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Thread: The CWC Years

  1. #1

    The CWC Years

    I've been on a big history kick and taken a strong interest in the Capitol Wrestling Corporation (CWC) years of WWE in the last year. The period doesn't get much coverage despite being a significant chunk of WWE's history. Hell, Toots Mondt was just acknowledged last year in the Legacy Wing of the WWE HOF. Spanning from 1952 when Jess McMahon (Vince Jr.'s grandfather) and Toots Mondt founded the company in DC to 1963 when the Thesz-Rogers NWA Title dispute led Vince Sr. and Mondt to leave the NWA and form the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF) it boasts quite a few notables such as Antonino Rocca, Buddy Rogers, Dr. Jerry Graham, Bobo Brazil, Johnny Valentine and Karl Von Hess. At one point tag team wrestling dominated the territory and headlined w/ teams such as The Fabulous Kangaroos, Antonino Rocca & Miguel Pérez, Tolos Brothers, Don Curtis & Mark Lewin and The Graham Brothers. What do you guys know about this period?

  2. #2
    Member #25 SirSam's Avatar
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    I know nothing about it at all but am interested to hear about it.

  3. #3
    Capitol Revolution is a good place to start. There are other books like WWE Legends and WWE 50 but I can't recommend since I've only read excerpts of them. Would be neat if there was a doc on it.

  4. #4
    The Brain
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    Yup, I know very little about wrestling from this period besides a few scattered facts and names, and what I've learned from LWO over the years. The only wrestler I've really looked into from that period is Gorgeous George but I don't think he worked much in this area. Anything interesting you pick up, I'd be interested to know it!

  5. #5
    Super Moderator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by M.V.W. View Post
    Dr. Jerry Graham
    One of the only bits I really know of this period is that aside from being the reason the Florida Graham's get their surname, Jerry Graham is supposed to be Vince Jr's favourite wrestler from his youth, and his desire to emulate Graham and become a wrestler (which his father nixed) is said to have been a big reason behind his decision to carry on being an in-ring performer once the obvious battles with Austin were over.

    He's also supposed to be the originator of the phrase 'win if you can, lose if you must, but always cheat' that Bobby Heenan popularised in the WWF years.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  6. #6
    Another important figure from the period was Willie Gilzenberg, a NJ promoter who helped Vince Sr. make inroads to the NY promotion community. He would be named WWWF President for his invaluable service when Vince Sr. and Toots Mondt formed the WWWF after breaking away from the NWA.

    Quote Originally Posted by Prime Time
    One of the only bits I really know of this period is that aside from being the reason the Florida Graham's get their surname, Jerry Graham is supposed to be Vince Jr's favourite wrestler from his youth, and his desire to emulate Graham and become a wrestler (which his father nixed) is said to have been a big reason behind his decision to carry on being an in-ring performer once the obvious battles with Austin were over.

    He's also supposed to be the originator of the phrase 'win if you can, lose if you must, but always cheat' that Bobby Heenan popularised in the WWF years.
    Now this I didn't know. He was one of the top draws of the period and one half of the Graham Brothers (aka Golden Grahams) tag team. One of his most infamous moments was the MSG riot of 1957 which occurred after a tag match involving him teaming with Dick The Bruiser against Antonino Rocca and Eduoard Carpentier. The wrestlers were fined by the NY State Athletic Commission.

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    The Brain
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prime Time View Post
    He's also supposed to be the originator of the phrase 'win if you can, lose if you must, but always cheat' that Bobby Heenan popularised in the WWF years.
    Wow, very cool fact indeed! That was all over the 80s boom, Ventura and Heenan milked that one plenty.

  8. #8
    Senior Member LWO4Life's Avatar
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    Oh... a CWC thread!! So we are talking Jerry Graham, who basically was Vince's favorite wrestler! He was a wrestler so big, that basically a whole wrestling territory could have been those that either stole the gimmick or used his name to get over. I mean so much of his stories are out there, and man he was a character. But the CWC was mainly a tag team territory at the time, and Graham always needed a partner. Many territories at the time though were tag territories. What was cool about CWC at the time was that NY was such a strong market, the NWA champion was basically whoever Vince and Toots thought should be champion, between 1961-1963. Of course in 1963...

