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Wrestling Observer Recap -- 11/12/84


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I’ll try and do these as often as I can. It’s a pain to type out, but hopefully it generates some good discussion. A couple of notes:

1. My knowledge of Japanese wrestling is limited. If you have questions or if something is confusing, just ask. I’m sure I could go back and figure it out.

2. I tried to avoid typing endless results. I’m not really into that unless it ties into a bigger picture.

3. My editorial comments are in parentheses (hopefully I don’t sound like too much of an idiot).

 

Cover

*Scary photo of Brody posing in Samurai gear w/ swords.

 

Pulling no punches

*Dave announces that he's accepting end of the year award ballots for various categories, including Top 50 wrestlers. There are 37 categories in all. (It must've been a bitch to tabulate all of these).

 

Mr. Mike’s Mondo Wrestling

*Highlights how an entire month has gone by without an AWA defection to the WWF.

*Eddie Sharkey is back in the AWA. His jump to the WWF lasted all of about one month. Apparently, Wally Karbo called Ed and asked what it would take to get him back. Ed said freedom to run his school and a couple hundred bucks a week to referee. Apparently he left a lot of money on the table at WWF, but was not paid what was promised to him by McMahon on at least one occasion. He also apparently didn't have a written contract w/ WWF.

*10/21 AWA Card in Twin Cities was a success. A tag-team battle royal, Blackwell/Brody in a lights out match and Road Warriors/Fabs drew 17,000 and $165,000, this after drawing only 3,000 six weeks ago. Hennig/Bockwinkle 20 minute draw was praised for best work rate.

*WWF drew about 8,000 on 10/28, headlined by Hogan beating Studd by DQ. Apparently, Hogan was legit injured, but the match wasn't all that bad. WWF announced the next MN card will feature a 20-man Turkey Tournament with the winner crowned Turkey of 1984. 20 wrestlers get in a cage and the first to escape wins. The last one in is the Turkey. George Steele will also face Mad Dog Vachon (anyone have a tape of that disaster?).

*Mike and a partner have a radio show and recap their recent on air chat with Baron Von Raschke. Von Raschke says there are only two wrestling organizations, AWA and NWA, knows nothing about an NWA/AWA title unification bout, and stammers around questions about the WWF.

*Mike stresses that the wrestling war in the Twin Cities should not be viewed as good guy Verne vs. bad guy Vince. In his opinion, they're both bad and thinks if Vince fails in going national, Gagne will give it a try. Gagne has made moves in Vancouver and appears to be arranging moves in Dallas and Los Angeles. Bob Backlund offered to help Verne book some NE shows but Verne told him he'd do it himself.

 

*The next couple of pages feature various newspaper article reprints. Two focus on the wrestling war and one is a letter wondering if Maple Leaf wrestling is turning kids into racists. Dave liked the letter, saying that wrestling is relying more and more on over the top antics to draw fans, and might be, in fact, losing more fans than they're gaining. There was also a reprint of a Ric Rude puff piece. In it, Jerry Jarrett states that a "headliner can gross up to $50,000 annually."

*Results are given from Japan TV.

 

Letters

*Most letter writers don’t think Hogan should be considered for wrestler of the year. (I think Dave listed him as No. 2 in the last issue because of his impact).

*Lots of love from letter writers for Dynamite Kid (does a good Dynamite Kid comp exist?)

 

WWF

*Most main eventers will be touring Japan in November so main events will be battle royals in most towns.

*10/22 MSG drew 20,000 with the only good match being Valentine/Santana. Studd legit hurt Hogan's knee in the main event after a failed neck drop off the ropes. Hogan missed his next three matches. Dave isn't sure of the severity of Hogan's injury, but hears Hogan has to be on heavy medication before his matches anyway so he can perform. Next MSG will be headlined by Piper/Tonga Kid. Dave likes what he's seen of Tonga so far.

*Snuka should be released from "wherever they have him in upstate NY" by the end of the month.

*Rumors swirling of Hogan losing the belt soon so he can go to Hollywood full time appear to be false.

*Mike Sharpe was fired after refusing to job to Tonga Kid.

