VIEW FROM THE RISING SUN
by Masanori Horie

A Chain Of Tradition

Boris, Joe, and Dean Malenko
The Malenko Family at home in Florida, July 1971: Boris with sons Joe and Dean

About 10 years ago, Dave Meltzer of The Wrestling Observer said, "You have to figure that 90 percent of today's fans became fans since 1985." Now, we may have to figure that 90 percent of today's fans have become fans since the WWF-WCW Monday night TV wars started in 1995. History is being made every day. New fans have just come in, and tired fans have just gone every day. The man died, but he will leave his name and his fighting spirit behind.

The late Boris "The Great" Malenko (Larry Simon) and his sons, Joe and Dean Malenko, have trained such wrestlers as Bill Eadie (Bolo Mongol / Masked Superstar / Demolition Ax), Bob Orton Jr., Fred Ottman (Big Bubba [San Antonio, TX] / Tugboat / Typhoon / Shock Master), Buddy Landell, Sean Waltman (Lightning Kid / 1-2-3 Kid / X-Pac), Marc Mero (Johnny B. Badd), Glen Jacobs (Doomsday / Unabom / Isaac Yankem / Kane), David Heath (Black Harts' Distraction / Gangrel), Paul Diamond (Maxx Moon / Kato of the Orient Express), Pat Tanaka, Barry Horowitz (Brett Hart [not the Hitman] / Jack Hart), Prince Iaukea, Bobby Blaze, Al & Lou Perez, the late Brady Boone (Fire Cat), Mark Starr, Bob Cook (a Masked Superstar), Norman Smiley, Jumbo Baretta, Yuki Ishikawa (Battlarts in Japan), Willy Wilkens Jr., Debbie Drake (Debbie Malenko; no relation), and many more in their Malenko's Pro-Wrestling Camp (3202 Colwell Avenue, #1207, Tampa, FL 33614). The Great Malenko had advocated "shooting" and "hooking" (a more realistic approach to wrestling) with his friend Karl Gotch, but he had respect for individual characters. He spent 15 years in training aspiring young boys. Dean said about his father, "He was probably the most giving person I've ever met; sometimes he was too good-hearted. My dad was like a father-figure to a lot of kids in the school. He not only trained them, he was a father-figure type to them. He liked helping others, and he wasn't into material things.'' Longtime Malenko family friend Phyllis Lee, who promoted the I.W.W.A. shows with them in Florida in the 1980's, said, "Larry was soft-spoken, well-versed, and respected by his friends." The Great Malenko died of leukemia on September 1, 1994. Several hundred people attended the funeral, including Karl Gotch, Don Curtis, Gordon Solie, Hiro Matsuda, George Scott, Cyclone Negro, Angelo, Lanny, and Randy (Savage) Poffo, and Sean Waltman.

Sean 'X-Pac' Waltman and Masanori
Sean Waltman (Lightning Kid / 1-2-3 Kid / X-Pac) with Masanori, May 1993


Larry 'Boris Malenko' Simon
Larry Simon, a.k.a. Professor Boris Malenko, eight-time Florida Brass Knuckles champion from 1968 to 1972.

Larry Simon was an amateur wrestler at the Elizabeth YMCA in New Jersey, and he and his gymmates wrestled in all of the local YMCA's from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut from 1949 to 1951. He began his pro wrestling career under his real name for the late Vince McMahon Sr. in the early 1950's. He later became a German villain, "Otto Von Krupp," for the Dusek Family in Omaha, Nebraska for three years. He caused riots in which he had to fight his way back to the dressing room on many a night. McMahon Sr. later suggested the "Malenko" gimmick. "The Master of the Russian Chain Death Match," Boris "The Great" Malenko, billed as being from Moscow, was a major attraction as a Russian bad guy. He drew sellout crowds in the Florida area for Cowboy Luttrell and Eddie Graham for 15 years, Texas for Paul Boesch and Jack Adkisson for two years, the Mid-Atlantic area for Jim Crockett Sr., and the Knoxville area for Ron & Robert Fuller in the 1960s - 70s. He had a lot of bloody feuds with Eddie Graham, Sam Steamboat, Joe Scarpa (a.k.a. Chief Jay Strongbow), and Jose Lothario in Florida, George & Sandy Scott, and Danny Miller in the Mid-Atlantic area, Johnny Valentine and Wahoo McDaniel in Texas, and Ronnie Garvin in the Knoxville area. He was ranting with one eye shut; he was one of the best interviews in wrestling. Fans loved to see their local American favorite beat the mad Russian in the brutal chain death matches. When he and his partner, Bob Orton Sr., faced George & Sandy Scott, they had the worst riot ever in Richmond, Virginia. He received 70 stitches from a razor cut on his abdomen, and Orton was knocked out and received 36 stitches in his head.

