While the American Wrestling Association (AWA) did appear on ESPN from 1985 until it folded in 1990, "All Star Wrestling" predated ESPN by 25 years.
Back in the 1960's, the AWA, based out of Minneapolis, ran house shows (live wrestling cards) in the Midwest. The main markets would usually have one house show scheduled every two weeks, while the minor markets would get one show per month.
The television show "All Star Wrestling" was essentially a one-hour paid advertisement for the AWA house shows. Every two weeks, many of the wrestlers who were currently working the house shows for the AWA would assemble at a studio in Minneapolis Minnesota. They would wrestle jobbers (lesser wrestlers) in squash jobs (one-sided victories) that seldom lasted more than a few minutes each. Then they would do as many different interviews as were needed, tailored to whatever opponents they were scheduled to meet at the various house shows during the coming two weeks. Editors would splice together the appropriate interview and wrestling footage for each individual house show and send the canned one-hour production to the TV stations in the respective market. The AWA bought 60 or 90 minute time slots each week at the TV stations. The shows usually ran on a Saturday or Sunday morning (when TV time was relatively inexpensive). The shows were shot in black and white throughout the 1960's and some of the 1970's, and in color thereafter.
The early shows followed a standard format: There would be a squash match featuring a wrestler appearing at the upcoming house show; then the wrestler would appear in an interview and promise to vanquish his opponent. Then the opponent would appear in a squash match, followed by his interview. After each interview, the viewer would be reminded of the the date, time, and location of the house show. This would continue throughout the 60-90 minutes and include as many of the wrestlers appearing at the upcoming house show as possible, as well as other well-known wrestlers in the AWA who might be appearing in the near future. For wrestlers who could not appear in Minneapolis on the date the taping was produced, footage of one of their old squash matches would be spliced in, and the wrestlers might do the interview for the house show weeks before the actual house show. Taping the interviews well in advance wasn't a problem, as most matches (and most results) were already known weeks or months in advance.
The shows of the 1960's and early 1970's were basically one-hour commercials for the next house show, and third party advertisers were almost nonexistent. In the early 1970's, as wrestling became more popular, national companies such as McDonalds and local companies such as car dealerships bought commercial spots on the shows.
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