St. Louis Wrestling Hall of Fame

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The St. Louis Wrestling Hall of Fame is a professional wrestling hall of fame. After several years of debating the idea of creating the Hall of Fame, former owner and promoter of the St. Louis Wrestling Club Larry Matysik opened it in 2007. He was joined in this effort by promoter Herb Simmons, SBAC Member Tony Casta, sports journalist Keith Schildroth, and longtime fan Nick Ridenour.[1][2] Although these directors oversee the selection process, the St. Louis Wrestling Hall of Fame is unique because it is the only wrestling hall of fame that allows fans to vote for potential inductees.[3]

The Hall of Fame was created to honor the role St. Louis played in helping to establish professional wrestling in North America.[1][4] Matysik also wanted to create a hall of fame that recognized wrestlers for their contributions to wrestling rather than their relationships with the owner of the promotion.[1] To be inducted into the Hall of Fame, inductees must have held a title belt or played an important role in or around the Missouri area between 1959 and 1983, when the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) promotion had a strong presence in St. Louis.[3]

For the initial group of inductions, the directors decided that Sam Muchnick, Lou Thesz, Bill Longson, Mickey Garagiola, Penny Banner, and Joe Schoenberger would be inducted by acclamation.[1][5] Fans were asked to vote for seven more inductees from a list of twenty choices.[1] At the induction ceremony, these thirteen were enshrined, along with Matysik, a surprise inductee.[6] King Kong Brody was inducted later that year.[7]

When the Hall of Fame opened in 2007, it was located in The Pro Wrestling Shirt Shop, a business in St. Louis' South County Mall.[6] It contained plaques and memorabilia from the St. Louis Wrestling Club.[8] In 2008, the Hall was moved to the South Broadway Athletic Club.[9] Each induction plaque is personalized with a description of the individual's contributions. For example, Thesz' plaque states that he is "the finest example of a true world champion".[6] Six more people were inducted in 2008, bringing the total to twenty-one. The Hall's directors plan to add six more inductees each year.[3] Fourteen men and one woman have been honored for their performance in the ring as wrestlers. The remaining six people have been inducted for their other contributions, including owning and promoting the St. Louis Wrestling Club, as well as performing duties as referees, ring announcers, and commentators.

Inductees[edit]

