Tri-State Wrestling: Jul-Sep 1980

Here's a look at Tri-State Wrestling in the third quarter of 1980: Don Bass gets pushed as a main-event babyface, newcomer Terry Gibbs becomes the first-ever Tri-State Heavyweight champ & more!

Because Tri-State is such a small territory and there’s not a whole lot of changes week-to-week, covering it in three-month batches leads to a better overview of the territory.

Here are the SPOT Ratings for the quarter.


COMINGS AND GOINGS

Newcomers to the territory this quarter are babyfaces Ron Sexton and Terry Gibbs and heels Doug Somers, Mack Derrick, Mike Diamond, Mr Pogo and Ron McFarlane.

Sexton came in from Mid-Atlantic and Gibbs came in from ICW (Poffo). 

Like Sexton, Somers came in from Mid-Atlantic. Several sources list Mike Diamond as David Strawn aka Kortsia Korchenko. He is also believed to have worked as Skull Murphy Jr in Tennessee before coming here. Pogo (Tetsuo Sekigawa) had also been wrestling in Tennessee as Great Togo. McFarlane came in from Mid-South. I don’t have any info on Mack Derrick; he was here for just four weeks and I can’t find records of anyone with that name having a regular stint anywhere else.

Leaving the territory during the quarter were babyface Don Bass, King Parsons, Koko Ware and Tommy Gilbert and heels El Mongol and the Spoiler.

Bass’ next known whereabouts are in Japan for IWE in September. Parsons appears to show up in Germany in October. Ware, Gilbert and Mongol all go to Memphis. The Spoiler (Don Jardine) is actually bouncing back-and-forth between here and Florida and then appears to take a couple of months off.

Other wrestlers not listed in the SPOT Ratings: David Von Erich, Ed Wiskoski, Justin Gross, Kenny Milsap, Kerry Von Erich, Killer Karl Kox, Les Thornton, Mr X and Terry Garvin and midget wrestlers Cowboy Lang and Little Tokyo.
Wiskoski, Kox and Wahoo were all part of a tournament held in September (see Title Changes section below. David Von Erich came in for two separate shows about a month apart while Kerry came in for one. Thornton came in for two weeks to defend the NWA World Junior Heavyweight title; he faced Koko Ware three times and Tommy Gilbert once plus worked a tag team match.

CH-CH-CHANGES

Title Changes: A one-night tournament was held in Tulsa on September 7th to crown the first Tri-State Heavyweight champion. In addition to much of the regular crew, also advertised for the tourney were Wahoo McDaniel, Killer Karl Kox and Ed Wiskoski. In a shocker, the winner was newcomer Terry Gibbs, who defeated Mr Pogo in the finals.
Most title history sites/sources list Doug Somers & Ron McFarlane holding the Tri-State Tag Team titles around this time, but no date is given for a title switch (previous champs were Eddie & Tommy Gilbert). None of the newspaper ads I have for this quarter make any reference to the titles or to Somers & McFarlane being champs. 

Role Changes: One of the more surprising babyface turns (and pushes) you’ll see comes early in the quarter, as long-time journeyman heel mid-card wrestler Don Bass turned babyface and had a main event level feud with the Spoiler. Bass is best known for his many stints in Memphis both as Don Bass and as any number of masked gimmicks over the years. In addition, Steve Lawler turned babyface. He was a heel up through the end of June, then is off the cards for a few weeks before returning as a babyface. I would guess there was an injury angle, and the angle may have been based around a legitimate injury due to his being off the cards for a month (and I have no records of him working anywhere else during that time). It also appears the Spoiler turned babyface right before finishing up, he teamed with Lawler twice in late August. Since he doesn’t have a “sustained run” as a babyface, I didn’t note it in the SPOT Ratings chart.
Doug Somers & Ron McFarlane form a tag team in August and feud with the semi-regular tag team of babyfaces Hector Guerrero & Ron Sexton.

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Here are the FEUD Scores for the quarter.


ANATOMY OF A FEUD

This quarter we'll look at the feud between Brian Blair and Mr Pogo, 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.

