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Thread: Whatever Happened to Frogman LeBlanc?

  1. #1
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    Whatever Happened to Frogman LeBlanc?

    I have spent much of my words on how WCCW did not feature many squash matches. One of the wrestlers who was a jobber for WCCW was Frogman LeBlanc. I did not hate the wrestler but did hate when I saw him approach the ring. I knew there was no way he was going to win. Being a wrestling fan I do appreciate anyone in the business. For them to go to the ring and put life and limb at risk to entertain me is enough to earn my respect. I have often searched for his name on Dogpile.com and usually came up fairly empty. But I did find the following : https://www.facebook.com/Froggies-pr...0178707070591/

    Good to see he is still in the business. I guess his biggest claim to fame is the fact that he was the first wrestler Steve Williams would face as a pro wrestler. Steve Williams would later change from his legal name to avoid confusion with Doctor Death Steve Williams. He would become one of the best if not the best wrestler in the world. The name he chose was Steve Austin. Everybody has to have that first match and Frogman LeBlanc allowed Steve to look strong in his first match.

    The good old days of the territories allowed we fans to see several wrestlers move in and out of our specific area. Before the internet and the end of kayfabe a wrestler could be a face in one territory and a heel in another during the same period of time. Then the promotions began to have their programming on cable television. And we could see the hated villain in our area kissing babies in Florida. So it was no longer easy to bring in a wrestler without knowing something about them. Still whenever a wrestler entered the Dallas / Fort Worth market they usually had a long winning streak where they were built up before the local talent began to have wins against this opponent. Jeep Swenson is one of the more prolific wrestlers when he first entered the area. You could almost call some of his matches with the top stars including the Von Erichs squash matches.

    Most of the time WCCW featured competitive matches. The television show was recorded at events in either the Will Rogers Coliseum in Fort Worth or the Sportatorium in Dallas in front of paying fans. These programs were realistic. As I mentioned before it was not unusual to have a match continued the next week. As with all shows it promoted local shows put on by WCCW. There were great feuds that did not make it onto the show so one was encouraged to attend the show live to see that match. Most of the matches featured the top talent fighting against each other. Freebirds versus Von Erichs was not unusual. Chris Adams with and against Gino Hernandez was often on television. Sunshine accompanied Jimmy Garvin to the ring to fight a Von Erich. Then Garvin brought in his wife Precious and a rivalry developed between the two women. And all of it played out on television.

    Then syndicated programming came in and I was exposed to other territories. These programs were not as interesting as most of the matches had no suspense in what the outcome would be. I live in the country so I did not have access to cable back in the day. I had an assignment at work in 1984 where I was out of town for months and got my first taste of cable television. Most of the matches on the shows I watched were squash matches. I watched because I like wrestling but the programming was not as interesting to me.

    WCCW was in a downward spiral. At the time I was not in the know that the Jarrett family had bought part of the promotion. The national promotions bought away many of the stars of the local promotions including The Angel of Death. Before King Kong Bundy was doing five counts in the WWF he came out of the crowd in the Sportatorium to start a feud with the Von Erichs. Akeem the African Dream was the One Man Gang in WCCW. Before he was Big Josh in WCW Matt Borne graced the Dallas area. He later would become Doink the Clown. The Dingo Warrior would become The Ultimate Warrior when he headed north. Percy Pringle III and Rick Rude headed north as well. Their personas were much different in WCCW. Percy Pringle III became more famous as Paul Bearer. The Universal Wrestling Federation also claimed many of the stalwarts of WCCW. The roster was devastated by the defections of wrestlers from all levels of the card. The Angel of Death and later Jerry Lawler were guests on local radio stations. Both were well spoken. Jerry Lawler would often claim he would never work for the World Wrestling Federation. Jerry Lawler would come in after the promotion had almost died. Some of the wrestlers I mention here came and went and did not go north until the promotion became USWA. But their sporadic absences did not help the promotion.

    New wrestlers appeared most of who were from the Jarrett promotion in Memphis Tennessee. Eric Embry, Billy Joe Travis, Jeff Jarrett, Jerry the King Lawler and others including Brickhouse Brown appeared in the Sportatorium. Billy Joe Travis was my favorite among these. I guess one reason was I could look him in the eyes. A smaller wrestler who could go in the ring. The crowds grew again for a while. An interesting angle during that era was the battle for control of the promotion which was won by those invaders from the east. And the WCCW banner fell. USWA had a nice run but ultimately behind the scenes politics caused it to leave town. I think part of the demise was the free television tapings on Saturdays. These mostly were squash matches but the price was right and I attended the most live events I have ever had the chance to during this time. I feel that the televised product was not as good as the WCCW matches were. The television show was dropped just before the promotion left town. Reading the Wikipedia entries one gets the feeling that foul language led to the demise of televised local wrestling but I feel the ratings had something to do with it as well. Why watch uninteresting shows when the proceeding product was much more exciting?

