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Wrestling Observer Recap -- 3/25/85


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Cover

*Fujinami w/ Hogan in a chin lock.

 

Pulling No Punches

*Mid-South debuted on WTBS on 3/10 during the 7:05 p.m. Eastern time slot on Sundays. It looks like Crockett will soon take over Ole’s early Saturday morning time slot. WWF has increased its Saturday 6:05 p.m. show from one hour to two hours. The WWF show now originates from the WTBS studio. Mid-South and Crockett covet that Saturday time slot, so McMahon probably agreed to tape his show from the WTBS studio to hold the spot.

 

*The show will be taped at 10 a.m. on Saturdays, which will put even more stress on the WWF roster since they rarely run shows near Georgia on Friday nights.

 

*Dave has received positive feedback on the Mid-South show so far. Mid-South emphasizes the difference between its product and the WWF. They have a fast-paced style and advertise main event caliber TV matches in advance.

 

*Dave thinks the AWA Pro Wrestling USA show has turned into a third-rate WWF imitation with announces lying about various things and treating the fans like idiots. The shows Dave enjoys the most – Mid-South and Memphis – have announcers that talk to their audience instead of at their audience.

 

*Dave says he will make it a point to regularly keep up on TV ratings. With so much wrestling on TV now and the WWF always inflating their number to reporters, he feels it needs to be done.

 

*Dave gives credit to McMahon for his media savvy. McMahon has presented himself as the only big time promotion in the country by overexposing his product on TV and lying to reporters. It’s working.

 

*Dave can’t predict what will happen next, though he does say he thinks the WWF’s first closed-circuit show will do well and the second will bomb.

 

*Dave gives props to Terry Funk for securing a role on a TV show called “Wildside,” which debuts opposite the Cosby Show on NBC.

 

Newspaper Clippings

*Lots of clips this issue analyzing the 20/20 piece and the treatment of wrestlers.

 

Letters

*More WWF bashing. Criticism of the AWA show in the Meadowlands. Criticism of John Stossel’s investigation techniques.

 

WWF

*Wrestlemania on 3/31 from MSG will be the first wrestling show to be close-circuited on a nationwide basis. Dave says it will be the biggest money wrestling event of all time. Dave says the card is horrible, but the WWF deserves credit for taking this risk. He thinks the show will draw a lot of money but the second time they try something similar it will flop “no matter who Mr. T wrestles.”

 

*WWF has announced the closed-circuit broadcast as live in some areas when it will actually be on tape-delay.

 

*Dave doesn’t know how much Mr. T is being paid for wrestling, but he gets $48,000 per A-Team episode.

 

*Hillbilly Jim out for at least three months w/ a leg injury. “Naturally, Jim is being advertised throughout the country for future shows.”

 

*Bruno was on a Pittsburgh radio show recently and was very candid when talking about Hogan, McMahon and the WWF. It was obvious there is still friction between McMahon and Bruno.

 

*Somehow Dave transitions from Bruno into mentioning how several WWF staffers are scared to death of the closed-circuit venture. Dave says he hates Mr. T being involved from a wrestling standpoint, but will respect the decision from a business standpoint if it makes money.

 

*Dave attended a WWF San Fran card. He thinks the WWF must send a pharmacist on the road with the wrestlers. He said Hogan was crazy over w/ the fans. Crowd was 15,000, the largest wrestling crowd in about eight years.

 

*Mr. T also appearing on some select house shows.

 

*Bruno drew another sellout teaming w/ his son on 2/23 in Pittsburgh.

 

Northeastern Opposition

*2/24 Meadowlands show drew an announced 18,600, which was announced as a 20,000+ sellout on TV. Advance sales were 17,000 which meant the walkup crowd was much less than WWF draws.

 

*Roadies got the best response of the night, except maybe for Slaughter despite the fact that all he did was sing a rock song. Flair pinned Race in the best match of the night but it got little crowd reaction because neither wrestler was advertised on TV.

