When Andre and Another Future Wrestling Giant Slugged It Out in Fresno – Fresno, California

Fresno, California 2021-01-09 08:00:55 –

Two of the greatest wrestling stars of the 1980s fought in Fresno ring at the beginning of the decade. One is already a legend of good intentions. Another regional star on the way to becoming an icon.

David Taub

From the bottom rope

And a week later, the NWA World Heavyweight Champion came to town. It happened on January 12th and 19th, 1980 for the local wrestling mogul Pat Diffria.

Since 1979, longtime boxing promoters have held weekly cards at the Wilson Theater in downtown Fresno and have been called the Wilson Arena for ring events. He imported talent from the NWA-affiliated Hollywood wrestling office that advertised the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles.

DiFuria Jump began wrestling in Fresno after a dark period of several years when San Francisco-based promoter Roy Shire stopped sending wrestlers out of the Bay Area. He stopped for a while around 1981.

Andre vs Piper

Andre discovered Diffria’s first card in 1979 and appeared occasionally. He already had the unofficial title of a top touring attraction in wrestling.

For his match vs. Piper 41 years ago, Fresnoby reported the attendance of 1,250 fans from the usual 700 weekly enthusiasts.

Piper was a West Coast star, a product known for its promotional West Coast main event cards based in Portland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

He did not gain fame on the East Coast and across the country until the late 1980s. He set out for a Jim Crockett promotion based in the Mid-Atlantic region. A year later, Piper began appearing weekly in WTBS wrestling (because at the time, an Atlanta-based superstation was known).

1980 Fresno Bee photo of Andre the Giant fighting Roddy Piper (Newsbank / Fresno Bee)

Returning to Fresno, Bee explained the side of the match — Piper played the bagpipes before the match. Andre stole the bagpipes to reassure the crowd. Piper slammed Andre with a belt.

Andre recovers and makes the most of Piper.

“Andre made Lodi better and finally sat on the back of the ring and posed like a thinker. And — humiliation humiliation — Lodi jumped out of the ring and ran down the aisle from horror. He returned. “I’m not here,” wrote Dennis Pollock.

Andre and Piper met again when they were both at WWF. Similar results were obtained in a match aired on Philadelphia Spectrum in 1984, when Andre won the countout when Piper escaped.

And a week later, the world champion

That night also featured a battle royale, where the winner receives the world title shot next week, as if Piper vs. Andre wasn’t big enough.

Surprisingly, Andre didn’t win — he’s also known as the king of battle royale and won a similar match at the Olympics the night before.

Chabo Guerrero won a match of 12 players and faced a Harley race on January 19, 1980 at the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.

It was a rare appearance for Fresno’s NWA title holders. The result of the match is now lost in history, but the race remained a champion.

Guerrero was a top star in Los Angeles at the time and was a member of a large wrestling family, including his brother and former WWE champion Eddie Guerrero and his son Chavo Guerrero Jr., and is still an active wrestler.

With Andre’s royal victory at the Battle of Los Angeles, he fought a draw the following week and received a title shot against the race.

Gorgeous George rolls up 60 years ago

Gorgeous George is perhaps one of the most famous names in wrestling history and a pioneering star from the early days of television.

Known for his blonde hair and flashy robes, George brought showmanship to wrestling.

Sixty years ago, George played the penultimate match in Fresno, where he played against former professional soccer player Shag Thomas at the Fresno Memorial Auditorium on January 14, 1961.

After George quit following a series of headbutts, Thomas won the two-thirds fall case.

Gorgeous George, real name George Wagner, finally appeared in Fresno later that summer. He died in 1963 at the age of 48.

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