Wrestling Observer Flashback–11.28.88

Still wanting to see how this mysterious “Bushwackers” team thing shakes down.

Reigns hate mail later.  For now, Observer time!

– Top story:  Dave attends a FIVE HOUR Superstars taping in San Francisco.  Oh man, I feel his pain. It was a legit sellout, but about 2000 people didn’t show up.

– Dave is not that impressed with Rude’s abs in person and feels like two weeks in Japan eating nothing but fish and rice would be beneficial.

– Daryl Peterson (Maxx Payne) did a squash job to Jim Duggan, which is weird.  Dave hopes that Peterson’s years of Japanese training and amateur record prepped him for the 2:00 match.

– Koko B. Ware & Blue Blazer (the future High Energy!) teamed up to beat the Conquistadors (or, as Dave calls them, the masked bananas) and notes that it was fine as long as you enjoy watching Owen wrestle with an invisible strait jacket.

– Dave notes that by the third Brother Love segment, fans were emptying for the concession stands like “ants who heard that Buddy Rose was unloading his picnic basket”.  The Demolition face turn also began on that segment.

– By hour #4, Howard Finkel is out there promising that Hogan v. Bossman is coming very soon, and then they do another bazillion squash matches anyway.  By the time they get to Haku in the last one, people are literally leaving by the hundreds and people that are left are throwing garbage into the ring in disgust.

–  The next night, Dave goes to the much-less notable Challenge tapings in Sacramento, which also produces what he calls the worst SNME in history (the one with Warrior beating “Black Ninja” and the terrible Savage-Andre match).

– Dave starts digging into the boxing PPV, and now the WWF reduced their initial buyrate estimate from 780K to 630K, so Dave is pretty sure those numbers bear no relation to reality.  So he asks around to various cable companies (who are more than happy to share info despite the “gag order”) and averages out the numbers to be about 200K instead.  This would be a huge loss for the WWF, of course.  And in fact the local promoter already lost millions on the live gate, as he paid $10 million for the rights and only drew a $4 million gate on 5000 paid attendance.  So the whole thing is a disaster all around.

– Dave confirms that the Sheepherders have left the NWA for the WWF after getting booked into the finals of the US tag title tournament, which pretty much screws the whole thing up.

– OK, onto the real news, as Starrcade is four weeks away and the whole card has been thrown into disarray and chaos.  The Fantastics v. Sheepherders match is obviously off the show.  Midnights v. Midnights is still on.  However, Dusty wants to do himself against Barry Windham for the US title, The Road Warriors v. Sting & Lex Luger and then a main event of Ric Flair v. Rick Steiner for the World title, where Flair would lose in a 5:00 squash.  Flair was FURIOUS and no-showed a TV taping, basically threatening to jump to the WWF as a result.  Finally Jack Petrick talked him down and convinced him to stay, changing the match to Flair v. Luger instead with no input from Dusty Rhodes.  So now Dusty Rhodes is furious, and he goes to his buddy Jim Crockett for backup and they complain about how having Flair go over Luger just won’t work.  So when that didn’t work, he tried to talk Petrick into letting him book Flair against “the Jap”, aka Tenryu.  Dusty even called Jim Barnett into trying to convince Flair to do things the Dusty Way, but it’s still Flair v. Luger.  So Dusty throws a tantrum and starts no-showing house shows, leaving them without any finishes while Kevin Sullivan frantically tries to come up with some before the show.  And no one even noticed, apparently, which makes Dusty look even LESS important in his position.  Things aren’t looking good for Dusty.

– There’s also a new policy from Petrick, with managers not doing house shows any longer in order to save travel costs.

– In another cost-cutting move, all the wrestlers under contract were ordered to move to Atlanta to save on travel to the TV tapings, and THAT sure went over well.

– “They Live” crossed $20 million, which makes it an unqualified success.  Where does Dave get that number from?  According to Box Office Mojo it had a lifetime gross of $13M.

– Onto Stampede, where the British Bulldogs, Junkyard Dog and Don Muraco all show up for a lot less money than the WWF was paying.

– Lance Idol left the territory after a bloody loss to Chris Benoit and has disappeared without a trace. He was out of wrestling for good at that point and died soon after.

– Back to the NWA, as Dusty now knows that his goose is cooked, while Flair has woken up and realized how much Dusty was destroying his career over the past couple of years.  Dusty and Crockett had been portraying Flair as a “prima donna” before the sale because he didn’t want to go along with all of Dusty’s finishes blindly.  TBS started siding with Flair before the sale and wants to market him as their biggest star, so Dusty responded by taking Flair off a bunch of bookings in December and trying to get the title off him at Starrcade.  This appears to have backfired on him horribly, as Dusty was wanting to bring in Dustin Rhodes & Kendall Windham as The Texas Broncos and give them a big push. Dustin at least did come in for a bit.  Dusty is still the booker in name, but Kevin Sullivan is actually doing the booking as of now and it seems like Starrcade is pretty much going to be a write-off because they’ve wasted so much time with all the petty in-fighting and changes to the show that they haven’t even started promoting it.

– Jimmy Garvin, who was out with a leg injury, ended up quitting the company instead.  He’ll probably end up in a tag team with Michael Hayes somewhere.  Man, that sounds HORRIBLE.

– Dave notes that they spent a bunch of time on TV hyping up an interview segment with Magnum TA for Starrcade that serves no purpose, using a video of him running on the beach from years ago.  And in fact that segment never made it to Starrcade anyway.  What a mess.

– The NWA wrestlers finally got their balloon payments from Jim Crockett after the sale went through, but it was just 40c on the dollar, which ends up shorting some of the big stars as much as $120,000 for the year.

– Merv Griffin is talking about starting a wrestling promotion.  OK then.

– Lia Maivia and Lars Anderson were released on $20,000 bail and ordered to surrender their passports, pending their trial for extortion against a rival promoter.

– Brian Blair had been fired by the WWF, but Vince called him to come in for the TV tapings and do a job.  Blair showed up, refused to become a TV jobber, and was fired again.  Twice in a week, a new record!

– Vince is desperately trying to keep the Bulldogs apart from the Rougeaus before the Bulldogs finish up at Survivor Series.

– And finally, John Studd’s negotiations with TBS fell through, and he’ll start with the WWF next week instead.