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 - Eric Westlund

ICW wrestling had maintained a consistent talent base to support its house and TV studio shows during its first two years. While their had been new introductions in the mid card and opening event talent, the “stars” of the show had remained amazing unchanged over this time frame. However, individuals seeking greener pastures would cause the promotion to change the angles and main events of the show in mid to late 1981.

Why the exodus of talent occurred at this particular juncture we can only speculate. Wrestlers are nomads by virtue of their chosen field of work possibly this workers felt they had achieved all they could given the current climate in the ICW at the time. Possibly better pay and working conditions presented by other promoters gave a good reason to flee. But along these lines, Bob Orton Jr, Bob Roop, Izzy Slapowitz and the Devils Dou all left the ICW group at about the same time.

Izzy, a frequent poster on the KM message board, detailed some of his frustrations with the top management of the promotion. He has expanded his ideas in the Stories section of this site, so head over there if you are interested in learning more about what was going through his mind at the time. His talent as the top heel manager created a large void in the promotion, as his team of Sword and Vines followed him to the Blackjack Mulligan NWA promotion.

The promotion hinged a lot on their push with this team. They had just gotten into a program with the US tag team champs, Lanny and Weingeroff. This was some of the most exciting tag team action the region had witnessed in years, and the dichotomy of good and evil was epitomized brilliantly in the two teams. After a large build up for a championship bout, the newcomers captured gold in the match up April 25th of that year. The belts switched back to their original owners in Owenton, KY on June 15th with circumstances Izzy explains in a recent post on the message board. It seemed the top brass sensed what was to occur, and hurriedly switched the top tag team status back to where it was before.

Roop would show up in the mid –south territory and capture the top belt in the area in his first match. Orton wrestled in the mid Atlantic region and also showed his talent in the mid south as well. These were talented men, and they likely were welcomed with open arms by any promoter of the time.

As with every situation in life, this is an opportunity for others to step to the plate. New individuals were hired to spice up the mix on the scene. The Samoans Tio and Tapu arrived to work for the promotion in June of 1981. Originally wrestling as individuals, both men were given extensive TV. and house show exposure. These two were a father and son who had extensive travels throughout the southern US over the last 4 or 5 years. The Great Tio (or Tio Tio as he was sometimes referred to) seemed to get a good response from the house show crowds as a heel. He was rewarded with the television championship belt, with a victory over Bob Roop just before Roop left for the mid south.  More...

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