Ultimate History of Pro Wrestling - A Time Line of Every Major Event in Pro Wrestling History - 1980

By: Karl Stern (@wiwcool)

1980

01-01-1980: At the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis, TN Ricky & Robert Gibson defeated The Assassins (Roger Smith & Don Bass) for the Southern tag team titles.

At a WWF TV taping in Allentown, PA Larry Zbyszko challenges his mentor Bruno Sammartino to a scientific wrestling match. Bruno Sammartino turns down the challenge saying it would be like wrestling his brother. Hulk Hogan wrestled a won multiple squash matches against such opponents as Angelo Gomez, Johnny Rivera, and Joe Mascara.

01-03-1980: In Lexington, KY at the Rupp Arena Jimmy Valiant defeated Jackie Fargo to win the Southern heavyweight title.

01-07-1980: At the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis, TN with a crowd of 4,689 The Assassins (Roger Smith & Don Bass) defeated Ricky & Robert Gibson to win the Southern tag team titles.

01-28-1980: The Assassins (Roger Smith & Don Bass) defeated Ken Lucas & Steve Regal to win the held up Southern tag team titles at the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis, TN with a crowd of 5,287.

02-17-1980: Gorgeous George, Jr. defeated Bobby Eaton for the Mid-America title in Chattanooga, TN.

At the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis, TN with a crowd of 8,216 Ken Lucas & Billy Robinson defeated The Assassins (Roger Smith & Don Bass) for the Southern tag team titles.

02-25-1980: In Memphis, TN at the Mid-South Coliseum The Assassins (Roger Smith & Don Bass) defeated Ken Lucas & Billy Robinson to win the Southern tag team titles in a masks vs titles match with a crowd of 6,793.

03-05-1980: Rocky Brewer & Pat Rose defeated The Blond Bombers (Larry Latham & Wayne Farris) for the Mid-America tag team titles in Nashville, TN.

03-15-1980: The Southern tag team titles have been taken off The Assassins (Roger Smith & Don Bass) and on this date in Louisville, KY on TV Billy Robinson & Ken Lucas are on TV as champions again but lose the titles to Paul Ellering & Ali Hassan.

03-27-1980: Paul Ellering defeated Jimmy Valiant for the Southern heavyweight title in Jackson, TN.

04-05-1980: Roger Mason (Roger Smith) defeated Steve Travis to win the Mid-America title in Chattanooga, TN.

04-07-1980: Dennis Condrey & David Schultz defeated Billy Robinson & Ken Lucas to win the Southern tag team titles in Memphis, TN at Mid-South Coliseum in front of a crowd of 5,127. On the same show they repeat the Southern title change from Paul Ellering over Jimmy Valiant.

04-28-1980: At the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis, TN in front of 8,259 fans Billy Robinson defeated the International Superstar (Jerry Novac) to win the CWA title.

05-12-1980: At the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis, TN with a crowd of 5,318 Rocky Johnson & Jimmy Valiant defeated Dennis Condrey & David Schultz to win the Southern tag team titles.

05-25-1980: Despite Rocky Johnson & Jimmy Valiant having won the Southern tag team titles the team of Gypsy Joe & Skull Murphy are introduced as Southern tag team champions at the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis, TN and defend the titles against Jimmy Valiant & Bobby Eaton with a crowd of 3,490.

06-09-1980: Now the Southern tag team champions are inexplicably Ken Lucas & Ricky Morton who defend them against former “champions” Gypsy Joe & Skull Murphy at the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis, TN.

06-18-1980: In a special Farewell to Jackie Fargo match in Nashville, TN Jackie & Randy Fargo (Randy Curtis) defeated The Manchurians.

06-21-1980: Jackie Fargo has his Chattanooga retirement match when Jackie & Randy Fargo (Randy Curtis) take on Gypsy Joe & the Bounty Hunter.

06-28-1980: Longtime Chattanooga, TN promoter and announcer Harry Thornton retires as announcer.

07-07-1980: At the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis, TN with a crowd of 5,756 Bill Dundee defeated Paul Ellering in a Bull wire, no time limit, no DQ, title vs hair match to win the Southern title.

