Holding the NWA World Heavyweight Championship for 1,131 days, former Canadian football star Gene Kiniski was one of the most successful champions in the record books. In a time when champions were known as squeaky clean good guy wrestlers, with his aggressive nature and natural charisma, “Big Thunder” broke that precedent.
Kiniski was born on 23rd November 1928 in Lamont, Alberta, Canada before moving onto the nearby town of Chipman at an early age. Times were hard financially for his family after the Stock Market Crash in 1929 and they moved to Edmonton by the time that Gene was 11. By the time he was a teenager, At six feet tall with a robust build, Kiniski was a promising athlete practising amateur wrestling and football at St. Joseph’s High School.
By the time he was 20, Gene was recruited by the Edmonton Eskimos, sporting the number 50 and played defensive lineman in the Western Interprovincial Football Union, which was the predecessor of the Canadian Football League. Quoted as making a paltry $200 a year with the Eskimos, Kiniski moved onto college at the University of Arizona and played lineman for the Wildcats and became a strong NFL prospect. His aggression was highlighted after being chucked out of three games for unnecessary roughness.
While staying in Tucson, Gene and close friend Steve Paproski needed jobs and became working for wrestling promoter and Edmonton native Rod Fenton as ushers and selling programs at his events. Kiniski became an asset at the events due to his size protecting the wrestlers from over-excited fans and began to start to work out at the local gyms with fellow wrestlers and Fenton and got involved in the basics of wrestling training.
It is rumoured that Kiniski and Paproski started wrestling in different towns under pseudo names so that the University would not find out, but eventually, their cover was blown and the Wildcat coach Robert Winslow demanded they immediately stop. Later that year, although it was against the wishes of his family back in Edmonton, Kiniski decided to trade in the football pads for wrestling boots and was set to make his debut on Fenton show.
So, on February 13th 1952, donning the cover of the programs he used to sell, Kiniski made his in-ring debut at the Sports Center in Tucson defeating Curly Hughes in around 12 minutes. Gene went on to gain in-ring experience in Tucson, El Paso and Albuquerque working a few times per week. Kiniski began working out with Dory Funk Sr. and Dory Jr.in a friendship that would work out well for both parties in the future.
By 1954, Kiniski was plying his trade in Los Angeles working NWA Hollywood TV shows frequently against a young Bobo Brazil before moving onto Hawaii to form a tag team with Lord Blears to face Japanese duo Kokichi Endo andRikidozan. Moving onto Dallas, Kiniski and his aggressive nature became a great draw, he was ruthless with sharp wit and possessed a mean streak. With the vicious back-breaker as his signature move, fans were buying tickets to see Gene get beat up but much to the crowd’s dismay, Kiniski usually came out on top.
At the age of 29, Gene returned to Canada and received his first NWA Worlds Heavyweight Title shot against Lou Theszand managed to hold the champ to a draw in front of thousands packed inside the Maple Leaf Gardens. Kiniski started to get massively over proclaiming himself as “Canada’s Greatest Athlete” and grappling with former world champions Bill Longson, Pat O’ Connor and “Whipper” Billy Watson. His trash-talking rogue persona started to turn promoter’s heads and he was booked across the States and Canada. Come 1960, Minneapolis promoters Wally Karbo and Verne Gagne broke away from the NWA and created the American Wrestling Association and they contacted Kiniski to headline their events.
Gene alternated between AWA and NWA promoted events and on 11th July 1961, Kiniski dethroned Gagne to win his first world championship, the AWA World Title. Although the reign did not last long and less than a month later, inside the confines of a Steel Cage, Gagne regained the title. Gene’s career went from strength to strength winning singles titles in various territories and received a WWWF title shot against top draw Bruno Sammartino at Madison Square Garden in November 1964 with over 18,000 in attendance. Kiniski believed he had pinned Bruno and left ringside with the title belt, but he was counted out. Gene kept the belt until a rematch a month later in which Bruno regained possession of his championship.
St. Louis promoter Sam Muchnick booked Kiniski to wrestle Fritz von Erich, Johnny Valentine and Dick the Bruiser. After clinching a win over former champ Pat O’Connor, Gene was awarded another shot at Lou Thesz’s NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship. The bout, booked by Muchnick was set to take place at the Kiel Auditorium on 7th January 1966 in front of a packed house and the NWA board voted to give “Big Thunder” a run with the strap.
