Wrasslin’ History Back in the Day: December 1984

2 Weddings, A historic MSG brawl, kayfabe is broken on national TV, big Xmas shows take place across the country and more!

Thanks to Kris Zellner, Jim Zordani, Graham Cawthon, Matt Farmer, Tamalie, Dave Meltzer, Karl Stern, Brian Last, wrestlingdata.com, crazymax.org, prowrestlinghistory.com and the “Between the Sheets” podcast for the results and historical 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.

I last left off in November 1984:

Wrasslin’ Back in the Day: November 1984

WWF

Cyndi Lauper again played a crucial role in WWF storylines as they spent several weeks building up her appearance at MSG at the end of the month. Part of this build was the surprising revelation that Capt. Lou Albano and Lauper had reconciled, with the Captain asking forgiveness for his past bad behavior. The two then teamed up as part of a charity event for multiple sclerosis. The MSG fall out will be covered a bit later in this article.

Sgt. Slaughter’s feud with foreign menaces such as Nikolai Volkoff and the Iron Sheik continued into December until one fateful night in Toronto when Slaughter and Vince McMahon once again butted heads over payoffs and merchandise percentages and Sarge ended up walking out. Slaughter had been making enough noise about his displeasure that Vince knew something was bound to explode. World Champion Hulk Hogan just happened to be in Toronto to replace Slaughter that night, which seemed a little too perfect to be a coincidence.

Hey, look who made the December 1984 cover of WWF magazine:

Slaughter wanted to jump to JCP, but booker Dusty Rhodes was not too hot on the idea.

Ken Patera and Big John Studd were set to face off with Jim Powers and Jose Luis Rivera on TV. Hulk Hogan made his presence known before the match, but then went to the locker room. Patera and Studd ended up mauling their overmatched opponents and relentlessly kept it up after the match. This drew Hogan to the rescue. The heels beat on the Hulkster as well, and were preparing to give him a haircut – much like the one they gave had given Andre. At the last moment, the large hillbilly who had been seen in the crowds for the past several weeks charged in the ring and made the save. McMahon interviewed the hillbilly at the end of the show and he revealed his name was “Jim”.

This led to several incidents of Roddy Piper making fun of “Big Jim” on “Piper’s Pit”, while at the same time sarcastically offering to train him. Jim revealed he was going to be trained by Hogan instead, adding fire to the Hogan/Piper angle.

Hogan had a light schedule as World champion, only defending the title seven times, facing the likes of Brutus Beefcake, the Iron Sheik, Nikolai Volkoff, Paul Orndorff and Big John Studd.

Jimmy Snuka and the Tonga Kid continued their wars with Bob Orton and Roddy Piper in many towns. Roddy Piper ended up getting arrested for a DUI in Cincinnati, which lead to Snuka and the Kid bailing him out of jail in what must have been an awkward moment.

Booker George Scott went to Atlanta to speak with Mr. T about making some dates with the WWF. T’s ego turned Scott off and he walked away without a deal.

Butcher Vachon was married on “Tuesday Night Titans” in what would prove to be the most memorable incident from TNT’s run. Various heels including Jesse Ventura and Capt. Lou joined in with the Samoans, random masked men, midgets, lady wrestlers and more for a wild food fight to close the ceremony.

Angelo Mosca was brought in to be a commentator several months ago. He was bad enough that he was taken off that duty. Billy Jack Haynes pushed for Stan Stasiak to replace him on “Maple Leaf Wrestling”, but when the WWF did not comply, he quit the promotion. Mosca was able to get his son Angelo Jr., a spot on the WWF roster.

In November it was noted that many TV stations were not getting paid by the WWF. It became obvious McMahon was running out of cash. Some speculation is out there that Vince lost as much as 7 million dollars in 1984. Word is that he was not panicking yet, as the WWF about to  sign a deal with NBC to air WWF matches on national TV. He is also planning on the WWF running far less small towns in order to maximize profits.

Tito Santana and Intercontinental champion Greg Valentine continued their feud. They wrestled at many events, with some of the bouts going 40-plus minutes.

Andre the Giant spent part of the month touring Japan. He and Antonio Inoki drew over 23,000 fans to one of their bouts.

George Wells, one of Bill Watts first choices to fill the void JYD left as the African-American superstar in Mid-South, jumped to the WWF.

13,500 came to the Philly Spectrum to see Slaughter battle Nikolai Volkoff and the Tonga Kid go to war with Roddy Piper.

The Boston Garden hosted 16,000 fans who came to see Tonga Kid and Jimmy Snuka extract revenge on Piper and Paul Orndorff. The undercard saw a notable event as a drunken Capt. Lou took an Exacto knife and sliced his forehead up. David Sammartino tried to calm him down and get the blade, but he ended up being sliced open. It later took 45 stitches to close the wound.

