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Wrestling Observer Recap -- 1984 Yearbook


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I didn't type each and every award winner or the entire top 50. Believe it or not, I actually do have a life. If you have specific questions, just ask and I'll go back and look. Enjoy!

 

Editor’s Notes

*Dave says he will be doing the publication for the forseeable future, or until all good circuits are gone. He says we’re down to about four or five.

 

*Tuesday Night Titans switched to Fridays. He says as soon as wrestling reaches a saturation point, cutbacks will occur and the territories will get hit hardest since WWF can lose 70 percent of its cable time and still have plenty of programming.

 

*Dave says the WWF plan is to make wrestling so ridiculous and bizarre that it attracts a cult audience who enjoys it because of its poor taste, making work rate and performance unimportant.

 

*Dave thins ’85 will be a successful year for WWF because it has its audience. He’s not sure how long the audience will stick around, however.

 

*Dave says the media will pick up on the “wrestling resurgence” even though there is no resurgence. The big year for wrestling was ‘83.

 

*Many in the business are talking about McMahon going under and that WWF lost between $5-7 million in 1984. Dave thinks that’s high, but says payoffs are lower. He also speculates the rumors could be WWF created in order to justify lower payoffs.

 

*Dave says WWF holds back its genuine wrestling talent because it doesn’t want to expose its main eventers. If the new breed of fan saw quality wrestling, they’d demand more of it. The main eventers in the WWF can’t deliver this so they would be exposed.

 

*Dave says a lot of readers think other promoters are blameless in the wrestling war. There are a lot of Crockett apologists. Dave says other promoters are to blame for being stupid, and that if McMahon didn’t try a takeover someone else would’ve. He also says Crockett’s strategy of waiting for Vince to go bankrupt is short-sighted.

 

*Dave introduces his new star rating system.

 

1984 Highlights

*Hulkamania. Hogan has gained popularity with WWF’s new audience, young and easily manipulated rock ‘n roll fans. Hogan’s run has been a disappointment. He drew well at first in the northeast, but not very well in other areas. His matches are bad and predictable, and his ego has grown along with his popularity. Dave also says that Hogan remains arguably the most popular wrestler in the world.

 

*The David Von Erich death is summarized.

 

*Vince’s takeover of Georgia is summarized.

 

*Tsuruta’s run as the first long-term Japanese champ is summarized. Dave says fans didn’t really appreciate Tsuruta and he never really was put in a strong program.

 

*The return of Tiger Mask and the controversy surrounding the UWF was summarized.

 

*Wrestlers who jumped to WWF were noted. These included Hogan, Piper, Mulligan, Whindham, Rotundo, Kimala, Freebirds, JYD, Vachon, Vetura, Schults, Billy Jack, Okerlund, Valentine, Orton and many others. Many didn’t last long and a few jumped from WWF to other promotions. The Choshu led group that left New Japan for All Japan was also highlighted.

 

*The Rock ‘n Wrestling connection was highlighted. Dave says that in one year we’ve gone from two hours of weekly wrestling available in most areas to 23 hours.

 

AWA News (I think from Mr. Mike)

*WWF Turkey Tournament in St. Paul bombed, drawing 3,000. Local Twin Cities media even mocked it. AWA’s Thanksgiving show drew 17,000 headlined by Martell/Robinson and Roadies/Blackwell-Bundy. Masked Superstar debuted. Mike says the AWA is still alive and closed year w/ momentum.

 

*Mike called into a local radio show to ask Greg Gagne if the AWA will bring in the Dynamite Kid. Gagne said he hasn’t seen much of Kid, but thinks he might be too small to compete against some of the larger AWA wrestlers (Gagne saying someone is too small!).

 

*Brody will have to be in the ring w/ Greg Gagne for some upcoming tag matches. This pisses Mike off to no end.

 

*Christmas was a sellout at the St. Paul Civic Center, drawing about 13,000. The Civic Center usually holds 19,000, but about 6,000 seats were off limits because Prince’s stage was set up in one section of the arena for a performance later in the week.

 

*WWF Christmas show drew 13,000, surpassing Mike’s expectations, headlined by Hogan/Sheik. Mike thinks the good turnout was due to the WWF’s superior TV show. He also says ’85 is looking good for the WWF, even better if they can find a challenger for Hogan. Next WWF date is 1/29 w/out Hogan.

 

1984 Wrestling Ratings

*Dave got in 98 ballots for the top 50. I’ll list the top 10.

1. Flair

2. Dynamite

3. Brody

4. Super Tiger

5. Davey Boy

6. Choshu

7. Butch Reed

8. Fujinami

9. Stan Hansen

10 Steamboat

 

*Dave then lists all the champions of 1984 by promotion.

