A Kayfabe History Lesson Page #2
Then in 1963, controversy broke out, when in a match pitting Thesz against Nature Boy Buddy Rogers, Thesz won in what was decided to be a single fall match. Vince McMahon Sr. promoter in the northeast region, contested this win and split off from the NWA forming the WWWF, and naming Rogers as their World Champion. This continued as such until the WWWF rejoined the NWA in 1971. But again, they split in 1983, and have remained on their own since.
At this point, we now had 3 major promotions running…. the WWWF running essentially on its own, the AWA running with ties to a few other territories, and the NWA with ties to many other territories. While Kayfabe Memories will eventually look at all the various territories, it will become obvious that the majority of the territories were members of the NWA, though over time, it would become less apparent that that was the case.
Many fans of pro wrestling got into wrestling during its last heyday of the mid-'80's. Others, are still just getting into it as wrestling is again experiencing a tremendous time of popularity. However, chances are, fans from either period most likely got their wrestling "fix" from either WWF or the NWA/WCW. That has never been truer than now. Currently, most wrestling fans have the opportunity to once more tune into 3 wrestling promotions: WWF, WCW, and ECW. Then, if they're lucky, they may have a smaller independent federation that either runs live shows near them or maybe has some sort of TV exposure. Other fans, however, have to rely on just the major 3.
Fans of pro wrestling during the mid-to-late 70's and throughout the '80's had a much different time however. In addition, to the normal WWF and NWA/WCW TV programs, many cable channels ran wrestling. ESPN ran AWA, WCCW, and later GWF through most of the '80's. Various smaller cable channels had sports shows like Prime Ticket that showed CWA, CWF, NWF, ICW along with a few others. Wrestling during the '80's was fairly easy to see.
Wrestling at this time, especially during the '70's and up to the mid-'80's, was made up of many different promoters, and their wrestling promotions. Don Owens was in the Oregon area. Texas had Fritz Von Erich. Verne Gagne was the man in the Minnesota area. In the Northeast, there was Vince McMahon, Sr. The Memphis area had Jerry Jarrett, and in the southern regions of the U.S., in Georgia, the Carolinas, and Florida, the stronghold of the NWA lived. Slowly, however, over time, things changed. The biggest impact came about when Vince McMahon, Sr. decided it was time to retire and sold his WWF to his son. McMahon, Jr. then went about and essentially "broke" the unwritten rule that kept promotions in their own areas. He took advantage of the cable boom. He promoted shows all over the country under the WWF banner. He got national TV syndication for his wrestling program. He broke wrestling wide-open. Some companies, most notably Gagne, Von Erich and the main NWA promotions followed suit. But other smaller regions lost the battle, and eventually, what had consisted of the NWA merged and became one. Finally, however, both Gagne and Von Erich could no longer keep up. Gagne closed down the AWA, and Von Erich merged his company with Jerry Jarrett's Memphis CWA promotion becoming the USWA. However, at this time, ESPN, the only other channel nationally broadcasting wrestling outside of the NWA's TBS shows and the WWF's syndicated programs, stopped. Thus, by 1992, fans were left with only two choices on a national basis: the WWF or the NWA, now known as WCW. A third choice wouldn't be made available again until ECW debuted on a nationally syndicated show on TNN.
Regardless of the feelings over how McMahon did business, the old regions are still alive to some degree thanks to video tape. Kayfabe Memories hopes to add to and enhance the celebration of the regional structure via our writers. It was a great time to be a wrestling fan with so much out there to experience. So, without further exposition, please return to the previous page and read on. Interact on our message board, return often and enjoy yourself at Kayfabe Memories.
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