Previously on WCW Thunder… http://blogofdoom.com/index.php/2016/04/30/wrestling-observer-flashback-september-1984-part-2/
So now we skip ahead to the beginning of 1985, and this is the Observer Yearbook issue at a mammoth FIFTY THREE PAGES, which means I’m gonna have to split this thing up into 3 parts to cover it all. And it’s a pretty historic issue right off the bat, as you’ll soon see.
– Dave was recently on a trip to Japan and makes sure to thank Wally “Choppy Choppy Your Pee Pee” Yamaguchi for his hospitality. Hopefully nothing untoward happened!
– Sadly, Dave’s enthusiasm for the business is waning with the WWF machine in full effect, although there are still “three or four good circuits” to keep him interested. He still likes a hard style of wrestling with some comedy, but he doesn’t know where the Observer will be six months down the road.
– The bane of Dave’s existence, Tuesday Night Titans, has now been moved to Fridays (thus making the title of the show a bit of a misnomer), and that’s good! But it’s been replaced with some piece of crap show called “Prime Time Wrestling” so there’s more Titan on the airwaves. That’s bad. But pretty soon we’ll hit the oversaturation point and the product will cut back again. That’s good! However, if everyone gets burned out on wrestling, local promotions will suffer far more than the WWF. That’s bad. Also, the frogurt is cursed.
– It should be noted that Dave has now figured Vince McMahon out. Obviously, Vince’s plan of attack is being BIZARRE. His goal is to make wrestling such a ridiculous circus that he drives away all the normal fans who want stuff like workrate and hard-hitting action and replace them with casual fans who just want to gawk at the spectacle of bullcrap like a bunch of slack-jawed yokels. That last bit is my words, not his. Whether this “cult” audience is something that will stick around when the Rocky Horror Picture Show loses its freakshow appeal is something we’ll find out in the next three years. Hold on a sec, a feel a meme coming on…
– As you can tell by my hilariously topical analogy, Vince is clearly worried. Dave elaborates further that Titan is headed for a “disaster” in 1985, based off supposed losses of $7 million in 1984 and a glut of TV product. Yup, if there’s one thing we’ll remember about 1985, it’s that the WWF had a disastrous year that sunk the business forever for them.
– Dave clarifies that he doesn’t blame Vince for trying to promote all over the country and stealing everyone’s talent, he just wishes that Vince made better use of that talent. Also, it’s not Vince’s fault that the Crocketts don’t pay as well, because competition is good and if salaries go up for everyone, then it’s actually a huge benefit to the wrestlers. Of course, if Vince goes bankrupt in 1985, which I mean, come on, how could he not, then the “let it play out and see where it goes” approach from JCP was obviously the right one.
– Finally for Dave’s opening rant, a historic paragraph, as he debuts the star rating system for matches that he admittedly stole from Norm Dooley. He will now rate matches from zero stars (DUD) to five stars, and even negative stars if something is particularly offensive, which will provide a change from having to find new ways to say “This was tremendous” or “this sucked” over and over. In fact, he notes, he might even rate 8 or 9 matches at ***** per year! Yeah, how many matches has Dave given ***** to lately? The last one in WWE was Punk-Cena in 2011.
– Next up, Dave recaps 1984. First up, Hulk Hogan, whose title reign has been a huge disappointment thus far. Sure, he popped houses for the first few months, but things have cooled off considerably since then. And his matches are all the same, as he takes a beating from the heel and then pops and finishes them with the big boot and legdrop out of nowhere in a little under 10:00. Frankly, I personally am surprised people didn’t riot out of disgust and burn down the buildings after a year of him as champion thus far.
– David Von Erich is still dead of enteritis, causing severe dehydration, which led to a heart attack, according to what Dave is choosing to believe at this point. I mean, I suppose it’s POSSIBLE that David was a huge drug addict who happened to die from a really big steak and the two things could be mutually exclusive, but lots of things are possible. I wonder how many Von Erichs killing themselves due to drug addiction it took for Dave to switch to the drug theory?
– Next up, Black Saturday, and apparently Vince liquidated the Cape Cod Coliseum that he owned in order to finance the takeover of World Championship Wrestling. Dave notes that the show (still on the air as WWF at that point) has been doing quite well, although Ole is back with GCW in a Saturday morning slot. I always thought it was a ratings disaster from day one?
– Dave recaps the UWF saga, and we missed November, when the president of the company, Nobuo Urata, was arrested for going to Sayama’s business manager and threatening to kill him if he didn’t release Sayama from his contract. This, Dave notes, pretty much guaranteed that the company will never get on TV, and yet they continue to exist and prosper without any exposure.
– Next up is a summary of all the big talent jumps to and from the WWF this year, including some that we missed. Sgt. Slaughter left just before this issue, although Dave thinks he’ll be back soon. Well, six years later is kind of “soon” in a way. Volkoff actually came in as a part of the TBS purchase, which I didn’t realize. Bret Hart of course came in as a part of the Stampede purchase, as did the British Bulldogs, but the Bulldogs (who weren’t yet a team or the Bulldogs) both left right away.
– Dave thinks this whole “Rock N Wrestling” thing is a fad, because the Moolah-Richter title change with Cyndi Lauper drew the lowest MSG crowd in ages. And by the way, that’s a women’s match that main evented a major show, for those on the social justice warrior train about how Sasha and Charlotte should be the “first” to do that. OH YEAH, I WENT THERE, SISTER.
And that’s only the first five pages! Way more to come from this one and I’ll be sure to milk it for ad revenue as long as possible. Because I know you wouldn’t expect any less from me.