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.
|1/10/80||Central States Wrestling – Marshalltown, IA||Harley Race (16th defense) defeated Mike George to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Title.|
|2/10/80||Central States Wrestling – Memorial Hall, Kansas City, KS||Harley Race (17th defense) beat Rufus R. Jones to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.|
|3/10/80||St. Louis Wrestling Club – The Checkerdome, St. Louis, MO||Harley 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.|
|6/10/80||Southeastern Championship Wrestling – Montgomery Civic Center, Montgomery, AL||Harley Race (19th defense) faced Ron Fuller – winner unknown.|
|8/10/80||Georgia Championship Wrestling – The Coliseum, Macon, GA||Harley Race (20th defense) and Stan Hansen went to a double count out. Race retained the NWA World Title.|
|9/10/80||Georgia Championship Wrestling – Memorial Gymnasium, Rome, GA||Harley Race (21st defense) and Stan Hansen went to a double count out. Race retained the NWA World Title.|
|10/10/80||Georgia Championship Wrestling – The Omni, Atlanta, GA||Harley Race (22nd defense) defeated Dick Slater to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Title.|
|11/10/80||Georgia Championship Wrestling – WTBS Studios, Atlanta, GA||Harley Race pinned Jerry Roberts in a non-title match.|
|12/10/80||Southeastern Championship Wrestling – Pensacola, FL||Harley Race (23rd defense) faced Ron Fuller – winner unknown.|
|29/10/80||World Championship Wrestling – Auckland, New Zealand||Harley Race (24th defense) and Mark Lewin went to a draw. Race retained the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.|
|30/10/80||World Championship Wrestling – Auckland, New Zealand||Harley Race (25th defense) and Mark Lewin went to a draw. Race retained the NWA World Heavyweight belt.|
ALL-JAPAN PRO WRESTLING
The Giant Series got underway on 9th October in Korakuen Hall as Tor Kamata and Abdullah the Butcher clashed with Kazuo Sakurada and Giant Baba in the main event, which ended in a double disqualification. John Studd made his debut on the show defeating Motoshi Okuma in just over six minutes. From our information this would apparently be Studd’s first appearance in a Japanese wrestling ring.
Billy Robinson and Wahoo McDaniel also appeared on the excursion. The pair tagged up throughout the tour and came close to defeating Giant Baba and Jumbo Tsuruta for the NWA International Tag Team Titles in Morioka, Iwate on the 17th in a great 25-minute match but Giant and Jumbo won by two falls to one.
Abdullah the Butcher shocked the fans at the Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium in Nagoya four days later as he defeated Tsuruta for the NWA United National Championship. Abdullah pinned Tsuruta in 14:37 to clinch the title in a Best Two out of Three Falls bout. On the same event, Baba and Billy Robinson went to a double count-out over the PWF Heavyweight belt.
Terry Funk returned and joined the tour on 22nd in Wakkanai, Hokkaido as he teamed up with Robinson to defeat the masked duo of The Asteroid and The Avenger. Funk also paired up with Tsuruta to face Kamata and Abdullah, but the wild contest finished in a double count-out. The Funker is set to challenge Abdullah the Butcher for the UN Title in early November.
The end of year Real World Tag Team League begins at the end of next month (28th Nov at Korakuen Hall) and the list of the seven teams participating have been announced as follows…
Giant Baba and Jumbo Tsuruta
Nick Bockwinkel and Jim Brunzell
Billy Robinson and Les Thornton
Abdullah the Butcher and Tor Kamata
Terry Funk and Dory Funk Jr.
The Great Mephisto and The Sheik
BIG TIME WRESTLING (DETROIT)
With the territory virtually taken over by the WWF and Georgia now, The Sheik is still promoting some shows in Michigan like the event on 4/10 in Lincoln Park, where The Sheik successfully defended his U.S Title against “Cowboy” Frankie Lane. The Huntington Civic Center in West Virginia (30/10) also played host a Sheik card with the US champion winning a title defense against Malcolm “No Money” Monroe.
However, the Sheik and the WWF worked together on a big event at the Cobo Arena. Sheik beat Bob White in another title defense but the WWF stole the show with a double main event. Bob Backlund pulled double duty defending his WWF title against Ken Patera (no contest) and fought the WWF Tag Team Champions The Samoans with Andre the Giant as his partner. Andre and Backlund won by DQ so Captain Lou Albano’s men kept the belts in their possession.
