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20 Years Ago - WON 12/26/88


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WWF

-- The WWF runs its first show at Charlotte Coliseum on 1/8 headlined by Hogan vs Boss Man.

 

-- 12/4 in Hamilton, Ontario drew 11,000 headlined by Hogan vs Boss Man. 12/10 in Kansas City drew 7,000 for their first show in nearly a year, headlined by Hogan vs Boss Man. 12/16 in Denver drew 4,500 headlined by Hogan vs Boss Man. 12/17 in Philadelphia drew 5,723 headlined by Savage vs Haku.

 

-- Owen is returning on 12/26, but will not be close to 100 percent.

 

-- "Warrior and Jimmy Hart had a harrowing experience on 12/5, as they were on their way from a South Florida show up to Daytona Beach. Hart stopped at a convenience store and an escaped convict pulled a gun on him. Ironically, Warrior showed up a moment later, not knowing the guy had a gun, and got out of his car and asked if there was any trouble. Supposedly (and these are the kind of stories that can get exaggerated greatly), the felon told Hart he was going to shoot his big friend and pointed the gun at him, but saw that Warrior had left the keys in his car so the guy took off in his car. I've heard two versions of what happened next -- one was the convict flipped the car 16 miles down the road and was killed; the other that the police took off after him, he flipped the car, and was killed trying to escape the police."

 

NWA

-- Clash IV averaged a 4.5 rating, 6.8 share and 2.17 million homes. This was the first time a Clash didn't consistently build throughout the show, but they were also in direct competition with first-run programming on the major networks for the first time ever.

 

-- 12/10 on TBS drew a 3.1 rating and Main Event was back up to a 2.5.

 

-- Negotiations with Tenryu have fallen through.

 

-- Windham and Gilbert went nearly 30 minutes in a match taped 12/12. They taped a show on 12/15 in Raleigh that had the Original Midnight Express and Fantastics going 42 to 52 minutes in a 2/3 falls match.

 

-- The NWA is going toward longer matches on TV and more clean pinfalls by heels on house shows.

 

-- 12/16 in Winston-Salem drew 3,000 headlined by Sting/Luger/Dusty vs Road Warriors/Windham.

 

-- Dusty's future is a big question mark. He's in through Starrcade, but expected to leave shortly after. He has talked to Vince, but those in the WWF say no way will a deal be reached. There are rumors that he and Bill Watts will open a new promotion, or that he will take a lot of the NWA guys and open a new territory in Florida.

 

-- Crockett is working hard to ensure that Starrcade is a well-organized show and is laid out in advance.

 

-- Big changes to the booking team are expected when Herd officially comes in on 1/3. There are rumors of pretty much everyone being booker.

 

SUPERCLASH

-- "Well, the AWA and Superclash III are history, probably in more ways than one. I suppose it was a noble attempt to try and keep up the facade that they are major league, and it wasn't the worst pay-per-view event of the year, but they were attempting something totally out of their league. The matches themselves ranged from very bad to very good, the production values were terrible, camera work fairly bad, crowd heat non-existent except for the main event, none of the matches, save the main event, had an aura of being anything special or the card being anything special, and the announcing -- well, just plain the worst."

 

-- Paid attendance was just under 1,700 fans with a $26,000 gate. They gave away nearly 3,000 freebies, but a lot of them didn't show up. Early reports indicate a 0.8 buyrate, which would be the lowest of any wrestling PPV in history.

 

-- The rundown:

 

* Chavo/Mando/Hector vs Cactus/RPMs: The Guerreros got over well with the crowd, and Cactus took a backdrop on the concrete. Finish was awesome, but work in the match was average. **1/2

 

* Embry vs Jarrett: Both guys were booed during introductions, even though they are both babyfaces on TV, but that was a pattern throughout the night. Verne stated there was no love lost between the two, not realizing they are tag team partners. Jarrett took a crazy bump off of an Embry clothesline that did wake the crowd up. "My feeling is Jeff is just too 'pretty' for his own good, especially since this was a largely male crowd.' Both guys did as much as they could, but needed more time to tell a story and deliver a match. **1/4