 

*Largest crowds is next. The largest was 45,000 in Islamabad, Pakistan headlined by Inoki/Coage. Next was 42,000 for Starrcade ’84, which included closed-circuit locations.

 

More From Mr. Mike

*Mike sums up the wrestling war. He says the WWF initially hit hard, but some circuits, like the AWA, appear to by rallying. Mid-Atlantic got raided hard but is coming off a highly attended Starrcade and is holding its own.

 

*He wonders if WWF is hurting for money. They’re brining in lower level talent than when they initially began their expansion. Mike thinks a good foe for Hogan would be Butch Reed, but that the WWF hasn’t approached him yet. He says Savage turned them down.

 

*Mike thinks the AWA will hang in as long as Brody sticks around. They also need to get a new champion besides Martell. Also thinks NWA should keep going because of Flair, but even he can’t wheather temporary title changes and other bad decisions.

 

Starrcade ’84 Recap

*Dave says the card wasn’t nearly as good as ’83, but he still thought it was a good show. All wrestlers performed to potential, but some had limited potential to begin with.

 

*Says Blanchard/Steamboat was one of the best matches he’s seen all year and it might’ve saved the card.

 

*Says Rhodes lost to Flair when the match was called for blood, but Rhodes usually bleeds worse when he shaves.

 

Letters

*A variety of letters this time, ranging from disappointment in Starrcade to WWF bashing.

 

*Dave reprints an ad for Raleigh Satellites where you can get two free tix to Monday night wrestling with a satellite purchase.

 

Inside Japanese Wrestling

*Dave vacationed in Japan and attended several cards. He says he knows people are tired of him saying it, but the three Japanese promotions are the best in the world.

 

*He explains how Japanese wrestling is treated as legit sport and is covered like baseball or football is covered here in the U.S. There are also stores entirely dedicated to selling wrestling items and there are over 30 LPs on the market related to wrestling – this includes an album from Terry Funk.

 

*Describes UWF wrestling as culture shock, it’s the hardest he’s seen. The only way someone goes down is when they’re forced down by the impact of a kick or move. It’s more like a combination of amateur wrestling and kick karate. He says UWF wrestling would go over 99 percent of the American fan’s heads.

 

*Dave runs downs the cards he attended, giving results and thoughts on each match. Highlight was Super Tiger knocking out Yoshiaki Fujiwara with a kick to the head that Dave called the most severe blow he’s ever seen in wrestling. Fujiwara tried to continue and got kicked in the face by Tiger at least 50 times. Dave says the bout was fantastic in a way, but the viciousness turned him off. He enjoys wrestling for the visual violence w/out dealing with the consequences like brain damage and permanent injuries. “That isn’t wrestling” was the sentiment of most fans.

 

*He says the building was jam packed and if it were in the U.S., there would’ve been 30 riots.

 

*Dave said the reaction he heard for Choshu at the All Japan show was more than he’s heard for Hogan or Kerry. He says the only reaction to top it was Rhodes in Florida in ’74.

 

1984 Wrestling Observer Awards

*Wrestler of the Year: 1) Flair; 2) Dynamite; 3) Brody. Dave says if WWF lost Hogan, they could replace him. If NWA lost Flair, they’d be done.

 

*Best Face: 1) Hogan; 2) Kerry; 3) Slaughter. The commentators swallow hard and give Hulk some love for his appeal and impact.

 

*Best Heel: 1) Piper; 2) Sheik; 3) Brody/Hayes (tie). Consensus was Piper deserved to be No. 1 w/out question.

 

*Tag Team of the Year: 1) Warriors; 2) Dynamite/Davey Boy; 3) Brody/Hansen. Commentators say there are some strong teams and all do not list Warriors first because of their low work rate and short matches.

 

*Most Impressive: 1) Dynamite; 2) Flair; 3) Davey Boy. Mondo Mike picked Adrian Adonis third. He was the only one to disagree w/ top 3.

 

*Most Washed Up: 1) Jimmy Snuka; 2) Jay Strongbow; 3) Tito Santana. Consensus on Snuka, but also some mentions of Gino Hernandez and Jake Roberts.

 

*Best on Interviews: 1) Jimmy Hart; 2) Piper; 3) Flair. Dave thinks Flair is getting a bit burned out and his interviews are falling off a bit.

 

*Most Charismatic: 1) Flair; 2) Hayes; 3) Hogan. Dave says charisma to him is someone that can do absolutely nothing and get the crowd to react. He says the Road Warriors get his nod because they’re portrayed as heels but get more cheers than the faces.

