Wrestling Observer Flashback–08.26.91

Previously on the Flashback… http://blogofdoom.com/index.php/2017/01/04/wrestling-observer-flashback-08-19-91/

I feel like this whole steroid thing MIGHT turn into a bigger problem in the future.  Just a hunch.

– Titan Sports is having still more legal problems surrounding their drugs, in this case a lawsuit filed by Superstar Billy Graham against Vince McMahon and the WWF.  Graham is also planning to blow the whistle on Hulk Hogan’s steroid use, along with the steroid habits of several other top stars.  Entertainment Tonight has actually had a piece on the steroid problem saved up for a while, and they were waiting for Graham to file his lawsuit and drop the bombshell that was needed to justify the piece.

– For their part, the WWF are treating this like “extortion”, since Graham is seeking $1.25 million to settle out of court.  Vince is quite bitter about the situation, saying that he took a washed up former wrestler and gave him a job as a color commentator, PLUS paid for his hip operation.  Vince was also personally hurt by the claims that Graham was making, since Billy was his childhood hero and all. Dave notes that this is quite the feat considering that Vince is only three years younger than Graham. At any rate, Vince will not negotiate with terrorists, and besides which, settling with Graham sets a dangerous precedent where anyone can just get away with suing the WWF for nearly killing them with a dangerous drug lifestyle.

– In order to head Graham off at the pass, so to speak, Vince issued a press release where the company finally announced their drug testing policy, which will be administered by CDT out of Los Angeles.  Still no word on when or how it will be implemented, but it’s a start!  Also, Vince was allowed to have space in Sports Illustrated as a part of their story on steroids in sports, where he talked about the “extensive drug testing” that the WWF has been doing since 1987, which will now include steroids.  (How extensive could it be if steroids weren’t even included?) 

– David Sammartino spoke with Mark Madden about his own steroid use, since Bruno had mentioned that he thought David was on the juice but wasn’t sure.  David confirmed that he was actually a very heavy user since 1981, but just didn’t tell his dad about it.  He actually suffered serious medical issues as a result, like having his blood pressure spike to 200/110 at one point in Japan.  The doctor was amazed that he didn’t drop dead on the spot.  David said that although Vince never told him to take steroids, it was pretty much assumed by everyone in the locker room that they needed to be taken.  Especially by Hulk Hogan.

– If Summerslam turns into a hit on PPV, it’ll be a real coup for Vince McMahon, because the show is literally being sold on the wedding and not much else.  However, the real excitement looks to be the shows in the fall where Ric Flair debuts.  It’s looking like 10/18 in Oakland is going to be the first Hogan-Flair match, although Flair will likely work with Piper in the interim.  Dave thinks that if they do the Piper feud long-term over the fall, then it’ll mean Hogan v. Flair at Wrestlemania, but if they run with Hogan v. Flair now, then it’s something else entirely for Wrestlemania.

– Clash XVI happens on 9/5, and if the show bombs this time then TBS is seriously considering cancelling the specials completely.  It’s clearly the weakest lineup in the history of the show, and the lowest rating in the history of the show seems like a possibility.  TBS actually demanded that the lineup for the show be changed because it originally didn’t feature Sting or Lex Luger, which is why the whole “reverse battle royale with mud” concept was dropped.

– Speaking of dropped, the Johnny B. Badd face turn has already been dropped and he’ll remain a heel, replaced in a feud with Steve Austin by (SURPRISE SURPRISE) Dustin Rhodes.

– WCW is sending out promotional materials for Halloween Havoc featuring something called a “Chamber of Horrors” match, which might be the maze thing we talked about before.  One of the top matches was Nikita Koloff v. Bill Kazmaier in some kind of test of strength, but Koloff is on the outs with the company already and it probably won’t happen.

– Jesse Ventura will be hosting a freakshow called “Grudge Match”, which has already taped 26 episodes and is described as a combination of the People’s Court and American Gladiators.  The gimmick is that they take people with issues and put them a boxing ring with oversized gloves to “fight” for one round, then they use comic weapons (like dead fish) for another round, and the studio audience picks a winner.  The fights will apparently be a shoot.  The original pilot was done with actors, but they were so obviously working matches with each other that Ventura disgustedly threw down his headset and walked off.  (It’s all about the sanctity of the artform, man!)  WCW has been sending out feelers, but Jesse directed them to his agent, Barry Bloom, and no one ever followed up.

– Art Barr is negotiating to work for EMLL in Mexico.

– Cactus Jack became the first wrestler to appear on the Howard Stern show in New York, which is the hottest radio programme in the New York area at the moment and wrestlers are DYING to get onto it.  As it turns out, Stern regular Fred the Elephant Boy is an Observer subscriber, and he talked up Cactus on the show until Stern finally booked him.  Paul E. Dangerously has been desperately trying to get booked on the show as well, with no success as of yet.

– Joel Goodhart’s strong promises of Ric Flair appearing on his 9/21 show have been scaled back to the point where it’s going to be Kevin Sullivan instead.  Dave notes that even if Flair HADN’T signed with the WWF, it’s unlikely he would have appeared for Goodhart anyway.

– Herb Abrams is currently avoiding bill collectors after his PPV show in Florida.

– To the WWF, as they taped post-Summerslam TV in Rochester and Curt Hennig was nowhere to be seen.  Ditto for The Coach, who has been dropped and replaced by Lanny Poffo as the Genius again.  This is apparently a favor to Randy Savage to get him to un-retire.  They did a test run of Sid v. Undertaker with the cameras off, and that got over huge.  They putting Sid in with top rate workers only, like Paul Diamond, to protect him in every way possible.

– Jake Roberts indeed turned heel on Ultimate Warrior in a TV segment that Dave WAY undersells.  Warrior will continue to work with Undertaker for a couple of months while Jake rests his injured back some more.

– WCW has already announced that they will be taking legal action over the NWA World title belt, claiming that it was listed as the property of Jim Crockett Promotions when TBS bought the company.

–  Nikita Koloff’s short-term contract expires at the end of the month and he’s not listed on any bookings from then on.  So it’s probably not looking good.  Also being dropped are Kevin Sullivan (for real this time), Junkyard Dog, Robert Gibson and Oliver Humperdink.  DDP is getting fired as a manager but will remain as commentator.

– And finally, this Van Hammer guy looks great just standing there, so WCW signed him to a $75,000/year guaranteed deal after only two professional matches, because he looks kind of like Sid.  BECAUSE WCW.

Not much this week.  Next week:  SUMMERSLAM.  And you know what goes down there!