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[MCU Fandom] That Time TeamIronStan Killed the MCU's Biggest Kink Meme with Dance Parties
[One other note before we begin: I’m not trying to hate on Tony Stark fans here. The vast majority of them are sane, perfectly wonderful people. But in the particular community discussed, virtually all the drama originated in the Tony stan group.]
Kink memes are fanfic communities on sites with threaded comment systems, such as Livejournal or Dreamwidth. Anonymous posters request a ship and/or kink at they want to see written or drawn and other anonymous posters might fill the prompt as a reply to the initial comment. At their inception, kink memes were primarily about just that, kink. People wanted weird porn, and weird porn they got.
Over time, kink meme focuses shifted. While you’ll still find a ton of porn prompts for various fetishes in any given meme, there are also users asking for romance stories to fit a certain scenario, where the sex is not the main focus (e.g., arranged marriages, fake romances for espionage purposes that turn real, etc.). And then there are random hijinks requests, a la “the Avengers all get turned into puppies and Nick Fury has to dog sit” or “Betty White sexually harasses Steve Rogers.”
Those last two examples come from Avengerkink, the Internet’s largest repository for Marvel Cinematic Universe fan fic prompts and fills. Avengerkink began on October 6, 2011 on Livejournal. The meme functioned in various rounds: moderators would post a round where members could comment with their prompts. Each round would close to new prompts after reaching 5000 comments, at which time a new round would be posted. Even after closing, users could continue to fill prompts or comment on fills in the previous rounds.
Avengerkink was wildly successful. As of this writing, the meme has 28 completed rounds with over 5000 comments each and another round with 3000-plus comments. There are 4349 filled prompts, and 1793 work-in-progress fills. And those are just the reported fills; there are many more that were not indexed by their authors. While there were successful kink memes for individual MCU franchises (Thor Kinkmeme, capkink, etc.), no other overall MCU memes reached even half the popularity of Avengerkink.
As is common in fandom communities of any significant size, headcanons in popular fics became fanon continuity even outside of the meme. Common fanon includes Thor loving Pop-Tarts more than any other food and possibly life itself, Hawkeye preferring to get around by crawling through air vents whenever possible, and Tony Stark being a tortured genius who’s so obsessed with his science and helping his friends/the world at large to the point that he’d probably die of self-neglect if other people didn’t force him to eat and sleep. That last piece of fanon probably informs a lot of what follows.
Avengerkink was never entirely without some form of drama; people would bicker about characters being woobified by the community, there were claims that Steve Rogers must be racist/sexist/homophobic because he’s from the 1940s and it’s unrealistic to write him otherwise, and of course, your standard kink meme arguments about incest fic, rape fic, RPF, and so on. But the meme carried on with relatively minimal wank, and each new film in the MCU brought new users and revitalized the community. For the most part, things were good.
Then Marvel Studios revealed that Phase 3 of their cinematic universe would include Captain America: Civil War.
Civil War was a major crossover event in Marvel comics. To simplify the whole thing, the government created a registration act for superheroes, requiring their real names and other personal information in order for them to continue superheroing. Iron Man supported this act, Captain America did not, and it led to a ton of nonsense like Tony deputizing super villains and putting people in internment camps, and Captain America recruiting the Punisher for his side and then being all shocked Pikachu when the Punisher did what he does and killed people. At one point a reporter that the comic readers are supposed to agree with tells Steve Rogers that he’s out of touch with the American people because he’s not on MySpace or into NASCAR. Also, Civil War set into motion the events that led to Captain America dying in the comics. So. A lot of people have very strong opinions on it.
MCU fans were not looking forward to potentially seeing Steve die, or watching their favorite characters fight. A note to anyone out there in charge of a film franchise/comic line/book series: People do not want to see heroes in-fighting. They want to see heroes banter and kick ass together. Just let them be friends.
Captain America: Civil War premiered with positive critical reviews and generally good audience reactions. But a sizeable portion of the fandom fractured, and Avengerkink was not immune from this.
A passing familiarity with the Civil War movie is necessary for explanation of what follows. In summary, after the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron caused a bunch of death and destruction, 117 countries in the United Nations come up with a list of rules, the Sokkovia Accords, that they want the Avengers to abide by or stop avenging altogether. Tony is all for this, Steve has reservations, and then a villain disguised as Bucky Barnes blows up a UN meeting and a bunch of stuff happens that is really only tangentially related to the Accords at best, Tony finds out Bucky murdered his parents while brainwashed by HYDRA and tries to kill him, and Steve destroys Tony’s armor, takes Bucky, and leaves. The end.
The fandom split into three factions after this: Team Iron Man, Team Cap, and the people who were tired as hell and thought the whole movie was an exercise in pointlessness. We will call this third group Team Salt.
Some of Team Iron Man’s arguments (again, necessary to understand the drama that follows):
- Superheroes do need to be held accountable
- Over a hundred nations agreed on these rules, how can Team Cap think they know better than them?
