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.