SECW #9 Page #2
Alabama Heavyweight Championship
As the year of '85 began Pork Chop Bobby Cash was the reigning Alabama title holder. Although battling most of the Tennessee Studd Stable members, Cash's main opponent was the 6'6" 300 lb. Lord Humongous. Cash also had a short series of matches against Arn Anderson. I remember one night in the Farm Center Arn coming out for his match against the "Chopper" with his face painted entirely in black makeup and eating watermelon. Things that make you say "hmm". After the Cash - Humongous feud was over the big hockey masked monster became involved in a war with another well-known muscle man in the area, Austin Idol. Several angles were done between the two to show which man was the strongest. The first to come to mind was a televised arm wrestling contest from the studios of WTVY. Believe it or not, Idol actually went down to the big man from Death Valley. The next week Idol suggested the men compete in a tug of war on television. Of course the over confident manager of Humongous, Ron Fuller, was more than eager to oblige, eager to garner the $1000 Idol put up. This time however Idol would get the upper hand, winning the contest of strength, and even with interference of the rest of the Studd Stable, with the help of Idol ally Bob Armstrong Idol also got the money from the hands of Fuller while choking him with the rope. Idol would eventually lose the Alabama Title to Humongous. It was during this time the Tennessee Studd turn over control of the Stable to King Louie Tillet. Tillet seemed to bring a little more viciousness to the Stable members. To cover Fullers absence from the area, the angle was that Fuller had left the country to recruit more members into the Stable. As the dog days of summer approached, Fuller began sending in taped interviews claiming to have cut his recruiting trip short to take care of Stable business. One day the 6'9" Fuller finally returned to Southeastern TV to make an example of a "kid that was out of control". Ron then proceeded to call out Tillet and the monster of the Stable, Humongous. Fuller starts going off on a tirade, badmouthing Humongous and then slaps him on nationwide TV. Next thing you know Humongous is dragging Fuller over the TV desk and the two are battling all over the WTVY studios, marking Fuller's return to active competition and Humongous' turn to good guy. The two tall men would feud would continue through the summer of '85, with Fuller eventually gaining the Alabama Title and rekindling once again the Fuller - Armstrong feud. It was during this particular Armstrong Fuller feud that the career of Bob Armstrong would come to an "end" in the Southeast Continental area. During them height of the feud, and no doubt the elder Armstrong tiring of constant interference on behalf of Jimmy Golden, Bob asked for a cage match with any partner of his choice to go against the duo of Ron Fuller & Jimmy Golden, with the loser to leave the Continental area for good. The Studd could not refuse the stipulations and readily agreed. When it came time for the match, Armstrong's choice of partner turned out to be the returning Robert Fuller, who was tired of the antics of his brother and cousin. Of course, this infuriated the Studd Stable, but the match was signed, sealed, and now to be delivered on Continental TV for everyone to see. Armstrong would start out the match for his team and would be in the ring for the entire match, constantly fighting off the double-teaming of Fuller & Golden while partner Robert cheered him on, yet never making the tag. Finally after getting somewhat of an upperhand in the match, the "unthinkable" happened and an angle that was done in Georgia unfolded. All three members of the Welch family began destroying Armstrong inside the locked cage. Scott and Steve Armstrong continued to try to get into the cage to help their father to no avail, until finally brother and returning Armstrong, Brad, scoured the cage in about 2 seconds to clear Golden and the Fullers out. Funny, there was no pinfall, no decision, no outcome to the match, yet somehow Bob Armstrong was banned from Continental Wrestling for life! Go figure that logic out. In the meantime a tournament was held to determine a new Alabama Champion with newcomer to Continental fans but longtime veteran Roberto Soto winning the tournament. Soto would continue the remainder of 1985 as champ, wrestling various members of the Studd Stable, mainly Flame, for the belt.
Southeastern Tag Team Titles
As 1985 began the RAT Patrol consisting of Scott Armstrong, Steve Armstrong, and Johnny Rich were still the tag team champions holding back the challenge of the Rose Cousins, Randy and Pat. A new team had come into the Southeastern promotion called the Masked Nightmares. Fans of Memphis wrestling will recall this team. Now at first, I'll admit I wasn't real impressed, but over time that would definitely change as this team would be a dominate force in tag team wrestling in the Southeast Continental area for the next two years. The feud between the Nightmares and particularly Johnny Rich & Steve Armstrong would be the bloodiest feud to hit Southeastern rings since the Sheepherders - Fullers & Golden battles of 1982, and that is saying something. The full gambit of gimmick matches were eventually used in this feud. One in particular was a "Nightmare Cage Match", that was actually pretty brilliant on the part of the Nightmares, and actually a match that due to the stipulations works out better being on the losing end of. The object was not to get a pinfall, but the first member of a team to climb over the ring and to the floor would be declared the winner of the match. Only problem was though, once outside the locked cage, your partner is left inside to be brutally double teamed by the "losing" team. Very smart thinking I say, and a great way to get the fans even more riled up at the masked bad guys. I still remember a Tornado Tag match in the Houston County Farm Center in which all four men were bleeding big time and the masks of both Nightmares were peeled all the way open but not enough to see their faces. A friend of mine and I still call it the infamous "Banana peeling" match and know exactly what the other is talking about some 15 years later. Some matches you just never forget, and that is one of them. As Steve and Scott joined brother Brad in 6 man matches against Ron Fuller, Robert Fuller, and Jimmy Golden to exact revenge for their father, the team of Brickhouse Brown & Norvell Austin would upset the Nightmares for the tag titles for a short reign before the masked duo regained the belts. The Nightmares would then become involved in another wild feud with a "family" team, this time the Rich Cousins, Johnny & Tommy. This was the first time WildFire Tommy Rich competed in the state of Alabama on a regular basis, only making one shot appearances in Birmingham in the early '80s for Southeastern. As 1985 rounded out these two teams were battling all over the Continental area for the Southeastern Tag Team Titles.
