Wrestling Observer Flashback–07.21.86

It’s time for the continuation of the Great American Bash, as in Dave bashing Dusty Rhodes’ booking every week.

To the news!

– Continuing on with the theme from last issue, the Great American Bash has been a Great American Flop thus far due to high ticket prices and wasting money booking country acts north of the Mason-Dixon line.  Not to mention asking people to pay $20 to sit miles away from the ring in a giant baseball stadium when you can watch the same stuff for free at home.

– Memphis in particular was a notable disaster, drawing 1900 people to a baseball stadium to the tune of $40,000, which probably doesn’t even pay the rent.  Things will hopefully bounce back with the finales in Greensboro and Atlanta where, SURPRISE, Dusty Rhodes is currently booked to win the NWA World title from Flair in Greensboro and then drop it back in Atlanta.  Dave is pretty disgusted with Dusty for this move, calling it a purely ego-driven power play that’s likely to drag out the feud so they can do yet another Flair-Dusty main event at Starrcade.

– Dave gets a rundown of the Charlotte show, featuring Flair v. Morton in a ****1/2 cage match on top where both guys bled and sold like crazy for each other.  That match was on one of the WWE’s DVD releases (the steel cage one I think?) and HELL YEAH it rules.  Based on a $30 ticket price, the show would actually be the fourth largest gate in US history.

– Stan Hansen remains in Japan, holding the AWA World title belt hostage after storming out of the promotion on the 29th.  Currently Bockwinkel is using Slaughter’s former Americas title belt while they figure out what to do.  Baba is actually choosing to recognize Hansen as the champion and Dave speculates that he’ll drop the “title” Jumbo Tsuruta to unify it with the PWF one.

– The WWF went back on the talent raid trail, grabbing Butch Reed and manager Slick from Central States and calling several others with no luck so far.  This is also a historic issue, as Dave uses “Junkfood” as a nickname for JYD for the first time I know of.

– In retaliation for the Memphis opposition show, Crockett has grabbed Buddy Landel and Bill Dundee from Jerry Jarrett, plus Dutch Mantell.  Landel, always making friends, was roughed up by Roger Smith in the dressing room after giving notice, and thus left immediately for the Carolinas.

– Dave is halfway done on his wrestling encyclopedia that never got finished.  Speaking of which…

– In the investigation of the century stemming from his call for assistance with real names and specifically King Tonga, Dave has been looking into the claims from many people that our friend Haku was actually 70s jobber Lenny Hurst, owing to their similar appearances and an episode of Prime Time Wrestling that featured Hurst in a “classic match” segment of some sort.  So Dave checked names and dates and verified that Haku is actually from Tonga, and is only 27 years old, having made his pro debut for the Funks in 1978.  So unless he was a very old looking teenager in the 70s, specifically an old looking 12 year old when Hurst debuted in 1971, it’s just a weird coincidence that they look so much alike.  I think we covered this in a previous discussion on the blog as well and it was also a hot topic then, too.  In fact, now we know that Hurst actually retired in 1985, and apparently died in 2014.  Here’s Lenny, by the way, and yeah it’s pretty uncanny:

– So at the Philly Bash show, there was a particularly bloody and violent strap match between Wahoo and Jimmy Garvin, which resulted in athletic commissioner JJ Bins made threats to Jim Crockett and tried to cancel the show because he wasn’t aware of such barbaric displays at these shows where CHILDREN are present.  Dave originally scoffed at the notion that perhaps Vince had something to do with this, but then he discovered that just days earlier, Bins was actually part of a WWF show in Philly, acting as a figurehead for the evening and taking part in a JYD-Muraco brawl to help pull them apart.  Dave notes that it’s probably too much to ask that government officials not be ridiculously corrupt when we can’t even expect wrestling promoters not to be corrupt, but this really makes him sick.




– Dave thinks that instead of Dusty, they should at least give Magnum the World title for two weeks because he’s getting the big push and he’s probably not going to be a long-term guy on top of the promotion anyway.  Yeah, given hindsight, they 100% should have done that so he could get his World title before his career ended later in the year.  Not like Dusty needed a third one.

