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20 Years Ago - WON 11/14/88


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WWF

-- "They Live" opened to mixed reviews. Piper is also getting mixed reviews. Still, the movie is expected to make money, and the box office will determine Piper's future in Hollywood. The reason the NWA is promoting this movie is because the WWF turned down a promotional tie-in, so the movie producers went to the NWA and asked if they would be interested, and they were. "Buy and Cell", another Piper movie, was picked up by Trans World Entertainment and will go directly to VHS later this month. Dave saw "They Live" with a few friends and everyone enjoyed the movie. Dave says Piper isn't the best actor he's ever seen, but he was just fine in a leading role, and any stinging criticism of him isn't deserved. The fight scene was fantastic, and the theater crowd popped for Piper's suplex, even though the audience was neither a wrestling crowd nor a Piper crowd.

 

-- Jesse Ventura was on FNN talking about steroids. He was honest for the most part, though he did protect the business when you would expect him to do so. The major standout comments were that Verne Gagne was a terrible promoter, Hulk Hogan was the greatest wrestler he ever faced, all wrestling interviews are ad-libbed (which they are not), the wrestling business is more honest than the music business (Dave is told that's most definitely true), and 70 percent of current pro wrestlers are college graduates, which is pushing it a bit. His greatest thrill was working in front of a sold out crowd in St. Paul hearing "Jesse sucks" chant, and also selling out MSG, which Dave points out never happened, because the Backlund match didn't sell out, and the Hogan match didn't either, even though Jesse got blood clots a few days before the match and it had to be cancelled. Jesse said he is sure that there are wrestlers in the WWF who use steroids, but probably no more than in football, and that they are abused everywhere. When asked if the WWF tests wrestlers for steroids, he said he had no idea. Dave says Ventura does a great job due to his experience as a color commentator, but he has a problem with his steroid stance because he tells kids it's just as dangerous as cocaine, but on TV, he glorifies steroid physiques. "I know why he does it and why he has to do it. I know that he makes great money as a WWF TV announcer and it was his money as a WWF TV announcer and it was his springboard to the movies and it is his niche as a celebrity. At the same time, I think the FDA should pick a better spokesperson because any thinking teenager who hears Ventura talk about how evil steroids are at a high school or on a public service announcement or on a talk show can see the hypocrisy in him glorifying physiques of wrestlers (or for that matter Arnold Schwarzeneger) that are a result of their abuse."

 

-- About a dozen wrestlers have been fired, but Dave isn't sure of all the names. He knows B. Brian Blair, Jim Brunzell, and Ken Patera were among them. Patera was offered a job in P.R., but has yet to accept.

 

-- Ron Garvin is headed in around Christmas. "I understand they are going to use his old NWA cross-dresser gimmick (remember Miss Atlanta Lively) and he'll work as Rockin Robin and challenge Sherri Martel for the women's title. I'm only kidding."

 

-- 11/4 in Denver drew 3,000 headlined by Andre/Rude vs Santana/Roberts.

 

-- The Bulldogs are expected to finish up at the end of November, but everyone thinks they will decide at the last minute to stay.

 

NWA

-- TBS held a press conference to announce that they had purchased the NWA. Nothing new came out it. Jack Petrik was officially announced as the President of the new Universal Wrestling Corporation with Jim Crockett as Vice President. The company will be based in Atlanta and most of the wrestlers and front office personnel will live there also. The Dallas office will remain open and Jim Crockett, Dusty Rhodes, and JJ Dillon will be based out of Dallas. The Charlotte office is being closed down completely. Dusty Rhodes' future is pretty solid through the end of the year, but after that, no one knows. Dave is told changes will be made on TV on a weekly basis, starting very small.