 

*Best Technical Wrestler: 1) Dynamite/Saito (tie); 3) Fujinami.

 

*Most Overrated: 1) Studd; 2) Hogan; 3) JYD. Mondo Mike thinks it’s funny how promoters get fans to buy bad workers. He says your push in the WWF is determined by how well you do with your entrance music. Dave can’t pick Hogan first. He says Hogan’s bad but not pathetic.

 

*Most Underrated: 1) Brian Blair; 2) Takada; 3) Starr. This was a tough one because it was hard to determine how to define underrated. By who: the fans? Promotions? Other wrestlers? Technically, all Japanese wrestlers could win this one.

 

*Best Circuit: 1) New Japan; 2) All Japan; 3) Mid South. Dave picked all three Japan promotion despite liking what he saw in Mid-South.

 

*Match of they Year: 1) Freebirds/Von Erichs 7/4; 2) Slaughter/Sheik (6/16); 3) Flair/Kerry 5/6.

 

*Hardest Worker: 1) Flair; 2) Dynamite; 3) Brody. Dave could only recall one bad Flair match he saw in ’84.

 

*Best Announcer: 1) Russell; 2) Watts; 3) Solie. Surprisingly, Dave didn’t mock and ridicule Solie here like he does at least once per issue.

 

Best Manager: 1) Jimmy Hart; 2) Albano; 3) Cornette. Dave thinks Hart makes the Memphis TV show.

 

Worst Wrestler: 1) Putski; 2) Kimala; 3) Crusher. (Quit picking on Kimala)

 

Worst Announcer: 1) Mosca; 2) Monsoon; 3) Reynolds. Dave gets his Solie bashing in here, but says he couldn’t pick him first because Mosca is way worse.

 

Worst Match: 1) Moolah/Richter; 2) Andre/Studd; 3) Martel/Tsuruta title change.

 

WWF

*Cyndi Lauper is working w/ Albano and Piper.

 

*Sgt. Slaughter wanted to renegotiate his deal w/ WWF and Vince let him go. Sarge couldn’t agree to terms w/ Crockett and might show up in the AWA soon. Or he might just come back to WWF.

 

*WWF drew 2,800 in Houston compared to 10,000 drawn by Mid-South for a free show the same night. Same situation in Oklahoma saw WWF outdrawn 10,000 to 1,500. Watts had to turn several fans away and they ended up going to the WWF show instead.

 

*WWF drew well in Los Angeles, Oakland, Boston and Toronto. Philly drew 13,500 and Dave says Philly fans pelt the ring with more garbage than any other fans.

 

*Dave goes through a bunch of WWF results and throws in some sarcastic comments. Example: “You can burn more calories sipping a cup of coffee than David Schults burns during a match.”

 

*Rocky Johnson left. Jesse Ventura is back. Dave says Kimala left because of the travel schedule.

 

*11/23 in Hartford was supposed to be a cage battle royal, but the athletic commission wouldn’t allow it. Instead they had 23 very short cage matches.

 

*Two most recent shows in Columbus, OH drew 3,500 and 3,000. Ole’s first show there in several months drew 2,500 headlined by Flair/Rich.

 

*Hogan took time off instead of touring Japan to rest a knee injury. Adonis/Murdoch should be tag champs soon.

 

*First WWF Calgary tour drew under expectations for half of the cities and right at expectations in the other half.

 

*WWF’s first show in Dallas drew 2,500 compared to 4,000 for World Class on the same night. Crowd at WWF show was mostly people that do not attend World Class shows and was rowdier. WWF returns on 1/17 w/ Hogan/Sheik.

 

*Bob Backlund’s new Northeast promotion is drawing less than 500 per show.

 

Pro Wrestling USA

*Newest TV taping location is Las Vegas, but all of the talent is AWA besides Kimala. They actually ran an angle as well.

 

*First, and Dave thinks last, Meadowlands show is 2/24. He’s not sure if Vern and Crockett can work together and actually pull the show off.

 

*The NWA and Ole had a show booked for 2/30 in Pittsburgh but the building was suddenly pulled from them.

 

All Japan

*Baba and McMahon met regarding the jump of Davey Boy/Dynamite to All Japan. The meeting was arranged by a New Japan booker with the hopes of arranging an out of court settlement with Kid/Smith since they are under contract w/ New Japan until 1986. Kid and Smith were displeased w/ their pay in NJ, which was $1,500-$2,000 weekly. They should make $2,500-$3,500 weekly in All Japan. Dave notes the Warriors will be coming over soon at $10,000 per week for each of them.

