June 21, 2011
SLAM! Wrestling Canadian Hall of Fame: Fred Atkins
REAL NAME: Fred Atkinson
June 15, 2011
Fred Atkins was a tough man, tougher trainerGREG OLIVER - Producer, SLAM! Wrestling In Crystal Beach, Ontario, along the shores of Lake Erie, Fred Atkins' finishing school nearly finished off more than a few aspiring wrestlers.
But the collection of names that went through his training routine -- Tiger Jeet Singh, Adrian Adonis, Sailor Art Thomas, Giant Baba, Professor Hito -- is a testament to the fact that only the strong survive.
Age doesn't count when you're tough!
At an age somewhere on the grey side of 70, his impact is such that one never asks what makes his hair so black.
While I never saw Fred wrestle, I thoroughly enjoyed watching him officiate bouts on Ringside and Maple Leaf Wrestling. Fred was a very competent ref in the 1970's. He always kept law and order inside the squared circle. His biggest thrill must have been to officiate the bout which took place in (February) 1977 between Harley Race and Terry Funk. In this bout, Fred called for the bell at the 14 minute mark as Race won the NWA World title over Funk with an Indian deathlock hold.
As the years went by, I thought that Fred became a little disoriented in the ring. Well into his seventies, I can remember two classic bouts from the early 1980's that made him look incompetent. I can remember some ham and egger attacking Outlaw Ron Bass on a tv match and about a minute and a half later, Fred strolls into the ring as if nothing happened. Meanwhile Bass turns the tables on this jobber and gives him a thrashing and Fred applies his traditional slow pin.
The second good laugh Fred gave me was when he officiated a bout between Bob Marcus and Alex Girard. Marcus went for a pin and I think Fred must have counted to five! Even the two wrestlers were confused as to what the count was. I remember talking to my brother who also viewed the bout and commented that it doesn't take a genius to apply a count of three! We certainly had a great laugh at poor Fred's expense.
All in all, Fred did an adequate job at being a ref and he did officiate well into the late 1980's (even in bouts for the WWF at the the ol' Gardens). Good job, Fred!