Category Archives: Stampede Wrestling

Round-Up: February 1981

The new year got off with a bang last month with numerous title changes and feuds exploded across territories. More of the same in February 1981. Let’s start by seeing how the champ got on….

The NWA Worlds Heavyweight Champion Harley Race flew over to the Land of the Rising Sun this past month to defend the belt against former two-time title holder Giant Baba.  In addition, he was dealt some tough defences stateside by the NWA matchmakers.  Let’s see how he fared in February 1981.

DATEEVENTRESULT
6/2/81St. Louis Wrestling Club – Kiel Auditorium, St. Louis, MOTed DiBiase defeated Harley Race (68th defense) by two falls to one in a Best of Three Falls bout. The third fall was via disqualification; therefore, Race retained the NWA World Heavyweight Title.
7/2/81Georgia Championship Wrestling – Memorial Auditorium, Chattanooga, TNMr. Wrestling II defeated Harley Race (69th defense) via DQ. Race retains the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
8/2/81Georgia Championship Wrestling – The Omni, Atlanta, GAHarley Race (70th defense) and Tony Atlas battled to a double count-out.
11/2/81All-Japan Pro Wrestling – Citizen Gymnasium, Nagareyama, Chiba, JapanGiant Baba and Jumbo Tsuruta beat Harley Race and Karl Kox by two falls to one.
12/2/81All-Japan Pro Wrestling – City Gymnasium, Tsu, Mie, JapanHarley Race and Dick Murdoch wrestled to a double count out in a non-title match.
13/2/81All-Japan Pro Wrestling – Wakayama Prefectural Gymnasium, Wakayama, JapanGiant Baba and Jumbo Tsuruta defeated Harley Race and Mario Milano by two falls to one.
14/2/81All-Japan Pro Wrestling – Municipal Sports Park Gymnasium, Omihachiman, Shiga, JapanGiant Baba, Jumbo Tsuruta and Tiger Toguchi defeated Harley Race, Karl Kox and Mario Milano by two falls to one.
15/2/81All-Japan Pro Wrestling – Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, JapanGiant Baba defeated Harley Race (71st defense) by two falls to one in a Best of Three Falls bout. The third fall was via disqualification; therefore, Race retained the NWA World Heavyweight Title.
22/2/81Big Time Wrestling Texas – Reunion Arena, Dallas, TXHarley Race (72nd defense) and Kerry Von Erich went to a double count out. Race retained the NWA World Championship.
26/2/81Central States Wrestling – Memorial Hall, Kansas City, KSHarley Race (73rd defense) defeated Dick The Bruiser via count out.  Race retained the NWA World Heavyweight Title.
27/2/81Houston Wrestling – Sam Houston Coliseum, Houston, TXHarley Race (74th defense)and Wahoo McDaniel battled to a double count out while the score was 1-1 in a Three Falls match.  Race retains the NWA World Heavyweight Title.

ALL-JAPAN PRO WRESTLING

Giant Baba fell short of becoming a three-time NWA Worlds Heavyweight Champion in his 15th February title shot against Harley Race on the Excite Series tourIn the Best Two out of Three Falls contest, Baba pinned Race after delivering a big boot and then flying clothesline after nine minutes and 39 seconds.  The Korakuen Hall crowd erupt after the three count but they were hushed after Race tied the bout just over three minutes later.

The pair brawled outside with Race gaining the advantage with a suplex on the mats, then as Baba climbed back into the ring, Race suplexed the Giant back in and covered him for the pin.  Towards the end of the bout, with both men bleeding from the forehead after numerous altercations on the outside of the ring, Race lifted Baba for another suplex for a near fall.

Race then missed his patented headbutt and the action returned to ringside with Baba slamming Race’s head into the ring-post before throwing back inside the ropes.  Baba dished out another clothesline but failed to capitalize and could gain the win. Race suffered further punishment via an abdominal stretch and his frustrations threw the referee across the ring. The official was ready to disqualify the champion but Baba stopped the ref from ringing the bell and threw him down to the ground.

With the crowd hyped up, Baba caught Race into a sleeperhold and as Race was slipping into a deep sleep, he desperately low-blowed Baba causing the referee to penalize the champion and award the match to Baba.  However, the championship cannot change hands on a disqualification so race walked out of the arena with the belt.

In other matches on the tour, Baba and Race clashed many times in tag team and six-man tag team matches. Three nights prior to Race’s title defense, he battled Dick Murdoch in a non-title bout at the City Gymnasium in Tsu, Mie. It was a wild brawl with lots of outside action and chair shots which eventually the referee lost control of and it ended up as a double count-out after 13 minutes of action.

The Excite Series concludes on the 3rd March and at the end of the month, the 9th annual Champion Carnival begins with Baba and Tsuruta joined by 12 others in the tournament including Bruiser Brody, Abdullah the Butcher, Jack Brisco, Prince Tonga, “Killer” Tim Brooks and youngster from Tennessee, Wayne Ferris.  In the coming weeks, we will have full coverage of the excursion in our Big Tours feature.

BIG TIME WRESTLING (TEXAS)

The hottest feud in Texas is between King Kong (Bruiser) Brody and Gary Hart’s newest client The Great Kabuki.  The Japanese native made his debut last month in the territory defeating Don Diamond in quick fashion using a range of martial arts skills.  Kabuki, who stands at 5ft 11 inches and 240 pounds, will need to use the guidance of Hart and those martial arts skills if he is to win the war against the vicious, wild and massive Brody.

Fritz Von Erich promoted a huge ‘Star Wars 1981’ card at the Reunion Arena in Dallas which also saw him step inside the ropes for the show.  Fritz defeated Kabuki in a Texas Death Match, in a bout which came about after Fritz vowed revenge against the Japanese martial artist for attacking his son, David Von Erich.  David ended up losing teeth that attack so he got involved in this bout helping out his father as soon as Gary Hart began to become involved. David delivered a dropkick to Kabuki’s face then a huge back body drop to allow his father to cover and get the three count.

In other matches, Kerry Von Erich received an NWA World Heavyweight Championship match with Harley Race. This was a back-and-forth match-up with the young Kerry looking to dethrone Race in front of his hometown crowd and he pushed the World champion to the limit but controversially did not win the belt.  At the end of the match, the action spilled to the outside and a brawl broke out at the timekeeper’s table.  Harley slammed Kerry onto the table and measured him for a diving headbutt, but Kerry rolled out of the way while the referee’s count continued.  Kerry tried to climb back into the ring but the champ held onto his leg and the bout was ruled a double count-out.

Also, David and Kevin Von Erich won a match for the World Tag Team titles which was presented to the winner as a giant trophy, instead of the standard gold belts.  The Von Erich boys defeated Hercules Ayala and Ali Mustafa after Kevin hit Mustafa with a sunset flip from the top rope for the win.  A huge celebration broke out with many fans and all the Von Erich family storming the ring to enjoy the win.  In the main event, King Kong Brody took home $5,000 with a battle royal win.

CENTRAL STATES WRESTLING

The Memorial Hall placed host to another big night of action in Kansas City on February 12th, which saw new Central States Tag Team Champions crowned.  Former Stampede Tag Team champions The Kelly Twins (Mike Kelly & Pat Kelly) defeated Bruce Reed and Jerry Roberts to win the Central States tag belts for the first time.

Two weeks later (26/2), Harley Race was in town for a title defense against fellow veteran Dick the Bruiser defeating the Indiana-native via count out to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Title.

Against all odds, Sweet Brown Sugar overcame three men to win the Southern Heavyweight belt.

CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING FROM FLORIDA

In the sunshine state, Eddie Graham’s territory played host to no less than 16 big shows this past month and started with a bang with a Southern Heavyweight Title change on February 3rd at the Fort Homer Hesterly Armory.  Dick Slater beat Mike Graham to regain the title he lost to Graham on January 27th.  However, the next night in Fort Myers, Slater refused to defend the belt, was subsequently stripped of the title, and Sweet Brown Sugar became the new champion defeating The Assassin in one-off encounter for the vacated championship, even though he pinned the wrong Assassin.

The Assassin and Assassin #3’s manager Oliver Humperdink caused a distraction when Brown Sugar was on top of the fight. The Assassin #3 ran in the ring attacked Sugar and removed his tag partner from the ring.  However, the strategy backfired as Brown rolled up the second masked man anyways to claim the gold.

New Florida Tag Team Champions – Dusty Rhodes and Andre the Giant

The biggest show of the month was the “Battle Stars 1981” event from the O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida which also saw a title switch. The team of super team of Dusty Rhodes and Andre the Giant won the Florida Tag straps from the Cowboy Connection (Bobby Jaggers and RT Tyler).

The Dusty Rhodes-Assassin feud has raged on and began the month waging war in a ‘Lights Out’ unsanctioned bout in Miami on February 2nd.  The bout strangely was declared a double count-out and two nights later in Orlando, the pair met again on either side of a ‘Lights Out Tag Team’ match with Dusty team with Sweet Brown Sugar and The Assassin with the Masked Superfly. 

They continued to clash multiples times with Assassin #3 and Dory Funk Jr joining forces with the Assassin and Andre getting involved in tag matches with the good guys coming out on top the majority of the time.  Dusty ended up moving on into a feud with fellow former World Champion Dory Funk Jr, which concluded in a Bunkhouse match at the Eddie Graham Sports Arena on 20th February, with Dusty claiming the victory.  This bout sent Funk packing but he will return to the area in March to try and gather revenge on Rhodes.

Next month, many names have signed on the dotted line to challenge the NWA World Champion Harley Race, who will be touring with the promotion for the majority of March.  Amongst the names, challenging the champion is Mr. Wrestling II, Barry Windham, Mike Graham, Ted DiBiase, Manny Fernandez, Bugsy McGraw and former champion Jack Brisco.

The Fabulous Freebirds are still causing chaos in Georgia.

GEORGIA CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING

The Fabulous Freebirds regained the Georgia Tag Team titles on February 2nd at the Bell Auditorium in Augusta defeating Ted DiBiase and Stan Frazier in a one-off bout for the vacated belts.  The championships were held up after the referee threw out a title match between the ‘Birds, DiBiase and Frazier on 31/1 television show.  

The NWA National Television Championship changed hands again this month, actually twice in consecutive weeks.  Bobby Eaton won the title last month, but dropped the belt to Steve O at the Omni on February 8th then Kevin Sullivan claimed the championship (21/2) on television.  Steve Keirn, who ran Eaton and Sullivan close this past month for the title, will get another shot at the gold against Sullivan on the March 1st Omni show.

On the big 8/2 event at Atlanta’s Omni, Georgia Heavyweight champion Tony Atlas received a World Heavyweight title show against Harley Race, but unfortunately for “Mr. USA” the bout ended in a double count out so Race walked out of Georgia with the belt intact.  Atlas gets a rematch inside a Steel Cage next month at the Omni (1/3).

The Junkyard Dog, who debuted last month in the territory, has joined the war against the Freebirds and he was involved in a special tag team match at the Omni.  He was in the corner of Robert Fuller and DiBiase against Buddy Roberts and Terry Gordy in a $15,000 vs. Fuller’s 1979 Lincoln Continental match where JYD was handcuffed to Hayes to stop the third man from interfering.  The ‘Birds gained ownership of Fuller’s car in January but they put the keys back on the line at the Omni show.  Hayes, Roberts and Gordy were in disarray as the team of DiBiase and Fuller grabbed the victory and took all the spoils.  The finish of the match came when Fuller pinned Roberts after Buddy ran into a JYD punch.  The frustrated Freebirds attacked their opponents after the bout.

Also, at the Omni, The Mongolian Stomper managed to escape with his NWA National Heavyweight belt by the skin of his teeth as he took a disqualification loss against Andre the Giant.  Andre looked to be clinching the title until Stomper’s manager Don Carson interfered and attacked the Frenchman with his cane.  Kevin Sullivan defeated Steve Keirn in a wild Boston Streetfight bout and Mr. Wrestling II and Ole Anderson’s feud continues on as Number Two won via DQ.

The promotion has hyped up the biggest Omni show for a long time on March 1st which is headlined by an Atlas vs. Race Cage bout for the World title.  In addition, The Stomper defends his National Heavyweight belt against Dusty Rhodes and the Freebirds defend the National Tag Team titles in a first-time ever bout – the Fantasia Gamble match.  This special stipulation bout is Best of Two out of Three Falls affair with all three ‘Birds going against DiBiase, Fuller and JYD with the belts on the line.

HOUSTON WRESTLING

The one-night four-man single elimination World Title contender tournament took place at the Sam Houston Coliseum on 6th February.  The final four saw Ivan Putski fall to ‘Gorgeous’ Gino Hernandez and Wahoo McDaniel defeat Terry Funk.  In the Funk-Wahoo bout, the Texan jumped McDaniel before the bell and attacked him with a chair when the action spilled to the outside.  However, against all odds after a few minutes of action, Wahoo rolled up Funk for the quick pinfall.

Ever the chancer, Hernandez rushed the ring and attacked Wahoo with Funk initially helping until the referee took control.  The finals of the tournament between Gino and Wahoo took place there and then, with Hernandez having the obvious advantage.

McDaniel was a bloody mess and Hernandez continued to dish out the punishment, delivering blows to the forehead and laying in the boots when Wahoo crumped down for safety. Hernandez dominated until he climbed the top rope allowing Wahoo to catch the ‘Gorgeous One’ coming off the top turnbuckle.  Wahoo then locked in a small package for a quick win and to earn an NWA Worlds Title shot against Harley Race later in the month.

On the 27th, Paul Boesch’s promotion held a huge show of the Coliseum with four title matches with three championships changing hands. Firstly, Evelyn Stevens became the new Texas Womens’ Champion by defeating Susan Green then Tiger Conway Jr. pinned Tank Patton to win the Southwest Brass Knuckles belt.  Gino Hernandez got his hands on some gold, winning the NWA International Junior Heavyweight title from Chavo Guerrero by two falls to one.

