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.