GCCW #15 Page #2
The Angels also faced the strong team of Dick Dunn & Ken Lucas in several matches in Dothan. Lucas & Dunn faced the Angels in a mixed boxing/wrestling match that saw Colt and Dunn wear the gloves. Dunn KO'd Colt in a controversial decision. This led to Dunn and Colt facing off in a lights out match wearing kid gloves. Again, Dunn prevailed.
Randy Tyler defeated Ken Lucas to win the Alabama State title during a Dothan TV taping. Lucas claimed that the only reason Randy won was due to the interference of Rip Tyler. Randy faced strong challenges not only from Lucas both from Gulf Coast champion Terry Lathan. Lathan teamed with Ron Starr and faced Rip & Randy Tyler in a series of wild matches in Dothan.
Mr. Ito (Umanosuke Ueda) of Japan made his debut in the area. His first week in was strictly to be a demonstration of his martial arts skills, but this turned into a scuffle with Rip Tyler at ringside. Ito defeated Randy Tyler in a singles match, but Rip got involved after this match as well. Rip also interfered with Ito in an eight-man elimination match that resulted in Ito and Ken Lucas splitting the prize money of $100.
Ito also made a splash with the Gulf Coast fans when he defeated the hated Duke Miller in a loser leaves match in Dothan, driving Miller from the territory. Miller had been having some heated words with Dothan matchmaker Rocky McGuire and it was agreed that Miller would face Ito in a special challenge match. If Miller wins, he becomes the new Dothan matchmaker, but if he loses he leaves the area. He lost and was gone.
Others in the Gulf Coast in January were Jim White, Frank Dalton, Johnny & Ricky Fields, Dandy Jack Donovan, Bill Ash and Bulldog Drummer (Don Drummer).
Cowboy Bob Kelly & Bobby Fields were hot as fire after their win over the Hell's Angels in a non-title match. They demanded that Colt & Dupree put the Gulf Coast tag team titles on the line. The Angels agreed because they were anxious to get the Fields/Kelly combination back in the ring for a chance at revenge. In a highly disputed decision, Kelly & Fields won the match and were the new Gulf Coast tag team champions. This was their second reign as champions, the first being in September of 1968. Unfortunately, they lost the titles back to the Angels two weeks later in a blindfold match where all four men were blindfolded. The Angels also faced Ken Lucas in a handicap match in Dothan. The Angels were disqualified for their action of double teaming Lucas.
Terry Lathan proved to be a fighting champion. He successfully defended his title against popular Dick Dunn in a scientific match in Dothan. He soon got a new challenger for his Gulf Coast title in the form of Duke Myers. Myers first faced Lathan in a match that had originally been scheduled as a title match between Lathan and Rip Tyler. Tyler was unable to make the match and asked Myers to take his place. Myers agreed and apparently had Lathan defeated, but got a little carried away and was disqualified. Myers restrained himself enough to defeat Lathan in the rematch to become the new Gulf Coast champion. Myers had a unique way of making title defenses. Each Saturday on TV, Myers would actually give the Gulf Coast title belt to someone. That person would then face Myers the next Tuesday in Mobile Usually his hand picked opponent was someone that Myers knew that he could easily defeat. The first person he "gave" the title to was young Ricky Fields, who was easily defeated by Myers the following Tuesday. Same result occurred when he gave the title belt to Mike Jackson. Jackson also went down to defeat easily.
February 20, 1975: The wrestling world was shocked when a plane crash occurred in the early morning hours in Hillsborough Bay near Tampa, Florida. The crash claimed the life of Bobby Shane (Bobby Schoenberger). Shane was probably the most hated man ever to appear in the Gulf Coast, but all those who saw him never forgot him. He was just hitting his stride in Florida and surely would have become one of the sport's biggest stars. As it was, his legend has never died. He was only 29 years old at the time of his death. Shane was flying in a plane piloted by the man who had been his tag team partner in Miami the night before the crash, Buddy Colt (Ron Reed). Also on board were "Iron" Mike McCord (Dennis McCord) and manager "Playboy" Gary Hart (Gary Williams). Colt's career was ended due to the severe back and leg injuries. He later became an announcer for the Florida promotion. Hart recovered and carried on as one of wrestling's greatest managers. McCord made the most amazing of all recoveries. Several months after the crash, he wrestled a few "comeback" matches in Georgia, then disappeared. Most people figured that he would just become a footnote in wrestling history simply because he was in the plane in which Bobby Shane had been killed. Then in the late seventies a blonde muscleman named Austin Idol appeared on the scene. No one guessed that this was Mike McCord and the greatest and most unsuspected comeback in the history of the sport had come to pass.
Lucas got an unexpected World's title match with NWA World's heavyweight champ Jack Brisco. Brisco was scheduled to defend his title in a rematch against NWA World's Jr. Heavyweight champ, Ken Mantell. Prior to this match Lucas had defeated Mantell two weeks straight in Pensacola. Although Mantell's title had not been at stake, the NWA ruled that Lucas should rightfully get the title shot at Brisco. Brisco battered Lucas and had him bleeding, but Ken soon caught the champ in his sleeper hold. However, Lucas failed to break the hold when Brisco reached the ropes and was disqualified.
The Fabulous Moolah returned to the area and successfully defended her Ladies' World championship against the tall, rangy Texan Susan Green.
On Friday February 21st, promoter Lee Fields and matchmaker Rocky McGuire presented a "Night of Champions" at the Houston County Farm Center in Dothan, Alabama. The following are the results of that card:
Terry Lathan & Ron Starr defeated Rip & Randy Tyler to win the City of Dothan Tag Team Championship.
Darlin' Dagmar & Honey Girl Paige successfully defended their World's Midget Ladies Tag Team title against the team of Diamond Lil & Marie Laveau.
The Hell's Angels defended the Gulf Coast tag team titles against Cowboy Bob Kelly & Bobby Fields
Duke Myers successfully defended the Gulf Coast title against Ken Lucas
International Martial Arts Championship match (fought in judo jackets): Champion Mr. Ito defeated Bulldog Drummer.
