Wrestling Observer Flashback–09.26.88

We’re back!  You probably didn’t notice I was gone for a few days because I post-dated a bunch of Q&A and did others from my phone, but now I’ve got reliable internet again it’s back to 1988!

– We lead off the news with the AWA’s announcement, FINALLY, of their first PPV on December 13, which Dave describes as “the other guys” all getting together to do a show.  The main event will be Jerry Lawler v. Kerry Von Erich “for the 1428th time” and the show will be called SuperClash II, even though they already had that one.  Dave thinks that the odds are pretty greatly against this trainwreck being a success.  Although Jerry Jarrett has been running the ESPN tapings lately, Verne Gagne will be promoting the show.  There won’t be any actual cross-promotional matches because everyone is too paranoid about their guys doing jobs, but it’ll include talent from AWA, World Class, Memphis, GLOW and Continental. 

– The first set of mixed tapings were a mixed bag, including Michael Hayes & Steve Cox as the World Class tag team champions a couple of weeks prior to them actually winning the belts. 

– Ron Garvin won the AWA TV title from Greg Gagne at the tapings as well, getting a babyface reaction for it. 

– The Crockett sale is a done deal, merely pending Crockett settling a beef with Bill Watts over the UWF purchase. 

– Another interesting bit is that Crockett, even in the midst of a desperation sale to Ted Turner, is trying to buy World Class from Fritz Von Erich and bring in Kerry as the big star of the new WCW.  Had that happened, I’m betting that would have backfired on everyone BIGTIME.

– Dave goes over the financial situation with Crockett, and notes that the Turner purchase will be a very short term fix if they don’t straighten out their booking problems and overspending.  Thankfully two of the first things that were done were minimizing Crockett’s power in the company and then firing Dusty as booker. 

– Over in Stampede, the rats are deserting the ship, and Dave notes that the only guy really left with value is Chris Benoit, who is a “Brad Armstrong calibre worker with a Dynamite Kid style”. 

– Apparently Sting was being advertised to make his debut in All Japan in October, with Baba absolutely chomping at the bit to push the shit out of him as a Hansen type gaijin.  Dave notes that prying him away from Crockett will be a challenge to say the least, so he wouldn’t shocked if it didn’t happen. 

– The short-lived Rock & Russian Express team of Ricky Morton & Ivan Koloff came to an end this week, as Ricky Morton quit the NWA again. 

– Dave has a lengthy essay on what the new WCW should become once Turner takes over.  Stuff like guys being treated as employees instead of independent contractors, moving away from the squashes + interview format for the weekly TV and shifting to more competitive matches with hot angles, improving merchandising with stuff like home video features on top stars.  Also, the Road Warriors need to turn heel ASAP.  Well they listened to him on that one, at least.

– Dustin Rhodes debuted in Florida, beating Bob Cook in his first match.  Also, Big Bubba from Memphis debuted here as US Steele, and he would of course become Tugboat eventually. 

– Back to Japan, as Baba is doing the logical thing and trying to convince Nord the Barbarian to come out of semi-retirement as Bruiser Brody’s replacement.  Dave figures that they can squeeze a year out of him doing the Brody act before anyone notices how terrible he is.

– Apparently the Midnight Express v. Tully & Arn title switch was a disaster that miraculously hit ****, because it was switched from 2/3 falls to one fall at the last minute due to one of the participants being “in no condition to perform”.  I think we can guess that one by process of elimination pretty quickly.

– “Lots of stuff happened” at the latest WWF TV tapings.  Terry Taylor has been rebranded as “The Little Red Rooster”, which Dave notes goes along nicely with Owen Hart being dressed as a chicken.  Perhaps Arn Anderson will be a hen as well.

– One Man Gang is now Akeem, which explains the hair growth.

– They’re also starting a new angle with Hercules where Dibiase wants to buy him as a slave, thus turning him babyface.  Man, that one went NOWHERE.

– No word yet on what’s going to happen with the Tully & Arn team, but the feeling is that they’ll have decent matches with the Bulldogs or Hart Foundation.

– The “D” level spot shows are beyond dead at this point, with one of them even hitting a low of 65 fans.

– Finally, Dave has a theory on why Jerry Lawler has such great worked punches:  As an artist, he has terrific hand-eye coordination, and thus can pull back on his punch at the last possible moment while making it look like he’s punching someone in the face as hard as he can.  Contrast with someone like Terry Funk, who just, you know, punches someone in the face as hard as he can.