GCCW #6 Page #2
In May of 1970, Ken returned to the Gulas promotion to team with young Bob Armstrong to win the Southern tag team titles. This was a short tour however, and Ken was back in the Gulf Coast area by year’s end. In early 1971, Ken teamed with Johnny West (a young Kevin Sullivan) to win the United States tag team titles. Unfortunately, they were only able to hold onto the titles for two weeks before losing them. Ken then teamed with Frank Dalton to battle the team of Rip Tyler and the Wrestling Pro with their manager, Eddie Sullivan. Ken also held the Mississippi Heavyweight title in December of 1971.
1972 saw Ken’s career stall slightly. He battled Donnie Fargo several times over the Gulf Coast title, but never was able to win the belt. He worked mainly opening and mid-card bouts for a while, but remained very popular with the fans. Things picked up near the middle of the year as Ken entered into a torrid feud with the Wrestling Pro. During one match Ken had put the Pro out with his famous sleeper hold. After reviving the beaten Pro, Ken left the ring and headed back to the dressing room. In the ring, the Pro seemed to relapse into unconsciousness. The referee called Ken back to revive the Pro again. As Ken entered the ring, the Pro “awakened” and attacked Ken, beating him mercilessly and injuring him. After recovering form his injuries, Ken once again headed for Tennessee and finished out the year there.
1973 saw Ken back on the Coast. He was now teaming with former ballet star Rickie Starr trying to win the US tag titles from Ronnie and Donnie Bass, along with their manager “Maw” Bass. Lucas and Starr also brought in several lady wrestlers to help keep “Maw” at bay, finally bringing in the Lady’s World Champion, the Fabulous Moolah. Still, they were unable to win the belts. Ken also teamed with Chief Thundercloud in an effort to beat the Bass boys for the belts, but again to no avail. Ken was finally able to taste the gold when he brought in former World tag team partner Dennis Hall. Hall and Lucas defeated the Rugged Russian and the Mongol to win the belts, but soon lost them to Rip Tyler and Eddie Sullivan. Ken also won the US tag titles with Cowboy Bob Kelly from the Wrestling Pro and the Mysterious Medic. Lucas and Kelly held the belts for 6 weeks before losing them back to the Pro and the Medic. Ken spent the rest of 1973 and 1974 in the Gulf Coast area. During the summer of 1974, Ken received two chances to win the NWA World Heavyweight Championship from Jack Brisco. In the first match held in Dothan, Alabama, Ken had Jack in the sleeper as the bell rang indicating a one hour draw. In the rematch in Mobile, Ken gave Brisco all he could handle before Jack upended him around the 45 minute mark. These matches made Ken Lucas the legend he is today in the Gulf Coast area.
In April of 1975, Ken defeated Rip Tyler for the City of Pensacola championship. Oddly enough, Ken teamed with Rip 3 weeks later to battle the Mighty Yankees (Curtis Smith and Mike McNally). Ken held the City of Mobile championship before losing it to Gorgeous George Jr, and also won the Alabama title from Bill “Butch” Malone. Ken also teamed with Mike “Hippie” Boyette to hold the Gulf Coast tag titles in 1975. After dropping the Alabama belt to Randy Tyler, Ken beat Bruiser Bob Sweetan to win the Gulf Coast title in January of 1976. Ken also challenged Dickie Steinborn for the Mid-America Heavyweight title, but failed to win it. Ken also teamed with former foe Gorgeous George Jr, to defeat the Challengers (Smith & McNally, again) for the Gulf Coast tag team titles. After dropping the Gulf Coast title to Eddie Sullivan, Ken headed to Tampa, Florida in September of 1976. Ken formed a fairly successful team with Mike Graham and remained in Florida until early 1977, when he returned to Tennessee and the Nick Gulas promotion.
On July 5, 1977, Ken Lucas made his triumphant return to the Gulf Coast area. In his first match back, he defeated Kurt Von Hess to win the Gulf Coast title. Ken also teamed with protégé Ricky Fields to defeat Eddie Sullivan and the Blue Yankee (Curtis Smith) for the Gulf Coast tag team titles. When the Gulf Coast promotion shut down at the end of 1977, Ken Lucas was the final Gulf Coast Heavyweight Champion.
After the closing of the Gulf Coast promotion, Ken Lucas and Ricky Fields went up to Tennessee for Nick Gulas. Ricky soon left to form a team in Louisiana with Terry Lathan. The pair later moved back to the Gulf Coast area in 1978 to work for Ron Fuller’s Southeastern promotion, which had purchased the territory from Lee Fields. Fields and Lathan held the Southeastern tag team titles (Mobile version) for a period. Ken Lucas remained in Tennessee, first with Gulas where he won the Mid-American Heavyweight title and then with Ron Fuller’s Knoxville end of Southeastern. He and old friend Kevin Sullivan won that area’s version of the Southeastern tag team titles. Lucas eventually moved in to the Memphis promotion of Jerry Jarrett. There he met and teamed with a young man named Ricky Morton. But the Gulf Coast had not seen the last of Ken Lucas.
In 1981, Ken Lucas returned to the Gulf Coast area for the first time in nearly 4 years. The fans certainly had not forgotten the popular wrestler. In short order, Ken won the United States Jr. Heavyweight title. He also formed a formidable team with Mr. Olympia (Jerry Stubbs). Ken also became the first wrestler to ever hold the Southeastern Heavyweight title and Alabama title simultaneously.
Then in 1982, Ken decided to head west, landing in San Antonio, Texas for Joe Blanchard’s Southwestern Championship Wrestling promotion. There he teamed up once again with Ricky Morton. The team defeated the masked Grapplers (Len Denton and Tony Anthony) to win the Southwestern version of the World’s Tag team title. After holding the belts for several months, the popular team dropped them to the Dynamic Duo, Gino Hernandez and Tully Blanchard. Ricky Morton moved on to the Carolinas, where he formed the Rock ‘N’ Roll Express with Robert Gibson. Ken returned to the Gulf Coast Southeastern area, picking up right where he had left off. However, tragedy struck in 1983 when the van Ken was driving was struck by another car and rolled over three times. Ken suffered neck injuries and a smashed right foot. It was four months before he could walk again. Except for a few exhibition matches, Ken Lucas’ long career had come to an end.
Today, Ken lives a quiet life in Pensacola, Florida. He recently helped out old friend Ricky Gibson by doing some ring announcing at Gibson’s small independent promotion in Pensacola.
Ken Lucas has left an indelible mark on his chosen profession. He was an incredible wrestler who was always in top shape and ready for any kind of action. Those who had the pleasure of watching him work will likely never forget it. He was and is one of the best.
Also, on a sad note I would like to mark the passing of Greg Peterson, who died in early August. Greg. like Ken Lucas, was never the biggest man in the ring, but he could go. A native of Minnesota, Greg was a mainstay in the Gulf Coast area, holding the Gulf Coast title in 1968. Greg was also a top performer in Georgia and Florida as well. In 1976, Greg wrestled under a mask as “The Wrestler” in Billy Golden’s Montgomery, Alabama promotion. He was the Alabama Heavyweight champion. Greg made his home in Bonifay, Florida for the last 20 years or so. Sadly, Greg was preceded in death just two weeks earlier by his wife Bobbi Peterson, herself one of the top lady wrestlers in the South in the 60s and 70s. We will miss both of the great wrestlers and wonderful people.
take a look at the many masked wrestlers who plied their trade in the
Thanks to David Williamson and Cowboy Bob Kelly for information that went into the writing of this column.
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