Good morning, Scott –
I’ve been reading the Observer flashbacks, Gary Hart’s book, and now your review of Starrcade ’87 – and I have a question.
Throughout all of those publications, there are mentions that “it killed the town” – like the Road Warriors vs. the Horsemen at Starrcade. My question is – was this really a thing? I know times are different now with “if it didn’t happen on TV, it didn’t happen”, but was that really how wrestling worked back before cable?
Would someone losing REALLY be remembered that much by the fans – so much that they would stop attending? I guess my perspective is that the event itself would be enough to attract paying customers, regardless of the outcome of a match from a month ago.
Oh yeah, it’s definitely a thing. Crockett had trouble drawing in Chicago for a long time after Starrcade, for example, and during the end times of Dusty’s reign as booker there’s numerous examples of the Dusty Finish drawing diminishing crowds in sequence until finally they just stopped running places. Doing Luger-Flair a million times in 1988 with the same finish completely destroyed a good chunk of their touring fanbase, for instance.
As another example from more modern wrestling, WWE has essentially killed off all of Canada now. Calgary and Edmonton no longer get TV tapings and only draw about 2000 people for house shows, and they haven’t been here in Saskatoon since 2011, and even then they only did about 2000 for that show. They pretty much only draw in Toronto and Montreal at this point, and even then only for TV.