The Last Battle Of Atlanta!!

Steve CincinatContributor IJanuary 16, 2010

           I was searching for random stuff on youtube the other day and came across some old Georgia Championship Wrestling vids. Talk about bringing back memories. My buddies and I used to go to the Canton {OH} Civic Center every month for the Big Time Rasslin' matches. We sat in the 2nd row ringside and tickets were a whopping $7 a piece LOL. For our $7 we saw some of the all time greats. Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes, Paul Orndorff to name a few, but one thing stands out in my mind. The feud between Tommy "Wildfire" Rich vs The Mad Dog Buzz Sawyer. 

           Tommy Rich was the ultimate babyface. Blonde, good looking, all around good guy. Just as good Tommy was to the good side Buzz Sawyer was to the bad. He was the ultimate heel. Prematurely balding, and a little on the psycho side. He would actually take his forearm and rub wrestlers' faces into the mat.    

            I remembered the first time we saw them wrestle it was on the undercard, I couldn't tell you who the main event was, but I sure remember the first sawyer/rich match. Bloody, and violent these 2 went at it full tilt for about 15-20 minutes. 

            Wrestling back then was alot different then it is now. Back then the matches on t.v were what they call squash matches. The big name would take on some ham and egger and literally squash him. The money then was in the arena shows. So the storylines were built on the t.v shows. Georgia Championship Wrestling was on at 6:05 every Saturday night for 2 hours, unless the God awful Atlanta Braves played at 7:05 then we would only get an hour. Back in the early 80's the Braves were terrible too. Anyways back to the story. So the next Saturday night after this violent match the feud was hot and heavy now. These 2 would charge the ring during each others matches, if they were being interviewed by the legend Gordon Solie. Any chance they had they took advantage of

            So the next month that wrestling came back to Canton these 2 were the main event, Inside a steel cage. Cage matches were notoriously brutal as chain link fence was put up on all sides of the ring. Nobody in, nobody out. This was the single greatest match I ever saw in person and I went to wrestling every month for about 3 years. By the time it was over the cage was practically coming down and they fought all the way back to the locker rooms. This was maybe the most intense feud ever, as Tommy Rich has said on a few shoot interviews that he really didn't like Buzz Sawyer.

            The feud kept on going to. 1 year went by and they were still at it. A year and a half and still going strong. Finally it all came to a head. In what was called The Last Battle of Atlanta. October 23, 1983 in Atlanta, GA. The Omni. 10,000 fans packed the Omni for this match. It was fought in an enclosed cage. The precursor to the "hell in a cell" match. Rich won that night, and we all tuned into GCW that next Saturday night for all the gory details except one thing happened that night. Someone forgot to tell the writers of GCW that everyone wanted to hear about it. There was no mention to it at all. A few months later Rich and Sawyer even formed a tag team. For 18 months these 2 tormented and kicked and bled, and then no mention of it. Ive tried everywhere to find footage of this match. Legend has it that Ole Anderson ruined any footage there was. So i guess I can see why Vince Mcmahon was able to buy out all the territories and make wrestling the boring entity it is today. But for about a 4 year period Georgia Championship Wrestling was the greatest thing ever!!


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