Profiles‎ > ‎

Pacific Coast


Pro-Wrestling on the Pacific Coast




California had always been a different kind of America. From the time of the 1849 Gold Rush, San Francisco was a magnet for the adventurous dreamers who came from all over the world to seek their fortune. It was a boomtown unlike its counterparts in the deserts of the southwest and the plains of the Midwest in that San Francisco became a full-fledged city. It was the capital of the Wild West until it had a makeover in the Roaring Twenties. During this time period, pro-wrestling became a more regular attraction in San Francisco. The promoting spread and there were all sorts of things going on the Bay Area. In Los Angeles, in Southern California, pro-wrestling was controlled by Lou Daro. He became so influential that his power reached into the San Francisco market and his stars became stars there as well. Daro's partner in San Francisco, Ed Lynch, broke away from him and created an alliance with Boston promoter Paul Bowser. San Francisco fell apart and the 1930s rolled in with Bowser's former star Joe Malcewicz picked up the pieces and running the city for the next thirty years. Far off the California coast was the island cluster of Hawai'i, which had been an American territory since 1900. In the late 1930s, wrestler Al Karasick began promoting pro-wrestling in Hawaii and established a successful formula.

Meanwhile, a battle for power in Los Angeles was looming. As soon as Lou Daro's iron grip over the city was broken by a special state assembly that deemed he had a monopoly, the City of Angels became the City of Angles with numerous promoters trying to hotshot their own promotions. Throughout the 1940s, a handful of notable promoters ran the Los Angeles region and they almost ran it into ruin. Although the National Wrestling Alliance had affiliates in San Francisco and Los Angeles, both were damaged markets. The turning point was television, which gave promoters a way to push their product to a larger audience and hopefully lure them to the live shows, where they made their money. This process turned numerous promotions around, but old-timers were running California and they were without experience doing “television wrestling.” Cal Eaton and his wife Aileen were promoting Los Angeles and “Waffle Ears” Joe Malcewicz and his aging partners were still running San Francisco. These cities were ripe for change. 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 Northern California and Western Canadian promotions. Owens ability to effectively use TV, develop talent and maintain a comfortable smaller circuit kept his company running strong for decades.

In 1958, the Eatons aligned themselves with former wrestler Jules Strongbow and broke away from the NWA to form the promotion that would become known as the World Wrestling Association. This company would become a distinctive force in Southern California. In 1961, San Francisco was sacked by Roy Shire and his American Wrestling Association promotion. The market was rejuvenated as Shire turned the region into one of the best in the country.

Throughout the 1960s, the NWA would struggle to reclaim the pieces it lost in the TV revolution. Their affiliate in Hawaii (now a state) changed hands in 1962 and other than renaming themselves to Mid-Pacific Promotions, little changed. They continued to ride the airwaves by using the television medium in an innovative way. By 1968, the NWA’s influence was growing again. Roy Shire turned San Francisco into an NWA city again. The Eatons left their promotion to Aileen’s sons, “Judo” Gene LeBelle and Mike LeBell and they rejoined the NWA as NWA Hollywood in 1968. Both San Francisco and Los Angeles were returning to the NWA out of desperation. Hawaii, which had never left, began to sag as well. Pro-wrestling was struggling on the West Coast and the NWA seemed to provide a level of security. It was not enough. Sam Muschnik had resigned as president and the power struggle began that left promotions like these three in a bind. Their long-time draws were getting old and stale and they were unable to fill that void. Some stars came to these territories, but it was never enough to revitalize the promotion. Thus they died.

