All-Star Wrestling #2 Page #2
The year 1980 was one of those years. The top stars from the Portland circuit made their way north to run Vancouver. My favorite feud at that time was the war between Roddy Piper and Buddy Rose. The feud consumed towns up and down the coast from Portland to Vancouver. Their interviews were as exciting as the in ring battles. The verbal warfare between these two was as intense as their matches. Playboy Buddy Rose enlisted the help of two mercenaries the Sheepherders Butch Miller and Luke Williams. The Sheepherders were the Canadian tag champions beating Dutch Savage and Stan Stasiak February 11/80 for the titles. Roddy Piper countered by enlisting the help of Andre the Giant and Don Leo Jonathon. The six men would all meet in Vancouver in a tag team main event March 10/80. Not being able to see the match live I waited to get the outcome on the next TV show. The build up for the match is one of the earliest memories I have of the area. Rose and Piper continued their verbal jousting week after week. It was shortly after this match, in around April of 1980, that Rick Martel would come into the territory as Piper’s partner. After a brief run with Frank Dusek as his partner, Martel would team with Piper and the two would go on to win the Canadian tag titles from the Sheepherders in a cage match May 5/80.
Some of the other top talent in the territory during 1980 was Crazy Chris Colt the punk rock star, Frank Dusek, Stan Stasiak, Matt Borne and Dutch Savage. There were also several future stars in Vancouver who used the area as a training ground. King Parsons and Jesse Barr were two of the many wrestlers who learned there craft here early in their careers. Sal Martino (Bellemo), Mike Popovich and Steve Pardee all received a decent push during the early 80’s. The All Star veterans Igor Volkoff, Eric Froelich, Sandy Barr, Gerry Morrow, and Rocky Dellasara also complimented the Portland stars. The under card was supported by Goldie Rogers, Tiny Anderson, Larry Watts, and Jerry Bryant.
Playboy Buddy Rose was the defending Pacific Coast champion and managed to fend off the challenges of Piper and Martel for his title. Rose also made several defenses against Jesse Barr and Johnny Boyd later on in 1980. Buddy formed a mega heel team with Ed Wiskowski in 1980. Their antics would help them achieve a level of disdain previously reserved for the Sheepherders. Rose would eventually break off from the Sheepherders and, with Wiskowski, feuded against his old friends. Their feud had a classic climax as Wiskowski and Rose beat the Sheepherders in a "loser leave town" match in Vancouver July 28/80. Once again it would be Piper to the rescue. He put an end to the reign of terror by the hated Rose and Wiskowski by beating Wiskowski in a "loser leave town" match August 25/80 in Vancouver. The All Star promotion often used specialty matches to settle feuds and to end a wrestler’s run in the territory. I fondly remember the anticipation of the big match to settle a hot feud and who would be around the following week to brag they ran another wrestler out of the territory.
With his sidekick Wiskowski gone Buddy Rose again went recruiting and brought in Rip Oliver and Fidel Cortez, an early version of the Clan, known as Playboy Buddy Rose’s Army. The new villains battled fan favorites Al Tomko and Mike Popovich who got a huge face push in 1980. Buddy Rose battled Johnny Boyd for most of the September and October in Vancouver defending his Pacific Coast title several times against Boyd. The two even battled in a cage but Boyd couldn’t get the Pacific Coast title from Rose’s waist. Joe Ventura (Lightfoot) had an impressive win streak in 1980 with decisions over Chris Colt, Jesse Barr and Rocky Dellesara. Ventura eventually took on Jay Youngblood as his tag partner. The tag team of Ventura and Youngblood was a natural combination and the two got over big with the crowd. The fan favorites would go on to win tag team gold from Oliver and Cortez on November 17/80.
By the end of the year a few more stars trickled in. Buzz Sawyer made a few appearances and Moose Morrowski returned stepping up his Vancouver shows. Future Tomko main eventer Moondog Morretti came into the territory as well. The influx of wrestlers had help to ease the departure of the old guard. Don Leo Jonathon worked less in the territory and several of the stars of the 70’s like Siegfried Steinke, Yaki Joe, Jean Louis, Dutch Savage, Bobby Jaggers and Bobby Bass left in early 1980. Most of Tomko’s future top draws wrestled in the midcards in 1980. Wrestlers such as Rocky Dellesara brother of Bob Dellesara, Gerry Morrow a former Canadian tag champ with his brother Eddie Morrow, Igor Volkoff the master of the figure four leglock and Moose Morrowski the International star who wrestled under a mask as the Black Avenger. They would soon be carrying the torch for Tomko.
