Monday, October 29, 2012

Dr. Tom Prichard: The Night Brisco Became Champion

Tom Prichard's ticket stub for wrestling at the
Sam Houston Coliseum, July 20, 1973
     While surfing the internet, I came across a great article by pro-wrestling superstar Tom Prichard on his "Doctor's Note" blog.   In his article "Harley Race vs. Jack Brisco: The Night Brisco Became NWA World Champion", Prichard looks back at the significance the date July 20, 1973 had for him in several ways, not the least of which was the historic title change between Race and Brisco, also the night the belt known as "the ten pounds of gold" was first presented to the champion.

     Prichard, who grew up in El Passo, TX, watching wrestling out of the Amarillo territory, was there in Houston that night and the pomp and circumstance surrounding the big night left a lasting impression on him. I greatly enjoyed his first hand account.

     Included in the article are images of the actual newspaper reports that week (not reproductions) as well as programs, magazines, and his row 12, seat 8 ticket stub. All very cool, indeed.

     Many of the clippings seen in Prichard's post are also featured in the "Ten Pounds of Gold" book, copies of which were provided to us by Harley Race.

     Click the link the below to go to Tom Prichard's blog and relive the night history was made in Houston.





Dr. Tom's blog is "The Doctor's Note" and is located here:

Rick Rockwell Reviews


Thanks to Rick Rockwell for his great review of the "Ten Pounds of Gold" which can be found on both Examiner.com and ProRasslin.com.


Excerpt:

The 2nd edition features an additional 70 pages that includes these great photos and more chapters of informative details. However, if you still want to get the 1st edition, which is a hard cover with colored pictures, then you can order either or at the official website.
The authors do a great job setting the stage for why the belt was created, how it was introduced and who the major players were behind the title's creation. In fact, you get a detailed account on the belt's construction and all of the tweaks that were made over its existence.
Perhaps, my favorite part of the book was the introduction of the belt in 1973. The unveiling of the belt took place right before a world title match between Harley Race and Jack Brisco in Houston. The new belt received almost as much media attention as the match itself.
In addition to the details about the title's unveiling, the book also has numerous copies of newspaper articles about the championship match and the world title. I found it highly enjoyable reading the old newspaper clippings and applaud the authors for putting these clippings in the book.
Another nice feature of the book was the timelines of the wrestlers who wore the belt, the exchanging of the world title and all of the repairs done to the belt. It was a quick and easy way to peruse through wrestling history.       (FULL REVIEW)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

TV Ad with Ric Flair and The Belt


A cool little TV ad from 1984 featuring Ric Flair and the Ten Pounds of Gold. (Clipping courtesy of Carroll Hall at "All Star Championship Wrestling" blog.)

Monday, October 15, 2012

"Drenched in History": Mooneyham plugs "Ten Pounds of Gold"

Thanks to Mike Mooneyham for his kind words about "Ten Pounds of Gold" at the end of his weekly column on the Charleston Post & Courier website:



A revised and expanded second edition of “Ten Pounds of Gold: A Close Look at the NWA World Championship Belt” has been released.
The book, written by Dick Bourne of the popular Mid-Atlantic Gateway website along with veteran beltmaker Dave Millican, contains a wealth of information about pro wrestling's most revered title.
This version of the 2009 volume contains 70 additional pages of photographs, memorabilia and historical information, plus a new title history chapter with behind-the-scenes details, and an expanded chapter on the night the belt was first presented and defended.
The 151-page book takes a close look at a belt that was defended by the likes of Harley Race, Jack Brisco and Ric Flair, and examines its origin, construction and evolution.
It's a must for longtime NWA fans and old-school wrestling fans in general.
The book, beautifully illustrated and drenched in history, is worth its weight in gold.
For more information, visit www.TenPoundsOfGold.com or www.midatlanticgateway.com. The book also is available on Amazon.com.
Mike Mooneyham's excellent wrestling column appears every week in the Charleston Post & Courier newspaper, and online at http://www.postandcourier.com. His column is frequently one of the featured links on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.

The column from which this plug appeared can be found here.

