Wrasslin’ Back in the Day: March 1984

Pro Wrestling USA
Many promoters from around the country have put together a plan to form a promotion called “Pro Wrestling USA” that will be made up of the best talent from everywhere that has not been signed by Vince McMahon. On top of that both Jim Crockett and Ole Anderson are planning to run shows with their own promotion in Vince’s neck of the woods. Crockett is trying to put together a Ric Flair vs. Carlos Colon match in New York, hoping to draw based on their large Puerto Rican population.

WWF
World Champion Hulk Hogan took on a variety of competition including David Schultz, Afa, Tiger Chung Lee and Big John Studd.

Sgt. Slaughter is taking the fight to the Iron Sheik across many different towns.

The infamous “Piper’s Pit” aired where Piper interviewed jobber Frankie Williams. In addition, the Tonga Kid and Jimmy Snuka each appeared on separate editions of the Pit to set up an angle at the end of the month where Piper (welding a coconut) attacked Snuka on the Pit. The WWF only showed the Snuka attack in St. Louis to set up some Snuka/Piper matches in that town. The rest of the nation didn’t see the incident until June.

Bob Orton Jr started the month as one half of the NWA tag champions and ended the month by jumping to the WWF.

Akira Maeda came in for a brief tour. He did jobs on various house shows before being put over Pierre “Mad Dog” Lefebvre (making a special appearance from the Montreal circuit) for the brand new “WWF International Championship”. The title will be brought back to Japan and used as the UWF’s top belt.

The WWF again did monster business in many cities: Baltimore sold out for a card with Hogan defending against Mr. Wonderful, Andre battling Don Muraco and the Samoans facing Tony Atlas and Rocky Johnson.

A show at the Cap Center in Maryland saw 18,000 fans come to see Hogan vanquish the Iron Shiek, Andre teamed with Johnson and Atlas to best Slaughter and the Samoans, IC champion Tito Santana defended against Paul Orndorff and the team of Schultz and Piper beat Tony Garea and Ivan Putzki.

Nearly 22,000 fans filled the Meadowlands to see Hogan conquer David Schultz, Andre win a battle royal, and really not much else as the under card was very weak.

Over 16,000 fans came to the Pittsburgh Civic Center to see Andre win a battle royal, Sarge beating Afa and Andre pinning Iron Mike Sharpe.

MSG drew 26,000 fans to see Andre and Jimmy Snuka team up to face Roddy Piper and David Schultz. Ivan Putzki battled the Iron Sheik, The Samoans clashed with Atlas and Johnson and Greg Valentine grappled with Bob Backlund.

UWF Japan 
The upstart promotion is having a bit of trouble as they opened up a business office at the beginning of the month and found out their TV deal with the Fuji network fell through right away. The promises of Japan stars Riki Choshu and Tiger Mask signing contracts never came to pass either. Maeda and his new WWF minted title will try to fill in as a top guy along with several guys taken from New Japan such as Yoshiaki Fujiwara and Nobuhiko Takada. The WWF has no financial interest or talent trading plans with the promotion, despite earlier rumors.

St. Louis/Central States

The local St. Louis promoters out drew the WWF this month by drawing 11,000 fans to see NWA Champ Ric Flair battle Bruiser Brody to a double-DQ. The card also included a strap match between Harley Race and Wahoo McDaniel. Kamala smashed Bob Brown and Buck Zumhofe in a handi-cap match, AWA World Champion Jumbo Tsruta teamed with Tenryu to face off with Ted Oates and Greg Gagne, Ox Baker brawled with Blackjack Mulligan, along with other prelim action.

The WWF counter punched by drawing 8,500 fans to a TV taping where Hogan defended against Big John Studd and Rocky Johnson tangled with Paul Orndorff.