Southeastern Heavyweight Championship
Pork Chop Bobby Cash led off the year of 1985 as the Southeastern Champ. Unlike his work in Memphis and Mid South, Cash was very popular with the fans in Southeastern Wrestling. Cash's main adversary over the title was Studd Stable member Jimmy Golden. Upon Golden winning the belt Jimmy immediately started his battles once again with arch enemy Austin Idol. Often times Idol & Pork Chop would tag together against any combination of Golden and other Stable members Humongous, Boomer Lynch, or Ron Fuller. As the summer of 1985 rolled around a new type of opponent entered Continental looking to gain the Southeastern Title from Idol, a man that was not a member of the Stable, Exotic Adrian Street. Now Street was a different mold altogether, and a wrestler not seen by the fans of Southeastern Continental since the days of Gorgeous George, Jr. Street and Idol would feud for several weeks before an angle was done in which Street and his valet miss Linda blinded Idol with what looked to be ink. Street's caliber of opponent dropped off somewhat the rest of 1985 as he battled the likes of Roy Welch and Norvell Austin.
Continental Heavyweight Championship
As mentioned before the Continental title was the jewel in the Ron Fuller - Bob Armstrong feud in 1984, early 1985 was no exception. As a manager Fuller used all the wrestlers in his Stable to attempt to garner the Continental Title from Armstrong. Masked men such as the Assassin (not any of the "originals"), Mr. Continental, and Mr. Russia tried but could not get the job done. Ron Starr came into the area for a few weeks in a short program against Bob but again could not wrest the title away from Armstrong. In moments of total kayfabe it was announced that Bob had defended the Continental Title successfully in other parts of the nation against the challenges of Ivan Koloff, Ted DiBiase, and Harley Race. Being the Continental Champ also brought Armstrong several title shots against NWA World Champion Ric Flair. Finally Ron Fuller found the man that could and would indeed garner the Continental Title into the Studd Stable, former heel Armstrong ally, the Masked Flame (Jody Hamilton). Shortly after winning the title Flame would become involved in the final feud that Humongous would have in the area. The 2 men swapped the Continental Title back and forth before Humongous left the area to compete in the Mid South area. Flame then began wrestling former NWA World Champion Tommy Rich across the Continental territory for the championship to round out 1985.
To go along with the aforementioned action that heated up the state of Alabama, Northwest Florida, and East Tennessee, there were other non title angles and matches of note. Robert Fuller was in and out of the territory several times in early 1985 as a good guy before finally making his first heel turn in Alabama later during the summer. Robert's big feud was with Mr. Russia. Many people thought Mr. Russia was actually the banned Boris Zuhkov. My memory is unclear whether he was ever unmasked to reveal the identity though. When the masked Russian injured the younger Fuller on Southeastern television, the legit injured Mr. Olympia made his return to the area to take up the battles of the missing Fuller. Mr. Olympia would also have several battles with Jimmy Golden over the Southeastern title and also competed in tag action against the Stable with partner Austin Idol. Another name that began getting a push on Southeastern TV but never made his way in was Ravishing Rick Rude. Bob Armstrong and Austin Idol made several interviews hyping the wares and ways of Rude, but I believe the Ravishing One ventured into Crockett’s World Championship Wrestling instead. Perhaps the biggest angle in the year of 1985 was the Ron Fuller & Jimmy Golden vs. Robert Fuller & Bob Armstrong Cage Match on Continental TV in the late summer of 1985. With Bob being injured and banned for life from Continental, the immediate revenge was sought out in 6 man tag matches by the Armstrong sons Scott, Steve, and the returning Brad. When Scott was injured, the Armstrong boys found a new ally in Dick Slater. I have read elsewhere that Slater was actually in line to win the Continental title from the Flame, however Slater quickly left the area as well and headed for Bill Watts Mid South. Before leaving though, Slater turned on the Armstrong boys, which brought in a "longtime family friend" to help the boys, a man that looked awfully familiar but wore a mask and went by the name of The Bullet! By all rights this infuriated the Studd Stable and their goal was to unmask Bullet proving it was indeed Bob Armstrong, thus having to leave the area due to the ban on Armstrong, even though he never actually lost the cage match with those stips.
Once again, I hope every one enjoys this look back on Southeastern and Continental wrestling in the year of 1985, a year that was somewhat bitter sweet for the fans in Dothan, but great for the fans in North Alabama and East Tennessee as they were once again seeing and getting great wrestling action for the first time in years. So as I bid goodbye to Southeastern Championship Wrestling, next month we will look at Continental Championship Wrestling in 1986 and the great wars of Jerry Stubbs & Brad Armstrong, tag team battles with the Nightmares vs. the Rich's, Kevin Sullivan's debut in the area, and the arrival of Wildcat Wendall Cooley.
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