Wrestling Observer Flashback–05.14.90

Thank god, back to doing these on my own computer again, with Open Live Writer so I can actually format everything the way I want it.

And Dave has a “few humorous items” to start us out.  But no dank memes, sadly.

– Dave was contacted by a news show looking for footage of retired wrestlers, and he told them that he doesn’t really own footage, but they could contact the WWF directly.  The WWF’s quote when they refused the request?  “To tell you the truth, we don’t want the WWF exposed to something that would provoke thought.”


funny because it's true

– Dave is also amused as the buildup for Capital Combat, because Jim Ross and Jim Cornette are constantly hitting the point that Flair is the favorite because it’s a cage match, and Flair won one of his World titles in a cage match:  At Starrcade ‘83 over Harley Race.  Why is this funny?  Because Flair actually won TWO of his World titles in a cage, and in fact they’re completely ignoring the one he got at Starrcade ‘87, also in a cage, over Ron Garvin.  (Was the Dusty one in 86 also a cage, or was it just the Bash match where Dusty won the title that was a cage match?) 

– Dave is pumped for Capital Combat, not only because it’s looking like a great show, but because they’re finally abandoning the stupid booking committee and will be naming a single booker after the show.  The decision hasn’t been made, but everyone will be trying their hardest to impress the new boss at the show.  Never mind, Dave notes, that the Midnight Express have been trying to do exactly that for the past two months and still almost got fired anyway.

– Dave thinks the show will bomb with Robocop as the focus and hopefully they’ll learn their lesson and won’t base any more major shows about fictional cyborgs.  (What about vanishing magicians?) 

– OK, so obviously it’s time for speculation on who the new booker of the NWA will be.  Suspect #1 is Jim Crockett, who was allegedly offered the job and turned it down.  Suspect #2 is Bill Watts, who was flown in for an interview with Jim Herd and is the front-runner, although he wants more control and money than they’re willing to offer.  (Ironically, just two years later he’d end up with HERD’S job instead.)  Suspect #3 is Jerry Jarrett, who also took a meeting with Herd, and this also led to speculation that Jerry Lawler was in the mix.  (Jarrett would have been Herd’s dream guy, you’d think, since he’s the cheapest fucking guy on the planet and would save money for the company hand over fist.)  Dusty Rhodes was also interviewed, but turned it down because whoever gets the job will not be allowed to be an active performer.  Plus he didn’t exactly leave the company on the best of terms.  Finally, there’s Greg Gagne, but that’s a real longshot, at best.

– Dave thinks that Watts would be a challenge as booker, because Ted Turner won’t go for xenophobic ideals as top storylines, and guys aren’t gonna be able to bleed.  Plus the business has changed, and Dave isn’t sure if Watts can adapt.  Speaking of changing with the times, I feel like I need to quote some of Dave’s discussion on WCW’s TV situation here:

“While the TV advertising is an important source of income for the NWA, it’s also a Catch-22 that is killing them at the same time.  Adding WGN to the line-up this summer (reportedly with a $180,000 per year price tag) to go along with four hours on TBS each week and two syndicated shows makes seven hours.  If you produced seven hot hours of TV each week it is awfully hard to leave anything for the house shows because you are giving so much away.  But if the television isn’t hot and is mainly squashes, the shows become boring and the talent becomes stale and overexposed to the serious fan.  The product looks like it does right now, that the syndicated shows just seem like they’re being grinded out to fill time.  That doesn’t produce the “fun” atmosphere TV needs to portray to get fans into the promotion.”  (This was written in 1990, folks, and yet applies double today.) 

– Sting is tentatively scheduled to start wrestling again on 6/30.  Sid Vicious should be back at the same time.

– Luger apparently got a staph infection from Scott Steiner, who had been working with an eye infection and managed to transmit it to Luger’s knee.  People are getting worried about that.  (Turns out that Luger worked the PPV with that staph infection and still did a **** match with Flair, but was in rough shape.) 

