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Insane Insights From Dark Side Of The Ring: Black Saturday

The season five finale of Dark Side Of The Ring focused on Black Saturday. This was the episode I was looking forward to the least coming into season five. However, after watching it, I realized it became one of my favorites.

This episode features Gerald Briscoe, Jim Cornette, Dave Meltzer, Bryant Rogowski (Ole Anderson's Son), Bob Roop, Tommy "Wildfire" Rich, Bobby Simmons, Joe Hamilton JR, and Louise Cochran as talking heads.


I learned a lot watching this episode. Here are ten of the biggest takeaways.


10. The Territories Back In The Day Were Run Like The Mafia

The beginning of the episode discussed how the Territories were run, and it was insane. Did you know that the NWA was a governing body of the territories? Yes, the same company owned by Billy Corgan once led the entire territories on how to do business.

The NWA would always have a yearly meeting where all the territories came together to hash things out. Jim Cornette called it 'Mafia-esque.' This was clearly the case when the documentaries were made in the Tales of the Territories.


When Vince Jr. bought the company from his dad, they viewed him as a kid, which was mistake number one, as Vince was looking to take over everything. Let's just say they underestimated him.


9. Jim Barnett's Connections Are Deep

Jim Barnett is a big figure in this time period. He was one of the top promoters in the business and became Vince McMahon's right-hand man during Black Saturday. He was the key promoter of Georgia Championship Wrestling, and he became the guy to call if you wanted to make connections with people.


Two tremendous connections he had stood out to me. The first is Ted Turner, who used to own WCW. Apparently, they were really close friends, and Barnett got the TV deal with Turner's cable station.


Another close connection was with Jimmy Carter, the 39th president of the United States. I think he is probably one of America's worst presidents but the greatest post-president that America has ever had.


Something that was not mentioned, but I found during my research, is that he was a very big part of Carter's Campaign. He donated a ton of money to it and even served as part of Carter's Office of Counsel to the President.


The point is, Barnett was the guy you wanted to know to bring strong connections to your pro wrestling industry. He was cutthroat behind the scenes and was very different from most wrestling people.


One other fact about Barnett too was that he was also a gay man. At that time, it was rare for a gay man to have the power he had. Especially in pro wrestling and the NWA did not accept him in their inner circle as quickly as they normally would with others.


8. Jim Barnett Allegedly Embezzled Funds

Ole Anderson noticed the company was in really bad financial shape and wondered what the heck was going on.Ole knew that Barnett had paid off politicians, but not all of the money was used for that.


Ole wanted to examine the books financially. He decided to kick down the door to his office and go through the books. He found so much money that was paid for other things, including phone bills, a personal chef, a personal drive, etc. This was all company money.


Barnett was embezzling money, which confirmed Ole's suspicions. Ole went straight to the NWA and other owners of Georgia Championship Wrestling, and he convinced them that Barnett was wrong. He was now running the company and doing things his way, and now he had to tell Barnett.


7. Ole Threatened to Throw Jim Barnett Off the Balcony

Ole decided to confront Jim Barnett, who was not a happy camper. After all, Georgia Championship Wrestling was in a ton of debt. Ole talked with Barnett, and he was going after him.


He then discussed with Barnett that he would have to resign and take over the role of company president. If he didn't, Ole would have thrown him off the balcony and reported him to the police for embezzlement.


This just sounds like a stupid plan already, as you basically just threatened to assault or even murder the man. Luckily, Barnett agreed and decided to step down. Also, Gerald Brisco called out Ole for going too far and picking on the much smaller Barnett. Brisco is not wrong there.


6. Vince Allegedly Tipped Off Cops On Wrestlers Selling Drugs

Here is something interesting I did not know about. When Barnett and Vince started a working relationship, Vince would go after his competition unethically. The most obvious example is when Vince would go to multiple stations with his briefcase and pay them off to air his show and not show other companies like Ole's. This was known for several years and openly discussed.


That briefcase story is a big reason why I believe Vince paid off the cops during the investigation into Jimmy Snuka's murder of Nancy Argentino in 1983. Remember, Jimmy said in his book that Vince brought his briefcase when talking to the cops but doesn't remember what happened. Yeah, right. I will tell you what happened: Vince paid the cops off. While it's never been confirmed, I firmly believe that 100%.


Something else Vince did, which is super shady, was get deep into making anonymous tips. He could do this with Jim Barnett's deep connections in politics and the police. Vince gave tips regarding pro wrestlers and other workers involved in the promotion that they were selling drugs to people. Vince would stoop to that level to make his competition look bad.


It's no wonder that he became public enemy number one and allegedly received a hit. There were even alleged hits on the Brisco Brothers, and Gerald alleges that Ole did it, but I heavily doubt that.


5. The Blood Agreement Ole had With the Briscos

At this time, the Brisco's were not a big fan of what was happening and wanted to push Ole out. However, they needed a majority vote and could not have a meeting without a stated purpose.


So the Briscoes and Ole meet at a bar to hash things out. They want to know why the money in the bank can't be paid out, and Ole explains the expenses needed to run it. Ole wanted them to wait before the dividend checks came in.


Ole wanted to make an agreement that if anyone wanted to sell the company's stock, they had to get an offer from other board members first. He wanted this agreement to be tight and fully decided upon, so he decided that a 'Blood Agreement' was needed. Ole bladed himself and signed the agreement in blood along with the Briscos.


