Dallas Sportatorium

January 19, 2018 at 11:22 am Ron Mullinax

Dallas Sportatorium Completes All Wrestling History

Whenever wrestling fans think about the Golden Era of professional wrestling in the state of Texas, the first name that comes to mind is the Von Erich family, followed closely by World Class Championship Wrestling in the second spot, with the Dallas Sportatorium—one of the greatest wrestling venues of the world—claiming the final spot. Built in 1934 by Bill Cox of the Cox Fence company, the original Dallas Sportatorium had an octagonal shape and could accommodate approximately 10,000 spectators. The first pro wrestling event was held at the Sportatorium on December 9, 1935, which was promoted by Burt Willoughby, the first pro wrestling promoter in Dallas. Though this barnlike arena was primarily used for professional wrestling, it hosted rock concerts, the country music showcase and boxing events too.

In late 1966, the famous wrestler Jack Adkisson, who was known for his ring name Fritz Von Erich, joined Dallas Sportatorium as a joint partner with Ed McLemore. After the death of his partner, Adkisson took charge of the Dallas Sportatorium. In the early 1980s, Adkisson’s promotional work became known as World Class Championship Wrestling, which featured his sons. Soon it became the most successful and famous wrestling federation that organized regular wrestling events at the Dallas Sportatorium.

Apart from Von Erich, the Dallas Sportatorium was witness to many other greats including Jake “The Snake” Roberts, The Fabulous Freebirds, and a young “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, among others.

Later, the Dallas Sportatorium served as the home of the GWF from 1991 to 1994 and the NWA from 1994 to 1996. Finally, the Sportatorium was demolished in 2003 after a devastating fire in December 2001. However, its memory still remains alive in the millions of wrestling fans across the globe.

Call to action: Do you have any fond memories about the Dallas Sportatorium? Let me know in the comments section below. Don’t forget to check out my book, Fritz Von Erich: Master of the Iron Claw, my tribute to a pro wrestling great. Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads, if you want to talk about pro wrestling.


McCrary, Montez. 2013. “Classic Venues: The Dallas Sportatorium.” The PractitioNERD, July 4. Accessed December 30, 2017.

Wikipedia. “Dallas Sportatorium.” Last modified September 19, 2017. Accessed December 30, 2017.


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