In the big one, Wahoo McDaniel failed to uncrown Harley Race but he took the World Champion close. In another three falls contest, Wahoo took the lead before Race leveled the bout up but the third and deciding fall saw both men disqualified so Harley remained the champion.  A rematch has been signed for next month (27/3) at the Coliseum and former champion Pat O’Connor has been nominated the guest referee in a special Indian Strap match.  It is reported that Harley Race is far from pleased.

MAPLE LEAF WRESTLING

After their battle last month, Angelo Mosca and Ivan Koloff resumed their feud in a No Disqualification match on 1st February at the Maple Leaf Gardens but Mosca retained his Canadian Heavyweight title.  By the end of the month, Mosca is still in possession of the belt even though he faced The Great Hossein Arab on two occasions at the Gardens (22/2) and in Kingston (26/2).  Jimmy Snuka got involved in the first encounter and Mosca has vowed to get his hands on the man from the Fiji Islands in the future.

Dewey Robertson and George Wells have lost the Mid-Atlantic Tag Team straps.

MID-ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING

New Mid-Atlantic Tag Team champions were crowned early in February at the Greensboro Coliseum on the 7th. The Japanese duo of Mr. Fuji and Tenryu defeated George Wells and Dewey Robertson to claim the belts in front of  capacity crowd in the Coliseum.

The NWA United States Heavyweight champion Roddy Piper vacated the TV title last month and details are yet to be released in how a new titleholder will be declared.  Piper defeated Ric Flair in controversial fashion in January and the pair have been exchanging blows virtually every night in February, either in a singles bout for the U.S. title, or in tag team or six-man bouts.

Gene Anderson has added Ivan Koloff to his Army and split up the team of Jimmy Snuka and Ray Stevens with now Stevens and Koloff tagging up and hey have integrated the old finishing move of the Minnesota Wrecking Crew into their arsenal, the Hammerlock submission.  Meanwhile, Snuka now has tunnel vision on Ricky Steamboat’s Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship.  The pair has met many times over the Carolinas so far, but Steamboat still possesses the gold.

Bruno Sammartino Jr. is making waves in the territory since debuting in December and is undefeated in singles competition since his sole defeat against Kim Duk on 24th January.  Over the past month, the youngster has disposed of Tenryu and Ricky Harris, and possibly more impressively overcoming veterans like Swede Hanson, Charlie Fulton and Jacques Goulet.  Sammartino has also been teaming with Don Kernodle on the circuit with the pair receiving shots at Fuji and Tenryu’s Mid-Atlantic tag belts, but have come up short so far.

Ole and Gene Anderson reunited and made a rare appearance in the territory on February 13th to challenge Paul Jones and the Masked Superstar for their NWA World Tag Team titles. The champions managed to retain against the Minnesota Wrecking Crew sending the crowd at the Richmond Coliseum home happy.

NEW-JAPAN PRO WRESTLING

The New Year Golden Series tour finished up for Antonio Inoki’s promotion with a big Inoki vs. Bobby Duncum bout at Korakuen Hall (12/2) with of course, Inoki grabbing the victory and send the crowd home happy.  The event saw a North American Tag Team title defense as The Samoans challenged the champions Riki Choshu and Seiji Sakaguchi with the Japanese duo winning a convincing two falls without reply in under 15 minutes.

Next month sees the beginning of a special NJPW Big Fight Series tour with the World Wrestling Federation being represented by Hulk Hogan, Don Muraco and Killer Khan and Mexican Lucha starts Fishman, Perro Aguayo and Gran Hamada from the Universal Wrestling Association.  The promotion announced that the Lucha Libre wrestlers with compete with members of the Junior Heavyweight division in a WWF Light-Heavyweight Title tournament, which will be in a round-robin league format.

PACIFIC NORTHWEST WRESTLING

Don Owens’ promotion in Portland has been on fire and it accumulated in a pair of huge Buddy Rose vs. Andre the Giant matches at South Salem High School (26/2) and the Portland Sports Arena (28/2).  Of course, Andre was victorious on both occasions and he has won a series of battle royals while visiting the territory.

Rose has been vying to regain the PNW Heavyweight Title from Jay Youngblood but had to deal with the dynamic young team of Buzz Sawyer and Matt Borne on Portland Television on the 7th.  Rose teamed with fellow Army member The Destroyer but could not defeat Sawyer and Borne and the four wrestled to a draw.  Later that night, ‘The Playboy’ put $2,500 into a $5k pot for the winner of a Youngblood vs. Rip Oliver bout in the main event, with the champion putting up the other half of the purse.

The match ended in wild fashion with Buddy Rose getting involved by throwing Oliver a leather belt which he used by wrapping up his fist and laying punches into Youngblood’s head forcing a cut on his forehead.  Oliver continued to punish the Native American by choking the belt around his neck, but Youngblood finally got the advantage and whipped Oliver’s back which caused him to flee the ring.  The referee Sandy Barr held up the winners purse until a rematch could be held on next week’s TV show – an ‘Indian Strap Match’.

The match did not go without the usual drama in Portland as Rose offered to take Oliver’s place in the match, an offer which pleased Rip as he wanted no part of the Strap Match.  At bell time, special referee Dutch Savage opened the ropes for Rose to enter the ring but Buddy refused.  Oliver was made to take the match and he was fuming with his ‘The Playboy’.  Youngblood emerged the winner after smashing Oliver’s head into the ring post twice causing Rip to bleed profusely then Youngblood dragged Oliver around the four corner turnbuckles for the win.  Later that night, Rose was forced to compete in a bout against face Buzz Sawyer that finished a one fall all draw before the time-limit expired.

Youngster Terry Allen made his in-ring debut last month and he nabbed his first win of his career at the Grand Theatre in Salem on February 12th against namesake Mike Allen.

Father and son duo, Brad and Bob Armstrong.

SOUTHEASTERN CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING

Southeastern TV promoted the ‘Championship Month’ which broadcasted a title match on each week of television through the month of February 1981. As part of the campaign, Mr. Saito and Bob Armstrong resumed their feud as the Japanese grappler defended his Alabama State Championship against ‘Bullet’ Bob on the February 7th TV Show.  The referee was knocked down after Armstrong lifted Saito for a slam and the action ended up outside the ring. Dennis Condrey emerged from the locker room and attacked Armstrong with wooden board.  Saito placed Armstrong into a Japanese Sleeperhold but a second referee emerged to stop the bout and held the belt up so this title is now vacated. 

Saito, Condrey and Randy Rose are now identifying themselves as ‘The Terrific Trio’ and Brad and Bob Armstrong are faced them in a big six-man tag team bout in Birmingham (16/2) with the Armstrong’s teaming up with Andre the Giant with the Frenchman and the father and combo getting the duke.

Also, part of the ‘Championship Month’, Brad Armstrong put his United States Junior Heavyweight belt on the line against Jerry Stubbs on 14th February episode of their TV show.  However, once again Condrey got involved in the televised title match and this time tag team partner Rose joined him by attacking Stubbs with a pair of wooden boards.  Brad aimed to stop them attacking his opponent but the bad guys had advantage as Saito came out and helped dish out the punishment. Paul Orndorff and Norvell Austin emerged to chase the heels away.

In the final ‘Championship Month’ bout, Rose and Condrey defended their Southeastern Tag Team belts on 21/2 television show against Paul Orndorff and Norvell Austin. It was a back-and-forth match-up, until the bad guys gained an advantage and punished Austin however, Orndorff eventually clinched the hot tag.  Shortly after, Rose and Condrey collided when they tried to double team Orndorff. 

Orndorff rapidly jumped onto top of Rose to get the quick three count, and the new Tag Team champions were awarded their new belts.  After the bout, the new champions were attacked by Rose and Condrey and they consequently nailed Austin with a stump piledriver onto a wooden chair.  Austin was announced as out of commission after the attack and he and Orndorff decided to vacate the belts with immediate effect. 

A tournament to decide new tag team champions will take place on March 1st at the Municipal Auditorium in Pensacola, Florida.  In addition, another tournament is to be held on March 2nd at the Boutwell Auditorium in Birmingham.  Sixteen men will meet in a single elimination tournament to win a World Heavyweight Title shot against Harley Race on 9th March in the same building.

Ken Lucas and ‘The Outlaw’ Ron Bass are currently contesting for the Southeastern Heavyweight Title.  Ron Fuller vacated the title and it unsure how Bass was awarded the championship but by the February 14th T.V. show, Lucas declared that he had recently pinned Bass to become the champion.

ST. LOUIS WRESTLING CLUB

The NWA Missouri Champion Ted DiBiase had a busy month in St. Louis.  Firstly, he challenged NWA Worlds Champion Harley Race and defeated Race by two falls to one, but Harley retained the gold as the deciding fall was via disqualification.

DiBiase then defended the Missouri title twice in the month as he retained the belt against former titleholder Ken Patera at the Kiel Auditorium on February 20th winning 2-1 in a three falls encounter and two days later, he resumed his rivalry Big John Studd.  DiBiase and Studd brawled around the Chase Hotel and the bout ended in a double count-out.

‘Nature Boy’ Ric Flair returned to the territory and went to a double count-out against veteran Dick the Bruiser at the Kiel (20/2).

STAMPEDE WRESTLING

The Dynamite Kid and Bret Hart have been tearing up arenas in Calgary and its surrounding areas, with most of the results ending up in a disqualification win for the Englishman.  This is becoming quite the fierce feud in Stu Hart’s territory with David Schultz also becoming a thorn in the side for Bret Hart.

The team of Mike Sharpe and Duke Myers are the new Stampede International Tag Team Champions defeating the Burke Brothers, Bobby and Leo on 14th February in Calgary.  Sharpe and Myers have defended the belts across the territory give the Burkes’ some rematches and the pairing of Jim Neidhart and Kerry Brown.

The month of February was full of ups and downs for Leo Burke, after losing the tag straps, he claimed the Stampede North American Heavyweight title from Schultz on February 21st but sadly he lost it back to his nemesis a week later.  Meanwhile, Bruce Hart is still in possession of the British Commonwealth Mid-Heavyweight belt despite the numerous attempts by The Cuban Assassin to dethrone the 31-year-old Hart brother.

VANCOUVER ALL STAR WRESTLING

The bitter feud between Buddy Rose and Jay Youngblood travelled up north to Vancouver this month and ‘The Playboy’ suffered a huge defeat on 9th February.  The British Columbia fanbase witnessed Youngblood winning Pacific Coast Heavyweight championship by pinning Rose at the PNE Gardens.

WORLD WRESTLING FEDERATION

Sgt. Slaughter has been displaying his Cobra Clutch finisher on many occasions on the Federation’s television programs challenging members of the locker room to a ‘$5,000 Cobra Clutch Challenge’.  Competitors like Johnny Rodz, Jack Carson and Rick McGraw have all attempted to break the hold and claim the cash – but have failed.

Pat Patterson has been vocal on commentary that he was studying the move and when the time was right, he would attempt to get out of the Sergeant’s hold.  As a result of Patterson comments, he had an altercation with Sgt. Slaughter on the 21st February edition of Championship Wrestling where Slaughter upped the challenge to $10,000 to the Canadian, but Patterson refused stating “he was not ready yet”. Slaughter has started to antagonise Patterson calling him a “chicken” for not taking up the challenge.  This one is surely going to blow up sooner, rather than later.

Slaughter has become one of the most hated wrestlers in the minds of promotions fans.  Chants of “Gomer, Gomer”, a reference to a TV character who is an incompetent gentleman that enlist for the Marine Corps, annoys Slaughter and his manager the Grand Wizard.  So much so on the 14/2 edition of All-Star Wrestling, Slaughter walked out of a match with McGraw.  Slaughter began to wear cotton wool in his ears on future matches so that he could not hear the derogatory chants.

Stan Hansen is the latest challenger to Bob Backlund’s WWF Championship.

The company’s first show of the year at Madison Square Garden took place on 16th February with Stan Hansen facing Bob Backlund for the WWF title.  The “Badman” Hansen had driven the Intercontinental titleholder Pedro Morales close just two nights prior at the Philadelphia Spectrum when the match ended in a double disqualification, but the World champion Bob Backlund delivered a different test to the Texan.

It was wild match for the Garden faithful to observe with constant brawling and both men ended up bleeding from the forehead.  The referee lost control and rang for the bell to throw the match out but it took three referees to split them apart and rematch has been signed for March 16th on the return to MSG.

Also, at the Garden (16/2), Morales was booked to defend his Intercontinental title against the hottest bad guy in the Federation, Sgt. Slaughter.  It was close affair but the match ended when Slaughter nailed Morales with brass knuckles and attempted to use them again before the referee caught him and called for a DQ.

Former two-time WWF Champion Bruno Sammartino wrestled a pair of bouts against Stan Hansen at the Boston Garden (7/2) and the Pittsburgh Civic Arena (20/2).  The first bout ended in double count out after the action spilled to the outside and both men failed to make it back in the ring.  The second saw a count out victory for Bruno under controversial circumstances.  Hansen tried to bring a chair into the ring but Bruno halted the man from Borger, Texas and thumped him over the head with it.  Hansen spilled to the outside and was counted out although Bruno should have possibly been disqualification for using a foreign object.

NWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONNWA WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS
HARLEY RACEPAUL JONES & THE MASKED SUPERSTAR
1. Roddy Piper1. Giant Baba/Jumbo Tsuruta
2. Antonio Inoki2. The Fabulous Freebirds
3. Ric Flair3. Dory & Terry Funk
4. Giant Baba4. Ivan Koloff/Ray Stevens
5. Ted DiBiase5. Rick Martel/Tony Garea
6. Tony Atlas6. David & Kevin Von Erich
7. Bob Backlund7. Riki Choshu/Seiji Sakaguchi
8. Mr. Wrestling II8. The Moondogs
9. Andre the Giant9. Robert Fuller/Ted DiBiase
10. Wahoo McDaniel10. Antonio Inoki/Tatsumi Fujinami

This month’s match comes from the Chase Hotel, St. Louis, MO on February 22nd as Ted DiBiase and John Studd clash in the latest match in their rivalry on an episode of Wrestling From The Chase.

All Japan: The 9th Annual 12-Man Champions Carnival tournament begins.