NWA World's Jr. Heavyweight championship - Champion Ken Mantell defeated Dynamite Dick Dunn in a highly disputed match.
The disputed ending of the Mantell /Dunn match in Dothan led to a return match in Dothan on the 28th. Again Mantell won a disputed decision with Dunn wildly protesting the officiating of referee Bill Speed.
The Mummy made an appearance in Dothan in February. I have no idea if this was the famous original Mummy, Benjy Ramirez.
Others in the area this month were Johnny Fields, Bill Ash, The Black Shadow, The Masked Destroyer (not Dick Beyer), Lynn Sasser and Burrhead Jones.
Fresh off his near defeat of the World's champ, Ken Lucas was on a roll. Gulf Coast champ Duke Myers had been "giving away" his title to preliminary wrestlers each week on TV, only to win it back at the house shows in Mobile each Tuesday. Finally promoter Lee Fields forced Myers to "give" the title to Lucas. Myers was hesitant but claimed that he could defeat Lucas as easily as he had defeated all of the others he had given the belt to. When the match rolled around in Mobile, Myers was anxious as he paced the ring awaiting Lucas. Lucas didn't come out for the match. This made Myers furious and he stomped and raged around the ring. Finally, just as he was about to be counted absent, Lucas stormed the ring and defeated Myers in 25 seconds. Lucas was the new Gulf Coast champion. Lucas returned Myers favor by "giving" Myers the title on TV the following Saturday. Lucas won it right back the following Tuesday in Mobile, much to the crowd's delight. Lucas defeated Myers in another match and also defeated a newcomer from Japan Mr. Yoto. Yoto was brought into the area by Rip Tyler to combat the other Japanese man in the area, Mr. Ito.
Lucas & Ito faced Yoto & Myers in a wild match in Dothan that saw Dick Dunn and Rip Tyler get involved. This led to a six-man tag team match that saw Lucas, Dunn & Ito victorious over Myers, Tyler & Yoto.
Dick Dunn also got some measure of revenge when he defeated referee Bill Speed in a match in Dothan. Dunn felt that Speed's officiating had cost him a match with NWA World's Jr. Heavyweight champion Ken Mantell. Dunn also defeated Randy Tyler to win the Alabama State title. This led to a series of matches in Dothan against Rip Tyler in which Dunn managed to hang onto the title.
The Hell's Angels lost the Gulf Coast tag team titles in Dothan to the popular young team of Ron Starr & Terry Lathan, the City of Dothan tag team champions. Due to their unsportsman like tactics, the Angels were stripped of the titles and suspended indefinitely. Starr & Lathan were now double champions.
The Samoans (Afa & Sika Anoai) made a few appearances in the area. They defeated two newcomers Dr. Jerry Watson & Bruiser McManus (Mike McManus).
Actually McManus was no newcomer to the area, but the fans didn't recognize him. He had been in the area originally in 1972 as the Spoiler #2, and in 1974 as the Mighty Yankee #3. He would soon be back as a Yankee once again, as he and Curtis Smith reformed the Mighty Yankees under the guidance of Colonel J.C. Dykes. They defeated Ron Starr & Dick Dunn in their first match back. Dunn then teamed with Bobby Fields to face the Yankees and won over the masked men in two wild matches. Dunn & Fields asked Mr. Ito to accompany them in the second match to keep J.C. Dykes at bay. The Yankees also gave the new Gulf Coast tag team champions, Starr & Lathan a hard time in a couple of matches in Dothan but failed to win the titles.
A newcomer with the unusual name of Rhode Island Red arrived in the area. He teamed with Rip Tyler & Mr. Yoto in a losing effort to the team of Ron Starr, Mr. Ito & Terry Lathan. The next week he was back in a mixed tag team match teaming with Paula Kaye only to lose to Johnny Fields & Susan Green. But this time he was using his real name, David Schultz.
Others in the Gulf Coast in March were Rocket Monroe, Johnny Fields, Bulldog Drummer and Jimmy "Bad Boy" Hines.
Gulf Coast champion Ken Lucas defeated Rip Tyler to win the City of Pensacola title. Since Lucas already held the long dormant City of Mobile title, he held nearly all the singles titles in the area. The only title he didn't hold was the Mississippi title that was held by Cowboy Bob Kelly and Alabama State title held by Dick Dunn. Former Gulf Coast champ Duke Myers was still being a thorn in Lucas' side, however. Myers claimed his bear hug was more potent than Ken's sleeper was. The two faced off in a pair of non-title matches where Lucas could only win with the sleeper. In the first one, Lucas was disqualified for failing to break the sleeper when Myers was in the ropes. In the second, Myers had Lucas in his bear hug but Lucas managed to slip around enough to clamp the sleeper on Myers. Lucas got Myers groggy enough that he fell to the mat. Unfortunately for Ken, Myers fell on him and managed to get a pin although he was asleep.
The Mighty Yankees and their manager Colonel J.C. Dykes continued their battles with the team of Dynamite Dick Dunn & Battlin' Bobby Fields. Promoter Lee Fields forced the Colonel to be handcuffed to Mr. Ito to keep him from interfering in one match. Fields & Dunn were victorious in this one. And although they were handcuffed, both Dykes and Ito managed to get up into the ring and get involved. Then in a match billed as for the Gulf Coast six-man trophy, Fields & Dunn teamed with NWA heavyweight champ Jack Brisco to defeat the Yankees & Cyclon Negro (Eddie Rodriquez). Negro was billed as the International Heavyweight Champion.
On Friday April 11, promoter Lee Fields and matchmaker Rocky McGuire presented the Giant Spring Festival at the Houston County Farm Center in Dothan, Alabama. The Following are the results of the matches presented:
Terry Lathan & Ron Starr successfully defended the Gulf Coast tag team title against Mr. Yoto & Duke Myers
Dick Dunn defeated Rip Tyler to retain the Alabama championship.
