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20 Years Ago - WON 12/19/88


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"'Card subject to change.'

 

That seems to be the key phrase when we're talking about pro wrestling this week."

 

WWF

-- "Former wrestler Ted Arcidi was on Morton Downey's show this past week on steroids. Ted claimed he had only used steroids once, they didn't work and he was naturally trained. He also said Vince tests guys for steroids and you'd be kicked out of the WWF if you used them. Then his nose grew so long you couldn't see the rest of his face."

 

-- Survivor Series was the least profitable PPV since the Wrestling Classic. The WWF is claiming a 4.2 buyrate publicly, but every other source has given Dave a number between one and three percent. Dave blames this on oversaturation and thinks both the WWF and the NWA should promote no more than 1-2 PPVs a year.

 

-- Owen Hart's injuries are worse than originally reported. He suffered a hernia when Greg Valentine didn't duck for his leapfrog at Survivor Series. When he returns, he's booked against Akeem, which means he'll be killed off.

 

-- John Studd has returned. He will feud with Akeem, Boss Man and eventually Andre. "I can hardly wait for the Andre-Studd matchups since their bouts years ago were classics, and that was when both were younger and Andre was in better health and Studd hadn't taken a several year layoff."

 

-- Dave hasn't seen the angle from the Savage-Bossman match yet, but says it sounds "awful good". Hogan had Liz in his corner and Boss Man ran in and they doubleteamed Hogan. Liz ran for help to get Randy, but came back with no Randy. Then Slick handcuffed her and they continued attacking Hogan. Finally, Savage comes out to save Liz and runs off the heels. When she goes to check on Hogan, Savage pulls her away and they leave. Dave expects the break-up to happen at either the Royal Rumble in January or the prime time special on NBC in February. Dave is told neither Hogan or Savage will win the Rumble, by the way.

 

-- 12/8 in Miami drew 2,800 fans in a 17,000 seat arena for one of the rare bad houses headlined by Hogan-Boss Man. 12/3 in Boston drew 8,500 fans with the same match on top. 12/3 in Omaha drew 5,384 with Warrior vs HTM.

 

-- David Perschel of Warren County, PA reached a settlement in a lawsuit against Randy Savage over an incident in May of 1986 where he claimed Savage attacked him when asking for an autograph. Savage claimed he was driving and Perschel kept flashing his high beams, and he admits there was physical contact, but that it was just a push.

 

NWA

-- Starrcade will be at the Scope in Norfolk. It hasn't sold out as of press time, but it is expected to do so, as only the general admission seats remain. The Bunkhouse Stampede event will not be part of the PPV show, it will just be for the live audience, which means they have three hours for seven matches, so the show shouldn't be rushed. No changes have been made to the card since last week. It was feared that Bigelow was going to quit and Eddie Gilbert would have to fill in for him on the show, but after missing five shows in a row, he showed back up on Sunday night in Richmond. Dave expects more key departures between now and mid-January, and the new regime has a tougher challenge than they expected -- or Dave expected -- in turning around business.

 

-- Clash IV aired on 12/7 from Chattanooga. The show drew a 4.5 national rating, which translates to about 1.99 million homes. The opener -- Fantastics vs Ron Simmons and Eddie Gilbert -- drew a 3.7 rating and the rating continued to grow throughout the show, but slower than previous Clashes. The show peaked at a 5.2 for Flair/Windham vs Midnight Express, which translates to about 2.3 million homes. The show drew 60% thumbs down in the WON, 20% thumbs up and 12% "so-so". The lower rating was expected by TBS, because it was competing against first-run episodes of Head of the Class and The Wonder Years. The UTC arena wasn't sold out. They gave away approximately 7,000 tickets and sold about 3,000.

 

-- This was the first time the TBS crew had covered the show instead of a crew hired by JCP. There was a lot of finger-pointing after the show because the production wasn't very good. The lighting was awful, looking worse than even most syndicated TV. Dave figured the darkness was to hide a small crowd and didn't figure there was anyone in the building, and when he found out the place was almost full, the lack of lighting made no sense and made the show look really cheap. Directions coming from the headsets were semi-audible on the air at times throughout the show. There were too many crowd shots during the matches. The use of the overhead camera, which Dave says just like at Starrcade '83 never works.

