St. Louis #24 Page #2 

However, O`Connor will forever be remembered for one title reign in particular... On January 9, 1959 Pat O`Connor defeated Dick Hutton in St. Louis, MO. to win the N.W.A. World Heavyweight title...and forever go down in history as a World Champion.

Pat O`Connor was one of the most beloved (at the time) NWA champion in years, and as a result of his popularity, he held the sports' most important and coveted title -- the N.W.A. World Championship -- for 2 1/2 years. The hard-working O`Connor defended his World title 5 nights a week against the very best wrestlers of his like Killer Kowalski, Buddy Rogers, Dick Hutton, Bob Geigel, Dick The Bruiser, Dory Funk Sr., Lou Thesz, and many, many others.

In May of 1960, O`Connor was named the inaugural A.W.A. World Heavyweight Champion...thus making him the first (and only) simultaneous N.W.A.- A.W.A. World Champion. O`Connor, who was recovering from an injury at the time, was given 90 days to defend the title against the #1 contender Verne Gagne. O`Connor did not face Gagne within the allotted 90 day period and was stripped of the A.W.A. World title on August 16, 1960.  (note: or so the “kayfabe” version goes.....)

His N.W.A. World title reign continued on for another year, though, during which time O`Connor continued to defend his N.W.A. championship nightly against the sport's best...until he was defeated by "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers on June 30, 1961 in Chicago in front of over 30,000 spectators. It would be the last time Pat O`Connor would ever wear the World Heavyweight title belt.

He continued on with much success for the next 10 years, but as the 1970's rolled in, the aging O`Connor began to "lose" more frequently. He always put up a good fight against the younger and stronger competition he wrestled throughout the Midwest during the 1970's, fighting bravely -- but often losing more than winning -- against up-and-comers like Bobby Jaggers, Crusher Blackwell, and other Central States performers. Eventually he became a part-time lower-card wrestler, referee, and booking assistant in the Central States and Missouri promotions until his retirement.  

Buddy Rogers (seconded by Bobby Davis) defeats Pat O'Connor two falls to one to win the NWA World title.  

-Rogers is billed as the U.S. champ. Rogers has light color trunks and his golden hair. O'Connor has the traditional black trunks and boots. Both are in shape, and not overly muscular.

-Fall one: The announcer claims throughout the night that 50,000 are in attendance. Rogers is the obvious heel (O'Connor is billed as originally from New Zealand now in suburban Chicago), and delivers cheap shots, slaps, won't break on the ropes, etc. After a few lockup sand feeling each other out, O'Connor takes control, working on Rogers arm. He executes this nasty looking spinning armbar move that looks extremely painful. Rogers battles back but only to fall back into the armbar again. Rogers is whipped into the corner with O'Connor charging in, but Rogers gets his knee up, hits O'Connor in the head, knocking him down. Buddy gets the pin to win the first fall in 8:30.

-Fall two: The announcers says many top luminaries are in attendance: Vince McMahon, Toots Mond, Jules Strongbow and Sam Muchnick. Rogers starts out the second fall with a hammerlock. O'Connor breaks out of it, and works on Rogers' legs. He continually pummels the challenger all over the ring with fists, ramming his head into the turnbuckle and the second fall is one sided. O'Connor finishes the fall with a rollup at 6:00.

-Fall three: Rogers begins strutting around, inciting the crowd. But, once again, O'Connor is in control, delivering body slams and picking up near falls. Rogers escapes by getting in the ropes. O'Connor then misses a dropkick and gets his midsection caught in the top ropes. Buddy then sneaks in and gets the pin to win the title at 7:00. (Note: Total match time 21:30 – hardly the 45-60 minute contest the champion usually worked)

-The fans are stunned. Chicago promoter Fred Koehler presents Rogers with the NWA Heavyweight Title and Buddy gets on the mic and says "To a nicer guy, it couldn't happen."  

I wonder what Sam Muchnick thought about the switch and how he saw Buddy Rogers as NWA Champion, knowing what it would eventually lead to in the future with the northeast promoters?  

And the rest, as they say, is history. Thanks for stopping by! See you on the message board!


“St. Louis TV: Late 1982” (After Sam)  

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