Category Archives: 1980

Round-Up: December 1980

The year of 1980 comes to close with Harley Race still in possession of the NWA World Heavyweight title and many of the promotions build to big cards over the Christmas period. Let’s hop straight into it and see how the year ended for Race.

NWA World Heavyweight Champion Harley Race finished the year up with 54 defenses of his latest reign since winning the gold back from Giant Baba in September.

5/12/1980St. Louis Wrestling Club – Kiel Auditorium, St. Louis, MSDick the Bruiser & Ken Patera defeated Harley Race in a non-title 2-on-1 handicap match.
12/12/1980Houston Wrestling – Sam Houston Coliseum, Houston, TXHarley Race (47th defense) defeated Gino Hernandez via disqualification to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Title.
13/12/1980Championship Wrestling from Florida – Lakeland Center, Lakeland, FLHarley Race (48th defense) fought Dick Murdoch in a No DQ Match. Winner unknown
14/12/1980Championship Wrestling from Florida – Eddie Graham Sports Stadium, Orlando, FLHarley Race (49th defense) beat Barry Windham to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
20/12/1980Championship Wrestling from Florida – St. Petersburg, FLHarley Race (50th defense) went to a draw with Dick Murdoch. Race retained the NWA World Heavyweight Title.
26/12/1980Georgia Championship Wrestling – William Bell Auditorium, Augusta, GAHarley Race (51st defense) defeated Tony Atlas via DQ to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Title.
27/12/1980Georgia Championship Wrestling – Memorial Auditorium, Chattanooga, TNHarley Race (52nd defense) defeated Mr. Wrestling II to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
27/12/1980Georgia Championship Wrestling – WTBS Studios, Atlanta, GAHarley Race defeated Jimmy Jones in a non-title bout.
28/12/1980Georgia Championship Wrestling – Ohio Center, Columbus, OHHarley Race (53rd defense) and Tony Atlas went to a 60-minute time-limit draw. Race remains the NWA World Heavyweight champion.
30/12/1980Central States Wrestling – Topeka, KSHarley Race (54th defense) beat Bob Brown to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.


AJPW wrapped up the year with their Real World Tag League 1980 tour. Read a comprehensive review of the whole tour here starring Terry & Dory Funk, Abdullah the Butcher, The Sheik, Ricky Steamboat and many other Gaijins joining Jumbo Tsuruta and Giant Baba in the tournament.

Jumbo has signed on the dotted line to challenge Abdullah for the NWA United National Championship on the final day of the New Year Giant Series tour next month.


After a controversial match against Kevin von Erich, Gino Hernandez was stripped of the NWA American Heavyweight Title.  The vacant title was due to be decided at The Sportatorium, Dallas, Texas on 28th December 1980 with Kevin and Gino signed to fight for the belt, however, Kevin was not fit to wrestle so his brother Kerry von Erich stepped in.  Gino was not a happy bunny before the bout and even more so after, as Kerry grabbed the pinfall over Hernandez to hold the title for the first time.


Just the one big event in the area at the end of the month (30th) with two title matches. Harley Race successfully defended the NWA World Title against “Bulldog” Bob Brown and the Topeka crowd saw a Central States Tag Team title switch.  Champions Bob Sweetan and Mike George were unseated by Jerry Roberts and Bruce Reed.


At the start of the month, new Florida Tag Team Champions were crowned in The Cowboy Connection, Bobby Jaggers and RT Tyler. They defeated Barry Windham and Scott McGhee at the Fort Homer Hesterly Armory in Tampa on the 2nd of December.  Despite challenges throughout the month from combinations of Windham and McGhee, Windham and Mike Graham, Windham and Manny Fernandez, Graham and Bugsy McGraw.

The promotion has announced a big show on the 2nd January 1981 from the Eddie Gilbert Sports Stadium with Graham and Windham receiving another Florida Tag Team Titles shot against the new champions Jaggers and Tyler.


Arena Mexico played host to one of EMLL’s biggest shows of the year, “Juicio Final” on 5th December. The main event saw a Lucha de Apuestas match with each team’s hair on the line that saw El Cobarde and El Jalisco shaved bald. In the three falls bout, Alfonso Dantes & Sangre Chicana overcome their opponents by two falls to one.


A new National Heavyweight Champion was crowned when the Mongolian Stomper, along with manager Don Carson, defeated Jack Brisco for the title at the first (12th) of two big Omni shows this past month, but it was hardly a clean win. The referee took a bump and Carson jumped on the apron to distract Brisco.

The Stomper smashed the former NWA World Champion with a big boot into the back of his neck and then delivered a vicious stomp to the head as the referee stirred back to consciousness to count the pinfall. Brisco challenged

The National Tag Team Champions, the Fabulous Freebirds (Michael Hayes, Buddy Roberts, and Terry Gordy) are still running amok in the territory and are still in possession of their titles.

On the 20/12 TV, Ted DiBiase was set to wrestle Hayes but Gordy jumped Ted, and Hayes exited the ring. A match broke out for a few minutes with great action until the Freebirds outnumbered DiBiase. Robert Fuller and Stan Frazier attempted to make the save but when Fuller ended up injured on the outside, the Freebirds triple-teamed Frazier and hit him with a horrific three-man piledriver.

Frazier was busted open and his collarbone seriously hurt but with the aid of a neck brace returned to cut a promo and was determined to get revenge on the ‘Birds at the Omni on Christmas night and saw that Hayes would be “dead, dead, DEAD!”

In a big six-man elimination tag team match at the Omni on the 25th, the good guys got the duke but the night did not end well for Frazier. The main event of the evening was a $30,000 Two-Ring battle royal with DiBiase and Fuller co-won and shared the prize. Big Stan was attacked by the Freebirds and his neck suffered an injury again was later admitted to hospital. On the weekend’s TV show, Fuller and DiBiase proclaimed that they would share the money three ways with Frazier to help pay his medical bills.

Also on the Omni card (25th), Kevin Sullivan and his new bad attitude since turning on friend Steve Keirn failed to dethrone former tag partner Tony Atlas and his Georgia Heavyweight Title. Meanwhile, in a Judo Jacket Match, Mr. Saito fell to Mr. Wrestling II via pinfall after the Japanese athlete was hit with a knee to the face.

Jos DeLuc has arrived in the territory and his impressive strength was displayed by broadcasting video footage on Georgia TV of the lumberjack pulling a bus in Minneapolis with a steel chain.

