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Tennessee & Alabama

Professional Wrestling in America's heartland has a long tradition. It was around before the establishment of the National Wrestling Alliance. It was around during the NWA days with several members and memorable promotional wars with non-members. It survived when the WWF went national longer than any regional promotion. It is, in fact, around in reunion shows and independent groups. The style that developed, a Southern style of pro-wrestling or "rasslin'" (as it is said with a Southern accent) became perhaps more distinct than any other region of the United States. It "emphasises kayfabe and stiffness, with fewer squash matches and generally longer feuds than in [other] American Wrestling. Heels typically use a variety of cheap heat measures such as stalling, displays of cowardice, cheating and assaults on women or babyface managers. Storylines and characters are often derived from aspects of Southern culture." [taken from wikipedia.com].

Although Memphis, Tennessee is often considered the home of this style, it would be hard to pin down a single place. This regional style’s strongest roots lie in two men: Nick Gulas and Roy Welch. From the 1950s and into the 1970s, their Nashville outfit was king in the area, but other groups began challenging them in their market as pro-wrestling grew in popularity. Eventually, that promotion would be replaced. Nashville was the central city for decades and remains a great pro-wrestling city to this day. However, it was the CWA in Memphis that became a focal point in the 1970s and eventually eclipsed Nashville as the home of pro-wrestling in America’s heartland. Knoxville in eastern Tennessee was also a key city throughout this time and was a crucial city for several promotions after John Cazana's group, namely Ron Fuller's successful Southeastern Championship Wrestling, Jim Crockett Jr.'s short-lived Southern Championship Wrestling and Jim Cornette's creative Smoky Mountain Wrestling. This region extended itself into twelve states. While Tennessee is generally considered its home, Mobile, Alabama has a strong claim as well. That city was originally Buddy Fuller's stomping grounds, but the Fields family took it over, renamed it Gulf Coast Championship Wrestling and established themselves in Alabama, Mississippi and the Florida panhandle before selling it to Ron Fuller, who already opened up a Gulf Coast version of Southeastern Championship Wrestling. Kentucky too has had a great tradition of rasslin' and was a profitable enough market that several outlaw groups started there, namely Angelo Poffo's International Championship Wrestling that battled the established groups for several years. North of Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio and West Virginia also harbored rasslin' spot shows in the Ohio River Valley. Rasslin' flourished in Arkansas and Missouri to the west, Mississippi in the south and North Carolina and Georgia in the east. 

When the WWF began poaching territories, these rasslin' promotions tried recreated themselves as more than a regional brand. Memphis's Continental Wrestling Association and Alabama's Continental Championship Wrestling aligned with the AWA (Minneapolis, MN) and World Class (Dallas, TX) under the banner "Pro Wrestling USA" and their style of rasslin' reached into those markets in Northern Midwest and North Texas. It failed, but Memphis merged with Dallas to create the United States Wrestling Association. The Dallas branch only lasted briefly, but the Memphis one lasted for eight more years. Ron Fuller sold off Alabama company and after being renamed Continental Wrestling Federation and a brief hot period, it sank into oblivion. Rasslin' though, has never died. It is a phenomenon. It must be recognized that many people for many years considered this form of pro-wrestling to be the only real form and that is why it has survived the national products that have come into the market. This is why independent shows using "old-timers" can still attract several hundred fans and this is why groups have started in this region. Smoky Mountain Wrestling existed primarily because of this strong legacy. It is why men can still promote shows successfully there with Jerry Lawler as the headliner.

In 2002, the Jarretts decided to try an innovative start-up company, NWA-TNA, which promised to combine traditional rasslin' and an exciting and unique approach.  Initially, they ran weekly pay-per-views, brought in "legends" and a variety of former WWF, WCW and ECW talent as well as independent stars.  They could have targeted a number of places as their home base, but it was Nashville and, for a time, Huntsville that they focused their attention on.  After a few years, they withdrew from the NWA, Jerry Jarrett left, they secured a TV show and even relocated to Orlando, Florida.  