BIG TIME WRESTLING (TEXAS)
Manager of Gino Hernandez, the “Playboy” Gary Hart had his head shaved this past month after “Gorgeous” Gino lost a Best of Three falls bout against Kevin Von Erich at the Will Rogers Center in Fort Worth on 27th October. The stipulation signed prior to the bout was if Kevin lost his head would be shaved, if Gino lost, Gary Hart would lose his hair.
Also, in the promotion, Stan Stasiak still holds the Brass Knuckles championship despite the efforts of Bruiser Brody at The Sportatorium on 5th October. In addition, Kevin’s older brother David von Erich defeated Bulldog Brower in a defense of his NWA Texas Heavyweight Title on 13/10 in Fort Worth. Both Stasiak and David are still clinching onto their respective titles.
CENTRAL STATES WRESTLING
NWA Champion Harley Race successfully defended his World Title against Rufus R. Jones in front of rabid crowd at the Memorial Hall in Kansas City on 2nd October. Bob Sweetan and Mike George beat Jones’ partner “Bulldog” Bob Brown and Bruiser Brody in the semi-main event which lead to Sweetan and George receiving a Tag Team title show on 30th October. Again, at the Memorial Hall, using shady tactics Sweetan and George beat Jones and Brown to become the new Central States Tag Team Champions.
Meanwhile, it was not all doom and gloom this month for Bob Brown regained the Central States Champion. He defeated Mike George at the Memorial Hall on October 23rd who defeated Brown on September 11th for the championship.
CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING FROM FLORIDA
Much to the displeasure of the Jacksonville Coliseum on October 11th, “Hangman” Bobby Jaggers defeated Bugsy McGraw for the Florida Heavyweight Championship but after a long feud with the Hangman, Dusty Rhodes uncrowned Jaggers at the Eddie Graham Sports Stadium in Orlando on 26/10 to become a ten-time holder of the belt.
Speaking of Rhodes, Oliver Humperdink has now joined the camp of Dusty and Bugsy after Nikolai Volkoff turned on him. Humperdink was forced to become Dusty Rhodes’ servant for 30 days and after Jaggers announced Lord Alfred Hayes as his new manager, Humperdink arrived in the arena to notify Nikolai Volkoff (who was accompanying Jaggers and Hayes) that he was still his manager. Hayes took offence and ridiculed Oliver calling him a “fat ugly idiot” as Jaggers and Hayes attacked him. Volkoff just watched on and refused to help his former managers as Humperdink was stretchered out of the arena.
The Florida TV Champion Barry Windham and Scott McGhee are the youngest tag team to ever be crowned the Florida Tag Team Champions after winning a title tournament on 18th October. They defeated The Assassins in the finals at the Bayfront Center in St. Petersburg in a one-night eight-team tournament. Windham and McGhee outlasted teams like Jack and Gerry Brisco, Ted and Jerry Oates, Nikolai Volkoff and Bobby Jaggers managed by Lord Alfred Hayes, Dick Murdoch and Killer Karl Kox and Bobo Brazil and Bugsy McGraw on the way to the finals.
GEORGIA CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING
The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael Hayes, Buddy Roberts and Terry Gordy) debuted in the area and made an immediate impact winning the Georgia Tag Team Titles from Mr. Wrestling I and II at the Omni on 10th October.The Freebirds are a trio that wrestle in tag team matches but their opponents are not aware of which combination of the three will compete in the match. It is understood, they are defending the titles in the same format.
The Freebirds are embroiled in a feud with Austin Idol and Kevin Sullivan after the “Universal Heartthrob” and Michael Hayes had a war of words on Georgia’s 30/10 TV show which ended up with the two brawling inside the ring. Hayes gained an advantage when partners Roberts and Gordy came to lend a hand and blasted Idol over the head with a chair. The Boston-native Sullivan emerged from the back to make the save and Idol whipped Hayes with his belt, which led to the Freebirds bailing out of the fight. The four (just two of the ‘Birds) will meet at the next Omni show on 14th November for the Georgia Tag straps.
Mr. Saito has again defeated all comers in his $5,000 Challenge matches. If he can be beat within ten minutes, the winner would be awarded the money but the Japanese suplex specialist has outclassed all Police officers, amateur wrestlers and many others that have climbed into the ropes to face him. Saito has also made a political statement that should be banished by the Equal Right Amendment and the Women’s Liberation Movement when he appeared in a video where he was pampered by his wife in accordance to Japanese tradition.
As for newcomers to the area, “Bullet” Bob Armstrong introduced his son Brad Armstrong into the area and Ole Anderson has brought in former NWA World Heavyweight Champion Terry Funk, who helped Ole run brother Lars Anderson out of the territory.
