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Bob Geigel (1924-2014)

  

Real Name - Robert Geigel
Birthdate - 10/1/1924 - 10/30/2014
5'11" 230 lbs. - Algona, IO

Athletic BackgroundWrestling, Football (University of Iowa)

Teacher(s) - n/a

AliasesA-Bomber

Peak Years - `56-`65

Place in History - Bob Geigel was one of the great amateur wrestlers who went pro and achieved a lot in the ring, but his accomplishments as a promoter are even more noteworthy. Geigel was a tremendous athlete in high school and took second place in the competitive Iowa state championships as a heavyweight.  After serving in the Navy during World War II, Geigel went to the University of Iowa, where he was primarily a football player, but still accomplished a great deal as a wrestler, namely placing third at 191 pounds in the NCAA Championships. He pursued pro-wrestling, starting in Florida, where he quickly rose through the ranks.  During the 1950s, pro-wrestling was enjoying a golden era through the growing medium of television.  Bob Geigel, a scowling bald heel, proved to be a great antagonist for any type of babyface he came across.  He was a legit tough guy whose amateur credibility helped quickly establish him in new markets.  He excelled in Amarillo, where he learned a great deal under Doc Sarpolis and Dory Funk.  Geigel eventually found his home in Kansas City, which was in a period of transition.  In the early 1960s, Geigel bought into the Kansas City office from Gust Karras and ran it with mixed results over the next three decades.  Not surprisingly, he stayed in his home area as a wrestler until his retirement from the ring in 1975.  Geigel is often associated with his long-time tag partner and business associate Bulldog Bob Brown.  In the late 1960s, the two worked well as rough heels and were well-regarded by their peers.  Brown also took on a number of office duties for his partner over the next twenty years.  Geigel earned a reputation for being a fair promoter who gave opportunities to a lot of young, inexperienced talent and past-their-prime veterans.  The promotion was notorious for its political environment that probably prevented it from greater success.  The territory also had the appeal of being closely tied to St. Louis, which was one of the most lucrative and important towns to work.  Many who did well for Geigel could get midcard shots in St. Louis and perhaps move on to greater success based off that exposure.  The Kansas City circuit was tough though with more than twenty nights a month on the road, long and occasionally snowy drives across six states for average money.  By the late 1970s, the NWA was becoming a very disjointed organization and long time president Sam Muchnick was looking to step down.  Bob Geigel would have three reigns as NWA President over the next ten years, which is a role he became best known for nationally.  Geigel was one of several who took over the St. Louis office in the early 1980s, which was quickly run into the ground.  Geigel was one of the numerous old-school promoters who were ill equipped to move into the era of cable television with his dated product and limited roster.  He eventually bowed out and found other work to fill his days.  Bob Geigel has a curious legacy.  Amongst his contemporaries and many of those who worked for him, he is highly regarded for his amateur abilities, his fairness as promoter and his leadership in the NWA.  Others are a little less complementary as his area was not known for big payoffs, innovative product or deep talent pool.  Geigel has been somewhat unfairly attributed to the failings of the NWA system as one of those old promoters who couldn’t or wouldn’t change with the times.

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