Reach Mike Mooneyham at 843-937-5517 or mooneyham@postandcourier.com, or follow him on Twitter at @ByMikeMooneyham and on Facebook at Facebook.com/MikeMooneyham.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

NWA Champ Kerry Von Erich vs. Terry Gordy



In the image above, Kerry Von Erich hands the "ten pounds of gold" to referee Bronko Lubich before his NWA title defense against Terry Gordy in May 1984. Lubich knows the belt well; he was the referee who was first handed the belt when it was introduced on July 20, 1973 in Houston, TX. 

In the video below, Kerry defends the NWA world championship against Terry Gordy in Ft. Worth, Texas during his three week reign as champion.

The match took place at a "Championship Sports" taping, the weekly two hour wrestling show that aired on KTVT-11 out of Fort Worth.


Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Sure Bet to be Champion?

The story has been told so many times over the last 26 years that it's accepted as fact. "Magnum T.A. was going to win the NWA title at Starrcade '86" or "Magnum T.A. was going to win the NWA title in 1987."

I think a lot of that, especially the Starrcade part, is wishful thinking by many fans over the years for a guy they love whose career was cut short by a tragic automobile accident.

Hey, not that he wasn't getting ready to get in line. But it wasn't happening then.

A sure bet to be champion? Magnum T.A. leaves the ring with the Ten Pounds of Gold
after a confrontation with champion Ric Flair on the nationally televised
"World Championship Wrestling" program in June of 1985.

There is no doubt Magnum T.A. would have been a top choice for the NWA title once it basically had become a Jim Crockett company-title by 1986, and especially with Dusty Rhodes in charge. Magnum was his guy. But it would surely have been a short term deal, similar to the Rhodes, Von Erich, Baba, and Rich reigns that came at the end of the NWA territorial years. Magnum T.A. wasn't the guy for a long term run. At least not in the NWA as existed then.

In the WWF, maybe it would have worked. The WWF booked for a babyface champion to be fed monster heels, one after the other. From Bruno to Backlund to Hogan, this had been the pattern in Magnum's era. He might have clicked as a WWF champion in that time.

But in the NWA, including the dying days of the territories and the single company Crockett era, things were booked so that charismatic babyface challengers chased the cocky heel champion, who would always barely escape with the championship in the end.

Magnum T.A. was perfect in this challenger role. He was brilliant in it, in fact, and had already proven to be so three times over in his relatively short main event career.

  1. After arriving in Jim Crockett Promotions in late 1984, he chased Wahoo McDaniel for the U.S. title, and beat him cleanly in front of a crazy Charlotte crowd in March of 1985. The message was clear - Magnum had defeated a bona-fide wrestling legend in McDaniel, and it immediately propelled him into the upper tier of babyfaces in the promotion, second only to Rhodes.
  2. Then in the summer and fall 1985, he chased Tully Blanchard for the same title. These two guys who were opposite sides of the same coin. It didn't come easy for him in this feud. It was a long hard five month chase that culminated in one of the most memorable Starrcade matches of them all - the 1985 "I Quit" match in Greensboro.
  3. Finally, after having the U.S. title stripped from him by an overly-legislative NWA president Bob Geigle, Magnum would chase the title again in a legendary best of seven series with the "Russian Nightmare" Nikita Koloff in 1986. This was made to order during the era of the cold war: the American hero vs. the commie Russian. Magnum found himself down 0-3 in the series before heroically battling back to tie the series 3-3 in what was the best match of the series in Asheville, NC. But then the unthinkable happened. Koloff won the title in match #7 in Charlotte, once again setting up Magnum as the classic babyface challenger chasing the title. Except this time it wasn't a regional battle against venerable aging legend in Wahoo McDaniel. It wasn't a national battle seen cross-country on the Superstation against the man on the other side of the mirror in Tully Blanchard. No, this battle now seemed world wide in scope - - the U.S.A. vs. Russia. And there can be little doubt that this program, which started way back at the beginning of 1986 would culminate in Magnum's greatest triumph in at Starrcade '86. It was one of the greatest wrestling stories ever told, except sadly we never got to see the finish.

That last summary pretty much shatters the Magnum-wins-the-NWA-title at Starrcade theories, because Magnum was going to win the U.S. title back at Starrcade. And it doesn't even matter if Dusty Rhodes or Jim Crockett tried to say today that it was going to happen at Starrcade '86, I'll never be convinced that it was going to happen. Nothing about that would make any sense at all, and up until Magnum's accident in October 1986, everything about the booking in Jim Crockett Promotions made sense. 1985-1986 was a magic period where everything clicked.

