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20 Years Ago - WON 08/01/88

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Most of this issue is an in-depth Bruiser Brody bio. This may be the first of its kind (I haven't looked yet to see if he did something this in depth on other deaths earlier in the decade).

 

WWF

-- The WWF is negotiating to sign DJ Peterson and Curt Hennig. Curt Hennig is at a disadvantage and is already in the doghouse, for having twice agreed to terms and then backing out.

 

-- Hercules and Ultimate Warrior got in trouble for their brawling as part of an angle at a recent TV taping, because they ended up damaging a lot of TV monitors, and Hercules needed 76 stitches on his right arm for hitting a table.

 

-- 7/23 in Nashville drew a sellout 10,000 crowd headlined by Andre vs Duggan.

 

NWA

-- The Great American Bash drew 350,000-400,000 buys, making the profit about $5.5-$6 million, about what was expected. (My note: Interesting that an NWA show in 1988, when the company was in freefall, gets a PPV number that WWE would do handstands for on a typical B-show.) All of the cable companies have already agreed to carry Starrcade in December, which means that clearance shouldn't be as a big of a challenge for that show as it was for the Bash. After Wrestlemania III, IV, and Survivor Series, this was the most successful PPV in wrestling history up until that time. Most of the buyrates came, not surprisingly, from the Carolinas and the Southeast, where the show drew more than Wrestlemania IV. It did really poorly in the Los Angeles and New York markets, which are the key media markets.

 

-- Jack Petrik told a Tokyo newspaper he would run the NWA after the Turner buyout. TBS would set policy, he would enforce it, and Crockett and Dusty would handle the wrestling side of it all. This was the first published report to confirm that TBS was trying to buy the company.

 

-- 7/23 in Philly drew a $167,800 gate for War Games. By comparison, the WWF ran the same night and drew around a $116,035 gate. Dave has heard conflicting reports on the WWF's gate though, with some saying it was even less, in the $77,000 range.

 

-- Consensus on the Bash shows: the War Games matches are as good as any live matches you'll ever see, Fantastics-Midnights is great, and the rest of the card is terrible.

 

AWA

-- Verne Gagne is planning Wrestlerock III to air on PPV. The show will be in the 55,000-seat Metrodome in Bloomington, MN, and will have ZZ Top in concert. The show was originally going to happen on election night, but it was changed to two days earlier. Supposedly, wrestlers from five promotions will appear on the show, but the only confirmed match Dave knows about is Madusa Miceli vs Magnificent Mimi.

 

OTHER

-- When Bob Geigel restarts Central States, Tommy Gilbert will be booker. Geigel is no longer working with World Class because travel costs of sending wrestlers to their shows were putting him in debt. Mike George, Vince Apollo, Solomon Grundy, Billy Travis and Mike Stone will work for the group.

 

-- Kerry Brown was fired by Stampede. Shows are now being headlined by Makhan Singh vs Steve Blackman. Dave says Blackman isn't bad for his experience level, but is also obviously not ready for the spot he's in.

 

-- Dick Slater has heat for working WWC in Puerto Rico, with lots of wrestlers wanting an unofficial boycott of Puerto Rico because of Brody's death.

 

-- Jerry Lawler, Bam Bam Bigelow, Bob Orton, and Curt Hennig will be headed to Continental when they do their CWF title tournament.

 

-- Dean Malenko has quit wrestling to work at the front counter for an airline.

 

-- Brother Ernest Angel has completely disappeared, and no one knows where he is.

 

-- Brickhouse Brown will be turned babyface in Memphis soon to feud with Robert Fuller. Dave says Fuller's heel act is really good, but he's overexposed from doing too many interviews per show. However, because of a thin talent pool, there isn't really anything that can be done about that.

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Ha, yes! I'll fix it.

 

For anyone coming in later, I originally typed "Dean Malenko has quit wrestling at the front counter for an airline."

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"AWA

-- Verne Gagne is planning Wrestlerock III to air on PPV. The show will be in the 55,000-seat Metrodome in Bloomington, MN, and will have ZZ Top in concert. The show was originally going to happen on election night, but it was changed to two days earlier. Supposedly, wrestlers from five promotions will appear on the show, but the only confirmed match Dave knows about is Madusa Miceli vs Magnificent Mimi."

 

When did WrestleRock II happen? I just remember the 1986 installment. At least Verne was going to have a rock band this time. :)

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Brody was the first bio that got remembered. Dave had covered David and Gino's deaths in World Class. Tons of stuff on David, though a lot of is was copies of local covereage and I don't think a great deal of it was "bio".

