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BEFORE THEY WERE STARS

One of the complaints I hear most often about the state of professional wrestling nowadays is that there is a distinctive lack of variety in the product. Of course this is understandable when you consider that the World Wrestling Federation is now the only show left on national television. Let's face it, the death of the rival ECW and WCW leagues, despite all of their much talked about deficiencies towards the end, really drove that point home with all the force of a Stone Cold Stunner.

Now, before anyone attempts to dismiss me as just another grumpy "old school" complainer who is stubbornly waiting for the second coming of Lou Thesz, let me point out that I'm as big a fan of modern-day WWF wrestling as anyone else. I watch it regularly and, more often than not, really enjoy both the storylines and the action.

But the recent splitting of their roster into two separate groups only serves to underline the fact that Vince McMahon himself realizes that his WWF was running the great risk of becoming stale, due to lack of competition, with the same faces appearing week in and week out. True, it's great to have all of these superstars in one company, but even an organization as big as the WWF only has so much television time to go around.

That was never a problem in the old "territory" days. In fact, one of the great bonuses of the era was that fans never knew who could show up on their screens from week to week. Even though TV tapings were done in bunches to air weeks later, there was no Internet around to reveal lineups and match results to everybody ahead of time. We all realize that the Net is a way of life now and there's really not much promoters can do to circumvent it, but I believe that the virtual loss of the element of surprise really hampers today's wrestling.

That being said, the old territories served two other purposes in that they were not only a proving ground for rookie grapplers, but they were also a last stop for many of the older veterans who were on their way out of the industry. International Wrestling was no different. As I have been chronicling those glory days and discussing all of the big stars who wrestled there, I thought I would deviate from the regular format a little this time out and profile ten men who competed in the Quebec-based promotion that many may not even realize were a part of International's rich heritage:  More...

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