# Year Ring name
(Birth name)
Inducted for Notes
1 2007 Banner, PennyPenny Banner
(Mary Ann Kostecki)[10]
Women's wrestling Born in St. Louis and began wrestling career working for Muchnick's NWA; won the NWA Women's World Tag Team Championship (1 time)[11]
2 2007 Brody, King KongKing Kong Brody
(Frank Goodish)[12]
Wrestling Posthumous inductee; inducted September 14.[7] Won the NWA Central States Heavyweight Championship (1 time) and NWA Central States Tag Team Championship (1 time)[13]
3 2007 Dick the Bruiser
(William Richard Afflis)[14]
Wrestling Posthumous inductee; won the NWA Missouri Heavyweight Championship (3 times)[15]
4 2007 Flair, RicRic Flair
(Richard Morgan Fliehr)[16][a]
Wrestling Won the NWA World Heavyweight Championship (10 times) and NWA Missouri Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[15][17]
5 2007 Garagiola, MickeyMickey Garagiola Ring announcing and commentating Longtime ring announcer and commentator for St. Louis Wrestling Club[6][18]
6 2007 Kiniski, GeneGene Kiniski Wrestling Held NWA World Heavyweight Championship for three years; won the NWA Missouri Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[15][17]
7 2007 Longson, BillBill Longson
(Willard Rowe Longson)[19]
Wrestling Posthumous inductee; won the National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Championship (3 times) and NWA Central States Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[19]
8 2007 Matysik, LarryLarry Matysik Commentating and Promoting Owner, office worker, booker, announcer, and commentator for St. Louis Wrestling Club; wrote biography of Sam Muchnick[6][20]
9 2007 Muchnick, SamSam Muchnick Promoting Posthumous inductee; founded the NWA and served as president from 1950 to 1960 and 1963 to 1975; owner of St. Louis Wrestling Club[21][22]
10 2007 O'Connor, PatPat O'Connor Wrestling Posthumous inductee; won the AWA World Heavyweight Championship (1 time), NWA World Heavyweight Championship (1 time), and NWA Central States Heavyweight Championship (2 times); co-owner and booker of St. Louis Wrestling Club[17][22][23]
11 2007 Race, HarleyHarley Race Wrestling Won the NWA Missouri Heavyweight Championship (7 times) and NWA World Heavyweight Championship (8 times); co-owner of St. Louis Wrestling Club[15][17][22]
12 2007 Schoenberger, JoeJoe Schoenberger Refereeing Posthumous inductee; longtime referee for St. Louis Wrestling Club and community youth sports advocate[6]
13 2007 Thesz, LouLou Thesz
(Aloysius Martiz Thesz)[24]
Wrestling Posthumous inductee; won the NWA World Heavyweight Championship (6 times)[24]
14 2007 Valentine, JohnnyJohnny Valentine
(Jonathan Wisniski)[25]
Wrestling Posthumous inductee; won NWA Missouri Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[15]
15 2007 Von Erich, FritzFritz Von Erich
(Jack Barton Adkisson)[26]
Wrestling Posthumous inductee; won the AWA World Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[27]
16 2008 Brisco, JackJack Brisco
(Fred Joe Brisco)[28]
Wrestling Won the NWA World Heavyweight Championship (2 times), NWA Missouri Heavyweight Championship (2 times), and NWA Missouri Junior Heavyweight Championship (2 times)[15][17][29]
17 2008 Funk, Jr., DoryDory Funk, Jr. Wrestling Won NWA World Heavyweight Championship (1 time) and NWA Missouri Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[15][17]
18 2008 Garagiola, JoeJoe Garagiola Commentating First commentator for St. Louis Wrestling Club's Wrestling at the Chase television program[30]
19 2008 Johnson, RockyRocky Johnson
(Wayde Bowles)[31]
Wrestling Competed in St. Louis from 1975 to 1986 and challenged for NWA World Heavyweight Championship on several occasions[32]
20 2008 Rogers, BuddyBuddy Rogers
(Herman Rohde)[33]
Wrestling Posthumous inductee; won the NWA World Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[17]
21 2008 Warren, LeeLee Warren Refereeing Longtime referee for St. Louis Wrestling Club[34]
22 2009[35] von Rashke, BaronBaron von Rashke Wrestling Won numerous tag team titles, including NWA World Tag Team Championship (Central States version) (1 time) – with Maurice Vachon and NWA North American Tag Team Championship (Central States version) (1 Time) – with Harley Race
23 2010 Heenan, BobbyBobby Heenan manager Managed various Tag Team Champions in AWA and WWE with The Heenan Family
24 2010 Funk, TerryTerry Funk Wrestling Won numerous titles, including NWA World Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
25 2010 Murdoch, DickDick Murdoch Wrestling Posthumous inductee; won various titles, includingNWA Central States Heavyweight Championship (2 times),[36] NWA Central States Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Bob Brown[37] and NWA North American Tag Team Championship (Central States version) (3 times) – with Dusty Rhodes (1) and Bob Sweetan (2)[38]
26 2010 Ellis, "Cowboy" Bob"Cowboy" Bob Ellis Wrestling
  • a – This is the name given to him by his adoptive parents.[39]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

