Superstars of Wrestling/GWF Co-Founder Joe Pedicino Passes Away at 70

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Another sad day in pro wrestling on Monday, as in was announced that longtime wrestling announcer, broadcaster, and promoter Joe Pedicino, who started Superstars of Wrestling in 1986 and co-founded Global Wrestling Federation (GWF) in 1991, has passed away. Pedicino suffered a stroke last June, but no word has been released his cause of death. He passed away on April 12 at the age of 70.

In 1985, as part of the sales staff for WATL-TV 36 in Atlanta, Georgia, he pitched to the station a concept that revolutionized wrestling on television. A seven hour block of pro wrestling, featuring select matches from the week from multiple National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) territories including Georgia Championship Wrestling, Mid-South Wrestling, Continental Wrestling Association, and World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW), as well as wrestling from Japan, both puroresu and joshi, as well as Puerto Rico. Even Vince McMahon Jr.‘s WWF would frequently provide footage. Dubbed Superstars of Wrestling, it launched in May of 1986 from 8pm to 3am and became a ratings hit. Part wrestling show, part entertainment magazine, it would feature news from around the wrestling world as well as matches. It eventually went into syndication and ran until 1992 (although WWF’s involvement disappeared much sooner). Gordon Solie was a regular presenter and Pro Wrestling Illustrated would present their awards on the show, with PWI’s Bill Apter becoming the most visible wrestling journalist of the era.

In 1989, he started his own promotion, Georgia All-Star Wrestling. Apart from hosting his own Superstars of Wrestling, Pedicino worked as a commentator for Jim Crockett, and through his connections, would manage to get some of their wrestlers to appear. Future WCW announcers Scott Hudson and Steve Prazak would get their start with Pedicino, as would a young wrestler named Marcus Bagwell. GASW was shut down in 1991, but it was only because Pedicino had bigger plans.

With the demise of World Class Championship Wrestling in 1990, Joe Pedicino partnered up with former USWA Commissioner Max Andrews to start a new major promotion in Texas, setting up shop in Dallas. They had grand plans to become the new number three behind the WWF and WCW, overtaking the dying AWA. They had multiple money major backers in the early days, but sadly, all fell through before the promotion opened. Pedicino was determined in his vision and pushed through, absorbing most of the financial burden. In June 1991, the Global Wrestling Federation (GWF) was born.

GWF would feature some veterans (those who hadn’t signed with WWF or WCW) but also found some new, young talent to establish a future. X-Pac, The Patriot, Jerry Lynn, Buff Bagwell, Raven, Bradshaw, and Harlem Heat (Booker T & Stevie Ray) – albeit under different names for most of them – all were young talents that got their start or developed in GWF. Other names they used were Chris Adams, “Hot Stuff” Eddie Gilbert, Bad News Brown, Mick Foley (as Cactus Jack), Terry Gordy, Bam Bam Bigelow, and many more were regulars.

They filmed out of the Dallas Sportatorium – dubbed the GlobalDome – and aired in the Dallas and Fort Worth markets. Hudson and Prazak would stay with Joe Pedicino in GWF, and when Hudson left the announce booth, he was replaced by a young Bruce Prichard. Despite all these future legends on the roster, TV ratings didn’t do as well as expected and by October of 1991, Pedicino handed over his position as head booker to Eddie Gilbert. As the financial hardships took its toll, Pedicino sold his stakes in GWF in 1992. He left the business in 1994, returning to radio.

But the wrestling business provided him with the greatest love of his life, his longtime wife Boni Blackstone. A lifelong wrestling fan, she was selected to be Pedicino to be his co-host on Superstars of Wrestling in 1985. A year later, they were married. Blackstone would also work as an interview and announcer in GWF. Following their departure from GWF in 1992, Boni Blackstone would find work with the WWF as a backstage interviewer the following year. She would also work for Ladies Professional Wrestling Association (LPWA) before retiring in 1995.

LWOPW sends its sincere condolences to the Boni Blackstone and the entire Pedicino family, his friends, peers, and colleagues. Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world.

3 COMMENTS

    • All the best to you during this time. You guys were HUGELY more important to pro wrestling than I think you realize!

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