8/15/80 Oklahoma City, OK: Brian Blair vs Mr Pogo

8/18/80 Tulsa, OK: Brian Blair wrestled Mr Pogo to a double disqualification
8/25/80 Tulsa, OK: Mr Pogo beat Brian Blair in a no disqualification match
9/1/80 Tulsa, OK: Brian Blair wrestled Mr Pogo to a double disqualification in a Brass Knucks match
9/15/80 Tulsa, OK: Brian Blair defeated Mr Pogo (special referee Steve Lawler)
9/22/80 Tulsa, OK: Mr Pogo defeated Brian Blair in a loser leaves town match

8/19/80 Fort Smith, AR: Brian Blair vs Mr Pogo
8/26/80 Fort Smith, AR: Brian Blair vs Mr Pogo
9/2/80 Fort Smith, AR: Brian Blair vs Mr Pogo in a lumberjack match (in which the lumberjacks had belts)
9/16/80 Fort Smith, AR: Brian Blair vs Mr Pogo with Scandor Akbar handcuffed to the ring(post)
9/25/80 Fort Smith, AR: Brian Blair vs Mr Pogo in a loser leaves town match

8/20/80 Springfield, MO: Brian Blair defeated Mr Pogo
8/27/80 Springfield, MO: Mr Pogo beat Brian Blair in a no disqualification match
9/3/80 Springfield, MO: Brian Blair beat Mr Pogo in a falls county anywhere match
9/17/80 Springfield, MO: Brian Blair vs Mr Pogo with Scandor Akbar handcuffed to the ring(post)
9/24/80 Springfield, MO: Brian Blair vs Mr Pogo in a loser leaves town match

8/30/80 Little Rock, AR: Brian Blair vs Mr Pogo in a no disqualification match
9/14/80 Little Rock, AR: Brian Blair vs Mr Pogo in a Brass Knucks match

9/18/80 Joplin, MO: Brian Blair vs Mr Pogo in a Brass Knucks match
9/27/80 Joplin, MO: Brian Blair vs Mr Pogo in a lumberjack match (in which the lumberjacks had belts)

It would appear Pogo won the loser leaves town bouts, as that is Blair’s last week in the territory while Pogo sticks around until March 1981

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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.

6/30/80 Tulsa, OK
-Brian Blair & Koko Ware vs Les Thornton & Spoiler
-Scandor Akbar vs Tommy Gilbert
-Don Bass vs King Parsons
-Haru Sonoda vs Hector Guerrero
-Mack Derrick vs Ron Sexton

7/1/80 Fort Smith, AR
-Brian Blair & Tommy Gilbert vs Scandor Akbar & Spoiler
-Haru Sonoda vs Koko Ware
-King Parsons vs Mack Derrick
-Hector Guerrero vs Ron Sexton

7/2/80 Springfield, MO
-Brian Blair & Tommy Gilbert vs Scandor Akbar & Spoiler
-Don Bass vs Koko Ware
-Haru Sonoda vs King Parsons
-Hector Guerrero vs Ron Sexton

7/5/80 Little Rock, AR
-NWA World Junior Heavyweight title: Koko Ware vs Les Thornton
-Two referees: Brian Blair vs Spoiler
-Scandor Akbar vs Tommy Gilbert
-Don Bass vs King Parsons
-Haru Sonoda & Mack Derrick vs Hector Guerrero & Ron Sexton

7/7/80 Tulsa, OK
-NWA World Junior Heavyweight title: Koko Ware vs Les Thornton
-Elimination match: Brian Blair & Don Bass & Terry Garvin vs Haru Sonoda & Scandor Akbar & Spoiler
-Hector Guerrero vs Ron Sexton
-King Parsons vs Mack Derrick

7/8/80 Fort Smith, AR
-NWA World Junior Heavyweight title: Les Thornton vs Tommy Gilbert
-Elimination match: Brian Blair & Don Bass & Koko Ware vs Haru Sonoda & Scandor Akbar & Spoiler
-Hector Guerrero vs Ron Sexton
-plus one other bout

7/9/80 Springfield, MO
-NWA World Junior Heavyweight title: Koko Ware vs Les Thornton
-Brian Blair & Don Bass vs Scandor Akbar & Spoiler
-Haru Sonoda vs Tommy Gilbert
-King Parsons vs Mack Derrick

7/14/80 Tulsa, OK
-Don Bass vs Spoiler
-Hands taped: Koko Ware & Tommy Gilbert vs Ron McFarlane & Scandor Akbar
-Brian Blair vs Haru Sonoda
-King Parsons vs Ron Sexton
-Hector Guerrero vs Mack Derrick

