Remembering Ohio Championship Wrestling

(originally written by the late Dale Pierce and edited by Evan Ginzburg)

Dale Pierce was a noted wrestling manager (The Time Traveler), wrestler (Marcial Bovee), licensed teacher, and prolific author of eclectic books on bullfighting, wrestling history, Western outlaws and various other subjects that struck his fancy. He tragically passed away last week after a long battle with Cancer. I published him in my Wrestling-Then & Now newsletter for some twenty years. I would love to see his work live on for those interested in the more obscure territories and wrestlers who are rarely brought up decades later in Ohio Championship Wrestling.

When Domenic Denucci, Bruno, and others made an ill-fated decision to break off with the WWF in the 1980s and run Pennsylvania, Canton, Ohio, Referee Bruce Baker jumped on the bandwagon, jointly using/running with Denucci at the old Firestone Union Hall in Akron. The promotion lasted roughly a year and it’s a shame, as they had really good bouts. God, we could use them again!

I offer profiles of some of these people.

A black fireman and devout Christian who often read the Bible in the locker room. Had a feud with Zoltan the Great (who was actually defunct Three Rivers Wrestling Promoter and former Luis Martinez Fan Club President, Ken Jugan). Howard was a fine worker and popular with the crowd but never made the big time. Almost too clean-living for this business; he did not drink, smoke, or swear.

Worked the first show for this group while on vacation from Arizona. Managed Hans Mueller (Bobby Colt) and promptly caused a riot which made the front of the Akron Beacon Journal’s sports pages. Story has it Bovee had a mid-bout fight with a group of fans. He later ran into one of these fans a year later at Jimmy Bank’s funeral and scared the hell out of the guy! It was too bad he did not stay in Akron as a regular.

A different Hans, besides Mueller, and unlike most “Nazis,” he had hair! A fair worker and powerhouse of a man. Heard he married Lelani Kai.

The main-eventer, always over in Ohio, and remembered due to his long feuds with The Sheik, Don Kent, The Gallagher Brothers, and Abdullah, during the Sheiks’ tenure as a promoter in Akron and Canton. He was in the main-event with Hans Mueller and Bovee when the aforementioned riot took place. His main feud during this run was with Johnny Valiant.

Actually WWF job guys Mike Mahulko and Bill Berger under hoods. A masked Viking gimmick and a good tag team, exploding the myth a lot of today’s newer and more ignorant net and sheet breast-fed fans don’t get–the jobbers can work better than many established “stars” if given the chance. They main-evented many tag team events and always had a lot of heat from the fans, in spite of the silliness of their tag team name. They actually sold photos of themselves posed with Great Dane dogs.

When he came to the arena, smoking his pipe, I was surprised just how tall he was and how big his hands were. While he had limited ring ability, his facial expressions and weird overselling was what get him over big as a heel. He was always mid-card here, which was surprising considering he was a former WWWF tag team champion with King Curtis. A very entertaining performer.

A little, bearded troll of a man, but not a bad referee. (He later was refereeing WWF shows in Canton and such.)

A regional announcer who could rival Michael Buffer. He had loads of charisma and should have tried to pursue it further like Gary Cappetta.

Real name, Jim Hamilton. A big, fat slob of a guy and in real life, popular, but a very good heel for his size. Could take some good bumps. Saw him without his hood once and he honestly looked better than with it on. He also had a long tongue, a la Brian Christopher. Well, anyway, he did have a long tongue. He should have joined KISS!

A nervous little post-teen who was the official photographer for this group. Also, a friend of fellow photographers turned workers, Ken Jugan (Zoltan) and Brian Hildebrand (Mark Curtis). He never managed for this group but was continually seen taking photos. I kind of wish the guy would resurface, as he could make a killing selling those classic photos now.

Evan Ginzburg is a contributor for Pro Wrestling Post. He was an Associate Producer on the movie The Wrestler and 350 Days starring Bret Hart and Superstar Billy Graham. He is a 30-year film, radio and TV veteran. Check out his Evan Ginzburg’s Old School Wrestling Memories page on Facebook and his new radio show Wrestling and Everything Coast to Coast with Buddy Sotello. He can be reached on Twitter @evan_ginzburg or by e-mail at