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Share Your Portland Wrestling Memories

What do you remember about the original Portland Wrestling? What memories do you have that you'd like to share? What matches did you get to attend?

Anything really unique happen at a Portland Wrestling event? Have you ever met any of the stars? Any special memories that you would like to share, we would like to hear about.

My personal favorite was seeing Andre the Giant in person. This was my first wrestling event at the Portland Sports Arena.

The main event was a heel Roddy Piper and his tag team partner, "Bad News" Tim Brooks in a handicap match against Andre The Giant. Who had the handicap? haha! The Sports Arena was packed to the rafters with screaming fans.

 
 

The team of Piper and Brooks barely got away in one piece as the Giant overtook the two. I had seen Andre on TV prior to this, but television didn't do justice to this huge man! I've never seen anyone as big as Andre The Giant. Wow!

Simply fill in the form below and I'll get your own memories and stories on the web site for all our readers to enjoy!

 

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The Sheepherders - Luke Williams and Butch MillerMemories of Portland Wrestling

Ruby from Portland, OR writes in:

My earliest memories of wrestling were of watching the matches on TV at my uncle's, at his wrecking yard outside of Willamina, OR (near Spirit Mountain Casino).  It was 1953-ish and television was still so new that few people had one.

Several members of my family would gather there for a Saturday evening of entertainment--along with a few of my uncle's neighbors.  We always tried to avoid sitting next to Vern, a tall, lanky logger who would get so excited watching the show that he would forget himself.  First, it was just a "gentle" elbow to the ribs but soon he would get so into it that he'd grab whoever was next to him and try a copy-cat hold, yet never taking his eyes from the screen.  It was so much more "real" than what they do today.

Then when I was 19 and dating my first husband (he was 38 and had lived in Portland for quite a while), he took me to see a live wrestling match on a (I think) Tuesday night.  They still held the matches at the old Armory down on 1st Ave and tickets were 50 cents or a dollar (I'm not the one who paid).  Shag Thomas was the ref--I can't remember who wrestled.  It was small, it was close, it was smoky and it was a full house.  The air was thick and tense with anticipation.  We went with some other couples and everyone got beer but me--I wasn't old enough.

Wrestling in Portland, Oregon used to be a very big deal and I have been told that wrestling would not be what it is today without the promoting it got back in those earlier days (1950-1970-ish) in Portland and the Northwest.  Give back the days when wrestling was real.

 


 

Kelly from Oregon City writes in:

I remember one night after a writer named Steve Duin wrote an article about Portland Wrestling in the newspaper. It was not a kind article and Mr Duin slammed wrestlers and especially wrestling fans.

Well it seems this article rubbed Roddy Piper the wrong way and the interview he gave in response was total Piper. He ranted and raved and generally tore the guy a new azz. I remember him ending the interview asking the reporter how it felt to have a 7th grade education wrestler telling him how to do his job. I wish I could find that video.

Also, one night, Adrian Adonis and Ron Starr got just laid open bad. both were spewing blood and they walked through the crowd trying to climb up to the Crows Nest where they took another beating, only closer up. Man, after that I was convinced wrestling was real

 


 

Dale Jackson from Tigard, Oregon tells the tale:

My favorite match was between Roddy Piper and Playboy Buddy Rose in the summer of 1979.

Rose had lost a "hair match" some weeks earlier to Piper at the Expo Center and, after that, Rose began sporting a mask/wig to hide that fact. Several times after the hair match, wrestlers would try to remove Buddy's mask so we all could see his bald dome - but just as it was coming off, something would always happen which allowed Rose to keep his mask on.

The fateful night of the Piper/Rose match would prove to be the exception.

 

 

It was a hot summer night, and the beloved Portland Sports Arena was sold out.  My brother and I were lucky enough to be in the bleachers directly across from "The Crow's Nest". During the match, Piper had Buddy's mask almost off several times, but Buddy pulled it back on and the match continued. During the last of three falls, Piper was able to apply his famous "Sleeper Hold" to Rose and after Buddy was "asleep", Piper removed Rose's mask.

Buddy had a short BLACK (not blonde) buzz cut. The crowd went absolutely insane! The bleachers we were in started rocking back and forth - I thought they were going to collapse! My brother and I had been to many matches at the Portland Sports Arena that year and we had NEVER heard the crowd get that loud! It was a great part of my younger years that I will never forget!

 


 

Corby from Forest Grove, Oregon remembers:

Saturday nights were an event. 9pm, Love Boat on Channel 2. 10pm, Fantasy Island, also on Channel 2. As a kid, the challenge was to stay awake up to this point and then through the 11 o'clock news. If I made it through that, it was Smokey Pizza and Portland Wrestling at Grandma's house in Vancouver.

Ringside Rosie. Buddy Rose. Roddy Piper. Jimmy Snuka. Rip Oliver's Army. Stan Stasiak and the heart punch. The Australian Sheepherders. The Dynamite Kid. Billy Jack. Sandy Barr. Don Owens. I remember the broadcast when they announced Frank (Bonnema) died. I was fortunate enough to have my folks take me all the way over from downtown Vancouver to North Portland (seemed so far away!).

