What a huge month in the Territories in August 1980, with Championship Wrestling from Florida promoting the ‘Last Tangle In Tampa’ from Tampa Stadium and the World Wrestling Federation staging the huge Shea Stadium for the steel cage clash between Bruno and Larry. Read on…
NWA World Heavyweight Champion Harley Race faced a busy month taking in all comers and some top talent from the National Wrestling Alliance.
|1/8/80||Houston Wrestling – Sam Houston Coliseum, Houston, TX||Harley Race defeated Tony Atlas 2-1 in a Best Two out of Three Falls match to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Championship with Lou Thesz as the special referee.|
|3/8/80||Championship Wrestling from Florida||Harley Race was defeated 1-0 by Dusty Rhodes in a Best Two out of Three Falls/No Disqualification match but the 60-minute time limit expired so Race retained the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.|
|7/8/80||St. Louis Wrestling Club – Chase Park Plaza Hotel, St. Louis, MS||Harley Race defeated Bobby Vann in a non-title match.|
|8/8/80||St. Louis Wrestling Club – Kiel Auditorium, St. Louis, MS||Harley Race defeated Ken Patera in a Best Two out of Three Falls match to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Championship with Lou Thesz as the special referee.|
|16/8/80||Georgia Championship Wrestling – WTBS TV Studios, Atlanta, GA||Harley Race beat Bill White in a non-title match.|
|25/8/80||Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling – Greenville, SC||Harley Race defeated Ric Flair via count out to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Title.|
|26/8/80||Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling – Dorton Arena, Raleigh, NC||Harley Race vs. Ric Flair for the NWA World Heavyweight Title was declared a draw in a No Disqualification match.|
|27/8/80||Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling – Rocky Mount Ball Park, Rocky Mount, NC||Harley Race vs. Sweet Ebony Diamond – winner unknown.|
|29/8/80||Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling – Richmond, VA||Harley Race and Ricky Steamboat went to a double count out. Race retained the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.|
ALL-JAPAN PRO WRESTLING
The Summer Action Series 1980 concluded with Bruiser Brody causing havoc in the promotion. The big Texan has been tagging with “Big Cat” Ernie Ladd and Pampero Firpo in tag and six-man matches all against a combination of Giant Baba, Jumbo Tsuruta, Rocky Hata, Tiger Toguchi and Prince Tonga.
On the big show to end the tour at Korakuen Hall (7/8), Brody forced Tsuruta to a draw in an NWA United National Title bout and Giant Baba managed to beat Ernie Ladd in a big singles bout.
The Summer Action Series II excursion got underway with Ray Candy and Austin Idol joining the tour with Mexican duo Dos Caras and Mil Mascaras. A youngster from the Polynesian Islands, Prince Tonga, a trainee at the AJPW Dojo is undefeated in singles competition. Tonga has defeated David Sammartino (son of Bruno), John Davidson, Karl von Steiger, Kurt von Hess and held Austin Idol to double count out in the past month. A great start to the young man’s career in All Japan.
Huge news for next month, NWA World Heavyweight Champion Harley Race is set to travel to Japan to defend his belt against Baba, Tsuruta and Mascaras.
BIG TIME WRESTLING (DETROIT)
After years of dwindling attendances, the crumbling empire of The Sheik’s is rumoured to be in major financial difficulty. They have two shows lined up next month, both at the Civic Center in Canton, Ohio (10/9 and 24/9) with WWF Champion Bob Backlund set to defend his title against The Sheik on both occasions with the second match being inside a Steel Cage.
The WWF, Georgia Championship Wrestling and Jerry Jarrett’s AWA affiliate the Continental Wrestling Association are invading and booking shows in Big Time Wrestling’s area.
