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 - Ashley Parrish

One of the premiere singles titles in the Amarillo region was the Western States championship.  Many great grapplers held the belt including Dory, Sr., Terry Funk, Jerry Brisco, Frank Goodish, Dick Murdoch, Ricky Romero and Ciclon Negro.   A Western States title match would often headline a card in the region.   The belt was first defended in the territory in late 1969.

The origin of the championship is unclear.   The major singles title in the area for most of the late 60's was the North American title.  Dory, Sr. held the North American belt for a good part of the late 60's.  Dory's last defense of the North American belt was on July 31, 1969.  In that match, Dory defeated the Super Inferno.  After that, the title disappeared.  The first Western States title match took place about a month later in Amarillo.  Dory Sr. was billed as the champion and he faced Rufus R. Jones.  Jones took the first fall with his dreaded head butt.  The bout was stopped in the second fall due to excessive bleeding from both grapplers.  A rematch was scheduled for the following week with the added stipulation that the match would not be stopped for blood.  Dory prevailed and retained his title.  Dory dropped the title on November 13, 1969 to Tex McKenzie.  Dory had suffered a shoulder injury the night before the McKenzie match.  During the match, he was unable to continue and had to forfeit the belt.

As the decade of the 70's began, The Beast was Western States title holder.  He turned back challenges from Killer Karl Kox, Gorgeous George, Jr., and Roberto Soto.  The Beast was booked in a non-title Texas Death match against Dory Sr. on February 19, which Dory Sr. won.  Dory couldn't recapture the title, however, in a rematch held one week later.  The Beast also turned back Terry Funk in a several title matches that Spring in Amarillo.  Finally, Terry captured the title in May 1970 in a Russian Chain match.

Terry's first defense in Amarillo came against Bull Ramos.  Ramos was disqualified in that encounter when the Beast interfered.  The Funks became involved in a bitter feud with Pak Song and Kim Ill.  After many brutal tag matches, Song challenged Terry for the title on July 16 at the Sports Arena.  Song prevailed after the use of illegal karate.  Terry, however, would go on to capture the title on six more occasions.  Song held the title for the remainder of the year, downing the likes of Dory Sr. and Buck Robely in Amarillo title defenses.  More...

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