Mr. Ito defeated Colonel J.C. Dykes in a special challenge match.
Cyclone Negro successfully defended the International Heavyweight title against Bob Armstrong (Joe "Pep" James).
NWA World's Heavyweight champion Jack Brisco teamed with archrival Ken Lucas to defeat the Mighty Yankees.
Mr. Ito also teamed with Terry Lathan & Ron Starr to defeat the Yankees & Dykes in a match in Pensacola.
The Yankees also had their problems with Rip Tyler. It started when Dykes took it upon himself to interfere in a match between Tyler and Mr. Ito. He was trying to help Tyler but ended up costing him the match. The heretofore-unpopular Tyler was soon hearing the cheers of the fans as he battled the Yankees while trying to get his hands on their manager, J.C. Dykes. First he defeated the Yankee #3 in less than a minute and then defeated the Yankee #1 in a special challenge match. Finally he earned the right to face Dykes on TV by defeating both Yankees in a handicap, best two out of three falls match. The Yankees were disqualified in the first fall and Rip pinned Yankee #3 in the second. Tyler was giving the pesky Colonel quite a licking on television when the Yankees invaded the ring and came to the rescue of their manager. Tyler teamed with Ken Lucas to defeat the Yankees in a match in Dothan.
Terry Lathan & Ron Starr maintained their hold on the Gulf Coast tag team titles. They battled Duke Myers & Mr. Yoto and defeated the two ruffians. Myers was so upset with Yoto over the loss that he turned on him and squeezed him in the bear hug. They also defeated Yoto & the Yankee #3 in a non-title match. Their biggest challenge came with the arrival of The Bounty Hunters (David & Jerry Novak). These two badmen from Tombstone, Arizona came into the area billed as the Southern tag team champions, but never made any defense of that title in the Gulf Coast. They were disqualified the first time they met Lathan & Starr. They then defeated Lathan & Starr in a non-title match.
United States Women's champion, Ann Casey met Dottie Downs in a title defense. Both ladies were disqualified for failing to listen to the referee's instructions and the belt was held up. This was never resolved in the Gulf Coast, so I don't know what became of this particular title.
Dick Dunn successfully defended his Alabama State championship in a match with the Wrestling Pro in Dothan on the 25th.
Popular Arman Hussein returned to the area in April. He and Mr. Ito formed a tag team. They won over the Bounty Hunters via disqualification and defeated the team of Jimmy "Bad Boy" Hines & Mr. Yoto.
Others in the area in April were Johnny Fields and David Schultz.
Ken Lucas thought his Gulf Coast title was safe when his biggest threat, Duke Myers, left the area. In fact Myers had failed to show for a scheduled challenge match against Lucas. But a new challenge quickly arose with the arrival of Doctor X (Jim Osbourne). X took Myers' place in the challenge match and he and Lucas had a torrid battle, with the masked Doctor pinning Lucas. This led to a title match between the two men and once again a furious battle ensued. Finally X pinned a bloody Lucas and won the Gulf Coast championship. Doctor X was then challenged by Arman Hussein and agreed to a non-title match. This match never took place as Ken Lucas jumped X before the match causing Hussein to be disqualified. The rematch saw Hussein getting the nod when Doctor X was disqualified for throwing Arman over the top rope. Again Lucas came out and he and X got into quite a brawl.
Lucas did successfully defend the City of Mobile championship for the first time in awhile. He defeated Jerry Novak, one of the Bounty Hunters.
The Mighty Yankees defeated Ron Starr & Terry Lathan to win the Gulf Coast tag team titles. Starr left the area after the loss. The Yankees continued having their problems with Rip Tyler. Tyler kept getting double-teamed by the Yankees so he recruited Big Bad John to return to the Gulf Coast and be his tag team partner. During a non-title match between the two teams, John threw a beverage from a ringside fan into the face of Yankee #3 and pinned him. J.C. Dykes recruited another masked man, The Mighty Yankee #4 to team with #1 & #3 for a match against Tyler, John and Ken Lucas in Pensacola. #4 turned out to be Doctor X. John & Tyler were awarded a title shot and made the best of it. It was a bloody battle but in the end, Rip Tyler & Big Bad John were the new Gulf Coast tag team champions. John also managed to get a few licks in on J.C Dykes. The Colonel was so anxious to get his team back in the ring with the new champions; he put up $500 to challenge them in an Asian Ladder match. The money was put in a bag and was hung high outside the ring. All four men would be in the ring at the same time and the first man to get out of the ring, set up the ladder and grab the money would win the match and the money for his team. As the four men battered each other bloody inside the ring, Dykes set up the ladder, climbed up and grabbed the money and raced back to the dressing room as the crowd pelted hi with debris. John & Tyler protested, but Dykes & the Yankees got the money. A return Ladder match was scheduled, but this time John & Tyler made sure Dykes was in tights and in the ring. They demanded a handicap match against the Yankees and their manager. Once again the sneaky Dykes scampered up the ladder and grabbed the moneybag.
Dick Dunn was also having his troubles with Colonel J.C. Dykes. He even went so far as to give the pesky manager a shot at the Alabama State title just to get him in the ring for five minutes. Dykes managed to stay away from Dunn the entire five minutes by continually slipping out of the ring. He failed to win the title from Dunn however. A return title match was set up with Dunn demanding a lumberjack match with wrestlers surrounding the ring to toss Dykes back in each time he slipped out. With nowhere to run, Dykes suffered a terrible beating by Dunn. Dykes was also locked in a cage and guarded by Dunn during a tag team match in Dothan between his Yankees and the team of Big Bad John & Ken Lucas. This led to one more match in Dothan between Dunn and the Yankee #1 with Dunn's Alabama title at stake. It was a ladder match. In this match the title belt was suspended over the ring and there was no referee. A ladder was placed outside the ring and the first man able to get the ladder into the ring and retrieve the belt would win the match and be declared the new champion. Dunn managed to gain the belt and retain his title.