BIG TIME WRESTLING (TEXAS)
The big two shows were promoted at the Sportatorium for Fritz von Erich’s group with El Halcon and Gino Hernandez headlining both events. On 24th August, the pair met in a singles affair with the Mexican coming out on top. In the second Dallas event, NWA American Tag Team Champions El Halcon and Kerry von Erich outlasted Gino Hernandez and Gary Young to retain the titles despite constant attempts of interference by manager Gary Hart
CENTRAL STATES WRESTLING
Killer Karl Kox and Takachiho lost their NWA Central States Tag Team Titles in front of a packed house at Memorial Hall on 14th August to the pairing of “Bulldog” Bob Brown and Rufus R. Jones.
CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING FROM FLORIDA
On August 3rd, over 17,000 fans packed the Tampa Stadium as it played host to one of the supercards of the year as Eddie Graham promoted ‘The Last Tangle in Tampa’. The main event saw Dusty Rhodes face Harley Race for the World Championship in a best of three falls bout. The match billed the Last Tangle was due to Dusty proclaiming that this match would be the last time he would ever wrestle Race.
Fritz Von Erich was named as the special guest referee and this was a Best Two out of Three Falls bout with No Disqualification rules. Von Erich was an obvious choice to many due to his straightforward demeanor and ability to show no bias to either grappler. The bout started out at a great tempt as both traded some suplexes and Rhodes took an early lead 1-0 pinning the champ with a Bionic Elbow.
The atmosphere was hot and humid and the match slowed down with both race and Dusty conserving energy with chin-locks and sleeper holds. As the match neared its conclusion, still at 1-0, each wrestler scored near pins. Unfortunately for the huge attendance inside the stadium, a staggered Harley propped himself up on the ropes and the bell rang for the expiration of the sixty-minute time limit. Dusty won the match 1-0 but failed to secure the second fall to win the championship.
Back in the locker room, Dusty proclaimed the event was a milestone for the city of Tampa and for the sport. In other matches, Wendi Richter eliminated six other women to win a ladies’ battle royal and the prize of $10,000, Les Thornton retained the NWA Junior Heavyweight Title after opponent Mike Graham was disqualified. The same fate ended Don Muraco’s chance to unseat WWF Champion Bob Backlund after the referee DQ’ed the muscleman from Hawaii.
Muraco did not have a great month after losing his Florida Heavyweight Title to Bugsy McGraw on 8th August at the City Auditorium in Melbourne, Florida. We have new Florida Tag Team Champions as the Russian contingent of Ivan Koloff and Nikolai Volkoff ( pictured below) defeated Jack and Jerry Brisco in Orlando on the 7th.
GEORGIA CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING
There were two title changes over the last month in Georgia. The Assassins regained the NWA Georgia Tag Team Titles from Mr. Wrestling II and Steve Keirn in Columbus, Georgia at the Municipal Auditorium on 6/8. It was not all bad news for Keirn as he uncrowned Baron Von Raschke for the Georgia Heavyweight Title five days later at the Bell Auditorium in Augusta (11/8).
A huge Omni show took place on 22nd August, with a gigantic main event as Andre the Giant and Dusty Rhodes faced Gene and Ole Anderson in a No DQ/No Time-Limit/Loser Leaves Town tag team match. It was bloody war that ended up with the Andersons coming out on top much to the disappointment to the packed crowd. Andre and Dusty will no longer be able to wrestle in the promotion no longer. In another blood-filled battle, Abdullah the Butcher defeated the “Maniac” Mark Lewin and Mr. Wrestling II defeated The Masked Superstar in a one-on-one contest, but the war is not over and they will meet in a Loser Leaves match at the next Omni show (5/9) inside a cage.
Also on the 22nd, Terry Taylor became the new National TV Champion defeating Ken Patera by DQ in the finals of a Round-Robin tournament.
Mr. Wrestling and Mr. Wrestling II are now a team and will face The Assassins in the coming weeks. On the 30/8 TV show, Assassin #1 stated that he would unmask Mr. Wrestling II as soon as they can meet one-on-one and both men questioned the importance of each other’s mask. The pair ended up brawling and Assassin #2 appeared to pull the mask off Mr. Wrestling II. Steve Keirn made the save and Wrestling II swore revenge and the original Mr. Wrestling offered his services to fight The Assassins. The two teams ended up brawling at the end of the show and one of the Assassins were unmasked to the studio’s crowd delight.
