By Sean Carless
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...
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."
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.
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.
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
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...
Solie: "Ay-Pac, with the suplay!"
"Gordon; it's X-Pac. And it's called a suplex."
Solie: "That's Ay-zactly what I said."
"Oh, dear god."
Solie: "King, this match is so personal, because Ay-Pac and Kane are Ay-tag team partners."
"I give up."
Solie: "Another suplay, ay-cellently ay-cecuted by Ay-Pac!
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.
Carless: "I hate free speech, democracy and organized religion."
"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
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.
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.
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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