Florida: NWA World Champion Harley Race will be touring with the company with multiple title defenses.

Georgia: March 1st – Atlas vs. Race for the NWA World title inside the confines of a Steel Cage. Should be a good one.

Houston: The Coliseum plays host to Race vs Wahoo in an ‘Indian Strap Match’ on March 27.

New Japan: A WWF and UWA contingent travel to Japan for the NJPW’s Big Fight Series tour.

Southeastern: Two big tournaments take place where new Tag Team champions will be crowned and a number one contender for the World Title.

WWF: The big Backlund vs Hansen WWF title rematch takes place at MSG on March 16th.

As always, thanks for reading…

Will Burns

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

Round-Up: January 1981

Our journey takes us into the new year of 1981 with Harley Race still in possession of the NWA World’s Heavyweight Champion.  However, he has many contenders across the continent vying for an opportunity to take it way from him. Without further ado, let’s see how Race fared in January 1981.

Harley Race enters the new year with the World Heavyweight Title still around his waist and defended the belt 13 times over the past month.

DATEEVENTRESULT
1/1/81Central States Wrestling – Kansas City, KSHarley Race (55th defense) and Bruiser Brody fought to a double disqualification.  Race retained the NWA World Heavyweight Title.
2/1/81St. Louis Wrestling Club – Kiel Auditorium, St. Louis, MOHarley Race (56th defense) defeated Ken Patera by two falls to one in a Best of Three Falls bout to retain his NWA World Heavyweight Championship belt.
8/1/81Mid-Atlantic – Norfolk Scope, Norfolk, VAHarley Race (57th defense) defeated Ric Flair. Race retained the NWA World Title.
9/1/81Mid-Atlantic – Charleston, SCHarley Race (58th defense) and Ric Flair fought to a double disqualification.  Race retained the NWA World Heavyweight Title.
10/1/81Mid-Atlantic – Memorial Auditorium, Spartanburg, SCJohnny Weaver and Ricky Steamboat beat Harley Race and Roddy Piper.
11/1/81Mid-Atlantic – Civic Center, Asheville, NCHarley Race (59th defense) defeated Ric Flair via count out.  Race retained the NWA World Title.
11/1/81Mid-Atlantic – Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, NCHarley Race (60th defense) beat Ric Flair to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Title.
12/1/81Georgia Championship Wrestling – Bell Auditorium, Augusta, GAHarley Race (61st defense) defeated Tony Atlas to retain his NWA World Heavyweight Championship belt.
13/1/81Georgia Championship Wrestling – Macon Coliseum, Macon, GAHarley Race (62nd defense) defeated Tony Atlas.  Race retained the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
14/1/81Georgia Championship Wrestling – Municipal Auditorium, Columbus, GAHarley Race (63rd defense) beat Mr. Wrestling II to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Title.
16/1/81Georgia Championship Wrestling – The Omni, Atlanta, GATony Atlas and Dusty Rhodes beat Harley Race and Ole Anderson.
19/1/81Big Time Texas – Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum, Fort Worth, TXHarley Race (64th defense) beat Kerry Von Erich to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Title.
22/1/81Central States Wrestling – Memorial Hall, Kansas City, KSHarley Race (65th defense) defeated Bruiser Brody in a No Disqualification match.  Race retained the NWA World Heavyweight Title.
23/1/81Georgia Championship Wrestling – Ohio Center, Columbus, OHHarley Race (66th defense) and Tony Atlas went to a no contest in an NWA World Heavyweight Title match.
24/1/81Big Time San Francisco – Cow Palace, San Francisco, CAPat Patterson defeated Harley Race (67th defense) via count out.  Race remained the NWA World Heavyweight Champion.

ALL-JAPAN PRO WRESTLING

It was a happy new year for Prince Tonga in Korakuen Hall on the first date of AJPW’s New Year Giant Series.  The 21-year-old from the Kingdom of Tonga was victorious in the traditional New Year’s Battle Royal on the 2nd.

The tour featured two title defenses for the NWA United National champion Abdullah the Butcher.  First, he battled long-time rival The Sheik to a double count out on the 3rd at Korakuen.  However, he left the tour empty handed as Jumbo Tsuruta pinned the Man from Sudan in 11:20 on the final day of the tour (22nd) at the City Gymnasium in Nirasaki, Yamanashi.

On the 13th, NWA International Tag Team titles were on the line, as Giant Baba & Jumbo Tsuruta successfully retained against the dastardly duo of Mark Lewin and Abdullah The Butcher in a three-fall encounter at the City Gymnasium in Shimabara, Nagasaki. In a bout that went 20:27, the champions won by two falls to one.

Korakuen Hall played host to a huge title match as the AWA World and PWF Heavyweight belts were up for grabs as Verne Gagne faces Giant Baba on 18th.  Both men left with their titles as the bout finished with a double count out after around 19 minutes of action, with the bout tied at a fall apiece.

Baba will be vying to become a third-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion next month when Harley Race puts the gold on the line at Korakuen on 15/2.

BIG TIME WRESTLING (SAN FRANCISCO)

San Francisco promoter Roy Shire is getting out of the business and ran his final show at the Cow Palace on 24th January.  Pat Patterson returned to the territory to headline the card against World champion Harley Race.  Patterson defeated the champ via count out and also claimed victory in a battle royal on the same night, ousting Dick Slater over the top rope to win.

BIG TIME WRESTLING (TEXAS)

In was a busy month in the Von Erich territory that got underway on the 4th January at the Dallas Sportatorium.  The card was headline by a huge match, literally, as Bruiser Brody and Andre the Giant brawled to a no contest.

Two Tag Team title changes occurred throughout the month also, firstly Gino Hernandez and Gary Young lost their NWA American Tag Team championship to the team of Kerry Von Erich and Bruiser Brody at the Sportatorium on 11th January.  The NWA Texas Tag Team titles were held up late in 1980, the vacated belts were won by Raul Mata and Chief White Cloud, who defeated Raul Castro and Killer Tim Brooks.

Their biggest show of the month was at the Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum in Fort Worth (19/1) with Kerry Von Erich receiving an NWA Worlds Title bout against champion Harley Race.  Race ran out the winner but the 20-year-old Kerry took the champion to the limit going close to winning the belt.  In other bouts, Gino Hernandez and Kevin Von Erich continued their war in a singles contest with Kevin emerging the victor, and Brody and David Von Erich went to a time-limit draw with The Great Kabuki and Killer Tim Brooks.

Bruiser Brody vs Harley Race 1981 Japan | Bruiser brody, Harley race, Japan
Bruiser Brody came up short against Worlds Champion Harley Race in Kansas.

CENTRAL STATES WRESTLING

Bruiser Brody arrived into the territory to challenge Harley Race for the NWA World Heavyweight Title twice but left empty handed.  After the first bout ended in a double disqualification on the 1st, the rematch a night later was No DQ bout in front of packed house at the Memorial Hall in Kansas City.  The hometown boy Harley defeated Brody to retained the title.

The city of Kansas mourned the death of the first NWA World Champion Orville Brown, who sadly passed away on the 24th January aged 72.  He had been staying in a nursing home since 1979.

CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING FROM FLORIDA

Barry Windham experienced a month of mixed emotions as he and Mike Graham dropped their Florida Tag Team titles to The Cowboy Connection (Bobby Jaggers and RT Tyler) at the Eddie Graham Sports Arena on 2nd January. But he was crowned the new Florida champion when he defeated Dory Funk Jr. at the West Palm Beach Auditorium on the 12th.

Mike Graham gained some gold at the end of the month (27th) by defeating Dick Slater for the Florida Southern Heavyweight belt at the Fort Hesterly Armory.

A war between Assassin and Dusty Rhodes began when the Assassin (dressed in Mexican Lucha legend El Santo’s mask) brutally attacked Rhodes during an interview with Gordon Solie on the 14th January episode of Championship Wrestling from Florida.  See the angle here.  The Assassin recently returned to the area in December losing to Rhodes on his first match back. 

Rhodes came out on top in a non-sanctioned Lights Out contest on the 29th at Stetson University in Deland and the next night in Orlando a big tag team match was signed.  Rhodes and Sweet Brown Sugar defeated The Assassin and Dick Murdoch in a special ‘Whoever is pinned must leave Florida for 30 days’ match.  Rhodes pinned his former long-time tag partner Murdoch to send The Texan out of the territory for a month.  Rhodes and The Assassin are set to clash again at the Armory next month (24/2) with Eddie Graham handcuffed to Assassin #3 to stop the latter interfering.

GEORGIA CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING

In a ritual for wrestling in Georgia, January 1st saw a huge Omni show pull in a sold-out crowd, with a main event bout between bitter rivals Dusty Rhodes and Ole Anderson.  In a no-disqualification contest, Rhodes was victorious but the result gave Anderson much to complain about.  After Dusty connected a right hand to the referee accidently.  Georgia Heavyweight champion, Tony Atlas, who was at ringside as cornerman for Dusty, was pulled up to the apron by Ole and they began to brawl. Rhodes surged forward into Ole which caused him to collide into Atlas and Dusty covered for the win.  After the bout, Ole and Alexei Smirnoff attacked Rhodes before Atlas gathered himself and saved Dusty from a serious beating.

Atlas and Anderson continued their feud on television a few days after the Omni show (3/1) and their match escalated into a brawl which ended up outside for a double count out.  The promotion ran the Omni again on the 16th with the pair clashing on either side of a huge tag team match.  The team of Dusty and Atlas overcome Ole and NWA World Heavyweight champion Harley Race with young Tony getting the pin on Race.

The Georgia champion Atlas continued a busy month trying to dethrone Race in Columbus, Ohio (23/1) but the bout ended in a no contest.  Atlas has also been a thorn in Alexei Smirnoff’s side.  On TV, Atlas defeated and unmasked a mysterious wrestler called the Russian Assassin and of course, it was Smirnoff under the hood. Smirnoff was irate and it took many members of the locker room to hold him back after the embarrassment.

In addition, on the 17/1 show at WTBS Studios, Atlas was attacked by NWA National Champion the Mongolian Stomper.  Atlas was displaying his strength in a bench press exercise at ringside which ended up with Don Carson’s man choking Atlas with the barbell.

The Fabulous Freebirds managed to escape with their Georgia Tag Team belts on New Years’ Day after Ted DiBiase and Robert Fuller were awarded the win, but via disqualification.  The team of Buddy Roberts and Terry Gordy were defending the titles and looked defeated when Michael Hayes got involved and caused the DQ. 

In the return match at the Omni, Hayes could not have the same impact as it was signed to be a no disqualification bout.  However, for the ‘Birds to agree to such a bout, Fuller had to put the keys to his 1979 Lincoln Continental online. Hayes ended up getting involved again and with the odds three against two, the Freebirds emerged as winners nailing Fuller with a triple piledriver for the win to retain the titles and gain the keys for the car.

By the end of the month, it would be a happy ending for DiBiase and the man that Freebirds injured last month, Stan Frazier.  DiBiase and Frazier defeated the ‘Birds (Roberts and Hayes) for the Georgia Tag Titles at the Bell Auditorium in Augusta on 26th but the war is far from over.  On the 31st TV show, the new champs put the belts on the line in a return match with the Freebirds and Terry Gordy, after Hayes declared was injured, intervened in the bout to allow the Freebirds to win.  The referee threw the match out and held up the titles and the vacant belts will be decided on 2nd February back at the Bell Auditorium.

The National Television belt changed hands twice in January with Steve O defeating champion Kevin Sullivan on the 16/1 Omni show. Unfortunately for Steve O, by the end of the month, he would lose it to Bobby Eaton on the 31st January edition of Georgia Championship Wrestling.  Eaton caused the studio audience into an outrage as he won the title with his feet on the ropes, and the referee missed the infringement.

In other news, Andre the Giant and Hulk Hogan brought their feud to Georgia with the Frenchman coming out on top in a close battle at the Omni on the 1st January.

HOUSTON WRESTLING

Paul Boesch brought in the new year with five of his weekly shows at the Sam Houston Coliseum in Houston.  The first show (2/1) saw Andre the Giant beat Tank Patton by two falls to nil in a Best of Three Falls bout after Patton suffered enough punishment and took a count out loss.  The Frenchman also saw victory winning a two-ringed 22-man Battle Royal.

The Funks (Dory and Terry Funk) appeared on two Coliseum shows.  On the 16th, both brothers were in singles competition with Dory going to a 20-minute time-limit draw with English grappler Billy Robinson and Terry defeated by Wahoo McDaniel.  The Funks then challenged the Southwest Championship Wrestling Tag Team Champions Ivan Putski and Wahoo McDaniel but came up short and lost by two falls to one.

Gino Hernandez, one of the most hated men in Boesch’s territory, has started tag teaming with Southwest wrestler Tully Blanchard and the pair were successful in a bout against Tiger Conway Jr. and Scott Casey (16/1).  Speaking of Gino, on the 9th January show, he was pinned by Wahoo McDaniel and they met again on 30/1 in the main event, unfortunately for “Gorgeous” Gino, Wahoo came out on top again.

Both Gino and Wahoo were announced for the one-night four-man tournament to take place on 6th February.  The winner of the competition will receive a Worlds title shot against Harley Race. The other two competitors will be Ivan Putski and Terry Funk.

MAPLE LEAF WRESTLING

The Canadian Heavyweight Champion Angelo Mosca did not have the chance to ease himself into the new year as Ivan Koloff challenge for the title at the Maple Leaf Garden on the 11th January.  Koloff won the bout via disqualification after Mosca punched referee Terry Yorkston at 22:48, and therefore Mosca kept the title around his waist.

On the same event, the Toronto crowd witnessed a brutal Texas Death Match between Bobby Duncum and Blackjack Mulligan.  It was a wild affair with the blood flowing after both grapplers used the spurs on their boots to cut each other open.  Duncum unveiled a horse show towards the end of the bout but Mulligan snatched it away and knocked out the “Bad Boy” for the win.

Flair dropped his US Title to Roddy Piper.

