Retro Reading Vol. 6: Wrestling 84 – Fall 1984
Find out what’s going on in this magazine, Wrestling 84!
OPENING BELL: Stu Saks explains the concept of “lag time” from when the magazine leaves the office and goes to the printer, until it shows up at the newsstand. That’s why Dan Shocket’s great article on Ric Flair is already outdated, since Flair is no longer the NWA Champion, Kerry Von Erich is. They’ve reached an agreement with their printer to allow them one extra week to send in a limited number of pages, without any delay in the release time. He’s also quite excited for this quarter’s “You Decide” on if the Road Warriors ought to be banned, and NWA President Bob Geigel has stated that the results of the poll will heavily weigh on the final decision. They’re only four issues in, and Wrestling 84 is being asked to serve a very important function.
FEEDBACK: Mary and Deborah from Ringwood, OK loved the article from last quarter about Kevin Von Erich, and would like to personally thank him for being so generous with his time, when he could have told them to get lost. Aimee from Canonsburg, PA was recently struck by a raw egg that a fan threw at Ray Stevens and came up short. Her shoulder was back and blue, and there was egg all over her. She thinks that if anyone feels the need to throw something, then they ought to join a baseball team or go to the carnival. Stephen from Columbia, MD thinks Wrestling 84 is the best magazine there is, and enjoyed all the articles from last quarter. Joyce from MO thinks that the NWA must have some sort of ban on the Missing Link, because he’s been headlining in the Mid-South and now in TX, but no other regions. She hopes the promoters realize that it’s the fans who make the stars and that they’ll realize that the fans love him and give him the recognition that he deserves.
NEWSLINE: May 1984 has been a remarkable month, the NWA and AWA Titles changed hands within a week of each other. Kerry Von Erich won the NWA Title from Ric Flair on 5/6 in Irving, TX. Rick Martel won the AWA Title from Jumbo Tsuruta on 5/13 in St. Paul, MN. The last time both titles changed hands so close to each other was in 1961, Buddy Rogers defeated Pat O’Connor for the NWA Title on 6/30, and Gene Kiniski won the AWA Title from Verne Gagne on 7/11. Captain Lou Albano has been getting a lot of attention for his role in Cyndi Lauper’s music video, but Michael Hayes won’t settle for any bit parts. Hayes has recently written a song called “Badstreet USA” which will also have it’s own music video. Hayes says that he’s already talking to MTV about airing the video. Wrestling fans have also been going to the video arcades to play “Tag Team Wrestling” which has earned more money than any other video game. Data East USA Inc notes that the game offers “graphic realism” that should ensure it’s success. Managing Editor Craig Peters has played the game dozens of times, and says it’s great.
Angelo Mosca Jr. lost the Mid-Atlantic Title on 5/12 to “The Masked Outlaw.” Abdullah the Butcher is wrestling in the AWA, managed by Sheik Adnan Al-Kaisee. Hacksaw Duggan has been wresting Nikolai Volkoff in “Hair vs. Pledge” matches where Duggan’s head is shaved in he loses, and Volkoff has to say the pledge of allegiance if he loses. The results so far? Duggan isn’t bald. Ox Baker is headed into the Mid-Southern region, while Gino Hernandez, Jules Strongbow, and Killer Khan are all headed to World Class. Khan is also the man who introduced Terry Gordy to the master of the Oriental Spike. Buzz Sawyer is wrestling in the WWF, managed by Captain Lou. Steve “Dr. Death” Williams is back in the Mid-South. The winner of an NWA Title match on 6/30 in the Orange Bowl will receive $100,000 and a gold and diamond ring worth $10,000. That card will also feature a match between Billy Jack and Superstar Graham. Jim Neidhart formed a stable that he calls “Neidhart’s Raiders” and so far has gotten the contracts of Rick Rude, The Zambuie Express, Ox Baker, the PYT Express, and Humongous. Rip Oliver is wrestling in the Northwest, teaming with his friend Mr. Ebony. Jim Cornette offered thee open contracts for the Midnight Express to defend the Mid-South Tag Team Titles, the third match was against Mr. Wrestling II and Mr. Wrestling III, who won the titles. They unmasked to reveal the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express. Wrestling II claims that someone flattened their tires and broke into their car and stole their gear. “Exotic” Adrian Street is wrestling in Georgia, managed by Paul Ellering. Chris Love, formerly Tully Blanchard’s manager, is scouting talent in the Midwest. Gordon Solie recently had hip surgery, and he gives his thanks to all the fans who sent cards and letters. Kerry Von Erich says he’s so proud to have won the NWA Title in front of the largest crowd to see a wrestling match in Texas, and that it’s as much his brother David’s title as it is his.
