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Bearcat Wright's 1953 and 1966 Australian run

The following is a rundown of Bearcat Wright's 1953 run in Australia, courtesy of Kirk Beattie.

Thursday 21 May 1953 at Sydney Stadium, Sydney, NSW, Australia

* 8 Rounds: Bearcat Wright defeated Mario DeSouza 2 falls to 1 - Bearcat Wright’s Australian debut.

Tuesday 26 May 1953 at Newcastle Stadium, Newcastle, NSW, Australia

* 8 Rounds: Bearcat Wright defeated Mario DeSouza 1 fall each on disqualification - DeSouza was disqualified in Round 5 for repeatedly gouging Wright’s eyes

Thursday 28 May 1953 at Sydney Stadium, Sydney, NSW, Australia

* 8 Rounds: Bearcat Wright drew with Pierre LaSalle 1 fall each

Tuesday 2 June 1953 at Newcastle Stadium, Newcastle, NSW, Australia

* 8 Rounds: Pat McGill defeated Bearcat Wright 1 fall each on a points decision

Monday 15 June 1953 at Brisbane Stadium, Brisbane, QLD, Australia

* 8 Rounds: Bearcat Wright defeated Chief Little Wolf 1 fall each on disqualification in Round 5

Saturday 20 June 1953 at Leichhardt Stadium, Sydney, NSW, Australia

* 8 Rounds: Bearcat Wright drew with Pat McGill 1 fall each

Thursday 25 June 1953 at Sydney Stadium, Sydney, NSW, Australia

* 8 Rounds: Bearcat Wright defeated Chief Little Wolf 1 fall each on disqualification

Monday 29 June 1953 at Brisbane Stadium, Brisbane, QLD, Australia

* 8 Rounds: Bearcat Wright defeated Pierre La Salle 2 falls to 1 in 6 rounds

Thursday 2 July 1953 at Sydney Stadium, Sydney, NSW, Australia

* 8 Rounds: Johnny Moochy defeated Bearcat Wright 2 falls to 1

Tuesday 7 July 1953 at Newcastle Stadium, Newcastle, NSW, Australia

* 8 Rounds: Bearcat Wright drew with Pat McGill 1 fall each

Saturday 11 July 1953 at West Melbourne Stadium, Melbourne, Victoria (VIC), Australia

* 8 Rounds: Pat McGill defeated Bearcat Wright 2 falls to 1 (3rd fall: McGill with a pin using his feet on the top rope.)

Monday 13 July 1953 at Brisbane Stadium, Brisbane, QLD, Australia

* 8 Rounds Chief Little Wolf defeated Bearcat Wright 1 fall each COR in 6 Rounds (3rd fall: after both wrestlers had fought outside the ring in the sixth round, Wright was unable to regain the ring inside the 10 seconds allowed and was counted out).

Saturday 18 July 1953 at Leichhardt Stadium, Sydney, NSW, Australia

* 8 Rounds: Mario De Souza defeated Bearcat Wright 1 fall each on disqualification (3rd fall: Wright was disqualified for punching referee Jim Deakin in Round 6

Tuesday 21 July 1953 at Newcastle Stadium, Newcastle, NSW, Australia

* 8 Rounds: Bearcat Wright drew with Chief Little Wolf 1 fall each

Thursday 23 July 1953 at Sydney Stadium, Sydney, NSW, Australia

* 8 Rounds: Pat McGill defeated Bearcat Wright 1 fall each on disqualification (3rd fall: Wright was disqualified in Round 7 for attacking the referee)

Saturday 25 July 1953 at Leichhardt Stadium, Sydney, NSW, Australia

* 8 Rounds: Bearcat Wright drew with Pat McGill 1 fall each

Monday 27 July 1953 at Brisbane Stadium, Brisbane, QLD, Australia

* 8 Rounds: Pat McGill defeated Bearcat Wright 2 falls to 1 in 6 Rounds

Tuesday 28 July 1953 at Newcastle Stadium, Newcastle, NSW, Australia

* 8 Rounds: Mario DeSouza defeated Bearcat Wright 1 fall each on disqualification (3rd fall: Wright was disqualified in Round 7 for head butting referee Joe Dawson)

Thursday 30 July 1953 at Sydney Stadium, Sydney, NSW, Australia

* 8 Rounds: Johnny Moochy defeated Bearcat Wright 2 falls to 1

In summary, Wright wrestled 19 matches for a record of 5 wins, 9 losses and 5 draws. The 9 losses included 3 disqualifications, 1 COR, 1 points decision and 1 via opponent’s feet on the ropes.

