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WVPW - The Appalachian Battlefield

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State Court Rules: West Virginia Territory Belongs to None!

Just tuning in? Well, I can't blame you for not turning your focus to one of our country's... less relevant states, but you missed a hell of a legal battle. Let me set the scene for you. It all started in December of '69.

Jim Crockett Promotions had been sporadically running shows in my home state of West Virginia for a few years up until then, with little to no issues. Then the WWWF came into town, and... things got ugly. Each promoter buying off local venue owners, state commission employees, it was bad. So bad, that Arch Moore got involved. GOVERNOR Arch Moore. 

Moore took the situation seriously, and introduced a law that, to his understanding, would solve the issue. As far as Moore was concerned, the wrestling didn't matter. What mattered was that these two companies in competition made his government look like a corrupt joke. His solution? A single, locally owned and operated, state sanctioned wrestling entity. Not NWA. Not WWWF. But independent. 

As you might expect, the two companies despised this idea. So, they took it to the courts. WWWF vs West Virginia Athletic Commission. NWA vs West Virginia Athletic Commission. Arguing for their right to promote, but to no avail. Two cases, two failures. West Virginia Professional Wrestling was legally bound to be created, whether they like it or not.

So you might be wondering, who the hell is talking to me? Where does he fit into all this? Well, let me tell you. That story is perhaps just as, if not more ridiculous. 

My name is Parker Eddy. I'm only 24 years old, and I was working a relatively low level job in the WWWF executive structure. Coordinating with venue staff, handing out paychecks to the boys. Simple stuff. I grew up watching Jim Crockett Promotions, heading down to the Charleston Civic Center a few times a year for my live wrestling fix. Hell, I even volunteered to set up the ring a few times and met some of my heroes from that bygone era, including the owner himself. 

You could say I play both sides, but each side thought I only played theirs. Someone had to run this new promotion, and both sides wanted a man they thought they could trust. That man, for both Jim Crockett and Vince McMahon, happened to be me.

Despite working for WWWF, I had never met Vincent. I just wasn't on that level, and I didn't really get out to New York. But he knew from those he trusted, that I was a man who knew the territory inside and out, and could work this unfortunate play to the company's advantage. The very first time I met him, he shook my hand, and told me I'm his pick to run WVPW.

I was elated. I was on the biggest high I've ever had in my life, until I got home and got a phone call. From Jim Crockett. He said he remembered me from my days as a kid setting up his rings, and asked if he could count on me to represent JCP's interests if he nominated me as the booker for WVPW. Perhaps he still thought of me as an easily-to-manipulate kid, or as a disgruntled employee of WWWF looking to get ahead by jumping ship, but either way... of course, Jim. I can do that for you.

The two companies, hostile in every aspect, competing for the very territory itself, had agreed on one thing. Me.

I shook Governor Arch Moore's hand, and became the owner of West Virginia Professional Wrestling.


What have I gotten myself into?

Edited by parkereddy
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Buck Robley, Appalachian Champion

Bonnie Watson, Women's Champion




WWWF Aligned
Tony Angelo, Vince's incredibly visible hand in the territory. Manager.

Jack Vansky, heel.

Jim Grabmire, heel.


JCP Aligned
David Crockett. Jim's son. Wrestler, Announcer, Interviewer.

Bob Griffin, face.

Buck Robley, heel.



WVPW Talent


image.jpeg.28da65d6cb0e99093723eb3403644723.jpegimage.jpeg.e6ca4ceddcc554b9271a5cb6d1926b66.jpegimage.jpeg.efe06f6a08f9cec5dd35a0449c2540b2.jpegimage.jpeg.d34de56535e732eca7a817c4d0828d2d.jpegimage.jpeg.0b20acbc586f7e50a8bf16dde59ba13c.jpeg   image.jpeg.3635ce8afb54a3a88240af2a57ea10b1.jpegimage.jpeg.5c3e0f8c544e05d4e13165b4f8663e3b.jpeg
Bobby Whitlock, Bonnie Watson, Ella Waldek, Jimmy Golden, Judy Grable, Lorraine Johnson, Ron Fuller. 

Jim White, Natasha, Rip Collins, Uncle Elmer.



Kitty Adams, gone to WWWF.


Edited by parkereddy
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  • parkereddy changed the title to WVPW - The Appalachian Battlefield

Somebody's Gonna Have to Work Here.

So. Now I'm in charge of a company that has... no employees. I have a desk in a backroom of the State Capitol with a phone, and a notebook. I get a call.

The Hometown Hero

Why, it's none other than Bonnie Watson. Family friend Bonnie Watson. Grew up less than an hour away from me in West Union, WV Bonnie Watson. And she's unemployed, looking for work. The knows the business, the ups and downs, the politics, she's been in it for 18 years. She can still work, despite wanting a reduced schedule... I'm in. Bonnie, welcome to "right hand woman" status.


Coastal Influence

A couple hours after I hang up with Bonnie, writing up a contract for her to sign, I get another call, with a familiar voice on the end. Jim Crockett. He's got some guys he'll be sending to my territory.

First off, his son, David Crockett. He wants me to find his son's place in the business. Kid can talk, and he knows the business, but he's mediocre in the ring. "Figure him out for me, and don't make him look a fool in the process." Can do.

Secondly, the pair of Bob Griffin and Buck Robley. Two young guys, not far in age from myself. Jim knows they can work, and he wants me to test them first on a run against one another, then against others in my territory to see if they're ready for the "big time" of the Carolina circuit. 

Welp. 3 more contracts to write up, 3 less people I have to convince to come work one of the least desirable states in the business.

On The Phone With New York

Man. My phone is ringing off the hook today. Now it's my former boss, Vincent McMahon. He surprisingly has similar requests as Jim. Why do you guys dislike each other again?

