Doc Sarpolis - Amarillo


In 1955, Sarpolis and Dory Funk bought out Dory Detton in Amarillo for approximately $75,000. The West Texas territory had the Funk family as its headliners. Once known for junior heavyweights, the new ownership transformed Amarillo into an area featuring grapplers of all shapes and sizes.

Although Funk was considered as a potential replacement for Pat O’Connor as NWA world heavyweight champion, not long after the NWA made Buddy Rogers champion instead, the Amarillo office chose to recognize Gene Kiniski as champion instead. Sarpolis continued to pay membership dues and In August 1962 was elected president of the NWA. He became the first president to recognize a champion other than the NWA titleholder. Even after Lou Thesz defeated Rogers for the NWA title in Toronto, Sarpolis continued to recognize Kiniski and then Dory Funk, Jr. as champion.

At the August 1963 NWA convention in St. Louis, members worked to reach a solution and the Amarillo office agreed to recognize Thesz. Losses to The Shiek and Thesz led to the eventual phasing out of Dory Jr.’s championship.

Throughout the 1960s, Sarpolis and Funk, Sr. had working agreements with Sam Muchnick, Verne Gagne, Bob Geigel and Jim Barnett. The Amarillo production had Stanley Blackburn as its kayfabe commissioner, Shelton Key as the ring announcer, and the weekly TV shows were taped on Saturday afternoons from the studio of KVII-TV (Channel 7 in Amarillo).

Sarpolis died of a heart attack on May 28, 1967 after a boating accident. The Sarpolis family would sell his shares in the Amarillo promotion to Dory Funk, Jr. and Terry Funk.

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