Re: 20 years Ago: Wrestling Observer
Jumping around a little bit
Wrestling Observer Recap -- 11/12/84
*Scary photo of Brody posing in Samurai gear w/ swords.
Pulling no punches
*Dave announces that he's accepting end of the year award ballots for various categories, including Top 50 wrestlers. There are 37 categories in all. (It must've been a bitch to tabulate all of these).
Mr. Mike’s Mondo Wrestling
*Highlights how an entire month has gone by without an AWA defection to the WWF.
*Eddie Sharkey is back in the AWA. His jump to the WWF lasted all of about one month. Apparently, Wally Karbo called Ed and asked what it would take to get him back. Ed said freedom to run his school and a couple hundred bucks a week to referee. Apparently he left a lot of money on the table at WWF, but was not paid what was promised to him by McMahon on at least one occasion. He also apparently didn't have a written contract w/ WWF.
*10/21 AWA Card in Twin Cities was a success. A tag-team battle royal, Blackwell/Brody in a lights out match and Road Warriors/Fabs drew 17,000 and $165,000, this after drawing only 3,000 six weeks ago. Hennig/Bockwinkle 20 minute draw was praised for best work rate.
*WWF drew about 8,000 on 10/28, headlined by Hogan beating Studd by DQ. Apparently, Hogan was legit injured, but the match wasn't all that bad. WWF announced the next MN card will feature a 20-man Turkey Tournament with the winner crowned Turkey of 1984. 20 wrestlers get in a cage and the first to escape wins. The last one in is the Turkey. George Steele will also face Mad Dog Vachon (anyone have a tape of that disaster?).
*Mike and a partner have a radio show and recap their recent on air chat with Baron Von Raschke. Von Raschke says there are only two wrestling organizations, AWA and NWA, knows nothing about an NWA/AWA title unification bout, and stammers around questions about the WWF.
*Mike stresses that the wrestling war in the Twin Cities should not be viewed as good guy Verne vs. bad guy Vince. In his opinion, they're both bad and thinks if Vince fails in going national, Gagne will give it a try. Gagne has made moves in Vancouver and appears to be arranging moves in Dallas and Los Angeles. Bob Backlund offered to help Verne book some NE shows but Verne told him he'd do it himself.
*The next couple of pages feature various newspaper article reprints. Two focus on the wrestling war and one is a letter wondering if Maple Leaf wrestling is turning kids into racists. Dave liked the letter, saying that wrestling is relying more and more on over the top antics to draw fans, and might be, in fact, losing more fans than they're gaining. There was also a reprint of a Ric Rude puff piece. In it, Jerry Jarrett states that a "headliner can gross up to $50,000 annually."
*Results are given from Japan TV.
*Most letter writers don’t think Hogan should be considered for wrestler of the year. (I think Dave listed him as No. 2 in the last issue because of his impact).
*Lots of love from letter writers for Dynamite Kid (does a good Dynamite Kid comp exist?)
*Most main eventers will be touring Japan in November so main events will be battle royals in most towns.
*10/22 MSG drew 20,000 with the only good match being Valentine/Santana. Studd legit hurt Hogan's knee in the main event after a failed neck drop off the ropes. Hogan missed his next three matches. Dave isn't sure of the severity of Hogan's injury, but hears Hogan has to be on heavy medication before his matches anyway so he can perform. Next MSG will be headlined by Piper/Tonga Kid. Dave likes what he's seen of Tonga so far.
*Snuka should be released from "wherever they have him in upstate NY" by the end of the month.
*Rumors swirling of Hogan losing the belt soon so he can go to Hollywood full time appear to be false.
*Mike Sharpe was fired after refusing to job to Tonga Kid.
