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post #81 of 275 (permalink) Old 12-30-2008, 02:21 PM
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Re: 20 years Ago: Wrestling Observer

An amazing read, thank you so much for posting these. This is the kind of stuff I look for all the time online but can never find.

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post #82 of 275 (permalink) Old 12-31-2008, 03:56 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 20 years Ago: Wrestling Observer

June 20th, 1988

-- "A new heel manager is headed in called Brother Love or something like that, patterned after Brother Ernest Angel. I've got a feeling I know who this masked manager is but will wait until he actually arrives." (My note: Interesting. I suspect he thought it was Jim Cornette based on a note later in this issue.) Dave later in the issue says it's Bruce Prichard, and he doesn't think he'll be managing, but rather just doing an interview segment.

-- Rick Martel is going to be taking time off to help his wife recover from surgery.

-- Dave raved about the 5/27 Savage vs DiBiase match from MSG, saying DiBiase is singlehandedly trying to change the workrate in the WWF. He said the match only went 12 minutes, but was as hard and fast-paced as anything you'll see in the U.S. aside from maybe Midnight Express vs Fantastics.

-- 6/6 at the Meadowlands drew 3,000 fans headlined by Andre & Rude vs Duggan & Roberts.

-- Hulk Hogan's movie is being filmed in Atlanta. Vince is trying to get a non-WWF wrestler to do the job to Hogan in the movie. Last word is that Stan Hansen has agreed to do it. "You'd think with all the wrestlers Vince has in his stable he wouldn't need to get outside help for a wrestling or fight scene in a movie."

-- The WWF is planning a big outdoor show in Milwaukee at County Stadium in late July.

-- Jim Duggan has reinjured his hamstring.

-- Jim Wilson, who exposed wrestling with Eddy Mansfield on 20/20, is going to be on the Morton Downey Jr. show. The show reached out to the WWF to have someone on to defend their side of the story, but they don't want to be involved since they don't have complete control.

-- The 8/29 PPV has officially been named Summerslam and will be headlined by Hogan & Savage vs Andre & DiBiase with Jesse Ventura as the ref.

-- Vince McMahon will be producing Bob Costas' new late night talk show, which is Vince's first non-wrestling production job. The WWF may get another prime time special from NBC if the writer's strike isn't settled soon.

-- Bam Bam Bigelow's wife gave birth to a baby boy.

-- 6/10 in Pittsburgh drew 4,734 headlined by Randy Savage vs Ted DiBiase. 6/12 in Springfield, MA drew 2,500 fans headlined by Andre & Rude vs Duggan & Roberts. 6/10 in Manchester, NH drew 1,100 fans headlined by Junkyard Dog vs Ron Bass. 6/18 in Philadelphia drew 4,188 fans and a $53,349 gate headlined by Andre vs Duggan.

-- It is rumored that Gene Okerlund has been fired and will be replaced by Sean Mooney.

-- "As you can see by the advertisement at the right, the NWA really publicized the match-ups well." -- Dave on the Miami Mayhem Clash (Special request: If someone who has these could post a copy of it, that would be awesome, because it makes this quote a little funnier.)

-- The only match announced nationally was Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson defending the tag titles against Sting and Dusty Rhodes. "I realize that the NWA is trying to promote as if seeing the NWA live is the big thing, and the match-ups themselves are unimportant and interchangeable, but fans go to see match-ups, and this card drew just 2,400 fans in the 6,000 seat arena." Dave suspects the ratings will be disappointing and not touch those of the first Clash, the highest rated show on cable TV in the month of March. Later in the issue, Dave reports the show drew a 4.7 rating and 8.2 share, which translates into 2,128,000 homes, which is a good number.

-- Dave says the show was nothing compared to the first Clash, but it wasn't intended to be either. Most of the complaints Dave has received have been about out-of-the-ring activities. Those who saw it live left upset about the long delays between matches, and the crowd was also not really into anything except the main event. Dave says it seemed normal on TV, but the fans weren't nearly as enthusiastic as they were for the first Clash.

-- Dave also said the show didn't take advantage of the NWA's best resources. Jim Ross, the best announcer, was in the parking lot all evening. Steve Williams was doing color commentary in a white tuxedo, which didn't fit his image at all. Dave says for Doc to reach his potential, he has to be pushed as a Brody-like wildman. Jim Cornette, their best interview, wasn't even there in taped capacity, which started all these huge rumors about him jumping to the WWF. "It also seems like every time the NWA tries to do something to make them look major league, like the limos, the yacht, etc., they come off looking even more minor league than had they never even tried to look major league. Entrances of celebrities in limos is a good idea for an open, but not when you don't have any celebrities, and Gary Juster and Frances Crockett don't even qualify as celebrities to wrestling fans."

-- The show started off with Jim Ross in the parking lot and a limo pulling up with Lyle Alzado there to plug his new TV show, Gary Juster, Elliot Murnick, Frances Crockett, "... and the vice president of a company which is part owner of the Chicago Black Hawks of the NHL and also owned a yacht which we'll get to later. Pretty tacky."

-- Barry Windham vs Brad Armstrong saw Brad looking unhappy from the start at having to do a clean job on national TV. Lots of stalling early on, and Windham applied the figure four for three minutes. Dave says this was stupid, because all it does is devalue the hold if you can have it on someone that long without beating them. Brad stopped selling to make his comeback, and the last four minutes were good, but not spectacular. "The finish itself [Armstrong coming off the top for a flying bodypress and two count, trying again, and Windham blocking the second attempt with a clawhold into a pin] was pretty good, but very disappointing considering the talent involved. Windham appeared to be going through the motions here." Dave gave the match *3/4

-- Lyle Alzado then came out to plug Learning The Ropes. He said wrestlers were better athletes than football players. "The show starts in the fall and has already cleared two-thirds of the country so odds are you'll be able to see it. From the clips, I'm not sure you would want to, but I don't want to make a snap judgment about it." Dave talks about how Steve Williams is donning the mask, and they did a Flair match where Flair did his flip into the turnbuckle, and people don't like that because the sequence is choreographed, and it's not supposed to appear that way when Flair does it nightly. "Personally I could care less and don't think it's an issue."

-- The Rock & Roll Express came out to announce that they're back. They got a lukewarm surprise, which Dave says should have popped the place huge. Robert Gibson nearly tripped walking out and Ricky Morton gave a horrible interview. "I don't dislike the guy as much as it seems most readers do, but a few more interviews like that and I'll jump right on the bandwagon. If they turn them heel this summer and feud them with the Fantastics then bringing them back is at least a minor benefit. If they are babyfaces, they are wasting their time, because the era of the Rock & Roll Express ended last summer, if not earlier. As one wrestling promoter from another organization told me, Ricky & Robert in the NWA those last six months were like a tooth that had gone bad. They weren't drawing anymore and their work had gone downhill as well and Morton's cockiness made them pretty unpopular as babyfaces go. Well, in January, the NWA removed the bad tooth. The only problem is, removing a bad tooth hurts a lot more for a short period of time then keeping the bad tooth does, although keeping it hurts less for a long period of time, if you get my drift. But after removing the bad tooth, do you want to ever, five months later, put it back in your mouth?"

-- Next we saw the contract signing for what was called "The Match of The Century" between Ric Flair and Lex Luger in Baltimore on July 10. The signing was on a yacht in the Atlantic ocean. Dave was hoping they would throw Luger overboard on the yacht, because it would have been original and we wouldn't have to watch the next scene.

-- Next, the Horsemen arrived fashionably late, even having missed Barry Windham's match. In the background, you can see Luger sitting and waiting to come on camera. They went to commercial to hype Fantastics vs Sheepherders next, but when they came back, they had a major news bulletin that Luger had arrived. "Aren't you glad you don't invite these guys to your parties? Well, forget what promises to be the best match on the card, we've got to hear those pearls of wisdom only Lex can give us." But before he could speak, the Horsemen ("including Barry who by this time had already had time for a shower it seemed") jumped Luger and basically mugged him. "The least they could have done was make it look realistic and steal his wallet instead of his shoes." They ripped up his white tuxedo. Dave says the execution by all involved was great, but it looked too staged and unbelievable because of the TV cameras. (My note: How times change ...) Dave says they could have at least had Luger get DDTd on the pavement by Arn Anderson, because the move is over enough that people might think he was going to the hospital. Dave says most people hated this, but it wasn't meant to be entertaining, but rather build heat for the Bash. Dave thinks it will be "marginal at best" in fulfilling that goal. At this point, we were one hour into the show and have had one disappointing match and a bunch of bad skits. "I decided to do something more pleasant, and fought rush hour traffic, which in truth was no more entertaining even if the DJ's made more sense than Dr. Death."

