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49th anniversary of the debut of Australia’s World Championship Wrestling promotion  Rate Topic 
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 Posted: Thu Oct 24th, 2013 11:59 am
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Ed Lock

 

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G'day!

It's the 49th anniversary of the debut of the World Championship Wrestling promotion of Jim Barnett and Johnny Doyle in Australia. As such, I would like to appraise the very first World Championship Wrestling card that was presented on 23 October 1964 in Sydney, Australia.

The results were:
* Larry O'Day defeated Dr Al Woods
* Emile Dupre defeated Nikita Kalmikoff
* Dale Lewis defeated Buddy Austin
* International Wrestling Alliance (IWA) World Title: Killer Kowalski (Champion) defeated Dominic DeNucci

The venue was the famous Sydney Stadium, originally an open-air venue at Rushcutters Bay that was built to house the World Heavyweight Boxing Title match between champion Tommy Burns and challenger Bill Squires on 24 August 1908. The Stadium became legendary as the venue for Jack Johnson's title win over Tommy Burns on 26 December 1908. The Sydney Stadium gained its roof in 1911 and professional wrestling was presented in the arena from 1924 to 1970.

Barnett and Doyle created the International Wrestling Alliance as their governing body, citing San Francisco as the IWA's base, billing Roy Shire (then promoter in San Francisco) as IWA president and installing Killer Kowalski as the first IWA World Heavyweight Champion.

I feel that it is interesting to review the wrestlers appearing on that historic first event for promoters Barnett and Doyle in Australia.

Babyface Larry O'Day and heel Dr Al Woods were local wrestlers. Both were trained by former Australian pro wrestlers Hal Morgan and Jim Deakin. Morgan and Deakin operated a rudimentary gym in Wentworth Park in the central Sydney suburb of Ultimo and trained many of the Australian wrestlers of the day.

O'Day and Woods both wrestled for Morgan's Top Pro Wrestling promotion throughout Sydney’s many licensed (to serve alcohol) clubs. O'Day (also billed as O’Dea during his career) will be recognised by many American fans as being a member of the Australians tag team with Ron Miller. O’Day and Miller wrestled successfully in southern USA in the early 1970s and later became the promoters of Australia’s World Championship Wrestling company.

In contrast to the very talented O'Day, who received good pushes long before becoming a promoter, Woods was always utilised as a preliminary wrestler for Australia's World Championship Wrestling promotion. Dr Al did, however, often headline for Morgan's Top Pro Wrestling group.

Emile Dupre proved to be a fiery midcard babyface. Dupre was very popular especially with our female fans but didn't headline any arena shows. Emile's only main event occurred on TV when he lost an exciting IWA World Title challenge to the champion, Killer Kowalski.

Nikita Kalmikoff was an intriguing name to use on the inaugural tour. Kalmikoff (aka Nikita Mulkovitch, aka Alex Mulko) was a capable wrestler but my records reveal that he lost all his matches in Australia and he only competed in this country for approximately 4 weeks. Perhaps an American historian can advise whether Nikita possibly worked regularly for Barnett and/or Doyle in any of their US cities?

Dale Lewis played the clean cut, collegiate American babyface. This was based on fact as Lewis was a 2 time US Olympian (1956 and 1960 Olympic Games) and a 2 time NCAA title winner. Dale was popular but his main events were limited to challenging Killer Kowalski for the IWA World Title and teaming with Dominic DeNucci against the top heels on the tour.

Buddy Austin played number 2 heel to Killer Kowalski. Austin was a great rulebreaking wrestler and the master of the Piledriver. Buddy served as Kowalski's tag team partner in main events and also wrestled as a headliner against Dominic DeNucci.

Killer Kowalski was an all-time great wrestler and was acknowledged by promoter Barnett as his best heel attraction ever in Australia. The physically imposing and superbly fit Kowalski was the perfect choice as the initial IWA World Champion, having held versions of the world title in North America and being a perennial main event wrestler for many years.

