DAMMIT, I knew I should have ordered that UFC last night.
The rest of August is gone, but we head into September with THE BIG EVENT!
– Dave declares it a slow news week, so you know it’s another 10 page Observer.
– The WWF headed into Toronto with the Big Event, and it was a media circus with all sorts of dumbshit newspaper articles treating wrestling like it’s still 1940 or something. Sample: “To no one’s surprise, Handsome Harley Race made mincemeat out of Pedro Morales as the trend of good over evil continued.” The show was of course a giant success, drawing 69,000 paid to the CNE Stadium with 75,000 actually in the building, but the WWF themselves is only publicly claiming 64,000. Why the downgrade? Because Bruce Springsteen (not to be confused with Sasha Banks) did a concert that drew 69,000 and the fire marshal FREAKED on the promoter. So Vince shaved 10,000 people off the total just to be the on the safe side.
– Unsurprisingly, they’re still claiming the new North American attendance record, breaking the Shea Stadium record of 55,000 people. Dave notes that this is amazing, in that they’ve found another 20,000 people who weren’t announced as being there back when it happened. But then this isn’t unique to the WWF, as Fritz has also been steadily inflating the Texas Stadium show record from 33,000 to 42,000 to 50,000 people as the years have gone on. Yeah, but maybe it’s just adjusting for 1986 numbers? Like inflation, but with crowd sizes.
– Dave didn’t actually see the show, but one of his correspondents provided thoughts and overinflated ratings. My goal is to do a fresh review of the Network version tonight, so we’ll skip the results for now. But of course the main event saw Hogan beating Orndorff by DQ in their first match, setting off a string of sellouts that lasted a long time.
– Dave DID watch some of the syndicated shows, and the NBC production upgrades are strongly in evidence now, as Superstars has become infinitely more glitzy and well-produced as compared to the likes of Jim Crockett. I personally wouldn’t have noticed because I didn’t start watching the shows until after the change happened. Dave notes that this will help them take back a lot of stations from groups like the UWF, because although Watts offers higher ratings, the WWF shows offer a better presentation, and TV is all about selling the sizzle and not the steak. Wins and losses don’t really matter on the show, because the guys are presented as “entertainers” and not “athletes”.
– To Japan, where Bruiser Brody has somehow made up with Inoki and will be working New Japan against him on 9/19…and making a shitload of money. He’s also expected to work against MAEDA on the undercard of the Inoki-Spinks trainwreck. WHY DID WE NOT GET THAT ONE!? Holy cow that would have been a glorious disaster.
– In a story that actually kicked off the downfall of Crockett in hindsight, he has purchased the dying Central States territory from Bob Geigel and is “infusing” it with loser babyfaces like Sam Houston to be the new top stars. The idea is supposed to be that Dusty wants to use it as a developmental territory, but Dave questions whether fans in the area are going to support Warlord v. George South as a main event. The answer was of course “NO” and it ended up losing a lot of money for Crockett. Although the idea of Dusty running a developmental league might be worth exploring…
– To Crockett Promotions, where it appears Magnum is going to feud with Jimmy Garvin in the aftermath of losing the US title to Nikita. And of course, he got all bloodied up again. Dave notes that TA loses much more blood he’ll turn Vulcan.
– Also, Dusty actually did a spectacular job of building up a feud with Big Bubba, as he sacrificed himself to save the Rock N Roll Express from a beating and ended up getting destroyed by Cornette’s crew. Fans were actually chanting for him later in the taping when he challenged Bubba to a match.
– The angle was preceded by a 20:00 Midnights v. Rock N Roll match which was awesome, all the more amazing because the match was taped in 9:00am after one team flew in from Philly the night before.
– Nikita Koloff apparently sells a TON of shirts at house shows, and since Crockett follows the money he’s pretty sure that Nikita is turning babyface someday.
– A tournament for the US tag titles will be held on 9/28 in Atlanta, and Dave is betting on Dusty & Magnum since neither has a title at the moment.
– In Central States, the TV show is in transition as they basically just fly the announce crew into the Carolinas to do voiceover on Crockett tapings featuring the new Central States “stars” like Warlord and Sam Houston and…uh…George South I guess. Joel & Vern Deaton will be debuting as a masked team called The Thunderfoots. As part of the transition, Bulldog Bob Brown will be dropping the Central States title to hot new top draw Sam Houston and then fired as booker. Hell of a deal for him.
– Butch Reed has given notice and will be debuting with the WWF shortly.
– To the WWF, where the Orndorff matches are immediately paying dividends, selling out the Cap Centre to the tune of 20,000 people.
– King Curtis Iaukea is coming in to manage Kamala and Sika the Samoan, although that didn’t last long.
– Bret Hart took a dropkick from Koko B. Ware too hard at the TV taping and suffered a split lip and bloody nose.
– To the AWA, where Verne continues to tear up the box office in California with 700 fans in San Jose and 500 in Stockton. And yet Vince wouldn’t pay him $3 million for the promotion?
– Jesse Ventura actually tried to run his own show in Minneapolis with a crew of follow Verne-haters like Billy Robinson and Buck Zumhofe. It was a HUGE flop.
– A bodybuilder from Minneapolis named Eddie Fritz is headed in to work for Crockett, but Dave doesn’t know who he is. Neither do I, so I don’t have any punchline here, sorry.
– The big rumor of the week is that Buddy Roberts has died, and people are unrelenting in “reporting” it to Dave. Meanwhile, Buddy continues to be remarkably punctual in making bookings even while dead. Dave speculates that if you play “Badstreet USA” backwards, you can hear Michael Hayes saying that Buddy is dead.
– Dave is just loving the UWF TV shows and enjoys being surprised by all the twists and turns.
– Back to Crockett, where Steve Regal is apparently starting with the WWF and thus dropped the NWA Junior title back to Denny Brown.
– Dave does a further review of Battle of Belts from last issue, and Luger is terrible but Flair did a hell of a job getting a watchable match out of him at 34:00. Still, he’s going to be a major superstar in the business.
– The White Ninja continues to improve and he’s going to be a top 20 wrestler soon, if he’s not already.
– Florida has changed their name to American Championship Wrestling because they want to go national. Good luck there.
– Dave corrects an earlier newsbit, noting that Nock Bockwinkel’s new AWA title belt is not actually the Americas belt but another mystery belt that he doesn’t know the origin of. Hansen still has the “real” AWA belt, although he would “return” it soon.
– Rumor is that Crockett’s next acquisition will be Don Owen’s promotion, which would allow him to promote in California more easily.
– Lance Von Erich was scheduled to do a tour of Japan to represent World Class, but Fritz pulled the plug at the last minute because he’s not an idiot.
– Apparently Bret Hart is tired of all the WWF travel and wants to just go work for Stampede.
– And finally, The Piper-Adonis angle is set for the next TV taping, with a “Battle of the Pits” between the Flower Shop and Piper’s Pit. Dave thinks Hogan will get involved to save Piper, although that did not end being the case at all.
Hopefully back tomorrow morning with the Big Event re-rant!