For the Northeastern regional territory promoted by Angelo Savoldi from 1984-95, see International World Class Championship Wrestling.

International Championship Wrestling was an independent professional wrestling promotion based in Lexington, Kentucky that operated from 1978 until 1984. It was run by WCW Hall of Famer Angelo Poffo, the father of Randy Savage and "The Genius" Lanny Poffo. Throughout its history, ICW was considered an "outlaw" promotion, in which International Championship Wrestling was not a member of the National Wrestling Alliance and promoted shows in direct competition against NWA regional territories.


The promotion was founded in 1978 as a rival to Ron Fuller's Southeastern Championship Wrestling and Nick Gulas NWA Mid-American territory, extending into Verne Gagne's American Wrestling Association and Dick Afflis' World Wrestling Association territories by 1981. Later on they'd come in direct competition with Jerry Lawler and Jerry Jarrett's Continental Wrestling Association as well, operating in their territories and even managed to get several wrestlers to leave Southeastern and the CWA to join ICW. This, among other issues, would result in a series of lawsuits between Poffo and other NWA-affiliated organizations during the late 1970s and early 80s.

The main stars of ICW were Poffo's sons Randy (better known as "Macho Man" Randy Savage) and Lanny (better known as "Leaping" Lanny Poffo) who frequently traded the promotion's heavyweight title between each other; in fact only one other man (Paul Christy) held the ICW World Heavyweight Championship in the 6 years the title existed. While Randy and Lanny were the focus of the federation, it did feature many other stars such as Ronnie Garvin, Crusher Broomfield (later known as One Man Gang and Akeem), Bob Orton, Jr., Bob Roop, Rip Rogers, "Pistol" Pez Whatley, Ox Baker, George Weingeroff, and the Devil's Duo (Jeff Sword and Doug Vines) with their manager Izzy Slapowitz.

Elizabeth Hulette, who would later gain fame in the WWF and WCW as Miss Elizabeth, got her start in professional wrestling as an on-camera host (using the name "Liz Hulette", as she was known to her friends while growing up) of ICW's weekly TV show where she also started her romance with Randy Savage.

In 1984 the promotion closed down due to dwindling attendance and its assets were bought by Jerry Jarrett and Jerry Lawler. Due to the fans' knowledge of the extremely bitter rivalry between ICW and CWA, Randy Savage was able to migrate to the CWA and begin a memorable feud with Jerry Lawler that established Randy Savage as a world-class superstar.

Same name different promotions

Paul Christy, the wrestler who had ended Randy Savage's final reign as ICW World Champion, started a new ICW when Poffo's promotion folded. He ran the promotion for a few years with little publicity or success before closing it down in the late 1980s.

Another promotion called International Championship Wrestling operated out of Boston in the late 1980s, promoted by Angelo and Mario Savoldi, and Mario's son Joe Savoldi. After forming a working agreement with World Class Championship Wrestling, the Boston-based ICW was renamed International World Class Championship Wrestling (IWCCW). It included such stars as: The Russian Brute, Tom Brandi, Mike Kahula, Tony Rumble, and Nikolai Volkoff.

International Championship Wrestling (ICW) is also a lesser known promotion based in Cloverdale, BC. Past wrestlers include Buddy Wayne, and Chico Alvarez.


Championship: Last Champion(s): Active From: Active Till:
ICW World Heavyweight Championship Lanny Poffo May 10, 1978 1984
ICW United States Tag Team Championship Bart Batten and Johnny Wilhoit June 14, 1978 1984
ICW United States Heavyweight Championship Paul Christy 1981 1984
ICW Television Championship The Great Tio September 9, 1980 1983
ICW Southeastern Heavyweight Championship Lanny Poffo May 26, 1979 1984
ICW Southeastern Tag Team Championship Bob Roop and Big Boy Williams July 1979 August 1980



Tag teams



  • Sam Diamond aka Jack Barnett
  • Jim Davis
  • Emmitt Couch
  • George Hill

External links

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