The owner of Kayfabe Memories, one of the most popular and respected websites dealing with pro wrestling's territorial era, discusses WCCW's historical importance and fan loyalty in this email interview.
What did you find intriguing about the World Class promotion?
WCCW wasn't a large territory, yet it was extremely popular with its fans, it was able to get major syndication with ESPN, and at least during the early to mid-80s, had some really exciting wrestling. On top of that, the entire Von Erich mystique cannot be denied. Regardless of the tragedies that came, the Von Erich family ruled that area like no other wrestling family, and to this day, inspires tremendous dedication and loyalty from their fans. For me, growing up in Arizona, outside of the WWF which everyone got during the days of Hulkamania, and besides the AWA which also shared ESPN syndication, World Class was my early introduction to "real" pro wrestling, by that I mean, besides the WWF circus.
What do you think was World Class' greatest success?
In terms of specific workers, I'd say Kerry, who not only gained the NWA Championship, but also eventually broke out of the Texas scene, and appeared albeit briefly, in the WWF. Overall, the promotions greatest success was getting onto ESPN. That was a major coup and a huge benefit to them as a company.... No longer were they a regional promotion... They were nationwide, with a great mid-day time slot that surely brought them a lot of new fans.
What do you think was World Class' greatest mistake?
Hard for me to say. I'm not as well qualified to answer this question as others might be.
Does it surprise you that fans still today have such strong emotions for the promotion and its wrestlers?
To some degree. Running Kayfabe Memories, and watching the continued participation in the WCCW forum, certainly shows that these fans are out there. Funny story... I had a pair of women who early on in KM's history, were writing monthly pieces for me on WCCW on the main site. Someone on the WCCW forum on the message board, said something disparaging, at least in their minds, about whether or not Chris Von Erich should've been encouraged or allowed to get into wrestling. Because of this, and mind you, these opinions about Chris were completely respectful of all parties involved, these two women felt they could no longer write for KM.... They were so offended by someone speaking against the Von Erichs, that they felt it their duty or something to step down. Now I don't hold this against them... Not at all. It's just one of those peculiar Von Erich fan things.... Say a negative word, in even the most respectful and polite terms, and VE fans come out of the woodwork to refute and defend, regardless of the validity of the statement they're reacting to.
I think that reaction lends itself to the incredible impact the promotion had on wrestling fans. And above you asked what some of the promotion's greatest success were... I guess this fan loyalty could be another viable success...
What do you think World Class' legacy to professional wrestling will be?
Certainly the Von Erich family. Though Mike and Chris never had any great impact, at least not to the degree their three brothers did or even their father before them, the Von Erich name is well known amongst wrestling fans and holds even still some serious weight. Outside of the Von Erichs, the promotion created or further propelled some major wrestling talent: Jimmy Garvin, Rick Rude, the Freebirds, Iceman King Parsons, Chris Adams, Steve Austin, and many more... The promotion was able to create some bonafide stars within their promotion and make the best of their talents. It was at one point, one of the most exciting territories running and its impact and place in wrestling history cannot be denied by any wrestling historian.