Black Wrestling Firsts
Although Black History Month is coming to a close, I thought it isn't too late to celebrate it with achievements in the wrestling industry.
1. First World Champion
DAMN!!! The first Black World Chapion is Ron Simmons. He would win the title from Big Van Vader. This was done at a house show where the storyline was Ron Simmons replaced an injured Sting via a lottery. Ron Simmons would hold the title just once for five months.
Ron Simmons is also a multiple time World Tag Champion partnering with both Butch Reed and JBL. He was inducted into the 2012 WWE Hall of Fame. Outside of wrestling Ron Simmons played football for Florida State University. His tenure there earned him entry into the Orange Bowl Hall of Fame and a 2008 induction into the College Football Hall of Fame.
2. First WWE Champion
The first WWE Black World Champion was the most electrifying man in sports entertainment. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson won the title by beating Mankind in the finals of the Deadly Games Tournament. The Rock has become one of the highest grossing movie stars. He also has his own show on CBS called Young Rock which retales some of his formidable years. When the time is right he will be a shoo in for the WWE Hall of Fame.
3. First NWA Champion
The first NWA Black World Champion was R-Truth who at the time was going by Ron Killings. He defeated Ken Shammrock at a TNA event in 2002. Ron Killings would hold the NWA title twice. About winning the NWA title Killings said "I'm proud man, proud. One of the truths I can say is we live and learn, I didn't know how much of an accomplishment that was until my latter years, until maturing, coming into the adult me."
Although he is currently known for comedic wrestling and the 57 time 24/7 Champion nothing can take away from his accomplishment of being the first Black NWA World Champion.
4. First Tag Champions
Defeating the WIld Samoans (Afa and Sika Anoa'i), Soul Patrol became the first WWF World Tag Champions in 1982. The dou was formed by Tony Atlas and Rocky Johnson. The match where they won the titles would take place in Novebmber of 1982 but not air on TV until December 9, 1982.
Once this team broke up both mean would have varying degrees of success. However, both would eventually be indcuted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
5. First Female Tag Champion
On July 9, 1957, Ethel Johnson and June Bryers would step into the ring to face Betty Jo Hawkins and Penny Banner. This night would see the 22 year old Ethel Johnson become the first Black Female Tag Champion as her and June Bryers won the NWA World Women's Tag Team Championship. Due to poor record keeping all four of these ladies are overshadowed in history by male counterparts.
For more information about her and her barrier breaking sisters watch the 2016 documentary "Lady Wrestler: The Amazing, Untold Story of African American Women in the Ring"
6. First Female World Champion
The WWE recognizes 6 Black women as the world champion starting with Jaquiline Moore in 1998. She won the title after it was reactivate from when Alundra Blayze left the promotion with the previous title. However, this entry is about Sandy Parker. Sandy Parker won the title in All Japan Women's Wrestling in 1973 a full 25 years before Jaquilne Moore.
Sandy Parker was from British Columbia, Canada. Her origianl trainer was Neil Klein out of Allen's Town, Michigan. She would eventually move to the the Carolina's to be trained by Fablous Moolah; Moolah essentially ran women's wrestling at the time. Due to personal and perfessional differences Sandy Parker would leave Moolah and go to Japan.
Sandy Parker stands at another cross roads in wrestling history. She was the first Lesbian to hold a World Title. Mae Young would hold a United State title earlier than for the NWA.