Wrestling Observer Flashback–09.09.91

Previously on the Flashback… http://blogofdoom.com/index.php/2017/01/06/wrestling-observer-flashback-09-02-91/

Turns out that this Warrior deal is kind of a big thing.

– There’s still nothing official on the reason for Warrior’s suspension, aside from vague accusations of “unprofessional activities”, so of course the rumor mill has gone crazier than Warrior.  For the moment, we don’t know if he’ll actually be released from his contract or just held hostage until it expires.  The wrestlers are being told that it’s a firing, however.

– Now, if he COULD jump to WCW, would he be of any value to them?  Hard to say, but he certainly wouldn’t justify the pay he would ask for via house shows.  He might pop one big number on PPV, but it won’t last.  Dave offers as an example Sgt. Slaughter, who was fired in 1985 for attempting a union, and immediately jumped to the AWA with a huge push and flopped.  Basically, WWF fans are fans of the WWF and won’t cross over to the competition just because an ex-WWF guy happens to be there.  In fact, the AWA pushed him so hard that it made their own guys look like clowns and actually damaged the brand in the process.  And does WCW really need another superman babyface who won’t put anyone over?

– Warrior’s first no-show due to the suspension was in Oakland for a body bag match against Undertaker, where Sid took his place.  And no one cared that he was gone.  (Sounds like Sid when he’d disappear for softball.) 

– Meanwhile, WCW is just into complete freefall right now, with a horrendous 1800 people at the Meadowlands and 650 people in Philly.  And Clash XVI is widely expected to be the lowest rated one in history.

– Dave’s review of the Oakland show, drawing 7800 for the second half of a double-shot, where everyone was pretty much phoning it in.

1. Jerry Sags beat Bushwacker Butch in 8:19.  All stalling, slow-paced with bad timing.  And those were the GOOD points!  Sags rolled him up for the pin.  -*

2. Kerry Von Erich pinned Skinner in 7:53.  More stalling.  Kerry won with the lame double pin shoulder lift spot.  1/2*

3. LOD beat the Beverly Brothers to retain the tag titles in 10:37.  Hawk got the heat, but doesn’t actually sell while playing face in peril.  Doomsday Device finished it.  **

4. “Sid the Second Coming” beat the Undertaker in a body bag match in 16:39.  As a wrestling match, it was one of the worst of the year, but as two stuntman doing horror movie fight spots, it was good.  They would take turns choking each other down until one guy was “dead” and then he would suddenly pop up for the dramatic comeback and they’d reverse the spot.  Sid looked to have 35 pounds on Undertaker, and Dave is pretty sure it wasn’t orange juice.  Sid hit Undertaker with the urn and stuffed him in the body bag for the win.  *

5.  Virgil beat IRS by DQ in 8:31 when Dibiase interfered.  Better than Dave anticipated.  *1/2

6.  Bret Hart beat Dibiase by countout in 14:56 to retain the IC title.  Biggest babyface pop of the night for Bret, but it didn’t sustain.  Boring match, ending with Virgil getting his revenge and costing Dibiase the match.  *

7. Warlord won a battle royale by tossing out Ricky Steamboat.  DUD

– Ric Flair still hasn’t officially signed with the WWF, but it’s a formality at this point.  With Warrior gone and Sid as a babyface, this seems to make Hogan-Flair a sure thing for Wrestlemania.  In fact…

– There was some talk about Hogan-Undertaker, but that’s now the main event of Survivor Series, and Hogan’s getting a clean win out of that one.

– Dave clarifies that most of the Mountie jail skits didn’t air on the big screen in MSG, so he didn’t see them until the TV version was available to him.  It was pretty funny, and at least they followed through on their stipulations.

– The Riki Choshu “retirement” show is still on, so it looks like he’s working an angle.  The idea is that Inoki is going to talk him out of retirement and get him all fired up to revive his career again.

– Toshiaka Kawada & Kenta Kobashi scored a huge upset over Stan Hansen & Dan Spivey on 8/29, with Kawada getting the pin on Spivey, which sets up Kawada to finally be a top level guy and challenge for the Triple Crown.

– The 12/12 SWS show at the Tokyo Dome might end up with Tenryu v. Flair instead of the planned Tenryu v. Hogan, because the NWA title means way more than the WWF title does.  (Well that would be a moot point by then on both counts.)  In fact, Dave thinks that Tenryu has been doing way too many jobs to begin with, and no one in the US would even care if Hogan or Flair lost that one cleanly.

– Chris Champion, wrestling as the Masked Turtle, teamed up with real life brother Mark Starr in FMW to take on Pandita (a masked panda bear) and Amigo Ultra (a masked superhero).  Dave is like “Can you imagine how weird Mark Starr must have looked to fans?”

