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24 Years Ago - 1-12-87 WON


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- Lead story is Jim Duggan asking for, and recieving, a release from his UWF contract. Dave says he's wanted to go to Titan for at least 3 months, and had asked for his release and been refused in September of 86. At that time Titan backed off, which Dave says proves well written contracts can prevent Titan talent raids. Dave thinks in addition to Jim wanting to leave, other factors such as Duggan being the UWF's highest paid wrestler, having a number of demands, and the belief by some that Steve Williams is ready to handle the top babyface spot led to Watts agreeing to this. While it's a blow to the UWF, he thinks after 5 years it was probably time for a change for both Duggan and the promotion and that under normal circumstances Duggan would have been replaced in the top spot already. He also notes that Williams has a 12 week a year commitment in Japan, and ostensible #2 babyface Ted DiBiase also has heavy Japanese commitments, which makes things harder on Watts.

 

Dave wonders how Duggan's in-ring style will translate to the WWF since since he can't be such an out of control brawler and very few opponents will "take full-force chairshots to the head". He also wonders if sticking him with a gimmick will work against him since he's been seen in most markets on UWF tv as a "meat and potatoes" no gimmick guy and gotten over that way. Dave notes that the last newcomer to really get over in the WWF was Jake Roberts back in the Spring of '86.

 

- The Fantastics were also released from their UWF contracts, and Dave thinks they are in a tough spot as far as finding a place they can go to and draw money. They don't fit the Titan formula, Crockett has the Rock N' Roll Express, and the AWA has The Midnight Rockers. He thinks Tommy Rogers will go back to Florida, and Bobby Fulton will go to Ohio and try to set up an independent promotion.

 

- Dynamite Kid is out of the hospital and will remain in traction for about 5 weeks. Doctors have advised him to retire, but he's still expected back in mid February. The WWF is still advertising ("and pushing hard") British Bulldog title defenses on all upcoming house shows. He takes Vince to task for outright lying to fans. "Anyway, as the folks in Titan joke, the fans will be getting 2/3rds of the British Bulldogs this month (Davey Boy Smith & Mathilda). What is scary is that someone mentioned if they use Junkyard Dog as a replacement that Mathilda might be able to do the second best high spots on the team as well". He's heard speculation they might bring Johnny Smith in for the shows Dynamite misses.

 

- Dave says the 1/3 SNME "left me cold" but he admits the presentation is fantastic. Says Savage did an incredible job carrying George Steele. Piper looked rusty. Adonis can still do impressive things at his weight but has no endurance. "Words can't describe how ridiculous Harley Race has become and how bad his match with Junkyard Dog was." He feels bad watching Paul Orndorff because he can see what obvious pain he is in with the shoulder. Says the "tie" in the Hogan-Orndorff cage match was done with trick editing, and to set up a possible rematch at WMIII if Andre can't go, but "it's 97% certain going to be Hogan and Andre"

 

- Crockett shows in CA. 12/29 at the Forum drew 7,000 ($75,000) which he considers a success with their TV situation in the city. San Fran (which Dave attended) drew a sellout of 8,500 ($93,000ish) and had to turn away several thousand fans. Says the shows weren't particularly good because everybody was tired after an insane Christmas schedule which saw them literally travel all over the country with a number of double shots. "If that wasn't enough to kill them, after the Albequerque show, several of the big shots decided to spend the night in Las Vegas, which means they didn't sleep much"

 

- "Warlord is so stiff it hurts to watch"

 

- Rock N' Roll Express was booed loudly against Arn & Ole. Says it was probably 50/50 or even 60/40 in favor of the RnR's, but the pro-Horsemen fans were much louder and Arn in particular was super over.

