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Wrestling Observer Recap -- 2/4/85


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Cover

*Two Japanese wrestlers I don’t recognize. There’s also a box on the bottom right with a news flash about Eddie Graham’s suicide.

 

Pulling No Punches

*Dave says it’s about time he writes something nice about the WWF. He gives them credit for media manipulation. McMahon and Co. do a good job of convincing everyone the wrestling business is in great shape and the WWF sells out major arenas throughout the country.

 

*Dave speculates that the WWF may eventually get a network time slot. He also says the increased media coverage will result in additional negative stories in newspapers and magazines, but he doesn’t think this will hurt business much.

 

*Dave goes over Schults slapping around John Stossel.

 

*McMahon and Co. “stole the show” at a recent TV convention with their presentation about wrestling. No other promoters attended. Dave says the WWF manipulates the people that really count and it might lead to domination of the business one day.

 

Newspaper Reprints

*Reprinted are two parts of an eight-part series about pro wrestling from the Philadelphia Daily News. It was actually really good and highlighted life on the road for a wrestler, injuries, blackballing and the wrestling war.

 

*The story also discussed Jim Wilson and Eddy Mansfield’s efforts to “clean up” professional wrestling. One option is a union, the other state wrestling commissions.

 

*Dave sees their point, but also thinks they were “blacklisted,” along w/ Thunderbolt Patterson, because they’re bad workers and sometimes no-showed events.

 

*There’s another reprint about a group that wants to start an amateur wrestling circuit modeled after pro wrestling.

 

Letters

*There’s a letter from Watts thanking McMahon for waking everyone up about stagnation in wrestling. He also said he likes to read remarks from “real wrestling aficionados.”

 

*More anti-WWF takes, a nomination for Rhodes for worst interview, and general complaining about the state of wrestling.

 

WWF

*Tonga Kid is out.

 

*Crowds have been good. Drew 15,000 in Toronto, the best WWF has done there since taking over. Ventura replacing Mosca Sr. as Canadian TV announcer. Also sold out Cobo Hall in Detroit.

 

*Dave says Brutus Beefcake and the other WWF muscle head types are looking pale and worn out. He thinks Hulkamania protein powder must be running out.

 

*Adonis negotiating w/ Inoki for a contract that could pay him $150,000 for 3 ½ months work. Meltzer thinks if Adonis goes, Murdoch will too.

 

*Bruno scheduled to come back on 2/16 in Philly, teaming w/ his son against Orndorff/Heenan.

 

*Pittsburgh drew a disappointing 5,500. Metlzer says the show drew a lot of “new fans,” which drives away the old fans. Dallas drew 1,700 and 1,500 in Houston. Drew 8,000 in Phoenix, which Meltzer figures is equal to the combined figure drawn by every other promotion that has come through the state in the past 10 years.

 

*WWF lost its TV station in Ohio, but has already picked up a new, better outlet in the area.

 

Northeast Opposition

*WWF will have some competition in the NE, but it’s unknown how organized it will be.

 

*Crockett gained control of McMahon’s Philly timeslot and the first Philly show is scheduled for 2/5, headlined by Bass-Bart/Rhodes-Garvin. Dave thinks the card looks horrible.

 

*No cooperation between Verne and Crockett.

 

*AWA is doing the Pro Wrestling USA tapings and they look good. World Class is now also airing on the MSG Network, a long-time WWF stronghold.

 

*Bob Backlund wants to try and get a TV slot for his promotion, which will mainly feature Backlund style matches and few interviews.

 

*Opposition show ran on 1/17 in Pittsburgh and drew 1,600. Meltzer said it wasn’t very good. Flair/Rich headline in a 45-minute match. It was mostly rest holds at first, causing the fans to chant for Hogan. Dave said the match did a poor job of building Flair and left the audience thinking he was inferior to Hogan as a champion.

 

All Japan

*Not much besides results.

 

UWF

*Because of the intense style this promotion wrestles, matches are no longer held nightly. The wrestlers are given a day or two off between matches.

 

New Japan

*King Kong Bundy debuted on ¼. The Japanese were surprised at how bad of a worker he was. Geigel told Bundy to cancel this tour. When Bundy refused, his future St. Louis bookings were canceled.

