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Wrestling Observer Flashback–02.25.91

Previously in the Flashback… http://blogofdoom.com/index.php/2016/11/29/wrestling-observer-flashback-02-18-91/

Closing in on Wrestlemania VII, and Vince McMahon comes up with a very unique way of turning a negative into a positive…

– Dave runs down the card for WM7, and notes that Tugboat isn’t even on the show and Bravo/Quake are far down the card, so hopefully that means their ridiculous over-push is now under control again. 

– Bob Costas is supposed to be there doing a spoof on the instant replay controversy in the NFL, using one of the finishes of the show as material.  (That of course would not come to pass.) 

– As for the silver lining on this one, Vince is now making the claim that Wrestlemania VII is the FASTEST SELLOUT IN HISTORY.  Never mind that tickets have been on sale for 10 months and it took that long just to hit 15,000 tickets, but technically the Sports Arena tickets went on sale as a separate deal, and since 99.9% of the tickets were already pre-sold, boom, instant sellout.  However, the main problem is that the show was budgeted to make $4 million at the Coliseum, and now the gate will only be $1 million.  Normally $1 million would be one of the biggest gates in North American history, but the advertising budget was scaled for $4 million and now they’re in some financial difficulty based on the lowered estimate.

– On PPV, the problem is that the price was too damn high last year, and it was a face v. face matchup, which never draws historically.  So this year Vince has kept the price tag the same, but now has a heel in the main event.  So we’ll find out if they can top last year’s 4.7% buyrate while keeping the high price tag the same, or if the price was the problem.  (As it turned out, there were a LOT of problems, because the show was an all-time bomb, drawing a 2.8% buyrate, or nearly half of what they projected.) 

– WCW, meanwhile, is sitting at 2000 paid for the WrestleWar show, even with the Phoenix building scaled down from 16,000 seats to 12,000 seats.  It should at least look respectable on TV, but even the WWF show the night before is “nothing to write home about”. 

– Dave is back on the bodybuilding thing again, as the Weiders finally acknowledged the competition from the McMahons and published a magazine article ripping apart the WBF contract system.  On the bright side for the bodybuilders, Vince forcing their hand has meant that the Weiders are now compelled to give out guaranteed contracts for the first time ever.  Dave thinks that if the Weiders underestimate the McMahon product, then the same thing might happen to them that happened to all the other promoters that Vince opposed.  (Hardly.) 

– Technical note:  Dave is switched to LASER PRINTING as of next issue. 

– To Japan, where Takada’s UWFi group is already having troubles finding a sponsor, and might have to merge with Maeda’s un-named group. 

– Fujiwara is telling his guys that he doesn’t want any showmanship or wrestling gaga in his shows, which is funny because the whole reason he left in the first place is because he was fighting for all that stuff.

– Hogan & Tenryu v. The Legion of Doom has been a major disappointment for ticket sales thus far, and although the Fujiwara crew will be working the show on the undercard, they won’t be mixing with the WWF guys because they don’t want ANY funny business. 

– Exactly.

– Art Barr is back working PNW as Beetlejuice, although only in Washington spot shows because he’s still not allowed to work in Oregon.  And if he DOES somehow sneak back in, it’ll be a PR nightmare for Don Owen.  But Barr has nowhere else to go, so here we are. 

– Speaking of poor Art, he was working as a manager for the Hood (Brad Anderson) in a cage match against the Grappler because he’s not allowed to be in the ring.  During the finish, Anderson tossed a 2×4 into the ring and somehow managed to “accidentally” hit Barr in the head with it with pinpoint accuracy.  (Guess there’s still some bitterness against him.) 

– Jamie Dundee has now gone heel in Memphis and changed his name to JC Ice.  They want to get all the heel-face alignments straight between Memphis and Dallas before merging into the super-circuit. 

– Herb Abrams UWF continues to have financial troubles, as guys like Honky Tonk Man are going on radio interviews and openly burying Herb for bouncing cheques.  Herb actually was advertising a mystery man as a big surprise for the latest taping, but he was a no-show due to insufficient funds, so now we’ll never know who he was.

– They taped an entire afternoon of promos to pad out the TV shows, but someone stole the tapes. 

– Herb himself, meanwhile, is the biggest heel on these tapings because the only people dumb enough to show up are hardcore fans and newsletter readers, who of course know all about his shady dealings.

– Jesse Ventura is already getting heat as the mayor of Brooklyn Park, with a big article in the paper about how he’s a disgrace because he doesn’t wear a shirt and tie and is thus devaluing the position. 

– Joe Pedicino is once again claiming that he’s starting his new promotion in April.  For real.  Eddie Gilbert, meanwhile, has been burying Pedicino all over after their brief association. 

– To the WWF, where everything else is down, but Hogan-Quake stretcher matches are drawing 10,000+ crowds around the horn at least.

– Mike Rotunda has signed and will be coming in after his New Japan tour ends.

– Chris Chavis continues getting tryouts as War Eagle, looking physically impressive but still really green.  (Chris “War Eagle” Chavis is a pretty good wrestling name, actually.) 

– They’re already retooling the Viking, putting Mr. Fuji with him to get heel heat.  (“Someone already doesn’t like Nord.” Dave notes)

– Sgt. Slaughter is already telling people that he’s turning babyface soon.  He actually has to wear a bulletproof vest everywhere, which is a big pain in the ass.

– Ricky Steamboat is coming in with a fire-breathing gimmick after Wrestlemania.

– As it turned out in Dallas, Adnan was taken out of the match with Kerry, so the main event was Kerry Von Erich beating Boris Zhukov.  THE MAIN EVENT. 

– To WCW, with “one for the books” in the biggest understatement in some time.  So on 2/18, in one of the most famous title changes in history, the Steiner Brothers won the WCW World tag titles from the Freebirds.  Now, the astute readers who weren’t around at the time may be wondering when the Freebirds won the titles from Doom, and the answer is that they wouldn’t actually win them for another three days, at the PPV.  So the Freebirds have the first ever title reign into negative numbers.  Dave notes that the irony is that Dusty Rhodes is an “old school” guy who bitches about other promoters exposing the business.

– Oliver Humperdink debuted at the tapings and will manage the Freebirds as Big Daddy Dink, playing a Lou Albano type.  Nikita Koloff is also back, working as a heel for a program with Lex Luger.  Dave thinks it’s weird that the Birds have two managers now, since Hayes is the best talker of the four. 

– Spoiler alert:  JYD & Morton & Rich retained the six-man titles at the tapings. You’ll note that they’re not scheduled to win them for another week.

– WCW is planning to put Pillman together with Owen Hart as a team called Wings, and is already produced vignettes for them, but now Dusty wants to push Pillman as a single so that idea might be out the window before they even debut.

– And finally, the World Championship Wrestling show on Saturdays will be undergoing a makeover shortly, getting a new name, graphics and a total cosmetic redo.  (WCW…on Saturday Night…wonder what they could call it?)