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Deep Dive: A Look at Dusty Rhodes in 1971 in the McGuirk Territory

Here’s a “Deep Dive” where I take a look at Dusty Rhodes in 1971 when he worked for the McGuirk wrestling territory, using the statistical tools I have developed to try to analyze his role in the territory, his frequent opponents and other interesting information.


Dusty turned pro in late ‘67 or early ‘68. Here is a chart showing the territories he worked for the first 3 years of his career, along with his SPOT Rating in each territory.


You can see Dusty started out in prelims in Detroit & Toronto. When he went to East Texas, he was given a little push and moved up the cards. He then went to Central States, where he (just barely) crossed the threshold to be considered a main eventer. He returned to East Texas in a similar spot as before, then went to Amarillo and was pushed a little bit stronger, though still considered an upper mid-carder. He returned to Detroit & Toronto (and also worked Cleveland) and was booked as a main eventer. From there he went to Florida where he was pushed strongly in main events. A brief tour of Australia continued to see him booked high on the cards. Returning to East Texas for three weeks, he was kept in the same upper mid-card spot he occupied in previous stints in that territory. Perhaps because he was only there for a short stay, they didn’t want to push him too much harder. Then he goes to McGuirk where he again is booked strongly in main events. He finished up 1971 with his first tour of Japan (for IWE), again being booked as a main eventer.

Dusty’s first and only full-time stint for McGuirk began on April 12th in Tulsa, where he faced Sputnik Monroe (it should be noted that he worked one or two shows for McGuirk in January before going to Detroit) . Dusty spent the first few weeks in the middle of the card, but by early May his SPOT Rating crosses the .80 threshold and he stays above that mark for the rest of his run here. This chart shows his weekly SPOT Ratings in the territory (it should be noted that a “weekly” SPOT Rating is actually based on a rolling, weighted five-week period of time).


Dusty appears to have had a run with the Brass Knuckles trophy, but that trophy was not consistently acknowledged or defended. Some of his bouts with Sputnik Monroe were Brass Knucks bouts, then he faced The Spoiler (Don Jardine) a few times with the same stips, and at least one of his bouts with Bill Watts was for the trophy.

Dusty did defeat Watts for the North American title. The major title history sources list the change as having occurred on May 21st in Shreveport. The weekly house show in Shreveport was on the 17th that week, and Watts was billed as champion going into that match. Dusty is listed as having won, but it is unknown if the title changed hands (or if he won by disqualification, etc). On May 21st in Oklahoma City, Watts is advertised as defending the title against Dusty. Results in the Saturday newspaper, however, say that Dusty faced Danny Hodge instead, going to a time limit draw. To make things even more confusing, an article in the Sunday OKC newspaper (promoting the following week’s show) says that Dusty actually did win the title from Watts on the show on the 21st. So there either was some sort of miscommunication between the promotion and the newspaper or something else happened.

Title history sources list Watts as regaining the title sometime in October. An article on October 10th in Shreveport promoting the following night’s card says that Watts regained the title “three weeks ago” in Jackson MS. This would likely have been the September 22nd show there, where Dusty defended the title against Watts in a match with no disqualifications, no countouts and no time limit. It should be noted that Dusty is billed as champion on at least one occasion in other towns the week after September 22nd. One of the reasons I developed the SPOT ratings is because title histories are often quite messy and not as clear and concrete as we wish them to be. So instead of focusing on how many title reigns a wrestler had or how long they held a title, the SPOT Rating tells you where they were on a theoretical “depth chart” for the territory, and how long they were in that role.


The above chart shows the towns that Dusty was booked into. The territory generally ran 2-3 shows per night during the week, sometimes two larger towns and sometimes one large town and two smaller towns. On Saturdays, it seemed they ran smaller towns. Generally, those shows featured wrestlers typically lower on the cards, so I think much of the top talent were taping TV somewhere. In the late 60s, they taped TV on Saturday nights in Oklahoma City, so it's possible that was still the case here. Dusty generally worked the larger towns, in particular note on Thursdays where he almost always is in Chalmette (which was part of the New Orleans market) instead of smaller towns Wichita Falls and Greenville. On nights where they ran two larger towns, Dusty's bookings are generally split fairly evenly between the two towns.

Dusty had a few notable feuds in this territory. FEUD Scores measure how often a wrestler faces the same opponent. Like the SPOT Ratings, a weekly FEUD Score is actually based on a weighted, rolling five-week period of time. The larger the number, the more often those wrestlers faced each other in that short time period. I generally consider a FEUD Score of 25 or greater to be a “feud”, and if it’s above 40 it’s a major feud. A FEUD Score between 10 and 25 means that while they are facing each other regularly, it’s not anything that’s happening every night of the week around the horn. Here is a chart listing the FEUD Scores for Dusty.


Dusty had major feuds with The Spoiler, Dale Lewis and Ivan Putski. He had minor feuds with Sputnik Monroe and Grizzly Smith. While his feud with Bill Watts never sees a FEUD Score above 40, the mere length of time that their FEUD Score is 10 or above shows that they faced each other very often. He had a total of 26 known singles bouts against Watts, more than anyone else during this run.

Dusty finished up for McGuirk on November 25th in Chalmette LA, where he faced Ivan Pustki. It should be noted that he came back and worked a few shows here at the end of the year, but this was just a very brief stop in between his Japan tour and a lengthy run in the AWA that started in January 1972.

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