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srossi
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Everyone bitches about awful booking so much these days, but let’s hear about the most nonsensical angles, miscast babyface, aborted pushes, and feuds that went nowhere pre-1983. The WWWF was so comfortable with their formulas that it seems like they barely had to try to keep the fans happy, and of course they only had to run a handful of real angles a year as opposed to a handful a week these days. But still, there must be a list. Commenting on this stuff after the fact doesn’t really do it justice, you “had to be there” to really understand what did and didn’t work. So let’s here it. 

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Bob Backlund & Pedro Morales beat The Samoans (two straight falls) for the tag titles.

Turns out Backlund (WWWF champ) can't hold the tag title because he's the singles titleholder also

A tournament is held and the Samoans regain the tag team titles

All that was accomplished was to make your unbeatable tag team champs look beatable (they were just beaten two straight falls)

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beejmi wrote: Bob Backlund & Pedro Morales beat The Samoans (two straight falls) for the tag titles.

Turns out Backlund (WWWF champ) can't hold the tag title because he's the singles titleholder also

A tournament is held and the Samoans regain the tag team titles

All that was accomplished was to make your unbeatable tag team champs look beatable (they were just beaten two straight falls)

I don't see that as bad booking, I see that as your champs being unbeatable. 

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freebirdsforever2019 wrote: beejmi wrote: Bob Backlund & Pedro Morales beat The Samoans (two straight falls) for the tag titles.

Turns out Backlund (WWWF champ) can't hold the tag title because he's the singles titleholder also

A tournament is held and the Samoans regain the tag team titles

All that was accomplished was to make your unbeatable tag team champs look beatable (they were just beaten two straight falls)

I don't see that as bad booking, I see that as your champs being unbeatable. 


The bad booking is that "if this was real" the rule that Backlund was unable to hold two titles would have been known before the match took place.

Last edited on Wed Oct 21st, 2020 11:35 am by Kriss

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Kriss wrote: freebirdsforever2019 wrote: beejmi wrote: Bob Backlund & Pedro Morales beat The Samoans (two straight falls) for the tag titles.

Turns out Backlund (WWWF champ) can't hold the tag title because he's the singles titleholder also

A tournament is held and the Samoans regain the tag team titles

All that was accomplished was to make your unbeatable tag team champs look beatable (they were just beaten two straight falls)

I don't see that as bad booking, I see that as your champs being unbeatable. 


The bad booking is that "if this was real" the rule that Backlund was unable to hold two titles would have been known before the match took place.

I still don't see that as an issue. It shows that the Samoans were beatable when faced by the 2 top guys in the federation. It also showed that the Samoans could rebound and win the titles back in the Tournament. 

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freebirdsforever2019 wrote: Kriss wrote: freebirdsforever2019 wrote: beejmi wrote: Bob Backlund & Pedro Morales beat The Samoans (two straight falls) for the tag titles.

Turns out Backlund (WWWF champ) can't hold the tag title because he's the singles titleholder also

A tournament is held and the Samoans regain the tag team titles

All that was accomplished was to make your unbeatable tag team champs look beatable (they were just beaten two straight falls)

I don't see that as bad booking, I see that as your champs being unbeatable. 


The bad booking is that "if this was real" the rule that Backlund was unable to hold two titles would have been known before the match took place.

I still don't see that as an issue. It shows that the Samoans were beatable when faced by the 2 top guys in the federation. It also showed that the Samoans could rebound and win the titles back in the Tournament.
It also shows there is no point in tag team wrestling at all if you can put two singles wrestlers together and they beat the tag team champions.

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The fans seemed to like it and it was treated as the heel getting his comeuppance, but when the WWWF/WWF used babyfaces as special guest referees, that special ref would always favor the babyface, would often play a direct role in the finish, and inevitably fast count the match ending fall.

Regarding the WWF Tag Team Title tourney on TV in 1980 after Backlund and Morales had to give up the belts, the tournament field consisted of The Samoans and a bunch of teams that consisted either of two prelim guys or one star and a prelim guy. The teams were Afa and Sika, Tony Garea and Rene Goulet, Rick Martel and Dom DeNucci, Jonny Rodz and Jose Estrada, The Black Demon and Sylvano Sousa, and Baron Mike Scicluna and Johnny Rodz. Yes, unless there was an explanation on TV about someone's partner being hurt or a mistake being made by results compilers, Johnny Rodz was on two teams in a six team tourney. 