Nashville in central Tennessee was the home base of promoter Nick Gulas dating back to the late 1940s. In the 1950s, Gulas paired up with Roy Welch and established "Gulas/Welch Wrestling Enterprises, Inc." The territory would spread out in all directions through the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s before time caught up with Nick Gulas and he retired. In the 1950s and 1960s, Nashville really exploded with charismatic figures like Sputnik Monroe, the Fabulous Fargos, Tojo Yamamoto and heel manager Saul Weingeroff. Numerous stars from other NWA territories were also brought in with successful results as well. Gulas, however, established a reputation for a tough schedule with bad payoffs. In the 1970s, the territory was perhaps at its peak with groundbreaking angles that brought real-life scenarios into heated grudge matches that became the staple of the rasslin’ style. Buddy Fuller (Edward Welch - Roy Welch's son), was running out of Mobile and sold the area to begin working with his aging father and Nick Gulas in Nashville. By this time, the promotion had split itself into two halves. The Eastern/Southern half was the focal part and consisted of Nashville and Chattanooga in Tennessee and Birmingham and Huntsville in Alabama. Gulas himself concentrated on this half and began the infamous push of his undersized son George during this time. The Western/Northern half included Memphis in Tennessee and Louisville and Lexington in Kentucky. This second section came to be the project of an astute young Jerry Jarrett. Jarrett’s mother began selling tickets in Nashville in the 1950s and at fourteen Jarrett began promoting spot shows. While he was in college, his mother became Gulas’s bookkeeper and later Jarrett partnered up with her and they opened up several towns in Kentucky. Jarrett became a popular babyface inside the ring and worked his way into a booking role. He continued to accrue power by buying into the Nashville office as Roy Welch's health declined. His acquisition of half the region, alliance with rising star Jerry Lawler and Gulas' bad rap would lead to a mutiny in the mid-70s mainly over the push of George Gulas. Lawler had taken over Jackie Fargo's top spot and became the main star and along with the wrestlers that came with him, "Jarrett Promotions" was born. Gulas continued to run in Nashville, but he could not compete with Jarrett’s innovative product. They reunited in 1980, but Gulas retired soon after.


Abdullah the Butcher
Ole Anderson
Andre the Giant
Bob Armstrong
Norvell Austin
Ox Baker
Wild Red Berry
Dick Beyer (The Destroyer)
Freddie Blassie
Bobo Brazil
Jack Brisco
Bearcat Brown
Frankie Cain
Haystacks Calhoun
George Cannon [Manager]
Bobby Eaton
Eric Embry
The Fabulous Kangaroos (Al Costello & Don Kent)
Don Fargo
Jackie Fargo
Buddy Fuller
Dory Funk Jr.
Verne Gagne
Jim Garvin [Manager]
Pepper Gomez
Gorgeous George
Crazy Luke Graham
Eddie Graham
Don & Al Greene
Gory Guerrero
Gypsy Joe
Stan Hansen
Phil Hickerson
Danny Hodge
Dick Hutton
Kanji Inoki
The Interns
Jerry Jarrett
Rocky Johnson
Rufus R. Jones
Gene Kiniski
Ernie Ladd
Mark Lewin
Wild Bill Longson
Ken Lucas
Dutch Mantell
The Masked Infernos
Hiro Matsuda
Dennis McCord [Austin Idol]
Sputnik Monroe
Skull Murphy
Pat O’Connor
Harley Race
Dusty Rhodes
Tommy Rich
Billy Robinson
Argentina Rocca
Bob Roop
Nelson Royal
Randy Savage
Joe Scarpa (Chief Jay Strongbow)
Bobby Shane
Kinji Shibuya
The Shiek
Dick Slater
Alexis Smirnoff
Ray Stevens
Kevin Sullivan
Lou Thesz
Johnny Valentine
Kurt & Karl Von Brauer
Johnny Walker (Mr. Wrestling II)
Koko Ware
Buddy Wayne
Saul Weingeroff [Manager]
Bearcat Wright [Manager]
Ron & Don Wright
Tojo Yamamoto



Knoxville in eastern Kentucky was an island city in the Gulas-Welch territory for many years. Promoter John Cazana ran the region for twenty years with ties to Nashville. Cazana's regulars worked for Gulas and vice-versa with no notable problems. The system in Tennessee and Kentucky was that wrestlers were typically under contract to “Gulas-Welch Promotions” and were booked for towns run by smaller promoters. Gulas had two established regions to the west of Knoxville and the area could handle two regular promotions as well as spot shows from outsiders. These smaller promoters often stayed small-time, like Cazana’s operation in Knoxville. In the 1970s, mid-sized promoters began buying up these towns. In 1974, Cazana sold his assets to Ron Fuller (Roy Welch's grandson and Buddy Fuller's son).  


