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the first Southern Junior Heavyweight champion

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the first Southern Junior Heavyweight champion

Postby Hisaharu Tanabe » 2007/11/03 Sat 2:41 pm

Here's a new find by Tim Hornbaker, author of the great "National Wrestling Alliance: The Untold Story of the Monopoly that Strangled Pro Wrestling" book:

Origins of the Southern Junior Heavyweight Title - 11/1/07

The beginning of this championship has long been in question. If you look at a title history of this particular belt, you will see that it was active in one shape or form for decades - and even today there is a version out on the trail. When it was created in 1938, the championship was going to be a major staple on the Southern circuit of Chris Jordan. When the latter died, it continued to be pushed to the forefront in many cities by Joe Gunther himself, and promoters like Marty Burke. The belt was defended in Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi.

New Orleans, Louisiana: Thursday, December 8, 1938
(Coliseum Arena) … Joe Gunther b. Art O’Mahoney in the finals of a tournament to capture the Southern Junior Heavyweight Title … Charley Keene vs. Len Stecklin … Flash Clifford vs. Bob Corby … (matchmaker: Martin Burke) … (in attendance: NWA President Col. Harry J. Landry)

Notes: This show was going to feature the final match of the long-running Southern Junior Heavyweight Wrestling Tournament that began at the Coliseum Arena last April. The finalists were Joe Gunther and Art O’Mahoney. Burke announced on Saturday, December 3, that National Wrestling Association President Harry J. Landry was going to be at the program to “present the winner with a gold belt buckle as an emblem of the championship.” Another report stated that Landry was going to present the victor with a “belt offered by Martin Burke and Chris Jordan emblematic of the Southern Junior Heavyweight Title.” While talking to reporters, Landry said that Everette Marshall was the recognized heavyweight titleholder.
Hisaharu Tanabe
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