#2. World Wide Grappling Association (WWGA)
Mid South: B+
South East: B+
Most of USA: B
Puerto Rico: B-
Product: Texas Evolution
Key Feature(s): Traditional and Mainstream
Heavy Feature(s): None
Medium Feature(s): Lucha Libre
Initial Thoughts: This is promotion is a bit spicier than I first would have thought. With IWF being the WWF/Sports Entertainment promotion, I expected WWGA to be a more wrestling forward promotion, and they are. However, I wasn't expecting the addition of lucha to the product. That said, the makes sense. WWGA's home region is the Mid South, which historically has had a lot of lucha influence due to being on the border with Mexico.
Post-Contextual Thoughts: You know how before I said that IWF was more of a stand-in for WWF? Well, while they definitely match up from a mechanical standpoint, WWGA's history takes a lot from the McMahon family's rise as well. The promotion started out as a regional promotion called Shining Star Grappling as a member of an organization called the CPWO. Due to the leadership of Doug McCann, the promotion became a regional powerhouse and left the organization (like the WWWF left the NWA), before the CPWO got bought out by the AAWP (the organization that IWF steamrolled). The son and current owner, Vic McCann took the company national. The last part of the bio mentions money troubles, throwing in a bit of the Crockett's history into mix.
Dallas, TX - Even in his wildest dreams, Doug McCann can't have imagined that his promotion would become the second biggest wrestling organisation in the world. Founded in 1961 as Shining Star Grappling, the company offered Texas-style wrestling like no other. Thanks to McCann's ability to build stars, and his connections with promotions across the country, Shining Star Grappling soon edged out the competition to become the top promotion in the state. A member of the CPWO, the SSG left before the AAWP purchase in 1977.
By the mid-1980s SSG had a choice - go national or risk going out of business. While Doug was keen to remain a regional territory in respect of the "old ways", he knew that he could never keep up. Passing control of the promotion to his son Vic, Doug retired in 1985.
WWGA World Heavyweight
WWGA Lucha Libre
WWGA World Tag Team
WWGA Six-Man Tag Team
Fracture and Shatter (The Tremors)
Kevin Ott, Leo James, and Paul Adam Christiansen (The Rare Breed)
International Wrestling Federation - Hostile
Jefferson Country Wrestling Association - Hostile
World League of Wrestling - Working Agreement
Schedule Type: Full Time
Event Summary: Monthly PPV
World Championship Wrestling [Friday / A-Show]
Thursday Night Wresting [Thursday /B-Show]
Vic McCann, while having a name similar to Vince seems to have a background more closing to Shane. His father Doug groomed Vic to be his successor and Vic's bio mentions that he's been helping out the ring and backstage crew from the age of 12. He's a negative influence in the locker room due to being anti-social and pessimistic, but at least he's not a cartoonish villain like James S. Kennedy.
Vic's right hand man is Walt Mulhoney. There is no perfect comp for Walt like there was for his IWF counterpart, Bear Watson. His bio mentions that he was a territorial star back in his day and was/is a fantastic booker. This is a pretty common archetype with wrestlers like Pat Patterson, Bill Watts, and Dusty Rhodes that could be used as inspiration if you were to take a spin with this promotion. I'd also recommend using him as a user character. Not only is there really no reason for Vic to change the book, mechanincally it's a smart choice since Walt's personality is neutral and you won't lose a positive influence in the locker room by choosing him.
WWGA's figurehead, Austin Psych, on the other hand as a perfect comp in Superstar Billy Graham, thanks in large part to his render and skill set (especially his tie dye alt). What's different about him is his backstory. You see, Austin had a brother who went by the name Hercules Rock. And while Austin is a star, Hercules Rock was going to be THE star for the AAWP. I say was because in 1984 Rock died in a car crash days before he was going to win the AAWP World title. Austin was booked in his place and the rest is history. One more interesting note about Psych is that he became actor in 1987 and was brought back into wrestling by WWGA in 1990. Unsurprising, Austin Pysch is the current World Heavyweight champion. He's also a very negative influence. Joy…
Speaking of titles, I'm a fan of what WWGA has going on. In addition to the normal, main event singles, midcard singles, and midcard tag titles, they have two low level titles. The first is a Lucha Libre title, which is limited to middleweight and presumably is focused on high flyers. The other title is a six-tag tag title. While both of these make perfect sense for a company based on the US/Mexico border, another influence one can draw on is current NJPW, which also has a junior and heavyweight division. Also, while I didn't plan on digging into any other characters, I had to make an exception for the current WWGA International champion, Terry Viper. Not-Jake Roberts is awesome! While not having the best Star Quality (B-) and isn't going to be having any one hour broadways (C Stamina), he's a fantastic brawler and in-ring technician and can carry anyone to a good match. He'll also be able to talk people into the building with his A microphone and A* charisma. He's also 32 years old, so you'll have him for a long while.
The schedule is similar to the IWF in that there are two shows a week (one A level and a one B level) with monthly PPVs. Their relationships are also similar because WWGA are hostile with another promotion that wasn't mentioned in their bio, Jefferson Country Wrestling Association. WWGA also has a working agreement with one of the bigger Mexican companies, World League of Wrestling, which is cool.
Summary: I'm definitely happy to see IWF rival have a bit more flavor to them. The promotion is far enough away from reality that you could take inspiration from an early WCW or late WCCW or could complete do your own thing. After I get threw reviewing the rest of the promotions, I could definitely see myself taking WWGA for a test run.