*Meadowlands drew 7,900; Nassau Colliseum drew 7,000; Philly Spectrum drew 18,000; Chicago drew 6,000; Atlanta drew 1,900 at the Omni; Ohio drew 2,100 for what turned out to be mainly a no-show card. Probably no more TV tapings in St. Louis, just Poughkeepsie and Canada. Los Angeles drew 8,000; Oakland drew 3,800 (Dave called the Hogan/Steele main event the worst main event he's ever seen); Sacremento drew 1,500; Kansas City drew 5,200 and St. Louis 7,000 -- far outdrawing the NWA. Hogan didn't show in St. Louis because of his knee injury and fans were actually offered refunds. This baffled Dave as the WWF never offer srefunds for no shows. The show also featured an in-ring Piper's Pit with Piper using racial slurs against JYD, causing some fans to walk out.

*WWF TBS show cut to one hour. Dave thinks they may be off TBS soon.

 

ALL JAPAN

* A large group of defectors from New Japan, led by Riki Choushu, should debut on 1/2.

*Michael Hayes is touring Japan and rumors are swirling that he may be out of the WWF.

 

UWF

*Sketchy report that UWF prez Nobuo Urata was arrested in Tokyo for threatening to murder Satoru Sayama’s (Tiger Mask) business manager.

*This group is drawing well by pitting Japanese workers against Japanese workers wrestling strong style. Americans are not getting main events because they can’t wrestle strong style.

 

PRO WRESTLING USA

*This is a group led by Eddie Einhorn, Gagne, Crockett and Jarrett. Obvious goal is to team up and fight McMahon.

*Second TV taping was held 10/9 in Spartenburg, SC. The first actual TV broadcast wash shown 10/27 w/ Solie and John Heath doing voice overs in the studio. Dave didn’t like this approach. Overall, Dave thought show was ok, but too many jobbers.

*Dave thinks the talent is good, but they’re showing too many wrestlers. He thinks they don’t need to try and build up 50 guys to compete with Vince, only a couple of main guys and solid under cards. Dave thinks they’re making some of the same mistakes Vince makes and they’re trying to fight Vince on his own terms, which will not work.

*No word on a first live show. Dave thinks they will have trouble finding arenas in NY and the NE because McMahon is running more NE arena shows to block their efforts.

*There has been some talk about having a tournament of champions featuring Flair, Martel, Colon, Bockwinkle, Rhodes, Funks, Race and Backlund.

 

HAWAII

*Don Muraco, fired by Vince, showed up here.

 

SOUTHWEST

*Tm Brooks is hot as a babyface.

*Dave says Voodoo Malumba may be the worst wrestler in the world (I think this is Ron Reese, right?)

*Road Warriors worked as faces, getting beat up the whole match and then making a comeback. Dave says this will kill the Warriors. Fans like to see them come in and dominate instead of the traditional face comeback after getting beat up the rest of the match.

*It was announced on TV that Randy Savage is coming in, but Dave thinks it won’t happen because Joe Blanchard won’t take Lanny Poffo too.

 

WORLD CLASS

*Things continue to slide downhill since the Freebirds left.

*Shows include lots of blood, which young female fans drawn in by the Von Erichs and Freebirds do not like.

*10/27 Cottonbowl Card drew 6,000, the lowest Star Wars attendance ever. Butch Reed hobbled through a match three weeks after knee surgery.

*Wrestling Bear came through the circuit.

 

MID-SOUTH

*10/1 in New Orleans drew a full house.

*Cornette lost his hair on 9/3, but another match involving his hair was scheduled for 9/9. Dave said Paul Boesch had a communications problem with reality. They flew in some jobber, billed him as Cornette’s cousin, and shaved his head instead.

*Mid South is easily Dave’s favorite U.S. circuit. He says it has a good stable of workers who are well matched up, an excellent TV show, an excellent commentator (Watts), good work rates and good angles. They also attack the WWF, but not by putting down the wrestlers. Instead they criticize the work rate and circus atmosphere, which Dave thinks are legit criticisms.

 

AWA

*Dave thinks 11/11 in San Fran should draw with a tag team battle royal and Brody/Blackwell. If it doesn’t, AWA should just give up on San Fran.

