Three More Pre-WCCW Hidden Gems Clips Added to WWE Network!

For whatever reason, there was no advance word of what was coming this week...but the clips were uploaded a short time ago, and we're talking some SERIOUS rarities this time around, folks!

First up is what appears to be most of the 2/28/77 Texas Death Match pitting Fritz Von Erich against The Original Sheik in Fort Worth! Naturally, since The Sheik was a member of Gary Hart's stable, there's plenty of attempted interference by the "Playboy" -- which is countered by several babyfaces on Fritz's behalf, including a 17-year-old Kerry Von Erich!

Next is a complete episode of Texas Championship Wrestling, a series which was taped at the Sportatorium for syndication in the Texas Panhandle. Closing this show (which was recorded on October 28, 1980) is an eight-man elimination tag match with Fritz, Kevin and David Von Erich and Bruiser Brody taking on Gary Hart's stable, consisting of Stan Stasiak, Gino Hernandez, Gary Young and Pak Song. No finish is shown as TV time runs out a few minutes into the bout. Sadly, this appears to have been the last North Texas appearance of Song, whose health was failing due to Marfan syndrome.

Finally, we have Bruiser Brody vs. The Great Kabuki in a 6/7/81 "Texas Death cage match" at Reunion Arena (actually, it's the standard first-man-to-exit-the-cage-wins type; for some reason, cage bouts were sometimes erroneously hyped as Texas Death Matches in those days). In an additional stipluation, a win for Brody earns Fritz Von Erich five minutes in the cage with Gary Hart!

As always, we recommend WWE Network News for the latest info on WCCW and any other new footage being added to the service. Enjoy!

WWE Network Adds Another WCCW Hidden Gem!

As part of its "Twelve Days of Hidden Gems" pre-Christmas rollout, WWE Network has now added the rarely-seen 1981 Christmas Star Wars Show! The 70-minute video includes:
  • Ernie Ladd vs Jose Lothario for the Texas Brass Knuckles title
  • El Solitario vs Killer Brooks for the World Light-Heavyweight championship
  • Fritz Von Erich vs The Great Kabuki in a Texas Death Match
  • Kevin, David & Kerry Von Erich vs Frank Dusek, Wild Bill Irwin & Ten Gu in a two-ring tag match (previously available on DVD as part of WWE's Most Powerful Families in Wrestling set)
  • A two-ring battle royal (announced as a 16-man event, although there are only 14 actual participants!)
Three preliminary matches are missing from the show (and may not have been taped): El Negro Assassin vs Richard Blood; Al Madril & Blue Demon vs Arman Hussein & Carlos Zapata; and Little Tokyo vs Tiny Tom. (BTW, just to warn everyone who wants to avoid spoilers, we've updated this card's listing in our Results section.) As with the first-ever Reunion Arena Star Wars card, don't expect the same production values as the later syndicated series; like that show, this one is also shot with only one camera.

As always, we'll provide further updates if and when more World Class content is added to the Network; you can also get the latest info at WWE Network News.

RIP: Jose Lothario

WCM sends sincere condolences and best wishes to all who knew and loved Jose Lothario, who passed away on Tuesday at the age of 83.

Jose (real name Guadalupe Robledo) is probably best known to today's fans as the trainer and mentor of Shawn Michaels, who started his career in Mid-South and made a brief stop in WCCW in early 1985. Lothario and Michaels later established a wrestling school and independent promotion, the San Antonio-based Texas Wrestling Alliance, where future superstars Bryan Danielson (Daniel Bryan) and Brian Kendrick got their start.

Lothario, after launching his own career in Mexico, moved to Texas where he spent the majority of his career from the late '50s to the mid-'80s, including many years of competition in Texas where, at one time or another, he held every major singles title and co-held the Texas and American Tag Team titles with several partners including Mil Mascaras and Al Madril. His most famous feud undoubtedly was with the young Gino Hernandez in Paul Boesch's Houston Wrestling promotion, in which Jose ultimately emerged victorious in a hair vs hair bout (resulting in the first instance of Gino wearing a mask to hide his shaved scalp).

After retiring in 1986, Jose was in Michaels' corner for his famous one hour-plus Iron Man match at WWE's Wrestlemania XII (1996), where Shawn defeated Bret Hart in overtime to win the World Heavyweight championship for the first time.

We salute one of the true all-time legends of Texas wrestling, Jose Lothario. May he rest in peace.

Early David Von Erich Match Coming to WWE Network

A heads-up for WCCW fans subscribing to WWE Network :the Hidden Gems collection will now include new footage every week, according to WWE Network News. Among the material to be available this Thursday, May 24th: a best-of-three-falls non-title match from August 15, 1977, pitting then-19-year-old David Von Erich (who had only been wrestling professionally for about two months at that point) against the NWA's World Heavyweight champ at the time, Harley Race!

