May 1980 was an action-packed month with new NWA World Tag Team Champions, NWA Central States Champion and NWA Missouri Champions all crowned amongst a whole host of others. Read on…Text
NWA World Heavyweight Champion Harley Race was jet setting across the world this month appearing in Japan as well as coast to coast around the United States. He still remains as our World Champion but had some close calls.
|2/5/80||Houston Wrestling – Sam Houston Coliseum, Houston, TX||Harley Race and Tony Atlas went to a time-limit 60:00 draw at 1-1 in a Best of Three Falls Match. Race retains the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.|
|4/5/80||Georgia Championship Wrestling – The Omni, Atlanta, GA||Harley Race beat Austin Idol to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Title.|
|4/5/80||Georgia Championship Wrestling – The Omni, Atlanta, GA||Mr. Wrestling II beat Harley Race in an unsanctioned ‘lights out’ match. This was non-title.|
|5/5/80||NWA Tri-State Wrestling – Tulsa, OK||Harley Race beat Bruiser Brody to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Title.|
|6/5/80||World Wrestling Federation – Agricultural Hall, Allentown, PA||Harley Race beat Steve King in a non-title match.|
|6/5/80||World Wrestling Federation – Agricultural Hall, Allentown, PA||Harley Race beat Frank Williams in a non-title match.|
|6/5/80||World Wrestling Federation – Agricultural Hall, Allentown, PA||Harley Race beat Angelo Gomez in a non-title match.|
|13/5/80||Central State Wrestling – Helias High School Gym, Jefferson City, MS||Harley Race beat “Bulldog” Bob Brown to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Title.|
|14/5/80||Central State Wrestling – Veterans Auditorium, Des Moines, IA||Harley Race beat Bruiser Brody to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Title.|
|15/5/80||Central State Wrestling – Memorial Hall, Kansas City, KS||Harley Race and Dick Murdoch went to a draw. Race retains the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.|
|17/5/80||Central State Wrestling – Fieldhouse, Chillicothe, MS||Dick Murdoch defeated Harley Race by DQ. Race retains the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.|
|23/5/80||All Japan Pro Wrestling – Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan||Giant Baba & Jumbo Tsuruta defeated Harley Race & Black Terror.|
|24/5/80||All Japan Pro Wrestling – Masatake Pavilion, Kyoto, Japan||Harley Race defeated Rocky Hata in a non-title match.|
|25/5/80||All Japan Pro Wrestling – Fruit and Vegetable Market, Tokorozawa, Saitama, Japan||Jumbo Tsuruta & Tiger Toguchi defeated Buck Zumhofe & Harley Race.|
|27/5/80||All Japan Pro Wrestling – Prefectural Gymnasium, Akita, Japan||Harley Race defeated Tiger Toguchi by two falls to one to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Title.|
|28/5/80||All Japan Pro Wrestling – Nakajima Sports Center, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan||Harley Race and Jumbo Tsuruta went to a time-limit 60:00 draw at 1-1 in a Best of Three Falls Match.|
|31/5/80||Championship Wrestling from Florida – Bayfront Center, St. Petersburg, FL||Manny Fernandez defeated Harley Race by DQ. Race retained the NWA World Heavyweight Title.|
ALL-JAPAN PRO WRESTLING
Jumbo Tsuruta met Dick Slater in the finals of the Champions Carnival tournament in Fukouka on May 1st. Slater was sporting an eye patch as a result of an attack from Abdullah the Butcher earlier in the tour so was at an obvious disadvantage against Tsuruta. The match went around 25 minutes and the action got heated with Jumbo attacking Slater’s eye near the end busting the Texan open. Jumbo picked up the win after a bridging German Suplex put Slater down for the three count.
The next night on the final date of the tour, Slater tagged with Terry Funk and after being mobbed by fans at ringside on arrival in Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, they faced off with Giant Baba and Tsuruta. The crowd were hot for this one that ended the tour in style with the Japanese duo coming out on top after Baba pinned Funk.
Tsuruta was back at the end of the month challenging Harley Race for the NWA Worlds Title on Day Five of the Super Power Series at the Nakajima Sports Center in Sapporo on the 28th. In a great encounter, neither man emerged victorious after the one-hour time limit expired at one fall apiece. Race was also defending the championship a night earlier against Tiger Toguchi but won by two falls to one in Akita.