In 1979, NWA Hawaii was turned into NWA Polynesian Wrestling by Peter and Lia Maivia. By 1981, Roy Shire had lost his TV deal and after a final show featuring his famous Battle Royal, the San Francisco office closed. The following year, the LeBells also closed up shop. Cable television was paving the way for a national promotion and all the big players were battling for that spot. The American Wrestling Association, based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota was the most relavant to Northern California as it took over that market. In Southern California, lucha libre took over with Mexico's top draws doing notable houses independent of American wrestling scene. As for Hawaii, the Maivias had the advantage of an established local product and state that few promoters would target. They held out longer, but in 1988 as pro-wrestling's popularity began to dip, they closed too. Don Owen's Pacific Northwest Wrestling continued valiantly into the 1990s as its dedicated fans stayed on board, but it too died in due time and its remains were scrapped into Sandy Barr's Championship Wrestling USA outfit. California has remained a fickle place for pro-wrestling. Sometimes the houses are huge (typically for lucha libre shows), sometimes the fans don't care and the independents that have tried to ride the waves has never done well for long. Hawaii's approach to pro-wrestling is almost identical, the fans are good, but the domestic product just cannot deliver.


San Francisco in Northern California was one the first city targetted by pro-wrestling as it moved out of the countryside and into the cities. The Bay Area was the population center of California at that time and a variety of promoters with different approaches tested the waters. Frank Schuler, Ed Lynch and Jack Ganson ran the region. One of the key promoters was Jack Reynolds, who focused his promotion around smaller wrestlers. Like Al Haft in the Midwest, Reynolds turned local fans on to a style based on stars with abilities that often eclipsed their larger counterparts. This helped men like Ad Santel and Bobby Bruns when they broke away from the Trust run by Jack Curley and Paul Bowser in the 1930s. San Francisco was a city with big money potential and the Trust wanted to be part of it. Bowser aided his former policeman, Joe Malcewicz, in consolidating professional wrestling in Northern California. 

 
Black Panther (Frank Sexton)
Dean Detton
Lee Henning
Bill Longson
Bobby Managoff
Earl McCready
Bronko Nagurski
Purple Shadow (Bill Longson)
Frank Sexton
Sandor Szabo



Los Angeles contrasted San Francisco by having one strong promoter as opposed to numerous promoters trying to control the city and none succeeding fully. Former carnival strongman Lou Daro began running shows with Jim Londos as a drawing card. Securing the biggest star of the day helped him gain control over the city and he along with his brother Jack maintained it for over fifteen years. While he brought in some of the best talents of the day, "Carnation Lou" became better known for using foreign heels being billed from non-Western countries like Ivan Rasputin, Ali Baba and Arjan Singh and he used stars billed from European countries and ethnic attractions like American Indian, Latinos and Japanese who worked as both babyfaces and heels. In the early 1930s, Daro began sending his stars to San Francisco and he had a significant impact on that city as well. However in 1939, a statewide investigation into boxing and wrestling forced the Daros out of wrestling promotion in Los Angeles for running a monopoly. With that ruling, it became clear that Los Angeles would change drastically. In the 1930s, the Trust that ran pro-wrestling across the United States began to crumble with the death of Jack Curley, aging of the old guard and the star attractions of the 1920s and 1930s. Problems were compacted by the instability caused by World War II. In the 1940s, Los Angeles County, like the Bay Area, became a market that everyone was trying to claim. 

 
Jim Browning
Dory Detton
Hardboiled Haggerty
Jim Londos
Gus Sonnenberg
Joe Stecher
Ray Steele
Sandor Szabo
Chief Thunderbird
Stanislaus Zbyszko

Hawaii was, understandably, an island onto itself. In the 1930s, promotions more often than not fell into the hands of the aging stars with a mind for the business. Al Karasick was one such case. In the late 1930s, he opened up the Hawaiian islands and ran them into the 1960s and by that time he had set the trend of Hawaiian wrestling that would become its legacy. Hawaii's formula has always focused on strongly developing a core of stars who were regulars and creating a rotation of stars to come in and keep the doors open for wrestlers with the potential to jump into either of those categories. Hawaii, like other territories, strictly categorized their talent; regular babyfaces were either local hero-types they pushed (Native Hawaiians of Asian Pacific or Japanese heritage) or adopted sons, who expressed an appreciation of the Hawaiian people. They also liked to use "American Indian" or Latin babyfaces (at this time the two were often lumped together) by outsiders. From Chief Thunderbird in the 1930s to Billy White Wolf in the 1960s, Hawaii was always treated with fiery "Indians" from the mainland. The opponents of these babyfaces - brash and ugly heels or arrogrant pretty boy heels, who were always white. 

