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20 Years Ago - WON 08/22/88


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WWF

-- The main feuds in fall are going to be Rick Rude vs Jake Roberts and Randy Savage vs Andre the Giant, along with Hogan vs DiBiase. Rude is supposed to be getting his "sister" in his corner, as they really want to do a "girls" feud without involving Elizabeth, who they want to remain untouched. Brutus Beefcake vs Ron Bass is also expected to be a big feud, and Dave doesn't understand why Bass is getting such a big push when they have so many great workers under contract.

 

-- Iron Sheik has been fired again for the same reasons as always. Dave says it's so sad to see what he has become, considering that he started in wrestling as a spartan athlete of sorts.

 

-- Savage vs Andre is drawing well. They did 10,500 paid in Oakland ($125,000 gate) and a $140,000 gate in Oakland. "Those figures are phenomenal when you consider all the competing sports events in both cities (Giants and Dodgers had a series in LA which was televised in the Bay Area which has lots of interest, plus the NFL opened up its exhibition games, and Crockett was in and did business in both cities the previous week, although in reality major league baseball, the NFL and Jim Crockett Promotions all draw from a very different audience than does the WWF."

 

-- Owen Hart stole the show on 8/13 in L.A. in a near-**** match against Barry Horowitz and was the most over guy on the show aside from Randy Savage.

 

-- The WWF is purposely planting stories of Liz in a bikini at Summerslam to sell PPV buys. The rumor that they're spreading themselves is that Liz will wear a robe, take it off at a key moment, and it will lead to a heel distraction and babyface win.

 

-- The WWF is also trying to encourage the Hogan/Tyson rumors because of the publicity potential. Dave says Vince is smart enough to never put Hogan in a situation where he doesn't have complete control, and that he doubts Tyson would agree to a worked finish. Dave says if Tyson KO'd Hogan, the WWF would go crumbling down and one payday isn't worth that.

 

-- 8/4 in Altoona, PA drew 3,000 fans. 8/5 in Springfield, MA drew 2,700 fans.

 

 

NWA

-- "This has been a great week for rumors, but a lousy week for news. At this point, I don't take rumors of wrestlers jumping very seriously, it's kind of, when they're there, they're there type of thing. And nobody has officially jumped from the NWA despite the rumors that every single wrestler from Ric Flair to the Italian Stallion is going to and that Vince McMahon and Pat Patterson's phone lines were buzzing all week (just remember an inquiring phone call and a change in jobs are two very different things). At this point, nothing major has happened, but nothing would be surprising either."

 

-- The sale of the NWA to Turner is close to happening. The hold-up right now is that Turner wants Crockett to clear his outstanding debt first. There are expected to be major organizational changes after the sale because something has to change, but no one knows what those changes are going to be.

 

-- The next Clash special is scheduled for 9/7 and will be headlined by Barry Windham vs Sting for the U.S. title. Dave expects an Ivan Koloff babyface turn in the chain match with Ricky Morton. "So once again, they are doing their big television special without Ric Flair, Lex Luger, the Road Warriors, or Jim Cornette on the bill. Actually I'm pretty sure Flair and Luger will be there in some fashion, but equally sure they won't approach (nor are they trying to approach) the first Clash in Greensboro."

 

-- The Bash ended on 8/7 in Kansas City before 6,800 fans on a pretty hot card. The main event was a six-man cage match with Dusty/Murdoch/Luger vs Flair/Tully/Windham.

 

-- Lots of worry about the status of Flair, Arn, and Tully. They have all said they're gone unless "a specific change is made" (My note: Hmmm, I wonder what that could be), and Crockett called their bluff.

 

-- 8/12 in Norfolk did a $90,000 house, and a TV taping in macon did around $20,000. They are off for a few days and are returning with cards this weekend in Raleigh, Richmond, and Philly.

 

-- Dusty wants to bring in some new faces. There are rumors of wrestlers being let go, but there are no notable names that are absent on cards booked through the end of September. They still want Karl Moffatt (Jason the Terrible in Stampede/Barry Gasper in New Japan), but probably won't get him, as Moffatt likes his Japanese commitments. He was going to be Russian Assassin #2 and team with Dave Sheldon.

