Category Archives: World Wrestling Council

Round-Up: September 1980

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

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

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

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

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

 

ALL-JAPAN PRO WRESTLING

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

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

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

WrestlingClassics.com Message Board: Results: Canton, OH 9/24/80

BIG TIME WRESTLING (DETROIT)

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

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

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

BIG TIME WRESTLING (TEXAS)

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

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

CENTRAL STATES WRESTLING

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

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

CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING FROM FLORIDA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

EMPRESA MEXICANA DE LUCHA LIBRE

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

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

GEORGIA CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING

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

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

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

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

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

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

HOUSTON WRESTLING

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

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

MAPLE LEAF WRESTLING

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

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

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

MID-ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING

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

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

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

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

NEW-JAPAN PRO WRESTLING

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PACIFIC NORTHWEST WRESTLING

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ST. LOUIS WRESTLING CLUB

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

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

WORLD WRESTLING COUNCIL

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

WORLD WRESTLING FEDERATION

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

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

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

 

NWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION

HARLEY RACE
NWA WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As always, thanks for reading…

Will Burns

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

Round-Up: 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.

Image result for tony atlas harley race

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.

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HOUSTON WRESTLING

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

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

MAPLE LEAF WRESTLING

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

MID-ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING

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

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

NEW-JAPAN PRO WRESTLING

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

NWA HOLLYWOOD

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

PACIFIC NORTHWEST WRESTLING

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

ST. LOUIS WRESTLING CLUB

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

STAMPEDE WRESTLING

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

VANCOUVER ALL STAR WRESTLING

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

WORLD WRESTLING FEDERATION

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

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

WORLD WRESTLING COUNCIL

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

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

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

Video is split into three parts below…

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

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

As always, thanks for reading…

Will Burns

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