 
Johnny Barend
Lord James Blears
Bobby Bruns
Dean Detton
Koukichi Endoh
Ed Don George
Great Togo
Don Haggerty
John Paul Henning
Dick Hutton
Curtis Iaukea
Paul Jones
Gene Kiniski
Sandor Kovacs
Stan Kowalski
Lord Athol Layton
Ed "Strangler" Lewis
Luther Lindsey
Bobby Managoff
Rikidozan
Oki Shikina
Sam Steamboat
Sandor Szabo
Hisao Tanaka (Duke Keomuka)
Butcher Vachon
Billy White Wolf




Los Angeles County was alive with promoters in the 1940s. Lou Daro controlled the city and even had sway in other California cities. With his departure in 1939, a new era of Los Angeles wrestling developed. Philadephia promoter Ray Fabiani had developed a strong stable in his region and took his act to Los Angeles with success. Fabiani's old partner, Jack Pfeffer ran the city with his bizarre attractions in the late 1940s. Hollywood became the home of Hugh Nichols in the 1930s and he continued to promote there through the 1940s. Another East Coast promoter, Johnny Doyle, came into town in the 1940s. He and Nichols would claim the county for the National Wrestling Alliance and controlled it into the 1950s. 

 
James Blears
Henri DeGlane
Dean Detton
Dusek Riot Squad (Ernie & Emil)
Gorgeous George
"Hardboiled" Haggerty
Lee Henning
Ed "Strangler" Lewis
Bobby Managoff
Everett Marshall
Danny McShain
Sandor Szabo
"French Angel" Maurice Tillet
Enrique Torres
Rube Wright
Primo Carnera



National Wrestling Alliance - San Francisco (194?-1962)
Although pro-wrestling in California had been going on for some time in California, it was the National Wrestling Alliance that really helped the state's cities come alive. The Bay Area had been run by several promoters in the early 1900s, but it was a tough old shooter from the East Coast that brought the region into the NWA fold after years of alliance with Paul Boswer's AWA organization. Joe Malcewicz took over the San Francisco office in the mid-1930s and he, like many others, joined the NWA as it became clear they were the future of pro-wrestling. Malcewicz's promotion had a significant populous in the San Francisco Bay area with San Francisco as their main city and other Bay Area cities San Jose and Oakland being visited weekly. Oakland was run by Ad Santel, a legendary hooker despite being a middleweight. Other cities of note were Fresno to the Southeast, which was run by Al Dermer, and Sacramento to the northeast. Despite the potential of the area, Malcewicz's promotion was in shabby condition by the early 1960s. He had a lackluster roster with only a few notables coming in every once and a while. Malcewicz had grown out-of-touch with his fans and was largely living off the area's diehard fans and his NWA ties. When Roy Shire stormed into town in the 1960s with a superior product, finanial backers and a strong TV program, Malcewicz just could not compete. He and Ad Santel made a stink with the state athletic commission, but there time had passed. Malcewicz's promotion slowly grinded to a halt, ending with his death in 1962. With his passing, the NWA lost one of their California markets, albeit a town that had been killed by stagnation. 

 
Johnny Barend
Fred Blassie
Lord James Blears
Primo Carnera
Edouard Carpentier
The Duseks (Ernie & Emil)
Ron Etchison
Gorgeous George
Jerry Graham
Hard Boiled Haggerty
Hans Hermann
Dick Hutton
Curtis Iaukea
Gene Kiniski
Sandor Kovacs
Killer Kowalski
Stan Kowalski
Tex McKenzie
Bill Miller
Leo Nomellini
Jess Ortega
Rikidozan
Sharpe Brothers (Ben & Mike)
Sandor Szabo
Lou Thesz
Art Thomas
John Tolos
Enrique Torres
Johnny Walker
Dick Warren (Nick Bockwinkel)




