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Missouri Mauler (1931-1996)


Real NameLarry Hamilton

Lifespan - 4/1/31 - 7/20/96

6’4” 285 lbs. - St. Joseph, MO


Athletic BackgroundBoxing (Golden Gloves), Wrestling

Teacher(s) - n/a

AliasesCasey McShain, Rocky Hamilton, Crusher Hamilton, The Black Secret, The Avenger

Peak Years - `66-`72

Place in HistoryIf pro-wrestlers were ranked by their believability, Larry Hamilton, better known as  the Missouri Mauler, would rank high on the lists of many fans and even more of his peers.  He was thickly built, he looked like a tough guy and his in-ring style left little to the imagination.  Larry Hamilton started in 1950 in his home state working for Gust Karras.  Although he tried to be a babyface, once he left home for the Northeast, it was clear that Hamilton was destined to be a heel.  He was joined by his younger step-brother Joe and the two became a pair of brawny Southern rednecks who even headlined a Madison Square Garden card with Antonino Rocca & Miguel Perez when Joe was still a teenager.  Both men proved their mettle and launched into successful pro-wrestling careers, although largely separate from one another.  Larry headed into the Southeast and spent much of his career between Florida, Georgia and the Mid-Atlantic territories working as the consummate heel.  Adopting the handle “the Missouri Mauler,” he found his first success in Florida where he regularly held the Southern Heavyweight title (their top singles belt) after Bob Orton Sr. had phased out of that spot.  Closely aligned with the Great Malenko and Hiro Matsuda and playing a vicious brawling villain made him the perfect opponent for local heroes like Jack Brisco, Don Curtis and later Dusty Rhodes.  The formula carried over into the Carolinas, where he was paired with manager Homer O’Dell and Brute Bernard in the Carolinas (serving as a stopgap following the death of Bernard’s long-time partner Skull Murphy) and going to war with George Becker & Johnny Weaver and the Scott Brothers.  Although he was a fearsome heel in the ring, Hamilton was noted for being able to walk a curious line between seriousness and humor in interviews and even his the column he “wrote” for the Florida office’s weekly program.  It was an insight into the actual man behind the persona.  By the early 1970s, the Missouri Mauler was well-established and regularly bouncing around the Southeast.  Joe was now half of the Assassins (with Tom Renesto) and the three teamed up to battle the Kentuckians and Haystacks Calhoun in some special attraction matches.  It was during this time that Joe’s partner Tom Renesto began transitioned out of the ring to the office and Larry often wore an Assassin mask in Tom’s place.  By this time, Larry Hamilton was looking every bit of his age with his weight ballooning, his hair falling out and his work slowing down; rather than ending his career, this played into the Missouri Mauler’s presentation as a grizzled bruiser.  By the 1980s, Larry Hamilton was slowing down and many working in smaller promotions in the Deep South when he suddenly decided to give it up.  He moved back home to take care of his ailing mother.  The Missouri Mauler is probably not the most memorable heel of his era and, like many of his peers, does not have the benefit of quality footage to bolster his legacy.  He was though tremendously effective in his role and was respected by his peers for his dedication to his trade.

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