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May 29, 2009
â€“ Larry Goodman
The Gulf Coast-Southeastern-Continental Wrestling Legends Live Tour â€™09 presented â€œFarwell 2 Legendsâ€� billed as Dothanâ
€™s retirement celebration for Bob Armstrong and Jerry Stubbs.
It was the last of the last â€“ a fitting tribute to a bygone era, a gift to the loyal fans of Dothan and the wrestlers that dominated this territory
more than a generation ago.
I donâ€™t usually think of wrestling as gentle, loving or sweet. This show was all of those things. Itâ€™s something about the fabric of
this place. Dothan was named from Genesis 37:17. â€œFor I heard them say, Let us go to Dothan.â€� Lots of churches in this town.
Approximately 1000 fans turned out at the Dothan Civic Center to honor pro wrestlingâ€™s storied past in the Wiregrass region. The
show received generous support for local newspaper and television station in the days leading up to the event. And so it should have.
This was the official passing of a piece of Dothanâ€™s cultural past.
Promoter Tim Dickerson had run monthly nostalgia-based shows back in 2004 using featuring many of the same legends that appeared
on this one. That venture petered out for a variety of reasons, and thereâ€™s been nothing of that nature since. I figured their never would
be, but I should know better than to apply the word never to pro wrestling.
Dickerson served as masters or ceremonies. He opened the show with the playing of â€œTapsâ€� in remembrance of the members of
the US armed forces that have lost their lives. A live version of the National Anthem followed.
A red robe was placed in a chair as a symbol of all the wrestlers that have passed away. They did a 10 bell salute followed by the playing
of â€œAmazing Grace.â€�
Ring announcer Tim Dickerson pointed out former WTVY-4 Sports Director Al Roberts and former Dothan TV wrestling announcer Johnny
Gauss in the crowd.
(1) Adrian Street (with Miss Linda) beat Marcell Pringle (with Ricky Roberts) in 10:34
Ringside fans were on their feet for Streetâ€™s classic entrance. Street looked fabulous for 68 years old. He did all his trademark stuff
starting with a round of ass pinching that had referee Larry Brock protecting his flanks. Brockâ€™s facial expressions were tremendous
all night long. Heâ€™s like an Alabama version of Silvio from Sopranos. Street stretched Pringle for a bit. Then came the smooching
routine. Then the European forearms. Pringle ran Streetâ€™s eyes along to top rope to start the heat. Linda got upset with Pringleâ€™s
tactics to where she grabbed Brock. Roberts seized the opportunity to interfere. Finish saw Pringle stalking Linda outside the ring. Street
cleaned up on Pringle, tossed him back in and a splashed him for the three count.
Charlie Platt, the legendary voice of Southeastern Championship Wrestling, conducted the first in a series of terrific onstage interviews.
There could be no other man for the job. Platt was able to draw on a body of knowledge accumulated during his 33 year association with
pro wrestling in the Gulf Coast.
â€œWrestling Proâ€� Leon Baxter was up first. Baxter was nine time Gulf Coast Heavyweight Champions and six time tag team
champion. Baxter said he came up from nothing and pro wrestling had provided him with land, a home and enough money to live the rest
of his life. He recalled the time Rocket Monroe put a $1000 bounty on him for any spectator that could last 10 minutes in the ring with him.
â€œI had some rough times. Thereâ€™s some rough people out there. I found that out.â€�
A video chronicling Stubbsâ€™ career played on the big screen. The still of Stubbs and Arn Anderson, the three time Southeastern Tag
Team Champions got the crowd buzzing.
(2) Daffney beat Amber Oâ€™Neil & Krissy Vaine in a three way dance pinning Oâ€™Neil at 7:49
This was the art of pro wrestling. At first, fans werenâ€™t sure what to make of the angelic dynamite looking Team Blondage working
together against an atypical babyface, but they did a great job, both with the story and the action, so the crowd had no choice but to be
emotionally drawn into the match. The timing of everything was spot on. Daffney made a sassy oneâ€“on-two comeback ending with a
single leg crab on Oâ€�Neil. Blondage did the deal where they teased a break up and the made nice. Daffney interrupted the love fest
with a double flying lariat. Blondage took advantage of Daffneyâ€™s contortionist like leg flexibility with some excruciating double teams.