Mr. Ito defeated rival Japanese ace Mr. Yoto in a loser leaves/judo jacket match in Dothan. Yoto left and Ito remained as the better Japanese wrestler in the area.
For some reason Johnny & Ricky Fields dropped the Fields surname and wrestled as Johnny Wayne & Ricky Neal in the Mobile/Pensacola area. They were still using the Fields name in Dothan.
The Bounty Hunters were having a tough time earning a shot at the Gulf Coast tag team title. They kept getting themselves disqualified. They lost to such teams as Arman Hussein & Mr. Ito, Ito & Dick Dunn, Hussein & Terry Lathan and Ito & Ken Lucas, all by disqualification.
Veteran Don Duffy returned to the Gulf Coast after a lengthy absence. Duffy was a former Gulf Coast Heavyweight champion, having held the belt in April of 1964.
Others in the area in May were Buddy Wayne, Greg Peterson, Al Barr and Randy Colley.
Now with $1000 dollars to offer as bait, Colonel J.C. Dykes lured Big Bad John & Rip Tyler into putting up their Gulf Coast tag team titles. It was to be winner takes all, money and belts. After a wild and woolly 45-minute battle, the Mighty Yankees emerged victorious. They had regained the Gulf Coast titles and kept the money. Not only that but they managed to injure Rip Tyler and cause him to leave the Gulf Coast. Big Bad John was not to be defeated that easily. He recruited the Wrestling Pro to be his new partner. The Pro had been in the Gulf Coast area only sparingly since losing a Jr. Heavyweight unification match to Ken Mantell in November of 1974. He had gone to Mantell's home territory of Oklahoma and was hoping to defeat Mantell in his own backyard. He had been unable to defeat the champ and was now back in the Gulf Coast. The tag team title match between the Pro & John against the Yankees resulted in a double disqualification and the title belts held up. The Yankees got the belts back after defeating John and the Pro in a rematch, but the Bounty Hunters came to ringside and grabbed the belts and left with them. They had actually earned a title shot by winning a six-team elimination match over the teams of Dandy Jack Donovan & Don Duffy, Randy Colley & Jimmy Jones, Ricky Neal & Johnny Wayne, Arman Hussein & Dick Dunn and Joe Turner & Dwayne Peel. The Hunters decided not to wait for the title match and just stole the belts.
It was announced that Ken Mantell's 19-month reign as the NWA World's Jr. Heavyweight champion had ended when he was defeated by Hiro Matsuda (Yasuhiro Kojima) in St. Petersburg, Florida on June 14, 1975. This was Matsuda's second reign as the World's Jr. Heavyweight champ. He won it the first time by defeating Danny Hodge in Tampa, Florida on November 13, 1964. He lost the title back to Hodge in Tulsa, Oklahoma in January 1965. Now Hodge stepped up as the number one challenger to defeat Matsuda again for the title. Nine days after winning the title from Mantell, Matsuda faced Danny Hodge in Mobile on June 24th. The match seesawed back and forth several times, with Matsuda using many judo style tactics on the former champ. Finally Matsuda managed to score a pin fall on Hodge and retained his title. Hodge and the fans protested, but to no avail.
The Ken Lucas/Doctor X feud raged on with no end in sight. Lucas defeated the Gulf Coast champ in a non-title challenge match to earn a title shot. Both men were disqualified in the title match and the title was held up. Since the two seemed to be content with punching each other, promoter Lee Fields put them in a 10-round boxing match. Lucas knocked X out in 1:03 of the fourth round. It was discovered later that Lucas had actually been knocked down three times in one round, so the decision was reversed and the match given to Doctor X. A rematch was ordered, this time scheduled for 15 rounds. Again Lucas knocked out the Doctor, this time in the 13th round.
Doctor X also had his share of problems with Big Bad John, but settled them by defeating the big man from Dallas in an Indian Strap Match in Pensacola.
Johnny & Ricky Fields got involved in quite a feud with the team Dandy Jack Donovan & "Dirty" Don Duffy in Dothan. The young cousins held their own with the two wily veterans and neither team really gained an advantage of the other.
Don Duffy fared a little better in singles competition. He defeated Dick Dunn in Dothan on June 27 to win the Alabama State title. Dunn had previously made successful defenses against Colonel J.C. Dykes.
Others in the area in June were Frank Dalton, Bobby Fields and Devoy Bronson and Jim White.
On Friday July 4, promoter Lee Fields and matchmaker Rocky McGuire presented the 4th of July Spectacular at the Houston County Farm Center in Dothan, Alabama. The following are results of that card:
The Bounty Hunters defeated Ricky & Johnny Fields
Dick Dunn & Mr. Ito defeated Dandy Jack Donovan & Dirty Don Duffy
The Fabulous Donnie Fargo defeated Arman Hussein
The Wrestling Pro and Dr. X were both disqualified in their match.
Ken Lucas & Nick Kozak defeated the Mighty Yankees, however the Gulf Coast tag team titles were not at stake.
The NWA gave the Gulf Coast title back to Doctor X and ordered that he defend it against Ken Lucas once more. Lucas was disqualified in the match for hitting the referee. After the match Lucas was attacked by Doctor X and Donnie Fargo. Fargo had returned to the Gulf Coast after serving a three-year suspension. He wrestled to a draw against the Wrestling Pro in his first match back. The Pro came to Lucas' aid and this led to a tag team match between Lucas & the Pro against Fargo & X. The match was a no-DQ match with two referees. Lucas pinned Doctor X to win for he and the Pro.
The Mighty Yankees with manager Colonel J.C. Dykes challenged the Bounty Hunters to get back the Gulf Coast title belts that had been stolen by the Hunters. The title match was a wild one with both teams disqualified and the belts being held up. The Bounty Hunters won the rematch and were finally able to have the Gulf Coast title belts legally. The Bounty Hunters also successfully defended the belts against the tough team of Ken Lucas & the Wrestling Pro. But the Yankees weren't out of the picture yet. They continued to challenge the Bounty Hunters for the title. In order to balance the fact that the Yankees had Colonel J.C. Dykes in their corner, the Hunters recruited their own manager in the form of General Homer O'Dell. O'Dell and the Hunters managed to hold off Dykes and his Yankees to keep the titles. Dykes and his Mighty Yankees left the area.