- The Scarlet Witch can and has caused catastrophic destruction and house arrest is her best possible option
- Team Cap chose to break the law and it’s their own fault they were imprisoned
- Steve knew Bucky killed Tony’s parents and hid it from him, of course Tony reacted with violent rage
- How can Tony be gullible enough to trust General Ross after what Ross did to Bruce?
- Showing up with a document hundreds of pages long three days before it’s voted on is suspect as hell
- Tony tried to trick Steve into signing before telling him the Scarlet Witch was interned
- Tony lectures everyone about how they need accountability and then turns around and recruits a literal child because of reasons and abandons the Accords as soon as they’re inconvenient to him
- Apparently Tony never even bothered to read the Accords, since he didn’t know about the Raft prison
- Remember when movies were fun?
- Oh boy, another plot sparked by Tony doing something impulsive.
- What a waste of the other Winter Soldiers.
- Remember back when we were actually supposed to get a real Captain America 3, but Marvel ruined it because they were worried about competing with Batman vs Superman? Man, what a stupid thing to be worried about.
- What the hell was that completely gratuitous Steve/Sharon kiss? Was Marvel that threatened by #GiveCaptainAmericaABoyfriend?
There’s no real way to know if Team Iron Man was the largest on the meme, but they were certainly the loudest.
Tony Stark attracts more stans in the MCU than probably anyone else, at least before the introduction of Peter Parker to the films. Sure, Loki, Bucky, and others each have their own diehard fanbases, but there’s something about Tony. Maybe it’s because his movie and its success led directly to the existence of the entire MCU. Maybe it’s because he spends the vast majority of his solo films suffering. Maybe it’s because he’s played by Robert Downey Jr., who is witty and good-looking and has a tragic past of his own. Whatever the reason, people will come out of the woodwork to defend this guy, even though the character is a super rich white man with all the weapons in the world and he can probably defend himself pretty well.
And so started the Iron Stan prompts. Rarely were they kink-based. Rarely were they even romantically focused. Mostly, they were demands for stories of everybody hating and rejecting Team Cap and coddling poor, put upon Tony Stark, who didn’t deserve any of this.
- Sam Wilson takes over being Captain America and decides Tony was fully in the right, blaming Steve for everything that went bad in the movie
- The whole nation of Wakanda loves Tony and hates Team Cap for being terrorists
- Team Cap finds out Steve beat up Tony to stop him from murdering Bucky, so now they don’t like Steve
- Wakanda loves Tony and hates terrorist Team Cap redux
- Steve won’t rejoin the Avengers unless Rhodey rapes Tony
- Bucky hates Wanda for hurting Tony and declares her a rapist
- Tony leaves the Avengers and is better off without them holding him back
- DAE Wanda is solely responsible for every bad decision Tony and Bruce made?
The userbase complained to the moderators, but the mods were seemingly unwilling to deal with it. Despite character-bashing being against the meme rules, they would let it slide on the vast majority of Sad Tony prompts. On rare occasions when they did put their foot down, Tony stans would then accuse them of silencing abuse survivors or simply ignore their requests to edit bashing out of their prompts.
Some disgruntled Team Cap/Team Salt users would try to counter the flood of Poor Tony prompts with anti-Iron Man prompts of their own, but those would either be shut down by the mods for baiting or the prompt’s comments would instantly attract angry Tony fans. Some people just tried to avoid reading any anti-Team Cap prompts, but found that fills posted which were just supposed about the Avengers reuniting would turn into pro-Team Iron Man screeds without warning. Nobody was happy, and the discontent just grew and grew.
And then it happened. June 18, 2017. Over a year after the premiere of Civil War. The dance party prompt:
It's been a few months since the Civil War.
A new group of superheroes has come together to form the New Avengers signed under the revised accords. This group consists of Tony, Rhodey, Vision, Peter, maybe Hope... a few new faces like Kamala Khan or Carol Danvers or... well, whoever else you want to add. Pepper visits often.
Rhodey has slowly learned to walk and fight again, thanks to Tony. Everyone is still in that state where they're not near-strangers anymore, but not really friends either (especially because of the trust issues after some people were stabbed in the back by their "friends" * cough *).
Off to a great start already.
Now... prom is coming up soon. Alternatively, a grand gala of some sort that no New Avenger can miss and where there is a lot of dancing.
The problem? Some members never learned to dance. Spidey is freaking out, because nope, spiderpowers didn't include dancing skills, he can't even do an awkward shuffle. Kamala is enthusiastic, but also kinda hopeless. Rhodey has to relearn a lot. And Vision has never been dancing in his life.
You know who has learned to dance as soon as he could walk? Tony. He takes it upon himself to help his less rhythmically inclined fellows out. It starts out like a ballroom class. From there it turns to embarrassing stories of learning how to Tango with Rhodey in college (Rhodey learned to surprise a girlfriend. Tony made a lot of stupid jokes and innuendos. Some people believe the salacious rumours even decades later). Then it turns to a random mambo to get Tony out of a sad mood (bonus for an italian song). Vision takes a liking to all kinds of dances, from the jig to the macarena. He and Tony grow closer as a family through hilarious random dance sessions.