7/15/80 Fort Smith, AR
-Don Bass vs Spoiler
-Hands taped: Koko Ware & Tommy Gilbert vs Ron McFarlane & Scandor Akbar
-Haru Sonoda vs Ron Sexton
-Hector Guerrero vs Mack Derrick

7/16/80 Springfield, MO
-No disqualification: Don Bass vs Spoiler
-Koko Ware & Tommy Gilbert vs Ron McFarlane & Scandor Akbar
-Brian Blair vs King Parsons
-Haru Sonoda vs Ron Sexton

7/19/80 Little Rock, AR
-Lumberjack match: Don Bass vs Spoiler
-Brian Blair & Tommy Gilbert vs Ron McFarlane & Scandor Akbar
-Haru Sonoda vs Koko Ware
-Hector Guerrero vs Mack Derrick

7/20/80 Pine Bluff, AR
-Brian Blair & Tommy Gilbert vs Scandor Akbar & Spoiler
-Don Bass vs Ron McFarlane
-Koko Ware vs Mack Derrick
-Haru Sonoda vs Hector Guerrero

7/21/80 Tulsa, OK
-Lumberjack bounty match: Don Bass vs Spoiler
-Ron McFarlane vs Tommy Gilbert
-Brian Blair & Koko Ware vs Haru Sonoda & Mack Derrick
-Hector Guerrero vs Terry Garvin

7/22/80 Fort Smith, AR
-Lumberjack bounty match: Don Bass vs Spoiler
-Ron McFarlane vs Tommy Gilbert
-Haru Sonoda & Mack Derrick vs Hector Guerrero & Koko Ware
-Ron Sexton vs Terry Garvin

7/23/80 Springfield, MO
-Lumberjack bounty match: Don Bass vs Spoiler
-Ron McFarlane vs Tommy Gilbert
-Haru Sonoda & Mack Derrick vs Hector Guerrero & Ron Sexton
-Koko Ware vs Terry Garvin

7/28/80 Tulsa, OK
-Texas tornado match: David Von Erich & Don Bass vs Mr Pogo & Spoiler
-Ron McFarlane vs Tommy Gilbert
-Haru Sonoda vs Steve Lawler
-Koko Ware vs Mike Diamond
-Doug Somers vs Ron Sexton

7/29/80 Fort Smith, AR
-Ring enclosed by steel fence: Don Bass vs Spoiler
-Ron McFarlane vs Tommy Gilbert
-Koko Ware vs Mr Pogo
-Haru Sonoda vs Steve Lawler
-Doug Somers vs Hector Guerrero

7/30/80 Springfield, MO
-Bullrope match: Don Bass vs Spoiler
-Ron McFarlane vs Tommy Gilbert
-Mr Pogo vs Ron Sexton
-Haru Sonoda vs Steve Lawler
-Doug Somers vs Hector Guerrero

8/4/80 Joplin, MO
-Brian Blair & Koko Ware & Tommy Gilbert vs Mr Pogo & Ron McFarlane & Scandor Akbar
-Doug Somers vs Steve Lawler
-Haru Sonoda vs Ron Sexton

8/5/80 Fort Smith, AR
-Mr Pogo vs Tommy Gilbert
-Ron McFarlane vs Steve Lawler
-Brian Blair vs Doug Somers
-Haru Sonoda vs Koko Ware
-Mr X vs Ron Sexton

8/6/80 Springfield, MO
-Mr Pogo vs Tommy Gilbert
-Ron McFarlane vs Steve Lawler
-Brian Blair & Koko Ware vs Doug Somers & Haru Sonoda
-Hector Guerrero vs Mr X

8/11/80 Tulsa, OK
-Brian Blair & Tommy Gilbert vs Mr Pogo & Spoiler
-Ron McFarlane vs Steve Lawler
-Doug Somers vs Koko Ware
-Haru Sonoda vs Ron Sexton
-Hector Guerrero vs Mike Diamond

8/12/80 Fort Smith, AR
-Brian Blair vs Spoiler
-Mr Pogo vs Tommy Gilbert
-Doug Somers & Ron McFarlane vs Ron Sexton & Steve Lawler
-Haru Sonoda vs Hector Guerrero