MID-ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING

The biggest news coming out of the Carolinas was that Roddy Piper defeated Ric Flair for the United States Heavyweight title on 27th January at the Dorton Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina but in controversial circumstances. The bout itself was a back-and-forth affair with Piper using dirty tactics but Flair looked to be retaining the belt once he had Piper locked into his patented Figure-Four leglock.

Piper grabbed the ropes and Flair kept up the attack but while the referee was trying to gain order, Piper reached into his trunks and used a metal object to smash Flair in the head before throwing it into the crowd. Piper covered the champion for the three count while the Nature Boy was out cold.  After protests from the Raleigh crowd, the referee searched Piper for the object but obviously this was not found.

The next day on Mid-Atlantic TV, an angry Flair was beating himself up stating he had underestimated Piper. Later in the show, Piper wearing his kilt with a shirt, jacket and bow-tie, emerged gloating and stated that “King Richard was dead” and mocking the fans by Woooo-ing down Bob Caudle’s microphone.  Piper called Flair out and gave Flair a present inside an oblong box.  Once Flair opened the box it had the Piper’s NWA TV title inside.

Flair was outraged by Piper for devaluing the TV title and refused the present stating he would not wear a title that he never won.  Flair pulled out the metal object used by Piper at the Dorton Arena that a fan had recovered in the crowd for him.  Flair continued to insult Piper’s attire and said he was wearing a “rented tuxedo”, Flair proceeded to remove his own jacket and tear it apart before leaving the studio.

As a result of that segment on TV, it was declared that the NWA Television belt was vacated and a future tournament would decide the new titleholder.

The Flair-Greg Valentine feud expanded into including Piper and Ricky Steamboat, with Piper and Valentine proclaiming themselves as the new “Dream Team”.  The two duos clashed on a big Greensboro Coliseum show on 24/1 with the good guys coming out on top.

Bruno Sammartino Jr. recently made his debut and Mr. Fuji has also arrived in the Carolinas and formed a tag team with countryman Tenryu.  The Japanese pairing have been challenging the Mid-Atlantic Tag Team champions George Wells and Dewey Robertson.

NEW-JAPAN PRO WRESTLING

Antonio Inoki’s promotion kicked off their New Year Golden Series tour on 9th January with a strong WWF contingent joining the excursion.  The Wild Samoans and Ken Patera represented the Northeast promotion with former Mid-Atlantic talent The Enforcer, impressive youngster Tom Prichard of Houston Wrestling and the vicious Bad News Allen (Stampede) also appearing.

The opening night saw The Samoans fall by two falls to one to the pairing of Inoki and Tatsumi Fujinami and Ken Patera pinned Seiji Sakaguchi.  On 16th at the City Gymnasium in Yokkaichi, Prichard challenged Fujinami for the WWF Junior Heavyweight Title but fell short and was defeated in under six minutes.

The Samoans got a shot at Riki Choshu and Seiji Sakaguchi’s NWA North American Tag Team belts at the Kochi Prefectural Gymnasium but the bout ended in a draw. They will receive a rematch on 12th February at Korakuen Hall on the final day of the 29-day series.

PACIFIC NORTHWEST WRESTLING

The most hated man in Portland, “Playboy” Buddy Rose, aimed to regain the PNW Heavyweight belt on 3rd January at the Portland Sports Arena as he battled Jay Youngblood for the upheld title in a three-falls bout amidst a ton of controversy as usual.

Youngblood punished the Playboy early on working on the arm submitting Rose the first fall. In the second fall, Youngblood continued to work on Rose’s arms slamming it into the ring post on three occasions and while referee Sandy Barr asked Rose if he wished to submit, Buddy punched Barr to have the bout thrown out. Rose continued to attack the official and Jay was unable to remove Rose, until his father Chief Jay Youngblood Sr. emerged to chop Buddy sending him to the back.

However, the belt became a bit of a hot potato as a rematch was held the following night in Pendleton, Oregon, with Youngblood emerging with the title, only to lose to Rose a night later in Longview, Washington.  Rose becoming the four-time champion thanks to the help of stablemate Rip Oliver.  However, Lightfoot claimed the belt again in Seattle on 8th January in a Title vs. Hair bout.

The Youngbloods and Joe Lightfoot faced Rose, Oliver and The Destroyer on the return to the Sports Arena on the 10th, with Jay getting the deciding pinfall with a reverse cradle on the Playboy but during the match, Buddy managed to grab the belt and take it to the back and declared he would throw the title over the Freemont Bridge and into the Willamette River.

Promoter Don Owens ordered Rose to pay $2,500 for a new title belt and suspended the wrestler until the 24th January.  Youngblood demanded that he wanted Buddy to present him the new belt once it had been created before yet another rematch for the championship.  Meanwhile, the war between Rose’s Army and the Native Americans continued as Lightfoot and Jay defended their PNW Tag Team belts against Oliver and The Destroyer on the 17th. At the match tied at one-fall piece, all four men were brawling in the ring and while referee Barr had lost control, Oliver rolled up Lightfoot for a quick pin.

On next weeks TV (24/1), Owens and Youngblood were in the ring awaiting Buddy Rose to appear to present the new PNW Heavyweight title to the young Indian.  Owens threatened Rose with a further two-week suspension if he failed to present the champion with the new $2,500 strap so, to avoid the suspension, the Playboy obliged… but then smashed Jay with a punch and laid the boots into him.  Youngblood Sr. and Lightfoot emerged from the back and chopped Rose until he fled.  This led to Rose getting involved in a Rip Oliver and The Destroyer vs. Lightfoot and Youngblood Sr. tag team title match.  Rose attacked both men during the men to end the bout with a disqualification so his Army retained their gold.

In addition, Jonathan Boyd has declared war on the Army.  Boyd challenged any member of the Army to match a match on TV (24/1) and the Destroyer and Oliver left the Australian grappler a bloody mess.  In other news, the former Mid-Atlantic Tag Team champions Buzz Sawyer and Matt Borne have arrived in the territory.

Brad and “Bullet” Bob Armstrong – the Father and Son tag team.

SOUTHEASTERN CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING

Randy Rose and Dennis Condrey won the Southeastern Tag Team belts from Brad and Bob Armstrong (13/1 in Mobile, Alabama) due to interference from Mr. Saito. The team of Paul Orndorff and Norvell Austin are vying to uncrown the new champions but so far to no avail.

Saito vs. Bob Armstrong is the most high-profile feud in the promotion with pair feuding over the Alabama State Heavyweight title.  Saito defeated Bullet Bob for the strap at the Boutwell Auditorium in Birmingham.

Brad Armstrong has been crowned the youngest wrestler to ever win the United States Junior Heavyweight belt, after Jerry Stubbs was stripped of the belt and Armstrong won a big one-night tournament at Mobile’s Expo Hall on 20th January in a huge sell-out show.  Other competitors in the tournament were Robert Gibson, Frank Lavertt, Roy Lee Welch and Japanese veteran Oki Shikina.

Stubbs did have gold around his waist shortly after as he beat NWA World Junior Heavyweight Champion Les Thornton for his title at the 20/1 Expo Hall show, although the Englishman did reclaim it just four days later in Dothan. 

Additionally, on the 20/1 show, in a brutal double Bullrope match, Jimmy Golden turned heel on his cousin “The Tennessee Stud” Ron Fuller.  Golden and Fuller were battling Ron and Don Bass the Bullrope match and Don Bass suffered a broken leg after Fuller had the Texan locked in a Inside Step Over Toe Hold for a considerable amount of time.  Golden broke the hold and smashed his cousin in the head with the cowbell.  Golden appeared on the television show proclaiming himself to the new “Tennessee Stud”.  A week earlier, Johnny Valiant also suffered a broken leg due to Fuller’s hold, who is a former partner of Johnny’s, and Valiant is set to miss some time.

ST. LOUIS WRESTLING CLUB

Sam Muchnick’s St. Louis Wrestling started with a bang with a sell-out show at the Kiel Auditorium which was headlined with a Harley Race-Ken Patera World title bout.  The champion ran out a two-falls to one winner but Patera showed the packed crowd he was worth every penny of the ticket. In other matches, the Missouri champion Ted DiBiase overcame the big challenge of Ox Baker and King Kong Brody and Pat O’Connor beat Mike Kelly and Big John Studd.

Before the month was out, the promotion returned to the Kiel with the team of Brody and Andre the Giant pairing up for the first time ever. The sheer size of the duo was a sight to behold in a tag match against Dick Murdoch and Ric Flair.  Obviously, the big men ran out winners.  In what has become quite the ritual everywhere he goes, Andre also won a battle royal.

It was announced that DiBiase will get a shot at the NWA World Championship on 6th February at the next Kiel show in a three falls encounter.

STAMPEDE WRESTLING

After returning home to wrestle in England last October, The Dynamite Kid is back in Calgary and has been tag-teaming with David Schultz to battle the Harts (Bruce and Bret Hart).  Bret Hart is still in possession of the Stampede North American title despite the efforts of the 6-foot 6-inch-tall Schultz.

VANCOUVER ALL STAR WRESTLING

Continuing their feud from Portland, Buddy Rose and his army took their feud with Jay Youngblood up to Canada. On the 12th January Rose and Rip Oliver defeated Youngblood and Joe Ventura for the Pacific Coast Tag Team titles.

WORLD WRESTLING FEDERATION

The newly crowned Intercontinental Champion Pedro Morales has experienced no shortage of contenders for the belt.  The Puerto Rican has defended against Sgt. Slaughter, The Hangman, Stan Hansen and Killer Khan over the last 31 days and still remains the titleholder.

Ring Posts: Q&A with Sgt. Slaughter - Baltimore Sun
Sgt. Slaughter has been challenging WWF Champion Bob Backlund throughout the month.

Sgt. Slaughter has also been trying to win the WWF Heavyweight belt from Bob Backlund.  The pair have clashed on big shows in the Nassau Coliseum (2nd), Capital Center (3rd and 31st) and the Philadelphia Spectrum (10th), but Backlund has possession of the title.

There was no Madison Square Garden show this month, but the Fed will return to the arena on February 16th with Stan Hansen challenging Backlund for the WWF Title and Slaughter facing Morales for the I.C. strap.

Hansen and former two-time champion Bruno Sammartino have battling across the Northeast this past month.  The wild brawling Texan picked up two count-out victories against the former two-time World Champion at the Boston Garden (10/1) and the Pittsburgh Civic Center (16/1), while the pair went to a double count out on 31/1 in Springfield, Massachusetts. 

Sammartino was lucky to escape the Pittsburgh bout without an injury after a brutal display from Hansen.  The Texan removed his elbow pad while Sammartino was on the outside and as the Italian climbed back up to the apron, Hansen smashed Bruno with his patented Lariat clothesline.  Bruno went tumbling down to the arena floor knocked unconscious and was counted out.

One of the WWF Tag Team Champions, Rick Martel suffered an elbow injury in a successful title defense (16/1 – Pittsburgh) against The Moondogs and partner Tony Garea worked the majority of the bout.  Martel and Garea won the bout when guest referee Special Delivery Jones disqualified the ‘Dogs, after King hit Garea over the head with a bone.  Martel returned to action on 27th at the Civic Center, Portland, Maine in a defeat against The Hangman.

NWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONNWA WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS
HARLEY RACEPAUL JONES & THE MASKED SUPERSTAR
1. Antonio Inoki1. Giant Baba/Jumbo Tsuruta
2. Roddy Piper2. The Fabulous Freebirds
3. Ric Flair3. Dory & Terry Funk
4. Bob Backlund4. Ray Stevens/Jimmy Snuka
5. Tony Atlas5. Tony Garea/Rick Martel
6. Gino Hernandez6. The Wild Samoans
7. Andre the Giant7. Antonio Inoki/Tatsumi Fujinami
8. Giant Baba8. Riki Choshu/Seiji Sakaguchi
9. Bruiser Brody9. David & Kevin Von Erich
10. Ted DiBiase10. Robert Fuller & Ted DiBiase

See Ric Flair talk through his NWA United States Heavyweight Title loss against Roddy Piper here on an episode of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling. No footage of the full match at the Dorton Arena, 27th January 1981 is currently available but this video shows you the finish and listen to Flair’s opinion on the match.

All Japan: Korakuen plays host to a Race-Baba match where the Giant will be aiming to become NWA Worlds Heavyweight Champion for a third time.

Big Time Wrestling (Texas): The huge Star Wars show takes place at Reunion Arena in Dallas on 22nd Feb. The full report coming.

Florida: Dusty has sworn that he will get revenge against The Assassin. They meet in a big bout at the Fort Hesterley Armory on 24th Feb.

Georgia: New Georgia Tag Team Champions will be crowned at the Bell Auditorium on 2nd Feb as Dibiase and Fuller meet the Freebirds once again to decide the vacant belts.

Mid-Atlantic: Flair vows to regain the US strap from Piper and with Steamboat and Valentine now involved in the feud, there should be some hot action coming out of the Carolinas.

New Japan: The New Year Golden Series concludes with a big Inoki vs. Bobby Duncum bout.

Southeastern: The promotion host ‘Championship Month’ on their TV show with a title defended on each week of television.

St. Louis: Can Ted DiBiase wrestle away the NWA World Title from champion Harley Race?

WWF: Stan Hansen returns to New York to face Bob Backlund at MSG on 16th Feb. Can the big Texan finally take the belt away from Backlund?

As always, thanks for reading…

Will Burns

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

Round-Up: October 1980

Another month in the National Wrestling Alliance has gone by in the year 1980 so let’s not wait around and see what happened in October.

Our NWA World Heavyweight Champion Harley Race was jet-setting east to west across the states as usual but travelled to New Zealand at the end of the month. Here’s how he retained his championship in October 1980.

