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Posts Tagged ‘Magnum TA’

Draper Becomes the First NWL Champion

Posted by flairwhoooooo on April 26, 2017

By Brian Hoops
Photos Brian Kelley

In the National Wrasslin League, one man stands taller than the rest. At 6’5”, Dakota “Dak”
Draper is not only the tallest wrestler on the roster, he is the first ever NWL Kansas City
Heavyweight Champion.

Draper was crowned champion by defeating Blaine Meeks in the finals of a tournament held
over three months on April 1 at the Scottish Rites Temple in Kansas City, Missouri. The National
Wrestling League was formed in 2016 by  and started promoting in Kansas City
and St. Louis in January, 2017. Shows are run every other Saturday in Kansas City and every
other Sunday in St. Louis.

Draper, real name Sam Udell, was recruited to the NWL KC roster by NWL Director of
Operations Chris Gough. Gough was a former writer for WWE and had always wanted to book
Draper for his Metro Pro Wrestling promotion. “He was appealing to me because he had been to
the WWE like me. I knew he would appreciate this opportunity because of that.”

Draper, better known as “The Mile High Magnum” hails from Colorado. “I grew up a wrestling
fan and was huge fan of”, Draper told me in a phone interview. Draper ended up
wrestling collegiality at Chadron State University in Chadron, Nebraska, a Division 2 program. It
was at the NCAA finals that he caught the eye of WWE talent scout Jerry Brisco. “Late in the
summer of 2007 they brought me to FCW for a tryout. I was in FCW for a week. The only thing I
did well was my promo.”

Draper didn’t get signed but Brisco told him to work on his body and to move to Denver and find
a wrestling school. “I ended up meeting Pat Tanaka and trained with Pat for about nine months.
Gerry Brisco called me again and offered me another tryout. I did well in the ring and in the
promo again and after the promo, they pulled me aside and told me they were gonna sign me.”
Draper signed a two year developmental contract, the first year he spent in Tampa before the
current WWE Performance Center was built in Orlando. Draper worked in developmental as
Travis Tyler and worked mostly in an enhancement role. Draper was released from the
developmental contract in August of 2016 and moved back to Denver to work on the
independent scene.

“I gained a lot of confidence wrestling in the independents. That was the thing that held me back
in WWE, I was always trying to be a character instead of being myself. Now I can be Dak
Draper who thinks he is above everyone else.”

Draper refers to himself as the “Mile High Magnum” as a tribute to his home city and one of his
favorite wrestlers growing up, Magnum TA. Draper says being a heel is natural for him. “Dr.
Tom (Prichard) told us the first day of developmental that the best wrestling characters are
extensions of ourselves with the volume turned up. I didn’t really understand it at the time, but I
am starting to now.”

Draper is the complete athlete that can cause fits for his opponents on the ground and surprisingly in the air as well. Here he catches Blaine Meeks off guard in the finals for the NWL KC Championship.

Draper is one of the eight wrestlers who are employed by the National Wrasslin League. He is
signed through the end of 2018 and appreciates being involved in the promotion. “I really want
to make the NWL a successful company. Its really cool to be involved in the process of creating
wrestling instead of people telling you what to do.”

Draper is the first and only NWL Kansas City Champion. The NWL Kansas City Title will only be
defended in Kansas City and likewise the NWL St. Louis Title will only be defended in St. Louis.
Gough says by the end of the year a champion of the NWL will be crowned and the title will be
defended anywhere. At the end of the year in December, the NWL Kansas City Champion will
meet the NWL St. Louis Champion to determine the NWL Champion.

Gil Rogers put up a fight for the NWL KC title at the Scottish Rite Temple, but Dak Draper would show off his championship skills to retain the belt.

“The NWL championship match will take place in the city that has the best record in the series
between Kansas City and St. Louis at the time. We have a running total record of matches
between a guy from the Kansas City roster versus a guy from the St. Louis roster.” Gough
explained, “Tag Team Champions will be crowned down the road, but probably not this year.”
Gough, the primary recruiter of talent for the NWL is always looking for new talent and bringing in
fresh faces. Former Ring of Honor Champion Kyle O’Reilly has recently worked for the
promotion and “Hardcore” Bob Holly is signed for April 29 in Kansas City.