 

*Jerry Blackwell was supposed to be Slaughter’s partner in a tag team battle royal, but the New Jersey athletic commission stopped him from wrestling due to “high blood pressure.” It was described to Dave as selective enforcement of the rules. The commission is run on taxes from live wrestling and boxing cards. In other words, McMahon and the WWF basically support the commission on their own. Dave thinks some pressure was used to keep some workers off the card that night.

 

*2/16 in Baltimore run by Crockett drew 6,100. Slaughter beat up Flair for 20 minutes before the ref was KO’d. Slaughter put on the cobra clutch and Flair went out and Slaughter was given the belt. The first ref came too and reversed the decision. Dave says this is a horrible way to compete w/ McMahon. The NWA champion is made to look weak and the title meaningless. How are fans supposed to take the NWA title and champ seriously when compared to Hogan, who destroys his opponents in minutes? Even having Flair escape w/ a cheap pinfall would’ve been better. Besides, Slaughter is already over in the East. Flair isn’t. “What might be great for business in the Carolinas is a dumb business move in the Northeast.”

 

All Japan

*Show on 2/21 with no foreign talent drew 12,000, the highest of the year so far, but did not sell out as expected.

 

*Baba is worried about all they hype surrounding the Road Warriors appearing. He thinks expectations may be too high.

 

*Dynamite Kid has begun using a new maneuver, a superplex off the top rope.

 

*Jerry Lawler and Jimmy Valiant didn’t go over well. The Japanese wrestlers sold very little for them. Dave says Valliant is horrible, but Lawler is a good performer who just can’t wrestle the Japanese style. Lawler enjoyed being in Japan immensely, however.

 

UWF

*This group found a new sponsor which should keep them alive through the summer, even w/out TV exposure.

 

New Japan

*David Schults is in and did an angle where he slapped both ears of a TV announcer. Schults will be given a big buildup and Dave can’t figure out why. He flopped last time he was in.

 

*Elijah Akeen of Zambuie Express is out of wrestling.

 

*Last series had nine sellouts in 31 dates, eight of which had Hogan on the card.

 

Hawaii

*2/13 show promoted by Lia Maivia sold out to the tune of 8,500, the first sellout on the Islands since Verne used to supply talent in the early 70s.

 

Southwest

*Crowds still way down.

 

World Class

*There should be a lot of Mid-South talent coming through in the near future.

 

*Big show planned for 5/5 at Texas Stadium. There are rumors of having two rings and two main events going on at the same time. Dave thinks this would be dumb.

 

*Upcoming shows scheduled for Worcester, Mass. And Anaheim, Calif. Crockett also has a date at the Olympic Auditorium and has promised to run Flair/Kerry.

 

*Dave is starting to enjoy World Class again and crowds have picked up.

 

Mid-South

*Big news is the new TV outlet as outlined in Pulling No Punches.

 

*3/31 in Oklahoma City will be a major show w/ Mid-South and World Class wrestlers. It will clobber the WWF closed-circuit broadcast.

 

*John Nord is in as the Barbarian, which leads to Dave breaking down the various workers named The Barbarian in all the promotions.

 

AWA

*Things are fairly quiet. Verne is lining up dates for the next Northeast tour with the big show being at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in New Haven, Ct., the same building McMahon books.

 

*Mark and Jay Youngblood set to face the Samoans for all Northeast dates.

 

St. Louis

*3/8 drew only 2,610, the second lowest figure since WWII.

 

*Next show is 3/29 w/ Flair/Kerry. Dave thinks the show will draw but they’ve run that match far too often. However, it’s the only match they have that can draw.

 

Memphis

*3/4 had Bockwinkel defending “AWA title” against Lawler. It was announced on 3/2 TV that Bockwinkel beat Martel on 2/28 in a controversial match in Vancouver. The result was being reviewed but Bockwinkel was champ for the time being. Dave figures it was done because they thought Martel couldn’t have a good match w/ Lawler. Lawler likes to get beat up by a brawler and then make a comeback. Martel isn’t a good brawler.

 

*Match ended in a double count out in 41 minutes. Bockwinkel didn’t have the belt and the excuse was that it was “lost in transportation.” Dave thought it was shady to misrepresent Bockwinkel as AWA champ.