“Mr. USA” Tony Atlas won the Georgia Heavyweight Title from Dennis Condrey on 24th October at The Omni and Ole Anderson has set his sights on taking that from Atlas.
The Sam Houston Coliseum, as usual, saw some great action under the tutelage of Paul Boesch. On October 3rd the main event featured “Maniac” Mark Lewin challenging “Gorgeous” Gino Hernandez for the NWA American Heavyweight Title. There was a special stipulation added that pleased the Houston crowd as Gary Hart was placed into a Straitjacket so he could not involve himself in the match.
Lewin took the lead in the Best Two out of Three Falls match gaining a pinfall after delivering a chop to Gino’s head. It was levelled up after Hernandez choked Lewin on the middle rope and landed with his whole-body weight onto Lewin and covered for the three. Before the beginning of the final fall, Gino attacked Lewin with a steel chair out at ringside. Lewin recovered and administered some punishment to Gino, hiking the Gorgeous one into a tree of woe into the corner and landed some stiff boots. Hart tried to climb into the ring which distracted Lewin and the referee. Gino pulled something out of his tights and raked it across Lewin’s face which seem to blind the “Maniac”. Gino proceeded to come off the top rope with a elbow to head for the win. Despite the Straitjacket, Hart still had an impact on this contest.
Dusty Rhodes and Ivan Koloff brought their historic feud to Texas in a Texas Death Match on the 24th October, with the added condition that the loser must leave the ringside area in a coffin. It was match with blood flowing from both competitors’ heads but the good guy prevailed as Dusty nailed a bionic elbow and the Russian landed in the coffin. The Sam Houston Coliseum erupted as Dusty was declared the winner. In addition, on the card, Gino Hernandez failed to uncrown the NWA World Junior Heavyweight champion Les Thornton losing the bout by DQ after referee Bronko Lubich spotted Gino use the same object in the Thornton’s eye which Hernandez had used on Lewin two weeks earlier.
In the final event of the month on 31st, Bruiser Brody won an opportunity at the NWA World Heavyweight Title in November defeating Gino Hernandez in a Number One Contenders bout.
MAPLE LEAF WRESTLING
Frank Tunney’s Maple Leaf Wrestling, Jim Crockett Promotionsand promoter George Scott ran two big shows in Buffalo (18/10) and the Maple Leaf Gardens (19/10) with great success. On the opening show, Ric Flair defeated NWA United States Heavyweight champion Greg Valentine via count-out after the pair, both fatigued after a grueling match, were brawling on the outside and Valentine punched Flair back into the ring, while Valentine collapsed to the floor. The ref counted “The Hammer” out and awarded Flair the match. Valentine escaped with the title on 19/10 at the Gardens getting disqualified against the powerhouse Sweet Ebony Diamond.
The Mid-Atlantic Tag Team champions The Sheepherders fought Matt Borne and Sweet Ebony Diamond in Buffalo losing via a DQ and against Borne and Paul Jones in Toronto. Borne and Jones won the match but sadly for them, it was a non-title contest.
MID-ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING
MACW promoter Jim Crockett Jr. has been announced as the new president of the National Wrestling Alliance taking over from Bob Geigel. With Crockett now at the helm of the NWA, one could speculate that a successor to the Worlds Champion Harley Race could possibly come from the Carolinas.
The main feud in the Carolinas is still the war between “Nature Boy” Ric Flair and Greg “The Hammer” Valentine over the NWA United States championship. They have been headlining shows in front of big houses at the Charlotte Coliseum and Greensboro Coliseum but Valentine is still possession of the title belt.
The NWA World Tag Team Champions Jimmy Snuka and Ray Stevens have ran Jay Youngblood out of the territory as the youngster has headed to Portland for Pacific Northwest Wrestling. This leaves Ricky Steamboat without a partner. His former partner Paul Jones may be the obvious choice to replace Youngblood but he has been tagging with The Masked Superstar in their own quest for the tag belts. The Mid-Atlantic TV title has been vacated by The Superstar as he is concentrating on claiming the tag belts with Jones. Snuka and Stevens do have plenty of challengers in the territory as George Wells and Sweet Ebony Diamond have been impressive this past month.
The Iron Sheik still holds the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight strap and has been helped by “Russian Bear” Ivan Koloff in a dangerous combination. The Sheepherders (Luke Williams and Butch Miller) still have the Mid-Atlantic Tag Team belts but their former foe has landed in the Carolinas – Roddy Piper.
