In 1966, Tim Woods momentarily wins the AWA World Heavyweight Title at Omaha - 10/13/07
This is another longstanding fable in wrestling, and one that has been misreported dozens of times. The tale went that Mr. Wrestling...aka...Tim Woods dethroned "Mad Dog" Maurice Vachon and annexed the AWA Title, but was never officially recognized as titleholder. The complete story is as follows:
Omaha, Nebraska: Saturday, January 8, 1966
(City Auditorium Arena) … Tim Woods b. Maurice Vachon to capture the AWA World Heavyweight Title (2/3) (before the match, Mr. Wrestling unmasked to reveal “Tim Woods of Michigan State.”) (during the final fall, Woods had both of his feet on the top ring ropes while pinning Vachon for the championship) (Woods won the first fall in 7:42, Vachon won the second at 24:35, Woods won the third at 33:57) … Reggie Parks and Haru Sasaki drew … Mitsu Arakawa b. Jack Pesek (13:30) … Billy Red Cloud b. Jim Wehba (12:35) … (promoter: Joe Dusek) … (referee: Ernie Dusek) … (4,581 fans)
Notes: Mr. Wrestling was going to unmask before his match with Vachon, and promoter Dusek indicated that the man was a “former Big Ten and Pan-American Games heavyweight titlist.” The Omaha World Herald’s article stated “Mr. Wrestling Lifts Mask, Then Whips Dog for Title.” He would no longer wear his mask for local bouts.
*The Tuesday, January 11, 1966 promotional piece in the Omaha World Herald said that “Mr. Wrestling lifted the Mad Dog’s title” last Saturday.
*The Friday, January 14, 1966 edition of the Omaha World Herald reported that American Wrestling Association President Stanley Blackburn reviewed the match between Vachon and Woods and “ruled that bout ‘no contest’ after evidence was presented that the ex-masked man got the decisive third fall with both feet braced in the top ring ropes.” Thus, Vachon was still the heavyweight champion of the world.
Omaha, Nebraska: Friday, January 14, 1966
(City Auditorium Arena) … AWA World Heavyweight Champion Maurice Vachon b. Tim Woods (1-0) (60:00) (after the match, Woods tore the referee’s shirt in anger) … AWA World Tag Team Champions Larry Hennig and Harley Race b. Reggie Parks and Igor Vodik (2/3) … Haru Sasaki b. Ivan Kalmikoff (15:20) … Mitsu Arakawa and Billy Red Cloud drew … (promoter: Joe Dusek) … (referee: Charley Triggs) … (4,743 fans)
Notes: The article in the Omaha World Herald stated “Title Returns to Mad Dog,” even though in the article it indicated that Vachon was “the champ.” Next show on January 21.
So, Tim Woods did gain a tainted victory, and may have claimed the championship for a few days, but Blackburn voided out the switch and Vachon remained the official titleholder.
The Minneapolis-based promotion headed by Verne Gagne.
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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: