Deep Dive: Dusty Rhodes in 1971 in the McGuirk/Watts Territory (REVISED 7/5/2020)

Here’s a “Deep Dive” where I take a look at Dusty Rhodes in 1971 when he worked for the McGuirk/Watts wrestling territory.



NOTE: I originally posted much of this in December 2019. It has been updated on 7/5/2020.

Dusty’s first and only full-time stint for McGuirk/Watts 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). He stayed through late November, with his last known booking on November 25th in Chalmette, LA against Ivan Putski. After that, he went to Japan for IWE, then returned to work a couple of shows after Christmas before heading to the AWA full time. 

Using the two statistics I have developed, the SPOT Rating and FEUD Score, we can evaluate his time I the territory, seeing where he was placed on the cards and who he feuded with.

SPOT (Statistical Position Over Time) Ratings measure a wrestler's average position (or spot) on the cards. Keep in mind that in the territorial era, cards were structured and promoted in a very specific way, with the main event being the most important match on the card, and the opening match being the least important. Based on the # of matches on each card and where a certain match is listed on the card, we can come up with a numerical value of a wrestler's position.

SPOT is a number between .00 and 1.00, with 1.00 being the highest possible score. I calculate a "weekly" SPOT Rating for wrestlers using all of their known bookings for a rolling, weighted five-week time period. 
A Main Eventer has a SPOT Rating above. .80
An Upper Mid-Carder has a SPOT Rating between .60 and .80
A Mid-Carder has a SPOT Rating between .40 and .60
A Preliminary Wrestler has a SPOT Rating below .40

FEUD (Frequent Encounters Using Data) Scores measures the "intensity" of a feud. It is based on both the number of times a specific match takes place and the breadth of when those matches occur. Like the SPOT Rating, I used a weighted, rolling five-week time period to calculate a weekly FEUD Score.
A general rule of thumb is a FEUD Score of 25 and above is considered a "feud" and a Score of 40 and above is considered a "major feud".

The following chart looks at Dusty's SPOT Rating and FEUD Scores over the course of his stay in the McGuirk/Watts territory.


Dusty spent the first few weeks in the middle of the cards, but by mid-May his SPOT Rating crosses the .80 threshold and he stays above that mark for the rest of his run here. His SPOT Rating peaks at a .99 for a few weeks in August.

The second half of the chart allows you to see the opponents he faced the most, and you can also see when those matches occurred. His primary opponent for the first few weeks was Sputnik Monroe. As we get to the end of May, he starts facing wrestlers such as Grizzly Smith and Bill Watts. Going into July, he starts a (heel vs heel) feud with the Spoiler that reaches "major feud" status with a peak FEUD Score of 52. After that he faces Watts again several times and then begins a feud with Dale Lewis. He follows that up with another series of bouts against Watts and then a feud with Ivan Putski. That feud has a peak FEUD Score of 57 in mid-November and is Dusty's last feud before leaving the territory.

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 or other means). On May 14th 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 14th. So there either was some sort of miscommunication between the promotion and the newspaper or something else happened. It is also possible that Dusty was "supposed" to have won the title from Watts on the 14th but Watts didn't make the show and they did a match with Hodge instead. In this scenario, perhaps results were sent to the paper in advance of the show (which was known to happen), the corrected results were sent in late Friday or early Saturday but the article in the Sunday paper with the original copy slipped through the cracks. Taking that scenario a step further, it's possible that they then did the title switch on the 17th in Shreveport.

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.


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. 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.

The following is a listing of all of Dusty's known matches in the territory, with results and stipulations noted where available. Keep in mind that while some newspapers went into great detail with results and announced stipulations, others did not. Just because a result is listed as "Wrestler A defeated Wrestler B", that doesn't automatically mean it was a clean finish. A "W" means Dusty (or Dusty's team) won the match, an "L" means Dusty (or Dusty's team) lost the match, a "D" means it was a draw. "DQ" means disqualification, "CO" means countout, "REV" means reverse decision. "vs" means we don't have results. If a match is specifically listed as a title match or a non-title match, that is noted. If neither is listed for a singles match when Dusty was North American champ, it's reasonable to assume it was a non-title match but that's not always the case.