 

-- Last week's TBS show had two really well done things: the Midnight Express vs Road Warriors title change from New Orleans, which was extremely well laid out because it turned both teams which is difficult to do. The best part is that most fans bought tickets probably hoping to see the Road Warriors capture the gold, and because of the work of all four guys, and Jim Cornette and Paul Ellering, they were booing their win heavily and pelting them with garbage. Later in the show, Stan Lane was wrestling Menace #2 and Jim Cornette was doing commentary. A phone call came in and Cornette said a few cryptic things and hung up the phone. Then, Paul E. Dangerously and the Original MX crashed the studio and attacked Eaton, Lane and Cornette, with Cornette juicing heavily and being slapped around by Dangerously. "This was the hot angle needed to get the feud going and I've got little doubt this will be a hot feud. The wrestlers are all above-average and the interviews will be matching the best mouths in the business. I almost hate to praise everyone, but Jim Ross did a great job of commentating and getting the Warriors over as heels in the New Orleans match and both Ross and Schiavone made the second angle go when they said that Dangerously and his team don't belong here and don't even work for the NWA."

 

-- "Of course with all steps forward they make there are always the steps backward. The Sunday Main Event show picked out two matches which had no business airing at the time. The first had an old Sting vs Mike Rotunda match ending with Rick Steiner doing a very heelish run-in which shouldn't be aired since Steiner has already turned in some cities and is about to turn on a national basis in two weeks or so. The second was a Midnight Express vs Road Warrior Animal & Paul Ellering match with the Warrior team as the faces, which has no business airing when they are trying to get both teams over in their new roles."

 

-- Eddie Gilbert tore the ligaments in his left arm but is still working.

 

-- The new TBS format has matches going slightly longer, with a Ron Simmons vs Rip Morgan match getting 15 minutes.

 

-- "Another gaffe was when Mike Rotunda killed Rick Steiner's pet fly Spike on the morning show, but Spike was alive doing stupid animal tricks on the afternoon show (in reality, the afternoon show is taped before the morning show but they air in a different order)."

 

-- The next TBS show has Ric Flair vs George South and Barry Windham vs Curtis Thompson both going really long.

 

-- Ric Flair is strongly hinting on interviews that the Road Warriors are joining the Four Horsemen.

 

-- Dave is amazed by how great a job the Road Warriors are doing as heels, as they are still getting some cheers in some places, but are getting heavily booed in most places. Dusty did a great promo for their feud, but Dave suspects his line about not having a steroid in his body probably caused some heat internally. Also, watch the next TBS show for Jim Cornette apparently doing a classic interview. (My note: Yes, this is the one where he brings his blood-stained white jacket out and it's awesome.)

 

-- Starrcade has been cut from 3 1/2 hours to 3 hours. "They are going to have to start announcing matches very quickly or they won't have enough promotion time."

 

-- Rick Steiner isn't turning next weekend, but it has to come soon, since he's booked against the Varsity Club all of Thanksgiving weekend. "Steiner & Sullivan are doing an Abbott & Costello act that is the highlight of most TV shows."

 

-- Luger continues giving weak interviews in the Road Warriors feud.

 

-- Ric Flair has tons of power right now, and most feel if he and Dusty have another confrontation that Dusty will be the one on the outs. Jim Crockett always sided with Dusty, which is the main reason guys like Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, and others are no longer in the company.

 

-- Variety Magazine gave "Learning the Ropes" a terrible review and most other reviews have also been negative.

 

WCCW

-- Kerry Von Erich called Jerry Jarrett and agreed to terms, so Jerry Jarrett now owns 60% of World Class, with Kerry owning 20%, and Kevin owning 20%. Jarrett managed to save the Ch. 11 time slot, which almost went to the NWA. To show how good Jerry Jarrett was at negotiating here, he even had a clause put in the contract that the booker can fire Kevin or Kerry if they have subpar performances or miss dates (even though they would still keep their share of the company). Compare this to Ken Mantell, who had to give us everything to get 30% of WCCW when he came in. Obviously, Jarrett has no desire to get rid of Kerry, the most marketable star he has in either of his territories.

 

-- First, he wants to change how TV is handled. In recent months, the two-hour KTVT show was taped the previous Monday in Fort Worth. However, since they are no longer running weekly in Fort Worth, they have been alternating between all-highlight shows and showing the Friday night Dallas cards that were taped 8 days prior. The syndicated show was taped bi-weekly at the Sportatorium. Fort Worth crowds had gotten embarassingly low, as in 150 per show, and because the atmosphere was so terrible on TV, they started running Ft. Worth every three weeks. About six weeks ago, they got a sponsor and announced that weekly shows were back, and they planned to give away thousands of tickets every week, since the sponsor would take care of the expense, and they would have the heat and atmosphere for TV. But that fell through.

