ANNIVERSARY began as a 'tour' event from March 17 until April 16 in its early years.  The tour started in Greensboro and ended in Nashville at 'SKYDOME,' a special CSWA facility.

ANNIVERSARY "Opening Day" in Greensboro served as the major event, with house shows dotted through through the Southeast continuing the celebration.

featured the fourth IRONMAN of CHAMPIONS... and the return of the Red Midget, of course.

saw a masked man vie for the World Title in the finals a championship tournament.  Was it Hornet?

saw the feud between Randalls and Hornet pull in a new America's Team!


(CUTTO: CSWA ANNIVERSARY 1989. The first ANNIVERSARY, one year, three champions. Hornet stands across the ring from Wall, with Ray S. Cornette outside the corner. Hornet comes off the top for his famous top-rope jump splash, but Wall rolls his bulk out of the way. He picks up the downed Hornet and nails him with the Slam Heard Round The World, and Cornette straps the CSWA World Title around Wall's waist.)c

BB:  And with that, the CSWA's ANNIVERSARY celebration became a tradition.  Welcome to Merritt Auditorium in Greensboro, North Carolina.  I'm standing in the Hall of Fame, an actual broad hallway that connects the headquarters of CS Enterprises and the CSWA to the Auditorium itself.  On this ground, the CSWA laid its foundations over thirteen years ago.  It certainly wasn't the structure you see here today, but there was something about that warehouse that kept bringing people back.  Or more importantly, something that was happening in that warehouse.

It's hard to believe that I was there, in 1988, when Joey Melton walked away as the first CSWA World Champion.  Back then, it was a World Title that barely covered the city of Greensboro, let alone had any clout.  And now, the men that can say they've held the CSWA World Heavyweight Title are talked about as legends.  In 1989, when Wall pinned Hornet in a tremendous match, the CSWA had just begun to pick up steam.  A TV contract was in effect, and pay-per-view was around the corner.  We all knew something special was really getting started as the CSWA celebrated its first birthday.  And the next night, the CSWA began its march to national prominence as Hornet and GUNS laced up the boots again and went to a ninety-minute match that is still remembered as one of, if not the best match wrestled in the modern era.

As you walk down this Hall with me.... as we pass the statues of the CS Express, Hornet's trophy case, Mark Windham's United States title on the wall, I hope you'll walk down another path with me... the road to ANNIVERSARY.

(CUTTO:  CSWA ANNIVERSARY 1996:  The Eliminator vs. ATTAXX in a 'BaseBrawl' match)

BB: ELI picks up ATTAXX....BIG CHOKESLAM! Rosenthal into the ring, and ELI CRACKS HIM OVER THE HEAD WITH THE BAT! ELI rests the bat down in the center of the ring.....OH NO!  ELI...WITH A POWERBOMB DOWN ON THE BAT! ATTAXX is OUT COLD! Eli with the cover, ONE, TWO, THREE!!! THIS ONE'S OVER, and ELI retains yet again! Wait a second...Eli's asking for the house mic....what could he possibly have to say! 

MM: Hell, I didn't even know the guy could talk! 

BB: That's enough.... 

ELIMINATOR: You know something? Defending this title.... (Flashes the IC Championship to the camera) it just isn't a challenge anymore. I want to prove that I'm the BEST in the CSWA....and I want something better than this....and I'm gonna get it! (Throws down the IC Championship....) 


BB: (sighs) HELLO WRESTLING FANS!!! Welcome to Nashville's SKYDOME ARENA where I'm surrounded by sixty thousand screaming fans who are ready to see a new CSWA World Heavyweight Champion crowned! This is CSWA ANNIVERSARY 1997: NINE YEARS IN THE MAKING. 

(CUTTO: The television wall which begins showing clips of the CSWA's greatest moments, as well as the first two rounds of the recent CSWA World Heavyweight Tournament, but then.....the wall goes blank and the lights flicker in the arena) 

BB: I think we're having a little technical difficulty.....

(The movie screen combining the TV wall can be seen through, and behind it, a small figure is seen looking upwards, as a larger figure reaches in front and starts strangling the smaller man. The smaller figure begins kicking, but is lifted off his feet by the larger man... until he goes limp. The larger man drops the smaller figure and runs off.) 

BB: Oh my dear Lord. I think we just witnessed a murder! Somebody get the paramedics...and the police!! (fadeout) 

(CUTTO:  CSWA ANNIVERSARY 1997:  CSWA World Tournament Final)

BILL BUCKLEY: GUNS doesn't waste anytime, Godreign is stunned, GUNS has him in position....TOMBSTONE PILEDRIVER!!! HERE'S THE COVER, ONE.....TWO......THREE!!!!  I don't believe it, GUNS is the NEW CSWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION!! 

SAMMY BENSON: Oh, Why!! Why!!?? 