Nick Kozak entered the Gulf Coast area in July. Kozak had been in the Gulf Coast for one appearance on March 20, 1969. He teamed with Jack Brisco and the young team challenged Rocket & Flash Monroe for the Gulf Coast tag team titles. The two teams fought to a sixty-minute draw. Brisco would make many later appearances in the Gulf Coast as the NWA World's heavyweight champion. Kozak would make a name for himself in Florida and especially in Amarillo, Texas where he and his older brother Jerry Kozak were perennial favorites. It wasn't long before he and Donnie Fargo developed a feud. Actually, this was an extension of a feud from Texas in early 1973 between the Kozak brothers and the Fargo brother team of Donnie and Johnny (Greg Valentine). The Fargos were the Western States Tag Team Champions at the time. The first meeting between Kozak and Fargo never really got off the ground. Fargo hit Kozak over the head with a chair before the match even started. Nick soon took the chair away from Fargo and beat him to a bloody pulp with it. A rematch was scheduled with a best two out of three falls stipulation. Kozak managed to pin Fargo to win the first fall, but Fargo continued the action until the referee disqualified him and awarded the match to Kozak. This lead to Fargo challenging Kozak to a "Hell's Kitchen Street Fight". Since the Hell's Kitchen section of New York was where Fargo was born and raised, naturally he would have an advantage. The rules to this match were simple. Both men were to wear street clothes and anything goes in the match. The man to disrobe his opponent down to his skivvies would be declared the winner. Kozak stripped the wild Fargo to win the match.
Fargo defeated the Wrestling Pro in the same type of match in Dothan.
Another returnee to the Gulf Coast was Mike "The Alaskan" York. He and his Alaskan tag team partner Frank Monte had been in the area in 1971 and had held the United States tag team titles. He was disqualified in his first match back against popular Arman Hussein. After this match, Big Bad John came to ringside and exchanged harsh words with York A match was set up between the two big men that ended in a double disqualification.
Dwayne Peel started using the name Buddy Wayne again.
Others in the Gulf Coast area in July were Dick Dunn, Jimmy Jones, Burrhead Jones, Frank Dalton, Mr. Ito, Wayne Petty, Tiger Hamilton and Joe Turner.
The Gulf Coast Heavyweight title changed hands at the beginning of August. Nick Kozak defeated Doctor X in Pensacola on August 3rd to become the new champion. X was so upset over the loss that he no-showed a scheduled "submission" match against the Wrestling Pro in Mobile on the 5th and left the territory completely. Kozak immediately found a strong challenger in Duke Miller, returning to the Gulf Coast for the first time in six months. Miller had been campaigning in Oklahoma and was back to claim the Gulf Coast title he had held for so long in 1973 and 1974. Miller now sported two-toned hair with his jet black coiffure now bleached blonde in the front. Miller faced Kozak in his first match back in the area, but lost the match by disqualification before he could even remove his ring robe. Kozak was jumped by the Bounty Hunters, forcing Miller to be disqualified. Miller never even took part in the attack on Kozak; he just left the ring and walked back to the dressing room. The following week, Miller won $700 by winning a 13 man pole battle royal. Others in the battle royal were Frank Dalton, Nick Kozak, The Phantom, Big Bad John, the Wrestling Pro, Don Duffy, both Bounty Hunters, Ken Lucas, Dick Dunn, Ricky Fields and a newcomer known only as The Psycho (John Mendenzia). Psycho had previously worked in Detroit under the name J.B. Psycho. The battle royal came down to Miller and Kozak as the last two men. Miller then called the Psycho back into the ring and used him as an impromptu ladder to climb the pole and take the money.
Kozak teamed with Ken Lucas and Big Bad John to battle the Bounty Hunters and the Alaskan is a series of six-man tag matches. After one such match the Hunters & the Alaskan were awarded the Gulf Coast six-man trophy. This was the last time this title would be recognized in the area.
The battle between Big Bad John and the Alaskan raged on. Besides the tag matches, these two bearded wild-men fought in some ferocious singles matches. In one particularly bloody encounter, York left the ring and was counted out. This led to John challenging him to a Lumberjack match. York won this match but injured his arm.
The Bounty Hunters faced the McGuire Twins in a special challenge match. The Novak brothers no longer had the management guidance of Homer O'Dell, but they received outside help in this match from Duke Miller & Don Duffy and were disqualified against the 1350-pound twins.
Don Duffy crossed paths with the Wrestling Pro several times. Initially he challenged the Pro after Doctor X failed to show for the submission match. He and the Pro got into quite a brawl and Duffy was fined $100. This led to match between the two in which Duffy sneaked a belt into the ring to use on the masked man. The Pro managed to turn the tables, however, and used the belt on Duffy to gain the win. A rematch saw both men get disqualified for fighting outside the ring. They jumped each other in the dressing room area and fought all the way to the ring and back to the dressing room. A third match was set up. This time it would be a "Concentration Match" with both wrestlers starting the match tied to their respective corners. Whoever untied himself first could go after his opponent. The Pro won this match.
Others in the area this month were Dandy Jack Donovan, Buddy Wayne, Johnny Fields, Jimmy Jones, the Intern and lady wrestlers Donna Christentello and Susan Green.
Another pole battle royal was scheduled with a $700 dollar prize. This originally was scheduled to be a spectator match with members of the audience in the ring instead of the wrestlers. The Alabama Boxing & Wrestling Commission canceled the match because a physician had not examined the spectators, as was the stated rule. This led to the wrestlers having a battle royal instead and once again it came down to Nick Kozak and Duke Miller as the last two remaining. This time Kozak climbed the pole and won the money. Miller immediately offered to put the $700 that he had won against Nick's $700 in a match. Kozak agreed and the match was set. Miller emerged victorious after a rousing battle and won the $1400. He now challenged Kozak for a match for the Gulf Coast championship. Kozak agreed but only if Miller put up his money in a winner take all battle. Again, Miller came out on top and was now the Gulf Coast champion.
