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Welcome To The Vault! In This Edition, Sean Carless Goes Back To Yesteryear To Bring Us BLACK SATURDAY!


By Sean Carless

Ah, Black Saturday. A day that will truly live in infamy. Well, unless you're not a wrestling fan. In that case, it'd just be Saturday. But hey, fuck those guys. To the rest of us wrestling, umm,aficionados, Black Saturday is of course July 14, 1984, the day Vincent Kennedy McMahon, wearing the most horrendous jacket in modern recorded history (normally you have to make Batman's life Hell to pull off a jacket like that), showed up on Georgia Championship Wrestling's flagship broadcast "World Championship Wrestling" and presented World Wrestling Federation action instead of the usual slew of NWA goodness featuring Dusty Rhodes, Ric Flair, Ole Anderson et al.
Now, that said, there are actually two vastly different stories out there as it pertains to Black Saturday. WWE's version, and well, the truth. I'll give you a small taste of what WWE's stance probably is if their completely true and unbiased and true, and honest, and true, depiction of WWF's expansion in the McMahon DVD is any example...
"Vince McMahon, sensing territories were dying--and not just because he hired all their talent-- valiantly bought up smaller struggling companies in an attempt to SAVE the industry, and then graciously assimilated their stars into the WWF, creating jobs and prosperity!  This genius and foresight and let's face it, charity, made World Wrestling Federation a truly national, or dare I say, international phenomenon! In addition to creating a place where guys who all look the same and wrestle the same and are really tall and muscley could FINALLY be accepted and not persecuted! In July of 1984, Vince, purchased Georgia Championship Wrestling, and showed the great unwashed redneck masses what the future was indeed going to be like. But they ignorantly rejected his brilliant vision! Fools! In this case, he could have used his stroke as the smartest man in the world to have Kerwin Silfies create a device to reprogram the Atlanta audience to better understand his vision, but he instead benevolently sold his timeslot back to Ted Turner, who was so irritated that he himself could not own all of wrestling, that he started a near 20 year campaign to wreck Vince's life and run him out of business and probably kill him! But as time went on, Turner (and only Turner because no one else ran WCW) was proven to be no Vincent Kennedy McMahon, and as a result, after Vince let him win the Monday Night Wars for a couple of years to lull him into a false sense of security, Vince easily crushed him and forever dispatched of this "WCW" plague so the bulk of its wrestlers could be FREE of the albatross of different-styles and high flying wrestling and title opportunities, and instead get the OPPORTUNITY to appear on a few C-level TV shows here and there, lose, and then be set free into the Indy's, truly better for their time in WWE. All in all? Vince McMahon is freedom."
Steve Lombardi.
As for what really happened, well, simple; in an attempt to globalize the WWF brand, Vince was rapidly devouring wrestling territories like Stephanie handles a stack of hot-buttered pancakes, and in 1984, he came to terms on the purchase of Georgia Championship Wrestling from Jim Barnett and the Brisco's, Jack and Gerald; the latter of whom for the last twenty years hasn't left Vince's side. He also hasn't seen sunlight since, on the account that his head has been permanently planted firmly up Mr. MAC-Mahon's omnipresent asshole.  Anyway, up until this point, Ole Anderson, whom owned only 10% of the company, was booking things, but the consortium of the Briscos and Barnett wanted out, and thus they took Vince's deal. It was a shame. For all the flack Ole gets for being an unapologetic asshole, he sure knew how to book compelling TV. Georgia Championship Wrestling wasn't his creation, but he was partly responsible for revolutionizing how wrestling was being presented at the time. Whether it be through vignettes, interview segments, commentary (provided by the great Gordon Solie) twists, turns, swerves and cliffhangers, his WCW broadcasts saw a virtual cornucopia of top wrestling stars pass through, and anyone who was anyone in the industry wanted to be seen on Georgia's WCW because it had a healthy and loyal viewership that would only help that wrestler's appeal and presence elsewhere as a result . Unfortunately though, like everyone else in wrestling history in a position of power, he chose to book himself on top too much, and was often overexposed. Man, it's a good thing with all the video evidence WWE owns with wrestling companies crashing and burning as a result of owners booking everything around themselves, their useless family members and their respective spouses, that the McMahon family has at least learned from all those mistakes. Oh.
