Wrestling Observer Flashback–09.22.86

Previously…  http://blogofdoom.com/index.php/2016/06/05/wrestling-observer-flashback-09-15-86/

It’s another one of Dave’s “slow news weeks”, which I guess just means no one died or no promotions vanished.

– Top story of sorts is the SNME tapings, as Hogan beat Orndorff by DQ in what was reported to be a decent match, and Ricky Steamboat pinned Jake Roberts in the “Snake Pit Match”, although Dave has seen a bunch of their matches now and still doesn’t see what the fuss is about.  The building in Cleveland was a legit sellout of 21000 as the Orndorff program is already turning business around for the company.

– Dusty Rhodes won the TV title from Arn Anderson on the 9/2 TV tapings, so Dave thinks that the favorites to win the US tag titles are now the Andersons.

– The new Central States crew, headlined by Sam Houston v. Buddy Landell for the Central States title and Todd Champion & DJ Peterson v. The Thunderfoots underneath, debuts at the tapings on 9/26, which is probably why the territory didn’t stay around for long under Crockett.  Dave points out that they scripted all these interviews for them, trying to imitate smooth talkers like Dusty & Flair, but really the best way to get someone over is to just let them be themselves on promos.  What a wacky idea.  Also, the goal appears to be getting these guys to go out and cut generic promos about women & money like Flair does, but unless you’re Flair it just makes you look like “low class sleaze”.

– Crockett is trying to run a show in Pittsburgh sometime in October, but he’s having to sue to the DeBartolos (owners of the arena) to get around Vince’s exclusivity deal where you can’t run a wrestling show 30 days before or after a WWF show.  I don’t think he was successful.

– Rick Rude and Brad Armstrong are officially on the way into the promotion in October.

– Down in Kansas City for one of the last Geigel KC shows before the Crockett changeover, Butch Reed apparently assaulted a fan who was yelling at his kids and got arrested.  Hell of a way to leave the area.

– No talk about Starrcade ‘86 yet, although there’s a current plan to have Nikita unify the National and US titles before we get there.

– To the WWF, where they did a $1 million gate for the Big Event, but payoffs started at only $700 Canadian, which is like $400 in real money.  Dave doesn’t know all the numbers, but the Funks and Bees got $1500, Harley Race and Pedro Morales got $2000 each, and the Machines/Studd/Bundy crew got $7000 each.

– They actually returned to Toronto already, on 9/7, and did a disappointing 13,000.  Well, duh.  The main event was Hogan & Piper v. Orndorff & Adonis, which should have sold out with ease, but not two weeks after the last show.  The highlight was a flu-ridden Dynamite Kid gutting out a match against Jimmy Jack Funk and actually puking all over him before they rushed to the finish to get him out of there.  Davey Boy was supposed to beat Dory Funk, but Dory quit the night before the show when payoffs for the Big Event came down, and is gone.  Anyway, the heat for the main event was incredible, like off-the-charts, as the Piper babyface turn is absolutely a giant success already and people gave him a standing ovation when he came out.

–  Andre the Giant is gone for a while, shooting a movie.  Yeah, THE GREATEST MOVIE OF ALL TIME, baby.  My five year old daughter actually watched The Princess Bride with me on Netflix recently and lost her mind over it, and now she’s going around quoting it.  I’ve never been so proud.  Anyway, despite Andre’s absence, the feud between the Machines and Studd & Bundy (Stiff Machine & Fat Machine) continues for the time being.

– Vince actually took another shot at the Mid-South area with Hogan-Orndorff, and they died AGAIN down there, only drawing 2700 in New Orleans.

– Jake Roberts didn’t bring his snake with him to Toronto because the SPCA made legal threats against the WWF.  Man, what is WITH Vince pissing off animal rights groups?

– With Andre gone, they’re doing a rotating deal with various fake Machines taking his place, like “Piper Machine” in Boston this week. Dave doesn’t reveal his identity, but I’m assuming it was Jack Victory.

– Ernie Ladd debuted as announcer for Wrestling Challenge with Monsoon and Jimmy Valiant, and he’s already fired after one taping because it was such a disaster.  Dave is like “Shouldn’t they have given him a tryout or something before putting him on TV?”  But then he notes that Gorilla is still on TV and he’s terrible, plus Jim Crockett keeps David around on TV, so it all evens out.

– Dave is getting a bit burned out on the Mid-South TV show, noting everything sounded really good when he saw it the first time in 1983 in Dallas.

– Speaking of which, Ole Anderson went on TV and made threats to Dusty Rhodes, calling him “Tulsa Tubby”, but it was actually SECRET WRESTLER CODE for Bill Watts.  So in response, Michael Hayes went on UWF TV and made some kind of remarks about the Four Horsemen.  If this was today it would turn in a vicious Twitter war, I bet.

– In some prime Dave witticism, the “World Class” section is now dubbed “World Trash”.

i don't get it


Never mind, Homer.