IN THIS CORNER: Joseph Bua says that their office gets a lot of mail asking how to be a wrestling journalist. If you want to be one just to be near wrestling, don’t bother, you’d have a better chance making it as a wrestler. He suggests taking journalism classes, reading journalism books, and even joining the school newspaper to get some real experience. Many fine colleges have four year journalism programs. You should keep your written work in a portfolio to show potential employers, and also prepare a nice resume to send to publishers. He only touches on a few points, one really ought to talk to a guidance counselor or an English teacher. One thing writers love talking about is writing, and they also love writing about it too.
MANAGER’S FORUM: Sir Oliver Humperdink realized that he’s already accomplished everything and that he was the best manager of all time, and he was unhappy. So, he sold his mansion and packed a bag and left. He wound up in the Far East and met Superstar Billy Graham’s teacher, the man who had devoted his life to the Martial Arts and the teachings of Eastern Philosophers. He’s known Graham since 1977 and saw that others had left him for dead, and now, this man taught him a new way to look at life. The teacher took him to the Mongolian Highlands, with hurricane level winds and torrential rains, and they meditated for six hours a day only slept for two hours. After his mind was cleansed, he returned home and contacted Superstar Graham and they returned to Florida, with Graham in even better shape than his days as the WWF Champion. A young man named Billy Jack claims he can defeat Graham, and his arrogance will spell the end of his career. Both Humperdink and Graham now have an objective, and neither will stop until they reach it.
CROSSFIRE: Bill Apter is appalled at Mr. Wrestling II for turning his back on the fans and his protégé Magnum TA. Don Shocket is impressed that he finally smartened up. II says that he didn’t turn his back on anyone, he just decided to look out for himself for a change, and now he’s the North American Champion. He told Magnum that teaming with Lanny Poffo wasn’t a good idea, and that he came from a rulebreaking family and that he would turn rulebreaker too, which is exactly what happened. II doesn’t want to hear anymore about the fans, because he can point to all the scars and wounds he received from being brutalized, and show letters from doctors begging him to not wrestle, right next to letters from fans begging him to wrestle, and he always chose the fans. Shocket wants to know why it took II so long to figure it out, and II tells him that he’s not spitting on his past, he may have made mistakes, but he accomplished a lot and he’s still proud of it.
SCOUTING REPORT: Rick Martel gets an A for both Speed and strength, a B+ in technical knowledge, at A+ in physical condition, a B in ring intelligence and an overall grade of A. Martel’s natural gifts combined with his dedication to training and his desire to excel will help him remain a top star for a very long time.
SCOREBOARD: Kerry Von Erich won the NWA Title from Ric Flair in Irving, TX, the fans threw Texas flags and yellow roses into the ring to celebrate. The Fabulous Ones traveled to the Southwest to wrestle the Sheepherders, but lost by disqualification when Al Perez got fed up with the Sheepherders cheating and attacked them. Sweet Brown Sugar defeated The Spoiler in Baltimore, MD. But, three days later, Spoiler won the National Title from Brad Armstrong, so if their match happened four days later, then Sweet Brown Sugar would have won the Title. Dusty Rhodes defeated Kharma in West Palm Beach, FL by disqualification after Kevin Sullivan interfered and attacked Rhodes with the golden spike.
HEAD TO HEAD: The Fabulous Ones vs. The Fabulous Ones: Jerry Lawler says that Steve Keirn and Stan Lane are the better team, even though Tommy Rich and Eddie Gilbert are both great wrestlers. Jimmy Hart says Keirn and Lane would win, because they were smart enough to get away from Jackie Fargo’s management. Troy Graham says Rich and Gilbert would win, because he’s seen Tommy’s matches with Buzz Sawyer, and knows that Tommy knows how to fight. Larry Zbyszko says that Kerin and Lane win, because Gilbert and Rich aren’t able to capitalize on an opponent’s faults.
THE PRIVATE SIDE: Kevin Von Erich just needs to get away from wrestling and training, so he goes into the woods. He loves nature, and it helps him clear his head. He and his pet Boa Constrictor Craig will swim in a stream, he’ll do some skeet shooting, or just read the bible. Kevin says doing these things is great for his sense of perception, and the skeet shooting takes lots of concentration and awareness, which also comes in handy for wrestling.