National Wrestling Alliance - Los Angeles (194?-1958)
The tumultuous times in Los Angeles were brought to an end with the formation of the National Wrestling Alliance. Like the Big Six Trust of yesteryear, these promoters were looking to unify the country under one umbrella. Johnny Doyle was the NWA's representitive in Los Angeles. The premier wrestling arena in L.A. was the Olympic Auditorium, which was run by Cal and Aileen Eaton. In 1950, Doyle began working with the Eatons. They were joined by Max Hirsch, who ran the Ocean Park Arena, and Hugh Nichols who promoted Hollywood and San Diego. This foursome would form a powerful monopoly in Southern California. They manipulated TV contracts, threatened to blacklist stars and crushed independent promoters. This group began following apart over money, Doyle and Nichols ran the talent, but Eaton and Hirsch ran the arena. Disputes over money were hard to rectify even though they were raking in the money. Eventually, Doyle sold his NWA assets to his partners and proclaimed he would return East to work with Toots Mondt. Instead, Doyle stayed and opened up opposition to the NWA. The two sides began to battle for control of Los Angeles, but Doyle could not defeat the NWA, even with his many local contacts and TV deals. Instead, he went to the Justice Department, which began to investigate the NWA as a nationwide monopoly, this California group being one of the prominent local monopolies. The case was eventually set aside and the NWA's Los Angeles affiliate remained strong. Until 1958 when Jules Strongbow bought into Los Angeles and led the Eatons away from the NWA with great success. 


Wild Red Berry
Lord James Blears
Nick Bockwinkel
Bobo Brazil
Primo Carnera
Gorgeous George
Black Guzman
Lee Henning
Hans Hermann
Don Leo Jonathan
Gene Kiniski
Baron Michele Leone
Tex McKenzie
Danny McShain
Mr. Moto
Argentine Rocca
Reggie Siki
Wilbur Snyder
Sandor Szabo
Rocky Valentine (Johnny Valentine)
Tosh Togo
John Tolos
Enrique Torres


CLICK HERE for a full Los Angeles alumni list



Pacfic Northwest Wrestling (1947-1992)
Don Owen built a reputation as one of the classiest pro-wrestling promoters around and while his territory was never the biggest or the best paying, it was the longest running in the pro-wrestling world (after Mexico's EMLL). He and his brother Elton learned the business under their father Herb. Don took over the promotion in 1942 and Elton became his right-hand man. Their territory was built up and when the NWA formed in 1947, Owen's Portland office became the affiliate in that region. When the television boom changed pro-wrestling, Owen quickly got himself on TV and the territory grew further. Things steadily grew and Portland hit its peak in the 1970s with an amazing cast of characters that remained loyal to Owen and many of whom became spot show promoters. Although the population base was spread out over the two states, PNW mainly stuck to the Pacfic seaboard in cities like Medford and Salem in Oregon and Tacoma in Washington. While Portland, Oregon was their base, but they also had Seattle, Washington as a sizable city that they ran regularly. In Washington, they would travel to Yakima in the center part, but other than spot shows, the main focus was along the coast. As the 1970s came to a close, the old guard was leaving, but a new crop was coming in that rejuvenated the market. Portland became known as a proving ground with a regular fan base that thoroughly knew the product. The style in the Pacific Northwest was special too. The emphasis was on being a good worker and a good talker and the better a wrestler was at both, the better they did in Portland. This bred some of the best talent of the 1980s. In the first half of the decade, Portland was riding high off the reputation it had built during the 1970s. However, the growth of cable and the national expansion of the WWF began to threaten the regional company. Elton retired in 1982 and Don's son Barry took over Elton's spot and they ran one of the greatest territorial shows ever in 1985 - the Owen Family 60th Anniversary show. Despite the success, no one could save the company from its inevitable downturn. The problems started with the formation of a single state commission that made running pro-wrestling shows increasingly difficult. Next, the exodus of talent began to deplete the once great roster. Although the WWF had advantages, Portland had a connection locally that could not be topped, unless someone like local hero Billy Jack [Haynes] ran in opposition. Although that was short-lived and Billy Jack even returned to PNW, he did damage the company's reputation. As the remaining NWA members scrambled to stay alive, Owen separated himself from their war with Vince McMahon's WWF. Portland's TV show was eventually cancelled though in 1991 and Don and Barry Owen see the writing on the wall. Rather than going broke trying to keep the company afloat, they stick around for a while, but eventually sell the company to Sandy Barr in 1992. 