Harley Race returned to Georgia after Christmas on the 26th to defend the NWA World Heavyweight Championship against three opponents but left the area with the belt around his waist.  Atlas received two shots (26th – Augusta, GA, and 29th – Columbus, OH) losing via DQ in the first match and came up short in Columbus, taking the champion to a 60-minute time-limit draw.  Also, in Columbus that night, in a bloody Texas Bullrope match, Dusty Rhodes pinned Ole Anderson.

Race returned to wrestle Jimmy Jones on Georgia TV on the 27th December and Tony Atlas was Gordon Solie’s guest commentator. Race easily picked up the victory and decided to dish more damage to Jones but Atlas intervened and cleared the ring. Atlas would wrestle Race to a 60 minute draw in Columbus, Ohio on the 28th.


A busy month for Paul Boesch’s territory as he ran three Sam Houston Coliseum shows. On the 5th, Gino Hernandez defended his NWA North American Title against Dusty Rhodes but the match ended a draw due to a double count out on the third and deciding fall.

A new Brass Knuckles champion was crowned on the 12th as Bugsy McGraw defeated champion Bruiser Brody and on the 19th Gino successfully defended his belt against “Maniac” Mark Lewin.

Houston Wrestling youngster Tom Pritchard is set to go on tour to New Japan Pro Wrestling next month.


Two Garden shows occurred this past month, with both events seeing The Great Hossein Arab and Angelo Mosca facing off for the Canadian Championship. The 7th December show saw Mosca winning via count-out after he dished out punishment to Hossein and the Iranian fled to the back.

Three days after Christmas saw bloodshed inside the confines of a steel cage to stop Hossein from running away. Mosca clinched back the belt in 16 minutes 45 seconds to pop the crowd. Hossein has signed a contract for a return bout next month.


Fans in Richmond, Virginia witnessed a Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Titles switch on 12th December as The Sheepherders lost the straps to the duo of George Wells and Dewey Robertson.  Butch Miller and Luke Williams are set to move on from the area to work in Puerto Rico in the new year.

Thirteen years after the last title of Ric Flair and Roddy Piper |  Superfights

Ric Flair and Roddy Piper have been feuding this past month. Flair holds the United States Heavyweight Title after beating Greg Valentine last month and Piper is holder of the TV Title. The promotion has been promoting title vs. title matches but either man has managed to unseat each other as of yet however, more bouts have been booked into the new year.

On the 27th at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum, NWA World Tag Team Champions The Masked Superstar and Paul Jones successfully defended the belts against the team they beat for the championship, Ray Stevens and Jimmy Snuka in a fence match.


With Dusty Rhodes, Bob Backlund, Hulk Hogan, and Andre the Giant on the excursion, New Japan concluded 1980 with their MSG Tag League tournament throughout December. Read a complete analysis of the tour and the tag tournament here.


Ed Wiskowski returned to Portland on December 6th and has aligned himself with ‘Playboy’ Buddy Rose and his army (Rick Oliver and The Destroyer). Rose, who stills holds the PNW Heavyweight belt, challenged the winner of a battle royal to face him in a future title shot on next week’s show.  Rose continued in his promo vowing to not allow Jay Youngblood to win the match and claim the title shot as he did not deserve it.  Late in the battle royal, Rose swung a punch at Youngblood but missed and clocked Wiskowski.  As Rose tended to his friend, Youngblood landed a tomahawk chop between the Playboy’s eyes which sent the champion flying over the top rope.

However, an irate Rose grabbed Youngblood from the outside and with the help of Wiskowski, eliminated the Indian wrestler.  The remaining three in the ring were Rose Army members, Wiskowski and The Destroyer and their nemesis Buzz Sawyer.  Against the odds, Sawyer ended up the winner and in the post-match interview handed his title shot to Jay Youngblood!

The next week (27th) Youngblood received the title shot and pinned Rose in the first fall after a reverse roll-up and bridge. With all his might, Rose failed to level the score up and stalled for time constantly before TV time expired. Referee Sandy Barr was fully aware of Rose’s time wasting and held the belt up until a rematch takes place on January 3rd.

Fidel Castro was forced to leave the area after losing a ‘mask vs. loser leaves town’ match against the Destroyer on the 27th.


A new tag team of Dennis Condrey and Randy Rose has been making waves in the territory and had an eventful couple of months. In November, they shot out the blocks when they defeated Jos DeLuc and Bob Armstrong for the promotions’ Tag Team Titles.

However, this past month they dropped them to the team of Norvell Austin and Paul Orndorff before regaining them only to lose them again, this time to Bob and Brad Armstrong. A crazy month for the duo who have a rematch signed in January to try and become three-time champions in as many months.


Sam Muchnick’s promotion is promoting a big card at the Kiel Auditorium on January 2nd headlined by a Harley Race vs. Ken Patera NWA World Title bout.

The new NWA Missouri champion Ted DiBiase won a 16-man battle royal on the 5th December at the Kiel Auditorium soon after successfully defending his new belt against Buzz Tyler minutes later.  DiBiase is set to defend his championship on the 2nd of January against Ox Baker.


New Stampede International Tag Team Champions were crowned as Bobby and Leo Burke defeated Bobby Bass and Duke Myers on 2nd December in Creston, British Columbia.

The Dungeon - Sultan of Submission v5.0

One of Stu Hart’s children, Bret Hart is still in possession of the Stampede North American Heavyweight Title notwithstanding the challenges he has deflected from Leo Burke this past month.


Former NWA World Heavyweight champion Gene Kiniski climbed back into the ropes on Boxing Day in Vancouver.  He tagged with son Kelly Kiniski to beat Moose Morowski and The Destroyer in the final match of the evening.

Lucha Libre Online on Twitter: "El integrante del Salón de la Fama de la WWE,  el puertorriqueño Pedro Morales, posee aún el récord de la mayor cantidad  de días acumulados con el


Ken Patera ended 1980 on bad terms as he lost his WWF Intercontinental Championship to Pedro Morales on 8th December at a big MSG show in New York.  On the same show The Samoans failed to regain the Tag Team titles as Rick Martel and Tony Garea retain the belts by two falls to one in a best of three falls match.

