Whelan had been a regular in the area and like Percy Hicks he gave a home to the local talent, helped break in new talent, brought in notable stars when he could and he kept the city alive until former undercard wrestler Cliff Parker took it over during the "golden age."  


Ron Etchison
Gorgeous George 
Billy "Red" Lyons
Chief Thunderbird




Calgary was taken over by wrestler Darby Melnick in 1944 from veteran promoter Josef Zabaw. Although Melnick brought in some of the biggest names of the day and had a steady operation, promoting during the wartime was not easy. One evening, Melnick got into a scrap outside a restaurant and nearly killed his opponent. The incident put Melnick in a tough spot and fellow promoter/wrestler Larry Tillman who was a partner with Melnick bought him out in 1948.  


Orville Brown
Ted "King Kong" Cox
Dean Detton
Ronnie Etchison
French Angel
Al Galento
Stu Hart
Abe Kashey
John Katan
Ed "Strangler" Lewis 
Jim Londos 
Al Mills
Earl McCready
Bronko Nagurski
Swede Olson
Ray Steele 
Swedish Angel
Chief Thunderbird
Jim & Rube Wright
Babe Zaharias
Wladek Zbyzsko




Alex Turk Promotions (1946-1966)
Alex Turk was a charismatic Irishman with a gift for showmanship, he was the driving force behind creating a new company using this modern pro-wrestling. One of his charges, Ole Olson, eventually became a rival promoter. Olson joined up with the Madison Wrestling Club, which was growing in the region. The Winnipeg area was filled with pro-wrestling action in the 1950s and 1960s. Another promotion that lived briefly was Al Tomko's Olympic Club, which eventually joined Madison as well. Although Madison was a power player under Gordon Mackie and Al Tummon, Alex Turk was the local NWA affiliate and a sports promoting success himself. Turk was becoming increasing involved with politics and he would lose the town to Verne Gagne's expansion. Gagne's American Wrestling Association was fanning out and trying to secure towns that the NWA was unwilling to fight for, Winnipeg, was one of them. Tomko, under Gagne's guidance, bought out the Madison Wrestling Club and transformed it into his own company, All-Star Promotions. He served as the local promoter for the AWA into the 1970s. With all the AWA's stars coming in, Alex Turk Promotions was edged out and Winnipeg turned into a mediocre local market with a few visits by AWA stars throughout the year.  


Dick Afflis (Dick the Bruiser)
Mitsu Arakawa
Buddy Austin
Johnny Barend 
Red Bastien
"Sailor" Fred Blassie
George Bollas (Zebra Kid)
Tony Borne
Bobo Brazil 
Bulldog Brower
Orville Brown
Guy & Joe Brunetti 
Haystacks Calhoun
Primo Carnera
Edouard Carpentier
Steve "Crusher" Casey
Ripper Collins 
Don Curtis
Domenic Denucci
Mike DiBiase
Bill Dromo
Dusek Riot Squad 
Don Eagle
Bob Ellis
Ron Etchison
The Fabulous Kangaroos (Al Costello & Roy Heffernan)
Verne Gagne 
The Gallaghers (Doc & Mike) 
Bob Geigel
George Gordienko
Gorgeous George 
Karl Gotch
Hard Boiled Haggarty 
Larry Hamilton
Stu Hart
Larry Hennig
Lee Henning
Hans Hermann
Mr. Hito
Dick Hutton
Don Jardine (The Spoiler)
Don Leo Jonathan
Paul Jones
The Kalmikoff (Ivan & Karol)
Abe Kashey
Duke Keomuka
Gene Kiniski
Sandor Kovacs
Wladek Kowalski
Guy LaRose (Hans Schmidt)
Mark Lewin
Dale Lewis
Reggie Lisowski (The Crusher)
"Wild" Bill Longson 
Peter Maivia
Bobby Managoff 
Roy McClarty
Earl McCready
Tex McKenzie
Rocky Monroe (Sputnik Monroe)
Bill Miller
Al & Tiny Mills
Mr. Moto
Skull Murphy
Bronko Nagurski
Leo Nomellini
Pat O'Connor 
Ole Olsen
Tony Parisi
Angelo Poffo
Antonino Rocca 
Buddy Rogers
Johnny Rougeau 
Dutch Savage 
Hans Schmidt 
George & Sandy Scott
Frank Sexton
Ben Sharpe
Kenji Shibuya
Wilbur Snyder
Ray Steele 
Sweet Daddy Siki
Sandor Szabo 
Lou Thesz
Tosh Togo
John Tolos
Enrique Torres
Johnny Valentine
Fritz Von Erich
Waldo Von Erich
Billy Watson
Billy Wicks
Bearcat Wright
Rube Wright
Zebra Kid (George Bollas)