BIG TIME WRESTLING (TEXAS)
“Gorgeous” Gino Hernandez had an indifferent month. He was crowned the NWA American Heavyweight champion in Fort Worth defeating Kevin Von Erich on 19th of May before dropping the NWA Texas Heavyweight Title to Mark Lewin in the Dallas Sportatorium just six days later.
Bruiser Brody has been crowned the NWA Texas Brass Knuckles champion for the seventh time pinning Toru Tanaka in Beaumont, Texas (15/5).
CENTRAL STATES WRESTLING
Although he had success in Texas winning the Brass Knux title, Bruiser Brody lost his Central States Heavyweight belt to Dick Murdoch on 22nd May at Memorial Hall, Kansas City.
CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING FROM FLORIDA
After defeating Jack Brisco and Jim Garvin, the team of Stan Lane and Bryan St. John regained the Florida Tag Team Titles on the May 1st at the Jacksonville Coliseum.
The Fort Homer Hesterly Armory hosted another title change on the 6th as Florida Television champion Steve Keirn was defeated by Japanese suplex master Mr. Saito. Keirn had a few opportunities to reclaim the title back in Jacksonville (22/5) and Fort Pierce (24/5) but Saito remains the champion. One would argue his biggest challenge came from young Barry Windham, who took the man from Tokyo to the limit on a huge show at the Bayfront Center in St. Petersburg on the 31/5, but Saito emerged the winner.
In addition to the Saito-Windham match, in St. Petersburg the NWA World Champion Harley Race was defeated by Manny Fernandez via disqualification in a short 15-minute bout in the main event.
GEORGIA CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING
The Omni held three title matches on the 4th May with Harley Race successfully defending his NWA World Heavyweight Title against Austin Idol. Rock Hunter’s Russian duo of Ivan Koloff and Alexis Smirnoff defended their Georgia Tag Team titles against the team they defeated for the belts, Tony Atlas and Kevin Sullivan and the Georgia TV Champion Tommy Rich beat Baron Von Raschke.
Last month (6/4 – The Omni), Mr. Wrestling II became the ‘Champion of Champions’ Cup holder after a title opportunity against NWA champion Harley Race. Race and II battled in the Omni to a draw with three former champions as judges: Lou Thesz, Dory Funk Jr. and Dusty Rhodes. More information has been released regarding the scorecards. Thesz declared Race had won the bout. Rhodes had II as the winner. Funk threw his scoresheet away and stated Race was the winner but the sheet was retrieved and it did state that II had won the match and he should have been crowned champion. Bill Watts stated on TV that thousands of pieces of mail had been delivered from furious fans and he was presented the Champion of Champions Cup. He defended this title on the big 4th show against Dory Funk Jr. no less. He emerged the winner and beat up Race to gain a little revenge on him at the end of the night in a non-sanctioned bout.
Tony Atlas was unable to dethrone NWA World Heavyweight Champion Harley Race once again at the Sam Houston Coliseum, Houston, Texas. They once again went to a time-limit 60:00 draw at 1-1 in a Best of Three Falls Match.
MAPLE LEAF WRESTLING
TThe Great Hossein Arab become the new Canadian Heavyweight champion on May 25th at the Maple Leaf Gardens. He defeated Dewey Robertson with a “loaded boot” which the referee failed to spot before making the three count. Also on the show, Blackjack Mulligan unmasked Masked Superstar #2 in a Texas Death match. Under the hood was long-time bitter rival John Studd.
MID-ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING
A new champion of the territory was crowned as The Great Hossein Arab defeated Jim Brunzell to become the new NWA Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Champion on May 11th. Brunzell and Hossein have had quite the history already in the territory since Arab’s arrival. The former champ Brunzell defended the title successfully five times before dropping it to the Hossein on the Iranian’s sixth attempt in Charlotte, NC.