The Boston Garden show on the 13th December played host to many top matches for the New England crowd. Bob Backlund managed to keep his WWF title by beating Sgt. Slaughter via count out.  Morales defended his new Intercontinental belt against The Samoan #1 and finally, Patera and Pat Patterson clashed in a match of the former I.C. champions. The match was tossed by the referee when both men were counted out.

The month finished up with another Madison Square Garden event with Antonio Inoki, Tatsumi Fujinami, Seiji Sakaguchi and Yoshiaki Yatsu in attendance.  Inoki defeated Bobby Duncum in 12:47 to retains the NWF Heavyweight Title. Fujinami managed to keep his WWF Junior Heavyweight belt beating Don Diamond in over 10 minutes. Sakaguchi and The Samoan #2 battled to a double disqualification while Yatsu pinned Jose Estrada in the opening match of the night.

In other bouts, WWF Champion Backlund successfully defended against Killer Khan in 12:23.  The Moondogs were disqualified in their Tag team Title match against champions Martel and Garea while Morales remained I.C. Champion defeating The Hangman in just over seven minutes.

1. Antonio Inoki1. Giant Baba/Jumbo Tsuruta
2. Ric Flair2. The Fabulous Freebirds
3. Bob Backlund3. Dory & Terry Funk
4. Roddy Piper4. Rick Martel/Tony Garea
5. Giant Baba5. The Wild Samoans
6. Gino Hernandez6. David & Kevin Von Erich
7. Andre the Giant7. Ray Stevens/Jimmy Snuka
8. Ted DiBiase8. Antonio Inoki/Bob Backlund
9. Tony Atlas9. Bobby & Leo Burke
10. Ken Patera10. Stan Hansen/Hulk Hogan

For this month’s best match, we have selected The Funks against Giant Baba and Jumbo Tsuruta in the finals of the AJPW Real World Tag League 1980. Read all about the whole tour in our new ‘The Big Tour’ series.

Stay tuned for our full 1980 – Year in Review article that will be posted in the next week or so.  After that we will return to the usual format and run through January 1981.

All Japan: The 17-day New Year Giant Series begins the year for Giant Baba’s promotion.

Florida: Barry Windham and Mike Graham are hot on the heels of new Florida Tag champs, The Cowboy Connection. Can the good guys get the straps?

Georgia: The Omni plays host to a huge show on New Years Day featuring a Andre vs. Hulk Hogan main event and four titles matches. We will have it covered.

New Japan: NJPW begins the new year with the New Year Golden Series with a whole host of Gaijins joining Inoki, Fujinami and co.

WWF: After their excursion over in Japan for Inoki’s NJPW, Hulk Hogan and Classy Freddie Blassie return to New York and look to reek havoc over the Fed.

As always, thanks for reading…

Will Burns

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


The Big Tour: NJPW MSG Tag League 1980

Our exclusive logo for this tour above. Designed by Will Burns.

21st November – 13th December 1980

New Japan signed off in 1980 with their huge 22-date tour to crown the inaugural MSG Tag League tournament champions. This tour took place across the country of Japan and not in New York… so you might be asking why did these tours reference MSG (Madison Square Garden)?

The thinking behind naming the tour and the tournament under the MSG moniker is that New Japan Pro Wrestling was bringing the MSG atmosphere and its talent to the Japanese shores.

As you’ll discover by reading on, a plethora of World Wrestling Federation talent was used in this tour as the partnership between the two promotions go from strength to strength.

Rasslin' History 101 on Twitter: "Hulk Hogan locks up with Stan Hansen in  Japan back in 1981.Hogan and Hansen worked together a lot in NJPW back  then,teaming together most of the time.…
Night One – 21st November 1980 – Yokohama Cultural Gymnasium, Yokohama

The tour began with two big matches in the tournament under the lights of the TV cameras in Yokohama.

Andre the Giant and The Hangman overcame Seiji Sakaguchi and Strong Kobayashi in 7:09 as the team of Stan Hansen and Hulk Hogan defeated Tiger Jeet Singh and Umanosuke Ueda by DQ under over six minutes.

Other matches on the opening night saw veteran Rene Goulet taste defeat against 29-year-old Riki Choshu and in the main event, six-man action stole the show and sent the 6,000 in attendance home with a smile on their face.

The good guy team of Antonio Inoki, Tatsumi Fujinami and Kengo Kimura pinned the Gaijin team of Johnny Powers, Ox Baker and Bad News Allen in just over ten minutes.

Night Two – 22nd November 1980 – City Gymnasium, Numazu, Shizuoka

The second show of the tour saw Andre and the Hangman continue their winning ways and pull away at the top of the league, with a quick win over Tatsumi Fujinami and Kengo Kimura in under five minutes.

Bad News Allen and Dutch MMA specialist Willem Ruska got their campaign underway with a victory against Riki Choshu and Kantaro Hoshino.

Night Three – 24th November 1980 – Aomori Prefectural Gymnasium, Aomori

Just the solitary tournament match in Aomori as Hulk Hogan & Stan Hansen defeated Seiji Sakaguchi & Strong Kobayashi in 9:50 to join Andre and Hangman at the top of the table.

In the main event, Inoki, Choshu and Fujinami fought Andre, Hangman and Rene Goulet in a Best of Three Falls bout. Fujinami pinned Goulet for the first fall but then both teams were counted out in the second fall and the match was halted.

Night Four – 25th November 1980 – City Gymnasium, Hachinohe, Aomori

Hangman and Andre surged back to the top of the pile with a win over Choshu and Hoshino on night four in front of 4,000 in the tournament. Kimura and Fujinami also got themselves on the board with their first victory over Johnny Powers and Ox Baker.

Headlining in the City Gymnasium, Inoki, Sakaguchi and Kobayashi battled Hogan, Hansen and Allen in a six-man tag bout. Inoki gained the win for his team getting the pin over Bad News in 14:34.

Night Five – 26th November 1980 – Civic Gymnasium, Hirosaki, Aomori

Hogan and Hansen won their third bout in a row in the tournament with a victory over Allen and Ruska in just over eight minutes and the team of Hoshino and Choshu beat Powers and Baker in 9:16 in the other Tag league bout.

In a huge main event tag match, Fujinami and Inoki faced Andre and Goulet in another Best of Three Falls match with the Japanese duo coming out on top.