Foothills Athletic Club (1948-1952)
When Darby Melnick was looking at jail time, he was anxious to sell off Calgary and the beneficiaries were Larry Tillman and Jerry Meeker, who were wrestlers as well. The duo had ties to the office in Great Falls, Montana, which was run locally by Roland Meeker. They bought into the growing Alberta market and eventually had local star Stu Hart booking it. Hart started his own group in Edmonton, which the promotion had been neglecting. It grew and eventually Hart was posturing to take over, even though the city was an extended part of the NWA fold. Instead, he bought Tillman out for an inflated $50,000.  


Fred Blassie
Orville Brown
Ronnie Etchison
Gorgeous George 
Stu Hart
Abe Kashey
Roy McClarty
Earl McCready
Al & Tiny Mills
Bronko Nagurski
Guy Ross (Hans Schmidt)
Dave Ruhl
Ray Steele 
Lou Thesz
Chief Thunderbird
Johnny Valentine 
Billy Watson
Rube Wright



Klondike Wrestling (1948-1952)
Edmonton, in central Alberta, had several major growth spurts in the first half of the twentieth century. However, it was not a major pro-wrestling city until the oil boom. During the 1930s, Josef Zabaw out of Calgary and national hero Jack Taylor promoted the city. In the 1940s, local boy Stu Hart had gained some note in the province and was working for Calgary promoter Larry Tillman as a booker. He wanted to expand into his former hometown and so he opened up his own group, "Klondike Wrestling," in 1948. It was instantly seen as a challenge to the established terriorial order, but Hart worked hard to build the city for himself. In the early 1950s, Hart moved east into Saskatchewen before turning his attention to Calgary in the west. He bought the city from Larry Tillman for a hefty fee and would work hard to make it his home. Although his focus and approach changed, Edmonton remained a key city for Stu Hart throughout his promoting history.

Orville Brown
Gorgeous George 
Stu Hart
Abe Kashey
Roy McClarty
Earl McCready
Al & Tiny Mills
Bronko Nagurski
Guy Ross (Hans Schmidt)
Dave Ruhl
Lou Thesz
Chief Thunderbird
"Whipper" Billy Watson 
Jim & Rube Wright




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 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
Mighty Ursus (Jesse Ortega)
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 "Mad Dog" Vachon
Paul "Butcher" Vachon 
Fritz Von Erich
"Whipper" Billy Watson 
Billy Wicks
Bearcat Wright




Big Time Wrestling [Calgary] (1951-1964)
Stu Hart had been promoting successfully for a few years in Edmonton when he moved into Calgary, bought the town and began promoting there. He joined the National Wrestling Alliance, which helped him bring in drawing talent. Western Canada was tough area though with long road trips, brutal weather and limited exposure that no established pro-wrestlers wanted to put up with for long. However, in early 1950s, television was transforming the business - for the better. Starting in the United States and spreading through Canada, Calgary finally got a station. Hart soon secured two TV shows in 1956. He brought Sam Menacker on board to book, produce and announce and “Big Time Wrestling” became a great success story as its distribution spread. Menacker would leave the promotion (twice, in fact) and they could never fill that void. Unfortunately, politics of the time and some unfortunate business deals began taking a toll. Most notably, Hart began sinking money into co-promoting with the star-studded Vancouver office. All these contributed to the death of "Big Time Wrestling" in 1964.

CLICK HERE for a full Big Time Wrestling (Calgary) alumni list


Edouard Carpantier
"Iron" Mike DiBiase
Fabulous Kanagroos
George Gordienko
"Gorgeous" George
Archie "The Stomper" Gouldie
Stu Hart
Hans Hermann
Don Leo Jonathan
Gene Kiniski
Killer Kowalski
Gino Marella (Gorilla Monsoon)
Mighty Ursus (Jesse Ortega)
Dr. Bill Miller
Buddy Rogers
Dave Ruhl
Flying Scotts (George & Sandy)
Lou Thesz
Maurice "Mad Dog" Vachon
Paul "Butcher" Vachon 
Johnny Valentine 
Fritz Von Erich
"Whipper" Billy Watson 
Rube Wright



Madison Wrestling Club (1952-1967)
Alex Turk was the main promoter in the city of Winnipeg, but in the early 1950s, a rival group started up. Although they never secured the same kind of talent, the Madison Wrestling Club was a player in Winnipeg. Headed up by Gordon Mackie and Al Tummon, Madison frequently gobbled up the short-lived groups headed up by disgruntled wrestlers. The most notable were Ole Olson and Al Tomko. Turk, the local NWA affiliate, found himself working into other fields and he was eventually edged out of the business. Gagne's American Wrestling Association was fanning out and trying to secure towns that the NWA was unwilling to fight for, Winnipeg, was one of them. Tomko, under Gagne's guidance, bought out the Madison Wrestling Club and transformed it into his own company, All-Star Promotions. He served as the local promoter for the AWA into the 1970s. With all the AWA's stars coming in, Alex Turk Promotions was edged out and Winnipeg turned into a mediocre local market with a few visits by AWA stars throughout the year.  