Ric Flair is still the NWA United States Champion despite Jimmy Snuka’s attempts to regain the belt. The pair have waged war all over the Carolinas but Flair still wears the coveted red leather belt. At first, Flair refused to give Snuka a rematch but the man from the Fiji Islands stole one of Ric’s robes until he received his rematch. The US Champ brought in a newcomer to the Mid-Atlantic area to help him in his war against Snuka, Hossein and their manager Gene Anderson. Sweet Ebony Diamond made his debut on the May 7th TV show defeating Billy Starr and he is set to join Flair in tag matches against Gene’s henchmen.
As discussed above in Maple Leaf Wrestling, Blackjack Mulligan unmasked Masked Superstar #2 to be John Studd and Studd has now left the promotion. The big Texan has vowed to unmask Masked Superstar #1 and run him out of the territory. Superstar #1 is the current NWA TV Champion. A newcomer to the area, Enforcer Luciano has declared he is in MACW for one reason and that is to collect the $10,000 bounty that has been placed on Mulligan’s head by the Superstar. Blackjack has retaliated by bringing in his cousin, “Crazy” Luke Mulligan to help him in the battle. As “Superstar #2” has now left the area, the Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Titles, he held with Superstar #1 are now vacant and will be decided in a tournament on 2nd June.
Announcer David Crockett gained a referee’s license and officiated a series of NWA World Tag Team Title matches between champions “The Crippler” Ray Stevens and Greg “The Hammer” Valentine and former champs Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood. Last month you may remember we reported that Crockett was attacked by Valentine and the heels destroyed some video tape that casted shadows over their title win. On May 10th, Steamboat and Youngblood regained their titles in Richmond, Virginia in a Best of Two out of Three Falls match with Crockett as the ref. Stevens and Valentine accused Crockett of , allowing an illegal man in the ring to capture the fall giving back the World Titles to Steamboat and Youngblood.
NEW-JAPAN PRO WRESTLING
The ten-man MSG Series League is well underway and the final will be contested in Kuramae Kokugikan in Tokyo on 5th June. After an initial preliminary phase, the participants were decided as Antonio Inoki, Andre the Giant, Chavo Guerrero, Dusty Rhodes, Riki Choshu, Ryuma Go, Seiji Sakaguchi, Stan Hansen, Strong Kobayashi and Tatsumi Fujinami.
The league has made for some great viewing and the tour holding some tremendous dream matches. The current standings (as of May 3st 1980) sees Ryuma Go at the bottom of the pile losing all nine of his matches. Inoki tops the table with six wins over seven, Andre second with five wins out of seven and Hansen third with four wins. The 3rd of June in Nagoya sees Andre face Inoki in what should be a barnburner.
In Utsonomiya (21/5), Rhodes faced Inoki but was counted out after just nine minutes. Dusty suffered the same fate earlier in the month (16/5) against Stan Hansen. Although partners during the tour, Rhodes and Hansen were involved in a vicious brawl after a tag team match in Hasama on the 23rd. The two big Texans fought the team of Tatsumi Fujinami and Bob Backlund but the match ended as a non-contest after Dusty and Hansen had a disagreement and began to brawl across the arena.
Backlund defended the WWF title against Rhodes in Osaka on the 27th. The bout ended in controversy after Backlund won by DQ but Dusty was a bloody mess. A rematch is much anticipated between the two. Hulk Hogan also joined the tour near the end of the month, in his first he headlines but was disqualified on the Hasama show (23/5) against Inoki.
PACIFIC NORTHWEST WRESTLING
As usual, wild happenings in Portland. Roddy Piper has spent the majority of the month trying to rip the mask off “Playboy” Buddy Rose’s head. Rose who had his hair shaved last month is wearing a mask with blonde hair to cover his newly bald head. Butch Miller and Luke Williams (The Sheepherders) defended the NWA Pacific Northwest Tag Team Titles against Piper and Rick Martel at the Portland Sports Arena, on the May 31st. In a wild three falls match, the match ended in Buddy Rose interfering and accidentally smashing Williams in the ring with a wooden flag pole. After the match, Rose and the Sheepherders split up and Miller unloaded fists on Rose.
Prior to that, earlier in the month (17/5) the New Zealanders had helped out Rose in an NWA Pacific Northwest Title bout against champion Rick Martel. Martel was about to wrap up the third and final fall with Rose locked in a sleeper hold but the Sheepherders hit the Frenchman in the back with the flag pole.
