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WWF in 1984 - Messy Booking  Rate Topic 
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 Posted: Thu Jan 14th, 2010 04:31 pm
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tamalie
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The more I look at the WWF during its expansion year of 1984, the more I think the entire promotion was very unfocused and disorganized in its booking. Problems inevitably came up due to the WWF expanding at such a fast pace in 1984 that it seemed to be unable to keep everything in place.

- It went from producing Championship Wrestling and All Star Wrestling as syndicated shows to adding the original version of Superstars plus Maple Leaf Wrestling for Canada and Wrestling At The Chase for St. Louis as well. It went from airing the odd MSG card and All American Wrestling on USA to also having Prime Time Wrestling and TNT. The WWF brought aboard World Championship Wrestling and Best of World Championship Wrestling on WTBS too.

- The talent roster swelled. From the final couple of weeks in 1983 through the end of 1984, in came Hulk Hogan, David Schults, Roddy Piper, Greg Valentine, Bob Orton Jr., Adrian Adonis, Dick Murdoch, Nikolai Volkoff, Jesse Ventura, Ken Patera, Brutus Beefcake, Hillbilly Jim, Blackjack Mulligan, Barry Windham, Mike Rotundo, Tonga Kid, Junkyard Dog, Bobby Heenan, Gene Okerlund, Jack Brisco, Jerry Brisco, Bret Hart, Davey Boy Smith, Dynamite Kid, Mr. Wrestling II, The Spoiler, Les Thornton, Mad Dog Vachon, Buddy Rose, Bruno Sammartino, David Sammartino, Mil Mascaras, and Angelo Mosca.

- Guys who came in and then departed before the year ended were Michael Hayes, Terry Gordy, Buddy Roberts, Kamala, Buzz Sawyer, Billy Jack, and Brian Blair, meanwhile Tony Atlas left and came back.

- Sgt. Slaughter, The Wild Samoans, Bob Backlund, Masked Superstar, and Eddie Gilbert all headed to the exit.

- The WWF also ran its first house shows in such places as the Twin Cities, Chicago, Cincinnati, Columbus, Atlanta, Norfolk, Richmond, Memphis, Nashville, Louisville, Birmingham, Miami, Jacksonville, Oakland, Sacramento, Fresno, St. Louis, Kansas City, Toronto, Dallas, Houston, Calgary, Montreal, Winnipeg, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Ottawa, Vancouver, and Oklahoma City. It had already opened up Detroit and Cleveland very late in 1983 and had its syndicated TV in many more markets.

The scheduling was often insane with no consideration given to concentrating certain crews in a particular region for several days. John Studd worked consecutive dates in Providence, the Twin Cities, Los Angeles, and Kansas City in November. Tito Santana had a run that took him on consecutive days from Phoenix to Chicago to a TV taping in Poughkeepsie, NY and then Columbus.

To me examples of the booking lacking focus are as follows:

- Hulk Hogan's title reign in general. Hulk faced a lot of different opponents, but can anyone think of a single notable angle or feud he had that year? He and Schults had a bloodbath in Minneapolis, but what built it up and what came of it? What was behind his matches with the likes of Valentine, Studd, and others?

- Andre The Giant vs. Big John Studd was played out in the WWF in 1983, but kept rolling through 1984 and into 1985. The haircut angle at least rebuilt the heat, but it seemed like it was leading to a hair vs. hair match that never happened.

- The famous Piper's Pit with Snuka and the coconut was, with the exception of St. Louis TV, not aired for about two months. Why not?

- Big John Studd was managed by Freddie Blassie in 1983. Then was managed by Roddy Piper in early 1984 in a forgotten piece of wrestling history. Studd was seconded by Mr. Fuji at least once. Then he was with Bobby Heenan by the fall. I don't think there was a single angle to explain any of this.

- Other brief manager/wrestler pairings that came and went in a hurry were Albano/Spoiler, Albano/Patera, Valiant/Spoiler, Heenan/Rose, and Albano/Sawyer.

