IWCCW - Episode #1
by Scrooge McSuck
- Welcome to Part 1 of my IWCCW Mini-Series (consisting of, let's say, 4 parts), sitting through random episodes of their television show (which apparently doesn't even have a name), and hoping we'll get something at least mildly entertaining to watch and write about. I must apologize in advance that I do not have broadcast dates for any of these shows. I don't think it would matter much anyway, as we'll find out in the next paragraph of my introduction...
For those unfamiliar, the IWCCW dates back to the Mid 80's, when it went by the name of ICW (International Championship Wrestling), ran by Angelo Savoldi, then later his sons, Mario, Tom, and Joseph, the latter of the three who would be featured quite prominently throughout the promotions history. By the early 90's, the Savoldi Family and Kevin Von Erich reached an agreement that allowed the ICW to legally use the World Class name, and thus was rebranded IWCCW. There was meant to be a cross-promotion angle around Von Erich that would merge WCCW and ICW formally, but plans fell through, and the name change occured anyway, without much explanation.
Despite being a small promotion that worked shows exclusively in the Northeast, mostly the New England area, but also New York (including stops near my hometown of Monticello) and Pennsylvania, the IWCCW managed to net a television deal that would put IWCCW in syndication. I would like to say I remember watching these shows every day, but can't confirm this as the last time an episode broadcasted on my cable provider would be around the Summer of 1994. From what I do remember, most of the matches weren't very competetive, which is a child's way of saying "plenty of squash matches." The IWCCW was mostly unknowns, but occasional had former WWF and WCW performers show up to really confuse everyone about their production problems.
This leads to my final point before we get to the action: The editing and production of these broadcasts lead to the most confusing, nonsensical wrestling programs ever put to broadcast. Yes, we make fun of how bad WCW was towards the end with continuity, but they never spliced in old matches over and over again to fill the broadcast. Even small promotions like Herb Abrams UWF, despite taping very few dates, made sure to broadcast everything in a sensible manner. IWCCW, on the other hand, not only jumbled their footage around and repeatedly aired the same matches, but also owned other defunct promotions television footage, and would also splice that into their broadcasts! Talk about confusing when you're a young'un who doesn't know any better... well, this intro got a little too long, so let's dive right into International World Class Championship Wrestling... from the Northeast!
- Brian Webster welcomes us to the show from the IWCCW Control Center. He doesn't tell us anything specific, so you know these are just generic introductions that can be spliced in with anything they want. The only thing worth noting about this is he tries his best to say IWCCW as much as possible in the span of about 30-seconds.
- Brian Webster, Mike Mittman, and Bob Smith from Pro Wrestling Illustrated will be calling all the action, until they start splicing in matches from different tapings. While the threesome does most of the show, there's other times when one is absent, and there's another, even more unbarable person filling in for them without so much of a mention to who it is.
The Tasmaniacs (w/ "Dirty Deeds" Darren White) vs. Eric Fox & Damian Stone:
Well, we know one of them went on to be Taz(z), working under the name of Noga at this point. His partner, Joe Chetti (relation to Chris Chetti?) is Mako (not to be confused by the late actor). Apparently their manager controls them with a mysterious crystal. Could be worse, could be a giant key or an urn. Noga starts with Fox, and immediately takes him over with a vicious release German Suplex. Noga no-sells a clothesline and throws him over again, this time with a T-Bone. Whip to the ropes and he takes Fox over with a sloppy hip toss. He tags out to Mako via headbutt, and in comes Stone. Mako with an arm drag, followed by a pair of belly-to-belly suplexes. The Tasmaniacs with a double clothesline, and Noga follows with a clumsy powerslam. Whoever is on commentary sounds like he suffers from Xenophobe, and insists what we're seeing isn't wrestling, despite using almost nothing but wrestling moves. Fox tags in and takes a fireman carry slam. Mako with a crescent kick, Noga a belly-to-back suplex, and an early version of the Tazmission finishes at 2:14. Impressive squash, although the work of Noga (ECW's Taz) could use a little work in not killing people.
