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Posts Tagged ‘Warren Bockwinkel’

The Dan Gable International Wrestling Institute and Museum team up with WLW for the Hall of Fame.

Posted by flairwhoooooo on July 6, 2009

By Brian Kelley

This week I am excited to take the trip to Waterloo Iowa for the annual George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame. A wonderful weekend set aside for wrestling fans old and alike to pay respect to the sport that they love.

On Friday July 10, Harley Race’s World League Wrestling will excite the fans with a Night of the Legends pro card at Young Arena. This is one event every year that I mark on my calander and so should you.

Thanks to World League Wrestling I was able to catch up with rising star “The Vietnam Phenom” Bao Nguyen eariler this year.

Nguyen is scheduled to be at the Night of the Legends card along with WLW Stars “King of the 450” Steve Anthony, Brian Breaker, Curt Hennig’s daughter Amy, Ricky Steamboat Jr, Darin Waid, Jason Jones and WLW Champion “Superstar” Steve Fender.

The pro hall of fame is located inside the Dan Gable International Wrestling Institute and Museum. The museum was nearly destroyed by the historic flood of June 10, 2008, but re-opened this month.

The 11 th class is comprised of living wrestlers Nick Bockwinkel, longtime world heavyweight champion in the AWA; Ricky Steamboat, a superstar in the WWF, and Fritz Von Goering, who wrestled many of the top stars of the 1950s and ‘60s, and all five of the other inductees at one point in his long career.

Three deceased wrestlers are also being inducted: Bronko Nagurski, Luther Lindsay and Karl Gotch.

NICK

Bockwinkel was the son of former pro star Warren Bockwinkel and was a top college football prospect at Oklahoma University before injuries put him on the sidelines. He then turned his attention to pro wrestling full time, early in the 1950s. Over the next 30 years, he wrestled every major star in the business and held the AWA world heavyweight title for nearly seven years, as well as dozens of lesser belts. One of the most popular heels in wrestling history, he has been president of the Cauliflower Alley Club (CAC) for the past several years and resides in Las Vegas.
ricky-steamboat
A native of Hawaii, Steamboat was an amateur wrestler in Florida before entering the pro ranks in 1976, for Verne Gagne’s AWA. He entered the WWF in 1985 and became known as The Dragon and often struck karate poses in the ring, and electrified the crowds with his skills and antics. His title bouts with Ric Flair are among the best matches of the past two decades. Ricky captured the NWA world championship in 1989. He retired 1994 and lives today in Denver, N.C., working for the WWE.

FRITZ

Von Goering was a street-tough kid from Chicago when he turned pro in 1950. He learned the business the hard way, traveling around the country to take on the biggest names in the industry and learning all he could. He spent gym time with pure wrestlers like Dick Hutton, Lou Thesz and Luther Lindsay to learn the craft and today is one of the last from his generation. He won numerous regional titles in his 27-year career. He lives in Campbell, California.

From northern Minnesota, Bronko Nagurski is one of the greatest football players of all time, and is a member of both the College Football Hall of Fame and the Professional Football Hall of Fame. While starring with the Chicago Bears in the late 1930s, Nagurski approached Lou Thesz about wrestling in the off-season and used his great athletic skills to become a huge draw in wrestling, holding the world NWA title several times in the late 1930s and early 1940s. He died in 1990, at age 82.

Lou Thesz was one of many who considered Luther Lindsay the best African-American wrestler of all time. Big, powerful and fast, he played football at Hampton Institute in Norfolk, VA, and later in the Canadian football league. He then turned to pro wrestling and was trained by Stu Hart in the art of hooking. Well known for his skills and athletic abilities in the ring, he was popular outside the ring as well. He died from a heart attack during a match in 1972, at the age of 47.

Karl Gotch holds a near mythical spot in the history of wrestling. A native of Belgium, he made the 1948 Olympic team at age 18. He then moved to England, where he trained in the legendary Wigan “Snake Pit,” learning hooking and ripping techniques that made him one of the most feared wrestlers of all time. He was an absolute legend in Japan and all places were shooting ability is revered. He died in 2007 at age 82 in Florida.

The induction ceremony is the key part of the big weekend. It begins with a Celebrity Golf Tournament at noon Friday, July 10, and continues with a big pro card at Young Arena on Friday night, starting at 7. Harley Race and the WLW are putting the event together for the third straight year.

The official inductions will take place at noon on Saturday in the Gable museum. After the ceremony, fans will be able to meet with the inductees and former hall of famers in attendance.

The induction banquet takes place at 7 p.m. at the beautiful Five Sullivans Convention Center two blocks from the museum. Seating is limited and tickets are $60, and includes the souvenir program.

Dan Hodge, Class of 2000, and the only man to ever win national titles in both boxing and wrestling; he will be signing copies of his new book, “Oklahoma Shooter: Than Dan Hodge Story;
Harley Race, Class of 2005 and eight-time NWA world heavyweight champion;
Baron Von Raschke, Class of 2002, great star of the 1970s and ‘80s, who was third in the World as an amateur wrester;
Bob Geigel, Class of 2002, former wrestling star and legendary Kansas City promoter;
Mad Dog Vachon, Class of 2003; a former Canadian national amateur champion who wrestled in the 1948 Olympics before becoming a pro icon
Larry “The Axe” Hennig, Class of 2006 and father of the late Curt “Mr. Perfect” Hennig, Class of 2007.

FRIDAY, JULY 10
10 a.m. – Museum opens (until 5 p.m.)
Noon – Celebrity Golf Tournament at Irv Warren Golf Course.
7 p.m. – Night of the Legends pro card at Young Arena
WLW JULY

SATURDAY, JULY 11
10 a.m. – Museum Opens (until 5 p.m.)
Noon – Official inductions at museum, fan festival afterwards
7 p.m. – Banquet at Five Sullivan Brothers Center (advance tickets mandatory)
SUNDAY, JULY 12
9 a.m. – Museum opens (until noon

For more information, persons can contact Kent Sesker, marketing director, at 319-233-0745.

For more information on theThe Dan Gable International Wrestling Institute and Museum go here

To find out where you can check out more World League Wrestling. go to their website here.

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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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