A Piper/Orndorff versus Tonga Kid and Snuka match brought 10,000 fans to Pittsburgh’s Civic Arena.

26,000 fans came to MSG to see Hulk Hogan butt heads with the Iron Sheik, Snuka and Tonga Kid brawled with Piper and Bob Orton Jr, and the Brisco Brothers grappled with WWF tag champs Adrian Adonis and Dick Murdoch.
It was backstage during this event that ABC ’20/20′ reporter John Stossel was assaulted by David Schultz during an interview in which Stossel asked Schultz if wrestling was fake; as a result of the incident, Stossel filed suit against both the WWF and Schultz. 20/20’s piece, which saw wrestlers break kayfabe and reveal how matches are faked, and how blading is done, among other secrets, aired on December 28th.

The MSG event also saw Cyndi Lauper being given an award for her contributions over the past year. Hulk Hogan and Wendi Richter then accepted a gold record from Lauper. Roddy Piper crashed the ceremony with Bob Orton Jr. They attacked Capt. Lou with the record and physically assaulted Lauper and her manager David Wolfe before Hogan could scare them off.
St. Louis/Central States

The WWF brought NWA legend Lou Thesz back to St. Louis to act as the special ref for a JYD versus Piper match, which had been building up locally for the past several events. The Hulkster defended his World title against Brutus Beefcake and Adonis and Murdoch again survived a test from the Briscos.

The local Central States/St. Louis promoters put on a 20-man battle royal, which was won by Crusher Blackwell. Kerry Von Erich defeated Blackwell on the undercard, which also saw Dick the Bruiser, Wahoo McDaniel and Marty Jannetty in action.

NWA champ Ric Flair toured the area. He defended against Bruiser Brody, Marty Jannetty and Bob Brown.

Championship Wrestling from Georgia

Tommy Rich sought help in his feud with Bob Roop, Eddie Gilbert, Jimmy Hart, the Long Riders and various others. He turned to the notorious heel Abdullah the Butcher to become his partner. This led to a match where Rich and the Butcher were scheduled to fight the Long Riders. Abdullah ended up not showing up. Eventually Hart revealed that he in fact had signed the Butcher to join his stable, and Abby accentuated the point by attacking Rich.

The “Terminators” were brought to the area to replace the “New York Assassins” who had failed to get rid of Ole Anderson and Thunderbolt Patterson.

National champion Ron Garvin fended off the challenges of Ox Baker, Bob Roop and Wahoo McDaniel.

The WWF and CWG both held Omni events:

The CWG presented Anderson and Patterson facing off with King Kong Bundy and Stan Frazier, Ron Garvin clashing with Ox Baker, Jerry Lawler trying to stop the savage Kamala, Bob Roop grappling with the Boogie Woogie Man and Tommy Rich and Brad Armstrong brawling with the Long Riders.

The WWF brought in World champ Hulk Hogan to defend against Mr. Wonderful, The Briscos grappled with Adonis and Murdoch, Blackjack Mulligan tangled with the Iron Sheik – plus Barry Windham, Mr. Wrestling II and Wendi Richter were in action.

Baltimore fans also saw both CWG and the WWF run shows:

CWG brought in some big guns from Crockett as NWA Champ Ric Flair defended his gold against Ronnie Garvin. Dusty Rhodes teamed with Tommy Rich and Ole Anderson to clash with the Road Warriors and Paul Ellering. The WWF countered by bringing in the red hot Snuka/Tonga Kid versus Piper and Orndorff feud.

AWA

After the AWA spent much of November putting over King Kong (Boom Boom) Bundy in battle royals with Jerry Blackwell as his partner, Bundy left the promotion.

Sheik Adnan El Kasisse added the Masked Superstar to his troupe in November during a match where Superstar attacked Greg Gagne. This prompted the reunion of Gagne and Jim Brunzell, who had not teamed since April when Bruiser Brody mauled them.

The Fabulous Ones became fed up with the Road Warriors not selling for them and the matches between the teams broke down to battles of no selling and stiff shots.

Jimmy Garvin is beating AWA champ Rick Martel in many towns, only for Garvin’s cheating ways to be revealed and the decisions reversed.

Bruiser Brody no showed in Milwaukee, forcing Luke Graham to take his place against Jerry Blackwell. Brody failed to appear in Winnipeg and was replaced by Road Warrior Hawk. Brody also missed his shot in Green Bay and was replaced by Sheik Adnan.

The Road Warriors and Paul Ellering also missed their booking in Green Bay, being replaced by Nick Bockwinkel, Mr. Saito and Steve Regal in a match with the Fabulous Ones and Da Crusher.

