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20 Years Ago - WON 08/15/88


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WWF

-- At press time, Dave was still waiting on details of the card, but the WWF show on 7/31 at Milwaukee County Stadium drew the largest crowd for a pro wrestling show since Wrestlemania III with the same main event. The crowd was announced at 35,000, but Dave is being told somewhere between 27,000 and 30,000, with a gate between $350,000 and $400,000 for a 15-match card headlined by Hogan vs Andre. Dave makes the point that the lineup for the card would have worked better for Summerslam, which seems like a weak show. Hennig vs Taylor was supposedly the best match on the show. Hogan was down about 20 pounds from his wrestling weight, as he had just finished filming No Holds Barred. The next night, the NWA ran a show which drew 3,800 ans and a $50,000 gate, which Dave says is an impressive house considering this show was the day before.

 

-- No Holds Barred is apparently not as bad as you'd think, with Hogan doing a pretty decent job of playing himself, much better than the "Goldie Locks and the Bears" pilot. (My note: What is this?) The movie is scheduled to have a May release and was supposed to have a $15 million budget and went way over. Dave thinks it will do better in home rental than in the movie theater.

 

-- Lots of speculation over who Brother Love will be interviewing at Summerslam. It is being billed as someone who has never been in the WWF before, which limits it to Owen Hart, Terry Taylor and Curt Hennig. Dave predicts Curt Hennig because whoever it is will get a big push and he seems in a better position to be pushed than the other two. Dave acknowledges Hennig has been in the WWF before, but anything before 1984 doesn't count. Dave says based on TV tapings, there will not be an IC title change, even though he thought otherwise, as they seemed to be building toward Honky Tonk Man/Ultimate Warrior at TV tapings. "Just when you think you've seen wrestling matches as bad as they can be, the WWF springs a new feud on you like this."

 

-- Dave says Summerslam should be called "How Little Can You Give The Fans On A Major PPV Event And Still Draw An Audience?" (My note: That's a little long.) They are doing a good job hyping the main event, teasing all sorts of subtleties, from Hogan teasing a heel turn calling Liz his manager (which will never happen in a billion years), Jesse will double cross either the faces or heels, and now they are hyping that Elizabeth will wear a string bikini.

 

-- Superstars was taped on 8/3 in Wheeling, WV before a sellout 7,200 fans. John Ziegler, the guy who is credited with developing anabolic steroids for usage by weightlifters, worked as a jobber at the TV taping.

 

-- The WWF's venture into Greensboro was a flop, much to the surprise of everyone, drawing only 3,670 fans for a show headlined by Hogan vs Andre.

 

-- Hulk Hogan wants a shoot match with Mike Tyson at Wrestlemania V and thinks he can win, which gets Dave going on maybe his first Wrestling Classics "Who would win in a shootfight?"-type discussion in the WON ever.

 

NWA

-- The Bash did a 2.2 buyrate and was in 190,000 homes (My note: That's a surprisingly high number, considering WWE shows don't do much higher than that these days.) While the show grossed $3 million, the take home will be between $300,000 and $500,000, which is a disappointment. There is another PPV scheduled for December, but it apparently will not be Starrcade, although things can change.

 

-- "I don't think there was anything wrong with the way the NWA folks promoted the show on their television, and I also don't think there should be any second-guessing of the line-up itself, as whatever changes wouldn't have made any real difference in the buy rate. The problem is, as with an major NWA event, is that there is no outside media publicity. So there is nobody but the NWA folks on TV reinforcing to a fan that this is really an important event, which is one of Titan's biggest advantages in producing a PPV event. The other problem is that with TV ratings nosediving for the NWA the way they have, all the great hype was missed by a lot of potential customers and with no outside media hype, a lot of people who may have been mildly curious enough to buy the thing, but weren't curious enough to tune into their often-boring TV shows, may not have even known about the show, or wasn't getting the hype for the show to convince them to buy at the last minute."

 

-- Dave went to two Bash shows -- one in Las Vegas on 8/4 and one in Oakland on 8/6. Both shows were good, but Vegas was considerably better. The biggest difference between the two shows was not the workrate, but the crowd. The Las Vegas crowd was only about 3,200 in the Thomas & Mack Center, but they reacted to everything and the heat was strong. Oakland drew around 6,000, just barely shy of a sellout in a bad part of town, which Dave would call a minor miracle. Dave counted 1 in 20 women at the Vegas show (My note: Why would he do such a thing?) and said Sting and the Road Warriors were very over. The crowd was very similar to a WWF crowd in that the big spots got a huge reaction, but there was also a lot of silence. There were almost no kids, which was no surprise since TV airs so late in that market. Highlights were MX & Cornette vs Fans in a ****1/2 bunkhouse match and the main event of Dusty/Luger vs Flair/Windham was ***. In Oakland, the Fantastics were booed hard and the match was still ***1/2, but the crowd reaction to the babyfaces hurt it. The War Games was ****. Dave says Flair is not at his best in matches like this, that he's much better in straight wrestling matches, and Luger threw a terrible dropkick, but the match was still great thanks to Hawk, Arn and Tully.

