Biography: Bill Watts Sept 19, 2012 1:10:31 GMT -5
Post by JoshiQ on Sept 19, 2012 1:10:31 GMT -5
GCW World Title x 1 - 56 Total Days
GCW Tag Team Titles x 3 - 196 Total Days
GCW Tag Team of the Year x 1 - 1965 (w/Johnny Valentine)
GCW Match of the Year x 2 - 1964, 1966
GCW Feud of the Year x 2 - 1964, 1965
5 Star Matches x 1 - w/Johnny Valentine vs. Bruno Sammartino/Lou Thesz 9/12/64
Key Feuds: Ernie Ladd, Bruno Sammartino, Dominic DeNucci & Pedro Morales, Luke Graham, Lou Albano, The High Flyers
“Cowboy” Bill Watts would make his GCW debut on its first show, January 5, 1963, where he was eliminated in the first round of a tournament to crown the first World Heavyweight Champion. He was defeated by Ernie Ladd with a sleeperhold. Watts would team with Bruno Sammartino in a tournament to crown the first Tag Team Champions, winning in the first round against Ladd and Mark Lewin, but losing in the second to Gorilla Monsoon and Killer Kowalski. Watts would take singles losses to Ernie Ladd and Mark Lewin before showing a bit of a mean streak by choking Lewin out with a chokehold in a rematch. He would face Lewin in a no-DQ match on June 22, 1963 and defeat him with the Oklahoma Stampede despite being dominated for most of the match. Watts would follow that victory up by falling to Freddie Blassie after Blassie used perfume to temporarily blind him.
Watts went back to teaming with Bruno Sammartino, winning a couple of matches, and becoming top contenders to the Tag Team Titles. His string of bad luck in singles action would continue with a loss to Ernie Ladd on October 12, 1963. Watts threw a mini-fit after the match. Watts would lose a rematch to Ladd and another singles match to Johnny Valentine. Watts decided to try and make his team with Sammartino a permanent thing, having little success in singles wrestling, but Bruno rejected his offer saying he wanted to focus on the World Title. “Cowboy” Bill Watts went against Bruno's wishes and got them a Tag Team Titles shot on February 1, 1964 against Antonino Rocca and Miguel Perez, but they would lose the match when Sammartino injured his knee on the outside and was counted out. Watts berated Bruno after the match much to the chagrin of the crowd. Watts would go full-fledged heel on February 29, 1964 when he attacked Bruno during an interview segment. Watts would leave Bruno bleeding in the middle of the ring after a shot with his cowbell.
Watts would walk out of a match with Bruno, taking the loss via countout, but claiming that he was better than Bruno and didn't need to prove it. Watts found a new partner in Johnny Valentine, and in their first match as a team, they defeated Antonino Rocca and Miguel Perez to become the second ever World Tag Team Champions. Their title reign would last all of twenty-eight days before they lost them to Dick the Bruiser and The Crusher on June 20, 1964 due to interference by Bruno Sammartino. Watts would get his first shot at the World Title on July 18, 1964, but he would lose to Lou Thesz after nearly thirty minutes. Watts would then face arch-rival Bruno Sammartino, but it would be ruled a no-contest after just five minutes when referee Greg Massie lost control. The team of Watts and Johnny Valentine would get a big victory when they defeated Bruno Sammartino and Lou Thesz in tag team action on September 12, 1964. This match would also earn the special rating of five stars. Watts pinned Thesz in the match and it earned him a shot at the World Title. He would be unsuccessful in his bid for the World Title, losing to Thesz once again on October 10, 1964.
On November 7, 1964, the feud between Sammartino and Watts came to a close when Bruno defeated him inside a steel cage. Watts would wear a crimson mask by the end of the match and be forced to submit to the Sammartino Backbreaker. Watts would refocus on tag team wrestling, teaming with Johnny Valentine, and winning a series of matches in early 1965. This would lead to a number-one-contenders match against Gorilla Monsoon and Killer Kowalski. The end result would be a no-contest after the match broke down and the referee lost control. It was determined that they would still get a title shot on April 24, 1965. They would win the titles for a second time against Argentina Apollo and Antonino Rocca through nefarious means. The rematch between both teams would see a double countout as the finish. They would defend the titles against Dick the Bruiser and The Crusher, but drop the straps on July 17, 1965 to Bruno Sammartino and Spiros Arion. Their second title reign lasted only eighty-four days.