 

AWA

-- The ESPN show is maintaining a 1.8 national rating in the late Saturday night time slot, which makes it the second highest rated show on the station. This is impressive considering the lack of respect ESPN gives the show.

 

-- Jimmy Snuka and Col. DeBeers are coming in to restart their feud, which will be on the November show if it happens.

 

WCCW

-- Steve & Shaun Simpson captured the Texas tag titles from John Tatum & Jack Victory in late July in Temple, TX. (Later in the issue, Dave reports that they have quit.) The Texas title also changed hands on 8/5 with Iceman Parsons becoming the new champion. Kevin was the champion, but was injured, so Kerry defended on his behalf, since WCCW by-laws state allow a champion to pick a replacement for a title defense if needed. Dave has heard that Kevin's injury is both real and an angle, so he's not sure which is true, but the explanation at the arena was great. They said Kevin stepped on glass and had stitches in his feet and couldn't wrestle, and everyone believed it since Kevin doesn't wear shoes. Dave points out that Kevin never does jobs, and something like this always happens when he needs to drop a belt. The Samoan Swat Team also capture the tag titles from Kerry & Kevin on 8/12 in Dallas. Dave says Buddy Roberts is really great at their manager.

 

-- The Brody memorial on 7/29 drew 3,400 in Dallas. The best match on the card was said to be Michael Hayes & Steve Cox vs Samoan Swat Team.

 

-- 7/30 in Shreveport drew 2,000 fans.

 

-- About three dozen wrestling fans came in for a convention and saw the 7/29 and 7/30 shows. Another convention is set for next year in Denver, and Dave would also like to remind everyone of the UAWF convention from Oct 7 - Oct 11 in Memphis.

 

-- Savannah Jack has his heart problem fixed and wants to come in. It was thought he would need a heart transplant at one time, but he had a major recovery when he gave up steroids.

 

-- Fritz Von Erich is back in the office and they are becoming more of a family-run territory again.

 

-- The Penthouse article on the Von Erichs goes on the newsstands on 8/6.

 

MEMPHIS

-- 8/7 in Jackson, TN drew 2,300. 8/8 in Memphis drew a $20,000 for the restart of the Lawler/Idol feud. They had a ***3/4 match and Lawler gave a piledriver to ref Jerry Calhoun, which Dave calls a fine way to treat a brother-in-law and softball teammate.

 

-- Brickhouse Brown finally turned on the 8/13 TV. Robert Fuller came out in a wheelchair and said he had presents fro all of the Stud Stable. He gave Gary Young a robe, Bruno a rolex watch, and Sylvia a ring. He gave Brown a shower cap and cassette tape. Brown got mad and threw the stuff down, so the Stable held him down while Fuller whipped him with a belt. Dave says the angle didn't get over at all because fans just don't like Brown and the teases were dragged out too long. They tried to rectify this by pairing Brown with Jeff Jarrett and Bill Dundee, who both offered to team up with him.

 

-- Max Pain is back at home in Utah and won't be wrestling anywhere. Akio Sato and Tojo Yammamoto are also gone. Big Bubba (not Ray Traylor) is on his way back in after the Oregon group folded. The Mongolian Stomper is in and will be teaming with Jimmy Golden while Fuller is out of action.

 

-- 8/15 had Lawler vs Kerry in their fourth double title meeting, this time with a 90-minute time limit. Dave says they've gone overboard, because they can only book so many double title matches with no title change.

 

-- Lawler vs Idol drew a $10,000 gate on 8/9 in Louisville, the largest gate in that city in a long time. They wanted to do Lawler/Kerry vs Idol/Rich, but Idol refused to be a heel. While he's the heel in the Lawler feud, he's approaching it like he's got a grudge with Lawler, but isn't really a heel.

