Category Archives: Big Time Wrestling – Detroit

Classic Cities – DETROIT

In the first of a new series, Will Burns takes a look at the iconic cities in the history of professional wrestling that link perfectly into our story and chronological journey. First up – Detroit.

Professional wrestling shows began running in Detroit in the 1920s but it really started to gain attention when promoter Nick Londos started booking the Detroit Olympia (pictured above) for his grappling events in 1928.  Although this was relatively new to the area, it quickly became a popular staple of entertainment for the city.

By the 1930s, after starring in the ring on many Londos shows himself, local star Adam Weissmuller noticed the success wrestling was experiencing and he created his own company labelled ‘Weissmuller Wrestling Enterprises’.  He forged links with other promoters, Fred Kohler of Chicago and Al Haft of Ohio, to bring the country’s best talent to the area with great success.

Weissmuller’s accomplishments had surpassed anything the city had seen previously and business was booming.  However, Weissmuller suddenly passed away on 8th March 1937. Kohler and Haft, who had become very close with Weissmuller, acted as pallbearers at his funeral.

A former professional boxer with 60 bouts under his belt, Harry Light had started working with Weissmuller and his business partner Louis Markowitz shortly before Weissmuller’s death.  Light moved to the area in 1919 after time in the Canadian Navy.  He met Weissmuller while working as an usher at the Madison Ballroom when the promoter handed him $30 to collect some change at a local shop for the box office.  He returned with the money and the friendship began.

In 1939, Light founded the Harry Light Wrestling Office and began promoting his own shows at Detroit’s Fairview Gardens under the banner of Big Time Wrestling.  By 1947, tickets sales were deteriorating in Detroit and Light moved on to nearby Flint, Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids, Michigan to promote shows.  Light had gained a television time slot on Channel 7, and once TV sets were being purchased, this gave him a major advantage over the other promoters in the state.

Come 1948, the National Wrestling Alliance was formed and Light signed up to its policies.  The NWA agreed to split into regional territories and decided they would not compete with one another.  With his NWA membership, Light was able to book the one true World Heavyweight Champion and improve his business further.  Light held an important role in the NWA – organising schedules of the midget wrestlers for the territories.

His right-hand man Bert Ruby broke off from Light in the 1950s and created Motor City Wrestling which also became popular. Ruby was also a wrestler and a trainer, but when he promoted shows, he refrained from booking venues in Detroit to impede on Light’s business.

Meanwhile, with the TV audience snapping up tickets, Light’s NWA Detroit promotion held a stronghold in the territory, which did come under threat in 1959.  Two men who could not gain membership into the Alliance were Jim Barnett and John Doyle, promoters from Indiana and New York respectively.

They created an outlaw promotion (The Barnett-Doyle Corporation) and started to run shows at Cobo Hall promoting bouts with Verne Gagne, Fritz von Erich, Bobo Brazil and Dick the Bruiser. They made great headway and drew an attendance of over 16,000 fans on their debut in April 1959 at the Olympic.

Light would combat this using his NWA contacts to book North Eastern stars Bruno Sammartino, Haystacks Calhoun and Argentina Rocca from Toots Mondt and Vincent J. McMahon, and promoted “The Greatest Card Ever Presented In Detroit” on 7th October 1961.

Harry Light (front left) signs a lease to bring his wrestling show to the new Cobo Arena (1961)

The city became a hotbed for wrestling throughout the sixties, however, the pressure impacted Harry and he got out of the business as The Corporation took over control.  Nevertheless, Barnett and Doyle had cashed enough money to take their product elsewhere. So the NWA rights to Detroit and the state of Michigan were bought out by World Wide Sports for $50,000 in 1964.  The company was owned by businessman Francis Fleser and his brother-in-law Ed Farhat and the deal included the TV contract that had three years remaining and a lease on Cobo Hall and the Cobo Arena.

World Wide Sports was filling houses at the Cobo Arena and broadcasting at least two of the Big Time Wrestling TV programs on Channel 7 every week with The Sheik at the top of the card.  The man billed from the Syrian Desert was actually co-owner Farhat, a Michigan-born wrestler who had made a name as The Sheik in Chicago, New York and Texas since the fifties.

The Sheik returned home and became a huge draw.  Due to his demented hardcore style and the use of weapons on his foes, he quickly became the most hated in the territory.  Besides every great heel, there is a great babyface and the ever-popular Bobo Brazil was his counterpart.  The pair feuded for decades in bloody battles over the Detroit version of the NWA United States Heavyweight belt.

Outside the ring, competition ascended from Dick the Bruiser and Wilbur Snyder, who had been wrestling for Barnett and Doyle previously in the area.  They looked to take advantage of the previous popularity of the grappling game.  So in 1971, they created All-Star Championship Wrestling, which operated with stars from their Indianapolis-based World Wrestling Association company – until they gave up promoting in Detroit in 1975.

As the city of Detroit was changing, things started to take a bad turn in the late 1970s for Farhat and Fleser.  As people were out of work, the crime rate in the city rose and the crowds started to dwindle.  Consequently, The Sheik, Brazil, and others had no option but to take their expertise to other territories to earn a decent payday.

Although Vincent J. McMahon’s World Wrestling Federation sent talent to the region to try and help its diminishing attendances, Fleser and Farhat closed their doors in late of 1980.  It was a sign of things to come, as the WWF landed a TV spot in the area, took over the Detroit bookings and readied itself for national expansion.

The Sheik and Brazil continued to wrestle for other territories and we will profile their historic careers closer in upcoming articles. For Harry Light, he retired in the area, was married with six children until he sadly passed away on October 29th 1971.

Detroit became an important city in the history of professional wrestling and if you were fortunate enough to live through the 1960s until mid-70s in the area, you were incredibly privileged to witness the stories unfold.  The fans in the area can be thankful for the likes of Light, Barnett, Doyle, Sheik and Brazil for the memories they created and the paths they paved for the generations to come.

Will Burns

Source: Mark James – Wrestling Record Book: Detroit 1964-1980Tim Hornsbaker – National Wrestling Alliance,


Round-Up: November 1980

The end of 1980 is nigh as our chronological journey heads into November and as always we have an action packed month to dive into.

NWA World Heavyweight Champion Harley Race began the month in New Zealand defending the gold three times before returning to the States and the champ has challengers being thrown at him thick and fast. Since regaining the belt from Giant Baba in September, he is nearly up to 50 defenses already.

1/11/80World Championship Wrestling – Dunedin, New ZealandMark Lewin defeated Harley Race (26th defense) by DQ. Race retained the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
2/11/80World Championship Wrestling – Christchurch, New ZealandHarley Race (27th defense) and Mark Lewin went to a draw. Race retained the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
3/11/80World Championship Wrestling – Auckland, New ZealandHarley Race (28th defense) defeated Mark Lewin to retain the NWA World Heavyweight title.
7/11/80St. Louis Wrestling Club – Kiel Auditorium, St. Louis, MSHarley Race (29th defense) defeated Bob Backlund by two falls to on in a Best Two out of Three Falls Match. Race retained his NWA World Heavyweight Title.
9/11/80Central States Wrestling – Civic Center, St. Joseph, MSHarley Race (30th defense) defeated Bruiser Brody to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
10/11/80Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling – Greenville, SCHarley Race (31st defense) and Ric Flair went to a 60:00 time-limit draw. Race retained the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
11/11/80Georgia Championship Wrestling – Ohio Center, Columbus, OHHarley Race (32nd defense) beat Mr. Wrestling II to remain the NWA World Heavyweight Champion.
13/11/80Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling – Civic Center, Knoxville, TNHarley Race (33rd defense) defeated Ricky Steamboat to retain the NWA World Heavyweight title.
14/11/80Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling – Richmond, VAHarley Race (34th defense) defeated Ric Flair via count out to retain the NWA World Heavyweight belt.
15/11/80Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling – Spartanburg, SCHarley Race (35th defense) defeated Ricky Steamboat to retain the NWA World Heavyweight belt.
16/11/80Maple Leaf Wrestling – Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario, CanadaHarley Race (36th defense) and Ric Flair went to a double count out.  Race retained the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
17/11/80Championship Wrestling from Florida – West Palm Beach Auditorium, West Palm Beach, FLHarley Race (37th defense) defeated Scott McGhee to retain the NWA World Heavyweight belt.
18/11/80Championship Wrestling from Florida – State Fairgrounds, Tampa, Fl.Harley Race (38th defense) and Manny Fernandez went to a draw.  Race retained the NWA World Heavyweight title.
19/11/80Championship Wrestling from Florida – Lee County Arena, Fort Myers, FLMike Graham defeated Harley Race (39th defense) via DQ.  Race retained the NWA World Heavyweight belt.
20/11/80Championship Wrestling from Florida – Jacksonville Coliseum, Jacksonville, FLHarley Race (40th defense) defeated Bugsy McGraw to retain the NWA World Heavyweight belt.
21/11/80Championship Wrestling from Florida – Star Wars ’80 III – The Sportatorium, Hollywood, FLHarley Race (41st defense) and Dory Funk Jr. went to a time-limit draw.  Race retained the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
22/11/80Houston Wrestling – Sam Houston Coliseum, Houston, TXHarley Race (42nd defense) defeated Bruiser Brody by 2-1 in a Best Two out of Three Falls Match to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
23/11/80Championship Wrestling from Florida – Eddie Graham Sports Stadium, Orlando, FLHarley Race (43rd defense) and Barry Windham went to a time-limit draw.  Race retained the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
24/11/80Georgia Championship Wrestling – William Bell Auditorium, Augusta, GAHarley Race (44th defense) beat Jim Brunzell to retain the NWA World Heavyweight title.
26/11/80Georgia Championship Wrestling – Municipal Auditorium, Columbus, OHHarley Race (45th defense) and Mr. Wrestling II went to a double count out.  Race retained the NWA World Heavyweight title.
27/11/80Georgia Championship Wrestling – The Omni, Atlanta, GAHarley Race (46th defense) defeated Tony Atlas to retain the NWA World Heavyweight title.
29/11/80Championship Wrestling from Florida – Bayfront Center, St. Petersburg, FLDick Murdoch beat Harley Race in a non-title match.


