Stats 101: Ronnie Garvin in McGuirk OK/LA territory, 1975

This month on Stats 101, we will look at Ronnie Garvin's 1971 run in LeRoy McGuirk's territory using the statistics we have developed to measure a wrestlers' role in the territorial era.

Ronnie Garvin (Roger Barnes) turned 30 years old on March 30th, 1975. The next day, he wrestled in Shreveport, Louisiana, marking the first time in almost 10 years he worked for promoter LeRoy McGuirk. In early 1965, Ronnie had been teaming with his “older brother” and fellow Montreal native Terry Garvin (Terrance Joyal) in the recently opened Louisiana end of Lee Fields’ Gulf Coast territory. Terry left Gulf Coast to work for McGuirk, but LeRoy wouldn’t book Ronnie on the house shows. He did, however, have him work some TVs as enhancement talent. In one of those matches, Ronnie faced a man making his professional wrestling debut, Jack Brisco.

A decade later, Garvin came back to McGuirk’s territory as a heel and was being groomed as a contender for the NWA Junior Heavyweight title, held at the time by Ken Mantell. Their first house show singles match took place on April 19th in Shreveport, and they had at least 16 matches over the next eight weeks, most of which were title bouts. After Mantell lost the title to Hiro Matsuda on June 14th, it seemed to signal the beginning of the end of Garvin’s run here. He continued his feud with Mantell for a few more weeks, but in most of the towns in the territory those matches were blowoffs won by Mantell, sometimes with Texas death match (sometimes billed as “Texas rules”) stipulations.

To look at Ronnie Garvin’s “spot” on the cards here, we use the SPOT Rating. SPOT stands for Statistical Position Over Time, and it measures a wrestlers' average position on the card. The SPOT Rating basically serves to place wrestlers in a "depth chart" based on who was most frequently in the main events, who was most often in preliminary bouts, and who was somewhere in between those two levels. SPOT Rating is expressed as a two-digit decimal between 0 and 1, with a SPOT of 1.00 meaning the wrestler was ALWAYS in the main event of cards they were advertised on in a given time period.

I looked at all the wrestlers who were "regular" members of McGuirk’s roster during the 18-week period in 1975 that Garvin was there full-time. They are as follows:

MAIN EVENTERS (SPOT Rating between .80 and 1.00)
Bill Watts, Bob Sweetan, Danny Hodge, Danny Miller, Dick Murdoch, Hiro Matsuda, Ken Mantell, Scandor Akbar, and Vic Muehler

UPPER MID-CARDERS (SPOT Rating between .60 and .80)
Buck Robley, Frank Goodish, Grizzly Smith, Hippie Boyette (Mike Boyette), Jack Curtis Jr., Johnny Eagles, Killer Karl Kox, the Pro (Tarzan Baxter), Roberto Soto, Ronnie Garvin, Stan Hansen, and Tom Jones

MID-CARDERS (SPOT Rating between .40 and .60)
Alan Klein, Bill Dromo, Gene Lewis, Igor Putski, Ivan Crnkovic, Jay Clayton, Jerry Miller, Otto Von Heller, Pork Chop Cash, Ted DiBiase, and Ted Heath

Argentina Zuma, Bill Ash, Bobby Burns, Dick Reynolds, Inca Peru, Mitsuo Hata, Silento Rodriguez, and Tony Russo

Here is a chart showing the crew and their week-by-week SPOT Ratings. You may need to click on it or download it to make it large enough to read:

While Garvin is listed as an Upper Mid-Carder, he did spend several weeks as a Main Eventer. In 9 of his 18 weeks here, his SPOT Rating was above .80, and it was above .90 for 2 weeks. But since he spent several weeks getting “pushed” up the cards after he debuted, and a few weeks being moved down the cards as he was finishing up, when we look at his entire run here his average weekly SPOT Rating puts him in the Upper Mid-Carder category. Looking at the other wrestlers just above and below him in the above chart, you can see he’s still in pretty good company. He’s just below Stan Hansen and Frank Goodish (the future Bruiser Brody) and just above Buck Robley and Tom Jones.

Below is a list of all of Garvin’s advertised matches in the 9 different weekly towns/markets where he had at least 6 matches. Instead of listing all his matches chronologically, they are split up chronologically by city. This allows us to see the progression of Garvin’s opponents in each market. Stipulations are noted where available, but keep in mind that the newspaper ads didn't always list the stipulations.

4/1 vs Argentina Zuma
4/8 vs Ted Heath
4/18 vs Johnny Eagles
6/3 vs Jack Curtis Jr.
6/10 vs Grizzly Smith & Tom Jones (w/Gene Lewis)
6/17 vs Ken Mantell & Roberto Soto (w/Bob Sweetan)
6/24 vs Ken Mantell
7/1 vs Ken Mantell & Roberto Soto (w/Bob Sweetan)

4/2 vs Silento Rodriguez
4/9 vs Ted Heath
4/16 vs Argentina Zuma
4/23 vs Ted Heath
4/30 vs Johnny Eagles
6/11 vs Ken Mantell & Tom Jones (w/Bob Sweetan)
6/18 vs Ken Mantell (one fall sudden death)
6/25 vs Ken Mantell (Texas death match)
7/2 vs Grizzly Smith & Ken Mantell (w/Bob Sweetan)
7/9 vs Grizzly Smith & Ken Mantell (w/Bob Sweetan; Texas tornado match, one fall to a finish)
7/16 vs Roberto Soto
7/23 vs Grizzly Smith (chain match)
7/30 vs Grizzly Smith & Ken Mantell (w/Bill Dromo)