So not only did The Samoans lose the belts at Shea Stadium only for the new champs to immediately vacate them, but The Samoans won them back by beating nobody. It made Afa and Sika look bad for getting the tag belts back on the cheap and it made the WWF look bad for not having even one other team in the tourney that could possibly have won. I'm guessing the WWF didn't want any pushed talent to do a job on TV and didn't want to give away any match that they'd want fans to pay to see, but to not have a good babyface team to make it to the finals was really strange.

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tamalie wrote: The fans seemed to like it and it was treated as the heel getting his comeuppance, but when the WWWF/WWF used babyfaces as special guest referees, that special ref would always favor the babyface, would often play a direct role in the finish, and inevitably fast count the match ending fall.

Regarding the WWF Tag Team Title tourney on TV in 1980 after Backlund and Morales had to give up the belts, the tournament field consisted of The Samoans and a bunch of teams that consisted either of two prelim guys or one star and a prelim guy. The teams were Afa and Sika, Tony Garea and Rene Goulet, Rick Martel and Dom DeNucci, Jonny Rodz and Jose Estrada, The Black Demon and Sylvano Sousa, and Baron Mike Scicluna and Johnny Rodz. Yes, unless there was an explanation on TV about someone's partner being hurt or a mistake being made by results compilers, Johnny Rodz was on two teams in a six team tourney. 

So not only did The Samoans lose the belts at Shea Stadium only for the new champs to immediately vacate them, but The Samoans won them back by beating nobody. It made Afa and Sika look bad for getting the tag belts back on the cheap and it made the WWF look bad for not having even one other team in the tourney that could possibly have won. I'm guessing the WWF didn't want any pushed talent to do a job on TV and didn't want to give away any match that they'd want fans to pay to see, but to not have a good babyface team to make it to the finals was really strange.
Considering the timeline, would it have been a stretch to have Martel and Garea lose to the Samoans with either taking the pinfall? Martel I believe was getting ready to move on - or it was just before Martel and Garea were going to win the belts.  Either way, a loss makes sense...have them job in the tourney if Martel is leaving, or have them get screwed by Albano if they were going to win later on in the year.

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Allowing Lou Albano to get in the ring with a superstar babyface knowing how badly Albano would expose the business with his blading never seemed smart. You think someone would have told him to hide that shit better, and if he didn't, stop booking him into matches.

I know Albano getting whaled on was something the fans looked forward to in the vein of managers getting their just desserts, but it's really hard on the eyes if they ever had the goal of keeping kayfabe seriously in their minds.

However, the fans of the era never let it bother them so I guess it didn't really matter.

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Superstar wrote: tamalie wrote: The fans seemed to like it and it was treated as the heel getting his comeuppance, but when the WWWF/WWF used babyfaces as special guest referees, that special ref would always favor the babyface, would often play a direct role in the finish, and inevitably fast count the match ending fall.

Regarding the WWF Tag Team Title tourney on TV in 1980 after Backlund and Morales had to give up the belts, the tournament field consisted of The Samoans and a bunch of teams that consisted either of two prelim guys or one star and a prelim guy. The teams were Afa and Sika, Tony Garea and Rene Goulet, Rick Martel and Dom DeNucci, Jonny Rodz and Jose Estrada, The Black Demon and Sylvano Sousa, and Baron Mike Scicluna and Johnny Rodz. Yes, unless there was an explanation on TV about someone's partner being hurt or a mistake being made by results compilers, Johnny Rodz was on two teams in a six team tourney. 

So not only did The Samoans lose the belts at Shea Stadium only for the new champs to immediately vacate them, but The Samoans won them back by beating nobody. It made Afa and Sika look bad for getting the tag belts back on the cheap and it made the WWF look bad for not having even one other team in the tourney that could possibly have won. I'm guessing the WWF didn't want any pushed talent to do a job on TV and didn't want to give away any match that they'd want fans to pay to see, but to not have a good babyface team to make it to the finals was really strange.
Considering the timeline, would it have been a stretch to have Martel and Garea lose to the Samoans with either taking the pinfall? Martel I believe was getting ready to move on - or it was just before Martel and Garea were going to win the belts.  Either way, a loss makes sense...have them job in the tourney if Martel is leaving, or have them get screwed by Albano if they were going to win later on in the year.

