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 - Eric Westlund

ICW WRESTLING in the fall of 1982 was experiencing a resurgence of popularity due to the introduction of a monster heel in the form of Ratamyas. Ratamyas had quickly grabbed a following of negative fans who were foaming at the mouth to get someone to straighten out this gentleman.  His mystique of face painting and non-speaking during promos worked like a charm and further irritated the viewers and the fan base who went to the arenas.  He had been built up as indestructible by promoter Angelo Poffo, destroying Leaping Lanny, George Weingeroff, Poffo himself and various combinations of jobbers in handicap matches throughout the entire region as a precursor to the main attraction: a feud with world champ Randy Savage.  

There was no specific incident between the two to instigate the confrontations between the two foes. Basically the wishes of the people created the demand for the match. Fans knew Savage as the wild brutal combatant who would use any tactic to guard his prized possession of 3 years. They realized that only Savage had the same characteristics and that if pitted against each other, could rid the area of the green-tongued monster. Thus the stage was set for a series of matches where only one could rule as the greater of the two evils.  

Granted, Savage had been wrestling as a tweener during the summer months of the year 1982. He had survived matches against both good and evil opponents during this period, but had really not altered his style in the ring .He was just as likely to sucker punch someone during a tie up in the ropes as to give a clean break as requested by the ref.  He still conducted a majority of his business out on the arena floor utilizing a variety of extracurricular items (chairs, the ropes used to keep fans from the ring, and the concrete floor itself) as partners to help him secure wins over a suitable opponent. His interviews mellowed a bit however, not always seeming as brash and undefeatable as he had during the years of '80 and '81.  He even acknowledged opponents who were worthy of matches with him, as he had touted Thunderbolt Patterson, Leaping Lanny and Walter Johnson who all had unsuccessfully tried to beat him during the summer months of '82. Savage toyed with the fans in a series of interviews suggesting early retirement due to boredom with his situation at that juncture and was able to keep a lot of focus on the belt when certain areas of the promotion seemed to stagnate during this time.  Had the public grown tired of no potential successors to the world title? Also, Angelo had been careful not to drive off the only real threat to Savage, Ronnie Garvin during the year of '82 as the fans everywhere had witnessed every type of match earlier between the two ..It appeared that Ratamyas came in at the perfect time to fall in as an opponent to revive the promotion.

Originally the promotion decided on cage matches involving Savage and Ratamyas as the introduction to a series of matches. This bout occurred in all the region's top hot spots. In all the venues the outcome was similar, Savage was defeated in a great contest, with Ratamyas scoring the victory via his finishing move, known as the Devil's Triangle, another form of the camel clutch like that used by the Iron Sheik at the time. Both men put out great efforts in these matches and they are still some of the most talked about struggles for the ICW during its existence. These mainly were during the months of October and November of that year, and served as a great lead in for the world title bouts to follow.

One bout which I attended was in Lexington KY in November at that time. This was a historic card also, in that it was the return of the group to Rupp Arena in town. Poffo had burned some bridges in late 1980 with a smear campaign against the large venue. The promoter had called out by name, the manager of Rupp Arena in interviews; stating he was in the pocket of Jerry Jarrett and the NWA who Poffo had filed suit against claiming monopolistic practices.  So just the fact the group was allowed to rent the arena was a coup that a lot of the general public realized from newspaper information.  More...

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