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  #1  
Old 12-15-2015, 08:24 AM
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Default Pro Wrestling USA?

In the mid-1980s, Vince McMahon had taken steps to transform the WWE from a regional territory into a national promotion. In 1984, McMahon purchased Georgia Championship Wrestling and attempted to use its timeslot on TBS to air his product to a wider audience in what became known as "Black Saturday." Despite failing on TBS, McMahon showcased his product on MTV with the historic "War to Settle the Score" and "Brawl to End it All" cards. With the most recognized wrestler in the industry under his banner, Hulk Hogan, various talents acquired (or raided, depending on how you look at it) from different territories and the success of the first WrestleMania, McMahon had taken major steps into making the WWE into the juggernaut that it would eventually become.

At the same time though, various wrestling promoters from across the country came together in a bid to pool together their resources and compete against Vince McMahon. This endeavor became known as Pro Wrestling USA.

Under Pro Wrestling USA, Jerry Jarrett of the Continental Wrestling Association, Verne Gagne of the American Wrestling Association, Jim Crockett Jr. of Jim Crockett Promotions and other NWA promoters formed an alliance to promote a national federation featuring wrestling shows comprised of talent from these territories. The shows ran across the different territories and even went to New York and New Jersey in an attempt to undermine the WWE.

The promotions peak came in September 1985 with SuperClash at Comiskey Park in Chicago. Over 21,000 saw a card headlined by Ric Flair vs. Magnum T.A. for the NWA World Championship and Rick Martel vs. Stan Hansen for the AWA World Championship. It appeared that a new promotion was born.

However, the good feelings wouldn't last long, mostly due to the promoters not trusting one another and trying to steal one another's talent. After a couple of months, Pro Wrestling USA shows became nothing more than repackaged AWA shows. Another attempt to compete against McMahon and the WWE came in 1988 at SuperClash III. However, the show bombed and the territories eventually went under in later years.

But what if the different promoters decided to put aside their differences and really attempt to make a successful promotion featuring a combined talent pool from various areas. Not only would the CWA, AWA and JCP be involved, but Bill Watt's Mid-South Wrestling and Fritz Von Erich's World Class Championship Wrestling be in the mix as well.

Imagine a talent pool consisting of veterans like Ric Flair, Nick Bockwinkel, Harley Race, Dusty Rhodes, Terry Funk and Dory Funk Jr; midcarders and workers like Tully Blanchard, Kerry Von Erich, Ted DiBiase, "Dr. Death" Steve Williams, Jake Roberts, Randy Savage, Magnum T.A. and Jerry Lawler; characters like Kamala, the Missing Link, Baron von Raschke, Sgt. Slaughter and Bruiser Brody; and tag teams like the Road Warriors, the Von Erichs, the Midnight Express, the Rock 'n' Roll Express, the Andersons, the Russians, the High Fliers and the Dynamic Duo. It would seem like an incredible collection of wrestling talent to put up against McMahon. Not to mention, the territories had various national television deals such as TBS and ESPN to air the product.

Had Pro Wrestling USA survived, how would it have affected the wrestling industry in the mid to late 80s? Would it have been something you would have been interested in watching? How would it have affected the rise of World Championship Wrestling? Would a wrestling war have commenced a decade prior to the one on Monday nights?
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  #2  
Old 12-15-2015, 09:13 AM
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I'll never forget Vince McMahon's response when asked to comment on the Pro Wrestling USA effort. He said:

'In their first meeting, they all agreed they hated me and would do everything they could to put me out of business. The second meeting, they couldn't even agree on where they should order lunch.'

Just the idea that a group of massive egos (Verne Gagne, Jerry Jarrett, Jerry Lawler, Ole Anderson, Jim Crockett).....and people who were used to being the #1 voice in their organization.....could cooperate and kick a tiger like Vince McMahon to the side......never had a chance of working, largely for the reason advanced by McMahon.

That said, yes to the question posed by OP; an organization like that with the talent pool mentioned would surely attract the interest of wrestling fans and give WWF a run for it's money.......provided they could put together the national structure and possess the marketing savvy needed to make it go.

As with WCW, McMahon showed that if you put his back to the wall, he comes back at you harder than before. There's a lot more to putting together a sports entertainment company than just having a lot of great wrestlers, as Pro Wrestling USA would have learned.
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Old 12-15-2015, 11:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mustang Sally View Post
I'll never forget Vince McMahon's response when asked to comment on the Pro Wrestling USA effort. He said:

'In their first meeting, they all agreed they hated me and would do everything they could to put me out of business. The second meeting, they couldn't even agree on where they should order lunch.'

