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20 Years Ago - WON 07/25/88


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-- This is the issue right after Brody was stabbed to death. Everything mentioned here has been covered in detail elsewhere, and the Tributes bio includes more things about his career than the write-up here does.



-- "The latest details we've heard in the death of Adrian Adonis two weeks ago when the mini-van he and three other wrestlers were traveling in went into a small lake in Newfoundland are that Pat Kelly was driving the van and swerved off the road to avoid hitting a moose while driving into a glaring sunset and coming up upon a bridge, the car struck a rock and two of the wrestlers, Mike Kelly and Adonis were thrown from the car while the car went into the lake and Canadian wildman (David McKigney) and Pat Kelly drowned in the vehicle. Mike Kelly suffered two badly crushed legs in the accident but was the lone survivor, as Adonis died hours later in a Gander, NF hospital. The blood alcohol level in the body of the driver was .06, which is under legal limits of .08 that is considered driving under the influence (.10 is legal limits in the United States) in Canada. Kelly underwent eight hours of surgery to repair his legs and it's doubtful he'll ever be able to wrestle again."



-- Bam Bam Bigelow is out of the promotion. He was unhappy about lower payoffs, and also the WWF's new transportation policy, which is that they can only fly to shows if the distance between shows is more than 600 miles. He also didn't like how he was being used, which Dave says is valid, since he was misused from the start, and never got over like expected as a result. It's expected he'll work Japan and also make some appearances in Continental since he has a good relationship with Paul E. Dangerously. The first national coverage Bigelow ever received was in Norm Keitzer's Wrestling News magazine, with articles by-lined by Paul Heyman.


-- Owen Hart re-injured his knee, and is expected to return without the mask.


-- 7/9 in Boston drew 5,000 headlined by Savage/DiBiase in a **** match. 7/11 in Modesto, CA drew a sellout 1,700 fans. 7/11 in San Francisco drew a $58,700 gate just under 5,000 paid headlined by Powers of Pain & Tito Santana vs Demolition & Mr. Fuji. 7/16 in Houston drew 7,500 headlined by Savage vs DiBiase. 7/15 in Tulane, CA drew a sellout 1,400. 7/15 in Los Angeles drew a near sellout of 15,000 headlined by Rude vs Roberts (!! -- Andre/Duggan was underneath). 7/17 in Denver drew 8,500 fans headlined by Andre/Duggan with Rude/Roberts underneath. 7/10 in Las Vegas drew 4,000 headlined by Andre/Duggan.


-- Dave credits Gorilla Monsoon with the funniest line of the year about Warrior: "What do you think it costs to maintain a body like that?"


-- Rick Rude has new tights that have Cheryl Roberts' face on his crotch.


-- Terry Taylor came in teamed with Sam Houston, where they lost to a heel team, and Taylor turned on him after the match. Prior to that, Taylor had been submitting to the Iron Sheik's camel clutch in opening matches around the horn, which Dave calls "the least logical result of a match this side of an AWA taping." He is now being billed as "Terrible" Terry Taylor and has a scorpion deathlock as a finisher. (My note: I have absolutely no recollection of that at all.)


-- The Z Channel in L.A. is now broadcasting Sports Arena shows, with Gorilla Monsoon, Sean Mooney, and Billy Graham doing commentary.



-- Dave has heard conflicting figures for the Bash, both a 1.9 buyrate, which would be terrible, and a 4.0, which would be about what was expected. He says the 4.0 figure came in a roundabout way from a TBS source, and the 1.9 came from a very accurate source, who tells him that buys were high in most places across the country except for on the West Coast. Dave says both could be correct because there are two ways to figure buyrate: percentage of homes from the total cable companies, and percentage of homes with addressable converters, which is how Dave normally gets buyrates. A 1.9 would mean a $3 million gate, which wouldn't be profitable, while a 4.0 would mean a $6 million gate, which would be very profitable.


-- No news on the sale to TBS, except for that whatever problems existed between the Crocketts that was preventing a sale have been resolved, and Jim is now able to fully negotiate with TBS.


