Ole Anderson Wins The Eastern Title on Raleigh
But At Which TV Taping Did It Take Place?
Ole Anderson was interviewed by
Wrestling Revue Magazine shortly after winning the Eastern
Heavyweight Championship from Jerry Brisco in May 1973. The article
mentions that Anderson won the title at a WRAL television taping in
Raleigh NC, but does not list the date.
There are two dates that
evidence suggests might be the possible date of this title change:
5/9/73 and 5/23/73.
POSSIBILITY #1: WEDNESDAY 5/9/73
Evidence supporting 5/9 as the date of the
title change comes from a Richmond VA card five days earlier on 5/4/73,
held at the State Fairgrounds at Strawberry Hill. The main event was Ole
and Gene Anderson defending their Atlantic Coast tag team titles against
Eastern Champion Jerry Brisco and Thunderbolt Patterson.
An original photograph taken in Richmond on
5/4 by photographer Bill Janosik shows Eastern Champion Jerry Brisco in
the ring making a challenge to Ole Anderson. Brisco and partner
Thunderbolt Patterson had failed earlier in the night to capture the
Anderson Brother's Atlantic Coast Tag Team titles.
An inscription on the back of this original
photo by Janosik referenced a title change the following Wednesday 5/9,
the date of Raleigh TV.
The Richmond photograph
and the inscription on the back are shown above. The inscription reads:
"This picture was taken on May 4, '73 and
was the last time Jerry appeared in Richmond as the Eastern Heavyweight
Champion. On May 9th, 5 days later, Jerry lost his title to Ole
Anderson. In this picture, Jerry has just returned from the dressing
room and is challenging Ole to a title match."
Wednesday was the night TV was taped each
week in Raleigh at WRAL, and 5/9 was indeed on a Wednesday. The only house show event
that same night of 5/9 was
in Asheville NC and neither Brisco nor Anderson were on the Asheville
show, so it indeed possible that Brisco and Anderson were in Raleigh on
5/9 for that TV taping, and the tile could have changed that night. (No
official record of the results of that TV taping exist.)
POSSIBILITY #2: WEDNESDAY 5/23/73
Contradicting this evidence of a 5/9 title
change is that Jerry Brisco is billed in newspaper ads as Eastern
Champion later than that date in some newspaper clippings.
Evidence supporting 5/23 as the date of the
change comes from these scattered newspaper results. A clipping exists that
promotes Brisco as defending the Eastern Heavyweight title against Terry
Funk at a big card of wrestling on Thursday 5/17 at the Greensboro
Advertising for house shows was occasionally
prepared well in advance of the show date, and it's possible that the
newspaper ad was not changed in time to reflect that Ole Anderson had
won the title on 5/9. The result shown above does not mention the
title at all, but that was sometimes the case in these newspaper results.
Another clipping exists from a card in
Richmond VA two days later on Friday 5/25 at the State Fairgrounds that bills Ole
Anderson as the new Eastern heavyweight champion defending against
former champion Jerry Brisco.
If the information alleged in the magazine
interview mentioned earlier is correct about the title changing
hands at a Wednesday WRAL TV taping, and if Brisco was indeed the
defending champion in Greensboro on Thursday 5/17, the only possible
taping between Greensboro and the 5/25 Richmond show where Ole was
champion was Wednesday 5/23.
Weighing all the evidence we currently
have, I personally believe that 5/9/73 was the date of the change, as
noted by photographer Bill Janosik on the back of Richmond photograph.
Ole Anderson wrestled Jerry Brisco in Richmond a week after the photo
was taken (and two days after the date alleged as the title change) on
5/11/73 at the State Fairgrounds. Neither man was billed as champion in
the newspaper ad and the title was not mentioned in the result. Janosik
would have been at that show (he photographed all the Richmond shows
during this time period) and would have determined that Anderson was the
new champion and would have learned that night that Ole won it two
nights earlier at the WRAL TV taping in Raleigh. It would explain his
definitive declaration on the back of the photograph. I would further
suggest that the Greensboro match originally billed as an Eastern title
defense by Brisco wound up being a standard match with no title at stake
following Brisco's loss to Anderson at TV on 5/9.
Furthermore, on each of the
Wednesday nights that TV tapings were held in Raleigh that fell between
5/9 (the night Brisco as champion challenged Anderson in Richmond) and
5/25 (the night Anderson defended the title against Brisco in Richmond),
there was a house show at the City Auditorium in Asheville NC. Neither
Jerry Brisco nor Ole Anderson appeared at any of these three shows (5/9,
5/16, and 5/23), which would have allowed them to appear on the TV
tapings each of those three weeks.
We welcome further information that would
further confirm or contradict 5/9/73 as the date Ole Anderson won the
Eastern Heavyweight Championship.
- Dick Bourne
Jerry Brisco photograph by Bill Janosik.
Newspaper clippings from the collection of Mark Eastridge.
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