I have written a lot of stories about my experiences in the USWA. Those are the ones that people e-mail me about, always wanting more. I understand why, some of these are very funny and they also give you an insight into what was once a very successful wrestling promotion, with over 30 years of some of the greatest wrestling ever.
Jerry Jarrett and his mother, Ms. Christine actually started the USWA and at that time it was called, the CWA. It later became the USWA, when they wanted it to seem like they had taken over other failing organizations, like the old AWA and the Texas based World Class Wrestling, that the Von Erichs owned. The promotion was an instant success, selling out arenas like the Memphis Mid-South Coliseum, The Louisville Gardens, The Evansville Coliseum, The Nashville Fairgrounds Sports Arena, and the Jackson Coliseum, each and EVERY week. Their television program was, for many years, the highest rated locally produced television show in America.
Jerry Lawler became involved and rose to be the company's top heel and was so "over" as the top heel, Jerry Jarrett made Lawler his partner. For many years these guys ran the ultimate wrestling promotion. Everybody that ever became anybody, and a lot of people that never became anybody, went through this territory.
There are some famous stories of "newcomers" that would get fired quickly, because they "had no talent". STING & THE ULTIMATE WARRIOR started out here as a tag team, and they were BAD and didn't last long. History, of course, tells us that both these two went on to make lots of $$$$$ in the wrestling business. Hulk Hogan was there early in his career, Randy Savage, the Undertaker, Sid, Kane (more on him later), Road Dogg Jessee James, Shawn Michaels, The Nasty Boys, the list goes on and on and on.
I started wrestling in 1990. Well past the "heyday" of wrestling territories and the big money payoffs. For my first tip to Memphis, I was partners with a guy called ELI THE ELIMINATOR and we were the ELIMINATORS. We lasted one week. I was so bad that they let me go. Eli stayed for a month or so. Next, I was there as the infamous HEADHUNTER. I did a couple weeks, this time, dressed like an African Headhunter. Of course, I was WHITE and I wore WRESTLING BOOTS. This was just one of the many stupid "gimmicks" that I had tried to do. I still have a photo of me dressed as THE HEADHUNTER and every so often, when I am feeling a little to smug, I take a look at this photo and it puts me in perspective. I was there, at that time, with another guy trying to break in to the wrestling business, CHRIS CANDIDO.
Then in 1991, I got to go to Memphis as MIKE SAMPLES and stayed there for about two years. This is where the great story about THE CHRISTMAS CREATURE (now KANE in the WWF) came from. It is probably the most requested TALES FROM THE ROAD story and I'll publish it again in a few days, for those of you that haven't ever seen it, or would like to read it again. I worked closely with EDDIE GILBERT, JEFF JARRETT, JERRY LAWLER, THE MOONDOGS, and more. Scotty (now ECW's RAVEN) was there, of course BRIAN CHRISTOPHER, the HARLEM KNIGHTS, who became WWF's Men on a Mission, and now Nelson is VISCERA. Many funy stories form those times, and I will publish several of them soon.
In 1993, I left the USWA (actually they were finished with me) and I went on to help start a successful local promotion in Indianapolis, and I helped Danny Davis get his wrestling school started and open up his Ohio Valley wrestling company in Jeffersonville Indiana. I learned alot in the next three years and when I returned to the USWA in 1996, I was ready to take a big role.
Shortly after starting back up there, I was writing the television program, booking the storylines, and helping with the office. This was very dificult work, but I learned a helluva lot, believe me. Jerry Lawler really is a genius when it comes to the wrestling business and working with him is the best way to learn. Plus I've got lots of funny stories from this time period. This was a great era in wrestling, for me. Business was good, the money was good, and I had an important position with a real wrestling company.
It is sad, that after the USWA was sold to a group of investors, they let their internal bickering, and lack of wrestling business knowledge, force this business to close. A real era in professional wrestling history ended, when the USWA closed. A 30 year tradition came to an end, forever.