Bob "Bobo" Brown
Tony Condello
"Crazy Legs" Leroy Hirsch (Al Tomko)
Ole Olsen
Al Tomko
Kurt & Karl Von Steiger




Hamilton in Ontario grew into a major port city for Canada and rose to become one of its largest metropolitian areas. The city's population had been steadily growing throughout its history, but during the 1950s, Hamilton's population boomed as did nearby Toronto. Not surprisingly, this growth led to a need for entertainment and two groups started up for stints. First was John Katan's, which only ran for a season, but it paved the way for the Hamilton Sporting Club, which ran for the first half of the 1960s. This group mainly relied on stars from neighboring Maple Leaf Wrestling. It was not a formula for long-term success, but it gave Hamilton a strong scene for a time.

Dick Beyer (The Destroyer)
Guy & Joe Brunetti 
Ripper Collins
The Gallaghers (Doc & Mike) 
Gorgeous George 
Hard Boiled Haggarty 
Lee Henning
Dick Hutton
Don Jardine (The Spoiler)
Ivan Kalmikoff
John Katan
Killer Kowalski
Billy Red Lyons 
Tex McKenzie
Mighty Ursus (Jesse Ortega)
Bill Miller
Tiny Mills
Rocky Monroe (Sputnik Monroe)
Hans Schmidt 
Stan Stasiak
"Whipper" Billy Watson



All-Star Wrestling [Montreal] (1964-1975)
When Johnny Rougeau took over Eddie Quinn's former city of Montreal, he was the biggest pro-wrestling star in the city and perhaps no local star had more clout than he did. He partnered with Bob Langevin, moved to a less expensive venue, signed a TV deal that aired "Sur le Matelas" (Superstars of the Mat) every Saturday afternoon and secured some of the best talent in pro-wrestling world. While many of the stars from the Quinn years had left, many came back to enjoy more success in their native province. Eventually though, Johnny's personality and disputes over booking led to a exodus of key talent. Those stars opened a rival company, Grand Prix, and a four-year promotional war led to hot action. However, both sides burnt out. Rougeau was interested in getting out to focus on his other love - ice hockey. He closed his doors in 1975 and largely ended mainstream pro-wrestling in Quebec for the next few years.  

CLICK HERE for a full All-Star (Montreal) alumni list


Abdullah the Butcher
Lou Albano
Spiros Arion
The Beast (Yvon Cormier)
Dino Bravo 
Gino Brito
Bulldog Brower
Edouard Carpentier
Carlos Colon
Bull Curry
Dom Denucci
Eric The Red
Jean Ferre (Andre the Giant)
Ronnie Garvin
Terry Garvin
Hans Hermann
Mighty Inoue
Rocky Johnson
Don Leo Jonathan
Don Kent
Ivan Koloff
Killer Kowalski
Frankie Laine
Jos Leduc
Frenchy Martin
Mighty Igor
Mighty Ursus (Jesse Ortega)
Larry Moquin
Angelo Mosca
Blackjack Mulligan
Chuck O'Connor (Big John Studd)
Tony Parisi
Dale Roberts (Buddy Roberts)
Buddy Rogers
Jacques Rougeau Sr.
Johnny Rougeau 
Ray Rougeau
Hans Schmidt 
The Sheik 
Jay Strongbow
Sweet Daddy Siki
Enrique Torres
Tarzan Tyler
Maurice "Mad Dog" Vachon
Paul "Butcher" Vachon 
Johnny Valentine 
Johnny Valiant
Baron Von Raschke
Sailor White
Mitsu Yoshida (Riki Choshu)