BILL BUCKLEY: GUNS, has the belt in his hands, he's beside himself! Godreign has a chair, he's not taking this loss too well! GUNS steps out of the ring just in time!! He's walking back to the dressing room, with the World Title over his shoulder!! 

(CUTTO:  CSWA ANNIVERSARY 1998:  Titanic: Sink or Swim; Mark Windham vs. Troy Windham)

BB: Oh shut up! Troy, that's a can of mace!!! He just sprayed Mace in the eyes of Mark Windham!! Troy throws the evidence into the stands!! Windham is rolling around in pain!! I don't believe this!!

SB: That's what happens when you try to get fresh with Troy Windham!

BB: Will you stop it! Troy has Mark up....Double Arm Powerbomb!! He's going to cover for the win... ONE........TWO.......no this can't happen......THREE!!!

SB: YES! YES! I mean, that's cheating!!!

BB: Oh stuff it, Sammy! Troy rolls out of the ring! He's stolen one here tonight... this is awful! You'd think a former World Champion could muster a little more class than that.

(CUTTO:  CSWA ANNIVERSARY 1998:  CSWA World Title match)

BB: Inside the ring, Hornet sends GUNS into the ropes again...but Troy Windham trips GUNS up and pulls him outside the ring! Troy Windham is all over GUNS, and Hornet and Ben Worthington are just staring at each other!!! Windham throws GUNS into the railing, and now suplexes him onto the concrete. Troy's setting GUNS up for something....but before he can do anything else...Hornet WITH A PLANCHA!!! He just caught Windham and slammed him into the guardrail with a suicide dive!!!! Windham is down, and now both Hornet and GUNS are on their feet. They appear to be jawing back and forth....but not for long...now MARK WINDHAM NAILS HORNET IN THE BACK WITH A CHAIR!!!

TM: He came out of nowhere with that one! One second he was coming down the aisle, then we lost track of him!!!

BB: Mark is going after Hornet with that chair again....but before he can, GUNS levels him with a clothesline!!! Hornet's on his feet...and again we've got some kind of staredown between GUNS and Hornet!!! They say something to each other...and now they've taken after the Windhams!!! GUNS is all over Troy....Hornet's all over Mark, and we've got a pier six brawl on the outside!!! Hornet has the chair and is using it on Mark. GUNS drops Troy with a DDT, and now he's got the crossface hooked in!!! Mark's on his feet, the chair has been thrown in the ring, and Hornet and Mark are throwing punches like they're candy!! Fans, I don't know what's going on.....I don't know if the Windhams planned this...I don't know why Mark is attacking Hornet...I don't even know if the match is over! All I know is that earlier in the night, Troy Windham maced Mark....Hornet and GUNS despised each other....and now it looks like everything's been turned on its head! I have gotten word from Rhubarb Jones that the third fall has been ruled a no-contest... which means that the match ends in a draw one fall a piece....and that the CSWA World Title is still vacant.

(CUTTO:  ANNIVERSARY 1999:  Revelations; IRONMAN of CHAMPIONS Eddy Love vs. Kevin Powers)

BB: After tonight, I have to agree... no matter what you think about both these men, they’ve given it their all... Powers is getting up... and so is Love. This crowd is on fire. (The crowd is clapping frenetically.) Both guys are up. Powers lunges- Love ducks the closeline. Powers with a kick to the stomach- HE’S GOING FOR THE POWERBOMB- NO! HIS KNEE! HIS KNEE! GOOD GOD CAN’T GET EDDY LOVE UP. Eddy Love is let go, and he bounces off the rope- POWERS WITH A KICK TO THE STOMACH AGAIN! He has Love- He’s going for the powerbomb again. LOVE HAS THE LEG HOOKED. HE BLOCKED THE HOLD! Powers now- he’s underhooking his arms! He’s trying to lift him up butterfly style.

SB: He can’t do it, Buckley! His knee’s too hurt. He couldn’t do it normal style, and this has GOT to be harder.

BB: Powers is trying--listen to him scream! Love is STRUGGLING to block the hold. (Melissa is screaming at ringside. Kevin Powers lets out a DEAFENING yell, and he gets Eddy Love up.) POWERS HAS LOVE UP! HE- GOOD GOD!!! HE JUST PILEDROVE EDDY LOVE RIGHT ON HIS NECK! OH MY GOD! Powers is down, holding his knee. Powers lays on top... One....Two...THREEEEE! (The crowd goes ballistic, as firecrackers go off in the arena.) “GOOD GOD” KEVIN POWERS JUST WON! HE JUST BEAT HIS TAG TEAM PARTNER EDDY LOVE!

(CUTTO:  ANNIVERSARY 1999:  Aftermath of Mark Windham vs. Timmy Windham)

MW: You know I didn't force Catherine to run away. And your Dad....what he didn't tell you, is you were adopted like me. Twenty years ago he was badly burned in a fire...a fire that killed two people. Hours after the tragedy he found a boy. A kid  presumed dead. He raised that boy, out of fear. (Windham stops) Troy, you're my brother.

