View single post by tamalie
 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