 

Things forgotten about the Brody one:

 

* it isn't in remotely close to the detail of the ones done today

 

* it didn't set the trend for the ones today

 

If you look at the ones when Buddy Rogers died or when Dynamite Kid retired, they aren't what we see today given the stature of those two guys.

 

My memory is that the ones that ended up setting the tone for the ones today are the Kerry and Andre ones that came within a short period of one another. Kerry was more than just a bio of Kerry, instead pulling together a lot of WCCW elements like the deaths of David, Mike and Chris. Dave being there for a chunk of that period no doubt spurred some of it, and also that there were a lot of themes in it that were things he had been noodling on for nearly a decade. Andre in turn was the start of "Big Star Dies And I Need To Write It Up Well".

 

But those were also huge stars, either in the sense of an all-time biggy like Andre or one who had been at the center of the launch of the WON Era in Kerry.

 

The next step would be people like Eddie Gilbert, John Studd and Junkyard Dog. Eddie wasn't that big of a star, but his life and path through wrestling hit on some themes that hit a spot for Dave, and seemed to drive him to write a good bio that was more detailed even than the retirement one of Dynamite, who had been a fav of Dave's. JYD was someone that Dave really didn't like at all once he hit the WWF, as anyone who reads those old WONs comes across time and again. :) But Dave really put a lot of effort and space into that bio, and didn't come at it from the direction of ripping the WWF JYD but instead telling the story of the star he was before he got there, which laid down the foundation for what a fall the time in the WWF was. And Studd... perfect symbol of what WON Readers disliked in the 80s, and someone Dave could have done a nothing bio on and had no complaints from WON readers. Instead, did a bio that we take for granted today but back then was, "Wow... there's a lot of stuff on Studd here that I didn't know".

 

I'd have to go back and look at the timeline to see who set the trend on "historical" ones after Andre-Kerry. I want to say Stevens, which I recall reading in Chicago after Barnett faxed it to me in a hotel... and then spending a big chunk of the night after reading it on the phone with Dave going over it. As anyone can see from the Shire piece recently, Stevens hits a soft spot for Dave. He put a lot into that bio because of it.

 

I think we're a bit lucky that those ones, and probably a few others in the 1993-96 time period, inspired Dave to expand the length at which he wrote on wrestlers that died and/or passed away. If that had been moved back to 1997 when the Monday Night Wars took off, ECW was starting to run PPV, and a few other things were drawing his time to cover, it's likely that the Big Ones would have gotten some length, but the ones like JYD or Gilbert or even Louie Spicolli (think of how long that was even relative to Brody) might have gotten something less. Instead, he set a standard for himself and pretty much feels he needs to hit those marks each time.

 

I don't always agree with everything in one of his bios, and at times think some are weak/poor (the two on Jumbo) or am mixed on them (Misawa, Baba). But I do appreciate that he puts in more effort on it than he probably has to (as no one else really is doing it), and that he continues to push himself on them rather than cut them down to a third of their size and not worry about it.

 

Anyway...

 

We've come a long way from Brody. To a degree I don't care to see him ever "re-do" the Brody for the obvious reasons. But it's too bad that Buddy Rogers came at the time it did. I'm sure if it happened in 1994 it would have been much longer and far more interesting. In hindsight I'd worry about how much of it would come from Lou, who just hated the shit out of Buddy after a certain point, and brings some of his "stories" into a little doubt.

 

Frankly, I wish Dave would each year take six of the Dead Hall Of Famers who he hasn't done an in-depth bio of and write a bio on. He probably could farm at least two of them out a year: one Old Timer from before 1950, and one non-US wrestler (alternating a luchador and a puroresu)... if he could find someone to help build the foundation to them. He already does that to a degree with the Real Old Timers that he puts in the HOF, and gets a heck of a lot of help with the older luchadors that have gone into the Hall in recent years.

 

Of course that's a lot of work. There always are people dying anyway. There's lots of wrestling and MMA to cover. Hmmm... well... perhaps not as much wrestling and MMA to cover as in 1999-2000 before WCW and ECW died.