– Dutch Mantell debuted for the USWA, interrupting a Jerry Lawler interview to ask him if he’d seen Stan Hansen anywhere.

– Koko B. Ware is working USWA now, because with reduced house shows there’s about 15 guys who won’t be getting booked but they don’t want working elsewhere.  So they agreed to let a bunch of people do however many indy dates they wanted, as long it’s not Herb Abrams or WCW.

– Verne Gagne was negotiating with ESPN to reclaim the Monday and Tuesday slots and show old AWA tapes, but the network is actually quite happy with the ratings that GWF is doing thus far.  Unfortunately, they’re so happy with the ratings that they now want 46 new shows for the fall.  What kind of company could produce that much output without completely burning out creatively, Dave wonders?  (Certainly not the one we have today.) 

– Vince Torelli was fired from South Atlantic Pro Wrestling because he’s just been staying in Japan the whole time anyway.  (Wonder if that “Ken Shamrock” kid ever amounted to anything?) 

– Controversy out of WCW, as they’re now denying that “The Hunchbacks” were ever a thing that was going to happen.  This flies in the face of the common knowledge that Jim Herd has been pushing for that exact gimmick literally since the first day he was hired and everyone had just been lucky enough to dodge the bullet for the past two years.

– Dick Murdoch and Dick Slater have already been fired for cost cutting reasons, although the Hardliners deal was a huge disappointment anyway.

– Overall, Dave doesn’t know how much longer TBS will allow the company to survive in this state.  They keep making wholesale changes and somehow manage to keep getting worse.

– Randy Savage actually gave notice to the WWF, but Dave thinks it’s not a big deal and it’s just a paperwork issue.

– Jim Neidhart is already off the commentary job and being put back on the road as a wrestler.  (And thank god for that.) 

– And finally, Curt Hennig is scheduled to be out for three more months with the back injury, although he allegedly has a Lloyds of London insurance policy that pays him $25,000 a month while he’s out, which is more than he would be making by working.  (I feel like this one might bite them in the ass later on…just a hunch)

  • Fat, Ugly Inner-City Sweathog

    Warrior probably flops in WCW. Flair was gone and he was the only guy who could carry Warrior to something good in WCW. Warrior vs Vader, Luger, et al doesn’t quite work

    • Shlocko

      Wouldn’t it have been GLORIOUS to see Warrior piss off Vader or Ron Simmons and just get demolished in the ring, though?

      • Kuetsar

        I imagine warrior would have run his out of there like Luger vs Brody. . .

        • Timothy Byrne

          Don’t want to derail things, but I have absolutely no problem with Luger running out. Its like turning up to shoot a movie and seeing your co-star brandishing a loaded gun. Ridiculous.

  • Kenola

    “WWF fans are fans of the WWF and won’t cross over to the competition just because an ex-WWF guy happens to be there.”

    Someone should’ve stamped this onto Dixie Carter’s forehead.

    • Adam Wright

      The ONE exception that fact appears to be Hulk Hogan.

      • Boomska316 .

        And even that didn’t last long.

        • RG-Dallas

          Only because they buried him. If Hogan destroys Angle, Jericho, Taker, etc.. before jobbing to Crock Lesnar – then money would have rolled out.

    • Kuetsar

      The fact that no other promotion can do sports entertainment right never helped either. Not that Vince always did it great either, but better than anyone else has. God forbid a TNA try to be an old school promotion or try something different. They might not hit it big nationally, but its not like they did anyway.

  • Boomska316 .

    “Dutch Mantell debuted for the USWA, interrupting a Jerry Lawler interview to ask him if he’d seen Stan Hansen anywhere.” What’s the joke here?

    • The Silver Fox

      Sketches in WCW where The Desperadoes (Dutch Mantell, Black Bart and Deadeye Dick [Randy Colley] were searching for Stan Hansen.

      • Boomska316 .

        Oh, I didn’t know Dutch was part of that.

  • jabroniville

    If Jim Herd was REALLY pushing for the Hunchbacks from day one, then wouldn’t it have happened? I mean, he had enough power to fire RIC FUCKING FLAIR, and he can’t push through a stupid tag team?

    The Lloyds of London thing is so bizarre. Was Hennig just paying a shitload into it in the first place, hoping for it to pay off? I can’t see why they’d pay so much otherwise. The whole mess is quite curious, too… I almost wonder what kind of guy would say “screw it” and just lay around, collecting money, never working on his career (I notice that he was basically done as a contender for any title for good after that point- I guess promoters didn’t quite trust him). But then of course I think about how the life of a wrestler is, and you’d have to be an idiot to turn down that kind of cash for almost any reason. But it sure made Lloyds look pretty foolish, as Hennig milked that for YEARS.

