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 - Mike Calloway

To start any discussion on the history of professional wrestling in Dothan, one would have to begin with a short look at the history of wrestling throughout the state of Alabama.

In the early 1970's Alabama was broke down into 3 separate regions, or territories, with different promoters and workers for each particular promotion. North Alabama consisted of Birmingham, Huntsville, Florence, and Gadsden, and was promoted by Nick Gulas with most of the same wrestlers as Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga, and Louisville. The second area located in and around Montgomery was handled by Billy Golden, father of Jimmy Golden. I'm not that familiar with this group, but I understand Jerry Lawler worked here early in his career. This brings me to the third section, Dothan - Mobile. Lee Fields controlled the area from Southeast Alabama to Southwest Alabama and Northwest Florida from Panama City to Pensacola. The name of this territory was Gulf Coast Championship Wrestling. Fields promoted most of the region, however Rocky McGuire handled Dothan and maybe Panama City at least that was the perception given on television. Many men familiar to fans in other Southern promotions, such as Gulas' group and the area promoted by Leroy McGuirk, could also be found working Dothan.

A list of Gulf Coast Heavyweight Champions during the early to mid 1970's would include: Ken Lucas, Don Carson, Duke Miller, Billy Spears, Ricky Gibson, Dick Dunn, Rip Tyler, Eddie Sullivan, Big Bad John, Alaskan Jay York, Ken Mantell, Kurt Von Hess, Greg Peterson, Bob Sweetan, The Intern w/Ken Ramey, and the masked Wrestling Pro Tarzan Baxter. Other names to work in the area were Gene Lewis, Mario Gullento, Sputnik, Flash and Apollo Monroe, Don Fargo, Johnny Eagles, Butcher Vachon, Bad Boy Billy Hines, Jack Donovan, Don Duffy, The Medic and more.

Tag Teams to hold the Gulf Coast Tag Team Championship included: Ricky & Rueben (later Robert) Gibson, Rip Tyler & Eddie Sullivan, Afa & Sika the Islanders, The Masked Challengers, The Mighty Yankees w/ J.C. Dykes, Randy and Lanny Poffo with Angelo Poffo, and The Original British Bulldogs Jonathon Foley & Ted Heath.

The area also had a version of the Alabama Heavyweight Title that was held by many of the men mentioned above. NWA World Champions Jack Brisco and Terry Funk made title defenses in Dothan, with Funk defending the title against both Jack Brisco and Dusty Rhodes in Dothan.  More...

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