Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Champions Ric Flair and Jumbo Tsuruta

NWA champion Ric Flair and AWA champion Jumbo Tsuruta
(Verne Gagne is behind them left.)
Ric Flair and Jumbo Tsuruta's world title reigns overlapped in the spring of 1984. Tsuruta defeated Nick Bockwinkle for the AWA championship on 2/23/84 in Japan and lost the title three months later to Rick Martel on 5/13/84 in Minnesota.

Flair was NWA champion most of that time, losing the title briefly to Kerry Von Erich in Texas on 5/6/84 and regaining on 5/24/84 in Japan.

The photo above (from a Japanese magazine) was not taken in Japan, since Flair's only known appearance during that time (when he regained the the title from Von Erich) was roughly a week after Tsuruta lost the AWA title to Martel.

It was likely taken 3/10/84 in St. Louis, MO when Flair and Tsuruta were on the same card at the Kiel:

St. Louis, MO  3/10/84
NWA champion Ric Flair vs. King Kong Brody
Wahoo McDaniel vs. Harley Race (Indian Strap Match non-title)
Greg Gagne and Ted Oates vs. AWA champion Jumbo Tsuruta and Genichiro Tenyru
Blackjack Mulligan vs. Ox Baker
Kimala vs. Bulldog Bob Brown and Buck Zumhofe
Blackjack Lanza vs. Roger Kirby
Luke Graham vs. Jay Wolfe
Buzz Tyler and Ron Ritchie vs. The Grapplers

The two never had a NWA title vs. AWA title match. But it certainly was a busy few months for these two major championships in the spring of 1984.

Monday, February 23, 2015

News of Jack Brisco in Japan (1973)

Tiger Conway, Sr. straps the brand new NWA world championship belt around the waist of Jack Brisco moments after he defeated Harley Race in Houston, July 20, 1973.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The NWA Champion in Japan (from 1957)

NWA World Heavyweight Champion Harley Race
Featured Link: The NWA Champion in Japan 1957-1999

by Masanori Horie

Friday, September 26, 2014

Another Great Pretender

Mil Mascaras and NWA World Champion Terry Funk

Another wrestler who thought he might carry the Ten Pounds of Gold. The legendary Mil Mascaras looks as if he is attempting to pull the NWA title belt away from champion Terry Funk.

This photo appeared in a Japanese wrestling magazine. (Thanks to Scott Bowden.)

See earlier posts with some other photos featuring great pretenders to the NWA title:
Great Pretenders (featuring Bruiser Brody, Mr. Wrestling II, Wahoo McDaniel, Jerry Lawler, and Buddy Landel.)
More Great Pretenders (featuring Jumbo Tsuruta)

Check out Ten Pounds of Gold, the book that takes a close look 
at the 1973-1986 NWA title belt:

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Domed Globe at Titan Towers

The Original 1973-1986 NWA World Championship Belt (Pinterest Photo)

This photo shows the original domed-globe NWA world title belt in a frame especially designed for the belt. The frame now hangs on the office wall of Paul Levesque (aka, Triple H) at Titan Towers, the corporate HQ for World Wrestling Entertainment in Stamford, CT.

The case was custom made for Ric Flair in the early 1990s by Linda Ostrow at her frame shop and art gallery in Charlotte, NC. Flair displayed the belt at various locations over the years he maintained possession of the belt, most notably at one of his "Ric Flair's World's Gym" locations in Charlotte. It also hung on the wall at his home for a period years in the 1990s.

The belt suddenly showed up in the case at a WWE fan event in the days leading up to Wrestlemania in 2012 in Miami, which fueled rumors that the belt was now in the possession of the WWE. That was confirmed in 2013 when Conrad Thompson and Dave Millican toured Titan Towers and spotted the famous belt still in the Ostrow custom-frame in the office of Paul Levesque.

The only change that had been made was the replacement of the engraved plate in the case. The original plate in the case (seen in the photo below) read "Ric Flair, National Wrestling Alliance Worlds Heavyweight Champion 1981-1991."

Photograph by Dick Bourne / Mid-Atlantic Gateway

The new plate in the case reads "The National Wrestling Alliance Champions, 1973-1986" and then lists each of the eight men who wore the Ten Pounds of Gold: Jack Brisco, Terry Funk, Harley Race, Giant Baba, Dusty Rhodes, Tommy Rich, Ric Flair, and Kerry Von Erich. But everything else about the case appears to be just as Linda Ostrow made it in the early 1990s.

Edit from Pinterest Photo

The WWE continues loose plans to eventually build a brick-and-mortar Hall of Fame facility and it is hoped that the Ten Pounds of Gold might eventually wind up on permanent display there. It deserves to be seen by wrestling fans so that fathers can tell their sons that this belt was the belt worn by true world champions of that era, champions that defended the championship for dozens of promoters, offices, and territories around the world.

(The photo of the belt in the case at the top of the page is from the Pinterest page of Al Kennon, although it is not known who actually took this photo or where it was taken. )

Check out Ten Pounds of Gold, the book that takes a close look 
at the 1973-1986 NWA title belt:

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Featured Photo: The NWA World Championship Belt

The original Ten Pounds of Gold (Pinterest Photo)
A beautifully shot photo of the main plate of original NWA world heavyweight championship belt. I love the focal point being the "NWA" lettering on the domed globe. Just a great shot.

The photo appears on the Pinterest page of Christopher Ruiz, although it does not specify exactly who took the photo.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Hall of Famer Jack Brisco

Nobody did it better than the Briscos!