ICW (Poffo) #2 Page #2

When Savage sent Crusher Broomfield after him, he pulled out a tape of him pounding Andre the Giant to demonstrate that he could handle big men. When he was about to start a program with Ox Baker he pulled out footage of the Garvin-Jos Leduc match in which Garvin whipped a bloody LeDuc with the ring ropes. It was Garvin who unmasked the Miser and exposed him as Angelo Poffo (although we Miser fans know that Garvin had his feet on the ropes and really only got a two count in the match for the mask). In my opinion he never matched his Southeastern and ICW work in the NWA, undistinguished title run notwithstanding. OK, maybe the time he dressed up like a woman and knocked out Ric Flair.

Leaping Lanny Poffo- I may catch some heat for saying this, but I believe that of the Poffo brothers, Lanny was the better athlete. As a performer, thought, he wasnít in the same class. It was supposedly Lanny that Savage beat for the ICW title, and I canít prove it wasnít. I canít prove Lanny didnít beat Joe Banek for the title in San Francisco either, but then again I canít prove those titles never changed hands in Rio either. He was a high-flier in an era when that style wasnít as common. He was usually a step down from main event status, often appearing in tag teams. He held the tag team belts with George Weingeroff for a while, and also had a run with the television title. Notable feuds were with the Devilís Duo w/Izzy Slapowitz, the Convertible Blondes, and "Hustler" Rip Rogers. His finishing move was a 360 off the top turnbuckle, which was quite impressive for the time. One interesting story about Lanny related to me by my buddy Ron: Before a show in Johnson City Lanny asked Ronís grandmother "Lady, do you believe in the Lord?", to which she replied "of course I do." Lanny said, "then jump on that car and shout Ďhallelujah Jesus." "No siree," she replied. I always heard he was a strange one.

"Pistol" Pez Whatley- Pez was a very colorful character. He started out as a face, feuding with "Hustler" Rip Rogers. The opening of each show had Whatley diving through the ropes at Rogers, who was standing outside the ring. He called his future tag team partner "Bleachy". He was the victim of a heel turn by Jeff Sword, and it wasnít long before he turned heel himself. He had a short feud with Garvin before becoming one of the Convertible Blondes with Rip Rogers and Gary Royal. He used the phrase "ohhh yeaaahh" a lot, probably before Savage did. He seemed to be much more over as a heel as he ever was as a face. He later had his time in the spotlight when he pinned Buzz Sawyer after being slapped by JYD and turning on Jimmy Valiant.

"Hustler" Rip Rogers- Rogers is one who never enjoyed the success in the major promotions that he did in ICW. At this time he had a bodybuilderís physique; in fact, they showed footage of him and Savage competing in the Mr. Kentucky competition. I think something was made of the fact that Rogers placed higher. He had the greatest success in tag teams, although he had a long program with Leaping Lanny that ended with him losing his hair. He was basically a solid mid-card performer who drew decent heat.

George Weingeroff- The son of Gentleman Saul was most successful as a tag team wrestler, holding the belts with Leaping Lanny. Legally blind, he was a good mat wrestler who tended to stay in Lannyís shadow. I saw him in a great match with Randy Savage in Johnson City; he was replacing former Cleveland Brown Walter Johnson, who (we were told) had transportation problems. He took Savage to the limit, only to be on the receiving end of a heart punch from Ox Baker after the match. As far as I know he never rose past the bottom of the card after ICW.

The Miser- Nowadays anyone who knows much about ICW knows that the Miser was promoter Angelo Poffo under a mask, but since Iíd never seen Poffo before and wasnít a regular at the matches I had no idea who he was until shortly after he was unmasked. I actually thought it might be Dick Steinborn; a friend of mine swore it was John Beck. The thing I remember most about him is his mask. It was red, white, and blue (sort of like Peter Fondaís helmet on Easy Rider), with red stars over the eyes. He also wore a cape with a dollar sign on the back. His gimmick was just what the name suggests- he was a miser. When he was fined for hitting a referee, he counted the money from a cigar box. He was responsible for some memorable lines; here are some examples. "Do you know what Ronnie Garvin does with his money? He SPENDS it!" "People of above average intelligence talk about ideas. People of average intelligence talk about events. People of below average intelligence talk about other people." On one of the earlier shows he did sit-ups for the entire show, which made it obvious to many people who he was (Poffo once held the record for sit-ups at 6033). He was mostly a lower-to-mid card performer who was past his prime. He held the television title for a while, winning it from The Great Tio after Tio was attacked by Ronnie Garvin. He claimed he would hold the belt for a millennium, but came up a bit short. He was unmasked by Ronnie Garvin after the match I mentioned earlier, and appeared without the mask with the "6033" tights. I remember him getting a pinfall win over Pez Whatley, but Whatley pinned him after a mere dropkick. For some reason The Miser was my favorite ICW wrestler. It might have been because he was so willing to take the time and talk to my friends and I. He would even approach us when he saw us.

These were the guys who were pretty much with the promotion for the entire time I followed it. 

NEXT MONTH: 

Iíll profile some who appeared for a shorter period.

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