 

-- The Bash tour ended on 8/7 and there are no shows at all until the next TV taping. There are major shows coming at the end of the month at the Omni and Charlotte Coliseum. Flair vs Luger, Windham vs Sting, Garvin vs Dusty, MX vs Horsemen, and Road Warriors vs Varsity Club is expected to headline the upcoming run of house shows. MX vs Horsemen is the hottest feud right now, although Flair/Luger should be given all the hype. Fans seem to realize if Luger is ever going to win the title, it's not going to take place on a house show.

 

-- The Fantastics were going to turn heel and feud with the Rock & Roll Express until Gibson left, which Dave says is a shame, because that would give the NWA a really deep line-up for their next house show run.

 

-- 7/30 at the Capital Centre drew 10,000 and a $157,000 gate headlined by a **** Tower of Doom match of Horsemen/Sullivan vs Rhodes/Luger/Sting/Road Warriors. 8/2 in Sioux City, IA drew 1,784 fans and a $30,000 gate Flair/Arn/Tully vs Sting/Doc/Nikita.

 

-- In a "WCW Before WCW" story: 8/3 in Seattle drew a sellout of 7,500 fans sold out days in advance. They turned away 2,500 at the gate. They intended to book the 16,000-seat arena but booked the wrong arena because the names were so similar (Seattle Center Arena, Seattle Center Coliseum). The gate was still $110,000. The show was headlined by an 8-man cage match, and was said to be a great match, even with Don Owen's crew filling out the undercard. Crockett used Owen's guys to show he was working with them and not against them.

 

-- 8/5 in Los Angeles drew 4,700 fans and a $78,000 gate headlined by a ****1/2 War Games match.

 

-- Ivan Koloff and Paul Jones are about to split. There is talk of bringing in Jason the Terrible from Stampede as the Russian Assassin. "Do you realize that if/when Ted Turner buys the thing that they may actually give Nikita another push?"

 

-- The TBS show had a skeleton crew because half the roster missed the show, so they ran jobber matches on TV, which Dave thought made for great TV because you didn't know what would happen. He said Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone did a great job getting over the matches.

 

-- An Observer reader complained about not getting to meet any wrestlers except Brad Armstrong and Jimmy Garvin at the recent Detroit show where fans were very upset, and Gary Juster provided free tickets and made arrangements for him to meet all the wrestlers on the next show.

 

-- "WCW Before WCW", Part 2: Only 30-40 fans showed up for the pre-match party with every major babyface on the roster where fans were given a chance to meet them in person. The NWA didn't advertise this in advance. "I was originally going to attend the thing, but was hungry and went out to dinner with friends instead." During the meet and greet, they aired the Adrian Adonis piece on Entertainment Tonight where Dave Meltzer was interviewed. A few of the babyfaces started freaking out, and Dave says had he showed up, someone would be reporting on another reporter getting stiff clotheslines in a dressing room.

 

-- Morale is way up because wrestlers are starting to get their back pay.

 

WCCW

-- There are rumors that Ken Mantell has walked out, leaving Kevin Von Erich and Doris Adkisson in charge. "I don't need to tell anyone what happened the last time Kevin was in charge. Dave has heard nothing about why this happened, as Mantell had a lot of money invested in WCCW and business has slowly been improving all year. The only thing Dave has heard is problems with the Von Erichs. Most expect him back in a couple of weeks, as part of his deal is that he can't run Wild West in competition.

 

-- Terry Gordy is back and will feud with Kamala.

 

-- Eric Embry is on vacation and will be back in a few weeks.

 

-- 8/2 in Lubbock drew 825 fans headlined by Kerry vs Iceman. The Brody memorial show on 7/29 drew a near-sellout 3,400 fans.

 

AWA

-- Bam Bam Bigelow, Eddie Gilbert and Paul E. Dangerously are all negotiating, which would likely mean Gilbert would win the title. They would only need to work TV anyway since the AWA doesn't tour, and no way are Gilbert and Paul E. leaving Continental since they run the place.

