Historical Summary of Wrestling in Sandusky


Prior to 1931, occasional shows were held in Sandusky and nearby cities.

Ervin Zimm's Sandusky Quality Club promoted three Friday night wrestling shows in Sandusky in November and December 1930 at Yontz Hall located at Jackson and Market streets.

There were two shows in the early part of 1931 without a promoter listed. March saw the shows become weekly Monday night events and is the first time Dan Morris is listed as the promoter. Note that future newpaper articles list Morris as having revivied wrestling in Sandusky in November 1930 so either the paper is incorrect or Morris was a silent partner of Zimm.

That spring a couple of shows were promoted by Ralph Andres at the Eagles building. Morris' brother Glenn promoted a couple of shows at Cedar Point. There were several shows promoted by the Sansusky Merchants Baseball Association (booked by Andres) at Esmond Athletic Field on Coumbus Avenue during the summer.

September of 1931 saw the shows move to Tuesday nights at the 800-seat Fisher's Hall located at the corner of East Water and Wayne streets. This would be the indoor home of the weekly shows until 1942.

The summer of 1932 again saw several outdoor shows at Esmond Athletic Field promoted by the Sandusky Merchants Baseball Association and booker Ralph Roesch. The summer also saw several instances of fan violence that almost caused wrestling to be banned in Sandusky.

During the summers of the 1930s, Morris ran shows outside at makeshift arenas along Water Street. Newspaper descriptions of the locations seem to indicate that there were several different venues set up over the years, but the exact locations are vague. Empty lots at the corner of Wayne and Water streets (formerly a used car lot) next to the old Sandusky Register building, east of Columbus Ave., and near Decatur Street were used.

The opening matches in the 30s and 40s was often a short time limit bout between two "young" wrestlers. Judging by the weights these were probably teenagers doing amateur wrestling or boxing matches. It's possible these were worked matches, but there is no indication of this.

Also during this time, matches would usually have a five or ten minute break between falls with those minutes being counted toward the time limit. Because the break was not always consistant, the time of falls exclude the breaks. If the match went to a draw, the time of the final fall will be the total time limit and not necessarily indicate how long that fall actually lasted.

The Sandusky Junior Light Heavyweight Title was the only Sandusky based title and was active in Morris' promotion from 1934 through 1936.

From 1934 until late 1937, the shows were held on Tuesday nights.

In the summer of 1934, several shows promoted by the Sandusky Athletic Club run by Red Morrisey and Johnny Fischer were held at the fairgrounds. That fall they ran several shows billed as "amateur" matches on Tuesday nights (the same night as Morris' shows). The newspaper descriptions certainly sound like these were traditional pro matches so it seems likely they were billed as amateurs to avoid problems with the city commission.

Morris died in July 1937 and the promotion was taken over by his widow, Esther. The shows moved to Wednesdays in October and in November Mrs. Morris sold the promotion to Ed Pfinster. His last show was in July of 1940.

During the late 30s and early 40s, the opening match was often a short time limit bout between two "young" wrestlers. Judging by the weights these were probably teenagers doing amateur wrestler or boxing matches. It's possible these were worked matches, but there is no indication of this.

Les Fishbaugh became the Sandusky promoter in September 1940, running Monday night shows at Fisher's through early 1942. After state inspectors declared the building was not up to code, Fishbaugh made some improvements but it still didn't meet code. Rather than spend even more money on the building, Fishbaugh waited several months to run a show at his new outdoor arena on Market Street between Decatur and Jackson.

Fishbaugh moved the shows to the Eagles Club Gym on Washington Row in November 1942. They would continue at that venue until June 1943. There was no wrestling in Sandusky from June 1943 until May 1946.

In 1946, Red Parry brought wrestling back to Sandusky after a several year absence. The weekly shows were held at Link's Hall (W. Washington Street) on Wednesday nights. Tony DeMore took over as promoter in September of that year. In October, the shows were moved to Thursday nights.