Stampede Wrestling (1967-1984)
After closing "Big Time Wrestling" in 1964, Stu Hart was struggling to stay afloat. He eventually rebounded with "Wildcat Wrestling," thanks to new associate and announcer Ed Whalen, who got Hart back on TV after a hiatus. This company began rising and renamed itself to "Stampede Wrestling" in 1967. The company took off with a new generation of stars that lasted into the mid-70s when they began to struggle again. Excessive violence and new promoters threatened Stampede. Hart made a deal with friend and former Vancouver promoter Gene Kiniski to begin running that city. Al Tomko had bought into Vancouver and Kiniski left, now he had his eyes set on taking over Stampede's area. Ray and Bud Osborne were two brothers in real estate with the same idea, but they lost their backing. Stampede was in a bad way, but the company turned around by using international talent that accelerated the action. While never a major market in terms of money, Stampede became legendary for its innovative style that the product of international styles melding in Western Canada. Vancouver became a decent market where Bruce Hart and rock promoter Bruce Allen began using new ideas to get the product over, much to the chagrin of Kiniski. Although Stampede was doing well again, numerous problems had built up and when Vince McMahon made an offer, Stu Hart sold the company and was hired as a promoter along with Bruce and his biggest stars: Bret Hart, Jim Neidhart, the Dynamite Kid and Davey Boy Smith were all hired on. The legendary era of Stampede was over, but it was not gone forever.  

CLICK HERE for a full Stampede (Calgary) alumni list


Abdullah the Butcher
Chris Adams
Bad News Allen 
Andre the Giant
Buddy Austin
Hercules Ayala
Ox Baker 
"No Class" Bobby Bass
Nick Bockwinkel
The Beast (Yvon Cormier)
Carlos Belafonte (Carlos Colon)
Tim Brooks
"Bulldog" Bob Brown
Leo Burke
Edouard Carpentier
Ciclon Negro
Cobra(George Takano)
Wayne Coleman (Superstar Graham)
Ripper Collins
Cosmo #1 (Al Tomko)
Cuban Assassin
Lynn Denton (The Grappler)
The Destroyer (Frenchy Martin)
J.J. Dillon
Bill Dromo
Emile Dupre
Dynamite Kid
Eric Embry
Don Fargo
John Fargo (Greg Valentine)
Pampero Firpo
Tatsumi Fujinami
Bobby Fulton
Dory Funk Jr.
Terry Funk
Don Gagne (Frenchy Martin)
George Gordienko
"The Stomper" Archie Gouldie
Great Gama (Gama Singh)
Gypsy Joe
Higo Hamaguchi (Animal Hamaguchi)
Fighting Hara (Susumu Hara)
Bret Hart
Bruce Hart
Stu Hart
Rip Hawk
Mach Hayato
Dean Higuchi (Dean Ho)
Crazy Legs Hirsch (Al Tomko)
Mr. Hito
Honky Tonk Wayne (Honky Tonk Man)
King Curtis Iaukea
Antonio Inoki
Mighty Inoue
Rocky Johnson
Don Leo Jonathan
Marty Jones
Judo Joe (Mr. Pogo)
Tor Kamata
Killer Khan
Gene Kiniski
Crusher Kimura (Rusher Kimura)
The Kiwis (Nick Carter & Sweet William)
Kuniaki Kobayashi
Sandor Kovacs
Phil Lafleur (Phil Lafon)
Frankie Laine
Jos Leduc
Mark Lewin
Dale Lewis
Luther Lindsay
Loch Ness Monster (Giant Haystacks)
Hartford Love
Dutch Mantell
Rick Martel 
Mighty Ursus (Jesse Ortega)
Angelo Mosca
Kendo Nagasaki
Jim Neidhart
Pat O'Connor 
Miguel Perez Sr.
"Big" John Quinn
Harley Race
Big Daddy Ritter (Junkyard Dog)
Jake Roberts
Billy Robinson
Buck Robley
Rock Rogowski (Ole Anderson)
Jimmy Rougeau (Jacques Rougeau Jr.)
Nelson Royal
Royal Kangaroos (Jonathan Boyd & Norman Frederick Charles III)
Dave Ruhl
Hiro Saito
Mr. Sakurada (Kendo Nagasaki)
"Dr. D" David Schultz
Sekigawa (Mr. Pogo)
Mike Sharpe
Tim Shea (Dave Taylor)
Gama Singh
Davey Boy Smith 
Stan Stasiak
"Exotic" Adrian Street
Robbie Stewart (Chic Cullen)
Sweet Daddy Siki
Bob Sweetan
Nobuhiko Takada
Shunji Takano
Lou Thesz
Art Thomas
Les Thornton
Sonny Two Rivers (Junji Hirata)
Johnny Valentine Jr. (Greg Valentine)
Waldo Von Erich
Kurt Von Hess
Kurt & Karl Von Steiger
Sailor White
The Wild Samoans (Afa & Sika)
Mr. Wrestling (Dick Steinborn)
Steve 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. 

