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That ’70s Show: Relive the magic of Memphis wrestling in 1979

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Shakedown 1979, cool kids never have the time
On a live wire right up off the street
You and I should meet
Junebug skipping like a stone
With the headlights pointed at the dawn
We were sure we’d never see an end to it all

— “1979” by Smashing Pumpkins

The year 1979 is near and dear to my heart. On January 29 of that year, a whole new world opened up to me as I attended my first wrestling card at the Mid-South Coliseum, featuring a stretcher match main event of Jerry Lawer and Jackie Fargo vs. Austin Idol and Mil Mascaras. After two years of being Krazy-glued to the television every Saturday morning as Lance Russell and Dave Brown welcomed me to another BIG day of Championship Wrestling and pestering my parents unmercifully to attend the matches live, my folks relented and allowed my uncle Robert Campbell to take me to  “Monday Night Rasslin’.” The magic of that  Monday night was pure adrenaline for an 8-year-old boy, and I doubt that I slept much that evening upon arriving home, anxious to report the news of the action to my classmates the next day.

My fascination with the business began in the summer of  ’77, with the first series of Jerry Lawler vs. Bill Dundee matches, with the stipulations that seemed to get crazier by the week, culminating with the head shaving of Beverly Dundee. Two years later in ’79, the Lawler/Dundee feud ignited once again, with the King turning heel to steal the Superstar’s AWA World title rematch with Nick Bockwinkel and, weeks later, with the help of rookie manager Jimmy Hart, the AWA Southern title belt as well. Lawler was in his prime as a heel and as a overall in-ring performer when I was in attendance at the Coliseum for his one-hour Broadway (draw) with Bockwinkel in August, which was my first exposure to a screwy finish in a World title bout: the challenger pinned the champion in a “5-minute overtime” but didn’t get the turkey-platter-sized championship belt. I recall that before the matches I whispered to my uncle that I had smuggled in my dog’s colllar chain from home, and I planned to throw it to Lawler so he could knock out Nick to win the World title. (He alertly removed the chain from my jacket but never told my parents.) The seeds were planted right there for my future career in rasslin’ management.

The year closed with Lawler winning the CWA “World” title from Superstar Graham in Lexington, kicking off what was to be a series of unification bouts with AWA titlist Bockwinkel and NWA kingpin Harley Race. (Lawler’s broken leg in January 1980 changed those plans.)

Prior to betraying his tag partner, Lawler teamed with Dundee  the first half of the year, though the two were never close outside the ring. The King and the Superstar feuded briefly with two brash rookies calling themselves “The Freebirds” (Michael Hayes and 17-year-old Terry Gordy) and also waged war with the Blonde Bombers (Larry Latham and Wayne Ferris), with the initial strike fired in the infamous Tupelo, Miss., concession stand brawl. A hulk of a young man also debuted in Memphis that year, Terry Bollea aka “Terry Boulder” aka “The Hulk,” who feuded with “Outlaw” Ron Bass over the Southern strap. (Despite the fact that Lawler reportedly told Jimmy Hart privately that Hulk would “never draw a dime in this business,” Bollea ended up doing pretty well for himself.) A memorable father/son feud developed between Tommy and Eddie Gilbert vs. Buddy and Ken Wayne, while the Gibson brothers were a force in the tag ranks. And after months of buildup promoting a tournament, Robert Fuller booked himself to win a highly coveted…van (don’t ask).

Now you can relive Memphis wrestling in 1979 with a new series of DVDs from Rick Crane over at www.70s-tv.com.

MEMPHIS WRESTLING: 1979 SEASON SURVIVING MOMENTS $32.95 As footage from this year is so rare, I have put back together pieces of episodes to make this the most comprehensive set of the 1979 season ever available. The quality jumps from a 6 to a 9 out of 10 as it comes from many different sources. However, this 11 disc set is all very watchable and enjoyable. BONUS: Full 1978 Show is included as well. Episodes include: 2/24/79 Show, 3/3/79 Surviving Moments, 5/19/79 Surviving Moments, 6/2/79 Surviving Moments, 6/9/79 Show, 6/16/79 Show, 6/23/79 Show, 6/30/79 Show, 7/7/79 Surviving Moments, 7/14/79 Show, 7/21/79 Show, 7/23/79 MSC Match, 8/25/79 Show, 9/1/79 Show, 9/8/79 Show, 10/20/79 Surviving Moments, 12/01/79 Show, 12/08/79 Show, 12/15/79 Show, 12/22/79 Show PLUS BONUS- 11/11/78 Show.