The Bounty Hunters continued their reign as Gulf Coast tag team champions. The Novak brothers fought cousins Ricky & Johnny Fields to a draw and defeated the tough team of Ken Lucas & Nick Kozak in non-title matches.
Big Bad John & the Wrestling Pro reunited as John recruited the Pro to battle the Alaskan, Mike York and his new partner, former NWA World's Jr. Heavyweight champion Ken Mantell. John had beaten the Alaskan in a bloody chain match and York requested that Mantell help him with the big man from Dallas. John, knowing of the Pro's past history with Mantell recruited the man in white as a partner. All four men were disqualified in the initial meeting of the teams. The NWA put all four men under a $500 appearance bond and ordered a rematch with two referees. In addition they sent representative Bob Caldwell (the same man Cowboy Bob Kelly had been suspended for slugging back in 1972) in to oversee the match. The Pro pinned archrival Mantell to win the match for he and Big Bad John. BBJ left the area after this match. The Pro then recruited a new partner and named him The Wrestling Pro #2. Their goal was to win the Gulf Coast tag team titles from the Bounty Hunters, which they did by defeating the Novak boys on September 19th in Dothan. The Wrestling Pros were now the Gulf Coast tag team champions.
The weird Psycho kept the fans guessing. He gave fan favorite Dick Dunn a severe beating in one match. This did little to improve his standing amongst the fans. He then teamed with The Outlaw against the popular team of Ricky & Johnny Fields. The Fields cousins soundly defeated the Psycho and his partner. The Psycho then went on TV and offered to team with the Fields boys in a six-man match against the Bounty Hunters & Dandy Jack Donovan. The Fields cousins accepted his offer and were giving their opponents quite a match when Mike York, the Alaskans interfered on behalf of Donovan & the Hunters. The Fields boys & the Psycho won by disqualification. The Psycho took exception to the Alaskan's interference and challenged him to a match. Psycho beat York bloody, but lost via disqualification for failing to break a hold while the Alaskan was in the ropes. This led to a Texas Death match between the two that York won, causing the Psycho to leave the area. The Pros both got involved in this match to help the Psycho as did the Alaskan's new partner The Butcher (Sweet Daddy Watts doing an Abdullah the Butcher gimmick).
Gorgeous George Jr. returned to the area. GG had been wrestling in Florida and was supposed to have been a passenger on the plane that Bobby Shane had been killed in. George decided at the last minute to use another form of transportation and was spared, but was deeply shook up by the death of his friend and tag team partner, Shane. . He took several months off from wrestling and was just returning. He teamed with fellow blonde villain Dandy Jack Donovan to form a devastating duo. They whipped the team of Burrhead Jones and newcomer Tom Jones in their first match as a team. Tom Jones got a measure of revenge when he teamed with Ken Lucas to defeat the Dandy One & the Gorgeous One in a special challenge match.
Another newcomer to the Gulf Coast area was "Superstar" Bill Malone. He defeated fellow newcomer Phil Price in his debut match in the area.
A battle royal featuring nine of the world's top lady wrestlers was held. Those participating for the $500 prize were the Fabulous Moolah, ladies' world champ, Donna Christentello, Vicki Williams, Candy Rich, Sylvia Hackney, Kitty Adams, Sherri West, Vivian Vachon and Lelaini Kai. Moolah defeated Christentello to win the match and the money and to show why she was the women's champ.
Nick Kozak met Gulf Coast champion Duke Miller in a unique boxing/wrestling match. The match was scheduled for 5 two-minute rounds with a 1-minute rest period between falls. Three judges were selected from the audience and would render a decision should no winner be decided during the course of the match. The first round would be a wrestling round and the second would be a boxing round. The remaining three rounds would alternate between wrestling and boxing. The match went the distance and Kozak was awarded the match on the judges' decision. Miller bitterly protested and demanded a rematch, this time with six judges and two referees. The rematch was set, and again Kozak won. But this time it was awarded by the referees' decision. Kozak suffered a terrible beating at the hands of Miller, however, and had to be helped to the dressing room after the bout. Miller then successfully defended the Gulf Coast title against Kozak when Nick was disqualified for the interference of the Wrestling Pro #1, who had come to ringside to help out when Miller was constantly fouling. Miller slugged referee Burrhead Jones after the match and was fined $100. Miller defeated the Pro in a match when the masked challenged him to a non-title singles match. The Pro had pulled one of Miller's boots off and was using it to batter the Gulf Coast champ and the referee. Miller managed to knock the Pro down long enough to score and pin-fall and won the match.
Ken Lucas had a string of bad luck and it cost him some of his titles. First he lost the City of Mobile title to Gorgeous George Jr. The two had faced off in a non-title match that saw GG disqualified after a torrid battle. Lucas then challenged George to a rematch with the city trophy at stake. This match was another bloody battle between the two men. George was awarded the match and the trophy when Lucas was deemed too bloody to continue. Lucas was furious with the decision and followed GG out of the ring and slugged him. George dropped the trophy, which Lucas then picked up and smashed to bits. This was the end of the City of Mobile title.
Lucas also lost the Alabama State championship to "Superstar" Bill Malone. Lucas lost the rematch when he and Malone tumbled out of the ring as Lucas applied the sleeper hold. Both men were counted out, but Malone kept the title. A third match was ordered, which Lucas won by pinning Malone with a backslide. Lucas had regained the Alabama State title.
Gulf Coast tag team champions, the Wrestling Pros faced the Alaskan, Mike York and the 400-pound Butcher in a wild tag match that saw the Alaskan & the Butcher disqualified.