Bearcat registered 2 wins against Mario DeSouza and 2 DQ losses for striking the referee.

He also split his matches against Pierre La Salle – 1 win and a DQ loss for striking the referee.

Wright scored 2 DQ wins over Chief Little Wolf, drew 1 bout and lost 1 match via COR. Little Wolf was an absolute legend in Australia who wrestled here in 1937, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957 and 1958!

Bearcat held Pat McGill to 3 draws and lost 4 matches (1 loss via DQ for striking the referee, 1 loss when McGill used the ropes to gain the third fall and 1 on a referee’s points decision). McGill received a big push Down Under in 1953.

Wright also lost 2 bouts to Johnny Moochy (who also received a big push in Australia at this time). Moochy sported shoulder length hair which he would comb in the ring, often utilising a mirror. It should be noted that Australian fans would not witness Gorgeous George in action until 1956.

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The following is a rundown of Bearcat Wright's 1966 run in Australia, courtesy of Kirk Beattie.

Friday 15 July 1966 at Sydney Stadium, Sydney, NSW, Australia

* Bearcat Wright defeated Professor Tanaka

Saturday 16 July 1966 at Sydney TV Taping, Sydney, NSW, Australia

* Bearcat Wright & Mark Lewin defeated George Lackey & Ted Sinkowski 2 falls to nil

Saturday 16 July 1966 (date of telecast – date of taping was earlier) at Newcastle TV Taping, Newcastle, NSW, Australia

* Bearcat Wright drew with Professor Tanaka

Saturday 16 July 1966 Melbourne Festival Hall, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

* IWA World Tag Team Title Match: Skull Murphy & Brute Bernard (Champions) defeated Bearcat Wright & Dominic DeNucci 2 falls to 1

Sunday 17 July 1966 at Melbourne TV Taping, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

* Bearcat Wright defeated Abe Lightfoot; Bearcat Wright defeated Al Woods (in consecutive matches)

Monday 18 July 1966 at Geelong Palais, Geelong, VIC, Australia

* Bearcat Wright defeated Brute Bernard

Wednesday 20 July 1966 at Brisbane Festival Hall, Brisbane, QLD, Australia

* Bearcat Wright defeated Bob “the Bruiser” Baker (Larry Hulin aka Bobby “Hercules” Graham)

Friday 22 July 1966 at Sydney Stadium, Sydney, NSW, Australia

* IWA World Tag Team Title Match: Bearcat Wright & Mark Lewin defeated Skull Murphy & Brute Bernard (Champions) 2 falls to 1 but the belts were held up as the legal wrestlers were not involved in the 3rd fall.

Saturday 23 July 1966 at Sydney TV Taping, Sydney, NSW, Australia

* Bearcat Wright defeated Johnny Boyd (later known as Lord Jonathan Boyd)

Saturday 23 July 1966 (date of telecast – date of taping was earlier) at Newcastle TV Taping, Newcastle, NSW, Australia

* Bearcat Wright defeated Mitsu Arakawa

Saturday July 23 1966 at Melbourne Festival Hall, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

* Bearcat Wright defeated Brute Bernard 2 falls to 1

Sunday 24 July 1966 at Melbourne TV Taping, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

* Bearcat Wright defeated Johnny Boyd; Bearcat Wright defeated Ted Sinkowski (in consecutive matches)

Wednesday 27 July 1966 at Newcastle, NSW, Australia

* IWA World Tag Team Title: Bearcat Wright & Jim Hady defeated Skull Murphy & Brute Bernard (Champions) on disqualification so the championship did not change hands

Friday 29 July 1966 at Sydney Stadium, Sydney, NSW, Australia

* IWA World Tag Team Title: Bearcat Wright & Mark Lewin defeated Skull Murphy & Brute Bernard (Champions) 2 falls to 1 to become the new titleholders

Saturday 30 July 1966 at Sydney TV Taping, Sydney, NSW, Australia

* Bearcat Wright defeated Mark Anthony

Saturday 30 July 1966 at Melbourne Festival Hall, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

* Bearcat Wright defeated Professor Tanaka 2 falls to nil

Sunday 31 July 1966 at Melbourne TV Taping, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