::The crowd erupts. Troy has an absolute look of shock on his face.::

TW: WHAT? I’M YOUR WHAT?  I can’t... I can’t (bleep)ing believe this (bleep.) Screw this... screw all of this.

TW: You're a sick dude, man. With your secrets and revelations... Miz-ark... BRO... you wanna drop bombs? You wanna come out here and tell me that MY whole life has been a lie? Tell me that my whole life isn’t what I thought it was? Well... BRO... I got something for you... Oh yeah, Hornet--you might wanna listen to this, just because I hate your (bleep)ing guts as much as I hate Mark’s... you see, Mark, all my career, I’ve been tellin’ you that being a Living Legend has ruined you as a person. These idiot fans have been just like the kids growing up... that I’d never get out of YOUR shadow. That no-matter what I did, it’d NEVER be as good as you did. Mark- this is TROY2K... this is MY league, this is MY world... you want to come out here and drop a bombshell... BRO? You want to come out here and tell the world that you found out me and you are really BROTHERS AFTER ALL THESE YEARS? It’s supposed to be MY night to take over the CSWA... Mark, your little revelation ain’t gonna change this up... you see, your BOY Hornet... the man you trusted your whole damn life... well, let’s just say that Hornet got his American Pie in a place I like to call the Sweetwater Cafe... that’s right, Mark. All those years on the road, wondering where Jewels was? Wondering why your baby daughter- MY NIECE- wouldn’t pick up the phone? Well, it seems she’s a two-bit rat... and Hornet was the cheeze, dude... yeah- Troy Windham dropped his OWN bomb DIGGIDDY shell... this show is MINE, yo!

(CUTTO:  ANNIVERSARY 1999:  Return of the Red Midget)

ST:  Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome a man you all know very well....a man who I owe a great debt of gratitude to....a man who will join the booth as the third man......here's my very special little surprise....

(The sides of the box drop to the mat...revealing...)

......THE RED MIDGET!!!!!!!!!!


BB:  What in the name of all that.....

Red:  I'm baaaaaack.

SB:  You're.....you're......you're......

(Lyle Tallman, aka The Red Midget, begins climbing out of the ring to the commentators' table)

Red:  Dead?  Come on, Sammy....you know better than that....

SB:  But I saw you....I saw him....I saw....

Red:  Hush now, Benson...don't reveal any of our little secrets....we have friends that wouldn't be very happy at that, don't we?

SB:  But it bl......you were......I saw.....

Red:  Would you like to slap some sense into him Buckley, or may I?

(CUTTO:  ANNIVERSARY 1999:  IRONMAN of CHAMPIONS Hornet vs. Eli Flair)

BB:  He is...but we're down to around three minutes left in this one.  Hornet pulls Flair up and sends him into the corner one more time!!!!   He charges in with the elbow, but nobody's home again!!!  Flair grabs hold of Hornet and sends him all the way across the ring into the opposite corner.....where Poison Ivy nails him in the head with that cane!!!!!!

RM:  What a shot!!!!

BB:  I don't know if Juarez saw it or not......Hornet staggers out of the corner.....here comes Flair!  INVERTED DDT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  He drops Hornet like a ton of bricks!!!  He hooks the leg!  ONE.................. TWO................. THREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!    ELI FLAIR HAS DONE IT!!!  LOOK AT THAT MAN'S FACE...HE CAN'T BELIEVE IT!!!!


BB:  This crowd is on its feet!!!  This is one of those special moments.  Look at it.....Ivy rushes into the ring and falls into Flair's arms.

RM:  I think Ivy is in tears.....that's one I never thought I'd see.

BB:  It's been so long coming, Red.  And I think this is just the way he would have wanted it....six men wrestled their hearts out tonight, folks, and Eli Flair is the one lucky enough to rise to the top.  This crowd has gone absolutely wild as Manuel Juarez hands him the CSWA World Championship belt.

RM:  Amen to that, Bill.  This has been a truly special night.

(CUTTO:  Bill Buckley at the end of the CSWA Hall of Fame.)

BB:  And you thought thirteen years was a long time...that was just four of them.  We all know that history is a major part of the CSWA, generations of wrestling legends have been created through these double doors and in the arena down below.  Careers have started and ended as thousands upon thousands have watched.  But what says it the most to me, more than any name on the marquee, and as much as any Main Event, is that when I walk through these doors, I can still get a chill that runs through me like a cold wind.  At heart, I'm still a weatherman-cum-reporter who's a wrestling fan, not a wrestling announcer.  I can still get that feeling when something special happens that only the CSWA can make happen.  In a world that has changed over the years, and certainly in the last few months, it's comforting to know that something can still make us all turn back the clock to when we were twelve years old, sitting in the cheap seats, watching the greatest show on earth.

Welcome to the Greatest Show on Earth.  It's even better than the real thing.