Friday, May 12, 2017

Ed White aka 'Handsome Johnny Davis'

This is excerpted from a longer piece on the old site
When I first started posting some of my collection back around 2002 I spoke with Ed White, he wrestled up here under his own name as well as around Detroit and other areas as Handsome Johnny Davis'. Note same name as Ed 'Sailor' White but different guy.

Ed/Johnny also wrestled as a masked 'Spoiler' and worked from about 1974 -1979 after learning from Lou Klein who broke many into the business including Ed's pal and sometimes tag partner Denny Alberts.

Anyways he mailed me a couple of items to use, a handwritten lineup sheet from a Wildman show and a receipt from a TV taping he had done for Tunney. Very gracious and a very nice and humble guy.

Ed worked a couple of Wildman tours in '75 and on one of those he drove Andre The Giant around in his (Ed's) Dad's car. He remembered the Wildman Dave McKigney fondly, “Great guy, paid good, made one of my biggest mistakes not going to work for him full time when he asked me, I was fed up and wanted out, if I had gone with him I may have lasted a few years longer and had some fun.”

McKigney had trouble with the boxing/wrestling commission later on but in those days seemed to have an easier time of it all and according to Davis, “I always thought of Dave as the Canadian Lou Klein. He must have had the blessings of the Tunneys or they wouldn’t have used him on the MLG shows”.

The small towns made for interesting match-ups like Davis teaming with McKigney (The Wildman) against the mammoth Haystacks Calhoun in one of those handicap matches that seemed to be on every card. On the trips through Ontario, the familiar names pop up, Chris Tolos, Dewey Robertson, Red Lyons, Sweet Daddy Siki, and local favorite heel Waldo Von Erich, “He was funny and real nice to me. Taught me a few things about the biz too.”

One of the great attractions of the circuit was Dave's Wrestling Bear. “Never wrestled it” said Davis “Got in the ring with it one time just playing before a show.”

Ontario was the home away from home for The Sheik in those days and he would appear on many cards throughout the circuit. “Scary at first,” Davis says of the feared Arab wildman, “but I got along great with him, even though his payoffs sucked.”

He also made it to MLG a couple of times, vs Mark Lewin in Sept 1975 and again vs Waldo Von Erich. “I loved going to MLG” said Davis, “wish I could have worked there more, big building, clean, great crowds, big ring and I loved the ramp”. And what about Frank Tunney? “Nice guy, used to pick up his Export A butts for him at the border” adds Davis.

A TV Taping for the Tunneys' at the Hamilton Studios would also be part of the tour, and Davis would pick up a cool 50 bucks for an afternoon of taking bumps. As a mid carder Davis would see his share of losses, and when asked about his biggest win, replied, “Win? Not many of them so I should remember, but I don’t”.

Some of those losses would come from heroes like Bobo Brazil,” worked with him a lot and every one was a dream,” while one would come from legendary tough guy and long time Toronto stalwart Johnny Valentine. “ He beat the hell out of me,” remembers Davis, “Wasn’t long after this that he had his plane crash so I never worked with him again."

"He came back to do some booking for Sheik from a wheelchair. I got to know him a little during that time. Got along good and he got a good laugh when I reminded him about the ass kicking he gave me. I wasn’t the only rookie to get this from him.”

Below are the items, he mentioned that 50$ payout (well 42$ after tax) was every penny earned the hard way ! If you look around on youtube there is a clip of Ed on Match Game from 1978, he won 6800$. Host Gene Rayburn in his most annoying style asked Ed about wrestling. One question was ' is it was real?', Ed responded by saying "as real as this show." touche !






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