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Posts Tagged ‘Gene Kiniski’

SICW Wrestling Explosion128: Chris Hargas Vs Flash Flanagan PLUS A Classic match featuring Kevin Von Erich

Posted by flairwhoooooo on July 11, 2013

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Chris Hargas and Flash Flanagan struggle for the upper hand early on in the match in East Carondelet, Illinois. Next weekend July 20th Midgets and much more in action!

7/20/2013 SICW East Carondelet Illinois 823 State St East Carondelet. Il 62240 –$9 Doors at 7 PM; Bell Time at 8 PM with MIDGETS in action.

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Adam Pearce offers an open contract for the NWA World title in Glen Carbon, Illinois on April 6th!!

Posted by flairwhoooooo on January 29, 2012

By Brian Kelley

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Adam Pearce is a 4-Time and current National Wrestling Alliance Worlds Heavyweight Champion.

Missouri Wrestling Revival was on hand once again for an historic weekend in the wrestling as the NWA Worlds Heavyweight champion Adam Pearce defended his title.

First it was in Des Moines, Iowa for 3XWrestling as Pearce looked to have lost the prestigious title to “The Belt Collector” Jeremy Wyatt. For more details on the very controversial match click here to see how “Scrap Iron” Adam Pearce was able to leave Des Moines with his belt still around his waist.

The next night we traveled to Council Bluffs , Iowa to Magnum Pro Wrestling as hometown favorite “Babyface” Tony Cortez wrestled quite possibly the match of his life as his fans cheered him on. We will have a full recap of the match along with photos of the two warriors in action later this week at MWR.

Till then I do have to let you know that Pearce was able to retain the NWA World title, but his trips to the Midwest have been nothing short of near disasters each time. Prior to this weekend he had been to battle not once but twice with the former NWA Central States Champion and Metro Pro Champion Michael Strider. On each occasion, Strider left a lasting impression on the Worlds Champion with a war that the fans in Kansas City is still talking about today.

Not since Ric Flair has there been such an active NWA Worlds Champion and Adam Pearce is not backing down from no one. We received this video with a major announcement from the NWA Worlds Champion.

There you have it wrestling fans, the NWA Worlds Championship will be defended in Glen Carbon Illinois, on April 6th at NWA Dynamo Pro Wrestling, the same area that champions like Lou Thesz, Harley Race, Ric Flair, Dory Funk Jr., Gene” Kiniski and Pat O’Conner defended the title.

Pearce is now in his fourth title reign, and is better than ever. His experience, confidence and talent level is spectacular. We have heard reports that the contract has been signed, and as soon as we can verify the rumors we will let you know just exactly will have that golden opportunity to go down in the history books as a National Wrestling Alliance Worlds Heavyweight Champion.

Mark your calendars, fans in the St Louis area, the NWA Title returns on April 6th, 2012.

Don’t miss it.

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Cloverleaf Radio’s Jimmy Falcon interviews Dory Funk JR

Posted by flairwhoooooo on July 20, 2011

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The years have passed by for Dory Funk Jr. and he may look older but he still has the “IT” factor. After a great six man, two out of three falls match against Ron Powers, Sean Vincent and Kevin X fan favorite Danny Boy joined Funk Jr.s partners Gary Jackson and Chaz Wesson in celebration for their victory. (Photo Credit Brian Kelley)

Dory Funk Jr. Hits Cloverleaf Radio’s Long List of Guests after A Wonderful Interview where he covered his Start in Pro Wrestling, His NWA Title Match with Gene Kiniski (And The 4 Years That Followed), His WWE Hall of Fame Induction, Legends of Wrestling & Smackdown Vs. Raw Video Game, His WWF Career, His Recent St. Louis Event with MMWA-SICW & More.

To listen to the interview click here.

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MWR presents Larry Matysik with the 2009 MWR Lifetime Achievement Award

Posted by flairwhoooooo on December 27, 2010

Mickey Garagiola and Larry Matysik

When you say the name Larry Matysik to a wrestling fan in St Louis, you get the same warm feeling that St Louis Cardinal fans get when you mention former ST Louis Cardinal announcer Jack Buck. Admiration and great memories quickly come to mind.