The month began for Shohei Baba’s promotion with the conclusion of the Giant Series tour and ended with the beginning of the much-anticipated Real World Tag Team League.

Abdullah the Butcher is still in possession of the NWA United National Heavyweight strap despite the efforts of Terry Funk.  The rivals paired off in Yokohama on 1st November in a wild Best Two out of Three Falls affair that finished 1-1 with a disqualification prematurely ending the third fall.  Abdullah clinched the first fall via count out and then as Funk was gaining an advantage in the second fall, the Man from the Sudan rammed Funk’s knee into the ring post at ringside.  He then subsequently slammed a chair into the Texan’s knee and the referee awarded Funk fall two. However, in the final fall, Funk and Abby dished out a lot of punishment to each other and Funk tossed the referee over the top rope and was disqualified so Abdullah left with the belt.

Referees calling for disqualification hampered Abby and Tor Kamata as they were about to clinch the NWA International Tag Team belts from Giant Baba and Jumbo Tsuruta the night after in Korakuen Hall, Tokyo.  The match was one fall apiece in the three-fall bout, and Baba and Tsuruta had their hands raised as the referee DQ’ed Kamata and Abby in the third fall.

On the penultimate night of the Giant Series tour at the City Gymnasium in Matsumoto on 4th November, Abdullah retained the NWA UN title against the man he dethroned for the championship, Jumbo Tsuruta, but again the finish was non-conclusive. The match ended without a winner as both men’s tempers reached boiling point and brawled on the outside and were counted out.

The huge Real World Tag Team League got underway at the end of the month on a wild night at Korakuen Hall on the 28th.  All teams were introduced to the crowd in a ceremony at the beginning of the night and it nearly did not go to plan as Tor Kamata and Ricky Steamboat nearly come to blows.

The pair clashed later that night as Abdullah and Kamata faced Steamboat and Dick Slater in a tournament bout in a match where the bad guys prevailed with the win. Abby and Kamata, as usual, were breaking the rule book with blow with weapons but Slater and Steamboat turned the tables on their opponents but were subsequently disqualified. All four men brawled around the arena with Dory and Terry Funk emerging from the back for their bout in the main event. They were set to face The Sheik and The Great Memphisto and the action spilled straight into their match.

As the Funks-Sheik and Memphisto bout was set to get underway, Kamata, Abdullah, Steamboat and Slater continued to cause havoc in the bleachers. As the brawl was returning to the ring, all eight men ended up dishing out punishment to each other in a wild scene.  The Funks won their bout via count out after around 11 minutes of crazy action. However, the war was far from over as the Funks took their opponents into the crowd from more brawling. A fun night for the crowd inside of Korakuen getting close to the action.

We will be reviewing the whole tour in a huge article as part of our ‘Big Shows’ content in the coming days.


Despite his jaunts to Japan, The Sheik is promoting small shows in Ohio and Virginia and defending his promotion’s version of the United States title.  A match against Bob White ended up as a double count out in Marietta, Ohio (6/11) and The Sheik saw his hand raised against Mr. Wrestling II in Parkersburg, West Virginia on the 12th, winning via another count out.

In a joint promotion with Georgia Championship Wrestling in front of nearly 12,000 fans at the Memorial Field House in Huntington, West Virginia, Terry Taylor defeated The Sheik via DQ as part of a double main event.  The second half saw Kevin Sullivan pin Mr. Saito in the Japanese superstars’ $5,000 Challenge Match.


The war between Gary Hart and the Von Erich family escalated further this month as Fritz von Erich met the Playboy in the ring at the Sportatorium (16/11).  Fritz was the victor as his boys David and Kevin von Erich defeated Hart’s men Gino Hernandez and Gary Young in tag team competition.  Fritz also defeated Hernandez one-on-one a week later.


The hometown boy Harley Race defended his championship in St. Joseph (9/11) against long-time rival Bruiser Brody at the Civic Center.  The NWA World Junior Heavyweight Champ Les Thornton rolled into the territory on the 20th at the Memorial Hall in Kasnas City and held onto his belt with a win over youngster Eddie Gilbert.


The Graham family promoted the big “Star Wars ’80 III” show at the Sportatorium in Hollywood, Florida on the 21st November which was headlined by a Dusty Rhodes & Rooster Humperdink vs. The Sheik & Lord Alfred Hayes tag team cage match.  Rhodes and Humperdink picked up the duke to gain revenge on the brutal attack on Humperdink last month by Hayes and Bobby Jaggers.

The NWA World Heavyweight title was defended on the card in a draw between current titleholder Harley Race and former long-time champion Dory Funk Jr.  Also, on the show, Barry Windham dropped his NWA Florida TV Title to Baron Von Raschke after receiving the claw hold which rendered Windham a bloody mess.

Hayes added to his camp this month as Dick Murdoch joined Nikolai Volkoff and Bobby Jaggers.  Murdoch immediately got involved in a feud with Windham.


On the 1st at the Arena Coliseo de Mexico City, Franco Colombo defeated Americo Rocca to become the new Mexican National Welterweight champion. The NWA World Welterweight champion Lizmark successfully defended his belt against Mocho Cota at the same venue on the 25th November.

The huge Super Viernes event takes place next month (5/12) and it will be headlined by a tag team match with Hair vs Hair rules as El Cobarde and El Jalisco face Alfonso Dantes and Sangra Chicana.


The Fabulous Freebirds experienced an action-packed month as they continue to wreak havoc in Georgia.  The ‘Birds were stripped of the Georgia Tag Team Titles due to their actions in a defense against Austin Idol and Kevin Sullivan. After involvement from all three Freebirds in the bout, referee Ron West, acting as an NWA official, took the action to hold up the titles when the ‘Birds cheated their way to victory.

However, a tournament to crown new National Tag Team Champions took place on Thanksgiving night (27/11) at the Omni which the Freebirds emerged victorious.  Also, on the line in the competition was the National Tag Team Championship Cup with a $20,000 prize. Although they were victorious it was under questionable circumstances as they wrestle three times but kept swapping the participants each match giving them a huge advantage.

Terry Gordy and Buddy Roberts wrestled the first match against Jack and Jerry Brisco, then Michael Hayes took Buddy’s place in the second match against Steve Keirn and Terry Taylor.  Then in the final, a rested Buddy took Hayes’ place and tagged with Gordy as they beat Stan Frazier and Ron Fuller to win the tournament.  The final bout was full of controversy as all four men were fighting in the ring as the referee tried to resume control when Hayes intervened and jumped Frazier on the outside. Frazier was infuriated and chased Hayes as the referee counted him out.  Fuller and Frazier have sworn revenge on the Freebirds.

Tony Atlas failed to claim the NWA World Heavyweight Title at the Omni (27/11) as champion Harley Race took advantage of an injury Atlas had suffered prior to his knee. Tony was recently awarded with the “Black Athlete of the Year” award on November 8th which was subsequently smashed by Ole Anderson. Tony gained revenge on Ole on 14th November, beating him within two minutes at the Omni in a defense for Atlas’ Georgia Heavyweight title.

The National TV Title became a hot potato this past month as Terry Funk lost the belt to Jim Brunzell before he dropped it to Steve Keirn. Then in what was a wonderful scientific bout, Kevin Sullivan sucker punched Keirnon Georgia TV at the end of this month (29/11) to win the strap.  Keirn took a fall out of the ropes to the outside and Sullivan held the ropes as Keirn was climbing back in, Sullivan caught him for the flash knockout and the three count.

The women were in action on November 22nd TV show as Winona Little Heart dropped the United States Womens’ strap to Judy Martin in front of the Channel 17 studio audience.

“Bullet” Bob Armstrong took $5,000 of Mr. Saito’s money from him on 27th November beating the Japanese athlete in his $5k challenge.  Armstrong was angry with his opponent after Saito recently injured Brad Armstrong, Bob’s son. Mr. Wrestling II turned up at ringside in the bout and distracted Saito to allow “Bullet” Bob to cradle Saito up for the three count and take home the dough.  A livid Saito climbed out of the ring and attacked Mr. Wrestling II and left him bloody.

Two days later on the 29/11 Georgia TV, Saito challenged Mr. Wrestling II for another $5,000 challenge, we should have a reply in December 1980’s article.


It was a bad month for Stan Stasiak, as Bruiser Brody pinned him to become the NWA Texas Brass Knuckles champion at the Sam Houston Coliseum on the 14th.  Then just over a week later, Raul Mata and Jose Lothario defeated him and Killer Brooks to become the new Texas Tag Team champions.

Gino Hernandez had a busy month defending the American Heavyweight belt against Mark Lewin and Don Diamond but still clinches on the title by the grit of his teeth.  It doesn’t get easier for him in December, Dusty Rhodes returns to Houston to challenge Gino on the 5/12.  However, he is due to challenge Harley Race for the NWA World Title on 12/12 at the Sam Houston Coliseum.

