Wednesday, February 28, 2007

WCW: "Wildfire" Tommy Rich

Ring name(s) Tommy Richardson,Mr. R,Tommy Rich,Thomas Rich,The Big Don
Billed height 6 ft 3 in (191 cm)
Billed weight 248 lb (112 kg)
Born July 26, 1956,Hendersonville, Tennessee
Trained by Jerry Jarrett,Jerry Lawler,Dick Steinborn,Tojo Yamamoto
Pro Wrestling Debut 1974

Thomas Richardson (born July 26, 1956), better known by his ring name, "Wildfire" Tommy Rich, is a professional wrestler. He is best known for his wrestling career in Georgia and Memphis throughout the 1980s.

Tommy "Wildfire" Rich started wrestling in 1974 in the regional promotions in Tennessee. Throughout the 1980s, he alternated his time between Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama territories of the NWA. He won dozens of NWA regional titles during this time. He is best known as one of the original stars of the TBS wrestling shows from the 70s and 80s. His bloody feuds with "Mad Dog" Buzz Sawyer, Ole Anderson, Ivan Koloff, the Fabulous Freebirds, and every other major heel to come through the Georgia territory made Rich one of the most popular wrestling stars of the period.

On April 27, 1981, in Augusta, Georgia, he became one of the youngest NWA World Heavyweight Champions in pro wrestling history. He dropped the belt back to former champion Harley Race four days later in Marietta. Many who follow wrestling couldn't understand the logic in the short title reign, although it was believed to give Rich a rub as a title challenger while at the same time leading the fans to believe that a world title might change hands at any time.

He had a memorable and bloody feud in Georgia Championship Wrestling with "Mad Dog" Buzz Sawyer for the NWA Georgia National Title. The feud lasted close to two years and culminated in 1983 in the "Last Battle of Atlanta," which featured Sawyer and Rich in a fully enclosed, Last Man Standing cage match, which Rich won to blow off the feud. This match / cage is rumored to be the inspiration behind WWE's Hell in a Cell match. Sawyer and Rich tried forming a team for a short period of time afterwards to feud a new team called the Road Warriors. The team didn't last very long, and Sawyer went to the WWF and later Florida Championship Wrestling, and Rich was directed into a feud with Ted Dibiase.

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