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 - Serge Niles

Welcome to the first official Atlantic Grand Prix Wrestling. In this column, I will be bringing you back in time to 1980, and review the events that took place during that time period.

In 1980, Atlantic Grand Prix Wrestling featured some excellent wrestling action throughout the Atlantic provinces. Several big stars and special attractions made their way to the Maritimes between May and September. The official roster was as followed: The Faces Leo Burke, Hubert Gallant, Stephen Petitpas, Antonio Rico, Rocky Stone, Bobby Kay, Great Malumba, Willie Davis, The Beast, even Promoter Emile Dupree saw some action during the year. The Heels dressing room featured "No Class" Bobby Bass, Cuban Assassin, "Dr. D" David Von Shultz, Goldie "Macho Man" Rogers, Paul Peller, Red Shadow, The Sheik of Arabie, The Alaskan Bear Jay York & Chin Lee.

The US Heavyweight Title was the main attraction during the summer. "Dr. D" David Shultz held on to the title for the entire summer defending mostly the title against Leo Burke, Stephen Petitpas & The Great Malumba. The Great Malumba did get a couple of shots at the title and gave Dr. D a scare, but Shultz retained the title mostly on DQ's and Count Out's. Promoter Emile Dupre gave Malumba a shot at the title in a Lumberjack Match, but thanks to outside interference by the Cuban Assasin and Bobby Bass, Dr. D escaped with the title again. However, Shultz biggest challenge would come at the hands of Leo Burke. Burke challenged Shultz earlier in the summer, but came up short in his bid for the title. In mid-August, Shultz refused to give Leo Burke another match, so Burke needed to get creative to get another shot at the US Heavyweight Title. "Dr. D" David Shultz was schedule to face the masked Red Shadow, on TV. When Shadow came out, people noticed, that something was up. Shultz also realized that the Shadow was a little bigger then usual. 

Anyway, the match started, and Shadow all of a sudden had improved, and was giving the champion a great match. Shultz began complaining to the referee that the Shadow was Leo Burke. The referee kept telling Shultz to continue the match or lose by forfeit. The match continued, and the next thing you know the Red Shadow applies the Sleeper Hold. Shutlz manages to get to the ropes, to force the break, and immediately left the ring. The referee began the 10 count, and counted out Shultz, thus giving the Red Shadow a victory over the champion and another shot at the title. At this time, the Red Shadow unmasked and revealed to be Leo Burke. Shultz was livid as the TV Studio crowd went wild. Burke, did challenge Shultz for the title, but still came up short.

The North American Tag Team Titles where first held by the team of Cuban Assassin & "No Class" Bobby Bass. They would defend their titles for a couple of weeks, then be involved in single action. They defended the titles against teams like Leo Burke & Hubert Gallant & Stephen Petitpas & Great Malumba, but their biggest challenge would come from the team of Burke and Petitpas. The Maritime boys would begin their quest for the North American Tag Team titles in Mid-July, and within 2 weeks they defeated Bass and Cuban in a Televised match to become the new Tag Team Champions. Burke and Petitpas defended the titles with pride, and took on the former champs in a couple of rematches, but they retained their titles. They would eventually held on to the titles to close out the summer. Their biggest challenge came during the final weeks of the tour. David Shultz would received some help from the Cuban Assassin in one of his title matches against Burke, so Burke and Petitpas would defend their titles against the team of Shultz and Assassin. These 4 men would literally go at it all over the maritmes, and would be engaged in a bloody battle. In the end, Burke and Petitpas retained their titles, and Assassin and Shultz went home empty handed.

The Maritimes fans where treated to a very special treat in late August, as the 600 lbs. Haystack Calhoun made a visit for a couple of weeks. During his stay, he mostly fought in Handicap Matches, and also had a mini feud with Bobby Bass, that lasted 1 week, with the Bassman being squashed like a grape. Calhoun also took part in a 5 thousand dollar Battle Royal, that he won easily, as no one was able to throw him over.

What was a tour of the Maritimes with out the world famous midgets. Sky Low Low and Tom Thumb came down to the Maritimes on several different occasions, and entertained the fans to some great action. During one of their last stops, they where involved in a very unique type match. A Blindfolded-Boxing match, that featured more comedy, then anything else.

Promoter Emile Dupree also wrestled regularly during the summer months, but he mostly fought in mid-card and opening matches, mostly facing Goldie Rogers, Paul Peller, and others. The Beast made a late return to the Maritimes in August and mostly fought Bobby Bass.

I hoped that you enjoyed this little trip down memory lane, as I grew up on this wrestling action.

NEXT MONTH

We'll take a look at the year of 1981, and the action that graced the squared circle of the Maritimes.

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