 2/24/79 Show:

Jimmy Golden vs. Buzz Sawyer

Tommy Gilbert/Roger Howell vs. Don Carson/Dennis Condrey

Destroyer/Danny Davis vs. Robert Fuller/Bill Dundee

Mongolian Stomper vs. Tommy Gilbert(MSC)

Mongolian Stomper vs. Burrhead Jones

Professor Toru Tanaka vs. Jimmy Golden(MSC)

Rick Miller vs. Mike Stallings

Tony Charles Profile

3/3/79 Surviving Moments:

Double Ring Battle Royal(MSC)

5/19/79 Surviving Moments:

Toru Tanaka/Mr. Fuji vs. Bill Dundee/Robert Fuller (MSC)

Terry Boulder (Hulk) vs. Mongolian Stomper(MSC)

Jerry Lawler vs. Toru Tanaka

6/2/79 Surviving Moments:

Tommy Gilbert vs. Larry Latham

Dick Slater vs. Bill Dundee

Dick Slater vs. Robert Fuller

Robert Fuller vs. Mongolian Stomper

6/9/79 Show:

Jerry Lawler/Bill Dundee vs. Danny Davis/Sputnik Monroe Jr.

Jerry Lawler/Bill Dundee vs. Toru Tanaka/Mr. Fugi(MSC)

Larry Latham/Wayne Farris vs. Tony Charles/Tommy Gilbert Jr.(Eddie)

Rick Oliver vs. Dallas Montgomery

Robert Fuller vs. Mongolian Stomper(MSC)

6/16/79 Show:

Ken Wayne vs. Dallas Montgomery

Pete Austin vs. Bub Smith

Bill Dundee vs. Tony Charles(MSC)

Hans Schroeder/The Gestapo vs. Jerry Bryant/Bob Owens

Wayne Farris/Larry Latham vs. Jerry Lawler/Bill Dundee(Tupelo, MS Concession Stand Brawl)

Ron Bass vs. Pat Hutchinson(first appearance)

The Gilberts vs. Danny Davis/Sputnik Monroe Jr.

6/23/79 Show:

Pete Austin vs. Randy Tyler

Wayne Farris/Larry Latham vs. Jerry Lawler/Bill Dundee(Tupelo, MS Concession Stand Brawl)

Ron Bass vs. Bob Owens

Hans Schroeder/The Gestapo vs. Koko Ware/Dallas Montgomery

6/30/79 Show:

Wayne Farris/Larry Latham vs. Koko Ware/Jerry Bryant

The Waynes vs. The Gilberts(MSC)

Ken Wayne vs. Johnny Starr

7/7/79 Surviving Moments:

Ron Bass vs. Randy Tyler(MSC)

Ron Bass/Pete Austin vs. Dallas Montgomery/Eddie Boulder

Wayne Farris/Larry Latham/ Danny Davis vs. Steve Regal/The Gilberts

The Waynes vs. Rick Morton/Bill Dundee

7/14/79 Show:

Wayne Farris/Larry Latham vs. Rick Morton/Dallas Montgomery

Jerry Lawler/Bill Dundee/Jackie Fargo vs. Wayne Farris/Larry Latham/Pete Austin(MSC)

Ron Bass/Pete Austin vs. Koko Ware/Pat Hutchinson

Jerry Lawler/Bill Dundee vs. Fabulous Freebirds

7/21/79 Show:

The Waynes vs. Koko Ware/Pat Hutchinson

The Freebirds vs. Steve Regal/Rick Morton

Wayne Farris/Larry Latham vs. The Gilberts

Jerry Lawler/Bill Dundee vs. Hans Schroeder/The Gestapo

7/23/79 MSC Match:

Wayne Farris/Larry Latham/Danny Davis vs. The Fargos

8/25/79 Show:

Bill Dundee vs. Ken Wayne

The Hulk vs. Sonny King (MSC)

Ron Bass vs. Rick Morton (MSC)

The Freebirds vs. Rick Morton/Dallas Montgomery

Jerry Lawler vs. Bill Dundee(MSC)