Gene Anderson
Sam Bass
Don Carson
Danny Hodge
Jerry Jarrett
Jerry Lawler
Sputnik Monroe
Tommy Rich
Ron & Don Wright
Tojo Yamamoto




Mobile on the Gulf Coast of Alabama was really opened up by Buddy Fuller in 1955. He understandably had ties with Nashville and often used the same talent at different times. Fuller had a solid core of talent and used a mixture of roughneck cowboy-types and "ethnic" stars as babyfaces and heels alike. Furthermore, he secured title defenses by NWA Junior Heavyweight, Southern Heavyweight and the king of them all - the NWA World Heavyweight Champion. In addition to southern Alabama, Fuller ran the Florida Panhandle before selling the territory to one of his top stars and many wrestling cousins, Lee Fields, in 1959. A strong market had been established, but the Fields family took the region to a new level in the 1960s. Fuller’s success in Mobile led him to bigger and better things as he bought into or worked for the Georgia, Florida and Memphis promotions over the next twenty years. It is also important to note that in the 1960s, Alabama was split into three divisions. Northern Alabama (including Birmingham and Huntsville) was run by Nashville-based Gulas-Welch Promotions. Southern Alabama was, of course, Lee Fields' region and Mobile was their main city. The center of the state, specifically Montgomery, was run by Billy Golden (who was married into the Welch family) under the name "Tri-State Wrestling". Golden exchanged talent with Fields and acted as a matchmaker for years.

Freddie Blassie
Doug Donovan (Karl Von Brauner)
Fabulous Fargos (Jackie & Donnie)
Lee Fields
Buddy Fuller
Mario Galento
Gorgeous George
Dr. Jerry Graham
King Karl Kowalski
Guy LaRose (Hans Schmidt)
Rocky Monroe (Sputnik Monroe)
Eduardo Perez
Tex Riley
Rowdy Red Roberts
Yvon Robierre (Yvon Robert)
Joe Scarpa (Jay Strongbow)
Ray Stevens
Herb Welch
Lester Welch
Billy Wicks
Rube Wright



GCCW - Gulf Coast Championship Wrestling (1959-1978)
Lee Fields and his family began expanding the Mobile-based group in the 1960s after they bought it from Buddy Fuller. Mobile, Alabama and Pensacola, Florida remained key cities, but they pushed northwest into Mississippi as well as northeast to Dothan, Alabama and southeast Panama City, Florida. Fields focused on developing a strong market and by the late 1960s, "Cowboy" Bob Kelly had turned the Gulf Coast into a great regional group. He remained the top babyface throughout his tenure and the promotion worked well with small core of their own talent, a lot of "new" masked men and a constant rotation of visitors often from Nashville, Florida and Oklahoma. The area did not pull in as many established stars like other territories, but it had a particular appeal to area fans and ran strongly year round. Fields was so confident with his product, he tried to take it to Nashville, his former stomping grounds, but it didn't work. The GCCW closed up in 1978 and the towns were sold to Ron Fuller (Buddy Fuller's son), who was an established promoter in Knoxville.  


CLICK HERE for the full GCCW alumni list


Bob Armstrong
"Killer" Buddy Austin
Norvell Austin
Ox Baker
Ronnie Bass
Bearcat Brown
Frankie Caine
Haystacks Calhoun
Ron Carson (Dick Murdoch)
The Convict (Stan Frazier)
Sylvester DeRitter (Junkyard Dog)
Don Fargo
Jackie Fargo
Johnny Fargo (Greg Valentine)
Lee Fields
Mario Galento
Terry Garvin
Reuben Gibson (Robert Gibson)
Jimmy Golden
Dr. Jerry Graham
Gypsy Joe
Danny Hodge
The Interns
The Islanders (Afa & Sika)
Mr. Ito (Umanosuke Ueda)
Steve Keirn
"Cowboy" Bob Kelly
Don Kernodle
Guy LaRose (Hans Schmidt)
Jerry Lawler
Jose "El Gran" Lothario
Ken Lucas
Rocky Monroe (Sputnik Monroe)
Sputnik Monroe
Jerry Oates
Dwayne Peel (Buddy Wayne)
Poffo Brothers (
Randy & Lanny)
Rowdy Red Roberts
Yvon Robierre (Yvon Robert)
Pancho Rosario (Gypsy Joe)
Joe Scarpa (Chief Jay Strongbow)
David Schultz
Bobby Shane
"Bruiser" Bob Sweetan
Von Brauners (Kurt & Karl)
Lester Welch
Robert Welch
Roy Lee Welch
Johnny West (Kevin Sullivan)
Billy Wicks
Ed Wiskowski
Ron Wright
Rube Wright



