Wrestling Observer Flashback–02.17.86

Previously on Barbie’s Dreamhouse:  https://blogofdoom.com/index.php/2016/05/21/wrestling-observer-flashback-12-30-85/

Sorry, more gaps, as January is missing, but I think it was it was only the Yearbook anyway.

– The biggest news of the week is also the saddest, as Gino Hernandez (real name Charles Wolfe) died somewhere around January 30.  Dave notes that he was Paul Boesch’s son, but according to Gary Hart’s book it was more like a foster child relationship.  According to the medical reports, his body was so badly decomposed when it was found (after five days!) that cause of death can’t be determined at this time, but drug overdose has been ruled out.  That’s some crack police work, considering that “drug overdose” is exactly what the final ruling end up being!  Dave also has some sketchy details about other things pertaining to the incident, but he’s going to leave it alone for now.  I’m assuming that’s the “drug dealers killed him over an unpaid bill” theory that was floated for a while.  Dave finds it a staggering stat that 9 wrestlers have died over the past two years.  Man, just wait until the 90s and 2000s.

– Dave corrects him on a report from last time, as he had reported that Scott Hall & Curt Hennig winning the AWA tag titles from Steve Regal & Jimmy Garvin in a 58:00 match did not happen, when in fact it did and was apparently quite an excellent match as well.  I’ve seen clips of the finish at the very least, so yeah, it happened.  The abrupt title change is because Regal quit and Garvin is going to the NWA so that Precious can feud with Baby Doll.

– Wrestlemania 2 has been moved from 3/31 to 4/7 because they don’t want to go up against the NCAA championship game, but Dave has no idea what the main event of the show is going to be, or where it’s going to be held.  It won’t be MSG because the Knicks are playing there, so Dave thinks they’d better do it in LA because of media coverage.  Mr. T is advertised already in some form, and one thing is for sure:  We’ll be sick of hearing about the show after two weeks of hype.  His only guess at the moment is Hogan v. Savage, maybe?

– In Japan, a second women’s wrestling promotion may be forming to compete with All Japan Women, for the wacky reason that girls are currently “encouraged” to retire at 25, leaving a giant talent pool of “retired” female wrestlers at the top of their game.  It’s like Randy Savage in 1995 all over again!

– The Midnight Express won the NWA tag team titles from the Rock N Roll Express on the first Superstars on the Superstation special on 2/2, although Dave hasn’t seen it yet because it doesn’t air until the next day at the point when he’s writing up the newsletter.  I feel like Dave is turning into Doc Brown right before our eyes here.  He’s also very excited to get the tape for Battle of Belts II on 2/14, which will feature Flair v. Windham (Barry, not Kendall, thank god, says Dave)

– Also, ESPN did in fact renew the deal with the AWA instead of going with Mid-South, which has a lot of readers surprised but not Dave.  Given that TV execs are both non-fans and apparently dumb in general, it’s only logical.

– Bruiser Brody’s lifetime suspension from the AWA in fact lasted about three months, as Verne now wants him back again to work with the aging Jerry Blackwell.  Goes to show that even guys who seemingly burn all their bridges will be brought back if the money is right.

– Stan Hansen, who just beat Martel for the AWA title, is already being scapegoated as a disappointment and blamed for falling gates.  And then people wonder why he ran over the belt on the way out.  Hansen is already frustrated from night after night of working with Slaughter on top, because the first thing Sarge asks is “Let’s take it easy tonight”.

– That kid Shawn Michaels is on his way in, but despite some potential he won’t get pushed.  He’s just not ready yet.

– In World Class, crowds are up for the moment with the Freebirds hot again, but Dave thinks that Gino’s death might have an effect on that.

– UNDERSTATED OBSERVER DEBUT OF THE WEEK:  Texas All Star Wrestling did a big show in San Antonio, and one of the guys being used was “a Samoan said to be Sika’s fat son, who weighs more than Leroy Brown they tell me.”  That would be Sika’s nephew to be more accurate, a very young Rodney “Yokozuna” Anoia.

– Down in Memphis, Crockett jobbers Jim and Mack Jeffers have been repackaged into The Mod Squad.  It was a decent gimmick for a midcard team, but they just had the jobber stank on them.