Dr. Johnny Wildside (w/ Nurse Vanessa Feelgood) vs. El Diablo:
To the surprise of Nobody, Wildside is nobody of recognition, just one of the countless people who worked on the Independent Circuit and never found their 15-minutes of fame at one of the major promotions. Ditto for his valet, who is of no relation to Dr. Feelgood from the UWF. El Diablo is a generic masked scrub, who is somehow introduced as the Mexican Heavyweight Champion. I wonder if he ever lost the belt to El Gran Luchador of WWE fame. Lots of stalling from the "good doctor" while his nurse gives him an examination... I mean that literally. She spends several minutes checking his pulse and heart rate. Suddenly, Wildside sneaks up on El Diablo, slaps on a sleeper hold, and that's all at 1:07. Talk about a lame squash match. Mike Mittman tries to get a post-match Interview, but Nurse Vanessa blows him off and says he can only speak with her if he wants any answers.
-Write to I.W.C.C.W. at PO Box 6314, Parsippany, NY 07054, or call 201-887-2698 to book them for charity events! I wonder if anyone was ever dumb enough to book the promotion to raise money that was spent on booking them in the first place. I can't imagine Tony Atlas working for any less than $100 at this point.
Mondo Kleen vs. Dusty Wolfe:
Fans longing for some WWF Wrestling Challenge, circa December 1992, look no further! Mondo Kleen wound up being one of the few "stars" of the IWCCW to find some fame in the WWF, where he was repackaged as Damien Demento. Same look, same gimmick, different name. Even in 1992, the WWF had a hard on for creating their own names. Instead of being billed from "The Outer Reaches of Your Mind", he's instead introduced from "the Mountain of Doom and Land of Shadows." Yeah, I couldn't make that up, either. He's also using the main theme from The Excorcist as his entrance music. Kleen starts with a knee to the midsection, sends Wolfe to the corner, and grabs a headlock. Wolfe offers a few punches before being taken over with a snapmare. Wolfe ducks a clothesline, throws some more rights, and manages to connect with a dropkick! Kleen kills the comeback with choking, followed by more choking. Whip to the ropes and Kleen with a diving shoulder tackle. Kleen with a snapmare and leg drop, then grabs a Chinlock? You're pacing the match to go to the finish and suddenly hit a rest hold? Yeck. Kleen drags it on for another minute or so, connects with a neck breaker, and drops a knee across the chest for the three count at 4:33. For those fearing the WWF stripped him of his wrestling abilities, don't fear: He sucked here, too.
The Party Animals vs. The Drifters:
In an example of horrible production and lack of effort, neither team has their members identified, and even the commentary team just insists on calling them "#1 and #2". And people complain about Michael Cole ignoring which Uso Brother is which. Anyway, the Drifters attack from behind, and throw the Party Animals around like bags of trash. The Drifters toss Pastey Chest to the floor, and lay out Blonde Mullet with a double clothesline. Drifer Lumberjack with a big boot, followed by an elbow and leg drop. Drifter Biker tags in and crushes Blonde Mullet in the corner. Pastey Chest tags in and takes a beating from Drifter Biker, including a standing dropkick. Not too bad from an overweight guy standing 6'7". The squashing continues until they finish off Blonde Mullet with a double team gutwrench suplex/double axehandle smash at 3:31. Decent squash, but the lack of identification shows how much care and effort was put behind this one.
- Bill Apter from Pro Wrestling Illustrated is standing by for a PWI Conference with everyones lovable oaf, Curley Moe. For those who need a description, he's a morbidly obese (I'm talking 500 pounds) man doing a pretty generic impression of Curly of the Three Stooges. I'm sorry, I had to point that out just incase it wasn't obvious enough. We kick off the interview with this gem: Apter: "What's your favorite entree'?" Moe: Andre the Giant." The comedy remains non-existant, but Curley Moe does whip out a stuffed monkey doll and calls it Tony Atlas... it's still not as offensive as Saba Simba.
- If seeing the Pro Wrestling Illustrated logo for 5-minutes in the last segment didn't work on you, then here's an advertisement for Pro Wrestling Illustrated! Call the Hotline at 1-900-420-6550 ($1.49 per minute!). Rotary phones are OK! They don't even bother to say "ask your parents permission before calling." Then Midget World Champion Little Louie tells us to watch IWCCW, set to Gary Glitter's "Rock N Roll Part 2" (a.k.a the Hey Song).
