RIP: Ultimate Warrior

WCM is sad to report the stunning news that, only days after his induction into the WWE Hall of Fame and 24 hours after a triumphant appearance on RAW, Ultimate Warrior (who worked as Dingo Warrior in WCCW in the mid-1980s) passed away Tuesday evening at age 54. According to TMZ, Warrior collapsed while walking with his wife to his car outside an Arizona hotel; he was pronounced dead after being transported to a hospital.

We join the entire pro wrestling industry and fanbase in mourning the passing of Warrior, one of the sport's true legends. May he rest in peace.

RIP: George Scott

We're sad to report that former WCCW booker George Scott died yesterday of lung cancer at age 84.

As a wrestler, Scott is best remembered by older Texas fans as The Great Scott, the tag team partner of Tim "Mr. Wrestling" Woods in 1970-71. The pair defeated Dusty Rhodes and Dick Murdoch to win the American Tag titles on December 15, 1970, but lost the straps to Bronko Lubich and Chris Markoff only a month or so later.

Scott became the booker for Jim Crockett Promotions in 1973 after retiring due to an injury and is credited with turning the Carolinas into one of the country's hottest territories. He also booked WWE during the Hulkamania/Rock 'n' Wrestling era, joining the promotion just as it was beginning its push to go national in late 1983.

After losing his WWE job due to a dispute with Hulk Hogan, Scott booked for a number of other promotions (including WCCW), usually for only a short time. Unfortunately, Scott's stint with World Class was not successful; attendance had plummeted to the low hundreds by the time he arrived in August 1986, and he was not able to turn things around during his brief stay. He remained with WCCW only through the end of that year and was replaced as booker by Bruiser Brody.

WCM joins the entire pro wrestling industry in mourning the loss of George Scott, one of its crucial figures during the 1970s and '80s. May he rest in peace.

RIP: Calvin Knapp

WCM was saddened to learn of the passing of former GWF wrestler "Hardbody" Calvin Knapp last night at age 43. The news was broken online this morning by Dave Meltzer's Wrestling Observer/Figure Four Weekly; according to James Beard (posting at Wrestling Classics), Calvin died of a heart attack.

We join all of Calvin Knapp's family, friends and colleagues in mourning his death. May he rest in peace.

RIP: T. John Tibbedeux

Sadly, WCM has another untimely passing to report: as confirmed by Johnny Mantell on our Facebook page, Michael Richard, who worked occasionally as T. John Tibbedeux in Dallas-Fort Worth in the late '70s and early '80s (and as Mike the Big 'Un for Paul Boesch in Houston during the same period), died on September 17th at the age of 64. 

T. John made his final appearances in D/FW rings at the very beginning of the World Class era, in May 1982.  Although the cause of his death isn't yet known, he had apparently been suffering from major health problems in recent years.

We send our sincerest condolences to T. John's family, friends and colleagues. May he rest in peace.

RIP: Gene Petit (The Mongol)

We were saddened to learn this morning of the passing of Gene Petit (aka Gene Lewis), best remembered by WCCW fans in his 1983 stint as The Mongol.

Petit was billed early in his career as the "brother" of Dale Lewis, with whom he teamed in the Florida territory. Before his health began to decline in the early 2000s due to multiple sclerosis and diabetes, Petit had also appeared in WWE as Cousin Luke during the 1980s wrestling boom, and as the heel Midnight Rider (managed by Kevin Sullivan) who feuded with original "Rider" Dusty Rhodes upon his return to Florida.

WCM joins all who knew and loved Gene Petit in mourning his death. May he rest in peace.

Duke Keomuka vs Tommy "Nature Boy" Phelps

From Longview, Texas circa 1954, this clip was rescued from station KTVE, which went off the air not long after the bout was filmed. Phelps, playing the heel role here, was one of the independent wrestlers who worked for Ed McLemore during the 1953-54 promotional war with Houston promoter Morris Sigel, and stayed on for a time after the dispute was finally settled; the referee is Big Humphrey Pennyworth (real name: Joseph Vitale). Despite the partially obscured view of the ring, this is a fascinating historical clip.