APRIL 1971
4/12 Tulsa: Dusty DDQ Sputnik Monroe
4/13 Little Rock: Dusty W-CO Silento Rodriguez
4/16 Oklahoma City: Dusty L George Gaiser
4/19 Shreveport: Dusty DDQ Sputnik Monroe
4/20 Little Rock: Dusty W Sputnik Monroe
4/21 Baton Rouge: Dusty W Jean War Eagle
4/22 Chalmette: Dusty vs Jean War Eagle
4/23 Oklahoma City: Dusty L Scandor Akbar
4/25 Shreveport: Dusty W Sputnik Monroe (Brass Knucks)
4/26 Tulsa: Dusty W Sputnik Monroe (Brass Knucks)
4/27 Little Rock: Dusty W George Gaiser
4/29 Wichita Falls: Dusty vs Danny Hodge
4/30 Oklahoma City: Dusty W Tony Gonzalez (Gonzalez subbed for Billy Red Lyons)

MAY 1971
5/2 Shreveport: Dusty W George Gaiser
5/3 Tulsa: Dusty W Scandor Akbar
5/4 Little Rock: Dusty W Billy Red Lyons
5/5 Greenville: Dusty & Doctor X W George Gaiser & Tom Jones
5/6 Jackson: Dusty vs Sputnik Monroe
5/7 Oklahoma City: Dusty W Ben Justice
5/10 Shreveport: Dusty & Doctor X W Bill Watts & Sputnik Monroe
5/11 Little Rock: Dusty L-DQ Danny Hodge
5/12 Vicksburg: Dusty & Doctor X vs Billy Red Lyons & Sputnik Monroe
5/13 Greenville: Dusty & Chuck Karbo vs Bill Watts & Randy Curtis
5/14 Oklahoma City: the newspaper listed different results in different editions; either Dusty W Bill Watts to win the North American title or Dusty D Danny Hodge
5/17 Shreveport: Dusty W Bill Watts (North American title)
5/18 Little Rock: Dusty W Red McKim
5/19 Jackson: Dusty vs Scandor Akbar
5/20 Greenville: Dusty & Doctor X L-REV Billy Red Lyons & Tom Jones; Dusty D Lyons in a preliminary bout
5/21 Oklahoma City: Dusty W Grizzly Smith (North American title)
5/24 Tulsa: Dusty & Doctor X W Bill Watts & Billy Red Lyons
5/25 Little Rock: Dusty W Luke Brown
5/26 Jackson: Dusty vs George Gaiser
5/27 Chalmette: Dusty vs George Gaiser
5/28 Oklahoma City: Dusty W Grizzly Smith
5/31 Shreveport: Dusty W-CO Grizzly Smith (North American title)

JUNE 1971
6/1 Little Rock: Dusty W-DQ Bill Watts (North American title)
6/2 Jackson: Dusty vs Grizzly Smith
6/3 Chalmette: Dusty W-CO Grizzly Smith (North American title)
6/4 Lafayette: Dusty & Doctor X vs Grizzly Smith & Luke Brown
6/7 Tulsa: Dusty L-DQ Bill Watts (North American title)
6/8 Little Rock: Dusty L Bill Watts (Texas Rules)
6/9 Baton Rouge: Dusty vs Bob Boyer
6/10 Chalmette: Dusty W Grizzly Smith (North American title)
6/11 Oklahoma City: Dusty W Bill Watts (North American title)
6/14 Shreveport: Dusty W Grizzly Smith (North American title)
6/15 Little Rock: Dusty vs Grizzly Smith (North American title)
6/16 Vicksburg: Dusty vs Pedro Columbo
6/17 Chalmette: Dusty vs Bill Watts (North American title)
6/18 Oklahoma City: Dusty L Spoiler ($2,000 Jackpot match)
6/21 Tulsa: Dusty & Doctor X L Bill Watts & Pat O'Connor (advertised as Watts & a mystery partner)
6/22 Monroe: Dusty DDQ Bill Watts (North American title)
6/23 Jackson: Dusty vs Grizzly Smith
6/24 Chalmette: Dusty & Doctor X vs Bill Watts & Grizzly Smith
6/25 Oklahoma City: Dusty L-DQ Spoiler (North American title)
6/28 Shreveport: Dusty L Spoiler (Texas Rules, non-title)
6/29 Tulsa: Dusty L-DQ Bill Watts (North American title)
6/30 Jackson: Dusty vs Spoiler

