Wrestling Observer Flashback–10.03.88

Pretty slow week as we wind down the year.  Oh well, they can’t all be “Turner finally buys Crockett”.

– Top story is Eddie Gilbert having a bitter fallout and quitting / getting fired from Continental as booker already.  Basically Gilbert and Paul Heyman wanted to build the promotion into a competitor to the national TV players, which is why the TV show had become so angle-heavy and serialized, whereas the people who owned the promotion just kind of wanted to be a minor indy.  For example, the cost of sending the weekly tapes to stations across the country went from about $2.50 per tape (for regular postage) to $7 per tape (for overnight service) and it wasn’t a cost that ownership wanted to incur.  Although then it led to tapes getting mixed up or not arriving on time.  Plus crowds were down (not unusual at this time of year, notes Dave) and the other wrestlers were getting annoyed that the shows were so heavily focused on Gilbert and Dangerously.  History shows that perhaps they should have stuck with Gilbert’s vision.  The tournament to crown the first CWF champion is up in the air, although it’ll probably go to Lord Humongous because the owners wanted to push the shit out of him and Gilbert was reluctant, which was another cause of the falling out.  Basically the TV show will be cancelled and they’ll just go back to running house shows.  And in fact the entire promotion was gone by 1989 anyway. 

– The AWA PPV lineup has been finalized, with the final final Jerry Lawler v. Kerry Von Erich unification match on top, plus a GLOW battle royale and a bunch of other bullshit no one cares about.  It’s expected that the CWF guys will now take part in this trainwreck, since Gilbert wanted to stay far away and that’s another reason he got fired/quit.  Dave thinks it’ll be a struggle to get any PPV clearance given that it’s only a few weeks after “Survivors Series II” and two weeks before Starrcade.  That’s the understatement of the year.  If it’s a success then they’re going to run a show in Feburary, but Dave thinks that’s crazy talk because between all the promotions that would give us “10 or 11 PPV shows a year, which would oversaturate the market.”  Who would ever watch 10 PPVs a year?  Now of course we long for WWE to cut back to 10! 

– The Crockett/Fritz negotiations completely broke off and are dead.  Basically Crockett wanted to buy the World Class TV network and gut the territory, whereas Fritz just wanted to use Flair to come in for some matches with Kerry.  Man, that’s a pretty dramatic difference in intentions right there. 

– Speaking of negotiations falling through, Crockett’s offer of paying off debt at 40 cents on the dollar didn’t go over well with Bill Watts, who was owed more than $3 million from the UWF sale.  I wish I had a time machine to go back to watch THAT conversation!  Watts may be willing to accept in exchange for the “no compete” clause of his contract going away, however.

– Over in World Class, Jerry Lawler and Kerry Von Erich did a double DQ finish in one of their endless unification matches, so both guys lost their titles pending a rematch. 

– Apparently Kevin Von Erich has been suffering from a series of concussions and doctors have told him he should retire.  Interesting to see that come up as an issue back in 1988, when you didn’t often hear about it. 

– As noted last week, All Japan was trying to get Sting to come in for October, and as it turns out, Crockett indeed put the kibosh on that one FAST. 

– The interpromotional tapings in Memphis aren’t really doing much to help business, although at one point on the show they did a Michaels Hayes & Steve Cox v. Jeff Jarrett & Bill Dundee showdown that got some good heat.  Dave notes that a “promotion war” is largely considered a silly idea in this country that would never draw.  OK then.

– Bam Bam Bigelow is coming into the NWA with Oliver Humperdink as a babyface, which has Dave mystified.  Him and everyone else.

– The Road Warriors heel turn is imminent, and Dave thinks turning on Big Dust will be the most effective way.  Yup.

– To no one’s surprise, Dusty has already burned out the Lex Luger-Ric Flair screwy finish on the house shows and too many people have heard about the “Dusty Finish” at this point to make it effective any longer.

– The US tag titles will be decided in a tournament for sweeps in November, since the Midnight Express had to vacate them when they won the World belts.  Vince managed to sabotage that one, too.

– Tully & Arn debut for the WWF as “The Brainbusters” next week, managed by Bobby Heenan and feuding with the Rockers.  Dave notes that they’ll get a big push because Vince can show good faith in not screwing them over, he might be able to get Ric Flair, his real target. 

– Finally, Ted Dibiase had a hilariously memorable stint on “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” where he appeared in character and fed his dog champagne and caviar while denying Robin Leach anything.  I remember that one, it was GREAT.