Thursday, March 24, 2022

Respect: David Crockett Makes Appearance at the NWA Crockett Cup

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

This past weekend (March 19-20), the National Wrestling Alliance presented the 2022 Crockett Cup tournament on pay-per-view. It was the modern-day NWA's second revival of the tournament that bears the name of the legendary family that promoted professional wrestling for over 50 years in the Carolinas, Virginia, and eventually nationwide. 

In 1986, Jim Crockett Promotions presented the first in an annual series of tag team tournaments named to honor the patriarch of the family, a man who first began promoting professional wrestling in 1933, James Allen Crockett. The first Jim Crockett Sr. Memorial Cup tag team tournament was held at the Superdome in New Orleans, LA.  Subsequent tournaments were held in Baltimore MD, and Greenville SC/Greensboro, NC. Jim Sr.'s widow Elizabeth presented the Crockett Cup trophy to the winners of all three of those events.

Sadly, the tournament series ended after only three years. The Crockett family business was sold to Ted Turner in late 1988, and Turner's new WCW promotion chose not to continue the tournament.  

Move ahead 31 years later. The modern-day NWA led by owner and promoter William Corgan, as part of a series of efforts to rekindle the tradition of the NWA, decided to bring the tournament back. In 2019, the organization held the event re-branded simply as "The Crockett Cup" in Charlotte, NC, the longtime home of Jim Crockett Promotions. Two of Jim Crockett Sr.'s children, Frances Crockett and Jackie Crockett were at that event that year to present the trophy to the winning team. 

The Covid-19 pandemic derailed plans for both the 2020 and 2021 events. In that interim, Frances, David, and Jackie lost their oldest brother Jim Crockett, Jr. in early 2021. 

But throughout, Corgan was determined to bring the Crockett Cup back again. The 2022 event was held in Nashville, TN, and was a big two-night affair that culminated on Sunday 3/20 with the finals of the tournament as well as an NWA World Heavyweight title defense.

There were lots of things that William Corgan did to make the event memorable, but there was one special thing he arranged that helped make special magic and that was the appearance and involvement of perhaps the most well known of all the Crockett family, David Crockett. David not only presented the trophy, he lent his unique brand of commentary to several of the tournament matches.

David Crockett, seated between NWA broadcaster Joe Galli and former NWA World
Champion Tim Storm, calls action during the NWA Crockett Cup.

David's appearance for the NWA comes on the heels of his multiple winter appearances for AEW Wrestling on their nationally televised programs. (Read more about that here.)

As older fans will remember, not only was David Crockett instrumental behind the scenes in the family  business, he was a commentator on their televised wrestling shows for over 14 years. He first teamed up with the legendary Bob Caudle in 1974 to host Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling in the cozy confines of WRAL-TV studios in Raleigh, NC. He later hosted World Wide Wrestling in the arenas in the 1980s with a variety of co-hosts including Johnny Weaver and Tony Schiavone. But he is probably most remembered as the co-host of the nationally televised World Championship Wrestling program that aired each Saturday at 6:05 PM on the Superstation WTBS in the mid-to-late 1980s. 

David's enthusiasm during that time leapt off the screen, representing the fan's point of view in many of the matches and angles that aired each week. His excitement was infectious. He has pointed out many times in recent years that the excitement that came through on his commentary was born out of the fact that despite being part of management in a thriving family business, he was first and foremost a fan himself. It showed each week, and David's unique brand of commentary is still fondly remembered to this day.

David told me he came away from Nashville very impressed with the NWA production team, which reminded him a bit of JCP's mobile production team in the 1980s - - small but efficient, and professional. And he also was impressed with the level of talent in the ring through the two day event.

But most of all he seemed genuinely touched by his personal interactions that weekend, and the respect shown him by not only Corgan's management team, but also the broadcast team, production crew, and the locker room.  

"I could not believe how wonderful everyone was," he wrote me. "It was a humbling experience. The whole time I was thinking, I wish Dad, Mom, and Jimmy could have seen the respect everyone gave them."

It is wonderful to see David having such fun being involved in wrestling again. The best part, though, is witnessing the modern-day NWA carry forward the legacy and tradition of the original Jim Crockett Sr. Memorial Cup. Having David Crockett there and part of the event brought major credibility to the NWA's efforts in that regard.   

Photographs provided by George Pantas.

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Joe Galli, David Crockett, and Tim Storm (all lower left) call the action at the 2022 NWA Crockett Cup in Nashville. The Crockett Cup trophy can be seen in the background, far right.

Director Billy Trask and David Crockett in the NWA production truck.

2022 Crockett Cup Champions Jay and Mark Briscoe with David Crockett
The Briscoe Brothers are soon to be inducted in to the Ring of Honor Hall of Fame.

David Crockett (L) with the beautiful Crockett Cup Trophy
With David is a friend of the Mid-Atlantic Gateway George Pantas, a wrestling documentarian and also Commissioner of Virginia Championship Wrestling in Norfolk, VA.

For results of the entire Crockett Cup show, visit here.
To order the PPV replay visit Fite TV