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Wrestling Observer Recap - 4/15/85


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Cover: Bruiser Brody invades New Japan and confronts Inoki


Editors notes:


"Yes folks, the Wrestling Observer will be no more after this issue." Before explaining why he's calling it quits, Dave thanks everyone who has helped him make the Observer the best wrestling publication in the world. Over the last year the number of subscribers jumped from 200 to 800, and things like bookkeeping and preparing mailings lists have become a second full time job. The actual writing of the Observer has been nothing but fun for Dave, but the negatives like bookkeeping and Dave's general lack of enthusiasm for the product have turned it into a task, instead of a joy.


The other reason why he's finishing up with the Observer is that Dave got a new job as an associate editor of a soccer magazine and now he's going to have to learn as much about soccer as he knows about wrestling. Dave is still going to follow wrestling and he'll be tape trading, he's recently moved and gotten a new phone number and asks to not be called on Tuesdays unless something major happens. To fulfill subscription commitments Dave will put out short newsletters every few weeks, two for each remaining issue of a subscription. Dave also plans to help out Bob Closson, and others who do similar newsletters, as time allows. Dave also hopes to contribute columns to Bob's newsletter. He hopes that Bob and Mr. Mike can work together because he'd hate for Mike's column to no longer exist.


"I've neglected in all of the above to mention the current state of wrestling as part of my decision." The WWF is so bad that it makes it hard for Dave to even enjoy the good promotions. After watching WrestleMania, even Mid South and Japan don't have Dave very excited.


Dave also says that he will be at the WFIA convention in Memphis and hopes to meet a lot of fans. He also got a program from Jim Ross (not the announcer) for the WFIA convention in Kansas City that looked very professional.


"Of course the biggest story since our last issue has been Titan Sports' Wrestlemania Extravaganza" which Dave credits as being the first wrestling show in his lifetime to have strong interest amongst non wrestling fans. Credit must given to the greatest hype job, not just in wrestling, but in anything since World War II (or at least presidential elections). WrestleMania was huge success filling up huge arenas all over the country, there were a few cases where the satellite feed didn't pick up, resulting in genuine riots. Dave says the important thing with all the hoopla is the effect that it has on the advertisers. The only tool of ratings is to determine ad rates, although Dave notes that the skyrocketing TV ratings of the WWF are as mythical as Hogan's wrestling ability. But Dave doesn't think that the advertisers realize that. Dave predicts that it'll last for a year because after things cool down and ratings start dropping the advertisers are going to be leaving too.


NBC will be running the first Saturday special on 5/11 at 11:30 EST. Dave hears that the format is going to be three main event quality matches (WWF quality main event matches, not to be confused with professional wrestling) interspersed with comedy. If it's anything like the MTV special then it'll be a hit and become a regular thing. If it's like All American Wrestling, then probably not.


The next few pages are dedicated to newspaper articles about the WWF, WrestleMania, and the John Stossel 20/20 piece.


Special Bonus Page:


"Because this issue is so late, more news has broken out." 4/13 in Los Angeles drew $115,000. Wells beat Goulet, Muraco beat Putski, JYD and Orndorff had a double countout, Steamboat over Jack Armstrong (Steamboat has no credibility amongst the fans in L.A.), Valentine over Santana, Bulldogs over Barry Orton and Matt Bourne, Bundy over Hansen (my note: I assume Swede Hansen), and Hogan over Piper by DQ. Dutch Mantell, Eddie Gilbert, and a masked man known as "The Nightmare" are all on Mid South TV, and the Nightmare isn't Ken Wayne or Danny Davis. Mid South TV is moving next month from the Irish McNeil boys club to the Shreveport Auditorium for an arena setting. Steve Casey is coming to WCCW to feud with Chris Adams, Chris Adams and Gino Hernandez are now "The Dynamic Duo." The Texas Stadium main event is no longer Flair vs. Kevin Von Erich, it's now a 12 man tag with the Freebirds and Von Erichs against Kamala, Gang, Gino, Chris, Flair, and Williams fought over two rings. "Not only does the winning team split all the money in a Monopoly set, but the man who scores the winning fall gets a Lincoln Continental." This actually intrigues Dave with the idea of Kerry having it won and Hayes not allowing him to score the pin. The Freebirds area headed into the AWA. Also on the card are Midnights vs. Fantastics, Gordy vs Kamala, Kerry vs. Gang, and probably Hayes and Roberts vs Chris and Gino. Kabuki is headed in and will be managed by Sunshine. The Von Erichs are also doing commercials and, unlike Paul Orndorff, are themsleves and not nameless faceless individuals. A local rock station had a poll for most popular wrestler and surprisingly enough Chris Adams is winning. Ordorff earned $7,500 for his commercial while his agent, Titan Sports, got $42,500 "Still, if he hadn't joined Titan he would have never had the shot at the $7,500 would he?" Dave had a chance to see two women's matches from Japan, The Crush Gals vs. Devil Masami and Jaguar Yokota, and they were the two best women's matches he'd seen, but not the two best matches he'd seen. Watching them is amazing because they have such good body control. One wouldn't get that idea watching women's matches in the U.S. but Hulk Hogan's style is closer to Dynamite Kid's than Wendi Richter's is to Jaguar Yokota.


