GCCW #5 Page #2

During this time, there was a masked team called the Wrestling Pros in the area, managed by former wrestler and referee Joe Powell. The masked team had a falling out and Wrestling Pro # 2, unmasked himself revealing Eddie Sullivan. This left Wrestling Pro # 1 (or just the Wrestling Pro at this point) without a partner. Enter Mike “the California Hippie” Boyette.

In July of 1971, Mike Boyette and the Wrestling Pro defeated the Great Ota & Mr. Koma in 2 out of 3 falls to win the U.S. Tag Team Championship. However, this team was not to last long either. The Pro turned on Boyette during a match with Eddie Sullivan & Rip Tyler, costing them the titles. Once again, Boyette was without a partner.

In late summer of 1971, Boyette introduced his latest tag team partner. He brought in a muscular black wrestler billed as a former Canadian Heavyweight champion, Calvin “Prince” Pullins. The Hippie & the Prince won the U.S. tag titles from Tyler & Sullivan and were the darlings of the fans in the Gulf Coast area. They held the titles for about 2 months before losing them to the Alaskans (Mike York & Frank Monte). After losing the tag titles, Pullins became involved in a feud with Donnie Fargo over the Gulf Coast Heavyweight title. This left Boyette looking yet again for a tag team partner. He found one in the huge Karl Von Stroheim. Boyette and Von Stroheim had several bloody battles with the Alaskans yet failed to win the belts. Boyette bad luck with partners reared its ugly head once again as Von Stroheim turned on him.

In the meantime, Pullins had lost the Gulf Coast title to former champ Donnie Fargo. Boyette had won the city of Mobile championship from Rip Tyler, but had lost it to the Wrestling Pro. The two losses would indirectly lead to the reforming of the Prince/Hippie team. During a match between Donnie Fargo and the Wrestling Pro, Boyette attacked the Pro and Pullins attacked Fargo. The newly reformed team quickly one the U.S. tag titles from the Alaskans and would hold onto the titles into late 1972. But again, as had been the pattern for Boyette, Pullins turned on him. The two split up, but still held the titles. Lee Fields was ordered by the NWA to crown new champions. Fields decided to let Pullins and Boyette each pick new partners for a match. The winning team would be the new tag champions. Mike Boyette and Cowboy Bob Kelly defeated Prince Pullins and Bobby Shane to become the new U.S. Tag Team champions. Kelly and Boyette defended the titles successfully against such teams as Rip Tyler & Eddie Sullivan and the Fabulous Fargos, Donnie & Johnny (Greg Valentine). The Fargos broke Boyette’s leg, and he picked Bobby Fields to replace him on his team with Kelly. When his leg healed, Boyette returned, but he and Kelly lost the tag titles to Eddie Sullivan & Rip Tyler. Kelly then entered into a long bloody feud with Donnie Fargo and Boyette once again went looking for a partner. He finally found one in Mickey Doyle.

Mickey Doyle – “Irish” Mickey Doyle was originally from Detroit, Michigan. Lou (Bastein) Klein trained him for his pro wrestling career. After working a couple of years in Detroit he relocated to the West Coast and worked in San Francisco as well as the Pacific Northwest territory. It was in San Francisco that he made the acquaintance of Mike Boyette. Although they never teamed on the West Coast, Doyle was more than willing to relocated to the Gulf Coast area and become a “California Hippie”. Doyle let his curly hair grow out and grew a beard. He began wearing the same tie-died tights and beaded vests that Boyette wore and a great team was born.

The California Hippies – Mike and Mickey made an interesting team. Mike was the brawler and Mickey the technician. The Hippies quickly won the U.S. titles from Sullivan and Tyler and held them for nearly six months, before losing them back to Rip and Eddie. They left the area and went to Memphis and then to Detroit. In Memphis, they were not as well received and were booed by the fans. However, in Detroit they were popular because of Mickey being a hometown boy. They split up on good terms in Detroit, with Mickey staying there and Mike returning to the Gulf Coast. However, they were soon together once more when Mickey returned to the Gulf Coast and the Hippies defeated the Wrestling Pro and the Mysterious Medic for the U.S. tag team titles. Again, the Hippies enjoyed a long reign as champions before losing them back to the Pro and the Medic. Mickey again left the area and the Hippies were never to team again. He returned to Detroit and had a long career as a mid-card wrestler until his retirement in 2000. Mike Boyette stayed in the Gulf Coast area and challenged Danny Hodge on several occasions for the NWA Jr. Heavyweight title, showing that he could actually wrestle. He also held the Gulf Coast Heavyweight title several times. After the Gulf Coast promotion shut down, he went to Memphis briefly and then to the Mid-South territory. He was used as a jobber in Mid-South and became known for his long string of losses. By this time Mike was battling many personal demons and was only working at all because of the fact that the Mid-South booker at the time was Freebird Michael Hayes, who Boyette had trained for a pro career. Mike tried a comeback in the W.O.W. promotion, owned and run by old rival Rip Tyler, in 1987. However his demons caught up to him one more time and Tyler fired him on air at a TV taping. After that Boyette dropped out of sight. It is rumored that he is living in a halfway house in Mobile, but this has never been confirmed.

