Sunday, January 7, 2018

All-Star Wrestling with Bill Kersten

Bill Kersten was the long-time voice of "All Star Wrestling" in Kansas City for many years in the 1960s and 1970s. This show was taped in a local television studio I haven't been able to identify yet, but someone out there is going to help me on that I'm sure. Later as they moved into the 1980s, the tapings moved to Memorial Hall in Kansas City.

Here is a little audio sample of Bill Kersten on "All Star Wrestling" circa 1977 introducing NWA World Champion (and Kansas City hometown boy) "Handsome" Harley Race, as well as his call of the pinfall and heading to commercial.

Some info on this territory written by Chris Owens on the message board in 2000:
The Central States area probably had its highest talent level in the late 60s and early 70s, when the promotion featured such names as Bob Geigel, Bulldog Bob Brown, Rufus R. Jones, Danny Littlebear, Omar Atlas, Black Angus Campbell (managed by Percival A. Friend), Nature Boy Roger Kirby, Lord Alfred Hayes, Mike George and "Mad Dog" Harley Race.

In the late 70s, Col. Buck Robley and his Army came into the area as the major heels for several years. At various times, the Army included Buzz "Avalanche" Tyler, Bruiser Bob Sweetan, Bobby Jaggers, the Blue Yankee and others. Bulldog Bob Brown, usually a heel, did a face turn to battle against the army. Ted Dibiase, Harley Race, Rufus Jones, Ken Lucas and Kevin Sullivan were all guys who I recall taking part in the long struggle against Robley and the Army.

The early 80s saw a decline in the promotion (at least in my eyes), as many of the familiar names disappeared from the territory and were replaced by guys like Mr. Pogo and Gypsy Joe. Strapped for cash because of the failure of the St. Louis promotion that Geigel, Pat O'Connor, Race and Verne Gagne had purchased from Sam Muchnick, the talent level dropped again in the mid-80s.

Jesse Ventura, Dusty Rhodes, Dick Murdoch, Ox Baker, Thunderbolt Patterson and many other stars began their careers in the Central States area.