Wrestling Observer Flashback–03.16.87

Previously… http://blogofdoom.com/index.php/2016/06/30/wrestling-observer-flashback-03-09-87/

I was off for a few days to celebrate Canada Day, but now it’s back to celebrating Observers again.

– Continuing on with the big story of the past few weeks, the Crockett buyout of Florida is almost complete, and the logistics will likely be similar to the failed Central States experiment, but this time with more Dusty Rhodes and Ric Flair.  (How could it fail?)   Basically Kevin Sullivan will stick around to be the guy in charge, and Crockett is going to gut the talent base and replace them with mostly his own guys like Brad Armstrong, Jimmy Valiant, the Barbarian and Bill Dundee.  (Again, how ever did this brilliant plan ever fail so spectacularly?) Basically Crockett is going to take a 10% booking fee off the top of the gate, and the rest will be split between Crockett and the old Florida crew (Mike Graham and Hiro Matsuda).

– Riki Choshu, widely rumored to be jumping to New Japan, is now denying everything and hiding out in his hotel room while no-showing all of Baba’s tour.  He apparently told the press that the reason he was missing shows was that he was extremely sick and fighting off an infection in his hand, which had swollen it to a much larger size, to the point where he’s going to need a hand operation to fix it.  In fact, I have exclusive footage from the press conference:

giant hand

– Tragic stuff.

– To the WWF, where Wrestlemania III passed 70,000 tickets sold, officially making it the largest crowd ever to witness a wrestling show in North America.  The previous record was 69,000 for the Big Event.  So it appears that the show will be a sellout after all, and in fact they’re opening up additional closed circuit seating underneath the building.  Dave thinks that the outlandishly expensive $19.95 price tag will hurt the PPV business on this one, but even if it’s just a moderate success at 500K homes, that’s a staggering $10 million gross right there.

– Another rumor flying is that Dallas Cowboys owner Bum Bright (Really?  Is that actually his name?) has purchased World Class from Fritz Von Erich and will be overhauling the promotion, pushing Dingo Warrior and Lance Von Erich as the top stars, plus running a new TV studio to replace the Sportatorium which will let fans in for free to ensure a rabid TV audience.  (None of this ended up happening.) 

– Titan won’t be doing any TV tapings for a few weeks after Wrestlemania, so they’re taping a bunch of stuff in advance on 3/21 and 3/22 to make sure they’re good until the end of April.

– Dave is now pretty sure that Dino Bravo will be replacing Brutus Beefcake in the Dream Team after Wrestlemania.

– The go-home SNME that was originally scheduled to air on 3/7 was actually bumped back to 3/14 because of an Easter Seals telethon, since not all the affiliates were going to show the Main Event and NBC wants as many eyeballs on it as possible.

– The closed circuit airing of Wrestlemania sold 12,000 tickets in Toronto the day it was announced, so that pretty much puts the “blacked out in Toronto” theory to rest.  (I’m still confused about what Dave thought was going to be blacked out, because we didn’t even get PPV capability in Canada until 1992.)

– The UWF continues doing strong advances, including an upcoming California tour without even announcing cards yet.  (Again, the oil field collapses just destroyed this company hard and FAST)

– Missy Hyatt is the top candidate to take over Roddy Piper’s interview segment when he retires next month, doing a segment to be called “Hyatt’s House”, although Eddie Gilbert is staying in the UWF.  (It actually ended up being called “Missy’s Manor” and was such a disaster that they pulled the plug after one tryout.) 

– Dave runs down the top 10 seeds for the Crockett Cup, and notes that Flair v. Windham and Big Bubba v. Ole Anderson have also been announced.  Ticket sales are merely so-so at the moment.

– Lazertron won the Junior title from Denny Brown on 3/7 at the TV tapings in Atlanta, with everyone in the audience already figuring out that it’s Hector Guerrero.

– Apparently the story about Ole missing shows to watch his son wrestle are based on the truth, as Bryan Rogowski really is an all-star high school wrestler and is well known in the local media as being Ole’s son, so they basically decided to make an angle out of it.  (For those wondering, yes, Bryan became a pro wrestler under the name Bryant Anderson, although he was mostly a prelim guy who was the victim of Ole pissing off the wrong people and thus destroying Bryant’s career in the process.) 

– Dave notes that Lex Luger should become the fourth Horsemen in a week or two, but his real future is the superman babyface down the road.  (It wasn’t for a lack of trying.) 

– In Memphis, Bam Bam Bigelow and Larry Sharpe actually worked themselves into a shoot, as they did a breakup angle in Japan over Sharpe hogging payoffs from Bigelow, and then broke up for real when they got back to the US and decided to make it into an angle as well.  (And then Bigelow immediately became an international superstar while Sharpe faded into obscurity.)

– Keiji Muto is involved in a strange angle in Japan where he gets attacked by a guy out of the audience apparently named The Viking, who had previously attacked him in Hawaii and Florida.  (I have no idea where that ended up going.) 

– When Jim Crockett pulled out of Central States, he not only took his wrestlers, but the RING as well!  So the “new” promotion will have to use an old 16×16 ring from years ago.  The company is now left with top babyface Bulldog Bob Brown, plus top stars Rufus R. Jones, Ric McCord and the Mod Squad.  Also, their TV slot in St. Louis was cancelled and replaced with Crockett’s TV.  So good luck to Bob Geigel.

– After the Florida reboot, Ed Gantner was given the Florida title by Oliver Humperdink as they just swept away previous booking.  Dave notes that one obvious change is that Kevin Sullivan now spends all of his promo time kissing Dusty’s ass.

– And finally, future classic “Badstreet USA” will be released by Michael Hayes in about a month, setting the bar for wrestlers signing their own themes pretty darn high for years to come.