In a best of three falls match, history was made. Thesz went ahead with the first fall but was disqualified for throwing Gene over the top rope tying up the bout at 1-1. After less than two minutes inside the third fall, Kiniski pinned Thesz and referee Joe Scheonberger slammed his hand on the canvas three times and Gene had become the world champion. Kiniski was the first man in history to hold the AWA and NWA World titles.
In a true contrast to Lou Thesz, Kiniski was a natural bad guy and his heel behaviour made him a very successful touring champion. He drew big crowds in all the NWA territories including the JWA in Japan where he faced Antonio Inoki and Shohei (Giant) Baba, even challenging the latter for his NWA International Heavyweight belt. However, like many champions, the schedule became exhausting to Gene and at the NWA convention in November 1968, he told the Alliance members that he wished to drop the title. Being a close friend to the Funk family, Gene ended his three-year reign to Dory Funk Jr. via spinning toe-hold on 11th February 1969 in Tampa, Florida.
After resting up, Gene travelled back to Japan to win the International Heavyweight championship from Baba in Osaka for a short 16-day reign before failing to the big man in Los Angeles in a rematch. Throughout the 1970s, Gene was still a profitable draw for the NWA promoters and received many title shots against Dory, Harley Race, Jack Brisco and Terry Funk but failed to clinch that second reign. He started to book his own shows with Vancouver All-Star Wrestling promoter Sandor Kovacs, buying out his trainer Rod Fenton’s share, and he brought many World title matches to the British Columbia area.
He vastly eased up his schedule by 1976 and climbed into the ring intermittently in the early 1980s until quietly heading into retirement come 1985. Always being the athlete for all his life, Kiniski stayed fit later in life training daily. However, in early 2010, congestive heart failure hospitalised Gene and his weight massively decreased. He had been secretly battling cancer for years and it had grown to his brain. He passed away with family at his bedside on April 14th 2010. He was 81 years old.
Kiniski was a true champion, a true athlete and to fill his bank account, a true heel. Fans paid to see Gene get beat and he didn’t. For over three years he was World Heavyweight Champion and in his own words, Gene made sure that even if the fan went home sulking, they got their money’s worth.
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.
All Japan Pro Wrestling – Summer Action Series II – City Gymnasium, Kanya, Kagoshima, Japan
Harley Race and Jumbo Tsuruta wrestled to a double count-out. Race retained the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
All Japan Pro Wrestling – Summer Action Series II – Municipal Gymnasium, Nakatane, Kagoshima, Japan
Harley Race and Austin Idol defeated Giant Baba and Prince Tonga 2-1 in a Best Two out of Three Falls bout.
All Japan Pro Wrestling – Summer Action Series II – Saga Sports Center, Saga, Japan
Giant Baba pinned Harley Race to become the NEW NWA World Heavyweight Champion. This is Baba’s third reign holding the championship.
All Japan Pro Wrestling – Summer Action Series II – Suizenji Gymnasium, Kumamoto, Japan
Giant Baba and Jumbo Tsuruta defeated Karl von Steiger and Karl von Hess.
All Japan Pro Wrestling – Summer Action Series II – Prefectural Gymnasium, Oita, Japan
Austin Idol and Harley Race beat Giant Baba and Rocky Hata.
All 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.
All Japan Pro Wrestling – Summer Action Series II – Otsu Park Gymnasium, Otsu, Shiga, Japan
Harley Race beat Giant Baba (1st Defense) to become the NEW NWA World Heavyweight Champion. This is Race’s fifth reign holding the title.
All Japan Pro Wrestling – Summer Action Series II – Ichinomiya Industrial Gymnasium, Ichinomya, Aichi, Japan
Harley Race (1st Defense) and Mil Mascaras wrestled to a double count-out. Race retained the NWA World Heavyweight Title.
St. Louis Wrestling Club – Chase Park Plaza Hotel, St. Louis MS
Harley Race (2nd Defense) defeated Spike Huber to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Title.
Championship Wrestling from Florida – West Palm Beach Auditorium, West Palm Beach, FL
Harley Race (3rd Defense) defeated Bobo Brazil by disqualification to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
Championship Wrestling from Florida – Fort Homer Hesterly Armory, Tampa, FL
Bugsy McGraw defeated Harley Race (4th Defense) via disqualification. Race retained the NWA World Heavyweight Title.