More newspaper clips about Stossel/Schultz, and also about Terry Funk getting into acting.


Inside Japanese Wrestling:


All Japan has been cooperating with the Japan Pro Wrestling group to help Baba keep his advantage over Inoki. The Road Warriors made their Japanese debut in All Japan resulting in huge sellouts, while New Japan drew small crowds in most cities. "On 3/21, the savior arrived in Tokyo's Korakuen Hall." Brusier Brody appeared in New Japan to confront Inoki, who was in the ring waiting for his opponent, Hacksaw Higgins. Brody wore a suit with red tie, and a bouquet of flowers in one hand and his chain in the other. Fans began imitating his barking, and they started going nuts when he swung the chain. Brody extended his hand and Inoki wouldn't shake it. This all played the next night on TV and Brody vs. Inoki was announced for Sumo Hall.


Dave thinks stealing Brody was great revenge on Baba, for raiding Chosyu and his guys, as well as the Bulldogs. Brody was scheduled to work the next All Japan tour, but it was cancelled. Baba is going to be suing Brody since Brody had a valid contact with Baba. Dave points out that a lot of the guys Baba stole had valid contracts with Inoki, so he doesn't think Baba has any right to try to enforce the contract with Brody.


Since his jump there have been many reports as to why he did so. Sakaguchi's announcement was that Brody was another wrestler sent to them by Vince McMahon, and that it was the WWF, not NJPW, who lured Brody away from the NWA and AJPW. The real reason was over money (my note: no surprise there). Brody was making less than Hansen, which he was fine with, but made up his mind when he found out that the Road Warriors were getting $10,000 per week. Baba could have upped Brody's pay, but wasn't willing to since Brody had screwed over so many of Baba's fellow NWA promoters.


Brody's last All Japan tour was full of issues, he missed the cards on March 6th and 7th with a fever and then when he wrestled Chosyu on the 9th and wouldn't sell for him or allow Chosyu to put him in any of his holds. In an interview, Brody said Chosyu was too small to be any match for him. On the final card of the tour, 3/14, Brody teamed with Rusher Kimura and Goro Tsurumi against Baba, Jumbo Tsuruta, and Genichiro Tenryu. Tenryu tried to whip him into the ropes and Brody wouldn't go along, then he grabbed his chain and just left ringside, even while the match was still going on. Many didn't think this would air on TV, but it did. Brody recently did the same thing in the AWA.


Brody is usually very popular in Japan amongst reporters because he's calm and intelligent outside the ring, and uses easy English for them. But the last week, Brody was very rude to them. Brody held a press conference on 3/22 and apologized for himself. When asked why he needs the chain, he answered that he doesn't use it in matches, but swinging it around psyches him up for his matches.


Inoki signing Brody is like hitting a Home Run in the ninth inning. NJPW attendance is at its worst since 1972 when NJPW was formed. The new booker, Tokyo Joe brought in names like Higgins and King Kong Bundy, but they failed to draw. Baba isn't too worried about losing Brody, because Stan Hansen, Terry Funk, and the Road Warriors are bigger drawing cards. Dave says there is some truth to that, but that there's also sour grapes. Many consider Brody to be best in the world, who could even have a good match with Andre. NJPW fans are looking forward to Brody vs. Andre, like they were four years ago for Andre vs. Hansen. Inoki is great at making foes look impressive, so Brody will become the biggest box office star in New Japan. Brody will be making $14,000 per week and working 16 weeks per year, and got a big signing bonus.


Many are wondering who Inoki will steal next, or what Baba will do to even the odds. Many think Baba will lure Hogan or Andre from the WWF. There is talk that Inoki will try to get more All Japan wrestlers. Others think that Hansen, Dynamite, and Davey Boy Smith will go to New Japan. Ric Flair negotiated with Inoki when they both in Hawaii back in February. Some feel that, with the help of McMahon, that only Baba's real friends like Harley Race and the Funks will stick with All Japan.


