Wrasslin’ Back in the Day: August 1984

McMahon scores more major talent, while Dusty heads to JCP to change wrestling history

Thanks to Kris Zellner, Jim Zordani, Graham Cawthon, Matt Farmer, Tamalie, wrestlingdata.com, crazymax.org, and prowrestlinghistory.com for the results and history information I have used for this series. The Wrestling Classics and Kayfabe Memories message boards have also been invaluable in answering my questions on certain issues and angles.

WWF
The biggest move of the month for Vince McMahon’s expansion was probably signing the Junkyard Dog away from Mid-South. Butch Reed and the Dog had drawn big houses all summer for JYD’s return from “suspension” in the Mid-South and now he’s gone for good. This left Bill Watts scrambling for a new top star, and gave the WWF another top guy (loaded with charisma) to draw with.

Cyndi Lauper’s manager David Wolfe promised on TV to bring in the Fabulous Freebirds. The Birds ended up working both WCCW and the WWF concurrently this month as they made TV shots for Vince and worked Fritz Von Erich’s circuit. I believe they were the first stars since Greg Valentine to “finish up” at their own employer before jumping ship. Of course this business relationship is doomed, but we’ll get to that next time.

World champ Hulk Hogan defended his gold against Valentine, George Steele, David Schultz, Bob Orton Jr. and Big John Studd.

Intercontinental champ Tito Santana faced off with the Iron Shiek, Orton, Valentine, Roddy Piper, Schultz and Paul Orndorff successfully.

World tag champs Adrian Adonis and Dick Murdoch were busy fending off Afa and Sika most of the month.

Roddy Piper and Jimmy Snuka’s blood feud continued to rage on in arenas across the country.

Andre the Giant was squaring off with Big John Studd in a series of giant vs. giant challenges. Newcomer Kamala was also battling Andre in another clash of massive men.

Sgt. Slaughter continued to thrill fans with his defense of America in his struggles with the Iron Sheik.

Angelo Mosca Sr. left the Florida wrestling wars and came to the WWF as an announcer.

They ran a gimmick where Fred Blassie and Lou Albano were named heel refs for a variety of matches at house shows.

The WWF recognized an outsider’s title as The Spoiler worked TV matches as the National Champion, a title he held when Vince bought out Georgia. This would not last long.

The Stampede Wrestling buyout apparently began as several of 69-year-old Stu Hart’s talents (including Dynamite Kid and Bret Hart) began to appear for the WWF. Stampede itself seems to remain in business until the end of September though before being dissolved.

Bob Backlund was fired after refusing to dye his hair black and turn heel. Apparently Backlund refused to present an immoral portrait of himself.

Wendi Richter was given a new woman’s title, since the old one had The Fabulous Moolah’s face on it. Moolah attacked Richter during the ceremony. After her big push in July, the WWF only had her work four matches this month, all against Moolah. Perhaps she was on a publicity tour????

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Antonio Inoki is hurting for talent in New Japan, and the WWF exploited his problem by raising their yearly talent-booking fee from $50,000 a year to $500,000.

Bruno Sammartino had filed suit against Vince McMahon Sr. over shorting him on money owed for gate percentages during his entire second run as WWWF champion. Vince McMahon Jr. settled that lawsuit this month, giving Bruno several hundred thousand dollars in exchange for Sammartino coming in to work as an announcer. The deal was to also provide David Sammartino, Dom DeNucci and Larry Zbyszko with jobs with the WWF. Larry of course would not end up returning.

The AWA had actually been working with Sammartino to a degree, and they brought in Zbyszko and David to kiss up to Bruno. Bruno then refused to wrestle for Verne and the Pro Wrestling USA promotion, and Gagne pushed Zbyszko to prelim status as a punishment and benched David.

Jesse “The Body” Ventura recorded a few songs at a Minneapolis record company when he was still in the AWA, the record (and a music video) was publicly released around this time. It ended up selling around 2,500 copies before Rhino Records picked up the rights and sold it in their mail catalogs until 1988.