Championship Wrestling from Florida – Convention Center, Miami Beach, FL
Harley Race (5th Defense) and Dick Murdoch wrestled to a time limit draw. Race retained the NWA World Heavyweight Title.
Championship Wrestling from Florida – Jacksonville Coliseum, Jacksonville, FL
Harley Race (6th Defense) beat Dick Murdoch to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
Championship Wrestling from Florida – Forrest High School, Ocala, FL
Barry Windham defeated Harley Race (7th Defense) via disqualification. Race retained the NWA World Heavyweight Title.
St. Louis Wrestling Club – Chase Park Plaza Hotel, St. Louis MS
Harley Race beat Jim Lang in a non-title encounter.
World Wrestling Federation – Madison Square Garden, New York City, NY
WWF 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.
Central States Wrestling – Topeka, KS
Harley Race (9th Defense) beat Akio Sato to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
Central States Wrestling – Memorial Hall, Kansas City, KS
Harley Race (10th Defense) and Dick the Bruiser wrestled to double disqualification. Race retained the NWA World Heavyweight Title.
Central States Wrestling – Atchinson, KS
Harley Race (11th Defense) beat Mike George to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
Central States Wrestling – Memorial Hall, Kansas City, KS
Harley Race (12th Defense) beat Akio Sato to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
Big Time Wrestling – The Sportatorium, Dallas, TX
Harley Race (13th Defense) and Gino Hernandez wrestled to double disqualification. Race retained the NWA World Heavyweight Title.
Big Time Wrestling – Fort Worth, TX
Harley Race (14th Defense) and Kerry von Erich wrestled to double count-out. Race retained the NWA World Heavyweight Championship
Central States Wrestling – The Coliseum, Ottumwa, IA
Harley Race (15th Defense) beat Rufus R. Jones to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
ALL-JAPAN PRO WRESTLING
In what could possibly be the biggest tour in the company’s history, the Summer Action Series II concluded on the 12th September playing host to two NWA World Heavyweight Championship changes.
On September 4th 1980, Giant Baba uncrowned Harley Race to become the 21st NWA World Heavyweight Champion and his third reign with the belt. However, Baba would only hold the title for five days before Race won it back in a rematch on the 9th in Otsu, Shiga, Japan. This is indeed the third time that Baba has held the belt and the third time he has lost it in a matter of days. We have a full article on this title change and the history between Race and Baba here.
Once Race had regained the title, he had to face the challenge of Mexican star Mil Mascaras the next night in Ichinomya, Aichi. Mascaras pushed Race to the limit using high-risk manoeuvres early in the bout but then dropped his style to brawl with the champ. The action spilt to the outside and Mascaras more than held his own, so much Race lost his cool and threw the timekeepers’ table into the ring. The referee let the behaviour slide as Race battered the masked man’s head into the table. The action continued back and forth and multiple near falls until the pair started brawling outside with Mascaras ramming Race’s head into the ring bell. Eventually, the referee counted both men out in what was the end of the great match as the two men continued to fight into the crowd.
BIG TIME WRESTLING (DETROIT)
Big Time promoted two shows in Canton, Ohio with WWF Champion Bob Backlund headlining against The Sheik. Both matches were wild with the first bout (10/9) ending with a double count-out. However, on the 24th, Backlund won in a Steel Cage match after leaving the cage in 21 minutes and he was awarded Sheik’s Detroit version of the United States Title by promoter Bruce Baker.
As we mentioned last month, other promotions are starting to invade the city but Ed Farhat is promoting a return to Cobo Hall (12/10) next month. The WWF is one of the promotions starting to book shows in the area but they are sending a lot of talent to the Cobo show, so it looks likely that the promotions are working together at this time. Backlund returns to the territory to defend the WWF title against Ken Patera and also confirmed for Cobo are The Wild Samoans, Andre the Giant, The Davidson Brothers, Mighty Igor and Bobo Brazil.
As a cost-cutting measure, the last Big Time Wrestling TV show of 1980 will be taped on 9th October and the remained of shows to be broadcast will show matches from Central States Wrestling.