My guess would be that Magnum would have likely won the title from Flair within a year or so after that, perhaps a chase that culminated with a victory at the Great American Bash or more likely Starrcade 87. Or perhaps it would have been put on Magnum for a few months to build for Flair getting it back, much like they eventually did with Ron Garvin  in 1987.

Nothing can be really known for sure. Keep in mind that during the Flair/Crockett era of the 1980s, guys that were "certain" to win the title like Barry Windham (going back to Florida in the early 80s) and Lex Luger in the late 80s, never got the strap in that era. And both were Dusty's boys just like Magnum was. Windham certainly more than Luger, the latter being an attempt to develop their own Hogan, but still both were the apple of Dusty's eye.

A sure bet to be champion? One can envision Magnum carrying the Ten Pounds of Gold, if only for a short time. The photo above lets us actually see what it might have looked like. I love photos like that.

Still, though, the best story would be Magnum chasing the belt, as was always the case.




* * * * *

Additional edit on 10/12: In response to various posts to a Facebook thread -  Not sure how Flair was going to "drop the title to Magnum at Starrcade 86" since there was no way I can see Flair wrestling Magnum at Starrcade 86. Magnum's accident was on 10/12 (if memory serves), which was only six weeks before Starrcade. There was NOTHING at that moment in time that even had Flair and Magnum in the same time zone, much less in the main event at Starrcade. In fact all of Magnum's final interviews that were taped the weekend of the accident were focused on Jimmy Garvin, which was to run a few weeks to keep him out of the ring with Nikita. He was most surely going to face Nikita at Starrcade to get the U.S. belt back, a match Dusty had meticulously booked toward since February of that year. Six weeks out, he wasn't going to put Magnum with Flair completely out of nowhere and abandon the Magnum/Nikita program, which was solid gold at that time. Like was stated in the article above, perhaps sometime in 1987, but not at Starrcade '86.

http://www.midatlanticgateway.com/p/us-title-book.html

Friday, October 5, 2012

Classic Audio: Terry Funk confronts Paul Jones



"In the Tiger's Den"

On the February 14, 1976 episode of Jim Crockett Promotions' "Wide World Wrestling", host Ed Capral interviews NWA world champion Terry Funk. Funk was frustrated with the fact that Paul Jones held a victory over him which took place only a few weeks before Funk won the NWA title from Jack Brisco.

Funk calls out Paul Jones and a brief confrontation occurs. Jones had indeed defeated Funk for the United States Championship less than three months earlier and was the top contender in the Mid-Atlantic area for Funk's title.

This is classic audio and a classic Terry Funk promo.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Japan's legendary Giant Baba


     Giant Baba defeated Jack Brisco for the NWA title on December 2, 1974 in Kagoshima, Japan. It was the first of three short reigns Baba would have with the NWA championship. 

     You can quickly identify that this was the title he won from Brisco (as opposed to the latter two from Harley Race) because of the way the belt looked, the true tale-tell being the white lettering on a black background above the country flags on the belt. The "Ten Pounds of Gold" book details all those small indicators that identify the version of the belt, which underwent four distinct transitions over its life from 1973-1986.

     Thanks to Eddie Cheslock for forwarding this photo to us.




Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Tommy Rich With The Belt: Part 2


     Back on September 12, we posted what few photos we had of Tommy Rich with the NWA title belt. (See that post here.) There weren't many taken, as he only held the belt for 96 hours during the spring of 1981.

     Here are two more we've come across from the August 1981 edition of Inside Wrestling magazine. In the lower photo, Tommy stands with Columbus, GA promoter Fred Ward.

     Thanks to Scott Bowden for pointing us in the direction of these photos and to Mark James for sending us the issue of the magazine.



Sunday, September 30, 2012

Slam! Wrestling posts great review of "Ten Pounds of Gold"



NWA World title book worth its weight in gold
By GREG OLIVER - Producer, SLAM! Wrestling

It's page 14, and I'm already deeply sucked into Ten Pounds of Gold, the wonderful historical book about the NWA World Championship title worn by the likes of Jack Brisco, Harley Race, Terry Funk and Ric Flair. Quite honestly, not being a belt mark, I didn't think a belt would hold my attention for an entire volume ... but it did, and then some.

