Friday, February 28, 2020

Brisco Brothers Challenge Steamboat and Youngblood in 1980

Nearly Three and Half Years Before Their Famous 1983 Feud
by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Over the years, shows at the Greensboro Coliseum were famous for featuring star wrestlers from other territories, usually big national names that Greensboro area fans were familiar with from newsstand magazines or perhaps had seen on satellite TV from Georgia or syndicated from Florida.

Some of the names over the years that would come in for one-night territory appearances in Greensboro in the 1970s and early 1980s were Dusty Rhodes, Cowboy Bill Watts, Dory Funk Sr. and Jr. and Terry Funk, Harley Race, Eddie and Mike Graham, and others.

Two men who came in to Greensboro from Florida on a semi-regular basis over the years were Jack and Jerry Brisco. Both had done full-time stints as singles competitors here in the early 1970s, both holding the Eastern Heavyweight title. Jack, of course, wrestled here frequently as NWA World Champion in 1973-1975. They also were part of many tag team tournaments.

The most famous full-time run for the Briscos here was the 1983 run as a heel tag team (first time ever as a heel team) in a legendary feud with Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood over the NWA World Tag Team titles. But those matches were not the first time the two teams clashed over the tag titles.

Some three and a half years earlier, the Briscos made a one-night shot in from Florida to challenge Steamboat and Youngblood for the titles during the latter's first run with the belts. The match took place on January 13, 1980 at the Greensboro Coliseum. It was by and large a "scientific" babyface match, but would foreshadow the exciting matches the two teams would have years later. Steamboat and Youngblood would successfully defend their championships this night.

For context, Steamboat and Youngblood were just finishing up their memorable feud with former tag champs Paul Jones and Baron Von Raschke (one of my favorite tag team feuds of all time) and soon were to face the challenge of (and eventually succumb to) the new team of Ray "The Crippler" Stevens and Greg "The Hammer" Valentine. The Briscos were working full-time in Florida and in the middle of a chase for Stan Lane and Bryan St. John's Florida Tag Team championship.

Also on that same big Greensboro show was the the big blow-off main event between Blackjack Mulligan and Big John Studd. It featured a combination of several stipulations (fence match, Texas death match, street fight rules) with the main stip being "loser leaves town." Mulligan won that brutal contest and sent Studd packing from Greensboro, and soon from the entire territory.

The usual number one contenders, Jones and Raschke, were on the mid-card of this show in singles matches, and took the opportunity to complain that Ricky and Jay were ducking them by going up against the Briscos. They should have stayed focused on their opponents, Jim Brunzell and Rufus R. Jones respectively, who won both of the singles contests.

Over the years in the Mid-Atlantic area, the Brisco brothers challenged several teams for those elusive NWA World Tag Team belts including Gene And Ole Anderson, Ric Flair and Greg Valentine, and now Steamboat and Youngblood. The brother duo from Oklahoma finally captured the gold in 1983 when they toppled "Youngboat", as Jerry liked to call them, before ending their feud at the landmark Starrcade '83 closed-circuit event.

Funny to note all of the bloopers and typos in the results clipping seen above, including Tony "Barea", "Luke" Bernard, "Rick" McGhee, and the funniest of all "Duck Summers."