Wrestling Observer Flashback–April 15 1985 Part 2
By Scott Keith on 13th May 2016
So this is it, our last chance to experience the snark of 1985 before Dave shuts down the Observer FOREVER. Forever! Forever!
– The big news from the WWF is of course Wrestlemania, which Dave has finally agreed to start giving a name, two weeks after the show is over. Although things were looking weak leading up to the show, the media blitz from SNL and the Richard Belzer incident suddenly caused a huge walk-up business on the day of the show and turned it into a giant success. The total crowd with all closed circuit locations was around 400,000 total people watching for a gate of roughly $4 million, although in fact they actually dropped a whole bunch of pretty major locations in the week before the show due to sales of less than 100 tickets. Texas and KC were the biggies as far as major markets dropped at the last minute.
– Even if the show was only a break-even proposition for them (which it wasn’t), the publicity and “cool factor” that they created from it are more than enough to justify the costs, which was their ultimate goal all along.
– To the review!
1. Tito Santana beat the Executioner with the figure-four. **1/2
2. King Kong Bundy pinned SD Jones in “9 seconds”. DUD
3. Ricky Steamboat pinned Matt Borne with a flying bodypress in the best match on the show. ***1/4
4. David Sammartino and Brutus Beefcake were both disqualified when Bruno and Johnny V got involved. Match was bad, but considering the participants wasn’t THAT bad. **
5. Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff won the tag titles from Windham & Rotundo when Sheik hit Rotundo with the cane. Dave notes that when he went to go make toast during his second viewing, he missed the whole match. Although he usually brushes his teeth during the bad WWF matches because they’re so short, and now his dental checkups have never been better! ***
6. JYD beat Greg Valentine by countout in the Intercontinental title match. 1/2*
7. Andre the Giant won the bodyslam match over John Studd in an abominable match. -** Even worse, he notes, the feud isn’t over until death does them part. Well they DID die pretty close to each other, I suppose.
8. Wendi Richter won the “girlies title” from Leilani Kai by reversing a bodypress in a really messed up finish where Kai had to basically put Wendi on top of her own self. *
9. Hulk Hogan & Mr. T beat Roddy Piper & Paul Orndorff when Orton accidentally hit Orndorff with the loaded cast. Wasn’t as bad as Dave expected. Wouldn’t be fair to rate it as a match, because it wasn’t a wrestling match.
– Dave goes off on this whole rant about chasing off the “hard” audience and bringing in a new “soft” audience that doesn’t understand or truly care about what they’re watching, but really the point is churn, like the WWE Network. You want to cast the net as wide as possible and get kids (like me, watching for the first time around 11 or 12 years old at that point!) because then all their formative memories of the sport at that point mean that they’re keep coming back to it for the rest of their lives chasing the same high they got from Piper smashing up the Flower Shop, until they’re 41 years old and writing retrospective pieces about underground newsletters that were published 30 years ago because the current product sucks so badly. Hypothetically speaking.
– In slightly less big news, the WWF got kicked off TBS and replaced by Mid-Atlantic a couple of weeks ago, although Vince somehow managed to sell the TV time to Crockett for $1 million before he was canceled. Dave calls that one some very shrewd dealing.
– There’s lots of smoke about Bruiser Brody coming to the WWF, but no fire.
– Payoffs for WM are reportedly Orndorff getting $25,000, Piper getting $75,000, T getting $100,000 and Hogan somewhere between Piper and T. Unsurprisingly, Orndorff is “somewhat unhappy” about that. I bet Hulk can make it up to him somehow later.
– Southwest is just about done, with only about 8 people even left on the roster at this point.
– World Class headlines the Texas Stadium show this year with Flair v. Kevin and a wacky 10-man elimination tag match with the Freebirds & Von Erichs v. Chris Adams/Gang/Kamala/Gino/Hercules for “$100,000”. Man, Jim Cornette was probably have an aneurism about that one.
– The newest manager in World Class is John Harris, who works as The Giant and stands a legit 7 feet tall or more. He must have been terrible for the WWF to not at least make a go with him. Apparently his career ended in 1990 and he died in 2005.
– Dave actually does report here that Joe Blanchard has finally given up on Southwest and unloaded the territory on former Fritz stooge Fred Behrend. I hate to keep hyping up Gary Hart’s book and apparently driving up the price on Ebay as a result, but Gary also has an epic rant about how useless and stupid that Behrend was and how he completely destroyed what was left of the territory in record time.
– Although Dave thinks that the Mid-South shows on TBS the best wrestling shows in the country right now, a source (who got his info from Vince McMahon directly) says that they’re also getting thrown off the station within weeks.
– I should point out that Dave totally no-sells the Duggan/Dibiase match, just noting that Duggan beat him and what the stips were. I’m guessing he didn’t actually see it yet.
– The AWA returns to the Meadowlands with a show on 4/19, headlined by Sgt. Slaughter v. Kamala in a Ugandan death match, and Dave’s pretty sure this one’s not going to do nearly as well as the last one.
– In St. Louis, Harley Race and Bob Geigel are having a far more interesting battle backstage than anything going on TV, as they’re constantly butting heads over direction of the promotion while crowds drop and drop and drop. One or both of them will probably unload their stock very soon now.
– With Andy Kauffman on his deathbed due to cancer, manager Tux Newman went on the Memphis TV show and claimed that Jerry Lawler’s piledriver actually caused the disease to spread uncontrollably through his body.
– Randy Savage is just killing it on a nightly basis, making a case for being the best wrestler in the country right now. Perhaps it’s time he moved up to the big leagues…
– On a totally random note, Buzz Tyler won the Mid-Atlantic title this month from Ron Bass this month, and I’ve literally never seen this guy wrestle before but he pops up all the time in these issues. So I looked him up, and apparently he walks out on Crockett in July of this year to vacate the title, and then never returns to wrestling. No wonder I’ve never heard of him before.
– Magnum TA finally did beat Wahoo to win the US title, as was expected for a while.
– Rumors are circulating that Ted Turner will get involved with Crockett’s promotion somehow. Yeah, that’d be the day.
– Dave goes off on another rant about the lying WWF liars and how they’ll probably claim that teenage girls didn’t watch until Wrestlemania exposed them to wrestling or something, although he does note that ad rates are actually going up for the WWF pretty significantly as of late.
– Dave is mighty impressed with this rookie Jack Victory in Mid-South, and he’ll be a top star in a few years if there’s any justice. Well, clearly there’s no justice, then.
– Don Owen will probably close down the Oregon territory due to McMahon-itis.
– The hot rumor of the day is Tommy Rich joining the WWF. Dave notes that it must be a really slow news day if that’s the hot rumor.
– And finally, Dave says goodbye and hopes we all enjoyed reading them as much as he enjoyed writing them.
Next time: You know what they say about retirements in wrestling…