BIG TIME WRESTLING (TEXAS)
The talented “Gorgeous” Gino Hernandez had a great opportunity to add to the list of his accomplishments in his young career as he took on NWA World Champion Harley Race at Reunion Arena in Dallas, Texas on 28th September. Unfortunately for The Handsome Halfbreed, the match ended in a double disqualification and Race left Dallas with the belt.
Earlier in the month (14/9), Bruiser Brody teamed with The Von Erichs, David, Kerry and Kevin to defeat Gary Young, Pak Song, Gary Hart and Gino Hernandez.
CENTRAL STATES WRESTLING
At the end of a tremendously busy month for him, Harley Race defended his NWA World Title four times at the end of September in his home state. He managed to retain the belt against Akio Sato (twice), Dick the Bruiser, Mike George and Rufus R. Jones.
A new Central States Heavyweight champion was crowned as Mike George pinned “Bulldog” Bob Brown on the 11th in Kansas City.
CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING FROM FLORIDA
Bobby Jaggers and Dusty Rhodes have been feuding across the state this past month in multiple gimmick matches with Rhodes emerging as the victor in the majority of the bouts. Dusty won both Texas Death matches in West Palm Beach (8/9) and in Orlando (14/9) while there was a no-contest decision in a Light Outs bout at the Fort Homer Hesterly Armory (9/9). They also compete against each other in tag matches during the month but at a big show at the Armory in Tampa on the 16th, they were back in singles action as Rhodes beat Jaggers in a Texas Bullrope match.
In other news regarding Rhodes, Sir Oliver Humperdink has been forced to become Dusty’s valet for 30 days after Dusty defeated Ivan Koloff in Lakeview, Florida. The stipulation agreed was that Dusty would shave his head if he couldn’t beat Koloff and if Dusty won then Sir Oliver had to join Rhodes for 30 days.
On the 16th, Harley 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.
Ivan Koloff and Nikolai Volkoff had only held the Florida Tag Team champions just over a month before losing to Bobo Brazil and Bugsy McGraw in front of packed house at the Coliseum in Jacksonville. As well as the NWA World Title defence, the fans were treated with two more title matches that night. Les Thornton and Mike Graham participate in a rematch from their bout the next before at the Armory, with the Englishman winning to retain his title. Finally, Barry Windham successfully defended his Florida TV belt against Florida Southern Heavyweight champion Dick Slater.
Speaking of Windham, the 6ft 6-inch tall youngster received a shot at Harley Race’s World Title on the 19th at Forrest High School in Ocala, Florida. This was Race’s final defense for the month in the territory and Windham won by disqualification.
EMPRESA MEXICANA DE LUCHA LIBRE
EMLL promoted their huge anniversary show ‘EMLL 47. Aniversario’ at the sold-out Arena Mexico in Mexico City on the 26th September. In the main event, El Satanico faced bitter rival Mocho Cota in a Lucha de Apuestas bout – where a competitor makes a public gamble with their adversary. Satánico won by two falls to one which forced Mocho Cota to be humiliated by being shaved bald afterwards per the stipulation of Hair vs. Hair.
The NWA World Middleweight Title was on the line as El Fantasma challenged Sangre Chicana for the belt in a Best of Two out of Three Falls match. The champion took the first fall with the challenger winning the second but the bout ended in a no-contest so Chicana remained the champion. Cien Caras also successfully defended his Mexican National Heavyweight belt winning 2-1 against TNT.
GEORGIA CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING
A wild month for title changes, stars moving on, stars returning and new stars debuting in Georgia. The month started off with Stan Lane defeating Kevin Sullivan to clinch the Georgia Junior Heavyweight Title on the 3rd September at the Municipal Auditorium in Columbus. A new Heavyweight champion of the territory was also crowned as Dennis Condrey pinned Steve Keirn on the 8th at the Bell Auditorium in Augusta. Out for revenge after last month’s attack, Mr. Wrestling and Mr. Wrestling II gained the ultimate retribution on The Assassins by taking the Georgia Tag Team Titles from their waists at The Omni (19/9).
Lots of new talent returned or appear in the territory for their first time. Mr. Saito is back and challenging various members of the roster to a special $5,000 Challenge Match on the Best of Championship Wrestling TV program. So far, Saito has retained his money by going to a time-limit draw with Steve Keirn, the Japanese suplex specialist then attacked Keirn afterwards but Kevin Sullivan and Mr. Wrestling II made the save. A week later, Jack Lincoln faced Saito in another $5,000 challenge with the former Olympic wrestler put the rookie away with ease.