Besides foreign stars, there is also talk of Japanese talent jumping to New Japan. Since Chosyu joined up, there are too many wrestlers on the AJPW roster. Shiro Koshinaka, currently in Mexico, recently left All Japan. He's unaffiliated right now, but it seems likely he'll go to New Japan, which has Baba very angry. There is also rumors that Yoshiaki Yatsu will be going back to Inoki, but Yatsu denies it. Gran Hamada also wants to go back with Inoki, first he left to go to the UWF and then went to Baba. Hamada is very unpopular with wrestlers, so many are against him joining. Hamada was too eager to outshine the new Tiger Mask in January, and made him look bad. NJPW is also eager to get King Tonga, who usually works for Baba, and has been working in the AWA and in Montreal lately.


The Road Warriors had a very successful debut in Japan. Channel 12 was showing their TV matches, which were against preliminary talent, on TV to build them up, so they were already very popular. They arrived at the airport on 3/7 and were greeted by many reporters and photographers, many of which were working for non-sports publications including a first-rate weekly news magazine. The magazines were filled with pictures of them, and they were huge draws in all the cities, even though they weren't impressive in the ring.


On 3/9, they challenged Tsuruta and Tenryu for the International Tag Titles and exposed their lack of experience. They had to follow Kuniaki Kobayashi vs. Tiger Mask and then Brody and Killer Tim Brooks against Chosyu and Yatsu, and Brody was upset at being billed under the Road Warriors so he refused to sell for Chosyu. Chosyu pinned Brooks to win the match, but all the fans saw Chosyu as being no match for big American wrestlers like Brody. Then it came time for the Roadies match, Tsuruta and Tenryu weren't as receptive to the big pre match attack, so the Roadies looked weak. Hawk pinned Tenryu with a lariat to win the first fall, but the timing was off on it. The second fall was a double pin where Jumbo raised his shoulder while Hawk didn't, to even the score. Paul Ellering protested the call and one of the Roadies hit the referee, which caused a DQ. Total time of all three falls was 9:00. This caused the fans to get upset, but Baba took every measure to prevent a riot, which kept Inoki out of Sumo Hall until recently.


The Roadies were better in other cities, although their matches were usually three to five minutes. They had a good 5:30 match against Chosyu and Killer Khan for the AWA Tag Titles. The gates were huge for the Roadies, with the 3/9 show making $280,000. The Roadies come back 5/31 to 6/13 and will surely be in the end of the year tag tournament.


Chosyu challenges Flair for the NWA Title on 4/23, and a press conference was called to announce it, but it was cancelled at the last minute. Chosyu didn't want to feud with Flair while he's still feuding with Tenryu. He's also not interested in winning any American Titles and objected to Baba's plans for him to wrestle the top American wrestlers all year. But, Chosyu was persuaded to take the Flair match. Dave thinks it's because Chosyu believes he'll be ineffective against Americans.


It was previously reported that Baba's cards will be shown in prime time, but Weekly Pro Magazine denies this. Weekly Pro have an editorial bias against Baba because Gong Magazine is very close to Baba and they often get the "scoops" as well as Gong's editor being the color man on All Japan's TV show.


Japan Pro Wrestling has a one week series from 5/10 to 5/16 featuring Hansen, Kid, Smith, and Canadian Lewis. Chosyu wrestles Hansen on 5/16 with Baba as the referee. The last time Japan Pro was in Osaka they drew 12,000 for Chosyu vs. Tenryu. Hansen, Kid, and Smith will remain in Japan and work Baba's series from 5/17 to 6/13 along with Terry Gordy, Tiger Jeet Singh, and Mario Milano. Baba is probably going to give Gordy a huge push.


During the last New Japan series David Schultz slapped a popular TV announcer. But it was just a plot to take attention away from the Road Warriors debut. It didn't anywhere near the media attention that Schultz slapping Stossel got.


The UWF crew went to Guam to train. They recently got a new sponsor, so they won't be going bankrupt. Their tough style means they only run six shows over the next three week tour. They'll be bringing in Coswell Martin, Omar Atlas, Ray Steel, and Dalibar Singh. The next series is from 5/18 to 5/31 and will have Pete Roberts, Joe Malenko (his brother Dean worked the last UWF series), Larry Hamilton, and Europeans Tom Tyron and Michael Schneider.