  9. #9
    The Brain
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    Tell us more, LWO! If anyone would know, it's you!

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    Senior Member LWO4Life's Avatar
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    Oh yeah... LOL... then that would be entering WWWF's history. For CWC, I'll say this. From 1958 to 1963, the main title was the International Heavyweight Championship, which was held the whole time by Antonino Rocca. Of course, in classic WWWF fashion, it was claimed he "won" the title in his home country of Argentina in 1952, which was the same year CWC started. When Wrestling for the Marigold started in 1948, wrestling hit its first golden era. This opened up New York to FINALLY be relevant again. NY was basically wrestling's home base in the 20's, so it's only fitting that it would eventually comeback. But local NY TV wasn't from MSG yet, as CWC was called Capital Wrestling Coorporation for a reason, the show was Heavyweight Wrestling from Washington, and taped in Washington DC. But they did have some tapings in MSG, this is the earliest I can find, it claims to be from 1953. Of course I'm not completely sure that's the right year and date, but I'll post it because this is the earliest CWC match I can find. Even the Heavyweight Wrestling from Washington shows I found are all WWWF shows and not CWC shows.


  11. #11
    Thought about posting that video earlier. Props on sharing it, LWO4Life! Johnny Valentine is another wrestler not oft mentioned but I read that Nigel McGuinness made a JV reference on 205 Live. He was a huge draw for Capitol as evidenced by Meltzer's Top 50 list that I posted.

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  12. #12
    The Brain
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    Man, that was a super fun video, thanks for posting it. Anyone who thinks wrestling of that time was 20 minute headlocks should take a look. If I was around in the 50s I'd probably have been off to my local arena every month to see this shit, it just looks so much fun. I wish we had more full matches. Loved the commentator too, and the piledriver being dubbed a "headbutt", haha.

  13. #13
    Senior Member LWO4Life's Avatar
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    Even back then though, Buddy completely fucked up that piledriver and the ref saw it and didn't count, but checked to see if Johnny was okay. Today I think we call that a botch. In the Undisputed series, I posted Thesz taking a piledriver and it looked pretty safe. So I know that even back then that looked like a botch. The second one looked better, but man, even compared to wrestlers in the 40's, Rodgers can't give a piledriver for shit.

  14. #14
    The Brain
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    I honestly just put that down to the style of the era, which was to be more realistic (to a point, anyway). And man, I swear I've seen refs do all manner of weird shit on old tapes, so I didn't think anything of it! But thinking back now, there's a good chance your analysis is more on point.

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    Senior Member LWO4Life's Avatar
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    Nah, check out this video, I posted it with the history of the original NWA title from the 1940's. It's at 7:10. Longson and Thesz make it look real, but at last second Longson adjust his legs so Thesz doesn't hit his head on the mat. They even have a 3rd fall after this. I'd have love to seen the internet back then with smart fans... LMAO... it would have been gold.

  16. #16
    The Brain
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    Can't wait to check that out, only seen a couple Thesz matches so far!

  17. #17
    Not sure of the exact date but given the talent involved it's more than likely CWC.


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  18. #18
    The Brain
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    Absolutely bloody loved that Thez match, thought it was a legitimate classic. So many little things popped me in that one, I was having a blast.

    Definitely gonna check out that six man tag when I have a chance!

  19. #19
    Thetz had good pacing and did some mat wrestling holds we don't see anymore...really enjoying this thread!

    Also, though I've seen little of them I've always been captivated by what i've read and the little I've seen of the Graham brothers...Those guys paved the way for Superstar Billy Graham and Dusty Rhodes...not to mention championship wrestling from Florida is one of my favorite things ever.
    Last edited by Benjamin Button; 05-28-2018 at 11:39 PM.

  20. #20
    Super Moderator Prime Time's Avatar
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    I'm woefully underinformed on Thesz considering how important he is, but I have found there's something compelling, even slightly hypnotic at times, about the matches I have seen.

    Generally speaking the stuff I've seen from the 1950s to the 1980s makes me think I was born far too late to get the most out of wrestling....

