March 17 – St. Patrick’s Day, no less – marks the 30th anniversary of when the Moondogs (Rex and King) defeated Tony Garea and Rick Martel for the WWF Tag Team Title.
It was the first title switch I had ever seen and I still remember some of it distinctly.
Garea and Martel were a very popular tag team. They defeated Afa and Sika months earlier for the tag titles, and then got into a feud with the Moondogs, who were managed by Captain Lou Albano.
During the title switch, which occurred on Saturday morning Championship Wrestling here in Boston, the four wrestlers were in the ring and the referee escorted Martel out. While Garea and Rex tangled, King got his big ol’ bone and whacked Garea in the back of the head, which led to the pinfall.
I figured out at an early age that in those days, a title match on TV usually meant the championship was changing hands. As proof, when Garea and Martel got a rematch on Championship Wrestling on July 21, 1981, they regained the tag belts. As occasionally happens in wrestling, they defeated a slightly different team, as Rex and Moondog Spot were the champs at that point.
King, who earlier in his career was known as Sailor White, was apparently stopped at the Canadian border trying to enter the U.S. for bookings and wasn’t allowed in, perhaps due to previous criminal convictions. Albano claimed on TV that the Moondog had been hit by a car after chasing it, and brought Spot in as a replacement. Spot used the gimmick for years in the WWF and Mid-South wrestling in Memphis.