In many ways, Ten Pounds of Gold, written by Dick Bourne with beltmaker Dave Millican, is a love letter to championship belts, ones that have deep meaning and stand for something. The belt doesn't spin or light up, but instead it represents greatness and the pinnacle on the professional wrestling profession.

How original.

How lamented.

Read the entire review at Canoe Slam! Sports - Wrestling



Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Flair vs Steamboat in Japan 1982


One of the classic Flair/Steamboat matches was their battle in Japan on June 4, 1982. Flair was in the middle of his first reign as NWA world heavyweight champion.

I love the way the NWA belt was treated with such respect in Japan, and how "over" it was with the fans. In the video of this match the crowd has the wonderful reaction when Flair opens his robe and when the All Japan Wrestling official holds the belt up for display before the match. 



And the match was another masterpiece between the two, who had more classic matches over a 17 year period than you can count.

Edit: We originally linked to the video of this match on YouTube, but that video has subsequently been removed.





Friday, September 21, 2012

Jack Brisco joins the NWA Champion Action Figures


Having too much fun with these things. Never liked the figures until I figured out I could put NWA belts on them!

Included here are likenesses of Jack Brisco, Harley Race, Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes, and Kerry Von Erich.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Yellow Rose of Texas


In 1984, Kerry Von Erich defeated Ric Flair for the NWA world championship in Texas Stadium in a match he dedicated to his late brother David. This action figure commemorates that day, with the NWA title belt, Kerry's ring jacket, and a yellow rose.




Thursday, September 13, 2012

NWA Champ Kerry Von Erich in Florida


When Kerry Von Erich won the NWA world title in 1984, he fulfilled the appearance contracts of the previous champion Ric Flair, which included dates in the state of Florida for Championship Wrestling from Florida. 


NWA Champ Kerry with Coach John Heath on the set
of Championship Wrestling from Florida

The magazine from Japan seen below features a photo on the cover taken during that Florida tour of Kerry sporting the Ten Pounds of Gold with Florida heavyweight champion Billy Jack Haynes.  







Thanks to Brian Rogers for providing the cover image.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Set to Music: Jack Brisco vs. Dory Funk, Jr. in Japan 1974

This is a great compilation of highlights set to music from a classic 2-of-3 falls Brisco vs. Funk NWA world title match in Japan from January 29, 1974.


Of particular interest to fans of the belt itself is the great look at the red velvet belt in this excellent quality video. The red velvet-wrapped leather strap would be replaced sometime in early 1974 with a traditional black leather strap, as the velvet fabric had begun deteriorating. Complete details on the evolution of the domed-globe belt through its four different versions from 1973-1986 can be found in the book Ten Pounds of Gold.


The domed-globe belt was barely six months old at this point and was really beautiful. NWA President Sam Muchnick is seen at left.


Tommy Rich with The Belt

NWA Champion Tommy "Wildfire" Rich

     Photographs of Tommy Rich with the NWA belt are hard to come by since Rich only held the title for 96 hours. Three that we've found include on the cover of "The Wrestler" magazine (cover date September 1981), a cover of "The Ringsider" which was the official program of Georgia Championship Wrestling, and a posed photo that appeared in several of the news stand magazines back in the day. We are always looking for more.

     The Ringsider cover is featured in the book "Ten Pounds of Gold." I treasure that issue; it was given to me many years ago by Ms. Rose Ogle, daughter of longtime Columbus/Macon/Albany Georgia promoter Fred Ward.




* * * * *
Update on 10/4/12: More photos found and posted here: Tommy Rich With The Belt: Part 2

The Classic Look: Terry Funk

NWA World Heavyweight Champion Terry Funk

This photo was taken not long before Terry Funk lost the title to Harley Race in Toronto. (Video of that match here.) You can tell by the almost complete absence of paint in the side panels beside the globe which were almost completely gold (no paint) before the belt was refurbished. Funk lost the title right after the belt was repaired. When the belt is presented to Harley Race in Toronto, check out the brand new onyx panels and the new globe. The belt is really sparkling that night.

You can also see the badly dented globe in this photo. The globe would soon be replaced, but it soon would be dented as well, but in different places. 

All the little nitty gritty details about the evolution of the physical belt and all of its four "stages" can be discovered in the book "Ten Pounds of Gold." Get your copy today!


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Family on Night One



A nice look back to September 17, 1981.