When the WWF blew up and Wrestlmania happened, there was a sense of pride that some of those guys were who were out there made "the big time." Anyway, great stuff. Thanks for the site.
 

 


 

Becky Smith from Kansas writes:

I watched Portland Wrestling for years. Then, I started going to the Eugene Arena for years. As soon as I started driving, we went to Portland.

So many memories, so many thoughts! Id love to see all those fights again. I left Oregon in 1991 and I missed it so much. My favorite is when Scott Peterson and Steve Doll started going at it because of Scotty The Body (Raven).

 


 

Jeremy Allen from Salem, Oregon says:

The best memory I have is meeting Brian "Crush" Adams and The Grappler. They were the coolest people to meet!

 


 


Darren from Portland, Oregon remembers:

I was a fan for many years always and wanted to step into the ring. Trust me, Portland Wrestling was like a dream.

I have many fond memories, like Rip Oliver whacking Billy Jack Haynes with a tire iron. LMFAO. Those were the days! I miss Portland Wrestling.

I wanted to buy the heavyweight title but Lenny (Len Denton) sold it. If I had known he was going to do that, I'd have offered to buy it.

Like I said, PW will never rise again and all the other promotions are weak vs. the real PW.

 


 

Jerald Mason from Waldport, OR says:

I think I was about 6 yrs old, living in Salem, Oregon in the late spring, and I was out side playing in the front yard. All of a sudden, my sister, who was 2 yrs older than me, came running franticly out of the house(our parents were not at home at the time, but the neighbor gal would check on us periodically). She was screaming at the top of her lungs, going on about how these men were brutally beating this other man on TV. It really seemed to scare her.

I ran into the house to see what all the commotion was  about. I was introduced to Pro Wrestling for the very first time, as I had never even heard of such a thing. It was "Tough" Tony Borne and someone else beating the hell out of Lonnie Maine. There was blood everywhere! It was the finale part of the show. At the end, I can remember the two little cartoon characters with the one sitting on the others back, pulling up on his nose. From that moment i was hooked.

I'm 47 yrs old now, and I still watch Pro Wrestling (WWE) of course, but there was nothing like watching old school Portland Wrestling. Thanks for all the memories, Mr. Owen!

 


 

Gary Davis of Vancouver, WA reports:

I used to go to Portland Wrestling when I was a teenager in the early to mid-eighties and it was great. My favorite wrestlers were Hacksaw Sawyer and Steve Regal.

I had front row seats one night and it was a Torture Match between Hacksaw Sawyer and Terry Gibbs.

I remember that they tied them to the ring ropes and they had to release themselves before the other got loose and make their way to their corner and starting beating on them.

 

I forgot who was tying Sawyer but Chris Adams was tying Terry Gibbs and Terri poked Chris in the eyes and and headed for Sawyer before he really got tied up. Of course the guy tying up Sawyer was a heel so Gibbs ran over and started beating up Sawyer. My girlfriend got Sawyer's blood on her jacket and Sawyer started kicking Gibbs and fought his way out and beat Gibbs. That was a great match. And I was there when Hacksaw Sawyer wrestled Ric Flair for the world title.

 


 

Patrick of Zillah, WA writes:

I have many memories of Portland wrestling, but a couple of them that definitely stick out are the match that they had on TV between Top Gun and Rip Oliver in a Coal Miners Glove Match. The other was actually a live event that I attended in Toppenish, WA. The the card had the "Beach Boys" Buddy Rose and Avalanche Vs. the "Southern Rockers" Steve Doll and Scott Peterson.

I have been really heavy all of my life, and Buddy Rose and Avalanche both came up to me before the match and said that I should get into wrestling and join them. The coolest thing is that about 3 years after that, I went to a WWF show in Yakima, WA and Buddy Rose was on the card.  I was in the first row and he saw me, came over and shook my hand.  It was so cool.

 


 

Steve from Roseburg, OR shares:

My dad used to take me to see wrestling in the 70's when it came to Roseburg.

One night we were sitting on the top row (about five feet in the air) of the old rock hard metal bleachers. I felt someone pull on my shirt from the back. When I turned around I looked Andre the Giant right in the face! He flashed that big smile of his and walked away.

Many memories of Portland Wrestling both live in Roseburg and on TV. They don't do it like the good old days any more.

 


 

Crystal from Gresham, OR writes:

I went to watch Portland Wrestling EVERY Saturday at Sandy Barr's flea mart.  Back when Beetlejuice [aka Art Barr] ruled my world.  He brought me into the ring with him about 20 times, and I'll still NEVER forget those days.

 

 

 

More Portland Wrestling Memories >>

Dutch Savage, Jimmy Snuka and Sandy Barr

As Lonnie Mayne would say, "There's Excitement In The Air!"

 

 

 

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