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 - Eric Westlund

ICW wrestling was going at a furious pace at the turn of the decade from the 70's to the 80's.The promotion featured many stars from other promotions who had banded together to present an exciting brand of entertainment through an area in the mid-southern region of the United States. The promoter had eyes for expansion into other areas in my analysis, as he was paying to show the promotion in regions where they did not normal present events. This objective, Angelo Poffo probably reasoned, could be attained through cooperative ventures with other independent organizations, or just plain moving into an area and seeing if the fans would come to an ICW event. The in studio wrestling show was unique for its time, combining cutting edge theatrics with good athletic wrestling.

The promotion decided to incorporate a television champion for the benefit of those who mainly could only see the product via its televised time slots. A trophy was made to give to the winner of a tournament who would be crowned the "television champion".  I did not get to witness all the matches leading to the conclusion of this event. Most all of the ICW roster at the beginning of the tournament were given the opportunity to compete.  If memory serves me this started in early August of 1980. Upsets occurred in the playing out of the contests: Jim Pride (Tommy Heggie) defeated the hustler Rip Rogers in an early match. In an event chronicled on the ICW message board, Bob Orton Jr. was disqualified for assisting his brother in a match versus Ronnie Garvin. This was the result of Garvin being injected by Orton and his manager, Izzy Slapowitz, with a syringe loaded with something which caused Garvin to "froth at the mouth".

Unfortunately, this was not the last we saw of Orton Jr. during the tournament.  He surfaced in another opening round match as his masked alias, The Best, and was able to compete successfully to the quarter finals. If memory serves me well, the last four left at that point were Randy Savage, who had been given a bye to the quarter finals as the result of his world champ status, Pez Whatley, the Best and Bob Roop. Old friends the Best and Roop met in one quarter final match, while Savage squared off against Pistol Pez. Savage handled Whatley in the first match, while Roop achieved a clean pinfall over the Best to gain entrance to the finals.  More...

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