A longtime wrestler and champion. Myers’ tours through such states as Texas, Kansas,
Missouri and Iowa were legendary. He came inches, multiple-times, from becoming a
World Champion. Myers captured nearly every major regional belt in the country. He
used the Atomic Drop and “dropped” many wrestlers from competition. He was known as
Harold Calvin “Sonny” Myers early in his career and was a protégé of Gust Karras, the
renown St. Joseph Promoter. While in the midst of a storied run as a wrestler, Myers was
nearly killed by a rowdy fan during a match in Angleton, Texas. Where many others may
have died or retired, Myers continued to prosper in the game for more than twenty-
years. In 2001, he came out of retirement to promote several shows in northwestern
Missouri. 2001 was more than 55 years after his pro-debut.
Myers was billed as a newcomer on Thursday, July 20, 1944 in Kansas City’s Memorial
Hall. Also on the card was Karras. Sonny was matched with Bill Dusin. The bout went to
a 30-minute draw. On the 27th, Myers lost to Jimmy Coffield and his toehold. He drew
with Larry Tillimon on August 3rd in the opener. Myers won his first Kansas City match on
August 17th. He beat Sgt. Harry Cohen with a shoulder scissors at the Memorial Hall.
Myers beat Tillimon by disqualification on August 24, 1944. Again, on the card to referee
was Gust Karras. The two were traveling together. Myers lost to Marshall Esteppe on
October 5, 1944 in Kansas City at the 3:15 mark to Esteppe’s leg stretch.
Another loss came to Ken Fenelon on October 12th at Memorial Hall. Myers was getting
beaten by the more experienced grapplers, but the matches were all teaching him. It was
preparing him for the years to come. He was doing his time. On Thursday, October 23,
1947, Myers battled the veteran Ernie Dusek in Kansas City. After 23:25, Dusek won the
initial fall, but Sonny captured the second and third straight.
A week later, he beat Terry McGinnis to earn a MWA World Heavyweight Title shot on
November 6th. Myers was going to wrestle Orville Brown for the belt in Kansas City and
before an estimated 4,000 fans. Jack Dempsey was brought in by promoter George D.
Simpson to be the special referee. The first fall went 57-minutes and ended with a victory
for Myers. The World Champ won the second in 33-minutes. Myers’ performance as the
match ended at the Midnight Closing hour drew immediate praise and fans were
expecting a new champion. The bout was declared a draw. Simpson quickly signed a
rematch. Wrestling fans in the area would not understand what they were about to get.
The Myers-Brown series had begun. On November 13th, the two again entered the
Memorial Hall ring for the World Championship. Brown captured the first fall in 1 hour
and 5-minutes. Myers evened things up with an Australian Crabhold in 30:15. Again, the
bout was called at the midnight hour. Afterwards, many proclaimed Myers the new
champion. MWA Officials instead signed a third match to settle the dispute. Sonny had
to wrestle Eric Holmback on November 20th in Kansas City. He won the match and
secured his spot as the number one contender.
A week later on Thanksgiving Evening, November 27th, Myers competed against Orville
Brown for the World Title. Match three ended when Brown leveled Myers with a
piledriver. He was disqualified after 55-minutes of the initial fall, but because Myers was
unable to continue, the champ won. In total, Brown used three illegal piledrivers to put
the challenger out. After the match, angry fans rioted. Police broke things up and
escorted Orville from the ring. Myers was carried out on a stretcher. On December 5th,
4,180 appeared at the Memorial Hall to see the fourth battle between the two wrestlers.
George Simpson wanted a finish and a finish everyone got. Myers won the first fall, but
lost the second in 21-minutes after being caught in an Octopus Stretch. During the third
fall, Myers missed a dropkick and sailed over the top rope. He knocked himself out on
the arena floor and was unable to continue. Referee Lou Spandle stopped the match
and Brown retained.
