Wrestling Observer Flashback–06.08.87

In today’s news:  A top WWF star gets busted for drugs and the company is embarrassed.  Holy cow, how’s THAT for timing these things?


We’ve got some big stuff to get to, so let’s jump in!

– In the top news of the week, Hacksaw Jim Duggan and the Iron Sheik were BUSTED driving through New Jersey on 5/26, as Duggan got pulled over for drinking a beer while driving and the cops found joints in the ashtray and three grams of coke in the Sheik’s shaving kit.  They worked against each other at a show later in the night, but then the story broke in the news and the WWF was pretty severely embarrassed because the press was all “LOL enemies driving together wrestling is fake ZOMG! #KayfabeIsDead”. Both guys were fired later in the week, although Duggan will likely be brought back with a severely reduced push, whereas Shiek is gonna be done for good.  Basically Duggan is too valuable to just let him go back to Crockett or wherever, but Sheik is pretty much dead weight anyway.

–  Dave doesn’t think there will be any long term effect on fans who had their illusions shattered or whatever, because mostly people will forget after a couple of months and it’ll be like it never happened. Just to be safe, though, Titan has put in a new rule prohibiting heels and babyfaces from drinking together. 

– Speaking of drugs, Jim Barnett attempted suicide this week, with an apparent overdose of pills.  Thankfully, he pulled through.  (And went on to live for another 15 years after that before dying of cancer in 2004.) 

– After last week’s issue talked about Rick Rude missing shows for Crockett, he was found in the WWF.  Oops.  They want to get him to TV as soon as possible so as to humiliate Crockett by putting half of his tag team champions on their show, and for the moment Crockett is claiming that Rude was injured and Ivan Koloff is half of the tag team champs with Manny Fernandez.  (I remember that.  It was lame.)

– And the other mystery WWF jump was the Midnight Rockers, who dropped the tag team titles to the Russians on their last night and then shocked the crowd at a WWF show in St. Paul by showing up to challenge the Hart Foundation on 5/30. 

– The defections from All Japan continue, as now Tenryu has given notice to Baba and wants out because Baba wouldn’t book him in the matches he wanted. 

– Roddy Piper will not be buying into the Portland promotion after all, and basically just showed up to do color commentary and rant and rave.  He had actually electrocuted himself backstage a week before Wrestlemania and broke his wrist, which is another reason why he “retired”.

– Jake Roberts is going to be taking the Piper’s Pit slot for the moment while his shoulder heals. 

– The arrival of the Midnight Rockers might signal the death knell for the Can-Am Connection, who ended up being kind of a disappointment and didn’t get over the way they were planned to.  (Unless the Rockers do something really STUPID to mess up their big chance, but how likely is THAT?) 

– Paul Orndorff still hasn’t had the shoulder surgery that doctors were strongly recommending to prolong his career, and in fact he just took 3 months off instead and will be returning later in the summer.

– Even faster than Dave expected, Sting turned babyface after an angle with Eddie Gilbert, since fans were already cheering him. 

– Missy Hyatt is of course back in the UWF again, doing her talk show deal but actually playing the character she wanted to this time, the bitchy heel. 

– Jim Crockett was apparently feeling generous and bought ANOTHER jet, this one to shuttle the UWF guys around out of Dallas.

– To World Class, where Kevin Von Erich puts over the dreaded ORIENTAL PUNCH from Brian Adias, which damn near killed him right there in the ring and was totally Brian’s fault.  Dave is amazed that they keep finding new lows to sink to.  (We haven’t even made it to the heart attack yet!) 

– In Florida, Mike Rotunda’s wife gave birth to a baby boy this week, as Dave outs the relationship between the Windhams and Rotunda.  That baby would be Windham Rotunda, aka Bray Wyatt.

– The AWA seems to have a working relationship with Memphis, as Jeff Jarrett was named “AWA Rookie of the Year”. 

– Funny angle this week as Tommy Rich was signing autographs for a bunch of girls in the audience, and one of them attacked him and revealed herself to be Jerry Lawler in drag.  (Did Lawler try to hit on himself, I wonder?) 

– The next main event feud in the AWA looks to be the Hennigs v. the Gagnes.  Dave isn’t too excited about that one.

– The latest target date for Riki Choshu’s New Japan debut is the semi-finals of the IWGP tournament on 6/12. 

– Dingo Warrior is actually booked for the next New Japan tour and getting a big build, which Dave notes, exposes how little Sakaguchi knows about US workers outside of their look.  (That story would get crazier in a bit.) 

– Ric Flair was pulled from his Central States bookings, so the announcers declared that Flair was afraid of DJ Peterson and “only wrestles fat people and Russians”. 

– Keichi Yamada is working Stampede as a babyface high flyer, with the announcers declaring him the “greatest Japanese wrestler since the original Tiger Mask”, which Dave thinks isn’t fair to either guy.  (Just a few years later that wouldn’t be such a crazy comparison.) 

– Referee Ron Hayter has been playing heel as of late, and got to deliver a patented Bruce Hart-written line when he decried the sport of wrestling because badminton was the superior pursuit, and he has “been hit by the hardest cocks in the world.”  (OK, so for those who didn’t live in Western Canada during the 80s, the Ron Hayter heel ref bit was typical pettiness from Bruce Hart, a response to a member of city council of the same name who was opposed to wrestling and was very outspoken about regulation and such.  So they would make their own “Hayter” into a slimebag referee who constantly broke his own rules and had gay overtones.) 

– Dave is really bored with Crockett’s product right now.  He’s just saying.

– Rick Steiner’s younger brother Scott recently made his pro debut by winning the WWA World title from the Great Wojo, and he will soon be moving in with Rick. 

– And finally, Barry O suffered a broken collarbone and broken ribs in that car accident, but his legal troubles might turn out to be the far bigger issue.

NEXT TIME:  A very unlikely title change!  See you then!