-- "Jeff Steele once wrote in the Pro Wrestling Digest that the NWA was like the Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde of wrestling promotions and that was probably the best analogy of them I've ever read. He was writing about the Crockett Cup and saying that the first night was so bad, and sometimes the promotion is so bad that you wonder how they are still even in business. But then came the second night. And the promotion was so good that you wonder why they haven't wiped out all their competition. The next morning I decided to watch a tape of the last 90 minutes--and much to my surprise--the rest of the show was damn good."

-- Fantastics vs Sheepherders was the best match on the show at ***3/4.

-- The Garvins vs Mike Rotunda & Kevin Sullivan was next. Kevin Sullivan was in a cage at ringside and Precious was holding the key. Fans booed Ron Garvin during introductions. Most of the time was spent on Sullivan and Precious, with Sullivan having a piece of paper he said he would show Precious if she would let him out of the cage. The match was a backdrop for the angle. Precious finally gave in, but instead of letting her see the paper, Sullivan started choking her and Dr. Death ran from the announce booth to make the save. Precious started kicking Dr. Death and got mad at the Garvins and walked out alone.

-- Nikita Koloff vs Al Perez was next. Dave says he is starting to change his opinion on Perez, as he was very good in this match, but he lacks color, and this feud is going nowhere. Dave has figured out a formula for having good matches with Nikita Koloff -- treat him like a jobber, and let him have four moves as comebacks, which Eddie Gilbert and Dick Murdoch have done in the past. The problem is that because they are always trying to sell his strength, they give him too much offense which makes for bad matches. **1/2

-- Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard vs Sting & Dusty Rhodes was next. Dusty is over huge in Florida. "The announced him at 268 1/2 pounds. That last half-pound takes up an amazing circumference." Dave says this was good except for a spot where Dusty had to sell. Sting worked the entire way and Arn and Tully are a great team. Dusty did his routine and stayed out the rest of the time, and Dave admits Dusty deserves to be the star of the show in Florida because he's a legend there. Arn gave Sting a DDT on the floor and Sting made a comeback 30 seconds later. "Stupid. The WWF ran Ricky Steamboat and Jake Roberts for six months off that move and these guys treat it as a transition. They are going to need a shotgun to get over an angle if guys treat DDT's on concrete as a 30 second stunning move." Barry Windham ran in and put the claw on Dusty, while Tully, Arn and "this blond-haired guy who was never mentioned" beat upon Sting. ***1/4

-- 5/28 in Charleston, WV drew 2,500 fans headlined by Ric Flair vs Steve Williams. 6/2 in Bluefield, WV drew 1,500 fans headlined by Midnight Express vs Fantastics. 6/12 in Albany, GA was a triple TV taping. A really good 20 minute draw with Sting & Steve Williams against the Midnight Express was taped for Main Event. 6/11 in Baltimore drew 5,500 fans headlined by Luger & Dusty vs Flair & Windham. 6/10 in Houston drew 2,000 fans headlined by Luger, Nikita & Doc vs Flair, Arn & Windham and Tully Blanchard vs Dusty Rhodes in a barbed wire match.

-- The Bash now has 9.4 million homes cleared. The word is that the wrestlers will get their money when the money comes in for the show. Dave thinks it will do well because there is no opposition and they're hyping Flair/Luger really well, and that if the show is successful, it will go a long way in fixing so many of the financial problems they're having.

-- Don't expect a deal with Ted Turner until after this show at the earliest, because Turner wants to see how successful this show is before making any decisions.

-- The Sheik will be teaming with Dusty Rhodes on 7/31 in Detroit for a Bash show against Kevin Sullivan and Dick Murdoch. Dave says this is ridiculous, as he hasn't drawn a house since the early 70s in Detroit.

-- When Jim Ross started interrogating Precious about her strange behavior in the feud with Kevin Sullivan, she started choking him.

-- 6/18 in Philadelphia drew 5,900 fans (compared to the WWF drawing 4,188 for a side-by-side comparison) headlined by Flair & Windham vs Luger & Dusty.

-- Dusty Rhodes has filmed a Mello Yello commercial billed as the U.S. champion.

-- 6/6 in Memphis drew 3,500 fans. Scott Steiner won the Renegade Rampage. The main event was Lawler vs Hennig in a wild brawl all over the building. The Lawler/Hennig match will air on the 6/17 FNN show. Dave says the crowd was disappointing considering how much hype went into the Renegade Rampage, and also Hennig/Lawler having their rematch.

-- Downtown Bruno is now being called Superstar Bruno to build to a feud with Bill Dundee.

-- "I know this group is limited in its options right now, but building around this Stud Stable thing isn't going to work. They've only been in for two weeks and are already stale."

-- Dave still doesn't know specifics, but World Class has lost TV in Houston, Miami, and Minneapolis in the past week.

-- "Kevin Von Erich will be doing a publicity benefit wrestling match with Jessica McClure (the baby who was trapped and was the leading new story a few months back)" (My note: Kevin Von Erich is going to wrestle Baby Jessica? Does anyone have tapes?)

-- Wild West is running shows again. Their first taping on 6/12 in Houston drew only 75 fans, and because of this, the bi-weekly shows in Houston have already been scrapped.

-- On 6/18, Ken Mantell, Verne Gagne, Don Owen, Jerry Lawler and maybe other promoters will be meeting in Dallas to discuss working together for big shows in the future

-- Chris Adams plans to run most of his shows in Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Arkansas instead of Texas.

-- Johnny Ace and The Terminator, both younger brothers of Road Warrior Animal, are being pushed as a tag team called The Junior Road Warriors.

-- Don Owen drew 450 to Hoaquim, WA on 6/6 with the best match being The Southern Rockers vs The Grappler & Al Madril in a ***1/2 match.

-- "Buddy Rose looks even worse in person than on television, which is pretty bad."

-- Brad and Bart Batten are in as heels.

-- Houses have gone up since Buck Robley started booking.

-- Rufus R. Jones is headed in.

-- Robert Gibson is saying he and Morton are only working the Bashes, so he can still work here.

-- 6/3 in Calgary drew 500 fans.

-- 6/3 in Kagoshima drew 2,370 headlined by Fujinami & Kimura retaining the tag titles against Fujiwara and Sakaguchi. 6/4 in Kushima drew 1,640.

-- New Japan is going to start devaluing Yoshiaki Fujiwara, as he is expected to be going to the UWF as soon as his contract will allow him to jump.

-- The ban on using Sumo Hall ends with a big card on 8/8.

-- Jumbo & Yatsu won the PWF tag titles on 6/4 in Sapporo before 4,400 fans, beating Tenryu & Hara in 22:53. This sets up Jumbo & Yatsu vs the Road Warriors on 6/10 at Budokan Hall in Tokyo. Dave is told the match is a candidate for match of the year. On the same show, Masa Fuchi beat Rip Rogers (My note: Sounds fun ...)

-- Dave saw Bodyslam, with Roddy Piper and Tama. "Overall the movie was awful. The wrestling scenes were bad. The plot was stupid. The acting wasn't much, but the best thing about the movie was Piper."

-- The Destroyer's daughter placed fifth in the Miss New York pageant.

-- There is this letter on the readers page pointing out many times Dave Meltzer has been wrong, and also saying that he thinks Observer readers tend to take Dave's opinions as their own, while also acknowledging that it's wrong to blame Dave for exposing the business because the wrestling promotions are doing a fine job on their own. Dave's response?
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post #83 of 275 (permalink) Old 12-31-2008, 05:22 PM
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Re: 20 years Ago: Wrestling Observer

Good read.