    As there was no local wrestling on television my attention was drawn to the syndicated national shows. These usually featured well known stars that would go up against the likes of Leaping Lanny Poffo, Iron Mike Sharpe, S. D. Jones, Dusty Wolfe, Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker and a tag team consisting of Matt and Jeff Hardy. Many other names visited the screen I was watching that I knew would lose before the match began. In my eyes these shows did not have the same cachet of the program I had grown up watching. It was not often that a match meant anything other than the known talent looking strong. Almost never did two wrestlers of equal “talent” go against each other. Much like the local USWA days the “equal” talents would only take on each other in matches one had to travel to see live. The real star talents hardly ever appeared on these syndicated shows. The show whetted my appetite for wrestling but did not satiate my hunger.

    Then Ted Turner’s money and Eric Bischoff’s vision led to the Monday night wars. And we saw real wrestling. Stars on an equal footing in matches against each other. A squash match here and there to make an up and coming star look strong. But in the end the product became much better. For those who have grown up in the era that started with the Monday night wars and did not have to endure Superstars of Wrestling or All-Star Wrestling or other shows of their ilk, I envy you. During this era I saw the rise of some of the jobbers of my earlier days of viewing wrestling. Steve Lombardi became the Brooklyn Brawler a bit before the Monday night wars and had some success. The fact that jobbers can become serious wrestlers is belied by those two brothers named Hardy. I don’t think I will ever have to wonder what ever happened to the Hardy Brothers or Boyz.

    It would be nice if every jobber got the chance to improve their image. Some have such as the mention of the Brooklyn Brawler. Barry Horowitz won championships in a short lived promotion that I had the pleasure of attending some of their shows. Anyone remember the Global Wrestling Federation? Most of these wrestlers have talent or they would not be allowed to work with the stars. Would any promoter knowingly allow a star wrestler to work with someone who did not have the talent to look good while protecting the star’s health? Is it a lack of charisma? Is it the lack of a good character? Glenn Jacobs overcame some bad characters to become Kane. What made Vince stick with him till he got the right gimmick and not with Tiger Chung Lee or so many other wrestlers? Not being in the know of what goes on behind the scenes it would seem that so many did not steal the spotlight never got the chance. But maybe unknown to me they got the chance to take the ball and run and fumbled.

    James Ellsworth is the latest example of a jobber I will use. He came into our conscious around a year and a half ago. Something about his loss to Braun Strowman got the attention of a number of fans. He had a rather nice run with WWE for a jobber in the modern era. Most are one and done and don’t even have the opportunity to have their names mentioned on television. It is a good thing to me that we do not have many squash matches nowadays. The Bludgeon Brothers seem to find most of the jobbers at this point. As a side note, does it seem to anyone else that the Bludgeon Brothers should at least beat some mid card teams before moving on to the Uso brothers? Somehow James Ellsworth turned this attention to a controversial run in WWE. It was kinda sad to see him go. I recently read on LOP where he would like to return and show off his true in ring talent. I would like to see what the guy can do just to satisfy my curiosity. How many other “enhancement” talents long to let go and show what they can do in the ring?

    I wonder if years from now I will be looking up James Ellsworth like I did Frogman LeBlanc.
    Last edited by von wrestler; 02-09-2018 at 12:29 AM.

  2. #2
    The Brain
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    I honestly love jobbers, and have watched probably hundreds of jobber matches on Wrestling Challenge as part of my series on Bobby Heenan. Guys like Iron Mike Sharpe, Brady Boone, Lanny Poffo, and so many more show how much you can do in a short time, and how at the same time to make somebody look like a real star. I totally get what you're saying when you say the product improved when Nitro changed the TV game, but there's something special about an era where everyone was made to look amazing, and matches between names felt really special. And a shout out to Tiger Chung Lee, my god! Heath Slater is a beautiful modern day jobber, and I loved seeing guys like Colin Delaney get mini-runs in recent(ish) history too.

    I love hearing about the territory days, as I've mentioned before, and reliving with you the death of those days is something of a bummer but a really fascinating journey at the same time. You really get a picture of how WWF achieved a lot of their success, by buying up polished talent from the territories and running over everyone. It was a sound strategy, to be sure, but what was lost in the meantime? Another really interesting piece here Von, and even introduced me to a guy I've never heard of. Frogman LeBlanc is indeed hard to dig up, I could barely find anything about him. Where do these people go indeed...