Finally, “Cowboy” Bill Watts appeared on TV and swore revenge on the Andersons and introduced a newcomer to the territory, a large masked man called Uvalde Slim to help him in the upcoming battle with Ole and Gene.
Gino Hernandez and El Halcon took their feud to Houston and played hot potato with the NWA American Heavyweight Title. El Halcon beat Hernandez on the 1st August at the Sam Houston Coliseum only to drop it back to “Gorgeous” Gino on the 15th.
MAPLE LEAF WRESTLING
Angelo Mosca won the NWA Canadian Heavyweight Title last month but The Great Hossein Arab, under the tutelage of Gene Anderson, regained the title at the Maple Leaf Gardens on 10th August in a controversial match that was witnessed by a raucous crowd of 11,000. Referee Terry Yorkston was knocked down and Mosca had Hossein pinned, Gene climbed into the ring and knocked out Mosca and Hossein ended up covering his opponent to clinch the title back.
Ric Flair defeated NWA United States champ Greg Valentine in a Texas Death Ten Falls match on the same show, however, Valentine’s belt was not on the line as the NWA deemed the title could not be defended in such match. Flair won by six falls to four.
On the promotions’ return to the Gardens on the 25th, the card was headlined by a huge main event for the NWA World Tag Team Titles as champions Jimmy Snuka and Ray Stevens ended up the winners in a title defense against Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood in a Steel Cage bout.
In other news, the promotion made its debut in Buffalo, New York at the Memorial Auditorium on 9/8, which was a reported deal between MLW owner Frank Tunney and WWF head Vincent J. McMahon.
MID-ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING
Yet another huge month in the Carolinas for Jim Crockett Promotions as the summer’s feuds continued in bloody fashion. Despite the challenge of Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood, Gene Anderson’s duo of Jimmy Snuka and Ray Stevens are still the NWA World Tag Team Champions. They battled each other five times and notwithstanding winning a few matches via count-out, Youngblood and Steamboat were unable dethrone the titleholders. No doubt they will receive further opportunities to avenge their title loss next month.
Surprisingly, Snuka and Stevens teamed up with The Masked Superstar on the 13th August Mid-Atlantic TV show, however the week later, the Superstar appeared disgruntled as the champs and manager Gene yammered on and he did not get a chance to speak.
After calling out Blackjack Mulligan last month, “Bad Boy” Bobby Duncum has been waging war with Blackjack in some wild brawls across the Carolinas. The new United States Heavyweight Champion Greg Valentine has been in some heated title defenses and non-title matches with “Nature Boy” Ric Flair.The blood has been flowing every match and Flair has been teaming with friend Blackjack Mulligan with Bobby Duncum tagging up with Valentine in tag matches.
The Mid-Atlantic Champion The Iron Sheik fought rival Jim Brunzell in some Texas Death and a No Disqualification matches this past month but Gene Anderson’s man prevailed as the champion. He has a new challenger in the masked man Sweet Ebony Diamond although at this time, The Sheik still has possession of the strap typically due to purposely getting himself disqualified when the going got tough.
NWA World Heavyweight Champion Harley Race appeared for a series of title defenses and was lucky to leave the territory with his belt intact. On the 25th, Race took a count-out victory over Ric Flair in long match in Greenville, SC and the Nature Boy took the champ to 60-minute broadway the following night in Raleigh, NC. Race also wrestled Ricky Steamboat to a double count-out in Richmond, VA, three nights later.
In other news from the area, Mr. Wrestling II made a surprise return to the area on the August 10th show in Asheville, NC. He unsuccessfully challenged The Masked Superstar for the NWA Television Title. The young tag team of Buzz Sawyer and Matt Borne are still in possession of the Mid-Atlantic Tag straps and The Sheepherders, Butch Miller and Luke Williams are expected to debut next month in the area after recently leaving Pacific Northwest Wrestling.