 

MEMPHIS

-- Lawler vs Landell drew 6,000 at MSC on 8/1. Bigelow/Jarrett vs Fuller/Golden co-headlined the show.

 

-- "You can often tell what's going to happen here by watching CWF a few weeks earlier."

 

-- Dave thinks they're dragging out Brickhouse Brown's babyface turn too long.

 

-- Ringside ticket prices on spot shows are going from $5 to $9, which hasn't hurt the gates at all.

 

CONTINENTAL

-- They are building up a feud between Eddie Gilbert and Missy Hyatt, even acknowledging their marriage on television. It started with Alan Martin, in a "playboy nerd" gimmick, kissing Missy. Announcer Charlie Platt was interviewing Gilbert and told the crowd he is married to Missy and the crowd was pretty stunned, except for those who read the Apter mags. Platt asked Gilbert what he was going to do about it and Gilbert said nothing. Later in the show, Gilbert and Hyatt had a domestic squabble. Paul E. later told Missy Gilbert is upset because she's too nice to the idiot fans and is in Tom Prichard's corner instead of his.

 

-- They have added TV in Biloxi, MS, and Monroe, LA, and will start running these towns soon. They want to also expand into Tallahassee, FL, and Little Rock, AR.

 

-- Two recent fan near-riots in Dothan, AL. A fan pulled out a gun and 8 fans ended up being arrested in a melee.

 

STAMPEDE

-- Brian Pillman has a tricep injury and is doing no flying moves.

 

BRODY

-- Jose Gonzales' arraignment will take place on 8/8. There are rumors that Gonzales will be tried in Raleigh, NC (My note: What??) but Brody's family knows nothing about this. Both Texas Monthly and Rolling Stone are expected to do features on Brody. Irv Muchnick will write the Texas Monthly piece, and Scott Ostler will write the Rolling Stone piece. Ostler has been voted California's best sportswriter for several years. Ostler is interested in writing a book about Brody, and there is talk of doing a movie. (My note: ...) Because of the nature of the crime and why it happened, more information will come out about this that may expose the business. Dave expects the focus to be more on his life than his death, although his death can't be ignored. Dave says anyone who wants to send well wishes to the Goodish family can send them to him, and he'll pass them along. Brody wouldn't want flowers, and Brody worked with the Patrician Movement, a charity focused on helping teens overcome drug and alcohol addiction.

 

OTHER

-- Billy Jack Haynes' Oregon Wrestling Federation closed on 7/17. Haynes is claiming they will restart in September, but most people say that will not be the case. They will probably not make it even if they do since it flopped so badly the first time. Haynes will probably not end up back with Owen, but Mike Miller and Rip Oliver will probably try. Rip Oliver was fired by Don Owen a few weeks back, and Mike Miller insulted Don Owen in a local newspaper, which probably closes the door for him.

 

-- Ron Fuller's USA Pro is leaving Knoxville. They have been drawing poorly since starting in February and will be closing up on 8/20, with Continental taking over their TV slots and running live events in Knoxville and Chattanooga. No word on what will happen to the wrestlers, but Dundee and the RPMs are expected to head to Memphis. Doug Furnas and Scott Armstrong will probably go to Continental, and Memphis is interested in Wendell Cooley. However, Cooley walked out on Continental when Eddie Gilbert was booking, so Gilbert probably doesn't want him. Terry Gordy only worked a few dates for them, and no word on what happens to The Bullet, Moondog Spot, Todd Morton, Mongolian Stomper, or Johnny & Davey Rich.

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AWA

-- Bam Bam Bigelow, Eddie Gilbert and Paul E. Dangerously are all negotiating, which would likely mean Gilbert would win the title. They would only need to work TV anyway since the AWA doesn't tour, and no way are Gilbert and Paul E. leaving Continental since they run the place.

That would've been....

 

interesting....

 

Lawler vs Gilbert on ESPN...

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AWA

-- Bam Bam Bigelow, Eddie Gilbert and Paul E. Dangerously are all negotiating, which would likely mean Gilbert would win the title. They would only need to work TV anyway since the AWA doesn't tour, and no way are Gilbert and Paul E. leaving Continental since they run the place.

That would've been....

 

interesting....

 

Lawler vs Gilbert on ESPN...

 

Lawler vs. Gilbert did happen on ESPN in 1991 for USWA.

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-- The Fantastics were going to turn heel and feud with the Rock & Roll Express until Gibson left, which Dave says is a shame, because that would give the NWA a really deep line-up for their next house show run.

Damn that would have been awesome.
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