What’s going on in this edition of Retro Reading? Let’s take a look!
MAILBAG: Cheri from Augusta, GA thinks Tommy Rich is a disgusting, idiotic pig for turning his back on the fans in Georgia, and going to wrestle in the Mid-Southern region. Ted DiBiase is now her favorite wrestler because he kicked Rich’s butt. Bob from Glens Falls, NY thinks that Roddy Piper breaking a coconut over Jimmy Snuka’s head is the funniest thing he’s ever seen. He thinks Snuka is a has-been and that Piper will send him packing. Terry from Houston, TX didn’t care for the article from last month in which ten wrestlers were asked if they’d like a valet. A valet can be useful beyond just interfering in matches, such as preparing hotel and travel arrangement and letting wrestlers concentrate on working out and preparing for their matches. Brian from Muskogee, OK loved the coverage of the Parade of Champions card at Texas Stadium and the Night of Champions card in the Meadowlands from the September issue. Craig Peters and Bill Apter did a good job covering those events. Charles from Barnesville, PA thinks that two referees ought to be assigned to tag team matches, especially in the WWF where they don’t reverse decisions. Georgia from Chicago, IL is excited to see Tony Atlas in the AWA, and hopes he teams up with Jerry Blackwell to run Sheik Adnan Al-Kaisee and his men out of wrestling.
THE TATTLER: James Julius Dillon has returned to managing in the Mid-Atlantic area. Dillon left Florida for both business and personal reasons, and had spent the last six months in Eastern Canada. But, he couldn’t shake the desire to keep managing, so he’s moved to the Mid-Atlantic and is managing Ron Bass and Black Bart. Rick Rude, being prompted by his manager Jimmy Hart, took a baseball bat to Jerry Lawler’s Lincoln Continental. Jerry Lawler happened to see it on a TV monitor backstage and tried to stop them, but King Kong Bundy pulled up in a convertible and Hart and Rude escaped. Lawler says this was all Hart’s doing, because Rude is too stupid to think of this on his own. Johnny Rich, Scott Armstrong, and the Tong Kid have formed a team in the Southeastern area called the R.A.T Patrol, and have already won both the U.S. Junior Heavyweight Title, and the Southeastern Tag Titles.
THE INQUIRING REPORTER: This month’s question is “Is the physical interference of managers, valets, and other members of wrestlers’ entourages getting out of control?” Jack from Brooklyn says yes, and points out Cyndi Lauper slapping Fabulous Moolah during Moolah’s title defense against Wendi Richter as an example. Danny from Baton Rouge says that managers have no place at ringside, they should be escorted back to the dressing room, to combat the temptation to interfere. Phyllis from Franklin, TX says that it happens because referees aren’t on the ball enough or because the people interfering are too tricky. If they had to put on tights and take lumps like the wrestlers, they wouldn’t be so quick to get involved. Allison from Chicago remembers that Bobby Heenan even getting on the apron would be grounds for a disqualification. But, the rules are getting more and more lax, and it’s turning wrestling from a sport into mayhem.
WE ACCUSE: There are certain rules in wrestling that everyone must abide by. Champions should be defending their titles against worthy challengers. Contracts are supposed to be honored, rather than someone losing a loser-leaves-town match and coming back under a mask. There are rules that shouldn’t even need to be written, just because of common sense and preventing tragedies. Jerry Lawler recently crossed the line by giving Rick Rude’s valet, Angel, a piledriver. The piledriver is a dangerous move that has sent dozens of wrestlers to the hospital with neck and spine injuries, and it could have paralyzed Angel, or even worse. Lawler says that Angel deserved what she had coming to her, and that in his years of wrestling he’s learned how to control the piledriver, and he only used enough force to stun Angel. That’s no excuse though, Lawler’s actions are reprehensible. Case closed.
TOP WRESTLERS ANSWER YOUR QUESTION OF THE MONTH “What is the most dangerous hold or maneuver in pro wrestling?” – Rick Martel says it’s the piledriver. Tony Atlas says it’s not the move, but who is doing it. For example, his full nelson would be more dangerous than one from Greg Gagne. Harley Race says it’s something that will hurt someone for a good long time, like the figure four leg lock. Dusty Rhodes says that it’s not a single move or hold, but it’s the movement behind the American Dream, and it’s the ultimate power. Ronnie Garvin says it’s a flying cross bodyblock, because it’s dangerous to both the person taking it and giving it. Tully Blanchard says it’s his suplex, because he uses gravity to his advantage with a ricochet effect. Butch Reed says it’s his flying shoulderblock. Dick Slater says the most dangerous thing in wrestling is standing across from a man who wants your hide. Ivan Koloff says it’s the cobra clutch, and that’s why Don Kernodle is teaching it to Nikita Koloff. Kevin Von Erich says it’s the Von Erich Iron Claw.