INTERVIEW 84: Tommy Rich lost a loser leaves wrestling match to Ted DiBiase, but, due to a combination of legal loopholes and fan outcry, he’s back. But, rather than Georgia, Tommy is wrestling in th Mid-Southern area as half of the Fabulous Ones with Eddie Gilbert. Tommy was hesitant to come back, because he signed the contract in good faith. But, when the fans kept demanding he return, he realized what he meant to them and what they mean to him. While he was gone, a masked man named Mr. R was in Georgia, but Tommy assures us that it wasn’t him. He’s a down home boy with a Tennessee accent and Mr. R has a Boston accent. Tommy is very happy in the Mid-Southern area, and is honored to be learning from Jackie Fargo. He doesn’t have any issues with the original Fabs, Steve Keirn and Stan Lane, and if the chance ever came up, he’d love for him and Eddie to wrestle them.
A LOOK INTO SUNSHINE’S PERSONAL DIARY “I FEAR FOR CHRIS ADAMS; LIFE: Sunshine has left the employment of Gorgeous Jimmy Garvin, and is now an advisor to Chris Adams. She’s made part of her diary public, so that she can warn Chris about the danger he’s putting himself in. With Garvin, she was a servant, and with Adams she’s treated like an equal. She knows that she needs to better restrain herself, and not run into the ring when Precious does, but sometimes she can’t help it. She’s nervous about Adams wrestling a cage match with Garvin, because athletes don’t belong in a cage. But, everything was fine, Chris beat Garvin in the cage match, in a scientific way, without stooping to Garvin’s level. She still ran into the ring to stop Precious, which could have gotten him disqualified. She wishes she could knock some sense into that bimbo, but this is the time to celebrate.
TEN POUNDS OF GOLD AND TWO PINTS OF BLOOD – RIC FLAIR – THE COURAGE OF A CHAMPION: Ric Flair is wrestling the most grueling schedule of any NWA World Champion, he’s wrestling 15-20 top contenders every month, all over the country. Most challengers have weeks to prepare for their match with Flair, Flair is lucky if he gets a video tape of his next challenger the day before the match. His challengers range from Dust Rhodes, to Tommy Rich, to Rick Steamboat, to Bruiser Brody, to Carlos Colon. Tonight his challenger is Barry Windham. Yes, it’d be easier if he only wrestled one type of challenger, but then he’d be looked at like another Bob Backlund, who busted his hump for six years, and is only remembered for the men he didn’t wrestle. The match with Windham leaves Flair bloody and exhausted, but he manages to win. He gets patched up, goes back to his hotel, and gets ready for his next challenger tomorrow night. How long it will last is anyone’s guess, but, Ric Flair is a man driven by obsession.
A CHALLENGER’S STORY: RIC FLAIR NEEDS TO BE CHAMPION: Barry Windham wrestled his match with Flair better than any match he’s ever wrestled, but he still lost. After a couple of days he knew why: Barry Windham wants to be NWA Champion. Ric Flair needs to be NWA Champion. Flair wrestled with an almost reckless style, not reckless that it was a danger to Barry, but reckless to himself. He did things that Barry had never considered that he’d try. Barry tried a few things to surprise him, but, Flair’s preparation was obvious and he was always ready. During Flair’s first reign, he’d skip training to party, this time he’s at least giving them equal time. He doesn’t look like it, but he’s as strong as a Mack truck, he’s very fast, and he doesn’t seem to tire out. To win the NWA Title, Barry Windham needs to want it more than Flair, he doesn’t know if that’s even possible, but he’ll try his best.
KABUKI vs. JUNKYARD DOG: WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE: The great Kubuki and the Junkyard Dog seem to be as opposite as it gets, but Gary Hart thinks they’re destined to destroy each other. He likens them to two planets in orbit, who crash into each other and destroy each other. Their whole existence was meant to be destruction. When Hart is asked why he won’t simply prevent Kabuki from wrestling JYD, he says that Kabuki won’t allow it. At first JYD laughs at Hart’s theory, but, when he realizes that he feels like he has to wrestle Kabuki and he’s not laughing anymore.
SLAUGHTER, HOGAN, SNUKA, SANTANA – THEY KEEP THE FANS CHEERING: Sgt. Slaughter was once a great wrestler, who was a brilliant tactician in the Mid-Atlantic area, who then brought those skills to the WWF. But, then he got obsessed with Patriotic fervor and started feuding with former WWF Champion The Iron Sheik. He’s now caricature of his former greatness. He may be receiving more cheers than ever before but not because of his skills, but because his new attitude in kissing up to the fans. Hulk Hogan may be the WWF Champion, but that’s not why he’s so popular. He looks like a modern day Hercules, he has star power from his role in Rocky III, appearing on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, and starring in a new TV pilot. He’s very patriotic, and most of all he’s a very proud man, who’s accomplishments come from all his hard work. On June 27, 1982 20,000 jaws dropped in awe when Jimmy Snuka missed a Superfly Splash onto Bob Backlund. Tensions between Snuka and Albano led their split, which is when Snuka began hearing cheers. But, to give all the credit to Albano wouldn’t be fair to Snuka. He’s also popular because of his physical gifts, and because the WWF fans have been privileged to watch him grow and mature as a wrestler. Tito Santana’s popularity is due to three things: Youth, Energy, and Style. Santana is still a very young man, and he’s easier to identify with than the larger than life Hollywood aura one gets from Hulk Hogan. He’s a man of great energy, which always keeps the fans excited during his matches. Santana is bi-lingual, which makes him unique to both the English and Spanish speaking fans. When he finishes his interviews with “Arriba!” it makes everyone want to come to the matches to see him wrestle.