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Night Six – 27th November 1980 – City Gymnasium, Koriyama, Fukushima

In front of 3,700 fans, Tiger Jeet Singh & Umanosuke Ueda grabbed their first win in the tournament in 10:25 against Johnny Powers & Ox Baker. While, Hogan and Hansen gained a fourth consecutive win against Choshu and Hoshino to pull a good lead at the top of the MSG Tag League.

Andre, Hangman and Goulet gained a good win over Inoki, Fujinami and Kimura in the main event with Andre going over Fujinami in just over 12 minutes.

Night Seven – 28th November 1980 – Miyagi Prefectural Sports Center, Sendai, Miyagi

The TV cameras were in town as two more tournament matches took place in Sendai on night seven of the tour and it included the biggest match yet of the tour.

Andre the Giant and The Hangman clashed with Hulk Hogan and Stan Hansen but neither team prevailed with any points as the match ended in a double count out.

In another tournament bout, Tiger Jeet Singh & Umanosuke Ueda defeated Kengo Kimura & Tatsumi Fujinami in 11:48. In addition, in singles competition, Antonio Inoki squashed Ox Baker in under three minutes.

Night Eight – 29th November 1980 – City Gymnasium, Iwata, Shizuoka

In Iwata, Seiji Sakaguchi and Strong Kobayashi grabbed a tournament win over Johnny Powers and Ox Baker in 13:51, and Andre and Hangman beat Allen and Ruska in under five minutes to add more points to their tally.

Night Nine – 30th November 1980 – City Gymnasium, Okazaki, Aichi

Andre and The Hangman continued their dominance in singles action as they beat Seiji Sakaguchi and Haruka Eigen respectively.

In tournament action, Choshu and Hoshino picked up points against Tiger Jeet Singh and Umanosuke Ueda via a DQ decision. Allen and Ruska’s campaign got worse with a defeat to Fujinami and Kimura.

The WWF team of Hogan, Hansen and Goulet were victorious by two falls to one against Inoki, Kobayashi and Osamu Kido in a six-man main event.

Night Ten – 1st December 1980 – Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium, Nagoya, Aichi

A double count-out ended arguably the most anticipated bout of the whole tour as Inoki and Bob Backlund clashed with Hulk Hogan and Stan Hansen. This was Inoki and Backlund’s first match in the competition as Bob had just arrived in the country the night before after spending the end of November defending his WWF title in the States.

In the other Tag League match, Allen and Ruska once again came up short. This time to the team of Sakaguchi and Kobayashi.

Night Eleven – 2nd December 1980 – Ota Ward Gymnasium, Tokyo

Inoki and Backlund got off the mark in front of the Ota Ward Gym crowd with a quick win over Powers and Baker in 3:57. Their rivals, Hogan and Hansen, got back to winning ways defeating Fujinami and Kimura in under ten minutes.

Night Twelve – 3rd December 1980 – General Gymnasium, Matsusaka, Mie

Three tournaments matches took place in Matsusaka with Allen and Ruska picking up a rare win over Powers and Baker in a wild brawl.

Tiger Jeet Singh and Umanosuke Ueda defeated Sakaguchi and Kobayashi and the General Gymnasium were presented a sar-studded main event.

Inoki and Backlund clashed with Andre the Giant and The Hangman to a double count out that went nearly 15 minutes.

Night Thirteen – 4th December 1980 – Civic Center, Gifu

In Gifu, Allen and Ruska returned to losing ways against Inoki and Backlund as Sakaguchi and Kobayshi grabbed a win over Fujinami and Kimura.

Two singles bouts stood out as Andre the Giant picked up a win in 3:07 against Riki Choshu and Tiger Jeet Singh and Hulk Hogan brawled to a double count out.

Night Fourteen – 5th December 1980 – City Gymnasium, Tokushima

Even though they are both disliked by the Japanese crowd recently, Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant reignited their feud from stateside on Night 14 in a bout that finished after the referee counted both men out of the ring.

In tournament bouts, Kimura and Fujinami defeated Choshu and Hoshino while Inoki and Backlund picked up another maximum points with a win over Ueda and Tiger Jeet Singh.

Night Fifteen – 6th December 1980 – Okayama Budokan, Okayama

Playing catch up on the other teams in the tournament, Inoki and Backlund clinched another victory against Fujinami and Kimura in a scientific match-up.

Hogan and Hansen paired up in a non-league bout against Choshu and Sakaguchi with the American duo won in 8:08.

Night Sixteen – 7th December 1980 – Minami Kyushu Junior College Gymnasium, Miyazaki

Inoki and Backlund gained more ground on the other teams with a win over Choshu and Hoshino in the only tournament match in Miyazaki.

In singles action, Andre the Giant pinned Haruka Eigen in quick fashion, just over two minutes. Hulk Hogan saw off the challenge of Kengo Kimura in 4:18 while The Hangman defeated Osamu Kido.

Night Seventeen – 8th December 1980 – Kagoshima Prefectural Gymnasium, Kagoshima

Unfortunately the television cameras were not present in Kagoshima for a singles bout between Fujinami and Hogan and a Hansen and Choshu clash. The Japanese competitors both tasted defeat in the pair of one-on-one bouts.

In tournament action, Ueda and Singh pulled off the shock of the Tag League so far capturing a victory over The Hangman and Andre the Giant.

Meanwhile, Inoki and Backlund grabbed the top spot in the standings with a win over Sakaguchi and Kobayashi. The win meant that Inoki and Backlund would face off against Hogan and Hansen in the tournament finals in Osaka on 10th December.

Night Eighteen – 9th December 1980 – Kyuden Memorial Gymnasium, Fukuoka

In their first-ever one-on-one encounter, Dusty Rhodes and Hulk Hogan faced off in Fukuoka. In an entertaining match, Rhodes ran out the winner after Hogan pushed the referee out of the way twice to earn himself a disqualification.

Hogan vs Dusty Rhodes | Pro wrestling, Wrestling stars, Professional  wrestling

It was a night of jaw-dropping one-on-one encounters with Stan Hansen and Bob Backlund facing off in a non-title affair. Backlund was awarded the win via a disqualification.

In the main event of the evening, Andre the Giant rekindled an old feud with Antonio Inoki. The match went 16:04 but the crowd failed to see an outright winner as both men were counted out after the action spilled to the outside.

In the only tournament match of the night, Seiji Sakaguchi and Strong Kobayashi won their bout over Kantaro Hoshino and Riki Choshu. As the finals were set and the finalists unable to be caught by the results of this bout, the points did not impact the league standings.

