Wrestling Observer Flashback–09.02.91

Previously on the Flashback… http://blogofdoom.com/index.php/2017/01/05/wrestling-observer-flashback-08-26-91/

Time for SUMMERSLAM.

And someone’s time runs out.

– Although the big news of the weekend was Summerslam ‘91, the bigger news was the suspension of Ultimate Warrior “for no less than 90 days” following the show.  Dave is pretty sure that Warrior isn’t coming back, but officially he’s still under contract. Unofficially, he’s been taken out of all advertising and future plans. There’s little detail as to why, but rumor is that he was seeking a contract equal to that of Hulk Hogan and Vince wasn’t giving in.  In fact, Warrior wanted guaranteed money on the level of $1 million a year, which wasn’t going to happen for anyone except Hogan.  (A few years back, the amazing @mookieghana posted all the details from the court proceedings and we learned exactly what everyone was making for that show)  Warrior is unable to work for the competition because he’s only suspended at this point, not technically fired.

– So this kind of messes up the pairings for the fall.  Warrior was supposed to work with Undertaker as the top program, before switching to Jake Roberts in mid-October while Roddy Piper worked with Flair and Undertaker with Savage.

– Dave recaps the wedding reception angle that was shot after Summerslam, which featured Jake Roberts crashing the reception and a cobra attacking the bride, which now sets up a Savage-Roberts program in place of Warrior-Roberts.  Undertaker would then be put into a program with Sid, which has some people annoyed because it’s seemingly way too soon for that program.  (6 years too soon as it turned out.)  Savage, meanwhile, is STILL insisting that he doesn’t want to come back full-time, so Vince was threatening to pull him off TV if he didn’t come back.  Savage has, for the moment, agreed to do a PPV match with Roberts and maybe Undertaker, but still considers himself retired.  So when the house shows start up again with A and B shows, it’ll now be Flair v. Piper or Hogan as the A show, and Sid v. Jake Roberts on the B show, and no definite idea for Undertaker.

SUMMERSLAM ‘91

(I could have watched this show on a friend’s satellite dish, but I was away at a workshop for my high school yearbook, because I was so awesome in high school, and I had to painfully wait for results in the NEWSPAPER the next morning in the days before smart phones.  The painful life of a writer.) 

1. Koko B. Ware pinned Kato in 7:15 after a missile dropkick in the dark match.  **

2. Ricky Steamboat & Kerry Von Erich & British Bulldog beat The Warlord & Hercules & Paul Roma in 11:37 when Steamboat pinned Roma with a high cross.  Well-paced and good in spots, but the guys lost the page a few times.  The finish was sloppy.  **1/4

3. Bret Hart beat Mr. Perfect by submission to win the IC title in 18:03.  An excellent match that stole the show, even more amazing considering that Perfect was in excruciating pain the entire match.  This was Coach’s farewell match as a manager.  The match was better than the rating, but the finish was bad in that Hart barely even applied the Sharpshooter before Perfect gave up.  ****

4. The Natural Disasters beat the Bushwackers in 6:29.  At least it was short.  3/4*

5.  Virgil beat Ted Dibiase to win the Million Dollar Belt in 14:10.  Dibiase did a great job and Virgil took good bumps to make it entertaining.  The booking was the highlight here, with Dibiase going into an exposed turnbuckle to give Virgil the win for the biggest pop of the night.  ***1/4

6. Big Bossman pinned the Mountie in the jailhouse match in 10:38.  Crowd was swarming to the concession stand during the match, but the work was OK.  The match didn’t get much reaction but Mountie getting thrown in the paddy wagon got a big pop.  *1/2

7. The Legion of Doom beat the Nasty Boys in 7:26 to win the WWF tag team titles, which makes them the only team to ever hold the WWF, NWA and AWA tag titles.  Mostly heat on Hawk and a brawl the whole way, ending with Saggs taking the Doomsday Device for the pin.  **1/2

8.  IRS pinned Greg “The Human Intermission” Valentine in 8:35 with an inside cradle.  *1/4

9.  Hulk Hogan & Ultimate Warrior pinned Sgt. Slaughter & General Adnan & Col Mustafa in 12:20 of the main event.  Slaughter had a few good bumps, but that was about it.  Warrior chased off the heels after the hot tag and never returned, leaving Hogan and Justice to pose at the end of the match.  Could have been worse, but it was awful for a main event.  *1/4

10.  And finally, the wedding, as the crew “tried to set a new land speed record” in changing the ring over due to the length of the show.  Everyone mostly left during the wedding.

– Preliminary buyrate is 2.7, or 400,000 orders, which is way down from the previous two years.

– Bobby Heenan shot an angle with the NWA World title belt, as Hogan slammed the door in his face, which sets up the Flair program in the fall.

– Overall, Dave thought it was a good show, better than WM but not as good as Rumble.  The wedding was really rushed and there wasn’t really much in the way of big angles, however.

– Clearly everyone on the show was still on steroids, two months after they first announced steroid testing to the talent.  It is actually healthier to ease off steroids due to the nasty side effects and muscle loss.  If you ease off the roids, you stand a better chance of your body producing testosterone at a healthy rate again.  That being said, guys tapering off should look like normal weight-trainers and not super-muscled freakazoids like Warlord and Kerry Von Erich.