Dominic DeNucci established himself as one of the best and most popular wrestlers to ever campaign in Australia. The ultimate authority, World Championship Wrestling promoter Barnett, told Dave Meltzer that DeNucci was his overall number 1 babyface draw in Australia. Just as Kowalski was the perfect choice as the number 1 heel for the new promotion, DeNucci was the ideal option as his babyface nemesis.

The drawing power and wrestling ability of both Killer Kowalski and Dominic DeNucci set Australia's World Championship Wrestling on the road to becoming what Dave Meltzer has described as the number 1 wrestling company in the world and the highest paying promotion in the world at the time.

Cheers!

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 Posted: Thu Oct 24th, 2013 12:08 pm
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carlton st

 

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cool post
interesting to see 2 Canadians in that bout
Emile Dupre defeated Nikita Kalmikoff

Klamikoff/Mulkovitch worked in Georgia in the early 70's but think that was before Barnett came back to the US, his side business as belt maker starting around this time would have kept him in with most of the promoters around the US

My question is did Mulko make any belts that were used in Australia



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 Posted: Thu Oct 24th, 2013 12:43 pm
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Ed Lock

 

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G'day carlton st,

I have never seen any records of who made the title belts that were used in Australia's World Championship Wrestling promotion.

If Alex Mulko was making title belts in 1964 then perhaps he was responsible for creating the original IWA World Championship strap.

With the utmost respect to Mr Mulko, maybe that's the story behind Alex being booked by Jim Barnett and Johnny Doyle on that first tour of Australia.

Cheers!

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 Posted: Thu Oct 24th, 2013 01:05 pm
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carlton st

 

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he came into hi sown (beltmaking) in the early 70's but from what I have learned he was experimenting with belts as early as 64-65

are there any pics online of the Australian belts?



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 Posted: Thu Oct 24th, 2013 11:54 pm
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Infamous
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Thanks for rundown

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 Posted: Fri Oct 25th, 2013 02:18 am
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Ed Lock

 

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carlton st wrote: are there any pics online of the Australian belts?


G'day carlton st,

Here's two images of Dominic DeNucci wearing the IWA World Title.

                     

Cheers!

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 Posted: Fri Oct 25th, 2013 10:31 am
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Count Grog
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love Dominic he can make the Iron Shiek blush



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 Posted: Fri Oct 25th, 2013 12:24 pm
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Count Grog wrote: love Dominic he can make the Iron Shiek blush
He throws a good forearm.

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 Posted: Fri Oct 25th, 2013 11:28 pm
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Question for Ed:

Are attendance figures available for many of the events you have information on?  The reason I ask stems from a conversation I had with DeNucci a few years ago in which his Australian tours came up.   My recollection is that Dom's memory of his first tours there were originally to be centered around Dale Lewis in the main programs, but fan response and turnout was a bit tepid at the outset, and DeNucci was given a chance at the top of the cards, and crowds improved.   That sort of tale gets told all the time by wrestlers who don't know of the diligence of researchers.  But DeNucci wasn't discussing it like that of a braggart, just nostalgic for how successful of a run he had.   

Is it safe to say you're likely in the age group of 55+ based on your detailed recall of the personalities and promotions of this era?      I have enjoyed a number of 1960s matches on YouTube from Australia that have excellent quality footage, and I might ask your perspective on some of these wrestlers and matches.   Cheers

 

 

 

 

 

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 Posted: Fri Oct 25th, 2013 11:49 pm
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HarryG
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Ed Lock wrote: carlton st wrote: are there any pics online of the Australian belts?


G'day carlton st,

Here's two images of Dominic DeNucci wearing the IWA World Title.

                     

Cheers!

I have seen photos of both Bruno and Pedro Morales wear that strap in WWWF rings.  I would love to know how that belt (or maybe a twin version?) made it into the WWWF.






