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Watching some more 80's wrestling...Pacific Northwest

 
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Yakuza Rich



Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 770

PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2016 2:48 pm    Post subject: Watching some more 80's wrestling...Pacific Northwest Reply with quote

I've been watching shit-ton of old PNW wrestling on YouTube and have enjoyed it immensely. PNW represents what pro wrestling should have been with how crowds at a centralized location, a beloved owner in Don Owen, combined with serious wrestling that didn't see much in the way of comedy and some great workers.

The actual workrate wasn't phenomenal here as most of the movesets were fairly limited. A lot of it was slinging the opponent off the rope and hitting them with an elbow or the preferred PNW spot, a kick to the gut. These days the preferred move is the lariat, but I only recall seeing 1 person in PNW using a lariat and that was Billy Jack Haynes.

But the *work* was really great in PNW as in their ability to work the crowd. They knew who to get the heat on at the right time. The workrate at say PWG (which I still love) is far, far, far higher than what PNW had, but they don't have that ability to actually work and toy with the crowd to keep them coming back for more every night.

I read Dr. Tom Prichard's blog post on working for Don Owen and it seemed like a great schedule. For the most part, their longest trip was to Seattle once a week which was only about 3 hours away. Other than that, they had 1 hour to 1.5 hour trips to spot shows and then came back to the Portland Sports Arena. I'm a fan of the old ECW Arena as I would rather have a hot crowd (although I despised the Elks Lodge) than tricked up lightning and pyrotechnics.

And from what I've read, the wrestlers were well known throughout the Portland community. You could see this because even one of the biggest PNW heels, Rip Oliver, never really badmouthed the fans in promos. He would degrade his opponent and talk about crippling his opponent, but even when the fans were brought up, heels like Oliver would shy away from making derogatory remarks. It was almost a respect for the fans from the heels, but not enough to care what the fans have to say.

I think that resonates so well with fans because it's not a cliche type of heeling. Now, BJH ripped the fans for being fat and not joining his gym that went out of business and Buddy Rose would tell the fans to shut up, but those types of promos were few and far between. Even BJH's promo had a sense of real emotion involved with it.

The one thing that got me watching PNW is just the amount of mileage the promotion got out of guys like Rose, Piper, BJH, Hennig and Oliver. They were there for a very long time and never once became stale. Meanwhile, there's not a wrestler on the WWE roster that has not become stale or will not soon become stale and then will be subjected to 472 different turns.

Again, PNW was the way wrestling should be.

I also got a real kick out of the Dynamite Kid in PNW. Not once did anybody even hint anything about his lack of height. He was just considered this incredible athlete and punishing wrestler who was a real coup for Oliver to get in his Clan.

I really would have liked to have seen the RnR Express up there. The tag matches were excellent in PNW, although they seemed to do a lot of 2 out of 3 falls. That may have been a pro forma stipulation in their title matches because it sure seemed like they had a lot of them. Those 2 out of 3 falls matches were also treated like hockey where after each fall they would give the wrestler's a break and interview them about the upcoming fall. However, given the business that the RnR were doing, I can't see Crockett giving them up. And according to Cornette, while PNW was well respected in the industry, it was so far off the beaten path at the time that most wrestlers didn't consider it because it would be hard to get out of the territory.

You can't really talk PNW without Buddy Rose. Rose, again...not a high work rate. But, he was a great worker, bumper and seller. He was also excellent on the mic and his babyface turn was one of the funnest moments in wrestling. This was of course before Rose put on all that weight, but he was an incredible athlete that could bump with the best of them, do textbook nip ups and 1-arm pushups.

Piper is the other wrestler to talk about when it comes to PNW. Obviously, one of the best mic guys ever. But, I always felt that Piper's greatest asset was his keen understanding of the drama involved with wrestling angles.

BJH was the bodybuilder type of wrestler, but this was back in the 80's when TV personalities didn't care to be 'likeable.' I think it was a great move to start him off as a babyface because he sold well as a powerhouse face and as time went along and they needed to spice things up, the heel turn worked because of how scary BJH was.

This was pre-massively roided beyond recognition Tom Billington, which is the Tom Billington that I like to see. He adapted his style so well here as nobody could really match his quickness and explosiveness, but he did a great job of working it so he didn't show up the faces too much and he picked his spots. He was actually nowhere near as stiff as he was just about everywhere else he worked.

This was also pre-over bumping Hennig. He was playing more of the young buck role here. Matt Borne was excellent in Portland. He had the largest moveset of anybody there until Art Barr came around. Rip Oliver was a great heel that needs to be followed more by today's generations of wrestlers . He wasn't much on the mic, but as far as a heel offense and heel selling, he nailed it.

According to Barry Owen, Don's son, the promotion started to have issues when the local television channel moved the program to 2 am instead of its midnight time slot. The location TV execs figured that the promotion was doing so well that it didn't matter what time it was on that the fans would still watch it. Wrestling is such an interesting form of entertainment because it has to be watched when it happens instead of being taped (or DVR'd) because its appeal dramatically drops afterward.

That symbolized the issues to come with today's world...the corporate suits trying to fix something that isn't broken to make themselves look smart so they can move up the corporate ladder. And in the end, when it doesn't work out it only serves to hurt the local business that worked extremely well for over 4 decades and greatly help the corporation itself. But, by then the execs are either gone or spinning their horrendous and illogical decisions as a positive.

When PNW lost KPTV as it's station provider, Piper came out and cut a promo where he mocked KPTV...only to take it back and thank them for the support.

A good pay off man who showcased athletic wrestling that was well respected within the community and had short trips to make your towns. Heels that were truly heels, but couldn't bring themselves to mocking the fans. Everybody seemed to win with PNW and that's why it serves as the model as to what pro wrestling could have been.





YR
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Steve Yohe



Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 2995
Location: Wonderful Montebello CA

PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great job. We need wrestling writing like that at tOA. ---Yohe
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Yakuza Rich



Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 770

PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2016 6:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks!

One of the parts I forgot to mention was how the announcers sold Dynamite Kid prior to him coming to PNW. They simply talked about how great he was and how he did a missile dropkick and did a no hand nip up afterward.

That's all they said, but they said it with such enthusiasm, despite DK being a heel in PNW.





YR
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