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20 Years Ago - WON 10/24/88


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-- Dave doesn't expect much business from the Survivor Series PPV, since they're repeating the same team format from the year before and also says it looks like 1989 will be oversaturation for PPV since the WWF is adding an event, Turner plans to do four shows, and the AWA/WCCW/CWA group plans to do a follow-up in February.


-- "They Live" with Roddy Piper is about to open, and Dave says success here pretty much guarantees that Piper's wrestling career is over. To compare budgets, this has a $3 million, but "No Holds Barred" has a $19 million budget.


-- 10/16 in Providence drew a disappointing 6,700 fans for the "Lord of the Rings" tournament.


-- The Bulldogs and Rougeaus had ANOTHER fight, as Raymond sucker punched Dynamite Kid with a roll of coins. Dave expects Vince to intervene soon and for some guys to be history.


-- 10/5 TV taping in Toledo drew 9,500 fans. Brother Love (who Vince loves and thinks has gotten over well) interviewed Hogan and Slick sprayed something in his eyes. Then Boss Man attacked him and handcuffed him to the guard rail and Hogan did a stretcher job. 10/15 in Tacoma drew 10,300 fans and a $119,000 gate. 10/10 in Edmonton drew 15,000 fans.


-- The WWF is reaching out to athletic commissions to see if they can use blood capsules in towns where blading is banned. They feel like the reason business is down is that their heels have no heat, so they want to build up their heels, and feel like they need to do some angles with juice to get things going.


-- Hulk Hogan is coming out with a book on how to get big without using steroids. "I'm sure some of you will find that humorous."



-- Two stories going around about the NWA sale: The first is that it's done and that Turner will take over on November 1. The other is that the signing will take place this week. Terms are agreed to, but the hold up remains that JCP's creditors are unhappy about accepting 40 cents on the dollar, and Turner still wants all of the debt cleared first.


-- The Road Warriors turned heel on 10/7 in Richmond, VA. Even though it's in the can, the philosophy is to heavily tease it before it airs on TV so they can build suspense and hopefully increase TV ratings. The Road Warriors are also still on booking sheets as babyfaces through the end of the month, so they don't want the turn to air until they have fulfilled their babyface dates. The story was that the Road Warriors were facing the Varsity Club and were on the defense the whole time, then Sting tagged in and cleaned house pretty much by himself. The Roadies responded by beating him up, and Sting took a bump (a pretty awesome one, I should add) from the Doomsday Device and did a stretcher job. Luger came in neutrally to check on him, and the Road Warriors beat him up too. This was teased on TBS by just saying there was an "event" and they are "trying" to speak with the Road Warriors and Dusty Rhodes about it. Road Warriors vs Dusty Rhodes & Bam Bam Bigelow was at this point scheduled for Starrcade. Dave says the turn didn't get the heat you'd think, but probably because the crowd was really small, and there wasn't much build or story involved in the turn. Dave says if Road Warriors vs Sting & Luger doesn't draw, they are pretty much done because what else can you do with them after that?


-- The syndicated NWA ratings actually beat WWF's syndicated ratings recently, drawing a 7.8 rating on 150 stations, compared to the WWF drawing a 7.5 rating on 249 stations. Each ratings point represents about 890,000 homes. The reason for the increase was Clash III was figured into the rating. The WWF has had a drop in viewership lately, and seems to recognize it as a problem.


-- They were hinting at a big star coming in on TV, which was Steamboat, but they have stopped hinting. They still want Flair vs Steamboat for Starrcade, but the deal is said to have fallen apart. Steamboat was offered a lot of money to just do one show, then discuss doing more after that.


-- Eddie Gilbert is back in as a prelim babyface and will team with Jimmy Garvin when he returns.


-- Abdullah the Butcher is expected in to feud with Bam Bam Bigelow.


-- Greg Valentine's name is being thrown around as a potential new Horsemen, but Dave thinks Valentine is just trying to leverage a deal with Titan. Dave still says he thinks it would be a big mistake to give him that spot.


-- Paul E. Dangerously, Dennis Condrey, and Randy Rose are expected to debut in about two weeks. Dave thinks Condrey isn't the type that gets over now, and Randy Rose will be in over his head in the major leagues, but the feud will work because of Jim Cornette and Paul E. Dangerously.


-- John Studd, Bob Orton, and Tommy Rich are all rumored to be heading in after the buyout.


-- "I'm all for changing the TV shows from self-contained episodes to a soap opera type format but this bit where on the a.m. show they promised showing the tape of the Warrior angle, then hinting through two hours on the p.m. show about it and then said they won't be showing it at all until next week is not a positive step. That only serves to turn off the audience, just as leaving the matches in progress at the end of the show does. If TV ratings were going up, I'd stay quiet about these things figuring those in charge no what they are doing, but ratings have consistently gone down on every Crockett TV show over the last year-and-a-half ever since the 30 second squash/90 second interview format started."


-- 10/4 in Macon, GA drew 2,900 fans for a TV taping. 10/9 in Greensboro drew 4,000 fans and a $35,000 gate. 10/15 in Philadelphia drew 4,418 fans and a $61,087 gate. 10/16 in Baltimore drew 6,000 fans and a $64,000 gate. 9/30 in Winnipeg drew 4,000 fans. 10/1 in Brandon, Manitoba drew 1,000 fans.


-- Rick Steiner has been filling in for Lex Luger on house shows. Luger has NOT jumped to the WWF, but he has conjunctivitis, so they want him to sit out until it heals, so Flair and Tommy Young don't catch it.


-- Dave says Rick Steiner is the hottest guy in the company and it's time to do the turn, and he hopes they put him in main event feuds after doing the turn, but it doesn't appear they will.