The Alaskan also teamed with the Bounty Hunters as they faced the team of Tom Jones, Cowboy Bob Kelly & Mike "Hippie" Boyette. Both Boyette and Kelly were returning from long absences. The popular Hippie had been gone from the Gulf Coast since January and Kelly had been concentrating on the Mississippi end since February. Kelly used the bulldog on Mike York to win for his team. Kelly & Boyette then faced York & Bounty Hunter Jerry Novak in a special challenge match with best two out of three falls stipulations. Boyette pinned Novak in two straight falls for the win. Kelly also beat the Alaskan in a singles match using the bulldog. York had a falling out with the Bounty Hunters and faced David Novak in a special challenge match in which he was victorious. The Bounty Hunters left the area at the end of the month.
Duke Miller successfully defended the Gulf Coast title against Cowboy Bob Kelly in Dothan. This match was unique in that it was a match-up of the two most successful Gulf Coast champions ever. Kelly had the longest reign in the title's history and Miller the second longest.
A new tag team came onto the scene. They were called The English Bulldogs ("Lord" Jonathan Foley & "Sir" Edward Heath). The Bulldogs wrestled to a draw with the Wrestling Pros in a non-title match. They defeated the team of Dick Dunn & Nick Kozak.
Another newcomer arrived. His name was Gene Lewis (Gene Petit). Lewis had wrestled all over the country billed as the "younger brother" of the famed Professor Dale Lewis, former AAU champion for Oklahoma and well known pro wrestler.
The Wrestling Pro #1 challenged Duke Miller to a match for Miller's Gulf Coast title. Miller retained the title when referee Burrhead Jones disqualified the Pro. The Pro had beaten Miller to a bloody pulp when Jones found a pair of brass knuckles hidden in the Pro's wrestling tights. In reality Miller, who planted them on the Pro causing his disqualification, had brought the knuckles into the ring.
The Pro and his partner the Wrestling Pro #2 also faced stiff competition for their Gulf Coast tag team crown in the team of the English Bulldogs. Foley & Heath became the top challengers by defeating the veteran team of Bobby Fields & Cowboy Bob Kelly. The first championship match saw both teams disqualified and the belts held up. The Pros regained them in a rematch. The Bulldogs were finally successful on November 30th in Pensacola when they defeated the Pros to win the Gulf Coast tag team championship.
The Pro was a busy man in November. He also had quite a feud going in Dothan against Donnie Fargo. This climaxed in a "Hell's Kitchen" match in a ring enclosed in barbed wire. Fargo won this one after a wild and bloody encounter.
Another team making waves in the area was the young tandem of Rick Gibson & Jimmy Golden. Golden was the son of promoter Billy Golden, who ran the Tri-States promotion out of Montgomery, Alabama. Billy Golden was also married to the sister of them famed Welch brothers. This made Golden the cousin of the Fields family as well as the cousin of the Fuller family. Jimmy had made his debut in wrestling while his father was working as the matchmaker for Gulf Coast promoter Lee Fields in the mid-sixties. At the time Golden was running the Gulf Coast office based in Lafayette, Louisiana. Cowboy Bob Kelly replaced Golden as matchmaker in 1967. The Louisiana territory soon became too expensive to operate, so the operation was moved to what became the Mississippi end of the Gulf Coast promotion. Billy Golden left Lee Fields' employment and opened up his own promotion in Montgomery. Jimmy & Gibson had initially joined forces in Montgomery and had also had some success in Florida before coming into the Gulf Coast. Gibson & Golden defeated the tough team of Bill Malone & Gene Lewis their first match in the area. Gibson was then injured and Golden worked as a single. He defeated Duke Miller in a non-title match, but lost the rematch.
Rip Tyler returned after a lengthy absence and quickly defeated Duke Miller on November 23rd in Pensacola to become the Gulf Coast champion.
Donnie Fargo also returned and issued a challenge to his nemesis Nick Kozak. Actually Fargo had shown up on TV as the masked Phantom and challenged Kozak. He beat Kozak and then unmasked himself. A rematch was set for Mobile, but when Fargo looked across the ring he saw a masked man who he thought was Kozak. The two had a furious battle, but then the masked man stopped and unmasked. It turned out to be Ken Lucas! Fargo was furious, stating that he wanted Kozak not Lucas, and left the ring. Kozak did face Fargo the next week and won by disqualification. Kozak then lost a match to Gorgeous George Jr. at the end of the month. That turned out to be his last match in the area.
Others in the area in November were Jimmy "Bad Boy" Hines, Burrhead Jones, Ricky Fields, The Saint, the Alaskan Mike York, Dick Dunn and lady wrestlers Paula Kaye and Sheila Shepherd.
It was announced that Terry Funk had defeated Jack Brisco on December 10, 1975 in Miami, Florida to become the new NWA World's Heavyweight Champion. Terry's older brother, Dory Funk Jr. was the NWA World champion from February 11, 1969 until March 24, 1973. The Funk brothers were the only brothers in history to hold the NWA heavyweight title. Jack Brisco had been the World Champion for just under 2 years and 5 months.
The British Bulldogs (as the English Bulldogs were now known) began the month by defeating Cowboy Bob Kelly & Mike "Hippie" Boyette in a non-title match. They al weren't as lucky when they faced the team of the Wrestling Pro #1 and Jimmy Golden, who were seconded by the injured Rick Gibson. The Pro was slightly injured in this match but he and Golden managed a win with the aid of Gibson, who was at ringside. The Bulldogs claimed that if Gibson were well enough to get involved in a match, then he was well enough to get into the ring. This led to a match between the Bulldogs and the team of Gibson & Golden. It was a non-title match, but G&G felt that they had something to prove. The bloodied Bulldogs were on the edge of defeat when they intentionally got themselves disqualified. Gibson & Golden did not get a title shot, however because Golden unexplainably left the area. Gibson did compete in a series of singles matches against Heath, but was always thwarted by Foley's interference. The Bulldogs also defeated the tough team of the Wrestling Pro #1 & Dick Dunn in Dothan. With no further tag team competition, the British Bulldogs ended the year as the Gulf Coast tag team champions.
