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NewsboardDate (CET)Date (ET)
Wrestling History: What happened on December 3rd?
2022/12/03 6:002022/12/03 0:00
Wrestling History: What happened on December 2nd?
2022/12/02 6:002022/12/02 0:00
Wrestling History: What happened on December 1st?
2022/12/01 6:002022/12/01 0:00
Wrestling History: What happened on November 30th?
2022/11/30 6:002022/11/30 0:00
Oldschool: Oldschool Updates #6: A Fish Out Of Water
2022/11/29 15:502022/11/29 9:50
Wrestling History: What happened on November 29th?
2022/11/29 6:002022/11/29 0:00
Wrestling History: What happened on November 28th?
2022/11/28 6:002022/11/28 0:00
Wrestling History: What happened on November 27th?
2022/11/27 6:002022/11/27 0:00
Wrestling History: What happened on November 26th?
2022/11/26 6:002022/11/26 0:00
Wrestling History: What happened on November 25th?
2022/11/25 6:002022/11/25 0:00
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Oldschool: Oldschool Updates #6: A Fish Out Of Water
After a regrettable lack of update last week, we are back to look at content added to the oldschool section during the last 14 days.

History Nugget
Kingfish Levinsky, real name Harris Krakow, was never the most talented boxer. He was not technically gifted, nor particularly hard-hitting. His gift was his ability to entertain crowds with his antics. Primarily wrestling in and around Chicago, his hometown, he had a rapid following, that would cheer him almost equally in victory and defeat. His record stands at 74 wins and 7 draws in 118 professional fights. Though never ranked in the top-10 as a fighter, he managed to win against some of the major stars of the era, Jack Sharkey and Tommy Loughran chief among them, and he even beat Jack Dempsey in a four-round exhibition fight,

He also enjoyed great success at the box office, bringing home around $300.000 in prize money during his career (which is more than $6.000.000 when accounting for inflation). Lack of flair in the economy department left him completely broke by the end of 1937. As his boxing star faded, he was convinced (or convinced himself) to take up professional wrestling. It was not unheard of for boxing stars to find a source of income through wrestling following their mitt careers, Sharkey, Dempsey, and Max Baer comes to mind, but it was usually in the role of arbiter for big matches. A decade later some of boxing’s major stars would successfully transition to the mat game. People like Primo Carnera and, to a lesser degree, Tony Galento, would enjoy lengthy tenures in the grunt-and-groan game.

Not so much the Kingfish. Though he had a few mat exhibitions prior to hanging up the gloves, his first “real” wrestling match happened on January 3, 1938, in Rochester, Minnesota, when he beat preliminary wrestler John Bjorkdahl in around six minutes without using a single wrestling hold. His ability to work up the crowds, at least on paper, should have caused a smooth transition to wrestling, and even though his record shows an impressive win-record, it didn’t work out swimmingly for the Kingfish.

Fowler Stops Levinsky Test At 47 Seconds
- Claims Former Fighter Is Unable to Wrestle
The Courier-Journal, January 19, 1938

Kingfish Levinsky, the Chicago fish peddler who defeated such fighters as Tommy Loughran, Jack Sharkey and Jack Dempsey, decided about a pair of months ago to become a wrestler. He bough himself a bit of tape and styled himself “De Moider of de Mat.”

Until last night he had engaged in 8 mat tests and had been credited with 8 gleaming triumphs.

Last night he was scheduled on the Allen card at Columbia Gym for an hour-limit “everything-to-go” tussle with Alonzo Wood, a 220-pounder of Pittsburgh.

Nothing Went.
But nothing went. Wood rushed over and flopped the Kingfish to the floor, who squirmed around like a minnow, seemingly making no concerted move to do anything.

Wood, a skilled wrestler, appeared to be almost as puzzled as the Kingfish for he had anticipated vigorous opposition and here he was getting none at all, which was flabbergasting. Hadn’t Levinsky termed himself “De Moider of de Mat?”.

Wood started to put 3 holds on Levinsky and abandoned all 3, and still the King was content just to lie there, like a lackadaisical mackeral.

Took One Look.
Curley Fowler, the referee, took one look and, without further adieu, pulled Wood aside, gestured the blinking Kingfish to the showers, and hoisted Wood’s right hand as the winner.

Harold Steinman, Levinsky’s manager, dashed to the arena and demanded to know what was wrong. Fowler told him he had stopped the match because Levinsky obviously could not wrestle, that he could not defend himself. “His shoulders weren’t pinned, were they?” Steinman yelled. “No,” Fowler agreed. “Then if his shoulders weren’t pinned2, how do you know whether he can wrestle or not? If he couldn’t defend himself, why didn’t Wood throw him?”

Still Asking Questions.
Steinman still was asking these questions, and many more, at an early hour this morning.

Charley Schullman, who has been timing boxing and wrestling matches in Louisville for 20 years, said Fowler had halted the test at 47 second, which statement sent Levinsky and Steinman into renewed-vigor shouts of “murder.”

Heywood Allen, veteran promoter, strode to the loudspeaking contrivance, admitted that he was in the toughest spot in which he had found himself in 34 years as a wrestling impresario, and said he would try to find a way out if the crowd would give him a chance. It would. He said that Dan O'Connor, able wrestler of the Coast, had just motored in and maybe that Dan would help out in such an emergency. Dan said that he would, and soon he was in the ring with Wood as his adversary and the match proved to be one of the most interesting of the winter.

“Something Screwy.”
After O’Connor had gotten into the ring with Wood, Steinman intimated that the whole affair was a frame-up, that the plan all along had been to throw out the Kingfish and put in O’Connor.

