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The Missouri State Title - NWA St. Louis

 - John Edwards

The Missouri State Heavyweight Title was the “regional” title recognized by the St. Louis Wrestling Club in the NWA St. Louis promotion from 1972 to 1986. In its heyday, it was the most highly regarded regional belt in the country, and was seen (often correctly) as a “steppingstone” to the NWA World Heavyweight Title. 

What is interesting (among many things) about this title is the fact that until 1972 the only belt contested in St. Louis was the NWA World Title. This fits in with Sam Muchnick’s philosophy that all matches, and certainly championships, should “mean” something and have credibility. That is probably why there was never a “TV Title” or even Missouri State Tag Team Titles in St. Louis. The Missouri title was always defended at house shows - never on television.  

Looking back, it was the rare card that had both a Missouri Title match and a World Title match. (One that does come to mind was the famous “Sam Muchnick Retirement Card” on January 1, 1982 in front of 19,821 at the St. Louis Arena.) Normally, the Missouri belt was defended on the odd card from the NWA Title. This makes sense, as it gave the St. Louis fans a major main event in the days when the NWA champion was on the road 300 days a year and hit St. Louis usually once a month. 

Were the St. Louis fans spoiled by this abundance of talent and good matches? Here are samples of Missouri title matches from 1972-1986  (title history courtesy of:

       Harley Race v. Dory Funk, Jr.            5/24/74           (Funk wins)

Jack Brisco v. Bob Backlund            11/26/76           (Brisco wins)         
Dick the Bruiser v. Dick Murdoch       7/14/78            (Bruiser wins in a WAR! These two
would  trade the belt back and forth for about a  year and a half of great and usually violent matches.)

       Jack Brisco v. Ted DiBiase               10/2/81             (Brisco wins his 2nd MO title)

       Ric Flair  (Tournament)                 7/15/83             (Tournament after Harley Race vacates due to winning the NWA World title in St. Louis on  6/10/83)  More...

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