Akira Maeda hit a newspaper reporter who wrote negative things about the UWF Style. Maeda recently yelled at a fan, who was booing at a UWF show, to go see another company if he wanted to see fake wrestling.




"The big news, of course, is the WrestleMania Extravaganza which everyone has seen or read enough about. Tickets sales were slow in CA and the Northeast until the last week. Between the hard sell on TV, press conferences, and the Richard Belzer incident and Saturday Night Live show. Dave is surprised more of the country wasn't as hot for the show as they were in CA. The show was shown in 138 arenas and the gate was something like $4 Million, which Dave Translates into 400,000 fans in all. There were originally 200 locations, but 60 wound up being canned, including Kansas City, Amarillo, Ft Worth, Omaha, Las Vegas, and Richmond because advances were less than 100. A lot of the places that were sellouts were actually under capacity because they were circular buildings and seats had to be removed because they'd be behind the screen, or at an angle where the screen couldn't be seen. The LA Sports arena holds 17,000 but sold out with only 7,500. The show mostly went off well, but there were a few issues. In Pittsburgh, the show never came off because of transmission troubles. There were heavy refunds in Baltimore, Dallas, and San Francisco. Dave believes the show was a success, but even if they only broke even, the WWF opened a lot of doors as far as spreading their myth about yuppie acceptance and getting big advertising dollars.


Quickie results: Tito Santana beat the Executioner (Buddy Rose) with the figure four **1/2. King Kong Budy beat SD Jones in "nine seconds" (actually about 25) but the WWF wanted to invent a new record for quickest pinfall. Dave gives it a DUD, it'd have been worse if it went longer. Ricky Steamboat beat Matt Bourne ***1/4. David Sammartino DDQ Brutus Beefcake "considering the participants it really wasn't that bad" ** Sheik and Volkoff beat Windham and Rotundo to win the WWF Tag Titles ***. JYD over Valentine by countout, Valentine pinned Dog but then Santana told the ref he had his feet on the ropes and the ref restarted it and Valentine got counted out 1/2* Andre beat Studd in a body slam match -**. The feud isn't over and probably won't be over until death do them part. Wendi Richter over Lelani Kai to win the Women's Title with a messed up finish where Richter was supposed to roll through a flying body press, but Wendi didn't reverse it and Kai had to do it herself *. Hogan and Mr. T over Piper and Orndorff when Hogan pinned Orndorff when Orton hit him with the cast when Hulk moved. Orndorff is turning babyface. Dave is impressed that T got himself in shape and didn't embarrass himself. It helped that Orton and Snuka were also involved when T was in the ring, to detract attention. It was a horrible match, but an exciting one. No rating,because Dave doesn't consider it a match.


The show was better than Dave expected, and it was good entertainment for those who've never seen wrestling before. It's unfair to discuss things like workrate since the bulk of fans were brought in solely by hype, and WWF assumes that wrestling fans will accept anything wrestling anyway. Dave says that people can speculate on long term effects of that kind of thinking and how long it will take those new fans to give up on wrestling. But, it'll be a year before anyone can do anything but speculate.


The WWF runs two shows in Los Angeles on 4/13, headlined by Hogan vs. Piper in the Sports Arena and Snuka vs. Orton at the Anaheim Convention center, along with a tag titles rematch. The WWF is off of WTBS, Turned kicked Vince off the station, but then Vince sold the rights of the time slot to Crockett for $1 million. Dave credits Vince for making such a shrewd deal, because after one month he wouldn't have had the time to deal away.


Davey Boy and Dynamite worked some WWF shows as the British Bulldogs, against prelim opponents and have gotten over better than Dave expected. They're headed back to Japan though, and Dave thinks it'll be interesting to see how long they can work for both the WWF and AJPW.


Despite the rumors about Brody, there has been no talk between the WWF and Brody. Dave expects negotiations, but says nothing is imminent.


Dave will be keeping an eye on crowds for the near future. Crowds in March were way down due to WrestleMania hype and bad lineups. Philadelphia only drew 8,000 for Bruno and his son against Orndorff and Heenan. Bloomington,MN was down to 5,500 for Hogan vs. Ventura. Cleveland went from 17,000 in Feb to 2,000 in March. Los Angeles and Oakland both drew a little more than 4,000, but like crowds say it was more like 3,500 and 2,700. MSG on 3/17 drew 18,700. WrestleMania pay offs were 20,000 for Orndorff (far below what he was promised), T got $100,000 and Dave is sure Hogan and Piper were in between, reportedly Piper got $75,000. Orndorff is somewhat unhappy about this.