CLICK HERE for a full All-Star (Vancouver) alumni list


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 "Butcher" 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)



American Wrestling Association [Winnipeg] (1966-1986; 1989)
The American Wrestling Association was one of the major pro-wrestling companies in the United States for three decades. Based out of Minneapolis, the AWA expanded quickly taking over cities the National Wrestling Alliance did not run or were unwilling to fight over. Winnipeg was one of these cities. The largest city in Manitoba had been a strong wrestling city for many years and promoter Alex Turk had controlled it since 1946 when it was first targetted by the AWA. There had been turmoil and disgruntled wrestlers ran opposition to Turk, but his deep roots and NWA ties made him near impossible to topple. However, the lackluster shows weakened the market and Turk was transitioning to politics and losing interest in the business. This allowed AWA veteran Al Tomko to move in, buy out Madison Wrestling Club and change wrestling in Winnipeg. Turk simply left with no real fight and Tomko became the local promoter for the AWA in Winnipeg throughout the 1970s. Although it was significant Canadian market, the AWA's Winnipeg shows were not favorites amongst the wrestlers. It was an isolated location, yet it remained an AWA city that drew impressive houses at times and unimpressive houses at other times, especially as the AWA declined. After the talent exodus in the early 1980s, the company's battle with the WWF consumed much of their focus and they shifted away from cities like Winnipeg. After a "Night of Champions" show in 1986, the AWA did not return until they did a pair of shows in 1989, there last in the city that they had brought more talent to than any promotion before them.  

CLICK HERE for a full AWA alumni list


Abdullah the Butcher
Adrian Adonis
Adnan Al-Kaissie
Lars Anderson
Andre the Giant
Mitsu Arakawa 
Tony Atlas
Bob Backlund 
Ox Baker
Red Bastien
The Beast
Jerry Blackwell
Richard Blood (Ricky Steamboat)
Nick Bockwinkel
Dino Bravo
King Kong Brody
Bob Brown
Big Luke Brown
Jim Brunzell
Boom Boom Bundy
Haystacks Calhoun
Edouard Carpentier
Tony Condello
The Crusher
Col. DeBeers
Dick the Bruiser
Bill Dromo
Bobby Duncum
The Fabulous Ones (Stan Lane & Steve Keirn)
Manny Fernandez
Pampero Firpo
Ric Flair
The Freebirds (Michael Hayes, Terry Gordy & Buddy Roberts)
Greg Gagne
Verne Gagne 
Jimmy Garvin
Pepper Gomez 
George Gordienko
Rene Goulet
Billy Graham
Luke Graham
Mike Graham
Scott Hall
Stan Hansen
Hard Boiled Haggarty 
Alfred Hayes
Curt Hennig
Bobby Heenan
Larry Hennig
Hans Hermann
Leroy Hirsch (Al Tomko)
Danny Hodge
Hulk Hogan
Scott "Hog" Irwin
Don Leo Jonathan
Rufus R. Jones
Lani Keoloha (Jimmy Snuka)
Kim Duk
King Tonga (Haku/Meng)
Gene Kiniski
Ivan Koloff
Killer Kowalski
Ernie Ladd
Blackjack Lanza
Jerry Lawler
Jos Leduc
Ken Lucas
Billy Red Lyons 
Chief Peter Maivia
Rick Martel 
Masked Superstar
Wahoo McDaniel
Tex McKenzie
Mighty Igor
Bill Miller
Tiny Mills
Mongolian Stomper
Pedro Morales
Angelo Mosca
Blackjack Mulligan
Don Muraco
Dick Murdoch
Pat O'Connor 
Bob Orton Jr.
Ken Patera
Pat Patterson
Paul Pershmann (Buddy Rose)
Roddy Piper
Johnny Powers
Ivan Putski
Harley Race 
Rob Rechsteiner (Rick Steiner)
Butch Reed
Dusty Rhodes
The Road Warriors (Hawk & Animal)
Dale Roberts (Buddy Roberts)
Billy Robinson
Rock Rogowski (Ole Anderson)
Mr. Saito
Tito Santana
Dutch Savage
Hans Schmidt
David Schultz
George Scott
Bob Slaughter (Sgt. Slaughter)
Wilbur Snyder
Ray Stevens 
Big John Studd 
Super Destroyer (Don Jardine)
Super Destroyer Mark II (Sgt. Slaughter)
Lou Thesz
Tosh Togo
John Tolos
Al Tomko
Butcher Vachon
Mad Dog Vachon
Johnny Valentine 
Jimmy Valiant
Johnny Valiant
Khosrow Vaziri (Iron Shiek)
Jesse Ventura
Baron Von Raschke
Kurt Von Steiger
Otto Wanz
Bill Watts
Bob Windham (Blackjack Mulligan)
Larry Zbyszko
Tom Zenk