07-14-1980: At the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis, TN with a crowd of 5,689 Jerry Jarrett & Tojo Yamamoto won a tournament to win the CWA tag team titles.

07-26-1980: The city of Chattanooga, TN cancels a scheduled Nick Gulas card due to the threat of race riots in the city.

07-28-1980: Killer Karl Krupp & El Mongol managed by Jimmy Hart defeated Ken Lucas & Paul Ellering (substituting for Ricky Morton) to win the Southern tag team titles in Memphis, TN at the Mid-South Coliseum in front of 8,114 fans.

08-04-1980: At the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis, TN in front of 7,089 fans Bill Dundee defeated Billy Robinson to win the CWA title with Lou Thesz as special referee. On the same show Austin Idol & Dutch Mantel defeated Jerry Jarrett & Tojo Yamamoto to win the CWA tag team titles.

08-07-1980: Tojo Yamamoto won a criminal case in the Warren County Circuit Court of Bowling Green, KY where he had been charged with hitting a fan, Robert Lee Vaughn (35), in the head with a wooden shoe on June 27, 1978. The judge ruled Yamamoto acted in self defense.

08-11-1980: At the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis, TN in front of a crowd of 6,978 Billy Robinson defeated Bill Dundee for the CWA title. A one night tournament for the Southern title is held with Dr. Bill Irwin defeating Jimmy Valiant in the finals to win. Others in the tournament included Paul Ellering, Eddie Gilbert, Ken Lucas, Carl Fergie, Sonny King, and Ricky Morton.

08-18-1980: At the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis, TN with a crowd of 5,500, Billy Robinson (CWA champion) defeated AWA World heavyweight champion Nick Bockwinkel (the AWA World title did not change hands). Also on the show the Southern heavyweight title was held up following a no contest match between Dr. Bill Irwin and Jimmy Valiant.

08-25-1980: At the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis, TN with a crowd of 4,040, Eddie Gilbert & Tommy Gilbert defeated Killer Karl Krupp & El Mongol for the Southern tag team titles. Jimmy Valiant defeated Dr. Bill Irwin to win the held up Southern title.

08-30-1980: Promoter Nick Gulas retires from pro wrestling. From the Nashville newspaper, “After 42 years of promoting professional wrestling in the Nashville area, Nick Gulas has called it quits. Gulas, who began his promotions here in 1938, this week sold his interest to Championship Wrestling of Memphis. The local wrestling programs, live studio and TV productions, will go on as usual. Gulas was out of town yesterday and unavailable for comment on the development but spokesperson Tommy Kerkeles, who will assist Buddy Fuller in running the local operation said, ‘Nick has been considering the move for some time. He has been promoting wrestling for 45 years. He is 66 years old and decided he didn’t need to be working these long hours, six and seven days a week. He’s going to just travel and enjoy himself.’”

09-01-1980: At the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis, TN with a crowd of 7,604 on hand, Jerry Lawler runs from several months absence due to a broken leg to defeat Jimmy Hart. Also on the show Tommy Rich defeated Jimmy Valiant to win the Southern heavyweight title.

09-03-1980: At the Nashville Fairgrounds Arena in Nashville, TN Don Fargo & Robert Gibson defeated Wayne Farris & Larry Latham managed by Sgt. Danny Davis to win the Mid-America tag team titles.

09-13-1980: Championship Wrestling studio television wresting comes to an end in Chattanooga, TN at WDEF-TV. The last studio show featured Ronnie Gossett, Ken Lucas, Larry Latham, Ginger the wrestling bear, Terry Sawyer, Bobby Eaton, Mike Miller, The Manchuruans, Roger Howell, Robert Gibson, and Jerry Barber.

Jerry Lawler re-injures his broken leg and is off work again and is pulled from a card in Jonesboro, AR.

09-15-1980: At the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis, TN with 4,461 on hand Sonny King & The Angel (Frank Morell) defeated Eddie Gilbert & Tommy Gilbert to win the Southern tag team titles.

