Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Loyalty? Grizzly Smith - The BIG STOOGE - Part 2

Jackson, Mississippi. Huge crowd at the Coliseum. The night of the big Cage Match. Grizzly Smith vs The Great Mephisto! (If you didn't read my last post, you may want to scroll down and get the lead-up to this true incident).
I can tell you that one of the worst things that can happen in a promotion is substitutions, especially in the main event. I can say that we were very fortunate to have only a couple of these incidents in our many years of promoting wrestling, and those few times were legitimately unavoidable, either injury or travel problems. We NEVER, EVER advertised a big name to draw a crowd knowing that we did not have them signed and booked. Unfortunately, there were a few promotions that would do just that. So, here we are, after the big street fight, the pictures and story in the Clarion Ledger, both men bloodied and arrested, the time has come! Lock them in a 10' steel cage and let them fight until the toughest man is able to walk out, leaving his defeated opponent lying in the ring!
Time has come after the other great matches for the Cage Match! The cage has been set up. The crowd is ready, and loud! Mephisto has been there from the beginning. Grizzly Smith? Has not been seen or heard from. Only one thing to do. My father goes to the ring and announces "Ladies and gentlemen, we do not know if Mephisto has attacked Grizzly again in the alley or what has happened, but he has not shown up and is not here tonight". You can imagine the crowd's reaction! By the time he has finished this announcement Mephisto has hit the ring, grabs the mic and says "Grizzly Smith, I have bailed myself out of jail, I am here, and if you have a single ounce of guts and courage in your body you will do the same and hit this ring RIGHT NOW!" No Grizz.
So, did Bill Watts' plan work? To plant Grizzly as a stooge, keep him informed of everything we were doing, build up to a huge main event then not show up, therefore killing our territory?
Well guys, it did not. They under-estimated the talent we had working for us and the loyalty and desire of the fans in Mississippi to see great wrestling! A challenge was issued to Mephisto that night by another great wrestler in the dressing room, we had a great cage match, the crowd popped, and by the time they left the arena they had forgotten all about Grizzly Smith! Not one person asked for a refund. The crowd got what they came to see. International Championship Wrestling. And, we continued to outdraw the Mid-South group in every single town they came into to run against us!
Bill Watts? I know this killed your huge ego and you will have to admit to anyone today if you are truthful that we out-promoted, out-booked, and out-wrestled you!
Grizzly Smith? Rest-in-peace my friend. You were looking out for yourself. Hope you were paid well for it because it was a helluva ride!
Next time - Real Loyalty - The Spoiler, Don Jardine! I welcome your comments!

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