Throughout the history of pro wrestling bookers and promoters have always tried to come up with new, creative and innovative ideas to generate interest in their product. Some ideas have not only succeeded…but flourished. Others were DOA from the get go. Then there are those ideas which initially were innovative…but for various reasons….faded away. Those are the focus of this latest series of posts titled ‘Great Ideas That Didn’t Last’.
In the 1980’s, the internet along with things like Youtube and social media were still nonexistent to the world. If pro wrestling fans wanted to see a particular territory or promotion outside of their region…you either bought a wrestling magazine or got involved with bootleg tape trading. That is until a weekly syndicated wrestling show called ‘Pro Wrestling This Week’ came along.
Pro Wrestling This Week or PWTW for short…was hosted by none other than the ‘Dean of Wrestling’ Gordon Solie and the ‘Round Mound of Sound’ Joe Pedicino. The show was the brainchild of Pedicino who at the time, was a red hot commodity in the business due to the success of his Superstars of Wrestling program in the Atlanta, Georgia area. What made PWTW so unique and special? It was the first show of its kind to feature professional wrestling from all over the country and the world.
It showcased wrestling from all the territories including the NWA, Japan, Puerto Rico and Canada. It even sprinkled in a little WWF as well. Viewers were introduced to wrestlers and promotions only read about or never heard of before. PWTW was formatted as magazine style program much like Entertainment Tonight only this show featured professional wrestling instead of TV and movie actors.
The show initially was a tremendous success routinely pulling in strong numbers. That led the show to be syndicated nationally to most of the major markets across the country including New York and Los Angeles. It was also the show that gave the first real national spotlight to a newcomer named Paul Dangerly aka Paul E Dangerously aka Paul Heyman.
In interviews years later, Heyman credits the show and most importantly it’s creator Joe Pedicino in helping to develop his mic skills as a wrestling personality. Heyman said that Pedicino allowed him complete freedom to say whatever he wanted and do whatever he felt would be entertaining.
To add another layer of credibility to the show…the then Editor in Chief of Pro Wrestling Illustrated…Bill Apter was a frequent contributor to the program. He interviewed various guests, gave a top 10 of the best wrestlers in the business and editorials as well. This was a big deal seeing as PWI was the number 1 wrestling magazine at the time.
Every week we were treated to a “Pro Wrestler of the Week.” It was basically an acknowledgement of a wrestler who had the best week in the business. It could be from the NWA, Japan, WWF, Florida, Memphis…wherever.
PWTW also encouraged viewers to write in and ask questions that were either answered by Pedicino and Solie or directly to a wrestler themselves.
This great show lasted from 1986 to 1987 until Joe Pedicino decided to pull the plug. With the World Wrestling Federation getting stronger and more powerful..the territories were all but dried up. It left less and less material for the show to discuss and the show was canceled. Overall, this was a fantastic show for wrestling fans and a truly great idea that just didn’t last.