by Percival A. Friend

(The EPITOME of Wrestling Managers)

2004 Honoree
Cauliflower Alley Club
Las Vegas, Nevada

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Percival and Crusher
Percival and Crusher Reggie Lisowski at the 2000 CAC at the Riviera in Las Vegas. The Destroyer is in the background.

Black Angus

To all my readers and friends .... Please enjoy a safe and happy holiday season. Thank you for your continued support--Percival

The 70's was a fantastic decade for me. It marked the downfall for just about every champion that the Central States had to offer. Angus and I had come and beat them all with one exception … Harley Race. I could just not bring myself to book a match with Harley against Angus. Harley was too much of a gentleman, in my estimation, and his reputation preceded him.

I had taken Angus to the heights that no other man had been before. He had seen glory in the form of championship belts and Main Event matches. I had been in his corner through thick and thin. I was the man responsible for getting him the money that he made … minus my usual 35% plus transportation costs and incidentals. That was the cost of greatness.

Angus had come into the Central States by himself in 1970 following a very successful run in Calgary, where he beat every opponent that was put in the ring with him. Angus had laid to the side men like Archie Gouldie (The Stomper), Les Thornton and most of the Hart clan that would sign a contract to meet him.

During the first six months he was in the realm of promoter Gust Karras, he was treated like a commoner. He was matched up against opponents that did him no good in getting to the big guys that held the belts. In fact, most of them were hand picking matches so they would and could retain their titles. Danny Littlebear and Omar Atlas were two of the worst offenders, with the Stomper doing everything but kissing Gust Karras right on his butt.

I did not operate that way, and when I heard from Angus about what they were doing to him, I headed to Kansas City and St. Joseph. On reaching Kansas City in the fall of 1970, I set the world of wrestling back about 50 years. I would not take what was given to us like a piece of meat being held out to a hungry lion; I made my own matches and started to give Angus just what he deserved. He became the Central States Champion within months, and when we tired of that title, he tagged up with Roger Kirby, and they beat the current title holders.

Angus was a little jealous of the attention I was giving Kirby in grooming him for a title shot against Dory Funk Jr., the current NWA Heavyweight Champ. He sometimes would go on a tirade and break things up in the dressing rooms like benches and chairs and footlockers. He, of course, had to pay for the damages, which made him even madder then he was to begin with. He was like a big kid when it came to maturity.

On October 19, 1972, we were booked against The Stomper and Rufus R. Jones in the Main Event at Kansas City. The rest of the card was a superlative cooperation between the two wrestling offices of St. Joseph and Kansas City.

The opening match had Omar Atlas facing Easy Ed Wisowski, a huge young man from St. Joe that , I had learned , had been trained personally by Gust Karras and his team of office stooges. Omar was very lucky in getting a pin on the big man after using the Airplane spin to wear him down.

Ronnie Etchison, the old pro from St. Joe, faced Bobby Whitlock from Alabama and made quick work of him, using a very punishing surfboard-like hold. Les Thornton faced The Destroyer (Stan Pulaski) but was not able to beat the unpopular masked man. The Destroyer used a nerve pressure lock on the sides of the temple with his thumbs and made Thornton give up.

Betty Niccoli faced Belle Starr, a super young lady from South Dakota, and retained her U.S. Championship by use of the ropes and a pin. Juan Sebastian from Spain lost a very hard fought match against Danny Littlebear when he got caught in an Indian Deathlock. Juan came very close to putting another name in the list of men he had beaten since coming to the Midwest.

The main event had everyone's interest in the sold out building. Fans had come from as far away as Wichita, Des Moines, St. Louis and Oklahoma to be there for what was billed as the battle of the decade. The North American Tag Belts had been won by the team of Angus and Kirby three months prior to the match.

As we were getting ready to enter the arena from our private dressing room, I thought to myself … should I have waited a little longer to make a match of this magnitude? Would Rufus and the Stomper be too much for my team to handle? It was then that Angus smacked me in the arm and woke me out of my daze and informed me as to where the ring was.

I didn't take to the punching very well, and neither did Roger. After all, I was the Epitome of Wrestling Managers and did not deserve to be treated like yesterday’s garbage. I was in the best outfit I owned and looked like a huge peacock strutting to the ring. I stopped just as we entered the roped off area and turned my head and sneered at the crowd from the ringside clear to the top of the building where all the cheapskates were seated. They, of course, gave me what for and called me every name but my own.

As the match got underway, I made sure that both Rufus and the Stomper knew I was at ringside. There were times when both of them wanted to jump out of the ring and rip me apart. I, of course, kept just out of their grasping hands and made it possible for Kirby and Angus to do their thing.

During the first two falls, a lot of wrestling holds were being displayed by Kirby and Angus on the opposing team. It was our intention to weaken the huge men and then make them submit by Angus using those huge European uppercuts and then put a few suplexes on one of them and go for the pin.

We lost the first fall as Angus was beaten by Rufus using a vicious headbutt and pinning him. Roger evened it up by beating Rufus with a rolling reverse cradle that he learned while training for the partnership he had with Angus.

During the third and final fall , Angus had the Stomper’s arms pinned behind him and was calling for me to use the briefcase on top of Archie's head. Roger jumped into the ring and drew the attention of referee Richard Moody … which was not a hard thing to do. I jumped up on the ring apron, climbed through the ropes and drew back with the briefcase that I had been accused of having a brick in … and swung.

The Stomper had ducked down just as I was coming down on his head, and poor Angus got it … right between his eyes. Angus fell backwards, with his eyes crossed, on the mat and was pinned by the Stomper. The crowd went absolutely berserk as they were heading into the ring to stop my onslaught and stopped when they saw what had been happened to poor Angus. I couldn't believe what I had done, after all the preparing I had done and the endless hours of planning for this match.

New champions were crowned, and they left the ring victorious with the belts. The fans were jubilant as they carried the new champs on their shoulders to the dressing room. It was evident that the people of Kansas City were very happy with the outcome of the match by the way they were shouting, "Oh PERCY!!!! … WHERE ARE YOUR CHAMPS NOW ??????"

As Angus started coming to, I was trying to comfort him. The 6 foot 9 inch giant from Scotland got to his feet and really knew where he was at … he looked at me holding the briefcase and grabbed me by the coat lapels and drew me right into his face. He began to hurl insults at me, and then he grabbed me by the neck and took me right off my feet about three feet and threw me across the ring like a sack of potatoes. He then grabbed the briefcase and started to break it open to reveal to the fans what I had inside.

Roger was completely taken by the actions of Angus, who had been like a brother to him, but could not contain his reverence towards me. He grabbed Angus and tore his grip on the briefcase and threw it over on top of me as I lay on the mat. Roger then jumped out of the ring and pulled me from Angus, who had come for more revenge. Roger was able to grab the case and took it and me to the dressing room.

I threw out the rags that Angus called clothing and locked and bolted the door. I wanted no more of the beating that he had given me earlier. I guess he just had no sense of humor about getting hit with my case. It was that night, October 19, 1972, when I learned a valuable lesson that will live in the history books of forever.

To be continued ....

Percival A. Friend, Retired
The Epitome of Wrestling Managers
2004 CAC Honoree

Percival, Juan Hernandez and Dan Roeglin
Percival with Juan "Mr. Karate" Hernandez and "Mr. Bruiser" Dan Roeglin at Binion's Horseshoe. We had just finished a beautiful breakfast and were preparing for the 2003 CAC at the Plaza.

(MIDI Musical Selection: "Jingle Banjos")

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