Friday, April 1, 2022

The Jack Veneno Title Controversy

One of the most controversial and disputed stories in NWA title lore involves two matches Ric Flair had while NWA champion in 1982 with the Dominican wrestling legend Jack Veneno.

As the story is told to this day in the Dominican Republic, Veneno won the championship in the first match and successfully defended it in the second, only to relinquish it later when he chose not to travel and defend the title across the NWA.

This of course is pure fantasy, and although Veneno apparently did leave the ring after both matches with the title belt in hand, it appears it was orchestrated to prevent fan's going into full riot mode, and possibly resulting in Flair being drug through the streets of Santo Domingo. In the end, it's a story not that inconsistent with other matches where wrestlers left the ring with belt and the fans thinking they had won the title (examples include Bruiser Brody, Dusty Rhodes, Jerry Lawler, and others) although this particular story is filled with much more drama and has stood the test of time.

Javier Ojst wrote a comprehensive article about all of this on the Pro Wrestling Stories website (link below) which gives all the details as best as they can be recounted through the sands of time. A good job on his part. But after reading it, and watching the highly edited footage of the match in the documentary Jack: La Historia de Jack Veneno, it's abundantly clear that any credence to the notion of a legitimate NWA title victory by Jack Veneno is nothing more than arbitrary revisionist history. And revisionist history is something pro-wrestling is particularly good at creating.

This is not to diminish the legendary status of Jack Veneno in the Dominican Republic, a bona fide pro-wrestling legend there in every sense of the word. To this day, fans there still believe their hero was NWA World Champion. Who could blame them, given the orchestration of such a grand tale?

The article by Ojst is definitely worth the time. Check it out here:

Ric Flair and Jack Veneno Title Change The NWA Won’t Accept
by Javier Ojst