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On this date in NWA history: 'The Match of the Century' sees Buddy Rogers defeat Pat O'Connor

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Buddy Rogers was a visionary, a pro wrestler from times past who revolutionized what it meant to act like a heel. With his cocky strut and flair for the dramatic, he was one of the first major stars to rely more on spectacle than sport. He also helped introduce high flying maneuvers into pro wrestlers repertoires, something that also wasn't commonplace during his time.

All of this led to his being a huge draw in the United States and on this date in NWA history (June 30, 1961), he and Pat O'Connor engaged in what was billed as "The Match of the Century" at Comiskey Park in Chicago, Illinois. The event was attended by a then record 38,622 fans (for a total gate of $148,000), which stood all the way until 1984.

The match itself was for the NWA world heavyweight championship, which Rogers had been voted into by the National Wrestling Alliance. It was a 2-out-of-3 falls match that Rogers won 2-1.

As you can see in the video above, the style and presentation was so different that many fans of today find it impossible to have the same appreciation for it. Indeed, context is key and while Rogers may have been a top heel at that time, riling up fans across the states, he was relatively tame by today's standards.

Still, enjoy the match for what it is, one of the all time greats winning the NWA world heavyweight title.