Thursday, August 09, 2018

Visit to the Wrestling Hall of Fame in Waterloo

by Andy McDaniel
Mid-Atlantic Gateway Contributor

Mac Davis and Billy Strange wrote these words in 1968:

Memories, pressed between the pages of my mind
Memories, sweetened through the ages just like wine

I have been a wrestling fan for well over 40 years. The many wonderful memories I have are surely pressed between the pages of my mind. Over the last many years the loss of so many legends and friends has caused the memories to become sweeter.

A recent visit to the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum in Waterloo, Iowa, was a true walk down memory lane. I would highly suggest to any serious wrestling fan that they make the trip to Waterloo if at all possible.

Upper left: Photo of Gordon Solie and Jack Brisco. Center left: Andy McDaniel (who wrote this article)
Lower left: Painting of Gerry Brisco
Right: Bill Murdock and Gerry Brisco with Jack Brisco exhibit.

Walking in the door was a treat as I was greeted by none other than Gerry Brisco and one of the key members of the museum, Bill Murdock. Bill and I have been friends for the last 20 years. It was great sharing a few stories with Gerry after I presented him with a copy of my County Hall reunion book. He had some funny Henry Marcus stories, including some memories of Miss South Carolina. Might have to share that later.

Walking around the museum for the first time I must say there is so much to take in you are almost overwhelmed. The pictures, the memorabilia, the art work; it is all amazing. However, there were several items that stood out to me.

The case holding Jack Brisco’s boots is right up front, and it truly stands out.

As I said, this was just the beginning. I realize that some might wonder if Mid-Atlantic wrestling has a strong presence at the museum. Let me assure you, there are some wonderful pieces here. When you turn the corner in the first art gallery, there sits Baron Von Raschke. (And that is “all the people need to know!”)

Left: Jack Brisco's boots and replica of the "Ten Pounds of Gold"
Right: Paintings of Baron Von Raschke and Jack Brisco

Another few turns and there is Jack and Gerry Brisco and then there is the incredible painting of Ric Flair and Harley Race in action.

The walk around the hall of fame portion is an absolute who’s who of pro wrestling and indeed, Mid-Atlantic wrestling is well represented. Abe Jacobs, Ric Flair, The Funks, Tim Woods, The Briscos, Ricky Steamboat, Ivan and Nikita, Dusty, Harley Race, Jimmy Valiant, just to name a few.

Upper left: Abe Jacobs' Japan tour jacket.   Upper right: Harley Race's bronzed boot.
Bottom: Painting of Harley Race vs. Ric Flair

One of the special items on display is a bronzed boot from Harley Race, along with a ring jacket and mask from Mr. Wrestling Tim Woods. Even a jumpsuit from Abe Jacobs when he was touring Japan.

The Lou Thesz displays are amazing. His NWA belt is there, his boots and robe, along with many pictures, wrestling cards from the shows he was defending the title on, and many items from Japan and countless other things.

Top: Lou Thesz display including his NWA World title belt.
Bottom left: Tim Woods' ring jacket.    Bottom right: Baron Von Raschke's amateur gear.

My review of the Hall of fame and museum here in Iowa are very high. It was great time seeing friends and seeing some items I had never seen before. If you are ever over this way, indeed take the time to visit, you will be glad you did. They have done a wonderful job preserving the history of wresting and the historical characters that were involved. If you are a fan of NWA and Mid-Atlantic wrestling you will not be disappointed, they are well represented. I will surely be going back, and hopefully next time have my friends from the Gateway with me.

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Andy McDaniel is the author of Reunion at County Hall: The Night the Legends Returned to Charleston, available on