Anyway, along with the purchase of Georgia Championship Wrestling came a TV deal to replace its long-standing flagship "World Championship Wrestling" broadcast on WTBS, which of course was owned by Ted Turner. The idea, as I've always understood it was, with the purchase of Georgia Championship Wrestling, Vince and the World Wrestling Federation would eventually tape *exclusive* broadcasts from the very same WTBS studios, but for whatever reason, that never fully materialized. In fact, WWF was not long for TBS (although they weren't as short-lived as hyperbole would lead you to believe as it was nearly a year before they were axed), as usual viewers, expecting their regular NWA rasslin' fix were instead presented with a slew of glorified squash matches pieced together by the WWF from various TV Tapings and live events.  This did not sit well at all.  You see, Vince's idea, was to present a product rapidly different than what was then the TBS norm. That being larger-than-life characters, more absurd cartoon gimmickry and action emanating from large north-eastern arenas, to show it more as a grandiose sporting spectacle, as opposed to Georgia Championship Wrestling's more intimate in-studio presentation. Obviously, as time progressed, Vince had the right idea. However, ironically enough, when WWF began RAW in 1993 they chose a similar intimate setting much like Georgia Championship Wrestling to get their eventual flagship Monday Night Raw off the ground. IRONY. It's not just what iron tastes like.
That all said, the fans had grown quite accustomed to the WTBS Studios set-up, and balked when Vince and his motley crew of cartoon hosses rolled into town and fucked everything up. I mean, who wanted to see Big John Studd bear-hugging Swede Hanson for ten straight minutes when you can watch a 20 minute competitive match between Mr. Wrestling II and Bill Howard with 3000 consecutive dropkicks and side-headlocks? Wait. Is there a third option? Dear god.
But that still did not dissuade a throng of infuriated viewers from writing WTBS and demanding that they put World Championship Wrestling back on post haste. Can you blame them? After all, back in those days, TBS was slim-pickings as far as good content went. It was either Wrestling, Braves Baseball or 20 straight hours of fucking Andy Griffith. So, ya, if I was living in rural Georgia, I might be a wee bit pissed as well. And not just because I just found out Andy Griffith was not a documentary. True story.
Eventually, after ratings rapidly plummeted, and Vince never hosted regular tapings from the WTBS Studios, Vince and Ted had a falling out, and Vince eventually sold his timeslot to the Crockett's in early 1985, and moved on. "World Championship Wrestling" returned under the NWA banner, hosted by Tony Schiavone, and several years later in the late 80's, Turner would eventually out and out purchase the entire "NWA" flagship from the fledgling Crockett's and rechristen it WCW (although it did not become *officially* known as WCW until January of 1991). 
The rest as they say is history. Unless it's WWE telling it to you. If so, precede it with the word "revisionist". And don't forget to mention that he's a genius. You might just get to be on every WWE produced DVD EVER giving your two cents, despite never accomplishing anything of note in the industry.
So, yes, this takes us to the infamous broadcast at hand. Here's my official Review:
-We open up with the World Championship Wrestling intro. Oh dear god I love the 1980's.  OH MY, are we in OUTER SPACE? YES. A slew of skewed & filtered wrestling flurry takes place over a back drop of SPACE. Because you see, SPACE means FUTURE. And by proxy, WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING= FUTURE.  YES. They have completely commandeered the entire PLANET if this intro is any indication. Just ignore the part where they never leave a Georgia studio with 40 people. And also, I must say: SYNTHESIZERS FTW. This theme rules so much ass, umm, it should be called king of asses because that's how much ass it rules you see. Clearly. I'm telling you, if Ole Anderson himself is not sitting behind a curtain feverishly belting out this diddy on his Casio keyboard, well, color me disappointed.
We immediately open up with announcer Freddy Miller, as apparently Vince has bound and gagged Gordon Solie backstage until he stopped pronouncing the word suplex as "Suplay". It's just a shame Gordon never got to work in the WWF. Imagine how he'd call a Sean Waltman match... 