 

*Onita, who retired in ’83, returned but didn’t look too good because of his knee. He retired again shortly after.

 

*Kid/Smith will be starting up a promotion in Western Canada in late Feb.

 

UWF

*Some main event matches will soon be held w/out ropes. Dave says this style doesn’t need ropes anyway.

 

*The latest series took place thanks to a sponsor of New Japan putting up $160,000. A joint UWF/NJ show was also discussed. A subsequent meeting between NJ and UWF was cancelled after the UWF wrestlers stormed out because reporters arrived at the meeting. The sponsor was mad and demanded the $160,000 back. UWF gave back $48,000, or what was left after paying off all debts.

 

*This group should last through the summer with a new sponsorship and then fold. The wrestlers insist they’ll all retire instead of going back to wrestling a traditional style.

 

New Japan

*Hogan’s reputation took a hit when he left his tour after one match. He bladed himself badly and the fans were told he went home to recuperate. Actually, he went home to rehab his knee, but the fans thought he left to tour WWF areas.

 

*A TV show that broadcasts matches from Mexico and Japan is creating some problems by how Masa Saito is portrayed. Saito, shown wrestling in Winnipeg, is portrayed as a “dirty jap” wrestler.

 

Southwest

*This territory continues to get more gruesome. During a promo, four wrestlers proudly displayed their scarred forheads and later bladed themselves on the cheek.

 

World Class

*X-Mas show at Reunion Arena drew 17,000 headlined by Flair/Kerry. Match was good but the DQ ending was horrible. Otherwise show as terrible.

 

*Says ’85 might be a rough year for this promotion. There are no babyfaces that can put on good matches besides Kerry and Gordy. Aside from Chris Adams, heel situation is also bleak.

 

*Dave said Gordy/Kimala headlined a show opposite the WWF was really good, proving Kimala has been in at least one good match during his career.

 

*Dave says the fact that WWF didn’t bomb during its debut here as he predicted shows that McMahon is catering to an entirely different audience. Dave doesn’t necessarily buy that, but gives McMahon credit for drawing a crowd.

 

*Another factor dragging this promotion down is the refusal to make Mike Von Erich lose or look bad.

 

Mid-South

*11/22 Superdome drew only 7,500, the lowest crowd in recent memory. Last year’s Thanksgiving show also drew poorly, so it could just be a bad time of year, but Dave thinks it was the poor card. However, the same lineup used in the Superdome drew 12,000 three days later in Houston.

 

*Mid-South traded Jim Cornette to World Class for Skandor Akbar. Dave says Mid-South might actually use Akbar right so it might not be a bad trade after all.

 

*Butch Reed is now a face, but isn’t going over very well. Dave can’t figure out why.

 

AWA

*More of the same stuff…..not much for new happenings that wasn't covered above.

 

*Salt Lake crowds are down. WWF drew 11,000 on 12/29 in St. Paul. Hints of Gagne/Brunzell splitting.

 

Central States

*Show was run on Thanksgiving afternoon, which Dave compares to running a show at the same time of the Super Bowl in the same town as one of the Super Bowl teams.

 

Jarrett Promotions

*Behind the scenes maneuvering by Lawler and Jarrett has lowered the rent at Mid-South Coliseum from 12 percent of the gate to 10 percent. Crowds have been way down and the promotion feels it was because an entertainment tax being levied, which forced tickets to rise $1 per seat (damn liberals even try to ruin wrestling!). Dave explains how the tax on wrestling somehow went from four to 11.75 percent. It was all kind of confusing. He went back to it later in the report, which confused me even more (good thing Meltzer reports on wrestling and not Capitol Hill).

 

*The first crowd on 12/10 with the lower ticket price was 9,000, the largest in a long time. Crowd dropped a bit next show. Dave says all politics and taxes aside, the TV show is still good but live cards are bad. There’s no incentive to attend a live show.

 

*Fans seem to hate Solie and chant for him to go back to Georgia. They event started a petition to get him off the show. Dave doesn’t think he’s all that bad, comparatively speaking.

 

*12/2 Omni show only drew 1,000.

 

Florida

*Michael Hayes is booking the area. Billy Jack only returned for one week. Backlund for only two weeks.

 

Mid-Atlantic

*Crowds have been horrible since Starrcade. Dave expects a few key personnel to depart the territory shortly.

 

Other Notes

*Kerry didn’t get the part in the new Rocky movie. Nikita Koloff was also a finalist.

 

*20/20 will be doing a special on wrestling soon. Eddy Mansfield will be featured.