All Japan:


The big news is Brody's departure, which had already been covered, Brody left while being half of the tag champions along with Stan Hansen.


The new tour started on 3/29 with only three foreigners working the series opener in Korakuen Hall. Two of them, Hansen and Ron Bass, beat Tsuruta and Takashi Ishikawa, "when guess who used guess which move to guess who? Hansen lariated Ishikawa." That was one of three of the top matches to have a lariat finish. Chosyu also beat Bulldog Bob Brown, and Rusher Kimura and Go Tsurumi beat Baba and Great Kojika. The other top match was Khan and Yatsu beating Tenryu and Motoshi Okuma.


Ted Dibiase arrived on 4/5, Dick Slater two days later, and Ric Flair arrives on 4/19.


Tsuruta and Tenryu retaining the International Tag Titles against Hansen and Bass on 4/3. Other title matches scheduled are Tenryu vs. Khan, Baba vs. Hansen, and Tsuruta vs. Slater. Flair defends vs. Chosyu on 4/23 and Tsuruta on 4/24. The All Asia Tag Titles are decided on 4/12. They've been vacant since Ashura Hara's retirement.


"Speaking of Hara, he showed up on 4/3" while his former tag partner, Ishikawa, was getting slaughtered by Chosyu. Dave says he'll be a nice addition to the feud, since he's a quality wrestler (My note: I thought Dave just said he'd retired!).


Harley Race injured his knee during the March tour and went home on crutches. Chavo Guerrero was working prelims, despite the fact that there were plenty of good opponents for him. He had a DCOR with Kobayashi, and then get pinned by Might Inoue in a jr. title match. Dave thinks that he should have won the title and then lost it to Kobayashi, who would then feud with Tiger Mask for it.


Results of the Road Warriors matches: beat Kahn and Hamaguchi on 3/8, the DQ loss on 3/9 to Tenryu and Tsuruta, over Baba and Ishikawa on 3/10, over Kahn and Kurusu on 3/12, over Tenryu/Ishikawa on 3/13, and DCOR Chosyu/Khan on 3/14.


Universal Wrestling Federation:


Not much that wasn't covered already. Fujiwara beat Maeda at Korakuen Hall on 3/2, on the same card, Satoru Sayama beat Marty Jones. The final night of the tour was headlined by Kazuo Yamazaki and Osamu Kido beating Sayama and Mach Hayato.


New Japan Pro Wrestling:


The 4/18 Sumo Hall event with Brody vs. Inoki is already sold out. They also sold out their 3/21 card because Brody was announced. The last series drew very poorly "which is what happens when you try to main event with Larry "Hacksaw" Higgins and David Schultz." Sakaguchi is trying to make a deal with Jerry Lawler to help with booking.


The new tour started on 3/29 with Adonis and Murdoch beating Inoki and Sakaguchi, Billy Jack Haynes beat Shuji Takano, The Strong Machines beat Fujinami and Kimura by DQ, Mike Miller and David Taylor beat Kantaro Hoshino and Anoaro Antisano, The Masked Gestapo (Rip Oliver) beat Tatsutoshi Goto, and Hiro Saito beat Kim Sung Ho of Korea.


4/5 will have Inoki vs. Murdoch, Fujinami vs. Adonis, and Haynes vs. Sakaguchi.


The next tour is IWGP #3, which is the biggest tour of the year. It goes from 5/10 to 6/13. It's expected to be Inoki vs. Hogan on 6/13, and given their history together everyone is advised to get tickets early and wear protective clothing. But they'll probably do a DCOR and not risk anyone's safety.


The IWGP Tournament features Sakaguchi, Fujinami, Kimura, Andre, Bundy, Murdoch, Adonis, Masked Superstar, Mike Sharpe, El Canek, Ron Miller, and one more name that hasn't been given yet, although Dave suspects Brody. They're scheduled for all five weeks, and Dave thinks that the addition of Bundy and Andre should help the WWF cards. Jimmy Snuka will also be in the first week. It's a round robin tournament, so everyone wrestles everyone else. It's 5 points for a pin or submission, 4 for a COR, 3 for DQ, 2.5 for draw, and 0 for any sort of loss. Hogan is only in the last week, Snuka for the first week, and Backlund for the second week.


Bouts already announced are Inoki/Fujinami vs. Andre/Snuka on 5/10, Fujinami vs. Snuka on 5/13, Inoki/Fujinami vs. Backlund/Sharpe, Andre vs. Bundy, and Hiro Saito vs. Cobra on 5/18.


