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  #1  
Old 05-13-2018, 02:49 PM
M.V.W. M.V.W. is offline
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Default The CWC Years

I've been on a big history kick and taken a strong interest in the Capitol Wrestling Corporation (CWC) years of WWE in the last year. The period doesn't get much coverage despite being a significant chunk of WWE's history. Hell, Toots Mondt was just acknowledged last year in the Legacy Wing of the WWE HOF. Spanning from 1952 when Jess McMahon (Vince Jr.'s grandfather) and Toots Mondt founded the company in DC to 1963 when the Thesz-Rogers NWA Title dispute led Vince Sr. and Mondt to leave the NWA and form the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF) it boasts quite a few notables such as Antonino Rocca, Buddy Rogers, Dr. Jerry Graham, Bobo Brazil, Johnny Valentine and Karl Von Hess. At one point tag team wrestling dominated the territory and headlined w/ teams such as The Fabulous Kangaroos, Antonino Rocca & Miguel Pérez, Tolos Brothers, Don Curtis & Mark Lewin and The Graham Brothers. What do you guys know about this period?
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Old 05-14-2018, 10:48 AM
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I don't know near as much as I should.

I've never watched much WWF wrestling and guess that bias has kept me from going back further and really getting into the older stuff. Recently I have read a few things from this period, though, and those along with this thread are making me think it's something I should take a better look at. I'm a fan of some of those the OP mentioned-Brazil, Valentine and of course Rogers who is on the short list of all-time greats-but mostly for their work elsewhere. If anyone has any suggestions for some good places to start, I am all ears(eyes?). Of course, I'm familiar with the real well-known later stuff like Zbyszko-Sammartino, Slaughter-Patterson, etc. but really just know the basics.
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Old 05-14-2018, 11:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tdmoon
I don't know near as much as I should.

I've never watched much WWF wrestling and guess that bias has kept me from going back further and really getting into the older stuff. Recently I have read a few things from this period, though, and those along with this thread are making me think it's something I should take a better look at. I'm a fan of some of those the OP mentioned-Brazil, Valentine and of course Rogers who is on the short list of all-time greats-but mostly for their work elsewhere. If anyone has any suggestions for some good places to start, I am all ears(eyes?). Of course, I'm familiar with the real well-known later stuff like Zbyszko-Sammartino, Slaughter-Patterson, etc. but really just know the basics.
YouTube has some footage. For text check out Capitol Revolution by Tim Hornbaker. Great read that takes you from Jess McMahon (Vince Jr.'s grandfather) getting his start as a promoter to Vince Jr. buying the company from his father just a few yrs before the national expansion. Valentine was a big draw for CWC and captured tag gold several times.
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Old 05-14-2018, 12:05 PM
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Appreciate the suggestion. I've heard a lot of good things about Tim Hornbaker's books, National Wrestling Alliance : The Untold Story of the Monopoly That Strangled Pro Wrestling in particular. I've recently read that he has a new book coming out in September titled Death of the Territories that sounds really interesting, I'm definitely going to check that out.

Last edited by tdmoon : 05-14-2018 at 12:10 PM.
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Old 05-15-2018, 04:57 AM
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From what I understand the workrate of the territory wasn't that great outside of a few main eventers. It relied a lot on ethnic babyfaces to attract certain markets, and as you said tag team wrestling was considered a very important aspect of promoting (as in the Crockett territory).
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Old 05-15-2018, 12:50 PM
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In some territories, like the CWC as has been mentioned, tag team wrestling was a cornerstone to its success. Using Mid-Atlantic as an example, the entire territory was really built around tag team wrestling until around the mid-60s to early 70s.

Throughout much of its history, American pro wrestling has utilized prejudice as a means of establishing heroes and villains. It's a blunt way to put it, but it's also a correct way to put it. For instance, if you were a wrestler working in the continental United States and were of Asian heritage, you were almost always cast as a villain, especially as the "evil Asian" type who was a "master" of martial arts. The promoters would exploit the hard feelings created by World War II and the bombing of Pearl Harbor in particular. For decades, you'd hear some commentators use the term "Pearl Harbored" to describe a cowardly sneak attack even if none of the wrestlers involved were Asian. Or, if you were German or your gimmick was that of a German, you were often cast as a villain due, again, to a perception of some Germans sustained through propaganda and bitter feelings. If you were Native American, or at least looked like you could be, you'd often be cast in the role of a "noble savage" who wore feathers or a chief's headdress, who did some sort of "native dance" at a certain point in the match, etc. It was no different in Capitol Wrestling because, as we know, Vince still uses outdated stereotypes even to this day.

CWC operated in an area where immigrants, the children of immigrants and the grandchildren of immigrants were an especially large percentage of the population. As a result, it wasn't at all uncommon for wrestlers with strong Irish, Italian and Hispanic lineages to be among the top stars of the company. They didn't necessarily have to be all that good, they just had to be what the fans wanted/needed them to be. Bruno Sammartino, for instance, was a big, blue collar, freakishly strong Italian farm boy and he was embraced by, as you'd imagine, the Italian population of New York especially. If you were Irish, Dutch, Hispanic, white, black or whatever, a LOT of people embraced him because he "stood" for the "right things", he was "one of them" but he was also someone who was set apart from them because of his great strength.
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  #7  
Old 05-15-2018, 10:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tdmoon
Appreciate the suggestion. I've heard a lot of good things about Tim Hornbaker's books, National Wrestling Alliance : The Untold Story of the Monopoly That Strangled Pro Wrestling in particular. I've recently read that he has a new book coming out in September titled Death of the Territories that sounds really interesting, I'm definitely going to check that out.
I was already planning to the NWA book. Gonna be on the lookout for the upcoming one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack-Hammer
In some territories, like the CWC as has been mentioned, tag team wrestling was a cornerstone to its success. Using Mid-Atlantic as an example, the entire territory was really built around tag team wrestling until around the mid-60s to early 70s.

Throughout much of its history, American pro wrestling has utilized prejudice as a means of establishing heroes and villains. It's a blunt way to put it, but it's also a correct way to put it. For instance, if you were a wrestler working in the continental United States and were of Asian heritage, you were almost always cast as a villain, especially as the "evil Asian" type who was a "master" of martial arts. The promoters would exploit the hard feelings created by World War II and the bombing of Pearl Harbor in particular. For decades, you'd hear some commentators use the term "Pearl Harbored" to describe a cowardly sneak attack even if none of the wrestlers involved were Asian. Or, if you were German or your gimmick was that of a German, you were often cast as a villain due, again, to a perception of some Germans sustained through propaganda and bitter feelings. If you were Native American, or at least looked like you could be, you'd often be cast in the role of a "noble savage" who wore feathers or a chief's headdress, who did some sort of "native dance" at a certain point in the match, etc. It was no different in Capitol Wrestling because, as we know, Vince still uses outdated stereotypes even to this day.

CWC operated in an area where immigrants, the children of immigrants and the grandchildren of immigrants were an especially large percentage of the population. As a result, it wasn't at all uncommon for wrestlers with strong Irish, Italian and Hispanic lineages to be among the top stars of the company. They didn't necessarily have to be all that good, they just had to be what the fans wanted/needed them to be. Bruno Sammartino, for instance, was a big, blue collar, freakishly strong Italian farm boy and he was embraced by, as you'd imagine, the Italian population of New York especially. If you were Irish, Dutch, Hispanic, white, black or whatever, a LOT of people embraced him because he "stood" for the "right things", he was "one of them" but he was also someone who was set apart from them because of his great strength.
He wasn't German but a great example was Karl Von Hess. He even had matches against the Jewish wrestler Abe Jacobs.
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