Wrestling Observer Flashback–11.19.90

Previously, in the Observer…  http://blogofdoom.com/index.php/2016/11/12/wrestling-observer-flashback-11-12-90/

Hey, did anyone else notice that the 11/12 Observer was posted…on 11/12?


Anyway, remember that big title change last week…?

– Top story is that for “a variety of reasons”, the Rockers’ tag title win over the Hart Foundation will be ignored.  Dave isn’t sure of the details yet, but it seems to stem from Vince changing his mind.  Also, the match ran 40 minutes of TV time and they needed to chop exactly that much out of the show, plus Demolition quit so there’s an imbalance in the number of tag teams and it’s just easier to let Neidhart stay now.  And since he’s not fired any longer, there’s no point in having them lose the titles, since the whole reason for losing them was because Neidhart was leaving.  QED.  Dave thinks it’s the first time in WWF history that it’s happened, excluding the Inoki title swap that happened in Japan.  (And of course in the dawn of the internet era, the “phantom title change” would go on to become one of the most famous non-changes in wrestling history.) 

– With the departure of the Demos, that leaves four babyface teams and two heels, so someone’s gonna have to turn.  (Unless they suddenly sign away a top WCW team who were stupidly used without a contract, HA HA HA!)  The LOD is already the top candidate, since box office has been so disappointing for them thus far as babyfaces, and the Demolition feud that looked to carry the promotion for six months has burned out completely and will be done in two weeks.  Really, turning any of the other teams would be a waste.

– New Japan and WCW officially signed a deal to co-promote at the Tokyo Dome on 03/21, but there’s no word on talent exchanges outside of Muto working Starrcade.  (Speaking of which, that damn show REALLY needs to be on the Network.  The New Japan Supershow is one of the strange missing ones from the PPV lineup, and it was even on Classics on Demand so WHAT THE FUCK?  I know I have at the very least watched the show, although I can’t find a review in my archives.) 

– Also striking a deal are the WWF and SWS, although they won’t promote on 03/28 like SWS wanted because that’s right after Wrestlemania, but there will be talent exchanges and a big show together and puppies and flowers and all that.

– Hey, Jesse Ventura won the election to become mayor of Brooklyn Park, MN, beating 18 year incumbent James Krautkremer.  His opponents tried to use a Penthouse story from 1989 against him, and Jesse was quoted as saying “Politics is dirtier than anything I’ve ever been involved in, even more than Hollywood.” 

– The WWF cut back to two shows this week, combining B & C shows into MEGA-MATCHES, which boosted business a bit.  They were up compared to the rock bottom numbers of summer, but still nothing to write home about.  Also, Hogan didn’t work the shows, although Dave notes that Hogan-Quake still isn’t doing business and they’re scheduled to be working together through February.  Warrior-Savage is doing better than Warrior-Rude, at least.

– Dave stops to make fun of the Black Scorpion here, as the next step seems to be interviews where he growls “Sting…pick a card, any card.”  (I’ve been binge watching Penn & Teller: Fool Us on Netflix this weekend, and I have infinitely more respect for people who can pull that off, let me tell ya.) 

– Dave went on the road to the Tom Robinson tribute show in Philly that was supposed to be headlined by the final match of the Midnight Express, but Eaton blew out his knee and couldn’t wrestle.  One funny bit saw a comedy match with manager Rob Brownstein, who was playing a blind man, so the gag is that he’s trying to interfere and hit the babyfaces with his cane, but just swings at air.  (Actually that’s pretty clever.)  We also get what I believe is the Observer debut of The Sandman in the newsletter, as he did a brawl with JT Smith despite being told specifically not to brawl due to security concerns.  The main event ended up being Funk & Jack v. Stan Lane & Eddie Gilbert, with Mark Curtis playing heel manager for the proto-ECW crew.  The rope actually broke two minutes in, but they improv’d around it and had a **** match.  (Wait, you mean the proper call wasn’t to put one guy in a chinlock and yell like a child at the referee to fix it?!?) 

– Dave also went to Neil Armstrong High School in Bensalem, and he notes that if Buzz Aldrin knew how things would have turned out, he would have pulled a Jake Roberts and given Neil the short clothesline so he could walk on the moon first. 

– Also, more wacky off-color humor at the show (also promoted by Joel Goodheart), as Mark Curtis wrestled as Cowabunga the Ninja Turtle here, and told Dr. Mike Lano to bring him some teenage girls for his entourage.  You know, as that OTHER Ninja Turtle was fond of doing, wink wink. 

– Also on the show, 18 year old Chris Candido, in only his second match, retained the WWA Jr. heavyweight title and showed some real star potential. 

– Also on the show, in the opposite of real star potential, rookie Glen Ruth wrestled as the Spider and looked good.  (That’s Headbanger Thrasher, he of the sad comeback attempt on Smackdown as of late.) 

– Dave noted a real problem in the main event, as Eddie Gilbert and Terry Funk double-teamed Jerry Lawler after the match, and instead of being outraged the heel cheating, the smart Philly fans instead paid no attention and waited for the run-in from someone making the save.  (Sorry, Dave, the next 27 years are gonna be rough on you if that’s bugging you now.) 

– Hey, crowds are UP in Texas!  They soared back up to 190 people at the Sportatorium this week thanks to the return of Kevin Von Erich and his brother “Modern Day Smurf” Chris Von Erich.  Also, tickets are now being handwritten for the shows to save money. 

– Although Andre the Giant is returning for the Royal Rumble, he’s not the guy in the egg.

– The bodybuilders that Dave has spoken to are telling him that every big name in bodybuilding will be jumping to the WBF when it launches. 