*Rumor is someone has booked the Olympic Auditorium in LA in 1985. Dave says it could only be Fritz or Vern and that both should not even bother trying to fight Vince in LA.

*Cold war between Fritz and Vern continues. Both keep threatening on TV to run shows in the other’s territory but haven’t booked anything yet.

*Lots of no shows recently (further evidence why Verne is not the “good guy” in the war).

*Most recent Chicago card drew 8,300 compared to 6,000 for WWF.

 

ST. LOUIS

*Terry Funk came out of retirement, teamed with Dory and DDQ w/ the Road Warriors.

 

MEMPHIS

*Ric Rude turned babyface after a split with King Kong Bundy and Jimmy Hart. Dave was surprised because Rude isn’t a good worker but was an effective obnoxious heel.

* Dave has been disappointed in this region. He says it’s known for its strong action, but it has been lacking recently. He even said the WWF has been putting on better cards (a major insult).

*Says Randy Savage is a great worker, but is unreliable.

 

FLORIDA

*The Guerrors, Dick Slater, Billy Jack and Jay Youngblood have recently disappeared.

*10/27 Miami had the NWA with an outdoor show headlined by Flair/Graham. The WWF was also in town and led with Hogan/Volkoff. NWA outdrew WWF easily, but the crowd was still down.

*Solie is building up Graham as the only man that has a chance to hold all three major world titles (AWA, NWA and WWF). Apparently Solie doesn’t realize that Graham has never been AWA champ, which causes Dave to rip Solie some more (he rants against Solie at least twice an issue).

 

GEORGIA

*There’s a supposed merger between Ole in Georgia, Crockett, and Jarrett. Dave thinks it’s more of a talent share agreement, which will backfire as always.

*Later Dave reports that Jarrett and Crockett have bought out Ole, but Ole is still in the decision making chain, which will hurt everyone. (Dave hates Ole as much as Solie). He says someone besides Ole must’ve booked the most recent TV show because it was actually good.

*10/14 at the Omni drew 3,500.

*Thunderbolt Patterson had sued Ole’s current and old companies for discrimination, preventing him from working. Dave thinks T-Bolt was discriminated against because he’s a terrible worker, but thinks Patterson raises some good points, such as black wrestlers having to play stereotypical roles.

*Talks of going into Cleveland and Pittsburgh to battle Vince.

 

MID-ATLANTIC

*Dave hates that Dusty/Flair for Starrcade is being billed as a $1 million match and says the fact that Dusty is in the main event ruins any chance of Starrcade ’84 being as good or successful as ’83.

*Neither Dusty of Flair will play heel in the match, but Dave thinks it will still draw in Greensboro. He’s not so sure it will draw in the 10 arenas where it’s being close-circuited in the Carolinas. 7,100 attended a Starrcade rally to announce the main event on 10/6 in Greensboro.

*Dave thinks Mulligan and Windham jumped to WWF because Windham was never seriously considered for the Starrcade main event w/ Flair.

*A recent show in Greenville drew 3,000 and started at 8:10 p.m. and ended at 9:30. (Yuck).

*Further in the report, Dave sees Starrcade shaping up as: Flair/Dusty, Wahoo/Fernandez, Valiant/Jones, Bass-Bart/Steamboat/????, Slater/Blanchard.

 

WEEKEND UPDATE

*Speculation that Baba in Japan will sign Andre the Giant away from McMahon. Dave doubts it.

*Road Warriors appeared on Japanese TV for the first time on 10/20. Dave thinks they won’t go over well in Japan live.

*Flair pinned Mr. Olympia every night for a week during a Southeast run (anyone have any of these matches on a comp?)

*Dave thinks that Bruno is still pissed at WWF despite being back. He never contributes anything during his announcing gig w/ McMahon and only gives one sentence answers when Vince asks him anything.

*Dave thinks that John Studd can out-bench press anyone in wrestling or pro football.

*WWF drew 300 on 10/23 in Louisville (ouch).

*Sheephearders are leaving Southwest. Luke Williams got an offer to book in Puerto Rico.

*Dave says it only took 17 days in the WWF before Windham’s work rate deteriorated.

