Speech Made by NWA President Sam Muchnick - January 12, 1953 at a Special Meeting
in St. Louis.
This was a typed document in the records of Muchnick. At the top, in handwriting, it is
written "made Jan 12, 1953 Spec meeting in St. Louis"
FELLOW MEMBERS OF THE NATIONAL WRESTLING ALLIANCE
There were numerous reasons for my calling of this special meeting today. However,
since the idea of a meeting was formulated, there have been many new developments
which makes this meeting more important than ever. The National Wrestling Alliance,
when organized, and since its growth, has proven a wonderful instrument for good
[handwritten "in"] wrestling. However, it can also be an instrument detrimental to
wrestling and to all of us. We are an organization of 36 members with the sole purpose
of cooperating with each other and for the recognition of certain men as wrestling
champions. We have gone a long way in five years, but many flaws still exist in our
set-up. For instance, some members who signed the National Wrestling Alliance
agreement have flaunted the rules and by-laws, yet continue as members. I have said,
and will say many more times, that the recognition of champions is not as important as
cooperative ideas of our group. Yet, isn't it about time that everyone of us coordinate
our thinking and abide by the rules
of the majority.
At the National Wrestling Alliance meeting at Santa Monica last September, some
members proposed that the absentees and rules breakers of our organization should be
suspended. Most of us were against such a resolution because we felt that by being
together we would in time be thinking one way. I still feel that our organization will stick
together and will be one that we can all be proud of.
You must remember more than anything else, that we are a cooperative and not a
monopoly. I have studied the subject very carefully and find that, although we are in the
clear on all laws, some of our members have, at times, thrown their authority around and
said "I belong to the National Wrestling Alliance, you can't do anything about it." If we
take this kind of attitude and publicly state such things, we are leaving ourselves wide
open. The first paragraph of our by-laws states as
The National Wrestling Alliance shall be a cooperative body in wrestling with each
member free to run his territory as he sees fit without the interference of any member,
provided his method of operating is not detrimental to the fellow members of the Alliance.
But, in this paragraph, it states "provided it is not detrimental to a member of this group."
At the present time there is a fight on in Texas with the Houston, Texas office.
[handwritten - and the Dallas promoter Ed McLemore] [crossed out by a pencil - Knowing
the story as I do, as I returned from Texas last Wednesday, I feel that the Houston,
Texas office is right in its battle with Ed McLemore, Dallas. What the Houston, Texas
office has done is not detrimental to any member of this group because they are fighting
for their rights - more about this later.]
We have never solved, to the satisfaction of everyone, the quarrel between the two
Chicago offices of the Alliance. We have never solved the Albuquerque, New Mexico
situation. We have never solved the television and filming of matches situation. On my
trip to Texas last week, I heard more about television of wrestling and filming of wrestling
matches than I did about actual wrestling. Some times I felt that we should change the
name of our organization to the National Wrestling Television Alliance. I have here
letters from Al Karasick and Joe Malcewicz and have talked to many members of this
group who tell me that filming of matches in their towns is threatening their very
existence. I think we should come to a common understanding of filming of matches for
the satisfaction of everyone. After all, some day we may come back to wrestling and
television and filming of matches will be secondary, so let's all try to solve this problem
and help each other out. Sometimes after the last meeting we had a heated controversy
between two of our members. Letters were pouring back and forth. I am referring to
Pinkie George and Fred Kohler. Such a condition should not exist. I realize it is
impossible for everyone to be pals but this is more a fraternal organization than it is a
business organization. We should all try to get along with each other. There has been
entirely too much needling and ribbing among members, and it has become a serious
For instance, it has been called to my attention that Fred Kohler is moving into various
territories and trying to take over the country. I have studied our by-laws carefully, and I
cannot see where he is breaking any of the rules. He happens to have men who have
been seen on television and many other promoters are asking for this talent. Insofar as
I know, he has been cooperative in distributing this talent.