 

STAMPEDE

-- Lots of talent departures and a thinned down roster. Jerry Morrow was injured on 8/6 in Camrose and will be out of action for a few more weeks. Brian Pillman finished up on 8/13 and is going to Continental.

 

-- Makhan Singh may be on his way out. He has done three TV commercials to air in Calgary and has signed a one-year deal with a furniture store in Edmonton. Singh is apparently very funny in these commercials and is doing a character similar to Jacko in the Energizer battery commercials. He holds the North American title and will feud with Jason the Terrible, who just returned, but both will be leaving shortly for Japan. After Jason leaves, they are turning Steve DiSalvo, but Dave can't see him as a face, because he's so good as an arrogant and condescending heel. The last time they turned him face to feud with Badnews Allen, he was turned back quickly. Singh recently wore a Wayne Gretzky Oilers jersey into the ring for a match, and the Gretzky trade is the biggest news story in modern history in Edmonton.

 

-- 8/13 in Edmonton drew 320 fans.

 

-- Jason is nowhere near as over as he was in winter when he was the reason they were selling out.

 

-- They are pretending Owen Hart is still working Japan "defending the world title" to fans, since technically, Owen isn't with the WWF, the Blue Angel is. Although, Owen has wrestled in several cities without the mask using his real name.

 

OREGON

-- Scott Peterson beat The Grappler (Len Denton) in 10 seconds on 8/5 in Eugene, ending a nine-month reign as Northwest champion.

 

-- A tournament for the TV title will be held on 8/16 in Portland. Dave Sierra was the last champion but left for Japan.

 

-- There is interest in bringing in Ric Flair and the Road Warriors for a major card in Portland.

 

-- According to the Torch, Mel Saraceno will be opening up a new promotion called the OWA that will compete with Don Owen. Billy Jack Haynes will not be affiliated in any way. The scheduled start is 8/13 and will have Rip Oliver and Mike Miller as co-bookers and top stars, plus Brian Adams, Joey Jackson, Moondog Moretti, Lex Luther, Cocoa Samoa, and Tiger Chung Lee.

 

WINDY CITY

-- They returned to the International Ampitheatre in Chicago on 8/12 and drew a $15,000 house, headlined by Bam Bam Bigelow winning a battle royal.

 

CONTINENTAL

-- 7/29 in Columbus, MS drew 1,021 fans.

 

-- Dave just watched four weeks of TV, and said there is less fast-forwarding with Continental than any other group, but he thinks they run too many angles and do too many run-ins. He said Eddie Gilbert and Paul E. Dangerously attacking Pez Whatley's son was the best thing he has seen in a long time. Dave calls Paul E. the best heel in wrestling, and says you can hate him for a variety of reasons, and he's not a one-dimensional heel at all. Dave also says they've gone about as far as they can with beating up civilians, and adds that Gilbert and Ken Wayne are both great workers who are great at their roles, and Danny Davis is really good as well. Austin Idol's babyface promos are great, and Paul E. obviously picked up a lot from Idol if you watch him do local promos. Tom Pritchard and Tony Anthony are great workers, but both seem stuck in their feud, and the only interesting thing about it is Missy Hyatt's role. The matches are great from what Dave hears, but the feud needs something to freshen it up. The rest of the group Dave isn't as sold on, but says Pez Whatley is a surprisingly good and charismatic babyface.

 

-- There is talk of making Smothers, Armstrong, Pillman, and Shane Douglas into some type of fab four.

 

-- They want to expand into Knoxville and Chattanooga, plus Louisiana and Mississippi, but Dave hopes they proceed with caution, because trying to expand too quickly has done in a lot of territories.