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Night Nineteen – 10th December 1980 – Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium, Osaka

Antonio Inoki and Bob Backlund clinched the MSG Tag League 1980 trophy defeating Stan Hansen and Hulk Hogan in the finals.

Inoki and Backlund battled adversity throughout the bout with the sheer power of Hansen and Hogan troubling the good guys, along with the constant double-teaming added to the fact that the American referee took a lenient approach when enforcing the rules.

Inoki and Backlund began to take their opponents down to the ground eliminating the strength but Hogan and Hansen again took advantage of the referee’s leniency. Backlund took some punishment initially before making the hot tag and then Inoki took the brunt.

However, it was Inoki and Backlund that would prevail as winners on 17:35. As rivals Hansen and Backlund brawled on the outside, Hogan was working over Inoki and went to slam the NWF Champion. Inoki slipped out of the move into a back slide for the quick three count.

An irate Hansen returned to the ring and nailed Inoki and the Texan and Hogan beat on Inoki some more until Backlund emerged for the save. Backlund would return home after the celebrations but was due to return to the Land of the Rising Sun in the new year.

Note: You can watch the 1980 MSG Tag League here at

Other matches on the night included Tatsumi Fujinami pinning Rene Goulet in 11:04 and Dusty Rhodes faced off with Tiger Jeet Singh which ended in a no-contest after the referee lost control of the brawl.

Night Twenty – 11th December 1980 – City Gymnasium, Anjo, Aichi

In the first of three matches for the pairing, Dusty Rhodes teamed up with Antonio Inoki to treat the Anjo fans and grabbed a win over Tiger Jeet Singh and Umanosuke Ueda by two falls to one in a three fall contest.

Seiji Sakaguchi fell to Hulk Hogan via countout in Hogan’s last appearance of the tour and in a quick match that lasted only 3:22, Stan Hansen and Andre the Giant ended with a double count out decision.

Night Twenty-One – 12th December 1980 – Municipal Sports and Cultural Hall, Owase, Mie

Inoki and Rhodes defeated Bad News Allen and Stan Hansen in the main event in Owase on the penultimate night of the tour. The good guys grabbing a 2-1 win in a three-fall bout in 11 and half minutes.

Night Twenty-Two – 13th December 1980 – Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium, Tokyo

The final match of the final night of the tour saw Inoki and Rhodes tagging together for the last time against Tiger Jeet Singh and Stan Hansen. The match did not turn out as many suspected as all four men brawled into the crowd and were counted out.

The unity between NJPW and the WWF was shown in force on this tour with the American promotion’s representatives coming out on top multiple times over their Japanese counterparts.

NJPW proclaimed that the New Year Golden Series tour in January would feature more WWF competitors with Bobby Duncum, Ken Patera, and The Samoans announced. Also joining them would be youngster Tom Pritchard, returning Stampede wrestler Bad News Allen and newcomer The Enforcer announced as the Gaijins on excursion.

After pairing with Stan Hansen and clashing with Inoki and Backlund on Japanese soil, Hulk Hogan is becoming a popular heel in the promotion and further bookings against Inoki and company must be on the cards for future cards.

This was really interesting seeing Andre as a heel at this point in his career in Japan. Always a spectacle on any card, the emotion he showed with his loud laughter when victorious and howls when he went crashing down to the canvas is something you do not hear stateside due to the noise of the crowds.

The young and very green Hogan is doing well for the spots he has been placed into and looks to be getting over more and more each time he visits the promotion.

Some really good action in this tournament, which is a great format for mixing styles and placing the stars in tag matches against each other and teasing singles bouts for the future.

I have designed a poster for this event, check it out by visiting our artwork page.

As always, thanks for reading…

Will Burns

Source:, NJPW World

The Big Tour: AJPW Real World Tag League 1980

28th November 1980 – 11th December 1980

All Japan Pro Wrestling presented the fourth annual Real World Tag League which ran between November and December of 1980 and reigning champions Dory & Terry Funk look to become three-time winners against six other tandems. Terry will be hunting for revenge on the team of Abdullah the Butcher and Tor Kamata after the Texan failed to retrieve the NWA United National Title on the 1st November from the Man from Sudan and Funk vies to capture another shot.

Amongst the other challengers for the Funks’ trophy are Giant Baba and Jumbo Tsuruta, themselves former champions in the 1978 tournament. There is no other Japanese duo in the tournament with the remaining teams all Gaijins tandems. Rounding out the tournament are the teams of Dick Slater and Ricky Steamboat, Jim Brunzell and Nick Bockwinkel, The Sheik and The Great Memphisto and English duo Les Thornton and Billy Robinson.

Night One – 28th November 1980 – Korakuen Hall, Tokyo

The tour got underway in front of a sold-out crowd of around 3,000 Puroresu fans. As we mentioned in the November 1980 round-up, the opening night featured a wild angle involving four teams in the tag tournament.

Abdullah and Kamata faced Steamboat and Slater and the former prevailed as the winners via disqualification as the American duo retaliated to Abby and Kamata’s rule-breaking. As four men brawled around the arena after the decision, The Funks emerged into the arena for their main event bout against Sheik and Memphisto.

As the main event was about to get underway, the previous match still continued in the bleachers and the brawl began to head back towards the ring. All eight men ended up brawling in a wild scene.

Eventually control was resumed and The Funks won the bout via count out after around 11 minutes of crazy action. However post match, the Funks took their opponents into the bleachers to give the Korakuen crowd some more up close action.

Night Two – 29th November 1980 – Municipal General Sports Ground Suzuyo Memorial Gymnasium, Shimizu, Shizuoka

The next night Dick Slater and Dory Funk Jr. treated the 6,300 in attendance to a 30-minute time-limit draw. Ricky Steamboat pinned the young Prince Tonga in under 15 minutes while The Sheik and Terry Funk brawled wildly which led to the Texan winning via disqualification close to six minutes.

In tournament matches, Baba and Tsuruta defeated Thornton and Robinson as Brunzell and Bockwinkle tasted defeat to the team of Abdullah and Kamata, who topped the league with two wins from two.

Night Three – 30th November 1980 – City Gymnasium, Hakodate, Hokkaido

Only the one tournament match occurred on the third night of the tour as Brunzell and Bockwinkel got themselves on the board with a disqualification win over The Sheik and Great Mephisto. This was a show dominated with tag team matches but non-tournament bouts. Abdullah and Kamata defeated Great Kojika and Baba, The Funks overcame Prince Tonga and Jumbo Tsuruta as Robinson and Thornton managed to grab a win over Rocky Hata and Mr. Sakurada.