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 Posted: Fri Oct 25th, 2013 11:51 pm
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HarryG
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Ed Lock-thank you for the response!  I saw it in a different thread. :)



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 Posted: Sat Oct 26th, 2013 12:41 am
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WongLee
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Very interesting pics of Bruno and Pedro thanks for posting them Harry. The shot with Pedro was taken in late '70, early '71 when Morales came back to the WWWF full time. They needed to get him over super quick so they stuck the "U.S. Title" on him. There was of course no history of a U.S. title in the Fed except for sometimes when Bobo headlined in D.C. and they needed to put some kind of strap on him to make it seem like a big match. Pedro hadn't been around the Northeast since late 1964 and since they knew he was going to be the number 1 baby in a very short time they had to give him some instant cred coming in. The Bruno picture I can't even begin to speculate :)



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 Posted: Sat Oct 26th, 2013 04:01 am
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Ed Lock

 

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G'day One Fan Gang, 

The results of Australian World Championship Wrestling events were published in the newspapers but, unfortunately, attendance figures were not included. Obviously, attendance figures were not announced at the events. At the peak of the promotion, most of the cards presented at Sydney Stadium would have drawn in the vicinity of 10,000 fans.

Legend has it that in 1964 promoters Jim Barnett and Johnny Doyle were keen to feature Italian babyface Dominic DeNucci to appeal to the multicultural fans in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia’s two biggest cities then and still today. However, it is also possible that the American promoters would want to build around an American babyface, in Dale Lewis, as DeNucci has suggested. 

I believe that Barnett and Doyle actually gave both DeNucci and Lewis a shot at the top babyface spot and it became very apparent that DeNucci was the number 1 fan favourite on the first Australian tour. A review of the early headlining matches reveals the following:

* 23 October 1964 in Sydney IWA World Champion Killer Kowalski defeated Dominic DeNucci in the main event; Dale Lewis defeated Buddy Austin in the main supporting bout

* 24 October 1964 Melbourne IWA World Champion Killer Kowalski defeated Dale Lewis in the main event; Dominic DeNucci defeated Buddy Austin in the main supporting bout

* 27 October 1964 Brisbane IWA World Champion Killer Kowalski defeated Dale Lewis in the main event; Dominic DeNucci defeated Nikita Kalmikoff in the main supporting bout

* 30 October 1964 Sydney IWA World Champion Killer Kowalski defeated Dale Lewis in the main event; Dominic DeNucci defeated Nikita Kalmikoff in the main supporting bout

* 31 October 1964 Melbourne Dominic DeNucci defeated IWA World Champion Killer Kowalski on disqualification thus the title did not change hands in the main event; Buddy Austin defeated Emile Dupre in the main supporting bout; Dale Lewis defeated Nikita Kalmikoff in a preliminary match

* 4 November 1964 Brisbane Dominic DeNucci defeated IWA World Champion Killer Kowalski on disqualification thus the title did not change hands in the main event; Dale Lewis & Emile Dupre defeated Buddy Austin & Nikita Kalmikoff in the main supporting bout

* 6 November 1964 Sydney Dominic DeNucci & Dale Lewis defeated Killer Kowalski & Buddy Austin in the main event

* 7 November 1964 Melbourne Dominic DeNucci defeated IWA World Champion Killer Kowalski in a no disqualification match to win the title; Emile Dupre & Larry O’Day defeated Buddy Austin & Nikita Kalmikoff in the main supporting bout; Dale Lewis defeated Col Peters in a preliminary match.

As you can see, after about two weeks DeNucci was the IWA World Champion for promoters Barnett and Doyle in Australia. In my opinion crowd numbers were never down. The Aussie fans respected Lewis as a solid worker but they responded to the ability and charisma of DeNucci by designating Dom as a superstar.

In answer to your request, please feel free to ask my perspective on any wrestlers and matches related to Australia.  :)

Cheers!

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 Posted: Sat Oct 26th, 2013 04:12 am
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Ed Lock

 

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G'day WongLee,

That photo of Bruno Sammartino was taken when he held the IWA World Title for the World Championship Wrestling promotion of Jim Barnett and Johnny Doyle in Australia in 1966.

A recent discussion concerning the IWA World Title can be found at http://sportsandwrestling.mywowbb.com/forum1/31561.html

Cheers!

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 Posted: Sat Oct 26th, 2013 04:15 am
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Ed Lock

 

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HarryG wrote: Ed Lock-thank you for the response!  I saw it in a different thread. :)


G'day HarryG,

I'm sorry that it took so long for me to reply, mate.

Cheers!

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