NEW-JAPAN PRO WRESTLING
What a way to begin the Bloody Fight Series tour with Bob Backlund defending the WWF Title against Antonio Inoki on the opening night at Shinagawa Prince Hotel Gold Hall in Tokyo on 22nd August. Inoki earned a shot at Backlund’s belt by winning the MSG Series tournament that took place May and June. Inoki ran the champion close but the bout ended after “Pretty Boy” Larry Sharpe and Stan Hansen attacking Backlund on the outside of the ring and the champion was counted out. Backlund stayed on tour for the next five nights and teamed up with Inoki to face Hansen and Sharpe in Tokyo’s Denen Coliseum. The good guys came out the victors.
The series continues as we enter September 1980 and WWF regular Pete Roberts is touring along with Stampede talent Bad News Allen returns for another tour.
PACIFIC NORTHWEST WRESTLING
An action-packed month in Portland, as new PNW Tag Team champions were crowned after the belts were vacated by The Sheepherders last month. The match to decide the new titleholders took place at the Portland Sports Arena on 2nd August with Rick Martel and Roddy Piper squaring off against long time rival “Playboy” Buddy Rose and Ed Wiskowski in a three falls contest. Piper and Martel bossed the bad guys for the majority of the bout and went a fall up at around nine minutes, however, this was levelled up and the third fall was declared a double count-out after the two teams brawled on the outside. Therefore, the titles were classed as still vacant. Piper demanded promoter Don Owens make a decision so a Lumberjack/No Disqualification rematch was set for the 5th August. Rose was infuriated with the decision and attacked Owens which escalated into all four men brawling at the interview area.
The Lumberjack match ended in victory for Piper and Martel who are the new champions but not withstanding more wild action. After the decision was announced and the “Lumberjacks” left the area, Wiskowski unfurled a coat hanger and wrapped it around Piper’s throat while Rose attacked Martel and handcuffed him to a turnbuckle. It was alleged that Fidel Cortez had handed these objects to Rose and Wiskowski. Piper was choked until he passed out while Martel was helpless. Referee Sandy Barr emerged from the back with a wrench to save Piper for any permanent damage.
Following the tag team match defeat, Rose challenged Martel to a Loser Leaves match. Then on the 9th, Martel received an award from Owens for best wrestler in the area and Rose clobbered the Canadian over the head with the trophy. Martel in anger, accepted the Rose’s match proposal and was to defend the PNW Championship in the bout.
So, on the 16th August, the match took place and Martel went a fall ahead with a sleeper hold. The bout was tied up when Rose hit a backbreaker on the champ for the three count. For the deciding fall, Rose whipped Martel into the turnbuckles but Rick hopped up onto the top rope and flew onto the Playboy with a body press. Rose reverse Martel and cradled the Canadian to become the new champion and send Rick Martel packing. In return for the way that Rose challenged Martel, Piper demanded that Wiskowski face him in a Loser Leaves match but Ed refused.
Former football player Mike Popovich has debuted on the 23rd and picked Buddy Rose to be his first opponent. He won the match after Rose got himself thrown out by referee Dutch Savage after he punched Savage. Rose attacked Savage’s knee after his call and Dutch is due to have surgery on his injured leg. On the subject of Popovich, he won a 12-man Battle Royal (30/8) eliminating Cortez and Rip Oliver last with the help of Jonathan Boyd.
Roddy Piper will defend his PNW Tag Team titles with Popovich as his partner, now that Martel was forced to leave the area, against Rose and Oliver on September 6th.
ST. LOUIS WRESTLING CLUB
NWA Missouri Champion Ken Patera got a chance at the NWA World Heavyweight Championship on 8th August at the Kiel Auditorium but was unable to defeat titleholder Harley Race. In a match where the legendary Lou Thesz was the special referee, the World champ won by two falls to one against the Olympic strongman but Patera put on a good showing and will look for a rematch at the earliest opportunity.