“Levinsky doesn’t work for any wrestling combine,” Steinman said. “He is a poor boy who is trying to make a living, and these fellows have taken bread and butter away from him. O’Connor certainly came from the Coast in a hurry. And isn’t it odd that he had his paraphernalia with him? There certainly is something screwy about the whole business. Levinsky is good enough to wrestle in Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Duluth, Rochester, and other good towns, but here he is railroaded out in 47 seconds without being granted a chance to show what he can do.”[…]

When Ray Ryan (another wrestler on the card, ed.) learned that Steinman had intimated that Levinsky had been framed and that O’Connor was planted in the crowd so he could go on with Wood, Ryan said, “Well, if that was a frame-up, the crowd ought to be darn glad of it, for O’Connor can wrestle and Levinsky can’t.”

Levinsky Was Paid
Mr. Allen said the intimation that O’Connor was present for the sole purpose of wrestling on the card was too ridiculous to dignify with an answer. W. C. Merzwiler, speaking for the Kentucky wrestling and boxing commission, said no action would be taken against the Kingfish, and Mr. Allen said Levinsky would be paid off in full. Levinsky is to wrestle in Lexington tonight.”

Levinsky would go on to beat Whitey Govro with a roundhouse right in around 3 minutes in Lexington. The report states that Levinsky shouted from the ring that he had been screwed over by a Louisville referee the previous evening.

The Kingfish’s wrestling career would last only half a year, rarely staying more than a fortnight in any territory. Though he wrestled – and even boxed - occasionally after the summer of 1938, his primary line of work was selling watches and ties in front of his sister’s fish market in Chicago.

Notable new and updated shows
Vancouver, Washington – 1935, 1936, and 1937
In the 1930s, Vancouver mostly played host to secondary shows on the Western Athletic Club circuit. The WAC promoted heavyweight wrestling in the Northwest United States and Western Canada. However, for the first half of 1936, Herb Owens brought the light heavyweights from his brother Don's Portland, Oregon promotion to the city. Neither the Owens nor the WAC were very successful in Vancouver, and in 1937, wrestling did not return from its annual summer break.
Notable stars: Ernie Piluso, Harry Kent, Chief Thunderbird, Danny McShain, and Bob Kruse.

San Francisco, California – 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1959, and 1961
Several years were added in full, while many more has had venues and match times added to all cards, plus a small number of missing cards and matches.
Notable stars: Mike Sharpe, Ben Sharpe, Leo Nomellini, Ramón Torres, and Magnificent Maurice

Erie, 1938
One of the lesser stops on the immense Bowser-network. Many of the wrestlers on the bottom of the cards in cities like Buffalo, Toronto, and Montreal enjoyed main event success in Erie.
Notable stars: Danno O'Mahoney, Mayes McLain, Bob Wagner, Vic Christy, and Felix Miquet.

1938 Michigan update for Flint, Kalamazoo, and Jackson
More updates to our expansive reservoir of 1938 results. These shows presented wrestlers from the Detroit, Columbus, and Chicago offices.
Notable stars: Great Balbo, Lord Patrick Lansdowne Finnegan, Mystery Man, Rufus Jones, and Stacy Hall.

Kansas City, Missouri 1931
What it lacked in quantity, it made up for in quality. Many major stars stopped by the Convention Hall on the eastern side of the Kansas/Missouri border for shows presented by veteran promoter, Gabe Kaufman.
Notable stars: Everett Marshall, Joe Savoldi, Ed Lewis, Ed Don George, and Darna Ostapovich.

Seattle 1932
The newly-formed Greater Athletic Club ran weekly shows in opposition to the established presence of the Coast Athletic Club.
Notable stars: Casey Kazanjian, Charles Santen, Cyclone Mackey, Joe Parelli, and Jack Reynolds.

North Attleboro 1973
Another batch of weekly WWWF shows from Witschi’s Sports Arena in Southern Massachusetts.
Notable stars: Stan Stasiak, Chief Jay Strongbow, Pedro Morales, Freddie Blassie, and Gorilla Monsoon.

Tulsa, Oklahoma from 1930, 1931, and 1932
Final batch of shows from Tulsa during the thirties. In the early part of the decade, promoter Sam Avey still used wrestlers from other booking offices. One of those was the much-publicized – and criticized - Tom Packs circuit spanning from Chicago in the north, to Atlanta in the east, New Orleans in the south and Wichita in the Mid-West.
Notable stars: Jim Londos, Paul Jones, Charley Strack, Hugh Nichols, and LeRoy McGuirk.

Notable profile updates
The discovery of online photos from the Jack Pfefer collection posted to the Notre Dame website, many new aliases were found that added significantly to the following profiles:
Lou Britton - added Jack Bernard matches from the 1938-1939 period to his profile.
Jack Kogut - added Steve Kayak as an alias.
Figured out that Sammy Ford and Rocky Ford was one and the same.
Discovered that Roger McCune performed as Gorgeous George Wrangel.
The elusive Bernard Pantazi was Count Luigi and other short-term gimmicks.
Al Smith of Coughdrop Brothers fame started his career using the names Al Marcus and Al Norcus.
Four wrestlers crossed notable thresholds these past two weeks. José Lothario flew by 4,000 matches, Danno McDonald now has more than 2,000 matches in the database, while Henry Piers and John Cretoria joins the millennium club.

Notable championship updates
Updated the title histories of the San Francisco versions of the Pacific Coast Junior Heavyweight Title (San-Francisco-Version), Pacific Coast Tag Team Titles (San-Francisco-Version) and NWA World Tag Team Titles (San-Francisco-Version)
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