REAL NAME: Newton Tattrie
BORN: July 12, 1931 in Springhill, Nova Scotia
5’11”, 215-265 pounds
AKA/NICKNAMES: “Oh, heck, every month I had a different name!” — Geto Mongol, Geeto Mongol, The Mongol, Mongol #1, Tony Newbury, “a couple of German names I had whenever they needed somebody,” Skunkman (with a pet skunk!), Mr. Robust
Newt Tattrie was working as Mr. Robust in Calgary for Stampede Wrestling in the late ’60s when he met the man who would change his life and be his partner in one of the greatest gimmick tag teams of all time — The Mongols.
The youngster’s name was Josip Peruzovic and Tattrie took him under his wing.
“He couldn’t speak English, but he used to hang around the matches and he wanted to be a wrestler. So I figured I’d take this young guy and I’ll train him,” recalled Tattrie to SLAM! Wrestling. “So I took him to the gym and worked with him and tried to train him. Then he was about 315 (pounds), he was about 6’5″.”
Both Tattrie and Peruzovic went on to long careers in pro wrestling from there. Tattrie became a promoter in Pittsburgh, and later trained wrestlers. Peruzovic, well, he became better known as Nikolai Volkoff.
The Mongols, who originally didn’t have individual names, debuted for the Kasaboskis in North Bay.
“The reason we got Bepo and Geto was because I asked him what did his mother call him, what was his name. And he said that his mother called him Bepo, which means ‘baby.’ So he didn’t like that, so I used to call him ‘Baby, Bepo!’ ‘If I’m Bepo, you Geto!’, which is grandfather. So everyone thought we were Bepo and Geto. So we just kept it.”
Tattrie has lived in Virgina Beach since 1985 and is just Geto to almost everyone. “Even my whole family calls me Geto — now they’re telling the truth!” he laughed, saying that he has numerous grandchildren from his two daughters and one son.
Springhill, Nova Scotia was where Tattrie was born in 1931, and where he ran away from when he was only 12. He headed to Toronto and lived on the streets. World War II was on, and no one paid much attention to such a young man living on his own. “I don’t remember much about Canada except hard times,” he said.
Wrestling wasn’t his first love, it was boxing. In 1954, he stumbled into a gym looking to learn more about pugilism. “I thought it was a boxing gym, but it was a wrestling gym!” he recalled. Dave ‘The Wildman’ McKigney was the one who trained him in wrestling. “He said, ‘You teach me to box a little and I’ll teach you to wrestle.'”
Waldo von Erich and Baron Mikel Scicluna were two of the wrestlers who trained there. Von Erich was later instrumental in getting Tattrie in to the WWWF for the first time, where he was known as Tony Newbury.
Tattrie didn’t exactly rush into the business. It was 10 years before he was wrestling regularly.
In 1963, he was working in Calgary. “I would wrestle for a while. I was too small, I wasn’t doing any good so I went to the oil fields. I worked in the oil fields and I made enough to keep wrestling.”
Times were different then. “I remember Saskatoon. I worked for Stu Hart. I’d go into Saskatoon and Regina, two matches, $25 a piece and you had to drive with somebody, you had to pay them 2 cents a mile or something on the trip. But then again, the hotel was only three bucks, $3 for a room. And any restaurant in town, you could get a meal for $1.”
After he and Peruzovic started as the Mongols, they had their promo pictures done and sent them off to the WWF and Vince McMahon Sr. The Northeast promoter liked what he saw and, in 1968, brought them in.
The Mongols were on TV for 16 weeks before wrestling in the area. “Everybody was asking, ‘Who are these guys on television? Who are these guys with all the furs, all the chains?’ It was a different thing then. We were unique then,” Tattrie said.
They beat Victor Rivera and Tony Marino on June 15, 1970 in New York City for the Internatonal Tag Team belts, the precursor to the WWF tag team titles of today. The Mongols left the WWF in 1971 and took the belts with them. Back in the WWF, a tournament was held, and ‘Crazy’ Luke Graham & Tarzan Tyler won. On November 12, 1971, Graham & Tyler beat The Mongols, ending any question of the Mongols still laying claim to the titles.