He wants Tony Angelo, on-screen mob boss ala Sam Giarcana, to see how well the gimmick plays outside of the Italian-filled Northeast market. Can do, Mr. McMahon.

And two workers, again, same as Jim Crockett. Jim Grabmire and Jack Vansky. Two older guys who, despite his best efforts, couldn't get over in his territory to the level he liked. It's up to me to either find them a career renaissance, or a cushy retirement home in Wheeling. Thanks, Vincent.

What the fuck. This Vansky guy is FIFTY TWO years old. I need to find my own talent.

My Own Talent
I get Bonnie into the office for the first time, set her up a desk, right by mine. We start chatting about all the talent she's worked over her years of traveling North America, the ones she respects, the ones known in the territory. First things first, a women's division. We want at least 5 people.

Ann Casey. According to Bonnie, "Easy to work with, more of a wrestler than a brawler, and the men love to see her." 
Venus "Vinnie" LaRue. In the same mold as Ann, easy to work with, technical wrestler, who is deeply a woman of faith. A good locker room body and in-ring worker.
Natasha "The Hatchet Lady". Every roster needs some heels. And buddy, Natasha's a heel. One of the most brutal women's wrestlers Bonnie's ever faced, and she's Appalachian, from Tennessee, so she'll understand the crowds.
Cora Combs. She worked different territories with Bonnie countless times over the years. Getting up there in age at 46, but undoubtedly still a popular name and utility player.
Kitty Adams. How she hasn't been picked up by Crockett yet is beyond anyone's imagination. At 28, she's looking like one of the best heels in the women's side of the business, and a potential star for us.

Now, with the women sorted out, we look for 6 men. I scan the papers, particularly seeking West Virginia, Kentucky, or Tennessee area veterans. People who are comfortable working in the poverty ridden, hard to navigate Appalachian region. Guys who can at least show up on time, and put up a fight.


Bobby Whitlock. Kentucky native, Air Force veteran. Not one of the sharpest looking workers in the business, but tough as hell. You want this man on your team, and I want him on mine.
Jim White. Tennessee native who works heel, and has a strong understanding of ring psychology. He can put on a solid, entertaining match, whether he's in it or not. Young, too. 27.
Jimmy Golden. 19 year old Tennessee native who's not got the look to be a star, but he's a hard working babyface with a true talent for making others look good in the ring.
Rip Collins. Out of Harlan, Kentucky, one of the closest-to-home hires yet. He's a respectable heel who doesn't get into backstage politics, which is a welcome break.
Ron Fuller. This kid from Tennessee just loves wrestling. As old school as they come. Decent talker, great at putting together a match. Potential roster staple.
Uncle Elmer. A big Mississippian with a hillbilly gimmick. Not many of our guys can "entertain" outside the ring, but Elmer can. And he can work the face or heel side, too.

Perfect. So now, just a referee, and we'll be set. 


Beautiful. Young Tommy Weathers, yet another Tennessee native. Respectable referee, not the best in the business. 

We have no television, so we won't need to worry about commentary or a staff to put together the production.

We're ready to run some shows. Oh boy.

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The First Show

Monday, Week 2
It's the day of the first WVPW show ever. I decided to run it in a tiny little town named St. Marys. It's where some of my family lives, so I know at least SOMEONE will show up to the show.

We get to the high school gymnasium, and I get to work hanging the banners, and setting up the ring with Bonnie Watson and some local teens. Once workers start to arrive, I head to the locker room to give a speech.

Before I can speak - I notice the obvious. There's only three women here. I hired six. Ann Casey, Vinnie LaRue, Cora Combs. Where are they? Natasha steps up. "Bad news, boss."
Oh god. Starting the first ever show with bad news.
"Hired. Exclusive Contracts. All three. Ann's in Calgary, Vinnie's in Florida, and Cora's down in Mexico."
Shit. Well, at least we can put on a show tonight.

So now the men - you all showed up, thank god. We've got a lot to run down here. Wait a second - there's even an extra man. Who the hell are you? I didn't hire you.

"Me? Name's Bobby Cash. Just looking for a job tonight. Under $50 will do it, any match, anywhere on the card." 
God damn it Bobby, you're in.

So here we go - 
Opener - Bob Griffin, you're over Bobby Cash. We'll come back to you later.
Match 2 - Uncle Elmer, you're squashing Jimmy Golden tonight. Golden, I've heard you make people look good, here's your test.
Match 3 - Fuller, Grabmore, show me a match that can tell a story - Fuller's going over.
Angle - After that match, I want Jack Vansky and Tony Angelo, you're working together - come in and attack Fuller. Get him some sympathy after his win.
Match 4 - Bonnie Watson over Kitty, play up your status as the most popular local worker on the show, and we'll have David Crockett interview you after the match. 
Main Event - Buck Robley over Bobby Whitlock. Buck, I'm setting you and Bob Griffin up for a title program. Don't disappoint me or you're back to jobbing for Crockett.

If anyone has any questions, needs any advice, talk to Jack Vansky or Bonnie Watson. They'll help you put together your matches, and work the crowd here tonight.

Got it? Let's go.


43 people showed up to the show. 6 of them shared my last name, and 4 Bonnie's. Building a loyal audience here is going to take some work. But honestly, I'm impressed with what we threw together. All the matches looked up to par, with Fuller and Watson putting up the performances of the night. Elmer's match wasn't great, but he's not a great match guy. He's a draw.

One thing that happened during the show, however, was gutting. Directly after Watson's match with Kitty, I saw Tony Angelo heading for the phone. He took a line straight to Vincent, and I couldn't help but eavesdrop.