 

*Billy Jack now wrestling under his real name, Billy Haynes, in Dallas. One Man Gang in Dallas.

 

*Jim Niedhart rumored to be WWF-bound. Dave gives a rundown of the entire Hart family and their involvement in wrestling.

 

*There’s a piece on Jesse Ventura in the latest WWF magazine. Jesse is on blood thinners to keep him from clotting. If he bleeds during a match he could bleed to death.

 

*Warriors broke Ken Lucas’ nose in the dressing room at a recent Pro Wrestling USA taping. Lucas didn’t appreciate the Warriors not selling his moves so he didn’t sell theirs.

 

*Dave says most recent TV taping in Vegas was actually good.

 

*All Japan has so much talent its booking 40 wrestlers per show.

 

*Sheepherders back in Southwest. Southwest event outdrew World Class one night in Texas.

 

*Ric Rude and Missing Link headed to Florida.

 

*It’s official: Slaughter to debut w/ AWA on 1/13. Dave hopes for a Slaughter/Brody series.

 

*AWA deal to buy St. Louis territory on hold for now.

 

*AWA higher ups unhappy w/ Road Warriors because of a no-show in Green Bay. Some would like to get rid of them, but can’t figure out how to do so w/out losing money. Talk of putting them in the ring w/ Backlund/Rheingans to “teach them a lesson.”

 

*Percy Pringle is a new heel manager in Florida managing the PYTs and the Missing Link. He’s doing a Jim Cornette rich-mama act.

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*The NWA and Ole had a show booked for 2/30 in Pittsburgh but the building was suddenly pulled from them.*The NWA and Ole had a show booked for 2/30 in Pittsburgh but the building was suddenly pulled from them.

Either the date is a typo or they lost the date because 2/30 doesn't exist. :D

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*The NWA and Ole had a show booked for 2/30 in Pittsburgh but the building was suddenly pulled from them.*The NWA and Ole had a show booked for 2/30 in Pittsburgh but the building was suddenly pulled from them.

Either the date is a typo or they lost the date because 2/30 doesn't exist. :D

 

Whoops. Make that 12/30!

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*11/23 in Hartford was supposed to be a cage battle royal, but the athletic commission wouldn’t allow it. Instead they had 23 very short cage matches.

That's crazy. It did happen though.

 

WWF @ Hartford, CT - Civic Center - November 23, 1984

Steel Cage Turmoil:

WWF IC Champion Greg Valentine defeated SD Jones

WWF IC Champion Greg Valentine defeated Angelo Mosca

Tony Atlas defeated WWF IC Champion Greg Valentine

Tony Atlas defeated Bob Orton

David Schultz defeated Tony Atlas

Tito Santana defeated David Schultz

Tito Santana defeated Moondog Rex

Tito Santana defeated Bobby Heenan

Tito Santana defeated Moondog Spot

Ken Patera defeated Tito Santana

Ken Patera defeated David Sammartino

Ken Patera defeated Swede Hanson

Ken Patera defeated Mario Mancini

Ken Patera defeated Mr. Fuji

Ken Patera defeated Jose Luis Rivera

Chief Jay Strongbow defeated Ken Patera

Big John Studd defeated Chief Jay Strongbow

Big John Studd defeated Salvatore Bellomo

Finals: Big John Studd defeated Rocky Johnson

Non Cage Matches:

David Sammartino defeated Mr. Fuji

The Tonga Kid defeated Roddy Piper via disqualification

Tito Santana defeated Moondog Rex

Tony Atlas & Rocky Johnson defeated WWF IC Champion Greg Valentine & David Schultz via disqualification

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*11/23 in Hartford was supposed to be a cage battle royal, but the athletic commission wouldn’t allow it. Instead they had 23 very short cage matches.

That's crazy. It did happen though.

 

WWF @ Hartford, CT - Civic Center - November 23, 1984

Steel Cage Turmoil:

WWF IC Champion Greg Valentine defeated SD Jones

WWF IC Champion Greg Valentine defeated Angelo Mosca

Tony Atlas defeated WWF IC Champion Greg Valentine

Tony Atlas defeated Bob Orton

David Schultz defeated Tony Atlas

Tito Santana defeated David Schultz

Tito Santana defeated Moondog Rex

Tito Santana defeated Bobby Heenan

Tito Santana defeated Moondog Spot

Ken Patera defeated Tito Santana

Ken Patera defeated David Sammartino

Ken Patera defeated Swede Hanson

Ken Patera defeated Mario Mancini

Ken Patera defeated Mr. Fuji

Ken Patera defeated Jose Luis Rivera

Chief Jay Strongbow defeated Ken Patera

Big John Studd defeated Chief Jay Strongbow

Big John Studd defeated Salvatore Bellomo

Finals: Big John Studd defeated Rocky Johnson

Non Cage Matches:

David Sammartino defeated Mr. Fuji

The Tonga Kid defeated Roddy Piper via disqualification

Tito Santana defeated Moondog Rex

Tony Atlas & Rocky Johnson defeated WWF IC Champion Greg Valentine & David Schultz via disqualification

 

There is a handheld of this card. Gauntlet-style cage bouts. Weird but ok.