The TV results from the last series saw Inoki beat Higgins on 3/1 by DQ when Shultz interfered, Fujinami and Kimura beat Pat and Mike Kelly, Shultz beat Takano, and the three Machines were DQ'd against Sakaguchi, Antisano, and Hoshino. Shultz beat Inoki by DQ on 3/8 when Inoki wouldn't release an armbar, which Inoki said was revenge for Shultz slapping the TV reporter. Fujinami and Kimura beat Bad News Allen and Leroy Brown, Machines 1 and 2 beat Saito and Ueda. On 3/15 Inoki beat Schultz when Higgins interfered, Fujinami DCOR Higgins, and Machines beat Saito and Ueda when Ueda walked out on Saito. 3/21 was Inoki beating Higgins, Fujinami and Takano beat the Machines, Saito beat Ueda, and Kimura over Schultz, and Sakaguchi and Kimura over Badnews and Brown (My note: Kimura worked twice?). The best matches of the series were the two matches between Saito and Steve Wright.




Scott Casey has left for World Class, Bob Sweetan has been fired. The only people left are Buck Robely (the booker), Rick Casey, Pat Rose, Al Madril, Rick Gibson, The Maoris, and Paul Kelly. Casey is improving and Rose is the best wrestler on the circuit. They recently drew a sellout of more than 2,000 in Ohio, which is a lot more than they draw in Texas. Perro Aguyo was recently in, and Manny Villalobos is headed for Mexico.


"The scoop on the Eric Embry/Joe Blanchard deal wasn't that Eric couldn't come up with the purchase price to buy this group. What happened is that Eric used his brain and decided it wasn't a wise investment."


World Class:


Dave goes over the Texas Stadium card, which he'd already given a rundown of earlier in the issue. Dave says the show won't draw anywhere near the 32,000 that it did last year, but figures they'll announce it at 30,000.


The American Tag Titles are held up after Cornette interfered in the Midnights vs. Fantastics match on 3/8. Tommy Rogers has injured his shoulder, which has postponed further matches to decide the champions. On 3/25 Kevin Von Erich teamed with Fulton against the Midnights in a 2/3 falls match without a clear cut winner.


Sunshine is managing Hercules Hernandez, who is working high on the card with all the top heels (Kamala, Gang, Gino, Chris, and Rip Oliver) "The Giant" Jim Harris (no relation to Kamala) is working as a manager as an antagonist to Cornette. He's billed at 7'7 but is more like 7'2, but still taller than Andre.


The Freebirds will be back on a regular basis, they're doing a series of loser leave town matches in Florida. Williams is looking good and will be a strong heel if he can improve his interviews, especially in Northern Texas where being an Oklahoma Sooner won't endear him to the fans.


Oliver smashed Mike Von Erich's hand before their 3/25 TV Title match and was suspended so that he could go to Japan, and has been stripped of the title. Scot Casey beat Condrey for the held up title on 4/1. Casey is mainly there to watch out for Harris "who some believe will be the next Andre. Others are saying he's going to be the next Plowboy Frasier. Neither appeals to me."


A new comer arrived on 4/8 as Sunshine's mystery man who will oppose Adams in Fort Worth. This circuit has some of the best action anywhere. Adams is a great heel and the Fantastics have become a great team, especially Rogers. Dave doesn't always care for the product, but he still loves watching them perform at levels he didn't think they could.


Mid South:


"I'm sure you've all seen this group's show on WTBS" and if the phone calls and feedback that Dave has heard are any indication then they have the best TV show in the country. The 2/13 TV tapings featured two great matches between the Rock and Roll Express and Chavo and Hector Guerrero. The 2/27 tapings saw Terry Taylor retain the TV Title over Tim Horner in the first hour and Jake Roberts in the second, both matches were very good. Other highlights were Buddy Landell losing to Kerry Von Erich and then later Brad Armstrong, also Brad and Terry Daniels beat Dibiase and Williams. Also, Kerry and Jim Duggan over Gino and Hercules Hernandez when Duggan hit Herc with a loaded glove.


3/30 in the Superdome drew 9,500 and near $100,000 gate. The main event was Duggan beating DiBiase in a loser leave town tuxedo street fight cage coal miner's glove match. The Barbarian beat Butch Reed in a ghetto street fight. The Rock and Roll Express beat the Road Warriors, Freebirds (Gordy and Roberts), and Dirty White Boys. Von Erich beat Adams by DQ, Taylor beat Kamala by DQ, and Williams beat King Parsons.


