All posts by Will Burns

Round-Up: April 1980

Another action-packed month in the territories of the National Wrestling Alliance. Today we take an extensive look at the Champions Carnival tournament in All Japan Pro Wrestling, especially reviewing the wild feud between Terry Funk and Abdullah the Butcher. More titles change in many of the federations, we catch up with Buddy Rose and Roddy Piper in Portland and we look at the mystery in the NWA World Tag Team Titles change last month between Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood and Ray Stevens and Greg Valentine in Mid-Atlantic.

But first let’s look at how Harley Race, the NWA World Heavyweight Champion, has got on in April 1980.

NWA World Heavyweight Champion Harley Race had another busy month on the road defending his title no less than 13 times in April 1980 and it could be argued this was his toughest month yet in our journey. With Dusty Rhodes, Tony Atlas, Tommy Rich, David Von Erich, Ric Flair and Dick Murdoch as some of his opponents, it is very impressive that Race is still our champion.

DATEEVENTRESULT
4/4/80Georgia Championship Wrestling – Civic Coliseum, Knoxville, TNTommy Rich defeated NWA World Heavyweight Champion Harley Race via disqualification. Race retained the title.
6/4/80Georgia Championship Wrestling – The Omni, Atlanta, GAHarley Race and Mr. Wrestling II battled to a 60:00 draw for the NWA World title. Dusty Rhodes, Dory Funk Jr. and Lou Thesz were all special ringside judges for the bout.
8/4/80Georgia Championship Wrestling – The Coliseum, Macon, GAHarley Race beat Tony Atlas to retain the NWA World Heavyweight title.
9/4/80Georgia Championship Wrestling – Municipal Auditorium, Columbus, GATommy Rich defeated NWA World Heavyweight Champion Harley Race via disqualification. Race retained the title.
12/4/80Championship Wrestling from Florida – Key West, FLHarley Race retained his NWA World Championship via a DQ win against Dusty Rhodes.
13/4/80Maple Leaf Wrestling – Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario, CanadaHarley Race and Dewey Robertson went to a curfew draw for the NWA World Heavyweight Title.
14/4/80Georgia Championship Wrestling – Bell Auditorium, Augusta, GATommy Rich defeated NWA World Heavyweight Champion Harley Race via disqualification. Race retained the title.
16/4/80Championship Wrestling from Florida – Convention Hall, Miami Beach, FLHarley Race beat Manny Fernandez to retain the NWA Worlds title.
19/4/80Championship Wrestling from Florida – Bayfront Center, St. Petersburg, FLIn a Steel Cage match, Dusty Rhodes beat Harley Race via DQ. Race retained the NWA Worlds Title.
23/4/80Central States Wrestling – Veterans Auditorium, Des Moines, IAHarley Race pinned “Bulldog” Bob Brown to retain the NWA World title.
24/4/80Central States Wrestling – Memorial Hall, Kansas City, KSHarley Race and Dick Murdoch battled to a 60:00 draw for the NWA World title.
25/4/80St. Louis Wrestling Club – Kiel Auditorium, St. Louis, MSHarley Race defeated Ric Flair by 2-1 to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Title.
28/4/80Big Time Wrestling – The Sportatorium, Dallas, TXHarley Race and David Von Erich battled to a 60:00 draw for the NWA World title.

ALL-JAPAN PRO WRESTLING

One of the highlights of the wrestling calendar happened in Japan with the AJPW Champions Carnival.  The 8th annual tournament’s final will take place on the 1st of May in Fukuoka with NWA United National Champion Jumbo Tsuruta faces Dick Slater with both men tied on 19 points at the top of the league table. Slater goes into the match as the favourite, already holding a win over Jumbo on the 28th of April in Oita, Japan.

NAMEPOINTS
Dick Slater19
Jumbo Tsuruta (NWA UN Champion)19
Abdullah the Butcher18
Terry Funk18
Giant Baba (PWF Champion)17
Tiger Toguchi15
Ted DiBiase12
Ray Candy8
The Mysterious Assassin6
Rocky Hata4
The Great Kojika4
Motoshi Okuma2
Carl Fergie0

The biggest news story that has come out of the tournament and the tour is the feud between Terry Funk and Abdullah the Butcher.  It began with a series of attacks on Funk by Abdullah, usually using a utensil into Funk’s head and leaving him bloody.  After Funk defeated Ray Candy on 28th March in his opening match of the tournament, Abby jumped Funk after the bell and started jabbing Terry with his fork.

Funk had a great match with Tsuruta on the 4th ending in a time limit draw but previous to that bout, Abdullah had faced Giant Baba in a double count-out. It was an all-out brawl which Funk caught up with the Butcher.  The officials finally got the situation under control and the Funk-Tsuruta match was able to get underway.

The two rivals finally met in a tag team bout on Day 15 of the tour in Takanosu, Akita as Funk and Jumbo faced Abdullah and the Mysterious Assassin with the former coming out the winners.  They finally met in the tournament (18/4) in Osaka and battled to a double count-out in a bloody wild brawl.  Abdullah also got involved in a Baba-Funk match (24/4) standing at ringside near the end of the bout, the man from Sudan was teasing climbing into the ring before Dick Slater emerged and stopped him.  Abdullah retaliated by throwing salt into Slater’s eyes and Funk made the save. Funk failed to return to the ring on time and was counted out. After the match, a mass brawl broke out that saw The Sheik stabbing Baba with a fork.

Funk gained revenge on his adversary after he cost Abby a match against Tsuruta moments later, tripping the Butcher up to allow Jumbo hit a flying knee for the win.  Funk and Abdullah are due to clash in a tag team match on the 1st May. Funk’s partner will be Ted DiBiase and Abdullah will be tagging with Candy.

BIG TIME WRESTLING (TEXAS)

The Sportatorium was buzzing at the end of April for an NWA Worlds Title match between Harley Race and David Von Erich.  Unfortunately for the packed house, David failed to defeat Race within the sixty-minute time limit and the match ended as a draw.  We are sure that is this will not be David Von Erich’s last opportunity at the championship.

Bruiser Brody held the NWA Texas Brass Knuckles title for only a month as he was defeated by Toru Tanaka in Fort Worth, Texas on the 14th of this month.

CENTRAL STATES WRESTLING

A new Central States Champion was crowned as Bruiser Brody defeated “Bulldog” Bob Brown at the Memorial Hall in Kansas City (10/4).  It was a really bad month for Brown as a week later in the same building, the Central States Tag Titles changed hands as Brown and Dick Murdoch lost the belts to the Asian duo of Pak Song and Takachiho.

It wasn’t the best month for Brown’s partner Murdoch either as he failed to uncrown Harley Race for the Worlds Title going to a sixty-minute draw with the champ.

CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING FROM FLORIDA

Dusty Rhodes failed to regain the Worlds Title from champion Harley Race again this month.  They had a rematch from last month’s Steel Cage match at the Bayfront Center on 19th and St. Petersburg crowd were chomping for the Title switch.  However, Race got himself disqualified after he was punished by the referee for repeatedly beating Dusty’s head into the cage.

At the same event, Don Muraco retained the Florida Heavyweight Title against former champion Manny Fernandez despite seeing his opponent’s hand raised by a disqualification.  Muraco pinned Manny last month in Miami Beach to become the champion but “The Raging Bull” failed to claim the belt back at the Bayfront Center.

GEORGIA CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING

An eventful April in Georgia as the newly formed team of Tony Atlas and Kevin Sullivan managed to overcome The Russians (Ivan Koloff and Alexei Smirnoff) to win the Georgia Tag Team championships at the Omni on the 6th.  Their joy was short-lived when the Russians regained the Titles on the 26/4 edition of Georgia TV.

NWA World Champion Harley Race spent the majority of the month in the territory for some Title defenses.  At the 6th Omni show, He went sixty minutes with Mr. Wrestling II in a match that saw former champions Lou Thesz, Dory Funk Jr. and Dusty Rhodes as ringside judges. The match was declared a draw.  He also defended against Atlas and Tommy Rich but Race left the area as the titleholder.

On the 6th, Rich came close to clinching the Georgia Heavyweight Title from champion Austin Idol, but the “Universal Heartthrob” ended up getting disqualified and walked out as the champion.

MAPLE LEAF WRESTLING

The Gardens were packed on the 13th as NWA World Champion Harley Race was in town to face local hero Dewey Robertson. The Canadian champ Robertson held Race to a curfew draw on 32 minutes.

Andre The Giant was also visiting Toronto and the Frenchman defeated Ox Baker and Angelo Mosca pinned Gene Anderson in a handicap match with Jimmy Snuka tagging with Gene.  Mosca would meet Snuka again the night after in Brantford, Ontario as he tagged with Andre to face Snuka and Baker in a tag match. The good guys won.

MID-ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING

The biggest news coming out of Mid-Atlantic is that Ric Flair won the NWA United States Title for the fourth time. On the 9th April TV show, Jim Crockett Jr. declared that the title had been stripped off champion Jimmy Snuka as Flair had pinned him on the 6th at the Greensboro Coliseum. However, the official referee was knocked out and Johnny Weaver made the count.  A decision was made to settle the confusion that the title was held up and Flair and Snuka would meet in a rematch at the same venue on the April 20th.  Flair ended up winning the bloody battle pinning Snuka to settle any dispute. Flair was unveiled as the new champion on TV later that month and was attacked by Snuka, Iron Sheik and Gene Anderson with Flair’s pals Blackjack Mulligan and Jim Brunzell to make the save.