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x5kp4z_body-rules-music-video_shortfilms

Brutus Beefcake debuted. It’s hard to believe it took Hogan almost nine months to get his buddy a gig. Nikolai Volkoff also made his WWF return, having been part of the Georgia talent the WWF picked up.

12,000 fans came to Philly to see Hogan defend against Valentine, Andre vs. Studd, plus Tito Santana, Jesse Ventura, the Freebirds, Kamala, Ken Patera and many others in action.

Snuka clashing with Piper and Santana grappling with Valentine headlined MSG. The Freebirds, Ken Patera, Murdoch, Adonis, Kamala and others also saw action.

Toronto attendance is already slipping, only a few months into the WWF taking over the city. The first Maple Leaf Garden show this month drew 7,200 fans to see Hogan vanquish Valentine in the only match of note. Snuka, Piper, Studd, Kamala and others all took part in bouts with lesser opponents.

The second MLG show in August drew 5,600 fans for Andre battling the Iron Sheik and Santana tangling with Bob Orton Jr. The undercard was far worse for this event, with pure jobbers making appearances.

11,000 people came to the Los Angeles show to see Snuka brawl with Piper, Andre smash the Sheik, and Santana wrestle the “Hammer” Valentine.

Oakland had 12,000 fans come for a Hogan vs. Studd clash, with Snuka vs. Piper tangling as well.

Not all was perfect in California though as Hogan vs. Mr. Wonderful drew only 1,700 to Sacramento, and Murdoch and Adonis vs. The Samoans drew only 800 fans to Fresno.

Pittsburgh drew 14,000 for Hogan vs. Orndorff, with Piper and Snuka colliding being a big selling point also.

Central States/St. Louis
Verne Gagne/Bob Geigel’s St. Louis group presented NWA champ Ric Flair facing Kerry Von Erich as their monthly main event. Other action saw Harley Race battle Iceman Parsons to a draw, Blackjack Lanza bested Sheik Adnan, plus Dick the Bruiser, Crusher Blackwell and Jim Brunzell took part in undercard action.

The WWF drew 6,500 for a St. Louis TV taping which saw Hogan vs. Steele as the headline match. JYD, The Freebirds, Patera, Kamala and others all took part in squashes.

Georgia Championship Wrestling (Now Championship Wrestling from Georgia)
Ole Anderson returned to the airwaves on TBS only three weeks after Vince bought out GCW out from under him. Ole and Gordon Solie never said a word on air about the changes, and they aired matches from JCP as filler while they got the new promotion off the ground.

Ted Dibiase was said to have beaten the Spoiler for the National title in a match that never actually took place. Ted was challenged by Brad Armstrong and Ron Garvin at the house shows.

Ron Garvin and Jake the Snake continued their seemingly endless series of matches.

The new promotion took the WWF on for the area’s fan base in several arenas:

The Omni saw Dibiase defend his title against Bob Armstrong, a battle royal, Ivan Koloff besting Tim Horner, Tony Atlas and Tommy Rich fighting Rip Rogers and Ted Oates to a draw and JCP TV champ Tully Blanchard facing off with Brad Armstrong.

The WWF drew 9,000 to the Omni four days later with Hogan facing David Schultz, Sarge clashing with the Sheik, a battle royal, Andre matching up with the Spoiler, Richter fending off Moolah, plus JYD, Volkoff, Studd, Orton and Mr. Wonderful in action.

90 minutes away, Ole ran this card the same night as the WWF’s Omni event: Dibiase bested Ron Garvin, Brad Armstrong and the Masked Superstar upended Ted Oates and Bob Roop, 666 (Man Mountain Link) smashed Jerry Oates, Tim Horner beat the Italian Stallion and Nick Patrick (yes, I believe this is the ref) upset Bob Roop in a “lights out” match.

The two groups also tangled over Columbus, Ohio with Ron Garvin facing Crusher Blackwell and Ted Dibiase in separate matches headlining the CWG effort. The WWF offered up Andre vs. The Iron Sheik, and Santana wrestling Bob Orton Jr. as their top draws.