Over four matches between November and December ’47, Myers and Brown had given
fans an excitement not seen in years. Many expected Myers to be holding the MWA
World Title sometime within the next year. It did not happen. Myers drew with Lucky
Simunovich on February 24, 1949 in Kansas City. It was a 45-minute affair, and both
wrestlers had a fall. He wrestled a masked heel known as the Red Phantom on March
10th. The Kansas City bout went to the Phantom in two-of-three-falls, but the mask fell to
the ground. He was found to be Herman Von Doyle. Myers teamed with Simunovich on
March 17th and beat the Phantom and Abe Kashey in the main event of a Memorial Hall
event. The Myers-Simunovich duo met The LaRance Brothers on March 24th. The
match ended in a 1-1 draw. He drew with Abe Kashey on April 7th in Kansas City. The
bout went 30-minutes.
A week later in the same arena, Myers drew with Dan O’Connor in the same amount of
time. He appeared in Kansas City, Kansas on June 2, 1949 at the Memorial Hall. Myers
beat Abe Kashey in one-fall of their three-fall bout. The only victory came at the 17:00-
minute mark. He teamed with popular Enrique Torres on December 29, 1949 before
3,400 at the Memorial Hall. Myers was pinned by Ernie Dusek in the third fall of an even
match, giving Ernie and Joe Dusek the victory. Myers and 1,808 fans weathered 11
degree cold to appear on the January 2, 1950 card at the City Auditorium in Omaha,
Nebraska. He teamed with Ronnie Etchison and lost to Joe and Ernie Dusek in two-of-
three-falls. On March 6, 1950, Myers and Tommy O’Toole lost to Joe Dusek and Jack
Conley in Omaha with only one fall to their opponents two.
On Monday, the 13th, Myers and O’Toole beat Dusek and Conley with a referee dispute
between Joe Krejei and Jerry Adam in Omaha. In the final fall, a disqualification was
called for and neither referee had seen who actually had caused the foul. One favored
one team and the other favored the opposite. Finally, O’Toole and Myers were given the
victory as Dusek and Conley were “figured” to have caused it. The losers considered
legal action. Three nights later, Myers was in Kansas City and teamed with Tommy O’
Toole to beat Ellis Bashara and Vic Holbrook. He beat Holbrook in a singles contest on
the 23rd. Myers drew on April 27, 1950 with Ralph Garibaldi at the Hall and then teamed
with O’Toole again on May 4th to beat Lee Henning and Roy Graham in two-of-three-falls.
Myers participated in the Heart of America Open Heavyweight Trophy Tournament on
May 18, 1950 in Kansas City. He beat Jim Steele in the first round and Enrique Torres in
the second. The win over Torres was a judge’s decision after a draw. Of the three
judges, two were for and one was against Myers. He advanced to the finals against Bill
Longson. He lost the important championship match at the 24:40 mark when Longson
employed an atomic drop. Myers received a shot at the World Tag Team Title on June 8,
1950 in Kansas City with Ralph Garibaldi as his partner. The defending champions were
Emil and Joe Dusek. They lost two-of-three-falls. The next week, Myers gained a certain
amount of revenge with a singles win over Emil.
Sonny went south to Texas and began a tour. Myers went through a small town near
Houston called Angleton. It was there that things would dramatically take a turn for the
worst. He was stabbed by an irate fan and nearly murdered. He needed immediate
medical attention and more then 270 stitches. The attack, to date, was the most heinous
action by a spectator in wrestling history. Myers was forced into months of rehabilitation.