YOU DECIDE: Should the Road Warriors Be Banned? The pros include their sadism with their opponents, which is akin to using a bazooka to swat a fly. People find their makeup offensive, and they’ve been known to drink their opponents blood and spit it into the air. Such actions have no place in sports. They also set a poor example for the impressionable young people who look at wrestlers as role models. The cons include their popularity, and the fact that they’re a tag team that people want to see. Banning them could be seen as discrimination, which could have serious repercussions for all of wrestling. Despite their brutality, they provide competition for the rest of the tag teams in wrestling.
The votes are in and the readers of Wrestling 84 have decided that weight classifications shouldn’t be adopted into wrestling. The final balloting was 77% against and 23% for. The primary reason would be that it would take away from the uniqueness of the sport, and that it could prevent various wrestlers from teaming up. BEST BET: Bobby Fulton from Columbus, OH is twenty-two, with five years experience. His biggest moment so far is winning the United States Jr. Title from Adrian Street. His immediate goal is to get revenge on Eric Embry for injuring him with a piledriver, and his long-term goal is to win the NWA Jr. Title.
GOLDEN MOMENT: March 1976, Bruno Sammartino vs. Superstar Billy Graham in Madison Square Garden. Their feud over the WWF Title last over a year, and Graham won the title in April of 1977.
INFO CENTER: Stephen from Columbia, MD wants to know how many teams Captain Lou Albano managed to the WWF Tag Team Titles. The correct is answer is 10 teams to 13 reigns. He’s often credited with 11 teams, but he managed the Mongols to the International Tag Titles, not the WWF ones. Alan from Caruthersville, MO wants to know why the NWA Champion has to give up all other titles but not the junior champion, since Tiger Mask held both the NWA and WWF Jr. Titles at the same time. The reason is because the NWA and WWF don’t recognize each other’s titles. Dick from Tarrytown, NY wants to know if there are different rules for women’s and men’s matches. Per the NWA official rulebook, there aren’t. Steve from Brooklyn, NY asks how 2/3 Falls title matches would work with title changes. If a challenger was disqualified in the second fall, but won the first and third, does he still win the title? The answer is that each fall is treated as it’s own match. Since the hypothetical challenger won by pinning the champion, he does win the title. Frank from St. Louis, MO wants to know who Harley Race beat to win the Missouri State Title. His six reigns were won from Pak Song, Gene Kiniski, Dory Funk Jr., Dick the Bruiser, Crusher Blackwell, and David Von Erich.
RATINGS AND ANALYSIS: The Road Warriors may not hold any tag team titles, but they’re still ranked in the top ten. This is because the National Tag Titles are currently vacated. The Road Warriors are former champions, the favorites to win the vacated titles, and have been consistent top contenders to the titles. Hence, they’re listed in the top ten.
THIS JUST IN: Former AWA Champion Jumbo Tsuruta will challenge Kerry Von Erich for the NWA Title in Japan. Tsuruta is currently the International Champion, which makes him a top contender. Sheik Adnan Al-Kaisee has signed Abdullah the Butcher and Bruiser Brody to come to the AWA. Al-Kaisee’s team of Ken Patera and Crusher Blackwell lost the AWA Tag Titles to Baron Von Raschke and The Crusher. When asked if Abdullah and Brody will be challenging for the tag titles, Al-Kaisee’s only reply was that he planned to take full advantage of their talents, either as a team or in singles. Magnum TA won the Mid-South North American title from Mr. Wrestling II in Tulsa, OK on 5/13, due to interference from Mr. Wrestling III that backfired. Fritz Von Erich is contemplating relinquishing his share of the World Class Six Man Titles. He won them with his sons Kevin and Mike on 5/6/84, but he didn’t come out of retirement to win a title, he did it to wrestle the Freebirds. He’s currently looking for a new partner for his sons, since Kerry is unavailable.