PNW Intro Page #2
Don Owen was not the only promoter in the territory. Sandy Barr promoted weekly shows in Salem, OR and Dutch Savage ran the Seattle and Tacoma programs. There were also weekly shows in Eugene, OR at the Lane County Fairgrounds, as I am sure all former fans remember.
The Northwest was one of the last territories to die, right behind the USWA in Memphis. It survived the McMahon onslaught of the mid 80s, but couldn't survive the sport itself becoming uncool in the early 90s. Tom Peterson, the number one sponsor who did live commercials from the Sports Arena every week, filed bankruptcy. At the same time "Portland Wrestling" was garnering low ratings for the first time since its inception in 1948. KPTV reluctantly canceled its oldest program and replaced it with WWF "Superstars of Wrestling."
Don Owen continued to promote his weekly Portland shows, but without T.V. the attendance fell to an all time low. As a last ditch effort, promo time was bought on KPTV during the WWF show to hype the cards, but it didn't work. Don Owen ran his final shows in 1992.
Promoter Sandy Barr bought Owen's promotion and took over the weekly shows, but the crowds were very small, and all the big name talent had exited the area in search of greener pastures. Barr had a TV show that aired his weekly cards, but it had a horrible time slot that many fans didn't know about it, and unfortunately, many just didn't care about.
Owen would eventually sell the Sports Arena, forcing Barr to a new location. Barr ran into trouble with the Oregon State Wrestling Commission which drove him out of the state. For the next three years Barr would continue to promote shows, using green talent, in front of very small crowds. Finally in 1997, the remnants of Portland Wrestling that had been hanging on by a thread broke off.
Since then many promoters have started up running local shows, trying to recapture the magic that Don Owen had for over 60 years, but nobody has even come close.
If there was a Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame, Don Owen would surely be one of the first inducted. For him, and all the people who made Portland Wrestling great over the years, I look forward to honoring them on this great web site.
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