Please note that this is NOT the famous David/Fritz vs Race gauntlet match from St. Louis TV...we checked that calendar date in the WCM Results section, and it tuirns out that the match being added is from Fort Worth, and thus would have been taped by KTVT (we don't know if the bout, or any part of it, aired on Saturday Night Wrestling). Interesting to say the least, as the master videotapes of the Channel 11 show are known to have usually been erased and reused due to their high cost!

Be sure to check WWE Network News every week for info on further North Texas wrestling classics to be uploaded to the service!

More from Rob Moore: 1990 Spot Shows

Once again WCM presents playlists of two spot shows from Rob Moore's YouTube channel! Rob served as ring announcer for both shows, which took place in 1990 at the Greenville, TX (Rob's hometown) Middle School Gym. The above playlist consists of three matches from a June 21, 1990 USWA card, and opens with Matt Borne taking on Chico Torres. When Torres demands another five minutes, Borne refuses unless Torres puts his own money on the line...which leads to Chico coming up with the cash in a most unusual and unexpected manner! In the first of two main events, Gorgeous Gary Young hits the ring next to face Kevin Von Erich -- who gets five minutes in the ring with Young's manager Skandor Akbar if he wins! The evening's second and final main event pits Gentleman Chris Adams against his former protege, the highly promising rookie Stunning Steve Austin...and as you might expect, we're off to catfight city as their respective valets, Toni Adams and Jeanie Clark, prove to be as impossible as ever to keep separated!

Playlist #2 includes a pair of matches from a November 22, 1990 card billed as Wendy's Thanksgiving Star Wars (promoted, we believe, by Chris Adams, who appears here but was no longer working for Kevin's revived WCCW by then). Percy Pringle goes up against Tugboat Taylor (who had appeared in World Class a couple of years earlier as the masked Doctor Who) in the first clip, followed by a bout between Steve Simpson and Steve Austin. (UPDATE 1/1/2018: Rob has now posted the Toni Adams-Jeanie Clark match from this card, and we have added it to the playlist.) Sadly, back at the Sportatorium, the WCCW promotion would close its doors for good just one night later.

For Your Viewing Pleasure: Two WCCW Spot Shows from 1984!

[Updated 12/26/2017] Thanks to longtime Texas wrestling commentator Rob Moore for posting these rare videos from the heyday of WCCW, which we've assembled into a pair of YouTube playlists! Both shows are from Greenville, TX; the above playlist is a complete benefit card (with matches in the correct running order) from the Greenville Intermediate School Gym on January 12, 1984. Kicking things off, after a short clip of Marc Lowrance's Championship Sports promo for the card, is a bout pitting Iceman King Parsons against Devastation Inc.'s Super D #2. [Our apologies for originally including the wrong video of this bout, which had some technical issues; we've now replaced it with a glitch-free version.] Next up is Devastation's Missing Link taking on Johnny Mantell. Kevin Von Erich hits the ring in the main event (though not the final match of the night) to wrestle Fabulous Freebird Buddy Roberts. Closing the show is yet another in the heated series of battles between Gentleman Chris Adams and Gorgeous Jimmy Garvin. (Also notable is the fact that this was ring announcer Moore's pro wrestling debut!)

The playlist below consists of three of the four (?) matches from the November 15, 1984 show at the Greenville High School Gym. Fantastic Bobby Fulton clashes with Jake "The Snake" Roberts in the opener. The second bout is of particular interest, with the newly heel-turned Chris Adams (managed, of course, by Gary Hart) going up against Mike Von Erich. The main event here is a fairly short but wild encounter between Kerry Von Erich and The Missing Link. If you remember the excitement surrounding WCCW in its 1983-85 boom period (or if you're too young to remember it, but curious), these videos will bring it all back. Hope you enjoy 'em!

WWE Network Heading into Home Stretch with Syndicated WCCW Eps

Don't forget that for continued updates on WCCW upload status, you can click either here or here. At this writing, most of 1988's episodes are up, which means we've now reached the Jerry Jarrett era (that's roughly the last two years of WCCW TV, including the USWA Dallas shows).. WWE Network News has also begun including a listing of what's still missing in their posts; so far, there's been no indication of whether or not WWE Network will be posting any of those episodes at a later date.

As always, please keep in mind that from all reports, the master tapes were subjected to serious temperature and humidity extremes over the years (they were stored in a barn in north Texas, to be exact). This can result in deterioration of magnetic tape, including videotape, although an amazing number of eps have survived with relatively little or no damage.