Rick Martel was pretty new. He had just debuted on TV a bit less than a month to go before the Shea Stadium card. Tony Garea returned after an absence of more than a year at the same TV taping. The Rick Martel and Tony Garea team debuted on TV about a month after the Samoans won the tag team title back in the tourney final. They quickly beat Afa and Sika for the belts at The Spectrum, with the match airing in syndication only three weeks following their start as a team. 

The Moondogs debuted as a team basically a month after The Wild Samoans won the tag team title tourney final with the taping on 10/21/80 and their match airing the weekend of 10/25/80. It was at this same taping that the Garea and Martel team debuted. The Samoans still had the WWF Tag Team Title and were also at that set of tapings, but departed soon afterwards. The Spectrum loss of the belts was 11/8/80 and it aired in syndication on the weekend of 11/15/80. Afa and Sika last appeared in syndication on the weekend of 11/1/80. They worked house shows into late December and then left. 

Giving the belts back to The Wild Samoans only for them to effectively be gone in two months was quite strange. Why not have Martel and Garea win the tourney? Was the plan for another heel team to come in and somehow it fell through, so Afa and Sika were held over for a quick tag team title run? The WWWF/WWF Tag Team Title was always something of an afterthought. Albano would have a heel team that would feud with a babyface team of what amounted to a pair of singles wrestlers, the belts would change hands, Albano would get a new team, and the process would start over in some fashion. However, this mess took the cake.

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Remembering Polish Power Ivan Putski....remember how "impervious to pain" he was? It seemed like he was so invincible in the ring.

I always wondered why, then, didn't he have any substantial title run? (perhaps because he was so stiff in the ring that it actually was GOOD booking that he didn't have the title)/

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kargol wrote: freebirdsforever2019 wrote: Kriss wrote: freebirdsforever2019 wrote: beejmi wrote: Bob Backlund & Pedro Morales beat The Samoans (two straight falls) for the tag titles.

Turns out Backlund (WWWF champ) can't hold the tag title because he's the singles titleholder also

A tournament is held and the Samoans regain the tag team titles

All that was accomplished was to make your unbeatable tag team champs look beatable (they were just beaten two straight falls)

I don't see that as bad booking, I see that as your champs being unbeatable. 


The bad booking is that "if this was real" the rule that Backlund was unable to hold two titles would have been known before the match took place.

I still don't see that as an issue. It shows that the Samoans were beatable when faced by the 2 top guys in the federation. It also showed that the Samoans could rebound and win the titles back in the Tournament.
It also shows there is no point in tag team wrestling at all if you can put two singles wrestlers together and they beat the tag team champions.

Nah, it's the best two singles wrestlers in the fed.  It's believable that two guys with enormous talent on an individual scale could team up and beat the tag champs.
My only issue with it is that it was an advertised title match, so why did they not address the point beforehand that the titles couldn't be held by the singles champs and would  need to be immediately vacated?

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Greg Valentine awarded the WWF title after Backlund pinned him. The ref was dazed because he got knocked down and awarded the match to the wrong man. (The Bump was not even that Bad) resulting of the title being vacate in New York ever where else Backlund was still champ.

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This was all before my time. We didn't start getting tv for Titan until January '84 in Chicago, but in looking at old tapes of Backlund, the one angle I've never understood was the crying/tantrum after Graham busted up the belt. Man, that made him look weak. It just seems like something they perhaps didn't think through. I know they didn't rehearse promos back then, but that's probably one they should have did a "test run" on. Maniac/pissed off Bob would have come off better than maniac/whiney/crybaby Bob.

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Babyface champ (Bruno, Backlund) would face bad guy. Bad guy won match #1.

Here comes match #2. Bad guy wins as the ref stops match because of blood or the champ is 'unable to continue'

First of all, 'unable to continue' should be a title change. Let the match go another few minutes.

This all was to set up match #3 in a series usually with a stipulation (Cage) and the babyface prevailing

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A 'properly booked' 1980 She Stadium show would not have had the tag title change.

