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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
The first World Heavyweight Championship Belt of the NWA pictured below was used from 1959-1973. The World Champions who wore this belt were:

PAT O'CONNOR 1959-1961
BUDDY ROGERS 1961-1963
LOU THESZ 1963-1966
GENE KINISKI 1966-1969
DORY FUNK, JR 1969-1973

NATIONAL WRESTLING ALLIANCE-1ST WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP BELT
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THE CHAMPIONS WHO WORE THE FIRST NWA BELT (On my wall!)
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In 1973 the first title belt was replaced with the second one which, if I'm not mistaken, is in use to this day. Since I left wrestling as a fan shortly after Kiniski won the title in 1966, I thought someone on our forums who was an active fan during those years might be able to answer a question for me.

WHEN HARLEY RACE WON THE NWA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP IN 1973 DID HE WEAR THE OLD BELT FOR A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME BEFORE THE NEW ONE WAS MADE AND PRESENTED TO HIM???

If so, I need a vintage 8x10 of him in the old NWA belt to complete my collection.

NATIONAL WRESTLING ALLIANCE-2ND WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP BELT
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Discussion Starter #2
To answer my own question, apparently Race initially received the 1st NWA belt based on the photo below. How long he wore it until it was replaced by the new NWA belt is still unknown to me. I don't think it was very long. All the photos that you can find of him are in the new belt.

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OK. Now I need a vintage 8x10 of Harley wearing the belt or I won't be able to sleep at night. Anyone out there got one for sale???:dance

- Mike
 

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I know you probably get tired of the praise of your post from me, but there is so little real knowledge from those that were there during this era that it is quite refreshing to see here.

I hear Harley was an absolute beast in those days and that Flair was actually afraid of him not dropping the belt to him knowing there would be nothing he could do to stop him

I love the pic of Buddy strutting instead of the typical pose of all the others.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I know you probably get tired of the praise of your post from me, but there is so little real knowledge from those that were there during this era that it is quite refreshing to see here.

I hear Harley was an absolute beast in those days and that Flair was actually afraid of him not dropping the belt to him knowing there would be nothing he could do to stop him

I love the pic of Buddy strutting instead of the typical pose of all the others.
Keep on praising!:lmao I promise that I won't get tired of it!:lol

- Mike
 

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To answer my own question, apparently Race initially received the 1st NWA belt based on the photo below. How long he wore it until it was replaced by the new NWA belt is still unknown to me. I don't think it was very long. All the photos that you can find of him are in the new belt.

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Race won the belt on May 24th 1973 and held it till July 20th and that very night when he was to defend the title against Jack Brisco then NWA President Sam Muchnick was in town to present Harley with the new NWA Heavyweight Championship in a in-ring ceremony.




To answer your question, it was 54 days he held the very first NWA Championship before it was replaced with the current title and that same night he lost it as well to his opponent. As for 8x10's of him wearing the very first NWA Championship who knows, the only one I could find of him wearing the belt that seems to of been a solo pic but merged with a pic of Jack Brisco from their July 20th match: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-V2BfBUGYYPg/UAihQILeWbI/AAAAAAAAAGQ/gvrObBiktqc/s1600/Jack+Vs.+Harley+world+title+picture+6.jpg It's the only pic of him wearing that version of the title besides the one you posted above.

I did find a website that sells old wrestling magazines/pictures of stuff you are looking for you could contact them and see if they have a version of Harley Race wearing the 1st version http://www.wrestleprints.com/zc/index.php?main_page=contact_us
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Race won the belt on May 24th 1973 and held it till July 20th and that very night when he was to defend the title against Jack Brisco then NWA President Sam Muchnick was in town to present Harley with the new NWA Heavyweight Championship in a in-ring ceremony.




To answer your question, it was 54 days he held the very first NWA Championship before it was replaced with the current title and that same night he lost it as well to his opponent. As for 8x10's of him wearing the very first NWA Championship who knows, the only one I could find of him wearing the belt that seems to of been a solo pic but merged with a pic of Jack Brisco from their July 20th match: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-V2BfBUGYYPg/UAihQILeWbI/AAAAAAAAAGQ/gvrObBiktqc/s1600/Jack+Vs.+Harley+world+title+picture+6.jpg It's the only pic of him wearing that version of the title besides the one you posted above.

I did find a website that sells old wrestling magazines/pictures of stuff you are looking for you could contact them and see if they have a version of Harley Race wearing the 1st version http://www.wrestleprints.com/zc/index.php?main_page=contact_us
Thanks a million for the post! That fills a hole in my knowledge (the one in my head is irreparable! :lol). GREAT INFORMATION!