 

- Road Warriors and Midnight Express had a totally predictable match where Dave could call every spot before it happened, but it was still good enough to get ***1/4. Says Animal has a hairline fracture in his elbow and was limited to 90 seconds of power spots. Hawk carried the match but is working on a bad leg which has caused his lower body to shrink in ridiculous proportions to his upper body "but he deserves lots of credit for guts". Tremendous heat, almost a riot when the MX started beating on them with the tennis racket, fights almost breaking out in the crowd, and "a few too many fans tried to attack Jim Cornette"

 

- Flair beat Dusty via a Dusty Finish (before the phrase was offically coined). Says Dusty was pitiful on every show after the 27th and did no bumping or selling here, but Flair was great enough to carry him to a decent match and the crowd heat was nuclear. Match was mostly just clowning, Flair bumping, and sleeper and figure 4 reversals. **1/2

 

- Bunkhouse Stampede main event was terrible. Came down to MX and Road Warriors, Road Warriors tossed the MX, then flipped a coin to determine the winner. Crowd hated the finish. Says Crockett doesn't understand that San Fran is a battle royale city that has been conditioned for 20 years that it's really every man for himself and won't accept a non-finish like that.

 

- Thinks the crowd wasn't disapointed because it was at least as good as a Titan show, and they might be able to do another sellout in a month or two, but then weak TV and not building to the next show will catch up to them

 

- Crockett -

 

- The new giant Russian dude, Vladimir Pietrov, is not John Nord as previously reported. Nord was supposed to come in but at the last minute decided he didn't want to leave his family in Minnesota. Pietrov is a guy named Al Blake, also from the twin cities, who has a reputation for being the "baddest bouncer" in the area. He was trained by the Road Warriors and is being put in a "golden position" as the big bad Russian to teach defector Nikita Koloff a lesson. Dave says Nord is bad, but it still would have worked. Blake might be so green that even a sure thing angle could flop.

 

- several matches from the Los Angeles card were taped by Nippon television to be aired in Japan. Baba & Wajima wrestled on the card against The Mod Squad

 

- continued hints on TV that Ole is going to turn face, but Dave hopes they change their minds

 

- "Does anyone know the whereabouts of Dutch Mantell or Bobby Jaggers? They seem to have disappeared"

 

- Rufus Jones was supposed to make the west coast swing, but they decided not to take him (my note: :( )

 

- They sold out in Amarillo (in excess of $50,000) but Dave doesn't give a date or venue for the show

 

- 1/1 at the Omni drew between 2,000 and 4,000 (coming off 16,000 on Christmas day). Big Bubba won the Stampede. Tim Horner b. Bill Dundee "who must get more heat than any other opening match loser in the world"

 

- 1/4 in Cincinatti drew 7,000. Pietrov won his debut match in seconds and wasn't put in the Stampede (won by Dusty)

 

- 1/10 in Philly at the Civic Center has a strong advance of 6,100 ($117,500) as of 1/3. WWF has a show the same day at the Spectrum which has a 7,000 advance ($75,000). Crockett show has higher ticket prices due to Flair on the card and a RW/MX scaffold match, while WWF is a b show headlined by Savage and Steamboat. Dave thinks the Crockett show could sell out.

 

- TITAN -

 

- TV tapings on 1/5 at the Meadowlands have been as heavily promoted in the area as any show since Wrestlemania after the last show there headlined by Hogan and Savage only drew 8,000. TV tapings in Hershey the next night are expected to sellout with Hogan v. Hercules as well as Savage v. Steamboat advertised.

 

- Ken Patera is expected to start in March and Dave hears he's in great shape

 

- WWF has started on FOX affiliates. In Los Angeles they went from a strong station to an even stronger one. In Dallas they're on a station that used to show Crockett, AWA and UWF and now only carries WWF. Crockett currently has no local TV in Dallas.

 

- Jack Kruger (Sheik Abdullah in Central States) is getting full time jobber work, as are Scott McGhee and Stoney Burke

 

- 12/29 at the Nassau Colliseum drew 7,000 with BlackJack Mulligan winning a Bunkhouse Stampede. Dave says he's out of shape, he wins every single one of them, and they are awful. (my note: I didn't even know WWF did Bunkhouse Stampede matches around the horn). 12/28 in Miami with a Stampede drew 1,500. 1/1 in Long Beach, CA drew 2,500 headlined by Savage over Roberts in a cage. 1/2 in Santa Barbara drew 1,500 with Santana beating Harley Race.

 

- Brad Rheingans is in, pretty much just to destroy Verne's training school

 

- Bruno Sammartino worked 12/30 in Baltimore against Randy Savage, drawing 8,000 fans ($93,000). He heard there was a Sammartino v. Savage match scheduled for 1/3 in Boston, isn't sure if it actually happened, but suspects it did.