Both men were the fans best friend when it came to providing them with the much desired information about what was transpiring in the sport that they were into.

Buck was the man to hear the play by play of Cardinal greats such as Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, Ozzie Smith, Willie McGee and Bruce Sutter. Fans watched as Matysik called play by play in matches that saw “King Kong” Brody, Dick “the Bruiser, Lou Thesz, Gene Kiniski, Pat O’Connor, Harley Race, Buddy Rogers and many more in action.

St Louis promoter Sam Muchnick was wise enough to know that for wrestling to succeed in St Louis, a sports town that he would have to bring the same respectability that the Cardinals brought to the city.

Wrestling at the Chase

A main piece to the puzzle would be the Voice of Wrestling at the Chase. The television program which broadcast from 1959 to 1983 from the majestic Chase Hotel would be the face of wrestling in St Louis.

Larry interviewing David Von Erich after beating Harley Race

Matysik has been much more than a man calling the play by play of great matches in St Louis. At the young age of 16 in 1963, Muchnick hire Matysik and would be very supportive and helpful in the career that saw Matysik also man the publicist and office manager, as well as book the matches.

In 1984 he would begin working with Vince McMahon and then WWF (now WWE) till 1993.

Matysik has since gone on to write some of the must read books in the industry including

1) Wrestling at the Chase: The Inside Story of Sam Muchnick and the Legends of Professional Wrestling
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Wrestling at the Chase is a fond, informative, amusing, and even poignant look at the who’s who of professional wrestling and legendary St. Louis promoter Sam Muchnick.
St. Louis was the capital, and Muchnick the ruler of professional wrestling, before Vince McMahon’s World Wrestling Entertainment took over. What happened in St. Louis paved the way for today’s multi-billion-dollar sports entertainment industry. The centerpiece of this magical operation was “Wrestling at the Chase,” a television program which broadcast from 1959 to 1983 from the majestic Chase Hotel.

Larry Matysik was Muchnick’s protégé and longtime announcer for the television show. With an insider’s eye for detail and accuracy, he recalls funny and amazingly touching tales about the characters who created professional wrestling as we know it. Ric Flair, “King Kong” Brody, Dick “the Bruiser,” the Von Erichs, Lou Thesz, Gene Kiniski, Pat O’Connor, Johnny Valentine, Dick Murdoch, Harley Race, Buddy Rogers, Jack Brisco, and Andre the Giant are all prominently featured. So is Muchnick himself, the Damon Runyan of wrestling, a man who helped mould the bizarre business of circus and sport. The savage twists of the politics of wrestling are on display as well, particularly the changes that rocked the mat world during the early ’80s.

2) Drawing Heat the Hard Way
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Thrilling but flawed, entertaining despite the swerves and double-crosses, captivating even when repugnant… professional wrestling has enjoyed the attention and loyalty of untold millions for nearly a century. How and why is precisely what Larry Matysik examines in his third book, Drawing Heat the Hard Way: How Wrestling Really Works.

Wrestlers have their own private language, and in the unique world of wrestling “drawing heat” is a very good thing: the successful generation of crowd reaction and fan excitement. The Hard Way? That’s both exactly what it sounds like and something no one in the industry plans for: a legitimate and unintentional wound suffered because something’s gone awry. In Drawing Heat the Hard Way, Matysik explains what it takes to win the hearts and minds of wrestling fans, and how, at times, mistakes, controversy and unexpected turns of events have damaged the reputation or forever changed the business he loves.

If anyone understands wrestling, the problem-child offspring of whatever “real” sport is, it’s Matysik. Drawing Heat the Hard Way takes on the way wrestling is booked or planned; analyzes the roles of wrestlers and announcers, and explores steroids as an industry and fan issue. It also considers wrestling’s power-brokers, from those who influence the business by reporting on it, like Dave Meltzer, to those who make the final decisions on what gets broadcast every week, like the omnipresent Vince McMahon, and even to those who influence the sport with their pocketbooks — the fans themselves.

At times humorous, occasionally heartbreaking, always insightful, Drawing Heat the Hard Way is ultimately an objective take on what it means to be a wrestling fan, from someone who knows the business inside and out.