Piper has yet to target the Sheepherders, or side with them like their later days in Portland, but he made a winning start at Dorton Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina against Special Delivery Jones. He also faced and defeated Don Kernodle, George Wells, Matt Borne and Johnny Weaver in the arena shows. Piper has been annoying the fans in the WTBS Studios with his out-of-tune bagpipe playing it will be interesting to see how patient the crowd are with his musical skills.
NWA TV Title has been vacated and a one-night tournament has been set for 1st November in Richmond, Virginia to crown a new champion.
NEW-JAPAN PRO WRESTLING
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 Orndorff, Steve Keirn, Ron Starr, Jim Garvin and Chavo Guerrero in tow.
Antonio Inoki faced and defeated Orndorff in one-on-one competition on October 30th at the City Gymnasium in Kumamoto while Hogan pinned Tatsumi Fujinami on the same show, after Freddie Blassie tripped Fujinami, Hogan proceeded to dish out a leg drop and powerslam for the three count.
Hogan and Antonio Inoki resumed their feud meeting in tag and six man contests throughout the excursion, they will finally meet one-on-one in Tokyo for the NWF Heavyweight Title on 3rd November. We will have a full report from that match in our November 1980 post.
The Series saw one title change when Mexican federation, the UWA, saw Inoki as champion defeated by Tiger Jeet Singh by disqualification but the ruling of the Mexican organisation meant that the title changed hands.
MSG Tag Team Series begins next month and Hulk Hogan and Stan Hansen have been announced as a team.
PACIFIC NORTHWEST WRESTLING
Buddy Rose is still ruling the roost in Portland with PNW Tag Team Champions Rick Oliver and Fidel Cortez by his side. On October 4th at the Portland Sports Arena, the trio faced Jonathan Boyd, Mike Popovich and newcomer to the area, Joe Lightfoot. The match was declared a draw at one fall a piece before the time limit expired but Popovich slapped Rose into a Full Nelson and refused to let go after the bell.
The pair met in a big match on the 14th where Popovich in a hair match and shockingly Rose ended up shaving the former footballer’s head bald. Popovich caught Rose in a Full Nelson but the “Playboy” bent down and ran towards the corner and subsequently Popovich’s head ran into the turnbuckle. Rose nailed the sweeping Backbreaker on Popovich for the pin. Rose did the haircutting while his victim was taunted by Oliver and Cortez. Popovich has not been sent in the territory since.
Also, on the 14th, Lightfoot was joined by new tag team partner Jay Youngblood in a bout against Oliver and Cortez in a non-title bout. The champs won the first fall, but the Indian duo ended up coming back to win 2-1 so they qualified for a Tag Title bout on the 18th. In the rematch, the good guys won fall one when Youngblood pinned Cortez but it was tied up at 1-1 when Oliver hit Lightfoot with a shoulder-breaker. The final fall was decided when Oliver and Lightfoot collided into each other and Joe fell to the mat as Oliver rebounded onto the ropes. Buddy Rose, who was located at ringside, pushed Oliver on top of Lightfoot for the win.
After the match, Dutch Savage emerged from the back and punched Rose and informed referee Sandy Barr what had happened. Barr reversed the decision but Rose and company were still celebrating as the belts could not change hands under such circumstance. Barr then decided to hold the belts up and demand a rematch for 25th October.
In an unannounced bout on the 23rd in Salem, Oliver and Cortez regained the Tag Team Championships defeating Lightfoot and Youngblood, but they did not hold them for long. Two nights later, with Rose handcuffed to Dutch Savage, the Indians won the titles and sent the Portland Sports Arena into raptures.
Promoter Don Owens introduced Samoan wrester Siva Afi to the area. Afi has been active in Hawaii and New Zealand in recent years and even had a shot at Harley Race’s NWA World Heavyweight Title in Auckland. Owens mentioned that Afi was a former Hawaii champion who dethroned Buddy Rose for said belt. Rose took offence to this comment and ripped Afi’s lei off from around the Samoan’s neck which scattered the flower petals all over the ring. Rose had hell to pay for on the 18th as he met Afi one-on-one. Afi pinned Buddy for the first fall but was counted out for the second. In the final fall, Boyd emerged from the back with his Boomerang to clobber Rose but the cowardly “Playboy” ran to the back and he was counted out to lose the match.
SOUTHEASTERN CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING
Southeastern purchased the rights of the state of Alabama and they have announced that next month they will crown the first ever Alabama Heavyweight champion. On their debut Alabama TV show under the new banner on 18/10, they proclaimed that the promotion is the largest wrestling organisation in the United States with their promotional territory spanning from Ohio Valley to the Gulf of Mexico.