*Mike Rotundo jumping to WWF. Dave doesn’t think we’ll see many more jumps because McMahon probably has everyone he wants. People like Flair have something tying them to the NWA.

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Guest LShunter

*Cornette lost his hair on 9/3, but another match involving his hair was scheduled for 9/9. Dave said Paul Boesch had a communications problem with reality. They flew in some jobber, billed him as Cornette’s cousin, and shaved his head instead.

 

*Terry Funk came out of retirement, teamed with Dory and DDQ w/ the Road Warriors.

Both of these made me chuckle, thanks for posting this.
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*Cornette lost his hair on 9/3, but another match involving his hair was scheduled for 9/9. Dave said Paul Boesch had a communications problem with reality. They flew in some jobber, billed him as Cornette’s cousin, and shaved his head instead.

Cornette mentions this in his book

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*Cornette lost his hair on 9/3, but another match involving his hair was scheduled for 9/9. Dave said Paul Boesch had a communications problem with reality. They flew in some jobber, billed him as Cornette’s cousin, and shaved his head instead.

Cornette mentions this in his book

 

And blames Dundee. Plus neither match was in Houston IIRC.
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*Dave says Voodoo Malumba may be the worst wrestler in the world (I think this is Ron Reese, right?)

I want to say Ron Reese was the Yeti/Big Ron Studd. Jerry Reese (no relation) was Big Red/ Vodoo Malumba.

 

*Road Warriors appeared on Japanese TV for the first time on 10/20. Dave thinks they won’t go over well in Japan live.

ha

 

Dave thinks that John Studd can out-bench press anyone in wrestling or pro football.

WTF? I don't think I've ever heard Studd listed in any of Meltzer's storngest men in wrestling articles.

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*There has been some talk about having a tournament of champions featuring Flair, Martel, Colon, Bockwinkle, Rhodes, Funks, Race and Backlund.

Fuck, how cool would this have been?

 

*Cold war between Fritz and Vern continues. Both keep threatening on TV to run shows in the other’s territory but haven’t booked anything yet.

Fritz did run a couple of promo spots on TV about the Von Erichs coming to the Twin Cities. The insinuation by I think Kevin that they would show Twin Cities fans “what real wrestling was all about” wasn’t good. Very smarmy in it’s approach as I remember it (I have it on video somewhere).

 

*10/21 AWA Card in Twin Cities was a success. A tag-team battle royal, Blackwell/Brody in a lights out match and Road Warriors/Fabs drew 17,000 and $165,000, this after drawing only 3,000 six weeks ago. Hennig/Bockwinkle 20 minute draw was praised for best work rate.

I’m going to check on what card that was. I have a feeling it was Baron/Crusher vs. the LOD just after the LOD won the tag titles and Martel-Rheingans. Card would have been in mid/late August. There was a September card featuring the initial Blackwell-Brody return bout after the Blackwell injury and I think that one would have drawn a ton more than 3 grand, although I’m pretty sure that one was at the end of September.

 

WWF drew about 8,000 on 10/28, headlined by Hogan beating Studd by DQ. Apparently, Hogan was legit injured, but the match wasn't all that bad. WWF announced the next MN card will feature a 20-man Turkey Tournament with the winner crowned Turkey of 1984. 20 wrestlers get in a cage and the first to escape wins. The last one in is the Turkey. George Steele will also face Mad Dog Vachon (anyone have a tape of that disaster?).

I do have clips of that Vachon-Steele match from the evening news. It was their custom to show AWA and WWF card highlights on their sports recaps. They did so for many years.

 

Vachon was lured away from Verne in June 1984 mostly to aid his Twin Cities assault with some "hometown" name recognition. Vachon was still hugely popular with AWA fans and was only 5 months off of headlining a St. Paul program with Bockwinkel that went over very well when Vince scooped him up.

 

I have a clip of that Turkey Battleroyal card too. :D

 

 

Good job, thanks for posting that recap.

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*Dave says Voodoo Malumba may be the worst wrestler in the world (I think this is Ron Reese, right?)

I want to say Ron Reese was the Yeti/Big Ron Studd. Jerry Reese (no relation) was Big Red/ Vodoo Malumba.

