A detailed report of the Lou Thesz vs. Baron Michele Leone match is featured in the book National
Wrestling Alliance: The Untold Story of the Monopoly that Strangled Pro Wrestling.
One of the major rules NWA President Sam Muchnick wanted members to adhere to is the
recognition of a singular heavyweight champion of the world. This wasn't an easy practice, in fact,
there were blatant rulebreakers in several parts of the country. Johnny Doyle had been booking
the "Baron" as the heavyweight titleholder on the West Coast and getting strong results. When
Muchnick asked him about Leone, Doyle told him that he'd never book Leone as champion outside
of California. But kinescopes of Leone as a claimant were circulating and people started to ask
official champion Lou Thesz about it.
Muchnick was receiving pressure from Thesz, which, in turn, came down to the decision Doyle was
going to make. Was he going to continue going against NWA rules or build down a super
Doyle initially refused. For that, to prove a point, the NWA suspended him.
Almost immediately, several others attempted to apply for Alliance membership, taking Doyle's
place. Muchnick called Doyle back and the Los Angeles booker finally agreed to work Leone into a
title match against Thesz.
Research by Tim Hornbaker
December 6, 2010
|Lou Thesz vs. Baron Michele Leone in 1952