 

-- "Lex Luger 'hosted' the show along with Tony Schiavone, and frankly, while I thought it was a good idea at the last Clash with Ric Flair in the role, it didn't work. Luger, who has less personality than Flair, didn't work in the role, either. Luger seemed very nervous early on, got better, but was still stiff and uncomfortable throughout. If Flair couldn't pull off the role, than it was too much to ask to expect Luger to be able to. Although this was actually pre-planned, it made the show look totally disorganized and disjointed when they would have the ring introductions for the matches, then do an interview, then go to a commercial while the wrestlers had to stand around in the ring picking their noses for 10 minutes before the endless commercials were over and they got lock-up. I think Road Warrior Animal was in the ring 11 minutes before Dusty Rhodes ever even came to ringside for their match, which was over in a blink of an eye. Magnum T.A. did a good job in his role of interviewer. Jim Ross and Bob Caudle did an excellent job in getting over the 'story' in the first match, which really could have come across as boring because of the length, with other announcers. But the second and third matches were hopeless, the fourth match was really just an angle, and a predictable one. The final match was excellent, no better or no worse than expected given you had the two best singles wrestlers in the NWA against the best tag team in pro wrestling."

 

-- Rundown:

 

Fantastics vs Gilbert/Simmons: This was probably the first babyface match Simmons had ever wrestled, and Dave goes easy on him, because it had to be tough to do that style of match for that long, but he does say that Simmons was solid, but there were some timing issues early on. The crowd booed the Fantastics. They turned it on around the 14 minute mark and the heat picked up around the 17 minute mark. At this point, it was a tremendous old-style match, peaking when Simmons turned Fulton's flying bodypress into a powerslam. The announcers did a good job keeping the sympathy on Gilbert, while the Fantastics used Japanese holds on Gilbert's arm that fans in the US aren't educated about. The match went about 5 minutes too long, and lost intensity toward the end. No belts were presented, as someone forgot to bring them. **1/2, would have been higher but the crowd died toward the end because they couldn't hear the TV commentary and the match peaked in the middle. The Fantastics also didn't get over the way they should have at all, considering that they just won a major tournament.

 

Steve Williams vs Italian Stallion: 15 minute match that failed, unless the goal was to kill Doc. He couldn't be as aggressive as he needs to be to get over because they gave the match too much time. "I don't want to start picking on the new booker this quickly, but I can't figure out the rationale behind this." -*

 

Ivan Koloff vs Paul Jones: Koloff had one arm tied behind his back. As bad as any TV match all year in any country. Dave doesn't understand why they did the gimmick when it was never hyped on TV. The Russians ran in ("Why were the Russians dressed up? To do a run-in? They can't exactly go to Burger King dressed like that") and attacked Koloff until JYD made the save. This would have been more effective with JYD's appearance a surprise, but he did a promo before the match saying he would be teaming with Ivan at Starcade. "By the way, JFD's interview set the Civil Rights movement back about 30 years. He used to be so articulate in Mid South, but that was decades ago JFD time. I swear if I hadn't have been told who it was, I'd have thought he was Rufus Jones, the interview was that bad." -***

 

Road Warrior Animal vs Dusty Rhodes: Fans cheered Dusty. Animal went after the eye, Dusty got him away with a low blow and Hawk interfered until Sting ran in, which just like the last match, had Sting doing a promo before the match. *, all action, but not really a match, and really predictable interference

 

Flair/Windham vs MX: Expectations were high, and there was a lot of pressure on these four going into the match. Earlier in the show, Jim Ross had told viewers to stay tuned because this match had the potential to be the best tag match in the history of television, which Dave says isn't really that much of an overstatement. They worked hard from the start, but stupidly, when the match was all action 10 minutes in, they did a Paul E. Dangerously interview in the corner of the screen. Nobody wanted to see an interview at that point, especially since the heat was peaking. ****, would have been higher, but the shoe finish ranks just below the megaphone finish and the Dusty ref bump finish in the most overused finish category. "By the way, this match ended several minutes early because they had to do an unscheduled interview with Jim Cornette and had to stretch at the end as Eaton had the wind knocked out of him when Windham did a powerslam just before the finish and he couldn't get his breath and they had to finish early."

 

-- "As for Jim Crockett's performance in his first big show as booker, we did get four pinfalls in five matches -- a plus from Dusty's open-ended finishes. The first match was excellently booked (it wasn't 'supposed' to go that long, but these things happen, the second match was a loser to begin with, made worse by them having to go so long so that was bad booking. Match No. 3 was a mistake in even having it take place in the first place (that's Dusty's fault for booking it) and nobody, not the participants nor Crockett had a prayer of saving it. The fourth match was totally predictable, and the last match was the opposite of the third in that it almost couldn't have been ruined unless they had atrocious booking (like having them work a five minute main event)."