8/13/80 Springfield, MO
-Challenge match: Mr Pogo vs Tommy Gilbert
-Doug Somers & Justin Gross vs Koko Ware & Steve Lawler
-Koko Ware vs Ron Sexton
-Hector Guerrero vs Mike Diamond

8/15/80 Oklahoma City, OK (source: wrestlingdata.com)
-Brian Blair vs Mr Pogo
-Doug Somers & Ron McFarlane vs Steve Lawler & Tommy Gilbert
-Haru Sonoda vs Kerry Von Erich
-Koko Ware vs Mike Diamond

8/16/80 Pine Bluff, AR
-Mr Pogo vs Tommy Gilbert
-Ron McFarlane vs Steve Lawler
-Doug Somers vs Ron Sexton
-Haru Sonoda vs Koko Ware
-Hector Guerrero vs Mike Diamond
-Plus an 11 man battle royal that also included Scandor Akbar

8/18/80 Tulsa, OK
-Doug Somers & Ron McFarlane vs Spoiler & Steve Lawler (if Lawler’s team wins he gets Akbar next week)
-Brian Blair vs Mr Pogo
-Haru Sonoda vs Hector Guerrero
-Koko Ware vs Mr X
-Kenny Milsap vs Ron Sexton

8/19/80 Fort Smith, AR
-Doug Somers & Ron McFarlane vs Spoiler & Steve Lawler (if Lawler’s team wins he gets Akbar next week)
-Brian Blair vs Mr Pogo
-Haru Sonoda vs Koko Ware
-Mike Diamond vs Ron Sexton

8/20/80 Springfield, MO
-Brian Blair vs Mr Pogo
-Ron McFarlane vs Steve Lawler (if Lawler wins he gets Akbar next week)
-Doug Somers vs Hector Guerrero
-Haru Sonoda vs Koko Ware
-Mike Diamond vs Ron Sexton

8/22/80 Shawnee, OK
-Brian Blair & Tommy Gilbert vs Mr Pogo & Ron McFarlane
-Doug Somers vs Steve Lawler
-Hector Guerrero vs Mike Diamond
-Haru Sonoda vs Ron Sexton

8/25/80 Tulsa, OK
-Scandor Akbar vs Steve Lawler
-No disqualification: Brian Blair vs Mr Pogo
-David Von Erich & Koko Ware vs Doug Somers & Ron McFarlane
-Haru Sonoda vs Hector Guerrero
-Mike Diamond vs Terry Gibbs

8/26/80 Fort Smith, AR
-Scandor Akbar vs Steve Lawler
-Brian Blair vs Mr Pogo
-Doug Somers & Ron McFarlane vs Hector Guerrero & Koko Ware
-Haru Sonoda vs Terry Gibbs

8/27/80 Springfield, MO
-Scandor Akbar vs Steve Lawler
-No disqualification: Brian Blair vs Mr Pogo
-Doug Somers & Ron McFarlane vs Hector Guerrero & Ron Sexton
-Mike Diamond vs Terry Gibbs

8/30/80 Little Rock, AR
-Scandor Akbar vs Steve Lawler
-No disqualification: Brian Blair vs Mr Pogo
-Doug Somers & Ron McFarlane vs Koko Ware & Ron Sexton
-Haru Sonoda vs Hector Guerrero
-Mike Diamond vs Terry Gibbs

9/1/80 Tulsa, OK
-Scandor Akbar vs Steve Lawler (Akbar to be suspended if he runs from the ring)
-Brass Knucks match: Brian Blair vs Mr Pogo
-Doug Somers & Ron McFarlane vs Hector Guerrero & Ron Sexton
-Haru Sonoda vs Terry Gibbs
-Koko Ware vs Mike Diamond

9/2/80 Fort Smith, AR
-Scandor Akbar vs Steve Lawler (Akbar to be suspended if he runs from the ring)
-Lumberjacks with belts: Brian Blair vs Mr Pogo
-Doug Somers & Ron McFarlane vs Hector Guerrero & Ron Sexton
-Koko Ware vs Mike Diamond

9/3/80 Springfield, MO
-Scandor Akbar vs Steve Lawler (Akbar to be suspended if he runs from the ring)
-Falls count anywhere: Brian Blair vs Mr Pogo
-Doug Somers & Ron McFarlane vs Hector Guerrero & Ron Sexton
-Haru Sonoda vs Terry Gibbs

