Vincent J. McMahon, the long time owner and promoter for the WWF died of cancer on May 27th at the age of 69. His son Vince missed the next TV tapings in order to mourn.
The Rock n’ Wrestling Connection moved along with Capt. Lou going on Piper’s Pit and taking credit for Cyndi Lauper’s music career. He then promised to bring Lauper to the WWF to be on the Pit. Piper also read off legal letters from Lauper and her manager David Wolff but he and Albano dismissed them.
Hulk Hogan starred in a TV movie called “Goldie and the Bears” which was supposed to act as a pilot for a series. The movie was about the daughter of the recently deceased Chicago Bears head coach who hires several of his players to help her solve crimes. Speculation was that if the series was picked up that Hogan might retire.
World Champion Hulk Hogan spent the month defending against David Schultz, Paul Orndorff, Sika and the Iron Sheik.
Intercontinental champ Tito Santana was embroiled in battle with Greg “The Hammer” Valentine. Valentine was also facing off with Bob Backlund in stipulation matches in some towns.
Backlund also got several matches with the man who took his title, the Iron Sheik. Elsewhere, Sheik had his hands full in violent matches with Sgt. Slaughter.
Dick Murdoch and Adrian Adonis’ title win over tag champs Tony Atlas and Rocky Johnson aired on TV. It had been taped at the end of April.
Johnson was now focused on more matches against the race baiting Roddy Piper. His partner Tony Atlas quit the WWF near the end of the month. Atlas would end up in the AWA soon after.
Piper and Jimmy Snuka are doing big business wherever they are matched up with one another.
Bobo Brazil returned to the WWF after being gone for six years. Brazil was just shy of 60.
Wendi Richter worked some shots, but her mega push has not yet started.
Buzz Sawyer entered the territory, but with his drug issues he’d prove to only last a few weeks.
Jesse Ventura jumped to the WWF from the AWA. Ventura made sure to cut a bunch of promos before he left, so Verne would either have to go to the hassle of editing him off, or else false advertise him.
The goofy “Tuesday Night Titans” debuted on USA.
Hogan, Adonis, Murdoch, Big John Studd, and Andre the Giant headed to Japan for a tour. While there, Hogan teamed up with his US enemy Studd to face New Japan local stars.
A weak card in Pittsburgh saw Slaughter battling the Iron Sheik in the main event. Other action saw Ivan Putzki lose to David Schultz by count out, Backlund beat Afa and Tito Santana defended against Samu. The card drew a disappointing 7,000.
MSG sold out for a loaded show that saw Hulk Hogan blow past David Schultz, Slaughter and Shiek battled to a double-DQ, Superfly Snuka beat Valentine by DQ, Paul Orndorff bested Santana via count-out and Roddy Piper got by Ivan Putski by DQ.
St. Louis/Central States
The big St. Louis card for the month saw Harley Race teaming up with Stan Hansen to face off with Wahoo McDaniel and Barry Windham. Other action saw Jack Lanza battling Crusher Blackwell, Jimmy Garvin and Chris Adams brought their WCCW feud into St.Louis, Greg Gagne and Jim Brunzell bested the Grapplers, Dick the Bruiser went to a draw with Baron Von Raschke, as well as some prelim action with Marty Jannetty.
The Garvin/Adams match ended up creating a major fuss as the stipulation had been that Adams’ valet Sunshine would get to wrestle Precious if Adams won the match. Sunshine did not make the booking and the fans started a mini-riot in response. The microphone wires were wrecked during the fray and the rest of the show had to be announced over a bullhorn. Adams tried to calm the crowd by claiming that Garvin had kidnapped Sunshine and that is why she could not appear.
The WWF held a pair of TV tapings in St. Louis. The first saw Roddy Piper clashing with Jimmy Snuka, Andre the Giant facing off with Big John Studd and Tony Atlas besting Dick Murdoch. That was enough to sell out the nearly 11,000 seat Kiel Auditorium.
