Black Saturday: The unbelievable story of the original invasion

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July 11, 2013

Tradition: An inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action or behavior.

As cable television became more and more entrenched in American households during the early 1980s, one tradition for devout wrestling fans nationwide was to faithfully tune in every Saturday night at 6:05 p.m. ET to Superstation WTBS from Atlanta to see Georgia Championship Wrestling stars like Ric Flair and Dusty Rhodes on the hugely successful World Championship Wrestling program.

But on the evening of Saturday, July 14, 1984, those that turned on WTBS were in for a shock to their system of tradition. As World Championship Wrestling began, there was announcer Freddie Miller on the screen introducing WWE’s Vince McMahon. WWE was in the beginning stages of its national expansion and was able to acquire the prestigious Saturday at 6:05 p.m. time slot on WTBS, shrewdly taking away Georgia Championship Wrestling’s television product from millions of viewers. It was a move that had signs of brilliance, but the public outcry from the change was so intense that the fateful evening was dubbed “Black Saturday.”

How did this all come about? WWE Hall of Famers Gerald and Jack Brisco were two of the major shareholders in Georgia Championship Wrestling, and were the keys to getting the deal done. recently spoke with Jerry about what happened on “Black Saturday” and how it changed his life forever.

Watch Mr. McMahon invade World Championship Wrestling

WWECLASSICS.COM: How did you come into contact with Mr. McMahon to make the deal to sell your stake in Georgia Championship Wrestling?

GERALD BRISCO: My brother and I were in Mid-Atlantic working for Jim Crockett, Jr. at the time. We were at the office and heard that Roddy Piper had severed the nerves in his fingers and was going to lose the use of his hand. We asked Jimmy Crockett if he had heard anything about it. He hadn’t, so my brother Jack suggested that Jimmy call Vince McMahon. Jimmy said, “I won’t call Vince McMahon!” So Jack says, “Well, if you don’t mind, I’ll call him.” Jack called Vince and asked how Hot Rod’s fingers were and Vince assured Jack that Roddy’s fingers were going to be okay.

WWECLASSICS.COM: And then Mr. McMahon asked you about selling your shares in Georgia Championship Wrestling?

BRISCO: At the time, Vince was cherry-picking the top [wrestlers] around the U.S., and asked Jack if he was able to talk. Jimmy was right there and Jack said, “No, I’m not.” Vince said, “Well, give me a call back when you guys are at a place where you can talk.” Later, we went to Jack’s apartment, called Vince again and originally were just talking about coming to work for him. During the conversation, Jack made the suggestion that we were looking to sell Georgia Championship Wrestling. Vince flew us up to LaGuardia on a day off later that week and we met in a conference room. Nobody ever knew about it. We sat down and talked about working for him and also about selling Georgia Championship Wrestling. I told him that we could get the controlling interest to vote in our favor because some of the stockholders were really disgruntled about the direction of the company. No one was really making any money even though we were doing great business.

WWECLASSICS.COM: Why was that the case?

BRISCO: We had a very dysfunctional company. Two members of the organization were making all the money. The company was making real good money at events we’d started running in Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky and parts of Pennsylvania, but we weren’t getting any good dividend checks. As a matter of fact, about six months before all of this happened, my brother and I tried to do a takeover of Georgia Championship Wrestling and change officers. We called a stockholders meeting, but through our corporate bylaws, we had to state the purpose of the meeting. We didn’t want to state the purpose of the meeting was a takeover. When we convened, it came up that we didn’t state a purpose, so we failed. But Jack and I later met with Ole Anderson, who was basically running the company at the time.

Mr. McMahon Bio, Videos, Photos, and News Articles Gerald Brisco Bio, Videos, Photos, and News Articles Jack Brisco Bio, Videos, Photos, and News Articles

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