Watts would recommit himself to feuding with Bruno Sammartino after this loss, and cost Sammartino and Arion their first title defense against Gene Kiniski and The Sheik. He did this by knocking Bruno unconscious with his cowbell. Bill Watts would defeat Spiros Arion, bloodying him up in the process, and also defeat Bruno Sammartino in a No-DQ-Number-One-Contenders Match. This would not be without controversy as Sammartino had him locked in the Sammartino Backbreaker, but a cut that Watts had opened up on Bruno's forehead earlier in the match caused referee Petey Santangelo to stop the match. Watts would catch a break when Lou Thesz was revealed to be a part of the Wildcard Match earlier in the evening of November 6, 1965. Watts interfered in the match causing Thesz to lose via countout to Chief Jay Strongbow. Later in the evening was Watts' title shot, and he would win the match and the World Title due to Thesz still being weakened from the earlier attack. In doing so, he also retired Lou Thesz from active wrestling. Bill Watts was the fourth World Champion in GCW history.
Watts would later reveal he was responsible for rigging the Wildcard Match so that Lou Thesz's name would be pulled. Watts would have one successful title defense against Spiros Arion, but would drop the title in his second defense to Bruno Sammartino on January 1, 1966. Johnny Valentine tried to interfere and help his partner in the match, but he was cut off by a debuting Dory Funk Jr. Bill Watts' one and only World Title reign would last fifty-six days. In the rematch, Watts would wrestle Sammartino to a time limit draw at the forty-five minute mark. A tag team match took place on February 26, 1966 where Sammartino and D. Funk Jr. squared off against Johnny Valentine and Bill Watts. Valentine would force Bruno to submit to the Figure-Four Leglock. This earned Valentine a title shot and left Watts to handle Dory Funk Jr. Watts would lose the battle to Funk in a Texas Bullrope match that went over forty minutes. Due to his efforts in that match, he earned himself another title shot against Bruno, this time inside of a steel cage. Bruno would win the match after he powerslammed him off the top rope. This was Watts' last opportunity at Bruno's World Title.
With being unable to challenge for the World Title during Sammartino's title reign, Watts went back to teaming with Johnny Valentine. They would lose their first match back together against Pedro Morales and Dominic DeNucci, but demanded a rematch after claiming that referee Danny Bartfield delivered a fast count. They would also lose the rematch when Valentine submitted to DeNucci's abdominal stretch. There were once again claims of the referee costing them the match. A third match was signed where Watts and Valentine could choose the referee, and they picked Lou Albano. Albano would help the team defeat Morales and DeNucci and become their manager. Lou Albano debuted on August 13, 1966.
Albano would lead them to victory over Morales and DeNucci again in a number one contenders match. On October 8, 1966, they would defeat Dick the Bruiser and The Crusher to win the World Tag Team Titles for a third time. It was not without controversy as The Pretty Boys (Larry Hennig and Pat Patterson) interfered in the match to help Valentine and Watts. Watts and Valentine would defend the titles against The Pretty Boys and Morales and DeNucci before dropping the straps back to Dick the Bruiser and The Crusher inside a cage on December 31, 1966. Their manager, Lou Albano, made the mistake of wrestling Dominic DeNucci earlier in the evening, and was unable to accompany Watts and Valentine to the ring for the match due to the injuries he suffered in that match. Their third title reign lasted eighty-four days, the same number as their second title reign.
On February 25, 1967, Watts and Valentine would lose a match to Dominic DeNucci and Pedro Morales. After the match, Albano was furious with Watts for submitting to Morales' Boston Crab. Albano slapped Watts causing “Cowboy” to grab him by the throat. Valentine attacked his own partner, but Watts was able to clear the ring of both Albano and Valentine.