Gordon Solie: "Ay-Pac, with the suplay!"
King: "Gordon; it's X-Pac. And it's called a suplex."
Gordon Solie: "That's Ay-zactly what I said."
King: "Oh, dear god."
Gordon Solie: "King, this match is so personal, because Ay-Pac and Kane are Ay-tag team partners."
King: "I give up."
Gordon Solie: "Another suplay, ay-cellently ay-cecuted by Ay-Pac!
King: "...."
That said, Freddy welcomes us to  the show, and enthusiastically introduces Vince McMahon of the World Wrestling Federation! Hilariously, Vince McMahon is wearing the same EXACT gold black-checkered houndstooth jacket he would wear almost 25 years later on RAW. Which amuses me to no end. If the motherfucker can't GET A NEW FUCKING JACKET after a quarter of a century passing, what chance is there he'll ever change how he views wrestling. Vince then introduces himself and says tonight, we will see some of very top WRESTLERS~! of the World Wrestling Federation in action. But mostly people you don't care about. Ok, he didn't say that. But then again, he didn't need to.
(C) Adrian Adonis & Dick Murdoch vs. Special Delivery Jones and Nick DeCarlo: NON-TITLE.
Holy shit, not THE Nick DeCarlo! Folks, you're in for a real treat tonight! Ahem.
Adrian & Dick are your WWF tag team champions here, and this is at the point where Adrian had not yet dropped Dick in favor of actual dick, and became the homosexual on-screen character known as Adorable Adrian Adonis. It's true. And rumors persist that this was all on the account that Adrian ballooned up in weight so much that Vince wanted to punish him as a result. Man. That's just cruel. Who but Vince could see a latent homosexual hiding beneath the visual of a pantsless, leather covered man with a little motorcycle hat? Oh, that's right, everybody. Holy shit. All Adrian and Murdoch needed was a cop, an army guy, an Indian and a construction worker and they'd have a kick ass band going here.
Anyway, this is not for the WWF Tag team titles, obviously. So Nick DeCarlo's plight to finally capture the gold, win a match, be relevant, or even be heard from ever again are on the back burner. How sad. Even sadder though is that Special Delivery Jones  (whom we never found out what the Special Delivery was, but hey, he is from the Caribbean, so it's not too hard to guess) never thought to ever choose a better Tag team partner in all his exploits. Or at least one that doesn't know how many lights there are on every ceiling in any every arena in the country. Apparently, unlike his horrible ring-shirts, he's not too bright. It's no wonder he just stood in the corner at Wrestlemania and let Bundy crush him. "Hey, mon, I guess I could move, but hey, what's de worse dat could hapoon? BLARRGGGHHH".
As for the match, well, it was a squash. Or whatever other large vegetable (not Droz) you want to use. Murdoch and Adonis finish DeCarlo (You don't say!) with a pretty cool tandem back suplex/ top rope clothesline. It was kind of like a Doomsday Device. And by that, I mean of the Road Warrior-ilk, and not an actual nuclear device. Although, I don't know what military wouldn't surrender immediately at the prospect of being bombarded by flying homosexuals. Weapons of Ass Destruction? Maybe.
-Mean Gene Okerlund interviews George "The Animal" Steele and his manager, Mr. Fuji. Holy shit, when your gimmick is one that can only speak broken English, grunt, and make little sense, is having MR. FUCKING FUJI as your spokesperson really the best way to hide these weaknesses? Man, that'd be like Rosie O'Donnell asking Cameron Manheim to stand next to her to make her look more slender and appealing...
- Another World Championship Wrestling commercial bumper for those just tuning in and slowly becoming disillusioned!
Jesse "The Body" Ventura vs.  Chris Curtis.
Chris Curtis of course comes from a long-line of completely forgettable jobbers. The fact no one knows or remembers who he is testament to this skill of being completely uninteresting and not memorable. They can't TEACH you that. You either have it or you don't. What a professional.
Surprisingly enough, Gorilla Monsoon (who's on commentary) resists the urge to label this "a Main Event anywhere in the entire country!" as even he knows better. Ventura stalls early, which is akin in this case for us the viewers, to someone stopping to read a few chapters in a long book before going right back to torturing you. Ah, I kid Jesse, who was and shall always remain one of my all-time favorites. But come on, stalling in a jobber squash? That's just mean.