There was also the curious case of Piper managing Orndorff early in the year with Heenan taking over later. Then the Heenan/Orndorff pairing was forgotten in the build up to Wrestlemania in 1985 only to be suddenly remembered when they turned Paul babyface.

- At MSG, they had the match pitting Adonis and Murdoch against the Samoans with Albano as referee, torn between the teams. Then they had a six man tag the next month at MSG with Slaughter and the Samoans defeating Albano, Murdoch, and Adonis cleanly in what would seem to have been the blow off match. However, on the next MSG show they inexplicably brought back Afa vs. Murdoch and Sika vs. Adonis in singles bouts.

- Captain Lou Albano was pushed big as a heel almost to the very moment he turned babyface, including at TV tapings, as if the WWF decided very late to turn him.

- There was the strange deal with Samula going on Piper's Pit and speaking perfect English while standing up to Roddy. It appeared he was going to go after Hot Rod as revenge for Snuka. Then the whole episode was forgotten and Tonga Kid got the push instead.

- There was also the continued use of Samula as an undercard heel when Afa and Sika had turned babyface.

- The Spoiler was billed as National Champion and Les Thornton as Junior Heavyweight Champion for a few weeks only for the belts to be dropped without further mention.

- The general signing of guys they didn't have plans for. Even some guys who got pushed later were stuck on house show prelims without angles for a while.

Somehow the WWF prospered in spite of this messy booking and overall planning.

Last edited on Thu Jan 14th, 2010 04:33 pm by tamalie

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 Posted: Thu Jan 14th, 2010 05:21 pm
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pjstef



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Very interesting points.

Just speculating, but I'd say that maybe in some instances ideas were dropped quickly, but once the ship would gain momentum in some direction it would at times be hard to shift. I would guess that once they settled on Samoans vs Adonis/Murdoch for late Spring and early summer of '84, they did not have much foresight into the next step with so much going on and so many new guys being signed. They started booking 2 and then on some nights 3 arenas per night, so when a few programs could be considered mainstays, they were left going for a while, lest there be even more balls in the air at once.

Maybe Hogan got hotter faster than originally thought, so they may have become scattered in how to use him. In the east, the program with Shultz fizzled - they did the NY-area battle at the Meadowlands in a 7 minute clean win for Hogan if I recall. Perhaps when they first programmed Shultz vs Hogan it was before they came up with other areas where they could use, or needed to use Hogan. It was not long before the attendance for Hogan shows started to largely outdraw some of the B and C crew house shows that had Sgt Slaughter on top. So the Shultz angle passed quickly. I am just guessing here.

Last edited on Thu Jan 14th, 2010 05:23 pm by pjstef

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 Posted: Thu Jan 14th, 2010 06:39 pm
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Bix



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When in '84 was Superstars added?  What was generally the format and when did it change if it did?  I only have one ep from early spring and it's hosted in a bright blue studio with exclusive interviews including an exclusive Piper's Pit, plus a few Kiel matches and some recycled matches from Championship or All-Star.  I have some clips from later in the year of an episode where Roger Kent and Blackjack Mulligan hosted and the matches are from Maple Leaf Gardens with new commentary by the hosts.

Studd's million managers is one of the weirder things if you watch TV from that era.

The Piper-Snuka thing reminded me that I read something awhile back about how much of a mess the syndicated TV (at least Championship) was in the middle of the year, so I'd like to hear more about that.

How long was TNT a two hour show/when was it cut to an hour?  Did the longer format usually feature regular matches instead of just clips to introduce the guests?

How long was the Chase show taped at the hotel (returning to the ballroom after the NWA show had been in the TV studio for years), how long was it made up of Kiel footage (and was there footage from other shows when it was Kiel-based), and when did it become a renamed version of one of the other syndicated shows (first Superstars, then Championship, I think)?  How long did the Chase name last after it became a renamed regular syndicated show?  How much Chase ballroom footage aired on the other shows during the initial tapings (I know that Mil Mascaras vs Gil Guerrero aired on All American)?