The second event a few weeks later saw Hogan successfully defend against Orndorff, Snuka beating Piper in a rematch which featured Lou Thesz as a special ref, and not much other action of note.
The Masked Superstar and King Kong Bundy successfully wrest the National tag titles from the Road Warriors at the monthly Omni show. This was strange booking as Superstar already was booked to head to Japan, so the titles were stripped from them and the Warriors won a tournament at the Omni a few weeks later. I believe they at least kayfabed this by having the Superstar wind up “injured” to explain his absence while he was in the Orient.
Some of the other teams in the tag tournament included Ted Dibiase and the Spoiler, Jerry Lawler and Austin Idol. JYD and Sweet Brown Sugar, Tully Blanchard and Tommy Rogers, Jake Roberts and Kabuki, Brad Armstrong and Ron Garvin, Ole Anderson and Stan Hansen plus Bundy and King Konga (Barbarian).
Bundy went after the Road Warriors with Tim Horner, Ron Garvin and others as his partners.
Jake the Snake and Ron Garvin engaged in battle for yet another month.
The WWF and GCW both ran Columbus, Ohio with Bundy and Superstar facing off with the Road Warriors headlining a card that also saw Ted Dibiase fall to Brad Armstrong via count-out and Jake Roberts beating Garvin in a “lights out” match. The WWF’s show saw Hogan clash with the Iron Sheik, Santana besting Paul Orndorff by count-out and Piper beating Brian Blair.
Ken Patera and Mr. Saito faced their arraignment trial on the charges of assaulting the Waukesha police force which I covered last week. The officers testified against them, one with a dozen stitches in her head and another with their leg in cast. The judge ruled that the men would be put on trial, but they would be allowed to fly to Japan for a wrestling tour later this month.
Vince McMahon scored a TV time slot in Minneapolis, and plans on a full scale invasion soon.
World champion Jumbo Tsuruta defended his title against The Baron, Billy Robinson, Nick Bockwinkel, Greg Gagne, and Blackjack Mulligan before being upset by Rick Martel on May 13th in St. Paul.
The Crusher and Baron Von Raschke beat Ken Patera and Crusher Blackwell for the AWA World tag titles. I always assumed this was done because of Patera’s arrest, but apparently it was due to Patera heading to Japan. Crusher faced Blackwell in many tag and singles matches across the territory.
Once Crusher and Baron snagged the titles they defended them against Blackwell and Patera, Steve Regal and Bockwinkel and Sheik Adnan and Chris Markoff.
Bruiser Brody was hired by Verne Gagne to come in as a top heel. Brody lived up to his reputation by no showing his first two TV tapings before finally coming in and running an angle where he injured Jim Brunzell and Greg Gagne.
The rest of the St. Paul card where Martel won the title included the Blackjacks going to war with Abby the Butcher and Crusher Blackwell, Da Crusher beating up Sheik Adnan, The Fabulous Ones going over Jesse Ventura and Steve Regal and Larry Zbyszko besting Curt Hennig via DQ.
Winnipeg drew 3,600 fans but the show was a bit of a mess as Ventura no showed thanks to being WWF bound, Blackjack Mulligan did not appear due to “injury” and Crusher Blackwell missed his flight. The reshuffled card saw Crusher and Baron face off with Sheik Adnan and Abby the Butcher, Curt Hennig and Blackjack Lanza besting Nick Bockwinkel and Billy Robinson, Gagne and Brunzell upended Steve Regal and Zbyszko, The Fabulous Ones beat Kevin Kelly and Jake Milliman, plus a ladies tag bout.
10,000 fans came to Chicago to see the Road Warriors beat Crusher and Baron via DQ, plus Dick the Bruiser earned a DQ win in a brawl with Crusher Blackwell, The Fabs bested Steve Regal and Steve O, Bockwinkel fought Lanza to a draw, among other action.
