12 days of Christmas Chaos: (Day Nine: The Man Who Would Be King)
The year was 1976. Fresh off a Texas Death Match win over Dory Funk Jr., Jerry Lawler challenged Terry Funk for the NWA World title on Oct. 18. Lawler seemingly won the title from Funk, but the decision was overturned with Terry declared the winner by disqualification. That didn’t stop Lawler from retreating to the dressing room with the World strap for a photo shoot with MEMPHIS MAGAZINE. (Given that Funk and Lawler were buddies, he probably had the champ’s blessing. Something tells me that Harley Race would not been so accommodating with the 10 pounds of gold.) A shot of Lawler wearing the NWA World title ended up gracing the magazine’s cover that same year as part of a piece on Memphis wrestling. In the weeks following the Oct. 18 bout, Lawler was billed as “NWA World title claimant.” The angle was eventually dropped.
I owned a copy of that rare magazine for years before it was lost when I moved to Los Angeles. Two years ago, I called the offices of MEMPHIS MAGAZINE asking if they could search their warehouse for any remaining copies. I explained that I wasn’t sure of the month, but was quite certain the year was 1976. A brief description–and hours later–several copies were placed up for sale as a back issue on their Web site. They have a few remaining, and at $5 apiece, that’s a steal for such a unique collector’s item. You can order it by clicking here.