3) Brody: The Triumph and Tragedy of Wrestling’s Rebel

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The most unpredictable and charismatic grappler of all time? The brute that made brawling an art before the term “hardcore” was coined? The confrontational businessman who fought for every penny he felt he deserved?

“Bruiser” Brody had no peers when it came to blood and guts, controversy and independence. Most wrestling promoters portrayed their top talent as exactly that kind of free-spirited, take-no-guff personality. They didn’t mean it, though — which explains why so few would admit to respecting Brody even as they featured him time and again.
So why did they give him work? Simple. “Bruiser” Brody delivered the goods in the ring and at the box office.

In the 1970s and early 80s, Brody was one of the few performers, along with Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair, to be recognized as a national star. With his fiery personality, Brody also conquered the international market.

Nearly two decades after his murder in Puerto Rico, Brody: The Triumph and Tragedy of Wrestling’s Rebel delivers a complete portrait of Brody’s remarkable life. Co-authors Barbara Goodish, Brody’s widow, and Larry Matysik, a close friend, offer a first-time opportunity to truly understand one of the sport’s most complex and controversial human beings. Goodish’s account of her husband’s horrific murder and its aftermath is both heartbreaking and compelling, while Matysik’s insider knowledge of the business puts Brody’s place in wrestling history into perspective. With a foreword by WWE announcer Jim Ross, Brody offers readers the unvarnished truth about one of the greatest wrestling legends of all time.

4) An electronic book- From the Golden Era

This unique digital publication offers a complete record of every twist and turn, of every performer, of all the battles from television’s legendary Wrestling at the Chase, and every card presented at both the historic Kiel Auditorium and The Arena (Checkerdome) during the glory era of the St. Louis promotion.

Wrestling at the Chase announcer and St. Louis insider Larry Matysik adds background about the personalities, business, secrets, and politics to make this electronic book a revealing, in-depth account of three decades of wrestling’s golden era. Featuring everything from attendance figures, to booking strategies, to insights and NWA championship bouts, From the Golden Era: The St. Louis Wrestling Record Book is the once-in-a-lifetime document that every serious wrestling observer must have.

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Matysik has also been instrumental in keeping the history of one of the highest rated wrestling television programs Wrestling at the Chase alive with Classic St Louis Wrestling, hosted by Matysik himself. In 2007. Matysik headed a team to bring to St Louis the St Louis Wrestling Hall of Fame.

He was joined in this effort by promoter Herb Simmons, webmaster Mitch Martsey, sports journalist Keith Schildroth, and longtime fan Nick Ridenour. The Hall of Fame was created to honor the role St. Louis played in helping to establish professional wrestling in North America. Today the hall can be seen at the historic South Broadway Athletic club.

In 2011 fans in St Louis will once again be able to hear the Voice himself call wrestling matches when he returns to TV on Sunday February 6, 2011 at 11:30 am and then rebroadcast on Sunday evening at 10:30pm on Charter Cable channel 8. The matches will be taped in East Carondelet Community Center on Saturday January 22nd.



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Photo Credit Mike Van Hoogstraat

We were thrilled and excited when Matysik agreed to accept the 2009 MWR Lifetime Achievement Award. Earlier this month at MMWA-SICW, MWR’S Dubray Tallman had the honor to present the plaque to a true gentleman and ambassador of pro wrestling, Larry Matysik

Once again, thank you so much for your positive contribution to pro wrestling Larry Matysik.

Please join us at MWR on January 1st when we will announce the recipient for the 2010 MWR Lifetime Achievement Award.

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The MWR Families thoughts and prayers go out to Mickey Garagolia

Posted by flairwhoooooo on July 19, 2010

Back in the saddle one more time were ST Louis Hall of Fame members Larry Matysik and Mickey Garagolia last month at MMWA-SICW (Photo Credit Mike Van Hioogstraat)

Everyone here at Missouri Wrestling Revival would like to send out our thoughts and prayers to the pro wrestling ring announcer and commentator Mickey Garagolia and we all hope for a speedy recovery who at the time is in the hospital.

Mickey’s brother Joe was a beloved figure in the St Louis community for his time playing for the ST Louis Cardinals while becoming a World Series Champion in 1946 defeating the Boston Red Sox. When his career was through he became the first play by play announcer for Wrestling at the Chase along side Larry Matysik .