Watts would not be heard from again until the Grand Prix of Wrestling in 1969. Watts looked terrific upon his return, defeating Chief Jay Strongbow in under three minutes in the first round. He would also get past the second round by defeating Giant Baba. He would defeat Verne Gagne in the third round, but his amazing run would end in the semi-finals when he was defeated by Antonio Inoki. On July 12, 1969, Watts made his official return to GCW by defeating Miguel Perez. We found out that Watts came back with a purpose as he confronted Lou Albano, his old manager, about why he dropped him so quickly. Albano blew him off, saying he now managed bigger and better wrestlers (Luke Graham, Dick the Bruiser, and The Crusher). Luke Graham laid Watts out with a Thumb to the Throat. On September 6, 1969, Watts was granted a World Title match against Graham, but the match would end in a no-contest after Graham injured his neck after the Cowboy dropped him with a back suplex.
Watts would team up with Gene Kiniski and a mystery partner to face Luke Graham, Dick the Bruiser, and The Crusher as Graham decided to wrestle through his injury. To the surprise of everyone, the mystery partner was revealed to be Watts' longtime partner, Johnny Valentine. After a hard fought match, Watts would take the loss for his team after Graham hit him with the Thumb to the Throat. Watts would get another World Title shot on November 29, 1969, but Graham continued to have his number defeating him with a flying clothesline. Watts would bounce right back by winning a ten-man battle royal on December 27, 1969. Watts and Valentine would team up again for the first time in several years to defeat Dick the Bruiser and The Crusher in Tokyo, Japan on January 4, 1970.
Johnny Valentine would turn heel by choking out US Champion Pedro Morales. Watts would come to Morales' aid and try to talk some sense into Valentine, but he was slapped for his trouble. On April 18, 1970, Valentine faced Morales for the US Title with Watts in Morales' corner. It was all a ruse, however, as Watts turned on Morales and helped Valentine become US Champion. Valentine would retain in the rematch, and Watts and Valentine tried to injure Morales after the match. Dory Funk Jr. was there to make the save, an old rival of Watts. Watts and Valentine continued to feud with Morales and Funk, but Watts would take a singles loss to Morales on August 8, 1970 to seemingly put an end to the feud.
Bill Watts would team up with Terry Funk to enter a tag team tournament to crown new Tag Team Champions, but they would be eliminated in the first round by Dick the Bruiser and The Crusher. Watts would lose a couple of matches to Karl Gotch and also focus in on helping Valentine defend his US Title, which he had just recently regained. A feud began with Gorilla Monsoon who would have dethroned Valentine several times had it not been for the interference of Watts. A tag team match was signed with Gotch and Monsoon going up against Valentine and Watts. Gotch would pin Valentine with the German Suplex. Watts would go on to take singles losses against Monsoon and a returning Haystacks Calhoun.
Watts unlucky streak would continue into tag team action as he and Valentine would lose to the Half-Ton Team (Monsoon and Calhoun) on March 13, 1971. Losses to Pedro Morales in singles action and Luke and Eddie Graham in tag team matches would follow. A feud with Luke and Eddie Graham would start when Valentine and Watts tried to attack Billy Graham after a match (Billy had pinned Valentine with a clothesline). Watts and Valentine would lose a tag team match to Luke and Eddie by disqualification when Wahoo McDaniel interfered on their behalf. This threesome would lose a six-man tag against the Graham Brothers on July 1, 1971 when they could not properly communicate.
Watts would finally get back to the winner's circle by defeating Arnold Skaaland in the opening contest on August 3, 1971. This win would earn him a World Title match against his old arch-rival, Bruno Sammartino, but he would be unsuccessful in his attempt to win the gold. Watts would split time between tag team and singles wrestling for the rest of 1971, not finding much success in either division. Not much was heard of from Watts in early 1972. He teamed with Johnny Valentine on April 8, 1972 only to lose to the High Flyers (Jim Brunzell and Greg Gagne). This was the High Flyers' first victory. They demanded a rematch, but would be defeated once again by the youngsters. Watts was so furious with the result that he challenged the High Flyers to one more match where if he lost he would leave GCW forever.
On June 27, 1972, Watts and Valentine would lose to the High Flyers, Watts taking the pinfall after the Dropkick by Brunzell. Valentine turned on his partner after the match, dropping him with a piledriver, and even went to piledriver him through the ringside table, but Bruno Sammartino made the save. To the surprise of everyone, Sammartino and Watts shook hands and the two arch-rivals appeared to put their bad blood behind them.