"Americans add flavor to New Zealand"
Wrestling Revue, November, 1972
by Dave Cameron
With big name wrestlers appearing regularly under the banner of Jim Barnett and Steve Rickard, 1972 has been a great year for New Zealand wrestling.
It is many years since the American stars were regular visitors out here, and with them back, wrestling is really booming. Since Walter Miller died, the Americans stopped coming, except for the odd few each year. Before the war, New Zealand was a great wrestling country, with Miller bringing out the very best America had to offer. In 1937, for instance, we had competing in New Zealand Lofty Blomfield, Dr. Gordon McKenzie, Tom Meade, Don Mclntyre, Hal Rumberg, Ray Richards, Sam Stein, Jack Forsgren, John Spellman, Matros Kirilenko, King Kong Cox, Chief Little Wolf, Earl McCready, Frank Marshall, Rusty Westcoatt, Ed "Strangler" Lewis, Glen Wade, Joe Woods, Frank Judson, Don Noland, Vie Christy, Francis Fouche and George Walker. . .
What a lineup! And in those days, the Americans used to come here by ship and have three weeks traveling to New Zealand and Australia. They used to train on board ship and always arrived in tip-top condition.
The foreign stars returned in 1972, and the fans love seeing the big names they have previously only read about in the American magazines.
Big Haystack Calhoun really packed in the fans here and he and his wife received the VIP treatment wherever they went. They appeared on TV on numerous occasions, held .press interviews and were kept busy with visits to schools, etc. No doubt about it, the Calhouns made a lasting impression here.
Canadian Dewey Robertson produced some first class wrestling and was likened here to that famous old .Canadian, Earl McCready. Earl was famous here for so many years. His name was a household name "for over twenty years. Dewey Robertson really produced the goods and will be welcome back anytime.
Tarzan Tyler, on his second visit to New Zealand, showed local fans what a top class American "badman" looks like, and although he didn't receive many cheers, he did produce touches of first class wrestling.
Easily the greatest showman to visit us was the strutting, cocky Negro star, Sweet Daddy Siki. He was a huge success, making several visits between here and Australia. The colourful star packed our halls and was one of the highest paid stars to appear here.
Mark Lewin at last visited New Zealand after being so close to us (in Australia) on numerous occasions. The fans weren't- disappointed. They took the good-looking American to their hearts. This heartthrob of the females showed some top class wrestling ability and the fans are anxious for him to return shortly.
Thunderbolt Patterson, another Negro star, impressed with his speed and agility and was likened to another old-time favourite out here, the late Jack Claybourne.
Big Bad John, the big Tennessee ex-preacher, on his first overseas trip, told me he was homesick and keen to get back to his family. John gained publicity here with his "Killer" hold and proved to be a rough, tough man.
Canadian Bulldog Brower, looking like a human tank, soon upset the fans with his arrogant manner. This powerhouse of a man showed a touch of speed and a ruthless form of attack.
Les Wolff, the colourful young blond giant, wrestled well on several visits here and should be back in the future.
Hawaiian King Curtis Iaukea really drew the fans in large numbers and sent everybody home happy on his first visit to New Zealand. Curtis is married to a New Zealand girl from Rotorua. No doubt we will see more of this colourful character.
Spiros Arion impressed with his wrestling ability and really looked like a first-rate matman. On his second visit to New Zealand, Spiros proved very popular.
Peter Fanene Maivia, the Samoan star, who now lives in California, proved as popular as ever here. Peter is returning to California via Australia and Japan, so his American fans will see him again shortly.
Pat Barrett, Irish heavyweight star now living in New Zealand, is one of our brightest stars. Pat is well-known in the U.S.A. He has wrestling ability plus.