WRESTLER OF THE MONTH: Mike Von Erich is 20 years old, and is the World Class American Champion, after beating Gino Hernandez in Dallas. He’s been part of the six-man tag team champions with his brothers, but this is his first singles title. There are many wrestlers who are headed to World Class and are gunning for Mike and his title, like Jake Roberts and the Missing Link. Mike has only been wrestling since October 1983, and this win puts him in serious contention to win Rookie of the Year. Mike is excited for the competition, and says that this win makes him a top contender for the NWA World Title. Wrestling may not be ready for a 20-year-world champion, but it’s ready for a 20-year-old wrestler of the month.
OFFICIAL WRESTLING RATINGS AND RATINGS ANALYSIS: This month is the rating mailbag, where the editors answer your questions about the ratings. Howard from Plainview, NY wants to know why the Pacific Northwest isn’t recognized in the tag team rankings. Tom Prichard and Brett Sawyer were going to be ranked in September’s issue, but they lost their titles and fell out of the rankings. Jeff from Chappaqua, NY wants to know why Dick Murdoch and Adrian Adonis were listed as WWF Tag Team Champions in the ratings period ending on 4/25, when they didn’t win the titles until 5/26. The WWF taped the match where the titles changed on 4/17, and waited six weeks to air it on TV. A new section called “What they think” will allow wrestlers to give his opinion on his rankings. This month is Barry Windham, who is ranked #9 in the overall top ten, #8 in the most popular, and #7 in the Mid-Atlantic. Windham thinks that this is indicative of the fact that he’s really gunning for Ric Flair and to be the NWA Champion. Bruiser Brody is ranked #2 in the most hated section, and #3 in the AWA rankings. Brody doesn’t care for any of his rankings. He’s only interested in money, and doing what Sheik Adnan Al-Kaisee pays him to do. The Road Warriors have been a constant presence in the tag team rankings since June of 1983, and are ranked #3 this month. Animal says that they’ve beaten the #1 team Ivan Koloff and Don Kernodle, but the referee stole the decision. AWA Tag Champions Crusher and Baron Von Raschke are running from them, he and Hawk are the true World Tag Team Champions.
SPORTS REVIEW INTERVIEW: Craig Peters interviewed King Kong Bundy after a card in Louisville, KY. A few months ago Bundy was enjoying the cheers of the fans in Georgia. But, now he’s being managed by Jimmy Hart in the Mid-Southern area. Bundy says he only cares about himself. The fans cheers aren’t going to put food on his table. He never cared for the fans one way or the other, he feuded with Paul Ellering and the Road Warriors to prove how stupid Ellering was for talking him down. He did that because he wanted to. He doesn’t want to hear how Jimmy Hart is the reason he won the Mid-Southern Title from Tommy Rich, because he beat Rich in the middle of the ring. Rich shouldn’t even be in wrestling, considering he lost that match to Ted DiBiase. He thinks Tommy Rich probably started the rumor that Jimmy Hart caused him to lose, since he has no dignity, just like when he abandoned Eddie Gilbert. He doesn’t think anyone stands a chance at taking the title from him. Dutch Mantel is an old, tired, cowboy. Jerry Lawler is too busy being Mr. Show Biz and is only half his size.
ANDRE THE GIANT JOINGS SGT. SLAUGHTER’S COBRA CORPS: AND THE IRON SHEIK IS ON THE RUN: Sgt. Slaughter and the Iron Sheik have waged war over the last few months, with Slaughter picking up wins in Cobo Hall, The Pittsburgh Civic Arena, The Capitol Centre in Landover, the Erie Civic Center, and Madison Square Garden. But, even though Slaughter is winning the matches, he’s hasn’t run Sheik out of the WWF. Sheik keeps coming back to challenge Slaughter to more matches, and has been a constant presence in the WWF’s top ten rankings. No doubt the wars with Slaughter are taking their toll on him, with Sheik only winning matches against unranked wrestlers like Billy Travis and Terry Daniels recently. Sheik may be losing, but he’s winning because Slaughter hasn’t run him off yet. But, a recent match, between Sheik and a new member of the Cobra Corps, Andre the Giant, has stopped Sheik’s smile. It seems as if Andre was simply playing with him, doing things just to wear the Sheik down, like a full nelson, a standing camel clutch, and even sitting on him in the corner. The Sheik’s attacks were shrugged off by Andre. Andre won the match, and if decides to join Slaughter’s cause to run Sheik out of the WWF, then Fred Blassie had better start looking for someone new to manage.
