International Championship
StyleAmerican Wrestling
HeadquartersLexington, Kentucky
Founder(s)Angelo Poffo
Owner(s)Angelo Poffo (1978–1984)
Vince McMahon (2023–present)
ParentWWE Libraries (WWE)

International Championship Wrestling was an independent professional wrestling promotion based in Lexington, Kentucky that operated from 1978 until 1984. It was run by Angelo Poffo, the father of Randy Savage and "The Genius" Lanny Poffo.[1] Throughout its history, ICW was considered an "outlaw" promotion, as it was not a member of the National Wrestling Alliance and promoted shows in direct competition against NWA regional territories.[2] The rights to the ICW library are currently owned by WWE.


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[1] as well, operating in their territories and even managed to get several wrestlers to leave Southeastern and the CWA to join ICW.[3] 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.[4][self-published source]

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;[5] in fact only two other men (Ronnie Garvin and Paul Christy) held the ICW 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 The Original Sheik (Ed Farhat), 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 Slapawitz.

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. They were later married.

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.[1]

In 2023, it was reported that WWE had purchased the ICW video library.[6]

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.[7][8]


International Championship Wrestling held a variety of professional wrestling tournaments between 1980 and 1982 that were competed for by wrestlers that were a part of their roster.

ICW Television Championship Tournament (1980)

The ICW Television Championship Tournament was a single-elimination tournament to crown the first-ever ICW Television Champion. It was held in the fall, with the finals occurring on September 9, 1980.[9]

Semifinals Final
1 Bob Roop
4 The Best
Bob Roop
Randy Savage
3 Randy Savage
2 Pez Whatley

ICW U.S Tag Team Championship Tournament (1982)

The ICW U.S. Tag Team Championship Tournament was a one-night tag team tournament held in Johnson City, Tennessee on January 5, 1982, for the vacant ICW United States Tag Team Championship.[10][11]

Quarterfinals Semifinals Final
Rip Rogers and Pez Whatley
Apache Lou and Bill Martin
Rip Rogers and Pez Whatley
Crusher Broomfield and Rick Star
Gary Royal and Plowboy Pete
Crusher Broomfield and Rick Star
Rip Rogers and Pez Whatley
Lanny Poffo and Hoot Gibson
The Great Tio and Tony Peters
Ronnie Garvin and Chief Tapu
The Great Tio and Tony Peters
Lanny Poffo and Hoot Gibson


Championship: Last Champion(s): Active From: Active Till: Notes:
ICW World Heavyweight Championship Paul Christy May 10, 1978 1984 [12]
ICW United States Tag Team Championship Bart Batten and Johnny Wilhoit June 14, 1978 1984 [12]
ICW United States Heavyweight Championship Paul Christy 1981 1984 [12]
ICW Television Championship The Great Tio September 9, 1980 1983 [12]
ICW Southeastern Heavyweight Championship Lanny Poffo May 26, 1979 1984 [12]
ICW Southeastern Tag Team Championship Bob Roop and Big Boy Williams July 1979 August 1980 [12]



Terry Harris

Tag teams



See also


  1. ^ a b c Kristian Pope & Ray Whebbe (2003). The Encyclopedia of Professional Wrestling: 100 Years of History, Headlines & Hitmakers (2nd ed.). Krause Publications. p. 219. ISBN 978-0873496254.
  2. ^ Meltzer, Dave, Tributes II: Remembering the World's Greatest Wrestlers. Champaigne, Illinois: Sports Publishing LLC, 2004. (pg. 213) ISBN 1-58261-817-8
  3. ^ Hornbaker, Tim (2007). National Wrestling Alliance: The Untold Story of the Monopoly that Strangled Pro Wrestling. ECW Press. ISBN 978-1550227413.
  4. ^ Johnson, Weldon T. and Jim Wilson. Chokehold: Pro Wrestling's Real Mayhem Outside the Ring. Philadelphia: Xlibris Corporation, 2003. (pg. 513) ISBN 1-4010-7217-8
  5. ^ Nagasaki, Kendo. The Grapple Manual: Heroes and Villains from the Golden Age of World Wrestling. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2005. (pg. 55) ISBN 0-297-84419-9
  6. ^ Lowson, Thomas (May 15, 2023). "WWE Acquires International Championship Wrestling Tape Library from Poffo Family". Se Scoops | Wrestling News, Results & Interviews. Retrieved May 16, 2023.
  7. ^ "ICW Results of matches - 1997". Archived from the original on 2004-11-15. Retrieved 2008-09-02.
  8. ^ ICW Results of matches - 2000
  9. ^ "ICW TV Title Tournament 1980".
  10. ^ "U.S. Tag Title Tournament: One Night, 20-Man Wild Card Tournament ("Each wrestler enters singly and draws name out of a hat. The name he draws will be his partner.")". ICW Poffo Universe. January 1980.
  11. ^ "ICW Tag Team Title Tournament 1980".
  12. ^ a b c d e f Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2006). Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.