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Tarzan Tyler

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Tarzan "The Boot" Tyler

Real name: Camille Tourville

Master of the loaded boot -- tapped his boot three times on the mat, and his opponents would sell his kicks like they'd been shot with a rifle. A very successful heel in Montreal and the Southern U.S. Usually wore multicolour trunks in the 1970s and had bleached blond hair (allowed to go brown late in his career). Definitely had the look of a grizzled veteran in the 1970s and early 1980s.

Tyler made his debut in Montreal in the 1950s and wrestled for several years as Tarzan Tourville. Made his Maple Leaf Gardens debut under that name in 1958.

Travelled through the U.S. in the 1960s, where he was renamed Tarzan Tyler. Recognized as a world tag champion in Texas (1962) and Florida (1964). Wrestled AWA champion Verne Gagne in 1962. Challenged Lou Thesz for the NWA title at least six times in 1963, including two main events in Atlanta. Defeated Eddie Graham in Atlanta for a local version of the world title in 1963 (it was not supposed to be billed as a world title after the promotion began booking Thesz as NWA world champion, and it eventually evolved into the Eastern title, but it was still being listed as a world title when Tyler held it). Had additional shots at the NWA title against Thesz in 1964 (Miami Beach) and 1965 (Tampa).

Held the NWA International tag title in Japan with Bill Watts (1967), losing the belts to the superstar Japanese team of Giant Baba and Antonio Inoki. Held all of the major belts in Florida between 1964 and 1971, including the Southern title and Florida title. Also wrestled on top in Omaha, Nebraska. Again challenged AWA champion Verne Gagne in 1969. Challenged Dory Funk Jr. for the NWA world title in a Tampa main event in January 1971. Went to the WWWF later that year and teamed with Crazy Luke Graham to be recognized as the first WWWF tag champions. Challenged Pedro Morales for the WWWF title in a Madison Square Garden main event in 1971.

Moved back to Montreal in the 1970s. Initially worked for Grand Prix until it shut down and then joined Johnny Rougeau's promotion. In the late 1970s, when George Cannon moved his Superstars of Wrestling show from Toronto to Montreal, Tyler worked as a top heel. One of my favourite memories of Tyler was from this period. He boasted that he could beat some jobber with one hand tied behind his back. So they actually tied a hand behind his back and had a match, and -- surprise -- Tyler lost cleanly very quickly. In an interview after the match, he conceded that he made a mistake in issuing the challenge. Not something you're likely to see from a lead heel very often.

Made his final Maple Leaf Gardens appearance in 1982. Joined International Wrestling in Montreal as a manager and was in that role when he was killed in an automobile accident on Christmas Eve in 1985 at age 58. Tyler, Pierre "Mad Dog" Lefebvre, and referee Adrien Desbois were all killed while driving back from a show in Chicoutimi.

Prominent Titles:

  • NWA World tag champion (Texas), with Alaskan Jay York, 1962
  • NWA World tag champion (Florida), with Tim Tyler, 1964
  • 2-time NWA Southern champion (Florida), 1964-66
  • NWA International tag champion (Japan), with Bill Watts, 1967
  • NWA Southern tag champion, with Louie Tillet, 1968-69
  • NWA Florida champion, 1970
  • 2-time Florida TV champion, 1970-71
  • 2-time Florida Brass Knucks champion, 1970-71
  • WWWF tag champion, with Crazy Luke Graham, 1971
  • Columbus champion (Georgia), 1975

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