Wrestling Observer Flashback–07.25.88

Hopefully nothing else incredibly morbid happens this week, since we just had the Adrian Adonis obit last issue.  But I mean, how likely would that be? 

– In our lead story this week, Bruiser Brody was stabbed to death in Puerto Rico, probably by Jose Gonzales.  Gonzales was booking the promotion at the time, and the heat between them stemmed from months back, when Brody did a tag match with Rocky Johnson against Mr. Pogo and Kendo Nagasaki with Japanese photographers at ringside.  Brody didn’t want pictures of the match appearing in Japan, because Pogo and Nagasaki worked for Inoki and Brody worked for Baba, so he no-sold all their moves and treated them like jobbers for the entire match.  The problem is that the Japanese team were the WWC tag team champions and made to look like goofs.  So, ALLEGEDLY, Gonzales called Brody into the dressing room the night of a match against Danny Spivey and then brutally stabbed him in the liver.  The ambulance was mysteriously delayed for an hour and Brody died of bile poisoning in the hospital the next morning.  Later, the “investigation” and “trial” where Gonzales was found innocent pretty much made the Steven Avery trial look like textbook legal proceedings.  Brody was 42.

– The UWF promotion in Japan (Akira Maeda’s version, not Bill Watts) is suddenly incredibly popular and both Baba and Inoki are paranoid and worried about it.  The UWF was the first real “shoot style” wrestling promotion, although the explosion of popularity of this particular version didn’t last as long as Dave seemed to think it would, and the Japanese economy killed them off again by the end of 1990.

– Still no deal in place for Ted Turner to buy out Crockett, although David has dropped his objections and Jim can now bargain for everyone.

– Bam Bam Bigelow quit the WWF over payoffs and a brutal travel schedule.  He’ll probably end up in Japan.

– Owen Hart already injured his knee at a house show and he’ll probably return without the mask. 

– Rick Rude debuted a new pair of tights with Cheryl Roberts’ face on it.  That actually led to a hell of a payoff.

– Terry Taylor debuted at a TV taping this week, teaming with Sam Houston and losing to a heel team and then turning on him.  To follow this up, he wrestled Iron Sheik in opening house show matches and submitted every night to the camel clutch.  I’m sure once they find a gimmick for him, he’ll turn it around!

– Over in the NWA, the Bash PPV is sounding like it flopped, although estimates range anywhere from a 2% buyrate (or about 50,000 buys) to a 4% buyrate (around 100,000). 

– Dusty and Road Warriors regained the six-man titles at a house show in Chicago, beating the Horsemen to claim the vacant titles. 

– Dave thinks that someone ought to investigate the coin that somehow gives the heels the advantage in every Wargames match held to date.

– The TV has been hinting at a Tully & Arn vs. Midnight Express feud after the Bash.  It seems unlikely that anyone will turn, however.

– A football player named Steve Renfro bought a racehorse and named it Dr. Death, after Steve Williams.  Dave notes that the horse has a much better won-loss record than Williams as of late.

– Finally those eggheads in the NWA are recognizing how over that Sting is, and he’ll get a big push after the Bash. 

– Curt Hennig has some heat with Verne Gagne, as he no-showed a big card and then did a TV taping in Vegas where he double-crossed poor Rocky Mountain Thunder and clotheslined him when he wasn’t ready.  Might as well burn your bridges on the way out, I guess.  No one had any idea he was talking to the WWF at this point.

–  A former WWF TV personality is suing them for $5 million over unauthorized use of his likeness.  Well that couldn’t be Jesse Ventura since he was still working for them at that point. 

– So this is weird:  Apparently the Barry Windham turn was actually a last-minute decision.  The original plan was Tully Blanchard winning the US title tournament while Luger & Windham had a long tag title reign, and Tully defending against Midnight Rider at the PPV, title vs. mask.  But then the decision was made to turn Windham on the night of the taping, and they gave Tully & Arn the tag titles again as a consolation. 

– Adrian Adonis had been booked for Stampede starting in August and Dave thinks that he would have popped big numbers for them working with Owen Hart. 

– And finally, just to show how invested Dave was in Owen Hart at this point, he does a top 75 wrestlers list to finish and Owen is ranked #1 in the world. 

And that’s all from here!  Enjoy the Super Bowl!