– For those wondering, Tenryu is making $652,000 per year for the new SWS promotion, which was literally an offer too good to refuse.

– Apparently Muto working without the makeup in Japan has made him into an even bigger babyface megastar, because he literally has a “baby face” and people love him.  (Of course by 2000 he looked like a grizzled old crank, but then he was a totally different worker anyway.) 

– In a minor note from the women’s side in Japan, former prelim Erica Shishedo won the All-Pacific title after rebranding herself as “Aja Kong”.

– Jerry Lawler regained the USWA title from Jimmy Valiant already, although he was still defending it in Dallas, but even Dave is just like “Eh, it is what is” at this point.  Valiant actually wanted a “scientific” match with Lawler, and they actually had a good clean scientific match, until Lawler’s manager threw in a chain and he used it to win the title.  (Cornette ran a similar angle in OVW years later, I believe with Doug Basham and Nick Dinsmore, where they had a clean babyface match until one got frustrated and used a chain for the win, drawing HUGE heat.) 

– To the AWA, which has an expanded section of its own again!  Let’s talk about “Twin Wars 90”, with Flair v. Pillman for the NWA World title on the same card as Zbyszko v. Koloff for the AWA title.  2000 paid, which is the best they’ve done in recent times, but most of the show was a complete car-wreck of bullshit with one match that was a ****1/4 classic.  One guess which match that was.

– Dave continues to be weirded out by the John Bonello story, as Bonello made it out on bail, which was posted by his father.  His father lives with Bonello’s wife.  (For those who don’t remember the last issue, Bonello was a WWF referee who got arrested for offering an undercover cop $5000 to murder Bonello’s wife.)  

– Verne Gagne is involved in a feud with Dale Gagner, who has been promoting his own shows on the West Coast as the AWA, and will likely be cutting off any AWA wrestlers from working those fake AWA shows now.  (That particular legal battle actually lasted a LONG time, well past the death of the real AWA, as Gagner continued promoting as the AWA well into the 2000s and beyond.) 

– Dick Slater got a job as a stunt double in the fight scenes of the upcoming Rocky VI.  (He’ll be waiting a LONG time for that job! I assume, however, that Dave is referring to Rocky V, which came out later in 1990.  There was definitely no chance of a Rocky VI happening after that one and in fact Stallone couldn’t even pitch a sixth movie until well into the 90s because the studio hated the fifth one so much.  As did I.) 

– ML Curly actually writes in for the letters page to note that an obscure NWA rule allows only one cyborg at ringside per NWA World title match, which somewhat limits Flair’s options for evening the odds.

– The WWF ran one last show in MSG for the time being, as the building is closed for renovations all summer, and only drew 9500 for a really bad show with Hogan-Quake on top.

– Terry Taylor was actually blocked from going anywhere and WWF will be holding him to his contract until August and using him on a regular basis again.

– Warrior’s reception as champion has been getting more and more lukewarm in every city.

– Tugboat has been missing all his dates, and the company has given up on the Tugboat gimmick and will be rebranding him as “Bronto” for a feud with Dino Bravo.

– Hogan is doing a Gillette commercial, and Dave is tickled by the irony.

– The Wrecking Crew II is done in the NWA and is going back to the wasteland of the AWA again.

– Correction:  Paul E. Dangerously will in fact be managing Mean Mark, contradicting weeks of Dave insisting that he wouldn’t.

– Abdullah the Butcher quit already because he has a Japan tour in June.  He actually told them before he even signed that he had a Japan tour and couldn’t be there long-term, so they still signed him anyway and pushed him like crazy on TV.

– And finally, they ran a show Boston on 5/4 with Flair v. Luger on top, but Luger got lost on the way to the building and they changed the main event to Flair v. Rick Steiner instead.  Then, at 10pm, Luger finally found the place and showed up just as they were doin the ring announcements for the main event, so they cancelled the match and did a second intermission so Luger could get ready, and they had the advertised main event after all.  (Once again, people ask how this company managed to die in 2001, but the real question is how it managed to live that long in the first place, I think.)