09-22-1980: In Memphis, TN at the Cook Convention Center Thedric S. Vaughn (73 years old) is arrested for attempting to attack Tommy Rich.

09-29-1980: The previously Nick Gulas controlled Mid-America titles become part of the Memphis wrestling promotion and are featured at the show at the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis, TN. Attendance is 4,429. Results: Ken Lucas & Ricky Morton defeated Larry Latham & Dr. Bill Irwin to retain the Mid-America tag team titles… Tojo Yamamoto defeated Danny Davis… Sonny King & The Angel (Frank Morell) defeated Tommy & Eddie Gilbert in a titles vs hair match to retain the Southern tag team titles… Bill Dundee defeated Bobby Eaton by DQ so Eaton retains the Mid-America title… Jimmy Valiant defeated Don Fargo who is billed as Brass Knux champion… Tommy Rich defeated Robert Gibson to retain the Memphis title… Billy Robinson defeated Killer Karl Krupp to retain the CWA title.

10-07-1980: Full details of the card are not known but in Memphis, TN Austin Idol is awarded the CWA title by forfeit over Billy Robinson.

10-20-1980: Again in Memphis, TN the CWA title changes hands by forfeit when Bobby Eaton wins over Austin Idol.

10-27-1980: At the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis, TN Bill Irwin & Larry Latham defeated Tommy & Eddie Gilbert to win the Southern tag team titles. Billy Robinson defeated Bobby Eaton to win the CWA title.

11-03-1980: At the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis, TN with a crowd of 3,684 Ken Lucas & Ricky Morton defeated Larry Latham & Bill Irwin to win the Southern tag team titles.

11-10-1980: At the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis, TN with a small crowd of 3,109 Ken Lucas & Ricky Morton went to a double DQ with Bill Irwin & Scott Irwin and the Southern tag team titles were held up.

11-24-1980: At the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis, TN with a crowd of 3,449 Roger Kirby & Guy Mitchell defeated Ken Lucas & Ricky Morton to win the Southern tag team titles.

12-04-1980: Promoter Jerry Jarrett holds a show in Lynnville, IN which has a population of 556 people. The show featuring Tommy Rich and Jimmy Valiant draws 1,250 people.

12-11-1980: Jerry Lawler returns after having re-injured his broken leg. Jerry Lawler has missed most of 1980 with injury. He teams up with his cousin Carl Fergie in Lexington, KY to defeat Bobby Eaton & Jimmy Hart. For whatever reason he does not return to Memphis at the Mid-South Coliseum show on December 15 and the attendance drops to an abysmal 2,789.

12-22-1980: At the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis, TN Bill Dundee & Tommy Rich defeat Guy Mitchell & Roger Kirby to win the Southern tag team titles. Jerry Lawler is not on this show either. In fact, Lawler wrestled only twice this month, once in Lexington, KY and once in Tupelo, MS with Carl Fergie as his tag team partner against Bobby Eaton & Jimmy Hart. Attendance at the Mid-South Coliseum remains a poor 3,761.

12-26-1980: Jerry Lawler wrestles again, this time in Tupelo, MS in a handicap match defeating Bobby Eaton & Jimmy Hart.

12-29-1980: Jerry Lawler returns to the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis, TN. The crowd jumps from 3,761 to 11,069. Results: Jerry Lawler defeated The Dream Machine (Troy Graham) and gets five minutes alone against Jimmy Hart… Jerry Lawler defeated Jimmy Hart… Bill Dundee & Tommy Rich defeated Roger Kirby & Guy Mitchell in a loser leaves town match… Tony Charles & Ricky Morton & Sonny King & Carl Fergie & Tommy Gilbert defeated Jimmy Valiant & Tojo Yamamoto & Gypsy Joe & The Angel (Frank Morell) & Bill Irwin… Jimmy Valiant defeated Carl Fergie… Tony Charles defeated Bill Irwin… Tommy Gilbert defeated The Angel by DQ… Sonny King & Ricky Morton defeated Gypsy Joe & Tojo Yamamoto.

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