CWG drew 5,000 to Baltimore for a Ron Garvin vs. Jake the Snake main event. The fans also saw David Sammartino take Larry Zbyszko to a draw, Dibiase tangle with Brad Armstrong, and Ole Anderson and Jerry Oates facing the Assassins. The WWF card saw an array of squash matches with Don Muraco, Jesse Ventura, Studd, and others headlined by Snuka, Afa and Sika colliding with Murdoch, Adonis and Roddy Piper.

AWA
Vince McMahon made a big push to snag the Road Warriors away from Verne Gagne, so Gagne responded by having the Road Warriors beat Baron Von Raschke and the Crusher for the tag straps.

road-warroprs

The Road Warriors trainer Eddie Sharkey is also being wooed by Vince to leave his spot as AWA ref and talent trainer. Verne and Sharkey have butted heads over philosophy, with Verne wanting Brad Rheingans to come in and teach the mechanics to qualified candidates, meanwhile Sharkey will take on anyone as a student as long as they pay him $3000.

The Gagne’s are planning to run the 55,000 seat Metrodome for a mega show. So far the planned main event is Verne and a partner facing Bruiser Brody and a partner. This of course would not go down in any form for another year and a half.

AWA champ Rick Martel continues to work a very light schedule, facing Mr. Saito and Nick Bockwinkel a few times each over the course of the month.

Crusher Blackwell is still gone after his big babyface turn just prior to summer kicking off. He’s spending his time working in Japan and taking shots for Ole Anderson and Central States.

The TV show is heavily pushing the Road Warriors and Brody as monster heels.

The WWF charged into Minneapolis with an infamously silly angle where Hulk Hogan trained Mean Gene to be his partner against George Steele and Mr. Fuji at that month’s house show. The card also saw Wendi Richter face off with Moolah, Jesse Ventura bested Ivan Putski via count-out, Adonis and Murdoch upended the Samoans, plus Orndorff, Patera and Orton were all in action.

The AWA drew 5,600 fans to St. Paul to see Crusher and Baron battle the Road Warriors to a draw, Jim Brunzell and Tony Atlas bested Bruiser Brody in a handicap match by DQ, Saito and Bockwinkel got past Stan Lane and Blackjack Lanza, Curt Hennig grappled to a draw with Billy Robinson, Rheingans went over Zbyszko and Tom Zenk fell to Steve Regal.

The struggle for Chicago continued as the AWA drew between 6-7500 fans to see Baron and Crusher clash with the Road Warriors. Heenan and Bockwinkel teamed up to upset Lane and Lanza, Jim Brunzell bested Sheik Adnan, along with other action. The WWF offered up Hogan vs. Studd, Mad Dog Vachon vs. Ken Patera as their big matches, with Jesse Ventura, Muraco, Kamala, Orndorff and Schultz all also in action. The AWA got some easy publicity at the end of the month by holding a pair of matches after a White Sox game at Comiskey Park. Stan Lane and the Crusher bested the Road Warriors by DQ and Mr. Saito pinned Curt Hennig. No word on the amount of fans who stayed for the action.

Winnipeg drew just under 6,000 fans for Martel tangling with Bockwinkel in the headliner. The Baron drew Billy Robinson and Bobby Heenan teamed with Larry Zbyszko to best Lanza and Lane in the other notable bouts.

4,400 fans came to the Milwaukee show to see the Bruiser and Crusher collide with the Road Warriors. Other action saw Tony Atlas lose to Nick Bockwinkel by DQ, Brunzell pinned Adnan, Heenan stunned Stan Lane and scored a pinfall win, Billy Robinson out grappled Steve Regal and Hennig saw his hand raised after Zbyszko was DQ’d.

Indianapolis was a bust as only 700 fans came to see Crusher and Baron tangle with the Road Warriors. Brody pounded Tony Atlas on the undercard.

The Cow Palace in San Fran only drew 800 fans for a Road Warriors title defense against Baron and Crusher.

