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beejmi
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Ya know, the stories of some type of "favor" in exchange for a win don't seem that absurd to me.

Basically what was the point of someone winning the belt, no other defenses and then losing it right back?

What do you think happened with the switch from Race to Rich and then back to Race?

srossi

 

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Barnett was sweet on him and whether or not actual sexual favors were exchanged, Barnett certainly had the pull within the NWA to finally make it happen.  So now his local guy could be billed as a former World champ and that would improve the houses and the cache of Georgia.  Money was probably more of a motivator than sex, although that might've been part of it.

Last edited on Tue Nov 6th, 2007 12:21 am by srossi

beejmi
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I dunno. Didn't title switches require the "NWA board" going along with it?

srossi

 

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Yes, and Barnett had the pull to get the votes.  This is a guy who owned stock in numerous NWA territories at one time or another and took a wasteland like Australia and made it very profitable for the NWA.  They owed him a week with the belt at least, and he got a ton of mileage out of that week.

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Minor point but I think Rich had at least one rematch with Race before dropping it back.

clawmaster
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I think Rich had two title defenses both against Harley Race.

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Yeah...won the title, defended it once, and lost it back. Two title defenses, one successful.

Rsapochak

 

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One of the things that were allegedly being done here was to prove the title could change "anywhere" including small towns like Gainesville and Augusta and not just major arenas, with the hope it would increase attendance everywhere when the World Champ comes to town. In theory, I like the idea.

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At the time wasn't Tommy Rich one of the most popular guys in wrestling.He did put a**es in the seats and thats why I think he had a run with the belt.

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as ovr as anyone else in the country when he got the belt

think JYD in Mid-South or Von Erichs in WCCW

He was THAT over

srossi

 

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He was over in his small area.  He hadn't been sent on tour to the other territories to see if he could get over there, which was the normal routine before putting the belt on someone.  He certainly wasn't as well known nationally as tons of other guys who weren't in consideration for the belt.  Ted DiBiase, Bruce (Butch) Reed, the von Erichs, and lots of other guys who never got the belt were being previewed back in 1981 in St. Louis and one or two of the other NWA strongholds.  Rich never was.  And JYD didn't get big until 1982 and never would've been considered regardless of his popularity because 1) he couldn't wrestle and 2) Watts didn't have nearly the political clout that Barnett, Fritz, and Graham, etc. had.  Watts operated as more of an independent than as part of the NWA so his guys were never considered.

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I wasn't saying JYD was gonna get the belt.

Just explaining how over Rich was in Georgia

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Rich getting the belt in GA was, by all accounts, a favor to the promoter.  The same thing seems to have been done several times for Baba in Japan.  Neither one was geared for an extended run, but I also like that idea that the title could change place anywhere.  It sure beat the fact that I KNEW the WWWF title wasn't going to switch in a local high school gym in Parsippany, NJ.

Hammer to Fall



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Rsapochak wrote:
One of the things that were allegedly being done here was to prove the title could change "anywhere" including small towns like Gainesville and Augusta and not just major arenas, with the hope it would increase attendance everywhere when the World Champ comes to town. In theory, I like the idea.

Augusta is significantly bigger than Gainesville. The Bell Auditorium could have squeezed in 10,000. The Georgia Mountains Center holds around 2,500. Augusta has a pretty deep history.

It could be possible that they were trying to boost Gainesville as the Georgia Mountains Center was a new arena in 1981. I'm not sure how often they were there in the 1980s, but they certainly didn't visit often in previous years.

I'm not sure if an attendance boost was their foremost goal for Augusta. A few years ago, I looked up pretty much the whole wrestling history of the city via the Augusta Chronicle. This particular card was neither advertised nor had results printed. The next week's card was advertised.

Rsapochak

 

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Hammer to Fall wrote: Rsapochak wrote:
One of the things that were allegedly being done here was to prove the title could change "anywhere" including small towns like Gainesville and Augusta and not just major arenas, with the hope it would increase attendance everywhere when the World Champ comes to town. In theory, I like the idea.

Augusta is significantly bigger than Gainesville. The Bell Auditorium could have squeezed in 10,000. The Georgia Mountains Center holds around 2,500. Augusta has a pretty deep history.