Eastern Sports Association (1969-1977)
While Len Hughes had developed a successful formula for running the Maritimes, Al Zinck was the man who perfected it and took it to a new high in the 1970s. He too established a core of talent and brought in some of the premier stars from other parts of Canada and the Northeastern United States. Zinck and partner Rudy Kay (Jean-Louis Cormier) ran a heavy summer schedule, but the Maritimes was an idealic place for numerous stars during that time. Running under the "International Wrestling" banner, ESA used a core of local stars (particularly the Cormier brothers) and brought in a few stars from elsewhere every season. The formula worked well, but eventually Bobby Kay (Romeo Cormier), took over for his older brother as Zinck's partner and they joined the National Wrestling Alliance. After the 1976 season, a split between the aging Zinck and youngest Cormier led to a promotional war that ended with both men going belly up. Zinck's company utilized George Cannon and Don Carson as bookers, but it closed after one season due to Zinck's retirement. Bobby Kaye's Trans-Canada Wrestling lasted one season as well. In the end, Emile Dupre was able to move in and completely take over the region with the Cormiers jumping on board with his Atlantic Grand Prix Wrestling. Al Zinck made another valiant attempt with the Cormiers and booker J.J. Dillion in 1984, but it did not click and he retired again.

Andre the Giant
Bobby Bass
The Beast (Yvon Cormier)
Dino Bravo
Jack Brisco
Bob Brown
Leo Burke
Dennis Condrey
"Nature Boy" James Dillon
Eric the Red
Don Fargo
Dory Funk Jr.
Terry Funk
Robert Gibson
Terry Gordy
Archie Gouldie (Mongolian Stomper)
Rene Goulet
Alfred Hayes
Phil Hickerson
Paul Jones
Killer Karl Krupp
Frenchy Martin
Luis Martinez
Tiny Mills
Bolo Mongol (Masked Superstar)
Angelo Mosca
Roddy Piper
Harley Race 
Steve Rickard
Buzz Sawyer
David Schultz
Gama Singh
George Steele
Lou Thesz
Kurt Von Steiger
Johnny Weaver
Sailor White




Big Bear Promotions (1971-1987)
Dave McKigney made a name for himself throughout North America as the keeper of the wrestling bears - Terrible Ted and Smokey. The journeyman wrestler was never much of a star himself, but he found some success when he started promoting around Toronto in the 1970s. Pro-wrestling was hot in the city and McKigney battled the Tunneys in the city. He frequently ran smaller cities like London and Windsor, but was eventually forced to tour the province. McKigney ran the area sporatically, but was never as successful as he had been in his early years. In 1988, he was in a car accident in the Maritimes that claimed his life.

 
Mitsu Arakawa
The Beast
Bobo Brazil 
Domenic Denucci
Eric the Red
Pampero Firpo
Pepper Gomez 
Bobby Heenan
Don Kent
Killer Kowalski
Killer Karl Krupp
Frankie Laine
Love Brothers (Reginald & Hartford)
Luis Martinez
Mighty Igor
Blackjack Mulligan
Tony Parisi
John Quinn
Dale Roberts (Buddy Roberts)
Dewey Robertson (Missing Link)
The Sheik 
Sweet Daddy Siki
Tiger Jeet Singh 
George Steele
Jay Strongbow
Jimmy Valiant 
Johnny Valiant
Kurt Von Hess





Grand Prix Wrestling (1972-1975)
Pro-Wrestling in Quebec had come alive in the 1960s thanks in large part to Johnny Rougeau. However, he had a reputation of rubbing other wrestlers the wrong way and it is no surprise that a group left to start a new company in 1971. This group included Lucien Gregoire, Maurice Vachon, Paul Vachon, Gino Brito, Yvon Robert Jr. and others. This core of talent were able to easily give the established company and run for its money. Grand Prix's competition led to measures that caused hard times for pro-wresting in Quebec. From Vivianne Vachon being barred by the city commission, to bloody matches falling under harsh scrutiny and financial troubles, Grand Prix was not able to survive. In their final year, they ran joint shows with Johnny Rougeau, who fell on hard times as well. By the end of the year, both companies were closed and pro-wrestling in Quebec seemed dead yet again.  