As promised last month, an update on the situation with new World Tag Team Champions Greg Valentine and Ray Stevens and former champs Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood.  The former champs asked Bob Caudle and David Crockett to play a video of the match from 29/3 at the Charlotte Coliseum where Valentine and Stevens won the belts.  The champs exploded and Valentine snatched the tape and hit Crockett on the head with it. Stevens then proceeded to pull out a knife and destroy the reel of film. Steamboat and Youngblood revealed that the tape would have shown the unlawful way that Valentine and Stevens had won the match and they anticipated a rematch as soon as possible.  They did not have to wait long and gained seven rematches throughout the month but by the end of the month, the heels still have possession of the belts.

The feud between Blackjack Mulligan and the Masked Superstars I and II continued. On the 9th April, the Superstars taunted Blackjack in regards to his injured hand, but Mulligan fooled the Superstars in signing contracts for matches throughout the month and then removed the cast proving that he is fit to return to the ring.  He wrestled both Superstars in singles action with great success.

NEW-JAPAN PRO WRESTLING

NJPW hosted a huge show as the penultimate event of their Big Fight Series 1980 tour on the 3rd of the month. Four titles were on the line as Tatsumi Fujinami successfully defended his WWF Junior Heavyweight Title against Ashura HaraGran Hamada defeated Baby Face to retain his UWA World Light Heavyweight championship. Riki Choshu and Seiji Sekiguchi beat the Iron Sheik and Super Destroyer to retain the NWA North American Tag straps. Finally, in the main event, Antonio Inoki defeated Stan Hansen after a suplex to win the NWF World Heavyweight Title.

On the final date of the tour (4/4), Florida native Mike Graham was defeated by Fujinami for the NWA International Junior Heavyweight Championship in Kawasaki City Gymnasium.

Before the month was out, the third annual MSG Series began (25/4) at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo. The Madison Square Garden Series is a singles tournament in a round-robin league format that will run from 25th April until the finals on 5th June 1980.  We will have more news on this next month but so far, a mini preliminary tournament is underway to qualify for the tournament.  The winners of the preliminaries will join Inoki, Andre the Giant and Dusty Rhodes in the ten-man league competition.

PACIFIC NORTHWEST WRESTLING

The match finally happened.  After teasing for weeks, “Playboy” Buddy Rose met Roddy Piper in a Steel Cage Loser Gets Hair Shaved Match at the Expo Center, Portland on the 15th April.  Rose held Piper up for backbreaker only for the Scotsman to cradle Rose into a small package for three count.  Special referee Red Bastien and Sandy Barr shaved the “Playboy’s” head after the loss.  Bastien took great joy cutting into Rose’s hair as he himself had fallen foul to a past Hair vs Hair match with Buddy. A truly bad night for the “Playboy”.  The defeat to Piper meant that Roddy stayed in the territory and Rose had to also hand over the keys to his Lincoln Continental.

Once he returned back to the Sports Arena, Rose obviously embarrassed and wishing to hide his bald head, donned a mask with blonde hair attached.  Later in the month (26th), he faced Rick Martel in a Best of Three Falls non-title match in front of a hot crowd.  Rose was counted out during the final and third fall after Martel unmasked him and the Sheepherders ran out with a towel to cover Buddy’s head and ushered him to the back.

SOUTHEASTERN CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING

After defeating Ole Anderson last month to win the vacant NWA Southeastern Heavyweight title, Killer Karl Kox is no longer the champion.  At a big event in Knoxville (13/4), Ole gained revenge and defeated Kox in a Steel Cage match to claim the championship.

It was not the only title change as the NWA Southeastern Tag Titles found a new home.  The team of Steve Travis and Don Diamond beat The Manchurians (Tapu and Tio Tio) to take home the gold.

ST. LOUIS WRESTLING CLUB

Sam Muchnick booked another pair of big nights at the Kiel Auditorium during April. On the 11th, the main event saw Kevin Von Erich retain his NWA Missouri Title against King Kong (Bruiser) Brody. Kevin won via a DQ and Bob Backlund, the WWF Champion defended his title against Olympic strongman Ken Patera – they wrestled to a draw.

On the 25th, the NWA Worlds Champion Harley Race defended the belt against the NWA United States champion “Nature Boy” Ric Flair.  It was a close-fought contest that ended with Race defeating Flair by two falls to one. Kevin Von Erich beat Patera in a Missouri Title bout and Backlund was back defending his WWF title against “Bulldog” Bob Brown – Backlund is still the champion.

VANCOUVER ALL STAR WRESTLING

The Rose Army’s feud with Roddy Piper ventured up to Canada again this month as Piper recruited Steve Pardee and Sal Martino to beat Buddy Rose and The Sheepherders on the 21st in Vancouver.  A few weeks earlier (7/3) Piper defeated The Sheepherders with the help of Rick Martel.

WORLD WRESTLING FEDERATION

The WWF promoted a huge show at the Philadelphia Spectrum on the 12th April which was shown live on the PRISM Network.  Bob Backlund defended his WWF Championship against “The Incredible” Hulk Hogan.  Hogan took Backlund to the limit, went nearly 30 minutes and defeated the champion by count-out so Bob kept the belt.  Bruno Sammartino clashed with rival Larry Zbyszko again with Bruno coming out on top in around 18 minutes.  However, the big news coming out the show was that Ivan Putski and Tito Santana lost their WWF Tag Team straps to the Wild Samoans, Afa and Sika.

The Federation hit Madison Square Garden on the 21st with another title change.  In just over 30 minutes Ken Patera defeated Pat Patterson to win the WWF Intercontinental Championship.  Bruno and Larry clashed again and Zbyszko had experienced enough punishment by the 15-minute mark and left the ringside area to take a count-out loss. One-half of the newly crowned tag champs The Samoan #1 took on Backlund for the WWF Title.  Backlund emerged as the victor around 17 minutes due to a roll-up into a bridge pin.  Hogan beat Frenchman Rene Goulet in quick fashion as did Andre the Giant against Bobby Duncum.

NWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION

HARLEY RACE
NWA WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS

GREG VALENTINE & RAY STEVENS
1. Dusty Rhodes1. Ricky Steamboat/Jay Youngblood
2. Ric Flair2. Giant Baba/Jumbo Tsuruta
3. David Von Erich3. Jose Lothario/Tiger Conway Jr.
4. Bruiser Brody4. Ivan Koloff/Alexei Smirnoff
5. Tony Atlas5. The Sheepherders
6. Dick Slater6. The Sheik/Abdullah the Butcher
7. Antonio Inoki7. Mr. Hito/Mr. Sakaruda
8. Giant Baba8. Terry Funk/Dory Funk Jr.
9. Jimmy Snuka9. Riki Choshu/Seiji Sekiguchi
10. Tommy Rich10. Tony Atlas/Kevin Sullivan

Our match of the month has to be the fantastic clash between Stan Hansen and Antonio Inoki for the NWF World Heavyweight strap from NJPW’s Big Fight Series (3/4) in Kuramae Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan.

All Japan: Jumbo Tsuruta and Dick Slater clash in the finals of the Champion Carnival and we will have a report on the Terry Funk-Abdullah feud.

Mid-Atlantic: Jimmy Snuka will aim to regain the US title back from the grasp of Ric Flair as will Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood strive to claim back the Tag Titles from Greg Valentine and Ray Stevens.

New Japan: The MSG Series continues throughout the month of May before concluding in early June.  We will report on all the happenings in the MSG league up until the 31st May.

Portland: Will Buddy Rose’s bald head be revealed and will Roddy Piper gain more revenge on the “Playboy” and his army?

WWF: The Bruno-Larry feud continues and how will new tag champs Afa and Sika and the new IC Champion Ken Patera fare in May 1980?

As always, thanks for reading…

Will Burns

Sources: Cagematch.netMid-Atlantic Gateway, MapleLeafWrestling.comWrestlingData, Puroresu.com

Round-Up: March 1980

This month we witnessed the fallout from the shocking betrayal of Larry Zbyszko on his mentor Bruno Sammartino – they meet in the ring for the first time since the horrific incident.

Lots of title changes this month around the territories but first, we start our look at March 1980 with the travels of Harley Race, our NWA World Heavyweight Champion.

NWA World Heavyweight Champion Harley Race defended his title eleven times this past month, see the table below for all the results.

DATEEVENTRESULT
2/3/80Georgia Championship Wrestling – General James White Coliseum, Knoxville, TNHarley Race defeated Dick Slater to retain the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Title.
13/3/80Central States Wrestling – Memorial Hall, Kansas City, KSHarley Race defeated Bruiser Brody
14/3/80Houston Wrestling – Sam Houston Coliseum, Houston, TXHarley Race and Tony Atlas went to a one-hour draw for the NWA Worlds Title.
15/3/80CWF – St. Lucie County Civic Center, Fort Pierce, FLDusty Rhodes beat Harley Race via DQ. Race retained the NWA Worlds Title.
16/3/80Big Time Wrestling Texas – Dallas, TXHarley Race and Bruiser Brody wrestled to a no-contest.
21/3/80Stampede Wrestling – Victoria Pavilion, Calgary, Alberta, CanadaHarley Race defeated Leo Burke to retain the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Title.
22/3/80Stampede Wrestling – Exhibition Auditorium, Regina, Alberta, CanadaHarley Race defeated Leo Burke to retain the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Title.
24/3/80Georgia Championship Wrestling – Memorial Gym, Hazard, KYHarley Race defeated Stan Hansen to retain the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Title.
25/3/80CWF – The Armory, Tampa, FLHarley Race and Manny Fernandez went to a one-hour draw for the NWA Worlds Title.
26/3/80CWF – Miami, FLHarley Race defeated Steve Keirn
27/3/80CWF – Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Jacksonville, FLHarley Race defeated Manny Fernandez to retain the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Title.
28/3/80St. Louis Wrestling Club – Kiel Auditorium, St. Louis, MSHarley Race and Ric Flair went to a double count-out for the NWA World Heavyweight Title.
30/3/80CWF – Lee County Civic Center, Fort Myers, FLDusty Rhodes beat Harley Race via DQ. Race retained the NWA Worlds Title.
30/3/80CWF – Jai Alai Fronton, Orlando, FLDusty Rhodes beat Harley Race via DQ. Race retained the NWA Worlds Title.