Terry Funk has returned and joined forces with Ole Anderson and they are running amok in the promotion. On the 20/9 Georgia TV show, Funk and Anderson attacked Mike Davis and the NWA National TV Champion Terry Taylor brawled with Funk afterwards. Funk then ended up scrapping with Kevin Sullivan later in the show with Taylor again emerging from the back to fight Funk.
Two superstars have been forced to leave the territory due to recent results at the 5/9 Omni show. Ole’s brother Gene Anderson lost a ‘Loser Leaves Georgia’ bout to Bill Watts and the mysterious masked man known as Uvalde Slim. The stipulation was that whoever lost the fall would leave and Gene has now been forced to leave Georgia. Also on the show, Mr. Wrestling II sent The Masked Superstar packing as he also lost a Loser Leaves bout, however, this match was inside a steel cage.
A tag team from the Mid-South territory have arrived called The Fabulous Freebirds. The team consists of Michael Hayes, Buddy Roberts and Terry Gordy – yes, three men. They say that there are introducing “a new dimension to tag team wrestling” and that opponents cannot plan their strategy as any combination of the three could wrestle in two-on-two competition. The flamboyant trio rocked up on TV wearing all pink robes while Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘Freebird’ was playing in the background.
The company made their debut in Columbus, Ohio on the 28th at Ohio Center with Dusty Rhodes (banned in Georgia) getting his hands on Ole Anderson in the main event.
A big month in Houston for the Paul Boesch promotion. He put on his usual weekly shows at the Sam Houston Coliseum with the big news being that Gino Hernandez, despite the challenges of El Halcon and Mark Lewin, is still the NWA American Heavyweight Champion. After defeating El Halcon by shady tactics on the 5th, Hernandez faced “The Maniac” on the 12th in a wild encounter.
Lewin took an early advantage claiming the first fall on the champion in a three-fall bout in just over two minutes. The crowd erupted as Lewin laid out Hernandez and his manager Gary Hart with a pair of vicious chops to the head which accumulated in “Gorgeous Gino” being pinned. Gino got the equalizer after hitting a top rope elbow to a standing Lewin for the pin. Although Gino was back in the match, Lewin dominated until Hart got involved. Lewin lost his cool and beat Gary Hart merciless outside and ended up being counted out so Gino kept the title. Lewin vowed after the match that he wants another shot at Gino.
MAPLE LEAF WRESTLING
In Canada, on the 27th, Frank Tunney promoted a huge night at the Gardens with a Greg Valentine vs. Ric Flair main event for the NWA United States Heavyweight Championship. The champion managed to overcome Flair’s challenge in 22 minutes but the war is far from over, as the referee failed to notice that Flair’s leg was draped across the bottom rope for the pin.
Also on the show, The Great Hossein Arab defended the NWA Canadian Heavyweight belt against the blood thirsty Indian grappler Tiger Jeet Singh. Arab escaped with the title losing on a disqualification decision after he purposely struck the referee to keep the belt. Bobby Duncum made his Gardens debut against Angelo “King Kong” Mosca, in a battle of former pro footballers, but the bout ended in a double disqualification after referee John Laing was manhandled by both guys and he threw the match out.
Announcements were made that Maple Leaf Wrestling will run joint shows with Mid-Atlantic in Buffalo (18/10) and back at the Gardens (19/10) next month, we will explain all the happenings from those events next time.
MID-ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING
There has been a heavy influx of new or returning talent to the area over the past few months and it looks like more could be coming in. Ivan Koloff joined The Sheepherders, Butch Miller and Luke Williams in the territory. The Kiwis made the ultimate impact in the territory by winning the Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Titles from Matt Borne and Buzz Sawyer at the Charlotte Coliseum at the end of the month (28/9). Miller and Williams are still undefeated so far and “The Russian Bear” Ivan Koloff has joined forces with Iron Sheik and Gene Anderson. It is understood that Roddy Piper will be joining Mid-Atlantic in October.
Sweet Ebony Diamond is hot on the trail of The Iron Sheik’s Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight title and they have torn it up across the Carolina arenas.
