Wrestling Observer Flashback–08.19.91

Previously on the Flashback… http://blogofdoom.com/index.php/2017/01/03/wrestling-observer-flashback-08-12-91/

All this nostalgia inspired me to go buy a couple of SWEET classic Macho Man t-shirts from Barbershop Window:  http://www.barbershopwindow.com/wrestling-shirts/official-partners/macho-man-randy-savage.html  I grabbed the “Macho Man ‘85” and the classic purple glasses logo.  Hopefully they’ll contact me and be all like “Yo!  Your memes are so DANK that people bought a shitload of Macho Man shirts and put our kids through college.  Good college!  Like, ITT Tech and shit.  Have some free shirts on us.”

It could happen.

Hey, also, WWE is FINALLY coming back here to Saskatoon for the first time since 2011 next month!  I will actually get to see AJ Styles at a live event, which is a thing that I would not have predicted even a couple of years ago.

Let’s Observer!

– In the top story, New Japan had a MONSTER week of business, grossing a reported $4 million between four shows in one week.  They had four sellouts of 11,000 people or more at Sumo Hall, which saw a four night tournament where Masa Chono scored a stunning upset over Keiji Muto in the finals, beginning a new era for the company in the process.  After the tournament, Chono teamed with Muto and Shinya Hashimoto to form a new group, called the Three Musketeers, with the idea being that they are the new singles stars of the promotion, replacing the old guard of Riki Choshu and Fujinami.  In fact, Choshu’s retirement was announced by the papers after the show, with the ceremony supposedly being held on 9/23 at the Yokohama Arena.  (Riki stuck around much longer than that, in fact.)  Choshu was trying to show that he wasn’t a selfish booker, doing tons of jobs for the new guys over the course of the tournament, with the philosophy being that booking is a deck of cards and Inoki was the Ace of Spades.

– Anyway, with Inoki out of the deck, Choshu had to shuffle the cards and try to make a lot of different hands, so now the strategy moving forward is that there’s a clearly defined hierarchy of top guys, but any top guy can beat any other top guy on any given night, and thus fans will be kept guessing.

– In the other top story, Bobby Heenan showed up on WWF Superstars with the NWA World title belt, introducing the name “Ric Flair” to the WWF audience for the first time.  The contract signing on 9/1 is a mere formality and Flair will debut on 9/9 or 9/10 at the TV tapings in Ontario.  He might even start doing house shows in mid-September when they tour Europe.

– Overall, Dave thinks is the death knell for WCW as a potential challenger to the throne of the WWF in the eyes of the public.  Having Vince put their biggest star on his TV against Hogan makes WCW look like a bunch of clowns.  Having Luger on top likely won’t hurt them because they’re pretty much at rock bottom anyway and Luger v. Ron Simmons is hardly a main event to turn the company around. Ironically, the perception is going to be the WWF stealing WCW’s talent because they have the big money and WCW doesn’t, when in fact the reality is quite the opposite. WCW was throwing huge amounts of money at Flair in the contract negotiations, but Jim Herd was so trigger happy that he fired Flair before they could even change the title, and now it’s six weeks into the “We Want Flair” era and fans STILL won’t shut up about it.  (Maybe Jim Herd should have done a WWE Network show with Paul Heyman and JBL where they called fans idiots for wanting Flair around?)  In fact ratings for TBS are the lowest in the history of the promotion at this point (Maybe they should go three hours?) although to be fair no one in their right mind thought that Vince would actually allow Flair to appear on WWF TV with the title belt.

– Everyone thinks Flair v. Hogan is going to do monster business, but HOLD ON, says Dave.  Everyone assumes it’s the Wrestlemania main event, but he doesn’t think they’ll drag it out that long. There’s too many “ifs” involved and for all anyone knows, they could burn out the title v. title gimmick by November.

– The Clash XVI show is shaping up to be Ron Simmons v. Diamond Studd for the Halloween Havoc title shot, the finals of the tag team title tournament with Steiner & Kazmaier v. The Enforcers, plus a couple of semi-finals in the lightheavyweight tournament. There will still be a battle royale, but thankfully not in a ring filled with clay.  (Just with jobbers). 

– Vince McMahon had a four hour meeting with his bodybuilding crew to discuss the tender topic of steroids.

– Vince has a plan to eliminate steroids from bodybuilding.  Even though everyone in the sport is on more drugs than the East German Women’s powerlifting team, Vince is going to redefine the competition in a way that doesn’t reward people with freakish drug physiques.  It should be noted that this is the third public announcement of “steroid testing” for the WBF, with absolutely nothing happening the first two times, so don’t hold your breath.  Dave thinks the risks are too high to announce testing again and then not follow through with it.  (And yet…) 

– Vince also met with the wrestling talent and told everyone to get off the shit RIGHT NOW because if any big names were to be caught with this stuff, it would be a major PR nightmare for the company.  (I think Randy Savage was literally the only person to take that seriously.)  He stressed again that testing starts in September, but there’s still zero details on what or how they’re testing.

