Amarillo 1966 - Part 3

In the third quarter of 1966, the top wrestlers in Amarillo included Dory Funk Sr, Terry Funk, Ricky Romero, Iron Mike DiBiase, Killer Karl Kox and Art Nelson.

The below chart lists the wrestlers who were regulars in Amarillo at some point between July 1st and September 30th, 1966. They are ranked by their SPOT (Statistical Position Over Time, a number between .000 and 1.000 representing their average spot on the cards they were booked on; a 1.000 would mean they were always in the main event)

Babyfaces are highlighted in blue, heels in orange. The spacing between wrestlers is meant to approximate the differences in their SPOT.

The Lawman and Jack Cain appear to have been both babyfaces and heels during the time period. With Cain, he split from Iron Mike DiBiase and managed several wrestlers against him; DiBiase continued to wrestle against babyfaces most of the time so I am guessing that Cain was the one who turned, though I could be wrong. The Lawman definitely teamed with heels on several occasions in August, but was still wrestling as a babyface in Abilene (where it was well known he was the local promoter).


Comings and Goings

Newcomers (or returnees) to the territory in this time period:

Bob Boyer - Boyer came here in late June after a stint in Northern California. This was his first stint in Amarillo, and he left in early September, after which he worked a handful of shots in East Texas and Southern California before going to Japan. He came back for a couple of weeks later in the year. After wrestling for 17 years as Boyer, he started using the name Bobby Bold Eagle in 1972.

Gary Hart - While best known as a manager, Hart wrestled frequently for the first few years of his career, though Amarillo in 1966 was one of the only places where he was "just" a wrestler. He came here in July after wrestling in Detroit. He was billed here as "Gay" Gary Hart, which was a decision made by Dory Sr. and one Gary was not initially happy with. In addition to wrestling and managing, Hart was a very successful booker in Texas, Florida and Australia.

Gory Guerrero - Gory had been wrestling here on and off since 1951. He spent the first half of 1965 in Mid-Atlantic, though he did wrestle here for 10 days in May-June before going back to Mid-Atlantic for another month. He was here full time for 3 months, leaving in early October to wrestle in Arizona. Gory was later the local promoter in El Paso, likely starting in May 1967 when this promotion returned to the city after a 21-month absence.

Killer Karl Kox - Kox had already had a few runs here dating back to 1962. He came here in August after a lengthy tour of Japan and a brief stopover in Hawaii. He was a regular here for the rest of the year, but did have a handful of bookings in Detroit, East Texas and Southern California during that time.

The Ox - Before achieving fame as Ox Baker, Douglas Baker started his career as the Ox, a "good ol' hillbilly" gimmick. Trained by Bob Geigel and Pat O'Connor, he got his start in Central States. In 1966 he was wrestling in East Texas before coming here in August, staying for a month and a half before returning to East Texas.

Professor (Toru) Tanaka - Born in Hawaii, he served in the U.S. Army from 1955 until the early 60s. He started wrestling under his real name (Charley Kalani) and used the name Okiyama in Vancouver and the Pacific Northwest before adopting the Tanaka name in April 1966 in Australia. He left Australia in August, had a brief stopover in Hawaii, then came here in mid September.

Wrestlers who left the territory in this time period:

Art Nelson - Nelson left Amarillo in mid September. He spent a couple of weeks in East Texas before going to Australia. He would return to Amarillo in January 1967.

Iron Mike DiBiase - DiBiase left in early September and went to Central States. He returned for a few shows in November, and had a couple of very brief stays here in 1967 and 1968 before returning in May 1969 as a regular. He was here from then until he passed away in July of that year.

Jose Moto - Moto left in late August and went to Tennessee for Nick Gulas. He was there through November, and after that point no further information on his whereabouts or other ring names seems to be known.

Kurt Steiger - Steiger left Amarillo in late July. He had some bookings in Mexico and the AWA over the next several months, but it appears his next stint as a regular was in Stampede in March 1967 as half of the Von Steiger brothers tag team.

Terry Funk - Terry left for a little over two weeks in July to try out for the Kansas City Chiefs after being signed as a free agent by them. He was released by the Chiefs on July 18th.


Nationally known stars passing through the territory during the time period: Fritz Von Erich, Gene Kiniski, Pat O'Connor, the Sheik, Tony Borne and Waldo Von Erich.

Other wrestlers with bookings here during the time period include Blackjack Daniels, Bob Brown, Krusher Karlssen, Nick Roberts, Pancho Pico and the Batman (we'll get to him in Part 4).

Women wrestlers with more than one booking during the time period were Jean Antone (also known as Gidget), Kathy O'Brien, Kay Noble, Maria DeLeon, Princess Ubanga and Sweet Georgia Brown.

Midget wrestlers Irish Jackie, Little Brutus and Bull Brummell were booked here for 2 weeks in September-October, with Jackie wrestling one of the other two (mostly Brutus) nightly. While Brutus and Brummell are two different wrestlers, I can't explain why Brummell was advertised some nights and Brutus others; this was not typical.


Featured Card

NWA World Heavyweight champion Gene Kiniski defended his title three nights in a row here in early July. On July 7th in Amarillo he defended it against Iron Mike DiBiase. DiBiase earned the shot the week before by winning a one-night four man tournament, beating Art Nelson in the first round and Bob Boyer in the finals. Also on the card was a uniquely billed "6 1/2 man tag team" match, with undersized manager Jack Cain being counted as the half. He teamed with Nelson, Jose Moto & Kurt Steiger to face all three Funks. The card also featured two babyface vs babyface matches, as Boyer wrestled Ricky Romero and Dan Miller faced Gory Guerrero.

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