DATEEVENTRESULT
1/10/80Central States Wrestling – Marshalltown, IAHarley Race (16th defense) defeated Mike George to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Title.
2/10/80Central States Wrestling – Memorial Hall, Kansas City, KSHarley Race (17th defense) beat Rufus R. Jones to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
3/10/80St. Louis Wrestling Club – The Checkerdome, St. Louis, MOHarley Race (18th defense) defeated David Von Erich 2-1 in a Best Two out of Three Falls Match. Race retained the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
6/10/80Southeastern Championship Wrestling – Montgomery Civic Center, Montgomery, ALHarley Race (19th defense) faced Ron Fuller – winner unknown.
8/10/80Georgia Championship Wrestling – The Coliseum, Macon, GAHarley Race (20th defense) and Stan Hansen went to a double count out.  Race retained the NWA World Title.
9/10/80Georgia Championship Wrestling – Memorial Gymnasium, Rome, GAHarley Race (21st defense) and Stan Hansen went to a double count out.  Race retained the NWA World Title.
10/10/80Georgia Championship Wrestling – The Omni, Atlanta, GAHarley Race (22nd defense) defeated Dick Slater to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Title.
11/10/80Georgia Championship Wrestling – WTBS Studios, Atlanta, GAHarley Race pinned Jerry Roberts in a non-title match.
12/10/80Southeastern Championship Wrestling – Pensacola, FLHarley Race (23rd defense) faced Ron Fuller – winner unknown.
29/10/80World Championship Wrestling – Auckland, New ZealandHarley Race (24th defense) and Mark Lewin went to a draw. Race retained the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
30/10/80World Championship Wrestling – Auckland, New ZealandHarley Race (25th defense) and Mark Lewin went to a draw. Race retained the NWA World Heavyweight belt.

ALL-JAPAN PRO WRESTLING

The Giant Series got underway on 9th October in Korakuen Hall as Tor Kamata and Abdullah the Butcher clashed with Kazuo Sakurada and Giant Baba in the main event, which ended in a double disqualification.  John Studd made his debut on the show defeating Motoshi Okuma in just over six minutes.  From our information this would apparently be Studd’s first appearance in a Japanese wrestling ring.

Billy Robinson and Wahoo McDaniel also appeared on the excursion. The pair tagged up throughout the tour and came close to defeating Giant Baba and Jumbo Tsuruta for the NWA International Tag Team Titles in Morioka, Iwate on the 17th in a great 25-minute match but Giant and Jumbo won by two falls to one.

Abdullah the Butcher shocked the fans at the Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium in Nagoya four days later as he defeated Tsuruta for the NWA United National Championship.  Abdullah pinned Tsuruta in 14:37 to clinch the title in a Best Two out of Three Falls bout.  On the same event, Baba and Billy Robinson went to a double count-out over the PWF Heavyweight belt.

Terry Funk returned and joined the tour on 22nd in Wakkanai, Hokkaido as he teamed up with Robinson to defeat the masked duo of The Asteroid and The Avenger.  Funk also paired up with Tsuruta to face Kamata and Abdullah, but the wild contest finished in a double count-out.  The Funker is set to challenge Abdullah the Butcher for the UN Title in early November.

The end of year Real World Tag Team League begins at the end of next month (28th Nov at Korakuen Hall) and the list of the seven teams participating have been announced as follows…

Giant Baba and Jumbo Tsuruta

Nick Bockwinkel and Jim Brunzell

Billy Robinson and Les Thornton

Abdullah the Butcher and Tor Kamata

Terry Funk and Dory Funk Jr.

The Great Mephisto and The Sheik

BIG TIME WRESTLING (DETROIT)

With the territory virtually taken over by the WWF and Georgia now, The Sheik is still promoting some shows in Michigan like the event on 4/10 in Lincoln Park, where The Sheik successfully defended his U.S Title against “Cowboy” Frankie Lane.  The Huntington Civic Center in West Virginia (30/10) also played host a Sheik card with the US champion winning a title defense against Malcolm “No Money” Monroe.

However, the Sheik and the WWF worked together on a big event at the Cobo Arena. Sheik beat Bob White in another title defense but the WWF stole the show with a double main event.  Bob Backlund pulled double duty defending his WWF title against Ken Patera (no contest) and fought the WWF Tag Team Champions The Samoans with Andre the Giant as his partner.  Andre and Backlund won by DQ so Captain Lou Albano’s men kept the belts in their possession.

BIG TIME WRESTLING (TEXAS)

Manager of Gino Hernandez, the “Playboy” Gary Hart had his head shaved this past month after “Gorgeous” Gino lost a Best of Three falls bout against Kevin Von Erich at the Will Rogers Center in Fort Worth on 27th October. The stipulation signed prior to the bout was if Kevin lost his head would be shaved, if Gino lost, Gary Hart would lose his hair.

Also, in the promotion, Stan Stasiak still holds the Brass Knuckles championship despite the efforts of Bruiser Brody at The Sportatorium on 5th October. In addition, Kevin’s older brother David von Erich defeated Bulldog Brower in a defense of his NWA Texas Heavyweight Title on 13/10 in Fort Worth. Both Stasiak and David are still clinching onto their respective titles.

CENTRAL STATES WRESTLING

NWA Champion Harley Race successfully defended his World Title against Rufus R. Jones in front of rabid crowd at the Memorial Hall in Kansas City on 2nd October.  Bob Sweetan and Mike George beat Jones’ partner “Bulldog” Bob Brown and Bruiser Brody in the semi-main event which lead to Sweetan and George receiving a Tag Team title show on 30th October. Again, at the Memorial Hall, using shady tactics Sweetan and George beat Jones and Brown to become the new Central States Tag Team Champions.

Meanwhile, it was not all doom and gloom this month for Bob Brown regained the Central States Champion.  He defeated Mike George at the Memorial Hall on October 23rd who defeated Brown on September 11th for the championship.

CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING FROM FLORIDA

Much to the displeasure of the Jacksonville Coliseum on October 11th, “Hangman” Bobby Jaggers defeated Bugsy McGraw for the Florida Heavyweight Championship but after a long feud with the Hangman, Dusty Rhodes uncrowned Jaggers at the Eddie Graham Sports Stadium in Orlando on 26/10 to become a ten-time holder of the belt.

Speaking of Rhodes, Oliver Humperdink has now joined the camp of Dusty and Bugsy after Nikolai Volkoff turned on him. Humperdink was forced to become Dusty Rhodes’ servant for 30 days and after Jaggers announced Lord Alfred Hayes as his new manager, Humperdink arrived in the arena to notify Nikolai Volkoff (who was accompanying Jaggers and Hayes) that he was still his manager. Hayes took offence and ridiculed Oliver calling him a “fat ugly idiot” as Jaggers and Hayes attacked him. Volkoff just watched on and refused to help his former managers as Humperdink was stretchered out of the arena.

The Florida TV Champion Barry Windham and Scott McGhee are the youngest tag team to ever be crowned the Florida Tag Team Champions after winning a title tournament on 18th October.  They defeated The Assassins in the finals at the Bayfront Center in St. Petersburg in a one-night eight-team tournament.  Windham and McGhee outlasted teams like Jack and Gerry Brisco, Ted and Jerry Oates, Nikolai Volkoff and Bobby Jaggers managed by Lord Alfred Hayes, Dick Murdoch and Killer Karl Kox and Bobo Brazil and Bugsy McGraw on the way to the finals.

GEORGIA CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING

The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael Hayes, Buddy Roberts and Terry Gordy) debuted in the area and made an immediate impact winning the Georgia Tag Team Titles from Mr. Wrestling I and II at the Omni on 10th October.The Freebirds are a trio that wrestle in tag team matches but their opponents are not aware of which combination of the three will compete in the match.  It is understood, they are defending the titles in the same format.

The Freebirds are embroiled in a feud with Austin Idol and Kevin Sullivan after the “Universal Heartthrob” and Michael Hayes had a war of words on Georgia’s 30/10 TV show which ended up with the two brawling inside the ring. Hayes gained an advantage when partners Roberts and Gordy came to lend a hand and blasted Idol over the head with a chair.  The Boston-native Sullivan emerged from the back to make the save and Idol whipped Hayes with his belt, which led to the Freebirds bailing out of the fight.  The four (just two of the ‘Birds) will meet at the next Omni show on 14th November for the Georgia Tag straps.

Mr. Saito has again defeated all comers in his $5,000 Challenge matches.  If he can be beat within ten minutes, the winner would be awarded the money but the Japanese suplex specialist has outclassed all Police officers, amateur wrestlers and many others that have climbed into the ropes to face him.  Saito has also made a political statement that should be banished by the Equal Right Amendment and the Women’s Liberation Movement when he appeared in a video where he was pampered by his wife in accordance to Japanese tradition.

As for newcomers to the area, “Bullet” Bob Armstrong introduced his son Brad Armstrong into the area and Ole Anderson has brought in former NWA World Heavyweight Champion Terry Funk, who helped Ole run brother Lars Anderson out of the territory. 

“Mr. USA” Tony Atlas won the Georgia Heavyweight Title from Dennis Condrey on 24th October at The Omni and Ole Anderson has set his sights on taking that from Atlas.

HOUSTON WRESTLING

The Sam Houston Coliseum, as usual, saw some great action under the tutelage of Paul Boesch.  On October 3rd the main event featured “Maniac” Mark Lewin challenging “Gorgeous” Gino Hernandez for the NWA American Heavyweight Title.  There was a special stipulation added that pleased the Houston crowd as Gary Hart was placed into a Straitjacket so he could not involve himself in the match.

Lewin took the lead in the Best Two out of Three Falls match gaining a pinfall after delivering a chop to Gino’s head.  It was levelled up after Hernandez choked Lewin on the middle rope and landed with his whole-body weight onto Lewin and covered for the three. Before the beginning of the final fall, Gino attacked Lewin with a steel chair out at ringside. Lewin recovered and administered some punishment to Gino, hiking the Gorgeous one into a tree of woe into the corner and landed some stiff boots.  Hart tried to climb into the ring which distracted Lewin and the referee. Gino pulled something out of his tights and raked it across Lewin’s face which seem to blind the “Maniac”. Gino proceeded to come off the top rope with a elbow to head for the win.  Despite the Straitjacket, Hart still had an impact on this contest.

Dusty Rhodes and Ivan Koloff brought their historic feud to Texas in a Texas Death Match on the 24th October, with the added condition that the loser must leave the ringside area in a coffin.  It was match with blood flowing from both competitors’ heads but the good guy prevailed as Dusty nailed a bionic elbow and the Russian landed in the coffin. The Sam Houston Coliseum erupted as Dusty was declared the winner.  In addition, on the card, Gino Hernandez failed to uncrown the NWA World Junior Heavyweight champion Les Thornton losing the bout by DQ after referee Bronko Lubich spotted Gino use the same object in the Thornton’s eye which Hernandez had used on Lewin two weeks earlier.

In the final event of the month on 31st, Bruiser Brody won an opportunity at the NWA World Heavyweight Title in November defeating Gino Hernandez in a Number One Contenders bout.

MAPLE LEAF WRESTLING

Frank Tunney’s Maple Leaf WrestlingJim Crockett Promotionsand promoter George Scott ran two big shows in Buffalo (18/10) and the Maple Leaf Gardens (19/10) with great success.  On the opening show, Ric Flair defeated NWA United States Heavyweight champion Greg Valentine via count-out after the pair, both fatigued after a grueling match, were brawling on the outside and Valentine punched Flair back into the ring, while Valentine collapsed to the floor. The ref counted “The Hammer” out and awarded Flair the match.  Valentine escaped with the title on 19/10 at the Gardens getting disqualified against the powerhouse Sweet Ebony Diamond.

The Mid-Atlantic Tag Team champions The Sheepherders fought Matt Borne and Sweet Ebony Diamond in Buffalo losing via a DQ and against Borne and Paul Jones in Toronto.  Borne and Jones won the match but sadly for them, it was a non-title contest.

MID-ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING

MACW promoter Jim Crockett Jr. has been announced as the new president of the National Wrestling Alliance taking over from Bob Geigel.  With Crockett now at the helm of the NWA, one could speculate that a successor to the Worlds Champion Harley Race could possibly come from the Carolinas.

The main feud in the Carolinas is still the war between “Nature Boy” Ric Flair and Greg “The Hammer” Valentine over the NWA United States championship. They have been headlining shows in front of big houses at the Charlotte Coliseum and Greensboro Coliseum but Valentine is still possession of the title belt.

The NWA World Tag Team Champions Jimmy Snuka and Ray Stevens have ran Jay Youngblood out of the territory as the youngster has headed to Portland for Pacific Northwest Wrestling. This leaves Ricky Steamboat without a partner.  His former partner Paul Jones may be the obvious choice to replace Youngblood but he has been tagging with The Masked Superstar in their own quest for the tag belts.  The Mid-Atlantic TV title has been vacated by The Superstar as he is concentrating on claiming the tag belts with Jones.  Snuka and Stevens do have plenty of challengers in the territory as George Wells and Sweet Ebony Diamond have been impressive this past month.

The Iron Sheik still holds the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight strap and has been helped by “Russian Bear” Ivan Koloff in a dangerous combination.  The Sheepherders (Luke Williams and Butch Miller) still have the Mid-Atlantic Tag Team belts but their former foe has landed in the Carolinas – Roddy Piper.

Piper has yet to target the Sheepherders, or side with them like their later days in Portland, but he made a winning start at Dorton Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina against Special Delivery Jones.  He also faced and defeated Don Kernodle, George Wells, Matt Borne and Johnny Weaver in the arena shows.  Piper has been annoying the fans in the WTBS Studios with his out-of-tune bagpipe playing it will be interesting to see how patient the crowd are with his musical skills.

NWA TV Title has been vacated and a one-night tournament has been set for 1st November in Richmond, Virginia to crown a new champion.

NEW-JAPAN PRO WRESTLING

T

The Toukon Series began on October 10th at Korakuen Hall and is set to finish up on November 6th at the City Gymnasium in Tsu, Mie.  The tour saw Hulk Hogan return to Japan with fellow Gaijins Paul OrndorffSteve Keirn, Ron Starr, Jim Garvin and Chavo Guerrero in tow.

Antonio Inoki faced and defeated Orndorff in one-on-one competition on October 30th at the City Gymnasium in Kumamoto while Hogan pinned Tatsumi Fujinami on the same show, after Freddie Blassie tripped Fujinami, Hogan proceeded to dish out a leg drop and powerslam for the three count.