Go with the 'double main event' schtick 


Main event #1 is Bruno vs Zbyszko in a cage.


Main event #2 should have  been Backlund vs Race WWWF vs NWA

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Even backlund against the top challenger (whoever that was) would have been better. Hell have the Samoans lose the titles to someone in an upset or a Schmozz that gets the titles held up for the tournament, and then have them win it back like they did. Doesn’t make them look quite as weak.

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I'm not sure this is what you're looking for, but taking the title off "Superstar" Billy Graham was just an awful decision.Graham was over with the crowd and could have easily been turned babyface for a much longer run as the champ than was originally planned and executed. I think the WWWF left money on the table by not turning him and more importantly, severly damaged Graham both as a performer, and on a personal level from the accounts I've read.

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The Iron Sheik being the one to beat Backlund wasn't good.


A better pick would have been Ivan Koloff (who had beaten Bruno) and you still could have had Hogan take the belt off of Koloff and had Hogan do his 'Real American' schtick.

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beejmi wrote: The Iron Sheik being the one to beat Backlund wasn't good.


A better pick would have been Ivan Koloff (who had beaten Bruno) and you still could have had Hogan take the belt off of Koloff and had Hogan do his 'Real American' schtick.
I'm curious to know why you think Shiek was a poor choice? Wouldn't just about any foreign heel have worked in that spot?

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beejmi wrote: The Iron Sheik being the one to beat Backlund wasn't good.


A better pick would have been Ivan Koloff (who had beaten Bruno) and you still could have had Hogan take the belt off of Koloff and had Hogan do his 'Real American' schtick.
 It looks like the only reason Sheik won the title is because he was the next scheduled challenger for the belt. If Hogan decided to return in March then probably Orndorff becomes interim champion.

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BitterOldMan wrote: beejmi wrote: The Iron Sheik being the one to beat Backlund wasn't good.


A better pick would have been Ivan Koloff (who had beaten Bruno) and you still could have had Hogan take the belt off of Koloff and had Hogan do his 'Real American' schtick.
I'm curious to know why you think Shiek was a poor choice? Wouldn't just about any foreign heel have worked in that spot?


Basically at the time only a few people had held the title. Koloff was a major contender for Backlund's belt and it would have 'continued history' more or less. There's the argument that Koloff had slowed down a lot by then etc but I would counter that by pointing out Backlund had beaten The Iron Sheik (Hussein Arab) a few years earlier without even going 2-3 matches with him around the horn.

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Just a basic 'painting with a wide brush'complaint

Too formula based. Challenger went up against Backlund or Bruno -if they won match #1 they won match #2 and then got match #3 and got beat.


Tag title changed hands on TV over half the time when there was a 'worthy contender' challenging for it. Not counting teams with midcard guys (SD Jones, Rick McGraw) 

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BitterOldMan wrote: I'm not sure this is what you're looking for, but taking the title off "Superstar" Billy Graham was just an awful decision.Graham was over with the crowd and could have easily been turned babyface for a much longer run as the champ than was originally planned and executed. I think the WWWF left money on the table by not turning him and more importantly, severly damaged Graham both as a performer, and on a personal level from the accounts I've read.
And his foot was on the ropes.  They didn't even put the face over cleanly.  Now you've got a bland face with a tainted win as you headliner.  The whole thing seems odd.

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beejmi wrote: BitterOldMan wrote: beejmi wrote: The Iron Sheik being the one to beat Backlund wasn't good.


A better pick would have been Ivan Koloff (who had beaten Bruno) and you still could have had Hogan take the belt off of Koloff and had Hogan do his 'Real American' schtick.
I'm curious to know why you think Shiek was a poor choice? Wouldn't just about any foreign heel have worked in that spot?


Basically at the time only a few people had held the title. Koloff was a major contender for Backlund's belt and it would have 'continued history' more or less. There's the argument that Koloff had slowed down a lot by then etc but I would counter that by pointing out Backlund had beaten The Iron Sheik (Hussein Arab) a few years earlier without even going 2-3 matches with him around the horn.

There were probably 30 better choices in the industry then Koloff to take the belt off of Backlund. You had Slaughter ( could've turned face after an attack from Iron Sheik), Valentine, Muraco, Patera, Masked Superstar.