The year started off with the same intensity and action as 1980 ended. Buddy Rose and Rip Oliver were able to win the Canadian tag titles from Joe Lightfoot and Jay Youngblood January 12/81. Jay Youngblood Sr. also made a few appearances in Vancouver in January. The Kiniski legend looked poised to continue on into the 80’s. Gene’s son Kelly, plying the trade that made his dad famous in the Northwest, wrestled in tag teams with his dad and Gerry Morrow. Jay Youngblood feuded with Playboy Rose winning the Pacific Coast title from him February 9/81 in Vancouver. Youngblood would also beat Rose in an "Indian strap match" Youngblood’s specialty March 9/81. Jay Youngblood would go on record as the last wrestler to win the once coveted Pacific Coast title and would leave the area shortly after.
In 1981 more of the stars exited the All Star promo for good. Gone were Roddy Piper, Rick Martel, Buddy Rose, the Sheepherders and Ed Wiskowski. The voice of All Star’s TV shows Ron Morrier was another personality gone from the shows. Mr. Morrier announced for the TV broadcasts right up until his death in 1981. Slam Wrestling’s Canadian Hall of Fame remembered him for his great ringside interviews with Gene Kiniski, Don Leo Jonathon and many others. I was quite young and remember only bits and pieces of his work but I will always remember him mentioning the shut ins and saying good bye at the end of the shows "be the good lord willing we’ll see you next week." The announcing position was given to John Poser for the majority of 1981. John would be the host of the infamous hold of the week segment. Each week a wrestler would come out and put John in a hold. Igor Volkoff applied the figure four, King Parsons a hammerlock, Pepper Lopez his Mexican deathlock as well as many of the other stars that stretched him over the course of the shows he hosted.
In 1981 Al Tomko’s booking started to dominate. With most of the Portland stars gone from the promo Tomko put himself over in a feud with the Destroyer. He also formed one of the top face teams with fan favorite Klondike Mike. The 350lb big man would go on to fame as Makhan Singh in Calgary and Bastion Booger in the WWF. The big man was well liked in B.C., unlike his later wrestling characters, and he and Tomko were quite successful as a tag team. Future stars for All Star Wrestling, Terry Adonis and Mike Allen, came into the territory in 1981. Adonis quickly established himself as one of the top draws in the company and teamed with Moondog Morretti. Moretti and Adonis defeated the team of Al Tomko and Klondike Mike for the Canadian titles May 4/81. Gene Kiniski unmasked the Destroyer #2 revealing Rocky Dellesara and on the same card Rip Oliver and Joe Lightfoot continued their feud in a steel cage. Although short lived Morretti and Adonis were a terrific heel team battling Gerry Morrow and Matt Borne before losing the titles to Danny O and Klondike Mike June 29/81. The team of Adonis and Morretti split up with Adonis turning face. Terry Adonis feuded with Al Tomko who had turned himself heel. Tomko had just turned on his partner Klondike Mike and had drawn the ire of the fans for his actions. Adonis and Tomko battled in cage matches and street fights week after week in Vancouver and across the circuit.
Sgt. Al Tomko took veteran Igor Volkoff as his new partner in 1981 forming the People’s Army. The two would secure the Canadian tag titles from Danny O and Klondike Mike. Igor Volkoff offered $1000.00 to anyone who could break his figure four leglock once he had it applied. Klondike Mike would enlist the help of newcomer Bubba Strongbear a 295lb wrestler who was billed as an amateur champ from Idaho. The two big men battled Volkoff and Tomko for the Canadian tag titles. The fall brought a few of the midcard wrestlers from Portland in for some work. Art Crews billed from Kansas and was trained by Pat O’Connor, King Parsons the Houston Texas native, and the popular Billy Whitecloud all made appearances in Vancouver and area in 1981. Pepper Lopez had several good matches in the area during late 1981. Lopez was billed as a fifth year wrestler from Mexico who was trained by the legendary Buddy Rogers. Moondog Morretti teamed briefly with Moose Morrowski and would gain a measure of revenge against old partner Terry Adonis beating him in a "loser leave town" grudge match on September 14/81. Morretti would eventually turn face and battle Al Tomko for top spot. The two had a wild feud stretching over several years. Tomko and the Moondog battled in cage matches and other specialty matches including a stretcher match in November 1981. Dean Ho would come back to the territory where he had wrestled in the 70’s as Dean Higuchi. Ho would team with Klondike Mike to win the Canadian tag titles beating Al Tomko and Igor Volkoff November 30/81. Ho was a former holder of the tag titles with Duncan MacTavish in the 70’s. Some of the other wrestlers who were in the mid card status during this time were Tony Demato, the masked Iron Duke a member of the People’s Army, Tiny Anderson a Minnesota bruiser and Mike Allen a good young prospect who regularly added color commentary to the T.V. matches.
The Bulldog comes to town, the B.C. Blondes, International tag titles and more in 1982 reviewed.
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