WATERLOO, Iowa—One of professional wrestling’s most famous managers will be recognized by the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum. James J Dillon will receive the Lou Thesz World Heavyweight Championship Award at the 2016 George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame induction weekend on July 21-23.
Dillon is best known for his time as a manager of the Four Horsemen from 1985-89. The original Four Horsemen included Ric Flair, Tully Blanchard, Arn Anderson, and Ole Anderson. His work included stints with WCW, WWE, and NWA. He is also the author (along with Jim Melby Award winner Scott Teal) of the highly acclaimed autobiography “Wrestlers Are Like Seagulls” published by Crow Bar Press.
“I am overwhelmed. I am humbled. I am honored,” said Dillon of receiving the award.
The Lou Thesz World Heavyweight Championship Award is given to an individual in wrestling who has taken the skills of the sport into the realm of public service. The award is co-sponsored by the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum and Eblen Charities and the Eblen Center for Social Enterprise based in Asheville, North Carolina.
Lou Thesz became world heavyweight wrestling champion for the first time in 1937 when, at the age of 20, he defeated Everett Marshall. Raised in St. Louis and trained by Ed “Strangler” Lewis and George Tragos, Thesz won the title a total of six times—the last occurring in 1963 when he defeated Buddy Rogers. He is considered one of the best professional wrestlers ever—when true talent and toughness were what counted most in the ring.
“It is a great honor to be part of the Lou Thesz World Heavyweight Championship Award and the National Wrestling Hall of Fame,” said Bill Murdock, the inaugural recipient of the award and executive director of Eblen Charities. “All recipients follow Lou’s example by touching the lives of those less fortunate. This award honors Lou and the sport of wrestling. No one exemplifies the Lou Thesz World Heavyweight Championship Award more than JJ. The lives he has touched throughout the years brings a strong message of the importance of public service throughout the wrestling community.”
The Class of 2016 includes two Hall of Fame Inductees (one living and one posthumous) along with recipients of the Lou Thesz Award, Jim Melby Award, Frank Gotch Award, and the George Tragos Award.
The Dan Gable Museum will release additional inductees and award winners in the coming weeks.
A full schedule of events will be released on a later date. All-access passes to the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame induction weekend are available for $100. They can be pre-ordered by contacting the Dan Gable Museum at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (319) 233-0745.
2016 Hall of Fame induction class
George Tragos Award—Chael Sonnen
Lou Thesz Award—James J Dillon
Jim Melby Award—Dave Meltzer
Frank Gotch Award—TBA
Hall of Fame Inductee (living)—TBA
Hall of Fame Inductee (posthumous)—Joe Blanchard