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post #84 of 275 (permalink) Old 01-03-2009, 04:58 PM Thread Starter
Asking JAMES ELLSWORTH for Wrestling Advice
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Re: 20 years Ago: Wrestling Observer

June 27th, 1988


-- The Powers of Pain have jumped from the NWA to the WWF. They had been negotiating on and off for two months with the WWF, and they officially quit the NWA last Sunday, and debuted with the WWF the following Saturday. Dave is surprised, but they will be pushed as babyfaces in the WWF and are expected to be pushed hard and feuding with Demolition by the end of July. They will be expected to do their own interviews, as they will not have a manager. Both guys apparently wanted out before the scaffold matches were scheduled to take place with the Road Warriors, because of the fear of guys their size taking such a huge bump and causing major knee damage. The NWA did acknowledge their leaving, with Paul Jones and the Road Warriors burying them on TV. Dave thinks this helps the WWF, because they can probably do something with the two, considering that they're bizarre and powerful looking. Dave says they aren't particularly good in the ring. Barbarian has lots of great moves but can't put together a match, and Warlord has improved but is still pretty bad. Dave also doesn't think it will hurt the NWA much because they weren't major attractions, and their feud with the Road Warriors never really drew. Dave says the bigger story is that the jump has taken away any impact a future jump from the Road Warriors will have, because they will now be seen as the imitators, even though they're not. The POP left the NWA without truly giving notice. Warlord no-showed the 6/12 TV taping in Albany, GA. Barbarian was there and had words with Dusty and ended up quitting. Crockett failed to trademark the name, so the WWF can still use it. "That's kind of a surprise in this day and age, but then again, trademarking names is basically to protect the company in marketing ventures so an outside company doesn't market things of the sort and the two really had no value in the merchandising department."

-- No Holds Barred just started filming in Atlanta and will be shot over the next two months. Shane Productions is doing the movie (it's their first full length feature film) and Joan Severence will be the female lead. Vince McMahon will receive an executive producer credit. Dave suspects it's more intended for a video market than a big screen market.


-- The hype is in overdrive for the Great American Bash pay-per-view on July 10 in Baltimore, which is pretty much guaranteed to be a financial success. They have done a great job, Dave says, of creating necessary interest in the main event, with most fans expecting a title change. There are 9.4 million homes cleared for pay-per-view, and this should be a multi-million dollar show. Dave points out that both Starrcade and the Bunkhouse Stampede drew between a 3.0 and 3.5 percent buyrate, and this show will actually run unopposed. Dave thinks it will easily get a 4.0 buyrate, which translates to about 376,000 buys at $16.00 a pop, or a $6 million gross. Dave says Crockett may only net around a quarter of that, but it will still pay a lot of bills. Early reports are that the Bash tour is also going to draw well, but Dave is worried that Crockett will interpret that as a sign they are moving in the right direction, when all it shows is that the Bash concept is over. "I am convinced that it's not too late for JCP if the company realizes certain changes that have to be made and certain promotional concepts that have to be changed. There are too many fans with divergent tastes for one company to fulfill them all, and if Titan is to increase its domination of the business in this country, it's simply because the opposition isn't considered viable by those with divergent tastes."

-- There are still rumors that Ted turner has bought the AWA, but best as Dave can tell, it hasn't happened yet, and he doesn't anticipate it in the near future. The two sides are millions of dollars apart in the attempting buying and selling price, as Crockett wants an eight-figure deal to give up the company, and TBS doesn't want to pay anywhere near that high. Dave mentions there is a lot going on within the Turner organization, such as quiet negotiations with Capital Cities to purchase CNN, which make take place in the fall around the same time TNT is set to debut. The rumor is that the NWA purchase would be part of a long-term plan for TNT, and that Main Event would move over as soon as the network debuts, while World Championship Wrestling would move to TNT also, but not until the new network clears 30 million homes. Dave acknowledges all this but says talks are definitely not dead either.

-- NFL star Brad Muster was given a Ric Flair t-shirt that said "Not just a man, an attitude" which Dave says was given to him by a friend -- not Dave -- but an equally demented friend. Muster plans to wear the shirt under his jersey for all of his games.


-- 6/12 in Las Vegas drew 750 fans and Dave is told this was an even worse card than the one he attended. Most of the advertised matches didn't take place. Ricky Morton has decided to go on vacation until they start with Crockett on 6/26, so he no-showed, but Robert Gibson is still making the dates with Greg Gagne taking his place.

-- They want Jimmy Snuka to start on 7/16.


-- 6/13 in Memphis drew 4,500 fans and was headlined by Lawler vs Curt Hennig in a **** match. Much of it had to be edited because of bad lighting when aired on FNN, so it didn't come across nearly as well on TV as it did live.

-- They're looking to a Jerry Lawler & Austin Idol vs Eddie Gilbert & Curt Hennig feud to spice things up over summer, and Dave thinks between them and Paul E. Dangerously, the interviews will be great, even if they're not the best matches of the summer.

-- Steve Armstrong returned and is teaming with Tracy Smothers again, but the two are scheduled to leave for Japan in three weeks.

-- Jack Curtis is out as General Manager and Ron West from USA wrestling is coming in to take over the position at the end of the month.

-- The title tournament is scheduled for Birmingham in August. They are going to do a tie-in with a local hotel and are promoting cocktail parties with the wrestlers for fans in the first few rows.

-- Shane Douglas left for a few weeks to finish some college commitments, but should be back soon.

-- Brother Ernest Angel is in managing Sika & Kokina, but Kokina is scheduled for a Japanese tour, so Sika will work single.

-- There is a big show on 7/2 in Dothan, AL, with Jerry Lawler defending the AWA title against Austin Idol.

-- Houses are up for the Idol vs Gilbert feud, with cities that averaged $2,000 houses increasing to $7,000 houses, which Dave admits still isn't spectacular, but is a great improvement.

-- They are continuing the Ken Wayne vs Danny Davis feud, with Danny Davis as the babyface.

-- Dick Slater is going to come in for a few dates to team with Eddie Gilbert against Austin Idol & Mr. Olympia. Gilbert had a match against Olympia for $25,000, but Gilbert showed up on crutches and said he would have to postpone the match. When Olympia turned his back, Gilbert dropped the crutches and he and Dangerously beat up on Olympia and broke his arm, similar to the 1987 angle with Steve Williams and Dick Murdoch in the UWF. They have a mask vs the $25,000 match coming up with Olympia in an arm brace.

-- Willie B. Hurt is feuding with D.I. Bob Carter and Detroit Demolition is feuding with Lord Humongous.

-- Dave is told the TV that aired over the previous weekend had decent lighting, as it had been horrendous for weeks prior. Dave says they need a hot announcer because Charlie Platt has been doing the shows with Missy Hyatt and just isn't enthusiastic enough.

-- 6/10 in Calgary drew 550 fans.

-- Les Thornton's opposition promotion began on 6/11 in Calgary before 200 fans. Promotion for the card was small and fans didn't know the faces from the heels.

-- There was an out of the ring brawl between Brian Pillman and Brick Bronsky. "Apparently the real story behind the out of the ring brawl between Bronsky and Brian Pillman is difference than the recent letter in the Observer indicated. It wasn't that Pillman and Bruce Hart were ribbing Bronsky which led to the brawl, but instead several events which I'm not particularly clear about which saw the British Bulldogs apparently fire up Bronsky against Bruce Hart because Bronsky wasn't getting a big push (which he didn't deserve in the first place) and he punched Pillman in the mouth because he'd probably lose his job punching Bruce Hart. Anyway that led to the brawl, because Pillman came back and punched Bronsky several times."

-- The Road Warriors dropped the International tag titles to Jumbo Tsuruta & Yoshiaki Yatsu on 6/10. They did a DQ job to do the title switch, which goes against typical Baba booking. They will return in September for a rematch.

-- The Budokan Hall show drew 11,800 fans, a sellout, although in reality the building was about 80% filled, impressive with such a weak line-up. 6/9 in Kiryu drew a sellout 3,100 fans.

-- The next tour will be from 7/2 to 7/31 and will feature Stan Hansen, Terry Gordy, Dick Beyer, Sheik Ali, Leo Burke, David Sammartino, and Mitch Snow.

-- The IWGP tag titles changed hands on 6/10 in Hiroshima before 5,180 fans when Riki Choshu & Masa Saito beat Tatsumi Fujinami & Kengo Kimura. Also on the card was Owen vs Yamada in what Dave is told was an outstanding match. There was a lot of interest around that match because Yamada was challenging for the title in his home city.

-- 6/9 in Kitakyushu drew 2,030 fans.

-- Antonio Inoki is training in Los Angeles for an August comeback. Since he was out healing a broken foot anyway, he had surgery on his eye, elbow, and knee. Dave is told he is training very hard for his return, and takes it as a positive for his ego that crowds haven't been that impressive in his absence. Inoki wants his return match to be against Hulk Hogan or Bob Backlund. Dave is told Backlund isn't interested in either this offer or the UWF offer to face Maeda and doesn't want anything to do with pro wrestling. Dave says the chances of getting Hogan are as good as those of getting Backlund.

-- The second show drew 5,200 fans in Sapporo for a three-match crowd. The crowd was almost exclusively males of high school or college age. The opener was Tetsuo Nakano vs Shigeo Miyato in a 30 minute draw, followed by Kazuo Yamazaki vs Norman Smiley, and finally Akira Maeda vs Nobuhiko Takada. This was said to be better than the Yamazaki match, as Maeda was in better shape and didn't blow up, but the impact wasn't as strong as the first match.