– Speaking of Andre, the only reason that Vince is bringing him back is that Herb Abrams was trying to use him, and Vince could not abide by someone else making money off broken down Andre. 

– Speaking of Herb, the WAR OF THE TITANS is heating up between Abrams and McMahon, as Herb advertised Rick Rude as appearing for his upcoming tapings despite Titan making it clear that he was still under contract.  Rude of course didn’t show up, but it still prompted Vince to send a zillion legal threats to the UWF, including banning them from referring to ex-WWF wrestlers by their former gimmick names or even referring to their WWF careers in the past. 

– Prime Time Wrestling actually drew its lowest rating in history, a 2.3, this past week, showing how soft business has become at the moment.  (It should be noted that although RAW currently does more viewers, the rating is far lower than that on a weekly basis.) 

– Andre the Giant finally faced justice for stopping a cameraman from shooting his match with Ultimate Warrior, as he was found guilty of mischief and ordered to pay $233 in damages.  Assault charges were dropped because it was noted that if he wanted to hurt the guy, well, he would have. 

– Jake Roberts, meanwhile, didn’t fair so well, losing his appeal in the case where he was convicted of assault for punching out John Bartlett in Florida.  So he gets 10 years probation, a $10,000 fine, a $5000 fine payable to the Florida government, 100 hours of community service, and about $11,000 restitution to the victim.  He was claiming self-defense in the trial, but the jury SHOCKINGLY didn’t believe that a 6’ tall professional wrestler was in imminent danger from some schmuck on the street. 

– Apparently the Rockers are “about as upset as you’d figure” over the title situation.  (And at that moment, young Shawn Michaels thought to himself “Man, the next time I win a title in the WWF, I’m never losing it in the ring!” ) 

– Although the AWA is still running old tapes to maintain their ESPN slot, they’re not producing new TV and it’s being said that Jerry Jarrett will get that slot on the first of the new year. 

– To the WWF, where the card for Wrestlemania VII appears to be set.  In the main event, and I hope everyone is writing this down, Roddy Piper will turn heel and face Ultimate Warrior.  The other half of the giant double main event to fill 100,000 seats will see Hulk Hogan facing Mean Mark in whatever guise he takes on after Survivor Series. 

– Dave is quite notably skeptical about any of this, by the way. 

– Apparently, and this will probably come as a shock to many of you, Suburban Commando is turning out to be a pretty fucking terrible movie.  In fact, it’s allegedly so bad that there’s now serious talk of scrapping the theatrical release completely and just sending it straight to video after a week in theaters for legal reasons.  In fact, many scenes turned out so bad that they needed extensive reshoots, which is why Hogan is still mostly MIA at the moment. 

– The UWF taped more terrible TV, with all the non-squash matches ending in DQ finishes, and the only guy to get a reaction is Cactus Jack because it’s all hardcore fans who attend these things and Jack has this weird cult following going. 

– Also at the tapings, Steve Williams got into a weird altercation with the referee, as he was throwing jobbers around after a squash and hit the ref, who completely no-sold it.  So Doc kicked him and hit him with a chair to no effect, and the ref actually took him down in a shoot until Doc kicked him in the face to make him sell.  And then they fought AGAIN in the dressing room, with the ref screaming at him to fight and they brawled until other guys broke it up.  (Wasn’t there a story coming up about Williams shooting on someone on TV as well?) 

– Mystery solved: The Original Magnum Force (who lasted one squash win at the TV tapings) were the Dream Warriors from Windy City Wrestling. 

– Sadly, the WCW section is back to the NWA after one week.  JUST ACCEPT IT, DAVE!

– OK, now for the karma section of our newsletter review:  After that article in the Oreganian came out complaining about convicted sex offender Art Barr working for WCW, someone from New York (wink, wink) sent a bunch of letters to all the syndicated TV stations with clippings of that newspaper.  So Barr is currently fired while Jim Herd talks to the lawyers, and it turns out that Barr’s conviction was actually plead down to misdemeanor sexual abuse and probation.  Herd is also claiming that had he known about the conviction, he would never have hired Barr to begin with, but at the same time it’s not fair to continue punishing him for something that he’s already served his sentence for.  (Yeah but you don’t have to make him into a babyface that is marketed to CHILDREN, either!) 

– Dave admits that he shouldn’t be using the NWA name anymore, but it’s habit.  Anyway, WCW is currently waiting on acceptance or denial of NWA membership, and it’s basically up to Jim Crockett…who owns a minority stake in WCW.  (That seems a tad fishy.) 

– Flair is missing a bunch of shows for unknown reasons, and in fact Barry Windham will likely be taking his place against Doom at Starrcade. 

– The Turner accountants who were charged with finding ways for WCW to save money came up with some really ridiculous humdingers.  Like, check out these asinine suggestions: 

1.  Book things more than 30 days in advance so you can get cheaper airfare by purchasing tickets sooner.

2.  Rather than criss-crossing the country with no clear direction, fly to one part of the country and run shows in the general area for a week or so, which allows guys to drive to shows instead of flying. 

3.  Rather than running 2 or 3 shitty little markets a night for 100 people, concentrate on booking one big show in one big market to maximize returns.

I’m guessing the WCW office guys were like…

…and it went downhill from there.

– Working plan for when Owen Hart comes in January is a tag team with Brian Pillman.  Dave expects “lots of major things” to happen before then, which increases the likelihood of it happening. 

– And finally, they offered Stan Hansen a $100,000 contract to work 100 dates in 1991, but Stan is in mostly as a favor to Ole Anderson, and Ole isn’t exactly a strong choice to be allied with at the moment, if you know what I mean.  So it’s unlikely he’ll stick around after Starrcade.  I’m guessing the “major things” referred to in the last newsbite are related somehow.  But we’ll just have to find out together next time!