Friday, June 28, 2019

Giant Baba (1979)

Giant Baba in the locker room after his victory over Harley Race for the NWA World Championship in Nagoya, Japan, 1979.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Baba's Champagne Celebration (1974)

Giant Baba celebrated in the locker room after his NWA World title victory 
over Jack Brisco in December of 1974.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Ric Flair: "And then it was my turn."

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

On Monday night May 8, 2000, Ric Flair appeared on WCW Monday Nitro on TNT and brought with him the old NWA World Heavyweight championship belt that he wore beginning in 1981 when he defeated Dusty Rhodes until February of 1986 when the belt was replaced by the famous "Big Gold" version of the NWA title.

It was a big surprise and a very nostalgic moment for fans from the 1970s and 1980s who so connected with the "ten pounds of gold", which was the top title and top belt in all of professional wrestling during the territory years.

Nitro was in St. Louis, MO, that night, historically the most important city on the National Wrestling Alliance map. Flair spoke generally about how important it was to work there for Sam Muchnick if you wanted to become NWA champion one day. He also spoke eloquently about seeing that belt for the first time.

That had to be a very cool moment for old-school fans of St. Louis wrestling.

Here is a transcript of Flair's remarks as they pertained to the "ten pounds of gold."

"In the year nineteen hundred and seventy eight, Terry Funk told me if I wanted to be a star in this business I had to get to St. Louis on Friday night. You know what I'm talkin' about. I had to be at the Kiel or The Arena, I had to be live at the Chase, I had to be in St. Louis if I wanted to be a star.

And then I saw this for the first time. It was around the waist of the legendary Jack Brisco. And I said, "Jack, do you think I could ever be World champion?" He said, "Kid, keep workin'. Work at it every day and every night and maybe by the grace of God you might get it some day.

And then there was Terry Funk, and then it was Harley Race, and then it was Dusty Rhodes.

And then it was my turn.

And this is what we all desired to have and be, the World Heavyweight championship. We gave up everything. We gave up life, we gave up our families, we worked every day, we partied all night. We were the champions of the World. The best this sport had to offer."

That episode of WCW Monday Nitro is available on demand on the WWE Network. The interview with Flair is at approximately 25:20 into the program.

A very bright moment during a really sad time in WCW.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

NWA Event Program 2010

In 2010, I was honored to have my photo of the NWA World championship title belt featured on the cover of a souvenir program for an NWA wrestling event in Charlotte, NC.

The photograph is of the original belt used in the late 1970s though mid-1980s, and not the belt that was currently in use at the time of this photograph held by Blue Demon, Jr.

It is the same photo that is featured on the cover of my book "Ten Pounds of Gold." You can always identify that particular photo because the "KVE" initials scratched into the plate can be clearly seen just above and to the left of the wrestlers on the belt. I've never seen other photos where this showed up as clearly.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Brody with the Ten Pounds of Gold

You may be familiar with our "Great Pretender" photo series on this site, wrestlers with the domed-globe NWA World Heavyweight title belt who never actually held the title.

I recently saw this photo of Bruiser Brody float across Twitter and thought I'd include it here. It is the second photo of Brody with the belt, the first one is featured here.

I don't know the origin of the photo, although I'm guessing it was from a Japanese magazine, taken after one of Brody's classic battles with Ric Flair in St. Louis. But that's just a guess.

Here are links to our other pages:

* Dory Funk, Jr. could never be called a pretender to anything. He was NWA World champion for four years. But he held a different version of the belt, so I decided to include this photo in the series.

** Dusty of course held the domed-globe belt on a couple of occasions, and was a 3-time NWA champion. But he tried to steal it from Ric Flair under a mask as the Midnight Rider. Thank heavens the well known law-and-order NWA President (and special referee) Bob Geigel prevented such a travesty from taking place.

Monday, March 4, 2019

"Handsome" Harley Race with Pure Gold

This image is of a poster from a Japanese magazine in 1977, not long after Race won the NWA title in Toronto from Terry Funk. Most of the Japanese magazines featured really nice photography and fold out or centerfold posters.

One of the tell-tale signs that dates this photo is the condition of the belt. It is the third configuration, or version, of the domed-globe belt.

Not long before Funk dropped the title to Race, the NWA had the title belt refurbished. It had taken an awful beeating during Funk's reign. The globe had been badly dented and much of the black paint on the belt had come off.

The key identifier that this was the third configuration of the belt was that Canada is to the left of the main plate, the only version of the four to have that distinction. (In fact, Canada was in a different position on all four versions of the belt.)

Other notable identifiers on the belt in this picture peg it to early-mid 1977:
  • cream-colored fabric backing on the leather
  • black onyx panels replacing the black-painted areas on either side of the main plate
  • new globe (with curved "NWA" letters)

Not long after Race won the title in 1977, one additional refurbishment took place. The leather was replaced (with a slightly different cut) and the creme-colored fabric backing on the belt (seen in this photo) was removed, leaving the leather on the back of the belt exposed. The fact that the cream-colored backing is visible in this photo means it was taken sometime in the months following Race's victory over Funk.

If little details like that interest you, check out my book on the domed globe belt titled Ten Pounds of Gold. Almost every possible detail is discussed in a chapter that outlines all four versions of the belt.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Brisco Reign Begins: Hand Raised in Houston

Ring announcer Boyd Pierce raises the hand of a triumphant Jack Brisco moments after Brisco defeated Harley Race for the NWA World Heavyweight championship on July 20, 1973 in Houston, Texas. A dejected Race is seen in the corner behind them.

NWA President Sam Muchnick is at left. He had attended the card that night in Houston and brought the new NWA World title belt with him. It was presented to Race before the match, but he didn't have a chance to enjoy the new belt, as Brisco took the 2-out-of-3 fall match and the championship laurels that night.

Although hidden behind Brisco in this photograph so you can't see him here, it is Tiger Conway, Jr. who is strapping the belt around the new champion's waist.

A wonderful photograph, perhaps taken by promoter Paul Boesch who took many photos that night, featured in an issue of Gong Magazine in Japan.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Red Velvet

The domed-globe belt was barely six months old in this screen-capture taken from video of an NWA title defense by Jack Brisco against Dory Funk, Jr. on January 29, 1974 in Japan.

The red velvet-covered leather strap was still on the belt at this point, but would soon come off and the belt would be reworked with a black leather strap (and no velvet fabric.) This is really a beautiful look at the new belt.

NWA President Sam Muchnick is seen at left.

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.

Late edit: The video of the Brisco/Funk match from Japan, including the footage of Sam Muchnick with the red velvet strapped belt, can be seen here.  

Sunday, January 20, 2019

The Official NWA Ten Pounds of Gold Pin

by Dick Bourne
Originally published on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Check out this beautifully detailed pin of the main plate of the famous "Ten Pounds of Gold" NWA World Championship title belt.

The lapel pin is large with two fasteners on the back, measuring at 1 3/4" wide by 1 7/16" tall.

The detail is amazing. It was manufactured in partnership with the NWA by Lapel Yeah.

The pin was first sold at the NWA's "pop up" show recently in Clarksville, TN. My guess is they will be on sale online at some point (and may be already.) We'll provide details as we come across them on how you can order one for yourself.

In another exciting development, the NWA recently announced that they will be bringing back the Crockett Cup tag team tournament, in conjunction with the Crockett Foundation and Ring of Honor Wrestling. The event will be April 27, 2019, at Cabarrus Arena in Concord, NC, just outside Charlotte, NC. We'll be following that exciting news as well.

Follow the NWA on Twitter at @NWA.