Daffney made a fiery comeback. She ran wild on Oâ€™Neil and hit a reverse splash elbow drop, but Vaine but Oâ€™Neilâ€™s foot on
the ropes. They started doing quick pins and Vaine ended up trying to pin Oâ€™Neil. Daffney capitalized on the confusing with noggin
knocker and pinned Oâ€™Neil with a spinning fisherman suplex. Far and away the best match of the night. Whoever was responsible for
booking these women for this event, it was an inspired choice.
Platt introduced â€œRottenâ€� Ron Starr as a two time NWA World Junior Champion. Platt said In Starrâ€™s day, the Pensacola-Mobile
territory stretched from Beaumont, Texas to Quincy, Florida. Starr said he wrestled in Puerto Rico, Japan and Australia during his career
but now resided in Covington County, Alabama. Starr introduced his former valet, Miss Peaches, who was seated in the crowd. Starr said
it did his heart a lot of good to see all the legends in attendance.
Next out was â€œFabulousâ€� Don Fargo. Platt said Fargo refused to give his age on television that morning and told Platt to do the
match. Fargo was born in 1927. Platt said Fargo wrestled on the Dumont network before most of the fans in attendance were born
(1950). Like Bob Kelly and Ken Lucas, Fargo was a wrestlers that was only scheduled to come to the Gulf Coast for a few weeks and set
down roots. Fargo said he was away from the Gulf Coast from 1959 until returning in the 70s where he then stayed until finishing up in
the early 90s.
â€œIf you go on vacation down around Pensacola Beach, and you see the leather cap, the blond hair and a tricycle Harley Davidson, you
could very well be looking at â€œThe Fabulousâ€� Don Fargo.â€�
A video played honoring the career of Bob Armstrong.
(3) Nightmare Johnny â€œCrashâ€� Rich & Davey Rich beat The Last Nightmare (Ted Allen) & Boris Zhukov in 16:56
I marked out seeing Zhukov for the first time in almost 20 years. The midsections on Zhukov (age 49) and Johnny (age 52) were scary
huge. Zhukov looked like he swallowed a beach ball. It was up to Davey and Nightmare to carry the load. Fortunately, they can still go, so
it was a respectable match when they were in together. Davey took the heat. He did his trademark inside out bump off clotheslines from
both heels. Fans did the â€œUSAâ€� chant when Zhukov was in. â€œDonâ€™t eat me Boris!â€� yelled one wiseass ringside fan.
Zhukov did one of his headbutts. It broke down to four way action. The Richs avoided a collision by doing the dosey-do. They made a heel
sandwich and followed up with a four-way row boat spot. Finish was Davey hitting a springboard crossbody on Nightmare.
There was a long intermission with people packed in around the gimmick tables especially for Adrian Street, Team Blondage and B. G.
Armstrong and Stubbs came out to the ring for a final tribute. Wrestlers including Bulletâ€™s son Steve, joined them in the ring. Fans
crowded around ringside taking photos. A marine in dresss uniform was on hand to honor Bob for his years of service to his country. It
was an emotional sceneStreet had tears in his eyes. Harley Race came out. He called Armstrong one of the greatest of all-time.
Armstrong brought up Race being an 8 time NWA World Champion. â€œI had so many matches with him, and I still feel my jaw from that
left. Coming from you, I appreciate it and I love you to death, brother.â€� Bob Kelly said they there to honor Armstrong and Stubbs, but
without the fans, none of them would be there. â€œI think weâ€™re honoring yâ€™all tonight, too.â€�
Platt introduced Randy Rose by mentioning the Midnight Express feud. It got a big pop. Rose said the feud ran two years and he became
an AWA World Tag Team Champion and traveled the world. â€œBut I donâ€™t think I went to any town, any place, any country and had
more fun than right here at the Houston County Farm Center on Saturday nights in Dothan, Alabama and put on a show for you people. I
loved to tick you off, and I think I done a heck of a job.â€� Platt asked Rose who was the toughest man of all in pro wrestling. Rose said
without a doubt it was Race.
