Wrestling Observer Flashback–09.19.85

Previously, on Old McDonald’s Farm:  https://blogofdoom.com/index.php/2016/05/14/wrestling-observer-flashback-06-23-85/

Once again, gaps in the collection, as July and August are missing, so this is where we skip to.  Once we get to 86 and 87 things are much more complete, thankfully.

– Dave starts out by welcoming all the new subscribers he suddenly has after a mention in Sports Illustrated, just a few months after quitting the newsletter due to all the book-keeping headaches it was causing.  He goes over the basics of the newsletter for new readers:  An 8 page issue every few weeks on no particular schedule, $5 for 4 issues. 

– The big news of the week is that Jay Youngblood died on a trip to Australia, of three massive heart attacks that were reportedly caused by a spleen injury during a match.  He had actually ballooned to Adrian Adonis-like size at the time of his death, with some reports putting him as high as 300 pounds when he died.  As far as I know, there was nothing drug related about it, although massive heart attacks in wrestling are usually caused by something.

– Speaking of deaths, it’s another rough week for the Von Erichs, as Mike went in for surgery on his shoulder and he contracted Toxic Shock Syndrome, which was later discovered to be as a result of the doctor sewing an instrument into him accidentally.  He actually suffered a 107 degree fever in the hospital and there is likely some brain damage, but Dave is skeptical of the whole thing because TSS is such an incredibly rare diagnosis for men.  Coupled with the fact that David supposedly died of “enteritis”, itself an incredibly rare cause of death, Dave thinks there might be more to these stories.  So at what point DID Dave and the rest of the wrestling world clue into the fact that the Von Erichs were actually a bunch of very heavy drug users, and that David’s death was not due to exploding stomach or whatever?  Also, someone had mentioned that even Gary Hart still protects David in his book, but that’s definitely not the case.  Gary quite explicitly says that David died of an accidental overdose of pain medication, which is why he was so vehemently anti-drug as booker afterwards. 

– Dave can’t comment on the horrible way that Fritz handled the whole thing on TV because he hasn’t seen it yet, but many other people did and they were all disgusted by it.  Dave notes that if Fritz is trying to use Mike’s near-death to sell tickets, it’s not working very well. 

– In happier news, the Road Warriors finally told Verne to get stuffed and left for the NWA, to the surprise of no one.  In fact, they would have already been in the WWF if not for Paul Ellering.  And in traditional fashion when someone leaves the AWA, they pulled a no-show and didn’t give any notice, which nearly caused a very bad scene in St. Paul with the crowd.  Needless to say, the relationship between Crockett and Gagne is becoming very strained over shit like this.

– More importantly, Verne and Crockett are trying to co-promote Superclash on 9/28 in Comiskey Park, and Crockett is supplying most of the talent.  This of course leads to the hilarious story of David Crockett backstage at that show, trying to sign away all of Verne’s talent during the show itself.  The man had some balls.

– Crockett was supposed to be doing another Meadowlands show on 9/27, but that’s been cancelled and who knows if they’ll ever go back.  I don’t think they did, in fact.

– Continuing with Crockett, they did their first try at a syndicated live wrestling show with “Battle of the Belts”, featuring Flair v. Wahoo in a 2/3 falls match and the Road Warriors v. Hansen & Race in a match where Stan wrestled like a madman because Japanese cameras were there.  Same thing with Superclash, where Hansen put on a performance agaisnt Martel for the Japanese market.  The show was kind of a disaster attendance wise due to storms in Florida.

– Crockett co-promoted a show in Memphis with the Jarretts as well, featuring Flair v. Lawler on top in a great match, plus Magnum & TA v. The Andersons in a cage match, Midnights v. Rock N Rolls, and Fabulous Ones v. Sheepherders and other stuff.  Reports from the show are that Memphis fans in attendance thought the Memphis matches were great and the Carolina matches were terrible, and Carolina fans thought the opposite.

– In the WWF, Dave finally admits that they’re on a huge roll right now and crowds are basically as high as they’ve ever been.  In fact, after Vince talking for a year about how hot wrestling is, now it’s actually valid.  On the flip side, every other promotion in the country outside of Crockett is on a rapid descent. 

– Interestingly, the WWF was paid by the county fair in Columbus to do a free show in August, and ended up drawing 60,000 people, although it’s not counted in attendance records because there’s no way to verify and it was a free show anyway.

– In the list of things that are the biggest surprises in the history of wrestling, way down at the bottom is the fact that the WWF is running Chicago the night after Superclash with Hogan & Andre v. Studd & Bundy on top.  Dave is pretty sure that one’s gonna beat Verne’s show pretty handily.  Well, let’s go to the tale of the tape:


September 28, 1985 in Chicago, IL
Comiskey Park drawing 21,000 ($288,000)

  • AWA Americas Champ Sgt. Slaughter beat Boris Zuhkov (9:34) via DQ.
  • IWA Champ Mil Mascaras pinned Buddy Roberts (6:57).
  • Jumbo Tsuruta, Giant Baba, & Genichiro Tenryu beat Harley Race, Bill & Scott Irwin (10:57) when Baba pinned Bill.
  • Sherri Martel pinned Candi Divine (11:24) to win the AWA Women’s Title.
  • World Class Texas Champ Kerry Von Erich pinned Jimmy Garvin (6:47).
  • AWA Tag Champs Road Warriors beat Freebirds (Gordy & Hayes) (14:12) via DQ.
  • NWA Midget Champ Little Tokyo pinned Little Mr. T (6:54).
  • Jerry Blackwell beat Kamala (9:50) in a “bodyslam” match.
  • AWA Junior Heavyweight Champ Steve Regal pinned Brad Rheingans (8:19).
  • Greg Gagne, Scott Hall, & Curt Hennig beat Ray Stevens, Nick Bockwinkel, & Larry Zbyszko (12:20) when Hall pinned Stevens.
  • NWA World Six Man Tag Champs Krusher Khruschev, Ivan & Nikita Koloff wrestled Crusher, Dick the Bruiser, Baron Von Raschke (9:40) when Ivan pinned Raschke.
  • NWA World Champ Ric Flair pinned Magnum TA (19:10).
  • AWA World Champ Rick Martel DCO Stan Hansen (2:30).