– Anyway, it’s MASS PANIC as everyone abandons ship in Dallas.  Rick Rude was scheduled to win the “World Trash World title” back from Chris Adams on 10/12, but he’s gone and they’ll have to get it off him some other way.  And WHAT a choice they made, too!  Dave notes that pretty much everyone not named Von Erich sees the writing on the wall, especially with Bill Watts moving his offices to Dallas.  Black Bart actually debuts here a new foe for the Von Erichs next week, but Dave thinks he’ll change his mind once he realizes what he’s getting into.  Well, unless they do something ludicrous like put the World title on him, AM I RIGHT?

– The Cotton Bowl show is in deep trouble, so Fritz is pulling out his “sickening ace in the hole” by promoting Kerry as being in the corner of Lance & Mike when they challenge for the tag belts.  Kerry is actually down to 190 and can’t put any weight on his foot, although Fritz is still insisting he’ll be back in three months.  I don’t see the big deal, what’s the worst that could happen?

– Fritz has another problem in that the production company he uses is heavily in debt and will be sold off by Pat Robertson’s parent company as a way to raise money for a Presidential run.  So not only is the product going in the toilet, it’ll probably start looking low rent, too.

– To the AWA, who held a show in Oakland but Dave doesn’t know the lineup or anyone who admits to being there.

– On the 9/7 show in Chicago, John Nord no-showed and they held a coinflip between Curt Hennig and Larry Zbyszko to determine who gets the shot at Bockwinkel in his place.  Hennig won and then Larry came out and hit Bockwinkel with his nunchucks, allowing Hennig to apparently win the title!  Then later in the night, they announced that Hennig had decided to give the title back because he couldn’t accept it in such a manner.

– Also on the show, The Midnight Rockers once again won the tag team titles from Doug Somers & Buddy Rose, but it was announced on TV the next week that the belts had been returned to Rose & Somers because Shawn pinned the wrong man.  Now, follow this if you can:  In fact, the Rockers had ALREADY won the tag titles from Rose & Somers at a previous TV taping in August, but they hadn’t aired yet on TV so the Rockers came into the Chicago match billed as challengers and thus had to return the titles that they had already won.  But, of course we know that the ACTUAL title change doesn’t even come until January of 87 and the previous August title change would also have to be overturned when it aired after the Chicago match was overturned, so at this point I feel like we need Doc Brown with the chalkboard to explain the bizarre recursive programming formula needed to figure out who the fuck the tag champs are supposed to be.

– Jerry Lawler ran another cheap baseball stadium show in Memphis to counteract Vince invading again with the Orndorff match, but this time Mother Nature turned heel on him like a Vince Russo storyline twist, and a huge rainstorm dumped on the show and it only drew 1500.  And here I thought God wasn’t supposed to be on Vince’s side?

– In a very Memphis move, the team of the Fire & Flame have added a third member…the Torch.

– Bam Bam Bigelow was featured in Sports Illustrated this week, although Dave notes they had lots of misinformation, like a bogus story about Bigelow being a professional bounty hunter.  Wait, I thought that was legit?

– In Florida, Keiji Muto will be returning to Japan soon, so Inoki will be sending another young kid named Masahiro Chono to be trained by Matsuda in his place.

– Apparently there’s a new masked wrestler called The Falcon who wears a low-rent mask and supposedly played for the Atlanta Falcons.  My interest was piqued, so I checked and it turns out that it’s just Steve Armstrong.

– Back to the WWF, as TNT is about to be cancelled, and Vince wanted Mean Gene to be the host when the hammer came down so he could properly assign blame.

– Dave insists that Don Owen is going to give up the Oregon promotion to Jim Crockett by the end of the year.  That was the one dying territory that Crockett DIDN’T buy!

– Baba has signed former sumo champion John Tenta to a wrestling deal, but the Sumo Association is banning him from billing Tenta as “Kototenzan” because apparently it’s a term that belongs to the Sumo group exclusively.  Baba also signed another sumo champion, Wajima, but it would later turn out that he was injured from years of wrestling and he only lasted about a year before retiring from pro wrestling.

– To New Japan, where everyone wants to see Inoki v. Maeda, but neither guy wants to do a job to the other, so Inoki has been “training” with him on TV to take the heat off a program between them.

– Sticking with the always entertaining Maeda, he was booked against wannabe tough guy Kevin Kelly (Nailz) in a tag match, and Kelly decided to try his luck, which resulted in Maeda forcibly taking him to the finish in only 1:25.

– Angel of Death has been doing a tour of New Japan and Dave thinks he’ll be a big star in Japan in a few years due to his size.  Unfortunately he just had too many knee problems to ever be anything in the sport, despite a great look and gimmick.

– King Curtis agreed to work as Kamala’s manager because he’s trying to get his son Rocky Iaukea into the WWF.  Didn’t work, plus he was about 10 years too early to get a kid named Rocky into the promotion.

– And finally, Dave reveals the best kept secret in wrestling:  Kamala’s handler Kim Chee is actually being played by none other than STEVE LOMBARDI.

I’m assuming your jaws are all agape at that one, so we’ll leave it at that.