Paul E Dangerously`s ICW, the Forerunner To Extreme Championship Wrestling

It was sometime around the fall of 1989 when manager Paul E Dangerously was fired from his job in WCW by the company`s booker and World champion Ric Flair.  Exploring new opportunities, the out of work Dangerously landed in Mario Savoldi’s International Championship Wrestling (ICW) where he would become the companies booker, color commentator and top bad guy manager.

As soon as Dangerously joined the company, the show became much faster paced, the ICW became a serialized television program, that had evolved storylines, hot promos, and fast paced wrestling action. Dangerously wanted to not only improve the wrestling, he also wanted to improve the television show. If a viewer missed one episode they were behind, it was must watch television.

Many of these historic episodes can be seen on Ultimate Classic wrestling , which is carried by Roku.  Like ECW five years later, not only were the angles and the villains edgy, the good guys were kick ass and edgy as well. The best example of this was an angle between Paul E and Phil Apollo, with Bob Dow as the play by play straight man.

Paul E made the edgy comment that it was to bad that Apollo was born before Roe vs Wade, with Annoncer Bob Dow acting outraged and apologizing to the audience.

Good guy Phil Apollo was in the studio, and was more edgy than the bad guys who wrestled on the other wrestling TV shows.  Apollo not only beat Dangerously without mercy, he was yelling and cursing so much,  that most of what he said was edited out. I remember at 14 years old thinking “I have never seen a good guy like that before “ Of course Apollo let his temper get the best of him, he walked right into a trap set by Paul and the companies tag team champions the lethal weapon(Dennis condry and Doug Gilbert) and Apollo’s dynamic duo tag team partner Eric Sbracia was not in the studio to stop his partner from the beat down.

Dangerously didn’t ignore other companies or his wrestlers time in them, he actually embraced the history to add background to the stories. Dangerously was in the NWA during the dynamic Duo’s brief time there, so they made a storyline out of it. Paul E was angry, because he wanted to manage them in the NWA and they turned him down.

Another storyline was based on Apollo’s successful run as a wrestler/Manager in world class. The evil Dangerously pulled strings to keep Apollo from wrestling in ICW and reform the Dynamic Duo, so Apollo renewed his mangers license and returned as a manager, before coming back as a wrestler. This was A common theme is Dangerously’s short run

Diamond Dallas Page recorded A promo for ICW, talking about brining in the original Fantastics(Tommy Roger’s and Bobby Fulton) to feud with Paul E Dangerously’s Lethal Weapons. This was an angle continued from PWF in Florida from a month before, A direct continuation of what the six performers kicked off in another promotion.

Dangerously went as far to promote A huge Joel Goodheart show on ICW TV. On that show Dangerously managed AWA champion Larry Zbysko, who faced David Sammartino with his farther Bruno in his corner. Dangerously also managed Austin Idol against Paul Orndorff, in A feud that was going to continue in ICW, and ended up continuing in Afa and Sikas TWWF. On that card Dangerously was also scheduled to manage the lethal weapons in an ICW tag team title defense against veteran the cheetah kid(Rocko Rock) and his young partner Leapord Mask(Flex Lavender)

Dangerously also put a lot of emphasis on talent brining in established veterans such as Tom Prichard, The Motor City Madman, Cowboy Bob Orton, The Power Twins , Mr. Pogo and TT Krunksky, while also brining in local rising stars Preston Steele and Kid Krush, who Dangerously turned into the Tasmaniac. 

Mr. Pogo wasn’t the only star from Japan that Dangerously brought in, he also brought in Asishi Onita who was coming out of retirement and turning North America. Dangerously had Onita wrestle future star Chris Michael’s and ICW champion Tony Atlas in a champion vs champion match. 

Dangerously also made use of the local wrestling scene to bring in local and international star Bioalo the giant to challenge Tony Atlas for the ICW title. During this time period a lot of ICW stars who Dangerously inherited really broke out as well.

Ray Oddessey and The Roadblock looked like stars. A young GQ Madison was teamed with veteran star Tom Brandi, and longtime regular the Pink Assassin was transformed into the wrestling school dropout, turning him into a huge crowd favorite right away. 

Dangerously’s stint at ICW was actually brief. In an interview with out very own Rick Del Santo, Mario Savoldi explained that he left after ownership took the side of Tony Atlas, after he had a blowout with Dangerously. This decision turned out to be costly. Not only did the company lose Dangerously, but shortly after Ole Anderson offered Atlas A job in WCW as a member of the Dudes with attitudes.

The Savoldi’s did the best they could to manage the situation, as they had a working relationship with the WWF and made a phone call to them ,after Atlas was given an offer by WCW. Atlas would return to the company to drop the title to Vic Steamboat after appearing on WWF TV as Saba Simba, and return to beat Steamboat for the title the next year, after being released by the WWF. 

Immediately following Dangerously’s exist, the crew he brought in left with him, with the exception of tasmaniac who was getting his first push on television, and the crew was replaced by young unknown local wrestlers, who came in with a push right away, as well as the company pushing some of the young  wrestlers who were underneath guys during Dangerously’s time with the company. Some of the young talent that replaced Dangerously’s crew, became great wrestlers, who had very successful careers, but at that time, they did not have the experience or the name value to replace the talent that Dangerously brought in.

The Boston Bad Boy replaced Tony Rumble as the company’s Booker, producer, color commentator and lead bad guy manager. Rumble and announcer Bob Dow had great chemistry as a team, and Rumble came up with some fun storylines, although Rumble did not have Dangerously’s experience, or the roster that Dangerously had to work with.

A few months after leaving ICW, Dangerously’s returned to WCW, where he became the manager of Mean Mark Callous, about six months before Callous debuted for the WWF as the Undertaker at Survivor Series 1990.  Dangerously stayed in WCW until 1993, before joining Jim Crockett WWN, and more famously becoming the booker and eventual owner of ECW, before working for the WWE, where he currently manages  WWE champion Roman Reigns.

ICW would stay in business until 1995, at the same time ECW was generating a huge buzz!  In the company`s final five years of existence, ICW remained on television, but they never again gained the buzz, that Dangerously generated for the brief time he was working for ICW.  

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