Inside The Magazine Volume #31: The Wrestler July 1988
Vince McMahon takes part in a Q&A. Kevin Sullivan appears to have brainwashed Mike Rotundo and Barry Windham is pissed. Can the Fantastics replace the Rock N’ Roll Express in the NWA? Bad Company could be the tag team of 1988. Has Hulk Hogan turned into a rule breaker? Is there any help out there that could save Tommy Rich from himself? All this and more inside the magazine!
Perry from Buffalo is really offended at how the publication continues to drag Curt Hennig’s name through the mud since he was recently in the ‘Thumbs Down” section of the magazine. He believes that Hennig is trying to become the greatest wrestler in the world while Hulk Hogan is pandering to new fans. He doesn’t understand why the publication praises Hogan. Perry understands why Hennig would be mad about not being Wrestler of the Year since Hogan is really a cartoon character and cheapens wrestling each day he competes.
Peter from New Jersey is happy that the experts of X-Ray realized that Warrior may be strong, but he sure is dumb. He mentions other large idiots like Andre the Giant, Bam-Bam Bigelow, Bruiser Brody and One Man Gang. He just wanted to reveal the truths of these guys. David from Nevada is responding from a previous fans letter who said that Demolition was a world class tag team. David just doesn’t agree and believes Mr. Fuji is an awful manager. He notes that Smash and Ax both looked weak in recent singles matches and believes that proves his point.
Leslie from Washington doesn’t understand why current WWF Intercontinental Champion Honky Tonk Man doesn’t get any attention from the publication. She reminds us that Honky has successfully defended against Randy Savage in recent months and thinks that Honky deserves more coverage from the magazine. She credits Honky for bringing her out of depression and owes him her life, apparently. Paul from Oklahoma thinks that the recent arrival of several Russian wrestlers means that they are all spies. After all, this is real life and not the movies. He wants the magazine to reveal the wrestlers for what they really are. Kate from Virginia appreciates the Wrestler’s coverage of Lex Luger breaking out from the Four Horsemen. She believes that Luger has all the tools it takes to defeat NWA World Champion Ric Flair, but Luger will also have to take on the entire Four Horsemen. She suggests that Luger’s life may not be worth the canvas it is risked on.
WHAT’S HAPPENING: written by: Bill Apter
Randy Savage won the WWF World Championship defeating Ted DiBiase in a tournament final at WrestleMania IV on March 27th. Savage reached the final following wins over Butch Reed, Greg Valentine and One Man Gang. Meanwhile, DiBiase had a bye, overcame Jim Duggan and then Don Muraco before arriving to the final. Savage won the match with help from Hulk Hogan, who whacked DiBiase over the back with a steel chair. Apter also talks about other matches on the card that included Demolition winning the WWF Tag Team Championships from Strike Force and Brutus Beefcake defeating WWF Intercontinental Champion Honky Tonk Man by disqualification, and cut some of Jimmy Hart’s hair off afterward.
Also on the same day, Barry Windham and Lex Luger won the NWA Tag Team Championships from Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard on the first ever Clash of the Champions televised on TBS. Pat Tanaka and Paul Diamond won the AWA Tag Team Championships from The Midnight Roickers on March 19th in Las Vegas. They destroyed Marty Jannetty on the floor before winning the match. Jerry Lawler got revenge on Eddie Gilbert tossing fire into his face after having the same thing happen to him in February. The Southern Boys won the Southeast Continental Tag Team Championships from Ron Fuller and Jimmy Golden. Paul E. Dangerously added South African madman Col. DeBeers to his Dangerous Alliance.
Iceman Parsons defeated Kerry Von Erich on March 25th to win the World Class Heavyweight Championship. Parsons won the match when the lights went out in the arena and Michael Hayes appeared laid out in a pool of his own blood. World Class officials are looking into the matter since it is assumed that Angel of Death has been known to turn the lights off and both Terry Gordy and Buddy Roberts were missing from ringside, as well. It’s being reported that Lance Von Erich was seen at the control area, too.