-- The next show is on 8/13 at the 11,000 capacity Ariake Coliseum.

-- The Jumping Bomb Angels lost the WWF tag team titles on 6/8 in Omiya to Leilani Kai & Judy Martin. There is confusion about the result, because typically American title matches are wrestled under American rules, which means a countout should not have caused a title change.

-- Chigusa Nagayo is defending her title on 7/2 in Osaka. Her challenger will be either Yumiko Hotta, Nishiwaki, Lioness Asuka, or Bull Nakano.

-- JWP is running a big card on 7/14 at Korauken Hall with Devil Masami vs Shinobu Kandori as the main event, with Kandori announcing that she is coming out of retirement for the match.


-- Joe Pedicino and WATL-TV in Atlanta ran their annual Wrestlethon to raise money for bullet proof vests for Atlanta police officers over the weekend. They raised in excess of $6,000. There was a brief plug on Fox's "Late Show", with host Ross Schaffer, Pedicino, Boni Blackstone, Paul E. Dangerously, and Eddie Gilbert "... all trying to get over at the same time with not enough time to get over and you heard too many voices all trying to outshout each other." As part of the show, there was a live wrestling card from the TV studio, mainly with wrestlers from Jerry Blackwell's Southern Championship Wrestling. Dave has heard they may do specials like this in the future with live studio matches. Early in the show, Paul E. Dangerously came out and wanted to get Tommy Rich and Eddie Gilbert to team again, but Rich refused, which set up an impromptu main event for later in the show. They hyped the match huge throughout the show, and then with two minutes left, the match went in the ring as credits were rolling. This was intended to be a JCP spoof. Rick Stuart came running out during credits and ordered the show stay on the air until the end of the match, which was 13 1/2 minutes, and Dave is told was fantastic. The finish was a ref bump. Rich then threw Gilbert over the top, and Dangerously hit Rich with the telephone. A ref came in, and Dick Slater did a run-in, first going after Rich, but then attacking Gilbert. Manny Fernandez then did a run-in and they beat on Gilbert and did a double piledriver on him. The fans were convinced Gilbert had turned, and Paul E. was begging for someone to save him at ringside. But Rich refused to help him. Finally, all the babyfaces rush in to clear the ring. This is to set up a six-man tag on the next show with Gilbert, Rich & Bruiser Brody against Slater, Manny Fernandez, and a mystery partner.

-- Madusa Miceli did a Playboy photo shoot, and they are wanting others in wrestling as well.

-- Larry Finnegan, a former WWF jobber, is being charged with murder for stabbing and strangling a 20-year old woman after she bit him while they were having sex in his moving van.

-- The promoter's meeting in Dallas was largely considered a waste of time. They agreed not to invade each other's turf and to try to work together, but didn't agree on anything concrete.
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post #85 of 275 (permalink) Old 01-04-2009, 02:22 PM Thread Starter
Asking JAMES ELLSWORTH for Wrestling Advice
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Re: 20 years Ago: Wrestling Observer

July 4th, 1988

-- The WWF has a date in the Greensboro Coliseum on Sunday, August 7. The show will be headlined by Hogan vs Andre. Dave says this should sell out the Coliseum, something the NWA hasn't done since a Flair/Barry Windham match early in '87. The WWF also just ran a successful show in Richmond, VA, and will be able to promote in the new 20,000-seat Charlotte Coliseum. "And these are cities which over the long haul don't have the population base to support two promotions if they each run monthly cards. It is going to be an uphill battle for the NWA from this point on."

-- Early reports are that Vince McMahon's own Road Warriors creations in the Powers of Pain have been a success. There may end up being more to this, as Crockett claims to own the team name, and Paul Jones was still using the term on TBS after they jumped. They've been putting Tito Santana with them at ringside as a cue to fans that it's okay to cheer them, but only in arenas and not on TV. Dave says what's scary is that so many fans believe they are the real Road Warriors and that is part of why they are being cheered so much, which he calls a reaction nobody anticipated.

-- At the last TV taping, Haku was repackaged as "King Haku", so the Islanders tag team is done. Dave is told it's not getting over live at all, and wthe whole coronation and gimmick doesn't sound good on paper either.

-- Stan Hansen and Jeep Swenson are in Atlanta filming Hulk Hogan's movie and Dave wonders if fans take those jobs that they'll do on the big screen seriously. The WWF has rented the 8,000 seat Alexander Coliseum where Georgia Tech plays for an eight hour film date on 7/16 to tape all the wrestling scenes for the whole movie. Dave suspects that Hansen and Swenson are hoping that if they do a good job on screen that it will result in a job with Titan. "You know, with Hansen, Hogan might have his best 'match' of the year, especially since they can edit it in so many different ways before we'll ever see the finished product."

-- There may be a Ken Patera/Iron Sheik feud to tie into the summer Olympics since both have been in the Olympics in the past.

-- 6/24 in MSG drew 18,300 for the Savage/DiBiase cage match, which Dave says everyone is raving about. 6/23 in Utica, NY, drew 3,453 fans headlined by Bulldogs vs Islanders. 6/20 in Syracuse, NY drew 3,000 fans headlined by Rude vs Roberts. 6/24 in Richmond, VA drew 7,000 fans headlined by Savage vs DiBiase. 6/26 in Pontiac, MI drew less than 2,000 in the Silverdome. They have been running shows there that have been drawing embarrassing numbers (under 2,000) so they are moving to The Palace starting on 8/15. Hogan and Savage will both be on that show, because the WWF is trying really hard to get fan interest back up in Detroit.

-- Dave starts off the issue by saying the biggest news of the past week is that the much-discussed sale of the NWA to Turner has become a distinct possibility. However, despite rumors otherwise, nothing has been finalized. A legitimate offer was made by Turner to Crockett within the week. The deal was not approved, but has been reached in principle and both sides are down to discussing small points, like when payments would be made. The Crockett side is hopeful to have the deal done by the end of July. Dave is being told it's an eight-figure deal.

-- "So what does this mean? First off, I don't count on the deal as being reality until it happens. From my perspective, this is the first time I've actually been more than 50 percent sure that a deal would be made, even with the rumors and negotiations that have been going around for two months. The reports I've got indicate that meetings between the two sides will be continuing this week, and that Ted Turner has been personally involved in these meetings." There was a hang-up with David and Frances Crockett, both of whom were having reservations about actually making the sale, but that has been smoothed over and the whole Crockett family is now on board.

-- "The big question, of course, is what changes will be made within the business structure and what changes, if any, will be made to the product, if a new company should take over? Nobody really knows the answers to these questions right now." Dave says there are a lot of people within wrestling who believe the NWA is done and can't be revitalized at this point, but Dave disagrees strongly with that. "As long as a wrestling company has sizable national television exposure (which the NWA has in TBS and a syndicated network which blankets 90 percent of the country), marketable stars (which the NWA has at least a base of, although they desperately need reshuffling some of the faces at the top), access to pay-per-view (which is the sport's future and with the Turner tie-in, the NWA would certainly have that), solid booking, a professional looking television product (both of which need improvement right now, but such improvements wouldn't be that difficult) and present wrestling in a way that appeals to a large enough market, then that company is potentially very profitable. One of the big problems right now is the concepts to promoting wrestling profitably have changed enormously. Due to the realities of pay-per-view, the realities of viewers having far more product on free television, and realities of an audience which more than ever, goes for the purpose of being entertained rather than actually believing they are watching something 'legitimate', plus the realities of having a competition promotion (WWF), promoting in the manner that was successful in the 1970s won't work anymore. The only proven method of success is McMahon's method, which doesn't mean it's the only method, only the only proven method. In truth, they may have to experiment with several different concepts before they find a winning hand. And if you look at McMahon's product today as compared with two or three years ago, you will see that he's had to do the same thing. Probably the biggest problem that hampered Crockett is their inability to make changes when something wasn't working. Anyway, if such a sale does take place, I expect a rough early time because of uncertainty, but it could be the best thing possible for the industry in the long run."

-- The Great American Bash is next weekend, and should easily be the biggest non-WWF wrestling card in history. Dave credits the NWA for doing a great job with the buildup and that they really have fans convinced this is the end for Ric Flair, which Dave says is exactly how this should be promoted. Baltimore is going to make big money, but the rest of the Bash tour is still a question mark.

-- Dusty Rhodes has moved to Dallas and now works out of the office there instead of in Charlotte.

