Wrestling Observer Flashback–12.04.88

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Now, time for the last few weeks before Starrcade…

– Dave notes that for the first, last and only time, Portland Wrestling is the lead story, as Don Owen had his promoter’s license pulled by the commission because of a gory blade job done by Matt Borne at one of his shows.  Hey, they were warned. 

– Dave drops the SNARK BOMB on Jim Crockett and Dusty Rhodes this week.  Dusty was basically fired as booker by TBS due to having “The Dusty Flu” and missing all those shows, and since Jim Crockett knew that “only one other person in the entire universe could book the NWA” he made the only call he could and soon the MIDNIGHT RIDER will be booking the NWA and saving the day.  Unfortunately, the Dusty Flu has proven contagious and lots of other people are missing shows, too.  I’m thinking Crockett might not last much longer either.  

– While Rome is burning, TBS makes new plans for whenever Crockett finds a new booker, and apparently they’re doing a PPV in Chicago in February (“Chi-Town Heat II:  Freddy’s Revenge”, jokes Dave) that will hopefully have a Flair v. Steamboat match on top.  This is a bad idea, sez Dave, because no one outside of the Carolinas will care about that match.  OK then. 

– Dave reviews Survivor Series 88, which he calls the best PPV of 1988 thus far. 

Brutus Beefcake & Blue Blazer & Sam Houston & Ultimate Warrior & Jim Brunzell beat Honkytonk Man & Greg Valentine & Ron Bass & Bad News Brown & Danny Davis in 17:50.  Warrior finished off Bass & Valentine by himself to win.  It was decent and everyone worked hard.  **

The babyface team of tag teams beat the heel team of tag teams in the best match of the night when the Powers of Pain eliminated Demolition and then the Conquistadors to win at 42:12.  ***1/2  That’s really low to me.  Dave goes over the Bulldogs-Rougeaus stuff and notes that everyone knew that Dynamite had revenge planned but Jacques is still alive so it didn’t happen.  The Powers were turned heel because Warlord can’t talk to save his life and Eadie can, so it was felt that Fuji would help the Powers more.  Dave also thinks that Vince was embarrassed by the reasons for the Bulldogs leaving and wanted to give him a big showcase before they left. 

Andre the Giant & Rick Rude & Dino Bravo & Harley Race & Curt Hennig beat Scott Casey & Jake Roberts & Jim Duggan & Ken Patera & Tito Santana in 29:39 with Bravo & Hennig as the sole survivors.  *1/2  Dave again goes on a rant against Bravo, wondering what it is that keeps him protected and pushed.  “His magnetic personality?  His ability to draw heat?  His hairstyle?  His workrate?  Must be his workrate.” 

The Megapowers team beat the Twin Towers team in 29:10, as Dave notes we had to wait all that time to see if Savage would shoot Hogan a dirty look at the end, and since he did, we now have our Wrestlemania main event.   ***

With only one bad match, Dave thought it was a really good show overall, but probably won’t draw much of a buyrate. 

– Dave hated the SNME with Warrior v. Super Ninja (as did most people) and especially hates the network’s insistence on having them do pre-written interviews off cue cards like a bunch of junior high schoolers in an acting class.  No wonder he’s not fond of today’s interview style.

– Final word on the Sugar Ray fight:  It did 3% buyrate and grossed $9 million, but it turns out that Titan didn’t actually have the guarantees from the cable companies that they were claiming they did.  So the WWF took a bath on it, losing $4.5 million when all is said and done. 

– On the NWA TV show this weekend, they ran the famous angle with Dusty Rhodes getting spiked in the eye, which Dave thinks was gory but doesn’t go over it in much detail otherwise. 

– With Dusty out as the booker on the road, finishes are now Ric Flair going over guys by pinfall in the main event (Dusty and Rick Steiner thus far…wonder if there’s a message there?) although houses are still down. 

– The actual formula for house show managers is that only main event managers (Dillon, Humperdink and Ellering) get to appear, while Dangerously and Cornette stay home. 

– TBS is in fact worried about Dillon jumping ship, which is why he gets paid on the road and treated like the #1 manager. Rumors are flying that they’re going to get rid of several managers in the new year, so they don’t want him to panic and quit before that. 

– The AWA returned to the Twin Cities and everyone no-showed, including Ricky Morton, who was supposed to get the tag titles over Badd Company.  So instead they put them on Groovy Greg and Robert Gibson (holy god what a team THAT would be) because Verne is convinced that Tanaka & Diamond are next out the door.  I don’t remember that title change at all, but I assume good old Stanley Blackburn overturned it the next day.

– The AWA show has been nearly dropped by ESPN, as they moved it from prime time into a dead zone and now air it on a delay.  Dave doesn’t think that’ll help Superclash’s chances for success.

– Wendall Cooley moved to World Class as Rick Casey for some reason.  I always thought “Wildcat” Wendall Cooley was a great cowboy name.  Rick Casey sounds like a job guy.

– JYD is trying to get a job with the NWA.

– BREAKING NEWS:  Stanley Blackburn did indeed reverse the tag title switch the next day.  Whew.

– Verne Gagne offered the AWA World title to Don Muraco, but he doesn’t want to work out of Minneapolis. 

– In the letters page, Scott Hudson from Georgia writes in to compliment the recent NWA booking.

– The next AWA TV taping had such a low advance that they just cancelled the show and rescheduled for January instead. 

– Dean Malenko, who unretired from his job at an airline to work in Japan for a bit, is once again retiring when he’s done the current tour.

– And finally, “Rugged” Ronnie Garvin debuted in the WWF, but he’ll still work the AWA show to avoid any contractual nastiness.  He will not, however, be doing a job to Greg Gagne, even though they need to get the TV title off him.