9/7/80 Tulsa, OK
-Cage match: Scandor Akbar vs Steve Lawler
-One night tournament for the Tri-State Heavyweight title featuring Brian Blair, Doug Somers, Ed Wiskowski, Haru Sonoda, Hector Guerrero, Killer Karl Kox, Koko Ware, Mr Pogo, Ron McFarlane, Ron Sexton, Spoiler, Terry Gibbs and Wahoo McDaniel
Cowboy Lang vs Little Tokyo

9/9/80 Fort Smith, AR
-Russian chain match: Scandor Akbar vs Steve Lawler
-Midget World title match: Cowboy Lang vs Little Tokyo
-Doug Somers & Mr Pogo & Ron McFarlane vs Ed Wiskowski & Koko Ware & Terry Gibbs
-plus one other bout, likely a singles match involving participants from the six-man

9/10/80 Springfield, MO
-Russian chain match: Scandor Akbar vs Steve Lawler
-Midget World title match: Cowboy Lang vs Little Tokyo
-Doug Somers & Mr Pogo & Ron McFarlane vs Ed Wiskowski & Hector Guerrero & Ron Sexton
-Prelim: McFarlane vs Sexton

9/14/80 Little Rock, AR
-Cage match: Scandor Akbar vs Steve Lawler
-Brass Knucks match: Brian Blair vs Mr Pogo
-Midget title match: Cowboy Lang vs Little Tokyo
-Doug Somers & Ron McFarlane vs Hector Guerrero & Ron Sexton
-Haru Sonoda vs Terry Gibbs
-Koko Ware vs Mike Diamond

9/15/80 Tulsa, OK
-Killer Karl Kox vs Spoiler
-Brian Blair vs Mr Pogo (special referee Steve Lawler)
-Doug Somers & Ron McFarlane vs Ron Sexton & Terry Gibbs
-Haru Sonoda vs Koko Ware
-Hector Guerrero vs Mike Diamond

9/16/80 Fort Smith, AR
-Cage match: Scandor Akbar vs Steve Lawler
-Brian Blair vs Mr Pogo (Akbar handcuffed to ringpost)
-Doug Somers & Ron McFarlane vs Koko Ware & Terry Gibbs
-Haru Sonoda vs Ron Sexton

9/17/80 Springfield, MO
-Cage match: Scandor Akbar vs Steve Lawler
-Brian Blair vs Mr Pogo (Akbar handcuffed to ringpost)
-Doug Somers & Ron McFarlane vs Hector Guerrero & Ron Sexton
-Mr X vs Terry Gibbs

9/18/80 Joplin, MO
-Scandor Akbar vs Steve Lawler (Akbar to be suspended if he runs from the ring)
-Brass knucks match: Brian Blair vs Mr Pogo
-Doug Somers & Ron McFarlane vs Ron Sexton & Terry Gibbs
-Haru Sonoda vs Koko Ware

9/22/80 Tulsa, OK
-Loser leaves town: Brian Blair vs Mr Pogo
-Scandor Akbar vs Wahoo McDaniel
-Doug Somers vs Steve Lawler
-Ron McFarlane vs Terry Gibbs
-Haru Sonoda vs Ron Sexton
-Hector Guerrero vs Mr X

9/24/80 Springfield, MO
-Loser leaves town: Brian Blair vs Mr Pogo
-Doug Somers vs Steve Lawler
-Ron McFarlane vs Terry Gibbs
-Mike Diamond vs Ron Sexton
-Haru Sonoda vs Hector Guerrero

9/25/80 Fort Smith, AR
-Loser leaves town: Brian Blair vs Mr Pogo
-Doug Somers vs Steve Lawler
-Ron McFarlane vs Terry Gibbs
-Haru Sonoda vs Hector Guerrero
-Mr X vs Ron Sexton

9/27/80 Joplin, MO
-Cage match: Scandor Akbar vs Steve Lawler
-Lumberjacks with belts: Brian Blair vs Mr Pogo
-Doug Somers & Ron McFarlane vs Hector Guerrero & Ron Sexton
-Haru Sonoda vs Terry Gibbs
-plus one other bout, likely a singles match involving participants from the tag bout

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