Dr. Bill Miller
For many months now, I have wanted to do a column on one of the real champions in my book. A man that I was happy to have known before and after I was in the business of wrestling.
Born William Miller in Fremont, Ohio, he graduated high school and went on to attend Ohio State and became a DVM in private life. He went on to become an inspector of meat packing plants for the USDA.
While in college, he was invited to begin a career in professional wrestling along with his wrestling brother Ed and his younger brother Danny. They perfected a combination of speed, strength, stamina and size, combined with a barrage of wrestling holds and punishing street fighting tactics. They were the first ever six-man tag team champions to be governed by the National Wrestling Alliance.
The trio wrestled out of the Al Haft territory in Columbus and ventured out into the East Coast and Buffalo Territories. They went to the AWA areas as well as the Detroit territory and were tag champions, as well as holding singles belts on many occasions.
Danny was content with wrestling as a single and gained a huge following in his native Ohio before moving to Florida and promoting matches. Ed and Dr. Big Bill Miller fought many a hard battle against foes like The Fabulous Kangaroos, Bobo Brazil & Lord Athol Layton, The Gallagher Brothers, The Brunetti Brothers, Roy & Ray Stevens, and a lot of other great teams.
Bill liked to stay near his home but ventured out into the wrestling world and fought against many top headliners. His stay in the old AWA territory as the mysterious Mr. M was one that I can remember well, as I was involved in the business and traveled with Bill. He once fought Verne Gagne in a 90-minute battle that left many of the fans out of breath. They gave an outstanding array of wrestling moves to each other and caused a small riot in the rear of the old Mecca Auditorium. Verne barely hung on to the coveted AWA championship and never asked for a rematch with the huge man wearing the mask with the big 'M' on the forehead.
I can remember another epic battle with Bull Curry in Marion, Ohio. I was asked by the promoter, Bob Willer, to come and be a special referee in the battle. The card began with Danny Miller facing Mike Loren. They wrestled to a 30-minute time limit draw and got a standing ovation for their efforts.
The midgets were next on the card, and Sky Low Low battled Billy the Kid. The antics of these two small men were unbelievable. They did maneuvers that big guys couldn't. They kept the crowd in a very attentive mood and ended in a 20-minute time limit draw.
Mary Jane Mull went against Tanya West in a ladies match and made quick duty out of the newcomer. Mary Jane was from the old school of hard knocks and believed that she was paid by the match and not by the time she spent in the ring. She had a crushing right fist and a right leg that could kick your head off. The match lasted a little over five minutes.
The main event was brought to the ring by police officers. Bull Curry was in no mood to be messed with or bothered. He came to fight and, as usual, nearly caused a riot on his way to the ring. He was bantering with a local farmer about just coming out of the field and still having cow pies on his boots. The police kept the farmer from grabbing Bull and got him to the ring. Bull began hurling insults at the ringside spectators and had three ready to climb into the ring.
It was all I could do to keep the fans from coming into the ring while the police went to bring Dr. Bill to the ring. Bill was a definite fan favorite here in Marion, and they proved it by chanting his name and crowding around his corner to get autographs. Bull began to charge at the hero of the night and break up the crowd around Dr. Bill.
Bull wanted the match to begin and began to get in my face about ringing the bell. I finally gave in, and the match was underway. I had never seen or heard any harder punches hitting before in the five years I had been in the business. This was a real donnybrook that had ringside fans almost getting in the ring to help out.
Bull won the first fall with the help of a pair of brass knuckles that I was unable to find at the time. He was famous for carrying hidden objects into the ring and kept most referees very busy trying to find them.
Dr. Bill was the winner of the second fall with a combination of backbreakers and a body press. The third fall had two ringsiders in the ring trying to help Bill out from the attack Bull Curry was putting on him. The police were instrumental in getting the fans out of the ring but not before Bull had his say so against them and a few well placed punches that busted the intruders' foreheads open.
Bull Curry won the match on a disqualification, and Dr. Bill was not happy with my decision when he regained his composure. He grabbed me and began beating the living beegeebers out of me ... much to the happiness of the fans. I was left in a humpled mess on the mat and needed a police escort back to the dressing room.
Dr. Bill Miller passed away of a massive heart attack just after a workout in a health club near his Reynoldsburg, Ohio home on 3/24/97. He was a very well respected member of his community and a great family man that I enjoyed knowing.
Rest in Peace Dr. Bill.
Percival A. Friend, Retired
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