National Wrestling Alliance Convention - 1961Meeting Location: Toronto, OntarioMeeting Dates: August 24-27, 1961
OfficersPresident: Fred Kohler (elected)1st Vice President: Dr. Karl Sarpolis (elected)2nd Vice President: Roy Welch (elected)Executive Secretary: Sam Muchnick (reelected)Treasurer: Sam Muchnick (reelected)
Membership RosterFred Kohler Chicago, ILSam Muchnick St. Louis, MOKarl Sarpolis Amarillo, TXRoy Welch Nashville, TNJim Crockett Charlotte, NCAl Haft Reynoldsburg, OHHarry Light Detroit, MIMike London Albuquerque, NMSalvador Lutteroth Mexico City, MexicoCowboy Luttrall Tampa, FLLeroy McGuirk Tulsa, OKVincent McMahon Washington, D.C.Joe "Toots" Mondt Pittsburgh, PADon Owen Eugene, OREddie Quinn Montreal, QuebecMorris Sigel Houston, TXFrank Tunney Toronto, OntarioStu Hart* Calgary, Alberta
As of September 28, 1961, Stu Hart was not listed on the membership roster of the NWA.
Haft, Quinn, Light, and Luttrall paid their dues right before the 1961 convention in Toronto.
Hart may not have paid his dues, and was considered not an active member.
Among those in attendance for the conferences were Muchnick, Tunney, Kohler, Sarpolis,
Crockett, Haft, Londos, Lutteroth, McGuirk, McMahon, Mondt, Owen, Sigel, Welch, Eddie
Graham, Bobby Bruns, Pat O'Connor, Buddy Rogers, Nick Gulas
Cowboy Luttrall, Harry Light, Eddie Quinn, and Stu Hart did not attend the Saturday
session, but may have appeared at other meetings.
In July 1961, Muchnick claimed there were 12 members of the NWA. Following the
convention, there were 18 members in total.
The NWA Membership Committee rejected the application of Danny McShain because at
the time he didn't meet the requirements of the NWA By-Laws for membership. The
committee decided he should resubmit his application, and his check was returned to him.
The Membership Committee also wanted Jim Barnett and Johnny Doyle to resubmit
up-to-date applications. Sam Muchnick had accepted their applications without approval
from the membership committee, in violation of the NWA By-Laws. Barnett and Doyle were
prepared to take action against the NWA for refusing them into the organization, and
Muchnick had persuaded them not to do anything until they'd resubmitted their paperwork.
The Membership Committee was made up of Mike London, Don Owen, Morris Sigel,
Vincent McMahon, Jim Crockett, Harry Light, and Joe "Toots" Mondt.
Although, Sam Muchnick was no longer the president of the NWA and having the same
amount of responsibilities he once had, he was still being paid $15,000 a year by the
organization. In a letter to the membership dated October 10, 1961, NWA President Fred
Kohler brought up this fact, and that the money was being paid for Muchnick to book
Buddy Rogers "as world's heavyweight champion," and Pat O'Connor "as the United
States Heavyweight Champion."
At the Toronto Convention, the NWA membership agreed that Muchnick, on behalf of the
organization, would book O'Connor as the U.S. Champion - a new designation awarded to
the former World Heavyweight Champion - to any member that wanted to use him. That
meant O'Connor had a national booking schedule, similar to that of the heavyweight
champion. Muchnick, the secretary-treasurer, was then compensated by the Alliance for
booking him. There is still some debate whether or not the U.S. championship was actually
sanctioned by the Alliance. It is a slippery slope because Muchnick was being paid by the
NWA to book O'Connor, yet there wasn't a U.S. Title committee and the title didn't need
any measure of Alliance approval to change hands - like the heavyweight, junior
heavyweight, and light heavyweight titles.
Kohler, in his letter of October 10, 1961, stated that he'd heard that Muchnick wasn't even
booking O'Connor, and it was Muchnick's assistant, Bobby Bruns. The reasoning for
$15,000 annual payment to Muchnick was questioned even more.
In addition to the Barnett-Doyle and McShain applications, one came in from Jules
Strongbow of Los Angeles on October 2, 1961. Muchnick sent copies to Kohler to initiate
the membership process.
With all the power that comes with being the NWA President, Kohler called a special
meeting of the Board of Directors to Chicago on November 12, 1961 "for the purpose of
adopting a resolution to dissolve the corporation, National Wrestling Alliance," according to
a letter from NWA attorney Harry N. Soffer to Muchnick dated November 3, 1961. If a
majority of the Board adopts the resolution, it would then be voted upon by the
membership. 75% of the membership voting in affirmative to dissolve would be needed.