Mickey would join his brother to work with Sam Muchnick as a ring announcer and commentary while becoming an important piece in the puzzle of why St Louis was the standard of Pro Wrestling for so many years.

Throughout the years Wrestling at the Chase was the third most watched show in St louis trailing only local news and the ST Louis Cardinals Baseball games.

There is no doubt in my mind that the Garagolia name was  important to the success of wrestling at the time, due to the fact that so many people respected baseball that when Joe and Mickey were involved in wrestling it brought positive attention to sport from a town that will always be proud to be considered a baseball town .

In 2007 the St Louis Wrestling Hall of Fame inducted Mickey in the Hall of Fame along with greats such as Penny Banner, Lou Thesz, Harley Race, Larry Matysik, Gene Kiniski, King Kong Brody, Dick the Bruiser, Ric Flair, Bill Longson, Sam Muchnick, Pat O’ Conner, Joe Schoenberger, Johnny Valentine, and Fritz Von Erich.

Most recently Mickey was on hand at MMWA-SICW in East Carondelet to help celebrate 51 Years of Wrestling at the Chase with friends Herb Simmons and Larry Matysik.

Once again we wish one of Pro wrestling’s great supporters the best and hope to see him at a show real soon.

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Premier Insulation & Firestop Company sponsors Fathers Day weekend Double Main event in East Carondelet.

Posted by flairwhoooooo on June 12, 2010

MMWA-SICW returns to East Carondelet on Saturday June 19th to celebrate both Fathers Day and their 51 year anniversary of Wrestling at the Chase first aired in May of 1959. Last year they had the great Harley Race in attendance along with Gene Kiniski and Baron Von Raschke via telephone talking to the packed house.

This years event in sponsored by Premier & Firestop Company who is bringing to you two explosive main events worthy of the occasion. General Manager Sean Walsh will be on hand with all his union friends to cheer on Ron Powers as he and Danny Boy have an all out war against Gary Jackson and Waco. Premier Insulation & Firestop have purchased ads on the radio and local newspaper’s including the Labor Tribune inviting all their union brothers and sister to join them in East Carondelet on Saturday June 19th at 8pm. Sean grew up watching Wrestling at the chase and felt like he wanted to help support a local wrestling show that gives back to their community.

That’s not all, the MMWA-SICW Championship will be on the line when Dave Vaughn defends his title against Travis Cook’s protégé 6’9 235 lbs Donovan Ruddick. This is the match that we have all been waiting for. Can the champion withstand the power of Ruddick or will Vaughn’s wrestling ability be the edge in this battle between two of the best in the Midwest?

Also on hand will be the voice of Wrestling at the chase Larry Matysik and Mickey Garagolia to celebrate the occasion.

MWR fans bring your fathers and sons, heck bring the whole family for a fun filled evening.

MMWA-SICW at the community Center at 823 State Street

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Gene Kiniski- One of last links to the past is gone but not forgotten

Posted by flairwhoooooo on May 20, 2010

By Brian Kelley

There is no one today that compares to “Big Thunder” Gene Kiniski , stated legendary St Louis announcer Larry Matysik. At 6”4 272 pounds Eugene Nicholas “Gene” Kiniski quickly made an impact with his size and energy that would not stop.

Born outside of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Kiniski was a natural athlete earning him a scholarship to the University of Arizona . After collage he played with the Edmund Eskimos football team. An injury would force his football to come to an end.

Pro Footballs loss was Pro Wrestling’s game. Kiniski would train with Dory Funk JR and Tony Morelli. He quickly earned a chance at the NWA title held by the great Lou Thesz.at the Olympic Auditorium on November 3, 1954. The veteran Thesz would defeat Kiniski in two straight falls but this would not be the last time these two would meet. .

After earning a reputation in the states at one of the top bad guys, Kiniski would return home finding one of his main rivals in Whipper Billy Watson. The two were would enjoy television exposure on CBS where their exciting feud was often featured.

Kiniski’s rival Watson would end Thesz’s 6 year stranglehold on the NWA title on March 15, 1956 in Toronto . Kiniski was a true threat to the NWA championship for the remainder of the decade.