The Great Malenko came to Japan for the first time for old Nippon Pro-Wrestling (JWA) with The Destroyer (Dick Beyer), Crazy Luke Graham, Ripper Collins, and Don Daffy from February 20 to April 2, 1965. He was then absent from Japan for eight years. He came back to Japan for Giant Baba's All Japan Pro-Wrestling with Abdullah the Butcher, Rufus R. Jones, Roger Kirby, Ripper Collins, and The Alaskan from May 12 to June 14, 1973. He also wrestled for Antonio Inoki's New Japan Pro-Wrestling with The Sheik, Ernie Ladd, John Tolos, the masked Red Pimpernel (Abe Jacobs), Roberto Soto, Porkchop Cash, and Andre the Giant from October 25 to December 12, 1974.

He was a manager for The Masked Superstar (Bill Eadie) from March 3 to March 30, 1978, and Bob Roop from January 5 to February 2, 1979 in New Japan Pro-Wrestling. Actually, he was a manager in the Mid-Atlantic and Knoxville areas in those days as "Professor Boris Maximilianovich Malenko" (he claimed he was a professor of "hard knocks'') and managed The Masked Superstar, Kim Duk (Tiger Chang Lee), and Mongolian Stomper. He smashed a lit cigar into opponents' eyes, blinding them.


Joe Malenko with Masanori
Joe Malenko with Masanori

Sons Joe and Dean Malenko learned wrestling from their father. Dean, as "Dean Solkoff," came to Japan for the first time for the U.W.F (Universal Wrestling Federation, which had such stars as Yoshiaki Fujiwara, Osamu Kido, Akira Maeda, Nobuhiko Takada, and Kazuo Yamazaki) from February 18 to March 3, 1985. Joe, as "Joe Solkoff," came to Japan for the first time for the U.W.F from May 18 to May 31, 1985. They were just "Mr. Nobodies," but they surprised Japanese fans with their scientific submission holds. Then, Joe and Dean, as "The Malenko Brothers," became a regular foreign tag team for All Japan Pro. from February 1988 to May 1992. They coached Kenta Kobashi and Tsuyoshi Kikuchi with Baba in Hawaii in July 1989. Their match against Dynamite Kid & Davey Boy Smith at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo on January 28, 1989 was one of the greatest tag team matches I've ever attended live in my life. They left All Japan Pro. in 1992, and Dean became a regular for New Japan Pro. and a very respectable "shooter" for ECW and WCW. Joe is a pharmacist and occasionally wrestles for Yoshiaki Fujiwara in Japan.

Their father said in 1990, "My kids are their own men and do their own thing."

Dean Malenko with Masanori
Dean Malenko with Masanori


Joe and Dean Malenko's Japanese Title Matches:

1/20/89 International Center, Fukuoka City
World Junior Heavyweight title match (1 fall/60 minute time limit):
Joe Malenko b. Masanobu Fuchi (15:22)
Joe became the fourth champion.

1/25/89 Osaka Furitsu Gym
World Junior Heavyweight title match (1/60):
Mighty Inoue b. Joe Malenko (14:58)
Inoue became the fifth champion.

7/1/89 Omiya City Gym, Saitama
World Junior Heavyweight title match (1/60):
Joe Malenko b. Mitsuo Momota (14:10)
Joe became the ninth champion.

7/11/89 Sapporo Nakajima Sports Center, Hokkaido
World Junior Heavyweight title match (1/60):
Joe Malenko b. Dean Malenko (15:34)
Joe kept the belt.