Hernandez’s manager Gary Hart faced up to some payback from Mark Lewin and some real embarrassment too.  Hart lost a match to Lewin on the 14th November and the pre-match stipulation stated that Hart must have his head painted yellow.


Ric Flair had a chance to take The Great Hossein Arab’s Canadian Championship away from him at the Gardens on 2nd November.  The Nature Boy won via disqualification so did not win the title but he clinched a World title opportunity against Harley Race two weeks later on the 16th on his return to the Gardens.  Flair came close to becoming the World champion but fell to a double count out decision at around the 15 minute mark.

Also on the big 2nd card, making his first appearance for the promotion, Roddy Piper defended his newly won Mid-Atlantic Television belt against Frankie Laine. The then United States Champion Greg Valentine faced up to the challenge Angelo “King Kong” Mosca on the 16th show but Valentine got purposely disqualified to retain the title.


There have been many title changes in the Carolinas over the past 30 days.

On the 1st in Richmond, Virginia, Ricky Steamboat took the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight strap from The Iron Sheik and Roddy Piper won the vacated Mid-Atlantic Television Title in a one-night tournament, in the final against Paul JonesThe Masked Superstar vacated the championship last month and a tournament was declared to crown a new champion.  According to the below newspaper advert (thanks to the Mid-Atlantic Gateway), Piper outlasted Angelo Mosca, Bobby Duncum, Blackjack Mulligan, Dewey Robertson, George Wells, Ivan Koloff, Johnny Weaver, Matt Borne, The Sheepherders and Sweet Ebony Diamond in the competition to clinch the belt.

Ric Flair regained the NWA United States Heavyweight championship from Greg Valentine in Greenville, North Carolina in a Lumberjack Match in the 24th to become a five-time US Champion.

On Thanksgiving night at the Greensboro Coliseum (27/11) in a steel cage bout, members of Gene Anderson’s Army, Ray Stevens and Jimmy Snuka lost the NWA World Tag Team Titles to the team of The Masked Superstar and Paul Jones. Video footage of the tag match was shown on Mid-Atlantic TV and showed the Superstar making a suspicious alteration to his mask before headbutting Stevens for the win.  Prior to this victory, The Superstar had been tagging with Ricky Steamboat and Blackjack Mulligan before turning to Jones to help him take the titles from Gene Anderson’s men.


The month saw the continuation of the Toukon Series tour with a huge event on the 3rd November at the Kuramae Kokugikan in Tokyo.  Paul Orndorff and Riki Choshu squared off to a double count out, the team of Jim Garvin and Steve Keirn defeated Kantaro Hoshino and George Takano and Ron Starr fell to Strong Kobayashi.  The night was finished off with a superb double main event. Kengo Kimura dropped the NWA International Junior Heavyweight title to Chavo Guerrero and Hulk Hogan faced off against Antonio Inoki in a highly anticipated encounter.  Inoki grabbed the duke with a float over suplex pin over Freddie Blassie’s man.

The final night of the tour (6/11) at the City Gymnasium in Tsu, Mie saw Tatsumi Fujinami hold onto his WWF Junior Heavyweight Championship against Steve Keirn in the main event.  A huge tag team match also took place as Choshu and Inoki grabbed a big win over Hogan and Orndorff.

On the 22nd November, the exciting MSG Tag League tournament got underway in Yokohama.  The first night saw Andre the Giant and The Hangman (picture above) team up to beat the combination of Seiji Sakaguchi and Strong Kobayashi.  Umanosuke Ueda and Tiger Jeet Singh fell to Hulk Hogan and Stan Hansen in the other tournament bout.

Seven more days of the competition have gone by but one thing to note is that Inoki and Bob Backlund are yet to compete due to the WWF Champion yet to arrive in Japan.  They will begin competing on December 1st.

We will have a full report of the whole MSG Tag League Tour in the coming days as part of our “Big Shows” content.


As usual, lots of twists and turns in Portland.  The newly crowned Northwest Tag Team Champions Joe Lighfoot and Jay Youngblood defended the belts against former titleholders Rick Oliver and Fidel Cortez on 1st November. The good guys reigned supreme but the received a beating from Oliver, Cortez and Buddy Rose after the bell.  A rematch was sent the week after but the Native Americans refused to defend the titles and it was declared a non-title bout.

On the 8th, as the match was tied at one fall apiece, referee Sandy Barr was ushering Lightfoot out of the ring as Youngblood had Oliver raised up to slam him down. Rose jumped up on the apron and yanked Youngblood out of the ring by his hair.  Barr proceeded to count Youngblood out and Cortez and Oliver were awarded the contests.  Yet another rematch took place on the 15th, and it ended up as a draw.

Then in a big eight-man tag team bout on the 22nd November, Boyd, Youngblood, Lightfoot and newcomer to the area Buzzsaw Kane faced Rose, Oliver, Cortez and The Destroyer.  The heels had many problems with teamwork in the match, which ended up with Oliver costing his team when he inadvertently hit partner Cortez. Fidel was holding Youngblood for a big shot from Oliver and Jay got loose and Cortez got planted and the Cuban was pinned for loss.

After the bell, the three partners started to berate Cortez and was slapped in the face by Oliver.  Cortez exploded and slammed Oliver’s head into the turnbuckle before being outnumbered by Rose and Destroyer. Cortez was a bloody mess after being struck by his Cuban flag by former partner Oliver. This was repeated until Youngblood, Lightfoot and Buzzsaw emerged back for the save.

The following week, Cortez and Oliver squared off one-on-one. Fidel out for revenge, repeatedly slammed Oliver’s arm into the steel post and worked further on the arm in the ring. Referee Sandy Barr urged for Cortez to stop but the Cuban shoved the ref away twice before a third time got him disqualified.  Oliver fled the scene as the angry Cortez screamed for him to get back in the ring.  This feud will continue into December.

Buddy Rose has had his own battles this past month with Jonathan Boyd as the pair met on the 1st at the Portland Sports Arena in a Lumberjack Match.  Rose’s hair ended up crimson with blood and lost the match via count out after fleeing to the back.  The rematch took place on the 11th inside a steel cage and there was nowhere for Rose to run to or hide, especially as Jay Youngblood was enlisted as the special referee. The finish came when Rose attempted to leave the cage by climbing out and referee Youngblood dragged the Playboy back in.  Rose came crashing down and landed head first and Boyd covered up for the win.

Boyd celebrated and left ringside but Rose attacked Youngblood claiming he performed a quick count. He continued to scrape Youngblood’s face across the cage until Lightfoot jumped in to make the save. Boyd came back out to help Lightfoot carry Youngblood to the back. Then things escalated further on the 18th TV Show…

Promoter Don Owens announced that the match making commission declared that Buddy Rose would defend the Pacific Northwest Heavyweight belt on the 29th.  Rose emerged and offered Eric Emery a title show, possibly knowing how inexperienced Emery is but Jonathan Boyd had other ideas. Boyd jumped Rose and then told the Playboy that he would be defending the belt against him.

In the title bout, Boyd dished out the punishment to the champion throughout the contest, with Rose getting in little offense for some short relief.  However, with Boyd looking the more likely victor, Rose pulled out a roll of quarters and smashed them into the Australian’s face for the win.  Oliver appeared to sneak the roll away from Rose and out of the sight of the Sandy Barr but Cortez came out to explain to the referee what had went down. Barr reversed the decision and Boyd was awarded the disqualification win.

Finally, on the 29th, Rose and Oliver teamed up to challenge Lightfoot and Youngblood for the Tag Team straps but came away empty handed. As the match was held at 1-1, Lightfoot was injured in the second fall and Youngblood had to defend the belts in the deciding fall alone.  Fidel Cortez jumped up on the apron in Lightfoot’s place but Sandy Barr ushered him away but eventually after much protesting allowed the Cuban to participate! Cortez and Youngblood proceeded to drag Rose and Oliver all over until the match finished as a time limit draw.  Lightfoot and Youngblood are still the champions.


Now the promotion has taken over the Alabama territory they have employed a whole host of new stars to the roster. Jos LeDuc, Dennis Condrey, Jerry Stubbs, Randy Rose, Norvel Austin, Mike Masters, Ron Bass, The Mongolian Stomper and Oki Shikana have joined Johnny Valiant to the area.


Ken Patera is no longer the NWA Missouri Heavyweight champion after being pinned by Ted DiBiase at the Kiel Auditorium in St. Louis on the 21st November. On the same event, Dick the Bruiser defeated Ric Flair in a lumberjack match and Bruiser Brody and Dick Murdoch ended up battling to a double disqualification.

NWA Missouri Champion Ted DiBiase (With images) | Pro wrestling ...

Sam Muchnik promoted another big card at the Kiel on the 7th which was headlined by a “NWA champion vs WWF champion” match as Harley Race defeated Bob Backlund by two falls to one in a three-fall bout.


A large crowd watched Jay Youngblood and Joe Ventura defeat Rick Oliver and Fidel Castro for the Pacific Coast Tag Team Titles on the 3/11 in Vancouver. They successfully defended them against the former champions in a rematch on the 17th.  Also, Jonathan Boyd beat “Playboy” Buddy Rose in both events in a regular one-to-one match on the 3rd and in a return cage match in the 17th.


