Dusty Doesn’t Disappoint This Time

St. Petersburg Independent – April 21, 1980
By Gene Taylor

Almost no one in the crowd of about 7,000 fans at the Bayfront Arena Saturday night was disappointed when Dusty Rhodes’ arm was raised in victory over Harley Race for the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) World Heavyweight championship.

Some of his fans have found it hard to forgive Dusty for losing the heavyweight title to Race, only a week after winning it from him less than a year ago in the same arena.

Maybe now they feel better.

The match was fought in a new arrangement of a steel cage which prevented either man from leaving the ring.  It was the proximity of the cage to the ropes that led to the undoing of Race.

Race was able to give as good as he got, even surviving a sleeper hold midway through the contest.  Then in the final two minutes Rhodes put a Figure 4 hold on him and got a submission, but the referee had been knocked unconscious and did not see it.

By the time the referee recovered, Rhodes was still in command.  He was declared winner in 19:03.

In the next-to-last match, Bugsy McGraw and Nikoli Volkoff squared off in a Russian Chain Match that lasted only 3:24.

Immediately after the bell sounded, Volkoff had dragged McGraw to three corners before his opponent knew what happened.

From then on, it was a toe-to-toe battle until McGraw took his end of the chain off and battered Volkoff to all four corners of the ring to eventually win the match.

Manny Fernandez won the Florida Heavyweight championship match from Don Muraco but it was on a disqualification so he didn’t get the belt.

In a Sleeper vs. Sleeper match, Steve Keirn pinned Mr. Saito in 14:49.

Bubba Douglas, who had to substitute for Mr. Florida in the six-man tag team match, Jack Brisco and Jim Garvin challenged Bad Leroy Brown, Super Destroyer and Ernie Ladd.  The latter team won the match in 8:15.

And Fabulous Moolah kept her Women’s World Title against Wenona Little Heart.

In the opening matches, Jerry Brisco defeated Nature Boy Stanley Lane; Barry Windham lost to Bryan St. John; Gordon Nelson and Reggie Parks lost to The Twin Devils; and Hector Guerrero lost to Jeff Portz.

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