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 - Steve Webber

Angelo Poffoís International Championship Wrestling came to an area that already had its share of wrestling (Ron Fullerís Southeastern and Crockettís Mid-Atlantic) and, remarkably, put together a pretty good run from the late 1970s through the early 1980s. I would consider the promotionís heyday to be from late 1980 through early 1982; this was the period that it was televised in the Tri-City area of Tennessee where I grew up. Since this is the time period Iím familiar with, most of my pieces will be about this period. By this time Fuller had left Knoxville. Before they appeared sporadically on late-night tv and put on live shows in small venues, such as the Central Music and Auction House near my old high school. By late 1980, however, they had taken over for Fullerís promotion in the northern end of his old Knoxville territory and were putting on weekly shows at the Johnson City Recreation Center. This is where Fuller, and Gulas before him, had put on their weekly shows for this part of their respective territories. While there was definitely heat between the Poffo and Fuller promotions, Crockett seemed to coexist with Poffo just as he had with Fuller. There were periodic Mid-Atlantic cards in Kingsport, and the area seemed capable of supporting two regional promotions. The part of the country where ICW promoted was actually in a borderland of sorts; Ron Fuller, Nick Gulas, Jim Crockett Jr., and Jerry Jarrett ran shows in various parts of ICWís territory in the 70s and 80ís.

As I mentioned earlier, there was heat between Poffoís and Fullerís groups. Several top names in Southeastern jumped to ICW, including Ronnie Garvin, Bob Roop, Bob Orton Jr., Boris Malenko, and Ron Wright. I remember some of the shots Garvin and Roop took at the Fullers on the early ICW television show, throwing down challenges to anyone and everyone in Fullerís group. They broke kayfabe a bit, telling us all that Ron and Robertís real name was Welch. From all appearances the heat was genuine; Jess McGrathís interview with Les Thatcher on confirms this. Regardless of what actually went down, Fuller left Knoxville and ICW moved into much of the old territory. Their television show also took over Southeasternís old Saturday at 2:00 time slot on Johnson Cityís channel 11. They also started weekly shows in Johnson City at this time. At this point they were established as the main promotion in the area, since Mid-Atlantic came to the area on a much less regular basis. More...

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