Award-winning producer Mark Nowotarski is trying to finalize his documentary on the history of wrestling in Detroit. From the 1950s to the 1980s, Detroit was a hotbed for wrestling with many big names in town.

Going back to the 1950’s, names like Leaping Larry Chene, Dick the Bruiser, Argentina Rocca, Bruno Sammartino, The Sheik, Fritz Von Erich, Angelo Poffo, Brute Bernard amongst others, graced the mats in the Detroit area.

In the ’60s and ’70s, a promotion war developed between Dick the Bruiser and The Sheik, a battle that the Sheik won although he closed his promotion in 1980. Other smaller promotion continued with George “Crybaby” Cannon, Jerry Jaffe and Malcolm Monroe. Many of the venues are still well know in the wrestling world such as Cobo Hall, the Fairgrounds, community centers, taverns or the local gym, very similar to many other cities in North America. Independent promotions continue to strive to this day.

The documentary, Battles, Bouts and Brawls, will be an inside look at the history of wrestling in the Detroit area.

Nowotarski hopes to inform, educate, titillate and even put smiles on those who will view the film once distributed. He also produced and directed a documentary a few years back about The Sheik entitled The Sheik: Wrestling’s Greatest Villain.

“Due to the success of The Sheik’s documentary, sources became curious about both before and after The Sheik’s time in pro wrestling in Detroit, and since up until now, no one has done any documentary of this type about Detroit wrestling, I thought the timing was appropriate” Nowortoski told SLAM Wrestling. He describes himself as a “professional fan” since 1968 and once his career progressed into broadcast television, his love of wrestling never dwindled.

Although he still needs some financing to complete the project, many big names have helped in the making and include, amongst others, Dave “super Mouth” Drason, Percival A. Friend, Ox Baker, Sabu, Rhino, Rob Van Dam, Dr. Jerry Graham and Irish Mickey Doyle. Evan Ginzburg, associate producer of The Wrestler, along with actor Daniel Roebuck and wrestling historians Bob Bauer, Thomas Rude and Eric Caidin have also contributed in some capacities.

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