"Tough" Tony Borne

The Grappler
Billy Jack Haynes
Gene Kiniski
Lonnie Mayne
Rip Oliver 
Don Owen 

Roddy Piper
Bull Ramos  
Buddy Rose

Dutch Savage
Stan "The Crusher" Stasiak 
Bull Ramos 
Jimmy Snuka

Maurice "Mad Dog" Vachon
Jesse Ventura
Ed Wiskoski 


CLICK HERE for a full Portland alumni list  



World Wrestling Association (1958-1968)
While Cal Eaton had been an independent-minded promoter with ruthless tendencies, it was Jules Strongbow that really took Los Angeles to new hieghts in the 1960s. Strongbow booked Los Angeles beautifully with charismatic Freddie Blassie as their keystone and some great in-ring talent, colorful characters and ethnic draws to support him. In 1961, Eaton's old partner-turned-nemisis Johnny Doyle returned, trying to start up a group aligned with San Francisco's Ray Shire, who was not affiliated with the NWA. Although they had potential, they were squashed by the star power of Freddie Blassie. While they were offically the "North American Wrestling Alliance" for several years, the promotion went from a continental company to a world company. The promotion ran strongly through the mid-1960s with ties to Rikidozan's JWA promotion and the WWA title was perhaps second only to the NWA title in prominence. In 1966, Cal Eaton died and Aileen brought her sons Gene and Mike LeBell into the promotion. Mike became the real political power, while Gene was the muscle and Strongbow and Blassie were the brains. Things were slowing down however, so in 1968, Los Angeles returned to the NWA fold. 

The Assassins
Buddy Austin
Freddie Blassie
Bobo Brazil
Eduard Carpentier

The Destroyer
Mike DiBiase
Bob Ellis
Luke Graham
Hard Boiled Haggerty

Kim Il (Kintaro Ohki)
The Kentuckians (Grizzly Smith & Luke Brown) 
Mike LaBell 
Pedro Morales

Mr. Moto
Bearcat Wright


CLICK HERE for a full Los Angeles alumni list





American Wrestling Alliance - San Francisco (1960-1968)
In the 1950s, the Shire Brothers were a successful tag team in middle America. In the 1960s, these same "brothers" were behind building one of the most significant territories of the day. Roy Shire was had one of pro-wrestling's best minds and after years of bumping around, he wanted to make some real money running a promotion. He settled in San Francisco in 1960. The region was nearly dead from years of a weak product and Shire wanted to take over the city. His main star was none other than his "brother" Ray, who became Ray Stevens, the best worker of the day. The "American Wrestling Alliance" (not to be confused with Verne Gagne's promotion), also called "Big Time Wrestling" was born. Shire roster grew steadily with the exciting babyface Pepper Gomez, the sinister Kinji Shibuya as well as top stars of the day like Don Leo Jonathan, Wilbur Snyder, Bob Ellis, Bearcat Wright and many others. The NWA tried to counter Shire by sending stars to Malcewicz's promotion, but they just could not save the pathetic product it had become. Shire easily won this promotional war and the NWA's influence in California was very limited for several years. Ray Stevens was a reckless character who got over huge, but was prone to problems that prevented him from being the top star of the 1960s and 1970s. He was money player for Shire though and as long as he could wrestle, he was able to be a significant personality. Cut from that same cloth was Pat Patterson, who became Shire right-hand man. Shire was a visionary, who carefully scripted his shows and it worked. He knew how to get talent over and did so with his formulas time and time again. Shire also had one of the premier TV arrangements of the day as he was able to get his product out to his Bay Area fans as well as fans in other Northern California cities: Fresno, Bakersfield and Sacramento. Even more significant was his markets in Hawaii (through promoter Ed Francis); Salt Lake City, Utah; Las Vegas, Nevada; Phoenix, Arizona; and Anchorage, Alaska. He did specialized interviews for each market and was really becoming a big player in the pro-wrestling world.   


