Sunday, April 5, 2015

Larry Atkins, Vince Sr., and the WWWA in 1963

Many fans are familiar with the WWWF name but a different entity was created along with the formation of the WWWF in 1963. Vincent James McMahon and Larry Atkins originally created the World Wide Wrestling Association (WWWA) in Cleveland, OH, in 1963. Promoter Larry Atkins helped promote Rogers as WWWA champ in Cleveland, alongside Rogers as WWWF champ in Vince Sr.'s New York/Washington D.C. territory. Atkins and his Buckeye Sports Corporation used the WWWA name for the company. Teamed with other men like Willie Gilzenberg, Vince Sr., and Joe “Toots” Mondt, Atkins promoted under the WWWA name for a short period. Rogers lost the WWWA title to Dory Dixon, in Cleveland, on March 28, 1963. A week later, in Chicago, IL, on April 5, Dixon and Rogers had a rematch, which Rogers won but he did not win the WWWA title. On April 11, Rogers was acknowledged as being the WWWF Champion, in Washington D.C, before a match with Bruno Sammartino, that went to a no-contest. It was around this time that Rogers' health took a turn for the worse, and the WWWF had to go in a different direction with Bruno at the helm.
Willie Gilzenberg and Bruno Sammartino
Dory Dixon held onto the WWWA championship until losing it to Karl Von Hess, on May 2. On May 17, Sammartino won the WWWF title from Rogers, in New York and Atkins took a break from promoting in Cleveland. By the time he started back up in the Cleveland Arena, there was some confusion about the two entities.  Bruno, at times, was billed as being either the WWWA or WWWF champion, until later in the year when his official association/title became WWWF Champion.

~Thanks to Tim Hornbaker and his work, especially his new Capitol Revolution book. I would highly recommend reading it.

Dory Dixon

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