Wrestling Observer Flashback–04.28.86

Ah, wrestling, where one guy can beat up another guy for real and flush his head in the toilet for riding with his ex-girlfriend and people are just like “Eh, it’s Dick Slater, what are you gonna do?”

So…Sharks eat Penguins in nature, I’m assuming?

– Before talking about the Crockett Cup, Dave wants to rant a little bit more about Wrestlemania.  It turns that the total gate may or may not have been higher than originally anticipated, although even with giving the WWF the benefit of the doubt, their numbers are still ludicrous.  The current claim from Vince is that the show did 800,000 buys on PPV (in 1986!!!) which Dave considers such a ludicrous claim that he doesn’t even want to comment on it.  Regardless, factoring in all the closed circuit locations, even if they only drew 1000 people or so per location, the show should end up breaking even and grossing into the tens of millions.  I don’t actually think that ended up being the case, like at all.

– Overall, Dave didn’t think the show was THAT horrible, but either way he’s wasted enough time talking about it and he wants to get into something better.

The Jim Crockett Sr. Memorial Cup Tag Team Tournament!

1.  Wahoo & Mark Youngblood beat the awesome duo of Bobby Jaggers & Mike Miller in 7:35 when Wahoo pinned Miller with a chop.  Average match, no heat.  **

2.  Sam Houston & Nelson Royal beat Bart & Brad Batten when Houston pinned Brad with a bulldog in 8:07.  At least Dave thinks it was Brad, since they’re identical twins and all.  Nelson Royal was useless.  **3/4

3.  Jimmy Valiant & Manny Fernandez beat The Barbarian & Baron Von Raschke when Manny rolled up Konga with a sunset flip at 11:20.  Manny wasn’t good enough to overcome all the dead weight.  *

4.  Terry Taylor & Steve Williams beat Buddy Landel & Bill Dundee in 12:00 with the Oklahoma Stampede on Landel.  Dr. Death is starting to grow on Dave a little, and Landel was excellent.  ***1/2

5.  The Sheepherders beat the Guerreros in 11:12 with a double clothesline on Hector.  Absolutely no heat from start to finish, and a lot of weirdness as the teams stopped cooperating with each other due to apparent squabbles over the Guerreros getting too much offense.  And then after a paragraph ripping on the match and saying how everything looked bad, Dave wraps it up with “I liked it because it was fast-paced.” and gives it ***1/4.  OK then.

6.  The Fantastics beat the Fabulous Ones in 13:10 (How’s THAT for a dream match?) when Fulton pinned Keirn with a rollup.  Another dead crowd and the Fabs were lazy and unmotivated here.  *1/2

7.  Buzz Sawyer & Rick Steiner (the former Rob Rexsteiner, debuting under his new name here) beat Koko B. Ware & Italian Stallion in 15:05 with a Sawyer powerslam on the Stallion.  Dave is pretty sure that Steiner is going to be a star once he gets his pacing and interviews down, just because of his awesome look and suplexes.  He’s not wrong.  Also, his delts are amazing.  You don’t have to tell me twice how amazing Rick Steiner’s deltoids are, Dave!  ***

8.  Black Bart & Jimmy Garvin beat Brett Sawyer & David Peterson in 6:35 with a brainbuster on Peterson.  All action and pretty good while it lasted.  **1/2

9.  The Midnight Express destroyed Sam Houston & Nelson Royal in 1:50 in the first second round match when Eaton pinned Houston with a double sledge.  A complete squash with time running down on the afternoon show.  *1/4

10.  Magnum TA & Ronnie Garvin beat Sawyer & Steiner in 5:05 when Magnum pinned Steiner with the belly to belly (IRONY!) after a good finishing sequence.  No one looked particularly good as it was rushed again.  **

Part Two:

1.  The Road Warriors beat Youngblood & Wahoo in 6:20 when Hawk clotheslined Mark off the middle ropes for the pin.  The Warriors were crazy over and Wahoo reddened Hawk’s chest with chops.  Very good overall. ***

2.  The Russians beat Manny Fernandez & Jimmy Valiant in 9:00 when Nikita finished Jimmy with the sickle.  Whole match was Nikita beating on Manny to no heat, before Valiant tagged in and immediately got pinned.  *1/4

3.  Terry Taylor & Steve Williams beat Dino Bravo & Rick Martel by forfeit due to appendicitis from Bravo.  Dave doesn’t know the real story, but Martel was definitely there and Bravo may have been as well.