How much footage aired on the TBS shows (and to a lesser extent All-American, TNT, and Superstars) that didn't air elsewhere?  Besides the exclusive interviews on both shows and the interstitial segments with the wrestler guests on the Sunday show, I know that they aired footage of the Met Centre debut that hasn't shown up anywhere else.

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 Posted: Thu Jan 14th, 2010 06:39 pm
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kargol



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Looks like they just signed everyone up to annoy the opposition.



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 Posted: Thu Jan 14th, 2010 07:37 pm
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Count Grog
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lets just sign all the top guys from the territories and then figure out what to do with them later.  For these early tours all they did was announce who was coming and it was the beginning of matches are not that important attitude with the WWF.



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 Posted: Thu Jan 14th, 2010 07:55 pm
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CanadianHorseman



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kargol wrote: Looks like they just signed everyone up to annoy the opposition.

It's called the NY Yankee method. :tongue:



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 Posted: Thu Jan 14th, 2010 08:31 pm
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Bix



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Another odd thing I just remembered is that someone told me that on Maple Leaf Wrestling, they'd push George Welles and Lanny Poffo more than they did on the US shows.

Though that would've been '85 for Poffo.

Last edited on Thu Jan 14th, 2010 08:32 pm by Bix

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 Posted: Thu Jan 14th, 2010 08:37 pm
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Bix wrote: Another odd thing I just remembered is that someone told me that on Maple Leaf Wrestling, they'd push George Welles and Lanny Poffo more than they did on the US shows.

Welles makes sense because of his CFL past but I have no idea on why Poffo would get a push in Canada.



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 Posted: Thu Jan 14th, 2010 08:44 pm
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srossi
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Bix wrote: Another odd thing I just remembered is that someone told me that on Maple Leaf Wrestling, they'd push George Welles and Lanny Poffo more than they did on the US shows.

Though that would've been '85 for Poffo.

Who did Poffo actually beat on Maple Leaf Wrestling?



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 Posted: Thu Jan 14th, 2010 08:56 pm
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Count Grog wrote: lets just sign all the top guys from the territories and then figure out what to do with them later.  For these early tours all they did was announce who was coming and it was the beginning of matches are not that important attitude with the WWF.
This. It almost seemed like they signed too many guys and were a little overwhelmed on what to do next.



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 Posted: Thu Jan 14th, 2010 09:15 pm
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tamalie
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Bix wrote:
When in '84 was Superstars added?  What was generally the format and when did it change if it did?  I only have one ep from early spring and it's hosted in a bright blue studio with exclusive interviews including an exclusive Piper's Pit, plus a few Kiel matches and some recycled matches from Championship or All-Star.  I have some clips from later in the year of an episode where Roger Kent and Blackjack Mulligan hosted and the matches are from Maple Leaf Gardens with new commentary by the hosts.

The Piper-Snuka thing reminded me that I read something awhile back about how much of a mess the syndicated TV (at least Championship) was in the middle of the year, so I'd like to hear more about that.

How long was the Chase show taped at the hotel (returning to the ballroom after the NWA show had been in the TV studio for years), how long was it made up of Kiel footage (and was there footage from other shows when it was Kiel-based), and when did it become a renamed version of one of the other syndicated shows (first Superstars, then Championship, I think)?  How long did the Chase name last after it became a renamed regular syndicated show?  How much Chase ballroom footage aired on the other shows during the initial tapings (I know that Mil Mascaras vs Gil Guerrero aired on All American)?

Good call on Championship being a mess. I think the problems began partly when they left Allentown for Poughkeepsie. This may be incorrect, but did they miss a taping somewhere along the line when the switch was made? The historyofwwe.com shows the last Allentown taping as having occurred on 6/19/84 and the final Hamburg taping was on 6/20/84. The first Canadian taping was on 7/10/84, but the first Poughkeepsie taping appears to not have happened until 7/31/84. 

