July 26, 2013
Geeto Mongol dead at 82
By GREG OLIVER - Producer, SLAM! Wrestling
Newt Tattrie, who wrestled as Geeto Mongol and Tony Newbury, died Friday, July 19th, a week after his 82nd birthday, in Virginia Beach, VA.
His widow, Ann, said that it was out of the blue. Her husband had been into hospital for a few tests over the last weeks of his life, but everything seemed okay.
"All the results came negative. What the doctors said is its a mystery," she told SLAM! Wrestling. "Everything, he had so many MRIs, and all kinds of tests, and everything was perfect."
Ann and Newt had been married 58 years.
"Just one of those things. He just looked to the Lord. He was very healthy," she said,
The funeral was on Tuesday, and it was only for immediate and extended family -- "no one else," she said. "It was time for family. We're Christians and we sang Christian songs and things like that."
Tattrie's most famous partners were Nikolai Volkoff, who was Bepo, and Bill Eadie, who was Bolo Mongol, and later became The Masked Superstar and Demolition Ax.
Contacted on Friday, neither had heard about the passing of their mentor.
"He trained me, broke me in, took me under his wing. Good guy, good guy. A little stubborn, but we all are," said Eadie. "He was a go-getter, I know that. He loved his family. It was hard for him being on the road. He had already established a nice home there in Pittsburgh. I know he wanted to get home to be with his family. Then, of course, I did too. But when you're trying to make a living, you've got to do what you've got to do."
Though she is from Alberta, Ann and Newt met in Toronto, where Newt was training to be a wrestler and working the occasional show. He had moved to Toronto from Springhill, Nova Scotia, where he was born in July 12, 1931.
Ann and Newt had three children, and, by Ann's count, they moved 43 times during his wrestling career. "It's very hard on the family, but we went with him," she said.
The two places most associated with Tattrie are Pittsburgh, where he ran a gym and promoted shows, and Virginia Beach, where he had lived for years and had been involved with The 700 Club, located in town.
Pittsburgh's pride, Bruno Sammartino, first met Tattrie when the Canadian was working as Tony Newbury. Later, Sammartino wrestled the Mongols many times. "Nikolai Volkoff, he was probably a little less experienced back then, but he was a very impressive guy physically. With Tattrie, they made a good team," said Sammartino.
In the book, The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: The Tag Teams, the origin of the team was explored:
The Mongols weren't born in Mongolia. They were born in a library. Veteran wrestler Newton Tattrie was thumbing through a volume when he got the inspiration for the team. "I went to the library in Calgary, Alberta, and Iím going through some books and I saw a Mongol book. I saw Genghis Khan and Kublai Khan. It was interesting, so I thought it would be good. So creative control was at the library."
For more on the career of Newt Tattrie, be sure to read his entry in our Canadian Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame
Greg Oliver has been writing about pro wrestling since 1985, and is the author of six books: The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: Heroes & Icons (with Steven Johnson and Mike Mooneyham); SLAM! Wrestling: Shocking Stories from the Squared Circle; Benoit: Wrestling with the Horror That Destroyed a Family and Crippled a Sport (with Steven Johnson, Heath McCoy and Irv Muchnick); The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: The Heels (with Steven Johnson); The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: The Tag Teams (also with Johnson) and The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: The Canadians. Order them all from the SLAM! Wrestling Store. He can be emailed at email@example.com, and you can follow him on Twitter @gregmep.