– Apparently Steve Borden of the Blade Runners is out with a shoulder injury, although both he and terrible partner Jim Helwig were due to be fired anyway.  Dave marvels that these two stiffs have made every issue of the Observer since they debuted.  Well, they’re gonna be in a hell of a lot more issues of the Observer when all is said and done!

– Koko B. Ware was also fired and Dave hopes he’ll bounce back somewhere because he’s a great talent.

– Awesomely dated reference of the week:  The newest heel manager in Memphis is named “Abdul Khadaffy”.

– Brady Boone, another former Crockett jobber, has been repackaged into Billy Jack Haynes’ cousin in the Portland promotion.  He’s only been around for about four months but he’s got good potential, although he was fired from Crockett for showing up at the arena at 8:15 for 8:00 shows.  Unfortunately, he was supposed to be in the opening match of every show. That’s the kind of thing we call a “career limiting move” in the retail world.

– Crockett drew 10,000 in Charlotte with RNR v. Midnights on top, so they’ll just gonna keep milking that one all the way through Starrcade.

– Apparently the Road Warriors v. Russians feud is beginning to fizzle out due to the Warriors being overexposed.  Well, DUH.  Dave relates it to the Hulk Hogan formula, where the WWF would overbook him with five or six straight appearances that burned out the town before realizing that going two or three months between Hogan shots would be more effective.

– Gino update:  Current theory is that it’s a liver problem that killed him, although police received dozens of tips accusing Chris Adams of murdering him, since he had threatened to kill Gino on TV the week before his death.  Oh, wrestling fans.

– To the WWF, where the Bulldogs have been winning non-title matches from the Dream Team and thus Dave wouldn’t be surprised to see them win the titles at Wrestlemania.

– The Wrestling Album has dropped off the charts completely and is considered a huge disappointment.  Dave, like myself, wonders what exactly the people who released it were expecting out of it?

– In Florida, Kevin Sullivan has converted Angel Vachon to the dark side and she’s now Luna Vachon, complete with one side of her head shaved.

– Supposedly Refrigerator Perry is coming in for Wrestlemania and Dave just can’t even with this.

– After years of bashing Steve Williams, Dave makes sure to note that Dr. Death and rookie Rob Richsteiner actually saved two men from a burning car after an accident, and in fact Williams is rapidly improving as a worker.

– Dave reviews Superstars on the Superstation!  Overall, he gives it a B.

1.  The Midnight Express won the tag titles from the Rock N Roll Express in 17:00.  They exchanged shots with Cornette’s racket before Cornette managed to pull Eaton on top of Morton for the pin.  Finish was good, but the bulk of the match not so much.  ***1/2

2.  Road Warriors beat the Koloffs by DQ in 6:00 when the Baron interfered.  Not good, but it was all action with no resting. **1/2

3.  Dusty Rhodes went to a 20:00 draw with Tully Blanchard to keep the National title.  Satellite TV reveals that Dusty has somehow got even fatter!  Dusty should retire and concentrate on booking.  -1/2*

4.  Ric Flair pinned Ron Garvin, with Garvin’s feet on the ropes, to retain the NWA title in 16:00.  Pretty great match, but they ended the show too fast afterwards.  ****1/4

Although the matches were better than, say, SNME, the WWF shows are paced and produced much better and fans would probably enjoy them more, despite the better wrestling here.

– Apparently Crockett is going to hold some kind of tag tournament in Charlotte with a billed $1 million grand prize.  Sounds awesome to me.

– Also, Crockett has ordered a new NWA World title belt, apparently worth $28,000.  Hope there’s a lot of gold and jewels for that!

– Dave relates the story from Howard Cossell’s autobiography, where Vince called him up in 1984 and offered him the job of lead announcer for the WWF.  Cossell told him to fuck off because he didn’t want to end his career as an announcer by calling fake wrestling matches, so Vince went on a tirade and called it the biggest mistake of his life.

– Barry Windham did a tour of Japan and looks fantastic, totally unlike the guy who was just in the WWF.  How about that.

– And finally, The Slammies special will go ahead on 3/1, but Dave is unsure if it’ll be on MTV or NBC.  I can only imagine what a disaster that would have been on network TV.