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AWA News (I think from Mr. Mike)

*WWF Turkey Tournament in St. Paul bombed, drawing 3,000. Local Twin Cities media even mocked it. AWA’s Thanksgiving show drew 17,000 headlined by Martell/Robinson and Roadies/Blackwell-Bundy. Masked Superstar debuted. Mike says the AWA is still alive and closed year w/ momentum.

Martel-Robinson was actually a decent match given that nobody thought Robinson had a snowball's chance to take the title. Still a good competitive bout. The real seller of tickets on this card was the Roadies match, although there was also a Greg Gagne revenge match against Sheik Kaissie in a cage that would have brought some fans in, too. This was just after the Lights out match between Brody and Blackwell and it would have been Greg's first wrestling return to the ring for revenge. IIRC Masked Superstar ends up coming into the cage to save Sheik and beat on Gagne, and Jerry Blackwell comes in for the save. Blackwell was ridiculously hot as the top face about that time.

 

The Turkey Battleroyal the WWF did was indeed mocked by the media in all of their sports reports (Twin Cities TV used to show highlights of all the wrestling cards up through at least the end of 1985, and plenty of years before that).

 

Southwest

*This territory continues to get more gruesome. During a promo, four wrestlers proudly displayed their scarred forheads and later bladed themselves on the cheek.

um, what?

Anyone have additional insight into who they were and why they would do something like that?

 

*AWA higher ups unhappy w/ Road Warriors because of a no-show in Green Bay. Some would like to get rid of them, but can’t figure out how to do so w/out losing money. Talk of putting them in the ring w/ Backlund/Rheingans to “teach them a lesson.”

That would have been a fun little sparring session.

 

Hints of Gagne/Brunzell splitting.

This makes little sense as the High Flyers tagged in a "reunion" match on 1/13/85 in St. Paul against Kaissie and Masked Superstar. They had not wrestled together since April of 1984 when Brody took them both out. The Flyers splitting was never teased in the Minnesota markets as far as I can remember...the opposite was the selling point. Must've ben a local Salt Lake angle of some sort or Dave misread what he thought he was seeing (or his correspondent did).

After this would have been written, the Flyers teamed several times in Winnipeg (and probably many other cities) before Brunzell left for the WWF. One notable match was the Freebirds (Hayes and Roberts) getting the win in Winnipeg over Gagne and Brunzell at the stat of the Freebirds "push" (such as it was).

 

Good stuff again, thanks.

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AWA News (I think from Mr. Mike)

*WWF Turkey Tournament in St. Paul bombed, drawing 3,000. Local Twin Cities media even mocked it. AWA’s Thanksgiving show drew 17,000 headlined by Martell/Robinson and Roadies/Blackwell-Bundy. Masked Superstar debuted. Mike says the AWA is still alive and closed year w/ momentum.

Martel-Robinson was actually a decent match given that nobody thought Robinson had a snowball's chance to take the title. Still a good competitive bout. The real seller of tickets on this card was the Roadies match, although there was also a Greg Gagne revenge match against Sheik Kaissie in a cage that would have brought some fans in, too. This was just after the Lights out match between Brody and Blackwell and it would have been Greg's first wrestling return to the ring for revenge. IIRC Masked Superstar ends up coming into the cage to save Sheik and beat on Gagne, and Jerry Blackwell comes in for the save. Blackwell was ridiculously hot as the top face about that time.

 

The Turkey Battleroyal the WWF did was indeed mocked by the media in all of their sports reports (Twin Cities TV used to show highlights of all the wrestling cards up through at least the end of 1985, and plenty of years before that).

 

Southwest

*This territory continues to get more gruesome. During a promo, four wrestlers proudly displayed their scarred forheads and later bladed themselves on the cheek.

um, what?

Anyone have additional insight into who they were and why they would do something like that?

 

*AWA higher ups unhappy w/ Road Warriors because of a no-show in Green Bay. Some would like to get rid of them, but can’t figure out how to do so w/out losing money. Talk of putting them in the ring w/ Backlund/Rheingans to “teach them a lesson.”

