Guest Author - Vance Rowe
The National Wrestling Alliance, or better known as the NWA, is one of, if not the oldest, professional wrestling organizations still in existence today. It was formed in 1948 and spawned such companies as the WWE, WCW, ECW, the AWA, WCCW and TNA Impact. The illustrious organization introduced such wrestlers as Lou Thesz, Buddy Rogers, Ric Flair, and Verne Gagne to the wrestling world mainstream.
The NWA was once the biggest organization in the country and owned a bunch of territories as it still does today. There were different territorial champions but they only had one World champion and that champion would travel to the different territories to defend his title. The idea of different territories was to avoid rigorous anti-trust laws. Each territory had its own promoters but the NWA had one president that kind of oversaw everything. In 1948, when the NWA was formed, one territory did have its own World Champion and that was the Midwest Wrestling Association. The MWA was not officially part of the NWA yet and there were some other promotions that were not yet part of the NWA either. However, over the next several years, that would all change.
The World champion of the MWA was a man named Orville Brown and was recognized as the very first NWA World Heavyweight Champion. Enter Lou Thesz. Thesz defeated a man named Bill Longson to become the NWA World Heavyweight Champion. Orville Brown was still the MWA World Heavyweight champion but the MWA was being absorbed into the NWA completely and Thesz was supposed to fight Brown to unify the titles into one World title. However, Brown was in a car accident and had to retire from the ring so the match was cancelled. Two days after the match was supposed to have taken place, Lou Thesz was awarded the unified World title at an NWA convention.
Over the next few years as more territories were absorbed under the NWA banner, Lou Thesz unified those titles as well. The NWA has a rich title history as well. From Lou Thesz to Ric Flair and from Gene Kiniski to Dusty Rhodes, all of the big names of the 70’s and the 80’s probably became big names because they have all held the NWA World Title. The Funks, Sting, Dan Severn, Kerry Von Erich and of course, Harley Race are all part of the NWA’s history. The NWA is still alive today with many offshoots around the world with the biggest probably being the NWA Southwest and are based in Texas. However there is a new NWA training facility that is opening soon in North Carolina.
NWA Carolinas Pro Wrestling
3021 Rocky Branch Rd.
Hamptonville, N.C. 27020
Professional wrestling is where it is today not because of Vince McMahon and Hulk Hogan but because of the National Wrestling Alliance. As I mentioned earlier in this article, companies like the WWE, ECW, TNA all were a part of the NWA.