Bob Ellis

Pepper Gomez
Curtis Iaukea

Pedro Morales
Kinji Shibuya
Roy Shire
Wilbur Snyder 
Ray Stevens
Bill Watts
Bearcat Wright


CLICK HERE for a full San Francisco alumni list




Mid-Pacific Promotions (1962-1979)
In the early 1960s, Al Karasick, who had run Hawaii for more than twenty-five years, stepped out and left the company to one of his top stars, Lord James Blears, and Don Owens' protégé, Ed Francis. The promotion developed the style they had become famed for in the 1960s and began bringing in some of the best talent from the West Coast. Many of the Hawaiians who became hot Japanese villains elsewhere started there. Although they brought in numerous top notch workers, Hawaii sought out the best talkers and men like Nick Bockwinkel, the Mongolian Stomper and Pepper Gomez were nice additions to the established stars. With the development of television, they creating a one-of-a-kind show that featured little wrestling and was filled with lengthy and captivating promos. Curtis "Da Bull" Iaukea and "Handsome" Johnny Barend are usually cited first, but characters like King Ripper Collins and The Missing Link (Pampero Firpo) were legendary characters on the island. Many others came in and captured the audience's attention, allowing their stories to reel the fans into the arenas. These were the best stickmen in the pro-wrestling world due to this tradition and they were able to take their abilities honed in Hawaii and become top stars anywhere else. Hawaii, due to its sand and surf, became an easy sell to outside talents, who would liven up things from time-to-time with a stint there.

Buddy Austin
Johnny Barend
Freddie Blassie
Lord James Blears
Nick Bockwinkel
Ciclon Negro
Ripper Collins
Dick the Bruiser
Harry Fujiwara
Dory Funk Jr.
Pepper Gomez
Karl Gotch
Billy Graham
Luke Graham
Great Fuji
Hard Boiled Haggerty
Curtis Iaukea
Gene Kiniski
Killer Kowalski
Frankie Laine
Luther Lindsay
Mad Dog Mayne
Missing Link (Pampero Firpo)
Mongolian Stomper
Pedro Morales
Don Muraco
Skull Murphy
Pat Patterson
Bill Robinson
Buddy Rose
Dusty Rhodes
Bobby Shane
The Sheik
Dutch Shultz (Dutch Savage)
Sam Steamboat
Ray Stevens
John Studd
The Destroyer
Sweet Daddy Siki
Rick Martel
Toru Tanaka
Tosh Togo
John Tolos
Enrique Torres
Johnny Valentine
Billy White Wolf
Bearcat Wright
Tojo Yamamoto




Superstar Championship Wrestling (1965-1976)
Dean Silverstone worked his way up the pro-wrestling totem pole quickly; he broke in by doing programs, became a referee soon after and began running spot shows for Harry Elliot, who was a regional promoter affiliated with the Portland office. After Elliot stepped out, Silverstone, only eight years in the business, secured the television rights in Washington state to start up his own company based out of Seattle. In addition to Washington, Silverstone ran part of Oregon and Idaho and had a successful non-NWA organization for a number of years. Silverstone's talent came from Lee Fields' office out of Mobile, Alabama and some local stars. He was able to even run in opposition to the NWA groups in Portland and Vancouver. Although the group was successful for a time, it eventually lost its TV and dried up.