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freebirdsforever2019 wrote: beejmi wrote: BitterOldMan wrote: beejmi wrote: The Iron Sheik being the one to beat Backlund wasn't good.


A better pick would have been Ivan Koloff (who had beaten Bruno) and you still could have had Hogan take the belt off of Koloff and had Hogan do his 'Real American' schtick.
I'm curious to know why you think Shiek was a poor choice? Wouldn't just about any foreign heel have worked in that spot?


Basically at the time only a few people had held the title. Koloff was a major contender for Backlund's belt and it would have 'continued history' more or less. There's the argument that Koloff had slowed down a lot by then etc but I would counter that by pointing out Backlund had beaten The Iron Sheik (Hussein Arab) a few years earlier without even going 2-3 matches with him around the horn.

There were probably 30 better choices in the industry then Koloff to take the belt off of Backlund. You had Slaughter ( could've turned face after an attack from Iron Sheik), Valentine, Muraco, Patera, Masked Superstar.
I thought at the time that Valentine or Masked Superstar worked the best in the role of pulling the belt from Backlund.  Especially Superstar. 

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Regarding Superstar Billy Graham losing the WWWF Title when he did, it was known before he won the belt that he'd be losing to Bob Backlund after a bit less than a year. Bob was already getting brought to WWWF TV to get squash wins and built up as a big deal starting in early December of 1976, well ahead of Graham beating Bruno Sammartino in Baltimore on April 30, 1977. In those matches, Bob was not being made out to be a Tony Garea type in the midcard mix. He was made out to be someone important.

Bob didn't debut at a house show until the MSG Gard on April 25, 1977 and didn't work at any other arena until December of 1977 apart from a single spot show in New Jersey the day before the August 16-17, 1977 TV tapings in Philadelphia and Hamburg. In the end, the WWWF had a set formula that called for setting its direction well in advance. It wasn't going to deviate from that path and Backlund's title reign was successful enough that the decision to stay the path with him was correct.

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Regarding the selection of The Iron Sheik to win the WWF Title from Bob Backlund, a poster at one of the boards once put forth the theory that he got the call because Vince and his inner circle knew by December 26, 1983 that Hulk Hogan was coming in the next day for the first St. Louis taping. Therefore, Hogan was winning the title at the January 23, 1984 MSG card. Had Hogan not agreed to come in for a few more weeks, then Backlund likely would have retained his title against The Iron Sheik and then lost it to whoever he faced at the January 23, 1984 MSG card with Hogan then winning the title at the February 20, 1984 card. If Hogan wasn't coming at all, Bob would have held on longer as champ until Vince found whoever he wanted as his long term champ for expansion.

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tamalie wrote: Regarding the selection of The Iron Sheik to win the WWF Title from Bob Backlund, a poster at one of the boards once put forth the theory that he got the call because Vince and his inner circle knew by December 26, 1983 that Hulk Hogan was coming in the next day for the first St. Louis taping. Therefore, Hogan was winning the title at the January 23, 1984 MSG card. Had Hogan not agreed to come in for a few more weeks, then Backlund likely would have retained his title against The Iron Sheik and then lost it to whoever he faced at the January 23, 1984 MSG card with Hogan then winning the title at the February 20, 1984 card. If Hogan wasn't coming at all, Bob would have held on longer as champ until Vince found whoever he wanted as his long term champ for expansion.No Hogan means that Vince would have thrown buckets of cash at Kerry Von Erich.  And in hindsight?  We may not even have a WWE now if that happened.   What would have been interesting is if Hogan said no and Vince had to choose between Kerry or Flair.  Remember, in late '83 when Flair regained the strap at Starrcade, Flair wasn't yet the dominant champ that we knew and loved.  There was still some issues in getting him consistently over or else they would have never flipped the belt back to Harley when they did.  But Vince wanted a face champ, and we all know Flair worked better as a heel.  Not to mention, Ric was loyal to the NWA.  So for as much as Vince and Co. say that they made Hogan, I tend to agree with the Hulkster - he did a ton more for Vince and the WWF at that time than Vince did for him.  There's zero doubt that Hogan in the NWA, AWA, and Japan could have made a fortune.  The WWF made that fortune larger than anybody expected.  But no Hulk?  There's no way Vince goes mainstream with KVE as the mouthpiece.

