While the book “Sex, Lies, and Headlocks” is mostly about Vince McMahon and the WWF, there are large sections covering WCW to give the full perspective of the #1 competitor. But first, a bit on the good doctor from Pennsylvania.
On March 27, 1990, the grand jurors had heard enough to indict Zahorian on fifteen counts of distributing controlled substances, the main one being steroids.
Dr. George Zahorian was the ringside physician (as required by the state athletic commission) for many cards in Pennsylvania, mostly during an era when the WWF did TV tapings in Allentown and Hamburg, PA. While the Allentown tapings ended in June 1984, Zahorian remained a presence because he wanted to be around the wrestlers. When he did the TV tapings, he would conspicuously hang around ringside to be seen on TV, which I would criticize him for except that would make me a hypocrite because I bought baseball tickets earlier this year for that exact reason.
Steroids did not become illegal in the way we know it now until late 1988, just after the Ben Johnson Olympic bust opened everyone’s eyes. Dr. Zahorian continued to provide steroids to wrestlers as he had in the past figuring it was safer to get it from him than on the black market. Back in the Allentown days, wrestlers would line up to “get their candy” from Zahorian. If you watch the TV from the early 80s in Allentown you can see certain guys who got much bigger just from being in the territory for a little bit, and the doctor is a big reason why (no pun intended).
Herd was so excited about Flair’s return in July that he went to the Maryland Athletic Commission to ask for a waiver of an AIDS-inspired law that banned excessive bleeding from sporting events.
In reviewing J.J. Dillon’s book, I suggested that the athletic commission was bribed to allow blood at the 1989 Great American Bash after the ban in 1988. And now I have my answer.
It never occurred to Herd to ask Flair to return the WCW title belt first.
Jim Herd fired Ric Flair on July 1, 1991 for refusing to drop the WCW title to Lex Luger on the way out. Flair had a deposit on the belt that was supposed to be refunded when he lost it, and since it wasn’t refunded he took the belt with him. All because Herd decided to be impetuous instead of doing something like have Flair lose the title to Barry Windham on July 1 in Macon, Georgia at a TV taping.
Hey, it only wrecked an entire PPV and set back the promotion for months!
There were also things Shaw wouldn’t anticipate, such as the fact that Watts would call women cunts, smoke a joint or two on his balcony, and take the occasional piss into the parking lot.
Bill Watts was hired by WCW as a would-be savior in the middle of 1992. The ol’ Cowboy was a bit of an odd fit in the corporate structure of Turner properties. He was fired in early 1993 for the most WCW of reasons: he had given an interview to Wade Keller of the Pro Wrestling Torch where he made several insensitive comments such as anti-gay slurs, made even more uncomfortable because we now know Keller himself is gay. Watts said he had the right to discriminate: he “shouldn’t have to serve fried chicken to blacks if he doesn’t want to” and shouldn’t have to serve a “fag”.
Oh and this Keller interview? It was BEFORE he was hired! BEFORE! So this would have been known with any sort of due diligence, but was only brought to the attention of the Turner people by Mark Madden.
The second WBF event at the Long Beach Convention Center on June 13, 1992, aired to such a dismal reception that a Massachusetts cable company with seventy thousand wired homes reported just twenty buys.
I was not one of those buys, just to be clear. David Bixenspan wrote a history of the WBF for Fighting Spirit Magazine about a year ago, which you can find here.
Next time: Jesse Ventura is elected Governor of Minnesota, Eric Bischoff is fired, and the WWF becomes WWE.