 

*Hogan and Inoki were supposed to wrestle 2/7 in a new arena. However, the arena owners decided not to book wrestling because the last Hogan/Inoki match ended in a riot.

 

Hawaii

*2/13 will be headlined by Flair/Kerry. Meltzer says it’s a strange show because Inoki will be appearing, who is affiliated w/ the WWF.

 

Northwest

*Matt Bourne no longer in the company. He’s working for a construction company.

 

*Piper was supposed to come through for a tour, but WWF nixed it.

 

World Class

*Finished the year strong with a crowd of 6,000 on New Years Eve.

 

*1/10 San Antonio saw Flair/Kerry go to a 60-minute draw. The bout was actually 52 minutes, which was picked up on by a local newspaper.

 

*Meltzer says Mike Von Erich is ruining many of the heels. The heels’ credibility is damaged when 160-pound Mike puts them away w/ an iron claw.

 

Mid-South

*1/17 in Houston drew 7,000. Meltzer wonders where else you could see three main event caliber matches all ending w/ pins by the heels. WWF held a show the next night and was outdrawn 4:1.

 

*Reed is painting his face for his matches w/ Kimala. Meltzer says they’re doing a good job of once again getting Kimala over as a savage (yeah, because he’s the coolest slob worker ever!)

 

*Mid-South is the only region where wrestlers pass out from choking. Dave thinks it’s at least realistic.

 

*Rumors that Watts wanted Sgt. Slaughter to come in, but Sarge was lukewarm because Duggan already does the super patriot thing.

 

*Meltzer takes back praise for Akbar from his last issue. He’s already sick of him.

 

*He also thinks the reason McMahon isn’t using JYD against Mid-South in Houston is because JYD is suspended in Texas. Not sure why, however.

 

AWA

*Brody is gone after a blow-up w/ Verne on 1/13 in St. Paul. Meltzer thinks it stemmed from a Brody no-show on 12/27 in Winnipeg. Brody’s departure led to a rash of no-shows, but at least the AWA offered refunds in a few cases.

 

*Meltzer isn’t sure on the status of the Fabs. He knows they wanted out because they were sick of getting booed every night against the Road Warriors and were scared of physical harm.

 

*Shows in Chicago and St. Paul on 1/13 each drew between 10-11,000. Slaughter debuted in St. Paul.

 

St. Louis

*Talks to have Gagne and Co. buy Harley Race’s shares have died. Jim Crockett might be interested, however.

 

Memphis

*Meltzer no longer groups this promotion with Atlanta because the talent trading agreement appears to already be over.

 

*Solie is off TV and Dave, like he does every issue, spends some time highlighting how bad Solie is.

 

Florida

*Things picking up because of Michael Hayes.

 

Georgia

*Ole and T-Bolt Patterson are a shoo-in for worst tag team of the year.

 

*1/1 at the Omni drew 5,000, but kids were let in free.

 

Mid Atlantic

*Road Warriors appeared on recent TV tapes. Same w/ Terry Funk. Funk is J.J. Dillon’s bounty hunter and is drawing a lot of heat. Magnum T.A. getting a build up.

 

*Crowds are picking up a bit.

 

Weekend Update

*Jimmy Garvin’s valet Precious suffered an 18-inch cut under her left eye when she was attacked by a knife-wielding fan on 1/18 in Denver.

 

*Brody left AWA because Verne wanted him to get pinned in his match 1/13 against Blackwell due to Slaughter interference. Brody would also have his leg under the ropes. Brody wasn’t told of the finish until minutes before the match after agreeing to a non-pin finish earlier. There ended up being a non-pin finish and Brody left the area. AWA has been putting down Brody on TV, saying Slaughter scared him away.

 

*According to a story in the Kansas City Times, Geigel accepted an offer from McMahon to buy the K.C. promotion, but when it came time to pay, McMahon didn’t have the cash.

 

*Tentative air date for 20/20 special on wrestling is 2/21 and many feel it could be nasty. ABC keeps stumbling onto new information.

 

*Southwest Championship wrestling could soon be done.

 

*Bob Backlund taped the first TV show for his promotion in Lawrence, Mass.

 

*NWA and WWF went head to head on 12/29 in Miami. NWA show on the beach drew a sellout 5,000. WWF drew over 3,000 according to local newspaper, but a few of Dave’s correspondents said it was around 800.

