Wrestling Observer Flashback–04.13.87

Coming July 27:  The Podcast of Doom!  Brian and I are going to pick an old rant of a terrible show and do an audio Scott Sez, plus draft fallout news and discussion, plus mailbag, hookers and blackjack!  I shall no longer leave this money on the table.  Assuming there IS money in these things.  Well, there’s certainly money in hookers and blackjack, at least.  Bender was a smart guy.

Sooo….last week Jim Ross took over day-to-day operations of the UWF because Bill Watts was busy doing something else, and someone in the comments asked what that something else was.  Um…yeah.  So…how should I put this…?

– Jim Crockett’s rampage across the territories continued this week, as Dave leads off with a bang with the announcement that JCP has purchased the UWF and will take over as of May 1.  So that’s what Bill Watts was attending to last week.  So this pretty much makes the WWF and NWA the two remaining superpowers in wrestling, controlling 90% of the talent and money in North America.

– The plan is for the UWF to remain its own territory and run separate shows with its own stable (Yeah, how many times have we heard THAT line before?)  just like Florida.  No one’s getting fired.  (BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA)

– Steve Williams, suddenly a hot property in Japan, is expected to make out good in this deal if Crockett wants to keep him around.  Otherwise JCP now has the deepest roster in the country by far, assuming everyone sticks around.  (Which they didn’t.) 

– Despite these gains, Vince is probably untouchable for many years to come now, barring some sort of scandal dragging them through the mud.

– Bill Watts, as hinted last time, is completely out of the wrestling business now, once everything goes through.  (He should have made sure that Crockett was good for the money before signing the contract, though!) 

– To the WWF, where Dave admits that mistakes were made and he might have been a little hard on the Andre-Hogan match.  And in fact, for those freaking out, Dave actually revises his rating from –**** to one star, because Hogan was trying hard.  So there you go, stop the hatemail backdated to 1987, Dave revised his rating upwards a full five stars!

– Dave had the paid attendance reported as 90873, which smashed the previous record of the Big Event.  The live gate of 1.5 million smashes the Inoki-Spinks record by nearly double.  Dave thinks this will go down in history as the show that establishes WM as an annual tradition, like the Super Bowl.

– Lost in the hype of Wrestlemania was Inoki also drawing a monster house in Japan for his match with Masa Saito on 3/26, with 18,000 selling out Osaka Hall for a $700,000 gate.  And then, wouldn’t you know, about 3000 people decided to riot and tear up the ring due to the shitty DQ finish.  (And here I thought Japanese crowds were quiet and polite? ) So now Inoki is probably going to be blackballed from Osaka as well.  Anyway, after the DQ finish against Saito, the mysterious Masked Viking jumped out of the crowd and attacked Inoki, and no one has any idea who this guy is or where the angle is going.  Dave’s best guess is Kengo Kimura, but there’s lots of suspects.

– Are you tired of big news yet?  Well, here’s more, so suck it up.  In one of the moments that defined my early life as a fan, Stan Lane has replaced Dennis Condrey in the Midnight Express as of the TBS show this past weekend, thus giving the world one of my favorite tag teams ever.  And they really hit the ground running as a team, too.  Anyway, Dennis Condrey is trying to get out of his contract and jump to the WWF, so he either quit or was fired, but either way he’s gone and Lane suddenly has the best job in wrestling right now.

– Dave is still picking Dusty & Nikita to win the Crockett Cup, even with the bombshell of awesome that is the Midnight Express now entered as an official team.

– The WWF is still on lockdown after Wrestlemania, although a 7/4 show at Shea Stadium with the inevitable Hogan-Andre rematch is being discussed.  For now, Andre is back into semi-retirement while his back rests again.  Paul Orndorff is also gone for the moment, and Dave has no idea what’s going on with him, but he’ll find out.

