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 - Eric Westlund

I will relay my recollections of the ICW wrestling promotion from the time frame of early 1982 in this column. Randy Savage still was the main fixture and focus of the televised shows, with much importance being placed on his almost two and a half year reign as the world’s champion for the group .He had been tried and tested by a variety of foes in his time up to this point, with the majority of his challengers being "faces" or fan favorites .During the calendar year of 1982 the booking would be altered to help to get Randy over with the fans, thus defenses were necessitated against some villains of the promotion.

Early in the year his main combatants for his title were Leaping Lanny and Crusher Broomfield. I detailed the situation with Lanny last month, so I will refrain from that challenger. But the ICW fans had seen Broomfield elevated in stature as his skill grew rapidly, as he had not been wrestling professionally that long at this time. Crusher had been tested by the likes of One Man Gang Ronnie Garvin, Leaping Lanny, Ernie Ladd, Pez Whatley and The Great Tio in his short career, and thus was granted a series of bouts in the area for the belt. Other gimmick matches between the two also occurred, as just in Lexington I witnessed a steel cage bout and a Texas street fight between the two foes. While Crusher always seemed to hold his own against Randy, some rookie mistake or a brutal barrage by Savage would result in a pinfall for the champion.

Savage was challenged by The Great Tio also about this same time frame, with Savage retaining his belt via unknown circumstances as this bout was not featured in the central Kentucky area or on the televised action I saw.

In about March of that year Savage began to get title defenses against the heels of the group, not major heels but kind of as a lead in to what was to come later on. Two wrestlers who had left the promotion previously, returned with their sights set on the strap of the former minor league pro baseball star. The first gentleman was a much slimmed down Big Boy Williams. If memory serves me correct, it had been almost a year since this individual had wrestled for the group. He was installed as a contender to Savage, after teaming with Lanny upon his reentrance to the promotion. He looked much meaner in appearance, not clasping a teddy bear or wearing cut off long underwear under his wrestling garb. His new look, with his natural hair color of brown, plus his loss of about 60 lbs established his ability as a potential main eventer. He proceeded to attempt to use shortcuts and cheating to get his goal, and the matches with Savage were usually good brutal bouts.

Another person who reemerged as a participant was Doug Vines. He had left mid to late 81 ,and I suppose was welcomed back with open arms .His in ring ability to combine brawling with basic technical skills made him a good foe for both heels and faces. I believe he may have challenged Savage several times in the time frame for the belt, but I will have to check my notes to be sure.

The main new arrival in early to mid 82 to cause a stir within the area was big Ox Baker. Originally he was put in a feud with Ronnie Garvin, as Garvin was kind of the recognized enforcer of the ICW. One humorous event you may have seen on the little bit of video which still remains involved Baker and Garvin. Ox had challenged Ronnie to an impromptu bout in the TV studio for the Southeastern belt, and a series of fisticuffs followed between the two. In the commotion, Ox fled leaving something in the ring in his haste to exit.  More...

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