I will be on the lookout for a photo of Race in the old NWA belt. If anyone has or comes across one and wants to sell it feel free to PM me.

- Mike
 
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Slightly off topic but does anyone else hate the look of those "small" belts? Like in the picture of Harley Race wearing it. It just looks silly on such a big guy.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Slightly off topic but does anyone else hate the look of those "small" belts? Like in the picture of Harley Race wearing it. It just looks silly on such a big guy.
Actually, the first NWA belt wasn't small, it was almost the size of the 2nd belt, but a different shape. The photo is taken at a downward angle making it look smaller on Race. And, to be frank, Harley Race was a fat fuck and not in any kind of shape like Rogers, O'Connor, or Thesz. No belt looks good on a fat, out of shape wrestler. Check out the photos in my first post on this thread and you will see how it looked on O'Connor, Rogers, Thesz, Kiniski, and Funk, Jr. Or, just have a look at my signature at the bottom of this post (Buddy wearing the first NWA belt).

IMHO, the first NWA belt was a perfect size. I agree that back in my day the earlier belts for various titles were small and not very impressive. However, it seemed that starting with Bruno getting his new belt from the WWWF everyone started making belts bigger, and bigger, and BIGGER! It went from the sublime to the ridiculous!

- Mike

1ST NWA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP BELT
Rogers was a 240 pounder and the belt doesn't look small on him.
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O'Connor was around the same weight as Rogers, but a bit taller. The belt looks fine on him.


Here's Bruno starting the "BIG BELT" fad. To me, this one looks ridiculous!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Well, I just picked up a Harley Race photo with the 1st NWA belt. It's not him wearing it, but a press photo from the "Rogers' Archives" (nothing to do with Buddy Rogers!). He was doing an interview after winning the belt and posing for photos in civilian attire.

I'm still on the lookout for an original vintage photo with Race actually wearing the belt, but at least this one is a confirmation that he was the 6th NWA World Heavyweight Champion to own the 1st NWA belt.

In retrospect, this is a really nice photo and Race looks alot better holding the belt in civilian clothes than wearing it around his ample middle! :lol

BTW, this pic set me back $35 with shipping. There's a similar one from the same press conference out there on eBay if anyone is interested. Go to the following link:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/1973-Harley-Race-Pro-Wrestler-Press-Photo-/190896417336?pt=Art_Photo_Images&hash=item2c72502a38

- Mike

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I respect the hell out of some of those NWA champions and the belts lineage but for me, when Jeff Jarrett started parading around with it, it became the biggest joke in wrestling since Mantaur. Also, it's fucking just as ugly.
 

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Actually, the first NWA belt wasn't small, it was almost the size of the 2nd belt, but a different shape. The photo is taken at a downward angle making it look smaller on Race. And, to be frank, Harley Race was a fat fuck and not in any kind of shape like Rogers, O'Connor, or Thesz. No belt looks good on a fat, out of shape wrestler. Check out the photos in my first post on this thread and you will see how it looked on O'Connor, Rogers, Thesz, Kiniski, and Funk, Jr. Or, just have a look at my signature at the bottom of this post (Buddy wearing the first NWA belt).

IMHO, the first NWA belt was a perfect size. I agree that back in my day the earlier belts for various titles were small and not very impressive. However, it seemed that starting with Bruno getting his new belt from the WWWF everyone started making belts bigger, and bigger, and BIGGER! It went from the sublime to the ridiculous!

- Mike

1ST NWA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP BELT
Rogers was a 240 pounder and the belt doesn't look small on him.
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O'Connor was around the same weight as Rogers, but a bit taller. The belt looks fine on him.


Here's Bruno starting the "BIG BELT" fad. To me, this one looks ridiculous!
I am a huge Big Gold Belt mark and outside of that one exception, I agree with you here. I love the First NWA belt. Simplicity gives it a less is more kind of feel. What really bothered me is when wrestlers started customizing the belts. I was not happy when Ultimate Warrior first came out with the Winged Eagle belt being a different color, did not like Austin's smoking skulls belt, and was sick at my stomach when I first saw Cena's spinner belt. I know the belts may be props, but I hate seeing traditions mocked. Oddly enough, it didn't bother me when Hogan spray painted the Big Gold Belt.
 