 

Ah, the Yetti. How could I forget. If Malumba was in fact Ron Reese, he would've dry humped his opponents into submission.

 

Dave thinks that John Studd can out-bench press anyone in wrestling or pro football.

WTF? I don't think I've ever heard Studd listed in any of Meltzer's storngest men in wrestling articles.

 

Who knows. He was talking about weight lift contests and how sometimes they're gimmicked and sometimes not. Somehow he trailed into saying how Studd could legit out-bench anyone in wrestling or football.

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*There has been some talk about having a tournament of champions featuring Flair, Martel, Colon, Bockwinkle, Rhodes, Funks, Race and Backlund.

Fuck, how cool would this have been?

 

*Cold war between Fritz and Vern continues. Both keep threatening on TV to run shows in the other’s territory but haven’t booked anything yet.

Fritz did run a couple of promo spots on TV about the Von Erichs coming to the Twin Cities. The insinuation by I think Kevin that they would show Twin Cities fans “what real wrestling was all about” wasn’t good. Very smarmy in it’s approach as I remember it (I have it on video somewhere).

 

*10/21 AWA Card in Twin Cities was a success. A tag-team battle royal, Blackwell/Brody in a lights out match and Road Warriors/Fabs drew 17,000 and $165,000, this after drawing only 3,000 six weeks ago. Hennig/Bockwinkle 20 minute draw was praised for best work rate.

I’m going to check on what card that was. I have a feeling it was Baron/Crusher vs. the LOD just after the LOD won the tag titles and Martel-Rheingans. Card would have been in mid/late August. There was a September card featuring the initial Blackwell-Brody return bout after the Blackwell injury and I think that one would have drawn a ton more than 3 grand, although I’m pretty sure that one was at the end of September.

 

WWF drew about 8,000 on 10/28, headlined by Hogan beating Studd by DQ. Apparently, Hogan was legit injured, but the match wasn't all that bad. WWF announced the next MN card will feature a 20-man Turkey Tournament with the winner crowned Turkey of 1984. 20 wrestlers get in a cage and the first to escape wins. The last one in is the Turkey. George Steele will also face Mad Dog Vachon (anyone have a tape of that disaster?).

I do have clips of that Vachon-Steele match from the evening news. It was their custom to show AWA and WWF card highlights on their sports recaps. They did so for many years.

 

Vachon was lured away from Verne in June 1984 mostly to aid his Twin Cities assault with some "hometown" name recognition. Vachon was still hugely popular with AWA fans and was only 5 months off of headlining a St. Paul program with Bockwinkel that went over very well when Vince scooped him up.

 

I have a clip of that Turkey Battleroyal card too. :D

 

 

Good job, thanks for posting that recap.

 

I went back and checked and the 3,000 attendence was 9/9 and featured Martel/Rhiengans and a six-man involving the weasel suit w/ Heenan. Verne also made an appearance. Unfortunately, I was too young to recall the wrestling war here in the Twin Cities. My memories of the AWA start around '87 when Vince was already king. I think my parents took me to a house show in St. Cloud. Wahoo was supposed to main event with Manny Fernandez, but Fernandez no showed and I had the honor to see Wahoo destroy Pat Tanka instead.

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I went back and checked and the 3,000 attendence was 9/9 and featured Martel/Rhiengans and a six-man involving the weasel suit w/ Heenan. Verne also made an appearance. Unfortunately, I was too young to recall the wrestling war here in the Twin Cities. My memories of the AWA start around '87 when Vince was already king. I think my parents took me to a house show in St. Cloud. Wahoo was supposed to main event with Manny Fernandez, but Fernandez no showed and I had the honor to see Wahoo destroy Pat Tanka instead.

Ah yes, Heenan/Bockwinkel/Saito vs. The Fabulous Ones/Blackjack Lanza(I think). I have the Raw footage for that match. The stip was that the fans got to decide which person on the losing team would wear the weaselsuit. No doubt about who would wear it (and did).

 

It's something that Heenan touched on either in his book or his shoot. He gave Verne proper notice about going to the WWF, and Verne appreciated the notice and all he did for the AWA over the years so much that he booked the weaselsuit send-off around a bunch of the AWA circuit. Shame about the turn-out but I imagine that not many regular fans would have known Heenan was on his way out.