Dino Bravo and Rick Martel partnered up in the first of two events the AWA helped put on in Montreal. Their opponents were Crusher Blackwell and Abby the Butcher. AWA Champ Jumbo Tsuruta got by Bockwinkel via DQ in the co-main event. The under card was loaded with local talent such as Raymond Rougeau, Gino Brito and Frenchy Martin, as well as King Tonga (Haku).
The second event of the month saw new AWA champ Rick Martel defend his title against Bockwinkel. The co-main event with Dino Bravo facing off with Crusher Blackwell was canceled when both men were said to be injured.
The WWF charged into the area with Hulk Hogan headlining against David Schultz, plus Bob Backlund facing off with Paul Orndorff. Interestingly enough, Jacques Rougeau worked the prelims of the WWF show, while his two brothers were working for the AWA branded shows.
The biggest card in the history of WCCW took place on May 6th as the “David Von Erich Memorial Parade of Champions” took place in Texas Stadium drawing over 32,000 fans. The gate for the card ended up at over 400,000 dollars, which made it the second largest money drawing event in history up to this time.
The main event saw Kerry Von Erich finally succeed with his families’ long held goal of winning the NWA World title as he overcame champion Ric Flair. Fritz Von Erich came out of retirement to team with his sons Kevin and Mike and the trio beat WCCW six-man tag champions The Fabulous Freebirds. Chris Adams and Sunshine bested Jimmy Garvin and Precious in a mixed tag match, Kamala brawled with fellow heel Kabuki, and JYD overcame the Missing Link via DQ in the other top matches. I have done a full review of the show in the past, which you can read here.
Kerry went on to defend his title against Ric Flair several times, as well as Black Bart and Terry Gordy.
Ric Flair also faced off with Freebird Michael Hayes while on tour with WCCW.
The Von Erichs continued their issues with the Freebirds, and the Freebirds also focused on going after Gen. Akbar’s army. Killer Khan emerged in the area as a ally to the Birds.
Chris Adams and Jimmy Garvin’s hot program led to more and more rematches.
Gino Hernandez and Jules Strongbow debuted to help bring some fresh blood to the roster.
Once he won the title, NWA champ Kerry Von Erich became very active in Florida’s wrestling rings, defending the title against Mike Rotundo, Superstar Billy Graham, and Ron Bass multiple times.
Dusty Rhodes’ endless war with Kevin Sullivan’s Army kept rolling along this month. He and Sullivan met in more stipulation matches in hopes of ending the bloodshed.
Barry Windham’s issue with Ron Bass carried on as well as Blackjack Mulligan, Rhodes and Rotondo all helped him in matches with Bass and Black Bart.
The Russians remained a top focus for Hacksaw Jim Duggan as he squared off with both Nikolai Volkoff and Krusher Khrushchev in stipulation matches over the course of the month. Terry Taylor and Dr. Death both aided Duggan in this struggle.
The Rock and Roll Express continued their battles with the Midnight Express. The teams traded the Mid-South tag belts back and forth over a matter of weeks.
Mr. Wrestling 2 had declared himself simply “Mr. Wrestling” in a move done to show his ego. Hercules then entered Mid-South under a hood as “Mr. Wrestling 2” and they formed a brief alliance. Magnum TA and Terry Taylor had run-ins with this new duo. Magnum ended up beating Mr. Wrestling for the North American title in mid-May.
Brody and Joe LeDuc have been having wild brawls in many towns. Lots of blades and blood involved.
Jerry Lawler’s issues with Lord Humongous, Ox Baker and Jimmy Hart dragged on through the month. The King actually teamed with promoter Eddie Marlin to face Hart and Baker. Marlin’s son served as the guest ref. JYD came in to aid Lawler in this feud as well. King Kong Bundy entered the area to challenge Lawler towards the end of the month.
Austin Idol and Randy Savage’s feud carried on as well, with the CWA International title hanging in the balance.
Tommy Rich and Eddie Gilbert had their hands full with the Zambuie Express and the PYT’s.
