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Wrestling Observer Flashback–March 4 1985 Part 2

Previously…BOOM…on X-Men!  http://blogofdoom.com/index.php/2016/05/08/wrestling-observer-flashback-march-4-1985-part-1/

I was unable to top Dave’s steroid needle joke at the end of the last one, so I just stopped the WWF recap right then and there and went to bed.  And now we continue…

– Dave goes over the ratings a bit, and the TBS show is rated #2 of all shows on basic cable, so again although people hated it, it wasn’t a flop or anything.  The TNT show is dropping rapidly, which shows that the new audience of freakshow fans is far less than the loyal wrestling fans who choose not to watch that one. 

– Dave reviews the 1/21 MSG show (which did NOT sell out, he notes, although he assumes that the War to Settle the Score sold out both the arena and the Felt Forum):

1. Moondog Rex pinned Terry Gibbs in 10:00 in a slow but not bad opener.  *1/2

2.  Bret Hart beat Rene Goulet with a sleeper in 14:00.  Bret looked PUTRID and Goulet was pathetic.  -1/2* 

3.  Jim Neidhart pinned Tony Garea with a powerslam in 12:00.  DUD  Neidhart is lazy, Garea is just untalented.  Maybe they should put these two guys together into a tag team of some sort? They can be called Garea and Goulet!

4.  Don Muraco pinned Swede Hanson with a tombstone piledriver in 11:00.  There you go, unbelievers, proof that “tombstone piledriver” was a thing 5 years before Undertaker.  Dave thinks Muraco can still be one of the best due to his ability to instantly get heat.  1/2* 

5.  Blackjack Mulligan pinned Moondog Spot with a small package in 7:00.  Dave notes that Spot left and then came back.  Maybe one of the agents just threw his bone really far and it took him a while to get back?  *

6.  Andre the Giant beat Ken Patera in 9:00 by DQ when Heenan interfered.  Fans were really into it.  **

7.  John Studd pinned George Welles in 7:00 with a backbreaker.  *1/4  Welles was supposed to be a big deal coming in and that sure died off quickly.

8.  Roddy Piper & Bob Orton beat Junkyard Dog & Jimmy Snuka in a texas tornado match at 8:00 when Orton pinned Dog after a Piper trip.  WORST TORNADO BOUT EVER, says Dave, since JYD and Snuka both gassed after 3 minutes.  **1/4

9.  The Spoiler pinned Rick McGraw in 9:00 with a double-arm suplex.  DUD  Dave says not to believe the story about McGraw once breaking his neck.  OK then.

10. Tito Santana beat Greg Valentine via countout in 20:00 of a tremendous match after Greg was knocked out by the flying forearm.  Best MSG match in many months. ***1/2 

– Dave got reports of a WWF show in Anaheim that was called the worst show they had ever seen, including fans jumping the railing and performing more moves than the wrestlers.  But does Dave have a second verified source on that one?

todd smells

– The Tonga Kid, who is bound for the Carolinas with his pals the Samoans, is still being advertised 12 weeks after his leaving.  Dave rages against fans being conditioned to put up with this kind of crap, and the WWF for getting such perverse pleasure out of deceiving the fans.  Of course, he never actually did leave and would form the Islanders soon after. 

– Elsewhere in the Northeast, the Crocketts ran Philly on 2/5 and featured a main event of Flair v. Steamboat, which ran 34:12 before Flair got the pin using the trunks.  The show drew 3770, which local TV stations called the smallest crowd to watch wrestling in Philly EVER.  Obviously ECW wasn’t around yet to shatter that record. 

– Ole’s Baltimore show did a bit better, drawing 5600 for a tag team battle royale with Backlund & Slaughter winning. 

– Not a lot going on in Japan.  Dave has finally received some UWF matches via videotape, and they don’t hold up particularly well outside of the live atmosphere. 

– In New Japan, Inoki did his first job in a long time, putting over King Kong Bundy as his new monster. 