New WWF Tag Team champions were crowned on the 8th November at the Philadelphia Spectrum in the main event of the Federation’s biggest card of the month.  Afa and Sika, the Wild Samoans were beaten by the team of Rick Martel and Tony Garea to send the Philly faithful into raptures. This is the fourth time that Garea has held the championships, formerly holding with Larry Zbyszko, Haystacks Calhoun and Dean Ho.

All four men were brawling inside the ropes and the good guys went to throw the Samoans together but Afa reversed the move and threw Garea into Sika. Martel then sunset flipped Sika as Afa fell on Garea. The referee counted three and both teams celebrated the win until ring announcer Gary Michael Capetta stated that Martel and Sika were the legal men and Martel and Garea were awarded the belts.

The 8/11 Spectrum provided a dream match as the WWF Intercontinental Champion Ken Patera faced Bruno Sammartino and it was an even contest until Patera was struggling and hit Bruno with a ringside chair.  The referee threw the match out and declared Bruno the winner, but the action did not end there.  Patera kept punishing Sammartino placing him in a full nelson until Garea, Martel and Arnold Skaaland came to the rescue.  Patera’s time as champion could be coming to an end as he is embroiled in a series of matches with former WWWF Heavyweight Champion Pedro Morales.

WWF Champion Bob Backlund’s title reign is also in jeopardy with newcomer Sgt. Slaughter becoming a serious threat.Slaughter has challenge Backlund a few times this past month for the championship and the matches have all ended in disqualifications for either man.  At the Spectrum, Backlund defended against Larry Zbyszko with Tony Atlas as the special referee.  The self-proclaimed “Living Legend” took Backlund close but ended up being disqualified after refusing to a break a choke hold.  Backlund gained a bit of revenge by slamming Larry after the decision and kicking Zbyszko out of the ring.



1. Ric Flair1. Giant Baba/Jumbo Tsuruta
2. Bob Backlund2. The Fabulous Freebirds
3. Antonio Inoki3. Ray Stevens/Jimmy Snuka
4. Roddy Piper4. Dory and Terry Funk
5. Ricky Steamboat5. Rick Martel/Tony Garea
6. Giant Baba6. David and Kevin von Erich
7. Andre the Giant7. The Wild Samoans
8. Dory Funk Jr.8. Raul Mata/Jose Lothario
9. Bruiser Brody9. Abdullah the Butcher/Tor Kamata
10. Dick Murdoch10. Jay Youngblood/Joe Lightfoot

The Match of the Month comes from Japan as Hulk Hogan and Paul Orndorff takes on Antonio Inoki and Riki Choshu. This match was filmed on 6th November 1980 at the Tsu City Gymnasium, Tsu, Mie, Japan.

We head into the final month of 1980 but please remember to keep an eye out for our ‘Big Shows’ articles that will be reviewing the AJPW Real World Tag Team League Tour and NJPW’s MSG Tag League Tour. Both coming in the next week or so.

All Japan: Full report from the Real World Tag Team League and it’s conclusion.

EMLL: The Super Viernes event takes place on the 5th December, we will be reporting on all the happenings on this show.

Georgia: Who can stop The Freebirds?

Mid-Atlantic: With Greg Valentine, Ray Stevens and Jimmy Snuka all losing their respective titles this past month, they will surely be all out for revenge.

New Japan: A report from the conclusion of the MSG Tag League tournament and excursion, including a Dusty Rhodes vs. Hulk Hogan match.

Portland: Will things get any wilder in PNW and can Jonathan Boyd take Buddy Rose’s title away?

WWF: Ken Patera faces the tough challenge of Pedro Morales. Can he hold onto the IC Championship?

As always, thanks for reading…

Will Burns

Sources: Cagematch.netMid-Atlantic Gateway, MapleLeafWrestling.comWrestlingData, Joseph Shedlock Newsletters

Round-Up: September 1980

September has certainly been the most action-packed month of 1980 so far. Let’s get into it, starting with news of a new NWA World Heavyweight Champion…

Major happenings for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship this month as it switched hands not once but twice in Japan!

Harley Race dropped the title to All-Japan’s Giant Baba on 4th September in Saga, Japan and Harley reclaimed back off Baba on 9th September. For a full report of the title change click here.  Despite losing the belt and winning it back, Harley had the busiest month of the year so far being involved in 18 title matches.

You will see a small change in our section here, both Baba and Harley had begun new reigns so we will be keeping count of all the champion’s defenses.  You will see that we have added them to the match result.

1/9/80All Japan Pro Wrestling – Summer Action Series II – City Gymnasium, Kanya, Kagoshima, JapanHarley Race and Jumbo Tsuruta wrestled to a double count-out. Race retained the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
2/9/80All Japan Pro Wrestling – Summer Action Series II – Municipal Gymnasium, Nakatane, Kagoshima, JapanHarley Race and Austin Idol defeated Giant Baba and Prince Tonga 2-1 in a Best Two out of Three Falls bout.
4/9/80All Japan Pro Wrestling – Summer Action Series II – Saga Sports Center, Saga, JapanGiant Baba pinned Harley Race to become the NEW NWA World Heavyweight Champion.  This is Baba’s third reign holding the championship.
5/9/80All Japan Pro Wrestling – Summer Action Series II – Suizenji Gymnasium, Kumamoto, JapanGiant Baba and Jumbo Tsuruta defeated Karl von Steiger and Karl von Hess.
6/9/80All Japan Pro Wrestling – Summer Action Series II – Prefectural Gymnasium, Oita, JapanAustin Idol and Harley Race beat Giant Baba and Rocky Hata.
7/9/80All Japan Pro Wrestling – Summer Action Series II – Community Center Hall, Shonai, Oita, Japan.Giant Baba, Mil Mascaras and Jumbo Tsuruta defeated Austin Idol, Karl von Steiger and Harley Race by 2-1 in a Best Two out of Three Falls contest.
9/9/80All Japan Pro Wrestling – Summer Action Series II – Otsu Park Gymnasium, Otsu, Shiga, JapanHarley Race beat Giant Baba (1st Defense) to become the NEW NWA World Heavyweight Champion. This is Race’s fifth reign holding the title.
12/9/80All Japan Pro Wrestling – Summer Action Series II – Ichinomiya Industrial Gymnasium, Ichinomya, Aichi, JapanHarley Race (1st Defense) and Mil Mascaras wrestled to a double count-out.  Race retained the NWA World Heavyweight Title.
14/9/80St. Louis Wrestling Club – Chase Park Plaza Hotel, St. Louis MSHarley Race (2nd Defense) defeated Spike Huber to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Title.
15/9/80Championship Wrestling from Florida – West Palm Beach Auditorium, West Palm Beach, FLHarley Race (3rd Defense) defeated Bobo Brazil by disqualification to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
16/9/80Championship Wrestling from Florida – Fort Homer Hesterly Armory, Tampa, FLBugsy McGraw defeated Harley Race (4th Defense) via disqualification.  Race retained the NWA World Heavyweight Title.
17/9/80Championship Wrestling from Florida – Convention Center, Miami Beach, FLHarley Race (5th Defense) and Dick Murdoch wrestled to a time limit draw.  Race retained the NWA World Heavyweight Title.
18/9/80Championship Wrestling from Florida – Jacksonville Coliseum, Jacksonville, FLHarley Race (6th Defense) beat Dick Murdoch to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
19/9/80Championship Wrestling from Florida – Forrest High School, Ocala, FLBarry Windham defeated Harley Race (7th Defense) via disqualification.  Race retained the NWA World Heavyweight Title.
21/9/80St. Louis Wrestling Club – Chase Park Plaza Hotel, St. Louis MSHarley Race beat Jim Lang in a non-title encounter.
22/9/80World Wrestling Federation – Madison Square Garden, New York City, NYWWF Champion Bob Backlund defeated Harley Race (8th Defense) via disqualification in a match for both championships.  Race retained the NWA World Heavyweight Title and Backlund retained the WWF belt.
24/9/80Central States Wrestling – Topeka, KSHarley Race (9th Defense) beat Akio Sato to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
25/9/80Central States Wrestling – Memorial Hall, Kansas City, KSHarley Race (10th Defense) and Dick the Bruiser wrestled to double disqualification.  Race retained the NWA World Heavyweight Title.
26/9/80Central States Wrestling – Atchinson, KSHarley Race (11th Defense) beat Mike George to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
27/9/80Central States Wrestling – Memorial Hall, Kansas City, KSHarley Race (12th Defense) beat Akio Sato to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
28/9/80Big Time Wrestling – The Sportatorium, Dallas, TXHarley Race (13th Defense) and Gino Hernandez wrestled to double disqualification.  Race retained the NWA World Heavyweight Title.
29/9/80Big Time Wrestling – Fort Worth, TXHarley Race (14th Defense) and Kerry von Erich wrestled to double count-out.  Race retained the NWA World Heavyweight Championship
30/9/80Central States Wrestling – The Coliseum, Ottumwa, IAHarley Race (15th Defense) beat Rufus R. Jones to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.



In what could possibly be the biggest tour in the company’s history, the Summer Action Series II concluded on the 12th September playing host to two NWA World Heavyweight Championship changes.

On September 4th 1980, Giant Baba uncrowned Harley Race to become the 21st NWA World Heavyweight Champion and his third reign with the belt.  However, Baba would only hold the title for five days before Race won it back in a rematch on the 9th in Otsu, Shiga, Japan.  This is indeed the third time that Baba has held the belt and the third time he has lost it in a matter of days.  We have a full article on this title change and the history between Race and Baba here.

