Pro Wrestling USA was a professional wrestling promotion in the United States of America in the mid 1980s. It was an attempt to unify various federations, including Jim Crockett Promotions, the AWA, and other members of the NWA.
By 1984, Vince McMahon had begun moves to take the World Wrestling Federation national, and bought out Georgia Championship Wrestling. This was in total disregard to the NWA and its territory system; Vince now had the national TBS timeslot. Despite this move being very unsuccessful, McMahon was also able to air the historic War to Settle the Score and Brawl to End it All wrestling cards on MTV; in addition, McMahon also still had the most recognized wrestler in the industry, Hulk Hogan. In a bid to counter the new threat, various promoters across America decided to co-promote wrestling shows.
Jerry Lawler, Jerry Jarrett (later one of the promoters behind NWA:TNA), Verne Gagne of the AWA, the CWA, Ole Anderson of GCW, Jim Crockett Promotions, and other NWA promoters got together to co-promote wrestling shows nationally. This joint venture became known as Pro Wrestling USA.
This loose alliance of promoters from across America was to serve to act as a national federation. Pro Wrestling USA shows could boast, for example, AWA and NWA World title bouts on the same card.
While, at the behest of Jerry Lawler and Jerry Jarrett, the first show took place in Memphis, Tennessee, Pro Wrestling USA shows were promoted across the member's territories. Further, many Pro Wrestling USA shows were taped in East Rutherford, New Jersey, in the heart of the former WWF territory. This was a serious attempt to undermine the WWF, in its home turf, at a moment of financial weakness.
The peak of Pro Wrestling USA came at SuperClash, in Chicago. Over 21,000 people crammed into Comiskey Park on September 28, 1985. The card for the show was headlined by Ric Flair vs. Magnum T.A. for the NWA title, and Rick Martel vs. Stan Hansen for the AWA title.
The arrangement, however, would only remain in existence for a few more months. Arguments between promoters, primarily Gagne and Crockett, severed the ties. Crockett opted to leave the group, and within months, the Pro Wrestling USA shows were simply repackaged AWA programs.
Jim Crockett Promotions would expand nationally by itself, and eventually (after a sale to Ted Turner) become World Championship Wrestling. Nearly a decade after Pro Wrestling USA, WCW would eventually overtake the WWF in the ratings. Similarly, the Universal Wrestling Federation would also become a national federation for a short while. SuperClash II—an all AWA affair—on May 2, 1987 at San Francisco's Cow Palace would draw 2,800.
In 1988, three of the Pro Wrestling USA federations made a second attempt to unify their federations. This second attempt would be made between Fritz Von Erich's WCCW (a Texas-based territory), Jerry Jarrett's CWA (based out of Memphis), CWF and the AWA.
Under the arrangement, Jerry Lawler, a wrestler for the CWA, won the AWA World Title. Lawler would defend the title against WCCW's Terry Taylor. Lawler then began a feud with WCCW's World Champion, Kerry Von Erich. The payoff match happened at a joint pay-per-view, in Chicago, Illinois, named AWA SuperClash III, on December 13, 1988. It would be the AWA's only pay per view, as SuperClash 1, 2, and 4 weren't pay-per-views. Also on the card was David McLane's POWW Lingerie Street Fight Battle Royal.
By this time, the WWF had firmly been established as a national federation, and Jim Crockett Promotions had bought out many NWA territories and also gone national, and was being sold to Ted Turner as World Championship Wrestling. SuperClash III did a fraction of the buy-rate an equivalent WWF or Crockett/WCW pay-per-view would have done (Where NWA's Starrcade '88 did a 1.8, SuperClash III did a .5). While AWA placed the official attendance at 1,672, many suspect that only a fraction of this number (1,000 or less) attended the Chicago Pavilion.
The show saw a Unified World Champion crowned after Jerry Lawler defeated Von Erich, though this title seemed to be purely symbolic, a lesser unified version of the All Japan Triple Crown.
The numbers Gagne gave the other promoters were drastically different to those he told the general public. This led the WCCW, CWA and CWF to feel short changed, accusing Gagne of lying to them about the show's revenues. As a result of Gagne's apparent deception, Jerry Lawler refused to defend Gagne's AWA title for the AWA promotion. The merged promotions quickly disbanded. Lawler kept the AWA Championship belt for himself, and a new belt was introduced in the AWA to symbolize the AWA title.
WCCW, which was depending on a strong buy-rate for SuperClash III to survive at this point, ended up insolvent. Briefly, there was an official union of some of the promotion who co-promoted SuperClash III. WCCW merged with Jerry Jarrett's CWA, to form the USWA, again an attempt to create a third national promotion behind Jim Crockett Promotions/WCW and the WWF. However once again the union was short lived, and WCCW withdrew from the USWA and soon went out of business. Jerry Jarrett's USWA remained a major independent promotion for the next decade, but never achieved the national proclaim intended by the CWA/WCCW merger.
The 1988 union of the AWA, CWA, CWF, and WCCW was not known as Pro Wrestling USA, and their shows were just advertised as cross-promotional events.