Speaking of Gene Anderson, he recently attacked NWA Television Champion The Masked Superstar, who is now teaming with “Number One” Paul Jones and they are in hot pursuit of Jimmy Snuka and Ray Stevens and the NWA World Tag Team Championships.
Ric Flair and Greg Valentine are still embroiled in a bloody feud over the United States Championship, a title that the “The Hammer” is still in possession of. Flair has been taking Valentine to the limit and one-hour draws across the Carolinas. Ricky Steamboat is also honing in on The Iron Sheik’s Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight belt.
NEW-JAPAN PRO WRESTLING
The Bloody Fight Series dominated the whole month in Japan which concluded with a big event at the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo on the 30th.
On the 11th in Osaka, two great title match main events headlined the card. Tatsumi Fujinami successfully defended his WWF Junior Heavyweight strap against veteran Tony Rocco and Fujinami’s mentor Antonio Inoki fought rival Stan Hansen for the NWF Heavyweight belt.
Hansen was accompanied by “Pretty Boy” Larry Sharpe who had helped Hansen sabotage Inoki’s shot at Bob Backlund and his WWF Title. Inoki ended up winning the bout via count-out after battling outside, but before Inoki was announced the winner, Hansen hit him with a lariat from behind. This knocked Inoki out cold and it took him several minutes before he could be helped to his feet. The feud continued throughout the tour and Inoki would gain revenge on the 25th at the Hiroshima Prefectural Gymnasium. He handed Hansen another shot at the NWF Heavyweight Title and defeated the Texan in ten and a half minutes. It was a hard-hitting affair with both men showing their real hatred for each other. The finish came when Inoki ducked a lariat and hooked Hansen’s arms into a backslide for the three count.
WWF Champion Bob Backlund was less than pleased when Sharpe and Hansen interfered in the Inoki bout and he gave Hansen a chance at his WWF Title at the huge event in the sold-out Nippon Budokan on September 30th. Both men saw a decent amount of offense but Hansen’s patience was wearing thin when he was unable to put Backlund away for the pin. Hansen saw red and dragged Backlund to the floor to brawl in front of the timekeepers table and was disqualified. Backlund came around and smashed a steel chair over Hansen’s head and the two started to trade punches again before Hansen retreated. These two will meet again.
Chavo Guerrero flew in for a one-on-one encounter with NWA International Junior Heavyweight titleholder Kengo Kimura, the battled for nearly 16 minutes but the bout ended as a double count-out. Georgia-native Ron Starr who has been working for NWA Hollywood recently, made his return to the company after two years to face WWF Junior Heavyweight Champion Tatsumi Fujinami and did more than hold his own. However, Fujinami prevailed winning in 18 minutes with a Boston Crab submission.
In the main event, Antonio Inoki fought WWF Intercontinental Champion Ken Patera for the NWF Heavyweight Title. Inoki beat the strongman in just under 15 minutes.
Next month, we see the beginning of the 24-show Toukon Series tour with plenty Gaijins joining. Guerrero and Starr return as Jim Garvin and Paul Orndorff make their first-ever appearances in the country. Steve Keirn returns as does the long-awaited reappearance of Hulk Hogan, another guy that Antonio Inoki is dying to get his hands on.
PACIFIC NORTHWEST WRESTLING
PNW Champion Roddy Piper and “Playboy” Buddy Rose’s long feud has finally come to an end after Piper lost a Loser Leaves match on the 27th September. However, earlier in the month (6th Sept), Piper and rookie Popovich teamed up to face Rick Oliver and Rose in a non-title title bout, although it was promoted last month to be for the vacant PNW Tag Team straps. Using shady tactics, Rose and Oliver got the win in a three-fall affair by 2-1. Following the match, Rose stated if anyone could remove his mask, he would not wear it ever again. Piper sneaked up behind Rose slapped on a sleeper and removed the Playboy’s hood and threw it into the fans.
Come the 13th, Piper defended the title against Rose in a Best of Three Falls match and Piper took fall one with a sleeperhold but before the second fall could begin, Rose’s comrade Ed Wiskowski attacked the Scotsman, ramming his head into the ring post causing a laceration on Piper’s forehead. Piper managed to pick up the second fall with a roll-up and Rose emerged with a chair. Unfortunately for the Playboy, Piper gained control and smashed him over the back. Many competitors from the locker room tried to stop the manic Scotsman and although initially they could not, numbers prevailed and finally saved Rose from serious injury. After the match, promoter Don Owens declared a ‘Loser Leaves’ match would take place between Piper and Rose on 15th September. Although Rose was fearful about fighting Piper again and he clearly stated he did not want to face Piper in this type of match. However, Piper demanded the bout and it proclaimed it would be just one fall and with two referees officiating!
