Wrestling Observer Flashback–11.14.88

Married for 11 years today!  Let’s celebrate with an Observer Flashback!

By the way, poll time:  Let’s say I suddenly came into possession of the Observers from 85-87, hypothetically speaking.  Should I go back and start there when I’m done with 88, or just keep going into 89?  Discuss amongst yourselves and get back to me.

– Lead story is that the sale of World Class to Jerry Jarrett has gone through, and man are the Von Erichs gettting boned on the deal.  Last week the deal was hinging on the Von Erich boys having a clause in the contract where they could regain control after a certain amount of time had passed, but Jarrett played some COLD hardball and told them that if they didn’t sign the contract HE wanted, by the next day, then the Von Erichs could enjoy bankruptcy and never call him again.  So indeed, Jerry now owns 60% of World Class, Kevin owns 20% and Kerry owns 20%.  The Von Erichs have no assurances of employment as wrestlers (but still retain their points in the company if they’re fired as wrestlers) and Jarrett calls all the shots as majority owner.  Dave notes that this is in stark contrast to Ken Mantell’s 30% ownership stake, where he had to mortgage his future and give up all power to the Von Erichs in order to get it.  At the same time, it turns out that Fritz was SWIMMING in debt and wasn’t going to last the year due to creditors “calling in their chips” and wanting cash by the end of the year.

– The immediate direction of the two companies is a promotional war, with the heel and babyface sides reversed depending on which side the TV show is airing.  So Memphis guys are heels in Texas and vice-versa.

– Further to that, Kerry Von Erich pinned Jerry Lawler to regain the World Class title and un-unify the titles again, although Dave goes over all the various TV shows permutations and notes that 90% of the time the Lawler title win over Kerry was just ignored anyway.  Clearly he’s VERY over this whole confusing mess with the two titles.  Can’t blame him.

– Piper’s movie “They Live” opened up and got savaged by critics.  Oddly, Piper took it to the WWF and asked for promotional help, and they turned him down, so TBS agreed to promote it instead.  Bet Vince was happy to hear that.  Dave saw it and thought it was generally enjoyable.

– Jack Petrick of TBS held a press conference to reveal the newly formed “Universal Wrestling Corporation”, aka the new parent company of what would eventually be known as WCW.  Dave notes that Dusty still hasn’t officially been fired as booker.  Yet.

– Jesse Ventura went on the Financial News Network talk show and spewed an epic yarn of bullshit about steroids and the WWF and I’m sure you can figure out all the lies told.

– Over in Stampede, the departures of Owen and Pillman really kill the territory, with Makhan Singh v. Steve DiSalvo left to carry the main events and Chris Benoit working his ass off underneath.  They would continue to spiral downwards pretty rapidly, unfortunately.  It’s really getting sad because we’re into the period now where you can see, week by week, all the old territories hitting the wall of Vince/Crockett and beginning to go away for good.

– There was a discussion in the British Bulldogs thread today about how stupid Davey Boy Smith was, but Kerry gives him a run for his money this week.  During a promo about an upcoming match with Lawler, Kerry says that he’ll kick Jerry’s ass and then go to the back and collect phone numbers from women in the crowd because he just filed for divorce and so he’s newly single.  Way to uphold that wholesome image, Kerry!

– Over in the NWA, Dave got to see the Warriors title change over the Midnights this week, and NOW he’s all gushing over it after blowing it off last week.  So yeah, the Warriors won the belts by squashing the Midnights, effectively turning both teams at the same time in an awesome angle that made Bobby Eaton look like the gutsiest bastard ever and the Warriors look like horrible assholes.  And then, with the Midnights beaten and broken on the Saturday night show, they ran the Original Midnight Express angle where Paul E. debuted and bloodied up Cornette, and Dave thought that was an even more awesome angle that will lead to a hot feud.  Oh yes, it sure did.

– Ric Flair is strongly hinting at the Road Warriors replacing Tully & Arn in the Horsemen.  Dave is amazed at how effective the Roadies are at beings heels and getting booed by 95% of the crowd, but unfortunately they were TOO effective and ended up turning themselves babyface again by early 1989.

– Starrcade was supposed to be 3.5 hours, but got cut down to 3.  Dave thinks they should probably start announcing matches soon so they can actually promote them.

– The backstage power balance is rapidly shifting from Dusty to Flair, with most feeling that TBS is going to back Ric if any bluffs are called.  Unlike Jim Crockett, who blindly backed Big Dust and ended up losing Tully & Arn and Garvin and a few others as a direct result.

– Down in Puerto Rico, apparently Jose Gonzales is already being brought back to book the promotion and slowly getting phased in again.  People are a tad upset about this.

– Dave gets a funny line in here, describing TNT as “Totally No Talent”.  He would end up as Savio Vega years later.

– New Japan is now the latest promotion to salivate over Sid Eudy and they want to bring him in as “The Vicious Warrior” and give him the Bruiser Brody push.  That would have been…interesting.

– About a dozen people have been fired from the WWF, effective at the end of the month.  Ronnie Garvin will be coming in to replace them all.  Dave jokes that he’ll be doing the cross-dressing gimmick again as “Rockin’ Ronnie”, and challenging for the women’s title.

– Dave thinks that the Bulldogs will come to their senses and stay with the WWF.  Nope.

– Harley Race has been sad to watch since the intestinal surgery, as he’s been moving very slowly due to worries about popping his stitches.

– Finally, the PR disaster of the WWF promoted boxing match continues, as now it turns out that a lot of Donnie Lalonde’s supposed victories were over people who don’t actually exist.  Titan is now conservatively estimated to lose $2 million on the fight based on a 2% buyrate, so the WWF is just going to lie and announce an 8% buyrate and hope for the best.  That’s our Vince!