In the Midwest Kiniski was often involved in the hottest feuds in Sam Muchnick’s Wrestling at the Chase. Wild Bill Longson would wrestle his last match in a tag team war with partner Whipper Billy Watson after Kiniski slammed Watson on the outside allowing Rip Hawk to get the pinfall.

In front of a sellout crowd at the Kiel Auditorium Kiniski would get a huge win against arch rival Whipper Billy Watson in the very first Texas Death match in St Louis . A back and forth battle that saw Kiniski get the win after 6 falls…yes 6 falls when Watson could not continue after the devastating backbreakers of Kiniski. This win led to him getting two opportunities at the NWA World title then held by Pat O’ Connor in St Louis.

Kiniski would be unable to defeat O’ Conner but he would go on to win titles wherever he went, enraging fans with his sarcasm and referring to himself as “ Canada ’s greatest athlete”.

On July 11 1961 he would win his very first world title by defeating American Wrestling Association Champion Verne Gagne. His title would be short lived as Gagne would regain it 28 days later. Kiniski continued to Main event wherever he went because the promoters knew he could deliver. The remainder of the 60’s Kiniski traveled the world challenging the best wrestlers of his day.

In Japan he headlined with wrestling legend Shohei “Giant” Baba while trips to the then WWWF (WWE) had him going against Bruno Sammartino in the historic Madison Square Garden .

Back in St Louis a young Nick Bockwinkel was set to debut in St Louis against Kiniski but Fritz Von Erich attacked Kiniski with the deadly claw thus keeping him from taking on the future world champion. Bockwinkel would go on to meet Don Plechas and win his first match in 2 out 3 falls. On May 14th 1965 Kiniski would get his revenge from Von Erich in a Texas Death Match at the Keil Auditorium

St Louis would also be the place that Kiniski would get his biggest career win on January 7 1966 when he defeated NWA World Champion Lou Thesz in two out three falls. Matysik recalls it as such Thesz won the first fall, Kiniski was awarded the second fall by DQ when Thesz threw Kiniski over the top rope. The St Louis wrestling fans were very respected and educated just as the St Louis Cardinals fans are today. At first the crowd booed because Kiniski was so hated but it quickly became cheers because they knew how special a NWA Title change was. Lou Thesz would show respect by shaking the new Champions hand cementing the special occasion.


NWA World Championship (Atlanta, GA 4/14/67) NO SOUND

Kiniski would be a fighting champion traveling around the world from his home country in Canada to Japan and throughout the states taking on the best in Thesz, Dick the Bruiser, Terry and Dory Funk Jr and many more during his three years of greatness.

It would be Dory Funk JR. that would defeat Kiniski in Tampa Florida on February 11, 1969 to end his title reign. Kiniski would continue to headline around the world winning titles and drawing big houses.

After Kikiski’s days were long gone, Kiniski and Matysik was driving by the Kiel Auditorium, they spoke of the changes of wrestling throughout the years. Kiniski put it in perspective “I don’t begrudge anyone in the business making money but be sure to let the fans know there was matches in that building that will never be done again.

The loving father of two sons, Nick and Kelly who followed in their dads footsteps to become pro wrestlers. Kiniski referred the main event of the inaugural NWA Starrcade (Ric Flair vs. NWA World Champion Harley Race in a steel cage) in 1983.

Special referee Gene Kiniski (a former NWA World Champion himself) checks Ric Flair for foreign objects. Kiniski has been brought in to guarantee a fair match(Photo WWE)

Kiniski was inducted into the Tragos/Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame in Newton, Iowa in 2004 and a member of the St. Louis Wrestling Hall of Fame – Hall of Fame [2007].

