Memphis/CWA #36 Page #2
The first part of 1974 saw many
work the circuit including Dennis Hall, Sam Bass, Jesse James, Eddie Marlin,
Tommy Gilbert, The Bounty Hunters with manager Jim Kent, Johnny Marlin, Jackie
Fargo, Tojo Yamamoto, Jerry Jarrett, The Fabulous Kangaroos: Al Costello &
Don Kent managed by Sir Clements, The Alaskan, Johnny Fields & Marshall
Fields, The Masked Mr. Wrestling I & II (not Tim Woods & Johnny Walker),
Burrhead Jones, Joey Rossi, Argentina Zuma, Tor Hayashi, Rufus R. Jones, Sonny
King, Ali Vaziri (to gain greater fame years later as The Iron Sheik), Buddy
Wayne, The Samoan, Mike Paidousis, Bill Costello, Jerry Lawler, Ron Wright &
Don Wright, Devoy Brunson, Rocky Smith, Jim White, Tony Santos, Billy McGuire
& Benny McGuire, Prince Leilani, Mike Jackson, Frank Hajak, Roughhouse
Fargo, Mr. Kamikaze, Robert Fuller and more.
Also working some at this time were Ladies champion The
Fabulous Moolah, Donna Christianello, Sylvia Hackney, Peggy Patterson, Cora
Combs, Little Darling Dagmar, Diamond Lil as well as Bobo Johnson, Little Tokyo,
The Haiti Kid and Cowboy Lang.
In February, Tojo Yamamoto turned on tag partner Jerry
Jarrett and injured him. Jackie Fargo took up the banner for Jarrett and warred
against Yamamoto during this time period. The Masked Mighty Yankees feuded
against Lorenzo Parente & Bill Dromo in this time frame and in the end ran
into a streak of bad luck as they were unmasked and revealed as Frank Morrell
& Charles Morrell. Dennis Hall and Buddy Wayne, who had teamed some, had a
falling out and feuded some in this time frame. Tommy Gilbert also feuded
against Lou Thesz, who worked as a heel in the feud. Enemies Eddie Marlin and
Jerry Lawler united briefly also to battle The Masked Infernos with manager J.C.
Dykes. Lawler’s flirtation with being a fan favorite didn’t last long as the
spring began he was feuding with Jackie Fargo.
The wrestling territory would never be the same as promoter
Nick Gulas’ son, George, debuted as a wrestler early in the year. While he did
work some in singles matches most of George’s matches at this time were six
man tags and regular tag matches. George most often teamed with popular Gulas-Welch
veteran Dennis Hall.
The promotional war in Georgia continued in 1974. A number of
stars from the Gulas-Welch promotion worked some during the first half of the
year for Atlanta’s NWA promotion which had been booked by Jerry Jarrett, who
continued to book for the Gulas-Welch promotion. Jerry Lawler worked a good deal
in Georgia the first few months of 1974 often teaming with Bobby Shane, Bobby
Duncum and Art Nelson. Others from the territory who worked some in Georgia
include Jackie Fargo, Robert & Ron Fuller, Tojo Yamamoto, Eddie Marlin &
Tommy Gilbert, Terrance & Ron Garvin with manager Jim Garvin and others. The
Lawler-Fargo feud played in Atlanta on February 15 just days after Lawler and
Robert Fuller were co-winners of an Atlanta two ring battle royal, two of
Lawler’s biggest matches in the Georgia promotion in this time frame.
Birmingham, Alabama Boutwell Auditorium, Monday, January 21, 1974
Memphis, Tennessee, Monday, January 21, 1974
Nashville, Tennessee, Wednesday, February 20, 1974
Evansville, Indiana, Wednesday, March 27, 1974
changes and controversies during January-March 1974
Lou Thesz began this time frame as Southern junior heavyweight champion. Tommy Gilbert stopped Thesz to regain the title. Gilbert then lost the championship to Jerry Lawler with manager Sam Bass. This win was Lawler’s first major singles championship win in the area.
Kovacs dethrones Ali Baba to win the U.S. junior heavyweight championship.
Kovacs loses this title to Jerry Lawler and it appears that the U.S. junior
heavyweight title is forgotten for a time.
The Masked Infernos with manager
J.C. Dykes were recognized as Southern tag champions for some of this three
month period. By June, Charlie Fulton & Bobby Mayne with manager Sir
Clements, who replaced George Harris as manager for the team in April, were
wearing the belts. How they passed from the Infernos to Fulton & Mayne
isn’t clear although there is some evidence to show that Bobo Brazil &
Bearcat Brown may have held the titles.
