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Tri-State Wrestling: May 1980

Here's a look at Tri-State Wrestling in May 1980: The Birdman flies into town, NWA World champ Harley Race defends the title against a couple of non-regulars & more!

Here are the SPOT Ratings for the month.


COMINGS AND GOINGS

Newcomers to the territory this month are babyface Koko Ware and heel Haru Sonoda.

Koko made his pro debut in September 1978 at the age of 21. He spent the early part of his career going back and forth between the Jarrett and Gulas territories, plus a handful of TV appearances in Georgia. Sonoda, who also worked as Professor Sonoda and Magic Dragon, spent the first few years of his career wrestling for All Japan. He went to Puerto Rico in 1979 and then to Amarillo for a couple of months before coming here.

Leaving the territory during the month were heels Killer Karl Krupp and Mr Pogo.

After leaving here, Krupp spent a couple of weeks wrestling up north for Big Bear Promotions and the Sheik before starting for Jarrett in June. Pogo may have wrestled briefly in Amarillo before going to wrestle for Gulas as the Great Togo.

Other wrestlers not listed in the SPOT Ratings: Bruiser Brody, David Von Erich, Harley Race, Jim Hayes, Joe Skye, Roger Mason, the Spoiler, the Super Destroyer, Ted Heath and Terry Garvin and women wrestlers Joyce Grable, Judy Martin, Leilani Kai and Wendi Richter.

Harley came in to defend the NWA World Heavyweight title against Brody in Tulsa on May 5th and David Von Erich in Springfield on the 7th. He defeated Brody and went to a double count-out with Von Erich. He did not wrestle in Fort Smith on the 6th; records show he worked the WWWF TV tapings in Allentown.

The Spoiler was likely Don Jardine; at the very least, there is no evidence it wasn't Jardine. The Super Destroyer, however, was likely someone other than Scott Irwin, as Scott was wrestling in Florida full-time. Roger Mason may have been Roger Smith.

CH-CH-CHANGES

Title Changes: The promotion may not have had any titles actively acknowledged at this time. The last known tag champs were Tommy & Eddie Gilbert. While Jerry Brown & Steve Lawler are teaming regularly here, there is no mention in any of the newspaper ads of their matches being title defenses. There were no singles titles in the territory, as Les Thornton left the area after winning the NWA World Junior Heavyweight title here at the end of March.

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Here are the FEUD Scores for the month.


ANATOMY OF A FEUD

This month we'll dissect the feud between Brian Blair & Tommy Gilbert and Jerry Brown & Steve Lawler, looking at all of the known matches between them with results and stipulations noted where available.

Keep in mind that some newspapers didn't list details, so just because a match isn't specified as a title match we don't necessarily know for a fact that it was non-title and the same can apply for stipulation bouts. Also, "Wrestler A defeated Wrestler B" doesn't necessarily mean it was by pinfall or submission.

April 29 Fort Smith AR: Brian Blair & Tommy Gilbert vs Jerry Brown & Steve Lawler
May 5 Tulsa OK: Brian Blair & Tommy Gilbert defeated Jerry Brown & Steve Lawler
May 6 Fort Smith AR: Brian Blair & Tommy Gilbert vs Jerry Brown & Steve Lawler (one hour time limit)
May 13 Fort Smith AR: Brian Blair & Tommy Gilbert vs Jerry Brown & Steve Lawler (Texas death rules)
May 16 Oklahoma City OK: Brian Blair & Tommy Gilbert vs Jerry Brown & Steve Lawler
May 21 Springfield MO: Jerry Brown & Steve Lawler defeated Brian Blair & Tommy Gilbert

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Here is the calendar of known house shows:


HOUSE SHOW LINEUPS
(unless stated otherwise, these lineups are from my own personal research)
Stipulations listed when known; keep in mind that some matches not specified as title matches may have actually been title bouts and the same can apply for stipulation matches.

