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 - Eric Westlund

We are back again for another accounting of the International Championship Wrestling promotion which occurred in the central south United States from the time period of 1979 through 1984.  This month we will focus on mid to early 1982. 

Several new midlevel wrestlers came onto the scene during this juncture.  One that I have not seen get much press on these descriptions or the message board was Frankie Adonis.  He was a rather large black gentleman with a good physique.  I only saw him perform once or twice and donít recall him being outstanding.  He was relegated to many tag team bouts, combining with Ronnie Garvin and Leaping Lanny to go against the Convertible Blondes (Whatley and Rip Rogers) for the tag belts on several occasions in March and April. 

An influx of talent from the Dick the Bruiser run WWA also seemed to occur at about this same time in 1982.  Ox Baker, Juan Zapata, Gilbert Guererro, and El Bracero were all combatants who would fit into this category.  I am fairly sure they were wrestling exclusively for the Poffo bunch, as they seemed to be on many cards around the touring area.  

Another individual who seemed to get a lot of TV exposure at about this same time was Walter Johnson.  He was an ex-professional football player with the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals and also appeared on the middle and main events of most cards.  One accomplishment of note that he achieved was slamming Big Willie Monroe in a tag match on television.  Given that Monroe was 6í10Ē and 450 lbs., on the bulky side, this was quite a feat.  Johnson elaborated in interviews that he wanted a world title shot at the Macho Man who was on a minor hiatus at the time.   

Johnson had had a history with Savage, he had wrestled for the Tennessee based Gulas promotion in 1978.  He had attempted to capture Randy Savages first singles crown, the NWA mid American title, during his time in Tennessee but had come up short.  This history was not elaborated to ICW fans but I thought you would like to know.  

Randy Savage, during this part of his tenure as world champion, was facing both heels and faces.  He had stated he was seriously considering retirement with the world belt, the exact reason for this determination I cannot remember, but much was made about whether Walter Johnson and Thunderbolt Patterson would get world title shots given Savageís out of reach position.  

Patterson had garnered a lot of recognition in the promotion as he had unseated the long-standing United States heavy weight champion, The Sheik (Farhat).  This had occurred in Ohio somewhere and was played up by Randy Savage as to what an achievement Patterson had accomplished.  Patterson did get several title shots at the world belt.  He never captured the gold, unfortunately I donít recall if Savage had clean pin fall victories or how he managed to retain the strap.  

Lots of gimmick action and actors also were used to fill out the card on the television show and at live events.  The midgets were featured at many cards during the month of April with Little Tokyo, Cowboy Lang, and Low Eagle going against each other in some combinations.  The women were also used as a supplement for the promotion.  Leilani Kai and Peggy Lee had a series of matches also during this time.  They even had a man-woman tag team match on television with Tony Falk and Peggy Lee defeating Gary Royal and Leilani Kai in a good 13-minute match.  

Royal, who was acting manager of the U.S. tag team champs, was the brunt of many pranks during his time in the ICW.  He had been thrown in the mud pit in mid to late 1981 when the promotion had mud-wrestling matches at many live cards.  In early í82, he was upset on television by newcomer Ron Strunk via pin fall.  This was given much mic time, as Royal was considered a veteran and Strunk had just been wrestling several months at the time.  

Pistol Pez Whatley took on a new persona after his mop hat defeat to Ronnie Garvin.  There was a match in Frankfort Kentucky (and possibly at other arenas about the same time) where the loser of the match had to wear a mop hat on his head until he claimed a victory on television.   More...

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