‘A Mark’s Eye View’ is a weekly look at some of the things that made my a huge fan of professional wrestling.
It has been the same thing for decades. Every Monday night, wrestling fans have crowded around their televisions to watch hours of the most entertaining wrestling show on the planet. (Theoretically.) The nWo, Steve Austin, The Rock, Ric Flair, and Hulk Hogan all plied their trade on Monday nights. There have been great matches and memorable angles. Monday night saw the death of WCW, the rise of Y2J, and the birth of DX.
Older fans will tell you about a time that holds even more meaning: Saturday nights at 6:05. Every week (except when the damn Atlanta Braves or Hawks were playing), we were privy to two hours of the best wrestling show on the planet. (Scientific fact.) Names that would eventually show up on Monday nights like Flair and the Road Warriors were there. There were also fearsome talents like Nikita Koloff, Magnum T.A., and “# 1” Paul Jones.
There was something unique about the wrestling at 6:05. It was not as glossy or well produced as the WWF shows. The guys did not have the same overall toughness as on the Mid-South show. It also did not have the chaotic nature of the World Class show that sometimes made it seem like amateur hour. Even as a young boy and a new fan, I could tell the best wrestlers in the entire world were on TBS every Saturday at 6:05.
The show was filmed at Techwood Drive in Atlanta. The small studio provided an intimate feel that no wrestling show has been able to duplicate since. (In all fairness, no show has attempted to.) It was possible to make out the features of each member of the audience. The simple podium and backdrop gave the show an authentic feel. World Championship Wrestling was not just a rasslin’ show. This was real sports.
Many of the stars of the time went on to become legends, but the jobbers were just as memorable. In an era when they are mainly used as part of angles, it hard to believe there was a two hour wrestling show in which almost every match was a squash. Today’s parity has led to geeks who main event and the geeks who lose to them. In 1985, there were men whose only purpose in professional wrestling was to never make a name for themselves while losing every match.
The promos of the time were the stuff of legend. Ric Flair was not the only one pushing the boundaries of good taste. Road Warrior Hawk and Nikita were known to boast about their sexual prowess. Dusty Rhodes could rile fans up for any upcoming event. Even the bad promos were fun to watch. “Boogie Woogie Man” Jimmy Valiant rarely made any sense, but he sure knew how to excite a crowd.
Wrestling commentators get a lot of flak nowadays. World Championship Wrestling gave fans names like Gordon Solie and Jim Ross, but it also gave the world David Crockett. Crockett unashamedly cheered the good guys while chastising the bad guys. His over the top theatrics were made to be parodied. Yet, he brought a charm to the show that today’s announcers can only dream of doing. Michael Cole’s “vintage” is good for an eye roll; Crockett’s “OHMYGODTONY!!!” will leave you in tears.
Monday nights will always be remembered as a special time by wrestling fans. Even after the Monday Night Wars came to an end, Raw has gone on to be a staple of the night’s television programming. But for older fans, Saturday at 6:05 will always be a magical time.
Next week: The World Wimps Federation
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