– Jake v. Honky will continue headlining C-shows through the post-WM season, and Dave thinks it was very smart of Jake to do such a high-profile job, even though it seemingly was far beneath him. The buzz from Honky’s huge upset is actually giving the feud some legs now.

– On the bright side of the UWF buyout, Dave notes that this effectively resolves the Baby Doll contract dispute and she can go back to her old name again after 5/1.

– To Florida, where Kevin Sullivan was the Southern champion but the title has been abandoned by Crockett, leaving only the Florida title.

– Funny bit from Sullivan, as he did an interview mocking Mike Rotunda (who of course was Rotundo in the WWF) because Vince apparently owns the “o” in his name.  So Dave checked and it turns out that Rotunda is Mike’s legal name, and Vince had the fake name “Rotundo” trademarked because you can’t own someone’s real name.  So there you go, that’s why Mike apparently doesn’t know how to spell his own name.

– To World Class, where one Bruiser Brody is not enough, so now there’s Brody’s alter ego Red River Jack, plus Nord the Barbarian, plus Eli the Eliminator.  (Why not just bring in the Bruise Brothers while you’re at it?) 

– Dave is ready to throw up his hands with annoyance at the promotion, since one of the “featured” matches on the upcoming Texas Stadium card is a 6-woman mud wrestling match, featuring Candi Divine, some girl she’s training, two of the ring girls (Dave wants to stress he’s not making this up) and two girls imported from GLOW.  Dave just can’t even.  (I was disappointed to find that none of my usual reference sites list anything for this match besides Divine winning a mudpit match.  I was hoping that her trainee would turn out to be , like, Madusa or something crazy, but apparently not.) 

– Nord the Barbarian will in fact be getting the title shot at Kevin Von Erich as the main event of the 87 Parade of Champions, which shows you where this promotion is headed overall.

– Dave officially switches from “Crockett” to “NWA” for that section now, because it’s basically all one big group covering Crockett/Florida/UWF as a whole now.

– Crockett debuted in Boston with 11,000 people in an impressive showing, although the show was lousy.  It was notable for the first ever Ole v. Arn match, which went 3:00 and ended in a DQ finish.  (And then I don’t think they ever fought again?) 

– Ivan Koloff & Dick Murdoch have already been stripped of the US tag titles so Murdoch can go to Japan, so yeah, that was a completely pointless title reign.  Dave doesn’t think they’d do another tournament so soon after the Crockett Cup, and thinks they’ll just forget the belts completely.

– Apparently the Badstreet USA single sold 100,000 copies.  (That’s a lot of whiskey and blow.)

– The Road Warriors debuted a new version of their finisher in Japan.  Instead of Animal holding the guy in a bearhug, he now puts the victim on his shoulders in an electric chair while Hawk clotheslines him.  (This would be the official debut of the move we now know as the Doomsday Device)

– Dave is just, like, so totally into Steve Williams now after the Japan tour.  The Jack Victory posters are OFF THE WALL and Dr. Death takes his place. He’s been talking about him all issue and if Snapchat was around in 1987 he probably would have sent Doc a picture of himself with a kitty face or something.

– In the letters section, Dave runs down the ridiculously complicated backstory of the NWA Junior heavyweight title that exists at this point, and it’s the kind of thing that only happens in wrestling.  It’s like Samoans in time machines for me.

– For those wondering about ***** matches, Dave gives that rating to the Muto & Koshinaka v. Maeda & Takada match from 3/20 in Tokyo in case you want to look it up on New Japan World or whatever.

– Apparently Hasbro is not happy about Sgt. Slaughter living off his GI Joe money and not wrestling, since they signed him to be a WRESTLING figure and not a “sits on his ass until he gets $3000 per shot figure”.

– And finally, Dave finds out what’s going on with Orndorff:  He was told by doctors to get major surgery to repair his shoulder, but he’s just going to ride it out because there’s a pretty big risk of paralysis if he gets the surgery.  So he’s going to let it play out and see how it goes.