Once Race had regained the title, he had to face the challenge of Mexican star Mil Mascaras the next night in Ichinomya, Aichi.  Mascaras pushed Race to the limit using high-risk manoeuvres early in the bout but then dropped his style to brawl with the champ.  The action spilt to the outside and Mascaras more than held his own, so much Race lost his cool and threw the timekeepers’ table into the ring.  The referee let the behaviour slide as Race battered the masked man’s head into the table. The action continued back and forth and multiple near falls until the pair started brawling outside with Mascaras ramming Race’s head into the ring bell. Eventually, the referee counted both men out in what was the end of the great match as the two men continued to fight into the crowd. Message Board: Results: Canton, OH 9/24/80


Big Time promoted two shows in Canton, Ohio with WWF Champion Bob Backlund headlining against The Sheik.  Both matches were wild with the first bout (10/9) ending with a double count-out.  However, on the 24th, Backlund won in a Steel Cage match after leaving the cage in 21 minutes and he was awarded Sheik’s Detroit version of the United States Title by promoter Bruce Baker.

As we mentioned last month, other promotions are starting to invade the city but Ed Farhat is promoting a return to Cobo Hall (12/10) next month.  The WWF is one of the promotions starting to book shows in the area but they are sending a lot of talent to the Cobo show, so it looks likely that the promotions are working together at this time.  Backlund returns to the territory to defend the WWF title against Ken Patera and also confirmed for Cobo are The Wild SamoansAndre the Giant, The Davidson Brothers, Mighty Igor and Bobo Brazil.

As a cost-cutting measure, the last Big Time Wrestling TV show of 1980 will be taped on 9th October and the remained of shows to be broadcast will show matches from Central States Wrestling.


The talented “Gorgeous” Gino Hernandez had a great opportunity to add to the list of his accomplishments in his young career as he took on NWA World Champion Harley Race at Reunion Arena in Dallas, Texas on 28th September.  Unfortunately for The Handsome Halfbreed, the match ended in a double disqualification and Race left Dallas with the belt.

Earlier in the month (14/9), Bruiser Brody teamed with The Von Erichs, David, Kerry and Kevin to defeat Gary Young, Pak Song, Gary Hart and Gino Hernandez.


At the end of a tremendously busy month for him, Harley Race defended his NWA World Title four times at the end of September in his home state.  He managed to retain the belt against Akio Sato (twice), Dick the Bruiser, Mike George and Rufus R. Jones.

A new Central States Heavyweight champion was crowned as Mike George pinned “Bulldog” Bob Brown on the 11th in Kansas City.


Bobby Jaggers and Dusty Rhodes have been feuding across the state this past month in multiple gimmick matches with Rhodes emerging as the victor in the majority of the bouts.  Dusty won both Texas Death matches in West Palm Beach (8/9) and in Orlando (14/9) while there was a no-contest decision in a Light Outs bout at the Fort Homer Hesterly Armory (9/9).  They also compete against each other in tag matches during the month but at a big show at the Armory in Tampa on the 16th, they were back in singles action as Rhodes beat Jaggers in a Texas Bullrope match.

In other news regarding Rhodes, Sir Oliver Humperdink has been forced to become Dusty’s valet for 30 days after Dusty defeated Ivan Koloff in Lakeview, Florida. The stipulation agreed was that Dusty would shave his head if he couldn’t beat Koloff and if Dusty won then Sir Oliver had to join Rhodes for 30 days.

On the 16thHarley Race returned and lost to World Title challenger Bugsy McGraw, who still has the Florida Heavyweight belt, by disqualification as Les Thornton and Mike Graham battled over the NWA World Junior Heavyweight belt, but the match ended in a double pin so Thornton retained the strap.

Harley stuck around for a string of title defenses.  The night before the McGraw match, he beat Bobo Brazil by disqualification at the West Palm Beach Auditorium while he went to face Dick Murdoch in two consecutive bouts later that week.  On the 17th, Race and Murdoch went to a one-hour time limit draw in Miami Beach and the next night they main-evented the biggest show of the month at the Jacksonville Coliseum. Although Race pinned Murdoch in the main event, we did witness one title change.

Florida Tag Team Champions Bobo Brazil and Bugsy McGraw 1980 | Pro ...

Ivan Koloff and Nikolai Volkoff had only held the Florida Tag Team champions just over a month before losing to Bobo Brazil and Bugsy McGraw in front of packed house at the Coliseum in Jacksonville. As well as the NWA World Title defence, the fans were treated with two more title matches that night.  Les Thornton and Mike Graham participate in a rematch from their bout the next before at the Armory, with the Englishman winning to retain his title.  Finally, Barry Windham successfully defended his Florida TV belt against Florida Southern Heavyweight champion Dick Slater.

Speaking of Windham, the 6ft 6-inch tall youngster received a shot at Harley Race’s World Title on the 19th at Forrest High School in Ocala, Florida. This was Race’s final defense for the month in the territory and Windham won by disqualification.


EMLL promoted their huge anniversary show ‘EMLL 47. Aniversario’ at the sold-out Arena Mexico in Mexico City on the 26th September. In the main event, El Satanico faced bitter rival Mocho Cota in a Lucha de Apuestas bout – where a competitor makes a public gamble with their adversary.  Satánico won by two falls to one which forced Mocho Cota to be humiliated by being shaved bald afterwards per the stipulation of Hair vs. Hair.

The NWA World Middleweight Title was on the line as El Fantasma challenged Sangre Chicana for the belt in a Best of Two out of Three Falls match. The champion took the first fall with the challenger winning the second but the bout ended in a no-contest so Chicana remained the champion.  Cien Caras also successfully defended his Mexican National Heavyweight belt winning 2-1 against TNT.


A wild month for title changes, stars moving on, stars returning and new stars debuting in Georgia.  The month started off with Stan Lane defeating Kevin Sullivan to clinch the Georgia Junior Heavyweight Title on the 3rd September at the Municipal Auditorium in Columbus.  A new Heavyweight champion of the territory was also crowned as Dennis Condrey pinned Steve Keirn on the 8th at the Bell Auditorium in Augusta.  Out for revenge after last month’s attack, Mr. Wrestling and Mr. Wrestling II gained the ultimate retribution on The Assassins by taking the Georgia Tag Team Titles from their waists at The Omni (19/9).

Lots of new talent returned or appear in the territory for their first time. Mr. Saito is back and challenging various members of the roster to a special $5,000 Challenge Match on the Best of Championship Wrestling TV program.  So far, Saito has retained his money by going to a time-limit draw with Steve Keirn, the Japanese suplex specialist then attacked Keirn afterwards but Kevin Sullivan and Mr. Wrestling II made the save.  A week later, Jack Lincoln faced Saito in another $5,000 challenge with the former Olympic wrestler put the rookie away with ease.

Terry Funk has returned and joined forces with Ole Anderson and they are running amok in the promotion.  On the 20/9 Georgia TV show, Funk and Anderson attacked Mike Davis and the NWA National TV Champion Terry Taylor brawled with Funk afterwards.  Funk then ended up scrapping with Kevin Sullivan later in the show with Taylor again emerging from the back to fight Funk.

Two superstars have been forced to leave the territory due to recent results at the 5/9 Omni show. Ole’s brother Gene Anderson lost a ‘Loser Leaves Georgia’ bout to Bill Watts and the mysterious masked man known as Uvalde Slim. The stipulation was that whoever lost the fall would leave and Gene has now been forced to leave Georgia.  Also on the show, Mr. Wrestling II sent The Masked Superstar packing as he also lost a Loser Leaves bout, however, this match was inside a steel cage.

A tag team from the Mid-South territory have arrived called The Fabulous Freebirds. The team consists of Michael Hayes, Buddy Roberts and Terry Gordy – yes, three men.  They say that there are introducing “a new dimension to tag team wrestling” and that opponents cannot plan their strategy as any combination of the three could wrestle in two-on-two competition. The flamboyant trio rocked up on TV wearing all pink robes while Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘Freebird’ was playing in the background.

The company made their debut in Columbus, Ohio on the 28th at Ohio Center with Dusty Rhodes (banned in Georgia) getting his hands on Ole Anderson in the main event.


A big month in Houston for the Paul Boesch promotion.  He put on his usual weekly shows at the Sam Houston Coliseum with the big news being that Gino Hernandez, despite the challenges of El Halcon and Mark Lewin, is still the NWA American Heavyweight Champion.  After defeating El Halcon by shady tactics on the 5th, Hernandez faced “The Maniac” on the 12th in a wild encounter.

Lewin took an early advantage claiming the first fall on the champion in a three-fall bout in just over two minutes. The crowd erupted as Lewin laid out Hernandez and his manager Gary Hart with a pair of vicious chops to the head which accumulated in “Gorgeous Gino” being pinned.  Gino got the equalizer after hitting a top rope elbow to a standing Lewin for the pin. Although Gino was back in the match, Lewin dominated until Hart got involved.  Lewin lost his cool and beat Gary Hart merciless outside and ended up being counted out so Gino kept the title.  Lewin vowed after the match that he wants another shot at Gino.


In Canada, on the 27thFrank Tunney promoted a huge night at the Gardens with a Greg Valentine vs. Ric Flair main event for the NWA United States Heavyweight Championship.  The champion managed to overcome Flair’s challenge in 22 minutes but the war is far from over, as the referee failed to notice that Flair’s leg was draped across the bottom rope for the pin.