 

-- "How's this for a great idea for a finish for the PPV event if they get Ricky Steamboat to wrestle Flair in February (provided, of course, Flair is still champion)? Flair could say he doesn't want J.J. to interfere but as Steamboat has Flair pinned, J.J. runs in and hits Steamboat with the shoe. Flair gets mad because he didn't want interference, so J.J. hits Flair with the shoe. Then J.J. covers Flair and Steamboat at the same time and gets a double pin. Just kidding."

 

-- Jim Herd showed up for the first time at the 12/8 TBS tapings (aired 12/17). He officially takes over on 1/3. Most seem to think Jim Crockett will be the power guy behind the booking, not Flair, but no one knows for sure.

 

-- Dusty Rhodes is expected to stay through Starrcade, but not for the long haul. The current booking power is Crockett, Kevin Sullivan, Barry Windham and JJ Dillon, but most of those names will probably change soon.

 

-- Missy Hyatt is returning to host a weekly interview segment.

 

-- "The big unanswered question of the week -- If TBS is really interested in improving the product, why do they continue to let David Crockett announce on television, let alone let him actually have his own show? Cornette and Dangerously are to alternate weeks in trying to save David from unanimously winning Worst Announcer in the history of the universe award next year."

 

-- 12/6 in Columbus, GA drew 2,300 for a syndicated taping.

 

-- "The closest anyone in Greensboro can go to see Starrcade on PPV is Durham, NC, and Starrcade used to be a Greensboro tradition. Lots of PPV problems which lower the odds of success. First, most cable companies are closed 12/24 through 12/26 so the late orders (which 90 percent of PPV is) may be unable to be served which is why they are hyping order by 12/23, but that may not work. Also, Rogers cablevision, which has affiliates nationwide won't be carrying the show as planned due to a dispute over whether or not fans will order the show, then default payment of the bill because of all the wrestling on PPV and Christmas bills. I'm told this isn't enough homes to be disastrous, but it is significant."

 

-- The 12/3 TBS show was back up to a 3.1 rating, but the Sunday show fell to a disastrous 1.8. House shows are terrible right now due to all the no-shows.

 

-- The next PPV will be 2/19 from Chicago and will be promoted with a 2/15 Clash. Neither show has been booked yet, but there is talk of both Steamboat and Tenryu wrestling on these shows. NWA officials believe now that Dusty is not booking, Steamboat will be more willing to come in, and they are starting to discuss angles.

 

-- "Jobber Big Bear Collie on TBS this past Saturday ... was involved in an incredible TV screw-up, the likes of which makes Vince McMahon erase tapes and do things over. Collie not only screwed up the finish badly (part of which wasn't his fault), was blown up and messed with the finish, then was given a suplex by Gilbert on the floor, but forgot to go up, and landed on his face before being pinned, and busted his face up. Then he was fired."

 

-- JD Wolfe, one of the most awesome job guys in the South, is in.

 

-- 12/10 in Phillly drew 1,626 fans and a $22,812 gate. This was not the lowest gate the NWA has done, but it was the lowest paid crowd for wrestling in Philly for any major group in decades.

 

-- "Supposedly, Herd is going to insist on wrestlers doing jobs and more pinfall finishes, add post-production to the TV show and expect a crew of new faces. Some expect they'll lose a few key guys over the issue of having to do jobs, but if that's the case, it would be ridiculous."

 

JARRETT

-- The WWF put heavy pressure on the Illinois State Athletic Commission to hold a hearing regarding Kerry Von Erich's eligibility to compete at Superclash III, as an attempt to sabotage the PPV. The commission has a statute that prohibits boxers or wrestlers with artificial limbs from competing. Since word has leaked out about what happened in the Col. DeBeers match, the WWF heard about it, and they have great influence over the commission, so they made things happen. The commission felt like they were in a terrible spot, because if they allowed him to wrestle, they looked like fools, and if they didn't, they come across as heels to the public for cutting off such an amazing comeback. It didn't stop there, as the WWF threatened to go to court to get an injunction and force cancellation of the card. The hearing was originally scheduled for 12/14 and as a result of the WWF's interference, it had to be moved up to 12/9, when Kerry was in Japan touring. The commission found a loophole allowing Kerry to wrestle, ruling that since Lawler and Von Erich aren't competing in a contest, but rather an exhibition of wrestling holds, that the statute didn't apply. The commission also noted that they have power to make exceptions, citing a past case where they made an exception for a boxer.