Greg Gagne went on a local radio show where he was asked by a caller about the AWA bringing in the Dynamite Kid – Gagne said he was too small.

Sally Jesse Raphael presented a segment on wrestling on her talk show. The Fabulous Ones and Ric Flair made appearances.

Salt Lake City fans chanted “pimp!” at Jimmy Garvin after they witnessed his act with Precious.

Chicago was again a battleground area for the AWA/WWF turf war: The AWA headlined with Martel defending against Garvin, along with Da Crusher and the Fabulous Ones facing the Road Warriors and Paul Ellering. Jerry Blackwell teamed with Jim Brunzell to combat Brody and Adnan in another featured bout. The card drew 8,500. The WWF brought in JYD against Roddy Piper as well as Tito Santana challenging Greg Valentine as their big bouts.

The Twin Cities also saw the companies compete for the fan’s dollars: The AWA Christmas card drew 13,000 fans to St. Paul for Martel defending against Garvin, the Road Warriors colliding with the Fabulous Ones as well as Crusher Blackwell and Greg Gagne brawling with Brody and the Masked Superstar. Attendance would have been better, but 6,000 seats were blocked off in preparation of an upcoming Prince concert.

The WWF drew 11,000 to the Met Center for the Hulkster fending off the Iron Sheik, Andre the Giant and Blackjack Mulligan trying to take down Ken Patera and Big John Studd, Jimmy Snuka tearing into Bob Orton Jr. – plus Wendi Richter, Jesse Ventura, David Schultz, Tony Atlas and midgets in action.

Montreal

Nearly 20,000 fans came to Montreal to see Dino Bravo squaring off with King Tonga. AWA champ Rick Martel made an appearance defending his gold against Nick Bockwinkel. Plus Joe LeDuc brawled with the Masked Superstar.

Miscellaneous

Bob Backlund’s independent group ran a show in Springfield, Massachusetts with Backlund facing “Superstar” Billy Graham as the main event. Carlos Colon fought Tully Blanchard in the top undercard bout.

Hawaiian fans saw a cross-promotional show as Andre the Giant won a 20-man battle royal in the main event of a card that also saw WWF, New Japan, Florida, World Class and other groups take part. Don Muraco faced off with Bad News Allen (Brown), Kevin Von Erich fought Chris Adams, Jimmy Snuka smashed Tiger Chung Lee, Sivi Afi and Lars Anderson bested Mark Lewin and Kevin Sullivan – plus Rocky Johnson, Tatsumi Fujinami, Samu, Matt Borne and others took part in action.

Memphis

The legendary Jackie Fargo returned to the ring to team with Jerry Lawler and Jimmy Valiant against Korstia Korchenko, Iron Mike Sharpe, & Jimmy Hart in Memphis.

Georgia star Bob Roop came to Memphis to challenge Jerry Lawler over the Southern heavyweight title.

National tag champs Bill and Scott Irwin came up from Georgia to defend their titles against Lanny Poffo and “Macho Man” Randy Savage.

Savage married his fiancé Elizabeth Hulette on December 30th.

Jerry Lawler served as the special referee for the blow off of the Rick Rude and King Kong Bundy feud. Rude pinned Bundy in a “loser leaves town” match.

WCCW

The Kevin Von Erich feud with Chris Adams continued on across the territory, with no end in sight.

Dallas saw a lot of wrestling action as World Class ran three shows and the WWF came in for one as well.

The Sportatorium fans who came December 7th saw a steel cage bout between Terry Gordy and Killer Khan. Kevin Von Erich fought Jake Roberts and the Fantastics tangled with the Midnight Express.

The big card at the Reunion Arena on Christmas day drew 17,000 fans to see Kerry Von Erich attempt to wrest the NWA world title from Ric Flair. Kevin Von Erich clashed with Chris Adams, the Fantastics grappled with the Midnight Express, Mike Von Erich and Billy Jack Haynes overcame Jake Roberts and Gino Hernandez and Terry Gordy won an elimination match against the Missing Link, Skandor Akbar and Mr. X after his partners Chick Donovan and Buddy Roberts were ousted.

Three days later the Sportatorium played host to a battle royal that was won by Tommy Rogers. Terry Gordy brawled with Kamala, Kevin Von Erich fell to Gino Hernandez, Mike Von Erich bested Jake the Snake, and the Fantastics out witted Chavo and Hector Guerrero.

The WWF drew 2,500 fans on December 28th with a main event of Andre the Giant and Blackjack Mulligan squaring off with Ken Patera and Big John Studd. Bobby Heenan may have been part of the bout, but online sources have varying results. Tito Santana and Greg Valentine also engaged in battle on the card.

