Wrestling Observer Flashback–03.14.88

Thanks for all the birthday wishes on Facebook!  Now, back to 1988.

– Dave is still steadfast in his belief that Wrestlemania IV is a guaranteed success, although he’s becoming more convinced that Clash is going to take a big bite out of it.  The new bracketing was “announced” on the weekend TV, although Dave says “announced” because they just put up the new brackets and pretended that it was the same all along.  The only explanation is that Savage v. Dibiase is going to be the finals.

– Although you can’t count out a Hogan win completely, it seems more likely the tournament will end up with Savage v. Dibiase, and Hogan v. Andre will end in a double DQ or double countout to take them both out of the tournament.  Dave again questions the reasoning behind switching up the brackets and the only reason he can find is that Dibiase was scheduled to win and then flopped as “champion” and thus changed their plans.

– Crockett continues to gain on the WWF in the syndicated ratings and they’re comfortably back in the top 5 again, nipping on Vince’s heels.  Dave is worried that there’s going to be some retaliation because Vince doesn’t like to lose.

– The Von Erichs launched a new show called Legends of World Class, which shows classic Von Erich matches and a shocking number of Ken Mantell matches as well for some reason.  The Penthouse issue that will be exposing Fritz’s evil is scheduled to be released in June now, unless they bump it again.

– To the WWF, where Bruno severed ties with the promotion over a deal he made with a 900 line that apparently conflicted with his job as color commentator with Titan.  Bruno had been unhappy about the direction of the business in general anyway and wasn’t making it a secret that he wanted out anyway.  Also, Bruno had been hired back on the condition that Vince helped out David to become a big star, and Bruno felt that Vince was a big fat liar about that.  And then to add insult to injury, Vince talked him into making wrestling appearances to boost crowds long after he was supposed to be retired.  Dave thinks that Bruno is probably right, but they already beat that horse to death back in 1985.

– Iron Sheik has already been fired, which Dave thinks might be a new record even for him.

– Adrian Adonis, meanwhile, is trying hard to get back into the promotion.

– Although NBC didn’t offer a regular prime time series after the relatively average performance of the Main Event, they did renew SNME and added another Main Event next year.

– The latest insanity from Memphis is that Sputnik Monroe, a famous star from the 50s, is being brought back to feud with Billy Wicks, another star from the same era.  (And you thought WCW was bad for that.) 

– Numbers continue to be strong for Stampede in Edmonton, with a hot angle where Johnny Smith turns heel on partner Chris Benoit, who then fights by himself for another 25:00 before losing to the heels.  Despite no TV or newspaper ads in the area, they still did 1000 people for their show this weekend.

– Gary Albright will be debuting soon as Makhan Singh’s brother, Vulcan Singh.

– Central States is already dying, as Geigel is down to running two shows a week and local talent is “starving” and will have to start taking dates elsewhere to survive.  (And here I thought World Champion Mike George would set the territory on fire.) 

– Masa Saito announced on AWA TV this week that he’s returning, and bringing Riki Choshu with him to challenge for the tag titles soon.  Dave is shocked to hear this.  (This was actually the setup for the TV Taping From Hell later on, where Dave and his crew went to the tapings specifically to see Choshu and had to suffer through one of the worst shows in history.) 

– The Tanaka & Diamond team, managed by Paul E. Dangerously, will be getting the title shot at the Rockers after all.

– For some reason, GLOW was able to draw 3500 people to the Summit in Houston, which actually was more than Hogan v. Dibiase drew the last time they were there.

– Verne is actually scouting women from GLOW, as Dave notes he’s probably looking for “someone who looks better than Madusa but wrestles worse.  Well, at least it gives him something to keep himself busy.”

– Adrian Adonis may or may not be returning when his ankle heals, as Verne cut off his guarantee in December, and then he broke his ankle just before his Japan tour and lost two weeks there as a result.  He asked Verne for help and got turned down, so now Adrian’s feeling really down on his luck.

– The mysterious Pirates are back in New Japan, this time played by Bob Orton and a new guy named “Dee Karolet”, who is a Red Bastien trainee.  (Dave kind of mangled the name there, but that’s Daryl Karolet, aka Nitron/Big Sky/Tyler Mane.) 

– New Japan officially announced the firing of Maeda, so Dave suspects that someone will make a go of a new promotion with him as the top guy, but he doesn’t imagine it’ll go very well without TV.  (This would be where “ominous foreshadowing” music would be appropriate) 

– Kerry Von Erich finally won the World Class title from Al Perez on 3/6 in Dallas before a very small crowd, after Michael Hayes was attacked by mysterious forces after his concert a couple of days earlier.  So this sets up Kerry v. Gordy on 3/27 for the title. The Hayes rock concert actually outdrew the wrestling show, as Hayes managed to draw 2000 for his musical stylings.

– The Texas Stadium show has been moved back to 5/8, and now it looks like another Von Erichs v. Freebirds match of some sort on top, with no more talk of Kerry v. Flair.

– Dave claims that new Florida ref Bill Alfonso is actually David Sierra’s brother.  (According to Wikipedia, they’re actually cousins, and it’s Bob Roop who is Bill’s brother.  Still, that’s wacky.) 

– Road Warrior Animal is back working already, with a hockey mask to protect him.  (I hope Butch Moffat sued for gimmick infringement!) 

– Steve Williams has already changed his mind and wants his job with the NWA back again.

– Nikita Koloff, on the other hand, has no plans to return, but with his personal situation right now, who knows?

– Dusty, rapidly losing his mind, went on TBS and told fans that if they didn’t watch the Clash of Champions show, he’d take down their names and come down their chimney on Christmas Eve to beat them up.  (Like Dusty could fit down a chimney in 1988.  Sheesh.) 

– Hogan & Duggan v. Dibiase Virgil main events have been flaming death at the box office, drawing some of the smallest Hogan crowds in years.

– Dave clarifies that the Sputnik Monroe matches in Memphis were a one time thing for an “old timer’s night” attraction.  Whew.

– And finally, Dave gets late news on the participants on the Wrestlemania battle royale, and thinks that the winner should be Bad News Brown, or if there’s any justice, Bret Hart.

Well, this was a legit slow news week.  Better luck next time.