 

- UWF -

 

- Duggan is expected to work the TV tapings on 1/24-25 and Dave forsees problems because Watts likes to have guys job on the way out

 

- Running first shows in Denver in February and Albequerque around the same time

 

- Chris Adams should be in in the next month and he's supposedly in the best shape of his life

 

- Rick Steiner and Bill Irwin will tour New Japan this year. Dave thinks Rick could be a huge star over there and there is talk of him and Williams working as a tag team.

 

- New Year's Eve show in OKC drew over 8,000, while 1/1 TV taping in Tulsa drew a sellout 9,000, both headlined by I Quit battle royales and Williams v. Gordy. 12/26 in Houston had a $45,000 gate, 12/29 in Little Rock drew 5,000, and 1/3 in Pensacola had a $26,000 gate which Dave says is impressive for an absolutely dead town. With the Fullers pulling out UWF will look to become the home promotion here "for whatever that is worth"

 

- Bigelow coming in is 50/50. They want him to sign a contract before pushing him on TV, and he wants more money. He's scheduled to do a 10 day tour for New Japan late Jan-early Feb.

 

- Dave expects Eli The Eliminator to get a big push, and for Missy Hyatte to be phased out

 

- Alabama -

 

- The territory is doing well in Knoxville, drawing an average of 4,000

 

- Larry Hamilton is coming in to feud with Tom Prichard over the US Junior title

 

- "How's this for something new," during a Fullers v. Headhunters cage match one of the Headhunters hid under the ring with Kevin Sullivan wrestling in his place. "During the bout, the Headhunter who had hid under the ring, broke through the bottom of the ring, through the boards and the mat cover itself and interfered helping the heels win."

 

- Florida -

 

- Luger is on his way out, and they showed his pinfall loss to Bad News on TV, as well as him bleeding in a 6 man tag. Dave expects Luger to lose the Southern title to Bad News, with Brody returning as a face to work Allen, which he says will be good matches. Luger's also scheduled for some matches with Kevin Sullivan, who is returning as the booker. Says it will be interesting to see how Luger progresses when he isn't top dog in a promotion.

 

- Boris Zhukov is coming in

 

- Memphis -

 

- 12/28 at the Mid South Colliseum drew 5,000 for Lawler-Rich with a shot at Bockwinkel's AWA title on the line. Lawler won due to a blood stoppage, and Dave expects the match with Bock took place on the 1/4 show.

 

- Says new manager Downtown Bruno is real good on interviews and maybe the skinniest guy you'll ever in wrestling. He's doing a gimmick where a "girl from the crowd" beats him up

 

- Austin Idol beat Big Bubba by DQ in a loser has to wear panties match

 

- AWA -

 

- Curt Hennig is in Japan

 

- Dave gives them credit for airing a 60 minute Hennig-Bockwinkel match on TV, but says New Year's Eve was the wrong night to do it because everybody has a short attention span. Says opinion on it was divided with some loving it and some finding it boring. He hasn't seen it yet but heard the last 10 minutes were "extremely good".

 

- Jerry Blackwell is out with kidney problems and Dave hears he's probably done for good

 

- World Class -

 

- "Want to know just how bad things are?" They ran a show in Fort Worth where kids get in free and get free coke and pop corn all night. Doesn't have numbers yet but the previous week they didn't even run a show, and the week before that drew 150.

 

- Appears the finalists for the booking job are George Scott and Bruiser Brody. Titan is running a show in Waco this week which is a conflict of interest for Scott as he owns a large percentage of the Toronto office

 

- At least two other groups are making inquiries about running Reunion Arena

 

- Closing Notes -

 

- Jesse Ventura is filming a second movie with Arnold Schwarzanegger called "Running Man". "Predator" will be out later this year

 

- Sammartino did wrestle 1/3 in Boston, losing to Savage via CO

 

- Titan canceled 12/29 in KC (Savage v. Steamboat) due to a poor advance

 

- Reader Pages -

 

- A reader asks if he's lost respect for the wrestlers in WWF as athletes because the matches have little working or bumping and often no finishes. Wonders if Dave is surprised at the lack of defections from WWF to Crockett or UWF. Dave says no, but he's lost respect for some of them as top workers. Says the schedule is tough but too many guys don't try unless there is a tv camera and too many heels will spend a whole match stalling. Dave isn't really surprised that nobody defects because Titan pays the best, but a little surprised that egos haven't caused a few defections.