ALL-JAPAN PRO WRESTLING

AJPW finished their Excite Series 1980 sixteen-day tour on March 5th with a three falls main event that saw Jumbo Tsuruta defeating Dick Murdoch to regain the NWA United National Championship.

Towards the end of the month, the 8th Champions Carnival tournament began with the following participants: Abdullah The Butcher, Carl Fergie, Dick Slater, Giant Baba, The Great Kojika, Jumbo Tsuruta, Motoshi Okuma, The Mysterious Assassin, Ray Candy, Rocky Hata, Ted DiBiase, Terry Funk and Tiger Toguchi.

The tournament is set to run through to 1st May.  By the end of the March, Abdullah topped the table as he got off to a perfect start winning his first three matches against Okuma, DiBiase and Slater. We will release the table next month once all of the league matches are completed and preview the finals of the competition.

BIG TIME WRESTLING (DETROIT)

The promotion returned to Cobo Arena on the first of the month with a huge main event. In a rematch from the AJPW Real World Tag League finals of December 1979, Terry & Dory Funk Jr. tasted defeat and their own blood in a Steel Cage Texas Death Match against Abdullah the Butcher and The Sheik.  Dory gained revenge on Abdullah on the 15th in a Japanese Spike Match beating the Man from Sudan. The match had a unique stipulation with four wooden boards of three-inch spikes surrounded the ring, and yes, you guessed it… both men lost a lot of blood.

BIG TIME WRESTLING (TEXAS)

Harley Race was close to losing his NWA World Title to Bruiser Brody at the Sportatorium on the 16th.  A controlling performance by Brody but he failed to capitalise on his dominance as the match was declared a no contest.

NWA Women’s Champion Fabulous Moolah was in action the next night in Fort Worth defeating Winona Little Heart to retain the strap.

Things did not go to plan for “Gorgeous” Gino Hernandez this past month, he lost various important matches. The standout was against El Gran Markus (6/3 – Beaumont, TX) in a Texas Death Match. He was defeated by Tiger Conway Jr. the next night in Arlington and against David Von Erich in the Sportatorium on the 30th.

CENTRAL STATES WRESTLING

In his first title shot of the month, Bruiser Brody took NWA World Champion Harley Race to the limit but ended up losing at the Memorial Hall, Kansas City in front of the champion’s home crowd.  In other news, the NWA Central States champion “Bulldog” Bob Brown successfully defended his belt numerous titles against Japanese superstar Takachiho.

CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING FROM FLORIDA

NWA World Heavyweight Champion Harley Race worked six shows for Eddie Graham’s territory defending the belt on five occasions.  Race outlasted the challenges of Dusty Rhodes and Manny Fernandez, although he lost all three matches to Rhodes via DQ and was took to a one-hour draw with Manny.

Manny Fernandez had a bad month, unable to clinch the World title he also lost his NWA Florida Heavyweight Title to Don Muraco at the Convention Center in Miami Beach on 26th March.

New NWA Florida Tag Team Champions were crowned as the team of Jack Brisco and Jimmy Garvin dethroned Bryan St. John and Stan Lane for the titles in West Palm Beach, Florida (3/3).  Despite numerous rematches throughout the month, Brisco and Garvin head into April with the belts.

EMPRESA MEXICANA DE LUCHA LIBRE

Two big title changes in Mexico this month as Lizmark dropped the Mexican National Heavyweight title to Americo Rocca in Mexico City on the 29th March.  In addition, Satoru Sayama has dropped the NWA World Middleweight title to El Satánico at a live event in Arena Mexico on the 28th March.

GEORGIA CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING

On Georgia TV, the new team of Tony Atlas and Kevin Sullivan are making waves in the territory and are undefeated through March 1980. They will look to take on the NWA Georgia Tag Team champions The Russians in the coming months, a championship that Atlas has held five times previously. Speaking of the champions, early in the month Alexei Smirnoff and Ivan Koloff defeated Lars and Ole Anderson on TV to retain the straps.

On the 9th, there was yet another big at the Omni. The main event saw Terry and Dory Funk lose to the team of Dusty Rhodes and Wahoo McDaniel that sent the Atlanta crowd home happy. Mr Wrestling II held onto his NWA Georgia Heavyweight title against Austin Idol however, this would not be the last time they met this past month.

The promotion returned to the Omni on the 23rd where Mr Wrestling II defeated Idol once again to retain the title but on the 29th March TV show, after playing hot potato with the National TV title since the turn of the year, Idol managed to uncrown Mr Wrestling II for the Georgia strap to become a two-time champion.

Also, on the 23rd Omni show, the fans were treated to a Dusty Rhodes vs. Terry Funk classic Texas Bullrope Match with Dusty as the victor.

Image result for tony atlas harley race

HOUSTON WRESTLING

After last’s month angle setting the bout up, Tony Atlas got his shot at Harley Race and the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.  The impressive Atlas pushed Race to the limit but failed to defeat the champion before the one-hour time limit expired and the three falls match resulted in a 1-1 draw.

Jose Lothario and his protégé Tiger Conway Jr. regained the NWA American Tag Team Titles defeating JJ Dillon’s team of Mr. Hito & Mr. Sakurada at the Sam Houston Coliseum (14/3). Lothario and Conway lost the titles to the Japanese contingent in the same arena in January this year.

There was more than one title change at the Coliseum show on the 14th as Bruiser Brody claimed the NWA Texas Brass Knuckles Title defeating Mark Lewin in a bloody brawl.

MAPLE LEAF WRESTLING

The partnership with Mid-Atlantic thrived once again this month in Toronto. Stars like Greg Valentine, Ray Stevens, Blackjack Mulligan and Jay Youngblood made it over the border and the bloody feud of Mulligan and John Studd continued. On the 9th, the big men squared up in a vicious Texas Death Match which Blackjack coming out the victor. Also, at that show, Dewey Robertson held onto his NWA Canadian Heavyweight Title despite a valiant challenge from Greg Valentine to send the fans home happy from the Gardens.

MLW was back at the Gardens at the end of the month (30/3) with NWA United States champion Jimmy Snuka defending against Angelo Mosca.  Mosca won the match via DQ as Snuka’s cornerman Gene Anderson smashed Mosca with the cane and the referee called for the bell.  In the main event, Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood took their feud with Valentine and Stevens up to Canada. The good guys won as Youngblood pinned Valentine after a 30-minute war.

MID-ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING

A busy month in Mid-Atlantic as the winner of TV Title Tournament has been decided as Masked Superstar was crowned the new champion as Blackjack Mulligan lost his cool and was DQ’ed in the final. Bitter rivals for years, Mulligan and Superstar defeated Swede Hanson and Johnny Weaver in the semis respectively and met in the final on the 12/3 TV show.  Mulligan had been injured by both Masked Superstar and Superstar #2 at a house show previously, with the Superstars smashing Blackjack’s hand with a steel chair.  The injury was so severe that Mulligan was forced to wear a cast to protect the hand and he used this to his advantage in the final. However, Superstar managed to rip the cast off and began to punish Mulligan’s hand.  In obvious excruciating pain, Mulligan flipped and threw Superstar over the top rope and was disqualified. Superstar was declared the champion and he and his partner rubbed salt into Mulligan wounds stomping away trying to do more damage to the hand until Ric Flair made the save for the Texan.

US champion Jimmy Snuka held onto his title month despite strong contenders. Snuka overcame the challenge of Ric Flair in three bouts, winning two via count-out and pinfall due to Gene Anderson’s help behind the referee’s back and also losing one via DQ.  Near the end of the month in Charleston, Snuka managed to get past big Rufus R. Jones.

The NWA World Tag Team title war raged on between champions Steamboat and Youngblood vs. Stevens and Valentine. No less than nine matches took place throughout the Carolinas, Virginia and Georgia before heading to Toronto for Maple Leaf Wrestling. The biggest match, however, was held on Saturday the 29th at the Charlotte Coliseum for the World Tag Team Titles. On Mid-Atlantic TV a few days prior, challengers Ray Stevens and Greg Valentine announced they were no longer on probation by the NWA and a title match was set for Charlotte. The challengers defeated Steamboat and Youngblood for the NWA World Tag Team Titles in a match full of controversy – more on that next month as officials have promised to show the videotape of ending of this match on Mid-Atlantic TV in April.

NEW-JAPAN PRO WRESTLING

The Big Fight Series 1980 tour took over the total of March with Days 2 to 25 covering the month with the tour set to finish on 4th April. The Iron Sheik was on the excursion but was not very successful. The man from Tehran, Iran faced Tatsumi Fujinami and Antonio Inoki in singles competition on many nights of the tour but could not find a win.  He also tagged up with Stampede regular Bad News Allen and The Super Destroyer to face Inoki and Riki Choshu but again fell to losses.  His only successes were at the start of the month in six-man tag team main events on the 3rd and 4th.

