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Wrestling Observer Recap - 12/01/86


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DECEMBER 1, 1986


The newswires have been pretty quiet leading into the Thanksgiving shows this year, which Dave should have the details on next week. “What a difference a year, or three, makes.” None of the Thanksgiving shows look all that interesting to Dave, although he expects Starrcade or the Superdome show to have a couple of surprise angles and good enough workrate to make them hot shows.


The big news of the week is the opening of the Japan Cup Tag Tournament in New Japan, along with a power struggle between Antonio Inoki and Akira Maeda. Inoki and Fujiwara will wrestle Maeda and Kido next week, and it’s expected to draw a half a million dollar gate, but don’t expect anything out of the ordinary to happen. The top foreign team was set to be Bruiser Brody and Jimmy Snuka, but Brody no-showed the 11/21 show. This causes Brody/Snuka to forfeit important points in the tournament. In reality, it’s because Brody and NJPW were at odds over money. Brody wanted his money up front and after some haggling, they came to an agreement, but then NJPW couldn’t come up with the money for him, so Brody didn’t come over. “In fact, his career in Japan may be over.” Dave hopes that they can work things out in a positive manner.


Maeda and the rest of the UWF crew signed a one year contact with Inoki that expires after the tag tournament, and there has been a lot of pressure from the TV station to have Maeda be the face of the company as opposed to Inoki. Inoki’s ace in the hole was supposed to be on 10/9, where Inoki defeated boxing legend Leon Spinks, while Maeda fought through injury in a match with karate champion Don Neilsen. Although Inoki won, the way in which it happened made Inoki look weak, while Maeda had a more exciting bout. Dave has seen the match and it wasn’t anything close to a shoot, despite what the magazines are saying. As it got later into the match he could even hear Neilsen’s trainer telling Neilsen that this was going great and the fans loved him.


The tournament opened on 11/14 with Fujinami and Keiji Mutoh beating Kendo Nagasaki and Mr. Pogo, Maeda and Kido beat Dick Murdoch and Masked Superstar. Superstar also got some wins later on to make up for losing here. Inoki, Fujiwara, and Kengo Kimura beat Tonga Kid, Sam Anoia, and Jimmy Snuka. There will be more on the tournament later.


The best thing in the WWF right now is the Randy Savage/Ricky Steamboat angle, which Dave says came off a lot better than expected. The match was fast paced and all action. Then Dave watched a tape from Japan and thought it was only a great U.S. match. Dave doesn’t like that they’re saying that Steamboat almost died, and he feels sorry for Bruno Sammartino for having to take part in that skit. The most significant thing is that it builds up to a Sammartino/Savage feud, until Steamboat comes back in January. Dave doesn’t think the matches will be bad either, because Bruno may be old, but he works hard, and Savage can pick up the rest of the pieces. Dave also notes that this is proof that the WWF isn’t a viable international promotion yet, because this feud is strictly being played out in New York, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Boston, where Bruno’s name still means a great deal. Savage is working with Jake Roberts and Billy Jack Haynes in the rest of the towns.


As long as Dave has been doing the newsletter, there hasn’t been any wrestling TV show that’s gotten as much hype as the UWF episode with all three titles changing hands. People are saying its best show they’ve ever seen. Dave is sure the ratings are very high, but he wants to wait a month and see how the gates are doing. Dave says that the new champions (One Man Gang, Savannah Jack, and Bill Irwin/Leroy Brown) won’t compare to the former ones (Terry Gordy, Buddy Roberts, and John Tatum/Jack Victory) for having good matches or being entertaining in skits, but there are good reasons why these changes were made.