-- 7/9 Bash show in Chicago drew 6,500 and a $100,000 gate headlined by Flair/Arn/Tully vs Road Warriors/Dusty in a cage for the held-up six-man titles, and Luger vs Windham in a Texas Death Match. 7/12 in Huntsville, AL drew 3,000 headlined by Horsemen & JJ vs Luger/Nikita/Dusty/Road Warriors in War Games. Dave credits that low number to Huntsville not having syndication, and only having TBS to hype shows. 7/15 in Richmond, VA drew a $109,000 gate, one of the highest in the history of the city headlined by another War Games match. 7/14 in Chattanooga drew 7,300 and a $83,000 gate (which makes for both a record attendance and gate in Chattanooga) headlined by another War Games. 7/16 in Greensboro drew 7,500 and a $100,000 gate again with War Games. Other Bash figures: 7/8 in Pittsburgh drew 5,039 fans and $79,392; Orlando drew 8,000; Miami drew 4,500; Tampa Stadium drew 4,400 fans when they were expecting 15,000. (My note: These numbers really prove that they could have still turned things around in '88.)


-- "Have you ever wondered how come in 19 War Games matches this year and three or so last year, that in each and every match, the heels win the coinflip to gain the man-advantage situation? If you did, you are incapable of being a first-rate wrestling fan. But they ought to investigate that coin."


-- The NWA considered canceling 8/1 in Milwaukee headlined by the War Games, since Hogan and Andre for the big outdoor show are there the day before. But advance sales have been good, so the show will go on. The WWF is expecting a $500,000+ gate for that show.


-- Crockett will get the first wrestling date on 8/27 at Charlotte Coliseum after all.


-- There's a new "council" angle being started where all heel managers are working toward the same common goal of getting rid of Dusty Rhodes.


-- They are teasing a MX vs Horsemen feud. Dave says the plan is for neither team to turn, unless the fans turn one of the teams. Dave says going on history, the team that gets the most cheers will end up staying heel.


-- "Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Mike Renfro has a horse named Dr. Death, named after pro wrestler Steve Williams, who is Renfro's favorite wrestler. The horse is winning more often than Doc is of late."


-- 7/11 in Salisbury, MD drew 2,000 fans for a TV taping.


-- Those in power realized how over Sting was after all the Bash shows, and he will be feuding with Barry Windham now, in a co-headlining position with Flair/Luger on all the house shows.


-- "For those of you interested in what was 'supposed' to be -- originally the PPV show was going to have Tully Blanchard as U.S. champion defending against the Midnight Rider with the mask at stake. Tully & Arn weren't originally supposed to be tag champs but when they turned Windham with no planning, they got the belts and it was decided that Windham, not Blanchard, would win the tournament in Houston."



-- 7/9 in Columbus, NE as part of the county fair was a huge success, drawing 2,180 fans. There were tons of no-shows though, including Curt Hennig. 7/14 in Anaheim, CA drew 200 fans headlined by Lawler vs Hennig in California. The AWA will be running more shows in Anaheim in the future promoted by Red Bastien.


-- Dave is amazed that when Jimmy Snuka had to cancel his scheduled appearance because of a Japan tour, the AWA actually announced that he wouldn't be there. The programs at the TV tapings have been saying Roddy Piper is coming in, which Dave finds really hard to believe.


-- Chavo Guerrero is in and looks to have gained 25 lbs.



-- They are building up a hair match between Buddy Landell and Wendell Cooley.


-- Bob Armstrong and Bill Dundee are now feuding.


-- Jerry Lawler is coming in as a heel with the AWA title.


-- Terry Gordy is headed in to feud with Doug Furnas.


-- Tommy Rich and Chavo Guerrero are out of the territory.


-- "Rookie Todd Morton has an amazing resemblance to Ricky."



-- 7/9 in Saga drew a sellout 3,200 fans. 7/8 in Hagi drew 2,350 for a TV taping.


