Ultimate History of Pro Wrestling - A Time Line of Every Major Event in Pro Wrestling History - 1956
By: Karl Stern (@wiwcool)
02-08-1956: Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart is born.
03-15-1956: Whipper Billy Watson defeats Lou Thesz in Toronto, Canada by count out and is awarded the NWA World heavyweight title. The special referee for the match was pro boxing legend Jack Dempsey.
In Uline Arena in Washington, D.C., former boxing legend Joe Louis, indebted to the IRS for a reported $1,243,097, makes his wrestling debut despite pleas that it is, “beneath his dignity.” Louis wins his first match over Rocky Lee in a match refereed by another famous pro boxer also in financial trouble, “Jersey” Joe Walcott. Joe Louis’ wrestling career didn’t last long. In a match in Columbus, OH, a mistimed move saw him break two ribs and bruise his heart. Just to show how wrestling was disdained as a sport in the 1950’s, Joe Louis wife said watching him wrestle was like, “watching the President wash dishes.”
03-18-1956: Rick Martel (Rick Vignault) is born.
04-1956: Mike Clancy defeats Mike DiBiase in Little Rock, AR for the NWA World Junior title.
04-07-1956: Verne Gagne is awarded the NWA United States title.
04-23-1956: Tony Atlas (Anthony White) is born.
06-02-1956: Joe Louis wrestles Rocky Lee in Huntington, WV and already talks of retirement, just three months after his debut, due to continued harassment from the IRS.
07-18-1956: Buck Weaver dies as the result of a heart attack suffered during a match in Montpelier, IN two days earlier.
07-26-1956: Tommy Rich (Thomas Richardson) is born.
08-04-1956: El Gladiator (Luis Ramirez), a former top Mexican bodybuilder, defeats El Santo in Mexico City for the Mexican National Middleweight title. El Santo had held the title since 1946. This win marked the high point in El Gladiator’s career as he was gunned down a few years later in a Mexican bar.
09-08-1956: Boxing champion Archie Moore knocks out wrestler Roy Shire in a boxer verses wrestler match in Ogden, UT.
09-14-1956: El Santo regains the Mexican National Middleweight title from El Gladiator in Mexico City.
09-18-1956: Jack Pfeiffer holds a women’s world title tournament in Baltimore, MD which is won by Fabulous Moolah (then known as Slave Girl Moolah). The title is originally an outlaw belt but eventually becomes recognized internationally and Moolah becomes one of the foremost women wrestlers ever.
09-21-1956: Ricky Morton is born. He is son of wrestler Paul Morton.
11-09-1956: Lou Thesz defeats Whipper Billy Watson in St. Louis, MO to regain the NWA World heavyweight title.
11-26-1956: Vince McMahon (Senior) promotes his first card at Madison Square Garden headlined by Antonino Rocca and Dick the Bruiser. The crowd is reported to be a disappointing 10,400.
12-14-1956: Dr. Jerry Graham defeats Bobby Wepner for the Southern title in Atlanta, GA.
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