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Wrestling News! Aug 15... New entry on the Maple Leaf Blog has a look at 'Wild Bill Zim! a colorful wrestler who worked quite a bit on Kasaboski's Northland circuit... also a Jack Corcoran portrait from the Toronto Archives, and a look at Whipper collecting Masks ...Also added the Q&A with Roger Baker to the Blog so others may see it...working on some new stuff over the summer to post in Fall, as always if you can add any info or corrections to any of the articles on this site please contact me... ...Have a safe and healthy summer!
'Tiger' Tom Nelson
The name may not be too familiar for us younger fans but Tommy Nelson, or 'Tiger Tom' as he was known in his wrestling days was a big part of the Toronto history both as a wrestler and as a promoter in the area.
He was one of the group that sailed to the U.K. in 1936 that set off the chain of events that would shape the city's wrestling landscape for many years to come (see Watson, Whipper!).
When he returned to Canada and was done with grappling Tommy would work alongside Frank Tunney in promoting cards all over the region right through the 1960's.
We take a look at his story in our newest feature on the names that shaped the history of the Toronto scene.
Classic Photo: Whipper vs Masked Marvel 1947
With special ref Jack Dempsey looking on, Whipper tries to start on his collection of Masks. Whipper would collect many of them in the years to come but not on this night.
Former boxing champ Dempsey would referee many big bouts here in the classic era as would many other former boxers including Jack Sharkey, Max Baer, Rocky Marciano, and 'Jersey' Joe Walcott.
This Marvel was the third version, a previous one had been unmasked in 1938 as Ted Cox
Whipper meanwhile would finally collect this Masked Marvel's mask in February 1949 revealing Lew Reynheer under the hood.
Pages From The Scrapbook - Raphael Halpern
Into the classic scrapbooks again , this time 1961-1962 and the Wrestling Rabbi Raphael Halpern.
Halpern came into Toronto in late 1961 and was a popular wrestler and a real Rabbi who left a long legacy both in wrestling and in his many other pursuits. We look at his time here and his battles with our #1 heel at the time -Bulldog Brower.
Hope you enjoy these looks inside these fantastic scrapbooks covering the Toronto scene in the 1950's and 1960's ! If you want the full size images drop me a line
Roger Baker talks Sweet Daddy Siki
We get to ask Roger Baker about Sweet Daddy Siki who is the feature of a new Documentary on his life and career. Siki was a regular here for many years while Roger was taking photos from ringside at MLG and around the area, and writing stories for the major magazines of the day.
Roger's 8mm film is a big part of the doc (great footage of Bruno/Whipper vs Siki/Brower) and he is featured himself in segments shot at his world famous 'wrestling room' in Ontario. With a unique perspective and vast wrestling knowledge, we are very pleased to spend a few minutes picking his wrestling mind on 'Mr Irresistible' Sweet Daddy Siki.
Classic Photo: Weaver vs Hayes 1982
A shot of the MLG Cage from Jan 1982 prior to a Johnny Weaver vs Lord Alfred Hayes bout. This was the first of 2 cage bouts that night, followed by a Mosca Studd brawl which saw Mosca take the Canadian Title from Studd.
Weaver would come back out to assist Mosca after Studd attacked him with the title belt after their bout, Weaver would get re-bloodied when Studd took a whack at him with the gold.
Classic Photo: The Gallaghers 1960
A classic photo from 1960 with the Gallagher Brothers tag team on the losing end of a battle with local heroes Whipper Watson and Ilio DiPaolo.
Action on the ramp was popular in every era dating right back to the ramp's inception in 1948 to serve as an 'escape hatch' for the bad guys. In addition to allowing the heels to escape the fans grasps (but not the projectiles!) the wrestlers quickly figured out that it could serve as a tool in the bouts.
This time Whipper and ilio use brother Mike as a battering ram heading for brother Doc who is tied up in the ropes.
THANKS TO ROGER BAKER for contributions to the MLWP. Many of the Classic photos come from Roger's collections from his many years as a fan and then Professional Photog shooting Wrestling & Boxing bouts at MLG and around Ontario. We are fortunate to have his contributions to the articles as he shares his memories from the classic days of Ontario Pro Wrestling. Roger wrote many great stories for the Wrestling mags of the day that featured his photos and time spent with many of the biggest stars ever to appear at Maple Leaf Gardens. Thank you Roger!
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Tiger Jeet Singh... ... doesn't get a lot of love from the online 'experts' many of whom likely never actually saw him. Granted, by our era here when he returned to regular cards in Toronto 1979-1980 he wasn't the greatest to ever grace the ring...but nowhere near the worst either. His first stint here, starting in 1965 was after he had trained with Crystal Lake's finest Fred Atkins. Now Atkins while a well trained and tough mat wrestler also excelled in the 'kick,punch,stomp' style of wrestling and that's evidently what he taught Singh. Tiger would earn huge success here in the following years, main eventing many cards and drawing many fans in our culturally diverse city to see him battle Whipper, Bruno. Johnny Valentine, The Sheik, and all of the other stars of the late 60's and 1970's. His feud vs Sheik in 1971 saw rare (by then) sellouts at MLG. He would leave for Japan and create a whole legend for himself over there and while his style may not hold up well he is another that had an aura that you can't capture by watching clips on youtube, see Sheik, Bruno etc. His career in Toronto would span from 1965 - 1983 in the NWA years and he would continue on McKigney's circuit through the next couple of years as his career here wound down. Still, if you were to consider the top wrestlers in Toronto history, Tiger would make that list.