* Bearcat Wright defeated Al Woods

Monday 1 August 1966 at Geelong Palais, Geelong, VIC, Australia

* Bearcat Wright defeated Brute Bernard

Wednesday 3 August 1966 at Brisbane Festival Hall, Brisbane, QLD, Australia

* Bearcat Wright defeated Professor Tanaka

Friday 5 August 1966 at Sydney Stadium, Sydney, NSW, Australia

* Bearcat Wright defeated Professor Tanaka 2 falls to nil including 1st fall by COR

Saturday 6 August 1966 at Sydney TV Taping, Sydney, NSW, Australia

* Bearcat Wright defeated George Lackey

Saturday 6 August 1966 at Melbourne Festival Hall, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

* IWA World Tag Team Title: Skull Murphy & Brute Bernard defeated Mark Lewin & Bearcat Wright (Champions) 2 falls to 1 to regain the championship

Sunday 7 August 1966 at Melbourne TV Taping, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

* Bearcat Wright drew with Dan Miller

Wednesday 10 August 1966 at Newcastle, NSW, Australia

* Bearcat Wright & Jim Hady defeated Professor Tanaka & Dan Miller 2 falls to 1

Friday 12 August 1966 at Sydney Stadium, Sydney, NSW, Australia

* Skull Murphy defeated Bearcat Wright 2 falls to 1 – ref bump, Wright pins Skull while ref down, Bearcat goes to help ref, Murphy attacks Wright from behind (with head butts to back of neck) and knee drop off top rope and pins Bearcat as the ref recovers to count the fall.

Saturday 13 August 1966 at Sydney TV Taping, Sydney, NSW, Australia

* Bearcat Wright defeated Professor Tanaka 2 falls to 1

Saturday 13 August 1966 (date of telecast – date of taping was earlier) at Newcastle TV Taping, Newcastle, NSW, Australia

* Bearcat Wright defeated Mark Anthony; Bearcat Wright defeated Al Woods (in consecutive matches)

Saturday 13 August 1966 at Melbourne Festival Hall, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

* IWA World Tag Team Title: Mark Lewin & Bearcat Wright defeated Skull Murphy & Brute Bernard (Champions) 2 falls to 1 to regain the championship - Rocky Marciano and Jim Hady were the special guest referees

Sunday 14 August 1966 at Melbourne TV Taping, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

* Bearcat Wright drew with Professor Tanaka

Monday 15 August 1966 at Geelong Palais, Geelong, VIC, Australia

* Bearcat Wright defeated Professor Tanaka 2 falls to 1

Wednesday 17 August 1966 at Brisbane Festival Hall, Brisbane, QLD, Australia

* Bearcat Wright defeated Brute Bernard 2 falls to 1

Friday 19 August 1966 at Sydney Stadium, Sydney, NSW, Australia

* IWA World Title: Bearcat Wright defeated Skull Murphy (Champion) 2 falls to 1 to become the new champion

Saturday 20 August 1966 at Sydney TV Taping, Sydney, NSW, Australia

* Bearcat Wright defeated Ted Sinkowski

Saturday 20 August 1966 at Melbourne Festival Hall, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

* Bearcat Wright, Mark Lewin & Jim Hady defeated Professor Tanaka, Skull Murphy & Brute Bernard 2 falls to 1

Sunday 21 August 1966 at Melbourne TV Taping, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

* Bearcat Wright drew with Dan Miller

Wednesday 24 August 1966 at Newcastle, NSW, Australia

IWA World Title: Bearcat Wright (Champion) defeated Dan Miller 2 falls to 1 to retain the championship

Fri 26 August 1966 at Sydney Stadium, Sydney, NSW, Australia

* IWA World Title: Bearcat Wright (Champion) defeated Mark Lewin 2 falls to 1 (3rd via COR) to retain the championship

Saturday 27 August 1966 at Melbourne Festival Hall, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

* The Destroyer (John Hill aka Guy Mitchell) & Dan Miller defeated Bearcat Wright & Jim Hady 2 falls to 1

Monday 29 August 1966 at Geelong Palais, Geelong, VIC, Australia

* IWA World Title: Bearcat Wright defeated Dan Miller 2 falls to 1

Wednesday 31 August 1966 at Brisbane Festival Hall, Brisbane, QLD, Australia

* IWA World Title: Bearcat Wright (Champion) defeated Skull Murphy 1 fall each on disqualification when Murphy hit the referee with a chair in the 3rd fall