Montreal/AWA
Over 11,000 fans came to Quebec City to see Martel defend against Bockwinkel. Dino Bravo tangled with King Tonga, Abby the Butcher brawled with Joe LeDuc and the Rougeau Brothers went for the local tag straps in other key bouts.

Martel also split a pair of matches with King Tonga in Montreal, with each man earning a DQ win. Martel finished the month by teaming with Bravo in Montreal in a losing effort to the Masked Superstar and King Tonga.

This promotion had some of it’s talents loaned out to a promoter in Springfield, Massachusetts of all places for a show that only drew 500 fans with Martel beating Moondog King as the main event. Bravo, LeDuc, Frenchy Martin, Pierre LeFebvre and others also appeared.

Mid-South
Bill Watts used Kerry Von Erich and Ric Flair against one another for several of his shows to help bolster attendance.

Prior to jumping ship, JYD had been teaming with Hacksaw Duggan against the Midnight Express, as well as clashing with Krusher Khrushchev. The Fantastics kept the Express very busy after JYD left, and Krusher had his hands full with Jim Duggan as well. Magnum TA also took on Duggan as a partner in matches with the Express.

Dusty Rhodes made some shots in the area, teaming with Duggan against Butch Reed and Hercules.

Krusher Khrushchev had defeated Terry Taylor in May for the TV title in an unhanded manner. This led to Dr. Death confronting Khrushchev and taking physical possession of the medal that represented the TV title. Doc promised to hold on to it until a true champion could be determined between Krusher and Taylor. Once the match took place and Taylor won the gold, Steve Williams told Taylor he “forgot” to bring it with him. A few weeks passed with Williams not handing over the gold before Doc just declared himself the TV champion. Taylor suffered a beating with Doctor Death’s football helmet to really drive home the point.

Khrushchev would not last in Mid-South for much longer. His partner Nikolai Volkoff had been driven out of the area by Hacksaw Duggan beating him in matches where Volkoff had to say the National Anthem of America if he lost, and now Duggan was focusing on chasing Krusher out as well. Duggan put up his hair against Khrushchev’s Russian flag for a TV match that Krusher came up short in. Duggan burned the flag to end the show and Krusher ran off to Florida.

The Superdome was run once again and 21,000 fans came to see Flair battle Kerry Von Erich in the main event. Sonny King replaced the JYD in a tag match with Dusty Rhodes against the Midnight Express, Magnum TA defended his North American title against Butch Reed, Hacksaw Duggan butted heads with Hercules, Terry Taylor tangled with Dr. Death and The Fantastics bested Krusher Khrushchev and Buddy Landell.

Another Von Erich/Flair bout in Oklahoma City drew 16,000 fans.

Memphis
After bombing two straight cards, the WWF gave up on Memphis. They still attempted to take Louisville, Kentucky drawing a mere 375 fans to see Andre square off with Big John Studd in the main event. Jesse Ventura, Kamala, JYD, Adonis, Murdoch, Mad Dog Vachon, Wendi Richter and others all took part in the undercard.

Memphis was on fire as a promotion, with Jerry Lawler working on top with Rick Rude, King Kong Bundy and Randy Savage. Plus they had the Rock and Roll Express back in the area, and Jimmy Valiant and the Fabulous Ones were making shots as well. On top of that, local legend Jackie Fargo was making a series of special appearances in the ring as well.

Tommy Rich and Eddie Gilbert were still hard at it against one another. Gilbert interfered in a tag tournament match where Rich was teaming with Jackie Fargo against Rick Rude and Bundy. Gilbert proceeded to cost the faces the match, then beat Rich down after the bout with his cowboy boot.

Memphis hit on a series of big houses of 9,000 plus fans attending. First up was the tag tournament mentioned above where Lawler and Valiant over came Bundy and Rude in the finals.

The following week was headlined by Jackie Fargo and Steve Keirn battling the Nightmare and Bundy, along with Lawler facing off with Rude and Gilbert brawling with Rich.

