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The End of the St. Louis NWA Promotion 1982-1986

 - John Edwards

Before I begin this month’s article, thanks in advance to the hard-working folks at: where I received much of the information and key dates that contributed to this article.

This month’s article is a somewhat sad and difficult segment to write. I will attempt this month to relate the facts, intertwined with my memories and conjectures, of what happened from late 1981 (Sam Muchnick sells his share of the St. Louis NWA promotion),  to January 1st, 1982 (Sam Muchnick Retirement Card at the St. Louis Arena), to September 20, 1985 (Ric Flair defeats Harley Race at the Kiel – last SLWC card at the Kiel Auditorium).

January 1, 1982:

The importance of this date is known to all hard-core old-school St. Louis NWA marks out there. This date, of course represents the end of the Sam Muchnick era in both St. Louis and the entire NWA. I attended this card, along with three of my friends. On this date, the “Sam Muchnick Retirement Card” was held at the St. Louis Arena (instead of the Kiel Auditorium). In front of 19,819 fans, Dick The Bruiser defeated Ken Patera for the Missouri Heavyweight Title, RIc Flair bested Dusty Rhodes in the main, and the mayor of St. Louis proclaimed “Sam Muchnick Day”. It was a great card, a great time. We thought it would never end, and had no reason to think so.  Here are the matches from Sam’s Retirement Card:

Pat O'Connor d. Bob Sweetan (Pat’s final STL bout)
Wichter/Grable v ???? (Lady’s Tag)
Dick the Bruiser d. Ken Patera Missouri Title
Ric Flair d. Dusty Rhodes 2 out of 3 falls NWA title
David Von Erich/Rufus R Jones d. Harley Race/Greg Valentine
Crusher Blackwell in a handicap match.

For the remainder of 1982, things were very stable in the St. Louis promotion. This year was my junior/senior years in high school, and I attended almost every card at the Kiel, and numerous TV tapings. To put things in perspective: Ric Flair was the NWA champion all of 1982, the NWA was still strong and unified (though there were signs of the storm to come), Bob Backlund was WWF Champion, Vince Senior was still alive, the AWA was strong and the impact of cable TV was just being felt. PPV did not yet exist.  More...

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