Featured in this photo are Jim Crockett, Jr., Dr. Richard Fliehr (Ric's Dad), former NWA champion Pat O'Conner, brand new NWA champion Ric Flair, and Ric's mother Kay Fliehr.

The caption accompanying the photo was incorrect on the date and the location. People often get the state wrong though. The title change took place in Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kansas, not Missouri. Memorial Hall was just west of the Missouri River which separates the two cities.

Japanese Magazine Posters

An assortment of fold out posters from various Japanese wrestling magazines featuring many of the NWA champions that held the Ten Pounds of Gold.

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Great Pretenders

...pretenders to the throne, that is.

Here are some interesting photographs of some great wrestlers who came close to getting the gold, but in the end fell short. These photos show, however, that they left the ring with the ten pounds of gold for at least a brief moment in time, and no doubt the fans in the building where this took place thought they had seen the title change hands.

Bruiser Brody

Bruiser Brody had fans in St. Louis thinking he had won the title from Ric Flair, and fans  in Japan likely thought so momentarily when they saw this magazine on their news stands.

Mr. Wrestling II

Mr. Wrestling II holds the NWA belt over his head in the crowd in Atlanta when it appeared he had defeated Harley Race for the championship. (Photo by Bill Christmas.)

Wahoo McDaniel

Wahoo McDaniel pinned Ric Flair in Charlotte and left the ring with the belt. The decision was later over turned.

Jerry "The King" Lawler

This is my favorite; Jerry Lawler not only left the ring at the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis with the NWA belt after battling Terry Funk, he posed for a photo wearing it that appeared on the cover of "City of Memphis" magazine. The man is a genius. No wonder they call him The King. (Thanks to Dave Millican and Scott Bowden.)



UPDATE: 
After this article was originally posted, Scott Bowden sent along this photo of Buddy Landel with the NWA belt, which was also a part of an article he had written on his blog "Kentucky Fried Rasslin." 

"Nature Boy" Buddy Landel

Buddy Landel holds the Ten Pounds of Gold high over his head after pinning Ric Flair in Greensboro in July 1985.

* * * * *

See more posts with other photos featuring great pretenders to the NWA title:


* * * * *

I know there have to be more photos like this out there. If you have a photo similar to these of someone who came close to winning the NWA title (1973-1986) and want to forward it to us, please do so using the mail link on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway or send to us via Facebook.



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


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Ten Pounds of Gold: The Action Figures

I would have become interested in wrestling action figures a long time ago if I had realized earlier I could do this.....

Yes, I turned 51 and finally started playing with dolls. But these are pretty cool! Shown here are Harley Race (love the 70s robe!), Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes, and Kerry Von Erich. A little work to be done for Kerry, will be outfitting him for Texas Stadium, and will update with that photo later.


Four down, four to go. I still need Jack Brisco (rare and expensive), Giant Baba (rare, and Japan only I think), Terry Funk (no figure available that looks like he did back in the 1970s as champion), and Tommy Rich (no figure period, would have to have one custom made.)




Visit the official website for our book at

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Terry Funk Q&A Excerpt


In 2010, Slam Wrestling's Marshall Ward conducted a Q&A with former NWA champ Terry Funk, and the Ten Pounds of Gold book was mentioned in one of the questions by Alan O'Melia.

It's a good short Q&A and Terry's off-beat sense of humor shines through.


Q: I have recently read the book Ten Pounds of Gold: A Close Look at the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, and in it -- if I remember correctly -- the night you won the title, it's mentioned that it was your brother Dory that was supposed to have the shot that night. I was just wondering how that came about? (Alan O'Melia, Halifax, NS)

A: 
That is correct and it was a ploy to get the better part of Jack Brisco. It worked very fine and it worked well with the fans down there in Miami too. One thing I'd like to say about the ten pounds of gold -- it's gone. Where'd it go -- all the gold? All of a sudden they got the belt back, the belt that had ten pounds of gold in it, and the gold is not in it anymore. That's a mystery. Ask somebody out there where'd the gold go? Ten pounds of gold. Where is it? Where'd it go? I want to know.


Follow this link to Slam! Wrestling:

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Domed-Globe Version Chart

The domed-globe NWA world heavyweight title belt was actually a series of four belts that all had a connection to one another. 

In the book Ten Pounds of Gold, there is a detailed chart (a thumbnail version seen below) that graphically demonstrates how each version of the belt was connected to the pervious version and the characteristics that made them different. 