CWA - Championship Wrestling Association (1977-1987)
When Jerry Jarrett spearheaded an exodus from Nick Gulas' Nashville-based office, he basically killed that company off in the Memphis and used his connections to seize the market he had been running. Jarrett went to the third-rated TV station and promised to bring in the hottest show and proven media personalities (announcer/program director Lance Russell and announcer/weatherman Dave Brown) that would make Channel 13 the top station in Memphis - it worked. Jarrett erected a new company with the same stars, same style and same appeal. It was sometimes referred to as "Mid-Southern Wrestling," but "Jarrett Promotions, Inc." was the true name. The promotion had one of the most celebrated regional television shows that aired every Saturday morning and they established Memphis as a pro-wrestling hotbed. When Vince McMahon and the WWF began moving toward a national product, the CWA became a key member in the formation of "Pro Wrestling USA" along with the AWA, World Class, Georgia Championship Wrestling, Jim Crockett Promotions and other NWA promotions in an attempt to ruin McMahon. Ultimately, the Crocketts pulled out and the AWA tried to seize the glory. After this, Jerry Lawler began co-promoting with Jarrett in 1987 and the company began changing to deal with the new world of pro-wrestling.

CLICK HERE for the full CWA (Memphis) alumni list


Bob Armstrong 

Norvell Austin
Jerry Blackwell
Nick Bockwinkel
Bobo Brazil
Cactus Jack
Scott Casey
Dennis Condrey
Jim Cornette [Manager]
Al Costello [Manager]
Paul E. Dangerously [Manager]
Dick the Bruiser
James J. Dillion [Manager]
"Superstar" Bill Dundee
Bobby Eaton
Cowboy Bob Ellis
The Fabulous Freebirds
Fabulous Ones
Wayne Ferris
Masa Fuchi
Robert Fuller
Dory Funk Jr.
Terry Funk
Doug Furnas
Jim Garvin [Manager]
"Hot Stuff" Eddie Gilbert
Jimmy Golden
Terry Gordy
"Superstar" Billy Graham
Mike Graham
Grappler #1 (Len Denton)
Grappler #2 (Tony Anthony)
The Great Senshe (Shinya Hashimoto)
Great Togo
Al Greene [Manager]
Gypsy Joe
Jimmy Hart [Manager]
Michael Hayes
Curt Hennig
Phil Hickerson
Austin Idol
Jerry Jarrett
Rocky Johnson
Steve Keirn
Killer Karl Krupp
Jerry "The King" Lawler
Jos Leduc
Dutch Mantell
Mongolian Stomper
Sputnik Monroe [Manager]
The Moondogs
Nasty Boys (Brian Knobbs & Jerry Saggs)
Mr. Onita
King Parsons
Harley Race
Tommy Rich
Sylvester Ritter (Junkyard Dog)
Rock-N-Roll Express
Buddy Roberts
Bob Roop
Randy Savage
Dick Slater
Jake Smith Jr. (Jake Roberts)
Kevin Sullivan
Terry Taylor
Lou Thesz
Jimmy Valiant
Kerry Von Erich
Koko Ware
Buddy Wayne
Ken Wayne
Mr. Wrestling II (Tim Woods)
Ron Wright [Manager]
Dr. X
Tojo Yamamoto



