Central States 1966 - Part 1
The below chart lists the wrestlers who were regulars in Central States at some point between January 1st and March 31st, 1966. They are ranked by their SPOT (Statistical Position Over Time, a number between .000 and 1.000 representing their average spot on the cards they were booked on; a 1.000 would mean they were always in the main event)
Babyfaces are highlighted in blue, heels in orange. The spacing between wrestlers is meant to approximate the differences in their SPOT.
Comings and Goings
Newcomers (or returnees) to the territory in this time period:
The Butcher - Better known as Butcher (or Paul) Vachon, he came here in February after spending over a year wrestling in England. This was his only stint in the territory. After retiring from wrestling, Paul worked as Santa Claus at the Berlin Mall in Vermont for at least 13 years .
Jerry Kozak - Kozak came here from Tri-State for his first and only stint in March. Along with his brother Nick, he wrestled all over the U.S. but is best known for his long run in Amarillo, where he ended up as a promoter and part-owner of the territory.
Oki Shikina - Had been wrestling mostly under the name Pedro Zapata since 1959, this appears to be the first time he used the Shikina name. There was another wrestler named Oki Shikina who wrestled from 1929 to 1955. Shikina came here for the first time in late January from Mid-Atlantic.
Pistol Pete - Started here in January, last known territory prior to this was the WWWF, where he left in October 1965. Wrestled primarily as Frank Martinez and under several masked gimmicks as part of tag teams. This appears to be the only territory he used the name Pistol Pete. Left in February to return to the WWWF.
Ron Reed - Better known as Buddy Colt, Reed came here for his second stint in the territory at the end of January. He had spent a month in Hawaii after wrestling in Australia at the end of 1965. His first run here, which saw him in regular main events for the first time, began in 1964 when Pat O'Connor brought him in after seeing him in East Texas.
Tor Kamata - Came here at the end of January from Tennessee. Became a pro wrestler after leaving the Air Force. Started his career in Hawaii before going to Tennessee. Some online sources list him as debuting in 1959, but I have not found listings for him (under any of the names he used) prior to 1965.
Wrestlers who left the territory in this time period:
Bobby Shane - In March, Shane went to Georgia for a week or so, came back here for a week and a half to finish up and then returned to Georgia. He would return here for a couple of shots later in the spring and the following year, but his next run as a regular in this territory wouldn't be until 1968.
Don Soto - Soto left in early February and went to Florida, where he wrestled as Cyclone Soto and possibly Jose Soto. He would not return to Central States.
Jerry Miller - Miller left at the end of February to go to East Texas. He was booked for a handful of cards here in 1972 while working for All-Star in Nebraska, but did not appear here as a regular after this run.
Jim Wehba - Wehba continued to wrestle here occasionally into May, but was not booked on enough cards to be considered a regular after March. He went to Georgia in June and would return here for occasional shots in September while also wrestling for All-Star in Nebraska.
Victor Rivera - Rivera went to Northern California in mid April. He would return here in January 1967.
Dandy Jack, who was also known as Dandy Jack Crawford over the course of his career, was managing the Butcher.
Nationally known stars passing through the territory during the time period: Bobo Brazil, Dick the Bruiser, Ernie Ladd, Gene Kinski, Lou Thesz and the Sheik. Thesz' last matches before dropping the NWA World Heavyweight title to Kiniski (in St. Louis on 1/7) were here. The night before the title switch, he teamed with Cowboy Bob Ellis to face Bob Geigel & Bob Brown.
Other wrestlers with bookings here during the time period include Chris Belkas, Danny "Bulldog" Plechas, Marvin Knapp and the Ox (Ox Baker).
Women wrestlers with more than one booking during the time period were Betty Niccoli, Jean Antone, Jessica Rogers and Sweet Georgia Brown.
Midget wrestlers Cowboy Bradley, Pee Wee Lopez, Sky Low Low and Sonny Boy Cassidy were here for a week in February.
The January 18th card in Sedalia, MO shows how the promotion (and other promotions of similar size) booked cards in smaller towns when they ran split crews. Four matches were on the card, using just seven wrestlers. Sonny Myers was the referee for the card, and the participants in the semi-final tag team match wrestled in separate singles bouts to open the card. The main event was a heel vs heel battle as Bob Geigel faced the Viking. Geigel & Brown often faced the Viking throughout the year in singles matches and tags. All three were definitely positioned as heels, though the Viking seems to turn babyface later in the year.