 

-- In spite of this, people in Jarrett Promotions, including Kerry, are denying that there is anything wrong with Kerry's foot. Kerry's press agent says he wears it when he showers because he wears an ankle brace inside the boot. Rob Russen of the AWA has been calling wrestling magazines saying he was in Vegas and nothing of the sort happened. Another big name wrestler said the story isn't true, as he has seen Kerry's foot. Another big name said privately he knows for a fact Kerry doesn't have a foot, but the promotion will deny it forever because they still think the wrestling public is all marks. There was an insurance form sent to the promotion years ago that had the word "amputee" on it, but Kerry insisted that was a misprint.

 

-- "To clarify everything from this end, and at this point things have to be clarified, I spoke with several ringsiders in Las Vegas at the NWA showboat card, and there is no question the incident in question took place. I was even shown a photo of Kerry with his foot underneath the ring putting his boot back on, although I have not seen an actual photo of the foot with the boot off. There was a moment of stunned silence among the crowd of 1,500 fans at the Showboat the night of the incident when the boot came off. Kerry did freak out. Debeers did, 'almost have a stroke' at the time. This was not a planned angle but something that happened at the spur of the moment. According to ringsiders, when the boot came off, there was a sock, but no foot."

 

-- "Anyway, I may wind up owing some people major apologies over this one, but still, when it comes to believing the word of friends of mine and the words of wrestling officials with the AWA and those involved with the Von Erich family, I've got to simply use past history and the judgment call on this part is easy.

 

"However, can somebody please explain to me Titan Sports' involvement in all this? That's like Road Warrior Animal picking on Downtown Bruno. This is no longer healthy business competition when a promotion is so obsessed with monopolizing the business that it will go to the extent of exploiting a hidden handicap to sabotage a PPV card which didn't have a prayer of a chance for success in the first place. We all know it was something less than coincidence that Titan scheduled its first Survivor Series and first Royal Rumble opposite Crockett's first two attempts at a national PPV show (and later, Crockett scheduled his first Clash of Champions head-to-head with Wrestlemania), but even though Titan publicly denied it, at the time, Crockett was competition for them and they did have at least a decent shot at success and profit at the time."

 

-- They turned both Eric Embry and Jimmy Garvin babyface so they would be in the same role in both Memphis and Dallas. They also turned Hayes babyface in Memphis. He was never turned heel, but worked heel his last time in. Lawler is the only guy now working as babyface in one place and heel in the other. The long-term plan is for both groups to use the same talent.

 

-- 12/5 in Memphis drew 1,832 fans, a bad crowd considering all the talent brought in. The show was headlined by Lawler vs Jimmy Garvin.

 

-- They are running the Liberty Bowl Brawl on 12/26 opposite Starrcade.

 

-- There was a hot angle on TV involving Embry and Akbar. Embry asked Akbar if he could have the $5,000 signing bonus he was offered a few weeks ago if he joined Devastation Inc. Akbar said no, the stable was full. Embry kept begging and Akbar still said no. Embry said he's broke, he'll lose his house, lose his car, etc. Akbar agrees to give him $500 but Embry keeps begging until Akbar caves. Akbar signs the contract and they announce that he's been duped, that he has to now wrestle Embry in a no-rules match on 12/16.

 

-- Chris Adams is promoting a show at a high school gym with Percy Pringle vs a high school principal.

 

-- "The production values of the local show has improved and the show is more action-oriented with Jarrett's group philosophy of lots of run-ins and post-match antics although unlike Jarrett philosophy in Memphis, they are using almost no juice."

 

-- Larry Zbyszko had been contacted to take Kerry Von Erich's place against Lawler at Superclash if Kerry had been ruled ineligible to compete.

 

NEW JAPAN

-- Crowds ranged from poor to average in most cities for the six-man elimination tournament.

 

-- Inoki is in danger of getting his TV show pulled in April by TV-Asahi, as they've lost interest in promoting the show due to declining ratings. Inoki hopes the Russian invasion angle will be the turnaround they need, but there are lots of obstacles in the way.

 

ALL JAPAN

-- On 11/30 in Fukui, Hansen and Gordy upset Jumbo and Yatsu, with Gordy getting a pinfall win over Jumbo. Baba was getting lots of pressure to give Gordy a big win over Jumbo or Tenryu because they are in need of new American stars.

 

OTHER

-- "Former pro wrestler Baron Michele Leone, who was a major star on the West Coast during the 1950s, died on Nov. 30 from head injuries suffered when he was hit by a car while crossing a street in Santa Monica two weeks earlier. I don't have any other details on this. Leone was a top junior heavyweight star who was the main eventer at a card at an outdoor stadium in Los Angeles in the late 1950s against Lou Thesz which drew in excess of 25,000 fans and was the first $100,000 gate in the history of pro wrestling."