Hogan and Antonio Inoki resumed their feud meeting in tag and six man contests throughout the excursion, they will finally meet one-on-one in Tokyo for the NWF Heavyweight Title on 3rd November. We will have a full report from that match in our November 1980 post.

The Series saw one title change when Mexican federation, the UWA, saw Inoki as champion defeated by Tiger Jeet Singh by disqualification but the ruling of the Mexican organisation meant that the title changed hands.

MSG Tag Team Series begins next month and Hulk Hogan and Stan Hansen have been announced as a team.

PACIFIC NORTHWEST WRESTLING

Buddy Rose is still ruling the roost in Portland with PNW Tag Team Champions Rick Oliver and Fidel Cortez by his side.  On October 4th at the Portland Sports Arena, the trio faced Jonathan Boyd, Mike Popovich and newcomer to the area, Joe Lightfoot. The match was declared a draw at one fall a piece before the time limit expired but Popovich slapped Rose into a Full Nelson and refused to let go after the bell. 

The pair met in a big match on the 14th where Popovich in a hair match and shockingly Rose ended up shaving the former footballer’s head bald.  Popovich caught Rose in a Full Nelson but the “Playboy” bent down and ran towards the corner and subsequently Popovich’s head ran into the turnbuckle.  Rose nailed the sweeping Backbreaker on Popovich for the pin.  Rose did the haircutting while his victim was taunted by Oliver and Cortez.  Popovich has not been sent in the territory since.

Also, on the 14th, Lightfoot was joined by new tag team partner Jay Youngblood in a bout against Oliver and Cortez in a non-title bout.  The champs won the first fall, but the Indian duo ended up coming back to win 2-1 so they qualified for a Tag Title bout on the 18th.  In the rematch, the good guys won fall one when Youngblood pinned Cortez but it was tied up at 1-1 when Oliver hit Lightfoot with a shoulder-breaker.  The final fall was decided when Oliver and Lightfoot collided into each other and Joe fell to the mat as Oliver rebounded onto the ropes. Buddy Rose, who was located at ringside, pushed Oliver on top of Lightfoot for the win.

After the match, Dutch Savage emerged from the back and punched Rose and informed referee Sandy Barr what had happened. Barr reversed the decision but Rose and company were still celebrating as the belts could not change hands under such circumstance. Barr then decided to hold the belts up and demand a rematch for 25th October.

In an unannounced bout on the 23rd in Salem, Oliver and Cortez regained the Tag Team Championships defeating Lightfoot and Youngblood, but they did not hold them for long.  Two nights later, with Rose handcuffed to Dutch Savage, the Indians won the titles and sent the Portland Sports Arena into raptures.

Promoter Don Owens introduced Samoan wrester Siva Afi to the area. Afi has been active in Hawaii and New Zealand in recent years and even had a shot at Harley Race’s NWA World Heavyweight Title in Auckland.  Owens mentioned that Afi was a former Hawaii champion who dethroned Buddy Rose for said belt.  Rose took offence to this comment and ripped Afi’s lei off from around the Samoan’s neck which scattered the flower petals all over the ring.  Rose had hell to pay for on the 18th as he met Afi one-on-one. Afi pinned Buddy for the first fall but was counted out for the second. In the final fall, Boyd emerged from the back with his Boomerang to clobber Rose but the cowardly “Playboy” ran to the back and he was counted out to lose the match.

SOUTHEASTERN CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING

Southeastern purchased the rights of the state of Alabama and they have announced that next month they will crown the first ever Alabama Heavyweight champion.  On their debut Alabama TV show under the new banner on 18/10, they proclaimed that the promotion is the largest wrestling organisation in the United States with their promotional territory spanning from Ohio Valley to the Gulf of Mexico.

ST. LOUIS WRESTLING CLUB

The promotion hit off the new month in style with a huge show at the Checkerdome on 3rd October.  In the main event, David von Erich got another shot at Harley Race’s World Heavyweight Title but unfortunately fell two falls to one in a Best of Three Falls contest.  Ted DiBiase took NWA Missouri Champion Ken Patera to a twenty-minute time-limit draw and in six-man action, Dick Murdoch, King Kong (Bruiser) Brody and Baron Von Raschke beat Dick The Bruiser, Pat O’Connor and Rufus R. Jones.

Sam Muchnick also promoted his usual monthly show at the Kiel Auditorium (24/20) with headliners Ric Flair and Dick the Bruiser going to a double count-out.  David Von Erich was in action and defeated Buck Robley as Ted DiBiase gained a huge win over King Kong Brody.

STAMPEDE WRESTLING

At the Exhibition Auditorium in Regina, Saskatchewan, Stampede Wrestling ran a big show on 28th October with three title contests.  Hercules Ayala and Jim Neidhart defended their Stampede International Tag Team championships against Duke Myers and Mike Sharpe Jr. with the champions retaining.  Bruce Hart and Dynamite Kid clashed over the World Mid-Heavyweight belt with Bruce overcoming Dynamite to keep the championship in his grasp.  In the main event, the Stampede North American champion Bret Hart defeated the 6ft 4 Ugandan Kasavubu.

Speaking of Bret Hart, he is still the North American champion despite the attempts of Duke Myers to claim the belt.  The pair clashed six times this past month with Bret coming out on top constantly.

VANCOUVER ALL STAR WRESTLING

The Pacific Coast Tag Team Titles have changed hands this past month as Rick Oliver and Fidel Cortez pinned Mike Popovich and Al Tomko in a one-off bout for the vacant titles.  Rick Martel and Roddy Piper had given up the belts after moving on to the WWF and Mid-Atlantic respectively.

WORLD WRESTLING COUNCIL

Chief Jay Strongbow defeated “Crazy” Luke Graham inside the Juan R. Loubriel Stadium in Bayamon, Puerto Rico to become the new Caribbean Heavyweight Champion.  On the same show Dutch Mantell and Danny Condrey won the WWC North American Tag Team Championships from Carlos Colon and Jose Rivera.

WORLD WRESTLING FEDERATION

The Hangman has finally been beaten in the WWF but it took the Champion Bob Backlund to end the undefeated streak.  Backlund overcame Freddie Blassie’s man in 22:30 at the Boston Garden on October 4th.  The Hangman and Backlund clashed many times throughout the month but the “All-American Boy” came out on top. Bob’s busy month continued as he was challenged by the most-hated man of 1980, Larry Zbyszko in a 10th October match in Pittsburgh.  The champion retained his belt pinning Zbyszko within 15 minutes. Finally, the 25th brought Backlund a tough contest against the Intercontinental Champion Ken Patera at the Capitol Center in Landover, Maryland, but Backlund once again prevailed as the strongman was counted out.

A special show was held at the Philadelphia Spectrum on Saturday 11th October as Gorilla Monsoon retired from in-ring competition.  The first 10,000 fans to enter the Spectrum received a signed photograph of Monsoon as the WWF held a special retirement ceremony for him.  New Jersey Assemblywoman Barbara Faith Kalik presented Monsoon with a Proclamation on behalf of the State Assembly in a proud moment for Gorilla.

Sgt. Slaughter, Stan Hansen and Killer Khan were new faces at the TV tapings for Championship Wrestling and All-Star Wrestling this past month.  All three will be aiming to climb to the main event to challenge for the WWF Title with Slaughter immediately meeting Backlund for the belt on the 20th at Madison Square Garden.  Slaughter took the champion to the limit and defeated Backlund by DQ.

NWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION

HARLEY RACE
NWA WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS

RAY STEVENS AND JIMMY SNUKA
1. Antonio Inoki1. Giant Baba/Jumbo Tsuruta
2. Giant Baba2. The Sheepherders
3. Greg Valentine3. The Wild Samoans
4. Bob Backlund4. Rick Oliver/Fidel Castro
5. Ric Flair5. Barry Windham/Scott McGhee
6. Andre the Giant6. The Fabulous Freebirds
7. David Von Erich7. Paul Jones/Masked Superstar
8. Jumbo Tsuruta8. Mr. Wrestling/Mr. Wrestling II
9. Ted DiBiase9. Bob Sweetan/Mike George
10. Mark Lewin10. Tor Kamata/Abdullah the Butcher

This month’s match comes from New Japan Pro Wrestling on October 30th 1980 as Hulk Hogan faces Tatsumi Fujinami at the City Gymnasium in Kumamoto, Japan.

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All Japan: The prestigious Real World Tag Team League begins.

Georgia: Can the Freebirds possibly ruffle any more feathers in GCW?

Mid-Atlantic: A new TV Champion will be crowned on 1st November in Richmond, VA in a one-night tournament

New Japan: The MSG Tag Team League gets underway in Korakuen Hall, we will have coverage of the opening days.

Portland: Can anyone stop Buddy Rose and his new army in the Pacific Northwest?

Southeastern: The promotions’ expansion into Alabama means they will create a champion for the state.  Who will win the tournament and the new gold belt?

As always, thanks for reading…

Will Burns

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

Round-Up: August 1980

Text

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.

DATEEVENTRESULT
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.

ALL-JAPAN PRO WRESTLING

The Summer Action Series 1980 concluded with Bruiser Brody causing havoc in the promotion. The big Texan has been tagging with “Big Cat” Ernie Ladd and Pampero Firpo in tag and six-man matches all against a combination of Giant Baba, Jumbo Tsuruta, Rocky Hata, Tiger Toguchi and Prince Tonga.

On the big show to end the tour at Korakuen Hall (7/8), Brody forced Tsuruta to a draw in an NWA United National Title bout and Giant Baba managed to beat Ernie Ladd in a big singles bout.

The Summer Action Series II excursion got underway with Ray Candy and Austin Idol joining the tour with Mexican duo Dos Caras and Mil Mascaras.  A youngster from the Polynesian Islands, Prince Tonga, a trainee at the AJPW Dojo is undefeated in singles competition. Tonga has defeated David Sammartino (son of Bruno), John Davidson, Karl von Steiger, Kurt von Hess and held Austin Idol to double count out in the past month. A great start to the young man’s career in All Japan.

Huge news for next month, NWA World Heavyweight Champion Harley Race is set to travel to Japan to defend his belt against Baba, Tsuruta and Mascaras.

BIG TIME WRESTLING (DETROIT)

After years of dwindling attendances, the crumbling empire of The Sheik’s is rumoured to be in major financial difficulty. They have two shows lined up next month, both at the Civic Center in Canton, Ohio (10/9 and 24/9) with WWF Champion Bob Backlund set to defend his title against The Sheik on both occasions with the second match being inside a Steel Cage.

The WWF, Georgia Championship Wrestling and Jerry Jarrett’s AWA affiliate the Continental Wrestling Association are invading and booking shows in Big Time Wrestling’s area.

BIG TIME WRESTLING (TEXAS)

The big two shows were promoted at the Sportatorium for Fritz von Erich’s group with El Halcon and Gino Hernandez headlining both events. On 24th August, the pair met in a singles affair with the Mexican coming out on top.  In the second Dallas event, NWA American Tag Team Champions El Halcon and Kerry von Erich outlasted Gino Hernandez and Gary Young to retain the titles despite constant attempts of interference by manager Gary Hart

CENTRAL STATES WRESTLING

Killer Karl Kox and Takachiho lost their NWA Central States Tag Team Titles in front of a packed house at Memorial Hall on 14th August to the pairing of “Bulldog” Bob Brown and Rufus R. Jones.

CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING FROM FLORIDA

On August 3rd, over 17,000 fans packed the Tampa Stadium as it played host to one of the supercards of the year as Eddie Graham promoted ‘The Last Tangle in Tampa’.  The main event saw Dusty Rhodes face Harley Race for the World Championship in a best of three falls bout.  The match billed the Last Tangle was due to Dusty proclaiming that this match would be the last time he would ever wrestle Race.

Fritz Von Erich was named as the special guest referee and this was a Best Two out of Three Falls bout with No Disqualification rules. Von Erich was an obvious choice to many due to his straightforward demeanor and ability to show no bias to either grappler. The bout started out at a great tempt as both traded some suplexes and Rhodes took an early lead 1-0 pinning the champ with a Bionic Elbow.

The atmosphere was hot and humid and the match slowed down with both race and Dusty conserving energy with chin-locks and sleeper holds. As the match neared its conclusion, still at 1-0, each wrestler scored near pins. Unfortunately for the huge attendance inside the stadium, a staggered Harley propped himself up on the ropes and the bell rang for the expiration of the sixty-minute time limit.  Dusty won the match 1-0 but failed to secure the second fall to win the championship.

Back in the locker room, Dusty proclaimed the event was a milestone for the city of Tampa and for the sport.  In other matches, Wendi Richter eliminated six other women to win a ladies’ battle royal and the prize of $10,000, Les Thornton retained the NWA Junior Heavyweight Title after opponent Mike Graham was disqualified. The same fate ended Don Muraco’s chance to unseat WWF Champion Bob Backlund after the referee DQ’ed the muscleman from Hawaii.

Muraco did not have a great month after losing his Florida Heavyweight Title to Bugsy McGraw on 8th August at the City Auditorium in Melbourne, Florida. We have new Florida Tag Team Champions as the Russian contingent of Ivan Koloff and Nikolai Volkoff ( pictured below) defeated Jack and Jerry Brisco in Orlando on the 7th.

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

GEORGIA CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING

There were two title changes over the last month in Georgia. The Assassins regained the NWA Georgia Tag Team Titles from Mr. Wrestling II and Steve Keirn in Columbus, Georgia at the Municipal Auditorium on 6/8. It was not all bad news for Keirn as he uncrowned Baron Von Raschke for the Georgia Heavyweight Title five days later at the Bell Auditorium in Augusta (11/8).

A huge Omni show took place on 22nd August, with a gigantic main event as Andre the Giant and Dusty Rhodes faced Gene and Ole Anderson in a No DQ/No Time-Limit/Loser Leaves Town tag team match.  It was bloody war that ended up with the Andersons coming out on top much to the disappointment to the packed crowd. Andre and Dusty will no longer be able to wrestle in the promotion no longer.  In another blood-filled battle, Abdullah the Butcher defeated the “Maniac” Mark Lewin and Mr. Wrestling II defeated The Masked Superstar in a one-on-one contest, but the war is not over and they will meet in a Loser Leaves match at the next Omni show (5/9) inside a cage.