– Jim Herd, meanwhile, stressed that there will be no steroid testing in WCW.  His feeling is that his guys are adults who will do what they want.  (Digging the hole deeper every week.) 

– In the big SWS tag tournament in the Yokohama Arena (running opposite the giant New Japan tournament!) the Road Warriors beat Tenryu & Ashura Hara in the finals to the surprise of no one.  Tenryu is now “salivating” at the prospect of getting access to Ric Flair for a series of dream matches later in the year.  (Unfortunately for him, the WWF relationship fell apart soon after.  But Flair & Hogan v. The Road Warriors?  DAMN.  That would have drawn some legit money.) 

– The new FMW offshoot group W*ING debuted at Korakuen Hall to a sellout crowd, as TNT jumped from New Japan thanks to his relationship with owner Victor Quinones.  It’s mostly no-name guys doing death matches.

– Koji Kitao announced his retirement from pro wrestling at a press conference, and said he’s training to be a KARATE FIGHTER.  (Better hope John Tenta doesn’t train as well.) 

– The Patriot won the North American title tournament in Global, adding to his TV title.  The finish was kind of screwed up, as Patriot wrestled Al Perez (“the human sleeper hold” says Dave) in the finals and it was supposed to be a deal where Perez got his feet on the ropes and Patriot stopped the pin count because he’s a good sportsman. But the ref screwed up and counted it like a shoot, making it look like Patriot knowingly pinned the man when he was in the ropes and Perez got screwed over.  And in fact Perez was over as a babyface in the match.  Also unfortunately, the crowd dropped from 1100 paid on Friday’s show to 540 for Saturday’s tournament final, which is an all-time low for the promotion.

– This was actually the last weekend for multiple shows, as they will now only tape Fridays once a week, with the show airing on Monday on ESPN.  The grand plan for five days a week has been dropped and ESPN will air reruns of Pro Wrestling This Week instead.

– Jim Cornette continues bringing the funny.  After Stan Lane lost to the Patriot on the Global show, Cornette launched into a tirade about how it was a conspiracy against Stan, just like the cops conspired against his good friend Pee Wee Herman.  See, the court system was so biased that they wouldn’t even let Pee Wee defend himself in court!  Hold on a second, I need the bad pun dog for this punchline:

– Billy Jack Haynes is once again back in Portland after getting fired from WCW.

– Joel Goodhart continues making bigger and bigger promises, this time talking about a new working relationship with New Japan and big names like Muto and Liger will be working shows in Philly in 1992.  Dave thinks this is unlikely since WCW pretty much has the exclusive with New Japan at this point, although El Samurai will be coming over for some seasoning in the US at the very least.

– Herb Abrams is trying to sell a 30 minute talk show with himself and Lou Albano to cable networks.  (SOLD!  Couldn’t be any worse than “Bring It To The Table.”) 

– In their quest to maintain wholesome family entertainment, the WWF has been airing skits where Jake Roberts teaches Ultimate Warrior to get in touch with his dark side and to not fear death, which should end with Jake going heel.

– Shane Douglas continues to act as surrogate Rocker with Shawn Michaels injured.  (OH THE IRONY.)

– The case where Bobby Heenan was found passed out in an airport will be dropped pending completion of an alcohol rehabilitation program, and basically nothing more will come of it as long as he behaves himself. (And then they immediately stick him on the road with RIC FLAIR!) 

– Downtown Bruno will in fact not be Herbie Wimpleman, but in fact Harvey Whippleman.  (Don’t tell CRZ that Dave put that “H” in there.) 

– Barry Darsow will be using that Repo Man gimmick that JJ Dillon had trademarked a few weeks back.

– To WCW, where the Patriots are already US tag champs, winning the belts in a horrible 15:00 match with a screwed up finish because Todd Champion missed his cue completely.  (Oh man, we finally got TBS in Edmonton at this point and I remember watching that match on the Main Event!  It was fucking awful!) 

– DDP will no longer be managing Diamond Studd and will instead be doing color. (Future WWF Hall of Famer, if the rumors for this year are true.) 

– Kevin Sullivan was told that he was being fired after the Clash as a part of the bloodletting, but then he was called up and asked to work the TV tapings as a wrestler again instead of a manager.  So apparently he’s sticking around again now.

– Sting got another big box on the taping, which was supposed to be Bam Bam Bigelow, but he quit before making TV, so instead it was a girl telling him to retire. Cactus Jack of course returned to WCW as the second big box, and the whole thing is leading to Lex Luger as the final boss fight.

– WCW is moving all their tapings from this point forward to the newly rebuilt Center Stage in Atlanta.

– And finally,  Jim Ross is pushing for the Steiners v. Gordy & Williams on PPV later in the year.  (Well we knew at least one person who loved Bill Watts’ tenure then.) 

Peace out.