Pacific Northwest 1978 - Part 3
In the third quarter of 1978, the top wrestlers in the Pacific Northwest included Jimmy Snuka, Jonathan Boyd, Ed Wiskowski and Austin Idol.
The below chart lists the wrestlers who were regulars in the territory between July 1st and September 30th, 1978. They are ranked by their Statistical Position Over Time, a number between .000 and 1.000 representing their average spot on the cards they were booked on (a 1.000 would mean they were always in the main event).
Comings and Goings
Newcomers (or returnees) to the territory during the time period:
Buck Zumhofe - Zumhofe came here from Vancouver in August. This was his second stint in the territory; he had been here for a couple of months in 1977.
Dr. Hiro Ota - Ota had a handful of matches here in 1975 and 1976, but this was his first extended run in the territory. He was wrestling in Southern California in the beginning of the year, but after April his name doesn't seem to show up anywhere until coming here in August. Ota also wrestled as Yasu Fuji in various territories; the Ota name seems to have only been used in the west coast territories (including Canada).
Lanny Holiday - Better known as Lanny Poffo, he came here in September for his first and only stint. He had been wrestling for Grand Prix in Canada during the summer.
Jonathan Boyd - Boyd returned in the last week of June after spending four months in Amarillo. He had been a heel in his most recent stint here, but returned as a babyface. With both Jerry Oates and Jesse Ventura leaving in June, the promotion likely needed someone to immediately fill a main event babyface role. As you'll see below, Boyd quickly became involved in the top feuds.
Matti Suzuki - Suzuki took on a regular schedule here in July and August, and these seem to have been his final matches as a pro. Suzuki had been wrestling since 1962 and had spent the last five years bouncing around between Vancouver, All Japan and here.
Mickey Doyle - After a couple months of inactivity, Doyle wrestled here as a regular for the month of August. I haven't found any information on his whereabouts after that point until the summer of 1980 when he surfaces in Southern California.
Rick Youngblood - Youngblood was the oldest son of Ricky Romero and brother to Jay, Mark & Chris Youngblood. He was less active than his brothers over the years, wrestling sporadically under a mask as El Lobo in Amarillo for a few years before coming here for a few months in 1977. After almost a year of inactivity, he returned here in late August. He left after about a month, and his name doesn't pop up again until 1980 in Amarillo.
Ricky Hunter - Hunter's wrestling schedule picked up just enough here to be considered a regular. He continued to work as a referee occasionally when he wasn't booked to wrestle.
Tony Rocco - Rocco came here in August for his second stint in the territory, the first having been back in 1972. He only stayed a few weeks; his next stop was New Japan for a tour beginning in October. In the late 60s he was billed as Antonio Rocca in Tri-State, a "relative" of Antonino (Argentina) Rocca.
Dale Lewis, Coco Samoa and the Masked Marvel (see next paragraph) were not full-timers but were booked often enough to be included in the SPOT rankings. In the case of Samoa, his SPOT includes matches in both this quarter and the following quarter; he was in for just about two weeks total this time around.
The Masked Marvel, after making a couple of appearances in June, is here on a part-time basis for much of the quarter, usually teaming with Ed Wiskowski. At least one newspaper makes reference to Marvel's possible identity, saying "...many [fans] think is Buddy Rose in disguise". Some cards advertise him as the Masked Avenger instead of the Masked Marvel. To further confuse the issue, the Seattle cards often featured a wrestler billed as the Avenger, not limited to this time period. Buddy was wrestling in Northern California during the quarter, so it was definitely feasible that he could drive back and forth. I looked for as many bookings as I could find for Rose in NorCal and crosschecked the dates with the dates that the Masked Marvel/Avenger was booked here. There was only one date where there was a conflict; Buddy wrestled on 9/13 in Sacramento and the Avenger wrestled in Seattle. Since we've _possibly_ established that the Avenger booked on the Seattle cards may not have been the same person as the Masked Avenger, I think it's safe to say that it was indeed Buddy under the mask.
Others who left the territory during the time period:
Austin Idol - It looks like Idol's departure was rather abrupt. He was being pushed pretty well, winning in main events, and then no-shows a week's worth of advertised bookings. From here, his name next shows up in the fall in Detroit for a couple of months before going to Memphis in December.
Ed Wiskowski - Wiskowski leaves in September and goes to Northern California, where he teams with Buddy Rose. Over the next several months, his name pops up from time to time for a shot here and there, but he doesn't return as a regular until February 1979.
Karl Von Steiger - Karl leaves in August, but "brother" Kurt Von Steiger stays. Karl's name doesn't appear again until January 1979 in Japan and Hawaii, so it's possible he was injured.
Terry Sawyer - Sawyer leaves in August and goes to Memphis. His career as a wrestler looks to have ended a couple of years later, in 1980 in Chattanooga.
Andre the Giant came through the territory for about a week in July. Gene Kiniski was booked on most of the cards in Seattle during the quarter; interestingly, his name often did not appear in the advertisements.
The two most frequently occurring main events during the quarter (using only the cards I have first-hand data for) both involved Boyd and Wiskowski. They faced each other in singles main events 10 times, and Boyd teamed with Snuka to face Wiskowski and the Masked Marvel 10 times.
Boyd-Wiskowski singles bouts occurred 3 times in Salem, 2 times in Eugene, Portland and Seattle, and once in Albany. Many of these were Northwest title matches, with Boyd winning the title on August 22nd in Portland. There were also "Kangaroo death matches" around the horn, though there are different descriptions of the stipulations for that match in different towns.
The tag team matches occurred twice in Eugene, four times in Portland, three times in Salem and once in Seattle.