7/28/89 Kiryu, Gumma
World Junior Heavyweight title match (1/60):
Joe Malenko b. Masanobu Fuchi (17:22)
Joe kept the title.

10/11/89 Yokohama Bunka Gym, Kanagawa
All Asian Tag Team title match (1/60):
Can-Am Express (Danny Kroffat & Doug Furnas) b. Joe Malenko & Kenta Kobashi; Kroffat b. Joe (23:20)
Can-Am kept the title.

10/20/89 Aichi Gym, Nagoya
World Junior Heavyweight title match (1/60):
Masanobu Fuchi b. Joe Malenko
Fuchi became the 10th champion.

3/21/90 Toyama City Gym
All Asian Tag Team title match (1/60):
Can-Am Express b. Joe Malenko & Kenta Kobashi; Kroffat b. Kobashi (18:09)
Can-Am kept the title.

3/2/91 Korakuen Hall, Tokyo
World Junior Heavyweight title match (1/60):
Masanobu Fuchi b. Dean Malenko (15:36)
Fuchi kept the title.

3/4/91 Hamamatsu, Shizuoka
World Junior Heavyweight title match (1/60):
Masanobu Fuchi b. Joe Malenko (16:26)
Fuchi kept the title.

8/17/91 Korakuen Hall, Tokyo
World Junior Heavyweight title match (1/60):
Masanobu Fuchi b. Joe Malenko (20:15)
Fuchi kept the title.

10/18/92 Makuhari Messe, Chiba City
IWGP Junior Heavyweight title match (1/60):
El Samurai b. Dean Malenko (12:22)
Samurai kept the title.

3/21/93 Nagoya Rainbow Hall, Aichi
IWGP Junior Heavyweight title match (1/60):
Jushin "Thunder" Liger b. Dean Malenko (24:11)
Liger kept the title.

2/3/95 Sapporo Nakajima Sports Center, Hokkaido
IWGP Junior Heavyweight title match:
Norio Honaga b. Dean Malenko (16:15)
Honaga kept the title.

2/4/96 Sapporo Nakajima Sports Center, Hokkaido
UWA World Junior Light Heavyweight title match:
El Samurai b. Dean Malenko (13:24)
Samurai kept the title.

5/2/96 MGM Studio, Orlando, FL
WCW World Cruiserweight title match:
Dean Malenko b. Shinjiro Otani (5:41)
Dean became the second champion.

11/18/96 Florence, SC
WCW Monday Nitro
WCW Cruiser / IWGP Junior Heavyweight title match:
Ultimo Dragon b. Dean Malenko (4:00 top rope DQ)
Dragon kept the title.

12/29/96 Nashville, TN
WCW Starrcade'96 PPV
WCW Cruiser / IWGP Junior Heavyweight title match:
Ultimo Dragon b. Dean Malenko (18:33)
Dragon kept the title.


View From The Rising Sun
Introduction: Chad Collyer

Chad Collyer

Mr. McMahon, Mr. Bischoff, Mr. Paul E., Mr. Misawa, Mr. Sakaguchi, and wrestling fans, please take a look at this aspiring young wrestler!!! He is Chad Collyer, 5'10", 206 lbs., born in Liberty, Indiana on December 12, 1974. He has a good amateur background in college wrestling, including NCAA Nationals twice and NCAA West Regional champion in 1995. In addition to his athletic accolades, he received a Bachelor of Science degree from Manchester College in Indiana. He learned professional wrestling from Dean Malenko and has trained with Joe Malenko, Eddy Guerrero, Sabu, and Jeff Bradley. He is wrestling for Les Thatcher's Heartland Wrestling Association (HWA) in Ohio now.

Les Thatcher's Heartland Wrestling Association (HWA) Main Event Network


You may contact Masanori at masa_h@mail.goo.ne.jp

Masanori's Japan Tour Dates List can be found at http://www.sky.net/~dannyp/japandates.html

Visit the American Pro Wrestling Message Board (Japanese language only)
http://www2u.biglobe.ne.jp/~dnak/

For a list of past articles by Masanori, click HERE

The Way It Was | View From The Rising Sun | The Way I See It

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