SECW - Southeastern Championship Wrestling (1974-1985)
The pro-wrestling landscape in Tennessee had changed greatly when Jerry Jarrett began booking Western Tennessee as part of “Gulas-Welch Promotions.” Western and Central Tennessee were doing very well and Eastern Tennessee promoter John Cazana had been relying on Gulas’s talent for years. He sold Knoxville to Ron Fuller (Ron Welch - Buddy Fuller’s son), who was able to turn Knoxville into one of the hottest small markets in the whole United States in a couple years. Fuller slowly weaned his group off of the Gulas promotion and developed a strong core of talent. His own crew consisted of himself, his brother Robert, and local heels Ron and Don Wright as well as various southern journeymen and upstarts who found a home in SECW. The promotion grew steadily and finally found a larger venue to run weekly that cemented their legacy. Although they did not get much coverage in pro-wrestling magazines and their native stars were not big outside the Eastern Tennessee area, SECW certainly was a success in the late 1970s. In 1978, Lee Fields (a member of the Welch family) sold his company, Gulf Coast Championship Wrestling, to Ron Fuller. Fuller wisely established two separate SECW brands. It was around this time, the ICW started up in Fuller's backyard and began raiding his talent. Rather than fight it out, he sold his assets in 1980 and turned his attention to the "Gulf Coast" SECW. The company was a great mixture of veteran talent and young studs that the fans in the Deep South loved to see in wild rasslin’ matches fueled by exciting angles. When the WWF went national, Fuller decided to modify his product a bit to secure his investments and the second version of SECW came to close (of sorts).

CLICK HERE for the SECW alumni list

Abdullah the Butcher
Arn Anderson
Tony Anthony
Bob Armstrong
Tony Atlas
Norvell Austin
Andre The Giant
Ron Bass
Crusher Blackwell
Terry "Hulk" Boulder
Jack Brisco
Don Carson
"Porkchop" Bobby Cash
Dennis Condrey
Wendall Cooley
Ted DiBiase
Bill Dundee
Wayne Ferris
The Flame (Jody Hamilton)
Robert Fuller
Ron Fuller
Terry Funk
Ron Garvin
Terry Gibbs
Robert Gibson
Jimmy Golden
Sterling Golden (Hulk Hogan)
Terry Gordy
Michael Hayes
Phil Hickerson
Tim Horner
Austin Idol
The Islanders (Afa & Sika)
Ivan Koloff
Killer Karl Krupp
Ernie Ladd
Stan Lane
Jerry Lawler
Jos LeDuc
Ken Lucas
Boris Malenko
Dutch Mantell
The Mongolian Stomper
Sputnik Monroe
Mr. Olympia
Dick Murdoch
New Zealand Sheepherders
Paul Orndorff
Bob Orton Jr.
Thunderbolt Patterson
Randy Poffo
Tom Prichard
Harley Race
Tommy Rich
Rip Rogers
Tommy Rogers
Rick Rood
Bob Roop
Jacques Rougeau
Nelson Royal
Mr. Saito
David Schultz
Dick Slater
"Exotic" Adrian Street
Jerry Stubbs
Kevin Sullivan
Bob Sweetan
Roy Welch
"Mr. Wrestling" Tim Woods
Mr. Wrestling II
Ron Wright



ICW - International Championship Wrestling (1978-1984)
Outlaw rasslin' groups were not a rarity. Towns were often opened up by a promoter within a larger territory and they would spread out and either prosper or parish. Often one group was seen as an intruder while another was not and this dilemma is partial why the NWA was able to evade being called a monopoly. In 1971, Bill Golden (who was married into the Welch family) opened up Montgomery, Alabama, which was a no-mans land between Nick Gulas and Lee Fields. The following year, his brother Phil Golden started a company out of Paducah, Kentucky and challenged Nick Gulas by using some of his stars from the 1960s. Bill was an asset to Gulas, Phil was an adversary - Bill stayed open, Phil was forced to close. However, on Phil Golden’s roster was a southern journeyman named Angelo Poffo, who learned a few lessons about running opposition to the big NWA affiliates. In 1978, Tennessee and Kentucky were divided among three men: Nick Gulas and Jerry Jarrett (who had split the previous year) and Ron Fuller. Fuller was redirecting his attentions on his "Gulf Coast" version of SECW. The time was right to challenge the established "Knoxville" version. Poffo focused on his up-and-coming sons, Randy (Savage) and Lanny. He even lured his #2 star, Ronnie Garvin, away from SECW. The promotional war was heated and while Fuller had a better production values, more roster depth and a history in the area, he just sold the company to the Georgia promoters and left. Many of the SECW talents were not interested in joining GCW, so they worked with Ann Gunkel's All-South Wrestling (an outlaw promotion in Georgia) that became affiliated with the ICW. All-South fell, but ICW continued. Jarrett’s Memphis promotion consumed Gulas’s Nashville are This promotional became more heated because CWA was not going to leave and eventually it was the ICW that had to fold and they did a successful interpromotional feud in the early 80s. Paul Christy would bring the company back in 1984 for a few more years, but by then the market was not as strong as it had been in the late 70s. ICW is often remembered as a wild promotion that did grandstand challenges and had a solid core of talent, but others remember them as killing Knoxville, one of pro-wrestling's greatest cities.  