Dibiase is back in May, and Randy Culley and Eddie Gilbert are on their way in, with Dutch Mantell expected to come in too. They've been building up Kerry as the top challenger to Flair (but they don't call it the world title, just the NWA Title). Dave expects Flair vs. Kerry for the 6/1 Superdome show.


There are conflicting reports about their future on WTBS. Dave heard they have one year contract. But Bill Taffe of Sports Illustrated said they'll be gone in a few weeks. His source was Vince McMahon.




Not much new here either. Their Meadowlands card on 4/19 isn't very appealing to Dave. Slaughter vs. Kamala in a Ugandan Death Match, and Rick Martel defends against King Tonga. The Roadies defend against the Hennigs, Jim Garvin vs. Baron Von Raschke, Gagne/Brunzell/Tonga Kid vs. Freebirds (My note: wasn't this shown in Highlander?), Dusty vs. Kendo Nagasaki, Zybyszko vs. Backlund, and the Samoans vs. Jerry Olski and Steve O. "I've got seven good reasons in eight matches to not care about this card."


They drew 7,000 in New Haven with Martel over Garvin, Kid over Zybyszko, Slaughter over Kamala by DQ, Samoans DDQ Youngbloods, Kid winning battle royal, and Backlund over Nagasaki.


3/31 in Chicago drew 9,600 opposite WrestleMania. Steve Regal beat Buck Zumhofe, Backlund over Zybyszko DQ, Gagne/Brunzell over Saito/Nagasaki, Garvin over Baron, Martel over Bockwinkel, and Roadies over Hennigs for the tag titles. Dave says he was told it was the best live show in Chicago in five months. They return to MN and Chicago later in the month with 3-on-2 cage matches (Blackwell/Slaughter vs. Tonga/Superstar/Sheik).


3/24 in St Paul only drew 5,500 with Slaughter and Blackwell vs. Superstar/Saito/Tonga. "Verne Gagne risked his sweater getting involved in Greg's match with Bockwinkel earlier in the show." (My note: huh?). 3/4 in Vancouver drew 2,000, Martel pinned Garvin, Roadies over Saito and Moose Morowski, and Blackwell over Superstar. 3/8 in Winnepeg had Gagne/Brunzell over Saito/Bockwinkel with the winners facing the Roadies on 3/28. Dave saw a match from Las Vegas, Bockwinkel/Saito vs. Roadies where only one person sold a move. Bockwinkel. Saito played the Roadies' game.


St Louis:


3/29 drew 4,500 with Kerry beating Flair by DQ in 29:00. It was a good match, but the fans were burned out from WrestleMania hype. Harley and Brody were both no shows. Brody had already cancelled three weks before. There has been a falling out between Race and Geigel involving Harley's wife's ideas concerning Rock and Wrestling. Dave says they were ludicrous but won't give details. Harley was replaced by Super Destroyer and Brody by Dick the Bruiser. Bruiser wore street clothes and worked all of five minutes doing a DDQ with Wahoo.


Next show is 4/19 with Bruiser/Wahoo in a cage, Race vs. Reed, and a poor undercard. The WWF runs the next night with Piper vs. Snuka, Andre vs. Studd/Heenan, and a tag title rematch. NWA will draw another poor crowd and make Race and/or Geigel reconsider selling their stock in this group.




Tux Newman now manages all the heels, so there is no more Eddie Gilbert's army, Tommy Hart (a Jimmy Hart lookalike), or Playboy Frasier.


3/25 was main evented by Lawler vs. Savage with Savage getting DQ'd when Newman hit Lawler with his cane. Savage gave Lalwer a piledriver afterwards and he was carted out in an ambulance and hasn't been seen since. Savage is the #1 heel in the country right now. Newman has been great too, he says he's there to fufill Andy Kaufman's wish on his deathbed of destroying Lawler. He says Lawler's piledriver to Andy caused the cancer to spread throughout his body. Crowds are still down though.


Newman brought in Sweet Daddy Siki who praised Lawler, shook his hand, and has been a babyface ever since. Jimmy Valiant has left. The PYT's are feuding with Tim Ashley and Steve Constance. Their matches have been good, which shows improvement in the latter team because they're so green.