Also on the show, The Great Hossein Arab defended the NWA Canadian Heavyweight belt against the blood thirsty Indian grappler Tiger Jeet Singh.  Arab escaped with the title losing on a disqualification decision after he purposely struck the referee to keep the belt.  Bobby Duncum made his Gardens debut against Angelo “King Kong” Mosca, in a battle of former pro footballers, but the bout ended in a double disqualification after referee John Laing was manhandled by both guys and he threw the match out.

Announcements were made that Maple Leaf Wrestling will run joint shows with Mid-Atlantic in Buffalo (18/10) and back at the Gardens (19/10) next month, we will explain all the happenings from those events next time.


There has been a heavy influx of new or returning talent to the area over the past few months and it looks like more could be coming in.  Ivan Koloff joined The Sheepherders, Butch Miller and Luke Williams in the territory.  The Kiwis made the ultimate impact in the territory by winning the Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Titles from Matt Borne and Buzz Sawyer at the Charlotte Coliseum at the end of the month (28/9).  Miller and Williams are still undefeated so far and “The Russian Bear” Ivan Koloff has joined forces with Iron Sheik and Gene Anderson.  It is understood that Roddy Piper will be joining Mid-Atlantic in October.

Sweet Ebony Diamond is hot on the trail of The Iron Sheik’s Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight title and they have torn it up across the Carolina arenas.

Speaking of Gene Anderson, he recently attacked NWA Television Champion The Masked Superstar, who is now teaming with “Number One” Paul Jones and they are in hot pursuit of Jimmy Snuka and Ray Stevens and the NWA World Tag Team Championships.

Ric Flair and Greg Valentine are still embroiled in a bloody feud over the United States Championship, a title that the “The Hammer” is still in possession of.  Flair has been taking Valentine to the limit and one-hour draws across the Carolinas.  Ricky Steamboat is also honing in on The Iron Sheik’s Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight belt.


The Bloody Fight Series dominated the whole month in Japan which concluded with a big event at the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo on the 30th.

On the 11th in Osaka, two great title match main events headlined the card. Tatsumi Fujinami successfully defended his WWF Junior Heavyweight strap against veteran Tony Rocco and Fujinami’s mentor Antonio Inoki fought rival Stan Hansen for the NWF Heavyweight belt.

Hansen was accompanied by “Pretty Boy” Larry Sharpe who had helped Hansen sabotage Inoki’s shot at Bob Backlund and his WWF Title.  Inoki ended up winning the bout via count-out after battling outside, but before Inoki was announced the winner, Hansen hit him with a lariat from behind.  This knocked Inoki out cold and it took him several minutes before he could be helped to his feet.  The feud continued throughout the tour and Inoki would gain revenge on the 25th at the Hiroshima Prefectural Gymnasium.  He handed Hansen another shot at the NWF Heavyweight Title and defeated the Texan in ten and a half minutes.  It was a hard-hitting affair with both men showing their real hatred for each other.  The finish came when Inoki ducked a lariat and hooked Hansen’s arms into a backslide for the three count.

WWF Champion Bob Backlund was less than pleased when Sharpe and Hansen interfered in the Inoki bout and he gave Hansen a chance at his WWF Title at the huge event in the sold-out Nippon Budokan on September 30th.  Both men saw a decent amount of offense but Hansen’s patience was wearing thin when he was unable to put Backlund away for the pin.  Hansen saw red and dragged Backlund to the floor to brawl in front of the timekeepers table and was disqualified.  Backlund came around and smashed a steel chair over Hansen’s head and the two started to trade punches again before Hansen retreated. These two will meet again.

Chavo Guerrero flew in for a one-on-one encounter with NWA International Junior Heavyweight titleholder Kengo Kimura, the battled for nearly 16 minutes but the bout ended as a double count-out.  Georgia-native Ron Starr who has been working for NWA Hollywood recently, made his return to the company after two years to face WWF Junior Heavyweight Champion Tatsumi Fujinami and did more than hold his own.  However, Fujinami prevailed winning in 18 minutes with a Boston Crab submission.

In the main event, Antonio Inoki fought WWF Intercontinental Champion Ken Patera for the NWF Heavyweight Title.  Inoki beat the strongman in just under 15 minutes.

Next month, we see the beginning of the 24-show Toukon Series tour with plenty Gaijins joining.  Guerrero and Starr return as Jim Garvin and Paul Orndorff make their first-ever appearances in the country.  Steve Keirn returns as does the long-awaited reappearance of Hulk Hogan, another guy that Antonio Inoki is dying to get his hands on.


PNW Champion Roddy Piper and “Playboy” Buddy Rose’s long feud has finally come to an end after Piper lost a Loser Leaves match on the 27th September.  However, earlier in the month (6th Sept), Piper and rookie Popovich teamed up to face Rick Oliver and Rose in a non-title title bout, although it was promoted last month to be for the vacant PNW Tag Team straps.  Using shady tactics, Rose and Oliver got the win in a three-fall affair by 2-1. Following the match, Rose stated if anyone could remove his mask, he would not wear it ever again.  Piper sneaked up behind Rose slapped on a sleeper and removed the Playboy’s hood and threw it into the fans.

Come the 13th, Piper defended the title against Rose in a Best of Three Falls match and Piper took fall one with a sleeperhold but before the second fall could begin, Rose’s comrade Ed Wiskowski attacked the Scotsman, ramming his head into the ring post causing a laceration on Piper’s forehead.  Piper managed to pick up the second fall with a roll-up and Rose emerged with a chair.  Unfortunately for the Playboy, Piper gained control and smashed him over the back.  Many competitors from the locker room tried to stop the manic Scotsman and although initially they could not, numbers prevailed and finally saved Rose from serious injury.  After the match, promoter Don Owens declared a ‘Loser Leaves’ match would take place between Piper and Rose on 15th September.  Although Rose was fearful about fighting Piper again and he clearly stated he did not want to face Piper in this type of match.  However, Piper demanded the bout and it proclaimed it would be just one fall and with two referees officiating!

The match took place in the hot and humid Portland Sports Arena with no air conditioning and the bout began a technical contest.  As time went on, Rose started breaking the rules and Piper followed suit. The action spilt to the outside a few times but once back inside the ropes, the pair collided headfirst into each other and the match was halted for several minutes. The two officials pulled back the eye-lids of both men to check on their consciousness. One of the referee’s, Sandy Barr emerged from the back with a container of water and threw it on both men to revive them. The blood started flowing once Piper had gnawed at Rose’s forehead and Buddy smacked Roddy to open his wound from the previous match.

Rose went to the outside to grab a chair and Barr stopped the Playboy in his tracks, however, the pair grappled over it which Rose overpowered Barr and the chair and the referee went hurtling into an injured leg of Piper.  Buddy went to work on the leg and clamped on a figure-four leglock with twenty seconds to go of the time-limit. Piper held on until the timekeeper Dutch Savage rang the bell. Rose grabbed the mic and declared himself the winner, Don Owens came down and said there was no way Buddy was going to be awarded the match.  Much to the shock of the attendance, Rose attacked Owens and put the boots to him.  Piper made the save and demanded Rose give him a no-time-limit rematch on the 27th.

In the rematch the next week, Piper clamped a sleeper on Rose and he was trapped and panicking.  Rose’s movement caused Piper to lose his footing, Rose pressed his feet into the turnbuckle and Piper crumbled under the weight for the three count.  Roddy Piper has now left Portland.  Buddy Rose, Rick Oliver and Fidel Cortez joined the TV show the next week celebrating by showering each other with Champagne and Rose was sporting a “Bye Bye Piper” shirt.

New Tag Team Champions were crowned when Fidel Cortez and Rick Oliver won the belts in Grandview, Washington on 12th September.  We cannot locate the official result of the match but we presume they defeated the team of Piper and Popovich for the straps.

Joe Lightfoot has arrived in the area and joined forces with Jonathan Boyd and Dutch Savage with the aim to take Buddy Rose’s army down.


The Kiel Auditorium was sold out again for a big card in the territory promoted by the legendary Sam Muchnick on the 12th September.  Ric Flair pinned Ted DiBiaseRufus R. Jones tagged with David von Erich in a victory over Takachiho and Bruiser “King Kong” Brody and in the main event, Dick The Bruiser defeated Dick Murdoch in a Fence Match.

Muchnick is promoting a huge card in October at the Checkerdome in St. Louis with an NWA World Title return match headlining as Harley Race defends against David von Erich.  Also announced, Ken Patera will defend his Missouri heavyweight belt against Ted DiBiase and Brody, Kevin von Erich, Dick the Bruiser, Dick Murdoch and Rufus R. Jones are all listed to appear.


Two title changes in the WWC at the big event in Caguas, Puerto Rico on August 17th.  Jose Rivera lost his WWC Caribbean Heavyweight belt to Luke Graham and Pierre Martel defeated Mr. Fuji to become the new WWC North American Heavyweight Champion.


The Wild Samoans, Afa and Sika have reclaimed the WWF Tag Team Titles winning the six-team tournament that was held on WWF TV over the past month. Captain Lou Albano’s men defeated Rene Goulet and Tony Garea in finals after Afa pinned Goulet following a double team bodyslam while the referee was distracted.

Last month, Gorilla Monsoon wrestled WWF Intercontinental Champion Ken Patera at the Philadelphia Spectrum and the veteran punished the Olympic Strongman before being brutalised at the end of the bout.  Monsoon lost a four-minute match to Hulk Hogan at the Civic Center, Springfield, Massachusetts on 20th September and rumours abound that Monsoon this was his last match.  It is claimed there will be a ceremony on 11th October where Gorilla will hang up his boots at the Spectrum.