The month finished with another loaded card as Lawler clashed with Rude in a cage match, the Road Warriors came in and teamed with Paul Ellering to face Tony Atlas and the Fabulous Ones, Rich and Gilbert battled again, plus Jackie Fargo got his hands on Jimmy Hart.

Continental
Not one to leave any stone unturned, the WWF charged into the Continental area and drew nearly 2,000 fans for an Andre vs. Studd main event. The JYD, Ventura, Adonis, Murdoch and others were also on the card.

Florida
Eddie Graham took two huge hits this month, as not only did his top star Dusty Rhodes leave (taking a good chunk of the talent with him) to go book for Jim Crockett, but the WWF invaded Miami as well.

The WWF hit hard, loading the card up with Roddy Piper vs. Snuka (Snuka failed to make the show and was replaced by Jay Strongbow), Andre squaring off with Studd, Sarge clashing with the Iron Sheik and Santana wrestling Greg Valentine. JYD also appeared.

Ric Flair came in to defend his title against Billy Jack Haynes, Scott McGhee, Dusty Rhodes and “Superstar” Billy Graham. McGhee will be getting a push now since Rhodes took so much of the roster.

Kevin Sullivan remains the top heel, with One Man Gang, Blackjack Mulligan and Haynes staying around to work against his Army.

WCCW
The Von Erichs continued their battles with the Freebirds. They are building towards a grand finale on Labor Day, with either the brothers leaving World Class or the Freebirds.

The Freebirds and Von Erichs are still both going after the Missing Link and Killer Khan in singles and tag matches.

Ref David Manning faced off with Buddy Roberts at several events.

Mike Von Erich successfully snagged the American title from Gino Hernandez.

Jake the Snake upended Chris Adams to claim the TV championship.

Southwest
This promotion, known more for bloodbaths than for payoffs, tried to run a loaded card in 10,000 seat Harlindale Stadium. Carlos Colon fought Abby the Butcher in the main event. Other action saw the Sheepherders brawl with the Zambuie Express in a cage match, Blackjack Mulligan getting a DQ win over Kevin Sullivan and Al Madril teaming with Al Perez to best the Grapplers. Jimmy Valiant, Manny Fernandez and Buzz Sawyer also saw action. Two women also battled in a cage – which is a rare stip for the ladies.

JCP
Dusty Rhodes being named booker caused a big shift in the talent base as JJ Dillon, Mike Rotunda, Barry Windham, Ron Bass and Black Bart all came in from Florida to join the JCP roster.

The promotion played up Barry Windham’s signing big time, announcing that he was given a fancy convertible as a signing bonus of sorts. Windham spoke of being part of Starrcade four months from now, but Vince McMahon would have something to say about that by then.

JJ Dillon explained that he had the other heel manager’s blessings to join the area, and brought along Bass and Bart as his first charges. He even gave Paul Jones the contracts of the Zambouie Express as a peace offering.

Ric Flair continued his feud with Wahoo McDaniel and Tully Blanchard, taking on both men in singles and tag matches, with Ricky Steamboat joining him as a partner when needed. Steamboat found himself on the losing end of a bunch of singles matches to McDaniel and Blanchard as well.

Flair was shown visiting Blackjack Mulligan’s ranch, with Flair trying to convince Mulligan to come to JCP and aid him in his feud with Blanchard and McDaniel. The pair had recently tried to seriously injure him with a spike piledriver. Mulligan would ultimately agree to come in and help his former foe.

Dusty Rhodes chased after Blanchard’s NWA TV title, leading to Wahoo aiding Blanchard in beating Rhodes down.

Rhodes also busied himself with helping the Youngbloods battle the Commie trio of Ivan and Nikita Koloff and Don Kernodle.

Jimmy Valiant kept up his flamboyant partnership with Adrian Street as the pair clashed with Paul Jones’ Assassins.

With the changes at booker, Angelo Mosca Jr.’s flirtation with being a top guy vanished as Mosca lost the Mid-Atlantic title to Ron Bass.

Written by Andrew Lutzke

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