WWF Champion Bob Backlund defended his title successfully on the show despite a valiant effort from Buzz Tyler and David von Erich beat Baron Von Raschke in singles competition and is in the hunt for an NWA World Title opportunity. In a big eight-man tag team bout, David’s brother Kevin von Erich teamed with former NWA champion Pat O’Connor, Dick the Bruiser and Rufus R. Jones to defeat Dick Murdoch, Roger Kirby, Takachiho and Killer Karl Kox much to the fans’ delight.
Dick Murdoch and Dick the Bruiser will clash again at the next Kiel card (12/9) inside a steel cage.
Englishman Dynamite Kid and Bruce Hart are embroiled in a wild feud up north and they clashed in singles and tag team competition this past month. They went to no-contest in Calgary (1/8) and then in a six-man tag team a week later. Dynamite was teamed with the foreign duo of Fidel Castillo and Kasavubu and they were defeated by Bruce, Bret and Keith Hart.
VANCOUVER ALL STAR WRESTLING
Ed Wiskowski will no longer be able to wrestle in Vancouver after losing a Loser Leaves Town match against Roddy Piper on the 25th. Former NWA World Champion Gene Kiniski was back in the ring on 11th August as he defeated the Russian Igor Volkoff.
WORLD WRESTLING FEDERATION
The WWF held the huge ‘Showdown at Shea’ event in front of over 36,000 fans at Shea Stadium in Flushing, New York. We have a full report of the event at ProjectWWF.com here.
At the Shea event, the WWF Tag Team Titles changed hands as The Wild Samoans lost to Pedro Morales and WWF Champion Bob Backlund. However, WWF officials have stripped the new champions of the belts due to the fact Backlund will be unable to defend both championships. A tournament is being held with the finals to be held on the ‘Championship Wrestling’ TV show in September.
|NWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION|
|NWA WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS|
RAY STEVENS AND JIMMY SNUKA
|1. Antonio Inoki||1. Ricky Steamboat/Jay Youngblood|
|2. Greg Valentine||2. Giant Baba/Jumbo Tsuruta|
|3. Ric Flair||3. Matt Borne/Buzz Sawyer|
|4. Tony Atlas||4. The Assassins|
|5. David von Erich||5. Gene and Ole Anderson|
|6. Bob Backlund||6. Bob Brown/Rufus R. Jones|
|7. Andre the Giant||7. The Wild Samoans|
|8. Ken Patera||8. Bret and Keith Hart|
|9. Stan Hansen||9. Buddy Rose/Ed Wiskowski|
|10. Buddy Rose||10. The Sheepherders|
There can be only one match this month. In front of over 36,000 fans, Bruno Sammartino faces Larry Zbyszko in a Steel Cage at the WWF Showdown at Shea.
All Japan: Harley Race is on tour to defend the World Championship against Giant Baba, Mil Mascaras and Jumbo Tsuruta. We’ll have an extensive review of these defenses next month.
Georgia: Will Mr. Wrestling I and II prevail in their war against The Assassins?
Mid-Atlantic What impact will The Sheepherders have on the Carolinas?
NJPW: Will Antonio Inoki overcome Stan Hansen in the Texan’s latest challenge for the NWF Heavyweight belt on the 25th September? Also, four title matches have been signed for the big Budokan Hall show on 30th – we will feature a full report of the event.
Portland: Can Roddy Piper and newcomer to the ring, Mike Popovich avoid losing the tag titles to rivals Rip Oliver and Buddy Rose?
St. Louis: We will have a report on the Dick the Bruiser-Dick Murdoch cage match from the next Kiel show.
WWF: Who will be crowned the new WWF Tag Team champions at the end of September’s tournament?
As always, thanks for reading…
Sources: Cagematch.net, Mid-Atlantic Gateway, MapleLeafWrestling.com, WrestlingData, TheWrestlingCollector (YouTube), Joseph Shedlock Wrestling Newsletters