Rip Tyler – Rip Tyler was born Wallace Dean Vaughn. He grew up in Memphis, Tennessee where he was an excellent athlete, playing both baseball and football. In fact, he played semipro baseball with a farm team for the St. Louis Cardinals. The great Billy Wicks trained him for his pro wrestling career. Also trained at the same time was his boyhood friend Maury High, who gained fame as “Rocket Monroe”. Rip made his debut in March of 1960 as “Jerry Dean”.  He wrestled briefly in St. Louis (which became his wrestling “hometown”) and then began wrestling for promoter Nick Gulas in Tennessee in 1964. It was Gulas who gave him the name “Rip Tyler”. Rip teamed with “brother” Tim Tyler (Marvin Hickman). Rip and Tim were a successful team not only in Tennessee but in Oklahoma as well, holding several tag titles. They were due to enter the Gulf Coast promotion when Tim got injured, so Rip brought in Carl Reed and renamed him “Randy Tyler”. Randy soon left and Tim came in. Rip and Tim Tyler held the Gulf Coast tag team titles in July of 1967. Tim was soon hurt again and left the area. Rip brought Randy in again and they won they tag titles in October of 1967. After losing the titles in November, Rip and Randy left the area and went their separate ways. Rip went back to Oklahoma and teamed with another “brother” Tarzan Tyler (Laurent Tourville). It was in Oklahoma in 1969 that Rip met future partner Eddie Sullivan.

Eddie Sullivan – Born Rueben Huizar in Phoenix, Arizona, Eddie Sullivan was a wrestling fan at the age of 3. His dad would take him to the matches in Phoenix every Monday night. Rueben grew up watching Dory Funk, Sr. and Fritz and Waldo Von Erich. After starring in football in high school, Rueben decided to make pro wrestling his career. He began his training in 1964 in Phoenix. In a rare instance, a lady wrestler, Princess Tona Toma, trained Rueben. After wrestling around Texas and Oklahoma for the next couple of years, Eddie came to the Gulf Coast area in early 1967. He was teaming with another Hispanic wrestler, Ramon Perez, but for some reason, Lee Fields and co-promoter Rocky McGuire had Rueben change his name to Eddie Sullivan. Sullivan and Perez held the Gulf Coast tag team title briefly but soon left the area and split up. Eddie went to Oklahoma and then Tennessee for promoter Nick Gulas. He was a popular fan favorite for a couple of years, but never rose above opening matches. This all changed when he teamed with Frank Morrell and the two donned masks as the “Mighty Yankees”. They were a hated team, but won several tag team titles including a version of the World Tag team titles. After splitting with Morrell, Eddie left Tennessee and returned to the Gulf Coast area. He teamed with a wrestler he had met in Oklahoma, Leon “Tarzan” Baxter. They wore masks and were known as “The Wrestling Pros”. This team only lasted a couple of months before splitting. Eddie unmasked and brought in Morrell, now known as “Dandy Jack” Morrell. They teamed for a while but then split when Morrell returned to Tennessee. Around 1971, Eddie formed an alliance with a wrestler that he had wrestled against early in his career in the Gulf Coast, as well as in Oklahoma and Tennessee. His name was Rip Tyler.