New Japan:

Results after the first night of the tournament: On 11/15 Inoki/Fujiwara beat Kimura/Takano when Inoki pinned Takano, Fujinami went DCOR with Dick Murdoch, Snuka beat Mutoh by DQ, Pogo/Nagasaki/Superstar beat Maeda/Takada/Kido when Superstar pinned Kido, and Tonga Kid/Anoia beat Shiro Kohinaka and Kantaro Hoshino. 11/16 had no tournament matches, Inoki and Mutoh DCOR with Murdoch/Snuka, Fujinami beat Anoia, Superstar/Tonga beat Maeda/Takada when Superstar pinned Takada. Dave says this is a very stupid result because Takada is the best young wrestler in NJPW and he and Maeda should be pushed hard, but “you know the reasons they won’t be.” On 11/17 Murdoch/Snuka beat Takano/Kimura, Inoki/Fujinami beat Snuka/Anoia when Inoki pinned Anoia, Mutoh beat Tonga Kid, Maeda beat Pogo, Fujiwara beat Nagasaki, and Takada/Kido/Yamazaki beat Black Bat/Koshinaka/Hoshino. On 11/18 Fujinami/Mutoh beat Maeda/Kido via count out, Inoki beat Superstar and Murdoch hit Inoki with a chair afterwards, Fujiwara beat Murdoch, Kimura DDQ Snuka, Takada beat Anoia, and Pogo/Nagasaki/Tonga Kid beat Sakaguchi/Takano/Kosugi. One of the big matches scheduled was Brody vs. Maeda on 11/24 and that’s obviously in jeopardy of not taking place.


Pro Wrestler Tom Magee recently won the Le Defi Mark 10 Strongman challenge in Montreal. Magee is said to be not advancing much as a wrestler. He set a new world record in the fifty-six pound triangular weight throw competition by throwing it 8.03 Meters. Dave says these contests are way more dangerous than pro wrestling or pro football because the contestants are usually hospitalized afterwards. According to Dave, Magee is a non-smoking vegetarian who wouldn’t even drink the champagne after he won. Dave also says that Magee is the reason why the old World’s Strongest Man contests are no longer held in the U.S. “but that’s a whole different story” In other related news, Tony Atlas recently did a competition 535 lb bench press.


More notes from Japan: The tournament final is scheduled for 12/11 at Sumo Hall, and if they don’t work things out with Brody, then Dave figures the whole tournament needs to be reworked and the finals will come down to Inoki/Fujiwara vs. Mutoh/Fujinami. AJPW holds their tag tournament finals on 12/12 at Budokan with a triple main event of Tsuruta/Tenryu vs. Hansen/DiBiase, Funks vs. Chosyu/Yatsu, and Baba/Wajima vs. Rick Martel/Tom Zenk in Wajima’s debut. Dave figures Tsuruta/Tenryu to win since Hansen/DiBiase are the PWF Tag Champions and Chosyu/Yatsu are International Tag Champions so the win gives Tsuruta/Tenryu a legit challenge for both titles. Jackie Sato lost to Lola Gonzales in 2/3 falls match in Mexico City on 11/16.



