Historical Summary of Wrestling in Cincinnati


In 1948, the Friday night house shows promoted by Al Haft's Quality Athletic Club (with Ross Leader as the local promoter) began airing live on WCPO Channel 9 with Red Thornburgh as commentator. During the summer, the shows originated from the Parkway Arena, an outdoor venue. The rest of the year, the shows were held at Music Hall. During the baseball season, the show would ocassionally not air due to Cincinnati Reds games being broadcast instead. The television show started thirty minutes after the live card so it's likely the first match did not air. In March of 1950, the shows began airing live in Dayton and Columbus. At the end of September 1950, the show moved to WLW-T Channel 4. There were two changes to the format of the show as part of th emove. Jim Fair became the commentator and the television broadcast started at the same time as the first match resulting in the main event no longer airing. The result of the station change was that all locally produced wrestling televsion shows aired on WLW stations. The show was cancelled in Janaury 1951 due to live attendance declining.

The Dayton studio show from the WLW-D studio aired live on Saturday nights in Cincinnati on WLW-T Channel 4. The show aired from February 1950 through October 1955.

In May 1950, the VFW began promoting Tuesday night shows at Music Hall and airing on WCPO Channel 7. Jim Fair was the commentator. The cards and TV show only last until July.

Due to the success of the studio show in Dayton, one was started in Cincinnati. The weekly show from the WLW-T studio in Cincinnati started on Monday nights in July 1950 and aired live in Dayton and Columbus. The show lasted for two months in that slot. After a few week break, it started again, this time on Saturday afternoons. In January 1951 the show moved to the WLW-D studio in suburban Dayton. October 1951 saw the show move to its final location at the WLW-C studio in Columbus. The show ran weekly until being cancelled in October 1955.

In November 1953, Morris Zaidins' Seymour Athetic Club began promotion monthly cards at the Cincinnati Gardens. This must have been done with Haft's blessing as the cards featured his wrestlers and were held on Friday nights instead of Leader's cards at the smaller Music Hall. Only two cards were potmoted by the club.

Promoter Ross leader died of a heart attack in March 1956. A couple of weeks later, Al Haft was issued a promoter's license by the commission and is now the publicly recognized promoter rather than just a silent partner of the local promoter.

In late 1956, the Friday night house show was once again broadcast live on WCPO Channel 9. It was a one hour show that began anywhere between 9pm and 10pm. This only lasted through the end of the year.

October of 1957 saw the winter hosue shows move to the new armory in Avondale. This only lasted until early December. Haft wouldn't promote a show in Cincinnati until the following June when the outdoor season at Parkway Arena began. The end of the season was the last house show until January of 1959 when they were held at Emery Auditorium.

In December 1958, the Jim Barnett & Johnny Doyle promotion based in Indianapolis (with Balk Estes as matchmaker) began a live weekly studio show on Saturday nights on WCPO Channel 9 used to promote house shows at the Cincinnati Gardens that started the following month. Colin Male was the original ringside announcer, but was soon replaced by Ken Linn. Early in 1959, the studio show from Indianapolis also began airing. It would become the promotion's only local TV when the live studio show from Cincinnati ended in August. The group also tried moving into Dayton and Columbus in 1959, but after a show or two, did not return.

By mid-1959, both promotions were running regular house shows with Haft running weekly and Barnett/Doyle every two or three weeks. During that summer, both would run the same week, but by fall they would avoid promoting cards against each other the same week. Haft also moved back to Music Hall Arena at the beginning of the 1959/1960 indoor season.

Wrestlers from Haft's booking office began appearing on Barnett's cards in late 1960. However, Barnett's wrestlers did not appear on Haft's cards. Haft's final show in Cincinnati was held in March 1962 at Music Hall. This is likely due to having lost the studio show in Dayton that was also seen in Cincinnati.

Wrestling returned to Parkway Arena in 1965 when Barnett/Doyle ran cards there for the summer. At the end of 1966, Haft sold the arena which was redeveloped into an office complex.

In the fall of 1966 the cards moved from Cincinnati Gardens to Music Hall Arena. While no explanation was given, looking at the few attendances publicly announced over the ast several years it was likely due to no longer drawing large enough crowds to justify running the much larger arena.