 

NEW JAPAN

-- NJPW had a live prime-time wrestling special taped from Yokohama before a sellout 6,070 fans. In the main event, Tatsumi Fujinami and Antonio Inoki went to a 60-minute draw. The match had a ton of interest because of behind-the-scenes politics. Inoki announced that if Fujinami beat him, he would retire from pro wrestling. Fujinami has not renewed his contract and has walked out twice recently, and he is trying to force NJ's hand to be the top star. Although Fujinami is regarded as the best worker in the company, Inoki is considered the bigger draw, but Fujinami is really forcing the issue to get his way. Fujinami is really tired of patiently waiting for Inoki to retire so he can be top star, and his fear is that Inoki's retirement may never happen. The draw was booked to appease Fujinami, who in his mind is still the top star because he has the title, and also, Inoki wasn't beaten, so he is still around. Only the first 25 minutes or so of the match aired, "... and you know how the first 25 minutes of most 60 minute matches are." Dave says the heat was actually tremendous even when they were exchanging holds on the mat, and the match was never boring at any point. "My guess is that overall it was an excellent match, and my one live report indicated that this was excellent for the entire 60 minutes."

 

-- Also, on the card, Bam Bam Bigelow returned and went to a double countout with Vader. The crowd was strongly on Vader's side early on, but Bigelow gained momentum as the match progressed, and won the fans over. Dave calls this a good big man match with some really good high spots, but the brawling wasn't that great. **3/4 ... "Actually, whenever I see Vader against anyone besides Fujinami, I realize just how good Fujinami is to carry the guy to good-to-great matches." Also, Shiro Koshinaka pinned Kuniaki Kobayashi in a **** match, and Choshu & Saito beat Manny Fernandez & Buzz Sawyer in the show opener. "I don't know the TV ratings for this special, but assume they won't be all that good because it appears New Japan simply no longer has the following to draw large TV ratings."

 

-- There is a tour scheduled starting 10/7 with Bam Bam Bigelow, Steve Williams, Owen Hart, and Biff Wellington all tentative. It will be interesting to see if Doc or Owen come, since neither the NWA nor the WWF allow their wrestlers to work Japan.

 

-- In a class act, the 7/29 show had a moment of silence for both Adrian Adonis and Bruiser Brody.

 

AJPW

-- Baba is ready to give up on Hiroshi Wajima as a big name. The novelty has worn off.

 

-- The best TV match of the past month was Footloose vs Shunji Takano & Shinichi Nakano at ****+. "The Foot Loose are as good as any team in wrestling at making their foes look good and deserve more television exposure because their matches are always in the four star range against Japanese foes."

 

 

OTHER

-- The arraignment for Jose Gonzales is scheduled for September 8. Gonzales is expected to plead not guilty and claim self defense.

 

-- There are two cable sports networks trying to get into the cable TV game. Mizzlou is launching an all sports network in April 1989. The network will mainly be betting odds and results, but they want a lot of boxing and pro wrestling, which Dave says in theory would give TV to a smaller promotion. NBC is debuting a cable station called CNBC, which is looking for a one-hour pro wrestling show for the weekends. No date has been set for when CNBC will debut.

 

-- Dave praises Wade Keller's Torch annual, and provides details on how to get it. It has lots of content from both Meltzer and Keller, drawings from Mr. Mike, interviews with Tom Zenk and Bruiser Brody. It's $7.50 and Dave says it's the best thing he's read on wrestling in a long time. (My note: It's amazing that Wade was doing all of this at 16 years old.)

 

-- Central States drew 48 fans on 8/6 in DeSoto, KS. Carolina Championship Wrestling drew 100 fans on 8/6 in Roanoke. Bob Raskin's USWA drew 2,516 fans on 8/4 in Bloomington, IL with mostly people from Dick the Bruiser's crew, along with Sgt. Slaughter and Misty Blue.

 

-- The only U.S. wrestlers left in Puerto Rico are Bobby Jaggers, Dan Kroffat, Ron Starr, the Batten Twins, and Tony Falk. The rest left. "The wrestling grapevine indicates that there are no hard feelings towar the guys that were there and stayed, being that everyone understands you have to make money to feed your family. However in the case of the Battens, who left a U.S. promotion to go to Puerto Rico, they may have to stay there until this all blows over because there may be some hard feelings because of them going there. By the way several have written noting to me that Puerto Rico is not a foreign country, but a territory of the U.S. While that is certainly legally the case, this is a wrestling newsletter and in the wrestling world, Puerto Rico is a lot more of a foreign country than Canada or Japan."

