ICW (Poffo) #5 Page #2

Much was made of Sheik holding the U.S. title for about a jillion years. Of course he terrorized ICW jobbers for a while before meeting anyone capable of offering any resistance. I saw him wrestle Crusher Broomfield around the time Crusher made his face turn. It didn't take long for both guys to juice. Not having seen Sheik too often I found it hard to believe that an old guy with a gut could compete with a young guy twice his size (albeit a young guy with a much bigger gut). We didn't get to see a fireball in this match, which was a disappointment. The Miser had hinted that we might see one, saying that Sheik might melt Crusher's flab and solve the energy crisis. Sheik ended up getting the pin with his feet on the ropes. He didn't stay around long, although he was mentioned frequently. He was supposed to have lost a cage match, for the first time in his career, to Ratamyus. I can't see Ed jobbing to Bill Howard with face paint and a green tongue, but who knows.

Ernie Ladd was in the twilight of his career when he came through ICW. He still did a great job of riling the fans, though. Like The Sheik, he didn't really stay long enough to become involved in a program with anyone.  He also had a match with Crusher Broomfield; this time Crusher got the win by disqualification. I think that they also put him in the ring with Ronnie Garvin. It was a short time later that he had his leg "broken" by Afa, Sika, and Crusher Broomfield in Mid-South. Ladd's ringwork wasn't too impressive at this point, but I remember him admonishing a ringside heckler to "shut your filthy mouth" and hocking a lunger halfway across the Johnson City Rec Center. To an impressionable teenager that was mighty impressive.

Ox Baker stayed a little longer than Sheik or Ladd. Early on we got to see footage of him heart punching Ernie Ladd repeatedly (they told us the footage was from St. Louis, I believe). Of course we all expected him to immediately emerge as a monster heel, but we were treated to a swerve. The scene was the Johnson City Recreation Center. Earlier in the card Ox had dispatched a bloody Rick Link with a devastating heart punch. We were expecting Randy Savage to defend the ICW title against former Cleveland Brown Walter Johnson. It was announced, however, that Johnson had transportation problems and would not appear. Replacing him was George Weingeroff. Many of you know that, although he never reached the top in the business, the man could work. Savage and Weingeroff treated us to a four star match. I think Savage got the pin, but I don't remember. That's not important. What is important is that Ox stormed the ring looking for "that dirty coward, Randy Savage." Savage fled, and Weingeroff took a heart punch. Ox chased Savage to the back (Savage ran, Ox walked; his knees were shot by this time). It was announced that Ox would be taking on Savage.

Was Ox Baker actually coming in as a face? Prior to the match it was announced that Savage's title wouldn't be on the line, which was a strong clue what the result would be. Ox won with...no, not a heart punch. Savage submitted to a bear hug. Now this would have made sense if Ox used the bear hug as his finisher; he was a big guy, and it would have been believable if not for the fact that we pay to see him use the heart punch, not a freaking bear hug. Anyway, Ox goes on a rampage later, threatening the announcer.  The announcer says, "you can push me around, and you can probably push anybody here around. But there's one person you can't push around, and that's Ronnie Garvin."  

This, folks, is what we call a cliff-hanger. 


More about Ox-Garvin next time. I'll also be talking about some angles in as much detail as I can remember. I just received some information concerning the events leading up to Randy Savage winning the ICW title from Leaping Lanny. I'd never heard it before, and I'm sure some of you out there haven't either. Of course I'll be giving credit where it's due for this story.

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