That would have been a fun little sparring session.

 

Hints of Gagne/Brunzell splitting.

This makes little sense as the High Flyers tagged in a "reunion" match on 1/13/85 in St. Paul against Kaissie and Masked Superstar. They had not wrestled together since April of 1984 when Brody took them both out. The Flyers splitting was never teased in the Minnesota markets as far as I can remember...the opposite was the selling point. Must've ben a local Salt Lake angle of some sort or Dave misread what he thought he was seeing (or his correspondent did).

After this would have been written, the Flyers teamed several times in Winnipeg (and probably many other cities) before Brunzell left for the WWF. One notable match was the Freebirds (Hayes and Roberts) getting the win in Winnipeg over Gagne and Brunzell at the stat of the Freebirds "push" (such as it was).

 

Good stuff again, thanks.

 

You're right about Gagne's return boosting attendence. The Mondo Mike guy mentions that. I had to re-type some of this recap because of computer issues, so I went through the Mondo Mat report on the AWA a little hastily. Dave also mentioned he thought the High Flyers split was a longshot, but some people were hinting at it.

 

The Southwest cheek bladers were Embry, Greer, Starr and Sweetan.

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*WWF drew 2,800 in Houston compared to 10,000 drawn by Mid-South for a free show the same night. Same situation in Oklahoma saw WWF outdrawn 10,000 to 1,500. Watts had to turn several fans away and they ended up going to the WWF show instead.

Those arena holding the Mid-South shows were full of smoke. I'd like to declare Vince the winner of the evening.
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*WWF drew 2,800 in Houston compared to 10,000 drawn by Mid-South for a free show the same night. Same situation in Oklahoma saw WWF outdrawn 10,000 to 1,500. Watts had to turn several fans away and they ended up going to the WWF show instead.

Those arena holding the Mid-South shows were full of smoke. I'd like to declare Vince the winner of the evening.
I'd say Vince won because he charged for his tickets.
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Was Tito Santana like a super bumper or something early in his career that in 1984 he would be listed as "washed up"?

I think he was lumped into the washed up group because he was one of many workers on the WWF roster that had a lot of talent but either wasn't allowed or got too lazy to actually use it.

That explanation doesn't really make sense, as he was allowed to use his talent, as he was given the IC belt in 1984, worked with many of the top heels from a working standpoint (Muraco, Valentine, Orndorff, Orton, etc.) and his matches were given time to breathe. He also wasn't too lazy to use it, as his work from that time period held up well in the DVDVR 80s set. He was still a very solid, reliable performer. Sounds like an early Observer myth.

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Was Tito Santana like a super bumper or something early in his career that in 1984 he would be listed as "washed up"?

I think he was lumped into the washed up group because he was one of many workers on the WWF roster that had a lot of talent but either wasn't allowed or got too lazy to actually use it.

That explanation doesn't really make sense, as he was allowed to use his talent, as he was given the IC belt in 1984, worked with many of the top heels from a working standpoint (Muraco, Valentine, Orndorff, Orton, etc.) and his matches were given time to breathe. He also wasn't too lazy to use it, as his work from that time period held up well in the DVDVR 80s set. He was still a very solid, reliable performer. Sounds like an early Observer myth.

 

 

I'll have to go back and check, but I don't think Meltzer or the other commentators included Tito in their washed up lists. He came in third on reader ballots. Meltzer describes Tito's matches as hit or miss. He seems to like most of his matches with Valentine.

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These are fascinating reads and I love going into the past...though naturally these WONs are uber-smarky for me. You think it would kill Meltzer at the time to say anything nice about the WWF...or was it really doing iffy business when the Hulkamania "boom" started?

He gives the WWF credit every now and then, but usually in a backhanded way. The way Meltzer portrays it, the WWF has always done great in the northeast. When they started going national during the Hogan boom, it struggled to crack certain markets, yet McMahon always bragged about how the WWF sells out huge arenas throughout the U.S. and are the No. 1 wrestling promotion in the world. In other words, it didn't sound like the WWF was doing iffy business, per se, but wasn't the well-oiled machine it portrayed itself as.

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Plus WWF was losing money as it tried to expand, and if things went south it would have forced a fast and ugly retreat. Add in the fact that WWF was on its way to becoming essentially a touring superhero show for kids rather than traditional wrestling, and there would tend to be some backlash.

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You think it would kill Meltzer at the time to say anything nice about the WWF...