-- Chris Benoit & Lance Idol won the tag titles, but they are already teasing a breakup angle.


-- Gary Albright is in and is athletic and agile, but very green. Dave says he reminds him a lot of Steve Williams at the same stage.


-- Johnny Smith and Biff Wellington had a ****+ match on TV recently. Dave says Wellington reminds him of Bret Hart in terms of wrestling ability, but he doesn't have Bret's charisma.



-- Masa Chono is in under a mask as a heel.


-- Crowds have gone way down.



-- Jerry Jarrett has purchased 30% of World Class and Eric Embry will be running the office. Dave suspects that just like with Ken Mantell, this will end with the Von Erichs back in power. There is some doubt that this story is true, as Jerry Jarrett is known for presenting himself as being broke to the wrestlers and talking about how business is down. Dave says in theory, Jarrett could turn around the company if given the book, because his track record is really positive.



-- Interesting show on 10/17 at Mid South Coliseum, headlined by Lawler defending against Tatsumi Fujinami. Chigusa Nagayo will also be facing Candi Devine on the undercard. The crowd is expected to be small, but this is a huge deal in Japan, as Fujinami and Nagayo, the top two stars in Japan, will be working the same show. They tried to get Fujinami over on TV by showing a clip of him pinning Jimmy Snuka and Lance Russell saying he is considered bar none the best wrestler in Japan. Lawler also did an interview saying he had never seen Fujinami and didn't know his style, and wasn't sure he'd be able to hold on to the title, because he wouldn't have time to prepare.


-- Downtown Bruno did an adoption angle with Phil Hickerson and is now calling him "Daddy Phil" on TV, while Phil refers to Bruno as his son.


-- Sid Vicious is in and has joined the Stud Stable. They are building toward a split from the group and babyface turn.



-- Tatsumi Fujinami won the PNW title from The Grappler on 10/15. Dave is surprised that they billed him as the world champion since Flair was just in billed as the world champion a few weeks prior. The angle was that Grappler said he would relinquish his title if he couldn't beat Fujinami, and they ended up wrestling to a 30-minute draw. The match was said to be really good, and by the end of it, Fujinami was as over as anyone in the territory by the end of it due to his selling and facial expressions. There were no highspots, it was entirely mat exchanges, but the crowd got really into it. The show drew about 800 fans, compared to about 1,100 for Flair, and neither match was taped for television.


-- Moondog Moretti will be booking a rival group called Pacific Coast Wrestling Association starting 10/22, using Canadian wrestlers like Timothy Flowers, and local wrestlers like Rip Oliver and Mike Miller. They are adamant about not using Billy Jack Haynes.


-- Art Barr is out of action following knee surgery.


-- There were problems with the Flair show in Portland, as the athletic commission wanted him to do a physical before letting him wrestle. Flair tried to get out of it by producing a report from a physician, but it didn't have a drug test included, which is an Oregon requirement. So they had to take him to a local hospital to do a drug test. He passed the drug test, but it caused a show delay, and Flair was in a terrible mood until the match started, then he was fine.



-- The arraignment for Jose Gonzales was postponed because key witness Tony Atlas failed to show up at the hearing. Legally, Atlas is required to attend the hearing on 11/2 and can be extradited to Puerto Rico if needed since this is a murder case. Atlas has told other wrestlers he has received death threats if he testifies against Gonzales, but he is the key witness, as he witnessed the stabbing.



-- Dave thinks the lineup for this year's Real World Tag League is the weakest in the entire history of the tournament.


-- Doug Furnas is getting over well with his high flying moves.


-- Jumbo Tsuruta will wrestle Stan Hansen this week, with the winner facing Tenryu on 10/28 in Yokohama.


-- The Rock & Roll Express were just added to the latest tour.


-- Two weeks of TV were pre-empted because Emperor Hirohito was in critical condition and they were doing round-the-clock reports.



-- Instead of the traditional tag tournament, New Japan, citing their success with 5 x 5 matches at the gate in the last year, wants to do a six-man elimination tournament.


-- Antonio Inoki is going to return in the next series. Fujinami, due to his U.S. and Germany tours, will miss the entire tour. The opening night drew 8,600 fans in Taiwan, in a 13,000-seat, where Dave is told they would have drawn more, but the tickets were expensive. Inoki is deeply in debt, as he lost $10 million in experimental Brazilian cattle feeding. (I can't make that up.) This money loss is what caused him to underpay talent in 1982-1983 during the boom, and one of the things that led to Choshu jumping to All Japan. He made a business trip to Australia on 8/15, and when he returned to Japan, they asked him to return for the next series. However, on 8/22, he started talking to Shinma and decided to play hardball. On 8/26, he had a meeting with Choshu, Sakaguchi, Fujinami, and Saito, and said he would only come back if he was reinstated as the top star of the company. He also refused to do commentary on the same show. He then left for the U.S. to meet with Vince McMahon and Jack Petrick, but nothing came of the meeting, although Inoki and Hiroshi Hase attended a show at the Meadowlands. There are three factions in New Japan at war right now: Inoki supporters, Fujinami supporters, and Choshu supporters, although Choshu is not as adamant about being the top star and is considered the "swing vote". Anyway, by 9/19, Inoki was in charge again, and told the locker room, "I am the President of New Japan. If someone disobeys my orders, the wrestler will be fired." Fujinami got pissed and left, which is why he is touring the U.S. and Germany. He may not come back, even though he holds the IWGP title, which would be a huge loss, as he is second in popularity only to Maeda in the country.

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It's amazing what the Monday Night Wars did to the PPV model.


I believe for the sake of storyline quality only 6 PPVs a year would make much more sense than 12, but I'm also a total realist that the bottom line is everything, and that really as long as the one a month model is making a lot of money you'd be insane to move away from it.

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