Toledo, OH: The main event of the show saw an eight man tag team steel cage match take place. Strike Force teamed with Randy Savage and Sam Houston to take on The Hart Foundation, Danny Davis and Honky Tonk Man. It ended up having just Honky and Savage in the cage with Savage managing to knock Honky down to the canvas and escaped to win the match for his team.
Memphis, TN: Eddie Gilbert competed in singles action against Ken Wayne. Gilbert won the match after Wayne went after Missy Hyatt and hit Wayne with a chain.
Rochester, NY: Butch Reed met Don Muraco in a singles match at the War Memorial. Muraco won the match after Reed used a foreign object that the referee saw.
Honolulu, HI: NWA World Champion Ric Flair defended against Nikita Koloff in the main event. Flair snuck out with a victory when he was able to pin Koloff with his feet on the ropes.
YOU ASKED US
Steve from Minnesota wants to know if Nikita Koloff prefers the Russian or American life. Koloff prefers his American life since there’s a lot more freedom and the food is better. He’s hopeful that when he returns to Russia he can smooth things over with his uncle, Ivan. Matt Brock notes that Kerry won the World Class championship from Al Perez while a tag champion with Kevin. Brock believes that Kerry is aware that his brother would come after him for the championship. However, Brock doubts we’ll ever see that match.
Amy from Texas asks Lou Thesz his opinion on wrestling today. He believes theres too much flash and not enough substance. He believes the wrestlers today are no match for the great grapplers of the past. Thesz thinks a guy like Bruno Sammartino has forgotten more about wrestling than these guys have ever learned. Emily from Boston wants to know the magazines thoughts on the team of Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage since they haven’t exactly teamed up very much. Bill Apter answers saying that they both will go their own direction when they don’t need the other one. Apter believes they could have been a great team but their egos just wouldn’t allow it to happen.
Gary from Kentucky asks Ronnie Garvin why he has avoided rematches with NWA World Champion Ric Flair. Garvin says that Flair is the one avoiding him since he’s beaten him for the championship once and knows he can do it again. Garvin believes Sting is on the verge of winning the championship but he also wants a shot at the gold, but Flair is proving to be the coward he always claimed he was.
THUMBS UP, THUMBS DOWN
Owen Hart: The 1987 Rookie of the Year is the future of the WWF after a recent victory over Barry Horowitz and a good showing against Hercules the next day which saw him lose after a backbreaker.
Vince McMahon: McMahon is a charitable guy as he recently had 5,000 handicapped kids attend a Madison Square Garden show free of charge. He’s not about the almighty dollar.
Al Perez: Perez has jumped to the NWA and could finally realize his full potential. His first target is NWA United States Champion Dusty Rhodes, but they are really excited about a series of matches with NWA World Champion Ric Flair.
Kerry Von Erich: Von Erich has recently forgiven Michael Hayes for his actions in the past and has teamed up with Hayes in a recent feud against Terry Gordy and Buddy Roberts.
JJ Dillon: It’s been seven months since he’s been on the list, but he’s always ready to do something evil. He recently cost Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard the NWA Tag Team Championships, but they deserved to lose the titles.
Eddie Gilbert: They are disgusted with Gilbert’s actions in CWA recently after he tossed fire into Jerry Lawler and Jeff Jarrett’s faces. They don’t understand how anyone could be proud of Gilbert.
Sir Oliver Humperdink: He hasn’t done anything for Bam-Bam Bigelow in the WWF and has actually caused Bigelow to regress. They suggest that Bigelow dump Humperdink right now.
Iceman Parsons: He can’t be trusted since he knows that if Michael Hayes would return to the Freebirds he’d be the one left out of the group. He’s being selfish and destructive to keep his spot in the group.