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Superstar wrote: tamalie wrote: Regarding the selection of The Iron Sheik to win the WWF Title from Bob Backlund, a poster at one of the boards once put forth the theory that he got the call because Vince and his inner circle knew by December 26, 1983 that Hulk Hogan was coming in the next day for the first St. Louis taping. Therefore, Hogan was winning the title at the January 23, 1984 MSG card. Had Hogan not agreed to come in for a few more weeks, then Backlund likely would have retained his title against The Iron Sheik and then lost it to whoever he faced at the January 23, 1984 MSG card with Hogan then winning the title at the February 20, 1984 card. If Hogan wasn't coming at all, Bob would have held on longer as champ until Vince found whoever he wanted as his long term champ for expansion.No Hogan means that Vince would have thrown buckets of cash at Kerry Von Erich.  And in hindsight?  We may not even have a WWE now if that happened.   What would have been interesting is if Hogan said no and Vince had to choose between Kerry or Flair.  Remember, in late '83 when Flair regained the strap at Starrcade, Flair wasn't yet the dominant champ that we knew and loved.  There was still some issues in getting him consistently over or else they would have never flipped the belt back to Harley when they did.  But Vince wanted a face champ, and we all know Flair worked better as a heel.  Not to mention, Ric was loyal to the NWA.  So for as much as Vince and Co. say that they made Hogan, I tend to agree with the Hulkster - he did a ton more for Vince and the WWF at that time than Vince did for him.  There's zero doubt that Hogan in the NWA, AWA, and Japan could have made a fortune.  The WWF made that fortune larger than anybody expected.  But no Hulk?  There's no way Vince goes mainstream with KVE as the mouthpiece.

We’ll never know what would’ve happened with different top talent, but I tend to think it was the machine more than any individual wrestler, even Hogan, that would’ve propelled the WWF to dominance. The first thing to consider is the sheer incompetence and backwards thinking of the other promoters. It was going to be tough for them to be competitive in a changing entertainment landscape in the mid-‘80s no matter what. Vince had visions in terms of expansion, cable TV, national syndication, global distribution, appealing to kids, merchandising, and using celebrities that most other promoters thought were totally foreign concepts. He also had the NY, Philly, and Boston markets, sometimes mentioned as an afterthought, but it’s not like his father didn’t help him start his expansion on 2nd base just by virtue of already running a major territory in terms of population and mass media. Vince was buying up every available talent and could’ve played around with marketing a few guys until something hit big. It might not have ever hit as big as with Hogan, but the result might not have wound up very different. And then in 2 years Hogan would’ve been on board again anyway. It’s not like he was going to move to Japan permanently, and he WWF the going yo be making a ton anywhere else without the marketing. You could see throughout 1983 the WWF changing in some ways and getting hotter before Hogan was even there. Every card had new talent who were huge names elsewhere, and Vince wasn’t fucking with any of those characters. He was letting them be exactly who they were before, letting them all get over just as they had before, he was just marketing them better and letting them come across as bigger stars instead of just wrestlers. Hmmm, maybe a lesson old Vince could learn from today. I’ve always said that Vince didn’t create a single star before The Undertaker. Not one. He just took what was already there and literally promoted them better, as a promoter in the traditional sense should do. And if anyone could fill Hogan’s shoes, it might’ve been Savage. He could’ve come in as a babyface instead of a heel and gotten to a very high level. It was impossible to watch Savage even in his father’s little outlaw territory and not see money in him. He might’ve been even bigger if he came first before Hogan, and maybe if he was the guy to work Piper back in 1984. That could’ve been amazing. 

