June 2, 1909|
|Died||April 1, 1973(aged 63)|
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||Big Jim|
James Allen Crockett (June 2, 1909– April 1, 1973) was a professional wrestling promoter and professional sports franchise owner sometimes known as Jim Crockett, Sr. or to people within the business simply as "Big Jim".
Crockett was born in Bristol, Virginia, to Charles S. and Josie E. Crockett. As a youth, he became a fan of pro wrestling, which had thrived during the 1920s with such grapplers as Strangler Lewis and Joe Stecher dominating the scene.
In the early 1930s, a dispute arose over the bookings of new wrestling sensation Jim Londos, so New York promoter Jack Curley negotiated an alliance between various regional managers that enabled Londos to travel the country as champion while allowing the promoters to share profits evenly across the regions. As a result of this arrangement, new wrestling "territories" emerged across the U.S., and in 1935, a 25-year old Crockett, who had also served as a concert promoter while also owning a theater and a restaurant, decided to set up a permanent wrestling shop based in Charlotte, North Carolina. The organization, known as Jim Crockett Promotions, scheduled wrestling events in both Carolinas, as well as in Virginia, under the banner of Eastern States Championship Wrestling. Over the next decade, ESCW featured some of the top wrestling stars of the day. Then in 1948, wrestling's top promoters gathered in Waterloo, Iowa to form the industry's first true governing body, known as the National Wrestling Alliance. As the dominant force representing the Carolina region, Jim Crockett Promotions soon became an important member of the NWA, with Crockett serving as a chief lieutenant under longtime NWA President and leading St. Louis promoter Sam Muchnick.
Over the next 25 years, Jim Crockett Sr.'s Carolina territory reigned among the most successful regions in the NWA, as he regularly sold out the 16,000-seat Greensboro Coliseum featuring such stars as Johnny Weaver, Rip Hawk, Swede Hanson, and Gene & Ole Anderson on his Championship Wrestling program.
However, by the early 1970s, an ailing Crockett was forced to retire, as his son-in-law John Rigley had begun to take over many of the territory's responsibilities. Jim Crockett Sr. died on April 1, 1973, and control of the company was then ceded to his son, 28-year old Jim Crockett Jr., who took over the promotion and ultimately renamed it "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling."
Jim Crockett Promotions would eventually hold a tag team tournament from 1986 through 1988 in honor of him called the Jim Crockett Sr. Memorial Cup Tag Team Tournament.
- Hornbaker, p.302