Wrestling Observer Flashback–07.08.91

Previously on the Flashback… http://blogofdoom.com/index.php/2016/12/24/wrestling-observer-flashback-07-01-91/

HO HO HO, MERRY CHRISTMAS!  And it’s time for the best Christmas present that I could ever present to you:  One of the most historic issues of the Observer EVER. 

When we last left off, Ric Flair and Jim Herd were in negotiations for a contract extension, and it wasn’t going very well.  Herd gave Flair 30 days notice as a negotiating tactic, and well…

– In the top story of the week, and in fact one of the top stories in wrestling history, Ric Flair was fired from WCW effective immediately when negotiations fell through.  Flair’s contract was scheduled to be terminated as of 08/01, and Flair was scheduled to drop the WCW World title to Barry Windham on 7/1 in Macon, GA.  Flair wasn’t actually expected to show up and do the job in that match, but if he did, then Windham would defend the title against Lex Luger at the Bash instead of Flair.  Since Flair was on vacation and no-showed the title change, they officially stripped him of the title and announced that it would be Luger v. Windham for the vacant title at the Bash in Baltimore.  This is actually the first time the title has not changed hands in the ring.

– The original plan was for Flair to drop the title to Luger in Baltimore.  WCW had been offering $350,000 per year, which would literally cut his salary in half.  Flair wasn’t willing to take such a huge pay cut, and even more wasn’t willing to get paid less than Lex Luger.  And since Luger was the highest-paid guy left, they had to make him champion to justify the pay.  Flair’s role has been to put people over for the past two years, and it really killed his marketability, and now instead of getting rewarded at contract time he’s being punished with a cut-rate contract.  WCW lost upwards of $6 million in 1990 and this is the end result.

– Last week, during negotiations, WCW went to Turner Home Entertainment pushing the idea of changing the PPV main event to Luger v. Windham.  This seemed to be the end goal all along, since they were so severely underpushing the main event and focusing instead on guys like Johnny B Badd and PN News in the advertising.  The belief is that Flair’s role after dropping the title was going to be putting over Dustin Rhodes all summer as revenge for getting Dusty Rhodes fired in 1988. 

– Also, WCW will need to get a new belt made since Flair owns the current one and has little reason to return it.  (This was not true, as it turns out.) 

– Flair is no doubt headed to the WWF, although Dave has no idea what Vince would do with him.  He could also go to Japan, but that would mean changing his style and there’s no guarantees.  Had Flair jumped to the WWF last year, he would have been assured of a WM slot against Hogan in Los Angeles, but now with Sid and Undertaker on the way up there may not be a spot for him.  Dave notes that this won’t be a crippling blow for WCW, because the crippling blows have been coming for the past year and are more like a series of shots to the joints in a skeleton filled with stress fractures. 

– Does “King Hoss Flair” have a good ring to it?

– Back to the Zahorian trial, as everyone from Hulk Hogan all the way up to Vince McMahon was revealed as purchasing drugs from the good doctor.  Zahorian was convicted on 12 counts of selling controlled substances, but he managed to get off on two counts.  Zahorian will be sentenced in two months, and he’s facing 44 years in prison.  His $3.5 million condo has been seized since the jury believed he used it for doing drug deals. He announced that he’ll appeal the decision. 

– Zahorian testified at the end of the trial that he sold steroids to Hogan, and that Hogan had a serious roid problem from 1984 until 1988, when Zahorian miraculously helped him kick his roid habit once and for all.  He also claimed that he considered all his buyers to be patients, even though he never checked any of them and did all transactions by mail.  He claimed that all steroids he gave out were merely to maintain their strength, stamina and muscularity.  However, the smoking gun ended up being Billy Graham, who testified as a SECRET WITNESS on the last day of the trial and made claims about damage to his hip and ankle and liver from the drugs.  And Graham also said he purchased huge quantities in 1988, a year’s worth at a time, which directly contradicts Zahorian’s claim of only selling minimal doses. 

– Roddy Piper gave an interview to the Oregonian, where he claimed that Bruno was exaggerating about the “hundreds of needles” in the bathroom, and that he took the steroids to feed his family and because it enhanced his ability. 

– Dave talks a bit about the realities of muscle tears in steroid users, like Scott Steiner’s bicep tear caused by having too much mass on the arm. 

– Dave thinks that this is only the tip of iceberg, and more problems will come from wrestlers being forced to use drugs to keep up the Joneses. 

– As a part of the long-awaited debut of the Global Wrestling Federation, the Dallas Sportatorium has been renamed the GLOBAL DOME and is now in an unidentified city.  The tournament for the first GWF TV champion ended with the Patriot beating Buddy Landel in the finals.  Reports are that the show went smoothly and was better than expected, although there were no big names.  They’ll be running additional tournaments for a tag title, light heavyweight title and North American title upcoming.

– Famous Dallas villain Duke Keomuka (father of Pat Tanaka) passed away at age 70 on 6/30 after heart surgery that was thought to be successful initially. 

– Eddie Gilbert has quit the USWA yet again, this time because he felt like Eric Embry was “burying him”.  In fact, Gilbert and Bill Dundee have never gotten along, and Embry booked them together in a program like a big meanie.  Eddie is trying to get back into WCW , but there’s still hurt feelings over how badly the relationship ended last time. 

– In addition to rookie sensation Rob Zakowski, also working in the Memphis area is Ed Farhat’s nephew Terry, who goes by the name or Samu or Sabu.  Zakowski also worked for Farhat in Detroit as Rob The Polish Prince.

– In the biggest news out of the Global tapings, Pedicino has announced that he’s going to install AIR CONDITIONING in the Sportatorium.  That alone should be worth a huge attendance boost.

– To the WWF, where there is HUGE heat on the Mountie character in Canada.  Basically the RCMP is on the warpath against the character, trying to get the WWF to drop the gimmick completely.  The WWF capitulated to a certain degree by airing disclaimers that Mountie has no actual association with the police and has never trained with them.  The RCMP’s statement was that they spent years talking to children in schools about the police, and here’s one jerk on TV zapping people with a cattle prod and making them look like assholes.  (I’m paraphrasing there, of course.) 

– Shane Douglas is back from teaching for the summer and working dates on the road, and Dino Bravo is also back to replace Hercules (who failed a drug test and is out for six weeks as a result.) 

– Mr. Perfect is missing tons of dates due to his back injury.  They announced on the 7/1 MSG show that he’ll be defending the IC title against Bret Hart at Summerslam. 

– At a recent Prime Time taping, a fan wore an NBC t-shirt and they made him put a WWF shirt over top of it.  So that tells you where THAT relationship stands.

– As noted, the TV taping for WCW on 7/1 in Macon was supposed to feature a surprise title change with Windham beating Flair, but since Flair didn’t show up they just announced he was stripped of the title instead. 

– The official story on Dan Spivey is that he was asked to put over Tom Zenk & Rick Steiner in a tag match with Stan Hansen and refused because they’re the current tag champs in Japan and Baba would freak.  So to punish him, they told him to put over PN News every night, and next thing you know, he’s fired.

– Word is going around that anyone who won’t sign the $300 per night deal is going to be removed from TV immediately. 

– All the syndicated shows are done through the end of July, and have references to the Bash finish and to Ric Flair in them, so the WCW production monkeys have to go through and edit them ALL out.

– And finally, the original plan for Halloween Havoc was Luger defending the WCW World title against Mr. Hughes.  That may change now. 

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL.  Back with more after Boxing Day.