Night Four – 1st December 1980 – Nakajima Sports Center, Sapporo, Hokkaido

This event had the television cameras present which saw the match of the night accolade go to Ricky Steamboat and Jumbo Tsuruta as they battled to a half-hour stalemate. In only their third one-on-one meeting, Nick Bockwinkel and Giant Baba went to a double count-out.

The former AWA World champion clamped a figure-four leglock on Baba which forced the big man to roll under the bottom rope. Both men tumbled to the floor but Bockwinkel slapped on the leglock again on the outside. Baba was unable to break it and both men were counted out.

In a bloody war, long time enemies The Sheik and Abdullah clashed in a match that went 7:40 with The Butcher winning via DQ after The Great Mephisto interfered on the Sheik’s behalf. They double-teamed Abdullah and wedged his head in the top rope until Tor Kamata emerged for the save. After the decision, all four men brawled in the crowd which continued for several minutes.

The main event saw the only tournament match of the night as The Funks grabbed some more points with the win over Billy Robinson and Les Thornton.

Night Five – 2nd December 1980 – Municipal General Gymnasium, Asahikawa, Hokkaido

Slater and Steamboat was back in tournament action in a great long battle against Bockwinkel and Brunzell that went to a 45-minute draw. In another tournament match, Baba and Tsuruta defeated The Sheik and Mephisto would were still without their first points of the competition.

In a non-title match, Terry Funk faced NWA UN Champion Abdullah the Butcher but the pair failed to control themselves, both Dory Funk and Tor Kamata interfered and the match ended in a double DQ.

Night Six – 4th December 1980 – Ehime Prefectural Citizen Hall, Matsuyama, Ehime

The roster rested on the 3rd December and returned in front 4,000 in Matsuyama on the 4th with a series of one-on-one bouts that saw Steamboat and Brunzell wrestle to a 30:00 time-limit draw. Dick Slater and Abdullah brawled to a double count-out while Tor Kamata was disqualified in his bout against Jumbo Tsuruta.

Nick Bockwinkel defeated Rocky Hata in quick fashion and in tag team action The Funks defeated Baba and Tonga in 18:35 in a non-tournament bout. In the only League match of the night, the English pairing of Robinson and Thornton defeated The Sheik and Mephisto, who ended the night with no points in the tournament so far.

Night Seven – 5th December 1980 – Prefectural Civic Hall, Kochi

The Nippon TV cameras were in attendance for the double main event that featured two tournament matches as Robinson and Thornton and Brunzell and Bockwinkel ended up battling to a 45:00 time-limit draw. No points were awarded in the final bout of the evening as Abdullah and Kamata faced the Funks. The referee counted Dory and The Butcher out of the ring for the double count-out decision as the pair brawled into the stands.

Night Eight – 6th December 1980 – Prefectural Niage-Machi Gymnasium, Oita

On the eighth night of the tour, another 45 minute time-limit draw took place as Baba and Tsuruta drew with Slater and Steamboat to share the points and Kamata and Abdullah gained another win over Thornton and Robinson via count out.

In other bouts, Dory Funk Jr defeated The Sheik via DQ in a short match timed just under five minutes. Dory’s brother Terry pinned Jim Brunzell in 12:40 and Nick Bockwinkel squashed The Great Mephisto in under three minutes.

Night Nine – 7th December 1980 – Civic Gymnasium, Nobeoka, Miyazaki

The Funks defensive of the Tag League trophy continued as they defeated Steamboat and Slater in 37 minutes in front of 3,100 fans in Miyazaki. Unfortunately, this match was not televised.

In non-tournament tag action, Prince Tonga and Jumbo Tsuruta were defeated by Nick Bockwinkel and Jim Brunzell. There was plenty of singles action as Tor Kamata won a DQ victory over The Sheik, Billy Robinson and Abdullah went to a double count-out and Great Mephisto was defeated yet again in a short match, this time Giant Baba defeated Mephisto in just over two minutes.

Night Ten – 8th December 1980 – International Gymnasium, Nagazaki

The Funks feud with Kamata and Abdullah continued as the pairings faced off in singles competition. Abby and Dory brawled to a double count-out as Terry won a DQ decision against Kamata. This war is far from over.

In the only tournament action of the night, Baba and Tsuruta took the points with a win over Bockwinkel and Brunzell in 20:35 to the delight of the 3,750 in attendance. In another tag match, not included in the tournament, Slater and Steamboat went to a double count-out against Robinson and Thornton.

Night Eleven – 9th December 1980 – Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium, Osaka

The TV cameras returned in front of a sell-out 7,800 spectators in Osaka and they were treated with some great action. In a singles match, the crowd were hot for a 30:00 time-limit draw between Dick Slater and Billy Robinson.

In addition, The Sheik and Ricky Steamboat provided some up close warfare as Steamboat prevailed as the winner with a 3:43 timed disqualification win but the match spilled into the bleachers before the bell and after the announcement of the decision. Both men left the arena a bloody mess.

Two tournament bouts took place with The Funks taking the lead at the top of the table with a win over Brunzell and Bockwinkel while Abby and Kamata managed a huge win over Baba and Tsuruta via DQ in the main event.

Night Twelve – 10th December 1980 – Tochigi Prefectural Gymnasium,
Utsunomiya, Tochigi

The penultimate show attracted a sell-out of 3,500 in Tochigi with The Sheik and Great Mephisto finally getting points of the board in the tournament against Slater and Steamboat. However, the biggest attraction of the evening was a time-limit draw between Dory Funk Jr. and Nick Bockwinkel which went a total of 30 minutes.

鶴田祐士 | Yüji Tsuruta🎍 בטוויטר: "ジャイアント馬場&ジャンボ鶴田 Giant Baba & Jumbo Tsuruta  #プロレス #全日本プロレス… "

Night Thirteen – 11th December 1980 – Kuramae Kokugikan, Tokyo

The final night of the tour was also the biggest, as AJPW sold 11,500 tickets in the Kuramae Kokugikan. The capacity crowd witnessed Giant Baba and Jumbo Tsuruta winning the finals of the 1980 Real World Tag League with a controversial win over The Funk Brothers.

