WWWF/WWF #34 Page #2
After a pretty good match, it looked like Haynes had it all wrapped up when he slapped on his famous full-nelson on Savage in center ring. But then going for another disqualification, Savage kicked Davis down, trying to get himself disqualified. However, everyone blew up when Davis inexplicably disqualified Haynes instead of Savage. But Jesse “The Body” Ventura had an explanation for it. On the replay, Ventura pointed out that Haynes actually lifted Savage’s legs into Davis to cause the DQ.
LET’S HOLD THE PHONE RIGHT HERE! We just had a huge shattering of kayfabe. Of course Haynes lifted Savage’s legs into Davis. That’s how wrestlers work and to do anything less would have botched the finish of an otherwise well executed angle. But why point this out to an otherwise not-smartened up national TV audience?
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Anywho, they milked the big Danny Davis heel referee angle for all they could. Every time a heel wrestler needed an out, Davis was there for a questionable DQ call or a fast count. Fans generally hated referees anyway, just as they do in most sports, so his continuous bad calls created boatloads of heel heat for himself. Gorilla Monsoon commentated one time that Davis had much nicer cars, and a bigger house than most WWF referees, insinuating that he was “on the take.” At a Saturday Night’s Main Event, Davis had an altercation with referee Dave Hebner when both Hulk Hogan and Paul Orndorff touched the floor at the same time of a steel cage match. Hebner declared babyface Hulk Hogan winner of the match, while Davis declared the heel, Paul Orndorff the winner. That match was restarted and Hogan eventually won.
Finally, the angle came to a head when the Hart Foundation defeated the British Bulldogs for the World Tag Team Titles on TV. Jimmy Hart clobbered Dynamite Kid with the megaphone, so Kid was out for the entire match. Davey Boy Smith wrestled by himself, and Davis allowed both Harts in the ring for the duration. Smith did very well for himself for some time, but eventually, two men the caliber of Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart can easily overcome just about anybody and they did just that to win the titles.
The following week, Davis was scheduled to referee a match between Tito Santana vs. Terry Gibbs, but Jack Tunney came out to announce that Davis was fired from the WWF as an active referee. Jimmy Hart quickly snatched up Davis to be the first ever third member of the Hart Foundation, and what a heel reaction Davis received.
He was pulverized in his debut as simply “Dan Davis” at the previously mentioned WrestleMania 3, even though he eventually got the pinfall for his team’s victory. He lost one of his earliest TV matches to Sam Houston and the two had a pretty big feud for undercards. But the loud jeers that were always heard whenever Davis entered a ring proved he still had tons of heat. At the first ever Royal Rumble on USA network, he received the loudest jeers of any heel, and one of the loudest pops when he was eliminated from the match. The same can be said of his appearance in the battle royal at WrestleMania 4.
But by 1989, they had used Davis as a whipping boy far too
often and his heel heat eventually died.
I’m not going to say Davis was ill booked, because, in all
honesty, I don’t think he was that great a worker in the ring anyway.
But I will say a few more cheated wins, perhaps with a handful of
trunks or some feet on the ropes, could have extended his stay with the
WWF as an active wrestler. If
the WWF had a TV Title at the time, Davis would have been a shoe-in.
Eventually, Jack Tunney brought back Danny Davis as an active referee
“on a probationary status.” It
at first appeared to be the beginnings of yet another leg of a great
angle, but instead it just faded into memories, and Davis returned to
being just another referee.
I’ll look at the WWF career of one of wrestling’s most interesting lives, a wrestler, commentator, movie star, talk show host, radio star, and politician. If you haven’t guessed by now, I’m talking about Jesse “The Body” Ventura.
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