Thursday, June 9, 2011

Atlanta Makes #3 on Wrestling Hotspots

In the tour of wrestling hot spots is the wonderful city of Atlanta, GA. The home of Coca Cola, UPS and CNN is also the home to great professional wrestling history. Places like the the Omni and Georgia Dome are forever embedded in our mind as places where legendary matches have happened. Atlanta was and still is one of the country's great wrestling cities. Promotions such as Platinum Championship Wrestling and NWA Anarchy are thriving promotions in the area that are still bringing in crowds.

Fans of good old WTBS channel 17 remember Georgia Championship Wrestling as staple of 1970's and 80's wrestling. A NWA territory that was based out of Atlanta but ran shows throughout the entire state of Georgia. The TV show, hosted by the great Gordon Solie was recorded in one of WTBS' studios at 1050 Techwood Drive, in midtown Atlanta. When the Superstation went on satellite in 1976, making the channel available to cable systems all across the United States, became the first NWA promotion to be broadcast nationally. The company had big time wrestlers like Ole Anderson, Stan Hansen and Killer Karl Kox.

In the early to mid 1980's the promotion was owned by a group that included Jack and Jerry Brisco and Ole Anderson. In 1984 the Brisco brothers sold their stake in GCW to a promoter named Vince McMahon for 900,000 dollars and guaranteed jobs with the WWF. This move forever changed the landscape of professional wrestling.

July 14, 1984 is now known as Black Saturday in wrestling circles. Georgia Championship Wrestling ceased to exist when Vince McMahon bought the promotion and its TV time slot for his then-nationally expanding WWF.

You have to love WCW
The most famous promotion to ever run in the Atlanta area would have to World Championship Wrestling. WCW stands as the only promotion to ever compete toe to toe with the WWE.

Birthed out of Jim Crockett Promotions, WCW was a NWA terroritory before branching out as their own brand. Their run is mostly identified from 1985 until 2001 when purchased by the WWE. Running primarily out of Atlanta after 1988 when purchased by cable television mogul Ted Turner. Having some of the biggest names ever in wrestling such as the Road Warriors, The Four Horsemen and Dusty Rhodes, they built a juggernaut that was very hard to stop.

The most famous name probably associated with this era would have to be the Nature Boy Ric Flair (#2 on my list of all time greats). Flair was the last traveling NWA World Champion that defended the belt in different territories.

Ric Flair Promo

Putting on large pay per view events that could only be rivaled WWE. The birth ideas like Starrcade, The Great American Bash and Halloween Havoc became staples in the wrestling business.

On September 4th, 1995 one the biggest moves ever in the wrestling landscape was made. Under the leadership of Eric Bischoff, WCW launched Monday Night Nitro to rival the WWE's Monday Night Raw. This is what started what is known in the wrestling world as the Monday Night Wars.

With bankroll of Ted Turner the company was able to acquire some of the top names in professional wrestling like Macho Man Randy Savage, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash. Also they brought in non in ring legends like Mean Gene Oakerland and Bobby The Brain Heenan. Combing this talent with names like Sting, Harlem Heat and The Steiner Brothers.

The most famous name that they brought in was the biggest name ever in wrestling. Bringing Hulk Hogan was the icing on the cake that made WCW a major power player on a national scale.

The Day That Changed Wrestling

Nitro had a very successful run in the late 1990's. Aside from bringing in major names they introduced the Cruiserweight division that feature some of the best pure wrestlers in the world. Bischoff also employed some tactics that was frowned upon in the wrestling business like, at the opening of Nitro broadcasts giving away the results of Raw matches that were prerecorded.

WCW made their biggest splash of the era by introducing the NWO. The original members being Scott Hall, Kevin Nash and Hulk Hogan. What shook the wrestling landscape was the heel turn of Hulk Hogan. While both shows posted strong ratings WCW went on a long winning streak that lasted over 80 weeks over WWE.

As the company entered the new millennium WCW began to see a decline in their ratings and became not as profitable as once before.

Great Wrestlers from WCW/ Mid Atlantic Wrestling
Ricky The Dragon Steamboat
The Fabulous Freebirds
Rock N Roll Express
Midnight Express
Big Van Vader
Ron Simmons

Check Out Legends FanFest
August 4-7, 2011 - Atlanta's Airport Marriott Hotel

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Ric Flair and The 4 Horsemen

Ric Flair and The 4 Horsemen