The Japanese duo began the match on seven points and a win would make them leapfrog the Funks (8) and Abby and Kamata (8) to a total of nine points. The match spilled to the outside with Terry and Tsuruta on the 42-minute mark and the crowd was anxious that a time-limit draw may be the outcome. With Dory and Baba dishing out punishment inside the ropes, Terry and Jumbo began to climb the ropes to get back in the ring before the twenty count.

Dory sent Baba hurtling into Terry which knocked the Texan off the apron and back down to the floor and this allowed Tsuruta to enter the ring to beat the count and win the bout and tournament for his team on 43 minutes and 30 seconds.

The referee raised the hands of Tsuruta as the streamers started to flow into the ring and the only Japanese team in the competition were declared two-time champions.

Other matches saw Abdullah and Kamata and The Sheik and Mephisto go to a double count-out which scuppered the former’s chances of winning the tournament unless the main event ended without a winner. Also, Billy Robinson and Nick Bockwinkel wrestled to a 30:00 time-limit draw and Steamboat beat Les Thornton via count-out in around 10:25.

The tournament would see the promotion close for the rest of the year until the New Year Giant Series beginning on the 2nd of January 1981.

View highlights of the tournament and full coverage of the final match on the video below.

As many matches of the tour were not televised, here are the results and match ratings for the bouts that we have video footage available.

  1. Dick Slater & Ricky Steamboat vs. Tor Kamata & Abdullah the Butcher – 28/11/80 (***)
  2. Terry & Dory Funk vs. The Sheik & Great Mephisto – 28/11/80 (*3/4)
  3. Giant Baba vs. Nick Bockwinkel – 01/12/80 (**)
  4. Abdullah the Butcher vs. The Sheik – 01/12/80 (*)
  5. Billy Robinson & Les Thornton vs. Nick Bockwinkel & Jim Brunzell – 05/12/80 (***)
  6. Terry & Dory Funk vs. Tor Kamata & Abdullah the Butcher – 05/12/80 (*1/2)
  7. Ricky Steamboat vs. The Sheik – 09/12/80 (*)
  8. Tor Kamata & Abdullah the Butcher vs. The Sheik & Great Mephisto – 11/12/80 (*)
  9. Nick Bockwinkel vs. Billy Robinson – 11/12/80 (**)
  10. Terry & Dory Funk vs. Giant Baba & Jumbo Tsuruta – 11/12/80 (****)

For information on our match ratings click here.

This tour features an abundance of talent that we will see progress during our journey. Jumbo Tsuruta and Ricky Steamboat have not even touched the surface in regards to what their future holds as on the other end of the spectrum, The Sheik is whittling down his career.

Seeing The Funks in tag team action is pleasing on the eye and they deliver great matches consistently and the final is a must-see for a fan of any age and of any experience. Even the wild action that Tor Kamata and Abdullah the Butcher produce is entertaining although not for the purists.

Overall, this event rounds out a great year for All Japan Pro Wrestling as they head into 1981.

As always, thanks for reading…

Will Burns

Source:, All Japan Pro Wrestling,

Round-Up: November 1980

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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


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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

Georgia: Who can stop The Freebirds?

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

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

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

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

As always, thanks for reading…

Will Burns

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

Round-Up: 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.

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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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.


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 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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: September 1980

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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


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

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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As always, thanks for reading…

Will Burns

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

Giant wins NWA Title for third short reign

In August of 1980, during the All-Japan Pro Wrestling’s aptly named Summer Action Series II tour, the action could not have been much hotter.  We witnessed a rare sighting, the NWA World’s Heavyweight Championship changed hands. However, more surprisingly within five days in between the 4th and 9th of September – it had changed twice. Yet for Japanese wrestling fans, this has now become a regular occurrence.

Shohei “Giant” Baba was crowned the king of professional wrestling on Thursday 4th September 1980 at the Sports Center in Saga, Japan when he defeated Harley Race for the World Heavyweight Championship.  The 6ft 11inch monster clotheslined the champion off his feet and the Japanese legend gained the three count to win the belt in front of 4,500 of his homeland spectators.  Although just a mere five days later in Otsu, Shiga, Race would claim the championship back and head back to the States with the strap in tow.

The Baba victory over Race meant that the owner of AJPW became the 21st NWA World Champion since its inception in 1948.  This was the Giant’s third time he had worn the belt and the third time he had lost it in a matter of days.  Despite the three title reigns, Baba has only held the championship for a grand total of 19 days so the wrestling fans in the Orient are getting too familiar with these title changes.

His first World Title was captured against Jack Brisco in Kagoshima, Japan on 2nd December 1974 but before he could take the belt home to his family for Christmas, Brisco had pinned him in Toyohashi just seven days later to board the plane home with the gold.

Baba actually defeated Race for his second reign but again only held the title for a week.  On October 31st 1979 in Nagoya, Baba used a running neck breaker to put Race away and claim the strap, but Race reversed Baba’s attempt of a Flying Body Press into a pin in Amagasaki to begin his fourth reign with the prestigious championship.

Their rivalry began in 1969 and they became quite acquainted with each other since meeting in the ring over 150 times, whether it has been in singles or tag team matches. The Japanese Wrestling Association, which was founded by Rikidozan, played host to Race’s first encounter on Japanese soil.  By the end of the sixties, Rikidozan, the legend that brought professional wrestling to the land of the Rising Sun, had passed away, however, by this point but his two major trainees were making big waves in the business – Antonio Inoki and Baba.

Giant Baba - 16文キック | Wwe legends, Pro wrestling, Professional ...

Inoki and Baba were teaming up to sell-out houses across the country and Harley’s debut in the country was a loss to Rikidozan’s proteges in a tag match with Bull Ramos partnering Race in Korakuen Hall on November 14th.  Although he and Ramos experienced a defeat that night, this was Race’s initial bout in over 300 matches in the country, he even stayed on tour for JWA for one whole month until mid-December 1969.

Race has become a popular draw in All Japan and many of the Japanese faithful refer to Harley as “Mr Pro Wrestling”. Well for the second year in a row, Mr Pro Wrestling dropped the title to their hero but has flown back into the States with NWA World Heavyweight Championship intact.

Shohei Baba was one of the most influential men in the professional wrestling business and he saw great insight to join the National Wrestling Alliance in 1973.  Gaining the membership meant he was the exclusive promoter of that title in Japan, and bringing the champions over the Pacific to defend the belt was big money for the promotion and great prestige and credibility.

