Friday, February 09, 2018

Action Figures Friday: U.S. Champion Barry Windham

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway
Photograph and customized figure from the collection of Mike Simmerman

A depiction of United States heavyweight Champion Barry Windham
wearing a tiny replica of the 5th version of the Crockett United States title belt.

Barry Windham became United States champion on May 13, 1988 when he won a one-night single elimination tournament to name a new champion after Dusty Rhodes was stripped of the title a month earlier. Windham had recently become a member of the Four Horsemen.

The tournament took place in Houston, TX for promoter Paul Boesch, who was affiliated with the NWA and Jim Crockett Promotions during this time. Boesch was also a member of the mythical "NWA board of directors" who had stripped Rhodes of the championship, although he said he was a dissenting vote. This followed an incident on WTBS television where Rhodes had inadvertently hit Jim Crockett with a baseball bat during a brawl with Tully Blanchard.

Pages 164-165 of the book "Jim Crockett Promotions' United States Championship" in the section
on the 1988 U.S. title tournament in Houston, TX.

Windham defeated Nikita Koloff in the finals of the tournament and became the last man to hold the U.S. championship for Jim Crockett Promotions.

During his time as a member of the Four Horsemen, he wore a black glove on his right hand and used the claw hold as a finisher. This was a tip-of-the-hat to his father, Blackjack Mulligan, who was also a U.S. Champion and also wore the black glove and used the claw.

The belt Windham wore as champion (replica seen in the Action Figures Friday photo above) was the 5th version of the United States championship belt worn during the Crockett years. Other wrestlers who wore that version of the belt were Magnum T.A., Nikita Koloff, Lex Luger, and Dusty Rhodes. Michael Hayes and Stan Hansen also wore the belt during the early WCW years after Jim Crockett Promotions was sold to Ted Turner.

For more information on the history of the Crockett U.S. title and all five of the belts that represented it from 1975-1988, check out our book "Jim Crockett Promotions' United States Championship" in the Gateway Bookstore. Also available on

Check out all posts in our ACTION FIGURES FRIDAY series!