Don’t Mess With Texas: A Roadblock to the WWF’s National Expansion

Brian Damage

When we look back at pro wrestling history and in particular the expansion of Vince McMahon Jr’s World Wrestling Federation…we know how Vince gobbled up countless territories. He usually did this by running opposition to rival shows in the same area. He would also cherry pick all of the said territories top stars leaving the rival promotion no star power to sell tickets. In most cases, McMahon steamrolled over the territories taking over one town and city at a time. That is not to say, however, he didn’t face a few roadblocks along the way.

One of those roadblocks that detoured Vince’s national expansion occurred deep in the heart of Texas…Dallas to be more precise. It was 1985 and the WWF’s expansion was in full swing. Vince McMahon and company were heading west and decided to go head on with one of the hottest territory’s at the time…World Class Championship Wrestling run by Fritz Von Erich. Realistically, McMahon couldn’t obtain WCCW’s top stars like Kerry, Kevin and Mike Von Erich as they were loyal to their father Fritz. The only thing Vince could do was show up in the territory and bring in his A game.

That is exactly what Vince attempted to do. The WWF booked the Dallas Convention Center which seated over 9,000 fans. He then loaded his card with all three men’s title matches which included his biggest star Hulk Hogan in the main event. The actual show took place on January 17th,1985. The card results were as follows:

Tiger Conway Jr. defeated Moondog Spot
Tony Atlas defeated Moondog Rex
Ivan Putski defeated Alexis Smirnoff
The Spoiler defeated Rick McGraw
Adrian Adonis & Dick Murdoch defeated Jack & Jerry Brisco
Tito Santana defeated WWF IC Champion Greg Valentine via disqualification
WWF World Champion Hulk Hogan pinned the Iron Sheik

The attendance for this WWF show was roughly 1,700 with reports that some of those tickets were comped as giveaways. The financial gate for the WWF Dallas show was said to have “bombed.” The WWF also held the same exact show in Houston with an even smaller crowd at around 1,500 fans in attendance. If anything, Vince was persistent and decided to return to the Dallas, Texas area in May of ’85 after the inaugural Wrestlemania. They did even worse with only 180 paid fans at the Dallas Convention Arena.

The Von Erich family was just too popular and strong in Dallas, Texas. They ran shows around the same time the WWF “invaded” with The Fantastics against the Midnight Express and ‘The Modern Day Warrior’ Kerry Von Erich versus ‘Gentleman’ Chris Adams as the main event and easily out performed the WWF show with paid attendance.

While WCCW successfully fought off the WWF during 1985…it still didn’t stop Vince McMahon from attempting to take over. As we know, World Class eventually imploded with deaths and scandals and ultimately lost their stranglehold on the Dallas market. The territory was left wide open for other promoters like Jim Crockett Jr and McMahon to overtake Dallas. In the end, Vince McMahon and the WWF/WWE won out.

4 thoughts on “Don’t Mess With Texas: A Roadblock to the WWF’s National Expansion

  1. Ah… Meekmahan couldn’t get Texas then. Last year, he tried to fill in the new arena in Long Island only barely doing half while AEW ended up nearly selling out that venue because of their hometown hero MJF.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fritz and his boys sadly did to themselves what Vince couldn’t. I know there have been some good stories on the fall of WCCW but I still feel there is potential for an ever bigger production. It’s an American tragedy of Shakespeare proportions that would seem like fiction if it wasn’t so true. Kerry himself had everyone you could want in a wrestling star of the time. Another victim of drugs, along with Fritz not being a father for his sons.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. The WWF/E would of course say that everyone loved their wrestling and the take over of the business was easy. But they had serious problems getting over in the South and Southwest for many years.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. The wccw. In MN we didnt get them except on espn on a rand9m weekly afternoon so for me that was only thru one summer, probably 86. They definitely had a feel to them that none of the other organizations had. It’s fun to go back and watch some of those syndicated shows.

    Liked by 2 people

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