WWF @ Chicago, IL – Rosemont Horizon – September 29, 1985 (14,000)
Cpl. Kirshner defeated Barry O
Les Thornton fought Scott McGhee to a draw
Cousin Junior defeated Tiger Chung Lee
B. Brian Blair defeated Rene Goulet
Jim Brunzell defeated Steve Lombardi
WWF IC Champion Tito Santana defeated Randy Savage via disqualification
Uncle Elmer defeated WWF Tag Team Champion Brutus Beefcake
Ivan Putski pinned Nikolai Volkoff
Andre the Giant & WWF World Champion Hulk Hogan (w/ Mr. T) defeated Big John Studd & King Kong Bundy when Andre pinned Bundy

So in fact apparently there was a shitload of wrestling fans in Chicago that weekend ready to spend money, but advantage Verne on that night.

– The first Saturday Night show is going to be taped on 10/3, and Dave expects to heavily feature the freakshow wedding of Uncle Elmer, which will likely be even worse than the Paul Vachon wedding on USA.  First of all, it wasn’t, and second, the Vachon wedding was brilliant in the idiocy and yet awesome stupidity of just letting everyone get legit drunk and riff on each other.  You can’t script TV that horrible, and that’s why it ruled.

– The Hulk Hogan cartoon debuted on 9/14, and Dave will watch out of morbid curiosity, ONE TIME, but not soon.

– The WWF ran Cincinnati on 9/2 with a huge crowd, perhaps the biggest ever in the city, with a main event of Hogan v. Piper (with Hogan winning by DQ) in a match that Norm Dooley, the inventor of the star rating system himself mind you, gave five stars to.  FIVE STARS.  Dave is like “Eh…I don’t think so.”

– In fact, Dave has received so many reports of good matches that he’s actually going to check out the Fresno show later in the month and see for himself.

– Dave clarifies something he said in one of the issues we missed, where he notes that although Funk would be a better WWF champion than Hulk, there’s no way he’s getting the belt anytime in our lifetimes.

– The WWF has hired Terry Garvin to be assistant booker, stealing him away from Bob Geigel.  Dave just brings the snark, noting that it would be a crushing blow to St. Louis if the territory had anything left worth saving, but it doesn’t, so it’s not like they could be any worse off anyway.  He then clarifies that “Garvin and Pat Patterson are old buddies, if you get my drift.  If you don’t, you don’t want to.” 

– The Bulldogs beat the Dream Team by DQ at the Poughkeepsie tapings, but Dave is unsure if this is leading to a feud or what.

– Here’s an awesome WWF propaganda story:  You know how the syndicated show around that time always has shots of kids in the first few rows with LJN dolls of their favorite guys or copies of the WWF magazine or whatever?  Well, what they do is walk around with the handheld cameras, find some kid near the front, hand him a doll or other gimmick to play with, and then take it back after they get the shot.  I feel like Vince would be the guy to personally go seat-to-seat making sure that none of the kids got to keep those toys.  You can’t make millions giving away free dolls, PAL!

– In Mid-South, the Midnight Rider has invaded the area, although it’s actually Bill Watts under the mask for interviews.

– Dave amends his previous report as we get to the AWA section, noting that the Road Warriors no-showing was just one of their hilarious pranks.  This is in fact heavily influenced their interview style later on, because they called Verne to explain and he was like…

prank call

And Voila!  Hawk had his inspiration for promos for the next 10 years.

– Meanwhile, speaking of guys not doing jobs, Stan Hansen has agreed to come in as a semi-regular and feud with Rick Martel.  Dave doesn’t feel like that one is going to go very well for Rick.

– Starship Coyote has now left Central States and joined the AWA under his real name, Scott Hall.

– The Road Warriors are scheduled to defend the AWA tag titles against Jimmy Garvin & Steve Regal on 9/29 in a match that makes no sense to Dave.  Oh, it’ll make a lot more sense soon.

– Dave continues to be impressed with rookie Rob Richsteiner, who has legit wrestling background but is very green.

– To the Carolinas, where the Warriors will be immediately programmed with the Koloffs in what Dave thinks will be horrible matches.

– Dave clarifies that Pacific Northwest champion Ricky Vaughn is no longer the worst title-holder in wrestling now that Kendall Windham has won the Florida title. 

– Crowds are hitting record lows in World Class, mostly because of football and the classless handling of the Mike Von Erich situation.

– Apparently Rick Rude has been lying about his credentials as an arm wrestling champion all this time.  He actually placed 16th in a national tournament.  Why isn’t 20/20 doing stories on THAT?

– And finally, former Olympian Hiroshi Hase will debut soon, probably in the spring, for Inoki.  He’s small but in great condition and should probably make a great pro wrestler.  Well, we can only hope.