JULY 1971
7/1 Chalmette: Dusty L Spoiler (non-title)
7/2 Lafayette: Dusty L Spoiler (Texas Rules, non-title)
7/3 Greenwood: Dusty & Doctor X vs Billy Red Lyons & Tom Jones
7/5 Shreveport: Dusty was in a battle royal won by Spoiler #2
7/6 Monroe: Dusty & Rip Kirby L Billy Red Lyons & Tom Jones (US Tag Team titles)
7/7 Baton Rouge: Dusty W Silento Rodriguez; Dusty was in a battle royal won by Grizzly Smith
7/8 Chalmette: Dusty was in a battle royal
7/9 Lafayette: Dusty vs Spoiler (North American title)
7/12 Shreveport: Dusty L-DQ Spoiler (North American title)
7/13 Little Rock: Dusty L Spoiler (no referee)
7/14 Baton Rouge: Dusty L Grizzly Smith (no referee, no time limit, non-title)
7/15 Chalmette: Dusty L-DQ Spoiler (North American title)
7/17 Greenwood: Dusty vs Grizzly Smith
7/19 Shreveport: Dusty W Spoiler (North American title, DQ rule waived)
7/20 Little Rock: Dusty was in a battle royal won by Grizzly Smith
7/22 Wichita Falls: Dusty L Bill Watts (non-title)
7/23 Oklahoma City: Dusty W Spoiler (Brass Knucks)
7/26 Tulsa: Dusty L Spoiler (North American title; while no specifics were given we can assume Spoiler didn't win clean)
7/27 Little Rock: Dusty W Spoiler (North American title)
7/28 Jackson: Dusty vs Spoiler (North American title)
7/29 Chalmette: Dusty W Spoiler (North American title, DQ rule waived)
7/30 Lafayette: Dusty vs Spoiler (North American title)
7/31 Greenwood: Dusty vs Grizzly Smith (North American title)

AUGUST 1971
8/2 Shreveport: Dusty W Spoiler (Loser leaves town)
8/3 Tulsa: Dusty W Spoiler (Loser leaves town)
8/4 Jackson: Dusty vs Spoiler (Texas Rules)
8/5 Chalmette: Dusty W Spoiler (Brass Knucks)
8/6 Lafayette: Dusty vs Spoiler (Brass Knucks)
8/9 Shreveport: Dusty & Doctor X L Bill Watts & Grizzly Smith
8/10 Little Rock: Dusty W Grizzly Smith (North American title)
8/11 Jackson: Dusty vs Bill Watts (North American title)
8/12 Chalmette: Dusty & Rip Kirby L Bill Watts & Danny Hodge
8/13 Oklahoma City: Dusty & Terry Garvin L Bill Watts & Dale Lewis
8/16 Shreveport: Dusty W-DQ Bill Watts (North American title)
8/17 Little Rock: Dusty L-CO Bill Watts (North American title)
8/18 Jackson: Dusty & Doctor X vs Bill Watts & Grizzly Smith
8/19 Greenville: Dusty & Vic Muehler L Bill Watts & Dale Lewis
8/20 Lafayette: Dusty vs Bill Watts (North American title)
8/23 Shreveport: Dusty L Bill Watts (Brass Knucks)
8/24 Little Rock: Dusty & Rip Kirby L Bill Watts & Danny Hodge
8/25 Jackson: Dusty vs Bill Watts (Texas Rules)
8/26 New Orleans: Dusty L-DQ Bill Watts
8/27 Oklahoma City: Dusty & Rip Kirby L Bill Watts & Danny Hodge
8/30 Tulsa: Dusty L Bill Watts (Lumberjack match)
8/31 Monroe: Dusty & Rip Kirby L Bill Watts & Danny Hodge

SEPTEMBER 1971
9/1 Baton Rouge: Dusty & Terry Garvin L-DQ Billy Red Lyons & Danny Hodge
9/2 Greenville: Dusty L Dale Lewis
9/3 Lafayette: Dusty & Terry Garvin vs Billy Red Lyons & Tom Jones
9/6 Tulsa: Dusty DCO Dale Lewis (North American title)
9/7 Little Rock: Dusty & Doctor X & Terry Garvin L Billy Red Lyons & Dale Lewis & Tom Jones
9/8 Baton Rouge: Dusty & Terry Garvin L-REV Billy Red Lyons & Tom Jones (US Tag Team titles)
9/9 Greenville: Dusty & Chati Yokouchi & Yasu Fuji L Antonio Rocca & Apache Gringo & Tom Bradley; Dusty was advertised to defend the North American title vs Dale Lewis but Lewis didn't appear)
9/10 Oklahoma City: Dusty & Bob Sweetan & Doctor X L Bill Watts & Dale Lewis & Ivan Putski
9/13 Tulsa: Dusty W Dale Lewis (North American title)
9/14 Little Rock: Dusty L Dale Lewis (North American title; the newspaper said "Lewis Captures Rhode's Crown" but this does not appear to have been a title switch)
9/15 Baton Rouge: Dusty & Terry Garvin L Billy Red Lyons & Tom Jones (US Tag Team titles)
9/16 Chalmette: Dusty vs Bill Watts (Lumberjack match, non-title)
9/17 Lafayette: Dusty vs Bill Watts (Lumberjack match)
9/18 Greenwood: Dusty vs Dale Lewis (North American title)
9/20 Shreveport: Dusty DCO Dale Lewis (North American title)
9/21 Little Rock: Dusty L-DQ Dale Lewis (North American title, lumberjack match)
9/22 Jackson: Dusty vs Bill Watts (North American title, Texas Rules; this is the most likely date for Watts regaining the title)
9/23 Chalmette: Dusty D Dale Lewis
9/24 Lafayette: Dusty W Dale Lewis (North American title; the newspaper reports notes that "film disclosed" Dusty won with his feet on the ropes so a rematch was ordered for the following week)
9/25 Greenwood: Dusty vs Dale Lewis (North American title, lumberjack match)
9/27 Shreveport: Dusty W Dale Lewis (North American title, falls count anywhere)
9/28 Longview: Dusty & Chris Markoff vs Grizzly Smith & Tom Jones
9/29/ Baton Rouge: Dusty L-TKO Dale Lewis (North American title)
9/30/ Chalmette: Dusty vs Dale Lewis