It could be possible that they were trying to boost Gainesville as the Georgia Mountains Center was a new arena in 1981. I'm not sure how often they were there in the 1980s, but they certainly didn't visit often in previous years.

I'm not sure if an attendance boost was their foremost goal for Augusta. A few years ago, I looked up pretty much the whole wrestling history of the city via the Augusta Chronicle. This particular card was neither advertised nor had results printed. The next week's card was advertised.

Augusta isn't exactly Madison Square Garden, Kiel Auditorium, or Maple Leaf Gardens even if the arena holds 10,000. The perception of the time was the title would only change hands at a major venue like the above. The fact there was two changes in Georgia towns other than Atlanta, I think does give the perception of the title might change anywhere.  And the fact that the card "wasn't advertised" only further lends to the idea that the "title could change anywhere."

Now I don't really know the reason why these titles changed at these venues. I'm only saying that the proposed theory was feasible. I'm not sure that the facts you brought out either prove or disprove anything. I did read in the History of the NWA book that the author who did a lot of research proposed this theory. While I'm not sure of the true reason, I do think this idea has merit.

beejmi
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Well let me throw this out for debate.

That Flair/Race switch overseas? Done to .....boost attendance on the tour? Or some other reason?

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That was basically to pop the teritory that they were in.  In two towns, they both got to see a New World Champion crowned, and there was no harm done to the US market.

Hammer to Fall



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Rsapochak wrote:

Augusta isn't exactly Madison Square Garden, Kiel Auditorium, or Maple Leaf Gardens even if the arena holds 10,000. The perception of the time was the title would only change hands at a major venue like the above. The fact there was two changes in Georgia towns other than Atlanta, I think does give the perception of the title might change anywhere.  And the fact that the card "wasn't advertised" only further lends to the idea that the "title could change anywhere."

Now I don't really know the reason why these titles changed at these venues. I'm only saying that the proposed theory was feasible. I'm not sure that the facts you brought out either prove or disprove anything. I did read in the History of the NWA book that the author who did a lot of research proposed this theory. While I'm not sure of the true reason, I do think this idea has merit.



I didn't say the theory had no merit.

In fact, I tend to believe it does with Gainesville as Gainesville had never been a regular stop and had a brand new arena. Gainesville probably needed all the attendance boost it could get.

I certainly don't have as much insight into the business as Weldon Johnson, but I think I have a decent feel for the Augusta area.

Augusta was perhaps the number two town in the territory before GCW had a working relationship with Fred Ward (and probably #3 - behind Columbus - after). Unlike other Georgia Championship Wrestling towns, Augusta had the high quality cards. They even had their own TV broadcast in the 1950s.

I just find it a little peculiar that neither an ad nor results appeared in the Augusta Chronicle.

Of course, that could be indicative of the promotion as once upon a time, you had an ad and/or results every week in that paper. Starting in the 1980s, the advertising gradually became worse. The Chronicle has always seemingly been a wrestling-friendly paper. Even WCW received good promotion.

Last edited on Fri Nov 9th, 2007 05:09 am by Hammer to Fall

Rsapochak

 

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I wasn't thinking necessarily on the terms of improving the attendance in Augusta or Gainesville, but more along the lines of improving attendance in Alliance venues all over the country. With the publicized win in the smaller venues, I'm thinking smaller venues everywhere might think "they had a shot" at a title change. I'm sure film and publicity of Rich winning the title was used across the country if there were dates for the World Champ in their area. Maybe a place like St Joseph, MO would actually think it wasn't totally impossible to see a title change if Gainesville,GA had one.

The NWA History I was referring to was the one by Tim Hornbaker, not the Jim Wilson book by Johnson. On his commentary of the Tommy Rich situation, he mentions one of the reasons for the 5 day reign was the possibility of popping gates across the alliance.

Heretic



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Plus, you'd have to think that at the time, Rich's status as a "former NWA champ" meant that anytime he was on a card, he could conceivably win the belt back again. He was a much more credible challenger.

Hell, when he was in the AWA in the late 80s, I really thought he might knock off Curt Hennig for the AWA belt just because he was a "former NWA champ." Even if it was only five days, being a former NWA champ really meant something back when.



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