1wrestlinglegends.com

Columns

Wrestling Reunions and Get-Togethers


Tennessee Wrestling Legends Reunion
 

Tennessee Wrestling Legends Reunion

The Tennessee Wrestling Legends Reunion was held on October 1-2, 2010, at the home of Scott And Angela Teal in Gallatin, Tennessee.   Many of the wrestlers in attendance were seeing each other for the first time in more than 30 years.

Bill Bowman and Joe Turner drove 469 miles from Pensacola, Florida, but were the first to arrive on Friday, beating out several people who live in nearby Hendersonville, specifically Eddie Marlin, who in his younger days might have walked the 6-1/2 miles from his house.

Three people flew in: "Nature Boy" Roger Kirby (Grandview, MO), Duke Myers (Clackamas, OR), and Frankie Cain (Fort Walton Beach, FL).

Two others, Ronnie West and Bill Dundee, both of whom work for the Cole Bros. Circus, pulled a few strings and got time off to attend.

For the next three hours, a steady stream of people arrived: Buddy Wayne, Candi Divine, Charlie Smith, Colin West (and Roberta Roberts), Don and Sandy Wright, Jerry Barber, Jerry Jarrett, Jim Dalton, Joe and Michelle Cagle, Kathy Renesto (Branch), Len and Jeannie Rossi, Les Thatcher, Mac McMurray, Paul and Shirley Neighbours (Jr.), Paul and Wanda Neighbours (Sr.), Ronnie Garvin, Ronnie West, Phil and Sylvia (Hackney) Miller, Tim Renesto, Tom Renesto, Jr., Tommy Marlin, and Tony Falk.

That evening, everyone enjoyed barbeque sandwiches, along with side dishes and desserts prepared by Angela Teal.   As expected, Charlie Smith was the first one standing in line with his plate in hand. (see photo below)   After dinner, everyone sat around the fire pit.   Well, almost everyone.   Like two hungry dogs who are afraid someone will take away their food, Mac McMurray and Ronnie Garvin spent most of their time in the house wolfing down as many of the homemade white-chocolate-covered pretzels as they could.

Al and Jeannie Greene, Arvil and Lisa Hutto, Cora Combs, Debbie Combs, Dennis and Jean Hall, Frank and Ina Morrell, George Gulas, George Weingeroff (along with his two brothers Eric and Herbie), Gorgeous George Jr. (who would easily be voted in as "the person who changed the most," Larry Cheatham, Mike Porter, Tommy Heggie, and Tommy Weathers all arrived on Saturday.

Several "firsts" took place during the two days.

One, the "Wrestling Cousins" — Dennis Hall, Roger Kirby and Les Thatcher — were all together in one place for the first time since 1966 (see photos below).

Two, Frankie Cain donned an original Infernos mask to have his picture taken with Tommy "Dante" Heggie.   When Frankie reached up to take off the mask, Scott Teal quickly snatched it off.   That was the first time EVER that one of the Infernos has been unmasked.

Charlie Smith took two bumps on Saturday.   Scott expects to hear from Charlie's attorney any day now.

Several awards and door prizes were given out on Saturday afternoon.

Buddy Wayne won a book titled "The History of Professional Wrestling: Chattanooga, Tennessee, 1950-1983" for being the person there who wrestled in Tennessee for the longest time (since 1952!).

Charlie Smith won a prize for being married the longest (55 years), beating Frank Morrell by a slim three years.

Joe Turner and Bill Bowman, who wrestled in Tennessee as Joe and Bill Sky (or Bill and Joe Sky, depending on which one you talk to), won a prize for arriving first on Friday, while Mac McMurray took the honors for getting to the house first on Saturday (probably because he thought Angela would be serving white-chocolate-covered pretzels for breakfast).

Duke Myers won a Shell gasoline card for coming the furthest.

At 82 years of age, Cora Combs was the oldest person there and was also the person who had been in the wrestling business for the longest time.

Two quizzes were given over the two days period.   Jim Dalton, Joey Franks, Les Thatcher, Sylvia Hackney, Tom Renesto Jr., and Tony Falk all received perfect scores on the "Nickname" quiz.   Tony Falk won the prize of 21 issues of "Whatever Happened to ...?" when his name was drawn in the tiebreaker.

The second quiz was to guess the names of more than 100 wrestlers on the reunion poster.   Sylvia Hackney got the most correct with a score of 101 out of 108.   She also received a set of the "Whatever Happened to ...?" magazines.

A picture on the poster of one particular masked wrestler stumped everyone but Jim Dalton and Joey Franks (and I'll never know how they figured it out).   It was actually a trick question because the masked "wrestler" was Scott Teal, who had his picture taken by his mom after buying the mask from Karl and Hildegard when he was in high school.   Jim and Joey ... you guys are amazing!

All in all, everyone had a great time visiting, rekindling old friendships, telling old war stories, and catching up on what took place AW (after wrestling).

Click HERE to read MAKING MEMORIES by Jerry Jarrett


Photos not for reproduction in any media source without written permission of the photographer.
 

