ICW (Poffo) #7 Page #2
Originally, the tapings were at the channel 36 WTVQ station and occurred every other Thursday. At the most 25 or so people showed up to witness this happening. In mid-1982 the show moved to channel 27 for its tapings. This was also the same time a sharp woman named Liz Huellett took over as anchor of the show.
The geographic span of the ICW promotion was much larger than most (including myself) realized. Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee, Illinois and Missouri were all home to the promotion on a regular basis. Most events were held in smaller facilities, i.e. National Guard armories, schools, or local civic centers. The general ticket price was $5 for ringside and $4 for general admission. Top caliber main events were rotated across the region, with generally the same main event going on at several towns in the area. The group also promoted cards at two different locations on the same night frequently, which must have made for a tremendous travel schedule.
The group was branded an outlaw promotion - I heard one of its wrestlers say this to me in 1980. This was to mean that ICW wrestlers were branded as non-union in layman's terms. I believe this was because they were not affiliated with any major group (WWF, NWA, or AWA) and had elected to infringe on the boundaries of these larger more established groups. At one
point the ICW even filed suit claiming anti-trust or monopoly against the major promotions. I don't think anything ever became of this lawsuit.
The group rose out of a branch of the Fuller-based Knoxville, Tennessee group. At some point in early '79 some of the major
players with Fuller elected to leave Fuller's promotion. Bob Roop, Bob Orton, Jr., Boris Malenko, Ron Garvin and Don Wright were performers who joined with the Poffos to form All-Star Wrestling in this year. Early challenges were to the stars who remained with the Fuller bunch, Fuller himself and Troy Graham are names which stick out in my memory.
The promotion made up for its lack of a history by providing fans with top notch matches over its territory. In '79 a large feud between Randy Savage and the Tennessee promotions top star Ron "One Man Gang" Garvin was originated. This rivalry was the main focus of the show for a solid 2 year period, with almost every match imaginable resulting between the two foes. Throughout it all, Savage managed to cling to his prized possession, the ICW world heavyweight championship. However I'm sure Garvin is responsible for many a headache that Savage got in that time frame. Garvin was constantly telling Savage he was going to put him "in the nut house" by doing many things to the champ. He paraded a midget around, dressed as Macho's manager at the time, Steve Cooper. Garvin also stole (literally) his Southeastern belt back from Savage during an ICW TV studio taping. He also revealed Randy as the brother of another promotion star, Leaping Lanny, a fact a lot of the non-Tennessee fans were not privy to. The feud had several other major events which I will elaborate on in future writings.
Generally, the show quality sagged a bit in late 1981. The organization lost several stars to larger groups: Orton, Jr., Roop, the top heel manager Izzy Slapowitz, and his tandem of Vines and Sword left for greener pastures all about the same time. As well, the voice of the studio, John Beck, was run off by Randy Savage. I never saw him do any other wrestling show, but he was very good as a moderator in the studio. He wasn't that knowledgeable as to the holds, but was not afraid to talk to the bad guys about their difficulties with their combatants.
The TV studio show was very fluid, with a general flow to the show. There were usually 4 matches on the 1 hour long episode, with 3 squashes and one main event match. Several segments were used to generate excitement for the groups current top feuds. One portion of the show I most enjoyed was the "Inside International All-Stars" segment. This later became "Inside ICW". In this part of the show, wrestlers were given a mic and 5 minutes, to "toot their own horn" about whatever was on their mind. Randy Savage was particularly enjoyable in this format, as he always had something he had to get off his chest.
Another part of the show not discussed before was the "ICW Hold of the Week." In this segment, usually 2 -3 minutes long, Lanny and George Weingeroff showed the hold of the week. I remember the fireman's carry, an arm bar, and maybe even the headlock as featured moves which would be slowly explained to the viewer. This part of the show was right near the end, just before the sign off of the show. The sign off always featured somebody yelling about how they got "done wrong" today and what they were going to do to rectify it.
We will go into more of the events of 1980 and 81 in the ICW. Personalities and feuds will be examined, along with revealing some frequent "gimmick" matches the group loved to have.
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