The highlight of the match, hilariously enough, is an arena marquee in the background that lets us know that some idiot left his red Dodge Charger's lights on. Seriously. No one will ever remember Chris Curtis, but that douchebag, his car and his fucking license plate number are forever burned into the annals of time. That's just heart-warming. Oh ya, Jesse wins with his over-the-shoulder backbreaker submission known as the Body Vice. Oh poor Chris Curtis. He was like THIS close.
-We throw back to Mean Gene Okerlund standing by with B. Brian Blair and his PORN MUSTACHE~! Did I mention yet that I love the 1980's? It's true. Now-a-days, you can't walk around with a pussy tickler like that lest you be prepared to unload your full bounty in the face of an aspiring starlet. Anyway, B. Brian, several years away from forever earning Iron Sheik's disdain and burning urge to break his back and sodomize him, in that order, puts over his current tag team combination with SPIKE HUBER. What, you don't remember ol' Spike Huber? Well, maybe that's because you could count all his WWF accomplishments on exactly zero fingers. B. Brian wouldn't find any real success in the WWF until Jim Brunzell made the jump over from the AWA and they put on some little bumblebee underoos.
We now jump to Russian wrestler #3654: ALEXIS SMIRNOFF. He's bad because he hates America, you see. Huh. If there was one thing the wrestling business has never lacked, it's "Doctors", "Executioners" and EVIL RUSSIANS. Hell, they even all had the SAME EXACT haircuts and goatees! I don't know why somewhere along the line "Russian" wrestlers all felt the best way to denounce capitalism was to all shave their heads. Apparently HAIR=FREEDOM. I'll have to go to a barber sometime and test that theory out.
Sean Carless: "I hate free speech, democracy and organized religion."
Barber: "Ah, so you want the Evil Russian? Coming right up."
Anyway, Smirnoff cuts a promo. Technically. In Soviet Russia, shitty generic promo give you. This is only tolerable because he keeps hilariously toggling through a bunch of different accents accidentally, finally settling on what appears to be some sort of hybrid Texan. Ah, yes, he's a proud native of Dallas Lithuania! My father's from there!
-An ad for the WWF Magazine is advertised. Stories on Sgt. Slaughter, Hulk Hogan hanging out with Johnny Carson and Brooke Shields monobrow, and how, and I quote, "Tito Santana made a young boy's dream come true!" The fact Tito is shirtless and sans pants here makes me terrified to ask just how he accomplished that.
-WCW bumper again! Stay tuned! More not anyone you know or care about coming up next!
Iron Sheik vs. Ron Hutchinson
Ah yes, it's the sullying of assholes after back-breaking and camel clutching versus the guy who trains wrestlers out of Sully's Gym in Toronto. Fun Fact: Ron is actually the man who trained Edge, Christian, Trish Stratus and Gail Kim for wrestling. Funner Fact: He looks just like my 9th grade biology teacher. Not-so fun-fact: I think I may have cancer. One last fun fact: I made up the cancer thing.
Anyway, announcers put over Sheiky's credentials. He's a former WWF Champion until losing it to the INCREDIBLE Hulk Hogan as he's called. Man, somewhere Stan Lee is wondering what the fuck is going on there. 'Nuff said.  All I know is, if I was the WWF, I'd have furthered the flagrant stealing of The Hulk persona by having a diminutive man called "Bruce Bollea" start all of Hulk's matches and then slip out when "Bruce" gets angry. "You don't want to see me angry, bruther."
As for the match, Sheiky hits a gut-wrench suplex. kicks him with pointy loaded boot and finishes with the camel clutch. The condition of Ron's spine and rectum is entirely left to speculation, however.
Big John Studd vs. Bobo Brazil.