*Meadowlands drew 7,900; Nassau Colliseum drew 7,000; Philly Spectrum drew 18,000; Chicago drew 6,000; Atlanta drew 1,900 at the Omni; Ohio drew 2,100 for what turned out to be mainly a no-show card. Probably no more TV tapings in St. Louis, just Poughkeepsie and Canada. Los Angeles drew 8,000; Oakland drew 3,800 (Dave called the Hogan/Steele main event the worst main event he's ever seen); Sacremento drew 1,500; Kansas City drew 5,200 and St. Louis 7,000 -- far outdrawing the NWA. Hogan didn't show in St. Louis because of his knee injury and fans were actually offered refunds. This baffled Dave as the WWF never offer srefunds for no shows. The show also featured an in-ring Piper's Pit with Piper using racial slurs against JYD, causing some fans to walk out.
*WWF TBS show cut to one hour. Dave thinks they may be off TBS soon.
* A large group of defectors from New Japan, led by Riki Choushu, should debut on 1/2.
*Michael Hayes is touring Japan and rumors are swirling that he may be out of the WWF.
*Sketchy report that UWF prez Nobuo Urata was arrested in Tokyo for threatening to murder Satoru Sayama’s (Tiger Mask) business manager.
*This group is drawing well by pitting Japanese workers against Japanese workers wrestling strong style. Americans are not getting main events because they can’t wrestle strong style.
PRO WRESTLING USA
*This is a group led by Eddie Einhorn, Gagne, Crockett and Jarrett. Obvious goal is to team up and fight McMahon.
*Second TV taping was held 10/9 in Spartenburg, SC. The first actual TV broadcast wash shown 10/27 w/ Solie and John Heath doing voice overs in the studio. Dave didn’t like this approach. Overall, Dave thought show was ok, but too many jobbers.
*Dave thinks the talent is good, but they’re showing too many wrestlers. He thinks they don’t need to try and build up 50 guys to compete with Vince, only a couple of main guys and solid under cards. Dave thinks they’re making some of the same mistakes Vince makes and they’re trying to fight Vince on his own terms, which will not work.
*No word on a first live show. Dave thinks they will have trouble finding arenas in NY and the NE because McMahon is running more NE arena shows to block their efforts.
*There has been some talk about having a tournament of champions featuring Flair, Martel, Colon, Bockwinkle, Rhodes, Funks, Race and Backlund.
*Don Muraco, fired by Vince, showed up here.
*Tm Brooks is hot as a babyface.
*Dave says Voodoo Malumba may be the worst wrestler in the world (I think this is Ron Reese, right?)
*Road Warriors worked as faces, getting beat up the whole match and then making a comeback. Dave says this will kill the Warriors. Fans like to see them come in and dominate instead of the traditional face comeback after getting beat up the rest of the match.
*It was announced on TV that Randy Savage is coming in, but Dave thinks it won’t happen because Joe Blanchard won’t take Lanny Poffo too.
*Things continue to slide downhill since the Freebirds left.
*Shows include lots of blood, which young female fans drawn in by the Von Erichs and Freebirds do not like.
*10/27 Cottonbowl Card drew 6,000, the lowest Star Wars attendance ever. Butch Reed hobbled through a match three weeks after knee surgery.
*Wrestling Bear came through the circuit.
*10/1 in New Orleans drew a full house.
*Cornette lost his hair on 9/3, but another match involving his hair was scheduled for 9/9. Dave said Paul Boesch had a communications problem with reality. They flew in some jobber, billed him as Cornette’s cousin, and shaved his head instead.
*Mid South is easily Dave’s favorite U.S. circuit. He says it has a good stable of workers who are well matched up, an excellent TV show, an excellent commentator (Watts), good work rates and good angles. They also attack the WWF, but not by putting down the wrestlers. Instead they criticize the work rate and circus atmosphere, which Dave thinks are legit criticisms.
*Dave thinks 11/11 in San Fran should draw with a tag team battle royal and Brody/Blackwell. If it doesn’t, AWA should just give up on San Fran.
*Rumor is someone has booked the Olympic Auditorium in LA in 1985. Dave says it could only be Fritz or Vern and that both should not even bother trying to fight Vince in LA.
