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 - Tony D. 

One of my favorite tag teams of all time (and my favorite masked tag team) are The Grapplers, Grappler #1 and Grappler #2. I remember seeing The Grapplers on an episode of Southwest Championship Wrestling in 1983 on The USA Network. They had a manager with blonde hair named Don Carson. The WWF got the time slot and I didn’t see The Grapplers again until 1984.

"Bulldog" Bob Brown and Buzz "Avalanche" Tyler won the Central States Tag Team Titles on September 22, 1983 and they vacated the belts in December of 1983 when Bob Brown was injured by 666 (Jim Starr). Buzz Tyler teamed with King Kobra and they wrestled Tully Blanchard and Ron Starr for the tag team titles on January 5, 1984 but that match ended in a double disqualification so the belts were still held up. A tag team tournament occurred in March and The Grapplers defeated Ted and Jerry Oates in the finals on March 29, 1984 with a little help for the orthopedic boot of Grappler #1.

Grappler #1 loaded his orthopedic boot when he kicked the mat three times and then he’d kick his opponent (who was usually on the mat and trying to get up) in the head and The Grapplers would win. Grappler #1’s boot was probably my favorite "loaded" gimmick ever (that includes Ted DiBiase’s glove and Luke Graham’s thumb. The Thunderfoots were just wannabe Grapplers (-: ).

The titles were held up AGAIN following that match since Grappler #1 used his boot. As a matter of fact, the match, the titles and the boot were held up. The NWA examined the orthopedic boot and on the episode of All-Star Wrestling that was broadcast on April 22, 1984, NWA President Bob Geigel joined Kevin Wall on commentary during a match (a mixed tag-team match, Marty Jannetty and Cowboy Lang vs. Roger Kirby and Little Tokyo).

Kevin Wall: Have you had a chance to examine the boot? It is loaded and exactly what did you find?

Bob Geigel: It wasn’t loaded as such but we felt, it is our finding that the boot shouldn’t be used, it was more of a weapon than it was wearing apparel.  More...

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