Don Owen's Portland Wrestling television reign began in 1948 and ran on Portland, Oregon independent TV station, KPTV 12 (also doing a short stint on KOIN in 1955 until it returned to KPTV in 1966), until December of 1991.
The actual company was founded by Herb Owen, Don's father, in 1925. Don took over in 1942. All in all, Mr. Owen and family, wrestler/referee/promoter, Sandy Barr, and wrestler/promoter, Dutch Savage were all responsible for 60 years of entertainment in the NW territories, including Washington and Idaho. The promotion actually closed it's doors for good in July of 1992, as a result of rising promotion costs, the bankruptcy of their main sponsor, Tom Peterson, continuing pressure from the Oregon Boxing/Wrestling Commission and a young Vince McMahon running the independent promotions out of business (thanks a lot, Vince! :p).
Don was one of the original founders and long-time member of the National Wrestling Alliance and known far and wide as one of most fair promoters in the business (a very rare trait among indie promoters). He took care of his wrestlers and paid them fairly. Because of this, wrestlers from all over clamored to wrestle for Owen Promotions.
Many big names broke into the business here and some of the greatest professional wrestlers in the world wrestled night after night for Don Owen's Portland Wrestling. Names such as:
Apache Bull Ramos,
The Iron Sheik,
Playboy Buddy Rose,
Ed Wiskoski (Col. DeBeers)
Rowdy Roddy Piper,
Curt Hennig (WWF's Mr. Perfect),
Billy Jack Haynes,
The Sheepherders (later to become The Bushwhackers in the WWF),
Stan "The Man" Stasiak,
Dizzy Hogan (Brutus Beefcake of WWF fame),
Mad Dog Vachon,
The Dynamite Kid
Rocky Johnson (The Rock's father),
Lonnie "Moondog" Mayne,
"Tough" Tony Borne
Matt Borne (WWF's Original Doink The Clown),
Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka,
Rip "The Crippler" Oliver,
Kangaroo Lord Johnathan Boyd,
Scotty The Body (now known as Raven),
Brian Adams aka The American Ninja (later became Crush of WWF's Demolition),
Bob Remus (to become the famous Sgt. Slaughter)
and many more.
The great Pacific NW was a hot-bed of Professional Wrestling and had the most dedicated fans around.
This is a celebration of when Kayfabe was king (Kayfabe is a term used by carnival folk meaning, "protecting the secrets of the business.") It was an unwritten code of honor back then that professional wrestlers did not break character. They did not discuss openly what went on when the cameras went off. Heels and Faces did not publicly eat together, sit together and were not seen together. When confronted about the possibility of any part of their sport being "fake," they denied it to their deathbed. There was a suspension of disbelief that kept the magic alive. Although, match outcomes and storylines were indeed scripted, there was always a tinge of wonder about the entire business, thanks to Kayfabe remaining strong.
We're here to honor these veterans of the squared circle. The Baby Faces were our heroes and the Heels were the men we loved to hate.