THE FABULOUS ONES BOAST: “WE’LL BEAT THE ROAD WARRIORS IN LESS THAN FIVE MINUTES!” – Both the Road Warriors and the Fabulous Ones are top contenders for the AWA Tag Team Titles, Paul Ellering claims that Hawk and Animal are unbeatable, but Steve Keirn and Stan Lane plan on disproving that claim. From the media room in Steve Kerin’s house, the Fabs watch videotape of the Road Warriors last match against NWA Tag Team Champions Don Kernodle and Ivan Koloff. They point out that while the Road Warriors are each as strong as three men, they don’t know how to use their strength properly, and it shows in the mistakes they made in their match with Koloff and Kernodle, like Hawk missing a flying move and hitting the mat. The Road Warriors only know pure power moves, they have very little finesse, and when they try to show any finesse, it undermines their power. The reason that Buzz and Brett Sawyer and Ronnie Garvin and Jerry Oates were both able to beat them for the National Tag Titles was that they out-finessed them. Masked Superstar and King Kong Bundy were big enough to overpower them, but they lost the titles right back to them. The Warriors can be beaten, but not by overpowering them. The Fabulous Ones think they’re the team to beat them, and it should only take them about five minutes to do it.
THE RACE IS ON – KERRY VON ERICH & BILLY JACK: WHICH WILL DOMINATE WRESTLING IN THE ‘80s? As 1985 approaches all eyes in wrestling are on Kerry Von Erich and Billy Jack. They both have awesome physical attributes, and both obtained remarkable success so early into their careers. Kerry won the NWA Title from Ric Flair earlier in the year and made international headlines. Since his debut in May of 1979, Kerry has held every title in the World Class area, several times over. Billy Jack debuted two years ago in the Pacific Northwest area, and quickly won the tag team titles with Stan Stasiak, he also defeated Dynamite Kid to win the PNW Heavyweight Title. Billy arrived in Florida earlier in the year and has already won the Florida Heavyweight Title, and has appeared in Georgia and in the Mid-Atlantic area. When looking at both Kerry and Billy, it looks like you’re looking at the best that professional wrestling has to offer. Kerry thinks Billy is one of the most remarkable athletes he’s seen, and is impressed by his dedication. The more experience he gets, the more formidable he’ll become. Billy was thrilled to meet Kerry, when he had an NWA Title defense in Florida. He’s followed his career through magazines, and has always admired his dedication to training and constantly improving. He was so happy to hear Kerry won the title, and thinks he deserves it. Gordon Solie believes that they’re both popular enough to transcend wrestling, the way Muhammad Ali did for boxing, and the way nobody has in wrestling since the heyday of Bruno Sammartino. Solie says they’re both remarkable men and wrestling is lucky to have them.
THE SUMMER WARS: This magazine is being released in late September. Kids are going back in school, and sports fans are looking forward to the World Series, and to the beginning of Football season. It’s been a busy year for the editors of Sports Review Wrestling with many title changes and violent feuds erupting this year. Bill Apter feels lucky to have been in so many arenas this year. Sports Review Wrestling is about to go on a cross-country tour of six major arenas, and matches that made the summer of 1984 of the hottest ever. Madison Square Garden saw Tito Santana vs. Greg Valentine, The Wild Samoans vs. Tony Atlas and Rocky Johnson, and Ivan Putski vs. Iron Sheik. Also, Sgt. Slaughter and Terry Daniels challenged Adrian Adonis and Dick Murdoch for the WWF Tag Team Titles, and Wendi Richter won the WWF Women’s Title from Fabulous Moolah. The Omni in Atlanta saw Ronnie Garvin vs. Jake Roberts, Kamala vs. King Konga, Ole and Gene Anderson vs. The Assassins, and Ric Flair vs. Stan Hansen. In the Greensboro Coliseum, Wahoo McDaniel challenged Ric Flair for the NWA Title, Angelo Mosca Jr. regained the Mid-Atlantic Title from Ivan Koloff, Junkyard Dog vs. Buzz Sawyer in a bloody brawl, and Paul Jones being a thorn in Jimmy Valiant’s side, back, legs, and head. Inside the Eddie Graham Sports complex, Billy Graham continued his feud with Billy Jack, after Graham broke Billy’s wrist earlier in the year. Ric Flair wrestled Dusty Rhodes, Ron Bass wrestled Blackjack Mulligan, and Barry Windham wrestled Chavo Guerrero. The Rosemont Horizon saw Rick Martel defend his AWA Title against former champion Nick Bockwinkel, Blackjack Lanza attack former manager Bobby Heenan, Larry Zbyszko wrestle Billy Robinson, and former Olympian Brad Rheingans get his hands on Sheik Adnan Al-Kaisee. The Sportatorium in Dallas featured Chris Adams beat Jimmy Garvin in a loser-leave-town cage match, the Von Erichs against the Freebirds, Gino Hernandez vs. Jules Strongbow, and the Missing Link against Buck Zumhofe.
I was born on a cold winter morning in 1982......