Just the idea that a group of massive egos (Verne Gagne, Jerry Jarrett, Jerry Lawler, Ole Anderson, Jim Crockett).....and people who were used to being the #1 voice in their organization.....could cooperate and kick a tiger like Vince McMahon to the side......never had a chance of working, largely for the reason advanced by McMahon.

That said, yes to the question posed by OP; an organization like that with the talent pool mentioned would surely attract the interest of wrestling fans and give WWF a run for it's money.......provided they could put together the national structure and possess the marketing savvy needed to make it go.

As with WCW, McMahon showed that if you put his back to the wall, he comes back at you harder than before. There's a lot more to putting together a sports entertainment company than just having a lot of great wrestlers, as Pro Wrestling USA would have learned.
This more or less sums up the Pro Wrestling USA failure. They had the advantage of being able to promote having the NWA World Champion AND the AWA World Champion, and still couldn't make a dent in WWE's expansion due to the owners' in-fighting and back-stabbing. If the owners had truly unified their companies, they might have been a serious threat to WWE. Instead they're basically a trivia question, almost completely forgotten.
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  #4  
Old 12-15-2015, 02:00 PM
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As others have said, the problem with Pro Wrestling USA is that it was made up of a bunch of fucking carnies.

By their very nature, promoters cannot co-exist, as being a lying backstabbing piece of shit is essentially a prerequisite for the job. Imagining a world where Pro Wrestling USA somehow did survive and thrive is an interesting sentiment, but its such a large hypothetical that it becomes almost impossible to speculate about. Yes, if somehow these massive egos could work together they could maybe channel their efforts into something positive. As far as competitng with Vince though, I'm just not sure. These guys had such an old school territorial mindset it's hard to imagine them reaching the same sort of heights. Vince was willing to think outide the box, and what took the WWF to such great heights was his infusion of pro wrestling and pop culture to create what we now "lovingly" refer to as sports entertainment. These old school promoters wouldn't have done that and it's therefore ahrd to imagine Pro Wrestling USA occupying the same sort of space in the pop culture sphere. Also as great as all those NWA and AWA wrestlers you lister were, they are all nothing in comparison to Hulk Hogan. Yes, I'm including Ric Flair in that statement. Hogan's popularity was a force of nature in and of itself, that not even the combined efforts of all those other stars could match. Too bad Hogan technically doesn't exist anymore according to the WWE.
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Old 12-18-2015, 09:58 PM
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It was fun while it lasted and it's a shame that they couldn't get along because Pro Wrestling USA had the potential to be the wrestling alternative to the WWF and it would've been interesting to see if it continued into the 90s.
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Old 12-19-2015, 08:58 AM
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There were too many chefs in the kitchen. Every so often, a thread is created suggesting that various companies like TNA, ROH, NJPW and a few others form an alliance in order to provide some degree of competition for WWE; all that needs to be said in response really is to look up Pro Wrestling USA. Such an attempt today would just be a case of history repeating itself as you'd have so many different owners and bookers butting heads over everything from programs, which markets shows would be held, who gets pushed to the main event, etc. all while everyone is trying to do something that primarily benefits their own company while undermining everyone else.
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  #7  
Old 12-21-2015, 10:10 AM
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It looks great on paper doesn't it. Several of the strongest promotions band together to take out Vince. They've got the advantage of being able to utilise star performers from all their rosters, giving them a phenomenal talent pool to pick from, and the vast experience of all the promotors.

Sounds good, right? What could possibly go wrong?

It's pretty obvious that each promoter, while wanting to put McMahon out of business, would still do everything possible to ensure that their contracted wrestlers and their title belt was the premier championship of this mutual "alliance". They'd be tapping up talent from thei competition, and the egos of the promoters was always going to be an issue. It wasn't going to work long term when all these guys were forced to compromise having been the dominant force and voice in their own promotions. They were never going to be on the same page for long.
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  #8  
Old 12-21-2015, 06:41 PM
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It was good in theory but the promotion of wrestling has always been a ego driven greedy business. With the talent they had access to Vince never would have had a chance but everyone wanted to go national with their name on the banner rather than figuring a way to work together. The greed for power destroys everything.
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