Stampede Wrestling

name=Stampede Wrestling

location=Calgary, Alberta
founder=Stu Hart
owner=Stu Hart (1948-1984)
Vince McMahon (1984-1985)
Bruce Hart (1985-1989)
Bruce and Ross Hart (1999-2005)
Bill Bell (2005-current)
parent=National Wrestling Alliance (until 1982)
World Wrestling Federation (1984-1985)
formerly=Klondike Wrestling
website= [] |

Stampede Wrestling is a Canadian professional wrestling promotion based in Calgary, Alberta and was for nearly 50 years one of the main promotions in western Canada and the Canadian Prairies. Originally established by Stu Hart in 1948, the promotion competed with other promotions such as NWA All-Star Wrestling and Pacific Northwest Wrestling and regularly ran events in Calgary's Victoria Pavilion, Ogden Auditorium and the Stampede Corral between 1948 and 1984. Bought out by promoter Vince McMahon, the company was briefly run by the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) before being sold back to the Hart family the following year. Run by Bruce Hart until January 1990, he and Ross Hart reopened the promotion in 1999 and began running events in the Alberta area.

Along with its wrestling school known as "The Dungeon", many of the promotion's former alumni becoming some of the most popular stars in the World Wrestling Federation and other American promotions during the 1980s and '90s, the promotion produced one of the earliest televised professional wrestling programs (today considered the forerunner of today's WWE) that remained one of Calgary's most popular sports programs eventually airing in over 50 countries worldwide. [cite web |url= |title=Stampede Wrestling gets pinned |accessdate= |date=1990-01-10|publisher=CBC Television News]


Stampede Wrestling was operated by Stu Hart between 1948 and 1984. In 1983 a riot broke out during a match at the Ogden Auditorium in Calgary during a match between Bret Hart, Davey Boy Smith and Two Rivers against Badnews, Stomper and Jeff Gouldie. Longtime Stampede announcer Ed Whalen reportedly became distraught during the riot, in which a women was trampled, causing him to quit from the Stampede on air. Speaking of the events he remarked, "We're starting to scare the patrons with this violence outside the ring, and I will not be associated with it anymore." [McCoy, H. (2005) "Pain and Passion: The History of Stampede Wrestling." CanWest Books. p 187.] The event led to Stampede Wrestling being banned from Calgary for six months by the city's wrestling and boxing commission, and within a year the operation was sold to the World Wrestling Federation. [Meltzer, D. (2004) "Tributes II: Remembering More of the World's Greatest Professional Wrestlers." Sports Publishing LLC. pp 105-106.]

A member of the National Wrestling Alliance until about 1982, Stampede's talent was taken by the World Wrestling Federation in 1984, developing into the major professional wrestling promotion it is today. In 1985, the WWF sold Stampede back to the Hart family, who continued to run it until it was shut down in December 1989. The promotion was re-opened on April 2 1999 by Bruce and Ross Hart. Stampede's weekly shows were held mostly at the Victoria Pavilion in Calgary, with special events held at the Stampede Corral.

In the 1970's and early 1980's, Stampede Wrestling was one of the top wrestling promotions in Canada. One of its main legacies was its impact on the WWF. In the 1980's, the stars of Stampede Wrestling included Bret Hart, Owen Hart, British Bulldog, Dynamite Kid and Jim Neidhart. All five wrestlers later joined the WWF when it expanded across Canada and USA. The British Bulldogs and the Hart Foundation were among the top tag teams in the WWF in the 1980's.

Stampede Wrestling was the basis for a long-running weekly sports broadcast produced in Calgary showcasing many of the promotion's most popular wrestlers. Hosted by Ed Whalen for most of its run, which went from 1957 to 1989, the series was syndicated around the world and reruns continue to be shown in some countries to this day. At the time Stampede was revived in 1999, a second "Stampede Wrestling" TV series was attempted, but it was short-lived and Whalen was not involved.

