Wrestling Observer Flashback–05.12.86

Farewell Raptors!  Now I can go back to not giving a s--- about basketball along with the rest of Canada.

The blog is super-dead here on Memorial Day weekend (or as we call it up here, normal weekend), so hopefully there’ll be some dank memes to liven up the joint.

– So World Class held what was arguably their last successful stadium show on 5/4, with about 17,000 paid after some good walkup business.  The main event ended up as Freebirds losing the six-man titles to Kerry & Lance Von Erich, with new partner Steve Simpson after Kevin injured his shoulder pretty badly.  Simpson also got a pretty big push by beating Kabuki as the third guy into a gauntlet match that was “supposed” to end with Chris Adams getting the win.  That’s actually an interesting twist:  Having one of the cannon fodder guys actually score an upset earlier into the match than people would expect.  Rick Rude managed to retain the “World” title over Brody but he’s still on the way out.

– So the end result of the power struggle between Harley Race and Bob Geigel in Missouri was that Race made his WWF debut in Toronto on 5/5, which has Dave intrigued to see how they’ll use him.  Oh, just wait.  Also, as predicted last time, the new announce job went to Ken Resnick from the AWA as they try to cut Gene Okerlund back a bit.  Uncle Elmer was also fired, and good riddance there.

– OK, so onto something that got famous quickly, as Andre the Giant had a TV match against Akira Maeda in Japan, and things went sideways in a hurry.  Andre basically refused to wrestle, so Maeda kept trying to put submission holds on him (without using any pressure) and Andre just laid there ignoring him.  Finally Andre just laid there in the ring refusing to get up, so the match was stopped and cleared a no-content after 27 minutes of that.  The last few minutes actually featured Maeda just laying in kicks to Andre, with no reaction given.  This of course would gain fame later on for being one of the most notable shoots in wrestling history.

– Dave watched Saturday Night’s Main Event and was pretty disappointed by the Bulldogs and Snake/Dragon matches.  Vince was noticeably terrible on commentary, seeming completely out of his league on a network broadcast.  The results:

1.  Hulk Hogan & Junkyard Dog beat the Funks when Hogan legdropped Terry, brother.  Very good due to Terry Funk, and Heenan insulting the midget for the entire match was such over the top bad taste that it became hilarious.  ***1/2

2.  King Kong Bundy pinned Uncle Elmer with an elbowdrop “in a match no worse than it sounds”.  DUD

3.  Adrian Adonis, who has now been given the gay gimmick and wrestles in a dress, beat Paul Orndorff by DQ when Paul hit the ref for no reason at 10:00.  Dave is not a fan of the new gimmick, but it’s getting him over.  ***1/4

4.  In a non-match, Jake Roberts attacked Steamboat before the bell and laid him out with the DDT on the floor in a famous angle.

5.  Davey Boy Smith basically had to wrestle by himself against Sheik & Volkoff in a 2/3 falls match because Kid’s knee was all ripped up, and he ended up rolling up Sheik for the final fall.  *1/4

– Dave gets some clarification from people on the Andre-Maeda “fight”, as it turns out that Andre was drunk off his ass and just didn’t feel like cooperating that night.  Crazy to think of how much he would have needed to drink to get loaded.

– In the UWF, the North American title held by Jim Duggan has been retired, and Watts is holding a tournament to crown the first UWF champion in its place.  Terry Gordy is entered in the tournament but he’s booked for Japan that night, so Dave doesn’t know what’s up with that.

– After the letters section, we get the first mention of GLOW in the Observer, which Dave notes is “run by Roller Games scam artist Bill Griffiths”, and the lead announcer is David McLane, the inept former lead voice of Bruiser’s WWA promotion and easily the worst announcer he’s ever heard, proving once again that if you’re terrible enough, inevitably someone will hire you.  He’s told that he’d “really dislike” the show.

–  The Blade Runners are apparently coming into World Class to feud with the Von Erichs, with Jeff Gaylord as the third member of the team, so that Fritz can get his fake Road Warriors that he’s been pushing.  Dave is horrified by this development, and wonders how bad the matches are going to be if Kevin doesn’t heal from the shoulder injury and we’re left with Sting/Rock/Gaylord v. Lance/Kerry/Mike on top of the promotion.

– Rick Rude has now changed his mind because Percy Pringle talked him into staying with Fritz for the time being as World champion to feud with Brody.  Can’t have been that committed to it because he was on Crockett’s shows pretty soon after this.

– Bill Watts is the latest person to take a shot at promoting in Texas against Fritz, and given how badly it went for Vince lots of people are interested to see if he can pull it off.

– Dave once again reinforces that Jack Victory is very good and deserves his push.

– Crockett is promoting the Summer Sizzler Tour with Merle Haggard doing concerts as a part of the tour, and Dave wonders if he’s been taking promoting lessons from Verne.

– In the AWA, things are in even more disarray than usual.  Verne had to cancel a Chicago show due to poor advance, which is a bad sign for him.

– Scott Irwin actually had to retire after the WrestleRock show, because he noticed a lump in the side of his head and was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor.  Landing on his head would be literally suicide, so he decided to quit instead.  He would live another year and a bit.

– Ryuma Go, who was fired from All Japan, has surfaced as Ninja Go in the AWA, working as a lackey for Larry Zbyszko.

– Dave notes that the WWF has cleaned up their no-show problems lately, but Verne blatantly gives no fucks (especially when he’s advertising the long-gone Sgt. Slaughter and Jerry Blackwell over and over) and he’s killing his own cities as a result.

– In Central States, the loss of Harley Race is probably going to kill Geigel off for good pretty soon.  In fact it ended up being Crockett who did that himself!

– Jesse Barr has signed with the WWF and will be wearing a Lone Ranger outfit as Jimmy Jack Funk.

– Apparently the current plan is to have part of Wrestlemania III come from Toronto.  However, II was such a disaster that they might not even do a third one!

– Dave notes that WM2 will be airing on Tokyo TV in three parts later in May, which should kill any chance of promoting over there.

– And finally, the Gagnes have actually approached Vince about selling the AWA, although the sticking point appears to be Groovy Greg retiring to an office job with the WWF, which Vince doesn’t want to give him.  Dave wonders further what the heck Vince would actually be buying, since he’s already systematically destroyed most of the AWA’s TV clearances and run him out of their biggest markets.  More on this one as it develops.  Or not, as it turned out.

Sorry, no dank memes tonight.  I know cultstatus is disappointed, but there’s always tomorrow!