Monday, November 28, 2016

Saturday Morning Ringside: International World Class Championship Wrestling (1991-5)

It was a shock to some folks to learn that Kevin Von Erich had sold the rights to World Class Championship Wrestling to Massachusetts promoter and former WWF referee Mario Savoldi. The Texas-based World Class was now united with Jerry Jarrett & Jerry Lawler's group in Memphis, forming the United States Wrestling Association.

The Savoldi family had a regional television show, International Championship Wrestling, which went national in 1991 with cable deals through SportsChannel America and the Financial News Network (now CNBC), among other places. FNN ran what would become International World Class Championship Wrestling, complete with WCCW's iconic theme music, on Saturdays, but it didn't last very long there, and once FNN dropped the show, no other cable network available on local systems picked it up. Sure, there was a SportsChannel in New York (now MSG-Plus), but I don't recall seeing IWCCW there.

The roster was a mix of local indies and veterans from WCW & WWF, including Tony Atlas, who worked as a heel as the promotion's champion, his first major heel run at the time, Nikolai Volkoff, and others.

Let's take a look at a sample episode from 1991. The video is a bit choppy, and has both copyrights of 1991 and 1992 to create confusion.

The Savoldi family closed the promotion in 1995 after heel manager Tony Rumble left to form his own promotion, the Century Wrestling Alliance up until his passing in 1999. Atlas would, of course, return to the now-WWE in late '00's as a manager and ersatz talk show announcer.

The production quality wasn't that great, and the availability of episodes on a weekly basis was such that some episodes repeated several weeks in a row. Recipe for disaster!

Rating: C.

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