In early 1999, Bruce and Ross Hart reopened Stampede Wrestling after an eight-year hiatus showcasing graduates from the Hart Dungeon training school. However, only weeks after their first event, the promotion once again became inactive following the death of Owen Hart in May. Although considering closing the promotion, the Hart family continued to promote events five months later and began touring western Canada. Although successful, the Harts were forced to cancel several tours in late 2001 and early 2002 due to the arrival of a rival promotion backed by a Calgary businessman. The promotion also lost much of its roster due to its rival hiring away top stars. [cite web |url= |title=Can't Stop the Stampede |accessdate=|date= |year=2001 |month=August|work= |publisher=Wrestling Digest]

In 2005, promoters Bill Bell and Devon Nicholson took over day-to-day operations for Stampede Wrestling. During an event at the Spray Lakes Sawmill Sportsplex in Cochrane, Alberta, Nicholson would face Abdullah the Butcher after the scheduled main event between Lance Storm and Rhyno was canceled when Rhyno failed to appear. At that same event, longtime tag team partners TJ Wilson and Harry Smith faced each other in Smith's final match for the promotion before leaving for World Wrestling Entertainment. [cite web |url= |title=Stampede Wrestling - Past, present and future collide |accessdate= |author=Clevett, Jason|coauthors= |date=2006-05-14|publisher=SLAM! Sports]

Earlier in 2007, Stampede Wrestling lost the use of the Ogden Legion which was their home base for the past number of years. However, Stampede Wrestling has recently announced on their official website that the promotion will begin to run at the Bowness Sportsplex with the first show being September 7 2007.

WWE currently controls Stampede's extensive tape library, except for Stampede footage of Bret Hart, to which Hart retains the rights, and Owen Hart's Stampede footage, which is owned by Owen's widow Martha Hart.

The Dungeon

Stampede Wrestling was famous for "The Dungeon," a professional wrestling school located in the basement of the Calgary mansion Hart House, home of the Hart family. The school trained a number of WCW, ECW, and WWE stars, including the Hart Brothers, Mark Henry, Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho.


Current championships

Alumni (1948-1990)

Tag teams

*Doug Furnas & Phil Lafon
*Ed & Jerry Morrow

Hall of Fame

The Stampede Wrestling Hall of Fame list professional wrestlers and others who have competed in Stampede Wrestling, from Stu Hart's Klondike Wrestling to the original Stampede Wrestling promotion which closed in 1990. [cite web |url= |title=Stampede Wrestling Hall of Fame (1948-1990) |accessdate= |author= |authorlink= |coauthors= |date= |year=2003 |month= |format= |work= |publisher=Puroresu Dojo |pages= |language= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote= ]

*Stu Hart
*Lou Thesz
*Pat McGill
*Dr. Bill Miller
*Earl McCready
*Edouard Carpentier
*Czaya Nandor
*Johnny Valentine
*Archie Gouldie
*Tiger Joe Tomasso
*Geoff Portz
*Les Thornton
*Leo Burke
*Harley Race
*Little Beaver
*Alexander Scott
*Dynamite Kid
*Bruce Hart
*"Flyin'" Brian Pillman
*Jim Neidhart
*Hiroshi Hase
*Jack Taylor
*Jim "Riot Call" Wright
*Sky Hi Lee
*Whipper Billy Watson
*Pat O'Connor
*Gorgeous George
*Waldo Von Erich
*"Crusher" Stan Stasiak
*George Gordienko
*Angelo Mosca
*Kendo Nagasaki
*Dan Kroffat
*Dory Funk, Jr.
*André the Giant
*Fabulous Moolah
*Cedrick Hathaway
*Davey Boy Smith
*Bret Hart
*Chris Benoit
*Duke Myers
*"Lethal" Larry Cameron
*Al "Mr.Murder" Mills
*Rube Wright
*Luther Lindsay
*Chief Thunderbird
*Ilio DiPaolo
*Argentina Rocca
*Tex McKenzie
*Don Leo Jonathan
*Dave Ruhl
*Billy Robinson
*Tor Kamata
*Mr. Hito
*Terry Funk
*Sky Low Low
*Penny Banner
*J.R. Foley
*Keith Hart
*Owen Hart
*"Dr. D" David Schulz
*Kerry Brown


Further reading

*McCoy, Heath. "Pain and Passion: The History of Stampede Wrestling". Toronto: CanWest Books, 2005. ISBN 0-9736719-8-X

External links

* [ The Fight Network: Stampede Wrestling Through the Years] by Richard Berger
* [ - Regional Territories: Stampede Wrestling]
* [ Stampede stars remember Tiger Khan - Slam! Canoe]

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