-- "The NWA has yet to get its act together. For the 7/7 Bash in Raleigh, on the Worldwide show Tony Schiavone is plugging one line-up while on the NWA Pro show, Jim Ross is plugging a completely different line-up. This has happened now two weeks in a row so fans aren't sure if they are getting a War Games or an eight man cage match as the main event.. The only match both cards agree on is Doc vs. Rotunda, which isn't exactly a major ticket seller."

-- 6/20 in Montgomery, AL, drew 1,315 fans and a $15,000 gate headlined by Lex Luger vs Barry Windham. 6/17 in Charleston, WV drew 1,000 fans headlined by Road Warriors vs Rick Steiner & Mike Rotunda. 6/16 in Harrisonburg, VA drew 1,300 fans headlined by Road Warriors vs Rick Steiner & Mike Rotunda.

-- Dave was impressed with Russian Assassin from TV physically, especially considering he has a knee problem. His work is fine, but his mask hurts. Dave goes on to say wrestlers with masks now are seen as lacking charisma.

-- "I think I've figured out the finish to the triple cage match from Kevin Sullivan's interview, but I'm not telling. Watch the interview back on tape and listen for a few key phrases and it should become obvious, unless they shoot a big angle beforehand."

-- Scott Putski will be working the Texas Bash shows. "His biggest problem is he was trained by Ivan and wrestles like Ivan, who in 18 years on the circuit only learned one move -- a side headlock."

-- Business has picked up with Eric Embry and Skandor Akbar booking, but we'll see if it's long-term or just a short-term boost. They are doing a very risky promoting tactic next week, running four shows in the Metroplex in eight days to counter Crockett's Bash show on July 4. They aren't really plugging any of the lineups that much, thinking they will confuse fans. Terry Taylor is expected to drop the title on the 7/4 show to Chris Adams since he's scheduled to start with the WWF on July 7. They are only charging $5.00 for tickets, $0.50 for all concessions, souvenirs are marked down, and they're doing a two-hour autograph session with all the wrestlers prior to the show starting. Dave says this is an effective strategy to combat Crockett, but he thinks they would be better off just letting Crockett run the show because they are in danger of burning out the territory by having too many shows in the same city.

-- 6/17 at the Sportatorium drew 2,000 fans. 6/19 afternoon in Mesquite drew a $12,000 house. They debuted in Oklahoma City on 6/18 drawing an $8,500 gate, and they plan on running more shows in the old UWF territory. 6/19 evening in San Antonio drew 3,000 fans. 6/24 in Dallas drew 1,000.

-- There are tentative plans to work with other promotions based on the meeting just held with some of the other promoters.

-- Jeff Jarrett is returning. They did an angle with Jarrett coming out with a broken arm to do an interview. The Stud Stable came out to bully him. Jerry Jarrett said he normally stays out of Jeff's business, but will interject this time since he can't defend himself. The Stable jumped Jerry, and Jeff had to save using his cast. Jerry then did an interview about how he knew Robert Fuller's father well and that for Robert to turn out the way he has, he must have been a bastard child and Jerry said he wondered who the milkman was. They brawled again and Fuller gave Jarrett a piledriver.

-- Pat Rose & Bob Holly are teaming. "I don't want to sound too overenthusiastic about Rose & Holly, but they are a solid team for this area. Rose is a good worker and has been around for a while. Holly is still green in a lot of ways, but takes a good bump and they work hard in every match I've seen of them and can carry bad wrestlers to decent matches because of their work habits."

-- Jerry Lawler will be coming in as AWA champ to face Eddie Gilbert. Curt Hennig is coming in as well. "One has to give Lawler a lot of credit because he's in a sense, upped the so-called prestige of the AWA title by defending it in several different circuits against a wider variety of wrestlers than any of the other champions. In his interviews, he's even brought out that fact that even though Randy Savage and Ric Flair are called World champions (and he uses their name), that he's the only real World champion."

-- Dave says recent TV was the first Dave has seen that looks like they're turning things around. In fact, 6/19 in Montgomery drew more fans than Crockett did in the same town the same night, and they had all the NWA stars there. They've actually gotten Willie B. Hurt and Lord Humongous over as babyfaces to a point where they get huge reactions when they come out.

-- "By the way, for those of you who haven't seen this Humongous, he's VERY green, but is around 6-foot-8 and has one of those Hercules Hernandez bodies. I expect he'll be with Titan someday, but hopefully not for two years until he learns something (but he is better than the Anabolic Warrior already)."

-- "Ken Wayne is now an associate of The Dangerous Alliance. They were scheduled to have a TV match with Eddie Gilbert against Danny Davis and as Davis came to the ring, a 'lady in a dress' was in the aisle with a popcorn box covering 'her' face and as Davis walked by before the match started, she dropped her popcorn, Davis bent over to help her pick it up and she KO'd Davis with an object and along with Gilbert and Dangerously they beat up on Davis for a while. Of course the 'girl' was Ken Wayne in drag. Where do they come up with these ideas? The scary thing is, I think I know. Anyway, Gilbert claims he's won the match via forfeit but all of a sudden out comes Mr. Olympia, with his arm in a cast courtesy of their match at the Montgomery tapings, to take up the challenge. They have a 16 minute brawl all over the place, said to be a great match ending with a DQ on Gilbert when Dangerously runs in and they double on Olympia and go to 're-break' the arm until Austin Idol comes out with a broom handle to make the save."

-- The Battens, Bob Holly, Shawn Baxter, and Pat Rose are all in Memphis now because Umanosuke Ueda's Pensacola-based World Organization Wrestling has closed. The Battens are better than most of the regulars.

-- On a recent TV episode, Paul E. Dangerously (who had about 15 interviews on the tape Dave got) and Missy Hyatt tied up Rhubarb Jones and taped his mouth shut, and Dave says he welcomed them gagging him, since he's pretty bad.

-- "... Tommy Rich is an embarrassment. He's bad nostalgia and even though he's only 32, he physically looks 10 years older and is out of character as a babyface. I realize that Southern really doesn't have a lot and doesn't really have the ability to get a new younger babyface over who lives locally and can be the top guy, so I don't question them pushing Rich because of the lack of alternatives. But it's bad news. It's like promoting the 1988 Fabian tour or something. I don't want to go on about this, but he's really out of shape (which looks worse in today's muscled-up needle environment) and his interviews are babbling incoherence. Slater also wrestles nothing like the Dick Slater many of you will remember, although he does look exactly the same."

-- As part of their recent telethon, they showed a 2 1/2 hour history of Atlanta wrestling that was hosted by Joe Pedicino that Dave says is fantastic, and that he'd like to see the wrestling companies do more of that sort of thing.

-- 6/24 in Knoxville drew 2,000 fans with a 20-minute Buddy Landell/Wendell Cooley match being the best match on the show.

-- Hector Guerrero and Ricky Morton are feuding after Guerrero threw hot sauce in Ricky Morton's face.

-- To clarify something previously reported, when Billy Jack Haynes bled on a recent show, it was hardaway. "I don't want to accuse the commission of playing favorites here since the commission had banned blade cuts. I'm still wondering how all these guys that work for both promotions here and the entire WWF crew passed a drug test."

-- Chris Benoit regained the Commonwealth Mid-Heavyweight Title on 6/17 in Calgary by beating Johnny Smith. "It was a very strange finish because, at least according to two reports, it wasn't 'supposed' to end this way. This requires lots of explanation because for those who don't regularly watch this group's TV, they've generally got two refs, Jurgen Hermann, who plays more of an incompetent ref rather than a true heel ref, and a Hart brother, usually Wayne Hart, but lately Dean Hart since Wayne's had some problems with his leg, who isn't so much a babyface ref as a competent ref. Apparently Hermann was supposed to ref and for reasons I'm not completely familiar with which have absolutely nothing to do with wrestling or the wrestling business, he wasn't there that night and Dean Hart had to ref. The finish saw a foreign object thrown in (I believe by manager Abdul Wizal, but not sure on that either) and Benoit got it and used it, and the ref was 'supposed' to find out and reverse the decision but none of this took place." They are having a rematch on 6/24 in Calgary.

-- The next series opens on 7/2 at Korauken Hall with Jumbo Tsuruta & Yoshiaki Yatsu vs Terry Gordy & Leo Burke.

-- "I got to see the TV shows from the last series. Even though Rip Rogers did nothing but jobs, he definitely got over very well with the crowd for his showmanship. He did the gay act, which I don't think has ever been done in Japan to begin with, but added some unique twists like hiding a mirror in his trunks and always wanting to comb his hair. His work in the ring was good as well."