Fans of the promotion can watch NWL on its you tube channel. Fans in Kansas City can watch
NWL KC on broadcast television at 11 pm Saturday nights on channel 38, The Spot. Gough said
it is the first time professional wrestling has been on broadcast television in Kansas City since
the mid to late 1980’s when Central States was a TV staple.

I asked Draper if being on local television has brought him any recognition when he is out in
downtown Kansas City. “Actually, I was out in the Power & Light District and someone
recognized me. That didn’t happen, even in Orlando. I had some tickets to our next show with
me and gave the guy a couple of tickets to watch the Mile High Magnum

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MWR Tribute: “Nature Boy” Ric Flair

Posted by Admin on April 5, 2008

Missouri Wrestling Revival Tribute:
“Nature Boy” Ric Flair

by Joshua Ray
MWR Owner-Editor

(Ric Flair as Missouri State Champion in 1983 [Credit: http://www.rfgolds.com/].)
A Tribute

(Ric Flair and the infamous Four Horsemen! [Internet photo database])

36 years of pro wrestling excellence has come to an end, as “Nature Boy” Ric Flair wrestled his last match at Wrestlemania 24 just a few short days ago on March 30, 2008. I am a huge “Naitch” fan, so I wanted to put together a fitting MWR Tribute to the man known as “The Man” to most of the professional wrestling world. I will be bringing Ric Flair to Missouri in this tribute, connecting him to the Show Me State in a way which I sincerely hope will be befitting of a true champion.
This might not be the definitive history of Ric Flair in Missouri. I admit that my research might not have uncovered every single detail about his connection with our great state. It will be a great tribute, though. In my mind, Ric Flair is the greatest World Heavyweight Champion of all time, and this is the least I can do for him. I have been researching every bit of known information about Flair for nearly two weeks.
I’ll leave out less significant events such as individual house show appearances. While I’ll include them in the match totals, the focus is to point out the noteworthy history of the “Nature Boy” as it pertains to Missouri. Feel free to comment on anything included in this tribute, as well as anything I might have left out or any personal reflections.


Ric Flair and Missouri at a Glance

Ric Flair is on record as wrestling 80 times in Missouri in his 36 year career. While the average breaks down to just over two matches per year in the Show Me State, 55 of his Missouri bouts occurred between his Missouri debut on August 6, 1977 and October 16, 1987. This period includes the time in which he set an amazing standard by which most other champions could not meet, as he wrestled 6 or 7 times each week. This averages to just over 5 wrestling matches each year in Missouri alone.

In the winning of his first and only NWA Missouri Heavyweight Championship, Flair wrestled four times in the same night in a tournament. He became the title’s 33rd holder. That wasn’t the only belt he won in Missouri, though. Flair also won two NWA World Heavyweight Titles by defeating Dusty Rhodes on both occasions. On the flip side, he lost 2 NWA World Heavyweight Titles to Harley Race, and his only Missouri Heavyweight Title was lost when he was defeated at the hands of David Von Erich.

Flair only wrestled two tag team matches in the state of Missouri. He teamed with Arn Anderson for one to defeat El Gigante and Sting on April 27, 1991 in St. Louis. For the other one, he teamed with Barry Windham in a losing effort to El Gigante and The yellow Dog (A Masked “Flyin” Brian Pillman). As another piece of trivia, Flair only guest refereed one match in the state of Missouri. The match was between “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and Undertaker on April 21, 2002!

“The Man” has wrestled in seven cities within the Missouri state border. Those cities are (matches in parentheses) St. Louis (51), Kansas City (20), Joplin (2), St. Joseph (2), Cape Girardeau (1), Springfield (3), and West Plains (1).

With all of these connections to the state of Missouri, Flair was inducted into the inaugural class of 2007 of the St. Louis Wrestling Hall of Fame on February 24, 2007.