Also on the 22nd, Terry Taylor became the new National TV Champion defeating Ken Patera by DQ in the finals of a Round-Robin tournament.

Mr. Wrestling and Mr. Wrestling II are now a team and will face The Assassins in the coming weeks. On the 30/8 TV show, Assassin #1 stated that he would unmask Mr. Wrestling II as soon as they can meet one-on-one and both men questioned the importance of each other’s mask.  The pair ended up brawling and Assassin #2 appeared to pull the mask off Mr. Wrestling II.  Steve Keirn made the save and Wrestling II swore revenge and the original Mr. Wrestling offered his services to fight The Assassins. The two teams ended up brawling at the end of the show and one of the Assassins were unmasked to the studio’s crowd delight.

Finally, “Cowboy” Bill Watts appeared on TV and swore revenge on the Andersons and introduced a newcomer to the territory, a large masked man called Uvalde Slim to help him in the upcoming battle with Ole and Gene.

HOUSTON WRESTLING

Gino Hernandez and El Halcon took their feud to Houston and played hot potato with the NWA American Heavyweight Title.  El Halcon beat Hernandez on the 1st August at the Sam Houston Coliseum only to drop it back to “Gorgeous” Gino on the 15th.

MAPLE LEAF WRESTLING

Angelo Mosca won the NWA Canadian Heavyweight Title last month but The Great Hossein Arab, under the tutelage of Gene Anderson, regained the title at the Maple Leaf Gardens on 10th August in a controversial match that was witnessed by a raucous crowd of 11,000.  Referee Terry Yorkston was knocked down and Mosca had Hossein pinned, Gene climbed into the ring and knocked out Mosca and Hossein ended up covering his opponent to clinch the title back.

Ric Flair defeated NWA United States champ Greg Valentine in a Texas Death Ten Falls match on the same show, however, Valentine’s belt was not on the line as the NWA deemed the title could not be defended in such match. Flair won by six falls to four.

On the promotions’ return to the Gardens on the 25th, the card was headlined by a huge main event for the NWA World Tag Team Titles as champions Jimmy Snuka and Ray Stevens ended up the winners in a title defense against Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood in a Steel Cage bout.

In other news, the promotion made its debut in Buffalo, New York at the Memorial Auditorium on 9/8, which was a reported deal between MLW owner Frank Tunney and WWF head Vincent J. McMahon.

MID-ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING

Yet another huge month in the Carolinas for Jim Crockett Promotions as the summer’s feuds continued in bloody fashion. Despite the challenge of Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood, Gene Anderson’s duo of Jimmy Snuka and Ray Stevens are still the NWA World Tag Team Champions. They battled each other five times and notwithstanding winning a few matches via count-out, Youngblood and Steamboat were unable dethrone the titleholders.  No doubt they will receive further opportunities to avenge their title loss next month.

Surprisingly, Snuka and Stevens teamed up with The Masked Superstar on the 13th August Mid-Atlantic TV show, however the week later, the Superstar appeared disgruntled as the champs and manager Gene yammered on and he did not get a chance to speak.

After calling out Blackjack Mulligan last month, “Bad Boy” Bobby Duncum has been waging war with Blackjack in some wild brawls across the Carolinas. The new United States Heavyweight Champion Greg Valentine has been in some heated title defenses and non-title matches with “Nature Boy” Ric Flair.The blood has been flowing every match and Flair has been teaming with friend Blackjack Mulligan with Bobby Duncum tagging up with Valentine in tag matches.

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.

NEW-JAPAN PRO WRESTLING

What a way to begin the Bloody Fight Series tour with Bob Backlund defending the WWF Title against Antonio Inoki on the opening night at Shinagawa Prince Hotel Gold Hall in Tokyo on 22nd August.  Inoki earned a shot at Backlund’s belt by winning the MSG Series tournament that took place May and June.  Inoki ran the champion close but the bout ended after “Pretty Boy” Larry Sharpe and Stan Hansen attacking Backlund on the outside of the ring and the champion was counted out.  Backlund stayed on tour for the next five nights and teamed up with Inoki to face Hansen and Sharpe in Tokyo’s Denen Coliseum. The good guys came out the victors.

The series continues as we enter September 1980 and WWF regular Pete Roberts is touring along with Stampede talent Bad News Allen returns for another tour.

PACIFIC NORTHWEST WRESTLING

An action-packed month in Portland, as new PNW Tag Team champions were crowned after the belts were vacated by The Sheepherders last month.  The match to decide the new titleholders took place at the Portland Sports Arena on 2nd August with Rick Martel and Roddy Piper squaring off against long time rival “Playboy” Buddy Rose and Ed Wiskowski in a three falls contest.  Piper and Martel bossed the bad guys for the majority of the bout and went a fall up at around nine minutes, however, this was levelled up and the third fall was declared a double count-out after the two teams brawled on the outside.  Therefore, the titles were classed as still vacant.  Piper demanded promoter Don Owens make a decision so a Lumberjack/No Disqualification rematch was set for the 5th August. Rose was infuriated with the decision and attacked Owens which escalated into all four men brawling at the interview area.

The Lumberjack match ended in victory for Piper and Martel who are the new champions but not withstanding more wild action.  After the decision was announced and the “Lumberjacks” left the area, Wiskowski unfurled a coat hanger and wrapped it around Piper’s throat while Rose attacked Martel and handcuffed him to a turnbuckle. It was alleged that Fidel Cortez had handed these objects to Rose and Wiskowski. Piper was choked until he passed out while Martel was helpless. Referee Sandy Barr emerged from the back with a wrench to save Piper for any permanent damage.

Following the tag team match defeat, Rose challenged Martel to a Loser Leaves match. Then on the 9th, Martel received an award from Owens for best wrestler in the area and Rose clobbered the Canadian over the head with the trophy.  Martel in anger, accepted the Rose’s match proposal and was to defend the PNW Championship in the bout.

So, on the 16th August, the match took place and Martel went a fall ahead with a sleeper hold. The bout was tied up when Rose hit a backbreaker on the champ for the three count. For the deciding fall, Rose whipped Martel into the turnbuckles but Rick hopped up onto the top rope and flew onto the Playboy with a body press.  Rose reverse Martel and cradled the Canadian to become the new champion and send Rick Martel packing. In return for the way that Rose challenged Martel, Piper demanded that Wiskowski face him in a Loser Leaves match but Ed refused.

Former football player Mike Popovich has debuted on the 23rd and picked Buddy Rose to be his first opponent.  He won the match after Rose got himself thrown out by referee Dutch Savage after he punched Savage.  Rose attacked Savage’s knee after his call and Dutch is due to have surgery on his injured leg. On the subject of Popovich, he won a 12-man Battle Royal (30/8) eliminating Cortez and Rip Oliver last with the help of Jonathan Boyd.

Roddy Piper will defend his PNW Tag Team titles with Popovich as his partner, now that Martel was forced to leave the area, against Rose and Oliver on September 6th.

ST. LOUIS WRESTLING CLUB

NWA Missouri Champion Ken Patera got a chance at the NWA World Heavyweight Championship on 8th August at the Kiel Auditorium but was unable to defeat titleholder Harley Race.  In a match where the legendary Lou Thesz was the special referee, the World champ won by two falls to one against the Olympic strongman but Patera put on a good showing and will look for a rematch at the earliest opportunity.

WWF Champion Bob Backlund defended his title successfully on the show despite a valiant effort from Buzz Tyler and David von Erich beat Baron Von Raschke in singles competition and is in the hunt for an NWA World Title opportunity.  In a big eight-man tag team bout, David’s brother Kevin von Erich teamed with former NWA champion Pat O’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.

STAMPEDE WRESTLING

Englishman Dynamite Kid and Bruce Hart are embroiled in a wild feud up north and they clashed in singles and tag team competition this past month.  They went to no-contest in Calgary (1/8) and then in a six-man tag team a week later. Dynamite was teamed with the foreign duo of Fidel Castillo and Kasavubu and they were defeated by Bruce, Bret and Keith Hart.

VANCOUVER ALL STAR WRESTLING

Ed Wiskowski will no longer be able to wrestle in Vancouver after losing a Loser Leaves Town match against Roddy Piper on the 25th.  Former NWA World Champion Gene Kiniski was back in the ring on 11th August as he defeated the Russian Igor Volkoff.

WORLD WRESTLING FEDERATION

The WWF held the huge ‘Showdown at Shea’ event in front of over 36,000 fans at Shea Stadium in Flushing, New York.  We have a full report of the event at ProjectWWF.com here.

At the Shea event, the WWF Tag Team Titles changed hands as The Wild Samoans lost to Pedro Morales and WWF Champion Bob Backlund.  However, WWF officials have stripped the new champions of the belts due to the fact Backlund will be unable to defend both championships. A tournament is being held with the finals to be held on the ‘Championship Wrestling’ TV show in September.

NWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION

HARLEY RACE
NWA WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS

RAY STEVENS AND JIMMY SNUKA
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: July 1980

It is July 1980 and this was a huge month for professional wrestling.  We have news on two huge upcoming shows in Florida and New York, numerous title switches and we follow the World Champions’ progress as the summer continues in the NWA affiliated territories.

NWA World Heavyweight Champion Harley Race defended the World Heavyweight Championship coast to coast this past month, taking on all comers.

DATEEVENTRESULT
4/7/80Stampede Wrestling – Calgary, Alberta, CanadaHarley Race beat Hercules Ayala to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Title.
6/7/80Georgia Championship Wrestling – The Omni, Atlanta, GAHarley Race and Tommy Rich went to a no contest.  Race retains the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
11/7/80Stampede Wrestling – Calgary, Alberta, CanadaHarley Race beat Archie Gouldie to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Title.
17/7/80Central States Wrestling – Memorial Hall, Kansas City, MSRufus R. Jones beat Harley Race via disqualification.  Race retained the NWA World Heavyweight Title.
20/7/80Georgia Championship Wrestling – The Omni, Atlanta, GAHarley Race defeated Tommy Rich to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. Former NWA champion Lou Thesz was the special guest referee.
21/7/80Georgia Championship Wrestling – William Bell Auditorium, Augusta, GATommy Rich defeated Harley Race via DQ.  Race retains the NWA World Heavyweight Title. Former NWA champion Lou Thesz was the special guest referee.
22/7/80Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling – Dorton Arena, Raleigh, NCHarley Race defeated Ric Flair via count-out to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
23/7/80Georgia Championship Wrestling – Municipal Auditorium, Columbus, GAHarley Race defeated Tommy Rich to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Title.
24/7/80Georgia Championship Wrestling – Chilhowee Park, Chattanooga, TNHarley Race defeated Tommy Rich to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Title. Former NWA champion Lou Thesz was the special guest referee.
26/7/80Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling – Charlotte Coliseum, Charlotte, NCHarley Race defeated Sweet Ebony Diamond to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Title.
26/7/80Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling – Memorial Coliseum, Spartanburg, NCRic Flair and Sweet Ebony Diamond beat Greg Valentine and Harley Race.
27/7/80Big Time Wrestling (Texas) – Dallas, TXHarley Race beat El Halcon to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Title.
28/7/80Big Time Wrestling (Texas) – Fort Worth, TXKerry von Erich defeated Harley Race in a special challenge match.
28/7/80Big Time Wrestling (Texas) – Fort Worth, TXHarley Race and Fritz von Erich went to a double count out. Race retains the NWA World Heavyweight Title.
29/7/80World Wrestling Federation – Agricultural Hall, Allentown, PAHarley Race defeated Paul Figueroa in a non-title match.
29/7/80World Wrestling Federation – Agricultural Hall, Allentown, PAHarley Race beat Kid Sharkey in a non-title match.
29/7/80World Wrestling Federation – Agricultural Hall, Allentown, PAHarley Race defeated Rick McGraw in a non-title match.

ALL-JAPAN PRO WRESTLING

The Summer Action Series 1980 got underway at City Center in Tsushima, Aichi (11/7) with Bruiser Brody, “Big Cat” Ernie Ladd, Pampero Firpo, Don DeNucci, Prince Tonga, The Davidson Brothers and David Sammartino joining the Japanese regulars on the tour.  Tonga (pictured above) is a youngster from NWA Polynesian Wrestling and has been tag-teaming with Giant Baba and Jumbo Tsuruta in tag and six-man action against Brody, Ladd and Firpo and has been impressive being successful in all matches bar one against The Davidsons when tagging with Rocky Hata.

WON/F4W - WWE news, Pro Wrestling News, WWE Results, UFC News, UFC ...

The tour is set to conclude on 7th August at Korakuen Hall with Tsuruta defending his NWA United National title against Bruiser Brody and Giant Baba will meet Ernie Ladd one-on-one in a double main event.

BIG TIME WRESTLING (TEXAS)

The NWA World Heavyweight Champion Harley Race stopped by in Dallas (27/7) and Fort Worth (28/7) and defend the belt against El Halcon and Fritz Von Erich respectively.  Race was also defeated by young Kerry Von Erich in a special challenge match on the Fort Worth show.

CENTRAL STATES WRESTLING

The big monthly show at the Memorial Hall in Kansas City nearly saw a new NWA World Heavyweight Champion as Harley Race lost via disqualification to Rufus R. Jones in a tight contest.  Also at the event, Takachiho and Killer Karl Kox retained the Central States Tag Team titles against Ted DiBiase and Dick Murdoch.

CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING FROM FLORIDA

Eddie Graham is promoting “the greatest show in the history of Tampa” on August 3rd at Tampa Stadium, Tampa, Florida.  It is billed as “The Last Tangle in Tampa” and will feature Dusty Rhodes looking to regain the NWA World Heavyweight Championship against Harley Race with Fritz von Erich signed on as the special referee.  It will be a best of three falls encounter with no disqualifications and Dusty has vowed he will never wrestle Race again if he fails to regain the belt.  Bob Backlund will defend the WWF Title against NWA Florida Heavyweight champion Don Muraco and in a battle of the giants, Andre the Giant clashes with “Big Cat” Ernie Ladd.