A second TV taping later in the month drew 8,000 fans for a show featuring Hogan losing a rematch to Studd via count-out, Atlas and Johnson beat Dick Murdoch and Adrian Adonis via DQ, David Schultz pinned Chief Jay Strongbow, and Paul Orndorff bested Brian Blair.

The local St. Louis group answered the challenge at the end of the month with a card featuring Wahoo McDaniel falling to Harley Race, Butch Reed teaming with the Blackjacks to overcome Ken Patera, Crusher Blackwell and Luke Graham, Jimmy Garvin besting Chris Adams, One Man Gang earning a DQ win over “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, plus Dick the Bruiser, Dick Slater and the Fabulous Ones all in prelim action.

They also produced an impressive card in Kansas City where Harley Race challenged NWA champion Ric Flair in a cage, Bruiser Brody battled Kamala, and The Road Warriors and Luke Graham were upended by Buzz Sawyer, Wahoo and JYD. Kerry Von Erich was also featured on the under card.

GCW
Ole Anderson is attempting to make the WWF stars who used to work for him look bad by airing clips of them being beaten up or losing during their time in GCW. He even tried to claim in some clips that jobbers actually beat the stars that were shown competing.

Ole made a major blunder in his war with the WWF over Cincinnati as he tried to demand that the local station air his show head-to-head with the WWF’s. The station responded by taking Ole’s show off the air completely.

LOD

King Kong Bundy broke off his alliance with the Road Warriors and is now using whomever he can find to team with to chase them down. This included Jay Youngblood, Tim Horner and Pez Whatley.

Jake Roberts and Ron Garvin continued their feud over the TV title.

The National Tag Champion Road Warriors besting Wahoo and Jay Youngblood headlined the big Omni card. The other action included King Kong Bundy beating Nikolai Volkoff in a match that sounds so horrid I almost screamed just reading the result. Ron Garvin teamed with Brad Armstrong to down The Spoiler and Jake the Snake, Tim Horner stunned Larry Zbyszko in a match designed to help get somebody over against a guy who was leaving the area. The Brisco Brothers defeated Tommy Rogers and Sweet Brown Sugar, among other action.

The WWF vs. GCW war for Cincinnati continued as the WWF presented a card where Andre winning a battle royal headlined, along with a match between IC champ Tito Santana and The Masked Superstar (in a battle of stars GCW fans would know well). Snuka bested Afa and Sarge overtook Tiger Chung Lee in the only other match of note.

GCW countered with a Jake the Snake vs. Ronnie Garvin main event, with the Road Warriors vs. Jay Youngblood and Bundy as the co-main event. The fans also saw Brad Armstrong beat Larry Zbyszko, the Spoiler best Pez Whatley and other prelim bouts.

JCP
NWA World Champion Ric Flair defended his title against Angelo Mosca Jr and Dory Funk Jr in this area. Flair also had a big title defense at “Boogie Jam 84” where he took Ricky Steamboat to a one-hour draw.

The “Boogie Jam” was headlined by Jimmy Valiant (seconded by Dusty Rhodes) beating the Assassin #2 in a hair vs. mask match. Valiant won and the Assassin was unmasked as Hercules Hernandez. I believe this set up Hercules to head to the Mid-South area to be Jim Cornette’s bodyguard. Also on the card was Dick Slater beating Greg Valentine in a cage match, the Mosca Family teamed with the JYD to best Gary Hart, Kabuki and Ivan Koloff, Tully Blanchard pinned Dory Funk Jr., Rufus R, Jones bested Ernie Ladd and NWA tag champs Wahoo McDaniel and Mark Youngblood beat Don Kernodle and Bob Orton. That’s a pretty good line up.

US champ Dick Slater defended his title against Wahoo, Valentine and JYD in matches during the rest of the month.

The Mosca’s feud with Gary Hart’s men continued in both singles and tag team action. This included Ivan Koloff defeating Mosca Jr. to reclaim the Mid-Atlantic title.

