Top Five Promotions Not Named WWF/WWE

Tom Casola and Brian Damage

Other than the WWWF/WWF/WWE, what were your top five favorite promotions or territories back in the day? We are not speaking of the current day promotions like AEW.


(05) Georgia Championship Wrestling – Founded in 1944 – Closed 1984: Paul Jones. This is where many of the greats really honed their craft. This was the area where you could see stars from the: WWWF, NWA, World Class, Stampede, (you name the territory) eventually wrestle. The feuds were classic. And if you needed another reason, I have two words “Gordon Solie”!

(04) Mid-South Wrestling / Universal Wrestling Federation – Founded in 1979 – Closed 1987: Bill Watts. This territory has the roughest/toughest workers around. If you were not legit, you were not going to make it with the Cowboy.

(03) NWA – Founded in 1948 – Closed 1988: If I need to explain why, then you are not a wrestling fan. And before you argue the NWA never closed, I disagree. While the many people tried to keep the name alive, it was not the same. It sort of like watch a “reboot” television show which contains no original cast members (example: One Day at a Time).

(02) AWA – Founded in 1960 – Closed 1991: Verne Gagne. Easily could have been considered WWF “Light”, as this was the final stop for most of the 1980’s Superstars before working for McMahon

(01) IWA – Founded in 1975 – Closed 1978: Eddie Einhorn & Pedro Martinez. Nothing better could end a Saturday night then watching Channel 9 at Midnight and seeing: Mil Mascaras, Dick “the Bulldog” Brower, Big Tex McKenzie, “Big Cat” Ernie Ladd, “Mighty” Igor, etc. For this 8 year-old, while it was a “watered down” version of the WWWF, at least I did not have to see it with the grainy UHF screen. The short history of the International Wrestling Association.


5. The American Wrestling Association – I admit, when I started watching the AWA on ESPN…it was on its last legs. I still enjoyed seeing all these wrestlers that I never saw in action before and only read about in wrestling magazines. As I got older and gained more access to the AWA’s library, the promotion was really fantastic and had so many stars that became even bigger in the WWF.

4. All Japan Pro Wrestling – When I first received a VHS tape of All Japan, I was very skeptical. I wasn’t sure watching a foreign promotion with wrestlers I never heard of before with commentary in Japanese was going to hold my attention. Then I watched Kenta Kobashi versus Mitsuharu Misawa and I was immediately hooked. This promotion was the epitome of “Strong Style” with the likes of Misawa, Kobashi, Terry Gordy, Stan Hansen and countless others.

3. Global Wrestling Federation – This was a small promotion based in Dallas, Texas which aired shows on ESPN. Many fans have quickly forgotten about the GWF, but many future stars came from there including Harlem Heat (then known as The Ebony Experience) Raven (known as Scott Anthony) JBL (Known as John Hawk) Buff Bagwell (The Handsome Stranger) and Ahmed Johnson ( Moadib). It was a fun, little promotion run by Joe Pedicino and I loved it.

2. Extreme Championship Wrestling – ECW was more than just hardcore matches with steel chair shots and flaming tables…it also had some classic wrestling matches. As good as ECW was during its heyday, this promotion was a personal favorite of mine because attending the shows live was an experience all unto itself. I met many unique individuals at these shows and made some friends along the way as well. The atmosphere for an ECW show was like none I have ever experienced anywhere else….it was electric!

1. World Class Championship Wrestling – Another promotion I had the privilege of watching when it aired on ESPN. The Dallas Sportatorium may have been a structural dump for many fans…but no doubt was a mecca for professional wrestling for many years. The feud between the Von Erich family and the Fabulous Freebirds may indeed go down as the greatest feud in the business. I loved everything that WCCW had to offer its fans. A territory that was truly red hot for a period of time.

You can read all previous Top Five pieces here.

3 thoughts on “Top Five Promotions Not Named WWF/WWE

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.