Friday 2 September 1966 at Sydney Stadium, Sydney, NSW, Australia

* IWA World Tag Team Title: Skull Murphy & Brute Bernard (Champions) defeated Bearcat Wright & Vittorio Apollo 2 falls to 1 to retain the championship

Saturday 3 September 1966 at Sydney TV Taping, Sydney, NSW, Australia

* Bearcat Wright & Vittorio Apollo defeated Mark Anthony & Ted Sinkowski

Saturday 3 September 1966 at Melbourne Festival Hall, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

* IWA World Title: The Destroyer (John Hill aka Guy Mitchell) defeated Bearcat Wright (Champion) 2 falls to 1 to become the new champion

Sunday 4 September 1966 at Melbourne TV Taping, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

* Bearcat Wright defeated Mark Anthony

Wednesday 7 September 1966 at Newcastle, NSW, Australia

* IWA World Tag Team Title: Skull Murphy & Brute Bernard (Champions) defeated Bearcat Wright & Jim Hady 2 falls to 1 to retain the championship

Friday 9 September 1966 at Sydney Stadium, Sydney, NSW, Australia

* IWA World Tag Team Title – No Disqualification: Skull Murphy & Brute Bernard (Champions) defeated Bearcat Wright & Vittorio Apollo 2 falls to 1 to retain the championship

Saturday 10 September 1966 at Melbourne Festival Hall, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

* Bearcat Wright, Jim Hady & Vittorio Apollo defeated Skull Murphy, Brute Bernard & The Destroyer (John Hill aka Guy Mitchell) 2 falls to 1

Monday 12 September 1966 at Geelong Palais, Geelong, VIC, Australia

* Bearcat Wright defeated Brute Bernard

Wednesday 14 September 1966 at Brisbane Festival Hall, Brisbane, QLD, Australia

* Skull Murphy defeated Bearcat Wright 2 falls to 1

Friday 16 September 1966 at Sydney Stadium, Sydney, NSW, Australia

* Bearcat Wright, Jim Hady & Vittorio Apollo defeated Skull Murphy, Brute Bernard & The Destroyer (John Hill aka Guy Mitchell) 2 falls to 1

Saturday 17 September 1966 at Melbourne Festival Hall, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

* Texas Death Match for the IWA World Title: The Destroyer (John Hill aka Guy Mitchell) (Champion) defeated Bearcat Wright to retain the championship

In summary, Wright wrestled 54 matches for a record of 40 wins, 10 losses and 4 draws. This equates to 38 singles matches for a record of 30 wins, 4 losses and 4 draws plus 16 tag team matches for a record of 10 wins and 6 losses.

In 26 main event calibre singles matches Bearcat registered 18 wins, 4 losses and 4 draws. The breakup of this record is:

6 wins, 0 losses and 2 draws against Professor Tanaka;

5 wins, 0 losses and 0 draws against Brute Bernard;

2 wins, 2 losses and 0 draws against Skull Murphy;

2 wins, 0 losses and 2 draws against Dan Miller;

0 wins, 2 losses and 0 draws against Destroyer (John Hill aka Guy Mitchell);

1 win, 0 losses and 0 draws against Mark Lewin;

1 win, 0 losses and 0 draws against Mitsu Arakawa;

1 win, 0 losses and 0 draws against Bob “the Bruiser” Baker (Larry Hulin aka Bobby “Hercules” Graham).

Wright’s final matches of his 1966 tour in the major markets of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane were all main events thus Bearcat was booked as a headliner throughout his campaign and even on his way out of the World Championship Wrestling promotion.

Wright’s third tour of Australia was in August and September 1967 for the World Championship Wrestling promotion of Jim Barnett and Johnny Doyle. Bearcat retained his billing at 6 foot 9 inches tall and 20 stone (280 pounds) in weight. The nicknames of “the world’s most spectacular wrestler” and “the Houdini of the mat” also remained.

Australian newspaper articles of the day continued to praise Wright, noting his great physical presence, ability, agility, speed and showmanship.

Wright arrived in Australia in 1967 as a proven main event wrestler by virtue of his accomplishments the previous year. Once again Bearcat won the IWA World Championship by defeating his ring enemy Skull Murphy.

On this tour Bearcat had top matches against Killer Kowalski, Skull Murphy, Art Nelson, Jay “the Alaskan” York, Roy Heffernan, Mario Milano and Larry O’Day.