"I'm telling ya, boss, this girl's money. She just outperformed damn near the whole roster, and she's working on less than $100 a night. I'll have a talk with her after the show and drive her back to New York for ya."



Edited by parkereddy
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The Road to Charleston

In West Virginia, there's no bigger audience than in Charleston, the capital. It's the perfect destination for our big, monthly shows. Thanks to having connections with the Governor and Athletic Commission, we can have a cheap, reliable gym to run in the city anytime we need. All that's left to do now, is build up some hype with our weekly shows, and show what we can do.

Monday, Week 3, January 1970
3 weeks until the first Charleston show.

I rent out another gym, this time in Bonnie's hometown of West Union, and get the locker room together. To my surprise, Kitty Adams is here this week.

"Alright Mista Eddy - we got business to discuss. This is straight from the boss himself. Kitty Adams, she's WWWF now. But we understand she's on a program here in WVPW, and we'll see her through it. You've got her until Charleston."

Sigh. It's unfortunate, but at least we keep her services for what amounts to four more shows. I'll accept those terms.

Shortly after, Bonnie Watson comes to me with news. She knew I needed women's talent, and she brought it. "A couple girls from my time working in Portland for you. Meet Ella Waldek and Judy Grable. Listen, I know the travel cost to go all the way from Seattle to West Virginia is major - but trust me. Get these girls in the ring, and you'll see they're worth it.

Well, let's try them out, then,


They did amazing work. They put on the two best matches of the night by far, and impressed the hell out of me, and this crowd. Consider them hired. Travel costs be damned.

The rest of the card went well, too. Our programs leading to Charleston are hitting their stride. Robley and Griffin are getting wins, and building heat.
Fuller looks unbeatable, and is set to clash with the dastardly Vansky & Angelo.
Natasha is establishing herself as a ruthless, cheating heel set to be stopped only by hometown hero Bonnie.

A very promising show.

Monday, Week 4, January 1970

Another week, another underpopulated gym. Let's build on our momentum.

"LISTEN HERE PUNK. Do you think you can just job out Vince's gal like this? Well think again. Kitty Adams is a WINNER. Do I make myself clear? You've got her three more weeks, and she's going to win AT LEAST two matches, or there will be major consequences from New York. 

Well damn. That guy's scary as hell. But I can make that happen. 

"Hey boss. I appreciate you getting me on the card as a wrestler - I really feel like I'm shining in that role, and have some true potential. What are the odds you get me on the card for Charleston?"

Well, David. They were incredibly low, to be honest with you. But I don't want to risk angering your dad, so I'll make it work. Don't think you'll be winning, though.


Another week where the show goes relatively smoothly, with the women putting on by far the performances of the night. It's a shame Kitty has to go, because this division could truly be what helps us stand out as a promotion.
I give David a taste of the "big time", losing in the main event.
And lastly, Griffin formally challenges Robley to a match in Charleston. Our first ever World Title match is set.

Monday, Week 1, February 1970

Here we go. The final, go-home show before the big one. Questions abound backstage about what the card will be next week, who's going over, who's getting gold, and who's not making the card.

"I had a great conversation with my dad since our last show. He's very appreciative of you putting me on the card, and loves the trajectory of his prospects, Griffin and Robley headed for the main event and for the gold. Just wanted to say you have two big thumbs up from the Crockett camp!"

Wait. Main event? Who said anything about them main eventing?

"Listen pal. We just wanted to remind you - Vince McMahon, and Jack Vansky have helped this promotion more than damn near anybody. It's only right that Jack goes over Ron Fuller next week.

Well... I was planning on Fuller... but when you put it like that... 

Bonnie walked into the show today alongside perhaps one of the most beautiful women who's ever set foot in a Wrestling locker room... and she brought PIZZA too. Instantly a favorite. Welcome to the team, Lorraine Johnson. Oh yeah, and Bonnie? I'm trying you in the Main Event tonight. Make me proud out there, and we might do the same next week.


Go-home show in the books. Great performances all around. Momentum is peaking for many, and matches are clear. World Championship, Women's Championship, Vansky v Fuller, and even a fun challenge featuring Uncle Elmer, I think we're headed for a stunning debut.

Now, just to avoid pissing anyone off. God help us.

Edited by parkereddy
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The Big Time

Monday, Week 2, February 1970 - Charleston, West Virginia

Here we are. The Big Time. The Charleston Southern High School Gymnasium. Sigh. Bonnie Watson and I have been staying in town all week, putting up posters wherever we could, talking to local business for sponsorships for the event, hell, I even lowered the price of the tickets to get a bit more of a crowd.

Let's hope it works.

The boys are trickling in. I've got the card written down in the locker room, letting people know their spot, what time they've got to work with, the whole deal. Then in walks Jim Crockett.

"Good afternoon, Mr. Eddy. I'm looking forward to the show tonight. I want to see my boy do well. Elmer will make a great win for him. And I'm happy to hear you've got a Mid-Atlantic worker set to win your title in the main event tonight. However, I must ask. Have you got any tag team matches on the card? The people love tag team wrestling. Make it happen for me, will you?"

Oh shit. Well, that's a lot of pressure. And here comes more.

"Ron Fuller over Jack Vansky in the opener? Judy Grable over Kitty Adams in the very next match? Are you TRYING to tarnish the WWWF name? Look - you'd better find a win for a Worldwide worker, or this territory isn't making it to the next show.

God damn it, Vince. Why couldn't you have given me anyone worth giving a win to?!

The final gate before the beginning of the show... 77 people. Well, it's more than we get on a weekly basis. But it's not a hell of a lot. I peek out of the curtains to see the small crowd, and a familiar face stands out. 

