During the 1960’s, the highest rated locally-produced show in the Raleigh/Durham television market was WRAL’s Championship Wrestling. The program was produced weekly in studio A and aired each Saturday afternoon at five o’clock. The show was produced by promoter Joe Murnick and directed by Earl Ashe.
Among the “villains” who appeared regularly on the show were the Great Bolo, Rip Hawk and Sweede Hanson, the Gallagher brothers, and the “Mad Russian.” The “good guys” were Billy Two Rivers, Argentine Rocca, Johnny Weaver, Haystack Calhoun, George Becker, and Cowboy Bob.
From time to time special guests would appear as celebrity referees. Former World Heavyweight Boxing Champion Joe Louis showed up in the mid-60s as one of those special refs. The picture shows Louis (L) being interviewed by Championship Wrestling host Nick Pond before changing into his referee’s uniform for the night’s main event.
Thanks to Corp’s Pam Allen for this capcom story. Pam Parris Allen is a former WRAL newscast producer/director who now works as a researcher and producer on the CBC History Project.