#115 – The Destroyer vs Victor the Bear, Los Angeles, CA, 1965

On this episode of the OSWP we take a look at one of the oldest gimmicks in the wrestling gimmick book: wrestling bears. We review a match between the legend the Destroyer and a Coca-Cola loving Victor the Bear. We also look at some other wrestling bear related material and just have a jolly time talking about the crazy business of pro wrestling. Please support the Old School Wrestling Podcast by visiting flairchop.com to purchase our book “The OSWP 500,” are collected volumes of the first 75 episodes, an OSWP t-shirt, or one of our beautiful posters.

This episode has been archived in the Season 4 digital box set available for $9.99 at the OSWP Merch Store!


  1. Just watched the Destroyer vs. Victor the bear match. That bear has some great ring skills, some of today’s “superstars” could take some cues from that bear!
    Well, that reminded me of an episode of the Steve Austin podcast (9/24/13-27:30)where Stone Cold had Jim Ross as his guest. J.R. recounted a bear as part of a battle royal with Danny Hodge and Bill Watts, and Hodge got the bear to eliminate Watts by angering the bear by ripping the airs out of the bear’s anus!
    Go listen if you don’t believe it!

  2. The Next New Sin Cara says:

    Dropping opponents with a chop, a lot of rest holds and a bear hug. Victor has the same move set as Khali.

  3. The Small Package says:

    Holy crap! What an awesome episode. That Lex Luger article was one of the best things I have ever heard on your podcast. I totally remember those articles from PWI and The Wrestler when I was a kid and even then I always wondered if they were totally made up or actually true. That article took me back to a simpler time. A better time. A time when all a guy needed was some sweet after shave and a couple of Fuzzy Navels, and it was on like Donkey Kong.

    Two observations from that segment:

    1) I love the mental image of Dre’s mother abandoning him in the magazine section for hours on end while she shopped. I picture this vast ‘Lord of the Flies’ wasteland of forgotten kids fighting over the last issue of PWI and Tiger Beat.

    2) As much of a fan of Lex Luger as I am, and you know I am, even I was a little uncomfortable with the direction that story was taking. I thought maybe Black Cat had inadvertently picked up an old copy of the Penthouse Forum instead of PWI. I thought that at any second they were going back to her room and Lex would show her why he was ‘The Total Package’. HA HA…gross.

    Keep up the good work guys, I need to go take a cold shower now.

    • SlingshotSuplex says:

      That was pretty much how I discovered wrestling magazines, shopping with my mom at Kroger or Walgreens. The pinnacle of all magazine greatness was the PWI Year in Wrestling awards issue.

  4. Great great show guys. Bear wrestling is something so weird, wrong and wonderful at the same time; I think I’m equally happy and sad it disappeared. Mostly happy for the bears do. For me the weirdest thing is that it went long enough to be caught on 16mm – the whole concept really sound (and have probably roots) from the 19th century – part strongman show exhibit, circus act, pro wrestling “anything goes” showmanship and drunken lumberjack campfire tales fuel.

    And for your show I think the Destroyer was the best old school guy you could get – his nose and mask are so iconic, brawly and fun. I always assumed he was either Popeye the sailor, an old beaten-up baseball coach or some kind of wrestling pirate grandpa under his mask. I always loved is whole big grappler masked guy look – we see many iconic luchador wearing masks with striking look but not that many American or Canadian ones. The Destroyer mask couldn’t look more menacing, fun and epic on anyone else face than Dick Beyer as indeed the hole are just so large!

    I also realize I knew him from old wrestling magazines and photos but never had see him wrestle before YouTube…

    Thanks again for coming up with this ones guys, I’ll have a drink (of Coke) for Victor the Bear.

  5. Lee Marshall's Mustache says:

    The Destroyer gets DQ’d?!? The bear must have a Hogan contract: Victor the Bear lays down for no one.

  6. SpecialGuestReferee says:

    I’ve followed Victor the Bear’s career closely. His work rate is tremendous and from what I understand he invented the Bear Hug and the Shooting Star Press. He had a great run in the 70’s as NWA Champion until he dropped the belt to Flair, but he exacted his revenge on Flair years later when he shockingly joined the nWo. Sadly his career ended as most did with fast living, drinking and drugs. What a shame and it’s a crime Victor isn’t in the WWE Hall of Fame.

    In all seriousness another great OSWP pod!

  7. SlingshotSuplex says:

    My youth: wrestling and AM 1000 from Chicago. Chet Coppock is the bridge between these interests. The Chet Coppock v. The Wrestling Bear story is pure gold. Black Cat & Dre(w), you are first class individuals.

  8. SlingshotSuplex says:

    An uncanny number of former wrestling arenas have become churches, most notably Don Owen’s Portland Sports Arena, the famous Marigold Arena in Chicago and the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles.

  9. Fifty Shades Of Pfohl was also my favorite part of an already awesome podcast. This is the pro wrestling journalism equivalent of Mary Sue fan fiction, where someone projects all their sexual frustrations onto an otherwise seedy person. I need more Liz Hunter in my life, going to the various Fridayses, Hooterses and Scientology-owned businesses in the greater Tampa area. At a certain point, whoever wrote these pieces probably grew tired of it, and maybe killed Liz Hunter off by sacrificing herself so Ed “The Bull” Gantner could get another kidney.

    Keep up the great work. I listen to these podcasts while working my real (non-writing) job, and plan to get one of the boxed sets with my next paycheck so I can keep doing so.

  10. John Stossel's Ear says:

    Great episode guys. One bear related story I heard that just about defies belief is the saga of Terrible Ted, another in a long line of wrestling bears.

    The way the story goes is that the Funks were bringing Terrible Ted in for some shots around the Amarillo Territory. In between the time that this was announced, some sort of law or ordinance was put into effect outlawing using black bears on wrestling events.

    What was Terry Funk to do? Well, according to legend Terry Funk got some cans of white spray paint, doused Terrible Ted down and he was repackaged as Snowy the Polar Bear. I can only assume this worked because it’s a safe bet that Texas had no laws on the books governing the use of polar bears in wrestling matches.

  11. I wish the Wikipedia article on Victor the Bear read “You’d think Victor’s finishing move was the bear hug, but you’re wrong. It was the flying space tiger drop.”

  12. Nostalgia Queen says:

    Swig of Coke for the working bear!

  13. Corporate Champion Joey Abs says:

    Another thing about this week’s show: while I know Jimmy Lennon, Sr. was a legendary ring announcer, he may be most famous as the announcer in the final bout of Rocky III.

    In fact, I remember a few years ago, when a toy store in my local dead mall was about to close, and they only had the saddest action figures left. I don’t remember any wrestling action figures, but I most clearly remember the ROCKY III JIMMY LENNON, SR. ACTION FIGURE. it was one of the most unintentionally scary things I’ve ever seen, and there might have been a Brent Musburger Rocky II action figure nearby.

    And not only is there a Jimmy Lennon, Jr., he did the ring announcing duties for a weed poison ad a couple of years ago.

  14. Crapgame13 says:

    The single most impressive thing to me is the sheer amount of trust Beyer has to have in the bear/trainer. It doesn’t matter how docile or even drugged this bear was, or how much Beyer is leading the bear at any moment this bear could sneeze or have a honey pot flashback and yank an arm off.

    50 Shades of Pfohl (brillaint, tip of the cap to you sir)…the pitch had to be “I want him to come off as a perfect gentleman with the titilation of a PG Penthouse forum letter.” How many drafts do you think Apter crafted on fuzzy navel’s saying “too salacious!”