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Wrestling News! Mar 23 ...Few new entries on the Maple Leaf Blog ,local Wrestling schools. Verne Gagne, Canadian Wrestling Newspapers 72-73...
Working on a Fritz Von Erich in Toronto feature...Our pal Griff has a ton of MLW bouts up at
MLW Archives on Youtube lots of TV and MLG bouts...
The Canadian Open Tag Titles - Trophy
From 1952 to 1961 we had the Canadian Open Tag Team Titles. Tag Titles were a fairly new thing in the early 1950's and instead of belts, most promotions awarded a trophy to the champs.
In Toronto we had the Calvert Trophy. Calvert Distillery sponsored many sports and had a syndicated column in the papers. Another noteworthy Calvert Trophy had been awarded to hockey great Maurice Richard in 1951, ours was presented in August 1952.
The first holders of the titles were Whipper Watson and Pat Flanagan. They defeated Lord Layton and Hans Hermann in a tournament final to gain the honors.
Pages from the scrapbook: 1953 Whipper & Robert
Another feature from the Scrapbooks, This time the Canadian Dream Team !
Whipper Watson and Yvon Robert were the 1-2 punch in Canadian Wrestling during the 1940's and 1950's.
Whipper ruled Toronto while Robert ruled Montreal and over the years the two had quite a rivalry going.
After many tough battles here and in Quebec, the two would finally team up to create a dream team of the era. It wouldn't take long for the two to lift the Canadian Open Tag Titles from Dick Raines and Lou Plummer.
Classic Photo: The Mulligans 1982
From February 1982 Blackjack Jr. helps poppa Mulligan after another tough bout vs Big John Studd.
Sr. and Studd had many tough battles here with most turning into bloodbaths.
This one had Jr. coming in to help Sr. after Studd attacked Sr. after the bell. This card also marked the debut of Jr. who took on Austin Idol in a good bout.
Even at this early point you could tell Jr. was going to be a star, the fans were already solidly behind him.
Both Mulligans would continue in Toronto after the WWF came in, Jr. as Barry Windham. Sr.'s Toronto career went back to 1971 when he faced Lou Klein in his debut at MLG.
Classic Photo: Dick Hutton 1958
NWA champ Dick Hutton is carried off after a tough bout vs Whipper Watson 1958 Hutton will be forever linked to Toronto after winning the title here in Nov 1957 by beating Lou Thesz.
He debuted here in April 1956 and soon started his $1000 challenge to anyone who could pin him in under 20 minutes. This bout, 2 months after Hutton had won the title ended when Watson appeared to pin Hutton but the champ had his foot on the ropes.
We continue the Almanac, this time looking at the year in Maple Leaf Wrestling 1981. It was a landmark year for the promotion with more overall shows around the region and increased attendance over the previous years.
One of the biggest shows of the era was held in recognition of Toronto's 50th Anniversary of Wrestling at Maple Leaf Gardens and saw the triumphant return of favorite Ric Flair as the new NWA World champ.
Angelo Mosca would continue his success as the new local hero and holder of our Canadian heavyweight title. He would see challenges from Jimmy Snuka and Roddy Piper as well as earning a title shot vs NWA champ Harley Race, and would also find time to lose the Canadian belt twice.
Piper would become one of the most popular (hated) regulars, and we would see the only Canadian NWA Title defense of Dusty Rhodes in a bout here in September in a busy year for the local fans.
Gene Kiniski in Toronto: Have no fear Kiniski is here
When he came into Toronto in 1956, it was with a thunderous entrance and the storm stuck around for a long time. On and off for 27 years in fact, much of those in the midst of the action at the top of the cards here.
His first appearance here came in the opening bout on the November 8 1956 card which saw a main event of then NWA champ Whipper Watson vs Mr Moto. Kiniski beat Ken Kenneth in the curtain raiser and the Whip beat Moto in the main.
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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Mini Bio ......Domenic Denucci
got his start here as Domenic Bravo, one half of the Bravo Brothers tag team. The other half was Dino Bravo - real name. The 'brothers' worked tag and solo in 1960 in Toronto and around Southern Ontario. Dom came back as Denucci in 1969 first showing up to help pal Bruno Sammartino in a bout vs The Sheik. He interfered in another Sheik bout (vs Gene Kiniski) and got a few main events over the next several years vs Sheik while mostly wrestling on the mid card or in tags with Tony Parisi, Tony Marino, and others. He was a regular here right through the 1970's and even got an NWA Title shot vs Terry Funk in 1976, and an AWA Title shot vs Nick Bockwinkel in 1977. His last appearance at MLG during the NWA era was in Feb 1982 but he continued to appear on Wildman shows around the area until 1983.