Pro Wrestling Posts

Fact Check: Matilda attacks Jimmy Hart’s Megaphone in Duluth

Prior to a Heavy on Wrestling card in Duluth this past weekend, “The Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart sat down for an interview on Fox 21. At the very outset he launched into an anecdote that seems to imply a tag team he managed, the Hart Foundation, wrestled the British Bulldogs in Duluth in the 1980s.

In the dressing room before the match, so the story goes, a dog named Matilda, the literal bulldog that accompanied the two wrestler “Bulldogs” to the ring, became agitated by Hart’s megaphone and unexpectedly attacked it. The summation of the story is that the surprise attack by Matilda in Duluth inspired planned antics by Hart at Wrestlemania III, the famous wrestling card that attracted 93,173 people to the Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac, Mich., considered at the time to be the largest audience for a live indoor event in North America.

Video Archive: Billy Jack Haynes and Adrian Adonis cut wrestling promos for 1987 Duluth appearances

The World Wrestling Federation brought its first card to Duluth on May 14, 1987. The main event featured Billy Jack Haynes losing a chain match to Hercules Hernandez. The syndicated TV program Superstars of Wrestling featured two promos for the Duluth Arena card tucked into the commercial breaks of local broadcasts. One featured Haynes (above) and another starred Adrian Adonis (below).

All Star Wrestling – Duluth Auditorium – Dec. 4, 1986


The American Wrestling Association brought some of its finest grapplers to Duluth 30 years ago, as the newspaper ad above attests. It was six months before the World Wrestling Federation juggernaut brought a series of shows to the Duluth Arena. The AWA, of course, was a smaller promotion and held its card in the Duluth Auditorium, with the ring placed on the stage the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra typically occupies.

Archetypes in Wrestling: Reflections on Recent Matches at Wessman Arena

DavidBeard_SEI spent last Saturday night thinking and rethinking about cultural archetypes through the most popular form of American theater, the wrestling show.

Heavy on Wrestling, a Duluth-based promotion, has organized numerous cards over the past decade at casinos and entertainment centers throughout the region. Last week’s event at Wessman Arena was intergenerational. Baron von Raschke, who started wrestling in 1966, served as the “commissioner.” For those a bit younger, who remember wrestling on network TV, “The Million Dollar Man,” Ted DiBiase and Eugene were present; DiBiase signed autographs and Eugene wrestled Minnesota wrestling mainstay Mitch Paradise.

If you thought wrestling was something that only happened on cable TV, you are missing out. There are more than a half-dozen wrestling promotions in Minnesota running shows throughout the state. To learn more, follow the work of Razzling Rick.

Video Archive: WrestleRock ’86

WrestleRock 86Thirty years ago — April 20, 1986 — the American Wrestling Association held what may have been its largest show, WrestleRock, at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis. More than anything that happened on the mat, the event is most remembered for the gloriously cheesy promo video, “WrestleRock Rumble” which blatantly stole from the Chicago Bears’ “The Super Bowl Schuffle.”

Duluth WrestleRock connection: Central High School graduates Scott and Bill Irwin, wrestling as the Long Ryders, lost an AWA World Tag Team Championship match to Curt Hennig and “Big” Scott Hall. It would be the Long Ryders’ final match. Scott Irwin died from a brain tumor on Sept. 5, 1987.

Superior’s Bogojevic begins wrestling training with WWE

According to Ringside News, Superior High School 2010 grad Nikola Bogojevic is part of a group of new recruits training at the World Wrestling Entertainment Performance Center. (He’s the hulking mass at the far right in the image above.) These men and women “will have the chance to hone their skills and fulfill their dream of becoming a WWE Superstar.”

R.I.P. Nick Bockwinkel

Nick Bockwinkel 1987

Professional wrestling great Nick Bockwinkel died Nov. 14 at age 80. The image above is from what was probably his last appearance in Duluth, as special referee during a World Wrestling Federation card at the Duluth Arena in 1987. (WWF is now World Wrestling Entertainment; Duluth Arena is now the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center Arena.)

R.I.P. Verne Gagne

Wrestling icon Verne Gagne died late Monday night. In recent years he struggled with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Gagne was best known for operating the American Wrestling Association out of the Twin Cities. He was an accomplished amateur wrestler, 10-time AWA World Heavyweight Champion and trained the vast majority of the superstars of the 1980s and ’90s.

Macho Madness Day in Duluth

To mark the occasion of “Macho Man” Randy Savage being inducted into the World Wrestling Entertainment Hall of Fame, Eyewitness News Sports Director Dan Williamson dipped into the PDD Photo Archive and recalled the time Duluth Mayor John Fedo declared “Macho Madness Day” in the city of Duluth.

Video Archive: Locker Room gets Blastered

The Third Base Bar on Tower Avenue in Superior used to be the Locker Room Lounge and Grill. Here is pro wrestling’s Gary “The Blaster” Lindgren extolling the virtues of the Locker Room, circa 1989.

R.I.P. Scott LeDoux — The Big French Canadian from Northern Minnesota

WGW Pro Wrestling Show at Duluth Heritage Sports Center

Wrestling Gone Wild Live Pro Wrestling at the Duluth Heritage Sports Center in the ice arena, May 21 at 6 p.m., starring Wild Bill Irwin, The Nuclear Native Gary Littlewolf and WGW Champion Cooter. At-Large Duluth City Councilor Jeff Anderson will be the Special Guest Referee for the main event. The proceeds will go to Twin Ports Action Coalition, a group working on ending homelessness and poverty in the Northland.

Fundraiser for the Twin Ports Action Coalition!

W.G.W. Heavyweight Championship
Cooter w/ Duck vs “the Bulldog” Sammy Savard

W.G.W. Women’s Championship
Mystik vs Scarlett Bordeaux

Brand New W.G.W. TV Championship – Fans Choose the Match!
Gary “The Nuclear Native” Littlewolf vs Kaz “tha Hoodfella” Karter

Big six-man main event featuring Wild Bill Irwin with
Special guest referee Duluth City Councilor Jeff Anderson

Also Legends the Blaster, Dynamic Dave and Dirty Ernie

Number-one Contender Tag-Team match!

Also Appearing: Asylum, Patriot III, The Blaster, Josh Price,Tommy 2 Tone, J.R. Backlund, The Bosnian Brawler and more.

Adults $10 in advance and $12 at the door
Children $6 in advance and $8 at the door

From the Photo Archive: One Man Gang wrestling in Duluth on Oct. 8, 1987


This photo by Barrett Chase is from a World Wrestling Federation card at the Duluth Arena. The badass in the foreground is George Gray, wrestling that night as the One Man Gang. In the match he defeated Koko B. Ware via count-out.

The show is clearly being stolen here by the guy in the Pabst hat and the middle-finger sign in the background. And that’s what makes professional wrestling so special.

More Duluth wrestling photos can be seen in the post: “Duluth Arena Pro Wrestling Photos from the 1980s – Killer Khan and so on.”

Below is a shot of the One Man Gang as he enters the ring. Later in his career, by the way, Gray changed his gimmick and became Akeem the African Dream.

MidgetPalooza 2009 World Tour in Duluth — *Micro Wrestling Federation @ NorShor* — Hot Meatball Action


I have my tickets; now I just have to work on my sign.


Duluth Arena Pro Wrestling Photos from the 1980s — Killer Khan and so on



Killer Khan wrestled at the Duluth Arena on Aug. 8, 1987. The infamous Mr. Fuji is in the background of the top photo.


Nick Bockwinkel was special guest referee on a different card.

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