CLICK HERE for a full Grand Prix (Montreal) alumni list


Andre the Giant
Mitsu Arakawa
Bobby Bass
Dino Bravo
Gino Brito
Eduoard Carpentier
Jean Ferre (Andre the Giant)
Rene Goulet
Gypsy Joe
Don Leo Jonathan
Killer Kowalski
The Kiwis (Nick Carter & Sweet William)
Blackjack Lanza
Jos LeDuc
Blackjack Mulligan
Chuck O'Connor (Big John Studd)
Dale Roberts (Buddy Roberts)
Toru Tanaka
Tarzan Tyler
Maurice "Maddog" Vachon
Paul "Butcher" Vachon
Baron Von Raschke
Sailor White



Condello Promotions (1976-1978; 1983-)
For around thirty years, wrestler Tony Condello has been gathering groups of young up-and-comers and holdovers from yesteryear to tour all over Western Canada. Although he has run Winnipeg as much as anybody in the past twenty-five years, Condello has gained fame (or infamy) for his "Northern Hell Tours," which take people all over Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Northern Ontario. From seldom run towns like Wasagemack, Pungassi and The Pas to any number of reservations in central Canada or to tiny halls, bars and community centers throughout sizable towns like Regina, Brandon and Thunder Bay. Condello had a group of regulars for many years, men like Fred "Mad Dog" Peloquin and Dave Gobeil, who worked for him under the "West Four Wrestling Alliances" banner in the late 70s and early 80s. As national expansion limited job prospects, Condello began utilizing old-timers from Calgary's Stampede, Vancouver's All-Star and those who used to come up to Winnipeg for the AWA. He tried to create alliances to stay profitable and they were financial busts more often than they were solid gains. Condello later ran under the banner "International Wrestling Alliance," but little changed in the way of his approach. However, Condello began relying more heavily on young independent wrestlers as the old guard phased out. The Canadians who caught on with the WWF, WCW or ECW all did some time touring with Condello. Chris Jericho and Lance Storm were the first, but Edge, Christian, Test and Rhino also paid their dues there as well. Condello also tried his had at promoting mixed martial arts in recent times. He is a unique character in Canadian pro-wrestling history and one who faciliated great changes during his time.  


Adnan Al-Kaissie
Bad News Allen
Bruiser Brody
"Bulldog" Bob Brown
Jim Brunzell
Tony Condello
Gene Kiniski
Rick Martel
Ole Olson
Ken Patera
Roddy Piper
Baron Von Raschke
Gama Singh
Lance Storm
Ultimo Dragon



Atlantic Grand Prix Wrestling (1977-2001)
The split between Al Zinck and Bobby Kaye allowed for a new promoter to step in and capitalize on pro-wrestling's seasonal popularity in the Maritimes. Emile Dupre was a well-respected veteran and the Maritimes had always been a favorite summer gig for many wrestlers. His main cities were Moncton, New Brunswick; Halifax and Berwick, Nova Scotia; and infrequent shows in St. John, NB, Sydney, NS and spot shows on Prince Edward Island. They had a popular television show and every summer fans would come out to see the popular stars from yesteryear and the new up-and-comers. The formula worked fairly well until the WWF's national expansion prevented them from securing the same level of stars over the summers. By the mid-1980s, Atlantic Grand Prix had downgraded to a farm league and they did help some recent stars gain seasoning during their formative years. The group ran into the new millenium, but Dupre and new partner Mike Zinck closed up in 2001, blaming the other all along the way.  


Andre the Giant
"No Class" Bobby Bass
The Beast (Yvon Cormier)
Leo Burke
"Bulldog" Bob Brown
Haystacks Calhoun
Tokyo Chono (Masa Chono)
Hercules Ayala Cortez
"Golden Boy" Emile Dupre
Mr. Hara (Ashura Hara)
Killer Karl Krupp
Jos LeDuc
Frenchy Martin
Masked Carpetbagger (Angelo Poffo)
Lanny Poffo
Rip Rogers
Randy Savage
David Schultz
The Spoiler
"Rotten" Ron Starr
Ray Stevens 
Big John Studd
Sweet Daddy Siki
Hercules Simard (Rip Rogers)
Butcher Vachon



Superstars of Wrestling (1979-1984)
In the late 1970s, the NWA establishment was undergoing changes that allowed small companies to pop up and have a decent run. Montreal's George Cannon had made a name for himself in a variety of companies and became affiliated with the short-lived IWA promotion in the United States. After that run, he and the talent pool tried to find places to be. He ran summer shows in the Maritimes, particularly St. John. Eventually, he focused his efforts in Windsor, Ontario, which was right across the water from Detroit, which he was working closely with as well. Cannon's Windsor-based TV show became popular in Montreal, which was a dead city at the time, but never grew much. Eventually, he partnered up with Vince McMahon who was targetting a move into the region, but Cannon's health issues forced him out and his promotional efforts came to an end.  


