When Turner Broadcasting CEO Jamie Kellner cancelled WCW programming on TBS, it spelt the end for WCW as a whole. As he watched WCW Thunder on March 21st 2001, the last wrestling program to air on TBS, John Molinaro couldn’t help but reflect on the significance of such a loss. After all, wrestling had been a staple on TBS since 1972.
Last week, John Molinaro wrote about the the end of an era on TBS in a special three part series, recalling his favourite memories on the SuperStation. When the dust cleared, John asked SLAM! Wrestling readers to send him their favourite TBS wrestling moments. Here are some samples of the responses John received.
April 3:End of an era on TBS
Hi John, I really enjoyed your three-part series on the history of wrestling on TBS. Some very good stuff and very good memories. It sure doesn’t seem like that long ago when Gordon Solie was giving us anatomy lessons (“he’s applying pressure to the pre-frontal lobes”) while the ring had erupted into a “pier six brawl.” All the while Ric was telling his opponent that it was “time to go to school!” Those truly were the days.
Mike Mooneyham, Charleston Post and Courier
Great story. Really brought back some wonderful memories.
Bill Apter, Editor WOW
One of my favourite wrestling skits of the past was when Mr. Wrestling #1 unmasked after losing a mask match to Mr. Wrestling #2. I wonder if #2 would have unmasked if he lost the match? It seems kind of sad that #2 won’t unmask even in retirement. I understand that he was not allowed admittance to the White House because he refused to unmask. I believe that this is taking things too far. I also enjoyed watching Abdullah the Butcher — a man that Gordon Solie used to call “impervious to pain.” Watching matches between Ole Anderson and Stan “The Lariat” Hansen were real exciting in the past. Also, watching the Anderson brothers, Ole and Gene, tie up opponents with a chicken wing submission hold was more like real wrestling than what we see today on television. I don’t know if beating opponents over the head with a trash can is really wrestling. Other wrestlers that I enjoyed in the past were Dick Slater, Greg Valentine, Jack and Jerry Brisco, and many others including Harley Race. Thanks for your article on wrestling matches of the past.
This was the time when the Funk-Flair were just escalating. Terry Funk had one of the Moody brothers impersonating Ric Flair. For about 3 minutes, Terry Funk tried to get the impersonator to “Wooo” like Ric Flair. The impersonator only said, “Waaa..”. Then Terry Funk beat the crap out of him. It was hilarious! One of the best storylines for this feud. I am still looking for that particular video.
William C. Campero
In response to you request that we send you our favourite TBS Wrestling moments – here’s mine.
Flair returns from “surgery” after getting his face slammed in that steel cage door, when Hennig turned on the Horsemen. He proceeds to give a phenomenally memorable interview, but what stuck in my mind most of all, was the following statement, perfectly true, totally useless and, well, just huuuuge on the feel-good factor:
(in response to some question from Mean Gene) “… This is WCW, an, oh God, Hulk Hogan, I am the Nature Boy. Whooo!”
Yep, he was, is and always will be the Man.
Lots of wonderful memories in your WCW/TBS piece. Right now I’m still pissed of at Bischoff/Russo/Siegel/Sullivan/Nash etc. for killing off this great wrestling institution. Oh well, let’s hope Shane McMahon will build WCW back to its former greatness. (Sounds pretty naive, eh?)
Just wanted to drop a quick word to say I loved your article on Georgia Wrestling. I grew up watching matches from that era on Saturday afternoons on Maple Leaf Wrestling. Those were the good old days of real wrestling and not circus shows. I wish we could still have that type of wrestling on TV now. Those old timers could really show today’s superstars what wrestling is all about.
Hi my name’s Martin Sandhu and I live in Nottingham, England! I just read your article and I just wanted to say I enjoyed it very much and it’s the first time I have really read about the foundation of this business! Keep up the good work and I look forward to reading more of your articles!
You did an excellent job remembering wrestling on TBS. My favorite moments are Flair vs. Steamboat and Flair pulling a young Sting up to the main event. But you covered all of that. I just wanted to say thanks.
Thank you for sharing your wrestling memories on TBS. I have been watching WCW, WWF, and ECW for only two years so I needed some catching up to do.
What about Flair coming to an interview after returning from a Hawaiian vacation, handing Tony Schiavone a lei, and telling him to enjoy it because it was the only ‘lei’ he’d ever get 🙂
Granted, I may not have had the memory, but when the cable operators started offering TBS as part of their “super channel” packages, my parents got it as they deemed it was better value to get all the pay channels than it was for the entire family to go to the movies once a month and pay for popcorn for each of us. Hence, I was exposed to this new found wrestling.