The 12/29 and 12/30 shows in Los Angeles and San Francisco will both be headlined by a Bunkhouse Stampede, and they’d better be able to explain what that is, because nobody will know, but they will understand a Battle Royal. Dave doesn’t think LA will draw well since the only TV there is on at 1:00 AM, but San Francisco should sell out because it’s their first time in Northern California. They’ve been covering up Hawk not appearing by saying he’s having car trouble or plane trouble. Dave thinks Crockett may put on the best shows in the country but have a long way to go before they’re a good promotion. A good promotion doesn’t need to lie to fans to cover up the fact that someone they knew full well wouldn’t be appearing. Hawk is expected back on Thanksgiving and will work all his dates afterwards. Hawk is expected to mostly sit in the corner until he’s healed up, and Animal will do the heavy lifting. The Road Warriors are mostly booked against the Midnight Express. The proper name for the bone that Hawk broke is the fibula, and four weeks just isn’t long enough for it to completely heal. Barry Windham starts up after Thanksgiving and Murdoch should be back by Christmas. Dave gives them credit for going after one of the best names not under contract (Windham) and thinks they should get him over by having him win the Bunkhouse Stampedes. Murdoch is a good pickup too, but they’d better use him differently than last time, because he was pretty much ineffective. Sam Houston won the Central States Title Tournament on 11/16 in St. Louis to the surprise of nobody, and will defend against Bill Dundee at Starrcade. The tournament drew between 1,600 and 1,800 which probably won’t even cover the rent. Dave was told it was very disorganized with nobody having any idea what was going on. Ric Flair beat Ricky Morton in the main event, Arn Anderson beat Dave Petersen, Rick Rood drew Brad Armstrong, Denny Brown/Italian Stallion beat The Thunderfoots, Mitch Snow beat Mark Fleming, The Mod Squad and Colt Steele beat Rufus Jones/Rocky King/George South, Dusty Rhodes beat Warlord, Tully Blanchard beat Houston, Tijo Khan beat someone, Bill Dundee beat Houston (It wasn’t explained how Houston could lose twice and still win the tournament). By the time Houston went to the ring for the finals against Bill Dundee, Dave’s source got fed up and left. They return to St. Louis on 12/6 with a Bunkhouse Stampede, Flair vs. Nikita Koloff, and Houston vs. Jimmy Garvin for the Central States title. 11/9 in Cincinnati drew 1,600 (compared to Titan drawing 200 the last time they were there) with Dusty/Nikita beating Flair/Tully in a cage, The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express and Brad Armstrong beat the Midnight Express and Big Bubba, Manny Fernandez beat Wahoo McDaniel, and Rick Rood beat Hector Guerrero. 11/15 drew 4,000 (near sellout) with Konga the Barbarian over Nelston Royal, Rood over Guerrero, Ivan Koloff/Krusher Kruschev drew Brad Armstrong/Tim Horner, Fernandez beat McDaniel, Animal/Ellering beat Midnight Express, Rock ‘n’ Roll Express beat Andersons, and Dusty/Nikita beat Flair/Tully by DQ. Flair’s TBS interviews to build up Starrcade are very good, especially when he’s namedropping Magnum. Magnum is upgraded to fair condition and is expected to start rehab shortly, he was slowed down by coming down with pneumonia but is fully recovered from it. Dave knows him and Dusty are best friends, so he doesn’t understand that Dusty doesn’t understand how tasteless it is to have Flair bring him up in interviews. Fritz Von Erich did the same things with his own sons. Flair has been saying Starrcade will draw 100,000 fans and draw $15 million; this means the average ticket price is $150. 11/7 in Kansas City drew 300 with Houston/Jones DDQ Warlord/Dundee, Dave Petersen/Todd Champion won the Central States Tag Titles from the Thunderfoots, Denny Brown beat Colt Steele, Basher beat Rocky King while Spike beat George South. 11/14 was headlined by Jones and Jimmy Valiant against Dundee and Jimmy Garvin. The Mod Squad painted Rufus R. Jones yellow to setup a feud. 11/22 in Baltimore drew a $14,000 sellout (more than Titan has gotten in a long time) with some boring prelims, the Andersons beat the Kansas Jayhawks in a great brawl, Animal and Ellering beat the Midnights by DQ and Cornette was said to be great. Afterwards he said he wanted Ellering in a singles match, the main event was Dusty/Nikita beating Flair/Tully in a cage. Dave says that Nikita is hot right now and he expects the shows in Chicago and San Francisco to be hot as well.


Titan Sports:

Dave hasn’t heard much about the TV tapes from the week, other than an angle with Adonis and Piper which he thinks will air on the NBC special. Piper, Orndorff, and Jesse Ventura all appeared in a Campbell’s soup commercial, Jesse doing commentary while Piper wrestles Orndorff. “Did you notice the medics putting Steamboat on the stretcher?” They were Dr. Pat Patterson and Dr. Jay Strongbow. The 11/24 MSG show still ensured to sell out, there are 7,000 tickets still available. Hogan is appearing three times in NY this month, Dave thinks that Titan forgot about 1984 and what happened when Hogan got overused, but it’s not like anything else they’ve done has been working. Kamala has been squashing George Steele all around the loop to set up Hogan/Kamala after the Orndorff program cools off. “Do you realize right now that the only two heels in wrestling to get the most heat are Danny Davis and Missy Hyatt?” 11/18 in Troy, NY had Honky Tonk Man pin Mr. X (Danny Davis), Butch Reed beat Pedro Morales, Hart Foundation beat Islanders by DQ, Kamala beat Steele by DQ, and Piper beat Muraco. Tama the Islander is also the Tonga Kid who is currently on tour in Japan. Dave says that Sam Fatu (Tonga Kid) has a twin brother (Solofa Fatu) who looks exactly like him, so he’s either in Japan or working in the WWF (most likely in Japan). 11/16 in Toronto had Dino Bravo beat Morales, Reed drew with Tito Santana (best match on the card), Kamala squashed Steele and Steele did a stretcher job, Harts beat Islanders, and Piper beat Muraco. 11/30 in Toronto has Hogan vs. Kamala, Killer B’s vs. Sheik and Volkoff, and Reed vs. Santana. The funniest skit on TV, if you’re smart, has been thing HTM voting one. They taped all three skits on the same night, the one asking for votes, the one talking about votes coming in, and the result of the voting. “I hope our presidential elections aren’t worked like that.” 11/16 in Columbus, OH drew 3,000 with Steamboat beating Savage by DQ, and Rougeus beating Dream Team. Jacques Rougeu and Dan Spivey are both back from injury. WrestleMania III is still four months out, but Dave is starting to see the card coming together. Savage/Steamboat seems to be a lock barring a legit injury. Dave thinks Hogan/Orndorff will happen if Danny Davis screws Hogan out of the title, because no way Hulk will lose any other way, although Hogan may graciously allow the title to be held up. Another potential match is Vince/Bruno vs. Ventura/Davis, Dave heard this back in the summer and dismissed it until he saw how things have been playing out on TV. The other match Dave thinks will happen is Piper and Mr. T vs. Adonis and Orton.