*Cold war between Fritz and Vern continues. Both keep threatening on TV to run shows in the other’s territory but haven’t booked anything yet.
*Lots of no shows recently (further evidence why Verne is not the “good guy” in the war).
*Most recent Chicago card drew 8,300 compared to 6,000 for WWF.
*Terry Funk came out of retirement, teamed with Dory and DDQ w/ the Road Warriors.
*Ric Rude turned babyface after a split with King Kong Bundy and Jimmy Hart. Dave was surprised because Rude isn’t a good worker but was an effective obnoxious heel.
* Dave has been disappointed in this region. He says it’s known for its strong action, but it has been lacking recently. He even said the WWF has been putting on better cards (a major insult).
*Says Randy Savage is a great worker, but is unreliable.
*The Guerrors, Dick Slater, Billy Jack and Jay Youngblood have recently disappeared.
*10/27 Miami had the NWA with an outdoor show headlined by Flair/Graham. The WWF was also in town and led with Hogan/Volkoff. NWA outdrew WWF easily, but the crowd was still down.
*Solie is building up Graham as the only man that has a chance to hold all three major world titles (AWA, NWA and WWF). Apparently Solie doesn’t realize that Graham has never been AWA champ, which causes Dave to rip Solie some more (he rants against Solie at least twice an issue).
*There’s a supposed merger between Ole in Georgia, Crockett, and Jarrett. Dave thinks it’s more of a talent share agreement, which will backfire as always.
*Later Dave reports that Jarrett and Crockett have bought out Ole, but Ole is still in the decision making chain, which will hurt everyone. (Dave hates Ole as much as Solie). He says someone besides Ole must’ve booked the most recent TV show because it was actually good.
*10/14 at the Omni drew 3,500.
*Thunderbolt Patterson had sued Ole’s current and old companies for discrimination, preventing him from working. Dave thinks T-Bolt was discriminated against because he’s a terrible worker, but thinks Patterson raises some good points, such as black wrestlers having to play stereotypical roles.
*Talks of going into Cleveland and Pittsburgh to battle Vince.
*Dave hates that Dusty/Flair for Starrcade is being billed as a $1 million match and says the fact that Dusty is in the main event ruins any chance of Starrcade ’84 being as good or successful as ’83.
*Neither Dusty of Flair will play heel in the match, but Dave thinks it will still draw in Greensboro. He’s not so sure it will draw in the 10 arenas where it’s being close-circuited in the Carolinas. 7,100 attended a Starrcade rally to announce the main event on 10/6 in Greensboro.
*Dave thinks Mulligan and Windham jumped to WWF because Windham was never seriously considered for the Starrcade main event w/ Flair.
*A recent show in Greenville drew 3,000 and started at 8:10 p.m. and ended at 9:30. (Yuck).
*Further in the report, Dave sees Starrcade shaping up as: Flair/Dusty, Wahoo/Fernandez, Valiant/Jones, Bass-Bart/Steamboat/????, Slater/Blanchard.
*Speculation that Baba in Japan will sign Andre the Giant away from McMahon. Dave doubts it.
*Road Warriors appeared on Japanese TV for the first time on 10/20. Dave thinks they won’t go over well in Japan live.
*Flair pinned Mr. Olympia every night for a week during a Southeast run (anyone have any of these matches on a comp?)
*Dave thinks that Bruno is still pissed at WWF despite being back. He never contributes anything during his announcing gig w/ McMahon and only gives one sentence answers when Vince asks him anything.
*Dave thinks that John Studd can out-bench press anyone in wrestling or pro football.
*WWF drew 300 on 10/23 in Louisville (ouch).
*Sheephearders are leaving Southwest. Luke Williams got an offer to book in Puerto Rico.
*Dave says it only took 17 days in the WWF before Windham’s work rate deteriorated.
*Mike Rotundo jumping to WWF. Dave doesn’t think we’ll see many more jumps because McMahon probably has everyone he wants. People like Flair have something tying them to the NWA.