– Former women’s star Vivian Vachon, 39, (aunt of Luna Vachon) was killed in a tragic car accident when her car was hit by a drunk driver who ran a red light.

– Billy Graham hasn’t filed his lawsuit officially yet, but the WWF lawyers are already issuing statements denying any request for a settlement.  Graham is disputing Vince’s claim that his hip operation was paid for by the WWF, noting that Vince garnished his paycheque every week until it was fully paid off.

– More controversy from last week, as Bruno read the Observer story about David’s steroid use and allegedly threatened Mark Madden with physical violence because he was so upset.  Bruno and David actually haven’t been on speaking terms in a long time and this certainly didn’t help their relationship anyway.  David had actually been lying to Bruno the whole time, telling him that was “shooting vitamin B-12” and not steroids.  (Yeah, officer, it’s a baggie full of B-12 to help my appetite, that’s the ticket.) 

– Jim Herd continues to dig his own professional grave, as he was quoted in another newsletter as saying that Flair made up the whole story about being offered the booking job, because he’s never told the truth in his life and they were nice enough to let him go where he really wanted to be.  Legal threats were quickly thrown back and forth, and the end result is that TBS legal will print a retraction in an upcoming issue of Matwatch.

– Speaking of WCW, the not-so-Great American Bash rolled through the Omni with the US title tournament on 8/25, drawing 5000 fans for the finale of the Bash series.  Sting won the title over Steve Austin in the finals, beating him with an inside cradle in a **1/4 match.  The tournament was laden with screwjobs.  The rundown!

1. Austin beat Zenk by over-the-top DQ in 9:00.  *1/2

2. Diamond Studd pinned Bobby Eaton with his feet on the ropes. *

3. Johnny B. Badd went to a 15:00 draw with Yellow Dog.  *

4. Richard Morton and Dustin Rhodes went to a double countout.  ***

5. Sting pinned Arn Anderson **

Second round:

6. Austin beat Barry Windham by DQ in 3:00 when Windham shoved the ref.  1/2*  (Where the fuck did Barry Windham come from?  They did two double eliminations in the first round of a 10-man tournament and Windham somehow got a bye?  Who booked this crap?) 

7. Sting pinned Studd in 4:00.  *

8.  Sting pinned Austin to win the title.

– The original winner was booked to be Nikita Koloff, but he was told to stay home and then advertised all the way up until the day of the show anyway.

– Dusty Rhodes is scheduled to return to the ring as special referee for the main event of the next Omni show, which means they’re getting REALLY desperate.

– To Japan, where speculation about the retirement of Riki Choshu continues, although Dave thinks there’s zero chance he actually retires on the big 9/23 show.  The story being reported by the papers has been roundly denied by New Japan, but Choshu is on vacation and thus isn’t around to issue his own denial.  (Pretty convenient!) 

– SWS is promoting a Dome show on 12/12 headlined by Hogan v. Tenryu, with some expensive tickets as a result.

– The WCW tour for Kensuke Sasaki and Hiro Hase, which has been planned FOREVER, is now scrapped completely because Sasaki broke his shinbone doing a dive in a match against a bunch of rookies.

– The UWFI actually ran out of money this month because doing one show per month isn’t enough to support their finances.  So they brokered a deal with Hachiro Tanaka, owner of SWS, to bankroll the promotion.

– Chris Champion is actually getting over in FMW as “The Masked Turtle”, complete with costume.  Apparently FMW fans aren’t as picky as other Japanese fans about that sort of silliness.

– Speaking of FMW, they had a show scheduled in Calgary for September, but cancelled it to the surprise of no one.

– Giant Baba REALLY loves the Black Hearts and wants to train them in the full Japanese style, like was done with Chris Benoit, because they’re over and do all the hot moves but don’t have a foundation to work from.  (What parallel universe where fucking Gangrel is a future star is this written from?) 

– To Global, where they’re actually changing the identity of the big mystery heel manager called “The Boss” because so many people figured out it was Skandor Akbar.  They apparently don’t know who it’ll be yet.

– After the messed up finish of the North American title tournament finals last time, they did a rematch and this time Patriot won the title cleanly over Al Perez.  They turned Perez babyface afterwards because everyone was cheering him anyway.

– Ken Patera is having his hip replaced, but it has nothing to do with steroids, just the regular pounding that he’s taken from years in wrestling.

– Jim Herd was trying to get his Hunchbacks gimmick added to Halloween Havoc, with Kevin Sullivan playing one of the team members, but it appears to have been scrapped.  (Man, that story sure gained traction over the years.) 

– Nikita Koloff was originally signed for $1000 a night, but they wanted to negotiate down to the $300 a night deal everyone else works under, and thus he’s gone.

– To the WWF, where Mr. Fuji is on the way out of the promotion.

– A reporter from a paper in Winston-Salem NC called Dave looking for details on the Flair-to-WWF story, and Dave gave him the whole saga from start-to-finish.  When it was over, the reporter wouldn’t print it because he didn’t believe that any promotion could actually be as stupid as WCW was and he thought Dave was just making it up.

– And finally, although Legion of Doom won the tag titles, they’re still wanting to leave for New Japan in 1992 because they can make more money for less dates, and don’t have to worry about drug testing. (Man, in retrospect that WWF-LOD relationship was pretty dysfunctional on both ends.)