The exclusive version chart from the book.
The chart also illustrates the configurations of the four nation flags that appeared on the side plates of the belt, which were different on each belt.

The belt was not all one piece. It was hundreds of small pieces attached together by a jeweler. Over the years, many of the pieces were replaced or repaired. But in the end, parts of the final belt (seen in the photos of the book) were on the original belt first worn by Harley Race (technically) and then Jack Brisco in 1973.

Ten Pounds of Gold is available in a gorgeous full color version as well as an inexpensive classic black and white edition, both with full color covers. Both contain all the same information and beautiful exclusive photos of the belt and the champions that wore them.




Friday, August 24, 2012

Behind the Scenes with Mr. McMahon

Photo by Dave Millican. Genius by Scott Bowden.

We have a confirmed report from a source inside the company that the WWE is indeed now in possession of the 1973-1986 NWA world title belt (the "ten pounds of gold.") I reported in the final chapter of the book that they were rumored to have it, that it was on display during Wrestlemania weekend in 2012. No details available on the arrangement, whether it was purchased from Ric Flair or it is just on loan to them, but regardless I am pleased they have it. I was worried that some collector or fan would wind up with the thing at some point and the belt would not be treated with the respect it deserves. The plans are, apparently, for the belt to be on display under glass in the WWE Hall of Fame Museum when it is built in Orlando, FL. Updates as we get them.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Ric Flair and the Ten Pounds of Gold

Photograph by Sheree Spivey
NWA World Champion Ric Flair with the famous ten pounds of gold. A great shot of the belt (and Ric's rolex as well!)

Photograph by Sheree Spivey
Update: On August 16, 2012, this photo by Sheree Spivey was the featured "Classic Photo" on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.

Check out the book with all the details on wrestling's most famous title belt on the official Ten Pounds of Gold website: www.TenPoundsofGold.com

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Harley Race on Japan Cover


Harley Race is seen here on the cover of a Japanese wrestling magazine. The photo is from July 20, 1973 in Houston, Texas. Only moments before this photo was taken, Harley was presented the brand new $10,000 NWA world championship belt. He briefly posed with it around his waist before handing it to the official and defending it against Jack Brisco. Brisco won the title that night.

For all the details about that night in Houston, and all the back story leading up to that night, check out the revised and expanded 2nd edition of the Ten Pounds of Gold. On sale now!

www.tenpoundsofgold.com

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Night One for the Domed-Globe


This rare photo is of the NWA belt on the night it was first presented. It sits on the mat of the ring in the Sam Houston Coliseum on Friday, July 20, 1973.

This was the first version of the belt known as "the ten pounds of gold". It was on a wide leather strap encased in red velvet fabric. You will notice that the belt does not yet have the "Jack Brisco" name plate on it, which would be attached to the belt just below the word "WRESTLING." Brisco defeated Harley Race for the title that night in Houston.

The belt as you see it here was used until early 1974 when the wide velvet-covered strap was replaced by a black leather strap cut very close to the shape of the main plate of the belt.

These, and hundreds of other details about the belt itself and how it evolved over the years it was in service, are a part of the book "Ten Pounds of Gold", available now in its second edition.

What's New in the Second Edition?

NWA Champs in the Mid-Atlantic Era

The years 1973-1986 are wonderful years for me in pro-wrestling. Not only were these the years that Jim Crockett promotions identified their company as "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling", they were also the years that the domed-globe version of the NWA world heavyweight championship belt was defended in the ring. They were also, not so coincidentally, my favorite years to follow professional wrestling

The two eras overlap almost perfectly. These, more or less, are the appropriate dates:

Mid-Atlantic Wrestling:
Date began: 9/6/1973 - Eastern Heavyweight Champion Jerry Brisco presented with the first Mid-Atlantic championship belt in Greensboro NC. (See "The Origin and Evolution of the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship")

Date ended: 12/27/1986 - Ron Garvin surrenders the Mid-Atlantic belt in Atlanta GA after winning the U.S. tag team championship with Barry Windham. The title is retired.

NWA "Domed-Globe" Belt:
Date first defended: 7/20/1973 - The "Thesz" version of the NWA belt is retired and the new "domed-globe" belt is presented to NWA champion Harley Race in Houston, TX.

Date retired: 2/14/1986 - Ric Flair debuts the new "bog gold" version of the NWA belt before a title match in Orlando, FL.