-- Dave says the Rock & Roll Express had a TV match against Foot Loose that was probably **1/2, and that the Tenryu/Hara vs Tsuruta/Yatsu match on 6/4 was good, but nothing close to MOTY level. He called the 6/10 Tokyo match with Tsuruta/Yatsu vs Road Warriors ***1/4 and said Hawk impressed him because he slipped off the top rope and fans started laughing, so Hawk immediately just started pounding on Yatsu outside until the crowd was fearing them again. "I've seen other wrestlers when they miss a move that bad in Japan almost get mentally psyched out the rest of the match and not recover from it."

-- Business is still weak as the current series is drawing to a close.

-- Antonio Inoki will have a comeback match on 8/8. He still wants Hogan or Backlund to be his opponent. Dave says Hogan is impossible, and Backlund wants nothing to do with pro wrestling right now. Dave thinks his opponent will be whoever the IWGP champ is -- Choshu or Fujinami. The show will be in Yokohama instead of at the Sumo Hall. The Sumo Association was so mad that it leaked out that they were allowing wrestling there again that they cancelled the show. New Japan stands to lose several hundred thousand dollars in the gate because Yokohama doesn't have the same capacity.

-- Shinya Hashimoto (currently in Stampede), Keiji Muto (currently in Puerto Rico), and Masa Chono (currently in Nova Scotia) are all scheduled to return in fall as a three-man team to feud with everyone. Hashimoto stayed with Inoki in Los Angeles the previous week.

-- 6/17 in Gosen drew 1,670 fans. Dave is told Owen Hart vs Kuniaki Kobayashi was the best match ont he show. 6/16 in Nagaoka drew 2,240. TV-Asahi drew a 6.1 rating on 6/11 for the tag title change, the same that Baba drew on Nippon TV. Dave calls Vader vs Fujinami that aired on 5/27 **** and says it was even better than their Osaka match on 4/27. "Even though Vader has improved quite a bit since coming to Japan, Fujinami literally worked a miracle in this match and they worked about as perfect a match as they could have." Dave says everything shown in that hour (Owen vs Koshinaka, Choshu vs Fujinami) was really strong.

-- A card has been announced for 8/13 at Ariake Coliseum in Tokyo. The main event will have Akira Maeda against a yet-to-be-announced karate champion. Also, Nobuhiko Takada will wrestle Kazuo Yamazaki, and the winner will face Maeda on 9/24 in Fukuoka.

-- Steve Williams sent a letter to Gong Magazine in the 6/30 issue to challenge Maeda. Dave says he is still with New Japan, so the chances of a match are "microscopic at best" ... It said: "Dear all my Japanese fans: I am looking forward to go to Japan again. However, I have a very important thing to do right now and that is to prove myself against the best World champion nowadays -- Ric Flair. I think he is good enough to spend my time on. Also, I promise to all of you that I'll go to Japan as soon as possible. I want to wrestle Choshu, Fujinami and Inoki again. However, I heard that Maeda left New Japan. I wonder why he never came after me like he did to Choshu. I think it's because he's a smart man. I enjoy teasing him in the ring all the time. Please tell Maeda about it. I am ready anytime, and I think most smart fans know that I am tougher. But let me show all of the people." Dave says the same types of fans who are UWF's base also know about Doc's reputation and that a match between them would be a tremendous draw, but it's not going to happen.

-- Jim Wilson, David Schultz, Lou Albano, Thunderbolt Patterson, Larry Sharpe, and Ted Arcidi were on the Morton Downey Jr. show. Dave is told it was one of Downey's better shows, "... which is like saying a match was one of Junkfood Dog's best of the year -- it doesn't get that good." Thunderbolt and Wilson were negative toward wrestling before being ganged up on 30 seconds in and torn apart so badly that anyone would be sympathetic. At one point, Shultz threw a cup of water in Wilson's face.+

-- On an independent show on 6/16 in Louisville, Dave is told that even with Lawler, Hennig, Wahoo, Pat Tanaka, Ricky Morton, and Curt Hennig on the show, the standout was The Cheetah Kid (Ted Petty). "Cactus Jack, who others have called the best independent no-name worker in the country, was also said to be pretty good."
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Re: 20 years Ago: Wrestling Observer

Good read.

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Re: 20 years Ago: Wrestling Observer

-- Shinya Hashimoto (currently in Stampede), Keiji Muto (currently in Puerto Rico), and Masa Chono (currently in Nova Scotia) are all scheduled to return in fall as a three-man team to feud with everyone. Hashimoto stayed with Inoki in Los Angeles the previous week.
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post #88 of 275 (permalink) Old 01-06-2009, 12:20 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 20 years Ago: Wrestling Observer

July 11th, 1988

-- The 7/31 show at the 55,000-seat Milwaukee County Stadium will be headlined by Hogan vs Andre in a cage. Dave thinks they're doing this match as a dry run for a possible house show series in the fall, which if it happens, will probably be the biggest money house show program they've done since Hogan/Orndorff.

-- Owen Hart is starting with the WWF. He will be under a mask as a C Team performer. He will probably debut on 7/13 in Lacrosse, WI, at the same taping as Terry Taylor. Dave also suspects Hogan will appear at either that taping or 7/14 in Cedar Rapids, IA. Regarding Owen's WWF run, Dave says the following: "There are a couple of ways at looking at this. First, it is simply impossible for Hart to have the calibre of matches with Titan that he did on his most recent Japan tour against the likes of Koshinaka, Hase and Yamada. The opponents aren't good enough, and he wouldn't be allowed to do the moves. Still, if marketed correctly, and Titan generally does a good job in this regard (and certainly a better job than any other promotion), a flying wrestler with the right gimmick, the right kind of push, and the right opponent can be a major thing for Titan. They don't have anyone like him. Jimmy Snuka was only 5-10 and was one of the three or four hottest babyfaces of the last decade in the Northeast simply for one move. Satoru Sayama, who weighed 60 pounds less than Hart, was one of the two or three biggest names in this entire business in the early part of the decade. At the same time, Sayama never would have been as big a star as he was if he didn't have the Dynamite Kid, Bret Hart, Black Tiger, Kobayashi and others of nearly the same size and of good calibre to feud with. Still, with all the big guys in Titan, Hart is a comparative midget (though in talent, the midgets are the big guys in most cases) and if the size difference is accentuated by putting him in with the wrong foe and having him sell size and fake strength moves, it will be very easy for Titan fans to simply see him as 'too small'."

-- All of the WWF's pay-per-view records were shattered by the Mike Tyson vs Michael Spinks boxing match drawing a 15 percent national PPV buy rate. It grossed $30 million in the PPV market. Dave says it will never happen, but Hogan vs Tyson on pay-per-view would draw more than Mike Tyson against any boxer, simply because there is little mystery to Tyson matches until a new contender is groomed. While Hogan is seen as a fake, his size might make people think he has a chance.

-- No Holds Barred finishes taping on 7/30, so 7/31 will be Hogan's first match back. Dave doesn't see anyone in a hurry to put the belt back on him, and there is no reason to if he can draw without it, at least until Wrestlemania.

-- "The Ted DiBiase vs. Randy Savage cage match from the last MSG show was the best match at MSG in years -- the last ****1/2 bout at the Garden I can recall was the Sgt. Slaughter vs. Iron Sheik boot camp match in the summer of 1984. This match wasn't quite up to that level, but was the best WWF match I've seen at least since the Savage vs. Steamboat match at the Silverdome. I'm not a big fan of WWF cage matches and they spent too much time trying to escape (and four times with Savage about to get out, Virgil punched him back in), however you can't deny that both guys went all out for 12 minutes climbing up and down, taking bumps and working at a pace about 10 times normal for WWF main eventers. You know, some of the matches these two have had of late have been so good that people are talking like the WWF is going to get back to traditional wrestling, whatever that may be since the style of wrestling in the 70s was difference in each circuit and they go nationwide. But people fail to watch the prelim matches on these MSG cards, which are awful from top-to-bottom, or forget that Titan's top matches besides Savage vs. DiBiase are Andre vs. Duggan and Honkeytonk vs. Beefcake, two of the poorest match-ups for wrestling and action of this decade."

-- Except for the cage match with Andre, Hogan's next series of matches will be with mid-level heels like Haku and Bad News Brown. His big feud in fall will probably be with Big Boss Man. Dave thought Boss Man was doing well until he saw a horrible match he had with Scott Casey.

