Jake Roberts Discusses Black Saturday: Vince McMahon's WWF Seizes GCW Slots

Exploring the origins of wrestling's first major TV conflict.

by Noman Rasool
Jake Roberts Discusses Black Saturday: Vince McMahon's WWF Seizes GCW Slots
© Jake Roberts/Twitter

Before the famed "Monday Night Wars" pitted WWE against WCW, the initial skirmish in the wrestling television battle occurred with "Black Saturday" in July 1984. This key event marked Vince McMahon's takeover of Georgia Championship Wrestling (GCW), securing a pivotal Saturday timeslot on Ted Turner's WTBS, which later evolved into TBS.

This strategic move by McMahon set the stage for Turner to establish World Championship Wrestling, setting off a rivalry with the expanding Titan Sports. During a recent episode of "Dark Side of the Ring: Unheard," WWE Hall of Famer Jake "The Snake" Roberts, who was both wrestling and booking for GCW at the time, vividly recalled his reaction to the news of McMahon's acquisition.

"I was just blown away... I flipped, man. I cussed them out, tore up my booking papers and threw them," Roberts recounted. His frustration was palpable as he added, "I told them, 'You'll need to piece that back together to figure out where the hell I was going,' and then I walked out."

Roberts' Strategic Shift

Reflecting on his actions, Roberts admitted to underestimating the potential of WWF, not seeing how it could effectively challenge the NWA territories.

Despite his initial reservations, Roberts joined the promotion two years after "Black Saturday," adopting the iconic persona for which he is now revered. His journey to becoming a WWE Hall of Famer began thereafter. McMahon's initial foray on TBS did not meet expectations, leading him to eventually sell the timeslot back to Turner.

This transaction paved the way for the broadcast of "WCW Saturday Night," further intensifying the competition between the two wrestling giants. This historical pivot in wrestling television not only marked a significant shift in the industry but also catalyzed the creation of WCW, forever changing the landscape of professional wrestling.

As the industry continues to evolve, the repercussions of "Black Saturday" are still felt today, underscoring the strategic moves that have defined the world of wrestling entertainment.

Jake Roberts Vince Mcmahon Wwf