 

* Jimmy Valiant vs Wayne Bloom: Bloom showed enough in 24 seconds to be thankful it didn't go any longer. DUD

 

* Iceman vs Brickhouse Brown: Mainly stalling between decent spots early on, but the little work they did was stiff and looked good until the finish. *1/2

 

* Richter & Top Guns vs Badd Company & Madusa: Horrible match, although Tanaka took great bumps, but he couldn't carry everyone else in the match. Lots of aimless action. 1/2*, only for Tanaka's bumps

 

* Greg Gagne vs Ron Garvin: Dave gives credit to Garvin for showing up and fulfilling a date he committed to doing, even though Vince probably wanted him to bail. He also put Greg over, although not by pinfall, which is understandable. They worked stiff with hard chops but the crowd didn't respond. Garvin was supposed to be heel, but was cheered as the babyface. "There is nothing left in this business for Greg, and that's not a comment on his work, just a comment on how he is perceived by the fans and the reality of the situation which won't change. Eras change and Greg's out of place in today's mat world, as, unfortunately, were several former heavy hitters in this business who appeared on this card." * for the effort and stiffness, but DUD for crowd reaction

 

* Beverly Hills Lingerie Battle Royal: The largely male crowd did get into the match waiting for clothes to be torn off, but Dave thinks they overreached on this match in a way that cost them ticket sales. Dave says if there is a market for POWW and David McLane can keep it alive, good for him, but it " ... was being presented as pro wrestling here, and it was a huge blight on the wrestling profession." David McLane comes across as the Jim Bakker of wrestling.

 

* Sgt. Slaughter vs Col. DeBeers: Dave calls Slaughter "a 320-pound relic of the wrestling boom". "Lee Marshall voice booms and says how the crowd is chating (sic), 'USA, USA' and in the background we hear no noise except for one woman who screams from ringside, 'Slaughter, you suck.'" "At five minutes, Sheik Adnan-El Kaissey ran in and Slaughter put the cobra on him. Then came the Iron Sheik. I was waiting for Hans Schmidt, Kurt Von Hess and Mr. Moto to run in so Verne could jump out of the broadcast booth and run them all off. Can't they develop an original angle with guys they can build up into meaning something?"

 

* Hayes/Cox vs SST: Timing between the four is excellent, as they have worked together quite a bit. Second best match of the night. **3/4

 

* Wahoo McDaniel vs Manny Fernandez: Manny tried, but Wahoo's days are done and no one cares about him. 1/2*

 

* Jerry Lawler vs Kerry Von Erich: They used the same finish as Flair/Luger in Baltimore, but pulled it off much better here. Both Kerry and Lawler were told that they were winning this match and Kerry nearly refused to work the show when he found out he had been double-crossed. Dave is unsure if this was the original finish, or a last-minute compromise to keep Kerry happy. Fans were there for this match and Kerry in particular, although some fans cheered Lawler over him. Lawler played heel in the match. We were told both guys have been Flair, Hogan and Savage, which sets Dave off on correcting the record. There wasn't a single wrestling move in the match, but it had tremendous heat. ***3/4

 

* Rock & Rolls vs Fuller/Golden: No heat, and a mostly empty building. *

 

-- "I enjoyed this show more than the Bunkhouse Stampede, Wrestlemania or Summerslam, but some of it was because of the campy and disorganized nature of the show."

 

-- There is a new belt being made for Lawler. Jarrett wants there to be one title, but Verne still wants the AWA title to be separate.

 

JARRETT

-- Crowds are still small here. 12/12 drew 1,400 for Lawler vs Kamala while Savage vs Rude for the WWF drew 2,800 on 12/16 at Mid South Coliseum. Because ticket prices are so low, they lowered prices to $5, $3, and $1 for the 12/19 show.

 

-- On the 12/17 TV, Lawler came out to say he was taking a few weeks off to celebrate his title win, but Dutch Mantel ended up goading him into a match on 12/19 by spitting tobacco in his face.

