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 - Mitch Lucas

"I'm gonna slap that hold -- the Fuller Leglock, my daddy's hold -- on that boy. I don't like the way he looks at me, like he's cross-eyed. I'm gonna slap them straight for him."   -- Robert Fuller, talking about Brad Armstrong.

Although even Ron (Welch) Fuller, who was the primary owner of Continental Championship Wrestling, and the wrestlers themselves were expecting to have a good year in 1986 - the promotion's first full year under the CCW banner - probably no one expected '86 to be as good as it actually was.

While the fall of 1985 was good, 1986 would be far better, featuring feuds like Brad Armstrong vs. Jerry Stubbs for the Continental title; Robert Fuller & Jimmy Golden defending the tag team belts against several combinations of the Armstrongs; the Bullet continuing his quest to bust up the Stud's Stable, even in the absence of Fuller himself; Wendall Cooley vs. Adrian Street in a feud for the Southeastern title that became heaven for fans of specialty matches; and, of course, the entrance of Kevin Sullivan into the area, which literally turned the promotion upside down.

In the first five months of 1986, let me set the wrestling scene for you:

 - Hulk Hogan was hitting his stride as the World Wrestling Federation champion, and in February began his second full year with the title. The WWF was still "what the world was watching" at the time.

 - Ric Flair was beginning, by many accounts, one of his better years in the industry in Jim Crockett's NWA.

 - CWA, the Memphis promotion, was one of the biggest "feeders" of good, young talent to the bigger three of the WWF, NWA and AWA.

 - Yours truly was finishing his sophomore year, very much oblivious to all of this. Sure, I never missed Continental Wrestling, and everyone knew who Hulk Hogan was, but I really didn't care about the bigger promotions. I was happy tuning in to "my" promotion every Saturday, and trying to figure out if wrestling was staged.

 - Believe it or not, I had still not gone to a live card, although my interest in wrestling increased with every occasion that I watched a Continental episode.

I did know who Flair was. Continental, at the time, was a member of the NWA, along with the Florida promotion, among others, and Flair would come down to Birmingham, or to Columbus, Mississippi, or one of the other primary Continental cities and defend his belt against Tommy "Wildfire" Rich or Cooley, or Brad Armstrong. I respected Flair and Hogan. But I only followed Continental; plus, I was 15 and juggling dating and school. You get the idea.

I should admit that by the end of the year, I would be watching those promotions, kind of through default: Many of the Continental stars "graduated" to the NWA, and of course, this was the era for some of the best of the WWF's "Saturday Night's Main Event" shows. 
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