It goes on like this for some time. There’s also an aside in another comment from the OP about how even super villains can’t resist Tony’s sweet moves:
I really think some villains, after the dancing got more public, would totally pull one of the heroes into a dance. Maybe as a diversion tactic or for trolling purposes (or because they had always wanted to, but a supervillain crushing on a superhero doesn't often work out. This is their only chance!)
For some reason, I picture Tony being pulled into a random aggressive Tango by, like... Loki or Doom. Because everybody knows he'd go along with it, and the tango would be beautiful.
Okay then. And we’re still not done.
Bonus Points if they become like a family (especially if this shows Tony that he can still trust people, he just had to find the right people first).
Extra bonus with chocolate chips if the Ex-Avengers come back, most of them set to do the "demonize Tony and blame him for all our problems" routine and expect everyone to be on their side. One of the first things they see is the new team cooking together, pulling each other into random dances and hugs. They had never known what Tony being happy actually looked like, until now.
Tony Stark had never been happy for a single day in his life. He’d never smiled since he was born and it’s entirely Team Cap’s fault.
And the coup de grâce:
Triple Bonus if Bucky gets slowly pulled into the habit. He's not sure how, because most of the time people are still too much for him, but in the end, he can't resist a little bit of swing. The first time Tony pulls him into a group dance is also the first time Bucky has really felt warm in decades.
After all, what could possibly make Bucky happier than writhing bodies with the man who tried to murder him for something he had no free will in doing?
I have no actual proof that this prompt is the straw that broke the camel’s back. The meme limped on for another month. But I mean. Look at it.
On July 26, the moderators announced that Avengerkink was ending. Users could still post fills for existing prompts, and comment on other posters’ fills, but no new prompts would be made from there on out.
Even the comments on the announcement weren’t safe from in-fighting:
“Is there an Iron man centered kink site?”
“lol as if 90% of the "avengers" prompts aren't focused on that bastard.”
Others blamed the closure on the moderators being too lazy/tolerant of Tony stans to actually moderate:
“Then they should have addressed the problems themselves rather than allowing bashing to get so far, and when people did bring their problems to the mods, they shouldn't have brushed those problems off, and then complained about how hard their jobs were.
And most of those prompts weren't screened at all. Just 'Lol I don't see a problem' brushed off.
And if that was too hard, then find some more mods. It's really not rocket science.”
And then some rando blamed every problem ever on the meme on SJWs, so that happened.
People drifted off to fandom-specific kink memes, general MCU memes that were far less populated, or just wandered away into new fandoms altogether.
This is the way Avengerkink ends. This is the way Avengerkink ends. Not with a bang, but with a Tony-centric dance party.
Wrestling Observer Rewind ★ Feb. 29, 1988
The Complete Observer Rewind Archive by daprice82
- Crockett has taken a page out of WWF’s playbook and announced a card to counterprogram Wrestlemania. Not all the details are known yet, but on March 27 Crockett’s NWA will run a 2.5 hour show from 4 pm to 6:30 pm, the same time slot WW has reserved for Wrestlemania (remember when Wrestlemania was less than 3 hours?). It’s probable that this show will be held at the Greensboro Coliseum, and it’s being billed as some kind of “Clash of the Champions” and is expected to be packed with seven main event level matches. Flair defending against Sting will headline, along with Dusty and the Road Warriors vs. the Powers of Pain and Ivan Koloff in a barbed wire match, Tully and Arn vs. Windham and Luger for the NWA tag titles, Midnight Express vs. the Fantastics for the U.S. tag titles, Mike Rotunda vs. Jimmy Garvin for the TV title in an amateur rules match, Zbyszko vs. Shane Douglas, and tentatively Kerry and Kevin Von Erich are scheduled for this and the Crockett Cup. That last is huge, as it means there’s an open line of communication between Crockett and Ken Mantell.
- As for Wrestlemania, the card is set for that now. The tournament is the main point of the card, but there will also be a few other matches. Honkeytonk Man vs. Brutus Beefcake match for the IC Title is one, and Dave expects a title change here or sooner than Wrestlemania. Dave hears that Honkeytonk isn’t going to be punished for refusing to drop the belt, but it’s hard to imagine they won’t make an example of him so nobody else gets any bright ideas about refusing to go along with storylines. The British Bulldogs and Koko B. Ware vs. The Islanders and Bobby Heenan is also on the docket, while Demolition and Strike Force will fight for the tag titles. Lastly, Hercules Hernandez takes on Warrior, and a battle royal will feature all those unfortunate no-talent bums who just can’t earn a spotlight match on the card like Sam Houston, Bret Hart, and Harley Race. Celebrity appearances are to include Vanna White as guest timekeeper, Robin Leach of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous presenting the title to the winner of the tournament (looks like a sign DiBiase will win), and Bob Uecker returning as ring announcer and color commentator.