OCTOBER 1971
10/1 Lafayette: Dusty vs Dale Lewis (two referees)
10/4 Shreveport: Dusty was scheduled to face Dory Funk Jr in an NWA World Heayweight title match but was reportedly in an automobile accident on the way to the arena; Dory instead faced and defeated Boris Malenko
10/5 Little Rock: Dusty L Dory Funk Jr (NWA World Heavyweight title)
10/6 Baton Rouge: Dusty W Dale Lewis (Texas Rules)
10/7 Chalmette: Dusty L Dory Funk Jr (NWA World Heavyweight title)
10/8 Lafayette: Dusty & Great Mephisto vs Dale Lewis & Grizzly Smith
10/11 Shreveport: Dusty NC Bill Watts (North American title; the newspaper reported that due to the no-contest decision both wrestlers' purses as well as the title were held up pending a rematch the following week)
10/12 Monroe: Dusty W-DQ Dale Lewis
10/13 Baton Rouge: Dusty W Bill Watts (North American title; Dusty was awarded the match and the title by the referee, but Sam Menacker then overruled the ref and declared Watts the winner)
10/14 Greenville: Dusty L-DQ Dale Lewis
10/15 Lafayette Dusty vs Bill Watts (North American title)
10/18 Shreveport: Dusty L Bill Watts (North American title; Watts was declared winner on a ruling by Sam Menacker)
10/19 Monroe: Dusty L-DQ Dale Lewis (no countouts; this stipulation may mean that the previous week's result listing Dusty as having won by DQ was actually by CO)
10/20 Baton Rouge: Dusty L Bill Watts (North American title, two referees one of whom was Grizzly Smith)
10/21 Chalmette: Dusty & Chris Markoff L Bill Watts & Ivan Putski
10/22 Lafayette: Dusty vs Ivan Putski
10/25 Tulsa: Dusty & Doctor X L Bob Ramstad & Ivan Putski
10/26 Monroe: Dusty & Bob Sweetan W Bob Ramstad & Ramon Torres
10/27 Jackson: Dusty & Boris Malenko vs Bob Ramstad & Dale Lewis
10/28 Chalmette: Dusty vs Ivan Putski
10/29 Oklahoma City: Dusty L Ivan Putski

NOVEMBER 1971
11/1 Shreveport: Dusty L-DQ Ivan Putski
11/2 Monroe: Dusty & Bob Sweetan L-DQ Billy Red Lyons & Tom Jones (US Tag Team titles)
11/3 Jackson: Dusty vs Ivan Putski
11/4 Chalmette: Dusty L Ivan Putski
11/5 Oklahoma City: Dusty L Ivan Putski (Come as you are)
11/8 Shreveport: Dusty L Ivan Putski (Texas Rules)
11/9 Little Rock: Dusty L-CO Ivan Putski
11/10 Jackson: Dusty vs Ivan Putski (Lumberjack match)
11/11 Chalmette: Dusty competed in a battle royal
11/12 Oklahoma City: Dusty L Ivan Putski (Loser leaves town)
11/15 Shreveport: Dusty L Ivan Putski (Loser leaves town)
11/16 Little Rock: Dusty L Ivan Putski (Falls count anywhere)
11/17 Jackson: Dusty vs Ivan Putski (Come as you are)
11/18 Chalmette: Dusty & Boris Malenko L-DQ Bill Watts & Ivan Putski
11/19 Lafayette: Dusty vs Ivan Putski (Come as you are)
11/20 Greenwood: Dusty vs Ivan Putski
11/22 Tulsa: Dusty L Ivan Putski (Come as you are)
11/23 Little Rock: Dusty L Ivan Putski (Texas Rules)
11/24 Baton Rouge: Dusty & Chris Markoff & Great Mephisto L Billy Red Lyons & Ivan Putski & Tom Jones
11/25 Chalmette: Dusty vs Ivan Putski

In addition to calculating his SPOT Rating in this territory, I also ran some rough calculations on the other territories Dusty worked between 1968 and 1971. Much of the data I used for the other territories came from wrestlingdata.com, though I used data from my own personal research where possible.


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. 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.

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