September 25, 2018
GFW Staff (65 articles)

The Legacy Of The NWA – Chapter Two: The History Of The “Ten Pounds Of Gold”

The History of the “Ten Pounds of Gold”

No other title in all of professional wrestling has the history or the lineage of the NWA World’s Heavyweight Championship.

It’s as simple as that.

The belt currently carried by “The American Nightmare” Cody can claim a succession of champions no other title can. In fact, the NWA World Heavyweight Championship can be traced all the way back to the one held by George Hackenschmidt in 1905. Legends such as Orville Brown (the first NWA heavyweight title-holder), Lou Thesz, Pat O’Connor, “Nature Boy” Buddy Rogers, Dory Funk, Jr., Terry Funk, Harley Race, Jack Brisco, Cody’s father, “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes, and “Nature Boy” Ric Flair all laid claim to the NWA title at one time or another, with Thesz holding the belt at one point for 2,300 days, and Flair having the most reigns with nine. Interestingly, when Cody won the belt, it made him and Dusty the first father-son duo to hold the NWA Heavyweight Championship.

In short, the NWA title has a rich history that sets it apart from every other so-called world’s championship.

From the 1940’s until the 1980’s, the NWA champion would travel from territory to territory, taking on the best that area or federation had to offer. Every challenger, in one way or another, had earned their shot at the belt, and it was up to the champion to both draw a big crowd and put on a good show. When Flair was the champ, he would often just barely escape with the strap, leaving fans to believe their guy had been “that close” to taking home the gold. Maybe next time…and they’d make sure they were there in-person to potentially witness history being made.

As the days of the territories wound down, whichever athlete held the NWA heavyweight belt continued to press on, carrying the legacy forward no matter how the size of the arena might change. By the late 1980’s, the championship belt held by the Funks, Race, Dusty, Flair, and others, which some called the “domed globe” belt, had been replaced by the “Big Gold Belt.” And on September 1st, 1993, WCW officially withdrew from the NWA, marking the end of a major era in professional wrestling.

The future of the NWA was in question.

Still, the title pressed forward, with the champion in possession of it defending the belt all over the world. The NWA heavyweight championship that had been contested in the WWWF, WCW, and NJPW went on to be defended in national companies such as TNA and Ring of Honor, as well as a host of regional and international promotions across the world. The title was still coveted, and world class competitors like Dan Severn, Steve Corino, Shinya Hashimoto, Ken Shamrock, Jeff Jarrett, A.J. Styles, Raven, Christian, Sting, Adam Pearce, Blue Demon, Jr., Colt Cabana, and Tim Storm added their name to the rich lineage of NWA World Heavyweight Champions.

Late 2017 saw a reinvigoration of the NWA strap, and marked a new beginning for it. The wildly popular YouTube series “Ten Pounds of Gold” began to shine a spotlight on the title carried by Tim Storm at the time, chronicling his travels across the U.S. as he defended the championship against all challengers. In December, Nick Aldis took the belt from Storm. What followed was “The Aldis Crusade,” which saw the former TNA star defend the belt twenty times over the course of two months. Next came the build-up to “All In” in September, where Cody defeated Aldis to become the new NWA champ, capping an incredible journey that drew an emotional response from the crowd that had them on their feet cheering and chanting.

It was an amazing moment.

In a bit of apropos timing, when Cody took the title from Aldis, he did it on the 25th anniversary of the day WCW withdrew from the NWA. Contested in front of over 11,000 fans and viewed by many more around the world on the FITE TV app, the NWA championship was back on the stage it so richly deserved and was once again at the forefront of the industry.

Now carrying the banner lifted by so many greats before him, Cody has committed himself to bringing the tradition of the traveling NWA world champ back to the forefront of the industry. Just as Thesz, Race, Dusty, and Flair would travel to different territories to defend the “Ten Pounds of Gold,” “The American Nightmare” plans to do the same. Will Aldis derail those plans? Will he reclaim what was once his and turn Cody’s dream into a real nightmare? Or will Cody once again stand tall with the his hand, and the belt, raised?

On October 21st in Nashville, the wrestling world will find out one way or another as Cody and Aldis clash once again, this time at the NWA’s 70th anniversary show. It’s truly wrestling history in the making.

Get Your Tickets For NWA 70 In Nashville!

The Legacy Of The NWA – Chapter Three: Former NWA Champs Bring The Legacy To Life
Stranger Than Fiction | 10 Pounds of Gold 36