 

-- "I've also got sketchy details regarding last week's item on the death of independent wrestler Medardo 'Jim' Leon, better known as Ricky Lawless in various independent promotions in the Southeast. Lawless was shot to death on the evening of 11/30 when a gunman came to his home at approximately 11 p.m. and shot him twice. I'm told Leon was actually 29, even though local newspapers reported he was 27, and the suspect in the killing was another wrestler, whose name I'll hopefully have before closing the issue. I do know he was another independent wrestler who used the ring name of Vladimir Koloff, and appeared on the same independent shows in Georgia and Alabama that Leon did as Ricky Lawless. The police don't know of any motive for the shooting. It is believed this is only the second case of a wrestler killing another wrestler in this manner -- the first, of course, was the Bruiser Brody murder."

 

-- "The trial of Jose Gonzales, accused of voluntary manslaughter in the Brody case, is scheduled to begin in two weeks. Right now it is pretty well expected that Gonzales will plead guilty to the charge and the deal has already been worked out where Gonzales will receive a lengthy probation but serve no prison time. Gonzales is booking for Carlos Colon's World Wrestling Council, but has yet to return to active wrestling. This is the last as far as criminal penalties go, but I expect civil suits regarding the death and possibly even the police handling of the investigation to follow. I also expect we never will know the true reason for the killing."

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The Bunkhouse Stampede event will not be part of the PPV show, it will just be for the live audience, which means they have three hours for seven matches, so the show shouldn't be rushed.

The problem with this was that they advertised it on TV as being part of the PPV right up until showtime.

 

Larry Zbyszko had been contacted to take Kerry Von Erich's place against Lawler at Superclash if Kerry had been ruled ineligible to compete.

Had this actually happened, the match would have been a one hour draw and had maybe five minutes of total wrestling. We could have changed the name of the card to "SuperStall." Amazingly, this could have still had amazing heat had it taken place.

 

Cannot wait for Loss to get to the next issue, as I'm looking forward to seeing how Dave felt about SuperClash.

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"the deal has already been worked out where Gonzales will receive a lengthy probation but serve no prison time"

 

WHY?!

Because he claimed he acted in self-defense and none of the wrestlers there were willing to step up and say he didn't, so...

 

...so if it went to a jury trial, he would likely have been acquitted. Oh, wait...... :(

 

In hindsight, a shitty half-assed conviction would have been better than no conviction at all.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Those two things don't really have anything to do with each other.

 

Keeping Kerry from wrestling wasn't about Kerry as much as it was sabotaging the show through any means necessary.

Very true, but it just made me wonder if Vince knew about Kerry's foot then and had it as an ace up his sleeve while he was sabotaging the card from taking place.

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Those two things don't really have anything to do with each other.

 

Keeping Kerry from wrestling wasn't about Kerry as much as it was sabotaging the show through any means necessary.

Very true, but it just made me wonder if Vince knew about Kerry's foot then and had it as an ace up his sleeve while he was sabotaging the card from taking place.

 

 

It seems like a lot of people knew/suspected about it for a while, but after the DeBeers incident there was blood in the water that Vince jumped on. The fact that they tried to rely on an archaic law about barring people with artificial limbs from legit contests to keep him from competing in a worked event shows they were just trying to fuck over the show.

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Owen Hart's injuries are worse than originally reported. He suffered a hernia when Greg Valentine didn't duck for his leapfrog at Survivor Series.

That doesn't seem likely for some reason. I've had a hernia before, but from lifting something incredibly heavy for my size/age. Just seems like he'd have a sore groin, not a hernia. Hope Greg's head was okay :)
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  • 3 years later...
  • 3 months later...

 

 

Those two things don't really have anything to do with each other.

 

Keeping Kerry from wrestling wasn't about Kerry as much as it was sabotaging the show through any means necessary.

Very true, but it just made me wonder if Vince knew about Kerry's foot then and had it as an ace up his sleeve while he was sabotaging the card from taking place.

 

It seems like a lot of people knew/suspected about it for a while, but after the DeBeers incident there was blood in the water that Vince jumped on. The fact that they tried to rely on an archaic law about barring people with artificial limbs from legit contests to keep him from competing in a worked event shows they were just trying to fuck over the show.

Ironically, this,was not the last time Vince had run-ins with state athletic commissions. Famously, in 1989, Vince, no longer thought he should have to pay the ever increasing athletic fees, and did mkt like the meddling of N.Y. and NJ state athletic commissions. He claimed that they were entertainment, rather than sport, and not subject to taxation.

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  • 2 weeks later...

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