NWA ALL STAR WRESTLING
1949-1989

Vancouver All-Star Wrestling (1977 - 1989)
Northwest Wrestling Promotions (1968 - 1977)
National Wrestling Alliance Vancouver (1949 - 1985)

 

Early history

Although other wrestling promotions existed in Vancouver prior to the early 1960s (particularly a predecessor of All Star's called Big Time Wrestling), All Star (an affiliate of the National Wrestling Alliance for most of its existence) became the longest-lived and perhaps best-remembered of all promotions operating in the Vancouver area before or since. The promotion began coming into its own around the time CHAN-TV began broadcasting their TV program (also called All Star Wrestling) in 1962, when Gene Kiniski arrived in Vancouver and became a regular on the roster. At the time All Star began, the NWA British Empire Heavyweight title was the top singles title in the Vancouver territory, while the Pacific Coast Tag Team title initially served as the tag team championship (both titles were carried over from Big Time Wrestling); however, after the British Empire title was abandoned sometime after 1963 (when Kiniski last won it), All Star had no singles title of its own until 1970, when the Pacific Coast Heavyweight title (which was first introduced in 1948 in Big Time Wrestling, but became inactive around 1958) was reactivated.


The Kiniski/Kovacs era (1968-1977)

All Star started becoming a serious force in the Pacific Northwest wrestling scene during Kiniski's reign as NWA World Heavyweight Champion (which he won from Lou Thesz in 1966), when he and Sandor Kovacs, along with Portland promoter Don Owen, joined forces to promote the territory at the start of 1968, forming Northwest Wrestling Promotions as the parent company to run All Star. During this time, the promotion shared talent (including many of the sport's big names of the time) with Owen's nearby NWA affiliate Pacific Northwest Wrestling while also developing local talent. At the same time, the All Star Wrestling program began to be seen across Canada via syndication. Ron Morrier was the original host of the TV show and served in that capacity until his death on August 6, 1981; after that, former CFUN disk jockey Ed Karl took over as the host for the remainder of the show's run on CHAN-TV.


The Al Tomko era (1977-1989)

Kovacs promoted his final All Star show on January 17, 1977, before selling his share in the promotion to Al Tomko, a veteran wrestler and former Winnipeg promoter for the AWA. While the promotion managed to hold steady through the late-1970s following the sale, All Star began going into decline by the early-1980s, due partly to the aging Tomko (who was physically past his prime and had poor wrestling skills) pushing himself as the company's top star, and partly to the rise of the WWF around the middle of the decade (a situation which actually affected many other North American promotions besides All Star). Late in the promotion's NWA affiliation, during episodes of All Star Wrestling, Tomko and Ed Karl would also present and commentate on highlight clips of matches from fellow NWA affiliates Central States Wrestling and Jim Crockett Promotions, as well as matches taped at All Star's main house shows in Vancouver and Cloverdale.

 

Noticing the decline of the promotion, Kiniski sold his ownership stake and got out sometime around 1983, after which he began promoting shows in Vancouver in association with Stampede Wrestling and the AWA. In late-1985, Tomko withdrew All Star from the NWA and created a new sanctioning body for the company called the Universal Wrestling Alliance; those changes did nothing to reverse All Star's fortunes, however, and the promotion would eventually cease operations, holding its final event in Elk Grove, British Columbia on July 2, 1989. Mauro Ranallo, who went on to become a radio announcer for Abbotsford station CFVR (now CKQC-FM) and the TV play-by-play announcer for Pride Fighting Championships, Stampede Wrestling, King of the Cage, KVOS-TV's NWA Top Ranked Wrestling, and most recently WWE Smackdown, got his start as an on-camera personality with All Star Wrestling while still in his teens, late in the show's run.




NWA Vancouver 1959-1962
NWA Vancouver 1963

NWA Vancouver 1965

National Wrestling Alliance 1967-1969

National Wrestling Alliance 1970
National Wrestling Alliance 1971

National Wrestling Alliance 1972

National Wrestling Alliance 1973
National Wrestling Alliance 1974

National Wrestling Alliance 1975

National Wrestling Alliance 1976-1977

National Wrestling Alliance 1979

National Wrestling Alliance 1980

National Wrestling Alliance 1981

 



National Wrestling Alliance 1982

National Wrestling Alliance 1983

National Wrestling Alliance 1984

National Wrestling Alliance 1985

Vancouver All Star Wrestling 1986

Vancouver All Star Wrestling 1987

Vancouver All Star Wrestling 1988