- So will Clash of the Champions hurt Wrestlemania? Yes and no. Wrestlemania is theoretically an 18 match card, though double eliminations will probably help bring it down to around 16, and that many matches on a card for a 2.5 hour show (not to mention the ridiculous length of WWF ring entrances, intermissions, and other assorted nonsense they tend to pack a show full of) means most matches won’t even top 5 minutes (more on the length of the show next week: spoilers, Wrestlemania is closer to 4 hours). The card for Wrestlemania is honestly just not good. Dave thought the tournament was a stroke of genius at first, but the layout and talent in it make it much weaker than it should be. Hogan, who is the big marquee guy, is now just one of the boys here, and that means there’s no real main event to hype up because the tournament means they can’t build the show around Hogan vs. DiBiase or Hogan vs. Andre. And that probably hurts impulse purchases on ppv. It makes some sense to make Hogan one of the boys if he’s taking the summer off, though, and all indications point that way, because the goal is to make the belt the main draw of the company independent of Hogan. But that’s unlikely to work. No belt today can draw on its own. Hogan is a draw. Flair is a draw. Hennig and Perez aren’t draws, with or without belts. There’s no difference between a show where Flair defends the belt and one where he’s in a tag match, and the same goes for Hogan: they’re the draws, and fans don’t care about the belt. And you’ll notice not one word of that has a thing to do with whether Crockett will hurt WWF on Wrestlemania with their show. And that’s because for the most part, any damage done to Wrestlemania is WWF’s own fault for booking the show they’ve booked. Wrestlemania 4 will be a success. No question there, and there’s zero chance Crockett can ruin the show with their counteroffer. What they can do is cost WWF a bit of money, just like WWF did to them in January. There is a chunk of WWF’s potential market for Wrestlemania who will watch Crockett’s show instead because it is free and Wrestlemania costs $20. Wrestlemania will be a success because it’s Wrestlemania and last year’s show earned a lot of good will in the fans’ eyes as a can’t-miss show like the Super Bowl. So Crockett will have a small effect, and probably cost WWF serious money, but in the grand scheme of things it won’t be a big blow. Crockett stands to do well, as most of the country can’t get ppv so they ought to get a pretty solid rating, while WWF will most probably have a similar buyrate to last year and pull in around $18 million (which will net the company $9 million after cable gets their cut). And that’s not touching closed-circuit, which WWF will do well with, but that’s where Crockett can cost them money. Being a free alternative will probably knock off about 10% of WWF’s closed-circuit viewership, possibly more if they build well since WWF has booked Wrestlemania the way they have. And still, there’s taking into consideration the reality of what happened in January. Can Crockett get past the negative reception of its last few big shows against WWF’s run of well-received big shows?
- Finally, something different, it's Road Warrior Animal injury update time. Dave knows he’s made errors and wants to get everything straight in one go here. So. Animal was legit injured on January 29 in Pittsburgh. Warlord, not Barbarian, Samoan dropped Animal. It was done wrong or Animal bumped wrong or just freak accident, but thebone above Animal’s eye got smashed badly, and it wasn’t known how bad right away. He went to Greensboro for the weightlifting competition the next day, and they were worried about pressure on the eye, so while they used legit weights they just called out fake numbers (as opposed to WWF, which went with fully gimmicked weights for theirs). After the competition, Animal went to the hospital and they discovered he had a detached retina, broken bone, and his eye was knocked half an inch into his forehead. He had eye surgery, and they’re advertising his return for this coming week. No word on if that’s going to happen or not, though - they were pushing that he’d return in Philly last week when they knew he wasn’t going to be. More on this next week, because Dave keeps finding this story to change on him.
- [Alabama/Knoxville] The Continental split-up finally went down. The Knoxville territory will be called USA Pro Wrestling and will be running east Tennessee, with Ron Fuller running the show. Their roster includes Mongolian Stomper, Buddy Landel, the Rock & Roll RPMs (Mike Davis and Tommy Lane) as USA Tag champions, Hector Guerrero, Doug Furnas (injured with a concussion), “Bullet” Bob Armstrong, Austin Idol, and a few other names. Continental Championship Wrestling will remain in Alabama and start running Northwest Florida again as well, with David Woods running the promotion. Dutch Mantell, Wendell Cooley (currently out with a broken kneecap), Lord Humongous (Sid Eudy) and Detroit Demolition (Randy Culley, aka Moondog Rex, who actually was part of the original Demolition while Barry Darsow grew his hair out, and still wearing Demolition gear) managed by Downtown Bruno (later on it turns out Culley is not being managed by Bruno and is instead the fourth member of a stable including Robert Fuller, Dutch Mantell, and Jimmy Golden as a weak imitation of the Four Horsemen called the Studs), Dirty White Boy Tony Anthony (and Mystic as Dirty White Girl), Tom Prichard, Scott Hall, Robert Fuller and Jimmy Golden as tag champs, and some others.