Jim Neidhart caused chaos when he quit Jimmy Hart’s Family, then caused a mutiny which led to Hart’s large army siding with the Anvil.
NWA World Champion Ric Flair fought Billy Jack Haynes to several draws. Brett Sawyer also received a title match. Flair also took part in an intriguing tag match where he partnered with Rip Oliver to face off with Matt Bourne and Buddy Rose.
Kerry Von Erich’s Cinderella run as NWA champ ended when Flair bested him in just under thirty minutes in an NWA title match.
Harley Race pinned Ric Flair in a match here just before Flair reclaimed the NWA title from Kerry Von Erich. This set up a Flair vs. Race rematch in Japan that took place the day after Flair won the title back. That match ended in a draw.
Von Erich had successfully defended his title against Jumbo Tsuruta in a match held prior to the Flair match.
With JCP building to a big Flair vs. Steamboat match that was meant to headline the Meadowlands “Night of Champions” super card at the end of the month, the decision was made not to acknowledge Kerry Von Erich’s two and a half week run with the NWA title on JCP TV.
Tully Blanchard continued to move up the ranks of the most hated man in JCP lists over the course of the month. Blanchard attacked both Ricky Steamboat and Wahoo McDaniel from behind with his TV title and also drew the ire of the Boogie Woogie Man and Dusty Rhodes. JYD even got in on the action as Wahoo and JYD teamed to face Blanchard and Don Kernodle in a combo chain/strap match.
Dick Slater worked the top of the card facing NWA champ Flair and US champ Steamboat in title bouts.
The Brisco Brothers, technically in bed with Vince McMahon after selling GCW to him, entered the month as NWA World tag champs. This forced JCP’s hand and Wahoo McDaniel and Mark Youngblood were put over them to get the titles back on NWA loyalists. The Briscos had been worried somebody would shoot on them over the fact that they “double crossed” the NWA, but they trusted their fellow Indians not to pull such a stunt. The Briscos left the NWA shortly thereafter.
Don Kernodle and Ivan Koloff won the titles from Youngblood and Wahoo only three days later. Dusty Rhodes stepped up to be Wahoo’s partner in at least one of the rematches with the champions.
King Kong Bundy came in the area and befriended McDaniel. This set them up as challengers to the Road Warriors and eventually Kernodle and Koloff.
Angelo Mosca Jr. lost his Mid-Atlantic title to “The Masked Outlaw” who was Dory Funk Jr. Funk was hiding out from the NWA board who suspended him after Funk shoved NWA rep Sandy Scott.
JYD’s issues with Gary Hart and Kabuki boiled over into the ring as the Dog challenged both men to lace up their boots.
Rufus R. Jones and Ernie Ladd continued their harsh words to one another on TV.
“Exotic” Adrian Street aired his homoerotic music videos to the horror of the conservative fans in the audience. Jimmy Valiant messed with Street by trying to seduce his valet, Miss Linda, and also mocked Street’s gay overtones. Street responded by knocking Valiant out and having Linda put makeup on him.
The Jake the Snake/Ron Garvin feud spilled over to JCP rings.
Ivan Koloff set the stage for the future by mentioning the fact that he had a nephew…more on that in the months to come.
The “Night of Champions” card saw Flair pin Steamboat at the 32 minute mark (after pulling his trunks). WWC Universal Champ Carlos Colon pinned NWA TV Champion Blanchard in a match designed to draw in the New York Puerto Ricans. The National Tag champions The Road Warriors bested the Boogie Woogie Man and King Kong Bundy, Wahoo brawled with Stan Hansen to a double-DQ. NWA tag champs Koloff and Kernodle successfully defended their titles against Pez Whatley and Mark Youngblood. Dusty Rhodes beat “The Assassin” who was Jesse Barr under a mask. Ron Garvin pinned Jake the Snake and Invader #1 upset Kabuki.
Next time I’ll be taking a full look at the WWF’s card from Philly that went down this month.