Wrestling Observer Flashback–09.05.88

It’s the Summerslam issue!  Sort of.  At the point when Dave STARTS writing the issue, it hasn’t happened yet, but by the time it’s done he’ll have a report.  Or so he says.

– The Turner sale continues to drag on, actually taking steps backwards this week.

– To follow up on the Steve Williams case, he was caught with 3 grams of coke, 22 grams of pot, 2 grams of mushrooms, assorted barbituates, 240 steroid tablets and 28 mL of injectable steroids.  If the judge throws the book at him he’s facing 18 months (!?!) in prison, but since it’s a first offense he’ll likely get a warning and a fine.  Are you KIDDING ME?  Today if you tried to smuggle that much shit through an airport you’d probably get 5 or 6 years at least.  Prosecutors were going to charge him with trafficking but then changed their minds.  The 80s were a different time, man.

– WWF has a Superstars taping scheduled for San Fran, but Dave thinks they’ll switch it to the Arco Arena in Sacramento because Vince thought that the Cow Palace was “too ugly for TV” last time.

– The WWF’s investment in the Sugar Ray fight is somewhere between $5m – $9m, which strictly covers costs of PPV distribution and not the actual promotion of the fight.  That being said, the fight would have to gross $30m for Titan to make any money on it, and that’s highly unlikely.  In fact, it was a giant bomb.

– As a note to something that was discussed on the blog a while ago, the WWF came to Edmonton this week running Andre v. Jim Duggan and did a 13,500 near-sellout of the building because they hadn’t been there in forever.  Now, years later Duggan told stories about him and Andre selling out Madison Square Garden, which were easily disproven, but I wonder if maybe that show is what he was thinking about?  I mean, it’s still incredibly impressive for an Andre v. Duggan match to sell out ANYTHING, but it was more the WWF name rather than the match that drew in this case.

– Speaking of drawing power, Savage’s matches with Dibiase have been tapering off, but the Andre series is doing really well.  In particular, the WWF house shows in Canada have been doing HUGE, like $300,000 gates, mostly because they’re actually paying attention to promoting them instead of Summerslam, which was not available in Canada at all.  How about that, promoting shows actually makes people want to see them!

–  They did a Superstars taping the week before Summerslam, and ran an angle at the beginning of the show where Warrior squashed Honky to “win” the IC title in an impromptu challenge.  Then he “defended” as the new champion in a series of squashes that would of course air after Summerslam, before Jack Tunney “reversed the decision” at the end of the night and awarded the title back to Honky.  I’m beginning to think that wrestling isn’t exactly on the up-and-up.

– At the same tapings, they ran the famous angle with Jake stripping Rude down to his g-string.

– Owen Hart debuts as “The Blue Lazor”, but Dave notes that they screwed up at a show in Philly and announced him as “The Blue Blazer”, like he was “a sports coat or something.”  Sorry, Dave, that wasn’t a screwup…

– Also, the Baron debuts as the manager for the Powers of Pain as the team continues to lose heat.

– Despite rumors, One Man Gang and Greg Valentine have not been fired.

– Paul Orndorff might be starting with New Japan soon, although he denies it because he doesn’t miss wrestling.  Dave notes that Orndorff is doing well for someone who has died something like 200 times in the past three months, and he just opened his third bowling alley as well.  I guess the Orndorff thing must have been the 80s version of a meme.

– John Nord is probably going to have to return to wrestling because his family’s car dealership went bust recently.  He was actually happier selling cars than doing the Nord the Barbarian gimmick.  Probably explains why he ended up in the AWA again, because why else would you voluntarily work there?

– The AWA “PPV” continues to be a complete debacle.  The planned date is now back to November, this time in Chicago, but every arena in the city has turned Verne down.  Jerry Jarrett is telling people that it’s HIS show and Verne is telling people the same.  It’ll probably have the Lawler v. Von Erich match on top, we know that much at least.

– Over to the NWA, and Ron Garvin’s absence is explained by, get this, Dusty Rhodes beating him so badly in a street fight that he’ll be injured for four to six months.  Yeah.

– Kendall Windham is moving to World Class for reasons that elude Dave.

– Karl Moffat isn’t coming in after all, but they’ll have SOMEONE under the mask as Russian Assassin #2, by god.

– And now, time for Dave to run down the current awards candidates:

WRESTLER OF THE YEAR:  Akira Maeda, Randy Savage, Ric Flair, Tatsumi Fujinami, Ted Dibiase, Owen Hart.  Dave feels like Maeda is the guy, but Savage will win.  Spoilers:  Maeda won.

MOST OVERRATED:  Dusty Rhodes, Ultimate Warrior, Brutus Beefcake, Kevin Von Erich, Honky Tonk Man.  Dave just hates Warrior so much that he’s gotta go with him.  Spoilers:  Dusty wins it this year, but Warrior would dominate the award for years to come.

MOST EMBARRASSING:  Dusty Rhodes, Warrior, George Steele.  Steele remains the leading candidate, although Dave feels like the AWA trying to promote Madusa as a World champion is right up there.  That’s pretty harsh.  Spoilers:  Steele wins a second year in a row.

BAIT AND SWITCH ALERT!  Dave didn’t have time for the Summerslam report after all.  So next week, although something REALLY big also happens, so it’s gonna be a packed issue!