Pro Wrestling

Black Saturday

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Black Saturday is the name given by wrestling fans on July 14, 1984, when Vince McMahon and the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) took over the Saturday night time slots on Turner Broadcasting System (TBS) that had been home to Georgia Championship Wrestling (GCW).

Georgia Championship Wrestling had just began promoting under the name World Championship Wrestling (WCW), a name most wrestling fans would be synonymous with throughout the 1990s as still part of the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA). Jack Brisco and Gerald Brisco had major stakes in the organization while Ole Anderson was head booker and was basically in charge of operations.

GCW also became the first NWA territory to gain access to a cable television deal on Saturday evenings. GCW was famous for providing a more athletic showcase rather than cartoonish characters like the WWF did and therefore had a completely different fanbase.

While still running steadily, both Briscos sold their entire stock in the business (including the TV deal) to Vince McMahon; Jim Barnett immediately followed, as all parties were unhappy with booker Ole Anderson. The WWF show on TBS was a ratings disaster. GCW's core audience hated the WWF's soap opera approach, preferring a more athletic style1. Bill Watts' Mid South Wrestling (MSW) and Ole Anderson's Championship Wrestling from Georgia were both able to even gain better TBS ratings over this program as well [1]. Despite originally promising to produce original programming for the TBS timeslot in Atlanta, McMahon chose instead to provide only a clip show for TBS, featuring highlights from other WWF programming as well as matches from house shows at Madison Square Garden, Boston Garden and other major arenas. In May 1985, McMahon sold the TBS timeslot and GCW name to Jim Crockett, Jr., under heavy pressure from Ted Turner. That would set up a rivalry between McMahon and Turner that would continue for over a decade.

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