Previously on American Idol: https://blogofdoom.com/index.php/2016/05/20/wrestling-observer-flashback-12-16-85/
And so we’ve reached the end of 1985 and thankfully the Observer has gone from 30 pages to 8 in the process, and Dave is a much more readable writer, although still 6 years away from switching to a word processor and hiring an actual editor. Well, something to look forward to as we head into 1986, I guess.
To the WON!
– Quick note to start, as Dave once again gives the complex mechanisms behind the subscription service and then answers a question we had: He does not keep any back issues, even for his own use.
– The big news is that Bruiser Brody was fired by New Japan for missing shows, due to a fight over money. Brody was promised somewhere around $14,000 a week and Inoki reneged, due to houses being down pretty severely. Also, Inoki is in no mood to put up with Brody’s ultimatums with the UWF gang coming back to boost his business. Dave supposes that Brody will never work in Japan again. Wow, Bruiser Brody pisses off wrestling promoter, film at 11.
– Update on Jim Crockett and his legal issues: He’s actually worked out his differences with the Richmond Coliseum and will be running shows there again. However, his suit against the WWF is still ongoing, and Dave thinks that the whole “exclusivity” deal might very well be illegal and we could use a ruling from the courts.
– David Sammartino has showed up in the AWA, as Verne desperately tries to recreate the Zbyszko-Sammartino feud again. Dave knew that David was a goner with the WWF as soon as he had to lose to Ron Shaw, although apparently it turned out that Sammartino made that choice himself. Dave thinks it’s going to be another Slaughter situation, where someone is a complete flop and Verne just keeps pushing them regardless.
– Hulk Hogan made his first ever appearance in Charlotte, and the show was kind of a flop, only drawing 2000 with the crowd apparently chanting “Fake, fake, fake” during the Hogan v. Bundy main event.
– The WWF announced that the Wrestling Classic did about 60,000 buys on PPV, which was 200,000 less than their announced projections. They of course had an immediate roster of excuses, mainly that it was scheduled on a night with really tough competition on TV. Sound familiar? Dave thinks that there MIGHT be money in this PPV thing, but they’ll have to hype up the show to insane blockbuster proportions, like Wrestlemania or Starrcade levels. In fact, they were pretty crazy to think the show could hit a 12 percent penetration level when FREE TV shows can’t even hit that level of penetration! For the moment, their followup show in January has been cancelled.
– Dave attended a Polynesian Pro show in San Jose, as Lars Anderson was literally taking a vacation with Lia Maivia’s money and just amusing himself. Only really notable things are Dave basically accusing everyone in the dressing room of doing drugs, and the appearance of “Chief Jay Strongbow Jr”, who is not related to Joe Scarpa but claims to be his son. Cagematch says that Mark Scarpa started in 1986 in Calgary, so I have no idea who this kid would be, unless he just did this show really early in his career. Also competing was Samoan #3, who Dave lists as “Sam Anoia”, which would be Samu, I’m guessing? Apparently the point of the show was for Maivia to gather together the luminaries of the wrestling world (Jarrett, Lawler, Crockett, Mike Graham, Inoki and Kevin Sullivan) and figure out how to take back California from Vince McMahon. Dave is pretty sure Vince doesn’t have to lose any sleep over that one.
– Ted Arcidi, the new powerlifting heel in the WWF, is a legit strongman who can bench 704 pounds, and Dave practically wets his pants with excitement just typing that. Dave spends a paragraph running down the other claimed bench presses of top stars in wrestling and how Arcidi beats them all, making him the one person in the world who actually gave a shit about anything Ted Arcidi did.
– The WWF has deliberately booked the Bulldogs for all of January, not coincidentally during dates when they’re supposed to be in Japan, so obviously they have a tough decision ahead of them.
– Supposedly John Harris (the 7 foot tall “Giant”) has signed to be yet another hillbilly. That one didn’t last long.
– LJN wrestling dolls are selling so strongly that the company expects a shortage of Roddy Piper for Christmas. In fact, they’ve sold more than 3 million units this year alone. That’s an incredible figure.
– The third SNME was kind of a flop, and if the fourth one doesn’t do great they might be on the bubble for renewal.
– Zane Bresloff has taken over as the local promoter for the Midwest.
– The Montreal promotion is fading fast ever since getting bought out by Vince, and even Hulk Hogan v. Dino Bravo as a main event can’t save it. Also, their top team, the Rougeaus, have no interest in coming to the WWF after Vince stiffed them on pay for a big house last month.
