Today In Wrestling History
Today In Wrestling History…
18 years ago today ECW presented Wrestlepalooza ’98: On Enemy Turf from the Cobb County Civic Center in Marietta, Georgia. The event was subtitled “On Enemy Turf” due to the event being in close proximity to Atlanta, Georgia, the home base of World Championship Wrestling.
Prior to the beginning of the event, a legends ceremony was held honoring Dick Slater, Bob Armstrong, The Assassin, and in his final public appearance before his death just a month later, The Junkyard Dog. Backstage, New Jack got into a physical confrontation with the Junkyard Dog over money allegedly owed to him.
As for the event itself, it finished fifth in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter for Worst Major Wrestling Card of 1998.
13 years ago today Marissa Vaziri, daughter of Hossein Khosorov Vaziri, best known to wrestling fans as the Iron Sheik, was found dead by Clayton County police in the apartment she shared with boyfriend Charles Reynolds. She was 27.
Born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, Stu lived in a tent with his family, living off the land and wild game Stu took down with his slingshot. In 1928, Stu and most of his family was forced to move to Edmonton after his father was arrested for failing to pay back taxes. There, he began competing in amateur wrestling, joining the Edmonton YMCA in 1929. Trained by other boys in catch wrestling, in 1937, he would win a gold medal in the welterweight division for the AAU of Canada. In 1940, after two years with the Canadian Football League’s Edmonton Eskimos, Hart won the Dominion Amateur Wrestling Championship in the light heavyweight class.
Hart would enlist in the Canadian Navy and serve as their Director of Athletics. During his service, Stu was introduced to professional wrestling. After recovering from a car accident, Stu would entertain the troops with exhibition matches. Hart debuted under the training of Toots Mondt in 1946. He once wrestled a tiger and a grizzly bear. Two years later, Hart formed Stampede Wrestling. Three years later, he purchased a mansion in the Patterson Heights area of Calgary. The basement of that mansion would become the legendary training ground known simply as The Dungeon.
There, Hart would train prospects in the shoot style, with the idea that learning these submission moves would lead to a sharper in-ring style. Today, the Hart House is considered a historical site. A short list of those trained in The Dungeon include all eight of his sons, most famously Bret and Owen, “Superstar” Billy Graham, the Junkyard Dog, Greg Valentine, Davey Boy Smith, Brian Pillman, Jushin Liger, Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit, Lance Storm, Edge, Christian, Mark Henry, Natalya Neidhart, and Tyson Kidd, the last person to graduate from The Dungeon.
Stu, a longtime supporter and mentor of the Calgary community (he supported more than thirty charities and civic organizations), was married for 53 years to American-born Helen Smith. The couple would have twelve children, many of whom would have some involvement in the business. They also had 36 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Helen died in November 2001. Stu, suffering from diabetes and arthritis, was admitted to Rockyview General in Calgary on October 3, 2003 with an elbow infection. Then he developed pneumonia. He had a stroke and died thirteen days later at Rockyview General Hospital in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He was 88.
In 2010, Stu was posthumously inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. He was also a member of the inaugural Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame class in 1996 and is a member of the Stampede Wrestling Hall of Fame.