Jerry Lawler vs. Koko Ware

Buddy Wayne/Pete Austin vs. Eddie Gilbert/The Hulk

Wayne Farris/Larry Latham vs. Steve Regal/Eddie Gilbert

9/1/79 Show:

The Waynes vs. Rick Morton/Sonny King

Ron Bass vs. Bill Dundee (MSC)

Nick Bockwinkle vs. Jerry Lawler (MSC)

Jerry Lawler vs. Jerry Bryant

Tommy Gilbert vs. Bob Smith

9/8/79 Show:

Wayne Farris/Larry Latham vs. Rick & Robert Gibson

Ron Bass vs. Koko Ware

Jerry Lawler vs. Bill Dundee (MSC)

Jerry Lawler vs. Rick Morton

The Spoilers vs. Dallas Montgomery/Pat Hutchinson

10/20/79 Surviving Moments:

Jerry Lawler vs. Steve Regal

12/01/79 Show:

Paul Ellering vs. Fernando

Billy Robinson vs. Farland

The Assassins vs. Rick Morton/Sonny King

John King vs. Big Red

Jerry Lawler vs. Dick “The Bruiser”

Wayne Farris/Larry Latham/The Waynes vs. Hecter Guerrero/Steve Regal/Koko Ware/Larry Hardin

12/08/79 Show:

Tojo Yamamoto vs. Pat Hutchinson

Jerry Lawler vs. Koko Ware

Paul Ellering vs. The Avenger

Wayne Farris/Larry Latham vs. Tony Charles (MSC)

The Assassins vs. Steve Regal/Hector Guerrero

The Assassins vs. Steve Regal/Hector Guerrero (MSC)

12/15/79 Show:

The Assasins vs. Billy Robinson/Paul Ellering

Billy Robinson vs. Bub Smith

Jerry Lawler vs. Nick Bockwinkle

Ken Wayne vs. Paul Corea

Rick Morton/Big Red vs. Sonny King/Tojo Yammamoto

Sonny King/Tojo Yammamoto vs. Steve Regal/Koko Ware

12/22/79 Show:

The Assasins vs. Steve Regal/Jerry Bryant

The Assasins vs. The Gibsons (MSC)

The Gibsons vs. Buddy Wayne/The Avenger

Jerry Lawler vs. Ken Lucas

Tojo Yamamoto/Sonny King vs. Rick Morton/Big Red (MSC)

BONUS- 11/11/78 Show:

Jimmy Valiant/Wayne Farris vs. Danny Davis/Sammy Holt

The Bounty Hunters vs. Robert Gibson/Jackie Welch

Don Fargo/Bill Drumo vs. Tommy Gilbert/Terry Sawyer

Koko Ware vs. Steve Brody

Jerry Lawler/Bill Dundee vs. The Kelly Twins

Click here to order.

  1. Sam
    May 7th, 2010 at 13:28 | #1

    Thanks for letting me know about this site Man! AMAZING STUFF! Been looking for old Memphis Wrestling and they have a ton.

  2. admin
    May 10th, 2010 at 09:30 | #2

    The quality is pretty good overall, and Rick always ships fast. Like me, Rick was a young Memphis rasslin’ fan growing up until he moved, I think, around 1981. He’s got a real passion for Memphis rasslin’ and it shows in his collections.

  3. May 10th, 2010 at 12:55 | #3

    I already put my order in for this set! Looks fantastic. Burrhead Jones…good lord :)

  4. Sean D
    May 11th, 2010 at 06:43 | #4

    God, those names (and a few of those match ups) take me back. ’79 would’ve been about the same time for my first live card at the Evansville Colliseum. I remember the card had the Danny Davis managed Blonde Bombers and the main event had Jackie Fargo facing Nick Bockwinkle for the AWA strap. Ricky Morton being mentored by Sonny King. Steve Regal and Hector Guerrero as a midcard heartthrob tag team. The Assassins eventually giving up “Parts Unknown” to claim to be from Pittsburgh for added anti-Steeler heel heat. May have to break down and order this one.

  5. Sam
    May 12th, 2010 at 16:34 | #5

    Got my order and have been loving this!! Hulk could not even do a promo back then! lol. Wayne farris is hilarious and what happened to Sonny King?

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