WWF Championship Wrestling was the original TV show of the World Wrestling Federation. Championship Wrestling featured all the stars of the WWF, interviews and championship matches. The show lasted from 1972 to 1986.


Run in syndication

This was the first WWF program to be shown on national broadcast television. Vince McMahon built the syndicated network in part by persuading local stations to pay for the rights to air the program. Stations like KPLR-TV in St. Louis and KHJ-TV (now KCAL) in Los Angeles reportedly paid $100,000 to air the show.

In its early years the show was taped at the Allentown Agricultural Hall in Allentown, Pennsylvania. In 1984 the tapings were moved to the Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie, New York where the show was taped weekly until 1986, when it became WWF Superstars of Wrestling and they began taping in big arenas.

Notable title changes

Notable moments

  • August 5, 1972: The set-up to one of the first major face-vs.-face matches takes place when, during a special tag team match pitting Bruno Sammartino and WWWF World Heavyweight Champion Pedro Morales against WWWF Tag Team Champions Mr. Fuji & Professor Tanaka, Fuji and Tanaka throw salt in both of the faces' eyes, and the two faces -- both blinded and unaware of what had happened to the other -- begin attacking each other. The two are shown footage of what took place on the following week's Championship Wrestling a week later and both agreed they had something they needed to settle ... and would do so at WWWF Showdown At Shea 1972. In the weeks following, both continued to wrestle as faces and their personalities never changed ... a rarity for the era.
  • June 6, 1976: Gorilla Monsoon gives an airplane spin to boxer Muhammad Ali after Ali -- making a "special appearance" for that session of television tapings -- enters the ring during Monsoon's match with Baron Scicluna and challenges him to an impromptu match. Monsoon famously declares that Ali "doesn't know a wristlock from a wristwatch" and that while he respected him as a boxer, he had no business entering a wrestling ring.
  • November 12, 1977: The "Manager of the Year" segment, involving the four managers of the time -- heel managers Fred Blassie, The Grand Wizard and "Captain" Lou Albano, plus face manager Arnold Skaaland -- in (kayfabe) "fan vote" storyline for the honor. The segment ended with commentator Vince McMahon taking one of his earliest televised bumps, happening when Albano attacked the winner (Skaaland) by hitting him over the back with the trophy in a fit of poor sportsmanship; except for rare occasions, McMahon would not take bumps for almost the next 20 years.
  • October 21, 1978: "High Chief" Peter Maivia betrays his friend, WWWF World Heavyweight Champion Bob Backlund, in a tag team match, brutally attacking first Backlund's manager Arnold Skaaland before beating down Backlund. An outraged and confused Backlund screams, wondering what happened before vowing to "kill that son of a bitch." Two weeks later, Maivia, now with Fred Blassie as his manager, insists that he never got a shot at the WWWF World Heavyweight Championship and that Backlund was using their friendship to duck a possible match.
  • December 8, 1979: The face turn of WWF Intercontinental Champion Pat Patterson, which unfolded over a series of weeks, is consummated when Patterson objects to his manager, The Grand Wizard, selling his contract to "Captain" Lou Albano, whom Patterson considered "a slob and a bum" and corrupt. Patterson's comments come at the beginning of the show; at the end of the show, Patterson is brutally attacked by his tag team partners, the Wild Samoans, in their match against Larry Zbyszko, Dominic DeNucci and WWF Tag Team Champion Ivan Putski.
  • January 22, 1980: Bruno Sammartino and Larry Zybysko wrestled in a match billed as "the student vs. the teacher". After Sammartino got the better of Zybysko several times in this scientific contest, Zybysko attacked Sammartino and busted him open with a chair leading to a cage match at the Showdown at Shea in August that year.
  • August 12, 1981: Bruno Sammartino announces his retirement as an active wrestler.
  • February 26, 1983: The first major showdown in the long-running André the Giant-Big John Studd feud comes when André accepts Studd's $10,000 bodyslam challenge. André clearly is succeeding when Studd's manager, Fred Blassie, attacks the Giant. Over the next three years, and again in 1989, a bitter feud develops.
  • June 18, 1983 (taped July 31): Jimmy Snuka dives over the top rope onto Don Muraco, something, which at the time, was never before seen.
  • January 7, 1984 (taped January 3): Hulk Hogan made his official return to the World Wrestling Federation by appearing on this show after spending the past 2½ years working for New Japan Pro Wrestling and the AWA.
  • February 4, 1984 (taped January 24): The interview segment Piper's Pit hosted by Rowdy Roddy Piper debuted. The segment involving Piper breaking a coconut over the head of Jimmy Snuka during one a "Piper's Pit" segment airs nationally on the June 9 broadcast.
  • August 24, 1985 (taped July 30): Randy Savage introduced his new manager, Elizabeth.
  • July 19, 1986 (taped June 24): "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff turned on Hulk Hogan in a tag team match against Big John Studd and King Kong Bundy.
  • August 16, 1986: The slow building feud between Roddy Piper and Adrian Adonis (and Piper's face turn) begins after Piper demands his talk show segment, "Piper's Pit" back and begins to openly insult Adonis, his gimmick and "The Flower Shop" segment.


Theme music

Probably the most well-remembered theme music of "Championship Wrestling" is "Scheherazade" by jazz trumpeter Maynard Ferguson. This instrumental piece was used from 1978 until well into 1981. From March 1984 to 1986, an instrumental version of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" was used. This song was accompanied by the image footage of Hulk Hogan winning the WWF title from the Iron Sheik. Other theme music included "Cruise Control" by the Dixie Dregs (Oct. 1981- March 1984) with footage of Bob Backlund being mobbed and picked up by jubilant fans, while holding up the Championship belt. "One Fine Morning" was also used by Canadian jazz-rock ensemble Lighthouse (approx 1974–1975).

External links

List of WWWF Championship Wrestling results
1977 List of WWWF Championship Wrestling results


1978 List of WWWF Championship Wrestling results


1979 List of WWWF/WWF Championship Wrestling results


1980 List of WWF Championship Wrestling results


1981 List of WWF Championship Wrestling results


1982 List of WWF Championship Wrestling results


1983 List of WWF Championship Wrestling results


1984 List of WWF Championship Wrestling results


1985 List of WWF Championship Wrestling results


1986 List of WWF Championship Wrestling results