Towards the end of the month, Stan Hansen and NWA International Junior Heavyweight champion Mike Graham joined the tour and were defeated in a great match with Inoki and Fujinami in Fukuoka on 28th.  Graham is set to defend his belt against Fujinami on the big end of tour show on 4th April.  On the same night, Hansen will face Inoki in which should be a fantastic hard-hitting contest.

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PACIFIC NORTHWEST WRESTLING

Throughout the month, Buddy Rose and The Sheepherders, Luke Williams & Butch Miller challenged the ever-popular Roddy Piper to a ‘Hair on the Line’ match.  Andre the Giant was announced to be returning to the area to team with Piper.  Rose and The Army goaded Piper by saying by the time Andre entered the territory: “the Giant will be teaming with a bald man.”

On March 1st, Piper faced Luke Williams with whoever lost the bout who gets his head shaved. Don Owen ordered that Rose and Miller to be handcuffed to the ring post so they could not interfere.  The match and challenge backfired on Rose’s Army when referee Sandy Barr was bumped out of the ring in a collision with Piper.  Williams brought a chair into the ring and raised the chair above his head to smash Piper in the head but the Scotsman nailed a dropkick to get the win.  A barber’s chair was set-up and the Sheepherder had his head shaved bald much to Buddy Rose’s chagrin.  Later that week Andre and Piper combined to defeat Rose and The Sheepherders in a three on two handicap match,

Rick Martel returned to Portland to team with Piper a few weeks later to beat The Sheepherders and after Miller brought a pair of scissors into the ring to cut Piper’s hair he lost control, Martel grabbed Miller so that Piper could trim Miller’s hair.  After the match, Miller challenged Piper to a hair match with Buddy Rose as the referee. Piper accepted the challenge but nominated Martel as a second referee.

Come Tuesday night March 19th, Piper defeated Miller and shaved the Kiwi’s head. Piper challenged Rose to a Hair match to complete the Army’s new hairstyles.

SOUTHEASTERN CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING

Southeastern promoted a huge show at the Civic Coliseum in Knoxville on the 16th March with two new champions crowned.  Troy T. Taylor defeated “Dirty” Dutch Mantel to win the NWA Southeastern TV Title and in the main event Killer Karl Kox pinned Ole Anderson to become the NWA Southeastern Heavyweight champion. Stan Hansen also appeared on the event defeating former tag team partner Bobby Jaggers with a stiff lariat.

ST. LOUIS WRESTLING CLUB

The usual bumper crowds attended the Kiel Auditorium for two big Sam Muchnick shows this month.  The first held on the 7th saw Kevin Von Erich retain his NWA Missouri title against Ed Wiskowski and Bob Backlund defended the WWF Championship against Dick Murdoch.  The second Kiel show was on the 28th and was headlined by a great NWA Worlds title match between champion Harley Race and “Nature Boy” Ric Flair. The match ended in a draw after 28 minutes due to a double count-out.

STAMPEDE WRESTLING

The gigantic Loch Ness Monster formed a tag team with the petite fellow Englishman Dynamite Kid and they had some blistering matches with Stampede International Tag champions Bret and Keith Hart.  They battled throughout the month until the heels uncrowned the Harts to become the new champs (pictured above with manager J.R. Foley).

Keith Hart must have been sick of the sight of Dynamite as he lost his British Commonwealth Mid-Heavyweight championship to young Englishman too in Red Deer, Alberta on the 24th. Also in the territory, NWA World Champion Harley Race appeared for a pair of successful title defences against Leo Burke.

VANCOUVER ALL STAR WRESTLING

The feud between Buddy Rose and The Sheepherders versus Roddy Piper ventured up to Vancouver with Andre the Giant and Don Leo Jonathan joining Piper in six-man action.  Piper and company defeated Rose’s Army on the 10th and then Roddy went one on one with success against Rose later in the month. 

WORLD WRESTLING FEDERATION

After the horrific betrayal of his protégé Larry Zbyszko last month, Bruno Sammartino looked to gain some revenge by getting his hands on Zbyszko on two of the WWF’s biggest shows.

However, in both matches, Zbyszko got the win via disqualification after Bruno lost his cool and the referee threw the match out. At the Philadelphia Spectrum on the 1st, Bruno was DQ’d for striking the referee in anger after Bruno failed to stop on the five-count choking out Zbyszko.  At Madison Square Garden, in front of an excess of 26,000 people, again Sammartino failed to release a chokehold on Zbyszko. It took Arnold Skaaland and referee Dick Kroll to remove Bruno’s hands from Larry’s throat while Zbyszko escaped to safety.

NWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION

HARLEY RACE
NWA WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS

GREG VALENTINE & RAY STEVENS
1. Dusty Rhodes1. Ricky Steamboat/Jay Youngblood
2. Bruiser Brody2. Giant Baba/Jumbo Tsuruta
3. Tony Atlas3. Jose Lothario/Tiger Conway Jr.
4. Andre the Giant4.  The Sheik/Abdullah the Butcher
5. Jimmy Snuka5. The Sheepherders
6. Giant Baba6. Mr. Hito/Mr. Sakaruda
7. Manny Fernandez7. Terry Funk/Dory Funk Jr.
8. Ric Flair8. Antonio Inoki/Tatsumi Fujinami
9. Dick Slater9. Bruiser Brody/Angelo Mosca
10. Jumbo Tsuruta10. Dynamite Kid/Loch Ness Monster

NWA United National Champion Dick Murdoch travels to All Japan Pro Wrestling to defend against the man he beat for the title, Jumbo Tsuruta. From the Civic Auditorium in Kuroiso, Tochigi, Japan on the 5th of March. The final day of the Excite Series 1980 tour.

AJPW: The finals of the Champions Carnival will be set, we will provide a breakdown on how the finalists reached the Carnival’s conclusion.

Georgia: Will Kevin Sullivan and Tony Atlas get their shot at the Georgia Tag Team champions The Russians, Alexei Smirnoff and Ivan Koloff?

Mid-Atlantic: Promotion officials have stated they will look at footage of Ray Stevens and Greg Valentine’s NWA World Tag Team Title win over Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood on Mid-Atlantic TV in early April. We will have full news on the outcome of this presentation. Also, see if Ric Flair can finally capture the NWA United States Title from champion Jimmy Snuka.

Pacific Northwest Wrestling: Will the Roddy Piper-Buddy Rose Hair match finally get signed?

As always, thanks for reading…

Will Burns

Sources: Cagematch.netMid-Atlantic Gateway, MapleLeafWrestling.comWrestlingData

Round-Up: February 1980

Welcome to the second month in our journey and what a month February 1980 was.  We witnessed a major angle in the WWF, a true betrayal of the lowest order. There has been plenty of title changes and Harley Race has been defending the NWA World Heavyweight Championship coast to coast. Read on…

NWA World Heavyweight Champion Harley Race defended his title coast to coast this past month and retain the title even though he again picked up some losses on the way. Kevin Von Erich, Mil Mascaras and Mr Wrestling II defeated Race by DQ.  Dusty Rhodes faced Race twice and also won both matches by DQ.  One of their matches was held on the huge Star Wars 1980 card from Eddie Graham’s Championship Wrestling from Florida.

DATEEVENTRESULT
3/2/80Big Time Wrestling Texas – Dallas, TXHarley Race lost via DQ to Kevin Von Erich.  Race retains the championship.
5/2/80Central States Wrestling – Bicentennial Center, Salina, KSHarley Race defeated Bob Brown.
6/2/80Central States Wrestling – Municipal Auditorium, Topeka, KSHarley Race defeated Bob Brown.
7/2/80Central States Wrestling – Memorial Hall, Kansas City, KSHarley Race defeats The Assassin
8/2/80Houston Wrestling – Sam Houston Coliseum, Houston, TXMil Mascaras defeats Harley Race by DQ
9/2/80CWF – Bayfront Center, St. Petersburg, FLHarley Race defeats Manny Fernandez
13/2/80CWF – Spruce Creek High School Gym, Port Orange, FLHarley Race defeats Mike Graham
15/2/80CWF Star Wars 1980 – The Sportatorium, Hollywood, FLDusty Rhodes defeats Harley Race in a Steel Cage Match via DQ.  Race retains the championship.
16/2/80CWF – Jacksonville Coliseum, Jacksonville, FLHarley Race and Andre the Giant wrestled to a Double Count Out.
17/2/80CWF – Jai Alai Fronton, Orlando, FLDusty Rhodes defeats Harley Race via DQ.  Race retains the championship.
21/2/80Central States Wrestling – Memorial Hall, Kansas City, KSHarley Race defeated Bob Brown.
22/2/80St. Louis Wrestling – Kiel Auditorium, St. Louis, MSHarley Race defeats Kevin Von Erich 2-1 in a Best of Three Falls Match.
23/2/80Georgia Championship Wrestling – Municipal Auditorium, Columbus, GAHarley Race defeats Steve Travis.
24/2/80Georgia Championship Wrestling – The Omni, Atlanta, GAMr. Wrestling II defeated Harley Race via DQ.  Race retains the title.
26/2/80Southeastern Championship Wrestling – Mobile, ALHarley Race defeats Ron Fuller.
27/2/80Georgia Championship Wrestling – Columbus, GAHarley Race defeated Wahoo McDaniel via countout.