Ox Baker
Crusher Broomfield
Ronnie Garvin
Ernie Ladd
Buddy Landell
Jos LeDuc
Boris Malenko
Bob Orton Jr.
"Leaping" Lanny Poffo
"Hustler" Rip Rogers
Bob Roop
Randy Savage
The Shiek
"Pistol" Pez Whatley
Ron Wright
Tojo Yamamoto




Southern Championship Wrestling (1982)
Ron Fuller sold Knoxville to Jim Barnett out of Georgia, but it was dead. Jim Crockett out of Charlotte, North Carolina bought it and had an impressive talent roster and was spreading out and moved into Knoxville, Tennessee, which had long been a strong city separate from the CWA to the west. Blackjack Mulligan and Ric Flair partnered with Crockett and they had a great group, but it died within a year because it was a dead town at that time. It was one of several attempts by promotions from the East Coast trying to move into the region, but failing.  


Wayne Ferris
Ric Flair
Tim Horner
The Mongolian Stomper
Blackjack Mulligan
Blackjack Mulligan Jr.
Kevin Sullivan
Terry Taylor





CCW - Continential Championship Wrestling (1985-1988)
In the summer of 1985, Ron Fuller tried to take his promotion to the next level. It had been a popular and successful throughout Alabama and the Florida panhandle, but with the expanding promotions around the US, Fuller needed to change. He shifted from the old tradition of taped studio wrestling shows to an arena show from his new main city, Birmingham, Alabama. He also brought in Gordon Solie, inarguably the best pro-wrestling announcer at that point in time. Fuller also began expanding into northern Alabama, eastern Mississippi and he soon returned to Eastern Tennessee. To cap off all these changes, the promotion was renamed from regional “Southeastern” to the broader “Continental.” The company remained largely the same though with the same regulars. Continental was an NWA affiliate, until the Pro Wrestling USA deal fell apart in the late 1980s with Crockett and the NWA pulling out. Continental, along with Memphis, aligned itself with the AWA. However, the following year, Fuller sold the company to return Knoxville and promote there again. Continental began its new and final phase.

CLICK HERE for the full CCW alumni list



"Dirty White Boy" Tony Anthony
Bob Armstrong
Brad Armstrong
Norvell Austin
Denny Brown
The Bullet (Bob Armstrong)
Scott Casey
Wendell Cooley
The Flame (Jody Hamilton)
Robert Fuller
Ron Fuller
Doug Furnas
Jimmy Golden
"White Lightning" Tim Horner
"Beautiful" Buddy Landell
Ken Lucas
Dutch Mantell
Masked Grappler (Len Denton)
Dr. Tom Prichard
Tommy Rich
"Hustler" Rip Rogers
Dick Slater
"Exotic" Adrian Street
Jerry Stubbs
Kevin Sullivan
Tennesee Stud (Ron Fuller)
Ken Wayne
Roy Lee Welch
Mr. Wrestling II
Ron Wright



CWA - Continental Wrestling Association (1987-1989)
In 1987, Jarrett and Lawler began running Memphis together. Lawler had been a big draw for over a decade and seemed to have the potential to anchor a national product in their eyes. While the WWF and the Crocketts' NWA were establishing themselves as national products, the remaining companies were battling for their regions. After the Pro Wrestling USA debacle of 1986, a second attempt occured in 1988. When their major pay-per-view show, SuperClash III, tanked, the problems began again. AWA's Verne Gagne lied about the numbers to his fellow promoters and they forced him out. World Class was on its last legs, so Jarrett organized a merger to secure their talent and market.