For three weeks at the beginning of 1947 the shows moved to Wednesdays. Then they moved to Fridays for three weeks before ending up on Mondays where they would stay for several years. In the summer of 1948 he ran shows outside at the IAB Field, but had numerous rainouts.

April of 1949 saw the Toledo office replace their group of wrestlers with Jack Pfeffer's troupe. Johnny Nichols would become DeMore's partner in July 1949. Their first card saw wrestling moved to the larger VWF Sports Hall.

A switch was made to Al Haft's Columbus booking office in May 1950. The promoters returned to the Toledo booking office two months later. Pfeffer's involvement in Ohio ended in late April 1951. Newspaper ads never mentioned his name, but did indicate that the local promoters had changed booking offices.

In July 1951, the weekly shows were moved to Wednesdays in an effort to more regularly get better wrestlers who often wrestled in larger cities on Mondays. Apparently this change was not a success, as there was a several month lull in wrestling cards. Weekly wrestling shows returned in September with the cards again held at Link's Hall. The shows returned to Mondays in October.

Les Fishbaugh returned to promoting the weekly shows in February 1952. A year later, he switched to using Al Haft's Columbus based booking office.

In March 1953, Cleveland promoter Jack Pettit and Mike Ryan ran a handful of cards in Norwalk. They were the first in the city in three years and used wrestlers from the Toledo booking office for their cards.

Fishbaugh ran his last Sandusky show in May 1953 and six months later was offering his ring, chairs, and bleachers for sale.

Tony DeMore began promoting shows again in February 1954. This time he ran at the armory in Port Clinton. A month later he began running shows at the armory in Norwalk. During the summer of 1954, DeMore ran a few shows at the Sandusky Speedway. And in early 1955, he started running at the armory in Clyde.

DeMore promoted a handful of shows in the area in 1955. The spring of that year also saw wrestling in Sandusky at Melody Hall (formerly the Rollerdome) promoted by Vacationland Sports Promotions which replaced Tony DeMore as the NWA-backed promotion in Sandusky. VSP was owned by local businessmen Bud Everett, Robert Rickenbaugh, and Paul Houser. After a summer break, VSP moved their shows to the armory.

After several months without wrestling, February 1957 saw Sandusky get yet another new promoter in the form of Toledo-based Cliff Maupin. He ran weekly for a few months, returned for a show in September, and quit promoting the city.

Ray Wheeler of Mt. Gilead ran a handful of shows, including a free one, in late 1957. His crew consisted of unknown wrestlers which resulted in poor attendance.

There weren't any wrestling shows in Sandusky until early 1959. The handful of shows during that year were promoted by the Buffalo Athletic Club of New York with Bud Everett as the local representative.

Once again there was a break of more than a year for wrestling in Sandusky. The Buffalo & Cleveland Wrestling Club returned with Shows starting in August 1960. These shows would run fairly regularly until April 1961.

There was another 18 month gap in Sandusky shows with a single event being held in October 1962 promoted by Terry Callahan using wrestlers from the "New York" booking office. However, the wrestlers on that show were local wrestlers.

Tony DeMore, Jr. and Larry Atkins ran a couple of shows in March 1963.

After a layoff of more than two years, wrestling returned to Sandusky for a single card in September 1965. The show was said to be promoted by ABC Wrestling of Toledo. The wrestlers were part of Farhat's Detroit-based Big Time Wrestling. When shows were run more regularly starting in the spring of 1966, the shows were billed as Big Time Wrestling with Tony DeMore as the local promoter.

The Erie County Fairgrounds became the usually location for wrestling in Sandusky starting in the fall of 1966. However, shows were only run occassionaly from May 1967 to November 1968. At that point shows returned to the armory.

In the summer of 1970, a series of events were held at the Sandusky Speedway.

Jack Kane's International Wrestling ran one show in Sandusky in 1974.