Tony Angelo was their first manager, and Captain Lou Albano followed. In fact, the Mongols were the first team Albano ever managed. George Cannon was their manager in the Carolinas, and The Great Malenko worked with them in Eddie Einhorn’s old IWA promotion.
The early ’70s were a particularly busy time for Tattrie. From 1970 to 1972, he owned the Pittsburgh territory, ran the Civic Centre as his main arena and was associated with the WWWF. He built a home in Pittsburgh and made Ace Freeman the figurehead promoter so he could continue to wrestle. His promotion really just needed one man from Pittsburgh to be a success — Bruno Sammartino. “Sammartino was there. That’s all I needed,” he recalled. “We were the tag team, and we had a couple of good local guys.”
Also around that time, Peruzovic left Tattrie’s side to become Nikolai Volkoff. “Bepo wanted to go on his own,” Tattrie said.
Pedro Martinez and some business partners bought the territory from him in 1972. “I just moved out of the office and they moved in,” he said, adding that he didn’t miss it. “I was glad to be away.”
(An amazing sidenote to his time as a promoter — it was also the first time that he learned to read. “I just bluffed my way through,” he said.)
Over the next few years, Tattrie continued to wrestle as The Mongol, or in a tag team with a youngster named Bill Eadie, who like Peruzovic, went on to fame later as Masked Superstar and Demolition Axe.
Eadie and Tattrie first teamed in the IWA. “I needed somebody. I had had a gym in Pittsburgh where I trained wrestlers. Bill Eadie paid me and I trained Bill Eadie. So I had a call from Japan and they wanted the Mongols. They offered us good money. Bill Eadie was a big guy and just shaved his head and grew a mustache. A few weeks later, we’re in Japan.”
Besides Eadie, the other big name that Tattrie trained was future AWA World champion Larry Zbyszko. After moving to Virginia Beach in 1985, he opened another wrestling school, and ran that for five years before retiring.
Tattrie quit wrestling himself in 1982 when he “found it very hard to get out of bed.”
Over the course of his career, Tattrie circled the globe, wrestling for promotions across the U.S. and Canada, Africa, Japan, Singapore, and Puerto Rico.
Singapore stands out for him. “We only wrestled Saturday and Sunday. Two days a week, and the rest of the time was just the beach. And the food was great. At that time, you couldn’t spend $50 a week in the best restaurants in Singapore, eating the best food. The food was so cheap and so great.”
He doesn’t regret anything. “I had the choice, either the oil field or wrestling. [It’s] the only real good job I ever had because I had no education whatsoever.”
- July 28, 2013: ‘Geeto’ Newt Tattrie taught wrestling — and life lessons
- July 26, 2013: Geeto Mongol dead at 82
- Nov. 10, 2003: Present celebrates past at wrestling legends event
I don’t remember much Newt Tattrie, but I do remember his daughter Blanche! She was touring with her father in the early 70s; I was trying at the time to speak my first words of spoken English (as everybody know, trying to speak a new language is something else!), and Blanche was learning French in school and wanted to try it out; my mother was working at the Centre Georges-Vézina in Chicoutimi and introduced us, and we tried to talk to each other for a whole evening, and again the week after. While her father and his tagteam partner were fighting against Johnny and Jacques Rougeau, Blanche and I were developping a headache trying to understand each other, and we laughed so hard! We exchanged addresses, then a few very laborious letters followed. But we lost track of each other. I wish she reads this now, for I’d love to hear from her again. As you can see, my English got better!
I saw Geeto Mongol wrestle Terrible Ted The Wildmans 700 pound bear. Geeto was then known as the Skunkman complete with a de-scented pet Skunk; well when the bear saw the skunk he took off through the crowd and can you believe this the referee counted the bear out, since when do bears go to school to learn how to count to ten? This was sure more then I could bear(no pun intended here) from Terry Dart an old wrestling fan from the 1950’s; god I love this sport and SLAM! Wrestling so please everyone support it. This is Canadian stuff you good people.
