Date: August 17, 1976
Location: Columbia, SC
Source: Hannibal TV
Former NWA champion “Rugged” Ron Garvin told a story recently about a little known brawl he and tag team partner Tiger Conway Jr had with Randy Savage and Lanny Poffo during a match in Columbia, SC.
The year was 1976, and the Poffo brothers (Randy and Lanny) were newcomers who had only been in the business for a few years. Randy had already been in a couple backstage fights already, and despite his relative small size compared to most of the wrestlers, was seen as a tough guy who had a real sports (baseball) background. This was also years before Randy gained all the massive muscle he would later on.
Working for the Mid Atlantic territory, they were pitted against Garvin and Conway one night. Garvin knew of Randy’s reputation for out of the ring brawls, but didn’t have any problem with him or know much else about him.
Lanny was far less aggressive, not necessarily a tough guy, and didn’t have the reputation his brother did. Garvin knew that Randy liked to sucker punch people, mentioning in particular his incidents with Bill Dundee, John Foley, and Rip Tyler.
Garvin believed Conway had a problem with the Poffos, and sensed they were double teaming him during the match with stiff blows. Garvin said he would be there for his partner, but that things became okay as the match wore on.
Unfortunately, problems occurred after the match and Garvin said the “Shit was on.” There’s no video of the match on record, but it ended up going to a double disqualification. It’s not clear if that was the planned finish or not.
As part of the real life brawl, it started either at the end of the match or just before it ened. Garvin ended up going after Lanny, and he was backing away and throwing kicks. Garvin let him be and came around the corner, where he saw Conway on the floor with Savage. Garvin found a metal post that held the ropes in the ring, grabbed it, and hit Savage with it. At that point, it was all over.
According to Garvin, a few people at ringside got hurt and the entire locker room emptied out. Since the Poffos were friends of booker George Scott, the heat ended up going to Garvin, who didn’t care and left the territory for Tennessee.
He didn’t speak to Savage for four years, when he was at a meeting with him and likely Randy’s father, Angelo Poffo. Garvin was working in a territory that Angelo’s ICW territory was expanding into. Garvin ended up working for them, and likely had to meet with Savage and soothe things over before they agreed to work together. Savage brought up the incident, and called it a “Concrete block.” Garvin thought he was exaggerating, but said it may have been concrete but definitely the post was made out of metal. He didn’t say anything at the meeting, and just litened.
Garvin ended up working a major program with Savage in ICW, drawing good money and having good matches. The two were also in the WWF years later, from 1988 to 1990, following Garvin’s run in the NWA where he defeated Ric Flair for a brief run as world champion.