Pre-Raw WWF TV Question


Hi, Scott, had a quick question for you – I've been watching a lot of the old Wrestling Challenges lately; when I was really little, I would catch these every Saturday, but they were mostly squash matches, and you were lucky if you got a few WWF regular guys facing each other. My question is how were these old shows set up? They couldn't possibly have expected a crowd to pay for a few hours of squash matches, right? Did they just snip a handful of matches for TV but actually have some competitive matches for the live crowd? Thanks!
Scott

It makes me feel very old that there are people writing me who have no memory of the hell that TV tapings used to be.  
They in fact did expect a crowd to pay for a few hours of squash matches, often up to five hours of squash matches in fact.  Generally you'd get one or two dark matches to start with local guys (like today), then up to four hours straight of TV tapings, sometimes broken up by COLISEUM EXCLUSIVES like IRS v. Jim Duggan or Berzerker v. Davey Boy Smith, then a quickie main event for the crowd with a big star and usually a DQ finish or the good guy winning a fast match to send the crowd home happy.  It was f------ AWFUL, I'm not gonna lie to you.  By the fourth hour you'd have to make your own entertainment.  If you were lucky to get a Superstars taping then at least you'd get the bigger stars and sometimes even a Saturday Night's Main Event show taped too, but god help if you if got the Wrestling Challenge tapings.