Tri-State Wrestling 1967 - Feuds

We continue our look at 1967 by examining the top feuds in the territory for the year. One thing is very clear: the Assassins were busy, busy boys during the year.

Of the ten biggest feuds, the Assassins were involved in six of them. In fact, their feud with the Kentuckians was so big it shows up twice in the top ten list. They feuded throughout the month of March, and when the Kentuckians returned later in the year, they went at it again!

I changed the method I used to calculate the top feuds, by adding a time component. This way, it's not just who faced who the most times over the year as a whole, but who faced who the most over a several week period of time.


Top 10 Feuds of 1967 in the McGuirk territory

1) The Assassins vs Haystack Calhoun & Jack Brisco. The 601-pound Calhoun teamed up with rising star Brisco to face the Assassins (Jody Hamilton & Tom Renesto) at the beginning of the year. The Assassins entered the feud as U.S. Tag Team champions. Numerous title histories list Haystack & Brisco (let's call 'em Jack & Stack) as winning the titles at some point during the feud, but my analysis of the newspaper listings and articles don't confirm this. Jack & Stack did win the first two matches I have records for, January 6th in Oklahoma City and the 9th in Tulsa, but in the following week's Tulsa newspaper the Assassins are still billed as champs. I will make an educated guess that both wins were by countout, as the rematch had Falls Count Anywhere stipulations in both towns. The same scenario seems to have played out in Shreveport, though it should be noted that in the results for their first Shreveport match in January 15th, the newspaper says Jack & Stack won the titles after recording a win via countout. The following week, the paper still bills the Assassins as champs, though. And there are no other references to Jack & Stack holding the titles in any of the other newspaper ads or articles over the course of the feud. They had a three-week program in Little Rock, Oklahoma City and Springfield, and a two-week program in Shreveport, Tulsa and Wichita Falls. The third week of the program consisted of Logger Style (aka Lumberjack) matches between the two teams, with the Assassins going over to end the feud.

2) The Assassins vs The Kentuckians. As mentioned above, these teams had two separate programs over the course of the year. This one began when the Kentuckians (Big Boy Brown aka Luke Brown & Tiny Smith aka Grizzly Smith) returned to the territory in the fall. It consists of 16 known matches over a four week period. It was generally a two-match series in each town, but on some occasions those matches were several weeks apart. For example, they fought each other in Tulsa on October 9th, then did two weeks in Shreveport before bringing it back to Tulsa on the 30th. The first match of the series was generally a Falls Count Anywhere match and the second match a Logger Style match. The second matches in Tulsa, Little Rock and Wichita Falls also had a Loser Leaves Town stipulation, and the Assassins lost all three of those bouts.

3) The Assassins vs The Red Raiders. As I've made my way through 1966 and 1967, I was surprised at the number of heel vs heel matches. They happened quite often, not just here but in other territories as well. The Red Raiders (Dick Dunn & Billy Garrett) began their run here as a masked team, but they voluntarily took their masks off after a couple of weeks and wrestled that way for (most of) the rest of their run here. This feud, which took place in April, had a three week series in Little Rock, Oklahoma City and Tulsa, and two weeks in Springfield and Wichita Falls. In some towns, the stipulation for the second match was that the Red Raiders would wear masks. Presumably, the finish in those towns the previous week involved an illegal switch by the Assassins, and this was the Raiders' way of leveling the playing field. Little Rock and Tulsa had Steel Cage matches fought under Texas Rules (aka Texas Death match) the third week. Oklahoma City and Wichita Falls saw Tiny Smith serve as special referee for the blowoff match in the series. On top of all that, there was a title change* involved. The Red Raiders beat the Assassins on April 14th in Oklahoma City. In OKC, the paper said that the titles were held up after the match, but other towns acknowledged it as a title change with the Assassins filing a protest afterwards, leading to the titles being held up. Attempting to sift through situations like this is probably going to lead to me no longer tracking title histories; there's just too much going on and many situations where it's unclear if it was an actual title change or just a way to build up to a rematch the following week.

4) Gorgeous George Jr & Jerry Kozak vs The Red Raiders. The highest-ranked feud not involving the Assassins saw the makeshift team of George & Kozak taking on Dunn & Garrett. The feud took place over a several week period beginning in late February, with three bouts in Tulsa, two in Hot Springs, Monroe, Oklahoma City and Wichita Falls, and one match in Joplin, Little Rock, Longview, Shreveport and Springfield. There were various stipulations for some of the matches, including a Steel Cage match in Hot Springs, no time limit bouts in Little Rock, Longview and Wichita Falls, and a Texas Rules match in Oklahoma City.