On April 14, 2010 Kiniski at aged 81, passed away from cancer at his home in Blaine, Washington.

~~~~Special thanks to Larry Matysik for his words of wisdom and allowing me to use his wonderful book From the Golden Era- The St Louis Wrestling Record Book 1959 to 1963 .If you would like to buy this wonderful treasure back in time click here.

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MWR Fans you can speak to former NWA World Champion and WWE Hall of Famer Dory Funk JR this Saturday.

Posted by flairwhoooooo on March 29, 2010

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By Brian “Flair” Kelley

MWR Fans you will not want to miss the chance to listen in on the St Louis Nostalgia show this Saturday April 3rd at 11am at http://kzqz1430am.com/. Your host Herb Simmons and co-host Larry Matysik will interview wrestling great Dory Funk JR. Callers are welcomed to call in at the radio station at 1-888-394-1430.

Dory Funk JR is the son of Dory Funk SR and brother of Terry Funk. On February 11, 1969 in Tampa, Florida, Dory Funk JR would defeat Gene Kiniski and remained NWA World Champion for the next four and a half years, which is the second-longest uninterrupted reign of any NWA World Champion (Lou Thesz held the NWA world title from November 27, 1949, to March 15, 1956).

Dory’s ties to the Midwest are very tight as he would defend the NWA Championship against Black Jack Lanza with Bobby Heenan, Dick the Bruiser and Baron Von Raschke in classic match ups. Dory Funk Jr would lose his NWA World Championship in the Midwest against Harley Race in Kansas on City May 24, 1973. The match would earn Funk JR and Race the 1973 Pro Wrestling Illustrated Match of the year honors. Dory Funk JR would earn the 1974 PWI Match of the Year honors once again, this time against Jack Brisco In Tokyo Japan.

Dory is the innovator and master of the Texas cloverleaf submission hold and thrilled fans as he sold out arenas the world with great matches. At WrestleMania 2 Dory teamed with his brother Terry as they defeated the Junkyard Dog and Tito Santana.

No wrestling Hall of Fame is complete without Dory Funk 50 plus years of wrestling greatness. Last year Dory was inducted in the WWE Hall of fame by Dusty Rhodes. Dory Funk JR is also a member of the Cauliflower Alley Club (Class of 1998), NWA Hall of Fame (Class of 2006), Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum (Class of 2005), St Louis Hall of Fame (Class of 2008) and the  Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame (Class of 1996).

Former NWA World champions Terry Funk, Jack Brisco, Harley Race and Dory Funk Jr. strike a pose at the 2005 NWA Wrestling Legends Fanfest in Charlotte.

Dory would continue to be an impact in the sport as he would go on to train WWE World Champions Edge, Lita and Mickie James and TNA World Champions Kurt Angle, Christian and Rhino.

Wrestling fans you will not want to miss the chance to speak to one of the most influential wrestlers to ever lace up the boots. Remember to listen this Saturday at 11 am on at http://kzqz1430am.com/to hear from the former World Champion Dory Funk JR speak with St Louis’s Herb Simmons and co-host Larry Matysik. To call in do not forget 1-888-394-1430.

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MWR’s History of the NWA Missouri Heavyweight Championship

Posted by Admin on October 22, 2008

History of the NWA Missouri Heavyweight Championship

By Josh Ray
Owner-Editor
Inadvertent.nerd@gmail.com

This is the first in a series of features on championships in the MWR coverage area, where MWR looks at the history, importance, and the future of the wrestling belts that help shape the Midwest independent wrestling scene.

The National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) has been around since 1948, but the Missouri Heavyweight Championship has been around in some way, shape, or form since 1899. Records are spotty, but George Baptiste is in the books as the first Missouri Champion, winning in 1899. There are no details as to whom he defeated for the title or whom defeated him.

The next Missouri Champion doesn’t appear in the record books until 1921. Jake Reed defeated Lloyd Carter sometime that year, but again the records are so poor for that time period that no other information is known.

In 1933, some 12 years later, Fred Peterson entered the scene and began claiming that he was the Missouri Champion. He continued to make this claim until March of 1934, which happens to be around the same time that Billy Wolf is listed as champion. Records are unclear as to whom he defeated for the title, but Fred Peterson could be a good guess.

1937 brings more clarity to the title, as Lou Thesz defeated Warren Bockwinkel for the title on June 18th in Kansas City, MO. The clarity wouldn’t last long, however, as the title did a disappearing act until October 17, 1947 in St. Joseph, MO. Over ten years after Lou Thesz won the title, Ron Etchison defeated Sonny Myers for the title. There is no more information on how Thesz parted with the belt.