 

Anyway, I'm rambling and this isn't anything I haven't said before. ;)

 

John

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Dave still finds time to do some historical pieces (like the pieces about amateur wrestling stars who did pro wrestling and the run down of the greatest draws in wrestling history through Matt Farmer's research). I just find his choice of subject matter often uninspired. Some subjects have been beaten into the ground by this point (like the war between JCP and the WWF in the mid 80s, the rise and fall of WCCW). It would be nice if Dave focussed on a major historical figure or territory that he hasn't had reason to do a major historical piece on occasionally.

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I agree that he does do historical non-bio pieces. He didn't do many of them back in the 80s or early 90s... I'm trying to recall the first of these type, and am drawing a blank. The first that sticks out in my mind would be the New Japan one during the 1996 G1, but I'm pretty sure that it wouldn't have been the first. If he did one on the death of SMW and looking back of it, that's more akin to an Obit. :)

 

He did a few College Wrestlers In Pro Wrestling pieces over the years, and the earliest of those may have been his first non-bio historical piece or any note in the newsletters.

 

John

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"AWA

-- Verne Gagne is planning Wrestlerock III to air on PPV. The show will be in the 55,000-seat Metrodome in Bloomington, MN, and will have ZZ Top in concert. The show was originally going to happen on election night, but it was changed to two days earlier. Supposedly, wrestlers from five promotions will appear on the show, but the only confirmed match Dave knows about is Madusa Miceli vs Magnificent Mimi."

 

When did WrestleRock II happen? I just remember the 1986 installment. At least Verne was going to have a rock band this time. :)

Given the time frame, I'm betting this is what morphed into Super Clash III (December 13, 1988, Chicago). I'm glad as 1500 people in the Metrodome would have been bad beyond comprehension to try and watch.

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"AWA

-- Verne Gagne is planning Wrestlerock III to air on PPV. The show will be in the 55,000-seat Metrodome in Bloomington, MN, and will have ZZ Top in concert. The show was originally going to happen on election night, but it was changed to two days earlier. Supposedly, wrestlers from five promotions will appear on the show, but the only confirmed match Dave knows about is Madusa Miceli vs Magnificent Mimi."

 

When did WrestleRock II happen? I just remember the 1986 installment. At least Verne was going to have a rock band this time. :)

Given the time frame, I'm betting this is what morphed into Super Clash III (December 13, 1988, Chicago). I'm glad as 1500 people in the Metrodome would have been bad beyond comprehension to try and watch.

 

I think half the shows the AWA had in 1986 were called "Wrestlerock" in all honesty. But as far as an official Wrestlerock II, I'm pretty sure there wasn't one.

 

Madusa vs. Mimi is a match I would have actually wanted to see, but not for wrestling quality.

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There wasn't a Wrestlerock II, but if one had happened it would have been what was eventually named Super Clash III.

 

You're thinking of the Wrestlerock revenge tur that happened from April through JJuly of 1986, after the big Minneapolis Dome show. I remember seeing the promos for it.

 

If you ever get a chance to track down Mimi vs. Candi Devine from late 1989-ish, do it. Mimi does a little wiggle-and wipe-act with her t-shirt before the match and then throws the T into the crowd. There have been very few things women wrestlers have done in the last 20 years that were hotter, imo.

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Guest Iron Chad

If you ever get a chance to track down Mimi vs. Candi Devine from late 1989-ish, do it. Mimi does a little wiggle-and wipe-act with her t-shirt before the match and then throws the T into the crowd. There have been very few things women wrestlers have done in the last 20 years that were hotter, imo.

Lots of things Mimi did were disproportionally hot for a woman wrestler. She couldn't talk, or even wrestle that well, but damn I enjoyed her matches.

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Youtube's got a bunch of Mimi. I got into wrestling in late '90, so I think I can be forgiven for not having heard much about her before. God damn she's hot. Nice to see she's apparently had a nice post-wrestling career.

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If you ever get a chance to track down Mimi vs. Candi Devine from late 1989-ish, do it. Mimi does a little wiggle-and wipe-act with her t-shirt before the match and then throws the T into the crowd. There have been very few things women wrestlers have done in the last 20 years that were hotter, imo.

I've seen this match, and it quickly turned me into a huge Mimi fan :)

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WWF

 

-- Hercules and Ultimate Warrior got in trouble for their brawling as part of an angle at a recent TV taping, because they ended up damaging a lot of TV monitors, and Hercules needed 76 stitches on his right arm for hitting a table.

What TV taping did this happen at? The only one I know is the 1/27/88 Challenge taping where they did a TV angle. Did they have another angle at a Summer TV taping?

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