5) Chati Yokouchi vs Danny Hodge. The only singles feud to crack the top ten, Hodge faced off with Yokouchi at least 15 times over a five week period in November and December. The majority of these bouts were title matches, with Hodge defending his World's Junior Heavyweight belt. Yokouchi defeated Hodge on December 19th in Little Rock and the next night in Springfield, but only took one fall before the sixty minute time limit expired. This was a common way to build to a rematch (title matches were almost always 2 out of 3 falls), and the following week they had rematches in both towns with no time limit. An additional stipulation for those matches was that the winner would get a "lucrative" six-week tour of Japan. This stipulation also occurred in Shreveport, and may have happened in other towns as well. In all of those cases, Hodge won the match and would indeed go to Japan at the beginning of 1968.

6) The Assassins vs Danny Hodge & Scandor Akbar. These two teams faced off at several points over the course of the year, but in particular they had a program from mid-May through mid-June. It was generally a two-week program, with stipulations that varied from town to town. Several of the matches were billed as title matches, but remember that the Assassins may have lost the titles to Gorgeous George Jr & Jack Brisco before these matches took place. Stipulations included "winner take all" (where the winner gets both teams' purses and the losers get paid nothing), matches with two referees and Texas Rules bouts.

7) The Assassins vs The Kentuckians. This was the first program they had during the year, occurring in March. It was generally a two-week program in each city, mostly title defenses (The Assassins were the champs) with the second week in each town being either a Texas Rules match or a match with the disqualification rule waived (this means if the champions were disqualified in one of the two falls that they lost, they would lose the titles; yet another common way to build to a rematch was to have the challengers win two falls, but one by dq thus no title change).

8) The Assassins vs Gorgeous George Jr & Jack Brisco. This program took place over a several week period in April and May, with mostly a two-week series in each town. George & Brisco might have won the titles from the Assassins on May 8th in Tulsa and/or Little Rock the next night.

9) Chati Yokouchi & Togo Shikuma vs Danny Hodge & Scandor Akbar. These teams squared off multiple times over a several week period in late summer/early fall. It appears that Hodge & Akbar won the titles from Yokouchi & Shikuma in several different towns on the loop. The earliest record I have of a title change is August 30th in Fort Smith. But looking at results in the various newspapers and online title histories, it also appears the titles changed hands on three consecutive shows in early October, starting October 5th in Wichita Falls, the next night in Oklahoma City and the night after that in Joplin. In all these cases, Hodge & Akbar "won the titles" from Yokouchi & Shikuma. I'm not sure how the Fort Smith outlier fits into things, as that was the only time the two teams wrestled one another in that town during the year. In most of the towns this feud was a two-week program (though they did three non-consecutive weeks in Joplin and OKC) with two added stipulations for the rematch: 1-Nikita Mulkovich, who managed Yokouchi & Shikuma, was locked in a steel cage at ringside, 2-either an extended time limit or the disqualification rule was waived (presumably this stip was based on the finish of the match the week before).

10) Gorgeous George Jr & Paul Jones vs Los Diablos. This is the third appearance of Gorgeous George Jr on the list, and the third different partner he's had. George teamed up with Jones (best-known for his runs in Mid-Atlantic and Florida in later years). They squared off with Los Diablos (El Diablo #1 & El Diablo #2, identities unknown except that #2 _might_ have been Treach Phillips) at least ten times over a three-week period in November and December. They had a three week program in Springfield and a two week program in Little Rock, Oklahoma City and Tulsa. The second match in Little Rock and Springfield each had a stipulation that the match would not be stopped for "cuts or injuries" and have no time limit. The second match in Tulsa and the third match in Springfield were Texas Rules matches. The fact that the "no stopping for cuts and injuries" stipulation was the blowoff in Little Rock but not in Springfield helps confirm a belief I have about how many towns were booked. I've always been of the belief that if a particular main event drew a big crowd, they would run an angle to lead to a rematch the following week. And if it still drew well, they'd try and keep it going. There were other factors involved, such as angles that may have been run on TV and the timing of when each TV episode cycled through each town, but most of the time if something drew a large house, they'd do their best to keep it going.

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