– Eric Embry has apparently bought out ownership of Joe Blanchard’s Southwest Championship Wrestling as that promotion continues to die a slow and painful death.  Man, Gary Hart is just VICIOUS to Blanchard in his book, basically calling him a useless idiot who leeched off the success of other promoters and had no idea what to do with his own territory. 

– OK, so remember how Billy Jack Haynes won the World Class TV title in the last issue after Chris Adams no-showed?  Well, now Haynes lost the title under equally ridiculous circumstances, as he also no-showed a bunch of dates and they just stripped him of the title and had Rip Oliver beat Buck Zumhofe for it instead.  His reason for leaving?  He felt that he was a bigger star than the Freebirds and should have been the lead babyface behind the Von Erichs.  Dave’s take:  He’s been reading too many Apter magazines and thinks he’s a much better wrestler and bigger star than anyone else in the business does. 

– Dave recaps the Dibiase v. Duggan feud in Mid-South thus far, which lead to the awesome Sharp Dressed Man contest on TV where they tried to decide who looked better in a tuxedo via fan voting.  When Duggan won, Dibiase grabbed an aluminum baseball bat and demolished Duggan’s truck in the parking lot.  This is all of course leading to the most awesomely over-the-top blowoff match ever, but Dave is ambivalent because at the end of the day it’s still Dibiase v. Duggan.  Have faith, Dave.

– Also in Mid-South, a rookie working prelims named Tom Pritchard is looking good thus far.  Also, a buddy of Steve Williams from college named Edgar Thomas has potential, but whatever happened to him I do not know because there’s no info on him past 1985. 

– Watts is going really heavy on the music videos for guys like Duggan, and grumpy curmudgeon Dave Meltzer enjoys them PROVIDED they don’t get in the way of the wrestling.  On a recent TV show they had THREE videos, and that’s just too many!  Hold on a second, dank meme coming up…

too many states

– Larry Zbyszko somehow won the “AWA Americas title” in a fake tournament and it’s only being recognized in the Northeast so that Bob Backlund can win it on a Pro Wrestling USA card.  And in fact they never even got that far and just put it on Sgt. Slaughter later in the year before quietly retiring it again.

– The AWA head honchos are already losing faith in Rick Martel as champion and looking for a new guy to put the belt on, but choices are limited, to say the least.  Martel is great in the ring, but he’s being booked like Seth Rollins was as champion at this point.

– The Road Warriors and Paul Ellering faced the Baron & the Hennigs (subbing for the Fabs, who had left weeks back but were still advertised for the show anyway) and Ellering did the job for the claw after Curt worked the entire match.  Anyway, fans of course cheered the supposed heel Roadies as usual, but when the Warriors actually decided to heel after the loss and run away from the Baron’s claw, fans started booing them and actually threw garbage in the ring.  The Warriors’ reaction:  Shove the drink cups down their tights, rub it on their crotches, and throw it back at the fans again.  At this point everyone in the dressing room locked themselves in because they figured a riot was going to break out and the Warriors would be killed, but I guess the fans were smart enough not to mess with them because they got out alive.

– More fun with false advertising:  The Road Warriors were advertised to defend the tag titles against Nick Bockwinkel and Mr. Saito in Chicago, but Saito was unable to make it due to mechanical problems with the plane.  What this ACTUALLY meant was that the plane was scheduled to leave on the 6th for a show on the 3rd.  Slaughter ended up taking his place as Bockwinkel turned on him, and then he won by DQ in a no-DQ match.  So good times all around.

– The AWA did a TV taping in Winnipeg, showcasing some of Eddie Sharkey’s recent graduates.  As noted by Mr. Mike earlier, John Nord shows a lot of potential due his size alone and is getting a big push, but Dave likes this other kid, Rob Richstensteiner, who works at a level about a year more advanced than his training.  Good call there, Dave, although most people thought his brother Scott was even better. 

– The American Starship have been moved full-time to the Kansas City area by Crockett, which should please everyone in the Carolinas according to Dave.  I’m actually quite interested to watch them proceed through their early career here.