Before the “Boogie Jam” NWA tag champs Don Kernodle and Bob Orton defended the titles against Valentine and Wahoo, by the end of the month the champs would lose the straps to Wahoo and Mark Youngblood.

Mark Youngblood also made it to the NWA TV title tournament finals where he upset US Champ Dick Slater to win the gold. Tully Blanchard would snag the title from him before the end of the month.

“Exotic” Adrian Street is coming in as a heel.

The Road Warriors made some appearances taking on the pairings of King Kong Bundy and Angelo Mosca Sr. as well as Wahoo and Mark Youngblood.

Continental
NWA champ Ric Flair came in to defend against Jimmy Golden (Bunkhouse Buck). Flair walked away with a DQ win.

International
Flair spent the latter part of the month on a world tour of sorts. He faced off with Harley Race in New Zealand and was overtaken by the wily vet for the NWA title. The men then hopped around to Hong Kong, Thailand, and Singapore. It was in Singapore that Race lost the title back to the Nature Boy. Flair then made another stop in Malaysia before flying into Puerto Rico where he battled King Tonga to a draw to close out the month.

AWA
With the AWA World title being held by Jumbo Tsuruta, Da Crusher was called upon to be the AWA’s top draw as he battled Jerry Blackwell in several towns.

The freshly reunited Blackjacks were also heavily featured as they clashed with various teams such as Harley Race and Ken Patera, Bobby Heenan and Nick Bockwinkel and AWA tag champs Ken Patera and Jerry Blackwell.

AWA tag champs Patera and Blackwell also defended against a number of teams including The Crusher and Mad Dog Vachon, Greg Gagne and Jim Brunzell, as well as Crusher and Baron Von Raschke.

AWA World Champion Tsuruta defended the title in Japan against Bockwinkel, then back in the states against Blackjack Lanza, Billy Robinson and Jim Brunzell.

The Fabulous Ones debuted, as well as Larry Zybyszko.

The AWA had a number of strong shows that drew well this month, this included:

Milwaukee drew a sell out of 6,112 for Crusher and The Baron losing to Mr. Saito and Jesse Ventura, Patera and Blackwell came up short to Brunzell and Gagne via DQ, Tenryu and Tsuruta bested Ronnie Garvin and Billy Robinson, The Blackjacks butted heads with Stan Hansen and Nick Bockwinkel, as well as the Freebirds and others in prelim action. Heck of a show!

Chicago drew over 18,000 fans to see Tsuruta defend against Lanza, Blackjack Mulligan and Jerry Lawler fell to Patera and Blackwell, Crusher and The Baron were disqualified against Ventura and Saito, Gagne and Brunzell wrestled with Rick Martel and Dino Bravo to a draw, Giant Baba and Tenryu beat Buddy Roberts and Ron Garvin, The Crusher and Bruiser teamed for the first time in over three year in a DQ loss to Bockwinkel and Stan Hansen, plus the Freebirds, Billy Robinson and others were in the prelims. Another good looking card.

Nearly 10,000 fans came to Salt Lake City to see Patera and Blackwell defend against Gagne and The Crusher, Tsuruta pinned Jim Brunzell, Baron and Vachon bested Ventura and Saito by DQ, Baba and Tenryu beat Terry Gordy and Buddy Roberts, and the Blackjacks went up against Heenan and Bockwinkel.

Over 19,000 fans entered the St. Paul Civic Center to see Gagne and Crusher square off with Sheik Adnan and Blackwell in a cage, Bockwinkel snuck past Mulligan by DQ, Mr. Saito bested The Baron, plus The Fabulous Ones and Larry Zbyszko were in prelim action.

Finally, nearly 10,000 fans came to Milwaukee to see a cage bout with Crusher, Vachon and the Baron beating Saito, Blackwell and Ventura. Bockwinkel bested Mulligan, Gagne got past Patera, plus The Fabs, Zbyszko, Lanza and others were in prelim action.