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by mizfan View Post
    I love hearing about the territory days, as I've mentioned before, and reliving with you the death of those days is something of a bummer but a really fascinating journey at the same time.
    Not got much more to add but I wanted to second this. You have a different perspective from most around these parts and it's very refreshing and I enjoy reading your stuff.



    @lopprimetime

  4. #4
    Broken Kleck Kleckamania's Avatar
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    I enjoyed this quite a bit. Did you ever get into WWWF or NWA? I'm curious to know how the champions stacked up in different territories. I imagine the Von Erichs hovered towards the top for most of the time around where you were. The Von Erichs vs Freebirds must have been amazing live. That is one of those things a bit before my time in wrestling that I would have loved to see.

    It's funny you mentioned guys like SD Jones, and he actually won the first Royal Rumble didn't he? And it equated to zero lol. Almost like a carryover gift just for jobbing out for so many years.

    I always think the opposite is interesting too, and something you kind of touched on- the guys that were good workers and champions in territory days but wound up jobbing later in the televised age. Guys like Koko Beware. They definitely trusted him to work with top guys, but man what a change in booking once he signed on with WWF!

    I find the territory days intensely interesting, and I hope you do more columns connecting those days to modern topics. I think you'd have an audience. I'd certainly be one of them.

    Thank you for this one, Von Wrestler! Hope to see more columns from you.

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    Sorry to say I did not get to watch much outside of the Dallas / Fort Worth area. I lived on a farm so over the air television was it for me until I worked the World's Fair in 1984 in New Orleans. While the company that I worked for put me up there I first perused WWF and other cable wrestling shows. I am not that familiar with other champions of the time other than what I was exposed to in 1984.

    Unfortunately S. D. Jones was not allowed the win at the Royal Rumble. He did shine in my eyes from the matches I was able to see when cable television was available either while on job assignment or on vacation. Always caught wrestling shows when I would go on vacation as I made sure to get to the room in time for the shows. Looking up S. D. Jones on Wikipedia to be sure I was right in my reply I see that he was a champion in NWA Hollywood and Universal Superstars of America. So many wrestlers have gone to WWF/E and not stood up to their work in other organizations. Even now some of the jobber matches feature champions from independent organizations.

    Before WCCW pulled away from the NWA I was able to see several of their champions. Those matches were mostly non televised but highlights were shown on the weekly shows. I was impressed with those champions. Ric Flair stood out. Living in the same area as the Von Erich family I went to David's funeral. Ric Flair was there as were the wrestlers working the territory at the time. He gained even more in my eyes for being there. I wonder if he came on his own are was sent by the NWA.

    When the Jarrett family bought into WCCW Jerry Lawler and other members of that organization appeared. Lawler was good but did not rank as high as the Von Erich family or Ric Flair in my eyes. I don't remember Harley Race's matches in the area as well as I do Flair's. When most of the known wrestlers left and Black Bart was champion, it was hard to swallow. Black Bart was a good wrestler but did not have the reputation of a champion in my eyes.

    All wrestlers deserve respect in my eyes. How many of us could do what they do? Being alive in the old days was a fun experience Kleckamania. But as I have matured I realize that everyone looks back with fondness on the days of their youth. I wonder what this forum will look like in thirty or forty years. Will the independent promotions get as much respect as the territories? The biggest difference is in the territory days the three organizations sent their wrestlers to the different territories. Therefore in Dallas / Fort Worth we could see a Ric Flair, Harley Race, Billy Jack Haynes, One Man Gang, Freebirds and so many other members of NWA. Most of these were built up in promos before they arrived and usually beat the local talent at the highest level before they became equals. So many names that gained national recognition passed through the area including Jake "the snake" Roberts, The Fantastics, The Midnight Express and Jimmy Garvin. I am surprised that the Fantastics did not gain more notoriety. They put on some really great matches in our area and had the look of the time. But they never seemed to gain traction on the national stage.

    The independent promotions of today do not have a governing body that binds them together. Wrestlers not signed to WWE can wrestle where they want and that allows these promotions to have great talent. Cody (Rhodes) is one example. But they do not have that nationally recognized champion that a NWA or an AWA had to send in to really stir the pot. Yet we are in somewhat of a renaissance as these promotions seem to be thriving. Thirty and forty years from now will someone of the generation growing up on these promotions wax poetic about them on these forums?
    Last edited by von wrestler; 02-10-2018 at 02:10 PM.

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    My favourite jobber was Bob Cooke (wrestled on WCW around 1990-91?), basically because of the way the announcer called his name (first syllable really hilariously long, second syllable really hilariously short).

    Really good stuff here- I'm always a mark for history columns done well. Will be reading you again for sure.

