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 - Ashley Parrish

Many great tag teams were formed in or passed through Amarillo over the years. During the late 60's through the closing of the promotion, the top tag team prize was the Western States tag titles. This month, we'll go back and look at the history of the championship, some of the great wrestlers who held the belts, and some memorable matches where the titles were at stake.

Through most of the 50's and 60's, the top tag team prize in Amarillo was the North American Tag Team Championship. The belts found their way to numerous great teams including Dory Funk, Sr. and Rickey Romero, Mike Dibiase and Danny Pleches, Gene Kiniski and Fritz Von Erich, and Dory Funk Sr. and Bob Geigel. In 1967, Amarillo recognized its own version of the World Tag Team Championship and the North American Titles were phased out. The World Title holders included The Funk Brothers, The Von Brauners, and Nick Bockwinkle and Rickey Romero. The World tag titles were abandoned in 1968 and the Western States title was first recognized in 1969.The last World Tag Team Title match in Amarillo occurred on October 17, 1968 and pitted the Funk brothers against the Infernos who were the champions at the time. The Funks won the match but the titles were never defended. A few weeks later a tag team was formed with Chati Yokouchi and Mr. Ito.

Yokouchi and Ito gained victories over Terry Funk and the Lawman, The Infernos, and Jerry Kozak and Gory Guerrero. In January, 1969, the Western States Tag Titles were defended for the first time in Amarillo. The match featured Yokouchi and Ito against Dory Sr. and Jr. Yokouchi and Ito were recognized as the champions, but I'm not sure how or where they gained the titles. The Funks appeared as if they were going to win the belts, as Dory Sr. pinned Yokouchi after hitting him over the head with a fan's shoe. However, Pat Patterson, at that time known as "Lord Patrick", rushed to the ring and told the ref what had happened. The ref reversed the decision and Yokouchi and Ito retained the belts. Yokouchi and Ito went on to successfully defend the belts against the Infernos, Nick Kozak and Rickey Romero, and Gorgeous George, Jr. and Romero. Yokouchi and Ito dropped the titles in June to Buddy Colt and Gorgeous George, Jr.  More...

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