St. Louis #6 Page #2

Apparently, in the good old days of territorial wrestling, Sam and Bob were perfectly content to run their regions as they saw fit. Their styles and territories did not really compete head-to-head. They did not raid each others’ talents or work the same towns. Actually, given the way they ran their territories, the two territories complemented each other and provided more professional opportunities and exposure for their workers. In addition, both Muchnick and Geigel were NWA Presidents. This speaks volumes for their successes and shows the respect and trust their fellow promoters had for them during the glory years of the NWA title. This was at a time when the NWA president was one of the most powerful and prestigious persons in the wrestling business.

Sam ran St. Louis in a unique fashion: blading, ref bumps, and angles were frowned upon. St. Louis fans became accustomed to logical booking and clean finishes. Yes, every once in a while, a heel went over a face cleanly. (Of course to set up a big payday down the road)

Thanks to the Central States section of the website, I have been able to get a picture of how Bob Geigel ran his territory. There seems to have been much more in the way of angles and character wrestlers in the Central States. There were also more titles up for grabs. St. Louis had but the Missouri State Title (a singles belt - only defended in St. Louis, nowhere else in the state), while Kansas City had the Central States singles title, and tag titles. Another interesting thing I have noticed is that some of the Central States workers got huge pushes in St. Louis (Harley Race), some were on almost every Kiel card at a opener or mid card level (Bulldog Bob Brown, Dewey Robertson, Rufus R. Jones), and some were never or almost never seen in St. Louis (The Viking, Dr. Ramey, The Interns, The Assassin and others). 

Why was this? I have some opinions that I will share. 

First – Money. I do believe that over the years Harley Race owned parts (large or small) of both the Kansas City and St. Louis promotions. Having a piece of ownership in the promotion, as well as being a (legitimate) world class competitor would entitle Race to a top spot in both promotions. In addition, Harley was just damn good. If he did not draw, and did not put on good matches, he certainly would not have maintained his “spots” in St. Louis or Kansas City. (Or Florida, Georgia, Texas, the Carolinas, or Japan, for that matter)

Second – Style. The workers that wrestled for both Muchnick and Geigel had a solid work rate and style. Bulldog Bob Brown, for example, was a roughouser, but always put on a good performance. The St. Louis fans always cheered him, as well as Dewey Robertson, Mark Youngblood, Roger Kirby, and others. I am guessing that Sam Muchnick appreciated this and this led to him using them often at the Kiel and on TV. Gimmicks or hoods, on the other hand, probably kept the Assassins, The Viking, and The Interns out of St. Louis. The only hooded wrestler I can remember clearly in my time was “The Superfly” – I believe that was Ray Candy. Sam Muchnick was clearly not a fan of hoods and gimmicks, never mind how successfully these tactics worked in other territories. 

Another interesting tidbit to add – I never knew what was happening in Kansas City, a mere four hours’ drive away, until my sister went away to college at UM-KC in 1978. During the next few years, I would visit her regularly, and end up watching “All Star Wrestling” on the black and white TV in her dorm. Much to my surprise, I would see faces in St. Louis as heels in KC. I would see bitter enemies in St. Louis tagging together in KC. I would see wrestlers I had never heard of before cutting promos about “getting even next week at Memorial Hall”. This was my first indoctrination of being a “smart”. Even before cable, I was learning about territories, booking, faces, heels, and kayfabe. That was 23 years ago, and I am still learning. 


Finishing holds and the men that used them

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