Missouri Wrestling Revival

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Dory Funk JR thrills fans young and old in St Louis in 2011 at MMWA-SICW

Posted by flairwhoooooo on May 24, 2011

By Brian Kelley
With great info from Larry Matysik’s book From the Golden Era-The St. Louis Wrestling Record Book 1959 to 1983

Dory Funk Jr’s connection with the city of St. Louis is etched in stone. During Funk Jr’s historical four year NWA World Championship reign he would defend the title many times in the great city .

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Dory Funk Jr- Photo Credit Amanada Blase

On February 11, 1969, in Tampa, Florida Funk captured the NWA World Championship with a victory over Gene Kiniski. Eleven days later on February 22, 1969 Funk would return to ST Louis to settle the score with rival Waldo Von Erich under “Texas Death Match Rules.”

Luck would have it for Waldo Von Erich that Sam Muchnick, Promoter in St. Louis and President of the National Wrestling Alliance changed the match from a Texas Death Match but to a World Title opportunity. The fans would be able to see Funk win a two out of three falls match when Funk won the first fall and Von Erich was not able to continue due to a shoulder injury.

Fans around the world know the name Bobby “The Brain” Heenan as the man who was instrumental in bring Pro Wrestling mainstream with his charismatic ability and quick wit while chasing mega star Hulk Hogan’s WWF (E) title during the Rock and Wrestling era.

Yet it was many years before that in St Louis that Hennan had protégé Black Jack Lanza in line to take the NWA World Championship. The two would sell out the Kiel Auditorium not once but twice, but even with the genius Hennan is Lanza’s corner Dory Funk Jr would not be dethroned.

For the next four years Dory Funk Jr. would defend the NWA World title around the world while bringing sell outs to St Louis with the very best challengers of that day. Fans would see classic matches between Funk Jr. and Dick the Bruiser, Jack and Jerry Brisco, Johnny Valentine, Rufus R. Jones, Baron Von Raschke and Harley Race before losing the title to Race in Kansas City on March 24th 1974.

In 1974 Dory Funk Jr would be the NWA Missouri Champion by defeating Harley Race on May 24th 1974 during a two out of three falls match at the Kiel.

Funk Jr. as the NWA Missouri Champion would get a victory of then NWA World Champion in St Louis on Nov ember 15 1974, Jack Brisco. St Louis announcer and historian Larry Matysik recalls in his book From the Golden Era-The St. Louis Wrestling Record Book 1959 to 1983 “*Dory Funk Jr. beat NWA Champion Jack Brisco, who did retain the title. Lou Thesz, special referee. 1-Brisco was DQ for throwing the bloody Funk over the top rope after 51:30. Neither man scored a fall in the remainder of the one-hour limit. As winner of the only fall, Funk was awarded the victory. But the challenger could not win the title by DQ, nor by winning only one fall of a best-of-three match, so Brisco kept the championship. This was the fifth consecutive battle between Brisco and Dory Jr. in almost four years that went the full one hour limit.

As the Missouri Champion Dory Funk Jr.defeated Killer Kowalski, in his last match in St Louis. Kowalski would go onto be inducted in the WWE Hall of Fame and train current WWE Star Hunter Hearst Helmsey, TNA Knockout Chyna among many others before he passed away on August of 2008.

The great Harley Race would regain the NWA Missouri Championship beating Dory Funk Jr. in a two out of three falls match on February. 21, 1975.

Dory would  return to action for years in St Louis with a notable match on Aug. 6, 1982 at the Kiel against NWA Champion Ric Flair losing a two out of three falls battle.

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The fans loved to see Canadian Sean Vincent get his due from the former World Champion Dory Funk JR *Photo Credit Brian Kelley*

In all as a World Champion Dory Funk Jr defended the NWA Championship 24 times while drawing over 256,871 total attendances which is an astounding average of 10,703.

This past Saturday in East Carondelet Illinois Dory Funk JR returned to action at the young age of 71 in a three way tag match with partner Chaz Wesson and Gary Jackson against Sean Vincent, Kevin X and CWC Champion Ron Powers.

In a true testament to Dory Funk Jr.’s charisma and talent, I witness fans young and old on their feet at the end of a very entertaining match.

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The fans in St Louis still love Dory Funk JR *Photo Credit Brian Kelley *

Dory Funk JR has been inducted in every Wrestling Hall of fame that is creditable including the St Louis Wrestling Hall of Fame. His legacy will always have strong ties to the city of St Louis and thanks to the fine people at MMWA-SICW we had a special moment in wrestling history. Forty one years after his first NWA World title defense in St Louis, Funk Jr. returned to say thanks to the fans of the Midwest.

MWR fans will be thrilled to hear that Dory Funk Jr sat down with Larry Matysik in a special interview that can be purchased in the near future. Look for details on how in the future at MWR.

Dory Funk Jr. did not come alone to St Louis as he brought with him is lovely wife Marti and the students n the Funking Conservatory, their professional wrestling school which is also the Official American Training Center for All Japan Pro Wrestling. Please click on this link to watch Dory Funk Jr’s match along with the students of the night.

One Response to “Dory Funk JR thrills fans young and old in St Louis in 2011 at MMWA-SICW”

  1. Herb Simmons said

    Thanks Brian for the coverage. It was great to have you on hand to witness history in the making. Not only were we celebrating 52 years of Wrestling at the chase program, we were a witness to the former NWA Champion Dory Funk Jr climb into the ring and battle in a two out of three fall tag match with the best in the midwest. After the match while taling with Dory he confirmed that the likes of Ron Powers, Kevin X and Sean Vincent were tough to deal with. He gave credit to his partnes Gary Jackson and Chas Wesson. Dory scoring the final match with a cradle on Powers only fueled Powers angry towards me. He claimed I was trying to have him put on the shelve first by Bob Orton when the met in Belleville and now by Funk. He claimed I haven’t heard the last of him. However it goes in the record book of a loss to Dory Funk Jr. The soled out crowd enjoyed every second of the night as we provide them a night that they will always remember. The night Dory Funk Jr returned to East Carondelet Illinois and showed everyone that he truly loves professional wrestling. I want to thank everyone that attended and tell them to stay tuned because we have more surprises on the way. It was on a sad note that we had to announce the retirement of Danny Boy Hawkins. Danny Boy was on hand for the main event which he was to be a part of. However, his doctor insisted that he give up wrestling. After the match he and I discussed his futured and I assured him that he would always be a part of the SICW in whatever capicity he wanted. On another sad note before the evening started we took a 10 bell count for Randy Savage who passed on Saturday. Randy will be missed by all wrestling fans.

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