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 - Charles H. Karnes
(with thanks to David Williamson)

One of the best-kept secrets of the wrestling world in the mid to late seventies was the Southeastern Championship Wrestling promotion that ran in Knoxville, Tennessee. Unfortunately, with minimal magazine coverage, only local East Tennessee cites were treated to the excitement. With this my introductory installment, I will attempt to give you an overview of the territory of how it started, who was doing the booking along with a list of the promotions talent that made this area so great.

Professional wrestling had a popular following in the East Tennessee area dating back to the 1930s, but in 1974 long time promoter John Cazana sold his promotion to pro wrestler Ron Fuller. Ron was very familiar with the business as his father Buddy and Brother Robert were also involved in the sport as wrestlers as well as bookers. Buddy had done booking for Eddie Graham, the area that Ron had wrestled in prior to purchasing the Knoxville promotion. With a good understanding of the business, Fuller began booking the NWA territory that came to be known as Southeastern Championship Wrestling (SECW).

Success for the area was imminent, as the angles that were used seemed to captivate the East Tennessee fans. Fuller himself eventually became a favorite of the fans. His status in the Knoxville wrestling scene is still present today as he is looked on by many as a legend of sorts. With a combination of innovative booking, a good pool of local workers, a steady influx of national talent, and a top-notch television product, SECW was destined for great things.  

Fuller brought in former wrestler Les Thatcher to do commentary on the Saturday afternoon TV program known as " Southeastern Championship Wrestling". He also handed the producing chores to Les as well. Les had worked with Mid Atlantic and Georgia territories in similar capacities prior to arriving in Knoxville. Les was an amazing talent that made the SECW TV as good as any other product in larger markets. Not much if any footage is available to compare to but it was produced as well as any other promotion I have witnessed during the same period.  More...

If you'd like to discuss the Knoxville region with other fans, please visit the KM Message Board

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Old School Tape Review 4

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