ALL-JAPAN PRO WRESTLING

The Excite Series 1980 tour got underway with still three days of the excursion to go next month. The main event of the opening day saw a wild match as PWF Heavyweight Champion Giant Baba defended against Tor Kamata 2-1 in a Best of Three Falls contest in Okinawa. We also saw an international tag team match with AJPW regular Jumbo Tsuruta tag with Mexican star Dos Caras going to a double disqualification with World Wrestling Council star Caripus Hurricane and Mexican luchador Dr Wagner.

Tsuruta was uncrowned (23/2) of the NWA United National title in Kagoshima by big Texan Dick Murdoch after a spinning toe hold. Tsuruta had injured his leg previously in the match before being pinned by the move and tasting defeat by two falls to one.

Murdoch’s first defence of the title was a gruelling one-hour draw against Tiger Toguchi in Nagasaki on the 27/2.

Portland regular Rick Martel and Florida tag team the Valiant Brothers were also present on the tour.

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BIG TIME WRESTLING (TEXAS)

Shows scattered across Dallas and Fort Worth were dominated as usual by the Von Erich boys but one of the highlights of the month was a huge brawl on 25/2 between “Maniac” Mark Lewin and Bruiser Brody. The match ended up as a double disqualification as the referee David Manning failed to control either man.

The Von Erichs are currently feuding with JJ Dillon’s Mr Hito and Mr Sakurada which rookie Kerry and older brother David defeated the Japanese pairing in Fort Worth via DQ and will be looking for a future tag team title shots.

CENTRAL STATES WRESTLING

At the start of the month (3/2), “Big Cat” Ernie Ladd and Bruiser Brody were crowned new NWA Central States Tag Team champions winning an eight-team one-night tournament at the Municipal Auditorium in Kansas. They outlasted Bob Brown & Dick the Bruiserthe Texas Outlaws: Dusty Rhodes & Dick Murdoch before pinning Ted and Jerry Oates in the final. It was certainly a stacked card in Kansas, other talents included Dory & Terry Funk, Jack & Jerry Brisco, Eddie & Tommy Gilbert and Rock Hunter & The Assassin.

Harley Race defended his NWA World title throughout the month in the Kansas area. He faced his former tag team partner “Bulldog” Bob Brown retaining the title all three times they faced but Brown did have some great success in his schedule. He pinned The Assassin on 14/2 at the Memorial Hall, Kansas City to become the new NWA Central States Heavyweight champion. The Assassin looked to regain on the 24th in Des Moines, IA but he lost the match and due to pre-match stipulation he will not be able to return to the area as this was a Loser Leaves Town match.

CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING FROM FLORIDA

No less than 27 shows were hosted under the Florida banner this past month but none were bigger than at the ‘Star Wars 1980′ supershow at the Sportatorium in Hollywood, FL (15/2). Eleven matches were on the card with five titles on the line. In the main event, Dusty Rhodes looked to become the NWA World champion once again against Harley Race but the champion was disqualified in the Steel Cage match and retained the title.

NWA Women’s World champion The Fabulous Moolah retained against Wendy RichterBugsy McGraw kept a hold of his NWA Florida Television title via DQ against Georgia challenger Tommy RichManny Fernandez likewise, retained via DQ in an NWA Florida Heavyweight title match against The Super Destroyer. Finally, one championship changed hands as Mike Graham pinned NWA World Junior Heavyweight champion Tatsumi Fujinami to clinch the belt.

EMPRESA MEXICANA DE LUCHA LIBRE

After defeating Alfonso Dantes to win the NWA World Light Heavyweight Title last month, champion Raul Mata dropped the title back to Dantes in Arena Mexico on 15/2.

Andre the Giant made his debut for the promotion on 22/2 in Arena Mexico tagging with Halcon Ortiz and Raul Mata defeating El Gran MarkusTiger Jeet Singh and TNT by two falls to one in a Trios match-up.

GEORGIA CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING

At the beginning of February, Mr Wrestling II won the Georgia Heavyweight Title from The Masked Superstar in a wild cage match at the Omni (3/2).  On the same night, Dusty Rhodes and Terry Funk continued to take chunks out of each other in a Texas Death Match. Dusty was the victor and the feud continued on the return to Omni (24/2). Terry along with brother Dory went to a double disqualification with Rhodes and Wahoo McDaniel.

Genichiro Tenryu returned to the territory to face Baron von Raschke for two matches. The Japanese superstar lost on both occasions but will return to Georgia next month.

Austin Idol lost the NWA National TV title again this month, as Von Raschke (substituting for Idol) was pinned by Tommy Rich on the 23/2 TV show.

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HOUSTON WRESTLING

The action resumed at the Sam Houston Coliseum this month with some big crowds and great cards. On the 8thTony Atlas and Harley Race clashed to hype up a future NWA Worlds Heavyweight Title match.  Atlas was posing during an interview while Race intervened and Atlas pressed Race above his head before propping the champion back down. Atlas and Gino Hernandez clashed on 15/2 in a great three fall match and “Mr. USA” prevailed two falls to one.

MAPLE LEAF WRESTLING

Nearly 17,000 fans packed the Maple Leaf Gardens on a huge card on February 10th. Taking advantage of the collaboration with Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling, Blackjack Mulligan made his debut in the territory facing Big John Studd in a brutal Texas Street Fight. It was a winning debut for Mulligan in a brawl that use many weapons before the conclusion. After the bell, Studd attacked Mulligan with a chain leaving the Texan to be helped out of the ring. This feud is far from over.

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In other matches, Rocky Johnson made his Toronto debut and Ric Flair defeated US champion Jimmy Snuka but was unable to claim the belt due to a win via disqualification.

MID-ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING

The NWA TV Title tournament continued and we are now down to the final four who will compete for the championship. The Masked Superstar defeated S.D. Jones to advance to the semi-finals. Johnny Weaver beat Paul Jones to claim his place as Blackjack Mulligan outlasted newcomer Ox Baker. Making up the semi-finals Rufus R. Jones fell to Swede Hanson and he will face Mulligan in the semis. The Masked Superstar and Weaver will clash for a place in the final.

After the horrific attack on Jay Youngblood last month, Jim Crockett Jr. suspended Ray Stevens and Greg Valentine however NWA World Tag Team champions Jay Youngblood and Ricky Steamboat were not happy with this decision as they want revenge. Crockett reversed his decision and fined and placed Stevens and Valentine on probation. The two teams wrestled through the Mid-Atlantic area but as of end of February 1980, Steamboat and Youngblood are still in possession of the belts.

Gene Anderson announced that the Iron Sheik will be on his way to territory soon. Talking of Gene, he has been involved in a few with former tag team partner Ric Flair. Flair and Gene have been touring a series of three matches with the stipulation if Flair cannot defeat Gene within 30 minutes with the Figure-Four Leglock, then the “Nature Boy” must have his head shaved. However, Flair would earn a United States title shot against Jimmy Snuka if he did win. Flair did win all three by the Figure-Four but did not win the war. Flair refused to let go out of the leglock and he was brutally attacked by Snuka. “Superfly” piledrove Flair on the floor and slammed his head into the ring post. Flair stated in an interview later in the month that he needed 36 stitches in his head from the attack. Flair met Snuka many times across the country this month (including in Maple Leaf above), but Snuka still has possession of the belt at this time. This feud will no doubt continue throughout next month as Flair hunts for that title.

NEW-JAPAN PRO WRESTLING

The New Year Golden Series completed in February with a huge title change on the final date (8/2) in the Tokyo Metropolitan Gym. Stan Hansen defeated Antonio Inoki for the NWF World Heavyweight Championship via a count-out after Hansen hit Inoki with a vicious lariat on the apron sending Antonio down to the ground. Despite a valiant attempt to get back in the ring, Inoki failed to beat the referee’s count.

Tatsumi Fujinami had a busy month, before flying stateside to lose the NWA World Junior Heavyweight championship to Mike Graham, he faced Dynamite Kid (7/2) in the match of the month for the WWF Junior Heavyweight title. Fujinami overcame the Englishman in a close-fought contest in just under 15 minutes.

At the end of the month, NJPW presented a mixed martial arts Supercard in Ryogoku Kokugikan, Tokyo with Antonio Inoki successfully defending WWF World Martial Arts title against Karate expert Willie Williams. The match ended in a draw after both men toppled over the top rope and continue to scrap on the outside.

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PACIFIC NORTHWEST WRESTLING

Buddy Rose was busy this month, after defeating Rick Martel on the 9th at the Sports Arena, Portland, the “Playboy” had to defend his PNW Heavyweight Title against Frank Dusek on 16/2. He overcame Dusek despite interference from Roddy Piper. Rose has recently challenged Piper to a hair vs. hair match and although Piper has accepted, the match has yet to be arranged.

SOUTHEASTERN CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING

The war between Killer Karl Kox and Dick Slater raged on much to the delight of the Knoxville wrestling fans. The Civic Coliseum played host to two brutal contests both won by Slater. On the 3rd, Slater won a Steel Cage match and a Brass Knuckles match on the 21st.

NWA World Champ Harley Race was defending the title against Ron Fuller in Mobile Alabama under the Southeast banner.

It was announced this month that NWA Southeastern Champion Ole Anderson will defend against Killer Kox at the Civic Coliseum next month. We’ll have news of that next time.

