Wrestling Observer Flashback–September 1984 Part 1

Previous on the pre-taped call-in show:  https://blogofdoom.com/index.php/2016/04/28/wrestling-observer-flashback-june-1984-part-2/

So as noted, the July and August issues are lost to history, so we move forward a couple of months now into the post-Black Saturday world…

– Dave leads off with the story of the WWF getting a HUGE increase in booking fees from New Japan, boosting their yearly deal from $50,000 to $500,000 because Inoki is pretty desperate for talent influx from the US at this point.  Basically (in an issue we missed) Vince bought out Stu Hart to gain control of the Bulldogs and Hart brothers, which he could then leverage against Inoki and make him pay out the ass.  That is just DIABOLICAL.  Unfortunately Vince’s definition of “buying out” was “promise to pay at a later date and then never do”, but then I guess his contracts with members of the Hart family have always been open to ignoring them whenever convenient.

– With the recent death of Vince Sr, Vince Jr wasted no time in mending bitter fences by signing Bruno Sammartino, Dominic DeNucci, Larry Zbyszko and David Sammartino (with the latter three done to make Bruno happy, obviously) to a new deal on the condition of Bruno dropping a lawsuit against Titan.  It came out recently that Bruno had actually had a falling out with Verne after Larry and David were brought into the AWA, since Verne wanted Bruno himself to wrestle and punished him by making Larry into a job guy.  Man, Larry needs to find a better way to get into Verne’s good graces if he ever wants to make it in the AWA, I think.

– Next up in the “Buffoon promoters actually try to work together to foil Vince” department, PRO WRESTLING USA!  That’s right, Eddie Einhorn is trying to take on Vince in New York, and he’s working with Verne, Crockett, Lawler and Geigel to make it happen.  HOW COULD THEY FAIL?

– Vince McMahon is all over mainstream media right now, especially in a magazine article where he bemoans that wrestling is treated like a second-class citizen by the advertising world and can’t draw the same ad revenue that other forms of entertainment do.  Well, he better get used to beating that drum.  Dave notes that this is true, but putting Kamala and Brutus Beefcake out there as top attractions doesn’t exactly win any advertiser support.  Also, the WWF included a fascinating demographics breakdown of their audience, and Dave says he would include it but they just made it all up anyway.

– Dave’s columnist Mr. Mike goes off on a rant about the Hogan/Okerlund tag team match in Minny that sold out, but barely, thus destroying the “myth of Hogan’s drawing power.”  Yeah, that’s not a hill I would pick to die on, pal. 

– The Ole Anderson & Gordon Solie version of World Championship Wrestling returned to TBS on 8/13, so in fact we missed the entire Black Saturday era! 

– The Road Warriors won the AWA tag team titles from the Crusher & the Baron as Dave breathes a sigh of relief, and apparently this was booked very last minute because Vince is offering some BIG money to get the Roadies. 

– Vince is also trying to lure the Warriors’ buddy Eddie Sharkey in as a trainer and referee to sweeten the deal for them, especially since the Sharkey training camps under Verne aren’t going too well.  Apparently Verne insists on approving candidates and sending Brad Rheingans to oversee things, which blatantly ignores Sharkey’s own stringent entrance qualifications:  $3000 cash.

– Verne is also trying to put together a show at the 55,000 seat Metrodome with Bruiser Brody and himself on top in some form. 

– Rumors are also swirling that Fritz is going to try to run Minnesota in retaliation for Verne running Dallas last month (which didn’t work out well for the AWA), and Mr. Mike has the perfect main event:  Greg Gagne vs Mike Von Erich in a posedown. 

– Back to Dave after the letter columns, and he’s just sick of Hulk’s act at this point, along with most of his readership.  Dave also relates falling house show numbers as “proof” that Hogan’s drawing power is dying quickly, as the circus pops a big house the first time and then kills the town with the terrible product. 

– There is a rumor that Brutus Beefcake (aka Ed Leslie / Ed Hogan / Dizzy Boulder / Dizzy Hogan) is actually Hulk’s brother, but Dave doubts that.  It is clear that Ed has an identity crisis, though.

– Speaking of identity crisis, Bob Backlund was fired in August after Vince told him to dye his hair black and turn heel, but Bob refused.  So Vince told Bob that obviously his morals were just too high for the business, and Bob was “practically in tears” when getting the pink slip. 

And we’ll be back tomorrow with Japan and the rest of the territories!