Davis Schultz is the new International Champion. He doesn’t know if he beat Sam Anoia, or if Anoia just up and left the territory. Goldy Rogers and Pretty Boys Simms have been teaming up, and a babyface team is Dan Kroffat and Ron Ritchie. Sweet Daddy Siki, Hercules Ayala, and Jos Leduc are also in.



11/17 in Memphis drew 3,000 with Tracy Smothers beating Dennis Hall, The Ninja beating Pat Tanaka, Tarzan Goto/Akio Sato DDQ the Rock and Roll RPMs, Paul Diamond beat Tojo Yamamoto, and Jeff Jarrett/Billy Travis won the Southern Tag Titles from the Sheepherders (Jonathan Boyd and Bigfoot). Uncle Elmer pinned Goliath to win what is being called the World Super Heavyweight Title. “What a state this wrestling world must be in, to have Uncle Elmer as its champion.” The main event was Big Bubba beating Lawler by DQ. 11/23 has Lawler vs. Bubba, Elmer vs. Goliath for the title, and rematches down the rest of the card. Tanaka vs. Ninja will be Tanaka’s hair versus Ninja’s mask. Bubba had both the Mid America Title and the International Title, but was forced to vacate the Mid America title, since you can’t hold two titles at once. A tournament was either held last week, or will be next week for the title.


World Class:

Very little news from the area this week, the Ft Worth card on 11/17 drew 300 and Dave doesn’t even know the main event. One of the top matches was Matt Bourne and Buzz Sawyer defending the tag titles against Lance Von Eric and Dingo Warrior, which Dave says is the biggest discrepancy in ability he’s ever seen. Buzz no-showed, which has been consistent with him, Dave says he’s either already left or is on the way out. Spike Johnson teamed with Bourne and they dropped the tag titles. Tony Atlas looks awful. The TV taping in Pasadena drew 67. Atlas is billed as “The Black Superman” and Dave doesn’t see why, since everyone should be able to tell that Atlas is black. They’re now telling people that the match Mike Von Erich lost to Brian Adias a few weeks back is the first time Mike has ever lost a match, amateur or pro. Even Steve Williams lost a few matches as an amateur. Dave saw the angle where Adias and Al Madril beat up Kerry Von Erich and it came off really well. Kerry is moving around very well and Dave thinks that he’ll be back by the summer. Madril fits in really well here because he’s so lazy.