ST. LOUIS WRESTLING CLUB

St. Louis ran a huge card at the Kiel Auditorium on 22nd with Harley Race successfully defending the World title against Kevin Von Erich in the main event.  In other matches, David Von Erich beat Lord Alfred HayesArt Thomas fell to King Kong (Bruiser) Brody and former NWA champion Jack Brisco was in action getting the best of “Bulldog” Bob Brown.

STAMPEDE WRESTLING

A World of Sport regular British big man Giant Haystacks made his debut in Calgary this month but was repackaged as Loch Ness Monster. He won three of his four matches until he lost by count-out to Jim Neidhart on the 29/2 show.

VANCOUVER ALL STAR WRESTLING

Only two events (11/2 and 25/2) in Vancouver this month but The Sheepherders defeated Stan “The Man” Stasiak & Dutch Savage to become the new NWA Canadian Tag Team champions on 11/2.  Roddy Piper and Buddy Rose continued their feud from Portland exchanging wins on the two events.

Andre the Giant returns to the promotion next month on the 10th March.

WORLD WRESTLING COUNCIL

The WWC North American Tag straps changed hands in Caguas, Puerto Rico this month. On the 9th of the month, Carlos Colon & Eric Froelich were crowned champions defeating Roger Kirby & Dick Steinborn

WORLD WRESTLING FEDERATION

On February, Larry Zbyszko got his wish and an exhibition match with his mentor Bruno Sammartino. As the scientific bout went on Zbyszko grew frustrated as he was outclassed by Sammartino. Zbyszko ended up on the outside and Sammartino held the ropes open for Larry to return to the ring. Zbyszko snapped and laid boots into his mentor then smashed a wooden chair over Bruno’s head leaving him a bloody mess. The crowd erupted in boos as Zbyszko continued his assault and Sammartino was left lying, drenching the mat with his blood and exited the ring on a stretcher. A truly shocking angle.

To witness Zbyszko’s shocking act, click here to visit the WWF website.

Other big news coming out of the promotion is that Vince McMahon Jr. and his wife Linda has formed Titan Sports, Inc. This company will be used to promote the WWF wrestling events and Ice Hockey games.

NWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION
HARLEY RACE
NWA WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS
RICKY STEAMBOAT & JAY YOUNGBLOOD
1. Dusty Rhodes1. Giant Baba/Jumbo Tsuruta
2. Andre the Giant2. Mr. Hito/Mr. Sakaruda
3. David Von Erich3. Greg Valentine/Ray Stevens
4. Giant Baba4. Jose Lothario/Tiger Conway Jr.
5. Jimmy Snuka5. The Sheepherders
6. Tony Atlas6. Bruiser Brody/Angelo Mosca
7. Roddy Piper7. Keith Hart/Bret Hart
8. Stan Hansen8. The Sheik/Abdullah the Butcher
9. Ric Flair9. Terry Funk/Dory Funk Jr.
10. Kevin Von Erich10. Carlos Colon/Eric Froelich 

TOur recommended match this month comes from New Japan Pro Wrestling’s New Year Golden Series tour as Tatsumi Fujinami defends the WWF Junior Heavyweight Championship against the Dynamite Kid. You can watch the full match below.

All Japan: The Excite Series resumes in March and AJPW begin the 8th annual Champions Carnival tournament with a star-studded line up of Jumbo Tsuruta, Abdullah the Butcher, Giant Baba, Terry Funk, Dick Slater, Ted DiBiase and Tiger Toguchi among the names competing.

Mid-Atlantic: The semi-finals of the TV Title tournament will take place.  NWA World Tag Team champions Jay Youngblood and Ricky Steamboat will defend against bitter rivals Greg Valentine and Ray Stevens.  Ric Flair will aim to unseat Jimmy Snuka from the NWA United States title with many title defences already signed.

New Japan: NJPW host the Big Fight Series 1980 tour with gaijins Bad News Allen (Stampede) and the Iron Sheik (WWF) announced for the excursion.

WWF: Bruno Sammartino will no doubt look for revenge on his former protege Larry Zbyszko.

As always, thanks for reading…

Will Burns

Sources: Cagematch.netMid-Atlantic Gateway, MapleLeafWrestling.comWrestlingData

Round-Up: January 1980

Welcome to the Monthly Round-up for January 1980. The first in our chronological journey in our Project WCW.

It’s the beginning of a new decade in professional wrestling and January 1980 provided us of some great action to kick off the 80’s in style. Here we travel with the NWA World Heavyweight Champion Harley Race and learn about his title defences. We will check-in at all the NWA affiliated territories and find out what has happened over the past 30 days. We will reveal the Top Ten contenders to Race’s World title and the top contenders for the NWA World Tag Team Championships.

All that and we will also let you know what we feel is the best match in the month of January 1980. Read on…

NWA World Heavyweight Champion Harley Race defended his title nine times in a tough month, where he only actually won three matches, including two in one day. He gained victories against Roddy Piper (Vancouver – 7/1), Ray Stevens by DQ (San Francisco – 26/1) and Frank Dusek (Los Angeles – 26/1). He lost twice via disqualification, once against Rick Martel (Portland – 8/1) and the other versus Andre the Giant (San Bernardino, CA – 20/1). Andre and Martel also held the champ to a draw and to open the month, Race was held to a 60-minute time-limit draw against young Texan David Von Erich (St. Louis – 4/1).

DATEEVENTRESULT
4/1/80NWA St. Louis – Kiel Auditorium, St. Louis, MSHarley Race and David Von Erich went to a 60-minute draw. The match was a Best of Three Falls match which ended as 1-1.
7/1/80All-Star Wrestling – Vancouver, British Columbia, CanadaHarley Race defeated Roddy Piper.
8/1/80Pacific Northwest Wrestling – Sports Arena, Portland, ORRick Martel beat Harley Race by DQ.
12/1/80Pacific Northwest Wrestling – Sports Arena, Portland, ORHarley Race and Rick Martel went to a 24:55 time-limit draw. The match was declared a draw due to the arena curfew time.
18/1/80NWA Hollywood – The Olympic, Los Angeles, CAAndre the Giant and Harley Race battled to a draw.
20/1/80NWA Hollywood – San Bernardino Arena, San Bernardino, CAAndre the Giant beat Harley Race by DQ.
25/1/80NWA Hollywood – The Olympic, Los Angeles, CAHarley Race and Chavo Guerrero wrestled to a no-contest.
26/1/80Big Time Wrestling – Cow Palace, San Francisco, CAHarley Race won via a DQ against Ray Stevens.
26/1/80NWA Hollywood – The Olympic, Los Angeles, CAHarley Race pinned Frank Dusek to retain his title.

ALL-JAPAN PRO WRESTLING

The New Year Giant Series tour ran for 16 days and on the opening day, English mat-technician Billy Robinson won the annual New Year battle royal. Despite being 5ft 11inches tall, he outlasted some big guys to win – Bruiser Brody, Angelo Mosca, Jumbo Tsuruta and Giant Baba are all competitors that tower above Robinson. Robinson look to continue his success on night six, as he battled Jumbo Tsuruta to a 60-minute draw for the NWA United National Heavyweight title.

On Night 3 of the tour, Baba and Tsuruta were lucky to hang onto their NWA International Tag Team titles against Brody and Mosca. In a nearly 20-minute battle, both teams were disqualified in a ‘Best of Three Falls’ but with the score level at 1-1.

The final highlight of the tour saw Brody nearly clinch the PWF Heavyweight title from Baba. The big man from Sante Fe, NM took a 1-0 lead in a ‘Best of Three Falls’ match but failed to capitalise.

Image result for The Sheik and Abdullah the Butcher

BIG TIME WRESTLING (DETROIT)

A quiet month for Detroit with just two shows promoted, although in a big tag team main event, The Sheik and Abdullah the Butcher (pictured above) defeated Chief Jay Strongbow and Dory Funk Jr. in a bloody war on the 19th at the Lincoln Park Community Center.

BIG TIME WRESTLING (SAN FRANCISCO)

Despite being victorious in the Cow Palace Battle Royal on the 26/1, “Crippler” Ray Stevens was unable to take down NWA Worlds Heavyweight Champion Harley Race earlier in the night. Stevens was disqualified and uncertain to receive a rematch anytime soon.

BIG TIME WRESTLING (TEXAS)

Fritz Von Erich promoted a card in Waco, TX on the 2nd. Headlining was Andre the Giant, who joined forces with Kerry von Erich to defeat The Spoiler and Mark Lewin.

CENTRAL STATES WRESTLING

At a big Memorial Hall show in Kansas City (17/1), The Avenger lost his NWA Central States Heavyweight Title to The Assassin in a battle of the masked men.

CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING FROM FLORIDA

The war between NWA Florida champ Manny Fernandez and Leroy Brown rages on throughout the month with Fernandez coming out on top every match. The final match of the month (29/1 – The Armory Tampa, FL) is for both Manny’s title and also Leroy’s NWA Florida Southern Heavyweight championship. The match ends up in Fernandez’s favour once again. This time via a DQ.

EMPRESA MEXICANA DE LUCHA LIBRE

On the 20th January, a big title change happened down south in Guadalajara, Mexico as Raul Mata pinned Alfonso Dantes to become the new NWA World Light Heavyweight Champion.

GEORGIA CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING

The NWA National TV title was a hot potato in January on Georgia TV. First, on the 5/1 show, Steve Travis upsets champion Austin Idol to win the strap. A week later, Idol won it back from Travis and then at the big Omni show on 27th, Idol loses the title to Boston native Kevin Sullivan.