  7. #7
    Broken Kleck Kleckamania's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by von wrestler View Post
    Sorry to say I did not get to watch much outside of the Dallas / Fort Worth area. I lived on a farm so over the air television was it for me until I worked the World's Fair in 1984 in New Orleans. While the company that I worked for put me up there I first perused WWF and other cable wrestling shows. I am not that familiar with other champions of the time other than what I was exposed to in 1984.

    Unfortunately S. D. Jones was not allowed the win at the Royal Rumble. He did shine in my eyes from the matches I was able to see when cable television was available either while on job assignment or on vacation. Always caught wrestling shows when I would go on vacation as I made sure to get to the room in time for the shows. Looking up S. D. Jones on Wikipedia to be sure I was right in my reply I see that he was a champion in NWA Hollywood and Universal Superstars of America. So many wrestlers have gone to WWF/E and not stood up to their work in other organizations. Even now some of the jobber matches feature champions from independent organizations.

    Before WCCW pulled away from the NWA I was able to see several of their champions. Those matches were mostly non televised but highlights were shown on the weekly shows. I was impressed with those champions. Ric Flair stood out. Living in the same area as the Von Erich family I went to David's funeral. Ric Flair was there as were the wrestlers working the territory at the time. He gained even more in my eyes for being there. I wonder if he came on his own are was sent by the NWA.

    When the Jarrett family bought into WCCW Jerry Lawler and other members of that organization appeared. Lawler was good but did not rank as high as the Von Erich family or Ric Flair in my eyes. I don't remember Harley Race's matches in the area as well as I do Flair's. When most of the known wrestlers left and Black Bart was champion, it was hard to swallow. Black Bart was a good wrestler but did not have the reputation of a champion in my eyes.

    All wrestlers deserve respect in my eyes. How many of us could do what they do? Being alive in the old days was a fun experience Kleckamania. But as I have matured I realize that everyone looks back with fondness on the days of their youth. I wonder what this forum will look like in thirty or forty years. Will the independent promotions get as much respect as the territories? The biggest difference is in the territory days the three organizations sent their wrestlers to the different territories. Therefore in Dallas / Fort Worth we could see a Ric Flair, Harley Race, Billy Jack Haynes, One Man Gang, Freebirds and so many other members of NWA. Most of these were built up in promos before they arrived and usually beat the local talent at the highest level before they became equals. So many names that gained national recognition passed through the area including Jake "the snake" Roberts, The Fantastics, The Midnight Express and Jimmy Garvin. I am surprised that the Fantastics did not gain more notoriety. They put on some really great matches in our area and had the look of the time. But they never seemed to gain traction on the national stage.

    The independent promotions of today do not have a governing body that binds them together. Wrestlers not signed to WWE can wrestle where they want and that allows these promotions to have great talent. Cody (Rhodes) is one example. But they do not have that nationally recognized champion that a NWA or an AWA had to send in to really stir the pot. Yet we are in somewhat of a renaissance as these promotions seem to be thriving. Thirty and forty years from now will someone of the generation growing up on these promotions wax poetic about them on these forums?


    Opps I misspoke, SD Jones won the first WWF Battle Royale, my mind crossed that info.


    In bold from your quote, I'd be willing to bet Ric Flair went to David's funeral of his own volition to pay respects, considering he wound up in the NWA World Champ spot that was intended for David before his tragic death. And as the poster boy for NWA, considering what it would become, it really makes you wonder how different the modern wrestling world would have been if David never went to that overseas show. I think a lot of people don't realize how big the Yellow Rose of Texas was back then, and I can just imagine the whose who of pro wrestlers who attended that funeral. Or how many people in general- I thought I remember reading a number along the lines of 5k people attended?- David was beloved by so many people. What was he like as a performer/competitor? My early days were the beginnings of WWF, and one of my absolute favorites was The Texas Tornado (Kerry), and I've read David's talent dwarfed even Kerry's. That was wrestling's royal family if you ask me. One of my biggest fascinations in pro wrestling is the Von Erichs.


    Man you were watching legends at those live shows! It is a treat to hear about!



    I realized I never said who my favorite "jobbers" were (and I agree that even jobbers have an extreme value to wrestling)- I already mentioned Koko Beware, but I also loved Marty Jannetty. And he and Shawn Michaels emulated some of those legendary tag teams you used to watch live! Thanks again! (Im trying not to "talk" your "ear" off but I could lol)

  8. #8
    The Brain
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    I have to jump in any time someone mentions Koko B Ware, because that guy was actually amazing at his peak, like in '87-'88 I consider him one of the best wrestlers in the WWF by far. If he weren't small and black, I think he could have made a huge impact, but it was definitely wrong place, wrong time. He still left his mark and I will support him always!

    SD Jones, on the other hand, is only fun if you like a dude who only does headbutts and literally nothing else. Literally. Nothing. Else. At least during his WWF tenure!

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