Rebuilding a renaissance: NWA World Heavyweight Championship returns to St. Louis.

Photobucket

By Kari Williams

When NWA Heavyweight Champion Adam Pearce battles “The Tokyo Monster” Kahagas in St. Louis, it will be more than a championship match – it will be the continuance of a renaissance.

“My personal belief is the NWA world title is the godfather to all wrestling championships in the United States… It’s an honor to come back to one of the greatest hubs [in the country to defend the title],” Pearce said.

Pearce’s championship defense will be the first in St. Louis in approximately 20 years, which Pearce said forces him to want to raise the bar.

Photobucket
Larry Matysik is an Announcer, best selling author of books such as Wrestling at the Chase, Brody and Drawing Heat the Hard way. Today Matysik continues to be beloved and respected man in the community of St. Louis.

But former “Wrestling at the Chase” commentator Larry Matysik, the NWA Heavyweight Championship returning to St. Louis is about more than a single match – it’s a homecoming.

“The NWA was technically born in Iowa where [various promoters across the country] had a meeting. [‘Wrestling at the Chase’ promoter] Sam Muchnick… [was] one of the main people giving birth to the national wrestling idea and putting people together,” Matysik said. “St. Louis very quickly became home of the NWA because Sam was chosen as president of the organization, and the champion was booked out of St. Louis.”

St. Louis and the NWA were synonymous from the late 1940s to the early 1980s for both wrestling fans and those in the business, according to Matysik.

Pearce said being the one to defend the championship in St. Louis is an honor – and humbling.

While Harley Race was the NWA Worlds Champion , the sport was respected and the NWA was THE belt to own. Race would defend the title around the world against hometown stars and the worldwide names night after night.

“I’ve had a few of these [types of matches] come up in the last six months… Just this past week, I got back from Australia and it had been 33 years [since the title was defended there]. Harley Race was the last champion to go,” Pearce said.

Pearce, currently on his fourth reign as NWA World Heavyweight Champion, said he has devoted his career to the belt.

“I’ve worked really hard personally to restore some of the luster to this championship… I’ve dedicated my career to the National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Championship,” Pearce said.

St. Louis Match & Restoring Meaning to the Belt

Photobucket

Pearce’s challenger for the belt, “The Tokyo Monster” Kahagas is what Pearce calls a “tremendous competitor.” Kahagas has traveled the country, from the Midwest to Florida and Texas and is a former High Voltage Wrestling – Midwest Heavyweight Champion.“He’s definitely somebody in the last six months who has gotten his name out there… I admire him for that,” Pearce said.

Pearce said he has devoted his wrestling life to NWA belt and his goal is to make the letters N-W-A “mean something again on a much larger level.”

“I will always – until I take my last breath – feel the NWA World Heavyweight Championship is the most prestigious championship in all of pro wrestling… Today, in my fourth reign as in my first reign, I am as humbled as I always have been…,” Pearce said.

Seeing the NWA championship defended at a local promotion is a chance for the NWA to show off its champion around the world, Matysik said.

“I think wrestling more than anything right now desperately needs a place for young talent to get a place to grow, just aren’t enough places… To see the NWA champion on a program is going to be something really special,” Matysik said.

Matysik said he thinks it is important for independent promotions to find a way to be strong and having the NWA champion on the show could help.

“If the NWA, in latest incarnation, can do that that’s wonderful,” Matysik said. “The business desperately needs it.”

History of the NWA Championship in St. Louis.

Matysik said the original dream of those who started the NWA was for there to be one, recognizable champion. However, it never “really became a one-champion situation.”

“There were numerous reasons for that, but because their champion, the NWA champion, did wrestle in so many different areas… [he covered a] much larger area where one person is recognized as the champion,” Matysik said. “As wrestling magazines gained power in the ’60s and ’70s, they recognized the NWA title as more or less the real title.”

Through the efforts of Sam Muchnick and Ray Gillespie, Matysik said a line of succession for the NWA championship was traced back to the 1900s with Frank Gotch and George Hackenschmidt.

“There was research; there were facts… and they kind of looked at that champion as the champion,” Matysick said.

Additionally, Muchnick built everything around the championship in St. Louis, according to Matysik.

“[It] all revolved around who was the world champ, who was going to fight for the world championship… He made the championship even more important in St. Louis than it was anywhere else,” Matysik said.

The NWA title was so respected during the 80’s that it was Ric Flair, the NWA Worlds Champion that was voted as Wrestler of the Decade and not WWF (E) Champion Hulk Hogan.

Matysik said, in all likelihood, Ric Flair was the last person to defend the belt in St. Louis.

Pearce, who remembers watching tapes of Flair’s title defenses when the current champ was first breaking into the wrestling business, said he is most looking forward to “bringing [the belt] home.”

Photobucket

“There’s a renaissance going on with NWA world title. Whether I want to call it my calling [or not], it’s really been something extremely important to me to bring this championship to as many place as I can,” Pearce said.

Photobucket

3 thoughts on “Rebuilding a renaissance: NWA World Heavyweight Championship returns to St. Louis.”

  1. I wish this was in St. Louis proper. At least it’s in the same market. The last time the NWA Title was defended in St. Louis was (I believe the last wrestling card at Municipal Auditorium) on March 16, 1991. Ric Flair defended against Sting in a cage with El Gigante as the referee. This was six months before the title lost its peak prestige (and the classic Hackenschmidt lineage) when Flair went to the WWF. It will be fun to see one of the major champions of the sport defend his title in the St. Louis market.

  2. I hope and wish! Dynamo Pro has booking preference over Pearce, being the area NWA affiliate. Even if we were to get him at SBAC, I don’t think it could be a sanctioned title match. Espinosa would be a stellar challenge for Pearce. I don’t believe Mr. Pearce is licensed in Missouri, although if he took care of the blood work, I’m sure Tony Casta would take care of the champion’s fee.

    Over the years, many folks wonder why the MMWA or SICW have not applied for membership in the Alliance. Executive Producer Tim Miller told me that that is based on the NWA not being worth the licensing fee to use the name. St. Louis Wrestling stands on its own nowadays, especially with NWA Hollywood as the current flagship.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s