He was serious about fulfilling the agreement, and one thing everyone says about Ole is that he was always a man of his word. He would never tell lies and would go to any extent to fulfill his word. Unfortunately, the Briscos were not like Ole.


4. The Briscos Sold Their Shares While Ole Was Handling Arrangements for His Mom's Funeral

While Gerald Briscos comes off like a stooge in this documentary, I don't blame him for what he did. He saw the writing on the wall and wanted out. Breaking that blood oath was an awful thing to do, but Ole was insane. Then again, Vince is insane, too, but I don't know if I would have wanted to be associated with a part of a dying Georgia Championship Wrestling.


Brisco wanted to ensure his financial security, and he got that by selling 67.5% of the Georgia Championship.


What is super scummy, though, is the timing of this. It occurred during the time Ole's mother passed away, and he was handling the arrangements. That had to be put on pause when he got a call from Louise (the employee) who told Ole that Vince owned the company.


That is an awful way of finding this out. I don't know if it was coincidentally or intentional, but that is messed up. Ole immediately flew to file an injunction, but it did not work out.


3. The Aftermath of Vince Taking over Georgia Championship Wrestling and Jim Barnett

Let's talk about the aftermath of Georgia Championship Wrestling once Vince took over. Vince walked into the office, and none of the talent or employees knew what was going on. Well, they were all fired, as Vince wanted to put his people to run the company. It is similar to when a sports owner buys a team. The first step is to fire the people there and replace them with their guys. It's awful, but that is usual business practice.


Vince tried offering Ole a job, but he refused. I don't blame him one bit for that. The craziest thing is that he told Vince and Linda to "go F*** themselves" right in front of everybody.


Jim Barnett initially became a big part of the WWE and was part of Vince's inner circle. Eventually, Jim Barnett and Vince had a falling out in 1987 and left the company.


Something that was not mentioned in the documentary was that, at this time, Barnett was suicidal. I remember reading a book on the territories in the aftermath, and a story was told about Barnett almost overdosing on a ton of sleeping pills when he left WWE. They were concerned to the point where Linda McMahon (Vince's wife) was at his bedside. He survived it and worked for WCW until it folded in 2001.


He returned to the WWE as a consultant, which is why WWE was high on John Cena. Barnett was quoted as calling him "your next big guy" to Bruce Pritchard and Vince McMahon, and the rest is history. Barnett passed away in 2004.


2. How Black Saturday Helped Funded The First WrestleMania

As a result, Vince got the TBS time slot, but it was not working because he struggled to connect with the Southern audience. It was one of Vince's biggest failures. I would not say the biggest, as the WBF and XFL 1.0 were much bigger failures, but this is absolutely on the list.


After one year, Vince decided to sell the TBS slot, and the person who bought it was Jim Crockett. Who, at the time, was the President of the NWA, and he would sell a promotion to Ted Turner, which ultimately became WCW.


Vince got one million dollars, which was used to fund one of the most essential PPVs in Vince McMahon's career, the first-ever WrestleMania. That million extra was super important. Although it was not mentioned in the documentary, Vince was going all in on WrestleMania One. He was using every resource to make this event a success. If this had failed, there probably would not be a WWE today, and Vince would be bankrupt.


That million-dollar check he got helped fund the event's budget and attract more celebrities. Of course, it worked, and WrestleMania is still around today. It's crazy to think that Black Saturday ultimately led to WrestleMania, but it is true.


1. What Dave Meltzer Truly Believes Killed the Territories

The territories of pro wrestling have long been dead, and there has been a debate on what truly killed them. A lot of people say Vince McMahon was the main reason why, and that is true; however, Dave Meltzer made a really strong point about it.


Dave Meltzer says it was not Vince who killed the territories but cable television. Vince saw its potential growth, but it was only a matter of time before the Territories died. Whether it was Jim Crockett or Verne Gagne, it would happen through cable TV. However, Meltzer believes that it would not have been as successful with or without Vince. Say what you want about Meltzer; he is right about this. The technology change killed the territory. I don't know if it would have been less successful without Vince, but we will never know. However, the business would have been more ethical if Vince had not been the guy running the whole pro wrestling industry.


Final Thoughts Of The Documentary

This was a well-made documentary. This was filmed when Ole Andreson was alive, but a few months later, he passed away. Vince, too, would be out of the industry after he resigned in disgrace after his sexual misconduct allegations got deep. The only wish I had after watching this documentary was that Ole lived to have seen Vince lose all his power and have his legacy further tainted and rotten.


My advice to Vince McMahon and John Laurenitis, who was also involved in these allegations, is simple. Get your divorce lawyers ready because you'll need them after the Janel Grant Court Case.


All the talking heads were great in this, and it gave me a few new facts about Black Saturday. One thing to me is that this was the least of Vince McMahon's sins. That is saying something, knowing the scummy stuff he did during this time. I believe the star of the documentary is Bryant Rogowski (Ole Anderson's Son).


As for Black Saturday, it was not an if but when it would have been taken over by one person. Vince just had the balls and the money to make it happen. The dude's legacy may be rotten forever, but he did the impossible and made it successful.


That concludes season five of Dark Side of the Ring. Don't worry; these reviews won't stop because I plan to keep looking back at previous Dark Side of the Ring episodes and other pro wrestling documentaries. Including The Death of WCW, which I am looking forward to watching in June.


I will also discuss potential Dark Side of the Ring topics for season six that I would love to see covered. I think there are plenty of issues for a sixth season to be made, so keep an eye on that.

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