4.  The Sheepherders upset the Rock N Roll Express by DQ in 8:10.  The RNR got the double dropkick on Williams, but Morton grabbed the flag from Jack Victory and started beating on him until the ref called the DQ, which STUNNED the crowd (and Dave), since most thought they were winning the tournament. ***1/4

5.  The Fantastics upset Tully & Arn in 11:02 of an excellent match when Fulton pinned Anderson.  Action-packed and hard-hitting, and they did the finish where Arn tries to bodyslam Fulton, but Rogers dropkicks them over for the pin.  ****1/2  Why did we never that pairing in 88, I wonder?

6.  Baba & Tiger Mask (Misawa) beat Jimmy Garvin & Black Bart in 6:05 with a big Baba boot to the face of Garvin.  Baba looked OK here, actually.  **

7.  The Road Warriors beat the Midnight Express by DQ in 10:30 when Cornette hit Animal with the tennis racket.  Great match, but too much stalling.  ***1/2

8.  The Russians drew with Williams & Taylor in 20:00.  Nikita has great presence but he’s TERRIBLE in the ring.  Williams stole the show, pressing Ivan multiple times and throwing him all over the ring, really making himself look like a star.  Last 5:00 had great near-falls.  Afterwards Eddie Gilbert and his own shitty Russian attacked Williams and beat the hell out of him.  ***1/4

9.  The Sheepherders and Fantastics went to a double DQ in 15:45 in the legendary ***** match.  Dave calls it as good a match as he’s ever seen outside of Japan, with his description making it sound like the kind of awesomely overbooked craziness that Paul Heyman did so well and Russo wished he could do.  Everyone bled buckets and finally the ref just called for the bell to end it.  Unfortunately only clips of this match exist because it’s something of a holy grail for tape traders.

10.  Magnum TA & Ronnie Garvin beat Giant Baba & Tiger Mask in 13:12 with TA’s belly to belly on Tiger Mask.  Wasn’t much to it, but hey, Magnum can always say he got to pin Misawa!  **1/4

11.  Jim Duggan beat Dick Slater in a no-DQ match at 10:08 to retain the UWF North American title, using a spear for the win.  Good action, but it slowed down a lot and the crowd was getting really tired.  **3/4

12.  Ric Flair beat Dusty Rhodes by DQ to retain the NWA World title in 22:15.  Lots of blood and a darn good match.  All the usual stuff from their matches, ending when Dusty got a boot away from Baby Doll and beat on Flair for the DQ.  ***1/4

13.  The Road Warriors won the Crockett Cup over Ronnie Garvin & Magnum TA.  Some good near-falls, like TA nearly pinning Animal with the belly to belly, but Hawk’s clothesline off the middle rope finished Garvin at 9:18.  ***

– Due to overpriced tickets and a poor walkup, the crowd ended up as 3500 for the afternoon show and 13000 for the evening show, which was horribly disappointing for the Superdome, where they were expecting upwards of 30K.

– Next year’s show is rumored to be held in Japan and televised in the US.

– To the AWA, and the WRESTLEROCK RUMBLE!  Dave didn’t actually see this one.  Rose & Somers upset the Midnight Rockers and Dave declares them BURIED lest they become too popular.  Show sounded good overall to Dave.

– Dave amends the PPV numbers of WM2 again, as now his estimates are at 7% buyrate with 4 million homes capable of PPV, or 280,000 buys.  A far cry from the 800K that they were promising, but not bad.  However, Dave finds it hard to believe any numbers given by the promotion when they’re claiming 1 million closed circuit viewers (actual number:  300K) and that Wrestlemania 1 was seen live in 24 countries (actual number: 2) and that they sold 1 million copies of the videotape (actual number: 34K).

– In breaking news out of nowhere, World Class has been GUTTED because Fritz Von Erich won’t give out contracts to wrestlers.  So say goodbye to Rick Rude, The Freebirds, John Tatum and Steve Regal all at once.  Probably Chris Adams as well.  The Birds are off to the UWF, while Rude is going to Crockett.  On the bright side, notes Dave, at least they gave notice and won’t just be showing up in the WWF the next day.

