A Can’t Miss Triple-Header Event!

By Ben Simon

Espy holds belt
Brandon Espinosa hoists his junior heavyweight title high after defeating his opponent on March 16th.

The historic South Broadway Athletic Club hosts a great card this Saturday April 6th, headlined by three major bouts.

The MMWA Heavyweight Championship will be on the line when Big Dave Osborne makes his first defense against Gary Jackson in a rematch of their bout on February 16th.

Even though Osborne won with his own skill and no underhanded tactics, he still must prove that he’s not a fluke.  Jackson is in an uncomfortable place as well; he’s not a champion.

Jackson’s leg injury is almost entirely healed now too.  The “Gorgeous One” must dodge Big Dave’s attacks to his right leg.  The match may depend on it.

Last month, it was “Pick Your Poison” for Junior Heavyweight Champion Brandon Espinosa and A.J. Williams.  Each man would choose the other’s opponent.  Espinosa demolished J-mal Swag, a debutant and protege of Williams’.

A.J. Williams defeated his opponent, a masked man named “Arachnia,” with a superkick.  However, Arachnia attacked Williams with a chair and revealed himself to be none other than Espy himself.

Brandon Espinosa dared acting Commissioner Tim Miller to suspend him.  Miller declined but made a match between the two for this Saturday for the junior heavy crown.  When Espy complained, Miller added that if Brandon doesn’t defend the title, he will be stripped of it.

Phil E. Blunt and Brian James will take on Jimmy D and The Big Texan on April 6th as well.  The Big Texan interfered multiple times to help Jimmy D steal a victory and retain his TV Championship last month against Blunt.  The tag match was made after Brian James saved Phil E. from a beat-down.

Not much is known of Blunt and James’ relationship.  However, Jimmy D and Texan have worked together before and are the likely favorites.

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Blunt: A Tough One to Smoke for Jimmy D

By Ben Simon

Phil E. Blunt
Phil E. Blunt’s ultimate goal is to regain the MMWA Title he last held several years ago. Photo: Mike VanHoogstraat

Jimmy D will defend his TV Championship this Saturday at the South Broadway Athletic Club against the returning Phil E. Blunt.

“Extreme Chaos” Jimmy D won the vacant TV Title last month against A.J. Williams.  Williams’ adversary, Brandon Espinosa, attacked A.J. and allowed Jimmy D to pick up the pinfall.

Usually a fan favorite, the manner of Jimmy D’s victory has lost him fans.  The former Bodily Harm member has expressed no regret for Espinosa’s involvement.  A win is a win.

“Wrestling’s Dope Man,” Blunt last competed 16 months ago in a match where (oddly) he teamed with Jimmy D against the Lumberjacks.  Despite the long layoff, Phil E. gets this shot as a gesture to his past merits.

Blunt was going to wrestle last month at Broadway, but the Missouri Office of Athletics said he didn’t complete the correct forms.  After speaking with the former champ yesterday, I can assure you, Blunt will be bringing his papers.

Big Dave Osborne Strikes Gold!

By Ben Simon

Osborne holds belt
Big Dave Osborne in the South Broadway Athletic Club locker room after his win on Feb. 16th.

In his second title shot ever, Big Dave Osborne defeated “Gorgeous” Gary Jackson on February 16th to win the MMWA Heavyweight Championship.

The end came at the ten-minute mark when Osborne countered the Texas cloverleaf and rolled up Jackson.  After a 100% clean, fair-and-square pinfall victory, Dave Osborne is the champ in the most historic promotion in the region.

Osborne was sharply focused on the big match with Jackson, which was his redemption of the King of Cable Cup he won in September.  There was no yelling before or during the match by Big Dave.  It was just a wrestling match where the better man prevailed.

Gary Jackson went into the match with a leg injury sustained the week prior.  Gary limped but he insisted that his injury played no part in the outcome of the match.  His loss ended a nine-month title reign.

Osborne recently held the Battle Royal Championship, which is how he got his moniker: Mr. Over-the-Top.  He lost that title due to misinformation; he didn’t think it was on the line when it was.