- Memphis is going to start on Financial News Network on April 2 and run weekly on Saturday nights at 9 pm eastern. Don’t rest on this info, as it’s outdated by next week. The network has discussed possibly running New Japan on Sunday nights, but Dave thinks it’s so unlikely to actually happen he shouldn’t have bothered typing it.
- There’s been a fund set up to help pay Al Blake’s (Vlaidimir Petrov) legal expenses. Blake was convicted a few months ago for cocaine trafficking. Dave gives the info for people to write in and get more information about the fund.
- Billy Jack Haynes has been granted a promoter’s license in Oregon and started a promotion called Oregon Wrestling Federation. He apparently plans to hold six shows a week in Oregon, with himself as top babyface. Haynes will now be in direct competition with both Don Owen and Vince McMahon. Plans are to have a roster of about 14-16 wrestlers, but no names are official yet, and there’s rumor that he’ll get tv in Portland on the local ABC affiliate. Haynes plans to concentrate on big guys rather than small guys like most of the regional territories now focus on. The only name that anyone knows he has contacted is Tom Zenk. Owen also runs Washington, but no plans currently exist for Haynes to run up there. Owen’s promotion has been around since the 1920s, and there’s really not room for two regional promotions, so this should be interesting to see how it shakes out. Also interesting to see what happens with Haynes wrestling - reports from WWF indicate that he left because of poor health due to a heart condition. It’s really hard to find any real information with a quick google search, but I strongly suspect that this venture goes under before the year is out.
- The Simmons Research Bureau released its annual sports demographics statistics for this year, and pro wrestling is one of the sports they cover. Some good news and some bad news for wrestling, of course, and the accuracy of these numbers is debatable, but they are important in that they are perceived as facts by advertising firms and thus these are very important for figuring out advertising rates. In good news: wrestling supposedly saw a 5% increase in viewers over the past year with 30.3 million adult viewers, ranking 7th behind pro football, MLB, college football, the NBA, college basketball, and boxing. Sports viewing on the whole was down 5.6% though, and wrestling and the NBA were the only top 10 sports to see an increase (boxing was down 16.4% from last year). Dave doesn’t really take the report seriously because of its findings on roller derby. Derby supposedly saw a 29.8% increase over last year, but Dave thinks that’s just preposterous, as just two years ago roller derby had national coverage on ESPN and drew good ratings, and last year they weren’t even on the list while this year it was 20th out of 21 listed). This year? No new tapes for syndication, one Derby group isn’t even running, and the other hasn’t made new tv in over a year. So the idea that they have been getting more viewers (to the tune of a 29% increase) without putting out new material for tv is just absurd. Setting that aside, the bad news is wrestling’s demographics are considered less desirable by advertisers. The raw numbers look good and might make it a good buy for advertisers, but they’ll pay less for ad time because wrestling viewership isn’t dominated by the demographics advertisers want to market to. Wrestling, according to Simmons, is strongest among Black folks, 18-24 year old men, men more than women (61% of the audience is men, 39% women) in general, low income families, people who have less than a high school education, and single adults. In short, advertisers will look at this and conclude wrestling fans are stupid, poor, and too young (18-24 men don’t have the same level of disposable income as another age bracket up) and Black to be worth the effort of spending large amounts of money to try and reach for little perceived return.
- A correction on Crockett Cup - it’s set for April 22/23 in Greensvile, S.C. for the first day and Greensboro for the second day. Seedings will likely be announded on March 27, and Dave recommends readers (a lot of readers typically have attended the Cup) stay in Charlotte since it’s halfway between both sites.
- Wrestlemania tickets should be sold out by the time this issue reaches readers. After figuring out exactly how many freebies they’re giving, somewhere between 7,000 and 9,000 tickets were being held out of 18,165 total seats. As of February 19, around 1,500 tickets were left to be sold, and paid attendance will be in the 15,000 range. That means roughly 3,000 freebies.
- The Penthouse story on the Von Erichs has been delayed again. The earliest it’ll appear is August, and given the history of the family, they’ll likely suffer one real tragedy, two fake tragedies, and find a new fake relative all before the issue hits newsstands.
- Paul E. Dangerously had a hilarious promo moment in Southern Championship Wrestling while interviewing Randy Rose. Paul was saying he doesn’t care how much money it costs, he’s going to do away with Tommy Rich, and Rose pulls out his wallet and throws a bunch of dollar bills in the air. Paul just looks at him and says something along the lines of “I see you cashed Verne’s check.”
- The Bunkhouse Stampede finals did a 3.5% buyrate out of 6 million available homes, which means roughly 200,000 buys. Gross revenue should be in the $3 million range, with JCP getting about half. Dave’s sources said anything higher than 3% would be profitable, so the show wasn’t a bomb financially, but it definitely could have been better.
- [Memphis] Over here the AWA tag titles are held up between the Rock & Roll Express and the Midnight Rockers. The finish on February 15 in Memphis saw a ref bump, and then a second referee came out, and both referees counted simultaneous pins for each side. The next day in Lousiville (which drew 3,000, when normally they draw 1,000) they repeated the finish, and probably did the same the next night in Evansville as well. So there will be rematches in each city as well to decide the champion. Ah the days of non-televised shows being the important thing, so you could do this sort of thing and really make the title histories convoluted and confusing.