 

-- Terry Garvin of Beauty & The Beast asked Tracy Smothers to join their group so they could go out to dinner together. Smothers refused so they attacked him and put make-up on him.

 

-- Jimmy Garvin has no future dates. The rumor is that he's out of wrestling now, working in the roofing business in Charlotte with his mother.

 

OREGON

-- 12/10 in Portland drew 2,000 for Top Gun vs Buddy Rose in a hair vs hair match where Rose was shaved bald.

 

-- They are running a combined show with the NWA on 1/12 headlined by Flair vs Sting.

 

-- They are doing a gimmick where heels refuse to wrestle after the time limit expires as an excuse to raise ticket prices.

 

STAMPEDE

-- Outside teams will be coming in to feud with the Bulldogs since local fans don't seem to see anyone in the territory at their level. There is talk of bringing in the Funks in February.

 

ALL JAPAN

-- Stan Hansen and Terry Gordy won the tag tournament, beating Tenryu & Kawada in the final. Dave will have more details next week.

 

-- Baba is promoting shows in the U.S. on 2/2 in Kansas City, 2/3 in Calgary, 2/4 in Portland and possibly a show in Las Vegas.

 

-- TV ratings are consistent with the 11/27 show drawing a 7.8 and the 12/4 show drawing a 7.4.

 

NEW JAPAN

-- The tournament championship on 12/7 in Osaka drew 5,740 fans in the 7,000 seat Furitsu Gym.

 

-- Inoki, Hashimoto, Saito, Choshu, Hase and Inoki's brother-in-law left for the Soviet Union immediately after the tour to coach the Soviet wrestlers on the pro style. They will be there until 1/4, when they have a show they are all working in Tokyo.

 

-- 12/9 drew a sellout 2,200 fans to see Fujinami vs Kerry in a unification match.

 

UWF

-- 12/22 in Osaka has already sold out for Backlund vs Takada. Thousands of fans stood in line overnight. Takada and Maeda did a good PR gesture, bringing the fans waiting coffee and juice, having conversations, signing autographs, etc.

 

-- The biggest test of the UWF's popularity comes on 1/16 when they try to sell out the 16,000-seat Budokan Hall with Maeda vs Backlund. There is concern that Backlund isn't a strong enough opponent for Maeda to headline that show.

 

-- Terry Funk is interested in a match against Maeda, but there have been no negotiations to make the match as of yet.

 

OTHER

-- Larry Moquin, a major star in Quebec from the late 1940s to the late 1960s, died of cancer on 12/12 at 65 years old. Moquin, Eduardo Carpentier and the Rougeaus were the leading babyfaces in Quebec during a few major boom periods.

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Thanks for resuming these, Loss. Three questions:

 

Jerry Lawler vs Kerry Von Erich

This was the "Kerry hid his blade in his robe and ended up slashing his arm open before even starting the match" incident, right?

 

-- Baba is promoting shows in the U.S. on 2/2 in Kansas City, 2/3 in Calgary, 2/4 in Portland and possibly a show in Las Vegas.

Did these shows actually run, and did they make tape?

 

-- The biggest test of the UWF's popularity comes on 1/16 when they try to sell out the 16,000-seat Budokan Hall with Maeda vs Backlund. There is concern that Backlund isn't a strong enough opponent for Maeda to headline that show.

To my knowledge this match didn't happen, is the reason why covered in the upcoming issues?
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This is the Lawler/Kerry match where Kerry juices his arm, right?

 

Lawler said in a shoot once (boy, there's a reliable start to a story...) that Kerry was so messed up backstage that he accidentally juiced his arm before the match with the razorblade taped to his finger, so they pretty much had to figure out a way to work the match where Lawler went crazy on the arm right away.

 

It was a great match, if it's the one I'm thinking of anyway. Pretty sure it's that one.

 

EDIT:

This was the "Kerry hid his blade in his robe and ended up slashing his arm open before even starting the match" incident, right?

Hah. One way or another we're on the right track here I guess.

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Yes, this is the match where Kerry has the blade hidden in his robe.