Tommy Dreamer & Bulldog Bowser vs. Brooklyn Brawler & Maniac Jimmy Dio:
This is our Main Event? When the only name at the time is WWF Jobber the Brooklyn Brawler, you've got problems... which begs to ask, how did they get away with using WWF performers? Was there some kind of hush-hush working relationship, or did the WWF allow their Superstars freedom to work other shows as long as it wasn't WCW? The people must know! We all know Tommy Dreamer, but here he's clean cut, in good shape, and wearing regular tights. Here it's a decent look, but of course when he went to ECW, it didn't quite work out as well. No idea who Bowser and Dio (HOLY DIVER!) is.
Dreamer and Brawler start. Lockup, and Brawler shoves him down. He uses the hair for leverage a couple of times until Dreamer returns the favor aends him into the corner with a hip toss. Dreamer with an arm drag and slam as we take a break. Dio tags in, gets taken over with arm drags, and has the arm worked over by Dreamer and Bowser. The Brawler tags in and puts a pounding on Bowser. Dio tags in and comes off the ropes with a non-elevated splash for a two count. Brawler with a clothesline, sending Bowser to the floor. Back in the ring, Bowser surprises Dio with a clothesline and tags out to Dreamer. He unloads on Dio, connects with a swinging neck breaker, and comes off the top for a splash. Heck breaks loose, and Bowser plants Dio with a DDT. Suddenly, Chris Candido shows up, comes off the top with a leg drop, and rolls Dio on top of Bowser for the thre count at 7:30. Not much to say about this at all. The heels did very little, with the heat segment on the babyface being poorly done, and the hot tag coming without much build. The only highlight is looking back and watching Candido and Dreamer starting their careers.
- We're almost ouf of time, so let's throw it to Bill Apter for a Live Edition of the PWI Press Conference! He introduces us to the Honkytonk Man, who claims to be the Greatest Intercontinental Champion of all-time! Not everyone agrees with the claim, such as "Ravishing" Rick Rude, who shows up and wants a fight because he think he's the greatest Champion there ever was... so fans, it's up to you... Who is the Greatest? Who had the Most Devastating Neck Breaker (who cares)? Send your votes to "Who", P.O. Box 6314 Parsippany, NJ, 07054! I didn't know Jim Neidhart had a P.O Box out in Jersey. Damn WWF said he was from Reno, NV!
Seriously, though, the Rick Rude/Honkytonk Man stuff is some of the more infamous material from the latter years of ICW/IWCCW. Popular rumor is that there was a couple of these types of segments taped during the same show, and later used over and over again for years. This I can confirm, as I was watching this stuff in the Spring of 1994, when Rude was still an active performer in WCW, and Honkytonk Man... well, who knows. He didn't show up in WCW until the Summer. However, there's another rumor that there never was a match between the two and the whole thing was just a horrible con thanks to editing in the same segment over and over spanning years of television broadcasts. This is false, as I for the life of me remember recording a portion of the match on one of my old WWF compilations (the tape that spanned the post-WrestleMania X/pre-KOTR '94 build up.) Unfortunately the tape wasn't salvagable for transfer to DVD, and no one has ever uploaded such material online.
Final Thoughts: I should rename this edition the "Finally, The Final Thoughts" as I've gone on some extensively long rants and tidbits that I normally wouldn't. I promise in the future installments of the IWCCW series, it won't be this long. Common complaint from the wrestling: It was either really bad or really sloppy, with the latter mostly being due to how green some of the workers were. Watching it "as is" in the early 90's, there's not a whole lot here to go out of your way to see, even if it was broadcasted daily. However, looking back, you've got future "stars" in Taz, Tommy Dreamer, and Chris Candido on hand, as well as (at the time) former WWF starts Rick Rude and the Honkytonk Man. Shows from small promotions like this are never going to get recommended for quality, but for a time capsule sort of thing, it's always fun to look back at what was and see where it all went from there.
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