- [Memphis] Missy Hyatt showed up on February 20’s tv in Memphis with Doug Gilbert. She avoided the subject of Eddie Gilbert, who hasn’t made an appearance, but that’s obviously going to happen. The story as Dave understands is that Gilbert was fired by Crockett for missing two tv tapings nobody had told him he was supposed to be at. It’s a miracle he lasted as long as he did anyway, considering he somehow got into the position of UWF booker for the UWF vs. NWA feud and wound up outlasting all the ex-UWF guys except Black Bart, Sting, and Rick Steiner.
- New to Memphis is an opening act heel guy named Scotty the Body. Dave’s heard of him from some independent promotion somewhere, but the guy isn’t getting a push, and from what Dave’s heard of his ability, he doesn’t deserve one. Eh, never say nevermore, because this is the Observer debut of Raven.
- [Oregon] The Frank Bonema Memorial show on February 16 was a major disappointment, only drawing 600. The matches were all good, at least. The Grappler beat Hennig for the AWA title after using a loaded boot, but the promoter later on said he was ordered by AWA president Stanley Blackburn to hold up the title (which means the title is held up in both Minneapolis and Oregon). Given the time difference, fans in Oregon must be expected to believe Blackburn is the hardest working president in wrestling, since it was well past midnight in Minneapolis when he supposedly made the call to hold the title up.
- Stampede is being forced into a smaller building due to the Olympics being in Calgary. The building they have to work with seats 950, and with all the competition around town they’ll not be able to draw very well in all likelihood. And even after the Olympics, with how much money the event takes out of the economy, they’re likely to still have problems for a while.
- In what will remain of Continental (Alabama), Scott Hall is being set up to feud with Lord Humongous (Sid Eudy). Hall is improving, but is nowhere near ready to have a good match with Humongous, who is just awful. Probably too much softball stunting his ability.
- Is the world ready for a Von Erich comic book? No, not really, but we're getting one anyway. Creative Ink of Tyler, Texas is scheduling the March release of “The Saga of the Von Erich Warriors” in which Kerry, Kevin, and Fritz are taken from Earth to the planet Namoria to rescue the Namorians from attackers from the planet Nefarian. The comic winds up not coming out until 1989, and it’s a one off single issue.
- If Ken Mantell and Jim Crockett can strike a deal, expect Flair vs. Kerry Von Erich in Texas Stadium in May. Don't hold your breath. WCCW has started doing okay business again (okay, however, does not translate to taking Crockett’s place as the number 2 promotion like some people who have way too many drugs in their system think), so that’s probably helpful to negotiations.
- WCCW has cut ticket prices to $5 for their February 22 Fort Worth show, headlined by the Thunderdome cage match. The Von Erichs and Steve and Schaun Simpson and Bill Irwin will face Buddy Roberts and King Parsons and Rip Morgan and Angel of Death and Eric Embry in a cage match where all ten men are in the ring tornado style, and each time a guy gets pinned he gets handcuffed to the corner and when all members of a team are handcuffed their opponents get to uncuff their partners and beat the losers for five minutes without a referee.
- WCCW came up with something Dave thinks is even dumber than buying a belt. On February 14 (Dave has the 15th), the Texas tag titles were contested in a best two of three falls, where the final fall went to a double countout. So they brought out a deck of cards and each team drew a card, with the high card winning the titles. So John Tatum and Jack Victory won by drawing the high card against the Fantastics.
- No word yet from AWA’s Feb 20 Las Vegas tapings before they go on hiatus other than the Rock & Roll Express debuted (or were scheduled to, update on this below) as babyfaces. Obviously that’s a silly move, since they have a natural feud with the Midnight Rockers if they were heels and they have always been booed in the Twin Cities. Also Tom Zenk quit the AWA on the day of the taping just as they were setting up for a feud between him and Curt Hennig (also an update on Zenk below). Zenk knows his worth, though, and he knows he’s not going to be paid decently to actually wrestle in AWA, so it’s not worth doing. Also, he seems to have no idea what the thinking behind having him debut in a draw with Billy Robinson before going on to feud with Hennig.
- Speaking of AWA pay, Hennig isn’t the only one who will be paid while AWA is on hiatus. Kevin Kelly and Madusa are also on guarantees, although theirs are substantially less than Hennig’s Hennig is getting around $1500 per week, while they’re on under $300 per week. Better than nothing, though.
- Here’s the current situation with the tag titles and world title in AWA. So the tag titles are currently held up in three different cities, but everywhere else the Midnight Rockers are definitively the tag champions. As for the world title, that’s held up in two cities and they have different challengers with claims to the title in those cities. Totally not a headache to keep track of.