 

*New manager in is called Tommy Hart. He looks like Jimmy Hart but talks differently.

 

*Look for the Road Warriors to be in for a few matches soon.

 

Florida

*First reports were that Mike Graham fired Michael Hayes when Graham took over the territory. Hayes was gone for a few weeks, but Gordy and Roberts stayed on. Hayes is back, however, and the Freebirds all jumped Graham at 3/6 TV taping.

 

*If rumors of Mulligan and Windam returning are true, this area will heat up over the summer.

 

*A member of Twisted Sister attended a recent card, but not Dee Snider. Dave is told many rock fans are attending shows in Miami. He’s also told Hayes can’t draw in Florida and encourages people to draw their own conclusions.

 

*Rumors that Wahoo may soon come in as the booker.

 

Georgia

*The elimination of this group is almost finished. Most of the wrestlers will disappear and some will wind up w/ Crockett.

 

Mid-Atlantic

*Buddy Landell is in calling himself the “Nature Boy.” Dave thinks Landell/Flair would be a good feud if done right.

 

*Arn Anderson, whom Dave calls a tremendous wrestler, is in, but he’s being told to wrestle like Ole and Gene Anderson; meaning grab an arm, kick it and hold an arm bar the whole match. Dave says this is boring by today’s standards, but it’s building toward an Ole/Arn feud which might draw a little bit, but sounds hideous.

 

*The annual big show in March will be billed as Silver Star ’85. Dave expects Blanchard/Flair for the main event.

 

Northwest

*This area is struggling big time. They’re supposed to get back on TV in Seattle by May.

 

*This group will present a big show at the 13,000-seat Coliseum in Portland celebrating 60 years the Owens family has been promoting wrestling. Shows are usually at the 2,000-seat Sports Arena.

 

Update

*More celebs confirmed for Wrestlemania: Ali as ref, not OJ Simpson as most newspapers are reporting. Billy Martin emcee and Dan Akroyd timekeeper.

 

*New Calgary circuit started 2/15 w/ solid crowds. It’s called Stampede, but the Harts aren’t involved and neither are Dynamite or Davey Boy. The latter two plan to train until returning to Japan in May.

 

*Frank Deford of Sports Illustrated will be doing a wrestling piece after Wrestlemania. Dave says Deford doesn’t like wrestling and has access to damaging information other journalists don’t have.

 

*Thez, Wilson and Mansfield were on a cable TV show and Thez was blunt about why Mansfield and Wilson couldn’t get work. Wilson closed the show by hawking “Freedom for Wrestlers” T-Shirts for $10 w/ photos of himself, Mansfield and the American flag.

 

*Dave makes a correction from last issue: Eric Embry did not buy the Southwest promotion from Joe Blanchard. That sale fell through.

 

*Entertainment Tonight reported that NBC will replace Saturday Night Live re-runs w/ WWF Wrestling. Dave isn’t sure if it will be weekly or every now and then.

 

*Reports from several locations are that Wrestlemania closed circuit sales are below expectations.

 

*More information on the Saturday night show: Apparently, the show will be once per month. SNL runs three live shows and one repeat during Fall/Winter. WWF will replace the repeat. SNL is all repeats during the summer and the number of WWF shows will depend on the ratings.

 

*Dave isn’t sure how the Saturday night show will fare. He also says wrestling clobbers SNL ratings in some local markets so it will be interesting. He concludes the ratings will be adequate and the impact enormous.

 

*Speculation that Bockwinkel may turn babyface.

 

*Wahoo replacing Mantell as booker in Florida. Mantell back to Memphis.

 

*Mr. Olympia out of action in Alabama w/ blood clots.

 

*WWF deal w/ CBS for a Saturday morning cartoon show is just about finalized. Dave makes the point that even if WWF live show attendance goes in the toilet, the residual money they get from the networks will more than make up for it. He says it’s inevitable that the networks will one day dump them, but the WWF will be all-powerful for at least one more year.

 

*Stossel will be filing suit against Schults, McMahon and Titan sports soon. Stossel is claiming that the WWF didn’t have proper security in the dressing room area.

 

*Roadies over big in Japan.