Tony Borne
Luke Brown
Ripper Collins
Moondog Mayne
John Quinn
Bobby Shane
Rip Tyler




NWA - San Francisco (1968-1981)
In 1968, Ray Shire joined the NWA and began featuring their champion sometimes, but he mainly focused on his own stars and building them and their programs. In 1970, Shire lost his TV deal, which was the beginning of a slow decline for the once mighty promotion. Throughout that decade, the San Francisco office tried to stagger their fall by aligning with other companies. First was Don Owens' Portland-based PNW, but the deal quickly fell apart. Next was returning to alliances with the Midwestern promoters that had helped him climb to the top originally. By this time, they were not as strong or not willing to invest in Shire and it also failed. The last hope was Eddie Graham's Championship Wrestling from Florida, which was in the middle of its peak years. This arrangement proved to expensive and stopped after a few shows. Shire had simply lost his television, some of his key stars and was not able to hold his promotion together. He continually tried to build something, but by the early 1980s, Roy Shire held his final Battle Royal and called it quits. 


Paul DeMarco 
Pepper Gomez
Dean Ho
Great Mephisto 
Rocky Johnson
Peter Maivia
Lonnie "Moondog" Mayne 

Don Muraco
Pat Patterson
Buddy Rose 
Kinji Shibuya 
Roy
 Shire 
Ron Starr 
Ray Stevens
Ed Wiskoski


CLICK HERE for a full San Francisco alumni list




NWA - Hollywood Wrestling (1968-1982)
By the late 1960s, Los Angeles was on a downturn following the glory days of Freddie Blassie in the first half of the decade. Mike LeBell, who had assumed authority over the company had overseen a realignment with the National Wrestling Alliance. Amazingly, Blassie's greatest program, an extended feud with John Tolos, was yet to come. The feud took L.A. to another peak and even after Blassie stopped appearing and wrestling regularly, Tolos was able to draw well as a top heel. Throughout the 1970s, Blassie's returns sparked interest, but they could never replace him. The company began to turn more and more toward its Latino stars and audience. As the 1970s came to a close, it was becoming increasingly clear that pro-wrestling was changing. Numerous companies were pushing themselves to knew hieghts and breaking away from the NWA. Los Angeles, like San Francisco, was unable to replace its old talent completely since they could not hang on to the new stars they had. In the early 1980s, the LeBells were forced to close the company and Los Angeles has never been a strong city for a regular pro-wrestling company.   


Ron Bass 
Black Gordman
Freddie Blassie
Alfonso Dantes

Great Goliath

Chavo Guerrero
Hollywood Blondes (Jerry Brown & Buddy Roberts)
Mike LaBell 

Mil Mascaras

Roddy Piper
Tom Prichard
Victor Rivera
Masa Saito

Kinji Shibuya
John Tolos 


CLICK HERE for a full Los Angeles alumni list





NWA - Polynesian Wrestling (1979-1988)
In 1979, Peter Maivia and his wife Lia took over the NWA's Hawaii territory. Maivia had been a top draw in numerous markets and returning to the islands with his worldly connections seemed like the formula for success. The company had some excellent native talent and Hawaii had always been a respectable promotion that stars often longed to visit. Though the Maivias were able to bring in some major talent from various territories, the NWA was being pulled apart by the interests of different powerhouse promoters. 


Bad News Allen
Ripper Collins
Dirty White Boys (Tony Anthony & Len Denton)
Bruce Hart
Rocky Johnson
Tor Kamata
Jerry Lawler
Peter Maivia
Masked Cyclops (Frenchy Martin)
Don Muraco
Seiji Sakaguchi
Tama Tonga (Haku/Meng)
Kevin Von Erich



Championship Wrestling USA (1992-1997)
Pacific Northwest Wrestling had become an institution in its region. The fans were loyal and the product was always great, but like every other regional company, it had to close its doors eventually. Sandy Barr was quick to buy it up and try to ride off its legacy. While the shows were moderately successful in a time when pro-wrestling was at a popularity low point, Barr's company was still a small local show. He supported it through his successful flea market, was only able to secure only the local talent for any length of time and could never get a widely distributed or regularly aired TV show. Barr ran the promotion for a few years until depression led him to pack it in as the Owens had. 


Matt Borne
Col. DeBeers
Billy Jack Haynes
Jimmy Snuka
Buddy Wayne




PACIFIC COAST WRESTLING BOOKMARKS

Comments