  

CLICK HERE for the full CWA (Memphis) alumni list

  

Tony Anthony
Bam Bam Bigelow
Jerry Blackwell
Blade Runners (
Rock & Flash)
Cactus Jack
Nick Bockwinkel
Wendell Cooley
Colonel DeBeers
Bill Dundee
Eric Embry
Fabulous Ones (Stan Lane & Steve Keirn)
Manny Fernandez
"Earthquake" Wayne Ferris
Tatsumi Fujinami
Robert Fuller
Dory Funk Jr.
Greg Gagne
Jim Garvin
Ronnie Garvin
Doug Gilbert
Jimmy Golden
Mike Graham
The Great Kokina (Yokozuna)
The Great Senshe (Shinya Hashimoto)
Chavo Guerrero
Scott Hall
Michael Hayes
Austin Idol
Bobby Jaggers
Kamala
Buddy Landell
Jerry Lawler
Lord Humoungous (Sid Eudy)
Dutch Mantell
"Chief" Wahoo McDaniel
Shawn Michaels
Sputnik Monroe [Manager]
Ricky Morton
Nasty Boys (Brian Knobbs & Jerry Sags)
King Parsons
Tommy Rich
Buddy Roberts
Rock-N-Roll Express
Sgt. Slaughter
Tracy Smothers
"Superfly" Jimmy Snuka
Terry Taylor
Jimmy Valiant
Kerry Von Erich
Kevin Von Erich
Buddy Wayne
Ken Wayne
Roy Lee Welch
Tojo Yamamoto



CWF - Continental Wrestling Federation (1988-1990)
In 1988, CCW was not as strong as it had been and Ron Fuller decided to focus on promoting Knoxville again. So, he sold Continental to David Woods, a television executive out of Montgomery, Alabama. Gordon Solie also left, but Eddie Gilbert came in as booker. Gilbert revitalized the territory with some outrageous angles that cemented his legacy as a cutting edge booker, but a falling out with Woods saw his departure after only a few months. Many of the old stars had left and Continental was not producing the quality of new talents to replace them. The company only lasted into 1990, before Woods closed its doors.

CLICK HERE for the full CWF alumni list

"Dirty White Boy" Tony Anthony
Paul E. Dangerously [Manager]
Shane Douglas
"Hot Stuff" Eddie Gilbert
Willie B. Hert (Pez Whatley)
Tim Horner
Austin Idol
Kokina (Yokozuna)
Jerry Lawler
Lord Humongous (Sid)
Dutch Mantell
Tom Prichard
Sika
"Mr. Olympia" Jerry Stubbs
Ken Wayne



USWA - United States Wrestling Association (1989-1997)
In 1989, Jerry Jarrett merged the CWA and WCCW to create the USWA. He ran two separate offices - one in Dallas (he in fact used the "World Class" name for a while longer) and the other remaining in Memphis. The Memphis office continued as it had and they tried to restore Dallas to its former glory. They had a decent pool of talent, but problems between Jarrett and the Von Erichs led him to pull out of the region in 1990, leaving only the memories of World Class's glory days in the early 1980s. The USWA in Memphis continued and Jarrett aligned himself with Vince McMahon soon after. Jarrett would have held the fort down for McMahon if he would have gone to prison during the steroid trial in 1991. In 1993, the two companies began a talent exchange that included Jerry Lawler joining the WWF. In 1996, Jarrett sold his assests to Lawler, who ended up with major legal problems when businessmen Larry Burton and Mark Selker disputed claims on the USWA. This forced the company to go under in 1997.  


CLICK HERE for the full USWA alumni list


"Stunning" Steve Austin
Chris Candido
Flex Cavana (The Rock)
Tommy Dreamer
Bill Dundee
Eric Embry
Robert Fuller
Terry Funk
Doug Gilbert
Eddie Gilbert
El Grande Pistolero (Gypsy Joe)
Owen Hart
Billy Jack Haynes
Ausin Idol
Kamala
Steve Keirn
Junkyard Dog
Buddy Landell
Jerry Lawler
Dutch Mantell
The Moondogs
Ricky Morton
Dr. Tom Pritchard
The Punisher (The Undertaker)
Razor Ramon
Tommy Rich
The Sandman
Sensational Sherri
Tracy Smothers
The Tazmaniac
Jimmy Valiant
Koko B. Ware



