Previously on the Perils of Penelope Pitstop: https://blogofdoom.com/index.php/2016/05/09/wrestling-observer-flashback-march-4-1985-part-2/
I’ve noticed a sudden uptick in 1985-related questions on the Wrestling Observer radio show lately. I feel like that can’t be a coincidence.
– So things are getting mighty crowded on TBS, in what would turn out to be a giant turning point for the wrestling industry. First up, Bill Watts now has a slot on Sundays at 7:05PM, in the most-watched position on the station. Ole is running out of money fast and will likely have to give up the Saturday morning timeslot (which as you’ll recall was filled with scrubs and trainees in the last issue) to Jim Crockett. And now the WWF has been given an expanded two hour timeslot at 6:05 on Saturdays, but Turner is insistent on having a TV show filmed at Techwood Studios and not just bicycled tapes from other WWF TV shows, so now Vince has agreed. And he’s f-----, because they never do house shows near Atlanta so they have to fly all the way there every week for 10AM, tape until 130PM, and then fly off to wherever they’re supposed to be for the Saturday house show.
– Meanwhile, Bill Watts is putting on a great show on Sundays, and more importantly is promising main event caliber matches every week, which has instantly won over support from the fans. By contrast, Vince’s other “competition”, Pro Wrestling USA, puts on a show that comes off as a second-rate imitation of what the WWF is doing with idiot announcers who talk out of the sides of their mouth like they’re trying to con a bunch of marks. Apparently if you go on TV and lie to your fans and treat them like idiots, they won’t believe in your product and will stop watching. Whew, good thing we’ve moved past THAT sort of thing here in these more enlightened times.
– Keeping on the theme of Vince and his media manipulation, Dave thinks it’s only fair that he credits Vince for the masterful job he’s done in that area over the past few months. In fact, by projecting the illusion of being the only game in town through deliberate overexposure of his product, he might even get a network slot soon. Dave’s feeling is that the first closed circuit supershow will do great business, but the second one will bomb. After that, who knows?
– WWF news! The era of WRESTLEMANIA is almost upon us, and Dave is pretty sure it’s going to be the biggest money show in history thanks all that sweet closed circuit cheddar. However, their second try is likely to flop, no matter who Mr. T wrestles on that one. Or even boxes.
– Dave runs down the card and interestingly Ricky Steamboat was supposed to be wrestling Don Muraco, but that ended up as Matt Borne by the time of the show.
– Here’s some fascinating minutia about the closed circuit deal: The show starts at 1pm and Vince promised all the closed circuit locations that it would be over by 3:30pm because several arenas were supposed to be hosting basketball games that night and they needed a few hours to reset the seating and such. Oddly, the show will NOT be live as such. It will actually feature a staggered tape delay based on time zone, so that every time zone runs 1:00pm-3:30pm, even though he’s claiming it’s live to everyone. In fact, in some cities where there’s only one closed-circuit location, they aren’t even mentioning the fact that it’s just a big TV screen you’ll be watching and are advertising it like any other house show.
– Dave assures us that it’s just one more week and we’ll never have to hear about Wrestlemania again.
– Hillbilly Jim was supposed to be at the show, but he suffered a nasty leg injury and will be out for about three months. It was longer than that, wasn’t it? And of course, the WWF is still advertising him on all the house shows he was original booked to wrestle on.
– Bruno Sammartino appeared on a radio show and basically trashed Hogan’s wrestling ability and said what a load of crap it is that Mr. T gets a main event spot. Dave’s take: As a fan, he hates it, but if it sells then it’s good business.
– Dave thinks the generally low quality of house shows during March is to make the Wrestlemania show look better by comparison, although he acknowledges that as terrible as the Oakland show was, the fans were at least into it. Poor, stupid sheep that they are. My words, not his.
– Hogan wrestled Jesse Ventura on 3/8 in Nassau and drew one of the biggest crowds ever in the building. No s---.
– Barry Orton from Florida will be debuting in the WWF soon as Barry O. Dave notes that he’s a pretty credible worker, so he’ll likely be a prelim loser as a result.
– Moving to the Northeast Opposition section, Pro Wrestling USA actually drew 18,000 for the Meadowlands show on 2/24, which is pretty damn good. Of course they had to lie on TV and say it was a sellout of 20,000. They had a bunch of no-shows (like Terry Funk doing his TV series) and it ended up with Jimmy Valiant working three times to cover for guys, which had Dave incredulous.
– The main event was Flair v. Race in a 25:00 match that was said to be really good. the show also featured a Backlund v. Billy Robinson match that was appreciated only by Verne himself. Jerry Blackwell was supposed to wrestle, but the state commission decided that his blood pressure was too high before the show and pulled him at the last minute, which Dave vaguely hints as “Someone forgot to grease the right guys before the show”.
– Finally for this section, Dave goes off on the ridiculous Slaughter v. Flair title matches that have been headlining the Northeast shows, which feature Sarge completely manhandling Flair for 20:00 and winning the title with the Cobra clutch before having it reversed in a Dusty Finish. Basically Slaughter is already a big star in the area and it serves no purpose to make Flair look like a goof when HE’S the one who needs to get over.
– Finally, Dr. D debuted for Inoki and did an angle where he slapped around one of the announcers, who did the rest of the broadcast with bandages on his ears. Apparently the John Stossel thing was a short-term career boost for Schultz for the time being.
And tomorrow we’ll pick things up with World Class and the territories!