Dino Bravo
Gino Brito
Haystacks Calhoun
Bull Curry
Dom Denucci
Billy Graham
Don Kent
Hartford Love
Luis Martinez
Dallas Page
Greg Valentine
George Steele
Chief Jay Strongbow
Mad Dog Vachon
Greg Valentine
Johnny Valiant
Waldo Von Erich
Sailor White
Mitsu Yoshida (Riki Choshu)



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.  

CLICK HERE for a full All-Star (Vancouver) alumni list


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



International Wrestling Association (1980-1987)
After All-Star and Grand Prix Wrestling both closed in 1975, Quebec was without a major pro-wrestling company. Gino Brito tried to keep things going with summer tours, but a group effort had to be made to get something off the ground. An alliance was made to create "Promotions Varoussac," named for its three owners - Frank Valois, Andre Roussimoff and Gino "Brito" Accocella. Those three men were a potent combination. Valois had the vision and promotional talents, Andre was probably the most widely known pro-wrestling star in the world and Brito had numerous connections. International Wrestling became just that as they featured the best wrestlers from Quebec and brought in all the stars from the United States through their contacts with the WWWF and the AWA. Everything was going well, until the WWF began their push into Canada. After gobbling up Maple Leaf Wrestling in Toronto, International Wrestling was next. Unable to secure the same level of American stars, the company looked weak by comparison when the WWF came to town. In 1987, much of their talent signed up with the WWF and the company folded soon after. Brito still rounded up stars for summer tours, but the long legacy of Quebec wrestling came to an end. Montreal remains a very strong pro-wrestling market to this day, so independent shows run with some success.  

CLICK HERE for a full IWA (Montreal) alumni list


Hercules Ayala
Bob Backlund
Nick Bockwinkel
Dino Bravo
Gino Brito
Buster Brown Brody (Tim Brooks)
Jim Brunzell
Ric Flair
Greg Gagne
The Garvins (Ron & Jimmy)
Stan Hansen
Curt Hennig
Hulk Hogan
Scott Irwin
Kamala
King Tonga (Haku/Meng)
Rick Martel 
Frenchy Martin
Masked Superstar
Tony Parisi
Ken Patera
The Road Warriors (Hawk & Animal)
Billy Robinson
Jacques Rougeau Jr.
Raymond Rougeau
Sgt. Slaughter
Jimmy Snuka
Ray Stevens 
Big John Studd 
Tarzan Tyler
Maurice Vachon
Sailor White
Tom Zenk



Stampede Wrestling (1985-1989)
The WWF's purchase of Stampede in 1984 had not been as profitable as they had hoped it would be and not long after the agreement problems began cropping up. A promoter even used the name, which Stu Hart had not copyrighted, in a short-lived group that Bruce Hart (who was now under WWF contract) was negotiating with, according to some rumors. Then the British Bulldogs left New Japan, which was a partner of both Stu Hart's and WWF's, for All Japan. The WWF eventually recinded on the deal and Stampede reopened. Amazingly, they signed a deal with TSN, so they would broadcast across the country. However, the promotion was doing all it could to stay alive long and after a few years fizzled out and continued only as an independent-level group.  

CLICK HERE for a full Stampede (Calgary) alumni list


Bad News Allen
Bob Brown
Leo Burke
Dynamite Kid 
Great Gama (Gama Singh)
Bruce Hart
Owen Hart
Honky Tonk Wayne (Wayne Ferris)
Hashif Khan (Shinya Hashimoto)
Duke Myers
Brian Pillman
Hiro Saito
Rhonda Singh
Davey Boy Smith
Johnny Smith
Super Strong Machine (Junji Hirata)
Shunji Takano
Viet Cong Express I (Hiro Hase)

I'd like to thank Greg Oliver for all of his articles on Slam! Wrestling and his excellent publication, The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame - The Canadians as one of the most bountiful resources in existence. Also Dave Meltzer's Wrestling Observer Newsletter in addition to his books and radio shows, which have been great resources as well. A big thanks also to Canadian wrestling historian, columnist and archivist Vern Mays. I should also thank, in no particular order: Arnold Schwartz, Jenni Grattan, Steve Laflamme, Daren Gleason, John Baumer, Mike Rodgers, Steve Petersen, David Galvan, Andrew Calvert, Andrew Mollon, Rob Elder and Serge Niles from kayfabememories.com for their articles. And, of course, Royal Duncun and Gary Will's contributions to wrestling-titles.com and garywill.com