Osborne debuted on January 15th, 2011 with a loss to Webmaster Stevie K.  Since then, he has cut a drastic amount of weight and improved his maneuvers through a strict training regimen.  Now, we have a dangerous man on our hands.

The South Broadway titles also got a new name after the card ended.  The MMWA Heavyweight and Junior Heavyweight Championships will be known as such; the “MO/IL” state affiliation has been dropped.

For Osborne, Espinosa: Strike While The Iron is Hot!

By Ben Simon

Jackson passes out
Keith Smith Jr. checks on an unconscious Gary Jackson. Jackson is mum on any specific damage he suffered in his legs.

Gary Jackson had better walk carefully, in more ways than one.  The South Broadway heavyweight champ did not have a good weekend.  At a SICW card on February 9th, the champ challenged for Ricky Cruz’s Classic Wrestling Championship, seeking to become the first undisputed MO/IL Heavyweight Champion in over two years.

Gary got trapped in an Indian deathlock late in the match.  Jackson would not submit.  To inspire the crowd’s faith, he chose to recite his “rules” while in the hold.  After a minute on his belly, it was apparent that Jackson would not escape.

Rule Number One: I came out to win!…

-Gary Jackson

There was no “Two.”  Gary Jackson lay unconscious on his face.  He had passed out from the pain.  Jackson was helped out of the ring after the match.  He was unable to put significant weight on his legs.  As of writing Wednesday night, Gary confirmed he will be able to wrestle this weekend.

Enter Big Dave Osborne and Brandon Espinosa.  Osborne still retains his King of Cable trophy to cash in a title shot.  The junior heavyweight champ, Espy is gunning for “Gorgeous” Jackson, too.

The South Broadway Athletic Club hosts wrestling this Saturday, the 16th.  Regardless of his opponent, will Gary Jackson make it out in one piece?

The 50 Greatest Professional Wrestlers of All Time

By Ben Simon

“The 50 Greatest Professional Wrestlers of All Time: The Definitive Shoot” is now on sale at Amazon.com.  Regularly listed at $19.95, you can order now for just $11.73.

This book has substance.  There are no hidden agendas; there’s no merchandise to push.  Justification?  You’ll have 466 pages of reasoning behind the rankings.  Larry Matysik crosses all promotional and time boundaries.

This is one to read.

This Just In: Jackson vs. Osborne!

By Ben Simon

Jackson vs. Osborne

As the clock ticked toward Saturday, the pressure mounted for Tony Casta to make a decision.  In December, the South Broadway Athletic Club President vowed to “sort this out next month” after a skirmish between Gary Jackson, Dave Osborne, and Brandon Espinosa.

By the end of business Wednesday, Mr. Casta phoned and made it official: Gary Jackson will defend his MO/IL Heavyweight Championship against #1 contender Big Dave Osborne.  It will be Osborne’s first shot at the big one.

These two are no strangers in the ring.  However, the majority of their clashes were during Osborne’s rookie year of 2011.  This was prior to his domination as “Mr. Over-The-Top” and his 2012 King of Cable tournament win.  Dave pushed his way to the top and wants to topple the legendary champ.

Sound familiar?  It was January 21 of last year when Brandon Espinosa took the title from Gary, after a long campaign against the champ.  Jackson rebounded in May, of course.  “Gorgeous” Gary fights another hungry young challenger Saturday as he resists Father Time.

And Espy?  Broadway’s top brass gives him credit for his MO/IL Junior Heavyweight Title win last month.  However, a wrestler can’t just walk into the SBAC after six months away and step into the main event.

Espinosa is a great, popular wrestler.  But he’s going to have to work for it.  He has been away awhile and, who knows, get a few wins, he’ll be back up there.

-Tony Casta

Also, Dave Vaughn will return to Missouri to defend his TV Championship.  His opponent has not been finalized.  The “Wrestling Machine” last defended his title against Jake Dirden in October.

The first card of the year is always a special one.  We hope you can join us Saturday.