Meltzer pretty much buried the company as a whole through at least 1987...By some time in 1988 Meltzer became less biased in some way...on paper anyway. His hatred for the WWF from his 1984 through 1987 Observers almost makes reading portions of the older newsletters unbearable. He tried his best to rip on everything that was going on in the WWF.

 

Like I said though, somewhere in 1988 his writing's became more "fair" towards the company as a whole, but he still had his favorites to pick on in weekly columns (Andre, JYD, Warrior, etc...).

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You think it would kill Meltzer at the time to say anything nice about the WWF...

Meltzer pretty much buried the company as a whole through at least 1987...By some time in 1988 Meltzer became less biased in some way...on paper anyway. His hatred for the WWF from his 1984 through 1987 Observers almost makes reading portions of the older newsletters unbearable. He tried his best to rip on everything that was going on in the WWF.

 

Like I said though, somewhere in 1988 his writing's became more "fair" towards the company as a whole, but he still had his favorites to pick on in weekly columns (Andre, JYD, Warrior, etc...).

 

Periodically, he'll offer a disclaimer and flatly state that he hates the WWF and some of his reporting about the company may be a little biased. However, I don't get the sense that he's intentionally printing wrong or misleading information on the WWF just because he doesn't like the promotion. It's mainly him reporting on certain happenings in the WWF -- whether positive or negative -- and then offering up sarcastic editorial comments.

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Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of extra time right at this moment to post verbatim things he has said (though I'd like to), but I know when he went weekly with his columns it became more and more obvious of his biasedness. Anyone who has the 1987 year on file I encourage them to read, because he absolutely craps all over the WWF in many instances even when the things they did weren't bad at all. I have just about everything Meltzer wrote from 84-93 and 97 to present so I've seen him "grow" as a "jorunalist" over the years. He's become more professional when talking about the WWF/E, which is a good thing.

 

Don't get me wrong, he gives Vince props from time to time, but more often than not, he buried the company as a whole through 1987.

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So I've seen enough 24/7 to really learn that I like undercard Moondog singles matches. Still not sure why crapping all over something that wasn't particularly good is a sign of poor journalistic skills. Have we really gotten to the point where you're not a good journalist unless you constantly remind folks that Mussolini did make the trains run on time?

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Plus WWF was losing money as it tried to expand, and if things went south it would have forced a fast and ugly retreat. Add in the fact that WWF was on its way to becoming essentially a touring superhero show for kids rather than traditional wrestling...

And that's OK. Well it was for me at the time, probably cause I was of the "proper" age. And maybe that's why it's a bit jarring to see that era "exposed"

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So I've seen enough 24/7 to really learn that I like undercard Moondog singles matches. Still not sure why crapping all over something that wasn't particularly good is a sign of poor journalistic skills. Have we really gotten to the point where you're not a good journalist unless you constantly remind folks that Mussolini did make the trains run on time?

I said as a whole, not individually, I'd never fault him for crapping on a Moondog match, unless it was from Memphis, then it MAY have potential of being okay. Read some issues/files and you will see what I mean. It's not something you can deny, and I'm not crapping on Meltzer, I enjoy reading the old stuff in particular, just sometimes when it gets to the WWF section from 87 & earlier it's hard to read because I am no longer getting news and notes, I'm getting someone crapping on almost everything whether it's good or not.

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So I've seen enough 24/7 to really learn that I like undercard Moondog singles matches. Still not sure why crapping all over something that wasn't particularly good is a sign of poor journalistic skills. Have we really gotten to the point where you're not a good journalist unless you constantly remind folks that Mussolini did make the trains run on time?

I said as a whole, not individually, I'd never fault him for crapping on a Moondog match, unless it was from Memphis, then it MAY have potential of being okay. Read some issues/files and you will see what I mean. It's not something you can deny, and I'm not crapping on Meltzer, I enjoy reading the old stuff in particular, just sometimes when it gets to the WWF section from 87 & earlier it's hard to read because I am no longer getting news and notes, I'm getting someone crapping on almost everything whether it's good or not.

 

I see your point, but I still feel Meltzer did a good job reporting on the WWF despite the editorializing. I've read the old issues from '83 to about midway through '85 and I haven't felt like Meltzer intentionally misrepresents the facts about the WWF or makes stuff up to try and bury them. Perhaps he'll shit on an angle or match that others thought was good, but things like that are subjective.

 

I would consider Meltzer a new age journalist before the term was even invented. His analysis, insight and reporting about wrestling would hold up against almost almost any reporter on the sports, government or current events beat at a real newspaper. However, his editorializing would never fly. With the explosion of blogging and news analysis in the last 5-10 years, mixing opinion with reporting has become more acceptable as long as you make it clear that you're offering both.

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