On This Day: October 6, 1961 – Nature Boy Buddy Rogers Defends NWA Belt Against Bob Ellis – St Louis, MO
Pictured – PROGRAM ADVERTISING FIRST OCT. 6, 1961 ROGERS/ELLIS MATCH WITH THE FIGURE FOUR CHALLENGED BY ELLIS.
On This Date: October 6, 1961 – Nature Boy Buddy Rogers defended the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship against the challenge of Cowboy Bob Ellis who swore he would break Rogers Figure-four! This match took place at the Kiel Auditorium in St Louis, Missouri.
“Cowboy Bob Ellis once said that Buddy Rogers was the easiest wrestler to work with. In fact, Buddy and Cowboy Bob gave the fans some of the most superbly crafted matches that the game has ever seen.
The Rogers-Ellis feud during Buddy’s reign as NWA World Champion was played up in Sam Muchnick’s St. Louis territory and then in the Capitol Wrestling northeast territory of Vince McMahon, Sr. and Toots Mondt.
What makes the Rogers-Ellis feuds in St. Louis and New York City historically important is the fact that this was the first time in the history of the game that the Figure Four Grapevine was ever challenged. The whole premise of the feuds was Ellis’ claim that he could reverse and break out of Roger’s signature submission hold which he invented.
To my knowledge, the first time they clashed with the challenge to the Figure Four was in Kiel Auditorium in St. Louis on October 6, 1961. I believe that during the buildup of heat prior to this match Ellis was supposed to be given a chance to break Rogers’ leglock during a special segment on TV. However, from what I understand Buddy did not lock in the hold, but attacked Ellis beating him bloody.
I don’t have a blow by blow, but Buddy won the match at Kiel Auditorium on October 6th and Ellis did not succeed in breaking the Figure Four Grapevine. They had planned on continuing the feud the following fall of 1962, but that match had to be cancelled when Buddy’s hand was broken in the Miller/Gotch locker room incident.”
– Michael Tereshko
Special thank you to Michael Tereshko for sharing this program and his memories of this feud.
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