Continental

The big Christmas day card saw a double main event as Mr. Olympia fought Arn Anderson in a cage, Jimmy Golden bested Robert Fuller in bout that also took place inside a cage. Bob Armstrong overcame Lord Humongous via DQ as part of the undercard.

Olympia and Anderson had been fighting in stipulation matches across the territory leading up to the cage battle.

NWA champ Ric Flair came in to accept the challenge of Bob Armstrong.

Florida

Florida champion Jesse Barr attempted to avoid having to face off with Brian Blair. This charade ended up involving a man in a chicken suit who showed up and shook Brian Blair’s hand after he bested Killer Khan. Khan had replaced Barr who claimed to be injured. The man in the chicken suit later attacked Barr, and unmasked to reveal himself to be Blair. Barr was so upset he agreed to a title match.

Michael Hayes is working as a babyface with various partners against the commies Krusher Khruschev and Jim Neidhart.

The WWF and Florida battled on December 26th for attention of the local fans. Florida brought in Dusty Rhodes to team with the Youngbloods to face the P.Y.T’s and King Cobra. Tully Blanchard was also on the card, grappling with Mike Graham. Hayes and Dutch Mantel bested Neidhart and Khruschev, then Jesse Barr and Brian Blair won a “2 Ring triple chance” battle royal.

The WWF offered up World champ Hulk Hogan against Brutus Beefcake, plus Andre and Tony Atlas brawling with Ken Patera and Big John Studd. David Schultz, Barry Windham and Mike Rotondo were also part of the action.

Mid-South

According to Jim Cornette, a fan called into the box office the afternoon of a Mid-South card and asked to be placed as close to the ring as possible so he could shoot Ted Dibiase. Corny’s portion of the card was to have him placed in a cage above the ring, which caused Jim to fear that the gunman might aim for him too.

NWA champ Ric Flair came to the area to defend his title against Kerry Von Erich and Magnum T.A.

Despite already being promoted for appearing in JCP, Magnum T.A.was protected, winning matches against Dr. Death, Ernie Ladd and Kamala via disqualification

Brad Armstrong used a rope to choke Ernie Ladd out and take the North American title.

The Rock and Roll Express dropped the Mid-South tag belts to Hercules and Ted Dibiase on December 3rd and after several weeks of rematches, they won them back on Christmas day.

The Rock and Roll Express faced off with the Midnight Express in a number of scaffold matches around the territory.

The Christmas night show in New Orleans saw “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan battle Dr. Death inside of a steel cage. Also in action were the Rock and Roll Express who bested Ted Dibiase and Hercules for the tag gold, Butch Reed squared off with the monstrous Kamala, Brad Armstrong defended his North American title against Buddy Landell, and Ernie Ladd butted heads with Terry Taylor.

Houston was a battleground for Mid-South and the WWF as both groups had shows on December 27th. Mid-South offered up a 2-ring battle royal, plus “Hacksaw” Duggan and the Rock and Roll Express faced Ted Dibiase, Hercules and Dr. Death, Butch Reed tangled with Buddy Landell, Kerry Von Erich fought Gino Hernandez, Brad Armstrong defended his North American title against Ernie Ladd, Billy Jack Haynes falling to Kamala, as well as Chavo and Hector Guerrero besting Jose Lothario and Terry Taylor. The WWF card is unknown other than Tiger Conway pinning Buddy Rose.

JCP

NWA World Champion Ric Flair defended his title against primarily Wahoo McDaniel, Tully Blanchard and occasionally Ron Bass.

Krusher Kruschev, and Ivan and Nikita Koloff mauled Keith Larson on TV. This led to his brother Rocky Kernodle to take off his neck brace he’d been forced to wear after a previous attack from the Russians and declare his intention to return for revenge. Dusty Rhodes, Dick Slater and Manny Fernandez all joined in the fight against the commies in various four and six-man tag team bouts that took place.

Magnum T.A. debuted on TV and began his massive push.

Dick Slater and Dusty Rhodes aided Ricky Steamboat in his battles with J.J. Dillon, Tully Blanchard, Ron Bass and Black Bart. This included an incident where Dillon was stripped of his clothes, revealing women’s undergarments underneath.

The AWA World tag team champions the Road Warriors appeared on JCP TV, squashing jabronis.

Paul Jones revealed “Superstar” Billy Graham (still doing the karate gimmick) as his newest protégé.

The Christmas Day Charlotte card saw Dusty Rhodes, Dick Slater and Steamboat best Ron Bass, Black Bart and Tully Blanchard in a bunkhouse match. Don Kernodle upset Ivan Koloff, Manny Fernandez brawled with Nikita Koloff to a draw, the Assassin smashed Kareem Muhammad, plus Magnum TA, the Barbarian, Billy Graham, Buzz Tyler and others took part in other action.

Written by Andrew Lutzke

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

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