- Verne Gagne and Wally Karbo’s lawsuit has been settled out of court. Karbo was Gagne’s partner and co-founder of the AWA when they broke away from the NWA back in 1960, and he sold his interest in the company to Gagne in 1985, from which I suspect this lawsuit emerged. From piecing info together (none of the newsletters to this point that I have contain anything about the lawsuit, and this isn’t easy to pull from the internet either), it looks like Gagne was unable or unwilling to pay what he owed to Karbo in full, so Karbo sued, and here we are with the settlement. Dave’s gotten two stories out of this settlement: one has Verne agreeing to pay in full by March 1, while one report says Karbo is settling for getting 10 cents on the dollar of what he’s owed. Maybe we’ll learn more in the future, because it’s an interesting piece of info about the death spiral of the AWA.
- Former UWF TV Champion Savannah Jack has developed serious heart problems. Serious enough he may need a heart transplant. He’s still working as a manager right now for Pro Wrestling America. Don’t worry - Savannah Jack will pull through this one.
- POWW is scheduling 20 dates in March. A few of their women can work, but most are trying to get exposure to launch into modeling or film acting, which, hey, do what you gotta do to make it. The pay for them is pretty good, Dave hears, but the issue is that their training hasn’t really given them enough to really make it in wrestling for any of them who choose to try - the ex-GLOW girls in particular apparently don’t even know what spots are, let alone how to do them. It makes the matches between the women who can work and those who can’t really bad.
- Global Wrestling in Florida has lost all their big name talent except Colonel Kirchner. Dave says they’ve become the “only amateur pro wrestling organization in the country” if you get what he’s saying.
- A Muscular Dystrophy auction at a new york night club saw a bunch of sports memorabilia auctioned off, including a pair of Bruiser Brody’s boots. The boots sold for $500.
- There’s a new book by Jim Friedman called Drawing Heat coming out. Dave’s going to read it this week and give impressions, but his initial impression is that it’s a smart analysis of how wrestling has changed over the years.
- Apparently on their last Japan tour, Abdullah the Butcher and TNT had some issues. TNT refused to work with Abby for a few days, feeling like he was being held back to make Abby look better, but they resolved it. Likewise, Tatsumi Fujinami boycotted a card where he was supposed to team with Inoki because Inoki’s ego is planet-sized. But that has also been worked out.
- Very little of the New Japan jr. heavyweight tournament was broadcast in Japan. TV Asahi believes that jr. heavyweight matches between Japanese guys don’t create much in the way of viewer interest, and were really only interested in the matches pitting a Japanese guy against a foreigner.
- All Japan is putting Killer Khan, Tiger Chung Lee, and Shunji Takano in Tenryu’s Revolution group. Khan and Lee are on the older side and it just makes Dave wish Baba would invest more in younger talent. Takano has excellent potential with this group, at least. I'll be keeping an eye on this - 1988 is where Revolution starts picking up steam.
- John Tenta is a candidate for most improved in Japanese Wrestling Journal for 1988. He throws the best dropkick in the entire business and makes the Road Warriors look like kids. His dropkick is so good it's actually his photo on Wikipedia
- According to Japanese Wrestling Journal, the December 27 New Japan show where the fans rioted in Sumo Hall drew massive ratings when Takeshi Kitano appeared. Dave just quotes a translation of what the journal says and I’ll do it here too:
It started off with a 6 rating while Kobayashi wrestled Hase for the jr. title however it drew nearly a 17 rating at its peak when Takeshi Kitano, one of the top comedians in Japan, appeared at the Sumo Hall for the first time. This means that Takeshi has strong ratings power for TV. This is the reason Inoki and TV Asahi joined hands with the famous comedian. However, Takeshi’s angle is fading out because of the riot held in the Sumo Hall. To make matters worse, New Japan is banned from using the Sumo Hall “for good.” There is nothing wrong with Takeshi being involved in the business since the TV was in a critical situation and New Japan had to take desperate steps to keep the show in prime time, but the plan backfired due to Inoki’s ego.
- AWA update - the Rock and Roll Express didn’t show up to the Vegas taping. So Paul Diamond and Pat Tanaka got a non-title match with the Midnight Rockers and won that.
- [WWF] Cuban Assassin and Badnews Brown almost had an incident at the WWF tv tapings on February 16 and 17 in Wichita and Topeka, Kansas. Brown was chasing Assassin around with a chair. Apparently there’s some bad blood between them (and their wives got into it as well) stemming from their Calgary days that led to Assassin leaving Calgary. I guess nothing actually happened beyond the chase with the chair, though, because Dave doesn’t say anything else.
- Recent AWA shows have been drawing between 42 and 300 fans. The Baron Von Raschke vs. Sheik Adnan grudge match they taped at the Vegas taping will definitely boost those numbers. Yesiree.
- Tom Zenk apparently left AWA because they kept blowing him off when he asked for guaranteed money. Verne, you can’t expect people to stick around if you won’t pay them.