Also at the 27/1 Omni show, the Atlanta crowd witnessed the return of Bruiser Brody to the territory. Bob Backlund successfully defended the WWF title against Toru Tanaka (accompanied by Gorgeous George). In a battle of former NWA World Champions, Dusty Rhodes defeated Terry Funk in the semi-main event.

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HOUSTON WRESTLING

Paul Boesch promoted two killer cards at the Sam Houston Coliseum this past month. On the 4th, the main event saw Andre the Giant win a 20-man two-ringed battle royal. He spoke to Boesch in a candid interview before the bout, as did “Gorgeous” Gino Hernandez (pictured above). The 23-year-old cocky superstar had some choice words for Andre and called him “a freak”. Unfortunately for Gino, after working well eliminating Wahoo McDaniel in ring two, Andre (the winner of ring one) eliminated Gino with an Atomic Drop to win the $22,000 battle royal. Also on the card, Dusty Rhodes defended his NWA Texas Brass Knuckles title against “Superstar” Billy Graham in a bloody war.

On the 11th January they ran the Coliseum again and Gino (with newly bleached blonde hair) was in action against Kevin Von Erich but ended up losing to Von Erich on a DQ. In the main event, JJ Dillon’s team of Mr. Hito and Mr. Sakaruda defeated Tiger Conway Jr. and Jose Lothario for the NWA American Tag Team titles.  After a few double team moves, Hito hit Conway with a vicious chop to the throat to end the two week reign of Lothario and Conway.

MAPLE LEAF WRESTLING

Just one live event for Maple Leaf this month – 13th at the Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto. As part of the partnership with Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling, the main event featured a return bout from the month previous as Dewey Robertson and Ric Flair defeated Jimmy Snuka and Ray Stevens. This avenged a loss they suffered in December. In addition, Bob Backlund defended the WWF title against The Destroyer – a match that ended in a double count-out.

MID-ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING

On New Years night, Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood (pictured above) retained the NWA World Tag Team straps in a brutal war inside the steel cage against Paul Jones and Baron Von Raschke. On TV, the newly created team of “Crippler” Ray Stevens and Greg “The Hammer” Valentine cut a promo challenging the World Tag champs. Later in the month, Stevens and Valentine were interviewed displaying edgy behaviour as the champs were allegedly delaying in signing the contract for the title match. They stated if they did not get their shots soon something “drastic” was going to happen. The week after, with Ricky Steamboat out of town on a “speaking engagement”. Stevens & Valentine brutally attacked Jay Youngblood and left one-half of the tag champs battered, bloodied and had some of his hair cut.

Bob Caudle and David Crockett announced that a 16-man tournament would take place for the vacant NWA Television Title with a plethora of talent competing for the championship. A board was unveiled with all the first-round matches: Masked Superstar vs. Mr. Wrestling II, S.D. Jones vs. Frankie Lane, Brute Bernard vs. Johnny Weaver, Paul Jones vs. Tony Garea, Matt Borne vs. Swede Hanson, Rufus R. Jones vs. Baron Von Raschke, Ox Baker vs. Austin Idol, Dutch Mantell vs. Blackjack Mulligan. As of the time of writing, S.D Jones, Paul Jones, Rufus R. Jones and Johnny Weaver have progressed to the second round.

NEW-JAPAN PRO WRESTLING

A youngster from Stampede Wrestling made his debut on the New Year Golden Series tour. The 22-year old Dynamite Kid, born in Manchester, England, has been on a tear in Calgary and made a decent start to his career in NJPW with wins over Kantaro Hoshino and Yoshiaki Fujiwara in his opening two matches. Towards the end of the month, he was tagging with fellow Gaijin’s Stan Hansen, Rocky Johnson, Skip Young, Steve Keirn and Bad News Allen. Next month, he is set to get a return bout with WWF Junior Heavyweight Champion Tatsumi Fujinami in Nagoya, Japan. He narrowly missed out winning the strap from Fujinami in Calgary last summer in an excellent 20-minute match that finished in a double count-out.

NWA HOLLYWOOD

Although he was scheduled to face Ray Stevens in San Francisco that evening, Harley Race successfully defended the NWA Worlds title against Frank Dusek in the afternoon at the Olympic, Los Angeles on the 26th November.

PACIFIC NORTHWEST WRESTLING

At the Sports Arena in Portland, Oregon, Harley Race retained his NWA Worlds Championship but he was defeated by Rick Martel on a disqualification on the night of the 8th. Martel gained a rematch on the 12th previously winning a battle royal earlier that night. He came out short and was denied the belt as Race held him to a time-limit draw – See Match of the Month.

ST. LOUIS WRESTLING CLUB

A major show at the Kiel Auditorium on 4th January was headlined with three main events. Bob Backlund successfully defended the WWF Title against Tom AndrewsKevin Von Erich and Dick Murdoch fought to a Double DQ over the NWA Missouri Heavyweight belt. And in the main event, Kevin’s brother David took NWA World Heavyweight Champion Harley Race to a one-hour draw in front of over 11,000 fans.

STAMPEDE WRESTLING

In Calgary, Mr. Sekigawa started off January denying Keith Hart from taking his Stampede North American title. On the 11th he lost by DQ to Hart and on the 18th a rematch ended in a no-contest. Meanwhile, Hart and his brother Bret Hart successfully defeated Hubert Gallant and Leo Burke to hold onto their Stampede International Tag titles on the 4th.

VANCOUVER ALL STAR WRESTLING

The first NWA Heavyweight Title defence on international soil of the year was held in Canada as Harley Race successfully defended against Roddy Piper.

WORLD WRESTLING FEDERATION

At the Civic Center in Baltimore, Hulk Hogan faced Andre the Giant in their first known match on the 5th January – it ended as a draw.

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Throughout the month on WWF TV, there were interesting happenings between Bruno Sammartino and his protégé Larry Zbyszko. For the weeks leading up to the new year, Sammartino (now working as a commentator) wished to interview Zbyszko but received no response. Vince asked Zbyszko a week later why he had been ignoring interview requests from Bruno Sammartino. Larry stated that although he respected Bruno, he wanted a ‘scientific exhibition match’ with him as he was sick of labelled “Bruno’s protégé”. Bruno declined to face him. McMahon held another Zbyszko interview on the next TV show and Larry said if Bruno refuses to face him to prove himself, then he would retire. Bruno appeared and accepted the match but clearly stated that he feels like Larry is a brother and his goal was not to beat Zbyszko.

WORLD WRESTLING COUNCIL

A war between WWC Puerto Rican champion Abdullah the Butcher and Carlos Colon raged on in Bayamon at the Juan R. Loubriel Stadium on the 5th and 12th of January. Abby recently defeated Colon to win the title on 15th December in the same arena. After a no-contest was called to the 5/12 match, the governors of the WWC decided to vacate the title and issue a rematch for seven days later. Colon beat Abdullah to become a five-time titleholder.

NWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONNWA WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS
HARLEY RACERICKY STEAMBOAT & JAY YOUNGBLOOD
1. Andre The Giant1. Giant Baba/Jumbo Tsuruta
2. Rick Martel2. Mr. Hito/Mr. Sakuruda
3. David Von Erich3. Jose Lothario/Tiger Conway Jr.
4. Giant Baba4. Paul Jones/Baron Von Raschke
5. Dusty Rhodes5. Bruiser Brody/Angelo Mosca
6. Jimmy Snuka6. Keith & Bret Hart
7. Roddy Piper7. Abdullah the Butcher/The Sheik
8. Ray Stevens8. Greg Valentine/Ray Stevens
9. Abdullah the Butcher9. Ric Flair/Blackjack Mulligan
10. Chavo Guerrero10. Ole Anderson/Thunderbolt Patterson

There’s lots of great stuff this month, but one match I recommend you go out of your way to find is from 12th January 1980 and in the Pacific Northwest Wrestling promotion from the Sports Arena, Portland, OR. It’s the NWA World Heavyweight Title Match with champion Harley Race facing the challenge of young Canadian Rick Martel.

Video is split into three parts below…

Mid-Atlantic: The NWA TV Title Tournament continues and will Ricky Steamboat return to the TV show to gain revenge on Stevens and Valentine.

WWF: Bruno Sammartino has accepted the challenge of his protégé Larry Zbyszko. Zbyszko has asked if the match can take place on television and we should see that bout in February.

As always, thanks for reading…

Will Burns

Sources: Cagematch.netMid-Atlantic GatewayRoy Lucier (Youtube)Testosterone Overload (Youtube), MapleLeafWrestling.comWrestlingData

Profile – Orville Brown

Kansas born Orville Brown was the first-ever World Heavyweight Champion of the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) after the organisation’s formation in 1948. This was a title he never lost as he was forced to retire just over a year later.

At the beginning of 1931, Brown met a local wrestling trainer called Ernest Brown, who persuaded Orville that there was a decent wage to made in the ring. He began training with a daily regime of running before breakfast, his day job of blacksmithing and gaining wrestling experience with Ernest in the evening. And by the time October rolled around that year, Orville made a winning debut that started an undefeated 72 bout streak.

With short legs and a long body, Orville was physically strong and he became a legend in the Midwest area and spent many years wrestling for the Midwest Wrestling Association (MWA).  Realising there was money to be made from professional wrestling, by Orville was the age of 32, he began promoting wrestling matches with Kansas City promoter George Simpson. The partnership worked well with Brown compiling the card and Simpson promoting these with the press.