They held two big shows on 2/11 in Montreal and 2/12 in Quebec City, which both drew between ten and eleven thousand, which shows that McMahon hasn't conquered this area yet, even with using local favorite Edurado Carpentier. 2/11 saw Dino Bravo win the International Title from King Tonga, The Road Warriors beat Jos Leduc and Gino Brito, and Rick Martel beat Sailor Moondog White to retain the AWA Title. 2/12 had Martel DDQ Tonga for the AWA Title, Roadies over Rougeaus, and Bravo over Richard Charland, who subbed for the no show Ric Flair.




Blackjack Mulligan is back, so it probably won't be long before Windham and Rotundo join him. Mike Graham and Michael Hayes have had loser leave town matches in Tampa and Miami Beach. The Freebirds are the only heels in the area who bring fans into buildings. The Youngbloods were leaving for Memphis, but they're the tag champions right now, with no challengers on the horizon.


3/23 in St Petersburg saw Bugsy McGraw (who Dave says is even worse than he used to be) lose by DQ to Jesse Barr, Flair was DQ'd against Brian Blair, and Bugsy and Hector Guerrero won a tag team battle royal.


3/26 in Tampa had a sellout of 4,000 with Flair over Wahoo by using the ropes, Gordy over Graham in a lumberjack match, Hayes DCOR Bugsy, Barr over Guerrero, Youngbloods over The Assassin/Missing Link, and Mike Golden over Jack Hart.


Hart has a lot of heat right now, he's a prelim guy with a perfect record, and on TV they announce his record at 0-44 and subsequently add to it. He goes on TV every week and says he's going to win before he has every match. It works great, thanks to Hart.


Mid Atlantic:


Lots of title changes at the 3/16 show in Greensboro. Buzz Tyler won the Mid Atlantic Title from Ron Bass, Dusty won the TV Title in cage from Tully Blanchard. In other matches Slaughter/Kernodle/Magnum beat the Koloffs and Krushchev by DQ, and Flair beat Wahoo in a strap match.


The Koloffs won the NWA Tag Titles from Dusty and Manny Fernandez on 3/18, and Magnum won the U.S. Title from Wahoo a few days later in a cage.


Their big news is getting a WTBS timeslot on 4/6. They're on Saturday mornings at 9:35, Saturday nights at 6:05, and Sundays at 5:35. They've also taken over Ole's Georgia office, although Ole is still in charge of running Ohio "which doesn't bode well for Ohio I guess."


Ole turned heel on Thunderbolt Patterson on the first afternoon TV show. Dave says it actually come off really well, both Arn and Gene Anderson are figured into the angle and Ole still cuts a great promo. Dave expects a lot of the old Georgia regulars to hang around for now.


Buddy Landell is still doing his Flair impression and Dave hopes it'll lead to a program with them. The most heat from this group was when Dusty slapped Baby Doll.


They're still having trouble drawing in the Northeast, Pittsburgh drew 800 for Tully vs. Dusty, the show in Altoona drew only about 200. Rumor has it that Ted Turner will get involved in the promotion, but Dave isn't sure what effect that may have on the wrestling.

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No, Dave said advertisers would drop off when they realized the WWF product wasn't a ratings magnet like it seemed to be with all the hype and success that WrestleMania had. The Hogan thing was just an analogy, the WWF always getting huge ratings is just as much of a myth as the notion that Hogan is a great wrestler.

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  • 1 year later...

Is it just me or in every one of these from 1985 or so does Dave think the WWF will get old fast and die?


Wishful thinking among Dave and the anti WWF contingent that read his newsletter. I knew the WWF in 1985 was here to stay and not a fad. Too many things were going right for them, Wrestlemania, SNMain Event on network tv, all the mainstream pub, cartoon show. The WWF was storng throughout the rest of the decade. When they actually declined in the early 90's it was just an eventuality due to the cyclical nature of the business.

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  • 4 months later...

Curious, what was the story with this being the last issue then? Did he start back up fairly quickly after or was it just smoke?

At the time, it was just "The Wrestling Observer." This was the original format on legal size paper with xeroxed photos and articles and whatnot. To fll out subscriptions and streamline communication with tape traders (the original reason for the WON), he started doing the "Wrestling Observer Newsletter" and...yeah.
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Curious, what was the story with this being the last issue then? Did he start back up fairly quickly after or was it just smoke?

At the time, it was just "The Wrestling Observer." This was the original format on legal size paper with xeroxed photos and articles and whatnot. To fll out subscriptions and streamline communication with tape traders (the original reason for the WON), he started doing the "Wrestling Observer Newsletter" and...yeah.


Weird to think it started off as a tape trading newsletter of sorts, but I can see the natural progression I guess.

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  • 10 years later...

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