ST. LOUIS WRESTLING CLUB
The promotion hit off the new month in style with a huge show at the Checkerdome on 3rd October. In the main event, David von Erich got another shot at Harley Race’s World Heavyweight Title but unfortunately fell two falls to one in a Best of Three Falls contest. Ted DiBiase took NWA Missouri Champion Ken Patera to a twenty-minute time-limit draw and in six-man action, Dick Murdoch, King Kong (Bruiser) Brody and Baron Von Raschke beat Dick The Bruiser, Pat O’Connor and Rufus R. Jones.
Sam Muchnick also promoted his usual monthly show at the Kiel Auditorium (24/20) with headliners Ric Flair and Dick the Bruiser going to a double count-out. David Von Erich was in action and defeated Buck Robley as Ted DiBiase gained a huge win over King Kong Brody.
At the Exhibition Auditorium in Regina, Saskatchewan, Stampede Wrestling ran a big show on 28th October with three title contests. Hercules Ayala and Jim Neidhart defended their Stampede International Tag Team championships against Duke Myers and Mike Sharpe Jr. with the champions retaining. Bruce Hart and Dynamite Kid clashed over the World Mid-Heavyweight belt with Bruce overcoming Dynamite to keep the championship in his grasp. In the main event, the Stampede North American champion Bret Hart defeated the 6ft 4 Ugandan Kasavubu.
Speaking of Bret Hart, he is still the North American champion despite the attempts of Duke Myers to claim the belt. The pair clashed six times this past month with Bret coming out on top constantly.
VANCOUVER ALL STAR WRESTLING
The Pacific Coast Tag Team Titles have changed hands this past month as Rick Oliver and Fidel Cortez pinned Mike Popovich and Al Tomko in a one-off bout for the vacant titles. Rick Martel and Roddy Piper had given up the belts after moving on to the WWF and Mid-Atlantic respectively.
WORLD WRESTLING COUNCIL
Chief Jay Strongbow defeated “Crazy” Luke Graham inside the Juan R. Loubriel Stadium in Bayamon, Puerto Rico to become the new Caribbean Heavyweight Champion. On the same show Dutch Mantell and Danny Condrey won the WWC North American Tag Team Championships from Carlos Colon and Jose Rivera.
WORLD WRESTLING FEDERATION
The Hangman has finally been beaten in the WWF but it took the Champion Bob Backlund to end the undefeated streak. Backlund overcame Freddie Blassie’s man in 22:30 at the Boston Garden on October 4th. The Hangman and Backlund clashed many times throughout the month but the “All-American Boy” came out on top. Bob’s busy month continued as he was challenged by the most-hated man of 1980, Larry Zbyszko in a 10th October match in Pittsburgh. The champion retained his belt pinning Zbyszko within 15 minutes. Finally, the 25th brought Backlund a tough contest against the Intercontinental Champion Ken Patera at the Capitol Center in Landover, Maryland, but Backlund once again prevailed as the strongman was counted out.
A special show was held at the Philadelphia Spectrum on Saturday 11th October as Gorilla Monsoon retired from in-ring competition. The first 10,000 fans to enter the Spectrum received a signed photograph of Monsoon as the WWF held a special retirement ceremony for him. New Jersey Assemblywoman Barbara Faith Kalik presented Monsoon with a Proclamation on behalf of the State Assembly in a proud moment for Gorilla.
Sgt. Slaughter, Stan Hansen and Killer Khan were new faces at the TV tapings for Championship Wrestling and All-Star Wrestling this past month. All three will be aiming to climb to the main event to challenge for the WWF Title with Slaughter immediately meeting Backlund for the belt on the 20th at Madison Square Garden. Slaughter took the champion to the limit and defeated Backlund by DQ.
|NWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION|
|NWA WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS|
RAY STEVENS AND JIMMY SNUKA
|1. Antonio Inoki||1. Giant Baba/Jumbo Tsuruta|
|2. Giant Baba||2. The Sheepherders|
|3. Greg Valentine||3. The Wild Samoans|
|4. Bob Backlund||4. Rick Oliver/Fidel Castro|
|5. Ric Flair||5. Barry Windham/Scott McGhee|
|6. Andre the Giant||6. The Fabulous Freebirds|
|7. David Von Erich||7. Paul Jones/Masked Superstar|
|8. Jumbo Tsuruta||8. Mr. Wrestling/Mr. Wrestling II|
|9. Ted DiBiase||9. Bob Sweetan/Mike George|
|10. Mark Lewin||10. 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…