Nelson Combs (June 16, 1942 — February 3, 2002) was an American professional wrestler, trainer and promoter, better known by his ring name, Nelson Royal. He held the NWA World Junior Heavyweight Championship on six occasions along with numerous regional championships.
Combs was born on July 21, 1935 in Wheelwright, Kentucky. As a youth, he participated in amateur wrestling. While competing in an amateur wrestling contest in Columbus, Ohio, he met professional wrestler Don Eagle, who agreed to train him.
Professional wrestling career
Early career (1955–1965)
Combs was trained as a professional wrestler by Eagle, debuting in 1955 in the Midwest Wrestling Alliance promotion under the ring name Nelson Royal. In the late 1950s, Royal wrestled for the Portland, Oregon-based promotion Pacific Northwest Wrestling, where in 1958, he briefly held the NWA Pacific Northwest Tag Team Championship with Black Hawk, and for the Texas-based promotion Big Time Wrestling.
In 1962, Royal adopted the character of "Sir Nelson Royal", a "pompous, overbearing Englishman in tails and top hat". He formed a tag team with The Viking (Bob Morse).
In the early-1960s, Royal wrestled for the Kansas City, Missouri-based promotion Heart of America Sports Attractions as "Medic #1", one-half of the tag team The Medics with Medic #2 (Pedro Gordy). In January 1961, The Medics won a tournament to become the inaugural NWA Central States Tag Team Champions, losing the championship to Bulldog Austin and Tarzan Kowalski later that year. In June 1963, The Medics briefly held the NWA World Tag Team Championship (Central States version).
On May 7, 1964, Royal teamed with Wahoo McDaniel in a loss to "Gorgeous Gus", a black bear.
Mid-Atlantic mainstay (1965–1983)
In 1965, Royal abandoned his aristocratic character and adopted the character of a good-natured cowboy. In 1966, he formed a tag team with Tex McKenzie.
In 1968, Royal formed a tag team with Paul Jones in the North Carolina-based promotion Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling. In 1969, Royal briefly wrestled for the Los Angeles, California-based promotion NWA Hollywood Wrestling, where he and Jones held the NWA Americas Tag Team Championship. In September 1970, the duo defeated The Minnesota Wrecking Crew to win the NWA Atlantic Coast Tag Team Championship. They lost the championship to The Blond Bombers in December 1970. Royal held the championship once more in 1973, this time with Sandy Scott.
In the mid-1970s, Royal wrestled for the Knoxville, Tennessee-based promotion Southeastern Championship Wrestling. He held the NWA Tennessee Tag Team Championship on three occasions in 1975: twice with Les Thatcher and once with Ron Wright.
On December 6, 1976, Royal defeated Ron Starr to win the NWA World Junior Heavyweight Championship. He lost the championship to Chavo Guerrero, Sr. in February 1978, regaining it the following month and losing it to Guerrero once more in April 1978. In July 1979, Royal won the championship for a third time, defeating Al Madril by forfeit. Royal held the championship until December of that year before vacating it upon retiring from professional wrestling.
Late career (1983–1989)
Royal broke his retirement in 1983, wrestling a handful of matches over the following years before returning to a fuller schedule in 1986. At StarrCade on November 27, 1986, Royal appeared in a vignette promoting the upcoming Bunkhouse Stampede, in which he sat by a campfire explaining the rules of the match. In early 1987, Royal made a second tour with All Japan Pro Wrestling.
Royal won the NWA World Junior Heavyweight Championship for a fourth time in October 1987. He lost the championship to Scott Armstrong twice, on both occasions quickly regaining it, before finally vacating it upon his retirement from professional wrestling in 1989.
In 1989, Royal founded Atlantic Coast Wrestling, a short-lived independent promotion.
Royal was married to Karen L. Royal. He had three children: two sons and a daughter. His daughter, Shannon Lloyd McCrary, performed as a valet in Atlantic Coast Wrestling under the ring name "Sha Sha".
Royal settled in Mooresville, North Carolina, where he owned a ranch. Royal opened Nelson Royal's Western Store, a store specializing in western wear, cowboy boots and horse tack, in Mooresville in 1967. He was active in Crime Stoppers and Drug Abuse Resistance Education.
Royal developed Alzheimer's disease in his later years. He died from a myocardial infarction on February 3, 2002 at the age of 66.
- Finishing moves
- "Baby Face"
- Wrestlers trained
Championships and accomplishments
- Cauliflower Alley Club
- Other honoree (1996)
- Heart of America Sports Attractions
- NWA Central States Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Medic #2
- NWA World Tag Team Championship (Central States version) (1 time) – with Medic #2
- Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling
- NWA Wrestling Legends Hall of Heroes
- Class of 2009
- Southeastern Championship Wrestling