INTRODUCING BROTHER ERNEST ANGEL
Brother Ernest Angel is a new manager for the CWA and is a patriarch who is looking to build a hotel, theme park and restaurant and is looking for donations for the construction. The name of the whole thing would be “Wrestling Village USA”. He uses the “good book” to help wrestlers win their matches and had a hand in helping Max Pain and Gary Young recently defeat the Harris Brothers for the CWA Tag Team Championships. Lance Russell calls him a fraud and understands why fans are so angry with him considering everything that evangelists have done in recent years. Angel has made Pain and Young an unbeatable team in the CWA all because of his “good book”.
Q&A: VINCE McMAHON
McMahon isn’t concerned about Hulk Hogan perhaps leaving the WWF at some point because the WWF is bigger than just one person. Without Hogan, there’d would be someone else to fill his void. McMahon does acknowledge the success they have had with Hogan because he can identify with anyone, but they’d be fine without him, as well. McMahon thinks that wrestling is more enjoyable today compared to when his father was a promoter. He doesn’t know how his father would react to seeing how their business has become, but thinks he would be happy for their success. During a recent tour overseas in Paris and Milan, he was surprised by the reaction that Ted DiBiase got considering his character. McMahon says it wasn’t their choice to hold WrestleMania IV in Atlantic City, but the other big arenas weren’t open to be rented and Donald Trump gave them a great offer.
McMahon denies giving out any comp tickets to recent events. He was very happy with the rating they got for the Main Event on NBC in February. McMahon doesn’t believe that the NWA is competition to him because the WWF is sports entertainment and he focuses more on if there’s a good film on TV instead of what’s going on in another wrestling company. He also puts down the NWA for their lack of PPV audience compared to them. McMahon finishes the interview talking about what they look for a wrestler in the WWF and how Jesse Ventura being unpredictable is a good thing and enjoys his comments.
X-RAY: BRUISER BRODY
Capt. Lou Albano: Albano notes he has had a history with Brody and considers him to still be a top ten wrestler on the planet.
Killer Kowalski: Brody is his kind of wrestler and Brody wrestles however he wants to. Kowalski credits Brody for standing up to Abdullah the Butcher. He likes that Brody isn’t afraid to get dirty.
Prof. Toru Tanaka: He thinks that Brody is an example of an American will little pure talent. He credits Brody for never allowing his opponent to control the match, but thinks that Brody cares about the fans a little to much.
Larry Hennig: Larry thinks that Brody has the rare combination of size, power, speed and savagery though Brody may have lost a little bit of his killer instinct. He considers Brody to be one of a kind.
Lou Thesz: He can’t really define the style that Brody uses and can’t think of his finishing move. He does think that Brody is one of the scariest guys in the business and will go down as an all-time great.
Jack Brisco: It bothers Brisco that Brody just brawls with people and doesn’t use actual wrestling moves. It irks him that Brody rips people apart and is considered to be one of the best.
CAN THE FANTASTICS REPLACE THE ROCK ’N’ ROLL EXPRESS?
Fans were left in tears when the Rock N’ Roll Express left the NWA on January 26th, but have no worries, the Fantastics arrived and wiped those tears away. A fourteen year old fan named Jim thinks that the Rock N’ Roll Express will comeback, but at least now they have the Fantastics. Bobby Fulton and Tommy Rogers are former UWF Tag Team Champions and defeated the Midnight Express for the World Class Tag Team Championships. They are looking to wrestle Bobby Eaton and Stan Lane in NWA now. The Fantastics had been in the NWA back in 1986 for the Crockett Cup tag team tournament where they actually defeated the Fabulous Ones and the team of Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson before being eliminated due to a double disqualification against the Sheepherders. They’ll be getting a title shot against he Midnight Express and they’ve been studying film on them. They are also competing in the Crocket Cup for the second year row and they are excited to have the fans in their corner to win the tournament. The Fantastics have caused the sun to shine again in the NWA and fans may not want the Rock N’ Roll Express to come back to the NWA.