Graham also promoted “Star Wars ’80 II” on 4th July at the Hollywood Sportatorium which hosted a one-night eight-team tournament for the NWA Florida United States Tag Team titles and $50,000 Challenge Cup.  In a shock result, Bugsy McGraw and Dusty Rhodes defeated Dory & Terry Funk to win the championships, the money and the trophy. They defeated Mr. Saito and Dick Slater and Ivan Koloff and Nikolai Volkoff on the way to the finals.

GEORGIA CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING

The ever-popular Tommy Rich has been chasing Harley Race’s World Heavyweight Title throughout the year and has come close on various occasions to become the new titleholder.  The youngster may never be as close as at the Omni on 20th July.  Although the bout only went just over 15 minutes, in front of a packed crowd and the legendary former NWA champion Lou Thesz as special referee, Rich went close many times and had the champion in a bloody mess.

Rich has also challenged Ole Anderson and here is the reason why…

The Omni 20/7 show also featured one of the most shocking angles in the history of Georgia wrestling.  A tag team cage match took place with The Assassins putting the Georgia Tag Team Titles on the line against Dusty Rhodes and Ole.  Two referees were assigned with Gene Anderson representing Ole and Dusty and Ivan Koloff for The Assassins.  Blood was flowing early on from Dusty’s forehead and he began wildly swinging and accidentally punched Gene.  Ole was tagged in and Dusty ended up taking a beating off all five men inside the cage.

The Omni crowd littered the ring with food, drinks and additionally a chair was thrown into the ring. Lars Anderson scaled the cage and ended up helping Dusty but he also ended up being outnumbered.  A truly odious act by Ole and Dusty vows to gain revenge on him, Gene, Koloff and the Assassins.  On August 1st at the Omni, he will get the chance to gain some retribution as he will face Ole and Gene Anderson – his partner will be Andre the Giant!

The Assassins lost the Georgia Tag Team titles ten days later by the team of Steve Keirn and Mr. Wrestling. The bout took place at the Municipal Auditorium in Columbus (30/7) again inside the confines of a steel cage.

Page 7 - Word's Strongest Men: 10 of the Strongest Wrestlers Ever

HOUSTON WRESTLING

Tony Atlas has secured another shot at the NWA World Title after a pinfall victory over the man holding the NWA American Heavyweight title, “Gorgeous” Gino Hernandez at the Sam Houston Coliseum on 18/7.  Promoter Paul Boesch has managed to secure Harley Race to appear in Houston on August 1st and Atlas will go one-on-one with the champion in a three falls encounter.

MAPLE LEAF WRESTLING

NWA United States Champion Ric Flair met in the ring with his adversary Greg Valentine at the Maple Leaf Gardens on the 20th July.  Valentine dominated the bout and repeatedly targeted Flair’s broken nose, but the champion retained after Valentine attempted to suplex the Nature Boy into the ring from the apron, however, Flair landed on Valentine and hold him down for the three. After the bell, they had to be pulled apart by members of the locker room on the ramp – the feud continues.

On the same night, the NWA Canadian Heavyweight Champion The Great Hossein Arab dropped his title to veteran Angelo Mosca. Arab will get a rematch on the next Gardens show on the 10th August.

MID-ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING

The crowds have been flocking and the tickets sales have been through the roof due to the arrival of Andre the Giant to the territory. The Frenchman has been teaming up with Ric Flair and Blackjack Mulligan in six-man tag team matches and typically, winning battle royals.

On the 1st at Dorton Arena, Raleigh, former NWA World Tag Team Champions Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood aimed to regain the belts from Ray Stevens and Jimmy Snuka but once Gene Anderson got involved, Steamboat and Youngblood lost their discipline and were disqualified.  There were numerous rematches across the month but Anderson’s Army is still in possession of the titles.

The war between Ric Flair and Greg Valentine has escalated this past month accumulating into the situation that Valentine is now the NWA United States Champion.

These two battled throughout the month, with matches at the Richmond Coliseum (4/7), Greensboro Coliseum (6/7) and at Greenville Memorial Auditorium on 7th July. Flair held the title until he was in front of his hometown fans on a big show at the Charlotte Coliseum on the 26th July.  Flair tried to plant the Figure Four leglock on Valentine, but Greg kicked Flair into the turnbuckle.  Flair rebounded and Valentine rolled Flair up for the 1-2-3.  The Coliseum crowd were far from happy from the ending of this one.

Flair started the chase to claim the title back on 28th back to Memorial Auditorium, Greenville and next night at the Columbia Township Auditorium, however, although he won both bouts by disqualification, the frustrated Nature Boy left without regaining his title.

NEW-JAPAN PRO WRESTLING

Antonio Inoki and Tatsumi Fujinami are set to travel to the States to appear on the WWF’s Showdown at Shea show next month.  Fujinami will defend his WWF Junior Heavyweight Title against Mexican superstar Chavo Guerrero.

The Summer Fight Series continued with the strong Stampede Wrestling contingent providing a great showing. One guy that really impressed was Bret Hart who was joined by his brother Keith on the tour, which they had some success also.  Meanwhile, Bret nearly took gold back to Canada but was narrowly beaten by Kengo Kimura in a match for the vacant NWA International Junior Heavyweight belt (23/7 – Kitakyushu, Fukuoka).  Despite that defeat, Bret gained some good victories against Kimura (2/7), George Takano (4/7, 13/7 and 19/7), Yoshiaki Fujiwara (8/7 and 21/7), Kantaro Hoshino (9/7) and Junji Hawata (14/7).

PACIFIC NORTHWEST WRESTLING

Huge news emerged out of the Portland Wrestling TV show on 26th July, that the current PNW Tag Team champions The Sheepherders, Luke Williams and Butch Miller, have announced they are leaving the territory.

After wrestling Ivan Volkoff and Fidel Castro to retain the titles, the New Zealanders announced they are leaving and wished to hand the tag titles to Roddy Piper and Rick Martel. Their rivals Buddy Rose and Ed Wiskowski appear and disputed the decision and protested that they should receive the belts. Piper and Martel stated they did not want any titles that they did not earn and suggest they face Rose and Wiskowski for the vacant straps on 2nd August.

The Sheepherders had a tough last month in Portland especially as they are embroiled in the feud with Rose and Wiskowski.  They took their feud into a steel cage on the 22nd in a Steel Cage Hair vs Hair bout.  Rose and Williams ended up climbing over the top of the cage and brawled outside. The Playboy gained an advantage and climbed back in to attack Miller to allow Wiskowski to get the pin.  Miller and Williams, who had their heads shaved last year after losing single bouts against Piper, were made to have their heads shaved again.

Jonathan Boyd has returned to the area to team up with the Sheepherders on the 19th but then faced Piper in a one-on-one contest on the 26th.  The match finished as a time-limit draw and Boyd offered to be Piper’s tag partner anytime after the match. Rick Martel is still the PNW champion.

STAMPEDE WRESTLING

Harley Race travelled up to Calgary this past month to defend the NWA World Championship against Hercules Ayala (4/7) and Archie Gouldie (11/7).

VANCOUVER ALL STAR WRESTLING

The Sheepherders-Buddy Rose and Ed Wiskowski war travelled north to Vancouver this past month in a Steel Cage Coal Miners Glove match on 16th July which the New Zealanders won, however, at the end of the month it was a different story.  Rose and Wiskowski defeated Miller and Williams in a Loser Leaves Town match (28/7) and the Sheepherders are now gone from All-Star Wrestling.

WORLD WRESTLING FEDERATION

The big Showdown at Shea supershow scheduled to take place next month (9th) at Shea Stadium, the home of the New York Mets, is really starting to take shape.  Matches signed so far Bruno Sammartino vs. Larry Zbyszko in a Steel Cage match in a bout that should finally settle that feud.  Due to his actions in Japan last month, Hulk Hogan is set to face Andre the Giant.  Hogan attacked Andre in a New Japan Pro Wrestling MSG Series bout to cost the Giant his match against Stan Hansen, and now he must face Andre one-on-one. In a WWF Intercontinental Title match, champion Ken Patera will meet the tough challenge of Tony Atlas. WWF Junior Heavyweight title will be on the line as Chavo Guerrero challenges Tatsumi Fujinami. New Japan president Antonio Inoki will meet “Pretty Boy” Larry Sharpe for NWF Heavyweight Title and former IC champion Pat Patterson will go against the vicious Tor Kamata.  There are an estimated 30,000 fans due to attend this mega event.

WWF Champion Bob Backlund has been involved in a series of title defenses against Hogan, Zbyszko and Patera but is currently still the champion. He faced the undefeated Hogan twice and lost both times via count out so retained the belt.

NWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION

HARLEY RACE
NWA WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS

RAY STEVENS AND JIMMY SNUKA
1. Antonio Inoki1. Ricky Steamboat/Jay Youngblood
2. Greg Valentine2. Giant Baba/Jumbo Tsuruta
3. Ric Flair3. The Wild Samoans
4. Tony Atlas4. Matt Borne/Buzz Sawyer
5. Dusty Rhodes5. The Assassins
6. Tommy Rich6. The Sheepherders
7. David Von Erich7. Bugsy McGraw/Dusty Rhodes
8. Bob Backlund8. Roddy Piper/Rick Martel
9. Stan Hansen9. Bret and Keith Hart
10. Kerry Von Erich10. Mr. Wrestling/Steve Keirn

We don’t have a match of the month of sorts, but an angle.  Here is in full a clip from Georgia Championship Wrestling – July 26th 1980 edition with the footage of Ole Anderson’s shocking heel turn.  In addition, we hear an interview from Ole explaining his actions and a promo response from Dusty Rhodes. Enjoy.

All Japan: The Summer Action Series concludes and Harley Race is in the land of the rising sun for a series of NWA World Heavyweight title defenses.

Georgia: Ole Anderson has turned his back on Dusty Rhodes, his brother Lars and the fans. All three will be hoping for some retribution.

Florida: Can Dusty Rhodes dethrone Harley Race at the ‘Last Tangle of Tampa’?

New Japan: The 30-day Bloody Fight Series 1980 tour begins where Stan Hansen and Antonio Inoki will continue their feud in a series of bouts.

Portland: Now that the Sheepherders have left the territory, will it be Piper and Martel or Rose and Wiskowski that become the new PNW tag team champions?

WWF: We will extensively cover the huge ‘Showdown at Shea’ show with the truly epic Bruno Sammartino vs. Larry Zbyszko Steel Cage main event.  Keep an eye out for a full preview article in the next few days.

As always, thanks for reading…

Will Burns

Sources: Cagematch.netMid-Atlantic Gateway, MapleLeafWrestling.comWrestlingData, Joseph Shedlock’s ‘Wrestling 80’ Newsletters.

Round-Up: March 1980

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

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

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

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

ALL-JAPAN PRO WRESTLING

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

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

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

BIG TIME WRESTLING (DETROIT)

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

BIG TIME WRESTLING (TEXAS)

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

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

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

CENTRAL STATES WRESTLING

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

CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING FROM FLORIDA

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

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

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

EMPRESA MEXICANA DE LUCHA LIBRE

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

GEORGIA CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING

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

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

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

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

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HOUSTON WRESTLING

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

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

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

MAPLE LEAF WRESTLING

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

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

MID-ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING

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

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

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

NEW-JAPAN PRO WRESTLING

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

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

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PACIFIC NORTHWEST WRESTLING

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

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

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

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

SOUTHEASTERN CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING

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

ST. LOUIS WRESTLING CLUB

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

STAMPEDE WRESTLING

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

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

VANCOUVER ALL STAR WRESTLING

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

WORLD WRESTLING FEDERATION

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

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

NWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION

HARLEY RACE
NWA WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS

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

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

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

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

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

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

As always, thanks for reading…

Will Burns

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

Round-Up: February 1980

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

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

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

ALL-JAPAN PRO WRESTLING

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

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

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

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

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BIG TIME WRESTLING (TEXAS)

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

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

CENTRAL STATES WRESTLING

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

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

CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING FROM FLORIDA

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

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

EMPRESA MEXICANA DE LUCHA LIBRE

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

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

GEORGIA CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING

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

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

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

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HOUSTON WRESTLING

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

MAPLE LEAF WRESTLING

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

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

MID-ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING

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

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

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

NEW-JAPAN PRO WRESTLING

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

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

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

Image result for buddy rose portland

PACIFIC NORTHWEST WRESTLING

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

SOUTHEASTERN CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING

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

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

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

ST. LOUIS WRESTLING CLUB

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

STAMPEDE WRESTLING

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

VANCOUVER ALL STAR WRESTLING

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

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

WORLD WRESTLING COUNCIL

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

WORLD WRESTLING FEDERATION

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As always, thanks for reading…

Will Burns

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

Round-Up: January 1980

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

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

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

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

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

ALL-JAPAN PRO WRESTLING

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

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

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

Image result for The Sheik and Abdullah the Butcher

BIG TIME WRESTLING (DETROIT)

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

BIG TIME WRESTLING (SAN FRANCISCO)

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

BIG TIME WRESTLING (TEXAS)

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

CENTRAL STATES WRESTLING

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

CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING FROM FLORIDA

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

EMPRESA MEXICANA DE LUCHA LIBRE

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

GEORGIA CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING

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

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

Image result for gino hernandez

HOUSTON WRESTLING

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

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

MAPLE LEAF WRESTLING

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

MID-ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING

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

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

NEW-JAPAN PRO WRESTLING

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

NWA HOLLYWOOD

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

PACIFIC NORTHWEST WRESTLING

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

ST. LOUIS WRESTLING CLUB

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

STAMPEDE WRESTLING

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

VANCOUVER ALL STAR WRESTLING

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

WORLD WRESTLING FEDERATION

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

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.

WORLD WRESTLING COUNCIL

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

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

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

Video is split into three parts below…

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

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

As always, thanks for reading…

Will Burns

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