 

Martel-Rheingans was covered in PWI or one of those mags. Verne reffed it, and I'm sure he thought it was a killer main event. It certainly wasn't a fan-friendly match and would have been better served to be paired with the 9/30 Brody-Blackwell bout if he wanted people to see it...although I bet he was stunned at the low number for the weaselsuit card as that gimmick always did well for the AWA. The first one with Greg Gagne in August of 1980 had heat off the charts, and other versions also did quite well.

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I went back and checked and the 3,000 attendence was 9/9 and featured Martel/Rhiengans and a six-man involving the weasel suit w/ Heenan. Verne also made an appearance. Unfortunately, I was too young to recall the wrestling war here in the Twin Cities. My memories of the AWA start around '87 when Vince was already king. I think my parents took me to a house show in St. Cloud. Wahoo was supposed to main event with Manny Fernandez, but Fernandez no showed and I had the honor to see Wahoo destroy Pat Tanka instead.

Ah yes, Heenan/Bockwinkel/Saito vs. The Fabulous Ones/Blackjack Lanza(I think). I have the Raw footage for that match. The stip was that the fans got to decide which person on the losing team would wear the weaselsuit. No doubt about who would wear it (and did).

 

It's something that Heenan touched on either in his book or his shoot. He gave Verne proper notice about going to the WWF, and Verne appreciated the notice and all he did for the AWA over the years so much that he booked the weaselsuit send-off around a bunch of the AWA circuit. Shame about the turn-out but I imagine that not many regular fans would have known Heenan was on his way out.

 

Martel-Rheingans was covered in PWI or one of those mags. Verne reffed it, and I'm sure he thought it was a killer main event. It certainly wasn't a fan-friendly match and would have been better served to be paired with the 9/30 Brody-Blackwell bout if he wanted people to see it...although I bet he was stunned at the low number for the weaselsuit card as that gimmick always did well for the AWA. The first one with Greg Gagne in August of 1980 had heat off the charts, and other versions also did quite well.

 

Dave (or maybe it was in the Mondo Mat Report) also discussed in one of the issues how good Heenan was, but that he'd done essentially the same thing in AWA for his entire stint and it was probably time for him to move on and try a different circuit. He also speculated that Heenan regretted jumping at first. That feeling couldn't have lasted long. Based on reading the Observer, it seems like the AWA put the title on Martel and didn't have any sort of program for him. No angles, no feuds, no consistent opponents. I've always liked Martel myself, but he's definitely not a guy you want to use at the top to try and save your promotion.

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*Dave says Voodoo Malumba may be the worst wrestler in the world (I think this is Ron Reese, right?)

I want to say Ron Reese was the Yeti/Big Ron Studd. Jerry Reese (no relation) was Big Red/ Vodoo Malumba.

 

Ah, the Yetti. How could I forget. If Malumba was in fact Ron Reese, he would've dry humped his opponents into submission.

 

Dave thinks that John Studd can out-bench press anyone in wrestling or pro football.

WTF? I don't think I've ever heard Studd listed in any of Meltzer's storngest men in wrestling articles.

 

Who knows. He was talking about weight lift contests and how sometimes they're gimmicked and sometimes not. Somehow he trailed into saying how Studd could legit out-bench anyone in wrestling or football.

 

This would have been around the time Studd "broke" the bench press record on TNT, I assume?
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Dave (or maybe it was in the Mondo Mat Report) also discussed in one of the issues how good Heenan was, but that he'd done essentially the same thing in AWA for his entire stint and it was probably time for him to move on and try a different circuit. He also speculated that Heenan regretted jumping at first. That feeling couldn't have lasted long. Based on reading the Observer, it seems like the AWA put the title on Martel and didn't have any sort of program for him. No angles, no feuds, no consistent opponents. I've always liked Martel myself, but he's definitely not a guy you want to use at the top to try and save your promotion.

One thing I have noted from all the issues of the OBserver that I have ever read is that Dave had a real hate on for the AWA. He had no respect for the idea that guys like Raschke, Vachon, Crusher and even Verne could draw or were popular because they were so long in the tooth. I always got the impression that he thought Minnesota fans were really, really stupid for buying into the AWA at all.