The results of Wright’s matches in Australia in 1967 were:

Friday 4 August 1967 at Sydney Stadium, Sydney, NSW, Australia

* Bearcat Wright defeated Mark Anthony

Saturday 5 August 1967 at Sydney TV Taping, Sydney, NSW, Australia

* Bearcat Wright defeated Johnny Boyd

Saturday 5 August 1967 at Melbourne Festival Hall, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

* Bearcat Wright defeated Art Nelson

Sunday 6 August 1967 at Melbourne TV Taping, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

* Bearcat Wright defeated Johnny Boyd

Friday 11 August 1967 at Sydney Stadium, Sydney, NSW, Australia

* Killer Kowalski & Skull Murphy defeated Bearcat Wright & Tex McKenzie

Saturday 12 August 1967 at Sydney TV Taping, Sydney, NSW, Australia

* Bearcat Wright defeated Johnny Boyd

Saturday 12 August 1967 at Melbourne Festival Hall, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

* Bearcat Wright defeated The Alaskan

Sunday 13 August 1967 at Melbourne TV Taping, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

* Bearcat Wright defeated George Lackey

Wednesday 16 August 1967 at Brisbane Festival Hall, Brisbane, QLD, Australia

* Bearcat Wright defeated The Alaskan

Friday 18 August 1967 at Sydney Stadium, Sydney, NSW, Australia

* Bearcat Wright defeated Killer Kowalski on disqualification

Saturday 19 August 1967 at Sydney TV Taping, Sydney, NSW, Australia

* Bearcat Wright defeated Johnny Boyd

Saturday 19 August 1967 at Melbourne Festival Hall, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

* IWA World Title: Bearcat Wright defeated Skull Murphy (Champion) to win the championship

Sunday 20 August 1967 (date of telecast – date of taping was earlier) at Brisbane TV Taping, Brisbane, QLD, Australia

* Bearcat Wright defeated Mark Anthony

Sunday 20 August 1967 at Melbourne TV Taping, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

* Bearcat Wright defeated Len Holt

Friday 25 August 1967 at Sydney Stadium, Sydney, NSW, Australia

* IWA World Title: Bearcat Wright defeated The Alaskan

Saturday 26 August 1967 at Melbourne Festival Hall, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

* IWA World Title: Bearcat Wright (Champion) d Killer Kowalski 2 falls to 1

Sunday 27 August 1967 (date of telecast – date of taping was earlier) at Brisbane TV Taping, Brisbane, QLD, Australia

* Bearcat Wright defeated Col Currie

Sunday 27 August 1967 at Melbourne TV Taping, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

* Bearcat Wright defeated Larry O’Day

Wednesday 30 August 1967 at Brisbane Festival Hall, Brisbane, QLD, Australia

* IWA World Title: Bearcat Wright (Champion) defeated Killer Kowalski 2 falls to 1

Friday 1 September 1967 at Sydney Stadium, Sydney, NSW, Australia

* IWA World Title: Killer Kowalski defeated Bearcat Wright (Champion) 2 falls to 1 to win the championship

Sunday 3 September 1967 (date of telecast – date of taping was earlier; thought to be Thursday 31 August 1967) at Brisbane TV Taping, Brisbane, QLD, Australia

* Bearcat Wright defeated Roy Heffernan – heel turn by Wright

Sunday 10 September 1967 (date of telecast – date of taping was earlier; thought to be Thursday 31 August 1967) at Brisbane TV Taping, Brisbane, QLD, Australia

* Bearcat Wright vs Mario Milano – no decision declared after Wright continued a heel turn by attacking the referee. Bearcat announced that he wanted to be known as Muhammad Abee – a play on Cassius Clay becoming Muhammad Ali in 1964.

In summary, Wright wrestled 22 matches for a record of 19 wins, 2 losses, 0 draws and 1 no contest. This record includes only 1 tag team match for 1 loss.

In 12 main event calibre singles matches Bearcat registered 10 wins, 1 losses and 1 no contest. The breakup of this record is:

3 wins, 1 loss and 0 draws against Killer Kowalski;

3 wins, 0 losses and 0 draws against Jay “the Alaskan” York;

1 win, 0 losses and 0 draws against Skull Murphy;

1 win, 0 losses and 0 draws against Roy Heffernan;

1 win, 0 losses and 0 draws against Art Nelson;

1 win, 0 losses and 0 draws against Larry O’Day;

0 win, 0 losses and 1 no contest against Mario Milano.