Wednesday, December 17, 2014

WRAL Wrestling in 1959!

I came across 43 minutes of vintage wrestling matches on the Capitol Broadcasting Company's history website. These matches were filmed at WRAL studios in Raleigh, NC.

When I first saw this footage, I guessed these matches were from the early 1960s. But our friend Carroll Hall did several hours of research and was able to determine that these matches were filmed in 1959, the very first year that WRAL broadcast wrestling matches.

"This footage has got to be from 1959. After 1959 Mike Clancy did not return to wrestle in JCP until 1964," Carroll wrote to me. He researched the wrestlers and the periods of time they were all in the territory together.  "I am confident that all  these matches were filmed during the first year the WRAL show was on the air."

Sadly, there is no commentary for these matches. This is apparently the raw film footage of matches and perhaps commentary was added later. (The wrestling play-by-play announcer for WRAL at that time was legendary hall-of-fame sports announcer Ray Reeve.)

Here is a link to the video on the CBC history website and a detailed list of the matches, referees, and ring announcer, courtesy of Carroll Hall.

WRAL Wrestling (1959)

Ring announcer: Leo Voss

Match # 1: Jerry Christy vs. Johnny Heidman, referee Walter Buckner
Match # 2: Mike Clancy vs. Hans Schnable, referee Walter Buckner
Match # 3: Jerry Christy vs Danny McShane, referee Sam "Lucky" Roberts
Match # 4: Rita Cortez vs. Judy Grable referee, Walter Buckner

WRAL first broadcast wrestling on January 31, 1959. It is possible that these were some of the first matches that took place in that studio.