Joe Turner-Bill Bowman-Jerry Barber
Photo by Scott Teal
 

Tommy Marlin-Eddie Marlin
Photo by Scott Teal
 

Joe Cagle
Photo by Scott Teal
 

Buddy Wayne
Photo by Roger Kirby
 

Jerry Jarrett
Photo by Roger Kirby
 

Sylvia Hackney
Photo by Roger Kirby
 

Charlie Smith
Photo by Scott Teal
 

Cora Combs-Debbie Combs
Photo by Roger Kirby
 

Ronnie West-Bill Dundee
Photo by Scott Teal
 

Gorgeous George Jr-Roger Kirby
Photo by Scott Teal
 

Angela Teal-Sylvia Hackney-Scott Teal
Photo by Scott Teal
 

Tommy Weathers-Jerry Barber-Larry Cheatham
Photo by Scott Teal
 
Photos not for reproduction in any media source without written permission of the photographer.
 

George Gulas-Roger Kirby
Photo by Scott Teal
 

Les Thatcher
Photo by Roger Kirby
 

Ronnie Garvin-Frankie Cain
Photo by Roger Kirby
 

Paul Neighbours Sr.-Wanda Neighbours
Photo by Scott Teal
 

Frankie Cain-Tommy Heggie
[Mephisto and Dante]

Photo by Scott Teal
 

Lisa Hutto-Arvil Hutto-Tom Renesto
Photo by Scott Teal
 
 
Then and Now: 1966 and 2010
Gorgeous George Jr.

Photos courtesy of Scott Teal
 

Frank Morrell-Len Rossi-Ronnie West
Photo by Roger Kirby
 

Debbie Combs-Tony Falk-Cora Combs
Photo by Roger Kirby
 

Mike Porter-Tommy Heggie-Tim Renesto
Photo by Roger Kirby
 

Bill Bowman
Photo by Roger Kirby
 

Gorgeous George Jr-Duke Myers
Photo by Scott Teal
 

Eric Weingeroff-Herbie Weingeroff-
George Weingeroff

Photo by Scott Teal
 
Photos not for reproduction in any media source without written permission of the photographer.
 

Tony Falk-Charlie Smith
Photo by Scott Teal
 

Colin West-Mac McMurray
Photo by Scott Teal
 

Bill Dundee-Sandy Wright-Gorgeous George Jr.
Photo by Roger Kirby
 

Jerry Jarrett-Buddy Wayne-Bill Dundee
Tommy Marlin-Eddie Marlin

Photo by Roger Kirby
 

Joe Cagle
Photo by Scott Teal
 

Paul Neighbours Jr.-Len Rossi-
Paul Neighbours Sr.

Photo by Paul Neighbours Jr.
 
 
The Wrestling Cousins: 1965 and 2010
Dennis Hall-Roger Kirby-Les Thatcher
Photos by Scott Teal
 

Candi Divine
Photo by Paul Neighbours Jr.
 

Al Greene-Jerry Jarrett
Photo by Roger Kirby
 

Don Wright
Photo by Scott Teal
 
Photos not for reproduction in any media source without written permission of the photographer.
 

Photo by Scott Teal
 

Photo by Scott Teal
 

Photo by Scott Teal
 

Frankie Cain-Frank Morrell
Photo by Scott Teal
 

 

Jerry Jarrett-Buddy Wayne
Photo by Scott Teal
 

George Gulas
Photo by Scott Teal
 

Joe Cagle-Michelle Cagle
Photo by Scott Teal
 

Dennis Hall
Photo by Scott Teal
 
Photos not for reproduction in any media source without written permission of the photographer.
 

Charlie Smith-Kathy Branch
Photo by Scott Teal
 

Jim Dalton-Al Greene
Photo by Joey Franks
 

Cora Combs-Kathy Branch
Photo by Scott Teal
 

Jerry Barber-Ronnie Garvin
Photo by Scott Teal
 

Sylvia Hackney-Al Greene-Jim Dalton
Photo by Scott Teal
 

Duke Myers after a long weekend
Photo by Scott Teal
 

Jerry Jarrett-George Gulas
Photo by George Gulas
 

Herbie Weingeroff-Frankie Cain
George Weingeroff-Len Rossi-
Eric Weingeroff-Bill Dundee

Photo by Scott Teal
 

Jerry Barber-Scott Teal-Ronnie Garvin
Photo by Scott Teal
 

Crowd photo
Photo by Scott Teal
 

Ronnie Garvin-Tommy Weathers-
Larry Cheatham

Photo by Roger Kirby
 

Crowd photo
Photo by Scott Teal

 
MAKING MEMORIES
by Jerry Jarrett

I wish I had realized when I was in my teens, and during the early years of my life, that I was in the process of making memories.  At the time, I suppose I was so busy with life that I just zipped from one day to the next and didn't really let the great moments I was having soak into my mind.  I also look back now and realize I never said thank you as often as I should have.

