Houston Wrestling

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Houston Wrestling is a now-defunct professional wrestling promotion that ran from the mid 1920s through 1987. Originally run by the Sigel family, it reached its highest point of popularity during its run under Paul Boesch.

History

Houston's wrestling legacy began shortly before World War I, with shows being held at irregular intervals from 1915—1923. Inspired by this, promoter Julius Sigel started Houston's City Auditorium (which has long since been torn down). Following the creation of this historic building, wrestlers began showing up in Houston on a regular basis to perform in weekly Friday night shows.

In 1929, Sigel left to promote shows in New Orleans and Shreveport, Louisiana, leaving the promotion to his brother, Morris Sigel. Morris was not well versed in the wrestling business, but guided the promotion through strong business sense and surrounding himself with people capable of running wrestling shows without his help. During this time, a wrestler from Brooklyn, New York named Paul Boesch was on the wrestling scene, who would ultimately be one of Morris Sigel's main men.

Paul Boesch era

In 1947, Boesch was in a serious car accident that forced him to retire from performing. Sigel hired him as a backstage aid and radio announcer. As television became popular in Houston around 1949, Boesch became Houston Wrestling's first television commentator. After several years of jumping channels, Houston Wrestling ended up on Houston independent station KHTV (now KIAH), at which point it became a national phenomenon for over 30 years.

Morris Sigel died on December 26, 1966. In early 1967, Boesch bought the Gulf Athletic Club from Sigel's widow, realizing that he was ultimately in the best position to carry on the Houston Wrestling legacy. Boesch noted that he had been training for this position for over two decades without realizing it, and was ready to practice his own ideas and run the company himself. Under his control, Houston Wrestling expanded its legacy, becoming one of the most popular promotions in the nation, rivaling even Dallas' popular World Class Championship Wrestling promotion. Wrestlers such as Billy Red Lyons and Gary Hart acknowledged Houston Wrestling as one of the best in the nation, and also praised Boesch as an honest man and a great promoter who almost always drew sell-outs for his cards.

Boesch spent 21 years promoting in Houston from the Sam Houston Coliseum, affiliating himself with Southwest Sports, World Class Championship Wrestling, Southwest Championship Wrestling, Mid South Wrestling, the Universal Wrestling Federation, and the World Wrestling Federation, all in an attempt to bring the best wrestlers and best wrestling to the Houston area.

In the advent of national promotions in the 1980s, Houston Wrestling began to fall by the wayside. As various partner promotions such as Mid South and the Universal Wrestling Federation began affiliating with the National Wrestling Alliance, Boesch opted instead to work with Vince McMahon and the World Wrestling Federation. After a four-month partnership, Boesch retired from promoting with a career-ending show on August 28, 1987 with a sell out crowd of 12,000 fans, effectively ending Houston Wrestling. During the show, then-Vice President George H. W. Bush honored Boesch via telegram. Boesch died two years later.

Roster

Houston Wrestling maintained a very fluid roster due to its reliance on other promotions to provide talent for its shows.

The following wrestlers were at shows working for Houston Wrestling:

Other popular wrestlers who made regular appearances for the promotion included:

External links

  • Slam Wrestling Article on Houston Wrestling
  • Houston Wrestling at Obsessed With Wrestling
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