 

- A reader from New Mexico writes in about the recent NWA card and the state of wrestling in the state. Says AWA didn't do great last time they ran but better than they are doing in other places. WWF did good at first but has since been downhill. Crockett has drawn well twice but has nothing scheduled for 1987 yet, and UWF is coming in soon. Concludes that the area is wide open for any promotion to capitalize on. Dave redacts the name because "he has to deal with wrestlers and promoters on a regular basis"

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Where did World Class run its Ft Worth shows? At the Tarrant County Convention Center?

 

Interesting that the reader letters already demonstrate a kind of smarky hatred of WWF product. I always sort of imagined that attitude grew up in the rise of Japan tapes being traded in the 90's and ECW making its mark. The internet was the perfect format for this kind of debate. But here it is already in 1987.

 

I guess this update answers my question about Bock-Hennig's 60-min match in the previous thread.

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Interesting that the reader letters already demonstrate a kind of smarky hatred of WWF product. I always sort of imagined that attitude grew up in the rise of Japan tapes being traded in the 90's and ECW making its mark. The internet was the perfect format for this kind of debate. But here it is already in 1987.

Newsletter readers in the 80s were brutal. Their love for Crockett and hatred for WWF made die-hard ECW fans look like impartial observers. The rare compliments for WWF were usually begrudging. Major accomplishments like WM3 or 33 million people watching Hogan-Andre on NBC seemed to be dismissed as Vince fooling a bunch of idiots with no taste.

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  • 2 years later...
Guest Andrews

He's heard speculation they might bring Johnny Smith in for the shows Dynamite misses.

Johnny Smith always seemed like he was on the verge of making it. I remember I actually thought he was Davey Boy smith's cousin and naturally he would join the Hart Foundation in 97.

 

Really? With his big girl voice, average wrestling ability and sub par look?

 

I'm more in love with the irony of a reverse "British Bruisers" team...

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  • 2 weeks later...

Where did World Class run its Ft Worth shows? At the Tarrant County Convention Center?

 

Interesting that the reader letters already demonstrate a kind of smarky hatred of WWF product. I always sort of imagined that attitude grew up in the rise of Japan tapes being traded in the 90's and ECW making its mark. The internet was the perfect format for this kind of debate. But here it is already in 1987.

 

I guess this update answers my question about Bock-Hennig's 60-min match in the previous thread.

I have a bunch of early Observers and the WWF hate starts as early as 84. Dave was dogging WWF expansion pretty much from the start, and there were plenty of unhappy letters. To be fair, there were also a few pro-WWF letters from fans who thought WWF was better than the territory area that fan was in.
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Where did World Class run its Ft Worth shows? At the Tarrant County Convention Center?

 

Interesting that the reader letters already demonstrate a kind of smarky hatred of WWF product. I always sort of imagined that attitude grew up in the rise of Japan tapes being traded in the 90's and ECW making its mark. The internet was the perfect format for this kind of debate. But here it is already in 1987.

 

I guess this update answers my question about Bock-Hennig's 60-min match in the previous thread.

I have a bunch of early Observers and the WWF hate starts as early as 84. Dave was dogging WWF expansion pretty much from the start, and there were plenty of unhappy letters. To be fair, there were also a few pro-WWF letters from fans who thought WWF was better than the territory area that fan was in.

 

 

Yup I have all the Observers from 83-spring 86 and the WWF hate was strOng right from the start of the expansion. There was some good back and forth with Mick Karch defending the AWA and Ron Dobratz defending the WWF.

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  • 3 months later...

Did any of the 1986 observers mention Outback Jack wrestling in dark matches at the WWF tv tapings? Also, does anyone have any Pro Wrestling Illustrated Weekly newsletters? It was a weekly newsletter that started in 1989 and ended in 2000. The cool thing was that they gave complete results for WWF and sometimes NWA/WCW tv tapings.

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