– To the WWF, where John Studd got punted from the Over the Top movie for unknown reasons and is back on the road again.

– Dave has heard “third-hand” that Orndorff turns on Hogan on the TV show that airs next week, and all three heels jump Hogan and beat him up.  Dave thinks this is STUPID and he’s outraged by this TV show he hasn’t seen yet, because Hogan should have one opponent to specifically get revenge on.  Yeah, Dave, you tell ‘em!

– Vince has been calling everyone in the Watts/Crockett system trying to find new talent to spruce up the dying house show circuit, and to date he has been turned down by The Midnight Express and the Rock N Roll Express in particular.  Well, the Midnight Express came VERY close to jumping, as it turned out.  I bet later the Rock N Rolls WISHED they had taken him up on the offer.

– To World Class, where 185 Mike Von Erich is now back wrestling full-time and heels have been instructed to go flying from the power of his punches like he’s Ron Garvin.  Fritz also insisted that Mike be the highest paid guy on the shows, which naturally had Bruiser Brody a tad upset until David Manning was able to broker a deal and smooth things over.

– Sadly, we missed last week’s issue, where the DINGO WARRIOR debuted to continue making Dave’s life a living hell.  He does make sure to note, however, that Sting is continually improving in the UWF and now he’s pretty decent.

– The UWF debuts in Kansas City on 8/5 and Dave is pretty sure that this will be the nail in the coffin for Bob Geigel.

– Jim Duggan continued his run of bad luck, as he did an angle where he attacked One Man Gang and speared him, but in the process whiplashed his own neck and broke a bone in it.  OUCH.  He’ll be out for a while, and in fact we’re getting close to the point where he jumps to the WWF anyway.

– Down in Memphis, Dave’s pick for Rookie of the Year is no longer his man-crush Jack Victory, but this tattooed monster named “Bam Bam Bigelow” who is 350 pounds and throws dropkicks and flies like Jimmy Snuka.  He will without a doubt be a huge superstar, Dave predicts.  So there you go, a rare Observer debut where he did call it right on.

– Halfway through the Central States report, Dave switches typewriters and we get a weird typeface for the rest of the issue.  Anyway, if you need more reason why the Central States territory is dying on the vine, Exhibit A is the tag team of Bobby Jaggers & Ed Moretti, who are “The Success Express”.  Put a bullet in this promotion already.

– So to the AWA, where…The Midnight Rockers won the tag team titles from Rose & Somers on 7/13?  Zuh?  That one must have been overturned because they didn’t get them until 1987.  The title change apparently came about because Doug Somers walked out on the promotion after a show in Wyoming, but he did come back long enough to drop the belts.  I bet we’re gonna get an update later in the issue where the belts get returned.

– More on the show in St. Paul, which was a total disaster featuring Nord the Barbarian v. Nick Bockwinkel in a non-title match on top (advertised as a title match up until the show actually started) where Nord got a clean pin with a powerslam.  The semi-main was Jimmy Snuka v. Col Debeers, but Snuka showed up to the ring so messed up that they just told DeBeers to do a walkout finish right away because Snuka obviously was in no condition to work. Also, Ryuma Go appears to be Ryuma Gone and is now replaced by a white guy dressed up like the Ninja Go. That would be Steve Olsonowski, I believe.

Dave News Flash

– The “King of the Rings” tournament in Foxboro was more like FLOPSBORO, am I right?  They drew 12,000 to a football stadium that was scaled for at least 25,000.  But the big news is that a reporter interviewed Roddy Piper there, and he’s officially retired after he does one more match on SNME, and it’s off to Hollywood from there.  And then 20 years later he was still “retiring”.

– Harley Race of course won the tournament, beating Pedro Morales in the finals, and launched his new King gimmick from there.

– And finally, Scott Irwin might be dying of cancer, but he still managed to do an appearance in Montreal where he helped his brother beat the shit out of Rick Martel and hang him with a bullrope.  I think we’d all live that dream with our last days if we could.