Wrasslin’ Back in the Day: WCCW’s Star Wars

Fritz Von Erich’s sons had slowly entering the wrestling business since 1977. Fritz had been grooming them since high school to be top caliber athletes, with rumors of steroid use stemming back to their time in sports with their classmates. Once they entered wrestling they were carefully marketed as good ol’ Christian kids. The first crack in the Von Erich families mystique they had carefully crafted for the past six years came in June of 1983 when Kerry Von Erich returned from his honeymoon in Mexico and was stopped by customs agents who found 18 pills in his front pocket. They then padded him down and located a bag hiding in the crotch area of his pants that held Librium, Percodan, diazpem and codeine which made up another 300 pills. Also in the bag was 10 grams of marijuana and six grams of a substance that appeared to be cocaine.

The family was able to cull the controversy by having the rumor go out to the public that the Von Erich’s rivals The Fabulous Freebirds had planted the drugs on Von Erich.  Fritz took care of the issue behind the scenes by allegedly calling in favors or outright bribing officials which caused the evidence to vanish at the police station and eventually the charges were dropped.

Around the rest of the territories: (All results courtesy of the historyofwwe.com, crazymax.com and wrestlingdata.com)

St. Louis held a historic card on June 10th as Harley Race defeated Ric Flair for the NWA World title. This would mark Race’s 7th win and put him past Lou Thesz on the list of all-time number of NWA World title reigns. On the under card Jerry Blackwell won a battle royal, Dick the Bruiser, Butch Reed and Andre the Giant beat Blackwell, Big John Studd and Bobby Duncum, David Von Erich battled Bob Orton Jr. to a draw, Gene Kiniski and Dick Murdoch also clashed to a draw, Rick Martel beat Greg Valentine, Roddy Piper defeated Bulldog Bob Brown and George Well and Mark Romero overcame Dewey Robertson (the future Missing Link) and Hercules.  What a card!!

The AWA fans witnessed the AWA World tag team titles change hands as Jim Brunzell and Greg Gagne dropped the straps to the newly formed pair of Sheik Adnan’s henchmen Ken Patera and Jerry Blackwell. Meanwhile Mad Dog Vachon continued his never ending war with Jerry Blackwell, but now added Patera to his hit list as well. AWA Champion Nick Bockwinkel spent most of the month fending off Wahoo McDaniel, since Hulk Hogan was out of the United States.

Georgia Championship Wrestling came into June with both their National Heavyweight singles and tag team titles vacant. Larry Zbyszko overcame a field that included Tommy Rich, Masked Superstar, Ole Anderson, Ron Garvin, Dick Murdoch, Mr. Wrestling 2, Buzz Sawyer, Iron Sheik, Stan Hansen, Arn Anderson, Killer Brooks and Pez Whatley to win the singles tournament.

The newly formed Road Warriors were given the National tag titles in a fictitious tournament in the middle of the month. The titles had been vacant since January when Afa and Sika jumped to the WWF without jobbing them off.

GCW put on a show in Cleveland at the end of the month that I only mention due to the main event being NWA World Champion Harley Race defending against Stan Hansen! I think I grew six chest hairs just writing out that combo of names.

Buddy Rose went on Portland TV and announced he was looking for a new partner. Fellow heel Rip Oliver was also looking for new men to add to his “Clan” and the men agreed to help the other find a partners. On June 4th, Rose announced he outbid Oliver and would be bringing the Dynamite Kid to Portland as his partner. A week later, Rose and the Kid were debuting as tandem when the Kid turned on Rose. The following week saw Buddy Rose cement a babyface turn as Oliver, Kid and The Assassin attacked him and left him bloodied. Rose sought his revenge soon after:

Dusty Rhodes vs. Kevin Sullivan’s Army of Darkness continued to rage on in Florida with Texas Death matches and other stipulations failing to slow down the mayhem. Blackjack Mulligan and Angelo Mosca continued their battle of ex-football stars as well. Harley Race came to the area on June 22nd and successfully defended his NWA gold against the American Dream.

 Over in the Mid-South, Junkyard Dog was turned on by his friend Butch Reed. Reed and Ted Dibiase attacked JYD during an interview segment. King Kong Bundy continued to tear through the area injuring both Mr. Wrestling 2 and Tito Santana by piledriving them on the cement. Santana was heading for the WWF. Private Jim Nelson changed gimmicks and showed up on Mid-South TV as Boris Zuhkoff. Jobber Marty Lunde signaled that he was in line for a push by changing his name to Arn Anderson.