Below are photos of the NWA champions during the "Mid-Atlantic" era.

Images from the Mid-Atlantic Gateway Archives: NWA Champs in the Mid-Atlantic Era

For more information, visit "NWA Champions During the Mid-Atlantic Era" and "What's in a Name? Defining the Mid-Atlantic Era as 1973-1976"

For info on the "Ten Pounds of Gold" book, visit www.TenPoundsOfGold.com.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

New Zealand: Setting the Record Straight

It is said that confessions are good for the soul. If so, I plan to nourish my soul a bit right now.

There are two content errors that I have identified in the "Ten Pounds of Gold" book. One is a minor careless error that got past me in proofreading the book that is really of no consequence (more on that another time.) The second is a major error that I greatly regret.

The major error regards the date I have listed for the controversial title switch between Ric Flair and Harley Race in New Zealand in March of 1984. The worst part of this error is that I knew better! 

The ad for the Wellington Match
"WGTN TOWN HALL
8 PM Tues. 20th MARCH"
Back in April of 2010, a little less than a year after the first edition of the "Ten Pounds of Gold" book had been published, I had a nice email exchange with wrestling historian Libnan Ayoub who provided me with more detailed information about the New Zealand/Singapore tour promoted by Steve Rickard in late February and early March of 1984. It was on this tour that Race, Flair, and promoter Rickard went into business for themselves and did a short term "title switch" to aid Rickard's promotional business there. Libnan sent me an image of the newspaper clipping from New Zealand that identified the correct date of the Wellington match where Race pinned Flair, and sent tour results that indicated the correct dates of the other matches between Flair and Race in Singapore.

The date of the Wellington change is listed in a chapter in the new expanded 2nd edition of the book called "Spanning the Globe", which includes a title history of all the domed-globe title changes. Most of that chapter was written at the time the rest of the book was first written in 2009, but was not included in the first edition of the book. When I decided to publish a more affordable 2nd edition of the book, I included this chapter but failed to go back and make the correction that Libnan sent me in 2010, and it just didn't dawn on me during the review phase of publishing the book.

The correct date for the match in Wellington, NZ, where Harley Race defeated Ric Flair is Tuesday, March 20, 1984 (incorrectly listed as Wednesday, March 21 in early printings of the book.)

As you will learn reading the "Spanning the Globe" chapter, there was much controversy about this switch from Flair to Race and back to Flair, and the details on how Flair got the title back are still surrounded in controversy to this day. On that, I'm not sure the record will ever be set completely straight, but I wanted to set the record straight on the correct date of the Wellington match, and thank Libnan Ayoub for his help in clarifying that date a couple years back. I also want to apologize to all of you who bought the book, and Lib in particular, for making this error. The date was wrong, but the substance of the story is correct. The date will be corrected in a future update to the content of the book.


Updated 8/21/12:

In addition to a failure to publish those correct dates, I also failed to acknowledge Libnan's contribution to the book in general. I recently posted this to the Mid-Atlantic Gateway and the Ten Pounds of Gold website:

"In the second edition of the Ten Pounds of Gold book, I failed to acknowledge the contributions of Libnan Ayoub to the title history portion of the book, a careless and thoughtless act I deeply regret. Libnan, a respected wrestling historian in Australia, provided information to me via email regarding the controversial short-term title changes between Ric Flair and Harley Race in New Zealand and Singapore in 1984. I included some of this information in several paragraphs on pages 127-128 in the book. (The information relates to the dates and circumstances under which the title was returned to Ric Flair in Singapore.)
The failure to mention Libnan in my acknowledgements was mine alone and not the fault of any editor or other contributor to the book. I offer my apology to him and thank him here publicly for the information he provided. Future printings of the book will include a proper acknowledgement.
I generally go out of my way to credit those who contribute to these projects, be it here on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway or in published printed material. I regret not having done so in this case."

Questions or comments? I'd love to hear from you. Write us midatlanticgateway @ gmail dot com.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

My Favorite Refrigerator Magnet

My favorite refrigerator magnet. Could be yours, too!
http://www.cafepress.com/midatlanticshop.358244888


It's holding up receipts from two of my favorite food joints: (1) Arthur Bryant's BBQ in Kansas City, MO, and (2) Price's Chicken Coop in Charlotte, NC.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Domed Globe Covers


A collection of programs and magazines that featured the NWA champs wearing the domed-globe belt. (This collage is from from "Ten Pounds of Gold", found full page on p. 108 of the book.)


