(March 10 1908
–January 24 1981
) was a professional wrestler
. Born in Sharon, Kansas
, Brown was NWA Champion
twice, and was recognized as the first NWA champion in 1948. Brown's pro-wrestling career ended on November 1, 1949, when he suffered severe injuries in an automobile accident.
Orville Brown was born on March 10, 1908. He grew up on a small farm in Sharon, Kansas
, USA. Brown worked on the farm during the mornings before walking several miles to school in Kiowa, Kansas
. He only attended one year of school due to financial reasons.
Orville Brown was noticed by Ernest Brown, a former manager of amateur and professional wrestlers, in the late 1920s. Brown was convinced that Orville might have a future as a wrestler. He agreed to work with Orville at the local high school in Kiowa, Kansas. After training, Orville Brown was undefeated for 71 matches. He gained enough notoriety in western Kansas that the promoter in Wichita
put him on the preliminary of the weekly matches there.
A well-known wrestler named Abe Coleman
saw Brown wrestle and recommended him to the promoter in St. Louis
- Tom Packs.
Orville Brown impressed many people with his wrestling skills in matches against former World Heavyweight Champions Jim Londos
and Ed "Strangler" Lewis
. He quickly won the Kansas Heavyweight Championship. Orville Brown went on to become the Kansas-based Midwest Wrestling Association
(MWA) World Heavyweight Champion for a record of 11 times from 1940 till 1948. Brown won that title by beating wrestlers such as Bobby Bruns, Lee Wyckoff, Tom Zaharias, Swedish Angel, Roy Graham and Tug Carlson.
In 1948 promoter Pinkie George, along with other promoters, recognized Orville Brown as the World Heavyweight Champion
in the newly-formed National Wrestling Alliance
(NWA). Brown began the NWA's project of unifying the various world heavyweight championships contested at that time with the NWA version. A significant unification match took place against Frank Sexton
on March 15
. Sexton held the American Wrestling Alliance Heavyweight Championship, the second most important championship in the country at that time, which he had previously unified with the Maryland version of the World Heavyweight Championship.
Brown held the NWA title twice before he was forced to retire in November 1949 due to injuries he suffered on 1st November 1949 in a car accident. He was scheduled to be in a unification match against Lou Thesz
on November 25, 1949. Thesz was awarded the title as Orville Brown was unable to compete.
After retiring, Orville Brown became a promoter in Kansas City, Missouri
. He promoted the Midwest Wrestling Association
(MWA) from the founding of the NWA in 1948 until 1958, when the promotion was taken over by Bob Geigel
Orville Brown married Grace, a farmer's daughter, in October 1926. Their marriage lasted until his death in 1981. Their son Richard also became a wrestler.
Championships and accomplishments