 

*The first home video out on the market is the NWA-produced Lords of the Ring. Three WWF tapes should be out by the end of April.

 

*Lioberace’s name has started popping up as a possible time keeper for Wrestlemania’s main event. Dave is happy because he thinks it will hurt attendance.

 

*Crockett show in Altoona, PA drew 300. The Crockett’s have decided if they can’t turn a profit on the East Coast in six months, they’ll be gone. Dave says that means they’ll be gone in six months.

 

*Crockett’s Silver Star ’85 card is weak, headlined by Flair/Wahoo strap match and Tully/Rhodes in a cage for the TV title.

 

*At a recent WWF Omni show, Snuka sloppily bladed himself and fans began chanting “20/20.” At the last WWF Oakland show, during a boring Muraco/SD Jones match, fans chanted “fake.”

 

*An upcoming episode of the TV show “Webster” will focus on wrestling. Webster will be worried about one of his friends in an upcoming wrestling match, but will be told that wrestling is “fake” and not to worry. Dave is impressed by Vince’s friends in high places. He thinks it’s being done to show the public that it’s acceptable that wrestling is “fake.”

 

*WWF has lost all but one of its western Canada TV outlets to the new Stampede promotion.

 

*Moondog Rex heading to Mid-South.

 

*Latest AWA San Fran show was good, but fans still left upset. High Flyers were really over. Martel/Bockwinkel had too much mat work and Bockwinkel himself led fans in “Boring” chants. Blackwell/Tonga strap match was supposed to be no DQ, but ended in a DQ.

 

*Crockett moving into the Chicago market.

 

*Bret Hart now a heel in WWF.

 

*An NBC-TV report says that McMahon will sue Slaughter for taking the concept of his character to another promotion.

 

*Georgia bill to establish a state wrestling commission passed in the House but failed in the Senate. Dave thinks Turner must have more friends in the senate. Dave also says he likes the idea of a commission to benefit wrestlers, but not on a state by state basis.

 

*Dave thinks one of the reasons McMahon may sue Slaughter is to make other wrestlers thinking about leaving to reconsider.

 

*Dave gives out the company name for anyone hoping to pirate the Wrestlemania show. He doesn’t really care to watch the show himself.

 

*Expect several books on wrestling in the coming months.

 

*Hillbilly Jim injured his leg running outside of the ring. He slipped on a wet area of the floor.

 

*Rumors that Dynamite and Davey Boy will be back in the WWF as the British Bulldogs.

 

*3/17 WWF in Bloomington, Minn. drew 5,500 headlined by Hogan/Ventura. Dave got a report that said the match was fun, even though the closest they came to wrestling was spitting at each other.

 

*Butch Reed headed to AWA in surprise move. Dave feels sorry for the guy because he never really got over as a face in Mid-South.

 

*Dave concludes by saying that Mr. T approached Verne w/ a similar idea as to what will take place at Wrestlemania. Verne turned him down and said wrestling doesn’t operate that way.

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*At a recent WWF Onmi show, Snuka sloppily bladed himself and fans began chanting “20/20.” At the last WWF Oakland show, during a boring Muraco/SD Jones match, fans chanted “fake.”

Ha. There's probably an easy spin off to the myth busters thread about smart marks being an internet fad, but I'm too lazy to write it out.

 

So just ha.

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*At a recent WWF Onmi show, Snuka sloppily bladed himself and fans began chanting “20/20.” At the last WWF Oakland show, during a boring Muraco/SD Jones match, fans chanted “fake.”

Ha. There's probably an easy spin off to the myth busters thread about smart marks being an internet fad, but I'm too lazy to write it out.

 

So just ha.

 

I think "fake" chants have been around since 1875. Remember, wrestling was all about ripping of gamblers until after WWI, so that makes it quite understandable

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Guest Iron Chad

Was this the awesome rockin' Sgt. Slaughter theme that morphed into the G.I. Joe theme? Slaughter did some spoken vocals on that, but didn't sing. I'm pretty sure there was a non-G.I. Joe version of the theme that was more bluesy and swung more, but had the same "Stand up for America, stand up and show you care!" lyrics.

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