At the time of the NWA formation, Orville was the MWA champion, a title he held eleven times. He was chosen by the NWA board (which he was a prominent member of) to become the first NWA Heavyweight Champion. Instead of creating a new title (shown below), Brown had two plates made to cover up the words ‘Midwest’ and ‘Association’.

However, much to the NWA’s displeasure there were many ‘world’ champions in circulation and these needed to be unified to recognise one champion. Plans were put in place for Brown to meet National Wrestling Association (yes, another NWA) champion Lou Thesz. The bout was due to take place on 25th November 1949 but it, unfortunately, was not to be.

Orville and in-ring rival Bobby Bruns were driving to a show on November 1st in a 1949 Cadillac Sedan. A semi-trailer truck stalled on the side of the road and Sedan crushed underneath the vehicle (see newspaper cutting below). Brown and Bruns were seriously injured. Orville suffered head injuries and paralysis down one side, and despite determined to make a comeback, sadly he never wrestled again. Thesz was awarded the NWA title.

However, Brown remained active in the wrestling business as a booker and promoter until retiring in 1963.  He lived with his wife Grace in Missouri until his passing in January 1981.  He was 72 years old.

Brown was a fantastic wrestler who held great achievements wherever he stepped into the ring, but he holds acclaim which no other human being can – he was the first-ever NWA Heavyweight Champion.

As always, thanks for reading…

Will Burns

Source: Wrestling-Titles.comTim Hornbaker – National Wrestling AllianceAntiques Roadshow (PBS): Orville Brown Wrestling Archive

And so we begin…

We start our journey in January 1980 and the National Wrestling Alliance currently has 26 promotions under its banner. This means the NWA World Heavyweight Champion Harley Race (left) could be booked anywhere in these territories to defend the title belt.

The table below shows the promotions currently affiliated with the NWA in January 1980. 

We will follow the champ and the rest of the wrestlers for these promotions with our ‘Monthly Round-Up’ for January 1980 in the coming days.

Keep your eyes peeled for the first of our monthly reviews in the coming days.

As always, thanks for reading…

Will Burns

The National Wrestling Alliance 1948-1979

In the 1940’s, the popularity of Professional Wrestling was growing within the United States. Many ambitious entrepreneurs had created their own regional wrestling promotions and each promoter claimed to have their own World Champion, however, the plethora of titles was damaging the sport as none of the belts were deemed legitimate.

The very influential Paul “Pinkie” George, a promoter in Des Moines, Iowa proposed a meeting with other selected promoters to try and regulate the business and create one true World Champion. The promoters would share this champion and use him as an attraction to keep the interest in wrestling growing.

The meeting was held on July 18th 1948, located in the Gold Room within the Hotel President in Waterloo, Iowa. George invited Sam Muchnick (a St. Louis promoter), Orville Brown (Kansas City), Maxwell Clayton (Omaha), Fred Kohler (Chicago) and Wally Karbo (representing Joe Stecher of Minneapolis). They all agreed on nine pledges which formed the National Wrestling Alliance and George was declared the first president of the NWA.

The newly created NWA Worlds Heavyweight Title was awarded to Brown, who ran the Midwest Wrestling Association in Kansas, where he held his own version of the World Championship. Undefeated for eight years, Brown went on to conquer many other regionally recognised World Champions in a way to try and unify into the NWA title.

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The legendary Lou Thesz

On the way, Brown needed to beat the National Wrestling Association World Champion Lou Thesz. The Association (the other NWA) was created by the National Boxing Association in 1930 as a way to try and regulate professional wrestling bouts.

On Thanksgiving night, 25th November 1949, Brown and Thesz were to compete for the NWA title at the Kiel Auditorium, St. Louis, Missouri. Devastatingly for Brown, this match would never happen. Travelling to his final warm-up bout in Des Moines on 1st November, he was involved in a horrendous automobile accident that forced Brown to retire from in-ring competition. Thesz was awarded the NWA Worlds Heavyweight title by default. Brown continued to book his promotion in Kansas until 1958.

Thesz was a legit tough-man and he excelled with the belt around his waist. On many occasions, Thesz had to force rebel competitors into submission when outlaw promoters would try and prove that their regional champion was the best in the world. For trustworthy NWA promoters, Thesz had to put on believable impressive matches but more importantly, make the regional headliners look good so that business would not drop in that area.

By 1950, the NWA had 26 members and had massively exceeded George’s expectations. George wished for the NWA to manage all the Midwest promotions and he had no plans for national expansion, so he stepped down as president in September and recommended that Sam Muchnick lead the alliance in his place. Muchnick, a successful promoter in St. Louis, booked Thesz into a full schedule and he became a credible title holder defeating all opponents across all the territories unifying all the belts.

The scheduling of the champion was the most important duty of being the NWA president. Muchnick’s task was incredibly difficult as every NWA representative wanted the champion on their events as much as possible. This became a political issue and although promoters were supposed to be in collaboration with each other, money talks and Thesz was a great draw.

Throughout the 1950s, Thesz held onto the championship until March 1956. Taking six months off while nursing an ankle injury, he lost the belt to “Whipper” Billy Watson at the Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto. Thesz returned to claim the title back in November that year in St. Louis. Dick Hutton, Pat O’Connor and “Nature Boy” Buddy Rogers all went onto reigns with the title but by the start of 1963, Thesz was back in charge of the championship.

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“Big Thunder” Gene Kiniski

Finally, on 7th January 1966, Thesz ended his final reign at the age of forty-nine by dropping the belt to former Edmonton Eskimos star “Big Thunder” Gene Kiniski on a Muchnick show in St. Louis. Billed as a bad guy, Kiniski was an innovative, captivating powerhouse that carried the championship well until dropping it to Amarillo-based star Dory Funk Jr. in February 1969. Funk was a profitable champion for the territories with a real knack of making his opponent good – usually the promotions’ top star.

However, by August 1972, Funk had become tired of the constant travelling and a successor was earmarked in former national collegiate wrestling champion Jack Brisco. A bout was set for 2nd March 1973 in Houston, Texas but unfortunately for Brisco, the match was cancelled after Dory suffered an accident at his home in Umbarger, Texas around a week before the scheduled match.

After a 1,563 day reign, the second-longest in NWA history, Missouri star Harley Race dethroned Funk on 24th May 1973 in front of his home crowd of the Memorial Hall in Kansas City. Race held the title for only a few months as Brisco was crowned by July that year in Houston, but this was only the beginning for “Handsome” Harley and for the belt.

Before the bout, Race was presented with a new title belt by president Muchnick. The new NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship was created by Mexican jeweller Manuel Sabala with a “domed globe” and featured five flags of countries where the championship was defended the most: the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia and Japan. In future years, the belt became known as the “Ten Pounds of Gold” (but we will discuss that in forthcoming articles in our chronological journey).

Due to his past NCAA championship success, Brisco was well regarded instantly and Shohei “Giant” Baba quickly signed up to the NWA with his new promotion, All-Japan Pro Wrestling – founded in 1972. This gave him exclusive Japanese promotional access to Brisco and the belt and Baba, also an in-ring performer managed to convince Brisco to pass the title to him for a week while on tour. Giant Baba was champion from the 2nd until the 9th of December 1974 before dropping back to Brisco. This gave the championship further credibility overseas and the Japanese press lapped it up.

Just over a year later, the 14-month reign of Terry Funk began. Funk, younger brother of Dory Jr, had actually brokered the deal to book Brisco to face Baba, much to the disappointment of the NWA brass who had not previously been consulted. Dory Funk Jr. had been scheduled to challenge Brisco on 10th December 1975 however, he was in the middle of a three-week tour with Baba. The wild brawler Terry stormed the ring in place of his brother and cradled Brisco up for the win. History was made as Terry and Dory became the only brothers, as of the time of writing, to hold the NWA Worlds title.

The only man to defeat two brothers for the title was Harley Race, as his second reign ended Terry’s only possession of the belt in Toronto on 6th February 1977. Race held on to the gold for 926 days until he strolled into Eddie Graham’s Championship Wrestling of Florida in the summer of 1979. The popular uber-charismatic “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes blossomed in the ’70s and although this went against the grain for the usual title holders, Rhodes pinned Race in front of over 9,000 elated fans in Tampa.

History proved that the bad guy champion entering the territory to face the much-loved local guy was a recipe for success and drawing the big bucks. Dusty was the opposite, throughout the 70’s he was a major box office attraction, he’s connectivity with the audience made him easy to love. He was very much the epitome of a babyface and the NWA handed him the opportunity to be champion for only five days before it was returned to Race. For Dusty to hold the title, was merely a favour to Florida promoter Graham from the NWA board.

Harley Race

The year 1979 brought one of the most important events that formed the face of professional wrestling across the United States for years to come. NWA affiliate Georgia Championship Wrestling became the first wrestling program to be nationally broadcast on cable TV on the WTBS network. This caused many regional promoters upset and feared that Georgia would expand their shows nationwide. However, the Georgia company kept to their agreement and continued to just book shows in their territorial area.

By the beginning of 1980, Harley Race remained the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Champion which represented a total of 26 promotions across the territorial system.

This is where our journey will begin.

We will relive all the highs and the lows, the good, bad and the ugly of this wonderful business we call professional wrestling. This will be a long journey, we have hours of content to review, we have thousands of stories to tell, come with us, I’m sure you will find something you will enjoy.

As always, thanks for reading…

Will Burns

Sources: Tim Hornbaker – National Wrestling Alliance, Dick Bourne – Ten Pounds Of Gold, Cagematch.net