4/3 vs Igor Putski
4/10 vs Alan Klein
4/17 vs Argentina Zuma (New Orleans)
5/15 vs Bill Watts & Danny Miller (w/Bob Sweetan)
6/12 vs Ken Mantell (NWA World Junior Heavyweight title)
6/19 vs Ken Mantell (Texas rules)
7/3 vs Bill Dromo & Grizzly Smith (w/Scandor Akbar)
7/31 vs Bill Dromo (New Orleans)

5/18 vs Argentina Zuma
6/1 vs Danny Miller & Roberto Soto (w/Bob Sweetan)
6/15 vs Jay Clayton & Vic Muehler (w/Bob Sweetan)
6/22 vs Grizzly Smith & Roberto Soto (w/Bob Sweetan)
6/29 vs Roberto Soto
7/6 vs Roberto Soto (one fall, sudden death)
7/13 vs Ken Mantell
7/27 vs Igor Putski

4/4 vs Igor Putski
4/11 vs Grizzly Smith & Ted Heath (w/Bill Ash)
4/18 vs Argentina Zuma
5/16 vs Danny Miller & Tom Jones (w/Ciclon Negro)
6/13 vs Ken Mantell (NWA World Junior Heavyweight title)
6/20 vs Ken Mantell (NWA World Junior Heavyweight title / Texas death match; Mantell lost the title a few days before the match so presumably it ended up being just a Texas death match)

4/5 vs Tapu
4/12 competed in a battle royal
4/20 competed in a battle royal
4/26 vs Igor Putski
5/3 vs Igor Putski (no disqualification, must be a winner)
5/10 vs Johnny Eagles (Texas rules, loser leave town; results not available but Eagles was about to leave the territory so it’s reasonable to assume he lost)
5/17 vs Grizzly Smith & Igor Putski (w/Jerry Miller; Putski and Garvin also faced off in a preliminary match on the card where Putski offered $300 if Garvin could pin him in 10 minutes)
6/14 vs Jay Clayton & Silento Rodriguez (w/Ted DiBiase)
7/26 vs Roberto Soto

4/15 vs Argentina Zuma
6/2 vs Ted Heath
6/9 vs Ken Mantell (NWA World Junior Heavyweight title)
6/16 vs Ken Mantell (Texas death match)
6/23 vs Ken Mantell & Tom Jones (w/Bob Sweetan)
6/30 vs Ken Mantell & Tom Jones (w/Bob Sweetan; Texas tornado match)
7/21 vs Vic Muehler
7/28 vs Vic Muehler (chain match)

3/31 vs Argentina Zuma
4/7 vs Igor Putski
4/14 vs Johnny Eagles
4/19 vs Ken Mantell
4/29 vs Ken Mantell (NWA World Junior Heavyweight title)
5/6 vs Ken Mantell & Vic Muehler (w/Scandor Akbar)
5/13 vs Ken Mantell (NWA World Junior Heavyweight title)
5/20 vs Ken Mantell (NWA World Junior Heavyweight title)
5/27 vs Danny Hodge & Ken Mantell (w/Scandor Akbar)
7/8 vs Danny Hodge & Ken Mantell (w/Rip Tyler)
7/15 vs Ken Mantell (submission match)
7/22 vs Danny Hodge & Jay Clayton (w/Buck Robley; U.S. Tag Team titles)
7/29 vs Pat O’Connor

5/5 vs Ken Mantell
5/12 vs Ken Mantell (NWA World Junior Heavyweight title)
5/19 vs Pat O’Connor
5/26 vs Bill Watts & Jay Clayton (w/Bob Sweetan)
7/7 vs Jay Clayton & Ken Mantell (w/Rip Tyler)
7/14 vs Ken Mantell (submission match)

Digging a little deeper, we can also measure Garvin’s SPOT Rating in each of these markets to see if there were towns where he was pushed ‘more’ or ‘less’ than in others.

.70 Alexandria (8 matches)
.74 Baton Rouge (13 matches)
.59 Chalmette/New Orleans (8 matches)
.82 Houma (8 matches)
.71 Lake Charles (6 matches)
.85 Loranger (10 matches)
.78 Monroe (8 matches)
.73 Shreveport (13 matches)
.74 Tulsa (6 matches)

The towns where Garvin had the highest SPOT Rating were Houma and Loranger. Not coincidentally, these are both what we would call “B towns”, where they typically had more wrestlers lower on the cards booked. Because of this, an Upper Mid-Carder like Garvin would find himself in the main events more frequently, as the Main Eventers in the territory didn’t usually work these towns. Conversely, the town (though in this case, market) where Garvin had the lowest SPOT Rating was Chalmette/New Orleans. And that market generally had more ‘loaded’ lineups that the rest of the territory, particularly when they ran the larger Municipal Auditorium in New Orleans instead of the St. Bernard Civic Auditorium in Chalmette.

As mentioned earlier, Garvin was brought in as a challenger for Ken Mantell. Using our FLW (Feud Length in Weeks) statistic, the feud between Mantell and Garvin had an FLW Score of 3.97. As a general rule of thumb, an FLW of 3.00 or above is an indicator of a “major feud”. We have records for 98 house shows Garvin was booked on during this 18-week period. On 42 of those shows, Mantell was on the opposite side of the ring (mostly singles matches, but a few tag bouts as well). No other opponent had more than 9 matches against Garvin.

After his run here ended, Garvin returned to Georgia, finishing the year out there before going to Mid-Atlantic in January 1976.

Though Garvin was unsuccessful in his quest to win the NWA World Junior Heavyweight title while here, he did win an NWA World title a dozen years later. In September 1987, Garvin defeated Ric Flair to win the NWA World Heavyweight title, holding it for two months before dropping it back to Flair at Starrcade.

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