The Leader-Dogs for the Blind was a great movement. I sat in with the committee and
we have turned over close to $40,000 to this organization. You all know we passed a
resolution at Santa Monica, making this a yearly affair. However, I cannot see how it can
be a yearly affair when a great many members of this Alliance did not have any shows
for this group. I sent out a ballot to get the thoughts of Alliance members, regarding
such shows in the future. Fred Kohler wrote me that I was not following Roberts Rules of
Order in sending out such a ballot, inasmuch as we had already passed a resolution. I
wrote Fred that we must be practical and that as all members do not concur with the idea
that we better talk about it. All of you did not send in ballots, and most of you that did
are against having this as a National Wrestling Alliance project in the future. They feel
that is should be left to the discretion of the individual members. That is for us to
discuss today. [crossed out in pencil - While I want this to be strictly a wrestling meeting
because we have so much to do, I have agreed to permit] [written in pencil - I had
agreed to permit] Mr. Harold Pocklington, Executive Chairman of the Leader-Dogs for
the Blind, to say a few words to you people today. [written in pencil - but due to weather
conditions, his flight was cancelled.]
Another matter we must talk about, although it is trivial compared to other business, is
regarding future banquets at our convention. You know our treasury won't stand many
$1,600 tabs like we received at Santa Monica. Some of us feel that we should continue
to have such affairs after the annual meetings, others don't.
The consensus of opinion seems to be that tickets should be sold to each member and
he may invite whomsoever he pleases.
The last bill almost wrecked the treasury but we have enough now to take care of the
expenses for the ensuing year.
Another problem faces us. Personally, I think that the trouble between Mildred Burke
and Billy Wolfe is strictly a marital matter and not for us to get involved in, but Mildred
has sent me a wire applying for membership in the Alliance and stating that she is going
to open a booking office for girls. [crossed out in pencil - I cannot concur in that. Firstly,
I believe that this is a man's organization and am not in favor of women being admitted.
Secondly] Billy Wolfe has been a member of this group, has paid his dues and has
always been willing to cooperate with Alliance members. Whatever Billy and Mildred do
regarding their personal affairs is their own business. Insofar as wrestling is concerned,
[crossed out in pencil - I think we have a good booker for girl wrestlers and should all
stick with him. There is no law in the world that says that we cannot pick our talent from
whomsoever we choose.]
I did not pick an Ed Lewis committee when new committees were chosen, but I want the
candid opinion of anyone who doesn't think Ed is doing a good job traveling with the
heavyweight champion. Most believe that Ed is doing fine jobs in their territories.
However, if anyone thinks otherwise, please say so now. We can always trash out these
matters and, if necessary, call Ed in.
At many meetings in the past, some members have taken an interest in certain forms of
legislation when that legislation had something to do with their problems, but they seem
disinterested in the problems of our other members. As a cooperative, and one that has
gone far in five years, we should all roll up our sleeves and try to solve everyone's
problems. It seems to me that many promoters, working out of our offices, are beginning
to resent the Alliance. They feel that they are being pushed around and are not getting
the consideration they should be getting. These promoters fail to remember that before
the advent of booking offices, promoters were on their own in the search of talent and it
was to the strong and the mighty that good talent was available. I do believe that it
would be in order to get the promoters closer to us. For instance, I thought it might be
advisable for the promoters of each territory to choose some man to represent them at
Booking of the heavyweight champion is beginning to be a problem, a serious one. We
have tried to divide him up as much as possible along the various territories. He
wrestled 195 matches last year, but for the good and dignity of wrestling, it is my firm
opinion that the major towns of territories should have preference when it comes to
alloting his dates. Even if the smaller cities do not get him often, wrestling will have the
prestige of having one undisputed champion.
This goes for the junior heavyweight champion and the light heavyweight champion
when that tournament is over. When this meeting starts, I am going to ask the chairman
of the various committees to make their reports and we can go into discussions on each
problem. I believe, as I said previously, that we have come very far during the short time
of our existence. I also believe that, although I am a staunch believer of the ideals of the
Alliance, it would be far better to dissolve this organization and go on individually as we
did before 1948 - every man for himself, than to have an Alliance as loosely knit as it is,
with members throwing rocks at each other.
Let's let our hair down here today, gentlemen, and say what we have to say and solve
our problems. Let's not go into personalities and let's not lose our balance. Let's do
something constructive because we have a business in which millions are involved. We
can do all this if we forget selfishness and do our thinking for the interest of all.
Anyone can call for a secret vote in the future. Some bitterness was aroused at the last
meeting on open balloting. Such conditions should not exist because everyone has a
perfect right to vote as he deems advisable. But to avoid this on future questions, we
can vote secretly --- if you so desire.
|Sam Muchnick's Speech to the NWA from 1953