The match took place in the hot and humid Portland Sports Arena with no air conditioning and the bout began a technical contest. As time went on, Rose started breaking the rules and Piper followed suit. The action spilt to the outside a few times but once back inside the ropes, the pair collided headfirst into each other and the match was halted for several minutes. The two officials pulled back the eye-lids of both men to check on their consciousness. One of the referee’s, Sandy Barr emerged from the back with a container of water and threw it on both men to revive them. The blood started flowing once Piper had gnawed at Rose’s forehead and Buddy smacked Roddy to open his wound from the previous match.
Rose went to the outside to grab a chair and Barr stopped the Playboy in his tracks, however, the pair grappled over it which Rose overpowered Barr and the chair and the referee went hurtling into an injured leg of Piper. Buddy went to work on the leg and clamped on a figure-four leglock with twenty seconds to go of the time-limit. Piper held on until the timekeeper Dutch Savage rang the bell. Rose grabbed the mic and declared himself the winner, Don Owens came down and said there was no way Buddy was going to be awarded the match. Much to the shock of the attendance, Rose attacked Owens and put the boots to him. Piper made the save and demanded Rose give him a no-time-limit rematch on the 27th.
In the rematch the next week, Piper clamped a sleeper on Rose and he was trapped and panicking. Rose’s movement caused Piper to lose his footing, Rose pressed his feet into the turnbuckle and Piper crumbled under the weight for the three count. Roddy Piper has now left Portland. Buddy Rose, Rick Oliver and Fidel Cortez joined the TV show the next week celebrating by showering each other with Champagne and Rose was sporting a “Bye Bye Piper” shirt.
New Tag Team Champions were crowned when Fidel Cortez and Rick Oliver won the belts in Grandview, Washington on 12th September. We cannot locate the official result of the match but we presume they defeated the team of Piper and Popovich for the straps.
Joe Lightfoot has arrived in the area and joined forces with Jonathan Boyd and Dutch Savage with the aim to take Buddy Rose’s army down.
ST. LOUIS WRESTLING CLUB
The Kiel Auditorium was sold out again for a big card in the territory promoted by the legendary Sam Muchnick on the 12th September. Ric Flair pinned Ted DiBiase, Rufus R. Jones tagged with David von Erich in a victory over Takachiho and Bruiser “King Kong” Brody and in the main event, Dick The Bruiser defeated Dick Murdoch in a Fence Match.
Muchnick is promoting a huge card in October at the Checkerdome in St. Louis with an NWA World Title return match headlining as Harley Race defends against David von Erich. Also announced, Ken Patera will defend his Missouri heavyweight belt against Ted DiBiase and Brody, Kevin von Erich, Dick the Bruiser, Dick Murdoch and Rufus R. Jones are all listed to appear.
WORLD WRESTLING COUNCIL
Two title changes in the WWC at the big event in Caguas, Puerto Rico on August 17th. Jose Rivera lost his WWC Caribbean Heavyweight belt to Luke Graham and Pierre Martel defeated Mr. Fuji to become the new WWC North American Heavyweight Champion.
WORLD WRESTLING FEDERATION
The Wild Samoans, Afa and Sika have reclaimed the WWF Tag Team Titles winning the six-team tournament that was held on WWF TV over the past month. Captain Lou Albano’s men defeated Rene Goulet and Tony Garea in finals after Afa pinned Goulet following a double team bodyslam while the referee was distracted.
Last month, Gorilla Monsoon wrestled WWF Intercontinental Champion Ken Patera at the Philadelphia Spectrum and the veteran punished the Olympic Strongman before being brutalised at the end of the bout. Monsoon lost a four-minute match to Hulk Hogan at the Civic Center, Springfield, Massachusetts on 20th September and rumours abound that Monsoon this was his last match. It is claimed there will be a ceremony on 11th October where Gorilla will hang up his boots at the Spectrum.