Dear God. It's Governor Arch Moore himself. I've got to say something, right?! Wait - an idea.
"Mr. Governor! Hello! Listen - you were crucial in getting this promotion set up, established, and running. How would you like to do a bit of a... ribbon cutting of sorts to start the show?"
"Absolutely. I'm always looking for a photo op."
Hell yes. It's show time.



The Show Begins
I walk out into the ring alongside Bonnie Watson and Governor Arch Moore. This is the first time I've been in front of a wrestling crowd. I think I can handle myself, but let's see it.

"Ladies and Gentlemen... welcome to the inaugural West Virginia Professional Wrestling Charleston Show!"
I look around nervously.
"We've got an excellent show for you here tonight... featuring West Virginia's very own Bonnie Watson fighting for the women's championship!"
*sporadic claps, Bonnie Waves*
"And of course, I'd like to thank the man who made it all possible, Governor Arch Moore!"
*mixed 50/50 cheers and boos*, Arch whispers to me "Kid, this isn't one of my strongholds."
"Well, let's get right into the action!

Rating: 19



Ron Fuller def. Jack Vansky
These are the two men on the roster who best know how to tell a story in the ring, so I have them do so. I feel somewhat obligated to have one story-telling match a night, and this is it.
It helps, or... should help, that Tony Angelo is working ringside, too. But help, it did not. Vansky and Angelo phoned in their performance tonight. They had nothing to prove to me. I didn't give them their way, so they didn't give me mine. This match suffered heavily as a result.

Rating: 26



Judy Grable def. Kitty Adams
Kitty Adams, despite this being her last WVPW match, did not hold back. She gave us her best, and that's why it's so sad to see her go. But if she had to be replaced by anyone, Judy Grable might be that woman. Grable's high-flying intensity matched well with Kitty's technical style to give a match we could be proud of. Thank you for your service, Kitty.

Rating: 42



Jim Grabmire & Rip Collins def. Jimmy Golden & Bobby Whitlock
Crockett wanted a tag match. McMahon wanted a WWWF worker to win. Hopefully, this match will please them both. Grabmire isn't a man I see winning a lot of matches, but he takes the pin here tonight in a tag match that, to Crockett's credit, did get the crowd pretty hot for some otherwise forgettable workers.

Collins, despite not performing the best in this match, was crucial to its success. He's a lifelong tag team worker, and helped direct traffic so to speak.

Rating: 32


An Interview With Uncle Elmer

I sit backstage with Jim Crockett as his son goes out to the ring to interview Uncle Elmer. This segment is set to lead to a match between the two immediately, where I had planned Elmer to squash David. After hearing that Jim expected David to WIN... I changed things last minute, clearing it with Elmer. He wasn't happy, but he was willing.

David: "Well, Elmer, tell the audience here tonight about your big challenge!"
Elmer: "Ya hear... David. Not one man in the locker room can lift me up and slam me down to this here mat! Not a one of 'em!"
David: "Uncle Elmer! That's quite the challenge! And what would be the prize if that were to happen here tonight?"
Elmer: "Well Mister, I'd take my paycheck from the show tonight, and hand it right over!"
David: "Unfortunately, Elmer, I do think that everyone IN the locker room is a bit yellow to take your challenge, but I'm certainly not! What do you say? Me and you, right here, right now?
Elmer: *Laughs and gets ready for a match*

Jim tells me it's not the worst interview he's seen in his life, not the best. It set up a match, he'll give it that.

Rating: 29



Uncle Elmer def. David Crockett

OUCH, THAT ONE'S GOING TO HURT. This one... didn't last long, and didn't go as planned. David was supposed to win, but not be able to slam Elmer. But... oh, David. He tried.
He tried to lift the big man, and predictably fell flat on his back with all 430 pounds of Elmer on top of him. He was hurt. He couldn't kick out. Elmer didn't improvise in time, and won the match.

Jim was more ashamed than concerned, I think. Elmer walked to the back, just trying to leave for the night before the heat could get on him for hurting such a relatively important young worker. David limped back, face red as a beet, and was only met with his father's disapproval. 

Well, at least the crowd could get a laugh.

Rating: 20



Buck Robley def. Bob Griffin to win the WVPW World Appalachian Title

Here we go. The first of the two main events tonight. Jim is still sitting by me. This is what he came to see. The two young workers he wanted to see in a program, for our title, in the main event. Only... it's not the main event.

"Parker, I thought Bonnie Watson was winning your women's title tonight. Did I miss that?"
"Uh, no Mr Crockett. They're up next."
"Excuse me? You've got a pair of women going on not only after the title, but after two of MY workers?"
"Yes... well, you see... she's the most popular worker in the state, send the crowd home happy, and the quality of the ma-"
"I don't give a damn. The world title goes last. My boys go last. Come to think of it, you shouldn't even be calling this a WORLD title in the first place. Come up with something different."

Jim storms away from me. Damn. 

The match itself is great. Robley is a great heat magnet for this crowd. He's a total coward, and plays it up to the maximum. Griffin is the perfect clean cut babyface to be cheated, too. The match ends with a referee bump, and Robley hitting an illegal low blow for the victory. 

I rush out to the stadium announcer before he holds up the championship... "CALL IT THE APPALACHIAN TITLE" I whisper a bit too loud, turning Robley's head. 

The referee holds up the title, and Robley is declared the first ever Appalachian Champion. Robley & Griffin shake Crockett's hand on the way back, and I see the duo exit the building with him. Not even staying to watch the women's main.

Rating: 42



Bonnie Watson def. Natasha to win the WVPW Women's Championship

Before Bonnie and Natasha go out, I tell them the situation with Crockett. But I reinforce the fact that they DESERVE this main event. The women are carrying this promotion, and I won't shy away from that fact. I shake their hands and tell them to tear the house down tonight.

