I’m gonna be sad when the free play weekend for Rocket League on Xbox One comes to an end this morning, because it’s been SUPER easy to find good games online with 40,000 people playing instead of 4000. My obsession with the game will continue either way, though. I’m kind of annoyed that apparently a new version of the console is launching this year that doesn’t weigh 400 pounds and supports 4K video. I guess I could just buy a Roku 4 or Amazon Fire box…OH WAIT I CAN’T I’M IN CANADA. Not that I’m bitter.
Hey, guess what happened in the week before this issue came out? STARRCADE ‘86! Let’s hit the review…
– But first, bigger fish to fry. John Tatum was in a bad car accident on 11/26 and is currently in critical condition along with his girlfriend after a head-on collision with another driver. The other guy died, so I guess it could have been worse for Tatum. But not much, as he suffered two broken ankles, kidney damage, a sunken chest, a concussion, numerous internal injuries…AND got nailed with a drug possession charge in the process. Plus his girlfriend miscarried as a result. I’m assuming that wasn’t Missy Hyatt? I hadn’t actually heard about that accident before so it couldn’t have affected his career too much.
– Magnum, meanwhile, is recovering very well and might even be able to walk again. Dave thinks that showing a video of Magnum running on the beach at Starrcade was pretty unfair to fans who might get the idea that he’ll be back in the ring in a few months, because his wrestling career is clearly over.
– Dave goes into the full story on the Brody-Inoki split, as a lot more on the story has come out in the past week. Brody wanted his money for the tour up front and Inoki supposedly refused, and now things are getting really ugly with Inoki also splitting with longtime crony Sakaguchi over the Spinks debacle. So now another person is trying to get the TV network to force out Inoki out! Anyway, turns out that Inoki had in fact agreed to Brody’s ridiculous demands for money, because he desperately needs both a great match (which Brody is proven to be) and a huge draw (which Brody is proven to be) to re-establish himself as top dog with the network, but he went to Sakaguchi for approval of the money and was turned down. The theory is that Brody roughed up Sakaguchi in a previous match last year, and this is REVENGE~! However, if Inoki is going to be replaced, it’ll trigger ANOTHER war, this one between supporters of Fujinami and supporters of Maeda. Geez, this stuff is a better storyline than anything WWE has done in the past decade.
– Elsewhere in Japan, Riki Choshu’s contract with All Japan expires soon, and he’s looking to jump to the WWF (!?) The idea is that Vince still harbors his stupid dream of running Japan on a regular basis, and the plan would be to use Choshu and Yatsu as top guys in opposition to the Big Two.
– Finally, we get to Starrcade, and Dave LOVED it, calling it one of the top four or five shows he’s ever seen. Wow, high praise.
1. Tim Horner & Nelson Royal beat Don & Rocky Kernodle in 7:30 when Horner pinned Rocky. Everyone worked hard. ***
2. Brad Armstrong drew with Jimmy Garvin in 15:00. Mostly just slow mat work and Garvin had trouble staying heel. *1/2
3. Hector Guerrero & Baron Von Raschke beat Shaska Whatley & The Barbarian in 7:25. Hector did the work for all four guys and was super impressive. **1/2
4. The Russians beat the Kansas Jayhawks to retain the US tag titles in a no DQ match in 9:10 when Ivan pinned Jaggers after a chain. ***1/4
5. Wahoo McDaniel beat Rick Rude in 9:05 in a strap match. Dave’s insistence on spelling it either “Ric Rude” or “Rick Rood” for the past year has been driving me NUTS, by the way. Match wasn’t good, but it had plenty of heat, even though Rude wasn’t good enough to get much out of Wahoo. *
6. Sam Houston retained the prestigious Central States title over Bill Dundee by DQ a 10:24 in the best match of the show thus far. Constant action, good bumps. ***1/4
7. Jimmy Valiant beat Paul Jones in the hair match in 4:00 in a match filled with shenanigans. *1/4 Rude and Fernandez destroyed Valiant after the match and left him laying with a DDT on a chair.
8. Big Bubba Rogers beat Ron Garvin in the Louisville Street Fight in 11:50, and Dave thought it was TREMENDOUS. They pounded the hell out of each other and the heat was incredible. Both guys were down and they ruled the first man up wins, at which point Cornette hits Garvin in the knee with the racket and Bubba gets up to win. ***3/4
9. Tully Blanchard beat Dusty Rhodes to win the TV title in a First Blood match in 7:30. it was the wacky finish with Dillon wiping Tully’s bloody forehead down with a towel while the ref was bumped, allowing Tully to cheat and bust Dusty open for the win. *1/2
10. The Road Warriors beat the Midnight Express in the scaffold match at 7:00. Dave calls it the longest seven minutes he’s ever seen. I’m assuming he hadn’t watched many Larry Zbyszko matches that year. Anyway, Dave was terrified for everyone involved, but still liked the match ***1/2
11. The Rock N Roll Express retained the tag titles over the Andersons in a cage match at 20:20. The Express debuted the new tag belts that would go on to be the classic design. Morton was absolutely destroyed and rendered a bloody mess, as this was the ultimate example of him playing babyface in peril. Morton was dropkicked on top of Ole for the pin. A super match. ****1/4 I really love this one too.