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I wish their was more videos accessible of older NWA stuff. I never got a chance to watch NWA in the 80's minus late 80's when I would go to a friends house who had cable. but watching some of these doc's that the WWE has put out I just wish I could get my hands on so much more. I've been going back trying to watch as much old school wrestling as the new product is so stale to me and this stuff is gold. I wish their was some best of the NWA stuff out there like one for the 70's another for the 80's but I guess its hard when WWE owns the rights to WCW's video library along with a few others. to me nothing is better then the NWA and if my son ever becomes a fan of wrestling when he is old enough this is where I'm going to start him cause god knows where wrestling will be then as he is only a month away from 2.
 

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Thanks a million for the post! That fills a hole in my knowledge (the one in my head is irreparable! :lol). GREAT INFORMATION!

I will be on the lookout for a photo of Race in the old NWA belt. If anyone has or comes across one and wants to sell it feel free to PM me.

- Mike
Mike -

Glad to run into somebody else who has a respect for this important piece of wrestling history. Don't know if this is the type pic you're looking for but out of probably a dozen photos I've got of Harley - you're right!.. I've only got one with the old belt. This particular photo isn't for sale and besides it wouldn't look too good on your wall unless you change your name to Jack. But it is an 8x10, similar to your pics and I got it from Harley at one of his shows probably within the last 2 years.



If it is something you might be interested in let me know and I might be able to give you a lead or 2.

Jack
 

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I think it depends on the era you most associate with. For me what I consider Ric Flair's title, the big gold, is my favorite, I wasn't a fan of the domed globe of Harley Race but the belt before that was nice, I think Dory Funk Jrs. I still think the wwf's winged eagle is the best looking belt.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Mike -

Glad to run into somebody else who has a respect for this important piece of wrestling history. Don't know if this is the type pic you're looking for but out of probably a dozen photos I've got of Harley - you're right!.. I've only got one with the old belt. This particular photo isn't for sale and besides it wouldn't look too good on your wall unless you change your name to Jack. But it is an 8x10, similar to your pics and I got it from Harley at one of his shows probably within the last 2 years.



If it is something you might be interested in let me know and I might be able to give you a lead or 2.

Jack
Jack, send the photo and I will begin court proceedings to legally change my first name to Jack!!! :shocked:

I believe that your 8x10 is one of only two photos of Harley either wearing or draping the belt over his shoulder. I have searched high and low since this thread started and those are the only two I've come across. All the rest are of him with the new NWA belt.

I found one 8x10 on eBay which I purchased. It's Race giving a press conference in civilian clothes, sitting at a table holding the belt. (SEE PHOTO BELOW) It's not exactly what I had in mind, but it is a genuine vintage press photo from 1973 and fills the last hole in my collection (O'Connor-Rogers-Thesz-Kiniski-Funk, Jr.-Race).

My question now is, "What became of the first NWA belt?" I wrote to Dick Bourne, author of "TEN POUNDS OF GOLD" which is the definitive book on the second NWA title belt. He kind of skirted the question by saying, "Muchnick had that old belt on his mantel for years, I'm told. I think it is seen in some photos from his big retirement dinner as well in 1982."

I wrote back asking where it is now, but haven't received a reply. I don't want to push it since the guy was nice enough to send me two long emails on wrestling. He did mention, " I'd love to do a book about the 59-73 belt, especially if I could ever photograph the original as we did for this book."

Anyway, below is a copy of my photo of Race with the belt. Below that is a photo of the book "TEN POUNDS OF GOLD" which is next on my list of things to order. :|

- Mike

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"TEN POUNDS OF GOLD" by Dick Bourne
Check Amazon.com and Abebooks.com if you want to get a copy of this book. Be careful, because I believe the inexpensive softcover version is black and white. The hardcover is color. I think they are coming out with a new inexpensive softcover color version.
 

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Jack, send the photo and I will begin court proceedings to legally change my first name to Jack!!! :shocked:

I believe that your 8x10 is one of only two photos of Harley either wearing or draping the belt over his shoulder. I have searched high and low since this thread started and those are the only two I've come across. All the rest are of him with the new NWA belt.

I found one 8x10 on eBay which I purchased. It's Race giving a press conference in civilian clothes, sitting at a table holding the belt. (SEE PHOTO BELOW) It's not exactly what I had in mind, but it is a genuine vintage press photo from 1973 and fills the last hole in my collection (O'Connor-Rogers-Thesz-Kiniski-Funk, Jr.-Race).

My question now is, "What became of the first NWA belt?" I wrote to Dick Bourne, author of "TEN POUNDS OF GOLD" which is the definitive book on the second NWA title belt. He kind of skirted the question by saying, "Muchnick had that old belt on his mantel for years, I'm told. I think it is seen in some photos from his big retirement dinner as well in 1982."

