Thursday, April 16, 2015

NWA World Champion Tommy "Wildfire" Rich (1981)

NWA World Champion Tommy "Wildfire" Rich, 1981 (
Scott Bowden made us aware of a photo on featuring Tommy Rich with the NWA world championship belt over his left shoulder.

"I had never seen it before," Scott wrote me, "but from the look on Rich's face, it appears as if he was just told he'd be dropping the belt back to Race on Friday."

I love that line.

Rich won the NWA title on a Monday 4/27 in Augusta, GA, and dropped back to Race on Friday 5/1 in Gainesville, GA. He is part of a short list of guys in the 1970s and 1980s who were "cup of coffee" champions, as in - - they hardly held it long enough to have a cup of coffee.

Other content regarding Tommy Rich -

The match that inspired Hell in a Cell: 
Tommy Rich, Buzz Sawyer and The Last Battle of Atlanta
(includes some video)

Rich was one of the biggest stars in pro-wrestling at the time he won the NWA title. He was huge box office in George Championship Wrestling and the Memphis, TN territory.

Scott Bowden actually managed Rich in Memphis in the 1990s, and has written about him occasionally on his excellent blog "Kentucky Fried Wrestling" site ( "A Wrestling Perspective That's Both Original and Extra Crispy" - - I love that line, too.)

Somebody Say Something 'bout Hollywood?
by Scott Bowden

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Tommy Rich winning the NWA title from Harley Race
Poor video quality, but historically worth seeing.
Commentary by Gordon Solie, Jim Crockett, Jr., and Tommy Rich.