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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.

History

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.
  • September 29, 1979: Pat Patterson is introduced as the first Intercontinental Champion, with manager the Grand Wizard claiming that Patterson had traveled to Rio Di Janerio to win a 20-man tournament of the world's best wrestlers. The North American Heavyweight Championship is retired shortly thereafter.
  • November 17, 1979: Hulk Hogan makes his national debut in the WWF, making quick work of Harry Valdez in a squash match. In the post-match interview with Vince McMahon, Hogan's manager, Fred Blassie makes what turns out to be a prophetic proclamation: that Hogan would beat all comers and soon become the face of professional wrestling.
  • 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.
  • September 6, 1980: The first televised confrontation between Hulk Hogan and André the Giant takes place, with Hogan challenging André to a match and appearing to accept André's invitation to wrestle right then and there. On the following week's program, Hogan slams André with ease, and later, after André got the upper hand and was appearing to finish off Hogan, the Hulkster hid a foreign object in his elbowpad and hit André in the head, causing him to bleed and the match to end in a no-contest, and André (famously) angrily and incoherently demanding Hogan return to the ring.
  • August 12, 1981: Bruno Sammartino announces his retirement as an active wrestler.
  • October 16, 1982: The slow-building face turn of Jimmy Snuka, which unfolded over a series of weeks, is completed when Ray Stevens brutally beats Snuka during a match. The storyline evolved from Buddy Rogers' claim several weeks earlier that Snuka's manager, Captain Lou Albano, had been defrauding Snuka and embezzling his funds. Albano vehemently denied the accusations and began berating Snuka for no longer listening to him, while Snuka was beginning to realize that Albano was a liar and thief out for his own gain. Snuka would go on to become the WWF's most popular wrestler between late 1982 and early 1984.
  • 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 a "Piper's Pit" segment (taped March 28) airs nationally on the June 9 broadcast.
  • December 1, 1984 (taped November 13): Ken Patera and Big John Studd beat André the Giant unconscious during a match. Afterward, the heels and newcomer manager Bobby Heenan begin cutting André's hair.
  • August 24, 1985 (taped July 30): Randy Savage introduces his new manager, Elizabeth. The decision by the "Macho Man" to go with the previously-unknown Louisville, Kentucky native as his manager closes out a storyline that had unfolded over several weeks where several heel managers were vying for his services. Not long thereafter, Savage began targeting Hulk Hogan for the WWF World Heavyweight Championship, with Elizabeth playing a key role in setting up the feud.
  • July 19, 1986 (taped June 24): "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff turns 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.

Announcers

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

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1978 List of WWWF Championship Wrestling results

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1979 List of WWWF/WWF Championship Wrestling results

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1980 List of WWF Championship Wrestling results

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1981 List of WWF Championship Wrestling results

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1982 List of WWF Championship Wrestling results

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1983 List of WWF Championship Wrestling results

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1984 List of WWF Championship Wrestling results

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1985 List of WWF Championship Wrestling results

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1986 List of WWF Championship Wrestling results

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