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Time Frames: World Class Championship Wrestling

Wrestling, Will Rogers Coliseum, Fort Worth, ca. 1981-82; wrestlers King Kong Bundy (left) and Bugsy McGraw (center); wrestler on right not identified
Wrestling, Will Rogers Coliseum, Fort Worth, ca. 1981-82; wrestlers King Kong Bundy (left) and Bugsy McGraw (center); wrestler on right not identified Cirrus Bonneau Photograph Collection

Before the World Wrestling Federation (now World Wrestling Entertainment) nationalized the wrestling business in the mid-1980s, professional wrestling was divided into regions.

Many of these, particularly in the South and Southwest, were important to the communities where they were based. And from 1982 to 1986, no regional promotion was more important to its community or more successful than World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW), operated by Fritz Von Erich (Jack Adkisson) and featuring the talents of his sons David, Kevin, Kerry, Chris and Mike. Unlike other territories, which were built around unbeatable local strongmen or brutal rulebreakers, WCCW thrived because its fans flocked to the Dallas Sportatorium and the Will Rogers Coliseum to cheer for the all-American Von Erichs and boo the villains who opposed them.

The new Special Collections exhibit, “Ringside: Memories of World Class Championship Wrestling,” features 34 photographs taken by Fort Worth photographer Cirrus Bonneau at Will Rogers in 1982-83. This photograph depicts wrestlers King Kong Bundy, left, and Bugsy McGraw, center. The wrestler on the right is unidentified.

The exhibit opens today and runs through mid-January. Contact Special Collections at spcoref@uta.edu for more information.

The University of Texas at Arlington Libraries offer a rich and diverse collection of materials on the history of Texas and the Southwest. Each week, readers get a glimpse of the past with an image from Special Collections. 817-272-3393; library.uta.edu/special-collections.

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