(Bret Hart giving Flair a taste of his own medicine [Credit: www.wwesuperstars.org])

Personal Reflection

As a young kid (the entire 1980s), I was always partial to the National Wrestling Alliance. Yes, I enjoyed the World Wrestling Federation and all of the glitz and glamor that organization had to offer, but there was just something that resonated in my soul with how the NWA presented itself. It seemed more real, with the heroes more believable in my eyes. Hulk Hogan might have been my favorite wrestler at the time due to his looks and his cartoonish stand for all that was American and good, but Dusty Rhodes, The Rock N Roll Express, Magnum TA, Ricky Steamboat, Kerry Von Erich, Brad Armstrong and later Sting would round out my list.

Why did those simpler and less “larger than life” wrestlers capture my imagination and have me rooting for them just as hard as my favorite wrestler in the entire world at the time, Hulk Hogan?

“Nature Boy” Ric Flair.

He was as bad as a person could be. He had money. He had women. He loved to cheat. Worst of all, he always found a way to win! I hated him with a passion in my younger days. I can still remember getting so excited when somebody would defeat him for the NWA World Title, only for him two win it back so shortly later. I loved to hate him.

Later, i would learn to respect him. His Royal Rumble performance in 1992 was probably the point in my life (I was 11) where I started realizing he was more than just a bad guy. Sure, I still hated him… but he had just lasted an hour in one of the hardest matches to win! He had found a way, yet again, to win the gold. This time it was for the WWF!

Over the years, Flair might not have been center stage or in the main event, but it was obvious that I wasn’t the only fan to respect him and treat him like royalty. Most of the time he was getting the shaft and was nearly buried by terrible booking after his NWA glory years:

– Black Scorpion
– Feud with Robocop and Sting
– Nearly being forced to shave his head, wear an earring, and call himself “Spartacus”
– Late WCW (everybody was bad then, but let’s move on)
– His recent jobber status in WWE before his “retire” storyline

(Ric Flair versus Hulk Hogan in WCW [Internet photo database].)

The great thing about Flair was that he transcended all of that. He was great, and people knew that anything lame about Flair couldn’t possibly be his doing. The man has been a living legend for many years. He’s just finally getting that recognition on a more formal level.

So here’s to Ric Flair.

The greatest of all time! (An issue of Pro Wrestling Illustrated with Ric Flair on the cover. [Credit: www.prowrestlingillustrated.com])

Thoughts from Brian “Flair” Kelley:
If you know me then you know that Ric Flair is my favorite wrestler. Ric Flair is the last real wrestling champion, and I am grateful that I got to live with him wrestling since my youth. Before Vince told the world that it was predetermined, there was still a kind of magic that the fans believed in. The magic that every match meant something, whether it be when he broke Dusty Rhodes’ leg or when he was having the greatest scientific matches of all time with Ricky Steamboat. You knew you just had to see it.

Flair was the guy the boys wanted to be, the women loved and the men hated. Flair made you stay home on Saturday nights for just a little longer, just so you could see who he was going to wrestle and what would he say before and after.

Don’t lie, men. You know you have tried one of his pickup lines at least once on a girl.

When I think of Flair today, I still mark out for him. Truth be told, I always will. There has never been a wrestler who can keep my attention the way he did. I feel as if Flair never reached his potential as far as marketing goes, though I wished he would have been given that chance. This is by no means to slight anyone else, because thank goodness for Hogan, The Rock and Austin… three men who really boomed as far as merchandise sales go, but I wish Flair had been given that ball to run with. Maybe it was for the best, though. Flair now has longevity and respect, and when something of Flair’s comes out the people want it, as they showed with the Flair DVDs and book sales.

There is no doubt that I would have always liked wrestling, but “Nature Boy” Ric Flair made me love it.

References:
– Derkweiler.com [http://newsgroups.derkweiler.com/archive/rec/rec.sport.pro-wrestling/2006-05/msg11691.html]
– Slam Wrestling [http://slam.canoe.ca]
– WWE.com
– Wikipedia
 
 

 

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