Kohler informed the members that if they couldn't make the November 12th meeting, they
could vote by proxy. Soffer told Muchnick, "I know of now law whereby boards of directors
can vote by proxy." Soffer also said that it would take a three-fourth vote of "all the
members" to dissolve the membership, not three-fourths of the members voting.
Soffer also said it would be better to hold such a vote after the result of the Sonny Myers
vs. NWA retrial in Des Moines, which was being staged the week of November 13, 1961.
Regarding the talk of dissolving the NWA, Morris Sigel sent a letter to Kohler (and other
members) on November 7, 1961, telling him that "Neither as a member of the Board of the
National Wrestling Alliance nor as a member of the Alliance, can I vote for its dissolution at
this time." Sigel pointed out that such an important decision should wait until all members
could be present at a meeting to discuss it. He also noted that dissolution hadn't been
brought up at the last annual convention. "Furthermore," he wrote, "has it been fully
thought out just what will be substituted in its place if we end the Alliance?"
Research by Tim Hornbaker
December 14, 2010
From 'Legacy of Wrestling' by Tim Hornbaker
Classic Toronto Wrestling: Film from Maple Leaf Gardens Apr 1964. Manager Martino Angelo is suspended above the ring in a cage with Pat Flanagan while his charge The Beast (Yachetti) faces Whipper Watson. This was to keep Angelo from interfering in the bout. Apparently he wasn't not a fan of heights and was having some real issues so they went to the pin and lowered it.
The aftermath is fun, with Flanagan leaning into his mule kick of the old days. By this point Flanagan was a referee and TV/MLG commentator but still got back into the ring (or cage) to settle a grudge if needed. Referee is Tiger Tasker. From the Classic Toronto Wrestling YouTube channel
|I took that in 2006. Quite a poster!|
Toronto's own titles
- World Title (Toronto) 1938-1939
- British Empire Title (Toronto) 1941-1967
- Canadian Open Tag Team Titles (Toronto) 1952-1961
- International Tag Titles (Toronto) 1961-1977
- U.S. Title (Toronto) 1962-1973
- North American Title (Toronto) 1973
- U.S. Title (Toronto) 1974-1977
- Canadian Heavyweight Title (Toronto) 1978-1984
- Canadian TV Title (Toronto) 1982-1984
- North American Title (Toronto) 1982-1984
- Canadian Title 1929-1941 pre dates the start of the weekly cards in 1929
- World Title 1929- 1947 pre dates the start of the weekly cards in 1929
- NWA (Alliance) World Title 1950-1984
- Canadian Title (CCWA) 1950-1962
- Middleweight Title (CCWA) 1951-1961
- WWWF/WWF Title 1964-1982
- Women's World Title 1971-1983
- NWA Junior Heavyweight Title 1972*
- North American Title (Big Bear circuit only) 1974-1983
- U.S. Title (Big Bear circuit only) 1974-1982**
- AWA World Title 1977-1982
- AWA Tag Titles 1977-1979
- AWA British Empire Heavyweight Title 1978
- U.S. Title (Mid Atlantic) 1978-1983
- NWA Tag Titles 1979-1983
- NWA/Mid Atlantic TV Title 1979-1983
- International Tag Titles (Japan Stars Tour) 1980
- World Tag Titles (Detroit) 1980
- Mid Atlantic Heavyweight Title 1981-1983
- Mid Atlantic Tag Titles 1981-1982
- North American Tag Titles (Big Bear circuit only) 1983
- Intercontinental Title (WWF) 1983
There were others defended outside Toronto proper including Kasaboski's titles, the Labatt Tag Trophy, Ontario Tag Titles, and more but not included.
-AC and photo by...
Bruno returned in 1964 with his WWWF title and defended here over 25 times through 1976 with Roger taking photos at many of those bouts. In the main photo you can note Bruno is holding some of those photos that Roger brought him and he was chuffed at seeing Roger again. Who wouldn't!
Bruno vs Waldo 1964, vs Johnny Powers 1965, vs Rogers 1962
All photos at MLG by Roger Baker
The city's Italian populace has found a major hero in Bruno Sammartino and have been flocking to cheer their countryman. Bruno is a hero in the same mould as the great Rocca is to the Puerto Ricans in New York. Veteran mat officials are together in their view that Bruno Sammartino, if he continues to improve, will be the next World Champ.Toronto Daily Star 1962