Wrestling Observer Flashback–03.28.88

Since I had the March 28 / 88 issue of the Observer handy for the AWA show I reviewed last night, I figured I’d do another look back at the week that was since people seemed to like the one from January.  This of course was the week just before the Clash vs. WM4 showdown, and Dave’s pretty jazzed about it in this issue.

– Not much in the way of big news for the week.  WM4 is projected to flop on PPV, which it did, and Billy Jack Haynes is starting an outlaw promotion in Oregon to run in opposition to Don Owen.  Well that would all become a moot point in a couple of years anyway.  He does immediately steal Tom Zenk and Kevin Kelly from the AWA, however, which we’ll get to in a bit.

– Lyle Alzado’s show “Learning the Ropes” will be getting a syndicated series order soon. God that show was terrible.

– The Killer Bees were told to turn heel.  I actually remember that brief period where it looked like they were going in that direction!  Man was that a stupid idea.

– Speaking of stupid, the WWF magazine accidentally put out an issue days before WM with a caption for Elizabeth – manager of the WWF champion Randy Savage.  Vince was PISSED to say the least.

– Recapping a WWF house show, Dave calls the team of Warrior and Muraco “The Dianabolic Duo” to win line of the week.

– Dave goes over the AWA tapings where Bad Company won the tag titles, and it’s a laundry list of screwups.  No-shows include Sgt. Slaughter, Robert Gibson (which explains the Morton singles match on the TV show), Sheik Al-Kaissey, Adrian Adonis (quit and trying desperately to get back with Vince), Tom Zenk, and new guy Greg Boyd, which leads to a funny story in a bit.

– OK, so Boyd was a football player who wanted to get into wrestling, and they came up with the gimmick name of Rocky Mountain Thunder for him.  However, he immediately changed his mind and no-showed the taping, but they had the gear and graphics all ready for him and Verne is of course crazy cheap.  So they grab this other jobber who was working the show and stick the gimmick on him instead because why waste the money?  The guy is TERRIBLE and looks like a young 911 with 1/4 of the talent, and in his first squash he nearly kills some other poor bastard by dropping him on a body vice attempt and nearly breaking his neck.  Verne LOVES the guy, however, and immediately demands that he switch to a babyface for his second squash match of the night.  Thankfully he was gone soon after, although not before working the Taping From Hell attended by Meltzer in May, where he came out with a flag, a 2×4 and a bag at the same time, leading to Dave to question whether he was trying to be Sgt Slaughter, Jim Duggan or Jake Roberts.

– But we’re not done with the taping yet!  So the other colossal fuckup sees Hennig defending the title against Wahoo, who is subbing for Tom Zenk, who quit.  OK so far.  However, Zenk quit before the PREVIOUS tapings even…where they were supposed to shoot the angle to set up the Hennig v. Zenk match.  Which didn’t happen.  However, at tapings before THOSE tapings (we’re talking two months back now), they did a series of interviews with Zenk for future shows, where he talked about beating Hennig in a non-title match (which didn’t end up happening), and then aired those interviews on TV anyway even though he quit.  And then here, the announcers for the Hennig-Wahoo match talked about a phantom TV angle that also never happened, where Hennig injured Zenk in retribution for the non-title loss that never happened in the first place!  I feel like I need Doc Brown to draw a timeline on the chalkboard to explain the AWA’s booking logic sometimes.

– Finally, a very interesting discussion of how badly the WWF screwed over the NWA on PPV.  So basically, Vince McMahon had an exclusivity deal with the cable companies, which stated that no one else was allowed to have a wrestling PPV within 60 days of a WWF one.  Crockett at the time was very publicly planning a Great American Bash show in July and a Crockett Cup show in May on PPV, so to deliberately screw them over Vince came up with the Summerslam idea and told cable systems that he’d be doing it in August.  This basically meant that the Bash PPV had to be moved up and the Crockett Cup had to be cancelled.  Like, what an asshole move. Thankfully the Clash v. WM escalation of hostilities led the cable companies to step in once and for all and force everyone to play nice together on PPV by 1989.

That’s it for this week!