Last edited on Mon Oct 26th, 2020 05:21 pm by srossi

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Superstar wrote: tamalie wrote: Regarding the selection of The Iron Sheik to win the WWF Title from Bob Backlund, a poster at one of the boards once put forth the theory that he got the call because Vince and his inner circle knew by December 26, 1983 that Hulk Hogan was coming in the next day for the first St. Louis taping. Therefore, Hogan was winning the title at the January 23, 1984 MSG card. Had Hogan not agreed to come in for a few more weeks, then Backlund likely would have retained his title against The Iron Sheik and then lost it to whoever he faced at the January 23, 1984 MSG card with Hogan then winning the title at the February 20, 1984 card. If Hogan wasn't coming at all, Bob would have held on longer as champ until Vince found whoever he wanted as his long term champ for expansion.No Hogan means that Vince would have thrown buckets of cash at Kerry Von Erich.  And in hindsight?  We may not even have a WWE now if that happened.   What would have been interesting is if Hogan said no and Vince had to choose between Kerry or Flair.  Remember, in late '83 when Flair regained the strap at Starrcade, Flair wasn't yet the dominant champ that we knew and loved.  There was still some issues in getting him consistently over or else they would have never flipped the belt back to Harley when they did.  But Vince wanted a face champ, and we all know Flair worked better as a heel.  Not to mention, Ric was loyal to the NWA.  So for as much as Vince and Co. say that they made Hogan, I tend to agree with the Hulkster - he did a ton more for Vince and the WWF at that time than Vince did for him.  There's zero doubt that Hogan in the NWA, AWA, and Japan could have made a fortune.  The WWF made that fortune larger than anybody expected.  But no Hulk?  There's no way Vince goes mainstream with KVE as the mouthpiece.

Fritz would've never allowed Kerry to leave World Class, unless he got a part of the National takeover.

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freebirdsforever2019 wrote: beejmi wrote: BitterOldMan wrote:
I'm curious to know why you think Shiek was a poor choice? Wouldn't just about any foreign heel have worked in that spot?


Basically at the time only a few people had held the title. Koloff was a major contender for Backlund's belt and it would have 'continued history' more or less. There's the argument that Koloff had slowed down a lot by then etc but I would counter that by pointing out Backlund had beaten The Iron Sheik (Hussein Arab) a few years earlier without even going 2-3 matches with him around the horn.

There were probably 30 better choices in the industry then Koloff to take the belt off of Backlund. You had Slaughter ( could've turned face after an attack from Iron Sheik), Valentine, Muraco, Patera, Masked Superstar.



In this 'territory' (and that's what it was at the time) Koloff was a HUGE name.  Not the best worker at the time but a huge name and it would have worked.

I'm not sure in retrospect that 'anybody' checked all the boxes as a 'the perfect opponent' that could be believable beating Backlund (he had beaten half the universe already) 

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Another odd booking decision

Backlund loses the WWF title to Antonio Inoki (why?)


Backlund and Inoki have rematch where the finish is disputed.


December 1980 - Backlund and Bobby Duncum wrestle for the 'held up' title at MSG. Not announced as a 'for the held up title' match - Backlund arrives without the belt and is not introed as WWF champion either.

No acknowledgement of the loss in Japan to Inoki

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beejmi wrote: Another odd booking decision

Backlund loses the WWF title to Antonio Inoki (why?)


Backlund and Inoki have rematch where the finish is disputed.


December 1980 - Backlund and Bobby Duncum wrestle for the 'held up' title at MSG. Not announced as a 'for the held up title' match - Backlund arrives without the belt and is not introed as WWF champion either.

No acknowledgement of the loss in Japan to Inoki

That was all for Japan. Unless you read the magazines you didn’t even know that was going on as a WWWF fan. Made perfect sense to strengthen the relationship with Inoki. What made less sense was the way they pushed Inoki at MSG as the fans sat on their hands. They didn’t care about him AT ALL. 

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srossi wrote: beejmi wrote: Another odd booking decision

Backlund loses the WWF title to Antonio Inoki (why?)


Backlund and Inoki have rematch where the finish is disputed.


December 1980 - Backlund and Bobby Duncum wrestle for the 'held up' title at MSG. Not announced as a 'for the held up title' match - Backlund arrives without the belt and is not introed as WWF champion either.

