Monday, November 21, 2016

NWA World Champions on Thanksgiving for Jim Crockett Promotions

Compiled by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Beginning in 1963 through 1987, the NWA World Champion came to Jim Crockett Promotions on Thanksgiving night in all but 5 years during that span to be part of what was always one of the biggest pro-wrestling cards of the year.

For 21 Thanksgiving events (including two in 1981), the NWA champ came to one of Crockett's towns, usually to defend the title. On two of those shows, the champ was there (1972 and the evening show in 1981) but was involved in another match that evening where the title wasn't on the line.

It's an amazing list of champions and challengers and is presented here during Thanksgiving week as we celebrate the grand tradition of wrestling on Thanksgiving in the Mid-Atlantic territory.

The 1960s

1963: Lou Thesz defeats Swede Hanson (Greensboro)
1965: Lou Thesz defeats Pat O'Connor via count out in 3rd fall (Greensboro)
1966: Gene Kiniski defeats the Missouri Mauler Larry Hamilton (Greensboro)
1967: Gene Kiniski retains vs. Johnny Weaver (1-hr. draw) (Greensboro) 

The 1970s
1970: Dory Funk Jr. retains vs. Jerry Brisco (1-hr. draw) (Greensboro)
1971: Dory Funk Jr. defeats Jerry Brisco, winning the final 2 falls (Norfolk)
1972: Dory Funk, Jr. and Dory Funk, Sr. lost to Jack & Jerry Brisco (Greensboro)*
1973: Jack Brisco defeats Dory Funk Jr. (Greensboro)
1974: Jack Brisco is DQ'd against Wahoo McDaniel; retains the title (Greensboro)
1975: Jack Brisco lost to Wahoo McDaniel by count out; retains title  (Greensboro)
1976: Terry Funk successfully defends the title against Rufus R. Jones (Norfolk)
1977: Harley Race successfully defends the title against Ricky Steamboat (Norfolk)
1978: Harley Race successfully defends the title against Paul Jones (Norfolk) 

The 1980s
1981: Ric Flair successfully defends against Ivan Koloff (Knoxville 3PM)
1981: Ric Flair defeated Ole Anderson non-title cage match (Greensboro 8 PM)*
1982: Ric Flair successfully defends the title against Roddy Piper (Greensboro)
1983: Ric Flair defeats Harley Race to win his 2nd NWA World Title (Greensboro)
1984: Ric Flair defeats Dusty Rhodes by TKO to retain title (Greensboro)
1985: Ric Flair retains title over Dusty Rhodes following NWA ruling on DQ (Atlanta)
1986: Ric Flair retains title over Nikita Koloff by DQ (Atlanta)
1987: Ric Flair defeats Ron Garvin to win the NWA World Title (Chicago)

Also see:  Thanksgiving for Jim Crockett Promotions 1967-1987

 * In 1972 and 1981, the NWA champion was on the Thanksgiving card in Greensboro, but did not defend the championship. Knoxville was affiliated with Jim Crockett promotions in 1981.