NEWS, HISTORY AND ANALYSIS THAT MATTER TO THE SERIOUS WRESTLING FAN
HISTORY: THE STATEMENT THAT SENT THE COWBOY AWAY
Published Saturday, January 14, 2006 by DEVELOPMENTALspotlight | E-mail this post
With Jim Herd's disasterous reign as the chair of the National Wrestling Alliance booking committee a memory better off forgotten, a lawyer for Ted Turner's Superstation TBS named Jim Frey was inexplicably promoted to fill the void left behind. He wouldn't hold the position long, as soon therafter a colorful legend --and promotional genius -- by the name of "Cowboy" Bill Watts was signed to a deal as the new Vice President of Wrestling Operations for World Championship Wrestling. Jim Herd quietly resigned and was moved elsewhere within the Turner Organization.
If Turner brass would have read comments made by Watts in an interview several months earlier, they could have saved themselves the trouble of hiring him in the first place. Ironically, it was a future employee of World Championship Wrestling named Mark Madden who would fax a transcript of Watts's controversial interview to Turner darling and professional baseball homerun king Hank Aaron a short time after "The Cowboy" first put his imprint on World Championship Wrestling.
"Horrible" and "despicable" were the two words emphasized most by Aaron in discussing Watts' statement. Amid controvery, Watts and Turner Sports would soon part ways.
The question of whether Bill Watts's was in fact a bigot or simply a man who spoke too openly about his honest opinions on social issues has always intrigued wrestling fans. Statements have ranged from "Bill Watts was the type of guy, if he's gonna call you a n-----, he's gonna call you a n----- to your face" (Charles "2 Cold Scorpio" Scaggs) to "Bill Watts saw only one color, green". The truth may never be known, and it probably isn't particularly relevant anyway.
Perhaps in no other instance was Bill Watts' straddling this thin line more dangerously than in an interview with The Pro-Wrestling Torch Newsletter in the summer of 1991. The following are the statements that would eventually lead to the departure of Bill Watts from World Championship Wrestling.