12. Ric Flair retained the NWA World title over Nikita Koloff with some sort of DQ, although it was never made clear what the official decision was. A very “tight” and “stiff” match that just ended with a pull apart brawl in 20:00, as this was the first example on the national stage of Flair doing the broomstick match. ****
Overall the show drew about 60,000 people to the two arenas and various closed circuit locations, for a total gate of $900,000. So not quite the $15,000,000 that Flair predicted, but pretty good.
– Dave does a quick list of the five best Starrcade matches in history after this show:
1. Steamboat v. Blanchard from 84
2. Flair v. Race from 83
3. Tully v. Magnum from 85
4. RNR v. Andersons from 86
5. Piper v. Valentine from 83
Geez, I’ve gotta go with Magnum v. Tully as #1 without even thinking much about it.
– The UWF also had a big show at the Superdome on the same night, drawing 13,000 people in somewhat of a success. However, it was a moral victory in that the WWF also ran New Orleans on 11/21 using all the ex-UWF guys on top and only drew 800 people. Jim Duggan beat One Man Gang by DQ when “General Snackbar” interfered in the main event.
– The AWA’s Thanksgiving show did 4000 in St. Paul and World Class did 6000 at Reunion Arena, which for them is a big success at this point. The night before, WWE sold out MSG with Hogan & Piper v. Race & Orndorff (and no surprise there!) but the rest of the week had some pretty shockingly terrible returns.
– Ken Patera is released from prison on 12/9 and will go back to the WWF, since they sent his family a weekly cheque for the two years he was in the joint, just like if he had been in the mafia.
– The annual All Japan tag tournament began, and Dave relates the funny tradition of all the teams gathering in the ring while Lord James Blears reads the proclamation, only to have Stan Hansen go crazy every single year and attack Terry Funk.
– Dave reveals the answer to the trivia question last week: The NFL quarterback was Joe Kapp, and the wrestler is King Curtis Iaukea. The winner of the contest apparently works at the school where they both attended in 56-57 and found them in a yearbook.
– Andre the Giant is also out of the New Japan tag tournament, due to the Princess Bride getting behind in filming. Rumors are flying that Andre is in poor health and that’s why he’s missing all these dates, but Dave knows for a fact that he’s doing OK. Oh yeah, then why did he drop dead the day after Wrestlemania III according to Hogan?
– The mystery continues as to which Fatu brother is playing the Tonga Kid in the tournament. Maybe Dave can offer another year of free Observers to whoever can figure it out?
– Fritz, not having learned his lesson from the Lance debacle, is now sending Mike Von Erich over for a tour of Japan. Dave notes that the Japanese fans are going to eat him alive and he’ll probably get harassed just as badly as Lance did.
– Crockett is bringing Bob Armstrong in to team with his son and hopefully pop some crowds in Atlanta.
– The World Class Thanksgiving show, headlined by Fritz against Abdullah on top, was pretty terrible. The best match on the card was actually Dingo Warrior v. Master Gee, which should tell you something. Buzz Sawyer was supposed to be featured on the show, but decided to open up a new wrestling school instead and made sure to no-show and thus burn yet another bridge on the way out. Like really, what’s Buzz going to teach you for $2000 a week? How to bleed, do shitloads of coke and piss off promoters?
– Dave notes that the AWA only drew 400 people to Chicago on 11/26, which shows that Verne shouldn’t be so angry at the Observer since the only people left watching in that city are his readers.
– To the WWF, where Piper’s main event run has been a flop and all the fingers are pointed squarely at him. If the Adonis feud doesn’t turn things around, he’ll likely be turned back again.
– The WWF is adding a bunch of C and even D shows in the new year, so they’re going on a hiring spree to fill up the cards with warm bodies, starting with Ron Bass. It’ll likely go Hogan-Orndorff, then Savage-Steamboat, then Piper-Adonis.
– Talk is that Andre will return around Christmas now to face Randy Savage in the non-Bruno cities.
– Dave totally blows off the Piper stuff on TV, just noting that Adonis beat him up and stuffed flowers in his mouth on the TV show.
– They’re bringing in his guy from Australia named Outback Jack and sending him to Calgary to learn how to work before they debut him on TV. Maybe that’s why they needed four months of vignettes?
– Florida continues falling apart, as Barry Windham dropped the title to Kareem Muhammad on the way out and then just decided not to show up for any of his other dates, thus giving himself a nice vacation before starting with Crockett.
– To Calgary, where rookie sensation Owen Hart is clearly the best wrestler in the promotion. However, a kid from the Bengals named Brian Pillman also shows loads of potential and has been signed to a five-year contract by Harts. The promotion wouldn’t even last another five years, so good luck enforcing that one.
– Dave makes fun of Al Tomko having a wrestler named “King Kong Bundy Jr.” on the roster. Geez, don’t remind me, I had to watch that shit every week on TV.
SEE YOU ALL NEXT WEEK…but wait!
– John Nord may or may not show up with Crockett in a few months, but that hasn’t been confirmed. Yeah, thanks for that hot news, Dave.