And that they do. They put on a match every bit as good as any man ever had in the territory. Natasha brutalized Bonnie, numerous times having to be separated by the referee, but Bonnie just kept on going, and never gave up. In the end, the West Virginia native overcame her challenger with a big Sunset Flip and a pin!

The crowd applauds and files out of the building shortly after. 

Rating: 42

Did I piss off the two most powerful men in wrestling? Yeah. Did we put out a statement show? I'd say we did.


Show Rating: 40

Edited by parkereddy
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A Phone Call With God

After our first show in Charleston, I sit down and check our finances. We're profitable. No one's really showing up to our shows... but these venues are dirt cheap, and we don't have to pay Athletic Commission fees. Plus, we got sponsored by a local diner around the corner from the gym we ran, and their check cleared. 

Feeling content with our profit, I kick my feet up, and check the local paper.

I'm shocked. Thesz has been a staple of the NWA, it's figurehead, its standardbearer, for... longer than I've been alive. And here he is, on a retirement tour right as I get the book handed to me out of nowhere. 
The next thought that comes to mind is... I can make some real money off of this, but I'm going to need help.

Monday, Week 3, February 1970 - Elkins, West Virginia

I get to the locker room, and coop up in my impromptu office for the night. My mind is racing. Could I even afford his rate? Who would he face? What's the most profitable matchup here? I see Tony Angelo walk by, and I nervously rush him over. 

Tony: "What's the news, boss?"
Me: "Tony - need your advice here. I'm sure you've heard, Thesz is retiring. He's out of St Louis, he's out of Iowa. Limited bookings throughout the NWA for the next three months. What are my odds of landing a single match?
Tony: *laughs* "You? Zero. McMahon? Damn near 100 - if the money's good. I got you covered, kid. Run the show tonight, and I'll make some phone calls."

God bless you, Tony.

David Crockett approaches, limping like a man who hasn't sat down in ages. 
David: "Boss, I haven't sat down in a week. This tailbone injury... it's too much for me. I'm not sure if I'm cut out to be a wrestler."
Me: "I respect the decision, David. How about we keep you to interviews?"
David: "How about one match a month? To keep sharp, you know? For if I change my mind."
Me: "You got it."

Thank god. That kid STUNK in the ring.

We run a typical house show tonight, a lot of stuff staying the same with programs continuing on from the last show. Griffin still chasing Robley's World Appalachian Title. Natasha on a rampage trying to dethrone Bonnie. But we've got some new faces in, with some new programs.

Ron Fuller came to me with an idea involving his younger brother Robert, and it fits with Crockett's demand that we focus more on tag teams. Ron's a born face, and Robert's got all the makings of a cowardly heel at the young age of 18. Ron's idea was that his brother would come in, struggle, join up with Ron in a team, get some wins, only to be betrayed. I love it. Building a young heel, putting on some good tags in the meanwhile. Let's run with it.

Some new women showed up on the scene today, too. First off, Paula Kaye. She's been working the undercard for McMahon recently, and heard about the success of women's work in our territory. She wants in. We need a heel, so she'll play that role.
Secondly, the duo of Diamond Lil' and Darling Dagmar. A pair of little people who want a heel run. They don't expect to win, and I respect that. I'm going to run them in handicap matches against our faces.

Room for one more?

"Mr Eddy! This here's my good friend Pat Roach - from Birmingham. And that's England, not Alabama! We heard you're lookin' for tag team workers, and I think we can fill a slot at the very least! I've even got a fun act worked out for us. He'll say something in that silly accent of his, and I'll translate it into proper English these good southern folk can understand."

God damn it I love you Bobby. I'll make it happen, "Porkchop".

So that's that. A lot of buzz in the territory, a lot of people coming our way after our big show. A crowd of 53 shows up for this house show, noticably more than last month. Let's show them a good time.


We give out a pair of interviews to the new champions, give Elmer and Rip wins over the resident jobbers, all good.
The handicap match formula is tried out, and works well. Gets heat on them, while also getting a good win for whatever face I put against them that week.
Vansky over Fuller satisfies twofold - Vansky/McMahon camp is pleased with a win, and it sets Robert onto the path of teaming with Ron.
And of course, the tag main event. Pat & Porkchop don't disappoint, putting on a good match and giving a win to the champ.

Show Rating: 34

Tony Angelo was on the phone with McMahon practically the whole night. I don't want to know how much he racked up in long distance calls. But after the main event finished, he approaches me.

Tony: "Alright boss. I've heard from McMahon. I've heard from Thesz. Now - you know what a big deal this is, don't you?"
Me: "Well, absolutely I -"
Tony: "No, listen kid. As far as I'm concerned - I've just made a phone call to god for you. This is Lou Thesz. Outside of New York, Lou Thesz IS wrestling. And he hasn't faced a WWWF contracted talent in decades. We're going to make that happen right here in West Virginia."
Me: "Well Tony - I can't thank you enough! Who will he be facing?"
Tony: "We're bringing down Cowboy Bob Ellis. They haven't faced each other 1 on 1 in 6 years, that's your selling point. Now, for Vince's selling point. Any profit you make off this show? It goes to New York. AND. Cowboy Bob is coming to the territory early. He's main eventing EVERY NIGHT. And WINNING every night. Are we clear, and do we have a deal?"

I think it over. I can have the best wrestler in the world, in a once in a lifetime match, but I don't keep the profit? What's the point?! 
Fuck it. It's LOU THESZ.

"We have a deal."

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Just got a new logo! Expect to see it on shows from here on out! I hope that it encapsulates the true spirit of a bland, semi-governmental entity drawing 50 fans a night.

Also, shoutout to Cooldude from over on the Dog Pound discord, who made the former logo all the way back in 2020, which I used on and off for YEARS. Love it.

