|90 Minutes Of Unorganized Mayhem...
Where Anything Is Liable To Happen,
Probably Will, And usually does!
|For over 15 years WIIC Channel 11's "Studio Wrestling" brought
fun and thrills to Pittsburgh and the Tri-State area. The person
responsible for bringing wrestling to the Pittsburgh television
airwaves was a man by the name of Shelton Weaver. Mr. Weaver
joined Channel 11 as the Program Manager just prior to the station
signing on the air in September of 1957.
|WIIC Channel 11 Program Manager
|Having had previous experience with broadcasting a wrestling
program in Birmingham Alabama, Weaver decided to
stage wrestling matches at the Channel 11 studios and broadcast
them live each Saturday night. He would also be responsible
for bringing a show called "Chiller Theater" to the Pittsburgh
Studio Wrestling made it's debut on November 15, 1959. Mr.
Weaver's first choice to host the new program was Channel 11
staff announcer Bill Cardille. Cardille had experience interviewing
wrestlers in Erie PA. where he worked at WICU-TV.
Because he was already hosting other programs including
Saturday afternoon's "Club 11 Teen Dance Party", Cardille passed
on the the wrestling program.
Shelton Weaver's second choice was sportscaster Mal
Alberts. With the addition of Channel 11 director Chuck Moyer,
Studio Wrestling was ready to begin.
|By 1960 Pittsburgh wrestling promoter Joseph "Toots" Mondt
was staging wrestling events at Forbes Field and at an indoor
auditorium "The Grotto" which was located on the North Side of
Pittsburgh. He would soon team up with Vincent McMahon Sr.,
a wrestling promoter in Washington D.C. and Fred Kohler, a
wrestling promoter from Chicago. Together they would form
Pennsylvania Wrestling Inc. The new company promoted
wrestling cards at Pittsburgh's new Civic Arena which opened
in 1961 as well as shows around the Tri-State area. With the
the help of Channel 11's Saturday evening show, wrestling's
popularity in the Pittsburgh region began to soar.
|Pennsylvania Wrestling Inc. began to work with the World
Wide Wrestling Federation. The W.W.W.F. was the governing
body that oversaw the activities of wrestlers from around
the world. Pittsburgh would come to be known as the
wrestling capital of the world.
In 1961 Mal Alberts left Channel 11 and Bill Cardille
took over the announcing duties on Studio Wrestling.
Cardille not only announced Studio Wrestling, he would
also announce various wrestling events staged around
the Tri-State area. Bill Cardille would soon become known
as "The Voice Of Wrestling". Cardille was so popular that
when Studio Wrestling was mentioned, people would instantly
think of him. Bill Cardille became an important part of Studio
|In 1963 Bruno Sammartino defeated Buddy Rogers to become
the World Heavyweight Champion. Along with wrestlers
Crusher Lisowski, Cowboy Bill Watts, Haystacks Calhoun,
Ace Freeman, Johnny Defazio, Dr. Bill Miller, Cheif White Owl,
Gorilla Monsoon and many, many others, Wrestling remained
very popular in Pittsburgh throughout the 1960's and 1970's.
Favorite wrestlers would come and go but only Bruno Sammartino
would have a popularity unrivaled by any other wrestler
from that era.
|Another popular person who was identified with Studio Wrestling
was the Pittsburgh Pirate's Hall-Of-Famer Pie Traynor. Pie would
do the commercials for the American Heating Company.
Who can? Ameri-can! American Heating.
Pie is considered one of the greatest third basemen in
baseball history. He played 17 seasons with the Pittsburgh
Pirates and had a career batting average of .320 with
a total of 2,416 hits. Pie Traynor remains a legend and is
admired by baseball and wrestling fans alike.
|Above: Pie Traynor and Bill Cardille
|As with any program, sport, or personality, it's the fans who
are partly responsible for their success. As wrestling fans
go, one fan who stood out from all the rest.
Her name was "Ringside Rosie".
Ann Buckalew, "Ringside Rosie" never
let her favorite wrestlers get short changed by
the likes of an evil "heel" (bad guy) or a referee with
seemingly poor vision. Rosie let them have it! As a
wrestler you always wanted Rosie on your side.
|In 1974 Studio Wrestling was cancelled by Channel 11 management.
It was an attempt to change their image as the "wrestling station"
to a station known for it's news reporting.
The show had already been renamed "Super Pro Wrestling" and
moved to a Saturday afternoon starting time. Soon after the
cancellation the show moved to WPGH Channel 53 in Pittsburgh.
The last wrestling show on channel 11 aired on August 3, 1974.
|"Super Pro Wrestling" would never acheive the popularity it
had when it was known as "Studio Wrestling" and was
broadcast live from the WIIC television studios.
Gone but not forgotten, Studio Wrestling is still warmly
remembered by many people in Pittsburgh and the
Many still remember the Studio Wrestling theme "El Capitan"
by John Philip Sousa. Others remember the ring of the
bell and the rink announcer shouting out:
"And in this corner from parts unknown...."
Thanks for the Memories!
These memories remain alive and kicking!
|Thanks to Bill Cardille and Michael Hasch for their
Thanks to Bill Cardille for sharing various photographs
and items for this website.
Thanks to Paul Buriak for helping edit these pages.
Chiller Theater and Studio Wrestling Memories
Webmaster: John Buriak.
|There were a number of referees that worked on Studio Wrestling
including Andy DePaul, Bucky Palmero, and Paddy Grimes. The
most popular referee was Izzy Moidel. At times Izzy would play
the part of the "blind referee" allowing the heels or "bad guys"
get away with cheating or using a "foreign object" to inflict injury
on their opponents.
Izzy was a former boxer who once beat
Rocky Marciano in an ameteur boxing match during World War II.
His style and showmanship endeared him to the audience.