The Federation presented another sold-out crowd at Madison Square Garden for one of the biggest matches in WWF history.  A unification match for the NWA World Heavyweight Title and the WWF Championship – we covered this entire event in our feature article here.




1. Giant Baba1. Ricky Steamboat/Jay Youngblood
2. Antonio Inoki2. Giant Baba/Jumbo Tsuruta
3. Greg Valentine3. The Sheepherders
4. Bob Backlund4. The Wild Samoans
5. Andre the Giant5. Mr. Wrestling/Mr. Wrestling II
6. Ric Flair6. Fidel Cortez/Rick Oliver
7. Mil Mascaras7. Paul Jones/The Masked Superstar
8. Jumbo Tsuruta8. Gene and Ole Anderson
9. David Von Erich9. The Fabulous Freebirds
10. Dick Murdoch10. Bob Brown/Rufus R. Jones

This month we take a look at the excellent Harley Race vs. Bob Backlund – NWA vs WWF bout from Madison Square Garden on 22nd September 1980.

Detroit: The Sheik’s territory seems to be spiralling into obscurity, can it last another month?

Georgia: The Freebirds have flown into the area and are ready to add a new dimension to tag team wrestling… can they succeed?

Maple Leaf/Mid-Atlantic: The promotions relationship is going strength to strength as they book big shows in Buffalo and Toronto in October. We will have reports from both shows.

New Japan: The Toukon Series gets underway as Antonio Inoki will be looking to clash with Hulk Hogan

Portland: Now that Martel, Piper and the Sheepherders have left the Northwest, who will stop Buddy Rose and his new army?

St. Louis: The Checkerdome show card is looking stacked. Full report next time.

WWF: Will Gorilla Monsoon retire? The promotion returns to MSG and the Spectrum, we will have news from both shows.

As always, thanks for reading…

Will Burns

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

Round-Up: August 1980


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.

1/8/80Houston Wrestling – Sam Houston Coliseum, Houston, TXHarley 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.
3/8/80Championship Wrestling from FloridaHarley 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.
7/8/80St. Louis Wrestling Club – Chase Park Plaza Hotel, St. Louis, MSHarley Race defeated Bobby Vann in a non-title match.
8/8/80St. Louis Wrestling Club – Kiel Auditorium, St. Louis, MSHarley 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.
16/8/80Georgia Championship Wrestling – WTBS TV Studios, Atlanta, GAHarley Race beat Bill White in a non-title match.
25/8/80Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling – Greenville, SCHarley Race defeated Ric Flair via count out to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Title.
26/8/80Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling – Dorton Arena, Raleigh, NCHarley Race vs. Ric Flair for the NWA World Heavyweight Title was declared a draw in a No Disqualification match.
27/8/80Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling – Rocky Mount Ball Park, Rocky Mount, NCHarley Race vs. Sweet Ebony Diamond – winner unknown.
29/8/80Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling – Richmond, VAHarley Race and Ricky Steamboat went to a double count out.  Race retained the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.

JustRasslin on Twitter: ""The Russian Bear" Ivan Koloff & Nikolai ...


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.


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.


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.

Iron Sheik | Wrestling, Iron sheik

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.


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.


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.


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’ConnorDick 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.


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.


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 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.



1. Antonio Inoki1. Ricky Steamboat/Jay Youngblood
2. Greg Valentine2. Giant Baba/Jumbo Tsuruta
3. Ric Flair3. Matt Borne/Buzz Sawyer
4. Tony Atlas4. The Assassins
5. David von Erich5. Gene and Ole Anderson
6. Bob Backlund6. Bob Brown/Rufus R. Jones
7. Andre the Giant7. The Wild Samoans
8. Ken Patera8. Bret and Keith Hart
9. Stan Hansen9. Buddy Rose/Ed Wiskowski
10. Buddy Rose10. 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…

Will Burns

Sources: Cagematch.netMid-Atlantic Gateway, MapleLeafWrestling.comWrestlingData, TheWrestlingCollector (YouTube), Joseph Shedlock Wrestling Newsletters

Round-Up: June 1980

The summer of 1980 is underway with a bang, we have numerous angles to discuss, multiple title changes across the National Wrestling Alliance territories and much, much, more… here is Will Burns with a full rundown of June 1980 in the NWA.

Our NWA World Heavyweight Champion Harley Race had a quiet month in regards to previous months this year with only ten bouts in June and only eight title defenses.

8/6/80Georgia Championship Wrestling – The Omni, Atlanta, GAHarley Race defeated Mr. Wrestling II
12/6/80Central States Wrestling – Memorial Hall, Kansas City, KSHarley RaceBob Brown & Dick Murdoch beat Pak Song, Skandor Akbar & Takachiho
13/6/80St. Louis Wrestling Club – Kiel Auditorium, St. Louis, MSHarley Race defeated Rocky Johnson by 2-1 in a Best Two out of Three Falls Match to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
16/6/80Big Time Wrestling – Fort Worth, TXHarley Race defeated Bruiser Brody by DQ to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
18/6/80Central States Wrestling – Shrine Mosque, Springfield, MSHarley Race defeated Steve Lawler to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
21/6/80Gulf Athletic Club – Port Arthur, TXHarley Race and Bruiser Brody went to a double count out. Race retains the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
22/6/80Houston Wrestling – Sam Houston Coliseum, Houston, TXHarley Race and Mil Mascaras went to a double count out. Race retains the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
23/6/80Georgia Championship Wrestling – Bell Auditorium, Augusta, GAHarley Race and Tommy Rich went to a double disqualification. Race retains the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
24/6/80Georgia Championship Wrestling – The Coliseum, Macon, GAHarley Race defeated Mr. Wrestling II to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
25/6/80Georgia Championship Wrestling – Municipal Auditorium, Columbus, GAHarley Race defeated Tommy Rich to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.


The Super Power Series continued throughout June running until its conclusion on the 12th in Gifu, Japan.  The main feud featured Giant Baba and Abdullah the Butcher which cumulated in a big battle on the final night.  In a strange turn of events, Baba lost control and was disqualified giving the Man from Sudan the victory.

One standout match was held in Ichinoseki, Iwate as Jumbo Tsuruta defended his NWA United National Heavyweight Title against Billy Robinson in a close affair that ended up as a 1-1 draw. The Englishman will be looking for a rematch in a future tour.



A one-night contenders tournament was held at the Cobo Arena (28/6) in Detroit for a title shot at John Bonello and Randy Scott’s Detroit version of the NWA World Tag Team Titles.  The All-Japan contingent of Jumbo Tsuruta and Giant Baba outlasted seven other teams to grab the shot in the main event that night. After defeating Killer Brooks and The Sheik in the tournament finals, Tsuruta and Baba defied all the odds pinning Bonello and Scott in the title match to take the belts back to Tokyo, Japan.


NWA World Champion Harley Race faced a tough test in Fort Worth, Texas on 16th as he once again met Bruiser Brody in a title defense.  He was lucky to leave the Lone State with the title in a close-fought contest until Brody found himself disqualified.

For the first time ever, the four Von Erichs (Fritz, Kevin, David and Kerry Von Erich) teamed up in a big eight-man team encounter against the J.J. Dillon’s team of himself, Mr. Hito, Mr. Sakurada and Toru Tanaka. Of course, in front of the raucous Reunion Arena, Dallas crowd, the Texan boys came out on top.


The NWA Central States Tag Team Titles played hot potato this past month with champions Pak Song and Takachiho dropped the belts to “Bulldog” Bob Brown and Pat O’Connor on 18th June in Des Moines, Iowa only to lose them themselves three days later. The duo of Killer Karl Kox and Takachiho won the belts on TV on the 21st at the KBMA TV Studios in Kansas City.


There was yet another title switch in Florida with the Florida Tag Team Titles exchanging hands again this month.  Three-time champions Bryan St. John and Stan Lane, who had just clinched the straps last month against Jack Brisco and Jim Garvin, were defeated by Jack and his brother Gerry at the Eddie Graham Sports Arena on 22nd June. This makes the Brisco Brothers seven-time holders of the Florida tag titles.


The NWA World Heavyweight Champion Harley Race spent the majority of the month in the territory defending the title three times at the end of June.  Race is still in possession of the belt but had hard-fought battles with Tommy Rich and Mr. Wrestling II and both will be looking for rematches when Race returns to the area next month.  For Rich, he is set to receive four opportunities in July at Race’s title with legendary former NWA Champion Lou Thesz signed on as the special guest referee for some of the bouts.

There were various title changes at a great show at the Omni on 8th June, with three new champions crowned.  The show was promoted as a ‘Night Of Champions’ as all the title were on the line and the Georgia Junior Heavyweight Championship was being re-introduced to the territory in a one-night tournament. Kevin Sullivan was the victor and new champion after defeating Dutch Mantell in the final outlasting some great talent including Eddie Gilbert, Don Diamond, Terry Taylor, Eddie Mansfield and Welsh wrestling wizard Tony Charles.

In other title changes, Austin Idol lost his Georgia Heavyweight title to Baron von Raschke and The Russians (Alexei Smirnoff and Ivan Koloff) dropped the Georgia Tag Team titles to Ole and Lars Anderson.  Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood retained their NWA World Tag Team titles against The Assassins and Harley Race retained against Mr. Wrestling II as mentioned above.