No acknowledgement of the loss in Japan to Inoki

That was all for Japan. Unless you read the magazines you didn’t even know that was going on as a WWWF fan. Made perfect sense to strengthen the relationship with Inoki. What made less sense was the way they pushed Inoki at MSG as the fans sat on their hands. They didn’t care about him AT ALL.
The MSG crowd never gave two shits about Inoki, and I would attribute it to how pissed off everybody was that he lay on his back and wouldn't bring any fight to Muhammad Ali.  New Yorkers looked at that as a pussy move.  With that said - the MSG crowd usually gave a good reception to visiting talent.  Take a look back to when the Von Erich's came in, or Verne and Greg Gagne, countless others from the territories.  But when it came to Japan?  They even wanted to shit on the Tiger Mask vs Dynamite Kid match until about ten seconds into the match and it was obvious that the competitors weren't going to let them shit on it.  They had ZERO interest in Tiger Mask or Dynamite Kid.  By the end of the match, the crowd was completely blown up.  And I don't think we saw anything again like this hit the NY area until Pillman/Liger at the Meadowlands in '90 - a match that sold tickets.

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beejmi wrote: freebirdsforever2019 wrote: beejmi wrote: BitterOldMan wrote:
I'm curious to know why you think Shiek was a poor choice? Wouldn't just about any foreign heel have worked in that spot?


Basically at the time only a few people had held the title. Koloff was a major contender for Backlund's belt and it would have 'continued history' more or less. There's the argument that Koloff had slowed down a lot by then etc but I would counter that by pointing out Backlund had beaten The Iron Sheik (Hussein Arab) a few years earlier without even going 2-3 matches with him around the horn.

There were probably 30 better choices in the industry then Koloff to take the belt off of Backlund. You had Slaughter ( could've turned face after an attack from Iron Sheik), Valentine, Muraco, Patera, Masked Superstar.



In this 'territory' (and that's what it was at the time) Koloff was a HUGE name.  Not the best worker at the time but a huge name and it would have worked.

I'm not sure in retrospect that 'anybody' checked all the boxes as a 'the perfect opponent' that could be believable beating Backlund (he had beaten half the universe already) 

Koloff's last run in the WWWF/WWF was in 1983 and TBH with you, he didn't look physically like that much of a threat. He beat Jay Strongbow & Patterson by CO. He did pin Strongbow 3 times, but by the early Summer, he was losing to anyone credible.

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Your point is taken, I think that at that point in time, the way wrestling worked was that HISTORY was important and Koloff fit that frame way better. Basically, Koloff, Hansen and Graham were the guys that had success against Bruno.



To be honest, you're looking for a guy that can pull off an upset one night and do a few defenses before losing the belt.

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Things were so bad for Uncle Ivan that he was involved in this match at the Spectrum.

WWF TV-Taping @ Philadelphia

1983/08/13 @ The Spectrum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (United States of America)

Invader #1 and Invader #2 defeated Ivan Koloff and Don Kernodle (6:42 minutes)

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To be honest this isn't bad booking very much as other things


Its too 'formula-matic' . The titles. Both singles and tag. Definitive booking patterns.


Its too much reliance on big lumbering guys 


Its what I grew up on though so it doesn't bug me

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Shieky was a better choice to take the belt off Backlund than Koloff at this point - Ivan looked too old.

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beejmi wrote: To be honest this isn't bad booking very much as other things


Its too 'formula-matic' . The titles. Both singles and tag. Definitive booking patterns.


Its too much reliance on big lumbering guys 


Its what I grew up on though so it doesn't bug me

I grew up on both the WWWF/WWF and NWA and I like the NWA model a whole lot better.

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Superstar wrote:
But when it came to Japan?  They even wanted to shit on the Tiger Mask vs Dynamite Kid match until about ten seconds into the match and it was obvious that the competitors weren't going to let them shit on it.  They had ZERO interest in Tiger Mask or Dynamite Kid.  By the end of the match, the crowd was completely blown up.  And I don't think we saw anything again like this hit the NY area until Pillman/Liger at the Meadowlands in '90 - a match that sold tickets.
I can corroborate everything said here. The crowd thought this was going to be a garbage match. They MSG faithful weren't too brutal going in because we were used to having 40 minute midget tag team matches and Baron Scicluna vs. Joe Turco 20 minute draws at the Garden. But sure enough, within the first five minutes, the crowd was 110% behind these guys. It was like watching something magical transpire. The moves these wrestlers were doing made us drop our jaws completely in awe. We were all uneducated about this type of wrestling and the match stunned the Garden crowd into a complete disbelief. When the final bell rang we were so appreciative of what these guys did and wanted to see more. Funny thing was that the Garden match was barely a Top 10 match in the long series these two had.



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