4/28/80 Tulsa OK
-Battle royal featuring Brian Blair, Don Bass, El Mongol, Jerry Brown, Killer Karl Krupp, King Parsons, Steve Lawler and Tommy Gilbert
-Women's World Tag Team titles: Joyce Grable & Wendi Richter vs Judy Martin & Leilani Kai
-plus four other bouts

4/29/80 Fort Smith AR
-Women's World Tag Team titles: Joyce Grable & Wendi Richter vs Judy Martin & Leilani Kai
-Don Bass vs Killer Karl Krupp
-Brian Blair & Tommy Gilbert vs Jerry Brown & Steve Lawler
-El Mongol vs King Parsons

4/30/80 Springfield MO
-Battle royal featuring Brian Blair, Don Bass, El Mongol, Jerry Brown, Killer Karl Krupp, King Parsons, Steve Lawler and Tommy Gilbert
-Women's World Tag Team titles: Joyce Grable & Wendi Richter vs Judy Martin & Leilani Kai
-plus four other bouts

5/3/80 Little Rock AR
-Killer Karl Krupp vs Tommy Gilbert
-Women's World Tag Team titles: Joyce Grable & Wendi Richter vs Judy Martin & Leilani Kai
-Brian Blair & King Parsons vs Jerry Brown & Steve Lawler
-plus one other bout

5/5/80 Tulsa OK
-NWA World Heavyweight title: Bruiser Brody vs Harley Race
-Brian Blair & Tommy Gilbert vs Jerry Brown & Steve Lawler
-Don Bass vs King Parsons
-Bill Ash vs Super Destroyer
-El Mongol vs Jim Hayes

5/6/80 Fort Smith AR
-Brian Blair & Tommy Gilbert vs Jerry Brown & Steve Lawler (one hour time limit)
-David Von Erich vs Don Bass
-El Mongol vs Terry Garvin
-Bill Ash vs King Parsons

5/7/80 Springfield MO
-NWA World Heavyweight title: David Von Erich vs Harley Race
-Brian Blair vs Jerry Brown
-Don Bass & Steve Lawler vs King Parsons & Tommy Gilbert
-Bill Ash vs El Mongol

5/12/80 Tulsa OK
-Texas Death rules: Brian Blair & David Von Erich & Tommy Gilbert vs Don Bass & Jerry Brown & Steve Lawler
-El Mongol vs King Parsons
-Joe Skye vs Terry Garvin
-Bill Ash vs Jim Hayes

5/13/80 Fort Smith AR
-Texas Death rules: Brian Blair & Tommy Gilbert vs Jerry Brown & Steve Lawler
-El Mongol vs King Parsons
-Don Bass vs Joe Skye
-Bill Ash vs Jim Hayes

5/14/80 Springfield MO
-Texas Death rules: Brian Blair vs Jerry Brown
-King Parsons vs Steve Lawler
-Don Bass vs Tommy Gilbert
-El Mongol vs Jim Hayes
-Bill Ash vs Joe Skye

5/16/80 Oklahoma City OK
-David Von Erich vs Spoiler
-Brian Blair & Tommy Gilbert vs Jerry Brown & Steve Lawler
-El Mongol vs Ted Heath
-Don Bass vs King Parsons
-Bill Ash vs Joe Skye
-plus a battle royal

5/19/80 Tulsa OK
-Texas Death rules: Brian Blair vs Jerry Brown
-Don Bass & Roger Mason vs King Parsons & Koko Ware
-Steve Lawler vs Tommy Gilbert
-Haru Sonoda vs Ted Heath
-Bill Ash vs El Mongol

5/20/80 Fort Smith AR
-Texas Death rules: Brian Blair vs Jerry Brown
-King Parsons vs Roger Mason
-Steve Lawler vs Tommy Gilbert
-Don Bass vs Ted Heath
-El Mongol vs Koko Ware

5/21/80 Springfield MO
-Brian Blair & Tommy Gilbert vs Jerry Brown & Steve Lawler
-King Parsons vs Roger Mason
-Don Bass vs Koko Ware
-Haru Sonoda vs Ted Heath

5/23/80 Oklahoma City OK (source: oklafan.com)
-Brian Blair & King Parsons & Tommy Gilbert vs Jerry Brown & Spoiler & Steve Lawler
El Mongol
-Don Bass vs Koko Ware
-Haru Sonoda vs Ted Heath

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