SMW - Smoky Mountain Wrestling (1992-1995)
In 1992, Jim Cornette left World Championship Wrestling (WCW). Unhappy with the company completely, Cornette returned to his roots. Based of Knoxville in eastern Tennesee, Smoky Mountain's goal was to provide an exciting version of rasslin' that catered to the fans who were being neglected by WCW. Despite their southern heritage, the company was concerned with competing with WWF and were driving off their loyal fans as a result. Cornette found a money-backer in powerhouse music producer Rick Rubin and developed alliances with WCW (when former Mid-South head Bill Watts took over), the WWF (when Cornette began working for them) and the USWA (which was next door and ran on a similar level). Cornette pushed talented veterans, unexposed youngsters ands brought in talent in the same way Paul Heyman was in Philadelphia's ECW. Smoky Mountain had a strong product, but they were unable to catch on the same way ECW did and Cornette eventually sold the company to USWA and redirected his attention on OVW, a similarly minded developmental territory for the WWF.

Arn Anderson
"Dirty White Boy" Tony Anthony
Brad Armstrong
Cactus Jack
Chris Candido
Jim Cornette [Manager]
Bobby Eaton
Robert Fuller
Bobby Fulton
Dory Funk Jr.
Terry Funk
Doug Furnas
Jimmy Golden
Terry Gordy
Tim Horner
Buddy Landell
Stan Lane
Dutch Mantell
Mongolian Stomper
"Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff
Tom Pritchard
Tommy Rich
Jake "The Snake" Roberts
Rock-N-Roll Express
Rip Rogers
Randy Savage
Al Snow
Lance Storm
Kevin Sullivan
The Tasmaniac


NWA-TNA / TNA - Total Nonstop Action (2002-) 
In 2002, Jerry and Jeff Jarrett made a bold move.  They began promoting a pro-wrestling company with weekly pay-per-views, rather than trying to secure a TV deal.  Based out of Nashville, NWA-TNA hoped to combine old and new.  There were both successes and failures in those early days, but the company came out ahead.  Eventually, Jerry left, they relocated to Orlando and made pushes into television, video games and onto the Internet.  They now have great international visibility, have a regular show on Spike TV in the US and have both young and established talent, however booking and an apparent desire to be a product similar to the WWE has prevented them from being much more than a distant number two company.

Abismo Negro
Brian Adams
Kurt Angle
Bob Armstrong
Mike Awesome
Bob Backlund
Eric Bischoff
Booker T
The Bushwackers (Luke & Butch)
Chris Candido
Negro Casas
Masahiro Chono
Jim Cornette
Damian
J.J. Dillon
Shane Douglas
Tommy Dreamer
Jim Duggan
Bobby Eaton
Junior Fatu
Ric Flair
Mick Foley
Dory Funk, Jr.
Terry Funk
Hector Garza
The Great Muta
Juventud Guerrera
Ultimo Guerrero
Scott Hall
Jeff Hardy
Jimmy Hart
Heavy Metal
Bobby Heenan
Curt Hennig
Hulk Hogan
J.C. Ice
B.G. James
Kip James
Jeff Jarrett
Jerry Jarrett
Nikita Koloff
Konnan
La Parka
Jushin "Thunder" Liger
Lex Luger
Jerry Lynn
Dutch Mantell
Kevin Nash
The Nasty Boys (Knobbs & Sags)
Raven
Jake "The Snake" Roberts
Rock-N-Roll Express (Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson)
Moondog Spot
Judas Mesias
Diamond Dallas Page
Roddy Piper
Psicosis
Harley Race 
Dusty Rhodes
Road Warriors (Hawk & Animal)
Sabu
The Sandman
"Macho Man" Randy Savage
Ken Shamrock
Shocker
Tracy Smothers
Al Snow
"Superfly" Jimmy Snuka
Ricky Steamboat
George "The Animal" Steele
The Steiners (Rick & Scott)
Sting
Kevin Sullivan
Dave Taylor
Taz
Team 3-D (Brother Ray & Brother Devon)
Vader
Rob Van Dam
Vampiro
Savio Vega
Baron Von Raschke
Sean Waltman
Koko B. Ware
Larry Zbyszko


I'd like to thank Tim Dills, Mike Norris, Mike Calloway, Steve Webber, Mitch Lucas, Jeff Luce, Eric Westlund, David Williamson (in no particular order) for their contributions at kayfabememories.com. As well as well as Royal Duncun and Gary Will's contributions to wrestling-titles.com


SOUTHERN RASSLIN' BOOKMARKS

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