 

-- Ron Fuller's final USA Pro card will be on 8/19 in Knoxville. Dave lists the card, which includes Jamie Dundee in a midget match.

 

-- Eddie Sharkey is promoting wrestling in Minnesota using Larry Cameron and Tommy Ferrera as his top stars, along with Sheik Adnan El-Kaissey.

 

-- A group called MCW Sports drew 2,423 at the county fair in Northwood, IA, using Rufus Jones, Roger Kirby, Sandy Partlow, Terry Hart, and Billy Howard. They also drew 1,650 in Harlan, IA using the same crew and Porkchop Cash.

 

-- Michael Hayes and Kevin Von Erich are being advertised for an independent show in Medina, OH, which will also feature a Madusa Miceli vs Fabulous Moolah match.

 

-- Larry Hamilton (Missouri Mauler) failed in his third attempt to win the Buchanan County sheriff election.

 

-- Dave is impressed with how the Japanese media is covering the UWF so seriously. He says he's not a fan of the style, which he calls "amateur wrestling mixed in with karate", but the guys do work hard, and it's amazing that they draw like they do with no TV, and that the UWF is wrestling's #1 success story of the year. They are the only promotion in the world whose audience believes they are real at this point.

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-- The WWF is purposely planting stories of Liz in a bikini at Summerslam to sell PPV buys. The rumor that they're spreading themselves is that Liz will wear a robe, take it off at a key moment, and it will lead to a heel distraction and babyface win.

Can you imagine how this would go today? They'd have some diva claiming on Raw for weeks that she'd be disrobing at the PPV, and then on the night it would end up being Mae Young in a thong.

 

-- The only U.S. wrestlers left in Puerto Rico are Bobby Jaggers, Dan Kroffat, Ron Starr, the Batten Twins, and Tony Falk.

Neat, this confirms something I'd wondered about for a long time. Tony claimed to have been there when Brody was killed, albeit not in the same locker room. I know that 99.9999% of the time you hear something like "I was there the night Brody died" you should automatically dismiss it as bullshit, but Tony's not a great liar and he told the story with tremendous detail, so I was never sure either way.
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-- The WWF is purposely planting stories of Liz in a bikini at Summerslam to sell PPV buys. The rumor that they're spreading themselves is that Liz will wear a robe, take it off at a key moment, and it will lead to a heel distraction and babyface win.

Can you imagine how this would go today? They'd have some diva claiming on Raw for weeks that she'd be disrobing at the PPV, and then on the night it would end up being Mae Young in a thong.
This reminds me of a forgotten piece of trivia: The Mae Young thing at Royal Rumble 2000 seemed to be designed as a subtle bait and switch of people who ordered the PPV to see boobs. It was a month after Kat stripping, and they adjusted the content rating for the Rumble to have a nudity warning. The Mae Young stuff hadn't been done much yet, so nobody saw it coming.
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The only U.S. wrestlers left in Puerto Rico are Bobby Jaggers, Dan Kroffat, Ron Starr, the Batten Twins, and Tony Falk. The rest left

I think Budro and Jason the Terrible should be in there trading belt with TNT around this point too. Assuming that the the Jason who worked those matches is same one from Stampede that Dusty supposedly wanted.

 

While that is certainly legally the case, this is a wrestling newsletter and in the wrestling world, Puerto Rico is a lot more of a foreign country than Canada or Japan

than Canada maybe...but Japan?

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yes I remember the WWF purposely teasing nudity at Royal Rumble 2000 for the bikini contest. Then of course it was Mae. I think it was more leaking false reports online because it was talked about at the NEWZ sites for weeks

 

my favorite part of the whole bit was Fred Blassie marking out after Mae stripped

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-- Iron Sheik has been fired again for the same reasons as always. Dave says it's so sad to see what he has become, considering that he started in wrestling as a spartan athlete of sorts.

So, in a few years can we look forward to Kurt Angle saying he's going to ass-rape one of Beer Money in a shoot interview?

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