-- Ashura Hara suffered a 13-stitch cut on 7/5 in Kohama and returned on 7/9, but must have returned too soon because he is off of the rest of the tour. Because of that, Tenryu and Hara have given up their tag title shots and will be replaced by Hansen and Gordy.



-- Inoki apparently looked pretty bad on his return, and admitted privately that he was not ready, but felt like he had to return to combat the publicity Maeda was getting.


-- Hiroshi Hase returns in mid-August from a knee injury.



-- "Over in Japan, the incredible cult popularity of the Universal Wrestling Federation is threatening to change the business and has put rival promotions All Japan and New Japan into a minor panic." The UWF sold out their 8/13 Ariake Coliseum show in six hours. They sold 12,000 tickets with prices between $25 and $80, which makes it the largest one-day gate sale in the history of pro wrestling, and one of the seven largest live gates for a wrestling show ever.


-- Dave goes on to say the popularity of the UWF has been covered by the Japanese press. Weekly Pro Wrestling and Weekly Fight have seen magazine sales surge since doing features on UWF wrestlers. Gong, which is written more for casual fans, has started to cover Maeda more to keep sales high, because they were dwindling focusing so much on All Japan wrestlers and American wrestlers. Daily sports newspapers still favor Baba and Inoki because they need content for daily papers and the UWF only runs monthly. As a result, Inoki has moved his planned comeback on 8/8 up to 7/16. For the 8/8 match, the stipulation will be that he will retire from wrestling if he doesn't beat Fujinami, which guarantees the end result, but also adds to the drama. Baba's counter is to run an all dream match show on 8/29 at Budokan Hall, where fans choose the matches and the matches with the most votes are the ones that end up taking place. They were expected Hansen vs Brody to be one of those matches before Brody died.



-- The NWA, Nagoya Wrestling Association, starts up on 7/23, and will be women wrestling the UWF style.



-- "A lot has been said about Flair's predictability and let's face it, his matches of late are predictable and he's generally not as impressive working tag matches when he doesn't have the spotlight all to himself and of late, he's worked tag matches almost every night. Overall, as far as the ability to carry a bum, and the ability to work hard night after night and stay injury free, Flair is No. 1. DiBiase is more versatile than Flair, however, I've seen seven or eight matches of DiBiase vs. Savage, a few of which were great, a few good and one or two that was just okay, but they were all basically the same spots in the same order, just as Flair often gets criticized for, the only difference if Flair's been doing the same routine for years, DiBiase and Savage just for the past few months and that Flair's pat match has aired on television so many times that any fan who watches closely has it down pat. No two of (Owen) Hart's matches that I've seen are the same, and I've seen him in dozens of matches with Makhan Singh, who is a totally wrong opponent for him, yet they were all 3 1/4 stars or better and most four stars plus, and all were different matches. A similar point I want to make involves Jake Roberts. Now I consider Jake Roberts a potentially great worker, and he's far better at almost everything when it comes to wrestling as guys I've rated ahead of him like Shinichi Nakano and Chris Benoit. However, from what I've seen, Benoit puts out every match and always gives you a good match. Jake, at his best, blows Benoit away simply because of his ability to work a crowd (which Benoit is green at), however Jake is often at (sic) far from his best and I've seen plenty of snorers with him in there ... Dick Murdoch is also a tough one. The Dick Murdoch who wrestles in Japan is one of the top 10 workers in the business. He's great, knows exactly what he's doing and gets the most out of everything. The Dick Murdoch who wrestles for Jim Crockett doesn't belong in the top 50, even though he's got top 10 ability. When he doesn't want to work, he can be as bad as they come."

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Were all the bashes outdoor shows? I'm trying to figure out where the hell they would have run an outdoor show in Chattanooga.


The one here in Pittsburgh was in the Civic (now Mellon) Arena. It may have been the one I was at where they opened the roof back in the days when they could still do that.

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Guest Iron Chad

The Huntsville, AL Bash show in `88 was indoor in the Von Braun Civic Center (the same building that TNA's first PPV was in and WWE still runs shows and tapings there). I did not attend it, but many of my friends did.



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