He did plan a return to the ring full-time. Myers accomplished his mission. He was known
to have been active in Memphis as of April 1951. He ventured back to Kansas City for an
April 5, 1951 card at the Memorial Hall. He drew with Bob Orton in 45-minutes. Each had
a fall. On the 19th of that month, Myers met Orton in a rematch in Kansas City. He won
On a huge card at the Hall on April 26, 1951, Myers beat Roy Graham. In the main
event that night, Dennis Clary topped Tarzan Kowalski and took the Heart of America
Championship. Myers was right in line as the number one contender. He received the
first Memorial Hall shot. On May 3rd, Sonny defeated Clary to win the title. He won the
1st and 3rd falls to capture the belt, although the third was disputed. Many fans were
angry at Myers’ harsh tactics in the ring. They were unusual for the longtime regional
A week later, Clary regained the title with the second and third falls straight. Myers won
the first using an atomic drop. Myers had officially turned heel. He teamed with Joe
Dusek on May 17th in Kansas City and lost to Ronnie Etchison and Ralph Garibaldi. On
February 7, 1952, Myers was in Kansas City teaming with Jack Kennedy to beat Ray
Eckert and Babe Zaharias in a tag team match. But it was later in the month when Myers
began to dominate the singles ranks. He beat Dan O’Connor on February 21st and then
Chief Big Heart on the 28th to establish his number one contender position to the Heart
of America Title. Enrique Torres had just won the title, and Myers received the first KC
On March 6th, Myers took the H of A Title with the first and third falls. The third was
halted by officials when Torres injured his knee. Myers won the initial at the 23:30 mark
and then lost the second in 14:18. The match was stopped after 7:17. Ray Eckert
challenged Sonny on March 13th and the champ won the first in a new season record, 36
seconds. Eckert took the second, but the third was filled with controversy. Myers missed
a flying tackle and hit referee, Jack Hader. Eckert, in that time span, covered Myers and
had the champion pinned. But there was no referee to count the one, two, three. After
Myers was revived, he hit a dropkick and scored the pin himself to retain.
No one could have predicted it, but Myers was about to rule the region’s singles
wrestling for a period of time, stopping all comers. He beat Eckert a second time on the
20th in front of 3,500 fans. Bob Orton returned to Kansas City and Myers gave him a
chance to regain the Heart of America Title. The two battled to a 45-minute draw without
a fall on April 10th. A week later, Myers beat Orton in the third fall by disqualification of a
tied match. He remained the titleholder. On the 24th, the third of three bouts in Kansas
City during the month of April, Myers beat Orton flat out. He took the 1st and 3rd falls.
Joe Dusek won a special elimination tournament on April 29th in Kansas City, Missouri to
meet Myers for the title on May 2nd on the Kansas side of the city. The champ retained
his belt with a third fall disqualification win over Dusek. Dusek punched referee Lou
Spandle, earning his loss.
Sonny made a quick tour through several cities including in Memphis on May 12th,
before reappearing to defend his title against Joe Dusek in a rematch on May 15th. He
was accompanied by Bob Orton, who was there to battle off Joe’s brother, Dick, who was
also ringside. Myers took the final two falls to retain with his partner’s assistance. He
remained the top regional icon through the summer of 1952. After 49 defenses of the
belt, Myers was beaten in Kansas City by “Wild” Red Berry on October 9th before 4,100
fans. He won the first fall, and dropped the second and third.
In 1954, Sonny Myers was appearing in Texas and won a three-day Invitational Golf
Tournament. He received a trophy for his honors. Myers returned to the Central Region
after a tour of Texas and his reign as the Central States Heavyweight Champion in July
1954. He faced the oncoming challenge of the Mighty Atlas. Billed as the “Missouri
Kings,” Myers and Larry Hamilton entered Omaha, Nebraska on February 25, 1957 to
face Bob Orton Sr. and Rip Hawk. The latter team whipped Myers and Hamilton in two-of-
three-falls. Myers teamed with Ronnie Etchison on January 2, 1958 in Kansas City to
beat Tommy O’Toole and Lou Plummer in two-of-three-falls. On the 23rd, Myers met
Gorgeous George in Kansas City. He beat Otto Von Krupp on January 30th at the Hall.
The third was via disqualification. He lost a rematch to Von Krupp on February 6th in
Kansas City. Myers won the second, but the other two were handed over to Otto.