General
Specific
  1. ^ a b c d e Matysik, Larry. "St. Louis Wrestling Hall of Fame is on its Way". St. Louis Wrestling from the Chase. Archived from the original on 2008-02-08. Retrieved 2009-01-28. 
  2. ^ White, Harry (2007-02-27). "St. Louis Hall of Fame opens". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved 2008-01-29. 
  3. ^ a b c Nolan, Kimberly (2007-03-23). "Bell Clangs for Wrestling Fans". South Country Times. Retrieved 2009-01-29. 
  4. ^ "Rip "The Profile" Hawk Interview: Page One". Mid-Atlantic Gateway. Retrieved 2009-01-28. "No doubt St. Louis was the Mecca of the NWA." 
  5. ^ "Hall of Fame Results". St. Louis Wrestling from the Chase. Archived from the original on 2008-04-09. Retrieved 2009-01-28. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f "Hall of Fame". St. Louis Wrestling from the Chase. Archived from the original on 2008-05-14. Retrieved 2009-01-25. 
  7. ^ a b White, Harry (2007-09-20). "St Louis Wrestling Hall Of Fame Part Two - Total Immersion". St. Louis Wrestling from the Chase. Retrieved 2009-05-14. 
  8. ^ "Ask Larry Archives Page 7". St. Louis Wrestling from the Chase. Retrieved 2009-01-27. 
  9. ^ Meltzer, Dave. "Thurs. Update: SmackDown MyNetwork Notes; ECW & Cable Ratings; Nash Talks Contract; Terry Funk; RVD". Wrestling Observer/Figure Four Online. Retrieved 2009-05-14. 
  10. ^ Oliver, Greg (2008-05-13). "Goodbye Penny Banner; I'll miss you". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved 2009-01-25. 
  11. ^ "Penny Banner". Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum. Retrieved 2009-01-25. 
  12. ^ Babinsack, Joe (2007-08-28). "Wrestling Observer reviews Brody". ECW Press. Retrieved 2009-01-23. 
  13. ^ Slagle, Steve. ""King Kong" Bruiser Brody". Professional Wrestling Online Museum. Retrieved 2009-05-14. 
  14. ^ Hornbaker, 238.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g Deem, Roger. "History of the Missouri State Championship". St. Louis Wrestling from the Chase. Archived from the original on 2008-04-08. Retrieved 2009-01-25. 
  16. ^ Hornbaker, 333.
  17. ^ a b c d e f g "World Heavyweight Championship". National Wrestling Alliance. Retrieved 2009-01-25. 
  18. ^ Matysik, 71-74.
  19. ^ a b "Bill Longson". Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum. Retrieved 2009-01-23. 
  20. ^ "Larry Matysik". ECW Press. Retrieved 2009-01-25. 
  21. ^ Gallipoli, Thomas M. (2008-03-11). "List of Deceased Wrestlers for 1999". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved 2009-01-25. 
  22. ^ a b c Hornbaker, 59.
  23. ^ Slagle, Steve. "Pat O'Connor". Professional Wrestling Online Museum. Retrieved 2009-01-25. 
  24. ^ a b Litsky, Frank (2002-05-08). "Lou Thesz, 86, Skilled Pro Wrestler, Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-01-26. 
  25. ^ Molinaro, John F. (2001-04-24). "Johnny Valentine passes away". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved 2009-01-23. 
  26. ^ "Fritz Von Erich". The Official Website of the Von Erich Family. Retrieved 2009-01-23. 
  27. ^ Cappetta, Gary Michael (2006). Bodyslams!: Memoirs of a Wrestling Pitchman. ECW Press. p. 83. ISBN 1-55022-709-2. 
  28. ^ Hornbaker, 323.
  29. ^ "Hall of Fame: Jack Brisco". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved 2009-01-26. 
  30. ^ Matysik, 16.
  31. ^ McCoag, Tom (2005-07-16). "Rocky Johnson returns home". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved 2009-01-23. 
  32. ^ Nevada, Vance (2008-04-29). "Rocky "Soulman" Johnson". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved 2009-01-26. 
  33. ^ Davies, Ross (2001). Buddy Rogers. Rosen Publishing Group. p. 14. ISBN 0-8239-3433-0. 
  34. ^ Matysik, 22.
  35. ^ "Baron Von Raschke – St.Louis HOF Inductee". Cauliflower Alley Club. Retrieved 2012-08-13. 
  36. ^ NWA Central States Heavyweight Title history At wrestling-titles.com
  37. ^ NWA Central States Tag Team Title history At wrestling-titles.com
  38. ^ NWA North American Tag Team Title history At wrestling-titles.com
  39. ^ Oliver, Greg; Steven Johnson (2007). The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: The Heels. ECW Press. p. 87. ISBN 1-55022-759-9. 

External links[edit]