Less than a month later on November 7, 1947, Sonny Myers won a rematch with Etchison and became the Missouri State Champion. Before 1947 was over with, though, the title would be vacated and would remain that way until 1950.

As the National Wrestling Alliance began tying the smaller regional promotions together, the Missouri title was reestablished. Unfortunately, records are still in bad shape from 1950 to 1955. Tommy O’Toole defeated Sonny Myers in a tournament final on March 10, 1950, and from then until it was vacated in 1955 Bob Orton Sr. and Ron Etchison would win the title. Once again, there are no records as to whom either of them defeated.

The title stayed vacated from 1955 until 1972, when the title became a secondary singles championship for the NWA’s Central States Wrestling and St. Louis Wrestling Club. On September 16, 1972 in St. Louis, MO, the title gained legitimacy when Midwest wrestling legend Harley Race defeated Korean wrestling star Pak Song in a tournament final for the championship. In the years to come, Race would become the area’s most dominant champion and a true wrestling legend.

The title was held up after the ending of a Harley Race and Johnny Valentine match on December 16, 1972 in St. Louis, MO. A rematch was scheduled a month later, and on January 19, 1973, Valentine defeated Race for the title. The remainder of 1973 saw Terry Funk, Gene Kiniski, and Harley Race with the title.

St. Louis, MO continued to be the location for each and every Missouri Heavyweight Championship title change through February 1986 when Jim Crockett and Jim Crockett Promotions bought the St. Louis Wrestling Club. Later in the year Crockett also purchased Central States Wrestling as the NWA attempted to compete with Vince McMahon Jr. and his World Wrestling Federation (WWF).

Fittingly, the last Missouri Heavyweight Champion of that era was Harley Race. He won the title by defeating Jerry Blackwell on August 2, 1985. From Harley Race’s 1973 reign (his second) to his final reign in 1985, he would hold the title four other times. This left him with a total of seven reigns as Missouri Champ and made him the wrestler with the most reigns as champion. Others that held the title in this time period include Dory Funk Jr., Jack Brisco, Dick Slater, Ted DiBiase Sr., Dick Murdoch, Dick the Bruiser, Kevin Von Erich, Ken Patera, Kerry Von Erich, David Von Erich, and “Nature Boy” Ric Flair.

The list of Missouri Heavyweight Champions reads like a who’s who of NWA wrestlers of the era, but a new era began in 2002. Gary Jackson entered the record books as the first Missouri Heavyweight Champ of the new era by defeating Steve Stone in St. Robert, MO on July 27, 2002. The title’s tumultuous nature returned, but unlike the early 20th Century, records were kept in good standing.

Jackson was stripped of the title on June 3, 2003 due to his inability to frequently defend it, and Shane Somers stepped into the forefront as perennial Missouri Heavyweight Champion. He would win the title a total of three times in less than a year, winning it twice in one night (June 17, 2003) after Missouri State Athletic Commissioner Karl Lauer stripped him of the belt for using an illegal chokehold. He won the belt again later that night by pinning John Epperson in a tag match.

The Missouri Heavyweight Championship has changed hands in a state other than Missouri twice in its entire history, once in 2003 and once in 2005. On October 10, 2003, Ricky Murdock defeated Shane Somers in Parkersburg, WV at the NWA 55th Anniversary Show. The title was vacated a year later and then on December 7, 2005 in Lawrence, KS, Abyss defeated Tyler Cook for it.

A year later, the title was vacated once again. After a less than respectable run, the Missouri Heavyweight Championship gained a savior who goes by the name “Dingo”. Dingo won the title on January 19, 2007 in St. Joseph, MO by defeating Kraig Keesaman, Mark Sterling, and Jeremy Wyatt in a four-way scramble. As of this writing Dingo is still the champion, having held the title for over a year and a half. He’s defeated some of the top wrestlers in the Midwest, including Jeremy Wyatt, Mark Sterling, and Michael Strider. Under the NWA CSW: Missouri banner, Dingo is doing his part to bring the title back to the Harley Race standard of the 70s and 80s.

Only time will tell what the future holds for the NWA Missouri Heavyweight Championship. If the current champion and the promotion sanctioning the matches are any indication, the title will have a bright future. The title is only as strong as the promotion, champion, and his challengers, though, so here’s to a competitive future for the NWA Missouri Heavyweight Championship!

For a complete listing of NWA Missouri Heavyweight Champions, go to the Wikipedia Page at:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NWA_Missouri_Heavyweight_Championship

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