-- 6/24 in Providence drew 3,000 headlined by Roberts/Duggan vs Rude/Andre. 6/25 in Baltimore drew 7,000 for Savage vs DiBiase on top. 6/19 in Elizabeth, NJ drew 1,157 and a $12,600 gate headlined by Honkeytonk Man vs. Brutus Beefcake. 7/1 in Calgary drew 12,500 and $160,000 Canadian headlined by Savage vs DiBiase in a *** match.

-- USA is planning a three-hour special on 07/18.

-- WWF has booked a second date in Greensboro on 10/28. They debut at the Greensboro Coliseum on 8/7 with Andre vs. Hogan on top.

-- The latest in the neverending Vince/Bruno Sammartino feud is that announcers have been instructed going forward to always call Superstar Billy Graham "The Living Legend".

-- The Great American Bash is on 07/10 and would have occurred by the time WON readers received this issue. Dave anticipates it being the biggest money non-WWF show in history and probably fourth of all time when it comes to dollars grossed for the show. "While the NWA has done a very good job of hyping this show, they've still got a long ways to go before they are polished at putting together a megashow. First off, this Price For Freedom tag is goofy, although that's such a minor point it probably wasn't worth bringing up. The fact they've never really announced the 10 participants in the triple tower and really have never simply gone over the card from top-to-bottom isn't a minor point. My own feeling is that even though I expect this to be a good show, and Clash of the Champions I proved that five matches are enough for a hot show provided they are hot matches, my own feeling is that fans do often look to quantity and want to see a 'complete' card for these specials and I think an eight match show with three hours to get it in would satisfy people that they are seeing 'all the stars' and since the NWA needs more time per match than a WWF show would because of the difference in product, I'd hate to see a repeat of Starrcade where it was evident that they were rushing the Flair match because they were coming against the clock."

-- Dave also points out that in the local cable guides, there is almost always a full page ads with photos and a full card rundown before a WWF PPV. For the Bash, he had to "scour" the guide to find a small ad on Page 30. All it said was "Each year, the National Wrestling Alliance streaks across the country holding grudge matches, settling old rivalries and initiating new ones. This year, you're invited to watch as the Bash presents for the first time ever the triple-cage 'Tower of Doom' matching Ric Flair and Lex Luger." On page 164, there was another paragraph that said this: "Gill Cable presents The Great American Bash from Baltimore on Sunday July 10 at 4:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. See Ric Flair, Lex Luger, The Midnight Rider, Tully Blanchard, 'Gorgeous' Jimmy Garvin and Precious, The Midnight Express, and other top stars from the NWA." Dave's response? "Jeez, we've known the line-up for months, and the NWA pretty well had planned a Flair vs. Luger main event for the Bash PPV dating back to January so couldn't we have some sort of hype for the match itself, something like the Old Master vs. Young Lion confrontation pitting the greatest wrestler of all-time against the man many expect to take his place (so much for truth in advertising, but let's face it, if Andre vs. Hogan can be the match of the century, Luger can be billed as a future wrestling great). Instead we get no mention of the title, and in fact, in one ad we get the two main matches confused and for those who don't know better, they actually won't be seeing what is advertised. The second ad lists seven names, one of whom (Midnight Rider) has long since rode into the sunset and the other names mean nothing except in the context of a great match situation. Seeing Tully Blanchard or Midnight Express or Garvin & Precious or even Ric Flair is not going to make anyone think twice about shelling out money. You've got to have specific matches. Besides, if you are just listing names, to the general public, while most NWA wrestlers are not particularly well-known (and in fact, aside from Hogan, no wrestlers have what I'd call cross-over popularity to the non-fan audience), Crockett's best-known guys are Flair and the Road Warriors, who weren't mentioned in either ad, and in fact, it's never been made all that clear except for those who listen attentively to the NWA interviews that the Warriors are even on this card."

-- There was speculation that since the Tyson PPV only went 91 seconds and cost $15.00 that people might not be willing to turn around and spend additional money on the NWA show. Dave calls whatever damage might happen "extremely minimal".

-- The Bash series is drawing well so far, as expected, but no $250,000 gates like in years past. The tour opened 6/26 in Orlando drawing 6,000 fans and an $87,000 gate, a record in Orlando. 6/27 in Greenville, SC drew 4,700 fans -- just shy of capacity. 6/28 in Columbia, SC, drew a turnaway house, 7/1 in Norfolk drew a $100,000 gate, 7/2 at the Charlotte baseball stadium drew 10,000 fans and a $98,000 gate, way down from previous Bash shows in Charlotte which have done over 20,000. 7/3 in Amarillo drew a near sellout of more than 6,000 fans. Baltimore is expected to do a live gate of $180,000.

-- "A lot has changed in the past week regarding the possible sale of the NWA to the Turner broadcasting empire. I really don't want to get into details because I'm not totally clear of all of them, other than the JCP stockholders (basically the Crockett family) are not united in wanting to sell the company right now. I'm not certain of who stands where other than Jim Crockett is behind the sale and David isn't, and Ole Anderson is trying to become a key player in this deal as well and is trying to sway the wrestlers into breaking away and either forming a new company (which could conceivably be headed by David Crockett provided Jim Crockett makes a deal with Turner) or actually manuevering a deal with Turner himself, which if Anderson could provide the wrestlers, in theory, then Turner wouldn't have to pay however many millions to the Crocketts to actually buy a company. Of course none of this takes into account that any new company would have to start from scratch when it comes to putting together a national syndication network so it could promote, and this network would have to be started at a time when TV programmers are no longer hot on wrestling not to mention all the disadvantages when it comes to booking the major arenas and building up an audience during these times when the wrestling economy is far from its healthiest point. It is expected that several more major breakthroughs will be taking place before this month is out in what inevitably will wind up being the most important news story in pro wrestling this year."

-- PPV clearances for the Bash is 10 million homes, roughly the same as Wrestlemania IV. Dave anticipates the Bash getting about half the number of PPV buys as WM IV.

-- There is unhappiness among the crew since word was given that payoffs for the Baltimore Bash won't be given until October 1.

-- George Michael Sports Machine is doing a lengthy piece on Ric Flair.

-- The Road Warriors in Weekly Pro Wrestling magazine in Japan: "That's right. We're going to work for the WWF. But we can't say when for sure. New York wants the Road Warriors really bad. It's not that we don't like their style. We don't give a damn about what they do in the ring or how they promote the card. The bottom line is what they can offer. Sure we can't come back to Japan, we won't go to the WWF. Nobody can tell us what to do. Nobody and we can nobody can boss us around. Right now, we are under contract with the NWA. This is the official commitment and we are not about to break it. Then again, anything is a gamble to a certain degree. You have to leave all your options open." (My note: This is really bizarre ...) The interview was done before the Powers of Pain jumped.

-- 7/4 in Dallas at Reunion Arena drew 5,000 fans headlined by Ric Flair & Barry Windham vs Lex Luger & Dusty Rhodes. WCCW drew 3,000 at the Sportatorium on the same night at $5.00 per ticket. 7/1 in Norfolk, VA drew 9,000 fans headlined by Luger/Sting/Road Warriors vs Flair/Windham/Arn/JJ in a cage match described as excellent.

-- Crockett had been plugging for weeks that tickets for the Seattle Bash show on 8/3 would go on sale on 7/5. Tons of fans showed up to buy tickets and there were none available. In fact, the date had not even been approved by the commission and no wrestlers had applied for licenses.

-- 7/1 at the Sportatorium drew 1,100 fans headlined by Kevin & Kerry Von Erich vs Terry Taylor & Iceman Parsons.

-- The Von Erich story is definitely set for the October issue of Penthouse. The Dallas Times Herald had a preview the previous Wednesday.

-- Since WCCW started appearing in Kansas City, crowds have improved to between 350 and 500 per show.

-- "Seems the thought that Ken Mantell wasn't going to run the promotion to preserve the Von Erich legacy has gone out the window. Kevin holds the Texas title, Kerry the World title, Kevin & Kerry hold the tag titles, and Kevin, Kerry & Hayes hold the six-man belts."

-- The CWA title changed hands on 6/27 in Memphis when Max Pain beat Brickhouse Brown in a cage match. Pain lost the title on 7/3 to Phil Hickerson. Scott Steiner & Billy Travis regained the Southern tag titles on 6/27 from Don Bass & Gary Young, also in a cage match.

-- 6/27, with the two title changes and Lawler vs Kerry Von Erich on top, drew 4,000 fans. The Lawler/Kerry match went 10 minutes before Robert Fuller & Jimmy Golden interfered and attacked Lawler. Kerry helped fight them off, but then said he didn't come all the way from Texas to end the match like that, so they re-started the match and it went 12 more minutes, and finally ended with a double countout finish. The match aired on FNN, was said to be really good, and both juiced. Antonio Inoki was in the crowd watching the match.

