Friday, June 29, 2018

Classic Poster Friday: NWA Champion Dory Funk, Jr.

Brack Beasley Collection
by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

It's "Classic Poster Friday" and we present another rare poster from Lexington, NC, from the collection of Gateway contributor Brack Beasley.

NWA World Heavyweight champion Dory Funk, Jr. was in the main event against veteran Art Nelson on Saturday, March 14, 1970.

It was Funk's first appearance in Lexington, a weekly linchpin in the Crockett Promotions touring schedule in those years. Nelson had made many appearances there, most recently teaming with the hated Kurt Stroheim.

A funny little graphic blooper on this poster - - the person who put it together graphically got his "Nelsons" mixed up, as the poster features a picture of Nelson Royal instead of Art Nelson.

In most cases, fans got behind the local challenger when challenging the reigning World champion. But Dory Funk, Jr. was the decided fan favorite in his title defense against rough and tough veteran Nelson and received somewhat of a hero's welcome at the Lexington YMCA. NWA title matches in Lexington were somewhat rare.

According to newspaper reports at that time, Funk retained the title but had to do so in come-from-behind fashion. Nelson won the first fall with a bear hug, but Funk roared back winning the both the second and third falls with his signature spinning toe hold.

The newspaper also pointed out this nice little bit of trivia: Funk, at 27 years of age, was the second youngest man to have ever held the NWA crown at that time. The only man to have held it at a younger age was the legendary champion Lou Thesz who first won the title at the age of 21, and of course subsequently held it on many occasions.

In the second main event that night in Lexington, the Canadian tandem of George and Sandy Scott (the "Flying Scotts") battled the "Minnesota Wrecking Crew" of Gene and Ole Anderson. The Andersons came out on top in a 2-of-3 falls contest.

Interesting to see three different brother combinations on this card - - the Anderson brothers, Scott brothers, and Kay brothers.

Special thanks to Brack Beasley for sharing his poster and Mark Eastridge for the newspaper research.

Check out other Classic Posters featured on Classic Poster Friday.