The American South has generated wrestling superstar after wrestling superstar. “Wildfire” Tommy Rich was one of those great stars whose southern accent and reckless style allowed for easy switches from good ole boy face to a dirty rule breaking redneck.
Tommy Rich might be best known for two things. The first was the surprise four day title reign as the NWA World Champion in which the reason for that title run has reached mythical proportions. The second was the “Last Battle of Atlanta” with his win over “Mad Dog” Buzz Sawyer which showed the proper way to blow off a feud. Overall, Tommy Rich goes down as one of the great Southern stars of the 80’s. The question is whether that is enough for the Hall to look at his direction. It probably won’t.
The Bullet Points:
Tommy Richardson (Real Name)
“Wildfire” Tommy Rich
The Big Don
U.S.A. (Hendersonville, TN)
Key Championships Held:
AWA Southern Heavyweight
AWA Southern Tag Team (4) (2w/Bill Dundee, 1w/Eddie Gilbert, 1w/Dutch Mantel)
CWA International Heavyweight
CWA Tag Team (2) (1w/Jerry Lawler, 1w/Bill Dundee)
NWA Georgia Heavyweight (3)
NWA Georgia Tag Team (6) (2w/Stan Hansen, 1w/Tony Atlas, 1w/Thunderbolt Patterson, 1w/Wahoo McDaniel, 1w/The Crusher)
NWA Georgia Television
NWA Mid America Heavyweight (2)
NWA National Heavyweight (Georgia)
NWA Southern Heavyweight (Memphis)
NWA World Heavyweight
USWA Heavyweight (3)
USWA Tag Team (4) w/Doug Gilbert
WCW Six Man Tag Team (2) (1w/Junkyard Dog & Ricky Morton) (1w/Ricky Morton & Terry Taylor)
Why He Will Get In:
He was a good regional wrestler who has the respect of his peers.
Why He Won’t Get In:
None of his accomplishments were under the WWE banner.
Five Greatest Matches/Moments: (In Chronological Order)
1. Beat Killer Karl Kox to win the NWA Georgia Championship for the first time and was established as a Georgia star for years thereafter. (10/29/79)
2. Became the most shocking World Champion in NWA World Title history when he beat Harley Race (4/27/81)
3. Beat Buzz Sawyer in the “Last Battle of Atlanta” (10/23/83)
4. Wrestled Ric Flair in an attempt to recapture the NWA World Title (1983)
5. Turned on Jerry Lawler igniting a huge feud between the two (8/25/87)