I went to Scott Teal's reunion on Friday and Saturday and saw people I had worked with 20, 30 and 40 years ago.  The memories that had been tucked in some deep corner of my mind came flooding back.  Your mind plays funny tricks in situations like this.  As I looked at the name tag of someone I didn't recognize, the name triggered a wonderful memory, and suddenly, 30 or 40 years were erased from the person standing in front of me.  I was then talking to the person that had been buried in my mind all those years.

Joe and Bill Sky [Joe Turner and Bill Bowman] were at the party.  Les Thatcher and Dennis Hall were there.  Only Ken Lucas was missing from the wonderful memory I had of an earlier time.  The memory was of late 1968.  I was a young kid who was truly wet behind the ears.  Roy Welch had put me into the position of booker.  Les Thatcher, Dennis Hall and Ken Lucas were the top men in the Tennessee territory.  They resented having to take orders from a kid who had not paid his dues in the wrestling business.  As a result, they decided to leave the territory, something I didn't understand at the time due to the fact that I hadn't paid my dues.  I went to Roy Welch and asked for his help.  Roy declined to intervene and told me I needed to decide right then and there if this job was for me.  I went to Joe and Bill Sky and asked if they would work with me.  They agreed.  The entire scene of the Memphis television studio on that Saturday morning is as fresh in my mind as if it were yesterday.  Joe and Bill went to the ring to wrestle Tojo Yamamoto and Johnny Long and they had the absolute greatest match I had ever seen.  After a really bad hardway with the blood flying, Joe and Bill pulled off their belts and, with every strike, raised huge welts on the backs and chest of Tojo and Johnny.  The intensity of the match was such that the welts on Johnny's back began to bleed.  Tojo and Johnny retreated to the dressing room and the Sky boys asked to finish the fight Monday night at the matches.  Roy Welch signed the match.  On Monday night, the building was packed.  We had the biggest box-office gate we had in the previous seven or eight years.  In all likelihood, if it had not been for Tojo, Johnny, Joe and Bill, my life would have not been the same.  Tojo and Johnny are gone.  I'm not sure I ever told them how much they meant to my life, but I'm grateful I got to see Joe and Bill Sky and have the opportunity to say "thank you."  Les, Dennis, and Ken all came back to the territory and worked for me later and had great careers.  I was able to tell all three of them that I understood their reasons for doing what they did and that I would have done the same thing had I been in their situation.

My longtime friend Al Greene was also at the reunion.  I have so many great memories of Al, but none stand out like the interview he made one Saturday morning at TV when Al was booked against Jackie Fargo.  During Al's interview with Lance Russell, he said Jackie came from a long line of cowards.  He told Lance that not only was Jackie a coward, but his daddy was a coward before him.  Lance admonished Al, saying Jackie's father was deceased and he shouldn't make disparaging remarks about him.  Al said, "Oh, excuse me, Lance.  I didn't know his daddy was dead.  Now that I know, I should have said, 'Jackie Fargo is a coward and his old dead daddy was a coward too.'"  The comment by Al stirred such emotion in Jackie that he broke down during the interview.  Memphis sold out the next five Monday nights in a row with Jackie versus Al as the main event.  When I looked at Al sitting in his wheelchair, I still saw him as the big bear of a man he had been 30 years previously.

Bill Dundee, my friend who had such a great run with me in the Tennessee territory, was at the reunion.  Bill still works out and looks almost like he did years ago when I first worked with him and his Australian partner, George Barnes.  Tony Falk was at the reunion and reminded me about how I talked him into becoming "Boy Tony" in the likeness of Boy George, who was hot at the time.  Cora Combs and Debbie Combs were there.  Cora is amazing and her mind is as sharp as ever.  Memories of her tough style in the ring came flooding back as I talked to her.  Unlike the rest of us, Debbie never seems to age.  The lovely Sylvia Hackney was there and looks great.  My cousins, Paul Neighbours and Paul Neighbours Jr. were there and we enjoyed great memories of being on the road together.  Buddy Wayne was there with countless stories about our days promoting towns together.  My father-in-law, Eddie Marlin, and his brother, Uncle Thomas, were there, and during the time we spent together talking about old times, we were all young men again.  Saul Weingeroff's three sons, George, Eric and Herbie, were there.  And then there was Len Rossi, who I not only wrestled with, but worked with in the office when we were booking with Nick Gulas.  When I saw George Gulas, so many good memories of my times with his dad came back.  Time and memories do really wonderful things to each other.  Time erases any unpleasant memories and allows only the good memories to survive.

There were so many people at the reunion that were a part of my life.  I was glad to see them all.  The only regret I have is that I was too busy to know at the time that I was making such wonderful memories.  I wish I had taken the time to tell the people at the time how much I appreciated them helping me make those great memories.

 
Thanks for visiting 1wrestlinglegends.com.  Come back often!

Website design by Scott Teal

Copyright © 2010 by Scott Teal.  All rights reserved.

No part of this material may be used or reproduced in any form
or by any means without prior written consent of the publisher.