They taped at the Chase Hotel on 12/27/83, 1/16/84 and in 2/84 on an undetermined date. Then the St. Louis house shows on 2/10/84, 3/2/84, 3/23/84, 4/6/84, 5/5/84, 5/25/84, 6/15/84, 7/20/84, 8/10/84, and 9/1/84 were all used as tapings. 

Per thehistoryofwwe.com, a Mil Mascaras vs. Bobby Colt match from the 1/16/84 Chase Hotel taping aired on All American as well, but it doesn’t look like anything else from the three hotel tapings turned up on other shows.

Once they started taping at the house shows, matches turned up in other places as follows per historyofwwe.com.

2/10/84: Wrestling at the Chase, All American, Championship

3/2/84: Wrestling at the Chase, Superstars

3/23/84: Wrestling at the Chase, All Star

4/16/84: Wrestling at the Chase, All American, Superstars

5/5/84: No show specified, but labeled a taping.

5/25/84: Wrestling at the Chase

6/15/84: Superstars, TNT

7/20/84: Superstars, TNT

8/10/84: Prime Time, TNT

9/1/84: TNT

Graham’s site is not the gospel, but his results don’t show a match from Superstars until 4/10/84 and his last Wrestling at the Chase results are dated 6/24/84.

Last edited on Thu Jan 14th, 2010 09:16 pm by tamalie

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 Posted: Thu Jan 14th, 2010 09:58 pm
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tamalie
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srossi wrote: Bix wrote: Another odd thing I just remembered is that someone told me that on Maple Leaf Wrestling, they'd push George Welles and Lanny Poffo more than they did on the US shows.

Though that would've been '85 for Poffo.

Who did Poffo actually beat on Maple Leaf Wrestling?


Here are some odd results from the Canadian syndicated tapings.

7/10/84: A squash win for Gama Singh. Pat Patterson was jobbing towards retirement at the house shows and not getting pushed on TV anymore, but won a squash. 

8/6/84: Ivan Putski, whom they seemed to have no real plans for, got a count out win over Paul Orndorff. Rare squash wins for The Spoiler, Mad Dog Vachon, and Gama Singh.

8/29/84: Dynamite Kid teamed with Bret Hart to win a squash and got another one in singles action. I'm pretty sure neither man appeared stateside for a while.

9/24/84: This time Bret Hart teamed with Davey Boy Smith in a squash win while Dynamite worked solo. The Moondogs and Iron Mike Sharpe got squash wins.

10/8/84: Big John Studd and Nikolai Volkoff teamed to beat SD Jones and Samula.

10/29/84: The Spoiler won a squash with both Captain Lou Albano and Greg Valentine in his corner.

11/19/84: The Moondogs won a squash.

12/16/84: The Moondogs won another squash and so did The Spoiler who was now managed by Johnny Valiant.

1/7/85: Two squash wins for Angelo Mosca Jr. who didn't appear anywhere else on the circuit, but Ontario cards. Andre and JYD teamed to win a squash when they rarely put Andre on TV unless it was for an angle.

1/20/85: Bret Hart and George Wells teaming to win a squash. Albano seconding Hillbilly Jim. The Spoiler getting yet another squash win even though he wasn't being pushed at the U.S. tapings. Jim Neidhart worked as a single with Mr. Fuji as his manager.

2/20/85: Luc Porier being given a squash win that apparently made TV.

3/85: (beginning of the month) Another squash win for Luc Porier, plus George Wells teamed with Tony Atlas to win a squash.

3/85: (end of the month) Yet another win for Luc Porier who never wrestled for the WWF stateside, plus a squash win for George Wells and SD Jones.

5/25/85: Donna Christenello wins a non title match over Wendi Richter after interference from The Fabulous Moolah. George Wells and SD Jones got another squash win.

6/18/85: Lanny Poffo won a squash over Mr. X.

7/15/85: Lanny Poffo and George Wells teamed to win two squashes.

7/29/85: Lanny Poffo and George Wells got another squash win.

