Saturday, November 5, 2011

Saturday Morning Ringside: Championship Wrestling (1972)

I was introduced to the world of pro wrestling in the 70's. At first, it was airing on Sunday mornings on WRGB for a time. With the advent of cable television, the landscape expanded. The World Wide Wrestling Federation, the forerunner to today's WWE, had two programs in syndication. All-Star Wrestling would evolve into Wrestling Challenge in the mid-80's. At the same time, Championship Wrestling would morph into the 1st incarnation of Superstars of Wrestling (or, as it's now known, WWE Superstars). Vince McMahon himself was at the mic on both shows until the 80's, when he turned over one show to newly retired grappler-turned-commentator Gorilla Monsoon, who turned out to be a much more articulate and enjoyable announcer than McMahon!

Championship Wrestling, thanks to cable, aired on 3 different channels in my market. Locally, it aired on WNYT (then known as WAST for most of the 70's). On cable, it was on WSBK in Boston and WOR in New York. Tapthatt12 uploaded this sample open from 1978, during Bob Backlund's 1st reign as champion, with a station ID tacked on for good measure.

Both 3WF shows followed a standard format. Squash matches were the order of the day, with the bigger stars beating a roster of jobbers who've earned their own piece of immortality. People like Frank Williams, Silvano Sousa, & Lee Wong. Once in a while, one of the promotion's titles would be defended on television. Today, the WWE still employs jobbers, but not on the company payroll. Instead, they recruit regional talent to fill some space at their weekly television tapings. With all of their programming now on cable, the days of WWE syndicating their programming are over.

Rating: B.

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