Jerry Lawler faced his long time friend/enemy Bill Dundee in a loser leaves town match on June 6th. The King defeated Dundee, forcing Dundee to seek employment in Georgia. Lawler moved onto feud with Man Mountain Link and Ken Patera. Meanwhile the Fabulous Ones were brawling all over the territory with the Moondogs and the Rock and Roll Express and the Grapplers were involved in a feud as well.

Over in Japan Hulk Hogan solidified his spot as a major star by beating Antonio Inoki to become the first IWGP tournament champion. The finish was designed to look like a shoot as Hogan sent Inoki to the cement floor and “knocked him out” in order to win the match. Inoki, not known for doing jobs, was the presumed winner so the finish was a shocker.

Meanwhile All-Japan was doing great business, including drawing a quarter of a million dollar gate for a show headlined by then NWA Champ Ric Flair vs. Jumbo Tsurata.

Jim Crockett Promotions saw Jack and Jerry Brisco defeat Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood for the NWA World tag team titles. This of course only heated up the feud as the slow build to Starrcade continues. Meanwhile U.S. Champion Greg Valentine fended off multiple challenges from Wahoo McDaniel and a suddenly title-less Ric Flair. Rufus R. Jones and Jimmy Valiant spent the month battling Gary Hart’s trope of Kabuki and others.

The WWF kicked off it’s next major program on June 18th when Intercontinental champ Don Muraco confronted Jimmy Snuka about interrupting an interview he was conducting. A wild brawl then broke out. This would spawn matches for the next five months.

Tiger Chung Lee, the Invaders and Butcher Vachon all entered the area to fill out the lower card. Considering they had just lost Ray Stevens, Buddy Rose and Superstar Graham, the WWF needs some beef on the heel side. Sgt. Slaughter had been shot straight to the main events, but Don Kernodle was being buried. Kernodle even taped a 3 minute loss for TV to Snuka, which pretty much signaled he was dead in the water less than 8 weeks after headlining shows for JCP.

MSG was headlined with Slaughter defeating World Champ Bob Backlund via count-out. Andre the Giant battled Big John Studd in the co-main event. Ivan Putski, Snuka and Rocky Johnson beat Afa, Skia and Muraco, George Steele beat Chief Jay Strongbow via blood stoppage, plus Ivan Koloff and others filled out the prelim action.

Now onto our featured attraction: 

World Class Championship Wrestling “Star Wars”

21,000 fans loaded into the Dallas Reunion Arena for this big card on June 17th.

My copy of this event does not have the Ted Dibiase vs. Jumbo Tsurata, Giant Baba vs. King Kong Bundy, John Mantel vs. Tenryu or the ladies match that also took place at this event.

Chavo Guerrero, Chris Adams and Jose Lothario vs. The Mongol, “Wild” Bill Irwin, and The Fishman 

What a hodgepodge of talent this six-man is. Fishman is a lucha. Mongol looks like King Kong Bundy with the poor film quality of my version of this. Chavo and Fishman start off fast with a bit of high-flying action. Adams comes in and tags the Mongol with his superkick. Tags become fast and furious as the ref struggles to keep up with all the action. The Mongol eventually uses his size to turn Chavo into the face in peril. Lothatio tags in and looks and bumps every bit like the nearly 50 years of age that he is. Chavo comes back in as things again break down and he gets a quick 3-count at 7:03. I’m not sure how to rate this one as it was a bit of a styles clash and a car wreck but yet was non-stop action.

Marc Lowerance shows clips of the Freebirds cutting Iceman Parsons’ hair, then Parson cutting Buddy Roberts hair.

David Von Erich vs. Jimmy Garvin

This is for the held up Texas title. David attacks right away but misses a dropkick early and gives Garvin an opportunity to strike. Garvin hold Von Erich on the mat with a hammerlock, but to their credit they are working towards Von Erich escaping and Garvin working to counter his efforts. Von Erich escapes and starts to work over Garvin’s knee. Garvin endures a flying knee and suffers in the claw briefly but was saved by a rope break.