ST. LOUIS WRESTLING CLUB
Sam Muchnick promoted another huge night at the Kiel Auditorium, St. Louis in the middle of the month with two big title matches and a sixty-minute draw between Dick Murdoch and King Kong (Bruiser) Brody.
WWF Champion Bob Backlund successfully defended his belt against the challenge of Roger Kirby while NWA Missouri Champion Kevin Von Erich was defeated in a three-fall match to WWF Intercontinental Champion Ken Patera by two falls to one. Patera becomes the first man to hold major titles in the WWE and NWA simultaneously.
VANCOUVER ALL STAR WRESTLING
The Sheepherders’ war with Roddy Piper climbed into Canada again this month with a spectacular card in Vancouver (19/5). Unfortunately for Butch Miller and Luke Williams it was not a nice trip North of the Border as they lost their NWA Vancouver Pacific Coast Tag titles to Piper and Rick Martel in a bloody Steel Cage match. Former NWA Worlds Heavyweight Champion Gene Kiniski was in action against the freshly shaved “Playboy” Buddy Rose in Victoria, British Columbia (22/5) and Kiniski walked out the victor to add to Rose’s woes.
WORLD WRESTLING FEDERATION
The Bruno Sammartino-Larry Zbyszko war continued with a big match at the Boston Garden on the 10th with the veteran Bruno came out on top with a count-out win. Due to the fact that Zbyszko hot steps it out of the arena once the going gets tough, this feud is only going to continue until Bruno gets revenge for the vicious attack and injuries, he suffered from his former protégé earlier this year. There is rumour going around that the WWF is trying to book a baseball stadium in the New York area for a cage match between the two. Watch this space.
The May 19th Madison Square Garden show was a fantastic show for Zbyszko as he came out on top of 16-man Battle Royal. He outlasted top stars such as “High Chief” Peter Maivia, Gorilla Monsson, Pat Patterson, The Samoans, and Tony Atlas on the way to the victory. In the main event, WWF Champion Bob Backlund defeated WWF Intercontinental Champion Ken Patera in a brutal Texas Death Match. The match went 23 minutes and Backlund pinned the Strongman with a crossbody off the top rope. The next MSG show will be on June 16th and to headlined by Backlund defending the title against Zbyszko.
|NWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION|
|NWA WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS|
RICKY STEAMBOAT AND JAY YOUNGBLOOD
|1. Antonio Inoki||1. Giant Baba/Jumbo Tsuruta|
|2. Dusty Rhodes||2. Greg Valentine/Ray Stevens|
|3. Ric Flair||3. Roddy Piper/Rick Martel|
|4. Tony Atlas||4. The Samoans|
|5. David Von Erich||5. Ivan Koloff/Alexis Smirnoff|
|6. Mr. Wrestling II||6. The Sheepherders|
|7. Giant Baba||7. Tony Atlas/Kevin Sullivan|
|8. Bruiser Brody||8. Mr. Hito/Mr. Sakaruda|
|9. Tommy Rich||9. Jose Lothario/Tiger Conway Jr.|
|10. The Great Hossein Arab||10. The Masked Superstars|
This months match is the wild WWF Title match between champion Bob Backlund and Intercontinental champion Ken Patera under Texas Death rules. It’s a wild one from Madison Square Garden in New York City on 19th May.
Mid-Atlantic: New Mid-Atlantic Tag Team champions are set to be crowned in an one-night tournament on June 2nd in Greenville, SC.
New Japan: The finals of the MSG Series will be decided at the beginning of June and the Summer Fight Series Tour will begin with Bad News Allen, Bret and Keith Hart, all from Stampede Wrestling all set to appear.
Pacific Northwest: With the Rose Army disbanded what will become of Buddy Rose’s future. The Sheepherders are hot on his tail seeking revenge.
WWF: In June, we should be seeing matches booked for the big Shea Stadium show in Flushing, New York.
As always, thanks for reading…
Sources: Cagematch.net, Mid-Atlantic Gateway, MapleLeafWrestling.com, WrestlingData, Scopitone2011 (DailyMotion)