After years of crappy WWF squash matches on Saturday afternoons, I now had one of the true hidden gems on pay TV: World Championship Wrestling. It was there where I was introduced to the likes of Big Van Vader, who was amazing in my eyes, and Cactus Jack, who truly was a nutjob and a fresh-faced Dustin Rhodes (who had no charisma then). However, the biggest breakthrough in new found wrestling talent was this masked Japanese wrestler named Jushin “Thunder” Liger. I was mesmerized by his poise, grace and incredible athletic abilities. To me, HE was WCW.
I watched with great anticipation to see a Liger match. I was hooked. The WWF didn’t have Liger, so why in the heck should I bother with this Saturday Afternoon crap. Besides, the fact that it was on during prime time was enough to make it seem more “sophisticated” to watch it at night. I even went as far to purchase the WCW Egg Dome pay per view (which is somewhere on tape… somewhere) in which I was introduced to another man who had the best intro to the ring ever during said PPV. The Great Muta had all the pageantry of a cultural icon and a national hero.
Without TBS, none of that would be possible.
Then Thunder became a staple in my regular viewing habits. I could always count on WCW to give me the lightweights. The list I’m about to run off will no doubt be no different than any of the other respondees to your article (which, was very well written) however, this was the stage which Chris Jericho truly stood out, Eddie Guerrero, Dean-o Machine-o, Chavo Jr. (and Pepe… where have you gone… damn you Norman Smiley!!!). My personal favorite “mark-out” moment on Thunder had to be when Goldberg destroyed the Flock and won the US title. I still get chills thinking about that match. Goldberg was on the rise and the way he destroyed his opponents was incredible. Though I was a fan of Raven, the brilliance of that match… on the “B” show no less, was something to behold.
As we all well know, Thunder slipped further and further down the pole in terms of quality, however, it was the show that I could guarantee seeing other great cruiserweight battles like Psychosis, Juvi, Kidman, Rey Jr. My personal favourite out of the new breed was a newcomer by the name of Blitzkreig. It was like getting excited for MAYBE seeing a Liger match, I was getting the goosebumps knowing that I MIGHT see a Blitzkreig match. Though his stint was short, I still anticipate the day when he’s brought back into the fold of the “Big 2” and I can sleep satisfied, knowing that the future of Cruiserweightdom (yup, made that one up) is in good hands.
There are so many other memories that stand out, but it was exposure to “new” talent (to me anyways) that will always make me appreciative of TBS for WCW. And for that, I am eternally grateful.
I really enjoyed your 3-part article on wrestling on TBS. I got my start on Mid-Atlantic Championship wrestling when I was a kid. It came on at 6:30 on Saturday nights. This was before Cable T.V. I remember one of Ric Flair’s earliest matches against Black Jack Mulligan. It was great. My fondest moments include:
1) The time Flair was being interviewed while accompanied by two babes bragging about his latest attack of Ricky Steamboat. Steamboat goes running in, slaps Flair (knocking off his sunglasses). He then dragged him into the ring where he proceeded to rip all of his clothes off.
2) When Flair became a good guy and heckled Baron Von Raschke with chants of “bald headed geek” which the audience picked up on immediately. Boy was Baron mad.
3) The time when Magnum TA showed Baby Doll “what a real man was like”. He grabbed her and kissed her. David Crockett kept yelling “she likes it, she likes it”. Of course Tully Blanchard came running in and a fight ensued.
Anyway, these are just a couple. Thanks again for the great articles.
I loved every week when Bobby Eaton would grab whichever poor jobber he was wrestling that night, look for the camera, get the jobber in a choke hold and make the guy say hello to his mother as he slapped him in the face … great stuff … or how he had to move the lights over the ring before he hit his top rope leg drop so he wouldn’t bang his head on them … another great interview was Dusty cutting a promo about he identified and loved the little people … him being a plumbers son … Flair came out and with tears in his eyes and said he liked helping the little people too … he gives them 10 bucks to shine his shoes … wwwhhhooooo … too funny.
P. J. Grimes III
- Apr. 3, 2001: End of an era on TBS: Solie, Georgia and ‘Black Saturday’
- Apr. 4, 2001: End of an era on TBS: Crockett, Flair and ‘The Clashes’
- Apr. 5, 2001: End of an era on TBS: Fond memories of the SuperStation