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A Cowboy Rides Into Town

Monday, Week 4, February 1970 - Beckley, West Virginia

I get to tonight's venue bright and early. The build for Thesz starts tonight, and I don't want to fuck it up or this territory will crumble before he even makes retirement. No sooner than I can sit down at a desk and start writing up a card for the night, the star of the show for the next 3 weeks walks in with a bag full of lunch for two.

Bob: "Mornin'. You must be Mr. Eddy?"
Me: "That I am! Glad to meet you, Mr. Ellis." *we shake hands*
Bob: "Now, I trust Tony told you the terms of my bookings. He and Mr. McMahon, they can be a bit too intense for my likin' at times, but I'll keep it simple, and easy on ya. Give me a main event, and a babyface opponent the next three weeks, along with four or five minutes of interview time, and I'll have a program with Lou whipped up."
Me: "Well, thank you, Bob. That's a lot more relaxed and straightforward than what those New Yorkers had to say, that's for sure."
*we laugh, enjoy some lunch, and prepare for the night ahead.

"Hey boss, I'd like you to meet a couple more young women's talents that were curious about the territory. We've got Marie Laverne, I saw her working up in Portland last week, and she's excellent at grappling. And here's Rita Boucher - sister of Betty Boucher? I'm sure you know her. Rita is trying to make a name for herself and this is absolutely the place to do it for women right now. Both are interested in the coming weeks if you have anything for them!"

I shake both women's hands. Welcome to the division.

Familiar WVPW talent Rip Collins then approaches me, flanked by a couple other men. Before he could speak, one of the men speaks for him.
"Well hello, I hear you're lookin' to do some tag team business here in the mountains? Well, look no further boss man. I got your feature tag team right here. Rip Collins, Chuck Conley, the Scufflin' Hillbillies, managed by none other than yours truly, Cousin Alfred. What do you say?"

I say.... let's give it a shot!


We put on an excellent show here tonight in Buckley.
The Scufflin' Hillbillies live up to their backstage hype, putting on a great performance vs Big Pat Roach & "Porkchop" Bobby Cash.
Marie Laverne holds her own in the heel slot against Lorraine Johnson in a match that saw attempted interference by Paula Kaye.
Uncle Elmer does Uncle Elmer things, furthering the story of Rob Fuller in the process.
Natasha gets some interview time in to hype her upcoming match with Bonnie Watson, then gets a win in the match of the night over Ella Waldek.

Then, it's Cowboy Bob time. Bob puts on a great performance. Easily the best any man has given on the show thus far. He gives a convincing heel victory over one of our best, Ron Fuller, in a match that portrayed a coherent story from start to finish.

Then, he gets on the mic alongside David Crockett. Time for the big reveal.

David: "Cowboy Bob Ellis, what a performance here tonight! But let me ask you the one question on everyone's minds. What brings you to West Virginia Professional Wrestling?
Bob: "Well, Dave. I've been hearing rumors. Rumors that a certain 3 time NWA World's Heavyweight Champion, rumors that a certain wrestling legend, rumors that a certain LOU THESZ were on the retirement path. And that path leads right through Charleston, West Virginia. I couldn't help myself, David. I couldn't HELP but come down here, and become the biggest, baddest obstacle he's ever faced in his decades of wrestling. Unfortunately for Mr. Thesz, his long, winding path ENDS here. With a big bulldog smashing his big ol' face right into the mat...

The COWBOY, Bob Ellis, is going to be the man who ENDS Lou Thesz's career.

Show Rating: 41

Edited by parkereddy
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Good to see another classic old school-era diary happening in this forum.  Starting small as any indy would, but the talent is there (especially with the push of a women's division) and snagging the one and only Lou Thesz for appearances could be what gives WVPW the boost it needs to get to the next level.  Call me subscribed.  😁

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The Stairway to Heaven

Monday, Week 1, March 1970 - Parkersburg, West Virginia

The three most important men currently working my territory come up to me before the show today. They say they want to work together in the next couple weeks, to put together some great matches and build heat both for the world title feud, and for Thesz. I think that's a great idea - Buck and Bob, you'll both have a chance to work directly with Cowboy Bob Ellis, main eventing the last two shows before Charleston.


On this week's show, we continue working our rivalries - the two main women's stories work a tag, where Natasha refuses to let up when she has Bonnie down in the corner, and gets disqualified. She looks brutal and ready for the title challenge.
Vansky and Waldek both get wins over less important members of the roster, Vansky to keep McMahon satisfied, and Waldek to keep momentum.
Fuller gets a win for the first time in the territory with his brother at his side, and the seed is planted for a successful teamup.

And, of course, the main event. Cowboy & Buck get off a promo together, touting how together, they're unstoppable, and they run this territory. They proceed to get a decent tag win against resident losers Pat & Porckhop.

Successful show. One more until Thesz.

Monday, Week 2, March 1970 - Huntington, West Virginia

This show started without issue. No big revelations backstage, no one asking for a spot they don't deserve. I got to the venue, I sat down, and I could book in peace. All was calm in the world of WVPW. By the end of the night, though, that would change.


Tonight's big main event is Cowboy Bob vs Bob Griffin, 1v1. Griffin sets it up in an interview segment to start the show.
The next three matches are standard affairs, building momentum and stacking wins for those who are in important programs.
Bonnie cuts a subpar interview with Crockett, but what's new? 
The Fuller Brothers team for the first time, in impressive fashion, showing off great chemistry as brothers should.

Then, main event time. It's an incredible match. It's the best of Cowboy Bob in the territory thus far, and likely the best of Griffin's career. It saw Buck Robley interfering to cost Griffin a potential win. It made Griffin look great, and made the crowd HATE Cowboy Bob. Everything I wanted was falling into place.