Race vs. Flair: A Kansas City Classic!

Ric Flair defends the NWA World Championship against Harley Race at Memorial Hall in Kansas City, KS. The match aired on "All Star Wrestling." (circa 1984)

This is my favorite Harley Race vs. Ric Flair match ever. No other even close! Great angle, great heat, great call by Kevin Wall, very old school in every way and every thing I loved about wrestling back in the day.

The angle and match are in 3 parts on YouTube; all three are included below. 


Part 1 of 3


Part 2 of 3


Part 3 of 3


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Program Cover: Baba & Brisco

Jack Brisco and the Giant Baba traded the NWA title in 1974.

Texas Stadium 1984: Kerry Von Erich defeats Ric Flair



Kerry Von Erich upsets Ric Flair to win the NWA world championship on 5/6/84 in front of 30,000+ at Texas Stadium in Irving, TX. The bout took place as part of the annual "Parade of Champions" event, that year a tribute to Kerry's brother  David Von Erich.



"You tell your brothers, you tell your old man, Ric Flair will be back."

What's New in the Second Edition?

The new "Second Edition" of the Ten Pounds of Gold adds two new chapters and a slew of additional photos and memorabilia. Nearly 70 additional pages in all.

One of the new chapters ("Spanning the Globe") is a detailed title history for this version of the NWA title (1973-1986) which includes information from behind the scenes including some details on the NWA board members voting, and the story lines surrounding the event. The other new chapter is actually a greatly expanded chapter on the night the belt first was presented in Houston, including the back story on when it was actually first supposed to happen - but didn't.

Plus a whole new section of newspaper articles and clippings called the "Houston Scrapbook", info on the venue, details on the retirement of the belt, magazine covers, and a few new champion photos as well. Additionally, there are a dozen or so new photos from the Race vs. Brisco match where the belt was first defended. Some were taken by promoter Paul Boesch. These were provided to us by Harley Race himself. Lastly, we added some new details on the jeweler who made the belt, how the belt made its way to Houston, and more of that history.

Plus all the material from the original 2009 first edition hard cover book including all the beautifully detailed photos of the belt from our 2008 photo shoot that sparked the idea for the book in the first place.

Why release a new Second Edition?

One of the primary reasons a second edition of the book was released was Dave and I wanted to have the book available in the years going forward in a much more affordable format. The original book, which was primarily designed as a photo-book to showcase the photographs we took of the belt in 2008, was primarily sold as a 10 x 8" full color, glossy, hardcover edition. All of those factors made it really expensive, around $35 when it first was released, and that version (still available) now costs around $45.

So we chose to make a smaller, soft cover version, printed on more traditional non-gloss white paper that would be less expensive. All of the original photos are still there in color, but the move to a smaller 6 x 9" book, even with the 70 additional pages, results in color version retailing for as little as $24.95 depending on how and where it is purchased. And for a much more affordable option, there is a black & white version of the book for around $12.00. (As you can see, it's the color printing that makes any book more expensive.) The black & white book looks terrific, and contains identical content as the color version, but all in gorgeous high-contrast black and white and at a great price.

The secondary reason was to add the additional material, some of it intended for the original book but was left out to keep the page count to a certain limit and avoid a higher price for that book. Some other material has been learned in ongoing research after the first book was published and we wanted to update it here.

Take a look at the table of contents:

The Table of Contents page for the Second Edition of the Ten Pounds of Gold

If you already have the original book (we thank you!), the relatively inexpensive black and white version of the 2nd edition is the perfect companion piece. Don't let the black and white scare you; we've already had comments from folks who absolutely love the black and white version.

For more information, visit TenPoundsofGold.com or email at the mail link found on that page.

Thanks for your interest and your support of the Ten Pounds of Gold.    - Dick Bourne

Japan 1984: Ric Flair regains the title from Kerry Von Erich



Kerry Von Erich hands the Ten Pounds of Gold to the All Japan Pro Wrestling referee  before his title defense against Ric Flair. About 30 minutes later, Flair would have the belt back around his waist. In a two-out-of-three falls classic, Ric Flair regains the NWA world championship from Kerry Von Erich on 5/24/84 in Yokosuka, Japan.