Ron Bass has joined the Windham bros and has left the area. Chris Champion and Sean Royal are now being managed by Oliver Humperdink. Chick Donovan is in and has been established as a jobber by losing to Chris Champion. The U.S. Tag Titles are held by the Sheepherders but aren’t even mentioned, probably because Crockett just established their own titles with the same name. 11/18 in Tampa saw Dewey Forte beat Brickhouse Brown, Champion beat Donovan, Rusty Brooks beat Mark Starr which Dave says is a travesty because Starr is good for a rookie. Badnews Allen beat Mike Allen, Hacksaw Higgins beat Kendall Windham, The Falcon beat Bob Cook to retain the Bahama Islands Title, Ron Simmons beat Sean Royal by DQ, The Fabulous Ones won a blindfold Battle Royal and then went to a DDQ with the Sheepherders. Kareem Muhammed and Ed Gantner beat Lex Luger and Barry Windham after blinding Barry with salt. Dave thinks Badnews Allen will win the Florida Title from Barry Windham and then feud with Luger. Another prelim match was Jerry Gray pinning J.J. Pallo and then getting DQ’d for using the tights. Pallo is being billed as the son of English wrestler Jackie Pallo, and Dave thinks it’s legit since Pallo has a son that has been wrestling for a few years.


Quick Note:

The Lawler/Bubba match from 11/23 was hair versus hair, so now there’s no confusion between the two wrestlers calling themselves Big Bubba. There’s Big Bubba Rogers and Big Bald Bubba of Memphis. Solofa Fatu (the Tonga Kid’s twin) is also wrestling in Montreal as Alopha, the Polynesian Prince. From the South Bend TV tapings, Kamala’s opponents are all doing stretcher jobs in order to heat him up. John Studd’s new company is being run by power lifter Larry Pacifico. Judging by the news clippings he’s seen, Studd didn’t pick a good time to go into business with him. Dave commends Steve Keirn for speaking with teenagers about the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse, because so many of the good things that wrestlers do go unnoticed.



Dave brings up the cover of this month’s Pro Wrestling Illustrated, and how the big topic among fans is that it’s stupid for heels and babyfaces to be on the cover, and makes the UWF look just like Titan. The Freebirds and Angel of Death destroyed the Fantastics on TV. 11/21 in Jackson, MS saw Jeff Gaylord pin Angel of Death, and then get destroyed afterwards, Savannah Jack beat Gustavo Mendoza, Fantastics beat Tatum/Victory in a 40:00 match, Bill Irwin beat Joe Savoldi, Steve Williams and Terry Taylor beat Michael Hayes and Buddy Roberts. Buddy Landel is gone, but may be back if he can straighten himself out. “Landel is very close to destroying a very promising career.” The Fort Worth Power Pro tapings are moving to Saturday nights starting on 12/13. The plan for 1987 is to tape all TV on the same weekends, Friday nights in Houston, Saturday nights in Fort Worth, and Sunday nights in Tulsa. Watts and Crockett are giving the wrestlers a break with no cards scheduled from 12/15 through 12/25. The Fort Worth tapings put UWF in direct competition with World Class TV, Dave thinks this will cause both groups to dial things back so they don’t hurt attendance. 11/19 saw UWF debut in Pensacola with 3,000. Continental ran opposite them with ticket prices chopped down to $2. The Bounty Hunter that Dave mentioned the week before just turned out to be a masked wrestler that Jim Duggan destroyed.


Other Late Notes:

Mike Miller and Abbuda Dein won the PNW Tag Titles from Ricky Santana and Brady Boone on 11/10. Brody wrestled Abdullah on an NWF show in Valley Forge, PA and the fans said it was bloody and fantastic. There will be a cage rematch on 12/28. There fans at a WWF show were chanting “We want blood!” and pointing to the head of the PA State Athletic Commission. The Wrestling Challenge taping on 11/20 in Rockford, IL drew 10,000 due to the Hogan/Orndorff dark match headliner. Kamala beat Tito Santana. Kamala’s other foes all did stretcher jobs, including Moondog Spot. Other top bouts were Sheik/Volkoff/Reed over Bulldogs and Haynes, and Dream Team/Bravo beat Islanders/Sivi Afi. Sal Bellomo got a televised win. Crockett drew 1,000 in Green Bay on 11/19 with Tim Horner drawing Pez Whatley, Barbarian beat Allen West, Jim Garvin beat Hector Guerrero, Russians beat Jayhawks, Rock ‘n’ Rolls and Armstrong beat Midnights and Bubba by DQ, Anderson beat McDaniel, and Dusty/Nikita beat Flair/Blanchard. The deal between Brody and Inoki has definitely fallen apart. Brody won’t be working the tag tournament or any other show in Japan for the foreseeable future. Dave says he should have full details next week.

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