Garvin storms back with strikes and then locks in a headlock. Von Erich fights his way out but walks into a stun gun by Garvin and Sunshine grabs his feet for the tainted win at 11:29. NWA officials overturn the decision and hold the title up again. The match is turned into a DQ win for Von Erich, which meant that due to a pre-match agreement that Garvin and Sunshine would have to serve as Von Erich’s valet for a day on his ranch:

Hair vs. Hair: Iceman Parsons vs. Buddy Roberts

Roberts attacks Parsons from behind like a good heel. This breaks right down into a brawl with Parsons getting the best of it before Roberts gouges his eyes. Things continue along with both men sticking to brawling. Roberts pulls his tights to snag a roll-up victory at 5:39. The ref questions the cheating as Roberts attacks Parsons and preps his special hair cream. Roberts and ref David Manning argue as Parson attacks him and covers his head with the cream. The crowd goes bonkers for this. Michael Hayes runs in and Parsons tries to get him with the hair cream too. The heels cower and head to the back. Match was pretty ugly, but the crowd heat and post match was super fun.

 Armand Hussein, Tola Yatsu, & Mike Bond vs. Kamala 

The crowd boos everyone in this match. Hussein is named the “African” champion. All three men are in the ring at once versus one Ugandan Giant. Kamala shoves off all three at once, then starts to chop and choke anyone who comes near him. Yatsu is splashed and pinned in maybe 90 seconds. Hussein says screw it and leaves with Yatsu. Bond is then splashed several times and pinned at 3:29. Kamala splashes him again after the match and that brings out Bruiser Brody to stand up against the cannibal!! They have a stand off as Kamala’s handlers try and drag him out. I was curious about the purpose of this match, but that post-match angle paid it off nicely!

NWA World Champion Harley Race vs. Kevin Von Erich

This had been built up as Flair versus Von Erich, but Race beat Flair and thus took over his bookings. Von Erich dominates the early going sending Race bumping across the ring, out of the ring and finally clamped in a sleeper. Race is then sent shoulder first into the steel ring post. Von Erich tries a flying head scissors or something but Race is lost in translation and the move is just no sold. Kevin jumps right back into control and locks on the claw. Race manages to send him to the floor. Von Erich gets control right back and locks Race in a body vice. They tumble into the ropes and that forces the break. Race sends Kevin to the floor and Kevin shows a shoulder injury.

Even with one arm Race is still out struck. Von Erich tries a Irish whip but can’t due to his injury. Race shoots the crowd a great brief look as he realizes his prey is injured. Race starts to hammer away at the shoulder and Von Erich goes right back to fighting thru the injury. Race drops him with a shoulder breaker and the ref considers stopping the match. Race keeps the attack focused on the shoulder but Kevin locks on a claw. Race manages to leverage him to the floor. This prompts David Von Erich to come check on his brother. Race kicks David and that sends Von Erich into a rage and he attacks Race at 14:09 for the DQ. David cuts a promo on Race afterwards, he promises to quit wrestling if he doesn’t beat Race or Flair next time the World champ comes to town. This was an excellent showcase of how the NWA champ traveled town to town and put over the local guy as an equal to the best in the world.

Michael Hayes is all shook up that Bruiser Brody actually showed up to this event. He thinks Brody can kill he and the other Birds, unless Terry Gordy neutralizes him.

American Tag Team Champions Terry Gordy and Michael Hayes vs. Bruiser Brody and Kerry Von Erich

Apparently the Freebirds offered Kerry a shot as long as he didn’t pick one of his brothers as his partner. Then speculation turned toward Andre the Giant being Kerry’s choice, but Hayes made sure that Andre was already booked before he sent out the challenge. This led to Brody being the surprise choice.

Von Erich tears through Gordy to start but Hayes and Gordy double up on him and take control. Brody gets tagged in and just blitzes both Freebirds, even slamming the big man Gordy with only one arm. Gordy manges to slow Brody down a bit but Von Erich tags back in and a four-way breaks out. Brody is out of position for the finish so we see Hayes and Kerry twice go for a Irish whip which sets up Kerry leaping over Hayes and into Brody’s arms. Brody then tosses Kerry on Hayes for the win at 4:39. A brief main event but it was all action and Brody was established as a major force here and earlier in the night, so a win-win.

Final thoughts: The product was full of exciting young talent, and the Von Erichs moved closer to their dream of having an NWA World Champ in the family while at the same time establishing Brody as a drawing card as well. A fun show all around!

Written by Andrew Lutzke

The grumpy old man of culturecrossfire.com, lover of wrasslin’ and true crimes.

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