Until I overheard one little conversation.

Tony: "Bob - tell me you're ready to go. You looked like a million bucks out there, but when it comes to the real thing, we can count on you, right?"
Bob: "Tony, I'm good to go. I've been sparring with some Olympic Wrestlers on my off days. Thesz is going down, tell McMahon he's got his payday, AND his front page headline."
Tony: "I knew we could trust you, Bobby. You earned this. Don't let any half-wit booker tell you otherwise. A lot of guys wouldn't mess with Thesz like this, but that's why you get the big money, Bobby."
Bob shakes his hand and smiles.

"Thesz won't know what hit him."

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He's Here.

Thursday, Week 2, March 1970 - Charleston, West Virginia

It's time. The night of Thesz's arrival in the territory. One night only. This is our chance to put out a real statement match... and Vince McMahon, Cowboy Bob Ellis, they're trying to take it from me. Cowboy Bob is planning to shoot on Thesz tonight. I've got to find a way to stop this.

Tony Angelo and Cowboy Bob Ellis arrive to the show early. They greet me without a care in the world, as if I'm still oblivious of their plot. Good. I can't let them know that I know. I need Bob to think he has the element of surprise.

The rest of the locker room trickles in, and there's Lou Thesz. I greet him as normal... because Bob and Tony are within earshot. I tell him he's on first with an interview segment in front of the crowd of 129 that has gathered in the local gym tonight... and to meet me in my office afterwards.


He Speaks.

Lou Thesz walks through the WVPW curtains to as loud an applause as 129 people can muster. This is the biggest star in WVPW to date. Likely the biggest star we'll ever host. And he puts out a hell of an interview with David Crockett. Lou says that he's going out as he spent his career - on top. Dastardly cowboys like Bob Ellis have been trying to take him down for decades. They hadn't succeeded then, and won't now. It's a pleasure to come to the great state of West Virginia one last time.

Rating: 46

Thesz finishes up his interview, and walks back through the curtains, heading for my office... only to be intercepted by Bob Ellis, wanting to talk through their match. Shit. That didn't work, and god knows they could be in there discussing that for the rest of the night. I need alternatives.

The show goes on.


Bonnie Watson def. Natasha to retain the WVPW Women's Championship

Watson goes out in the first match of the night and puts on a great performance against Natasha. Natasha is absolutely positioning herself as one of the top heels in the territory, man or woman, with her brutal in ring work. She absolutely punishes Bonnie in believable fashion, but Bonnie never backs down. She retains once more in front of the home crowd.

Rating: 41



Uncle Elmer def. Pat Roach
Elmer gets his standard win, albeit this time against a man of somewhat more equal stature. Roach gets in offense, but is ultimately squashed under the massive body of Elmer.

Rating: 37

I rack my brain for solutions. My mind instantly turns to my two most high profile male workers. Buck Robley and Bob Griffin. I pull them aside in confidence, and explain the situation. I ask what they can do to help. Griffin floats the idea that someone could run in and interfere. It wouldn't be the prettiest or most satisfying finish, but it puts a win in the column for Thesz. The only issue... Griffin's role as a face wouldn't allow it. Robley, however, is on board. Could he beat Bob Ellis in a shoot fight? Lets be honest, no. But he knows how to work the crowd into thinking this was planned, and as a last resort, it'll do.

It's settled. If I can't warn Thesz, or Thesz can't beat Bob in shoot... Robley is the nuclear option.


Rita Boucher def. Lorraine Johnson - Interference by Paula Kaye

Rita Boucher and Lorraine Johnson compete in what was a solid, complete match... until Paula Kaye goes out to interfere. She's been watching Lorraine's matches for weeks, and chose now as her time to strike, on the biggest stage in the company! She costs Lorraine the win to a rising star in Rita Boucher.

Rating: 36

I walk towards the area where Bob, Tony, and Lou are discussing their match. It's time to make my move. 
"Tony, Bob - you're up for an interview segment."
They look back at me in confusion. I hadn't told them this was happening tonight. But ultimately, they don't question it. They don't want to look too suspicious. They head to the ring, and while they speak, I speak with Lou for the first time.


An Interview with the Devil
Tony Angelo and Bob Ellis go out to the ring for an impromptu interview, and put out a solid, but short effort. They get over the main event, heat up the crowd, and leave.

Rating: 43

During the interview, I speak with Thesz. And, to my surprise, he already knew. He's no stranger to shoot wrestling in important situations. He even told me that his retirement tour had numerous instances just like this already. With Vince McMahon on the other end of the paycheck, he showed up to the arena ready to fight for his win. I reassure him that Buck Robley is waiting right behind the curtain tonight if things turn sour. He smiles, laughs, and tells me that won't be necessary, right as Angelo and Ellis return.

Did they hear? Do they know he knows? Do they have their own tricks? I'm reassured, but still on edge.


The Fuller Brothers def. The Scufflin' Hillbillies

In our best men's tag team performance to date, the Fuller Brothers defeat the Scufflin' Hillbillies. Both teams have great chemistry together, and the match as a whole flowed beautifully. Robert Fuller did a classic hot tag to big brother Ron for the win. This is a great example of what tag team wrestling can be in our territory.

David Crockett was watching this match backstage with a smile on his face. I tell him to let his dad know our tag scene is about to get properly established. He was right, this stuff is great.

Rating: 39


I speak to Buck Robley one last time before he heads out for the World Appalachian Title match. I tell him David Crockett will be heading out to interview him post-match. This will give him time to recover, get his breath back, and get ready to interfere in the main event if need be.