Rip Hawk: 1930-2012

By Larry Matysik

Rip Hawk

Rip Hawk passed away last week.  He was 82 well-lived years old.  And anyone who calls himself a true fan of St. Louis wrestling and still has to ask “who is Rip Hawk?” should be ashamed.

There’s no excuse for not at least acknowledging that somewhere, sometime, somehow, you’ve heard about the exploits of Rip Hawk when it comes to St. Louis wrestling.  Certainly not every big feud, maybe not all of the great matches, probably not all of his imaginative interviews — but you ought to at least know that Rip Hawk mattered when “Wrestling at the Chase” became both a local and national treasure in the mat world.

It started here, in St. Louis, with an exceptional program based on location, production and – just as important – talent.  There was a solid champion in Pat O’Connor, with an arrogant contender like Buddy Rogers.  An all-time great like Lou Thesz.  An up-and-coming star like John Paul Henning.  Other solid main event performers.

And three of the most special talents ever – Cowboy Bob Ellis, Gene Kiniski and – Rip Hawk.

Maybe Hawk was the smallest physically of that trio, but he certainly was just as notable as anyone.  Blond, barrel-chested, pointing to his “Profile,” and leaping off the top rope onto hapless foes, Hawk became the guy fans loved to hate.

What really put Hawk over was his interaction with Garagiola, like two bench jockeys sniping at each other all night long.  Rip called Joe a bald, broken-down old baseball catcher.  Joe pointed out that Rip’s head looked like a soccer ball that popped out of sewer hole.  Back and forth, with fans laughing and being hooked.

One time, Hawk and Kiniski were so infuriated by Garagiola’s needling (he was the best) that they jumped out of the ring and chased Joe around the Khorassan Room until the referees restored order.

Actually, that little display made Muchnick furious.  He jumped Hawk and Kiniski in the dressing room and let them know in no uncertain terms to leave Joe alone.  The wrestlers hung their heads.

Two hours later, at the old Redbird Lanes (Hampton and Gravois) owned by among others Musial and Schoendienst, Sam stopped for a burger on his way home.  He heard loud laughter coming from the bowling lanes.  Investigating, he found Hawk and Kiniski bowling with – who else? Joe Garagiola.

“Ah, Sam, they’re good guys.  I love ‘em,” Garagiola said.  But they all kept picking at each other on TV to the enjoyment of fans of all ages and either sex.

It helped build a remarkable audience and left an imprint still felt today on the community.

Since I was only a senior in high school when I interviewed Hawk for The Ring Magazine in the 1960s, I didn’t really get to know Hawk until he came back for a 20th anniversary show of “Wrestling at the Chase” in 1979.  I was doing play-by-play on “Wrestling at the Chase” by then.  That morning, in a one-hour breakfast with Rip, I learned as much about pro wrestling psychology as anyone possibly could. He was a class act – and a fine human being – all the way, willing to share.

Nobody understood how to draw heat and, more importantly, keep heat than Hawk.  So smart, using every tool in his repertoire.  Back in the day, he drew big crowd after big crowd – often selling out shows at 11,000 plus in Kiel Auditorium – and really seldom won!  But Hawk was so colorful and exciting, that didn’t matter.  Johnny Valentine, Thesz, Ellis, Rogers, O’Connor, Edouard Carpentier, Dick the Bruiser, Lorenzo Parente – that’s just a small sampling of legendary figures with whom he had fabulous battles.

After St. Louis, he had moved to the Carolinas and formed a famous tag team duo with Swede Hanson.  Rip also served as a mentor to none other than a young Ric Flair, who borrowed many of Hawk’s tactics.  When retirement came, he moved to West Texas.  For a masterful look at Rip, try “Googling” Mike Mooneyham’s excellent feature article on Rip.  It was written just before Hawk died.

The greats sometimes get forgotten.  It’s natural.  But, for now, let’s try to keep in mind one of those special performers who helped make the sport we all enjoy so much special and strong.

Rip Hawk.  If anyone asks who he is, be sure you can tell them.