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  21. #21
    Senior Member LWO4Life's Avatar
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    Thesz was also wrestling Wild Bill Longson, and they had a long rivalry in the '40's. Thesz was already marked to be a huge star in 1937, he was only 21 years old, when he won his world title, becoming the youngest champion in history, a record still not broken. In 1939 he was out until 1944 with a knee injury sadly. He was then drafted to the Army to be a hand to hand combat trainer in WW2, like many, many wrestlers of that era. So when he came back, he needed to work with people he can trust, and so there was Longson. By the '40's, the NWA title had moved from New York to St. Louis, were Longson defended the title. Longson was also in his late-30's, so he wasn't going to be drafted as he was too old to fight. He was a great worker who Tom Packs trusted with the title. I did a whole article on the Tom Packs, Lou Thesz, Sam Muchnick power struggle for St. Louis. But yeah, Longson was a great hand, invented the piledriver, and someone that really helped Thesz perform at his best in the '40's after his injury.

  22. #22
    Super Moderator Prime Time's Avatar
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    You mean Wild Bill Longson, the 2-time LoP World Heavyweight Champion, right?

    LoP World Championship Series

    Cheap plug for the win....

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  23. #23
    Senior Member LWO4Life's Avatar
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    I mean, I did cover his rivalry in the OG Undisputed series as while.... which will be revived this summer... coming to the Column Forum near you!

  24. #24
    The Brain
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    I mean, in some ways wasn't wrestling bigger in the 50s than it's been ever since? I may have the decade wrong but there was a time when wrestling was fairly enormous. I do confess though, I'd love to see Thesz matched up against some of the guys who came along later. But hell, he was probably the primary influence on a lot of those guys in the first place!

    Loving the shoutout for Championship Wrestling from Florida. Benny, if you ever want to start a thread and post some promos/matches...

    Jesus LWO, you've got me so hyped for Undisputed returning. The sooner the better!!

    I researched that Jerry Graham clip a little and I'd guess it comes from '57, that seems to be when that group of guys was in the mix together the most. Haven't watched it yet but gonna do so when I have a few extra minutes!

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by LWO4Life View Post
    I mean, I did cover his rivalry in the OG Undisputed series as while.... which will be revived this summer... coming to the Column Forum near you!


    To me this is what makes the CF superior to the main page. We are bigger than the current time. We learn together, we travel outside time and space together!

  26. #26
    Senior Member LWO4Life's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Benjamin Button View Post
    To me this is what makes the CF superior to the main page. We are bigger than the current time. We learn together, we travel outside time and space together!
    No doubt... I just posted that as a cheap plug to hype the revival of the new series. I'm mapping it out now. I am thinking of splitting it up, and in the summer I can do every week. So I'm thinking of started it, Undisputed TV Era parts 1- whatever, and then Undisputed Pioneer Era, parts 1-9 again, but really focusing on feuds that really defined the different belts of that era. I know for sure my first one will be the splitting of the NWA title redone, because it gives birth of the WWWF, which I didn't get to cover during the last board reset. So yeah, enough of my cheap plugs... LOL

  27. #27
    The Brain
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    Ah, the goddamn Jerry Graham clip got yanked before I could watch it. There's probably another copy out there, so I'll have to try to dig it back up sometime. Who the hell is making copyright claims on clips from 1957 though?? If WWE really gives a shit about that, they should make a damn section for Capitol on the Network.

    For sure, I love how we can dig deeper down in the forums.

  28. #28
    Senior Member LWO4Life's Avatar
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    What the heck? Yeah, they should do a Capital part. If they are claiming copyrights, then give us something when we pay for it if we want to pay for it.

  29. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by LWO4Life
    What the heck? Yeah, they should do a Capital part. If they are claiming copyrights, then give us something when we pay for it if we want to pay for it.
    Capitol content on the Network would be great though I wonder how much footage does WWE have.

    Twitter: @libsuperstar

  30. #30
    The Brain
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    They're more likely to have it than anyone else, at the very least!

  31. #31
    Senior Member LWO4Life's Avatar
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    I wonder what a video game of WWE history would look like if they had CWC, WWWF, WWF, WWF Attitude and WWE eras?

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