I wrote back asking where it is now, but haven't received a reply. I don't want to push it since the guy was nice enough to send me two long emails on wrestling. He did mention, " I'd love to do a book about the 59-73 belt, especially if I could ever photograph the original as we did for this book."

Anyway, below is a copy of my photo of Race with the belt. Below that is a photo of the book "TEN POUNDS OF GOLD" which is next on my list of things to order. :|

- Mike

[/URL][/IMG]

"TEN POUNDS OF GOLD" by Dick Bourne
Check Amazon.com and Abebooks.com if you want to get a copy of this book. Be careful, because I believe the inexpensive softcover version is black and white. The hardcover is color. I think they are coming out with a new inexpensive softcover color version.

Wow Mike.. changing your name.. That is hard core! Bet your last name is Foley and you got a brother named Mick. But this might be a little easier. For the last 15 years Harley's operated a wrestling school in a little town called Eldon Missouri. He also promotes matches under the World League Wrestling banner featuring his students. They appear mainly in Missouri but have been known to occasionally venture into Kansas, Iowa, and Illinois. Don't know if you're anywhere around the Midwest but Harley appears at all his shows and always has a variety of photos available at the merchandise tables. That's how I got this one.
On the other hand you might want to go directly to the source. He has a web site that among other things has an online store where he offers pictures for sale. I checked earlier this evening but didn't see the picture with the old belt but it might be a good idea to either call or email him and see if he's got any stashed away. I try to make most of his shows so if there's anything I can do let me know.
As far as where the old belt might be I remember reading a story online some years ago (although I can't find it now) where I believe it was Shohei Giant Baba who got ahold of Dory Jr because he wanted to buy the belt and thought Funk might have it. Funk then called Sam Muchnick, former St Louis promoter and former NWA president, to ask about the belt. Sam told Dory that he kept the belt after it was retired in Houston in 1973 when Brisco beat Race, and as you mentioned, kept it on his mantel. Sometime in the early 80s, Sam's wife, Helen, died and after the funeral there was a reception at the Muchnick home. It was attended by wrestlers, journalists, and other sports figures. After the reception was over, the belt was gone.
Hopefully some day somebody's conscience will get the best of them and it will mysteriously appear at the museum in Waterloo.

Jack
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Wow Mike.. changing your name.. That is hard core! Bet your last name is Foley and you got a brother named Mick. But this might be a little easier. For the last 15 years Harley's operated a wrestling school in a little town called Eldon Missouri. He also promotes matches under the World League Wrestling banner featuring his students. They appear mainly in Missouri but have been known to occasionally venture into Kansas, Iowa, and Illinois. Don't know if you're anywhere around the Midwest but Harley appears at all his shows and always has a variety of photos available at the merchandise tables. That's how I got this one.
On the other hand you might want to go directly to the source. He has a web site that among other things has an online store where he offers pictures for sale. I checked earlier this evening but didn't see the picture with the old belt but it might be a good idea to either call or email him and see if he's got any stashed away. I try to make most of his shows so if there's anything I can do let me know.
As far as where the old belt might be I remember reading a story online some years ago (although I can't find it now) where I believe it was Shohei Giant Baba who got ahold of Dory Jr because he wanted to buy the belt and thought Funk might have it. Funk then called Sam Muchnick, former St Louis promoter and former NWA president, to ask about the belt. Sam told Dory that he kept the belt after it was retired in Houston in 1973 when Brisco beat Race, and as you mentioned, kept it on his mantel. Sometime in the early 80s, Sam's wife, Helen, died and after the funeral there was a reception at the Muchnick home. It was attended by wrestlers, journalists, and other sports figures. After the reception was over, the belt was gone.
Hopefully some day somebody's conscience will get the best of them and it will mysteriously appear at the museum in Waterloo.

Jack
Hey, Jack!

I checked out the website and I might just give them a buzz later today. I'm in Minnesota and I don't think Race's promotion has shows this far north. However, I will check it out.

The information regarding the first NWA belt is very disheartening. When the thief finally drops dead they will discover the belt. It will turn up. Buddy Rogers' NWA US Championship belt (the one they used as the first WWWF belt) turned up in Handsome Johnny Barend's home after he died a couple of years ago. (However, from what I know it wasn't stolen, but a gift from his friend and tag team partner Rogers. I believe Johnny's widow donated it to the Wrestling Museum.)

Thanks for the info and I'll let you know when my name change is approved by the courts! :bs:

- Mike
 

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I grew up on the second belt, but I like the first one as well. Also, notice how long those great champions held the title for? Years, not months like they do now.
 
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