– Speaking of the WWF, the next Main Event airs 5/3, featuring Hogan & JYD v. The Funks on top and a Steamboat v. Roberts match that kicked off a famous feud between them.  The JYD match is going to lead to six-man matches around the horn with Funks & Jimmy Hart v. JYD, a midget, and “any third guy they can find”.  The whole thing repulses Dave so much that’ll neither watch nor tape that show.

– The Killer Bees will probably be given masks soon so they can market more crap to kids.  Dave suspects that they’ll be winning the tag titles soon to go with their new gimmick.  That’s literally the only time I’ve heard anyone use the words “Killer Bees” and “tag team champions” in the same sentence, like, ever.

– Hulk will be on the Tonight Show 4/29 with Joan Rivers as guest host.  Dave will be going to bed early.

– John Harris, the 7 foot tall mystery hillbilly who has been on the payroll for months now, never actually debuted and apparently Vince is just paying him to sit at home and not be taller than Andre on any other show.  Good work if you can get it.

– Dave continues his running gag of slagging Texas All-Star Wrestling this week, calling it “Texas Where’s The Star?” to follow up last week’s “Texas One Star Wrestling” crack.  Anyway, Crockett will be running San Antonio for the first time to test those waters, but World Class will be running in opposition a few days before.  Dave is pretty confident that Sunshine v Missy Hyatt in a mud wrestling match isn’t going to keep people from going to the see the Road Warriors and Ric Flair.

– In Memphis, Jeff Jarrett is ALREADY working main events one week into his career, teaming with Jos Le Duc to beat Bill & Budro by DQ.

– To World Class again, where Fritz is FURIOUS with Ken Mantell (who left Fritz to book the UWF and has now stolen the Freebirds away), so he’s planning on stealing the Blade Runners to get his revenge.  Or, you know, at least the shittier Blade Runner.  Dave feels like the Freebirds & Rude for the Blade Runners isn’t exactly a fair trade.

– Kelly Kiniski, sick of his treatment from Fritz, has retired from the business and brother Nick is thinking the same way.  Well, Nick at least would stick around for another couple of years.

– The AWA returns to Chicago on 4/27 with Greg Gagne & Sgt. Slaughter & Leon White in the main event against Brody/Nord/Zukhov, and Dave is confident that putting Leon White in a main event is death for business.  Apparently it’s not yet Vader time.

– Jimmy Snuka has flaked out and starting no-showing, right on schedule, because he wants to start his own promotion in Hawaii.  Dave’s take:  “Just what the world needs, Jimmy Snuka as a wrestling promoter.”

– The Road Warriors are now exclusive to Crockett after working the WrestleRock Rumble.

– Speaking of the show, they had to make all kinds of concessions to John Nord to get him to do the job (because I mean, do you think BRODY is gonna lie down?) and he’s started no-showing to avoid doing any further jobs.  Dave thinks it’s nice that he’s learning from the Road Warriors so quickly.

– ESPN renewed Verne for another six months, and even playing in suicide slots at the wee hours, it’s still the highest rated show on the channel.  Dave wonders what kind of monster numbers that a GOOD show would do?

– Dave eases up on the Jack Victory love as he debuts in the UWF, noting that he’s pretty good in the ring but needs help on interviews.  Tatum & Victory ended up a a hell of a team in the UWF, actually.

– David Sammartino is supposedly coming back to the WWF, along with Superstar Graham.  Dave wonders if anyone’s ever noticed that whoever leaves for the AWA always comes crawling back soon after?  Usually like this…


– Satoru Sayama dodged a bullet when the amateur organization holding the sambo tournament in Japan (which he wanted to enter) ruled that a pro athlete could not enter.

– Lars Anderson and his Polynesian Pro Wrestling flew everyone into the US again for a show in San Jose on 4/20 and “drew nearly 50 people, 25 paid” to see such stars as Lars, and some random Samoans.  One of them was “Son of Samoa”, who is the younger brother of Tonga Kid and said to have great potential.  Younger brother of Sam Fatu = Solofa Fatu = Rikishi.  So yes, that was true.

– Unconfirmed reports now that the Freebirds are in fact just telling Fritz to get lost and will be missing the Texas Stadium show completely.  As it turned out, they were there to do the job to Lance, fear not.

– And finally, Dave is like “What’s with the mats around WWF rings now?  So guys don’t get hurt bumping over the top rope?”  Stunning insight there, Dave.