Sullivan & Tyler – In 1971, Eddie Sullivan and Rip Tyler were both in the Gulf Coast area as singles. Eddie had been a part of two tag teams with the Wrestling Pro and Frank “Dandy Jack” Morrell respectively but was now on his own. For some reason he was wearing a mask and calling himself Eddie “The Masked Man” Sullivan. He was looking for a new partner to win the United States tag team titles with and approached Rip Tyler. They won the titles from The Wrestling Pro and Mike “Hippie” Boyette when the Pro turned on Boyette and aligned himself with Tyler and Sullivan. Their title reign was short however and they lost the titles to Boyette and Calvin “Prince” Pullins. Eddie also broke his leg in a television match and was forced out of action. Eddie got a manager’s license and began “managing” Tyler and the Pro. The team feuded quite a bit with the team of Ken Lucas and Frank Dalton (Gene Stevens). After several months, Eddie was ready to return to action. He and Rip quickly won the U.S. tag team titles from Cowboy Bob Kelly and Boyette. They went on to hold the titles off and on for the next 2 years, defending them against the likes of Lucas & Dalton, The California Hippies, Arman Hussein & the Mysterious Medic. After finally losing the titles to the Brothers Monroe, Rocket (Maury High) and Flash (Gino Sannizaro), Rip and Eddie left for the Pacific Northwest. They won the Western States tag team title there. Other titles they held together was the Oklahoma version of the U.S. tag team titles, the Mississippi State tag team titles and a version of the International World tag team titles that they won in Japan. In fact they nearly caused an international incident with the win in Japan, because they refused to accept the title trophy from a Japanese representative. The wanted it presented to them by the U.S. ambassador from the United States, which it was. The team split up in late 1973. Rip returned to Oklahoma and won the North American Heavyweight Championship. He was also serving as the booker for promoter Leroy McGuirk. Eddie stayed in the Gulf Coast area but only wrestled sporadically. In early 1975, Rip returned to the area teaming with Randy Tyler, Jr. (Randy Rice). Randy was initially billed as Rip’s “nephew” then his “brother”. Oddly, Rip was now being billed as being from “Canada” after all these years as being hailed as from St. Louis. Randy won the Alabama title from Ken Lucas with the help of Rip. Soon after, Randy lost the title back to Lucas and the Tylers were gone again.

In 1976, Eddie was back to wrestling full time and was the Gulf Coast Heavyweight champion. He earned a shot at the NWA World heavyweight champion, Terry Funk in February. But now, Eddie was a fan favorite after years of being a hated heel. On the same card that Eddie wrestled Funk, Rip Tyler quietly made his return to the Gulf Coast area. Within a month, Rip & Eddie reunited and defeated the Bass Brothers, Ron and Dutch (Dutch Mantel) for the Gulf Coast tag team titles. They were now fan favorites as they feuded with the hated Bass boys. After losing the titles back to the Basses, Rip left the area again. Eddie soon reverted back to his heel persona and won the Gulf Coast title from Ken Lucas.  In late 1976, a wrestler came into the area claiming to be the “real” Rip Tyler. This wrestler was actually Randy Colley. He spent a few weeks bad mouthing the Rip Tyler that the Gulf Coast fans had known. Soon, Rip returned with Randy in tow and defeated Colley, running him out of the area. Now there was a dilemma, Rip was a fan favorite, but Eddie was a heel. Would they face off? Rip appeared on TV and stated that although he no longer agreed with Eddie’s tactics; he considered him a friend and would not challenge him for the Gulf Coast title. Eddie was a little more indignant and told Rip to just stay out of his way. Rip soon defeated Greg Peterson and won the Alabama title. The final teaming of Eddie Sullivan came about when the Challengers (Curtis Smith and Mike McMasters) who were the Gulf Coast tag team champions jumped Eddie on TV. The Challengers claimed that they were the best team to ever hold the title and that included Sullivan and Tyler. Eddie approached Rip about reforming and the Sullivan and Tyler team won the Gulf Coast titles one last time. They only held the title a couple of weeks before losing them back to the Challengers. Rip also lost the Alabama title to Dick Dunn and Eddie lost the Gulf Coast title to the Wrestling Pro. Rip left the area. In 1978, the Gulf Coast promotion was sold to Ron Fuller who renamed it Southeastern Championship Wrestling. Eddie stayed on with Fuller as a wrestler, while Rip came in as a manager for the Assassins (Randy Colley and Kurt Von Hess). After a falling out with booker Bob Armstrong, Rip Tyler retired from wrestling. Eddie soon left the area and went back to Arizona and went in to retirement as well. In 1983, Eddie started wrestling again in Arizona. Soon after he brought in Rip and they had one final run as a team. Rip soon returned to retirement in the Gulf Coast area, and Eddie stayed in Arizona.

In 1987, Rip teamed with Japanese wrestler Mr. Ito to form the World Organization Wrestling promotion based in Pensacola, Florida. One of the first wrestlers Rip brought in was Eddie Sullivan. Unfortunately, the promotion failed within a year. Rip went back to his appliance store in Pensacola and from there to selling insurance in Flomaton, Alabama. Eddie returned to Arizona and started a construction firm in Mesa (ironically, the hometown of old rival, Ken Lucas).

Rip Tyler passed away on December 3, 1997 of liver cancer. He was 57 years old.

Eddie Sullivan passed away on November 24, 2000 after suffering a heart attack. He was 56 years old.


I will look at the career of Ken Lucas.

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