 

*AWA has finally upgraded its TV show. Its showing the same program it shows out east w/ Pro Wrestling USA, but with localized interviews. Crockett’s show also has been upgraded. Meltzer says Mid-South is still the best show.

 

*Pedro Morales on way to WWF. Terry Funk may make some AWA dates.

 

*New Japan wants to elevate Bundy to Hogan/Andre status, but is worried because he can’t work fast enough.

 

*The new Tiger Mask’s stock has dropped recently.

 

*AWA on 1/23 in Queens, NY drew 2,000. Crockett and Gagne had another falling out. AWA may be making a move into Los Angeles.

 

*WWF drew a surprising 2,500 in Louisville, KY.

 

*Hogan/Piper for 2/18 at Madison Square Garden. Dave says if WWF is smart, they’ll put the belt on Piper, have Lauper and Albano in Hogan’s corner and put it on MTV. He says Piper is the most valuable commodity to reach the MTV audience.

 

*AWA running a show on 2/24 in Meadowlands, but Meltzer says only one feud has been built up so it’ll be a disaster.

 

*Southwest may promote in Dallas after getting a TV slot there.

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*The story also discussed Jim Wilson and Eddy Mansfield’s efforts to “clean up” professional wrestling. One option is a union, the other state wrestling commissions.

 

*Dave sees their point, but also thinks they were “blacklisted,” along w/ Thunderbolt Patterson, because they’re bad workers and sometimes no-showed events.

Wasn't Mansfield considered a good worker or did he mean "and/or"?

 

Letters

*There’s a letter from Watts thanking McMahon for waking everyone up about stagnation in wrestling. He also said he likes to read remarks from “real wrestling aficionados.”

Is this the beginning of Watts making his wrestlers read the WON?

 

*More anti-WWF takes, a nomination for Rhodes for worst interview, and general complaining about the state of wrestling.

Oh c'mon...

 

*Pittsburgh drew a disappointing 5,500. Metlzer says the show drew a lot of “new fans,” which drives away the old fans.

This sounds more like a WON talking point based on Meltzer and his readers hating the "new fans."

 

New Japan

*King Kong Bundy debuted on ¼. The Japanese were surprised at how bad of a worker he was.

Bundy was actually pretty good here.

 

Hawaii

*2/13 will be headlined by Flair/Kerry. Meltzer says it’s a strange show because Inoki will be appearing, who is affiliated w/ the WWF.

How did Hawaii get talent from all the warring promotions at this point anyway? Fear of Lia Maivia?
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He's a flip-flopper. Watts sometimes has that Kevin Nash Syndrome when it comes to saying things to smarks that will make it sound like he shares all their opinions on wrestling, then he turns around and does something completely different in the actual business.

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1. Whoops! Yes, Precious needed 18 stitches for her cut. It wasn't 18 inches.

2. I just finished listening to a Watts shoot interview and he didn't have anything good to say about the sheets. He said sometimes promotions would do what the sheets wanted and the sheet writers would still complain. He said they had to complain and hate everything or they'd put themselves out of business. However, Watts seemed like a reasonable enough guy who was willing to discuss things with those who he felt were on his level, so maybe he felt the WON was worthy of his time back in '85.

3. I re-read the Mansfield/Wilson thing real quick and I should probably clarify. It sounds like Dave is saying Mansfield was a decent worker, but had troubles showing up on time, sometimes didn't show at all, and had "self-created" problems. Wilson was the one labeled a bad worker.

4. Yes, the negative take on Rhodes' interview skills came from a reader, not from Meltzer.

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Recent events made me wonder, what made them think he'd be the right choice for the next Tiger Mask? The original was an innovator of high flying moves, and while Misawa could fly in his younger days, I don't think that was ever going to be what his calling card would be.

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Recent events made me wonder, what made them think he'd be the right choice for the next Tiger Mask? The original was an innovator of high flying moves, and while Misawa could fly in his younger days, I don't think that was ever going to be what his calling card would be.

In the end high flying didn't become Sayama's calling card either.

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Giving Misawa the Tiger Mask gimmick was clearly a vehicle to groom him for superstardom. A bit like Lex Luger and Sid Vicious being made Horsemen. Given how popular Misawa became I'd say Baba made the right decision.

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