By Paul Stratoti, Contributing Writer
In 1967 Doug Baker worked for Vince McMahon Sr.’s World Wide Wrestling Federation as The Friendly Arkansas Ox where in his first appearance there, Baker worked a Handicap Match with Armand Hussein against Gorilla Monsoon.
About 5 years later, I first saw Ox Baker on WUAB-TV, then later at the studio itself for the monthly “Championship Wrestling with Johnny Powers” tapings as well as at Cleveland Arena, still later at Canton Civic Center where I got him to pose for the only centerfold I have ever had published in the April ‘77 issue of Scott Epstein’s Wrestling Training Illustrated magazine and then finally at my very first Cauliflower Alley Club reunion.
Ox made his Cleveland Arena debut when at the end of the main event where Ernie Ladd was in the process of reversing Johnny Powers’ Powerlock, Ox stormed the ring and attacked the 6’9” self professed “King of Wrestling” which forced Ladd to break the hold. Ox would not let up this brutal attack and this incensed the fans so much that they rioted, forcing the combatants to scurry to the dressing room in fear of their life. This was featured by the Apter mags as well as one of the Cleveland newspapers at the time. The end of the match and subsequent riot can also be seen on Youtube
On March 14, 1974 at Cleveland Arena Ernie Ladd defeated Ox for the North American title!
March 21, 1974 Cleveland Ohio Cleveland Arena saw Ox defeat Sonny King by count out
On March 28, 1974 at Cleveland Arena a special 10 Rounds of Boxing Match saw Sonny King w Bulldog Brower defeat Ox Baker w Johnny Powers by DQ in the 6th round!
April 11, 1974 at Cleveland Arena saw Bulldog Brower defeat our Ox
April 25, 1974 at Cleveland Arena saw the Coal Miner’s Glove Match where Ox defeated Bulldog Brower.
Coal Miner’s Glove photo by Dan Scoglietti
On May 23, 1974 at Cleveland Arena “Wild” Bull Curry defeated Ox Baker when Johnny Powers special refereed! This would be Ox’s final match at that venue as the arena was to be soon torn down.
November 25, 1974 at Richfield Coliseum saw Ox defeat Moose Cholak by count out.
On March 29, 1980 during a WWE Championship Wrestling taping Ox Baker debuts in WWE with the Grand Wizard as his manager and defeated Charlie Brown*
April 5, 1980 – Ox Baker (w/ the Grand Wizard) defeated Paul Figueroa*
April 12, 1980 – Ox Baker (w/ the Grand Wizard) defeated Steve King*
On February 8, 1985 at Cleveland Convention Center Ox lost a Lights Out/Garvin’s Hair vs Ox Baker’s Mustache match. Just before that match Ox posed for me with scissors in one hand and shave cream in the other.
Wrestling’s Main Event magazine
Sometime in 1984 he fought Abdullah the Butcher in Lorain in the shown cage.
Doug was beginning to be a regular Cauliflower Alley Club member at our reunions and was presented with the CAC “Other” Award in 2002. Four years later, yours truly attended my very first reunion and Ox was there as these 2 photos show and he seemed very aware of his surroundings and was as pleasant and cordial as could be.
In this photo I snapped this shot of him singing right after the awards ceremony.
On October 20, 2014 Ox passed away in Hartford, CT from complications after a heart attack.
I’m very honored to have his daughter Meghan as a continued Facebook friend and although I am objective felt the need to publish her following comments:
“If you ever hear of a Rebecca Howard associated with my father’s name please stay clear of her and a guy named Matt. I think they had a part in him dying and It hurts me too. But I had seen it with my own eyes and then they started crap with my brother and tried to get him on their side because I knew too much and it was all bad. I had seen him in April of that year and he was doing well. Then a total 360.
“They also would not let my sister and I take any of our father’s things and ended up selling some things on ebay. It got ugly for a while. Those people used my father for drug money during which time I don’t think he was all there in the head.
“Well Adbullah the Butcher was here a few years ago at the Canton Civic Center and he remembered me as a little girl. But he was told lies about this Rebecca and Matt. and he thanked them for taking care of him. That is SO untrue. In my eyes they murdered him.. They found for the sixth time rat poison in his system that helped with the heart attack. They took my father for over 100 g’s and then she claimed to be his daughter. Let’s just say I sat her straight on that one. My brother was/is lost and he had all the power and didn’t do nothing and not still wants nothing.. He kind of washed his hands of it. But I wanted the WWF to put my father in the hall of fame but I can’t get anyone to do that.”
Pre-2000 wrestling results by Ray Baka unless otherwise noted.
Results followed by * denotes credit for Raymond Dutczak