My Ten Favorite Houston Wrestlers

Irish Danny McShane, My All Time Favorite Full Time Star!

I’ve written on Houston wrestling before. It was a big part of my coming-of-age East End Houston past, as well as the one serial weekly program that riveted most of us to those tiny new ten inch diameter television sets that began slowly popping up in our Pecan Park houses and all the other neighborhoods of this city back in 1949.

Back in that day, a fellow named Billy Sanders was my best friend. The Sanders family lived one block over from our place on Japonica at a Myrtle Street address. If memory serves, they were the first family in our general area to actually own a television set. KLEE-TV, which would be sold to the Hobby family and become KPRC-TV in 1950, had only been on the air since January 1, 1949.

One day in February 1949, I came walking up to the Sanders house, bouncing a baseball on the sidewalk, glove in hand, looking for Billy, or someone, to play catch with in the dead of  a warm Houston winter. As I approached the house, Billy must have seen me coming because he swung on the front door, opening it wide, almost as wide as the smile on his face.

“Come on in,” Billy said. “I want to show you something we just got.”

I said, “sure,” never knowing that I was walking through a door that would change my outlook on life forever.

There in the far corner stood this huge sort of furniture-looking box with a small, fuzzy black and white picture screen showing these people talking and moving around – and right there in Billy’s living room.

I was totally in awe and unaware. “What’s this?” I asked. “Radio with pictures?”

“It’s better than radio,” Billy said. “It’s called television.”


My second thought went to the next obvious techno-model from my life experience to that point.

“In other words,” I reflected, “it’s like having a tiny movie theatre in your own home.”

“Something like that,” Billy mumbled.

Going with the movie model, I spent the next few minutes standing directly n front of the TV screen, smiling in amazement that my body did not block out the picture as it did when we showed home movies that my dad had taken of our family’s earlier years. Then came the inevitable sigh of “what will they think of next?” and “how can I get my dad to see that we need one of these television sets too?”

That took some doing, and the subject stands alone as a story unto itself. This little snippet memory is more about how television came into my life, and how I, like so many others, got hooked on the Cyclops Master by watching wrestling every Friday night on a neighbor’s television set. Mr. and Mrs. Sanders were kind enough to have me over like clockwork to watch the telecast of wrestling from the City Auditorium downtown.

Morris Sigel was the promoter back in 1949 and the wonderful Paul Boesch was the telecasting voice of everything that happened, from commercials to interviews with angry combatants to the blow-by-blow description of what happened in the ring. As you probably know, Paul Boesch eventually became the promoter himself and one of the most beloved philanthropists in the area of underprivileged children in Houston.

Cutting quickly to the chase, here’s a listing of my ten favorite Houston wrestlers.  I excluded Paul Boesch because his occasional matches were basically pump-the-gate-with-a-revenge-match deals. If he had wrestled all the time, I would had to put him all the way at the top. I also did not use some of the big national names because they simply did not work the Houston area often enough. Here’s my list. These are the guys that I liked watching, whether they were good guys or bad guys. And back in the day, every wrestler was either good or bad:

My Ten Favorite Houston Wrestlers

(1) Irish Danny McShane (bad guy)

(2) Black Guzman (good guy)

(3) Duke Keomuka (bad guy)

(4) Bull Curry (bad guy)

(5) Cyclone Anaya (good guy)

(6) Killer Kowalski (bad guy)

(7) Whiskers Savage (good guy)

(8) Rito Romero (good guy)

(9) Dirty Don Evans (bad guy)

(10) Big Humphrey (good guy)

Have a great Monday, everybody, but don’t put the choke hold on anyone just for the sake of getting your job done, and don’t rub soap in your co-workers’ eyes when they are not looking.




6 Responses to “My Ten Favorite Houston Wrestlers”

  1. Harold Jones Says:

    I lived in San Antonio in the mid-fifties and our local heroes were Wilbur Snyder and Pepper Gomez. Who was good and who was bad depended on whether you were Caucasian or Hispanic. Actually they were both good guys as long as they were not wrestling each other.

  2. gary Says:

    ray gunkle, paul boesch, johnny valentine, junkyard dog, jim duggan, mil mascaras, tiger conway, wahoo macdaniel, dory and terry funk, the Von Erichs, the Iron Shiek, danny savich, rito romero,
    gorgeous george (milby high school), big humphrey, hogan wharton, mr. moto, dory dixon are some

  3. Darrell Pittman Says:

    Paul Bosch
    Wahoo McDaniel
    Johnny Valentine

  4. Vito Schlabra Says:

    History lesson. When WW2 started my father Frank closed his Cafe in downtown Houston that was called the MOP Railroad Cafe and went to work for the Houston Ship Yards. He had bought a new Dodge in 1940 and had four riders to and from work. They lived in a Rooming house off of Harrisburg Blvd. This was the Old Galveston road to the Shipyards. One of his riders was the famous Wrestler Lou Thesz. My father worked at the yards till the day it closed and made a lot of dough.

  5. Oscar Olszewski Says:

    My top-ten Houston Wrestlers (Early to Mid 70’s) are: Jose Lothario (Good Guy) Ivan Putski (Good Guy) Black Jack Mulligan (Bad Guy) Black Jack Lanza (Bad Guy) El Gran Goliath (Bad Guy) Black Gordman (Bad Guy) The Great Mephisto (Bad Guy) Mil Mascaras (Good Guy) Jack Briscoe (Good Guy) El Santo (Good Guy)

  6. Jim Maenner Says:

    Wow, I had no idea Georgeous George went to Miolby High School. A few I didn’t see mentioned was Don Leo Jonathan, Cyclone Negro, The Mummy, Nick Kozar, Tony Boerne, Dory and Terry Funk.

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