 

Regarding Backlund/Maeda, I am going to continue into 1989, so we'll see if that gets covered. But I know Maeda/Takada ended up headlining that show.

 

Something I didn't mention here is that there was a segment for Bill Apter to present PWI Inspirational Wrestler of the Year to Jerry Lawler, but Lawler didn't show up, as he was elsewhere in the building trying to work out a compromise finish with Kerry.

 

Also, Kerry apparently did a lot of interviews throughout the show referring to the "leaning tower of pizza".

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Lawler did wrestle all of those guys. I know he beat Hogan by DQ, I assume he went over Savage at some point in their feud, and then I dunno what the finish to his one or two matches with Flair were. Point is, he's close enough that it kinda counts. But Kerry? I don't think he ever so much as stepped in the ring with Hogan or Savage, and any non-casual fan at the time would've known that. That nicely illustrates the difference between acceptable wrestling hyperbole that everyone will tolerate, and a blatant lie which shows contempt for the marks.

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I remember reading wrestling magazines when Lawler (or the magazine writers) was claiming he was the true champion because he beat Savage, Hogan, and Flair. Even as a 10 year old not quite hip to the business I was still thinking "uhhhh" at that one. I was willing to believe he beat Savage and maybe Flair, but I guess I was savvy enough at that age to realize there's no way Hogan would lose to this guy unless it was some bullshit DQ finish.

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I remember reading wrestling magazines when Lawler (or the magazine writers) was claiming he was the true champion because he beat Savage, Hogan, and Flair. Even as a 10 year old not quite hip to the business I was still thinking "uhhhh" at that one. I was willing to believe he beat Savage and maybe Flair, but I guess I was savvy enough at that age to realize there's no way Hogan would lose to this guy unless it was some bullshit DQ finish.

The story goes Lawler pinned Hogan during his Sterling Golden days.
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Meltzer on Backlund in UWF

 

The first match was great in my mind. However, there was a lot of complaints in UWF about Bob doing too many pro wrestling spots. The match got over with the crowd, but a lot of people didn't even want to bring Backlund back. I remember the reaction when I was talking about how great it was and the feedback I heard was in the company they were very negative on Bob. When they did bring him back, Funaki did a number on him in training and was very stiff with him in the ring as well. Bob looked like he'd been through a war when they were done with him, and they pretty much killed off his shooter rep. I don't think they booked him after that, but I could be wrong.

 

The second match, this was UWFI, was most likely an accidental knockout by Takada. This match took place because the legend of the first match was such with the crowd that Backlund had become a Takada legendary foe. You have to remember in 1988, Backlund was still a former New Japan main eventer and WWF champion and Takada was the guy climbing the ranks to a degree. I mean, he had big wins over Japanese, but I think Backlund would have been the biggest name foreigner that he'd have beaten up to that point so it was considered a huge win for his career. By the time of this match, Takada was now a full fledged top guy and superstar. Third match was because the second match didn't go as expected and they felt they had to make up for it.

-- They are doing a gimmick where heels refuse to wrestle after the time limit expires as an excuse to raise ticket prices.

I've heard of a match ending in a draw, the heel demanding more money to keep wrestling, and the face going around and collecting money from the fans, but this is a new one!

 

How do the logistics of this con work? They tell that fans that in order to have longer time limits they have to rent out more time from the building? Or pay their wrestlers more per match? That's brilliant!

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  • 3 years later...

Wanted to add that this issue contains what Jim Crockett's original plan for Clash Of The Champions V was...

 

Main Event of the Road Warriors and Tenryu vs. Ron Simmons, Junkyard Dog, and Steve Casey

Midnight Express vs. Al Perez/Larry Zbyszko

Eddie Gilbert vs. The Italian Stallion

Texas Broncos (Dustin Rhodes/Kendall Windham) vs. The Russian Assassins

And one more undetermined match.

 

Obviously, TBS found that unacceptable and turned it down immediately.

 

As I was writing this up, I checked out the actual card and this doesn't seem that crazy. I did not realize that this Clash actually had a 6-man with the Warriors and Tenryu vs. The Varsity Club as a main. Wow.

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