– Word is that Jerry Lawler is going to get a run with the NWA World title over Flair in August.  Dave hopes it’s at least short.

– Sgt. Slaughter actually did agree to come into Mid-Atlantic and will be doing some shows with Don Kernodle against the Russians.  Apparently he’s quite the hot ticket right now.

– Terry Funk’s un-retirement as JJ Dillon’s bounty hunter ended quickly because ABC picked up a pilot of a TV show called “Wildside” starring Funk.  The show is a western set in 1890 where Terry plays a veterinarian with two kids who moonlights as a vigilante gunfighter at night.  A quick check of IMDB shows that the series lasted a whopping six episodes (or at least that’s how many were shot) and Funk played Prometheus Jones, alongside a young Meg Ryan. 

– In running down a California show with Pro Wrestling USA guys on it, Dave notes that John Nord is terrible now, but he’s so big and muscular that he’ll a big star someday.  But for now, he’s “Starship caliber”.  Oh man, the American Starship bashing continues.  I wonder if Dave is gonna feel stupid when Scott Hall and Dan Spivey are both legit big stars and/or great workers a few years hence?

–  Magnum TA is being limited to sub-1:00 squashes on TV because they don’t want to expose him too soon.  What a concept.

– The WWF tried running Oklahoma and BOMBED hard, only drawing 900 people for a Santana-Valentine main event with Piper underneath.  Hard to spin that one any other way.

– Samu was working a Bay Area show, which made Dave panic and think that the AWA was going to be subjected to Road Warriors v. Samoans, but in fact he was only in town to visit family.

– Dave doesn’t expect the Vince-Inoki happy funny time relationship to last past June, since Inoki ran a show in Honolulu with WWF guys booked, who Vince then pulled at the last minute. And then Vince ran a show in direct competition the next night. 

– To explain his departure from Memphis, Jimmy Hart did a spectacularly successful angle where he was suspended for life from the promotion and was basically thrown out of the building kicking and screaming by Lance Russell, in the manner of Bobby Heenan’s WWF departure in 93. 

– Jerry Lawler returned from his tour of Japan and immediately stole the Super Strong Machine gimmick for Memphis for one of his guys.

– Ole Anderson is having money troubles in Georgia and using Abdullah the Butcher trainees to fill out his TV show for the time being.  Dave goes over the names but it’s no one I’ve heard of so obviously they didn’t amount to anything in the biz.

– Dave has a HOT RUMOR about the future of TBS wrestling, and he can’t talk about it now but we’ll be happy about it.  Is it the launch of WCW Thunder 13 years early? 

– Leilani Kai won the “girl’s title” from Wendi Richter on the 2/18 MSG show, which Dave thinks will lead to a showdown on the 3/31 card, whatever that might be.

– Dave speculates that the ending of the 3/31 tag team main event will be Piper turning babyface so he can feud with Paul Orndorff through the summer. 

– The 2/18 MSG show sold out both MSG and the Forum to a tune of 26,000, however it wasn’t an ADVANCE sellout and wasn’t a turnaway crowd, so clearly their hype job for the MTV special wasn’t that effective.  Yeah.

– John Tatum is coming into the Carolinas, and “as many folks know, he’s actually the older brother of Michael Hayes.”  Actually he’s not at all related, Dave.

– Dave gets angrier and angrier as we near the end of the issue, as the WWF is still advertising Blackjack Mulligan for shows even though he’s long gone.  Also, The WWF has been using a FALSE COBRA to do jobs to George Welles even though they have the real one on loan from Inoki.  Finally he just cuts an embittered rant where his “spies” have had enough of reporting shitty WWF results, and he hopes that they try some of their carny bullshit when they come to Oakland on 3/18 so that “normal fans” can see how they operate the same way that Observer readers do.  Oh, there’s a MELTZ-DOWN coming soon, I can feel it.  I can’t wait!  I wonder if it’s Wrestlemania that finally breaks him?