Who’s Back? He’s Back!

Returning Champ

The man who started a revolution in the MMWA will return to South Broadway this weekend, as announced this month on Wild World of Wrestling.  The former heavyweight champion has been absent from St. Louis for a good chunk of 2012.

This impatient voice of the “Millennial” generation hasn’t made his intentions clear, but look for this competitor to attempt to edge Gary Jackson off his pedestal once and for all.

Just in case you think we’re being smart with you: No, we aren’t talking about Purple Passion!  Although, we like him well enough too.

This, much plus more and Big Dave Osborne waiting to strike…

Join us Saturday at the South Broadway Athletic Club for the last wrestling card of 2012 in all of Missouri.

A State of Flux – Feel It Tonight

Dave Vaughn brings The Big Texan down to the canvas (Photo: Mike VanHoogstraat).

UPDATE (11/11/12): Big Dave Osborne has retracted his intent to retire.  Below is the story as it originally appeared.

The South Broadway Athletic Club should be an exciting atmosphere tonight, as Wild World of Wrestling Executive Producer Tim Miller has promised the return of some “familiar faces and former champions.”  These unnamed men will be welcomed to an ever-changing SBAC.  Here’s the scoop.

Big Dave Osborne, the Battle Royal Champion, said on Facebook that he will retire following a final match November 10th.  Logic suggests he will redeem his MO/IL Heavyweight Title shot that he earned after winning the King of Cable tournament.

Last month, former MMWA-SICW Commissioner Keith Smith got into a scuffle (a punch was thrown) with the SBAC’s Tim Miller after a card at the South Broadway Athletic Club.  This led to a near-complete personnel split that may be evident at upcoming events.

Announcer Ben Simon spoke to SICW promoter Herb Simmons and Tim Miller on a recent edition of his show, RingSyders (listen to the 10/21 replay in the right sidebar at PartyAnimalRadio.com).  Hear both sides of the story now.

There are no public ultimatums for wrestlers to “take sides.”  However, some have:

Ricky Cruz, the Classic Wrestling Champion, will only compete in SICW.  Of course, he will retain his East Carondelet-controlled title.  This is why the “Fans’ Choice” Cruz match never happened.

Rumor has it that “Ironman” Ken Kasa has chosen exclusivity to the Travis Cook Organization in Southern Illinois Championship Wrestling.  “Wrestling Machine” Dave Vaughn appears to still be willing to wrestle at Broadway.

It appears we have truly seen the last of the 27 year-old MMWA-SICW coalition.  There’s only one way to find out who’s coming back to SBAC tonight; be there.

Osborne’s The King; When Will He Claim His Shot?

Dave Osborne proudly snapped a shot of his new hardware following the King of Cable tournament (Photo by Kevin Edwards).

He guaranteed victory and he delivered.  Big Dave Osborne is the winner of the 2012 St. Louis King of Cable Cup tournament.

As the sun set on this outdoor event, the air dipped down to 50°F and the ring was slippery with dew.  At one point, a turnbuckle snapped from the post, prompting concern from fans that the ring was becoming unsafe.  The tournament continued through the dangerous chill.

The completed bracket for Rock ‘N’ Wrestling on September 22nd.

After chomping down Lumberjack Abe and shutting down hometown favorite Brian James, Osborne met Ricky Cruz in the final.  Ricky and Dave showcased their merits in an equal, exciting bout.  That is, until the goons showed up.

The Travis Cook Organization, Dave Vaughn and Ken Kasa, rushed the ring to attack Cruz after Senior Official Jim Harris was knocked loopy.  Harris recovered to see Cruz dumping Kasa into a porta potty.

While it was hilarious, Cruz was counted out of the ring.  Spectators were outraged that the most anticipated tournament of the year had ended on a count-out.  Perhaps one man summed it up best as he exited the Knights of Columbus lot:

This is bullsh*t!

This Saturday, come see Osborne and others at the historic South Broadway Athletic Club.  You never know when Big Dave will redeem his KOC victory for a shot at the heavyweight title.