NWA Member: Frank Tunney
Admitted to Organization: June 7, 1950
Toronto Office: Maple Leaf Gardens, 452 Church Street, Toronto
Phone Number: Empire 3-1093, Empire 3-4594 (private) (1955), Adelaide 1093-4
Corporation Name: Canadian Sports Enterprises
Following a meeting in Columbus on July 31, 1949 in which the Thesz-Muchnick squabble was
ironed out, Tunney was invited to join the National Wrestling Alliance. Until that point, because
of his relationship with Thesz, Tunney was on the opposite side of the organization. Four other
promoters were also invited, Morris Sigel, Fred Kohler, Sam Avey, and Eddie Quinn. The first
three joined, while Quinn was also holding out. Muchnick, in a correspondence to members in
October 1949, believed that both Tunney and Quinn were going to join around the time of the
November meeting in St. Louis.
Demonstrating his evenness, Tunney wrote a letter to Muchnick on October 8, 1953 regarding
the Verne Gagne-U.S. Title situation and pushed for a peaceful resolution. He asked, who
knew about Gagne being the United States champion other than those people getting TV out of
Chicago, and compared Gagne to Thesz (as World Champion) to "Whipper" Billy Watson to
Thesz. Watson was acknowledged as the British Empire Champion in Canada. Muchnick was
going to have a hard time getting Canadian promoters "to desist because it may be clouding
Lou's Title, the same as it seems to me that it is out of line telling Don George, Pinkie George,
Max Clayton, Fred Kohler, Tony Stecher or whoever is using Gagne to desist, especially if he
happened to be making them plenty of money."
Tunney also explained that if Kohler was voted out of the National Wrestling Alliance, he'd be
free to book Gagne as the World Champion, and run opposition to any member. He "probably
put a few of us out of business," Tunney explained, and guys like McLeomore and Packs "would
grab the bait," including opposition in Toronto and Montreal. This was also the letter in which
Tunney revealed that it was "Whipper" Watson who suggested the name of U.S. Champion to
Jim Barnett "some months ago," to be used on the DuMont Network. The Saturday before,
incidentally, Watson went on Toronto TV and "explained the status of Thesz and Gagne."
In 1960, Frank Tunney was elected by the National Wrestling Alliance to its presidency.
Research by Tim Hornbaker
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