by Daniel Johnson
Remember the “Where’s the beef?” advertising campaign from Wendy’s from the 1980s? Well, perhaps if Clara Pellar watched a little more of Fred Kohler’s NWA territory she would have found the answer to that question a couple of decades earlier. Weighing in at 254 lbs and 365 lbs, respectively, Bearcat Wright and Big Moose Cholak were two of the massive hosses to pass through the Chicago International Amphitheatre. These cats were different from later big men like Samoa Joe, Bam Bam Bigelow and Big Van Vader, but had a moxy all their own.
Although plenty of Wright and Cholak’s outings have been lost to the ages, this bout from April 14, 1961 has been preserved incredibly by Chicago Film Archives through the Russ and Sylvia Davis Collection, 1932-1970.
Russ Davis provides commentary and busts out some of his trademark humor before the match even starts. When a patron showers the heel Cholak with a nice bit of chicken leaving, Davis jokes, “This’s Russ Davis ringside amidst the eggs and everything else.” Likewise, when Cholak starts to shout down some of the fans Davis says, “Hey, hey, hey, we might have lip readers in the crowd you big moose.”
This match may technically be from the 1960s, but it certainly has a 1950’s vibe. Take for instance another Davis comment, this time regarding Wright. Davis describes the face as, “A negro boy from Kingston, Jamaica.” True, that kind of language may not be distinctly 1950s, but it is reflective of a far different time. On that note people from the 1960’s wrestling scene sure seemed a whole heck of a lot less self aware. Just as Davis is finishing that aforementioned line the referee blatantly scratches his ass with the camera right on him.
As for the in-ring action these two have plenty of beef on them and they move around like it. There is plenty of tying up and brawling, but the pace stays fairly slow throughout. Nevertheless the crowd goes wild for simple things like Wright landing some shots and a headbutt on Cholak.
The encounter moves into second gear when Cholak knocks Wright down with his tremendous gut. There is simply no other way to describe it. Wright tries to show Cholak that turnabout is fair play, but when he lands a shoulder block he ends up knocking himself down as well.
Cholak uses some old school heel tactics (which back then were just called school heel tactics) such as trying to use the ropes for leverage to pin Wright. Before the big finish Cholak shoulder blocks Wright, but again both men end up going down.
For the conclusion Wright tries to be Hulk Hogan before Hulk Hogan was Hulk Hogan and slam Andre The Giant…or at least a man near his weight. However, rather than shaking the earth to it’s foundation with a slam, Wright falls on his back and gets pinned by Cholak.
Davis closes the clip saying, “I’m going to get a moose claw one of these days, and bring it into the house when this guy’s there and we’ll see what happens.” Well, there’s just no topping a threat like that.
Categories: Wrestling Clips