Appearing on Japanese soil, made Jack Brisco, Dory and Terry Funk and Harley Race into genuine stars in the country.  In addition, the champions loved doing Baba’s tours because it always meant they were paid well, free flights and hotels, a personal chauffeur and somebody to carry their bags.  Baba made sure that these champions were treated like royalty.

Holding the NWA title three times meant each of Baba’s reigns elevated the championship in Japan and aided Baba in his war with Inoki’s New Japan Pro Wrestling promotion.  The first title win in 1974 against Brisco was a deal brokered by Terry Funk, who had helped Baba book American talents on his tours. However, unbeknownst to the NWA, was that Brisco received $25,000 from Baba for the title switch in an underhanded move to slight the Alliance board.

Without the board’s approval, Brisco and Baba had basically gone into business for themselves and the following two reigns were similar deals with Race.  Though by 1979, the lack of leadership within the NWA, ensued that although these were not approved by the board they were tolerated.  Holding the title and writing himself in the history books endorsed Baba as a national hero in Japan and helped him maintain the upper hand over Inoki in the process.

As always, thanks for reading…

Will Burns


Round-Up: August 1980


What a huge month in the Territories in August 1980, with Championship Wrestling from Florida promoting the ‘Last Tangle In Tampa’ from Tampa Stadium and the World Wrestling Federation staging the huge Shea Stadium for the steel cage clash between Bruno and Larry.  Read on…

NWA World Heavyweight Champion Harley Race faced a busy month taking in all comers and some top talent from the National Wrestling Alliance.

1/8/80Houston Wrestling – Sam Houston Coliseum, Houston, TXHarley Race defeated Tony Atlas 2-1 in a Best Two out of Three Falls match to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Championship with Lou Thesz as the special referee.
3/8/80Championship Wrestling from FloridaHarley Race was defeated 1-0 by Dusty Rhodes in a Best Two out of Three Falls/No Disqualification match but the 60-minute time limit expired so Race retained the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
7/8/80St. Louis Wrestling Club – Chase Park Plaza Hotel, St. Louis, MSHarley Race defeated Bobby Vann in a non-title match.
8/8/80St. Louis Wrestling Club – Kiel Auditorium, St. Louis, MSHarley Race defeated Ken Patera in a Best Two out of Three Falls match to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Championship with Lou Thesz as the special referee.
16/8/80Georgia Championship Wrestling – WTBS TV Studios, Atlanta, GAHarley Race beat Bill White in a non-title match.
25/8/80Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling – Greenville, SCHarley Race defeated Ric Flair via count out to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Title.
26/8/80Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling – Dorton Arena, Raleigh, NCHarley Race vs. Ric Flair for the NWA World Heavyweight Title was declared a draw in a No Disqualification match.
27/8/80Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling – Rocky Mount Ball Park, Rocky Mount, NCHarley Race vs. Sweet Ebony Diamond – winner unknown.
29/8/80Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling – Richmond, VAHarley Race and Ricky Steamboat went to a double count out.  Race retained the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.


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

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

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

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


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

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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Iron Sheik | Wrestling, Iron sheik

The Mid-Atlantic Champion The Iron Sheik fought rival Jim Brunzell in some Texas Death and a No Disqualification matches this past month but Gene Anderson’s man prevailed as the champion.  He has a new challenger in the masked man Sweet Ebony Diamond although at this time, The Sheik still has possession of the strap typically due to purposely getting himself disqualified when the going got tough.

NWA World Heavyweight Champion Harley Race appeared for a series of title defenses and was lucky to leave the territory with his belt intact.  On the 25th, Race took a count-out victory over Ric Flair in long match in Greenville, SC and the Nature Boy took the champ to 60-minute broadway the following night in Raleigh, NC. Race also wrestled Ricky Steamboat to a double count-out in Richmond, VA, three nights later.

In other news from the area, Mr. Wrestling II made a surprise return to the area on the August 10th show in Asheville, NC.  He unsuccessfully challenged The Masked Superstar for the NWA Television Title.  The young tag team of Buzz Sawyer and Matt Borne are still in possession of the Mid-Atlantic Tag straps and The Sheepherders, Butch Miller and Luke Williams are expected to debut next month in the area after recently leaving Pacific Northwest Wrestling.


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

WWF Champion Bob Backlund defended his title successfully on the show despite a valiant effort from Buzz Tyler and David von Erich beat Baron Von Raschke in singles competition and is in the hunt for an NWA World Title opportunity.  In a big eight-man tag team bout, David’s brother Kevin von Erich teamed with former NWA champion Pat O’ConnorDick the Bruiser and Rufus R. Jones to defeat Dick Murdoch, Roger Kirby, Takachiho and Killer Karl Kox much to the fans’ delight.

Dick Murdoch and Dick the Bruiser will clash again at the next Kiel card (12/9) inside a steel cage.


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


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


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

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



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

There can be only one match this month. In front of over 36,000 fans, Bruno Sammartino faces Larry Zbyszko in a Steel Cage at the WWF Showdown at Shea.

All Japan: Harley Race is on tour to defend the World Championship against Giant Baba, Mil Mascaras and Jumbo Tsuruta. We’ll have an extensive review of these defenses next month.

Georgia: Will Mr. Wrestling I and II prevail in their war against The Assassins?

Mid-Atlantic What impact will The Sheepherders have on the Carolinas?

NJPW: Will Antonio Inoki overcome Stan Hansen in the Texan’s latest challenge for the NWF Heavyweight belt on the 25th September?  Also, four title matches have been signed for the big Budokan Hall show on 30th – we will feature a full report of the event.

Portland: Can Roddy Piper and newcomer to the ring, Mike Popovich avoid losing the tag titles to rivals Rip Oliver and Buddy Rose?

St. Louis: We will have a report on the Dick the Bruiser-Dick Murdoch cage match from the next Kiel show.

WWF: Who will be crowned the new WWF Tag Team champions at the end of September’s tournament?

As always, thanks for reading…

Will Burns

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

Round-Up: 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.

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.


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.

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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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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).


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.


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).


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.


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.



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: June 1980

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

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

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


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

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



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


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

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


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


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


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

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

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

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

Gino Hernandez | Pro Wrestling | Fandom


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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

As always, thanks for reading…

Will Burns

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