– Vince might actually lose his TV deal in San Fran, since he stole it from Verne by paying the station $5000 a week for the slot and now wants a traditional deal instead. Since TV executives are the only only people lower than wrestling promoters, the station is going behind Vince’s back and trying to sell the slot back to Verne or Fritz now.
– As noted last time, Billy Jack Haynes threw a tantrum when he discovered that he was paid less than the Andersons for Starrcade, and he’s quit the promotion as a result.
– Terry Taylor also left, after he realized that he was never breaking through the glass ceiling of Dusty and Magnum, so he’s on his way back to Mid-South.
– Buddy Landell was supposed to get Baby Doll as a valet at the latest TV tapings, stealing her from Tully Blanchard to kick off his big push, but he showed up hours late and they dropped the whole thing.
– Amazingly, and I know this is gonna be a shock to everyone reading this, Dusty Rhodes is booking himself to win every Bunkhouse Stampede match thus far, and also pins Ole or Arn or both on every show as well.
– The Crockett promotion has been raising ticket prices across the board, and may be pricing themselves out of the audience’s range. The cheapest ticket is now $10! Who are they playing to, MILLIONAIRES? Christ, I took my kid to see Ratchet & Clank on “cheap” Tuesday and I still paid $11 to get in. Inflation is a bitch. Anyway, Dave (future Dave who actually knows about the business side of wrestling now) has since said many times that the whole notion of crowds rising and falling based on ticket prices is a complete fallacy. If a promotion is hot, people will pay what they’ll pay.
– In World Class, it’s Freebirds v. Von Erichs all over again! This time with Lance instead of Mike, which drops the quality levels by about 1000%. Dave also goes off on Gino Hernandez, calling the Dynamic Duo boring and saying Gino is useless. Wow. Also, Sunshine has been ripping her clothes in the matches with Missy Hyatt, so Dave suggests the “Grapefruit 45 plan” for her to lose weight. Geez, Jack Victory just won the TV title earlier in the issue, you’d think Dave would be less bitchy.
– In the Texas All Star promotion, Dave calls American Force (Shawn Michaels & Paul Diamond) the biggest Rock N Roll Express ripoffs he’s ever seen. Oh please, by next year Shawn will REALLY set about ripping off the Rock N Roll Express!
– Jeff Gaylord made his wrestling debut for this group as well, and Dave notes that it doesn’t bode well for him that he played football in the USFL and then debuted in wrestling for this group. MEOW. Did Dave forget to drink his protein powder or something and that’s why he’s so grumpy this week?
– The Freedom Fighters turned heel in Memphis, beating up big fat Phil Hickerson after making fun of him. Dave notes that although the Fighters are bigger than the Road Warriors, they look like a couple of male models out there and can’t convince anyone that their offense is legit. EVEN LANCE VON ERICH IS BETTER THAN THEM. Man, I dunno about that one, and I’ve seen both of them from around this time. Lance was the drizzling shits and at least the Freedom Fighters looked like they might have something in the way of potential. Anyway, they’ve been hurting people in the ring (which is the worst combination for their poor opponents: Offense that looks fake but hurts like hell) and after they lost a title match to Lawler & Idol it looks like they’re gone.
– Dusty and the Crockett guys came into a Memphis to work a six-man tag with Lawler, and Jerry was the only one working hard, as the Andersons and Tully considered it a night off. Dave notes that Dusty also considered it a night off, but then he considers every night a night off.
– Lex Luger update: He already lost the Southern title to Barry Windham, and Dave hears that Lex is a tall muscular guy who looks like Hulk Hogan and is about as good as Hogan was a month into his career. That is total bullshit, as it took Hogan YEARS to get decent in the ring and Lex was doing classic matches with Flair only two years into his.
– In Japan, Satoru Sayama has decided he’s done with wrestling and wrote a book called “Kay-Fabe” to punctuate that. Dave notes that if you know what that words means, you’d understand why Sayama has now burned his bridges as a result.
– It’s a PROMOTIONAL WAR in Alabama, with Nick Gulas coming in to run an outlaw promotion in Birmingham by running old tapes with Gordon Solie commentary and trying to pretend that he’s supporting them. In response, Solie went on the NWA show and outed Austin Idol’s real name as “Mike McCord”, which is actually untrue because it’s Dennis McCord. Stay tuned for more of this slapfight between idiots.
– Dave finally saw the Dibiase angle in Mid-South and thinks it’s pretty much the best thing he’s seen in wrestling for years.
– Sadly, his mood improves just as the issue comes to an end. Hopefully Christmas makes him happier for the new year.