Frank Monte & Nick DeCarlo drop the Mid-America tag titles to Tojo Yamamoto & Mr. Kamikaze before regaining the titles.
regulars during the year’s second quarter included Roughhouse Fargo, Bearcat
Brown, Earl Maynard, Dennis Hall, George Gulas, Don Greene, Joey Rossi, The
Samoans (Tio & Tapu), Sam Bass, Mike Jackson, Tony LeDoux, Gil Shelby, Al
Greene, Melvin Kimball, Al Ramsey, Buddy Wayne, Phil Hickerson, Tony Santos,
Johnny Fields & Marshall Fields, Tor Hayashi, Jerry Jarrett, Cowboy Frankie
Laine, Pepe Lopez, Devoy Brunson, Bobby Jones, The Alaskan, Mike Paidousis,
Ricky Gibson, The Masked Red Shadow, Rick Sanchez, Derrick Lewis, The Bounty
Hunters with manager Jim Kent, Eddie Marlin, Bobby Mayne, Bobo Brazil, Ronnie
Blaystein, David Spencer, Rick Renaldo, Ron Wright & Don Wright, Bobcat
Brown (billed as the brother of Bearcat Brown), Lorenzo Parente and more.
Also in the area during this time
were Sylvia Hackney, Paula Kaye, Sandy Partlow, Peggy Patterson, Heather Feather
and Jungle Jane. Bobo Johnson and Sonny Boy Hayes also made appearances at this
Hottest feuds at this time included
the continuation of the Tommy Gilbert-Lou Thesz battles. Jerry Lawler made some
hay in his feud against Jackie Fargo by injuring the popular star. In Fargo’s
absence, Lawler feuded against Steve Kovacs, Tommy Gilbert and Ricky Gibson.
Tojo Yamamoto’s heel turn didn’t last long as he soon mended fences with
It is interesting to note that some
homegrown talent began making the rounds for the promotion during this time.
Alabama natives Mike Jackson & Tony Ledoux worked for the promotion low on
cards and sometimes even made it to mid-card status. The two were on the small
side physically even by 1974 standards. While Ledoux quickly faded away, Jackson
would toil for years, even into the new millennium, in Southern rings. While
rarely making it to main events, Jackson made himself memorable in many fans
eyes in the 1980s on the nationally televised Atlanta-based wrestling show by
making others look great as enhancement talent.
Memphis, Tennessee, April 8, 1974
Chattanooga, Tennessee Memorial Auditorium, Saturday, April 27, 1974
Chattanooga, Tennessee Memorial Auditorium, Sunday, May 12, 1974
Memphis, Tennessee, Monday, June 17, 1974
changes and controversies during April-June 1974
Jerry Lawler managed by Sam Bass
began this quarter as Southern junior heavyweight champion. A few weeks into the
summer, Lawler lost the title to Jackie Fargo. Lawler would regain the title and
hold it the rest of the summer. By September, the title began being recognized
as the Southern heavyweight title.
The Southern tag championship is a
mess during the summer. Charlie Fulton & Bobby Mayne managed by Sir Clements
begin the time frame holding the titles. During the summer, the teams of Tommy
Gilbert & Ricky Gibson and Rufus R. Jones & George Gulas lay claim to
the titles. By September, the picture becomes clearer as Al Greene & Phil
Hickerson with manager Sam Bass lock onto the titles.
The Mid-America tag titles reappear
in August around the waists of Don Kent & Chris Gallegher (Dutch Mantel)
with manager Jim Kent. Kent & Gallegher lose the straps to Steve Kovacs
& Ricky Gibson before taking them back. At some point the tag titles wound
up in the possession of Duke Myers & The Masked Blue Scorpion also managed
by Jim Kent. There is some evidence that Johnny Fields & Ricky Fields may
have briefly held the titles in the interim.
Don Greene did work some shows billed as U.S. junior heavyweight champion during the summer.
Wrestlers working in the area at this time included NWA champion Jack Brisco, Eddie Marlin, Tommy Gilbert, Dennis Hall, Bearcat Brown, Jim Lancaster, Tojo Yamamoto, Mr. Kamikaze, Nick DeCarlo, Joey Rossi, Stan Kowalski, Pepe Lopez, Terry Sawyer (not Buzz Sawyer), The Bounty Hunters with manager Jim Kent (in August Jim Lancaster began managing this team), Bobo Brazil, The Masked Mr. Wrestling II (Johnny Walker), Robert Fuller, The Masked Red Shadow, Danny Dusek, U.S. champion The Sheik managed by Eddie Creachman, Mike Loren, Tommy Marlin, Dick the Bruiser, Terry Garvin, Jim Garvin, Bearcat Brown, The Masked Dr. Death, Mike Jackson, Tony LeDoux, The Masked Blue Scorpions, Bill Costello, Billy Spears, Tommy Spires, The Masked Mr. Wrestling, The Great Hirohito, Rick Sanchez, Lou Thesz, Bobby Dee, Duke Myers, Harley Race, Jerry Brisco and more.
Also working some in the area at
this time were Sylvia Hackney, Joyce (Paula?) Kaye, The Haiti Kid and Little
The sport’s biggest physical
attraction who was quickly becoming the sport’s biggest box office attraction
made his debut in the area in late September. Andre the Giant worked most of the
major cities in the territory at this time.