Plus I don't think Dave actually saw much of the AWA until much later than 1984. If he had, he would have realized one simple truth: guys like Vachon and Crusher were over a ton.

 

His AWA sections often reminded me of his hard-ons for Junkyard Dog and Bob Backlund.

 

His comment on Heenan (or the other guy, whomever it was) makes sense to a degree but I think they still had a ton they could have done with Heenan. Imagine the Bockwinkel-Zbyszko feud with Heenan also turning on Bock and managing Larry? Off the charts heat and exactly the sort of thing that would have kept the AWA near the front when talking about the top promotions. that's just one example.

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Dave (or maybe it was in the Mondo Mat Report) also discussed in one of the issues how good Heenan was, but that he'd done essentially the same thing in AWA for his entire stint and it was probably time for him to move on and try a different circuit. He also speculated that Heenan regretted jumping at first. That feeling couldn't have lasted long. Based on reading the Observer, it seems like the AWA put the title on Martel and didn't have any sort of program for him. No angles, no feuds, no consistent opponents. I've always liked Martel myself, but he's definitely not a guy you want to use at the top to try and save your promotion.

One thing I have noted from all the issues of the OBserver that I have ever read is that Dave had a real hate on for the AWA. He had no respect for the idea that guys like Raschke, Vachon, Crusher and even Verne could draw or were popular because they were so long in the tooth. I always got the impression that he thought Minnesota fans were really, really stupid for buying into the AWA at all.

Plus I don't think Dave actually saw much of the AWA until much later than 1984. If he had, he would have realized one simple truth: guys like Vachon and Crusher were over a ton.

 

His AWA sections often reminded me of his hard-ons for Junkyard Dog and Bob Backlund.

 

His comment on Heenan (or the other guy, whomever it was) makes sense to a degree but I think they still had a ton they could have done with Heenan. Imagine the Bockwinkel-Zbyszko feud with Heenan also turning on Bock and managing Larry? Off the charts heat and exactly the sort of thing that would have kept the AWA near the front when talking about the top promotions. that's just one example.

 

I just finished reading all of the Observers from 1984. The impression I get from both Dave and the guy that does the Mondo Mat Report (which is a report on the pro wrestling scene in the Twin Cities) isn't necessarily hatred for the AWA, but frustration. Dave hates guys like Gordon Solie, Ole Anderson and Dusty Rhodes. He dislikes McMahon, but he tries to be fair with him. With the aforementioned three, he does nothing but bash them. I don't think Dave has the same level of hatred for the AWA that he has for guys like Solie, Anderson and Rhodes.

 

It seems like Dave acknowledges that guys like Crusher, Vachon and Raschke were great in their time, but their time has come and gone. He doesn't think fans care about them any more in their old age and that Verne just doesn't understand this. Instead of trying to develop new talent and angles, he just puts the Crusher out there and crosses his fingers everything will be OK.

 

I was too young to follow the AWA during this time period, but that's my interpretation on the promotion based on Dave's (and the other guy's) writings from 1984.

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Those are not unfair assertions. Things like him identifying Curt Hennig as the company's best worker in 1984 and not understanding why he wasn't being pushed more is an example. No way that Hennig was ready to be a star in 1984 and pushing him to the top at that point would have been death. Things like that make me think that Dave never really watched the product because though he wasn't far off on how good Hennig was then, he didn't seem to get that he wasn't ready to be a real star yet..and that wasn't hard to see at the time.

 

I always thought Hennig's development curve in the AWA between 84 and 88 was well planned out and ultimately benefited Hennig as well.

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Thanks for posting this! I love reading thse kinds of things, so I'd definitely be psyched if you do more from time to time.

I should have the next issue up shortly. I'm a machine right now! Reading them isn't a problem (they're very addicting and it passes the time on the bus or working out). Finding some time to type up the summaries is difficult. I'm between bosses right now at work, so I'm working regular hours for the most part. Once the new boss arrives, I'm sure my free time will diminish. I love discussing the news in each issue so I hope I can keep posting these regularly and generate some discussion.

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