Skip to main content

Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame: Australia, New Zealand, Africa and island nation considerations

Submitted by Graeme Cameron for F4WOnline.com

MARK LEWIN

Lewin debut in February, 1965 with a win against Buddy Austin, he worked underneath DeNucci-Stevens main events that month against Kowaski and The Mongolian Stomper before getting his own main event program with Stevesn in March. He and DeNucci shared top spot through April/May for matches against Mitsu Arakawa, the two teaming for tag matches against Arakawa, first with Stevens, then Kowalski. Lewin departed, but returned in October and had a main event program with Skull Murphy, also pairing with new top babyface Arion for several main event tag matches against different combinations of heels through to the end of the year,

He returned in June, 1966 as part of a program to establish the tag team title, pairing with DeNucci again to defeated Prof. Tanaka & Arakawa, then Larry Hennig & Harley Race to win the title. He dropped it to the debuting team of Murphy & Bernard, then regained it with Bearcat Wright, eveutually losing it back to Murphy & Bernard. He won his first singles title in a main event program with the heel-turned Wright and defended against Murphy (again) and Tanaka before losing the belt to the latter, after which he departed.

He did not return until September, 1967, working underneath  Milano and Milano/Bastien v Kowalski/Murphy main events against The Alaskan (Jay York),  Kowalski and Curtis Iaukea, beating the latter for the title. He dropped the belt in short order to Ripper Collins and spent the rest of the year working supports against Kowalski and Kox before teaming with Milano in the final card of the year, losing to Kox & Bull Curry. He was absent until September, 1968, when he reprised his main event program against Tanaka once again, this time as an unsuccessful challenger. He paired with Milano for another main event challenge against tag champs Tanaka & Murphy, again unsuccessfully.

He did not tour in 1969 and was not seen until April/May, 1970 when he had his famous "fight to the street" match with old friend and rival King Curtis, before masterminding Curtis' face-turn in an angle with Ivan Koloff and Gary Hart. He paired with Pugliese to defeat Rip Hawk and Swede Hanson for the tag title. He spent of the rest of year flip-flopping this title with The Von Steigers using a variety of partners including Arion, Curtis and Milano, many of them main events, with the latter duo finishing the year with Milano. 1971 saw the pair defending, then dropping the belts to The Texas Outlaws, before Lewin masterminded the face-turn of Kowalski with the pair winning the belts. Kowalski's turn back while still champions saw Lewin reuniting with Curtis to win the disputed title from Kowalski and new partner Bulldog Bob Brown. These four headlined in singles and tag matches for weeks, later sometimes with Singh, Fuji or The Wolfman. Lewin worked singles main events with Kowalski and Singh. Lewin & Curtis briefly reprised their program with The Von Steigers before departing after losing the title to Singh & Fuji in August.

Lewin was asbsent unit July, 1972, when he again reunited with Curtis (sometimes joined by Arion) for matches with Brower, Big Bad John and Crazy Luke Graham  in what was the prelude to "The War'. He was absent again until May, 1973 after Tennessee promoters Roy Welch and Buddy Fuller brought in their own roster. When they left, Lewin returned and "The War' began with a main event tag team title feud, Lewin, teaming with Arion Von Erich & Hiro Tojo. From there, it just built to the point where Lewin's "People's Army v Big Bad John's Soldiers" was dominating the card every week. Various combinations of Lewin, Arion, Curtis, Sheik Wadi Ayoub, Angelo Mosca and the face-turned Kox would battle various combinations of John, Brower, Von Erich, Singh, Abdullah the Butcher and The Tojo Brothers every week until the end of the year. When JIm Barnett sold the promotion, new promoters Larry O'Dea and Ron Miller chose a different road and the story was never concluded. Lewin never returned

Lewin drew his biggest money as booker with the face-turns of Curtis and Kowalski and "The War" program. The negative is that he had the ear of Jim Barnett and wielded a great deal of power which he did not always use in a positive way, but he was one of the top babyfaces in the promotion's history