Gulf Coast Heavyweight Champion, Rip Tyler faced strong competition as Bruiser Bob Sweetan entered the territory. Their first match was a non-title bout that was stopped as both men were bleeding profusely. Sweetan beat Tyler in a rematch, but again it was a non-title match. Tyler teamed with Mr. Ito in a losing effort to the team of Sweetan & Gene Lewis. Tyler & Ito had better luck against the team of Duke Miller & Gorgeous George Jr., whom they defeated. Tyler ended up the year still the Gulf Coast champion.
Chief Jay Strongbow (Joe Scarpa) made several appearances in Dothan during the month of December. Scarpa had campaigned in the Gulf Coast 15 years earlier and had held the Gulf Coast title from May until August of 1960. As Strongbow, he defeated Donnie Fargo in his first appearance in Dothan. The following week, he and Ken Lucas defeated Bruiser Bob Sweetan & Gene Lewis. In his final appearance in the area, he defeated Gorgeous George Jr.
The biggest shock of the year (or for many years for that matter) came when Cowboy Bob Kelly announced that December 16, 1975 would be his last match in the Gulf Coast area. Kelly had started working for the Lee Fields promotion in the early 1960s, basically doing whatever needed to be done. He wrestled, refereed, set up chairs, built the ring and generally whatever else needed doing. By 1967, Kelly had replaced Billy Golden as the booker for the Louisiana end of Gulf Coast Championship Wrestling based in Lafayette. When Lee closed Louisiana down in 1968 and opened up the Mississippi end based in Hattiesburg, Kelly booked that territory as well. Kelly also started appearing in the Mobile/Pensacola end in 1968 and by the end of 1969 he had replaced Rocky McGuire as the booker on that end as well. Kelly now ran Mississippi and the Mobile/Pensacola ends for Fields while McGuire controlled the Dothan end. Kelly had held every title in the area and was a multi-time Gulf Coast Heavyweight Champion. He was also a multi-time Mississippi State title-holder, which was introduced in 1971. He had held the city championships for Mobile and Pensacola on numerous occasions, He had held the Gulf Coast tag team titles three times (once with Ramon Perez and twice with Bobby Fields), and the United States tag team titles four times (one time each with Bobby Fields, Mike Boyette, Ken Lucas and Rocket Monroe). He had held the Louisiana State title and tag team championships in the Mississippi towns of Laurel and Hattiesburg (usually with either Bobby Fields or Frank Dalton). The only titles he had not held in his tenure in the Gulf Coast were the Alabama State and City of Panama City titles. These titles were controlled by Rocky McGuire and defended in the Dothan end, where Kelly rarely worked. Under Kelly's direction the Mobile/Pensacola end went from doing so-so business in the summertime only to setting record gates year round. The same for Mississippi. The success of the Gulf Coast promotion from 1969 until 1975 was mainly due to the fertile mind of Cowboy Bob Kelly. And now he was leaving! Kelly had decided to move back to his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky to be near his family. He was still planning to be actively wrestling, splitting his time between Nick Gulas' promotion in Kentucky, Tennessee and North Alabama and Dick the Bruiser's WWA promotion in Indianapolis, Indiana. Rip Tyler had been booking for Rocky McGuire on the Dothan end and he was to take over the book for Mobile/Pensacola. The Mississippi end had pretty much wound down and was only booking spot shows. Speedy Hatfield and Don Fields continued running these shows.
For Kelly's last match he asked his loyal fans to choose who his final opponent would be. The overwhelming choice was Donnie Fargo! No one had forgotten the epic battles these two had waged back in 1972 and it was only fitting that Kelly face his toughest opponent in his last match. As was the case with all of their matches, this one was a wild one. In the middle of the match, Bruiser Bob Sweetan & Gene Lewis came to ringside. After a few seconds, they entered the ring apparently to help Fargo. Kelly managed to sidestep their onrush and rolled out of the ring. Just at that moment, Fargo lit into the two intruders and chased them from the ring. Fargo then raised Kelly's hand in victory as the crowd exploded. No one ever thought that they would see a scene like this! A memorable end to such a memorable career in the Gulf Coast.
Fargo's coming to the aid of Kelly touched off a series of battles between he and Sweetan. Once again Fargo changed personalities. Still rough and tough, he now responded to the cheers of the fans and adopted a "Fonzie" look, complete with leather jacket, to capitalize on the popularity of the "Happy Days" television show. He was now Donnie "Fonzo" Fargo. Fargo won a $500 bonus by winning a 15-man battle royal two days before Christmas. The amazing thing was that he wasn't even in the match at the beginning of it. Sweetan had rammed Fargo's head into the ringpost before the match introductions had even taken place. Fargo had to be helped to the dressing room and everyone thought he was done for the evening. After the match had been underway for a few minutes, Fargo returned brandishing a trash can, which he used to chase everyone from the ring and win the match and the money. Fargo then announced to the cheering fans that he would put up the $500 in order to get a match with Sweetan. Sweetan accepted the challenge but probably ended up wishing he hadn't. Fargo gave him a severe beating and won the match.
Others in the area at the end of the year were Ken Lucas, Mike "Hippie" Boyette, Dandy Jack Donovan, Tiny Frazier, Flash Monroe, Johnny Fields, Terry Lathan, Tony Russo, lady wrestlers Vivian St. John and Donna Christentello, and midget lady wrestlers Darlin' Dagmar and Marie Laveau.
That is our look at 1975. Hopefully you have enjoyed what you've read and have learned more about this great territory.
I would like to thank Kayfabe Memories own Mike Calloway for supplying me with the information on the Dothan end of the territory.
A change of pace as we "flashback" and take a look at 1968. Some of the names you'll see are Lee & Bobby Fields, Cowboy Bob Kelly, Ramon Perez, Dr. Jerry Graham & the Interns, the Dirty Daltons, Mario Galento, Eduardo Perez and many others.
Back to Gulf Coast Main