The current TNA co-owner, who in 1988 purchased WCCW and guided the promotion through its final successful run as the Dallas branch of the USWA, talks about his experiences promoting in Texas.
What were your original plans once you bought the World Class promotion? Did you plan on combining both the Texas and Memphis territories to compete with the WWF and WCW on more of a national level?
We did in fact combine the talent in the two areas. I really never thought of competing with WWF or WCW. We did not have the resources nor the inclination to take our business to a national level. I saw it as simply a chance to reproduce our profitable efforts in Tennessee in the Texas market.
What was your impressions of the Texas wrestling prior to you buying World Class?
The Texas wrestling at one time was very good and profitable. Fritz believed in a traditional format and at the same time was 'cutting edge' in some of his approach. The later years left the area in a sad shape because Fritz's sons had zero business experience. Their lack of business experience combined with personal problems left them with no money and basically no business.
They were not running shows, the syndication arm with Max Andrews was closed, and they owed considerable money to the building and Channel 11, when Kerry called and asked if I was interested in coming to Texas and talking to them about their business.
Of course making money from your efforts is always rewarding. However, the personal satisfaction of accomplishing a goal that most people think is impossible is even more rewarding. We went to Texas and got the building back, got the television back, build the gates at the Sportatorium from zero to sell-out in about 8 weeks, paid off all the bills from the past, and enjoyed great profits in about 6 months. I have fond memories of working with people who really loved the business to the extent that they would sleep in their cars or at the Sportatorium to make ends meet until we made the business profitable.
Eric Embry and Frank Dusek made unbelievable personal sacrifice in the early weeks to keep the business going. I still enjoy the memory of taking them both new cars to Texas after we turned the corner.
The excitement of the rebuild of Texas wrestling was good for me personally because it was at this time that I started the Monster Truck business in Dallas.
Unfortunately, I fear that the personal problems of the Von Erich family will overshadow their glory days in the wrestiling business. Our rebuilding was not of sufficient time to be remembered and again for those that do remember, the Von Erichs' personal problems will be pointed out as ending their second chance at success.
What was the reason for giving Eric Embry the book, with such a huge push? (It obviously worked, but he was never a huge name prior to this run. Was it a hunch?)
Eric was/and is a bright person with tremendous drive and a strong work ethic. He was full of good ideas, knew the wrestling history of the promotion, and was willing to make great sacrifice to rebuild the business.
From the beginning, I relied on Eric to help me. After we turned the corner and I realized we could make the promotion successful, I gave Eric more authority in the creative end of the business. I was strecthing myself pretty thin in that I was very involved in Tennessee, very involved in Texas, and very involved in the Monster Truck launch. I suppose you could say Eric was in the right place at the right time, but I don't feel Eric was given anything that he did not deserve.