- The AWA Title situation remains screwed up, but that’s pretty normal. On the February 21 airing of their Minneapolis tv show, Verne said all the midwestern promoters want to recognize Greg Gagne as champion and said if Stanley Blackburn doesn’t like it, then maybe AWA should get a new president. And thus Stanley Blackburn has been put in the position of being the top heel in the promotion, a full decade before Vince McMahon would actually successfully position himself the same way. Verne also compared this to the situation that led to the formation of the AWA in the first place - the Lou Thesz vs. Edouard Carpentier match in 1957 where Carpentier beat Thesz in two falls (one by DQ) and the NWA wouldn’t recognize the Carpentier as champion but all the midwestern promoters decided to recognize Carpentier as the legitimate champion (and the NWA would eventually pretend Carpentier’s reign never happened at all), which led to them uniting under Verne and Karbo a few years later when Verne beat Carpentier (by countout in the third fall) and forming the AWA. Dave’s not sure what to make of all this, but there seems to be a lot of pressure on Hennig and AWA seems to be holding Greg as an option to cover their asses if Hennig does something. But Hennig really hurt himself bad taking a bad neck and shoulder bump and is supposed to be resting, but instead he worked Vegas and Portland and the AWA office is mad that he’s missed shows (maybe they’re looking for an excuse to cut his guarantee given their financial situation). Dave just hopes Crockett’s people wake up, because Hennig would make a perfect fourth Horseman.
- WTBS has extended its contract with Crockett through 1994. There are a bunch of changes to the tv on TBS as well. The Saturday morning studio show is now becoming NWA Pro on a one-hour delay. The Saturday evening show will almost always be in-studio, and Sunday will be in the arena every week beginning in April with high caliber matches (they’re looking at only 3-4 matches per week for that, which should give the show decent length for undercard matches and 20 minutes for the main event). The Sunday show is aimed at getting ratings up (workrate = ratings, you know), and Saturday is mainly to build house show interest. And the TBS shows will now all be part of the syndicated package, and that should boost their syndicated rating to around the 8.5 level, which is just 1.5 points behind WWF and should get them decent ad sales income through TV.
- Talks between Crockett and Mantell have gotten “real cold” as of the latest info. Dave’s thinking nothing’s going to come of it at this point.
- FlaiSting at Clash of the Champions will have J.J. Dillon in a cage above the ring. They’ll also have three judges to decide the match in the event of a time-limit draw. TBS has also agreed to four Clash-like specials per year and Turner signed a five year deal with Crockett to co-promote ppv cards together. So look to Crockett to try to do another ppv this year.
- A reader suggests that since the Von Erichs keep winning Most Disgusting Promotional Tactic that Dave should rename the award. The Fritz Von Erich Promotional Tactic of the Year would allow Dave to stop spilling so much ink on how scummy the Von Erichs are and instead allow a quick reminder without having to go into detail. It's funny, because this is the last year the Von Erichs will ever win the award. Fritz's fake heart attack will win for 1988 - next year WWC will win for pushing Invader #1 (fuck Invader #1) a year after he murdered Bruiser Brody, the 90s are pretty evenly between WCW and WWF, and from 2001 on WWF/E only loses this award twice: TNA in 2007 (signing Pacman Jones) and Bellator in 2016 (Kimbo vs. Dada 5000). Really, it's the Vince McMahon Promotional Tactic of the year award at this point in all but name.
- Did you know that Boris Malenko was apparently blacklisted out of the mainstream promotions back in 1972? I didn’t. But apparently it followed a babyface turn in Florida where he teamed with Eddie Graham’s son Mike. Dave’s not sure why he got blacklisted, only that it was pretty common at that time. He did briefly go to Texas in 1972, maybe that had something to do with it?
- Magnum T.A.’s latest on-air protege is Shane Douglas. In other Magnum news, his doctors have told him he ought to be able to start jogging again by summer.
- Crockett is working with the people behind the Candian tv show Learning the Ropes that is being offered up for syndication soon. It’s a comedy about a school teacher whose night job is as a masked wrestler and features clips of NWA wrestlers in character, and if it’s a hit this could help Crockett get some of their guys to become real celebrities. Needless to say, you probably don't remember this show because it wasn't a hit, and if it does ring a bell it's probably thanks to Brian Zane or Wrestlecrap.
- Reports of Crockett’s demise are greatly exaggerated. They drew $350,000 last weekend alone, so they’re still going reasonably strong.
- Big praise for the Varsity Club in the NWA. Dave’s amazed at how well the gimmick has helped Mike Rotundo turn things around when his career appeared to be stagnating.
- Although nearly everyone agrees Sting has surpassed Luger, Luger’s still the guy Crockett’s going to be putting time into as the young babyface. Luger’s still going to get all the chances, and Dave likens it to a first-round draft pick who turns out not so hot and a 7th-round pick who does better: you still keep giving the first guy chances because you don’t want to admit you made a mistake and because you’ve invested too much time and money into him already. Speaking of monetary investment, Luger’s contract is seven times more lucrative than Sting’s. So yeah, they’re gonna run with Luger to make that money worth it because the sunk cost fallacy is a difficult one to get over. Sting’s contract runs out in May, so those negotiations could become quite interesting.