The Andersons did not hold the Georgia Tag Team titles for long as The Assassins dethroned Ole and Lars at the William Bell Auditorium, Augusta on the 16th.

Gino Hernandez | Pro Wrestling | Fandom


An impressive performance over the past month has been one of Gino Hernandez who still remains the NWA American Heavyweight champion despite the challenges of El HalconTiger Conway Jr. and Bruiser Brody.  Many critics thought the “Gorgeous One” would have been defeated by now.

Brody took NWA World Champion Harley Race to the limit in Port Arthur, Texas on June 21st but the match ended in a double count-out. Race also faced the challenge of Mexican superstar Mil Mascaras a day later at the Sam Houston Coliseum but that match also ended in both men being counted out.


All-Japan Pro Wrestling’s Giant Baba made his return to the Maple Leaf Gardens with his protégé Jumbo Tsuruta and the NWA International Tag Team belts.  Baba lasted appeared in Toronto back in 1963-64 and had a tough encounter with Scott Irwin and Bruiser Brody but was victorious.

Despite facing Dewey Robertson in a rematch on June 15thThe Great Hossein Arab is still the NWA Canadian Heavyweight champion.


The tournament to crown new Mid-Atlantic Tag champs took place on June 2nd at the Memorial Auditorium in Greenville, SC.  The tournament was required after former champs, the Masked Superstars #1 and #2 split when Superstar #2 (John Studd) was ran out of town by Blackjack Mulligan.  The newly paired young team of Matt Borne and Buzz Sawyer met Gene Anderson’s due of Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Champion The Iron Sheik and Jimmy Snuka in the finals with the youngsters cheered on throughout by the capacity crowd.  In a match which Sheik and Snuka dominated, the young duo came out on top in an upset to take home the tag team gold.

There was a vast amount of tag action this past month and one team seeing a reunion was Greg Valentine and the United States Champion Ric Flair, however, the pairing did not last long.  A big show at the Greensboro Coliseum (8th) saw Flair and Valentine go up against Snuka and Sheik, but the Nature Boy sharp realised it was a mistake tagging back up with Valentine.  Flair was pinned to lose the match and as soon as the bell rang, Valentine grabbed Anderson’s cane and smashed Flair in the face numerous times. Flair vowed revenge on Valentine and a match was signed for the 19th June at the Norfolk Scope arena, the bout ended in a double disqualification for the U.S. title.

Now Valentine has his sights on the gaining the United States gold, his former tag partner Ray Stevens has joined the camp of Gene Anderson and now stands alongside Snuka and Sheik.  Stevens and Snuka joined forces to face NWA World Tag Team Champions Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood which spelt the end of the title run for the good guys.  On another big Greensboro card (22nd) Anderson’s men defeated Steamboat and Youngblood to become the new champions after Ricky felt the impact of a devastating Stevens’ piledriver on the concrete floor leaving Youngblood to fend for himself for the remainder of the bout.

The NWA Television Title has been waged in a war between two masked men, The Masked Superstar, the champion and the challenger Sweet Ebony Diamond.  Despite many attempts to dethrone the Superstar, Diamond won all the matches via DQ so the Superstar is still in possession of the title.

Antonio Inoki vs Stan Hansen | Pro wrestling, Japanese wrestling ...


After a gruelling tournament that lasted 21 days, Antonio Inoki defeated Stan Hansen to win the third annual MSG Series trophy on 5th June in Kuramae Kokugikan, Tokyo.  It was the second time that Inoki and Hansen had met in the finals of the tournament, which was a repeat of last year’s edition.  Hansen experienced a bad start to the month as he also lost an opportunity of holding the WWF title after he failed to beat Bob Backlund a day earlier at the Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium in Nagoya.

Heading into the final day in Kuramae Kokugikan, Inoki was a clear leader on 33 points and had already qualified for the final after holding Andre the Giant to a double count-out in Nagoya a day earlier.  Hansen, Andre and Seiji Sakaguchi was all level on 29 points so the place for the finalist had yet to be decided.  Despite interference from Stan Hansen, Andre defeated Sakaguchi to eliminate him from the final.  Moments later, Hansen jumped in the ring to face Andre in a chaotic bout.  The pair brawled for minutes before the bell could ring to begin the match and Hansen took the early advantage smashing Andre to the ground with a lariat. However, as the match spilt to the outside, Hulk Hogan attacked Andre causing Hansen to win the match via count-out and the Giant was eliminated.  Once the decision was declared, Andre was furious and Hogan and Hansen scarpered into the crowd.

The full standings for the tournament are listed in the table below. Two points were awarded for a win, one for a draw and no points for a defeat.

Later in the month, the Summer Fight Series began with Stampede Wrestling out of Calgary, Alberta, Canada had a huge presence.  Dynamite Kid and Bad News Allen returned with Bret and Keith Hart making their Japanese debut.


The Pacific Northwest was still rocking with the eruption of the Mount St. Helens volcano that sadly left many dead but Portland Wrestling kept going to give the public something to cheer.  It was as a chaotic as ever with Buddy Rose now in a war with former partners The Sheepherders. The Portland Sports Arena played host to a Buddy Rose vs. Butch Miller match on the 7th and with the match tied at 1-1 the third fall took a bloody turn.  Rose slammed Miller’s head into the ring post and Butch bled profusely while referee Sandy Barr counted both men out to a no-decision.  The brawl escalated until the entire locker room emerged from the back to break the fight up but order was not restored until Luke Williams came and took his partner away from the crowd.

A week later a 13-man battle royal took place and the last three men remaining were Rose and the Kiwi tag team. A man at ringside jumped into the ring, he was wearing a red jacket, a hat and a volcanic ash mask and carried a cane. He beat up the Sheepherders with the cane until security got in the ring and the man became unmasked, it was Rose’s former tag team partner Ed Wiskowski.  Wiskowski and Rose beat up security and Miller and Williams until Rick Martel and Roddy Piper made the save.

The next week (21st June) promoter Don Owens ordered Rose and Miller to meet in a Lumberjack match but Wiskowski was barred from the building.  The match took place and was wild with Rip Rogers siding with Rose to create a new “Rose Army”. Rogers tried to help Rose get the win after throwing the “Playboy” a chain, Piper tried to intervene but got punched by Rose, however, it was enough for Rose to be distracted and Miller picked up the win to erupt the crowd.

On the 28th June, Piper put any grudges aside and teamed up with the Sheepherders to face the new Rose Army.  Rose insisted that Owens book the match as a one-fall contest and whoever was pinned who have to leave the territory.  This backfired on Rose and Rogers was pinned and is now leaving Portland after only three weeks.


Sam Muchnick promoted an excellent NWA World title match as champion Harley Race defeated Rocky Johnson by two falls to one in front of a packed house in the Kiel Auditorium.  The WWF Championship was also on the line as Bob Backlund successfully defended against English veteran Lord Alfred Hayes.


Larry Zbyszko and Bruno Sammartino once again made headline news this month.  With Zbyszko taking advantage of every loophole or shortcut to avoid a beating from his former mentor, the WWF officials have signed a huge match to take place at Shea Stadium in Flushing, New York on 9th August 1980.  The “Showdown At The Shea” event has been hyped to hold a match to end the feud and Zbyszko will have nowhere to run, as the match will take place inside the confines of a 15-foot steel cage!  More matches are to be announced next month.

WWF Champion Bob Backlund and WWF Intercontinental Champion Ken Patera continued their war in a huge title vs title match at the Philadelphia Spectrum on 21st June. The IC champion ended up with his hand raised but it was via disqualification so the WWF belt stays with Backlund.  By the end of the month, both men still have their titles despite Backlund defending against the likes of Samoan #1, Tor Kamata, Bobby Duncum and Hulk Hogan.  Patera has successfully defended his belt against Tony Atlas, Ivan Putski and Pat Patterson over the past month and the Wild Samoans remain the holders of the WWF Tag Team Titles.

NWA Champion Harley Race is set to return to the Northeast area next month.



1. Antonio Inoki1. Ricky Steamboat/Jay Youngblood
2. Ric Flair2. Giant Baba/Jumbo Tsuruta
3. Tony Atlas3. The Wild Samoans
4. David Von Erich4. Roddy Piper/Rick Martel
5. Dusty Rhodes5. The Assassins
6. Stan Hansen6. The Sheepherders
7. Bob Backlund7. Mr. Hito/Mr. Sakaruda
8. Bruiser Brody8. Ole and Lars Anderson
9. The Great Hossein Arab9. Matt Borne/Buzz Sawyer
10. Tommy Rich10. Buddy Rose/Ed Wiskowski

This month’s match comes from Portland, Oregon and the Don Owens’ promoted Pacific Northwest Wrestling with a 13-man Battle Royal. This match does not feature any great technical ability but one great angle that personifies the entertaining and groundbreaking territory of Portland Wrestling.

Mid-Atlantic: Will Steamboat and Youngblood get their rematch for the NWA World Tag Team belts?  Will Greg Valentine be able to take Ric Flair’s United States championship title away from the Nature Boy?

Portland: The new partnership of Roddy Piper and The Sheepherders will look to run Buddy Rose and Ed Wiskowski out of Portland, once and for all.

WWF: The Showdown at the Shea card should be shaping up for the 9th August show.  We will discuss more matches as they are announced.

As always, thanks for reading…

Will Burns

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

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.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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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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 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.


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.


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.


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. 


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.



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: January 1980

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

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 31 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).

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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

Image result for gino hernandez


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.

Image result for sammartino zbyszko

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.


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.

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