The area’s hot feuds in this time
frame were the ongoing Jerry Lawler-Jackie Fargo feud. Lawler also feuded some
with Robert Fuller. The Bounty Hunters feuded against Rufus R. Jones &
George Gulas. The rough combination of Al Greene & Phil Hickerson began
plowing through competition but ran across stiff opposition against the teams of
Eddie Marlin & Tommy Gilbert and Jackie Fargo & Tojo Yamamoto.
Louisville, Kentucky, Tuesday, July 23, 1974
Nashville, Tennessee, Wednesday, August 7, 1974
Memphis, Tennessee, Monday, September 16, 1974
changes and controversies during July-September 1974
Jerry Lawler with manager Sam Bass
ruled the roost as Southern champion. Lawler though lost the title for a time to
Robert Fuller. Lawler would regain the title in short order. Not long after
though, Lawler and manager Sam Bass had a falling out and parted ways.
Sam Bass also managed the Southern
tag champions as this time frame began as his big team of Al Greene & Phil
Hickerson were hard to get past. Tojo Yamamoto & Jerry Jarrett had some
success and held the titles for a time before Greene & Hickerson regained
the titles. Yamamoto would then pair with Jerry Lawler to snatch the belts away
briefly. Greene & Hickerson would regain the titles but lose them back to
Yamamoto & Lawler by the end of the year.
The Mid-America title reemerged
late in the year. Don Kent with manager Jim Kent (the two weren’t related)
held the title and defended it regularly. He did lose it briefly to Rufus R.
Jones before taking the belt back.
The exact lineage of the
Mid-America tag championship is unclear part of October. Jackie Fargo &
George Gulas though are champions later in the month. They swap the titles to
Don Kent & Count Drummer before regaining the championship. The Masked Blue
Scorpion & Duke Myers are billed as Southeastern tag champions (not the
Knoxville version) for a show or two in November before the title is forgotten
for a time.
In November, the promotion held a tournament to crown inaugural World Six Man tag champions. The trio of Jackie Fargo, Dennis Hall & George Gulas downed Juan Sebastian, Don Kent & Jerry Lawler in the finals of a multi-week tournament to claim the titles.
the territory at this time were such stars as Steve Kovacs, Don Greene, Billy
McGuire & Benny McGuire, The Masked Medic, Billy Hamilton, The Bounty
Hunters managed by Jim Lancaster, Jerry Brisco, Bobby Mayne, Lou Thesz, Harley
Race, Pepe Lopez, Rick Sanchez, Jean Pierre, Pierre Bonet, Johnny Fields &
Ricky Fields, Tommy Gilbert, Eddie Marlin, Charlie Fulton, Bill Costello, Bobo
Brazil, The Sheik, Sir Clements, Silento Rodriquez, Les Thatcher, The Masked Dr.
Death, Juan Sebastian, Jackie Fargo, Tommy Marlin, The Mummy, Bobcat Brown,
Dennis Condrey, Count Drummer, Joey Rossi, Tommy Spires, The Masked Green
Hornet, Joe Turner, The Masked Pittsburgh Stealers, Jerry Barber, Rick Sanchez,
Johnny Grey, Joe Sky, Ron Fuller, Tex McKenzie, The Masked Outlaws, Don Kernodle,
Lorenzo Parente, Johnny Weaver, Jerry Myatt, Big Bad John, Ray Candy, Tony Nero,
Ed Kowalski, Rip Hawk, George Strickland, Johnny Rogers, Frank Martinez, The
Masked Mr. Pro (unmasked in Birmingham as Devoy Brunson and in Chattanooga as
Dennis Condrey) and more.
Also in the area at this time were
U.S. Ladies champion Cora Combs, The Masked Satan Lady, Sandy Partlow, as well
as Dirty Morgan and Bobo Johnson.
Ronald Welch, known to area fans as
Ron Fuller, purchased the Knoxville promotion from longtime area promoter John
Cazana in this time period. For some time, Cazana had loaned talent from the
Gulas-Welch promotion to use on his cards. Fuller would continue this practice
for a time although he began weaning the area off Gulas-Welch talent to create
his own pool of talent. Jerry Lawler, Jackie Fargo, Don Greene and Tommy Gilbert
were among the stars who crossed over from the Gulas-Welch promotion to work for
Fuller some late in the year.
Hot feuds at this time included one
between Al Greene & Phil Hickerson against Tojo Yamamoto & Jerry
Jarrett. Greene & Hickerson also feuded against former friend Jerry Lawler
late in the year, who used Yamamoto as a frequent partner. Don Kent also had a
knock-down drag-out war with Steve Kovacs.
Chattanooga Tennessee Memorial Auditorium, Thursday, October 17, 1974
Birmingham, Alabama TV, Saturday, November 16, 1974
Birmingham, Alabama, Monday, November 18, 1974
Memphis, Tennessee, Sunday, December 8, 1974
Knoxville, Tennessee, Friday, December 13, 1974
changes and controversies during October-December 1974
Courtesy of Duncan & Will’s Wrestling Title Histories and
The Great Hisa’s Puroresu Dojo web site http://www.wrestling-titles.com/
Edsel Harrison and David Williamson
Just a job to do…
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