Buck Robley def. Bob Griffin to retain the WVPW Appalachian Championship

Another great match between these two, their chemistry certainly shows. Every time they face, they get better and better. This match is a tough brawl, which ends in heartbreak for Griffin. The referee counts the three... even though Griffin's foot is on the rope! Robley has stolen a win here!

Rating: 46



Interview with the Appalachian Champion

Crockett heads out to interview Robley. Robley drives home to the crowd that he is the winner, 1,2,3, whether they like it or not, and he holds the belt that means he's the BEST wrestler in the whole damn company! Not Bob Griffin, not Ron Fuller, not LOU THESZ, but BUCK ROBLEY!

Rating: 37

Robley heads backstage right behind the curtain with me. I shake Thesz's hand as he enters. I shake Cowboy Bob's as a sly smile crosses his face. It's time.


Lou Thesz def. Cowboy Bob Ellis

The match starts slowly. These two men are feeling each other out, and playing up to the crowd. This is perhaps the biggest match in the state of West Virginia for decades, and it's acting like it for now.

Then Thesz gets ahold of Ellis, and things get real. It was as if I was transported straight back to the 30s watching this. Slow, brutal exchanges of legitimate wrestling holds, each man trying desperately to stay on top. All the while, Buck Robley is itching to run out there, to put Ellis in his place, and make a name for himself in the process. 

Thesz is getting up there in age, but his grappling skills are still second to none. Ellis can't outwrestle him... so he resorts to pulling punches. Then the blood hits. Thesz's face is covered in red.

Ellis pummels Thesz to the ground. and slaps him in a hold, threatening to make Thesz tap. But Thesz doesnt. He just... takes it. No fear of submission... but passing out is still on the table. 

I have to hold back Robley from rushing out - this is Lou Thesz here! It's not over until it's over!

The referee asks Thesz if he submits - only to hear "No!" every time. Thesz starts to fade. Referee lifts his hand... and it drops a bit, but he's still there. Thesz snaps back to reality. His LEGACY is on the line here. This is HIS retirement tour, and by god, he's winning tonight. He fights his way to his knees, the chokehold still applied. He drops flat backwards, right onto Ellis, shaking him off, and takes control.

Thesz tangles Ellis up into a pretzel so tight even an olympic wrestler couldn't work their way out of, and Ellis is forced to either tap, or have his entire career ended. He makes the obvious choice.

And your winner, by way of submission, Lou Thesz.

Rating: 53

Angelo and a limping Bob Ellis hobble back into the locker room, furious. Thankfully... not directed at me. They had no idea. They didn't know the lengths I was willing to go to ensure their loss, and I plan to keep it that way. I tell Angelo that he and McMahon will get the show profits as soon as the merchandise sales are over. That lightened his spirits a bit, but he still has to face his boss in shame.

Thesz thanks the crowd, signs autographs, and heads back with a knowing smile on his face. I hand him the fattest paycheck I've ever signed, and thank him for the excellent show.


Show Rating: 49

To think I ever doubted a wrestling god.

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International Relations

I was on the phone with Vince McMahon, who absolutely loved the last show we put on. Great from top to bottom, despite the result in the main event... but missing something. "Where is your foreign heel, kid? Get the ball rolling on this. I expect to see one next time you run."

Foreign heel... damn. Where the hell am I going to find a foreigner willing to run the West Virginia circuit?! 

I sit down with Bonnie and rack her brain from her time working overseas. Everyone she knows is busy as hell with a regular schedule in Mexico, Puerto Rico, or the US Southwest. Fuck it. Let's spin a globe and make a gamble.

Aaaand STOP! Argentina, huh? Let's get to work.

We hit the phones, trying to reach some talent agents in Argentina, asking about wrestling, trying desperately to get someone who understands English on the line. Finally, I get a name. Martin Karadagian. And he's on his way.

Monday, Week 3, March 1970 - Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

The contingency from Jim Crockett promotions approaches me backstage. David Crockett relays the information that dad is very satisfied with how the title feud is playing out, and that it's time to wrap it up. The next big show, it's time for the rubber match.

Bob says that he's got a great idea moving forward with the feud. He's been on the phone with his trainer, his mentor, and he's willing to work for us for cheap if it's a program involving Bob. Bring him in, and we'll build a great story this month.

You got it, boys.

And here he is! My brand new, fresh off the plane from Argentina, foreign heel! I extend my hand. Good afternoon, Mr. Karadagian. 
Martin: "¿Hola, cómo estás? ¿Eres el jefe?"
Me: "Pardon me?"
Martin: "¿No hablas español?"
Me: "Español? Well, uh. I'm afraid not, sir."
Martin: *sigh.*

Maybe my foreign heel is a bit too foreign. Thank god tonight's venue isn't far from the DC airport, or this guy might not have even made it! Uh, can someone go grab me an English-Spanish dictionary from the local library?

A couple hours later, mid-show, Bonnie Watson rushes back with the dictionary. I flip through the pages and put together a rudimentary, violently incorrect, sentence.

"Tu... luchar Jimmy Golden... y... crear... CALOR.... entender?"
Martin laughs, but gets the message.


While my frantic search for the dictionary was on, Bob Griffin introduces the idea of his mentor coming to town.
Jim White gets a win in a surprisingly decent nothing match.
Paula Kaye heels it up against one of our little person regulars.
The Fuller brothers expand their tag resume.

Then Martin hits the ring... and even without knowing the language, this guy's a god damn natural. He works our crowd... IN SPANISH, and still draws heat on the interview segment, following it up by destroying Jimmy Golden. Respect. I hand him the dictionary after he comes back in, and say "Aprender... Inglés... por favor."

Then, Rita Boucher gets another big win, this time in the main event against Judy Grable. She solidifies her spot instantly as a top heel force in the company, and sets herself up beautifully as Bonnie Watson's next challenge.

Edited by parkereddy
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