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.