Myers wrestled Bob Geigel on February 20th and lost after 23-minutes when he
suffered a head injury and was unable to continue. A week later, promoters signed the
Myers-Geigel rematch for the main event of their Memorial Hall Card. Myers won the first
with a sleeperhold, but lost the second and third. He was counted out in the final bout
after 22:32. On November 1, 1958, Myers wrestled Ernie Dusek in Omaha to a twenty-
minute draw. A Federal Court in Des Moines refused damages to Myers on December 8,
1958 in his claim against P.G. “Pinkie” George and the National Wrestling Alliance. He
had sought $200,000. He made his final appearance in Amarillo before leaving the
states for a tour of Japan on April 7, 1960. Myers drew with Alex Perez in a match Myers
should have won by countout. Sonny refused the victory and the match was declared a
On October 27, 1960, Myers retained his NWA International Title against Nikita
Mulkovitch in Amarillo when the two battled to a double-countout. During the following
card in Amarillo, on November 3rd, Myers faced North American Champion, Mike DiBiase
in a two-of-three-falls event at the Sports Arena. He lost the first but won the second with
a sleeperhold. The third ended after DiBiase had used an illegal object to smash Myers
and score a pin. That object was a soft drink box. The downfall continued on November
10th. Mulkovich received another title shot and this time overcame the defense of
Myers. Nikita forced Sonny to give up in the third fall after singling out a weakened leg.
Thus, Mulkovich was the new titleholder. Myers disappeared from Amarillo immediately
following. In St. Louis, Myers beat Corsica Joe in 11:55 on November 5, 1965. He
teamed with Bobby Managoff in a losing effort against Gene Kiniski and Bobby Graham
on November 19th at the Auditorium.
During the early 1970s, Myers competed in both singles and tag team matches in St.
Louis. He also worked as an official for many of the region’s top promoters. He was
apart of the wrestling business from the 1940s to the 1980s. In 2001, Myers returned to
wrestling as a promoter, organizing “Sonny Myers’ All Star Wrestling” on Friday,
November 16, 2001 in St. Joseph. A number of local independent stars were on the show
at Missouri Western University.
Other Historical Information:
In Myers' 1951 tax record, which was part of the public record for his case against the
NWA and Pinkie George, he wrote a document that listed his expenses. He wrote: "I am
a wrestler, and in this work, it is necessary to travel continuously, for work is based on
schedules in different cities according to demand. In 1951, I worked in Iowa, Texas,
Missouri, Minnesota, Kansas, Nebraska, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and
Kentucky. To be in the different cities, where appearances were scheduled, I traveled in
personal car when time would permit, otherwise, plane transportation was used, when
other means would have been too slow."
Myers noted that he traveled 63,881 miles by car in 1951 and spent 294 days and nights
away from home. Among his expenses was $510 spent for "hospital and medical services
in closing wounds received in ring at Angleton, Texas, when spectator climbed into ring at
bout, cutting 16 1/2 inch gash across abdomen, requiring 258 stitches."
He also paid $2,940 for hotel rooms, $636 for 10 plane trips from Kansas City to
Minneapolis and $420 for 7 robes for wrestling ring appearances. $3,832.86 was for
automotive repair, and his total expenses was $9,454.62.
On November 29, 1952, Myers signed a three-year contract with Jim Barnett of Chicago
in which the latter would serve as his manager. The contract stated that Barnett
guaranteed Myers a minimum of $5,000 annually. Myers agreed to pay Barnett 30% "of
his gross income dervied (sic) from all sources such as wrestling exhibitions, radio,
television, advertising contracts and the like, said payments to be made on a weekly or
Connecting to Barnett and Chicago wrestling magnate Fred Kohler gave Myers national
television exposure on the Saturday night grappling show across the DuMont Network.
That pushed Myers' to a new category for promotions, giving him status as a "TV Star,"
and boosted his income from $11,000 in 1952 to over $18,000 in 1953. $2,250 was paid
to Barnett for booking fees in 1953.
According to his 1953 tax return, Myers paid for wrestling licenses in 26 different states
and even coughed up $126.00 for "medical insurance for pro wrestlers."
Research by Tim Hornbaker
|Sonny Myers Wrestling History
Legends of Pro Wrestling