 

-- Under Jarrett, the Ch. 11 show will be taped on Saturday morning and air Saturday evening. Admission will be free and the show will be taped at the Sportatorium. They will continue running Friday night shows at the Sportatorium and charge admission. "This is a real dangerous catch-22 proposition. Obviously the Saturday cards are going to be like regular TV tapings hyping only the Friday matches. To do it any other way would destroy paid attendance for the Friday night cards. However a two-hour format of nothing but squashes would have a negative effect on the TV ratings and frankly, after the novelty wore off, it would be difficult to get fans to show up, even for free, on Saturday mornings for a television taping on a weekly basis.

 

-- Jarrett plans to run a promotion vs promotion feud as his main attraction in both Dallas and Memphis. The first show that aired saw about half the show dedicated to airing Memphis matches, with Mark Lowrance trying to get Eddie Marlin, Lance Russell, and all the Memphis babyfaces over as a heels to a Dallas audience.

 

-- Before a recent Lawler match, Kerry grabbed the mic and said he was going to kick Jerry Lawler's ass, then said he was filing for divorce so he's now single, and he'll be in the back collecting phone numbers after the match. "For a guy who has packaged himself as an All-American boy-next-door type that wasn't too smart and those in the new promotion weren't exactly thrilled by it."

 

-- Kamala is returning from a tour of West Germany where he was billed as Kamala, but wore an amateur wrestling singlet, no paint, and wrestled a scientific style.

 

STAMPEDE

-- The Johnny Smith vs Biff Wellington matches are ranging from very good to great. The two work high spots as well as any two wrestlers in North America. Smith stalls a lot between moves, but the matches are around 20 minutes.

 

CONTINENTAL

-- Black Bart is headed in as a heel and Doug Furnas has returned from Japan. They are trying to bring in Ron Bass as a heel, and they want Terry Gordy as their lead heel after the tag tournament in Japan ends.

 

-- On TV this weekend, they started heating up a Tom Pritchard/Grappler #2 program, but Grappler quit after being promised a $40 payoff for a shot and only getting $35.

 

-- Business is slightly up.

 

-- Tim Horner is headed to the WWF.

 

FLORIDA

-- Lord Humongous was unmasked as Scott Hall with lighter hair.

 

-- Scotty the Body is said to be the best new guy in the territory, playing a Eddie Haskell-type heel.

 

PUERTO RICO

-- Jose Gonzales is back to work as a booker giving finishes in the dressing room, but has not been announced as returning to TV yet.

 

-- Dave saw about six weeks of TV and said the only good match was Bobby Jaggers & Dan Kroffat vs Perez & Castillo in a hair match, probably ***1/2-****.

 

NEW JAPAN

-- Sid Vicious is coming in with a major push and will be called The Vicious Warrior.

 

MISCELLANEOUS

-- Billy Travis is out due to an arrest involving an underage girl.

 

-- Gordon Solie is working with Ed Whalen on TSN on a show called Pro Wrestling Plus. It's similar to Pro Wrestling This Week, but the clips are about a year old.

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  • 2 weeks later...

-- Last week's TBS show had two really well done things: the Midnight Express vs Road Warriors title change from New Orleans, which was extremely well laid out because it turned both teams which is difficult to do. The best part is that most fans bought tickets probably hoping to see the Road Warriors capture the gold, and because of the work of all four guys, and Jim Cornette and Paul Ellering, they were booing their win heavily and pelting them with garbage. Later in the show, Stan Lane was wrestling Menace #2 and Jim Cornette was doing commentary. A phone call came in and Cornette said a few cryptic things and hung up the phone. Then, Paul E. Dangerously and the Original MX crashed the studio and attacked Eaton, Lane and Cornette, with Cornette juicing heavily and being slapped around by Dangerously.

 

Also, watch the next TBS show for Jim Cornette apparently doing a classic interview. (My note: Yes, this is the one where he brings his blood-stained white jacket out and it's awesome.)

Anybody got Youtube links on these? I've heard about them, but never seen them, and my quick search of the usual places doesn't find the footage anywhere.
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