-- "Jeff Jarrett is over a tremendous amount now as a face, which is an unbelievable difference from his pre-broken arm days when lots of fans were booing him. The thing they did the week before on TV with his father was a really good and very effective skit."

-- 7/3 drew an impressive 5,000 fans mainly to see Jimmy Valiant return. "Valiant has always been a big drawing card in Memphis on a short-term basis and will be around for about a month I'm told, but I guess this means he's finally through with Crockett, which has seemed inevitable for a long time. Actually the only reason Valiant stuck around for as long as he did was because he was under contract and was waiting for the balloon payment on his contract and I guess he got tired of waiting."

-- Billy Jack Haynes' group appears to be on its last legs. Many shows have been canceled and several wrestlers have left. They held a card on 6/24 in Gresham, OR, that drew 60 fans. Coco Samoa is a referee.

-- Windy City has announced a card for 7/9 in Rockford with a tag team battle royal and Steve Regal vs Eddie Gilbert.

-- They have signed an exclusive deal with the Ampitheatre and will be running shows there every six weeks. Paul E. Dangerously, who is doing booking, will manage Condrey, Rose, Gilbert and Col. DeBeers.

-- Lawler vs. Idol on 7/2 in Dothan, AL, drew a $10,000 gate and "... had a very unique twist. Before the match started (and I understand this match was taped for television), Paul E. Dangerously showed up with an 'injunction' which stated that he could be at ringside for this match because of supposed terms in his previous contract with Austin Idol that if Idol ever got a World title match than Dangerously would be his manager. However Dangerously basically was working on behalf of Lawler in this match, although Lawler was acting like he didn't want him around either. The finish saw Idol catch Lawler in the figure four leglock when Dangerously pulled the referee out of the ring and Ko'd him with his phone. Eddie Gilbert then interfered and threw fire in Idol's face although the fire actually missed. Earlier in the show, Lawler had a non-title match against Ken Wayne and Gilbert tried to throw fire at Lawler once again, however Lawler ducked and the fire went into the eyes of referee John Keaton."

-- 6/24 in Calgary drew just 350 fans, which is the lowest crowd for a double TV taping in a really long time. This was the last Calgary card until 7/22, so they had to get more matches in so they could air TV. They also filmed a supplementary card on 6/22 in Red Deer, put together at the last minute.

-- Jason The Terrible is coming back to feud with Steve DiSalvo.

-- Brian Pillman is announced for the 7/9 card in Edmonton, which is good for Stampede because they had lost Owen Hart and Jason The Terrible. Pillman was sidelined with a tricep injury.

-- The group is touring British Columbia and drawing decent.

-- Mika Komatsu and Yumi Ogura are in for three weeks, but won't be seen on television because they are in during the time TV isn't being taped.

-- Kerry Brown has been turned face because of the lack of babyfaces, and is being geared to feud with Makhan Singh.

-- Steve Blackman was awarded the TV title in a tournament to crown a first champion that took place on 6/17 and 6/24.

-- Tokyo Sports reported a rumor that Antonio Inoki will be selling New Japan to Ted Turner to be part of an international NWA. "I certainly don't think there is anything to this story, but the funny thing is, it would make sense for someone to own a promotion in Japan and the U.S. because he could arrange injuries and tours for stale talent back and forth and fans wouldn't have a chance to see the departed wrestlers on another promotions' TV. Actually, there are numerous advantages to this, but it won't happen."

-- "I guess Inoki's trying to start rumors of his own. There is still talk of Inoki vs. Hulk Hogan on 8/8 in Yokohama but again I think they are just stirring up ink, since it is virtually impossible that this match will take place."

-- Tatsumi Fujinami is receiving a big push. He pinned Riki Choshu on 6/24 in Osaka to regain the held up IWGP title and handed Big Van Vader his first pinfall loss on 6/26 in Nagoya.

-- Shiro Koshinaka captured the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title on 6/24 in Osaka, pinning Owen Hart. Owen is scheduled to come back in October, but that probably won't happen since he's with the WWF now.

-- The highest crowd of the last series was 10,760 paid in Nagoya for Vader vs Fujinami on 06/26.

-- 6/22 in Omiya drew 2,110 fans. 6/19 TV taping at Korauken Hall drew 2,250 fans. 6/24 in Osaka drew 6,088. 6/23 in Yokohama drew 3,940.

-- Riki Choshu vs Yoshiaki Fujiwara at the last TV taping was a match Dave called "interesting". Choshu got the clean win, which wasn't surprising since Fujiwara is UWF bound when his contract expires. But the crowd was solidly behind Fujiwara and reacted huge to the submission holds, to a point where it made it obvious this was the match that sold out Korauken Hall. "Choshu was forced to wrestle and he's actually very good with the matwork when he's forced to actually do the stuff. While some would find the matwork boring, since it was moving matwork and the two are both solid and quick with their trading moves and sold for each other realistically, I thought it was a good match. However, when Choshu gained the pinfall with the lariat, the place went totally silent because the fans who were there 'believed' that Choshu couldn't legitimately beat Fujiwara and thus the pinfall was for the political reasons we spoke of earlier and the good match became a sham in their eyes."

-- "Adrian Adonis weighs more than Vader, which tells you how his diet is going, however he sold all the size and power moves and took excellent bumps, especially when you consider he looked to be in the 325 pound range. Vader has improved a lot and is probably a better all-around worker than Big Bubba Rogers at this point although he still has to be carried."

-- Hiroshi Hase should be back in by the end of the month. He suffered broken ribs in a match with Keichi Yamada in early June.

-- Bob Backlund was interviewed in a Japanese magazine and left his options open for returning to wrestling. He said he won't go to the NWA because he can't make the same level of money as the top guys. New Japan and the UWF both really want him to come in.

-- All the magazines in Japan have been articles and photos on Mitsuharu Misawa out of the mask. His identity has become public knowledge because of his recent wedding.

-- Shinichi Nakano, Shunji Takano, Tiger Mask, Akira Taue, and Isao Takagi have formed their own group in All Japan to feud with Tenryu's Revolution group.

-- 6/26 at Korauken Hall saw Bull Nakano earn a shot at Chigusa Nagayo's World title before a sellout 1,800 fans.

-- JWP is building up a match on 7/14 between Devil Masami and Shinobu Kandori. Masami has gained 40 pounds since she retired, "... and has the biggest thighs on any wrestler, male or female, that I think I've ever seen including Doug Furnas."

-- Yumiko Hotta and Mitsuko Nishiwaki are being groomed to be the next big tag team for AJW, and have been nicknamed The Fire Jets.

-- Scott Hall is wrestling in Austria.

-- "Just as we were going to press we received the tragic news about the death of pro wrestlers Adrian Adonis, David McKigney and Pat Kelly in what was described as a gruesome van wreck in New Foundland on the night of 7/4. According to Canadian wire service reports, the three wrestlers along with Mike Kelly, another wrestler, were traveling in a mini-van en route to a match in Lewisporte, New Foundland (an island on Canada's Eastern coast) when the van crashed and went into a brook. Pat Kelly, whose real name was Victor Arko and McKigney, best known as The Bearman or Canadian Wildman, were pronounced dead at the scene while Adonis died hours later in a hospital in Gander, NF, about 60 miles from the scene of the accident. Mike Kelly, real name William Arko, was at last report listed in serious but stable condition in the Gander hospital. Adonis, 34, was one of the most talented wrestlers in the world in the early part of the decade and had been a tag team champion in the AWA (with Jesse Ventura) and WWF (with Dick Murdoch) and had just started back this past month in Japan where he had been a major star before his recent WWF stint. McKigney, who was the main character in the recently-published book 'Drawing Heat' by Jim Freedman, was a long-time promoter and wrestler mainly in the northern reaches of Ontario, Canada. He was known in the 60s as The Bearman because he trained several wrestling bears. The book 'Drawing Heat' brought out that McKigney had lived a tragic life, with the most publicized part of his life occurring many years back when one of the bears he trained escaped and killed his wife and ripped him up pretty good as well. We will have a lot more details on this next week as they become available."
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post #89 of 275 (permalink) Old 01-06-2009, 01:48 PM
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Re: 20 years Ago: Wrestling Observer

Good read.

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post #90 of 275 (permalink) Old 01-08-2009, 04:37 AM
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Re: 20 years Ago: Wrestling Observer

Best thread ever.
Thank you!
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