As a youngster growing up in Western Pennsylvania, I saw Geto wrestle many times on Channel 11’s “Studio Wrestling” hosted by local personality Bill Cardille. I was six years old when my father took me to see the Mongols wrestle Crazy Luke Graham and Tarzan Tyler at the Uniontown High School gym. Geto also teamed up on several occasions with Jumping Johnny DeFazio from Pittsburgh. It’s amazing to think that there was a time when the best that the WWWF had to offer would wrestle at our local schools. Those were the glory days of wrestling in the Pittsburgh area. The Pittsburgh Civic Arena hosted WWWF wrestling each month and huge crowds would file in to see our local hero, Bruno Sammartino.
Dear Geto, It has been a long time since I had seen any info about you. It is funny that you didn’t mention your time in the National Wrestling Federation much. I thought you and Pepo wrestled for Pedro Martinez periodically between 1970 to 1972? I remember the Mongols were the NWF Tag Team Champions twice I thought. Do you remember which Tag Teams you defeated for the belts? Tony Parisi and Domenic Denucci, Chief White Owl and The Executioner are the first teams that come to mind right away. It has been so long ago since those glory days at the Cleveland Arena. If you have any video tapes of matches with you and Bepo I am definitely interested. I have a 2 out of 3 falls match of you and Bepo Vs. Monsoon and Pedro Morales from Philadelphia from 1974.
I grew up with Newton in Springhill. I feel that Newton got a great deal of his pain tolerance from his mother. We would go to church with his mother and when we were misbehaving she would pinch the fat part of our legs. It would be nice to hear from Newton.
I have a few memories of Geto Mongol. He’s my uncle. I thought I would share a couple of funny stories about him and Joe.
I was 10 years old and living in the Boston area when they first started as the Mongols. Whenever they were in town (which was often), they would stay at our house. It was always a big party!
My friends and myself were very into wrestling at the time, so needless to say, I became very popular when they found out that my uncle was one of the guys we were watching every Saturday on TV.
One one occasion, they came into town and I invited my friends over to meet them. We were all sitting on a couch (for a picture of course). Newton was on one end of the couch and Joe was on the other. Me and two of my friends were sitting in the middle. They both had their arms stretched out behind our heads. The three of us had all we could do to lift our heads so we could look up at the camera for the picture! I think just their arms weighed more than all three of us!
One of these friends was a big fan of Bruno Sammartino’s and decided to write him a letter exposing the fact that the guy he was wrestling was not in-fact a real Mongol, but was actually from Canada (what a scandal!). Well, Bruno must have actually read all of his fan-mail, because he gave the letter back to Uncle Newton (boy they must have laughed for quite a while about this one). Uncle Newton then gave it back to my Father next time he ws in town and he promptly gave it to me. You would not have believed the look of shock on Trish’s face when she found out that I had the letter that she had sent to Bruno. We never offered her any explanation for how it got back to us. I would imagine she is wondering about it to this day.
Well, I’ve babbled long enough. Thanks to SLAM for doing a piece on the people who provided a very exciting time in my life, and my uncle in particular. I think I’ll go try to find that picture now……
Howard Tattrie Jr.
I know I must be getting old because the other day at work a few of us were talking about wrestling and I mentioned the Fabulous Mongols that I used to see on the wrestling show hosted by Bill Cardille back in 70’s. No one knew who I was talking about. I saw the Mongols live at the Lewiston Auditorium in Lewiston Maine in the early 70’s. A bunch of us from high school who would see them on TV went. I do remember it being a big thrill seeing all these wrestlers live. I also think back then they put on a better show than today. It was matches and not all this getting into the ring with microphones and just strutting around talking. Thanks
The next time you come to Toronto or Brampton, how about we all get together and have a good laugh? I remember when Mr. Skunk ate his way trough my mother’s (your sister Christine, and husband John Ross aka Skip) kitchen wall into the living room on Conlins Road in Toronto. Mother had him gated off because she did not want him in the living room!
The last time we saw each other was when you were living in Pittsburgh, Pa. We haven’t seen your kids since you left Ontario. When we last saw you they were up and away at college!!
Lots of Love,
Your Nephew, wife and family
Charles, Helen, John & Donna (son & wife)