BAD COMPANY – THE TEAM TO BEAT IN ’88
Bruce Hart and Brian Pillman have both youth and experience on their side and have managed to rely on each other, which is seen as a rarity. They are currently the International Tag Team Champions and people consider them to be the best duo going today. Pillman was honored to have Bruce ask him to be his partner and thinks he has proven himself to Bruce. Bruce likes that Pillman is always willing to learn and considers Pillman to be a great student of the sport. They want the top teams from the WWF and NWA to come down to Calgary and challenge them as they want to be the team to beat in 1988. Bruce thinks the champions in the major companies can’t consider themselves to be real world champions until they beat them.
Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard were both dismissive of the duo saying that the NWA has the toughest challengers and they don’t think that Bad Company would be tougher than the Road Warriors. Tully thinks that Bruce Hart is afraid to leave his fathers backyard and wrestle them in the NWA. Brian Pillman says that they are ready for the challenge, but wonders when will the other champions have the courage to wrestle them?
BRAINWASHED! BARRY WINDHAM: “KEVIN SULLIVAN HAS TURNED MIKE ROTUNDO INTO A ROBOT!”
Barry Windham recalled getting attacked by his former Mike Rotundo and Kevin Sullivan at a late night diner with friend Lex Luger. Rotundo choked out Windham with a coat hanger to knock him out cold. The attack by his former partner greatly impacted Windham. Windham believes that Sullivan has brainwashed Rotundo into being a common thug. Windham knew he should have done something when he saw Rotundo punch and gouge in his match, but Rotundo won the NWA Television Championship from Nikita Koloff with help from the Varsity Club. Windham isn’t sure if Rotundo will ever recover from this brainwashing. Windham has battled Rotundo in singles and tag matches, but doesn’t seem all that bothered by battling his former partner. Rotundo praised Sullivan for being a genius, but Sullivan reminded him that they aren’t done until their opponents are crippled.
HULK HOGAN ’88 – RULEBREAKER!
A mother from New Jersey caught her daughter choking her brother after watching wrestling and realized she was mimicking Hulk Hogan. Apparently, she can’t trust Hogan now. Ever since he lost the WWF World Championship to Andre The Giant on February 5th, Hogan has changed how he wrestles and is out for revenge against Andre and Ted DiBiase through immoral and vicious means. Hogan recently used tape on his thumb to choke out Harley Race and won the match. Hogan is finding it hard to lead the Hulkamaniacs by example as he fights DiBiase and Andre. Hogan has become a rule breaker and has forgotten that his actions have repercussions. Hogan is familiar with rule breaking as he was a rule breaker with Freddie Blassie as his manager in 1980. However, now he has millions of fans cheering him on and worshiping the words he speaks.
Hogan isn’t concerned about the image he provides to his fans but rather how he can regain the WWF World Championship. Hogan had recalled meeting a young Hulkamaniac in a wheelchair who considered Hogan to be the last real American hero. Perhaps Hogan should listen to that fan because there is a little bit of backlash towards Hogan. It looks like Hulkamania is running a little too wild.
TOMMY RICH IS A DANGER TO SOCIETY – AND HIMSELF! – written by Dr. Sidney M. Basil
Basil believes there was no doubt that Tommy Rich and Eddie Gilbert had intended to hurt Jerry Lawler recently in Memphis. The fire incident is a big deal since Lawler could have been murdered but Rich simply didn’t care. Basil interviewed Rich who said he didn’t care if Lawler got hurt because nobody prevented anyone from hurting him. Rich has won the NWA World Championship early in his career but lost it shortly afterward and it may have been because promoters expected too much out of him. Basil believes that the feud Rich had with Buzz Sawyer has led Rich down the path he has gone down and he has not yet recovered from it. Rich is a risk to himself and to society, as well. That feud was solely based on their hatred for each other and not for a championship or large sum of money.
Rich wasn’t helped in his feud with Sawyer and actually befriended him shortly after their feud concluded. Rich has a tendency to be a hero in one place and a villain in others such as Memphis and Georgia. Basil doesn’t want to see the day when his two personalities meet because that could destroy Rich and everyone around him. Basil thinks that Rich is capable of mass violence, and wishes there was help for Rich.
That wraps up this magazine. Share your thoughts and memories below!
Thanks for reading.