Platt interview Race, who said he wrestled from 1959 to 1993. Platt talked about the days when Race might wrestle in Dothan on Friday
night, do Memphis TV on Saturday morning, then fly to Atlanta for the GCW TV show, and then fly somewhere to wrestle than night â€“
wrestling 8 or 9 times a week, Race said from 1973 to 1983, he couldnâ€™t remember having two consecutive days off in a row. â€œI
donâ€™t say that in anger or disrespect. I was the World Heavyweight Champion for almost a decade.â€� Race said in fairness to the
fans, he had to be on the different television shows around the world because the fans would not accept video, Race thanked the fans for
coming out and said it showed that wrestling was not dead. Platt talked about Race wrestling one hour time limit matches in the Farm
Center where there was no air conditioning, and said he felt privileged to work with the best.
â€œCowboyâ€� Bob Kelly was interviewed by Platt on stage. Kelly moved to the Gulf Coast from Louisville in 1955 and never went back.
He held virtually every title there was to hold in the Gulf States territory. He was a 10 time Gulf States Heavyweight Champion. Kelly
recalled making the drive from Quincy, Florida to Lafayette, Louisiana (no I-10 in those days, all the way on highway 90) with Ken Lucas. â
€œI drove. He slept.â€� Kelly said he and wife Chris would celebrate their 51st wedding anniversary on June 28.
Platt introduced Lucas recalling how he saw him go 60 minutes and then 90 minutes with NWA World Heavyweight Champion Jack
Brisco on the Farm Center (During the period from 1964-1978, Lucas held the Gulf States Heavyweight Title on 12 different occasions).
Lucas said some of the toughest wrestlers in the world came through the Gulf States, and he had the greatest respect for Brisco and
Race. Platt said Dothan got the best of the best. Lucas brought up selling out with Race on the night of one of the worst snow storms in
Kansas City history.
(4) â€œBulletâ€� Bob Armstrong & Steve Armstrong beat Larry Zbyszko & Jimmy Golden (with Robert Fuller) via DQ in 12:02
Fuller said he had been trying to get Bullet out of his business for 20 years. â€œYouâ€™re like a bad case of VD. You just wonâ€™t go
away.â€� Bulletâ€™s entrance received a rousing standing ovation. Stubbs promised Bob there would be no tricks. He told Fuller he
wasnâ€™t going to help him. Stubbs and Fuller got into a battle of words. Fuller started ripping his clothes off and huffing and puffing
and it was great. Zbyszko still has the sharp and a swank tan. He got pissed when fan called him a butthead and did his stalling routine.
At age 55, he took a backwards tangled-in-the-ropes bump that was the smoothest athletic move of the night. Bullet won a test of
strength with Golden, then scored with a knockdown chop. A clubbing blow from behind started heat on Steve. Zbyszko did his spinning
savate kick and used the abdominal stretch. Fuller choked Steve with his hankie. â€œI still got it!â€� he said. Golden telegraphed a
backdrop and ate a boot the face. Steve crawled between Goldenâ€™s legs to make the tag. The heels bumped for Bulletâ€™s chops.
The Armstrongs applied sleepers in stereo. Fuller interfered for the DQ.
B. G. James made the ring clearing save. He gave Golden a wind up bolo punch. True to his slimy character, Brock first held up the
hands of the heels, then ran back into the ring and raised the Armstrongs' hands.
James then did did his kick the shiznit doggie style mic work. James said the thing that meant the most to him was being able to be
there with his dad. Bullet gave one final thank you to the fans. â€œPeople ask me if Iâ€™m ever going to get in the Hall of Fame. This is
my Hall of Fame.â€�
NOTES: Zbyszko and Baxter were unadvertised surprises. Brad Armstrong and Norvell Austin were the only advertised performers that
did not appearâ€¦While it was billed as a tour, there was no mention of a follow up showâ€¦Georgia indie wrestler Kyle Matthews was
Nightmareâ€™s travel partner for the evening. Matthew is getting around these days. Heâ€™s at GCW (Phenix City) on Thursdays and
was recently flown in by for a West Coast Wrestling Connection show in Oregon, as well as working for Mike Porterâ€™s NWA Main
Event promotion in Tennesseeâ€¦You can read Jon Johnsonâ€™s stories on Race, Armstrong and Stubbs at The Dothan Eagle website.