10/85: This time Lanny Poffo teamed with Tony Atlas to win a squash, plus Iron Mike Sharpe got a squash win!

11/85: Lanny Poffo teamed with Corporal Kirschner to win a squash, plus Tony Atlas won a squash teaming with Ivan Putski who wasn't getting any TV time at the Poughkeepsie tapings.

12/2/85: Junkyard Dog, who was headlining B shows and working semi main event spots on the A shows was teamed in a squash win with Dan Spivey whose minor push hadn't even really begun.

1/13/86: Bob Orton Jr. was still Roddy Piper's bodyguard, but he was on the losing side of a match against Tito Santana and Pedro Morales with Johnny K-9 as his partner.

6/16/86: Cousin Luke got a squash win even though the Hillbillies push was over with Uncle Elmer having gone back to Memphis and Hillbilly Jim not wrestling at the time.

7/7/86: Squash wins for the Moondogs, Brickhouse Brown, and King Tonga and Siva Afi who got a minor push as a team before Afi went back to jobbing and Tonga Kid came aboard.

7/28/86: A squash win for Cousin Luke. Bob Orton Jr. teamed with Hoss and JJ Funk for no apparent reason. Johnny Valiant worked a six man squash with the Dream Team. Iron Mike Sharpe got nine minutes against Tito Santana. Plus Owen Hart got a non televised try out match.

Last edited on Thu Jan 14th, 2010 10:00 pm by tamalie

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 Posted: Thu Jan 14th, 2010 10:35 pm
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carpetbeggar
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tamalie wrote:
Here are some odd results from the Canadian syndicated tapings.


10/29/84: The Spoiler won a squash with both Captain Lou Albano and Greg Valentine in his corner.


Out of all the ones you listed I find this one the most bizarre. I wonder why Greg Valentine was in his corner?
Were they thinking of putting Greg with the Spoiler and call them the Dream Team before going with Beefcake?
When was The Spoiler's last appearance for the company?

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 Posted: Thu Jan 14th, 2010 10:53 pm
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Bix



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They taped at the Chase Hotel on 12/27/83, 1/16/84 and in 2/84 on an undetermined date. Then the St. Louis house shows on 2/10/84, 3/2/84, 3/23/84, 4/6/84, 5/5/84, 5/25/84, 6/15/84, 7/20/84, 8/10/84, and 9/1/84 were all used as tapings. 

Per thehistoryofwwe.com, a Mil Mascaras vs. Bobby Colt match from the 1/16/84 Chase Hotel taping aired on All American as well, but it doesn’t look like anything else from the three hotel tapings turned up on other shows.

Once they started taping at the house shows, matches turned up in other places as follows per historyofwwe.com.

2/10/84: Wrestling at the Chase, All American, Championship

3/2/84: Wrestling at the Chase, Superstars

3/23/84: Wrestling at the Chase, All Star

4/16/84: Wrestling at the Chase, All American, Superstars

5/5/84: No show specified, but labeled a taping.

5/25/84: Wrestling at the Chase

6/15/84: Superstars, TNT

7/20/84: Superstars, TNT

8/10/84: Prime Time, TNT

9/1/84: TNT

Graham’s site is not the gospel, but his results don’t show a match from Superstars until 4/10/84 and his last Wrestling at the Chase results are dated 6/24/84.

I'm curious as to where he got the Superstars results (other than 4/10/84, which I sent him based on the one full show I have), since I haven't seen any episodes floating around, unless the show was being rebadged in St. Louis as Wrestling At The Chase by that point and whoever sent the results was going by those, which are easier to find.

I take it that you don't know when Superstars started other than that it was launched with the expansion at some point in '84?  I remember reading a book that mentioned the launch of the show but I can't remember what it was.

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 Posted: Fri Jan 15th, 2010 12:05 am
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tamalie
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I went through NewspaperArchive.com and the Google News Archive and the earliest listing for Superstars of Wrestling was January 29, 1984 in Chicago. I'll dig out the old Observers later or this weekend and see what, if any, mention there was.

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