Wednesday, October 7, 2020

NWA Champion "Handsome" Harley Race vs. Terry Gibbs in the Kansas City TV Studio

Relatively rare footage from the Kansas City promotion's studio TV show, hosted by Bill Kersten. We are told that this studio production was taped at KBMA TV 41, later KSHB 41. (Additional information always welcome.)

Thanks to Mike over at the Mid-Atlantic Championship Podcast (@midatlanticpod) for tipping us off to this video (always love seeing Harley Race with the Ten Pounds of Gold in the studio) and Tyrone Mendez for info on the location. 

More information on this Studio Wrestling website on Bill Kersten here.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Mike LeBelle and Gene Kiniski (NWA Hollywood Wrestling 1968)

TV host (and promoter) Mike Lebelle interviews NWA World Heavyweight Champion Gene Kiniski on the set of the Los Angeles TV wrestling program, circa 1968. 

Mike Lebelle was the LA area promoter from 1966 - 1982, rejoining the NWA in 1968 and recognizing the NWA World champion. Previously under promoter Cal Eaton, the promotion recognized a WWA World Championship going back to the late 1950s when Eaton left the NWA.

The promotion was called NWA Hollywood Wrestling, and under LeBelle, was an innovator in closed-circuit broadcasts for wrestling.

According to Dave Meltzer at the Wrestling Observer, Mike LeBelle was the brother of Gene LeBell, and that the two spelled there last names differently, despite the legitimate relationship.

Thanks to William Murdock for sending this photo.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Missing "Big" Bill Ward

Charlotte News, April 23, 1974

In 1974, Jim Crockett Promotions consolidated all of its TV production to one central studio taping. In early 1974, wrestling was still being taped in three different locations each week - - WBTV-3 in Charlotte, WGHP-8 in High Point (Greensboro market), and WRAL-5 in Raleigh. The decision was made to consolidate everything to Raleigh.

Fans in the Charlotte and Greensboro areas were understandably upset to lose the show and the announcers they were familiar with. "Big" Bill Ward in Charlotte and Charlie Harville in the Greensboro/Winston-Salem/High Point/Lexington market were institutions there. And while Bob Caudle in Raleigh was quickly becoming the most beloved announcer in the area's history, it took fans some time to get used to those changes.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

George Scott hosts Wide World Wrestling

For a period of several months in 1978, booker George Scott hosted and co-hosted "Wide World Wrestling" in the studios of WRAL-5 in Raleigh, replacing the departed Ed Capral who had hosted the show for Jim Crockett Promotions since its inception in 1975.

For much of that time, Scott actually provided color commentary, as the company settled in with Tom Miller on play-by-play during the summer and early fall of 1978. Miller was a famous radio personality in the Carolinas and Virginias during this time and had temporarily served as color commentator for Bob Caudle on "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" back in the summer of 1976 while regular co-host David Crockett was away helping his sister Frances Crockett with the company-owned minor league baseball team the Charlotte O's.

Scott usually conducted the interviews on Wide World, as seen above with NWA World Tag Team Champions Ricky Steamboat and Paul Jones. He and Miller continued as a team until the show received a major overhaul in the fall of 1978. It was renamed "World Wide Wrestling" with a brand new set, and longtime Richmond ring announcer Rich Landrum was brought in as the revamped show's new host.

Scott's tenure as host of "Wide World Wrestling" is largely lost to time and history, as no known video footage of his tenure in that role is thought to exist. The image above is taken from 8mm film shot directly off a TV screen back in 1978 and may be the only surviving image of George Scott in that role.

Scott booked for Jim Crockett Promotions from 1973-1981 and is generally considered one of the best creative minds in wrestling history.

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Footnote: Russ Debuc briefly hosted "Wide World Wrestling" as well in between the Capral and Landrum eras. His tenure lasted about 4 months. More on Russ Debuc here.

Hear the "Wide World Wrestling" theme music here.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Distant Signals

Some of you old folks out there (like us!) will remember the days when you stayed up late at night and tried to maneuver your set-top or aerial antenna to pull in some distant station that had wrestling.

In this rough image, Mid-Atlantic champion Ric Flair and Blackjack Mulligan talk with Ed Capral on Wide World Wrestling from the WRAL television studios in December 1975. Ric wasn't back to wrestling yet at this point, still recovering from injuries suffered in the October 1975 Wilmington NC plane crash. But he was back doing interviews and color commentary by the end of December. In this image he is holding the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight championship belt (represented by the old Eastern Heavyweight title belt.)

Check out our article on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway for more about what we had to go through in the 60s and 70s to do pull in those distant signals.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Championship Wrestling from Amarillo (1971)

Host Steve Stack with Dory Funk, Sr. on the set of Championship Wrestling from Amarillo, TX in 1971. 

The Funks taped their television show Saturday afternoon in the studios of KVII channel 7 in Amarillo (later moving the tapings to KDFA channel 10 in the mid-1970s).  Wrestling had been taped at KVII going back to the early 1960s when Funk Sr. was in partnership with legendary Amarillo promoter Doc Sarpolis.

The ring announcer at those tapings was Shelton Key and Stanley Blackburn was their commissioner.

We miss those simple days of territory wrestling from the small, intimate TV studios.

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 - The screen capture above within our old-school TV set is from the Vault section of the WWE Network, under Hidden Gems for 1971.
- Thanks to Tim Hornbaker and Larry Statser for additional info.

Edited with additional info August 29, 2020.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Championship Wrestling host Bill Krieger (WFBC Greenville 1961)

Bill Krieger hosted "Championship Wrestling" on WFBC-4 in 1961, featuring all the stars of the early 1960s for Jim Crockett Promotions.

Bob Poole originally hosted from 3/26/60 until WFBC-TV sports director Bill Krieger took over as host in February of 1961. Billy Powell served as color commentator during some of this time with Krieger.

For more information on live Studio Wrestling from WFBC-4 in Greenville, visit the 
WFBC Studio Wrestling page on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.
Clipping courtesy Don Holbrook.