Meanwhile, in San Francisco the local station canceled the AWA without even alerting Verne about it. The WWF took the slot. This led to a mess of an AWA show at the Cow Palace where only 900 fans showed up to see Crusher, Baron and Buck Zumhofe fall to Ventura, Steve Regal and Mr. Saito.

World Class
NWA champ Ric Flair came in to defend against Terry Gordy and Kevin Von Erich.

The Von Erichs continued to battle the Freebirds. The Birds and Von Erichs were both also at war with General Akbar’s men, leading to matches with Kamala, The Missing Link and others.

Chris Adams and Jimmy Garvin continued their feud unabated.

The JYD came in for some shots.

Memphis
Jerry Lawler had a busy month. He started by teaming with long time enemy Jos LeDuc to battle the Zambuie Express several times. Before the month was over he and LeDuc were at war again. Dutch Mantel and Austin Idol each then stepped in as Lawler’s partner against the Express.

“Macho Man” Randy Savage was still facing off with Lawler in some towns, while also battling Austin Idol in others. Rick Rude took aim at Idol and attempted to wrest his CWA International title from him.

Tommy Rich & Eddie Gilbert were paired off as the “New” Fabulous Ones. They failed to find the success the originals enjoyed.

Montreal/AWA
Rick Martel and Dino Bravo, two of the area’s most popular wrestlers, faced off in a highly hyped rematch. Their first encounter was in September of 1983 in a match Bravo won with his feet on the ropes. This rematch saw Martel walk away the winner via DQ, the following week another rematch saw both men disqualified.

Verne Gagne has a working relationship with the area and is supplying them with talent to fill out the cards. Gagne personally attended several Martel matches as Gagne is concerned Vince McMahon may try to poach him away.

Florida
NWA Champ Ric Flair flew in to defend his title against Barry Windham.

Windham was also kept busy by continuing his feud with Ron Bass in singles and tag team action. He and Mike Rotondo are quite a popular team.

Dusty Rhodes continued his battles with Kevin Sullivan’s Army of Darkness, facing Sullivan, One Man Gang, and Kendo Nagasaki.

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Hacksaw Duggan is also in the area as a heel and he and Rhodes are clashing. Buzz Sawyer is touring the area as well.

Mid-South
The Rock and Roll Express and Midnight Express are feuding. Jim Cornette was embarrassed by having his face shoved in a cake by the Rock and Rollers during an on air celebration the Midnight’s were throwing.

Bill Watts’ antagonistic relationship with Jim Cornette hit a plateau as Watts struck Cornette during a diatribe, then insisted on showing the clips of Cornette being made a fool of several times. This provoked the Midnight Express to attack Watts.

Watts then proceeded to bring in the man who used to beat the JYD up, Stagger Lee, a masked man who sounded an awful like JYD himself. A series of matches were set up that were dubbed “The Last Stampede”.

The Midnight Express captured the Mid-South tag titles from Magnum TA and Mr. Wrestling II. The loss opened up a chance for the teacher, Wrestling II to turn on his student, TA, and turn heel.

This led to a match with North American champ JYD facing off with Mr. Wrestling II. During the course of the finish, JYD failed to go low enough for a knee lift, which was II’s finisher. The move looked horrible in execution and JYD sold it anyway, losing the title via pinfall. The botched finish is credited with causing New Orleans fans to be exposed to the fact that wrestling might be fake, and JYD’s popularity reportedly took a hit in the city.

The Rock and Roll Express were involved in many matches with Krusher Khrushchev and Nikolai Volkoff. This included some six-man tag teams with Terry Taylor, who was also having issues with the Russians. “Hacksaw” Duggan was also still at war with the Commies.

Jim Neidhart and Butch Reed continued their feud.

No DVD to review this time, so I’ll see you next week as I dive into April of 1984!!

Written by Andrew Lutzke

The grumpy old man of culturecrossfire.com, lover of wrasslin’ and true crimes.

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