Well, it's black Saturday, so why not feature an African-American in your main event? You know, because he's black, and it's called black Sat-- forget it. We're informed by Vince that Bobo is trying to get back on the comeback trail. If his goal was to be ploddingly slow, old and only be able to headbutt, well I'd say he's on that trail.  Anyway, some of you younger fans might be wondering who Bobo Brazil was. And perhaps why he'd choose a moniker that sounded like a clown bikini wax. Well, I'll tell you. He was one of, if not the most popular black professional wrestlers of all time; and definitely one of the most successful, too, having held the U.S. Title about 9 times and even the NWA World title (unofficially) in 1962. He was also the first wrestler to really end segregation in wrestling. Well, unless you're talking about actual in-ring talent. He still can't drink at the Ring General's drinking fountain I'm told. (and not just because he's dead. Although that's probably the main reason).
All kidding aside, by the time this match happened, Bobo was 60 years old and really showed it at times. Not that John Studd was a speedster out there, mind you. Quite the opposite, in fact. Seriously, you could probably watch this match on fast forward, and still make out both men in glaring clarity. These two guys were wrestling in fucking Matrix bullet-time for about 10 minutes straight, including an especially excruciating bear hug spot. Those of you who hate Randy Orton's bottomless pit of chinlocks should feel PRIVILEGED that you didn't live through the bear hug era. Because at least Randy thrashes around and moves a bit. Hoss wrestling in the 80's was basically applying one hold, and then pressing pause on your remote for a half hour.
Anyway, eventually, Bobo rallies, hits his patented head-butt but goes to drop the leg, but Studd rolls clear. Apparently no one told Bobo that only one disturbingly brown man is allowed to drop a leg here, bruther. (orange would come later, dude.). Studd then postures and drops the most telegraphed elbow in history for the pin. It was like watching an animated .gif not load properly on a dial-up computer.
-WWF Magazine Ad airs again! Sgt. Slaughter goes to Washington D.C.! Andre the Giant starts his own Restaurant! Just don't ask to see the wine list because he drank it all! Or something! I don't know. I'm fucking tired.
-We go back to the studios where Vince tells us that next week we'll see the Incredible Hulk Hogan~! Never has 300 pounds looked so good on a 6'8" frame says Vince, while likely openly masturbating below the screen cut-off. Dear god.  And what a claim to make. What, has he personally held a contest  to determine which 6'8" dude looks the best at 300 pounds? Nah. That'd just be absurd. As if WWE would have ever stage a pointless contest filled entirely with only aesthetically attractive people with no other real talents. Wait. Never mind.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Well, that was pretty brutal. And I never had any real emotional investment at the time in Georgia Championship Wrestling (it'd be a year before I really got into wrestling fanatically) so I can only imagine how they must have felt. It really wasn't so much bad, as it was just so uninteresting. Georgia fans were used to competitive marquee matches and Vince and company didn't even make an effort to try a woo (Woooooooooo!) potential viewers away from Flair and the gang. I'd have personally carted out big matches and big stars. There was no Andre, Hogan, or even Tito Santana, etc. Just a slew of mid-card heels in squash matches, and a main event today that'd be the equivalent of having Mark Henry wrestle a 60 year old man who's not virile and awesome like Vince McMahon. As if.  So, can I be on a DVD now?
So, ya. That was a tiny bit of history. It'd be another 17 years before Vince would show up on Turner TV. But thankfully, this time, it worked out better and didn't destroy the business by eliminating competition and giving Vince a complete monopoly and opportunity to push people he wants without anyone ever forcing him to change his stubborn vision. This may also be a bit of that revisionist history I was telling you about. Maybe.

I’m Sean.

  Sean Carless is a man of many hats. And he wears those hats to cover an ever-increasing bald spot. Sean's various scribblings have been read at Live Audio Wrestling , 411 Mania, Wrestlecrap, Honky Tonk Man.com, The Toronto Star.com, and Lethal Wrestling. He has also cured AIDS.

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November 2006


by Sean Carless

With Christmas just around the corner, what better way to spend your few remaining dollars (left over after the seemingly infinite line-up of fucking pay-per-views ) then on the following "quality WWE merchandise!" After all, if they don't move this stuff, and fast, stockholders just might get time to figure out what "plummeting domestic buyrates" means!... and well, I don't think they need to tell you what that means! (Seriously. They're not telling you. Everything is fine! Ahem.).