    Verne Gagne showing up in these is kind of sad, given how quietly the AWA just disappeared. I forget- did Dave even do an “Autopsy” on them? Or did even he kind of forget about them?

    • He quietly mentioned that the AWA doesn’t exist anymore about two issues back. That was the only mention.

    • The issue with Lloyds is they are SO prevalent in the insurance markets that they can offer what many would consider “insane deals” for certain types of insurance, mainly due to the monstrous size of their liability pools. Hell, it took WWII and Germany’s U-boat depredations to even endanger the company past basic rounding errors. So policies that would be laughed out of even being considered in pretty much every other insurance company EVER are perfectly kosher and acceptable to them.

      I don’t know if Lloyds had a past history with pro wrestling and the potential dangers (both in-ring and self-inflicted) inherent in the business, but the policies Hennig (and Rude, and a few others IIRC) got paid off on were quite generous for any line of work with dangers past paper cuts. And once Lloyds truly realized how those guys were kinda taking advantage of them… those policies quietly went away, never to be seen again.

      TL;DR: Lloyds made mistakes.

      • I’m pretty sure Foley wrote about this in his first book, but Lloyd’s basically saw dollar signs because “Who gets hurt in a fake fight?” without realizing that wrestlers were expected to work through all but the most serious injuries. So after being insured, a wrestler could now go to a genuine doctor, who would genuinely advise rest, and not have to worry about getting an income.

        Nobody was getting scammed, in the sense that injuries weren’t being faked or doctors weren’t on the take, but the insured wrestlers didn’t have to “play hurt” anymore. In other words, Lloyd’s were the money marks.

        • Correct. And that’s pretty much why Lloyd’s got out of that line as soon as they could. Hell, IIRC Bret caught some flak from them for his short comeback in 2010.

          • HartKiller_09

            They tried to fight pretty hard to avoid paying him when his career ended.

        • HartKiller_09

          I remember Rude being pissed because Neidhart worked over his back during a DX/Hart’s brawl and he thought it could get him in trouble with Lloyd’s.

          Hennig’s career was pretty much over until he realized WCW would pay more than insurance and all of a sudden he could wrestle full time again.

          • Griffin99

            IIRC, Hennig was involved in the early Hunter Hearst Helmsley weekly female valet gimmick – stealing the ladies away from ringside to distract Helmsley, but when WWF then implied Perfect was going to wrestle, Lloyds pulled his insurance money and Curt went to WCW out of anger (and necessity).

      • Jordan

        That’s the rub, right? For Lloyds the risk probably seemed low since there was no historical precedent for wrestlers missing time due to injury, but that was only because they were incentivized to work through them. Once they established an alternative form of income and real doctors got involved those injuries that guys passed off as “nagging” were more correctly identified as “career-threatening.”

      • jabroniville

        ah, OK- that makes sense then. I only ever heard of them because of their wrestler policies.

  • y2j420

    OK, so for the Hunchbacks gimmick…did Herd want that done in order to have 2 wrestlers who couldn’t be pinned since both of their shoulders would never be on the mat? If so, and as much as I love Vince McMahon, Vince’s original intent for Bastion Booger was to have him wear that dumb shit outfit as a way to make his back hunched so he couldn’t be pinned…

    • Shlocko

      That’s exactly it, until Ole Anderson pointed out that all he’d have to do is put them in a spinning toe hold and they’d submit, making it a stupid gimmick, or so the story goes.

      • y2j420

        No doubt it is a stupid gimmick, but they didn’t need to be hunchback in order for the spinning toe hold to work…so I don’t really get Ole’s point there…

        • anotheraccount24get

          Substitute “Boston Crab” or “Bear Hug” for spinning toe hold and you’ll get Ole’s point (You can lose matches in ways that don’t involve getting pinned).

          • y2j420

            Oh I get that, but, to be fair, eliminating the possibility of losing to a pinfall, is kind of an advantage…

  • Gene Parmesan

    Let me see if I have this right… after getting fired at the end of ’90, Neidhart remains tag champ until March, gets a cushy announcing gig next to Gorilla and Heenan, gets victories over Earthquake and Slaughter, and is the first significant televised opponent for Flair? I bet guys like Koko and Honky would have liked to be treated that way after they got fired too.

    • jabroniville

      At least the “Quake” thing is one of those “the babyface always goes over in case of a substitution” things- this came up in a recent Observer comment section. Since ‘Quake was getting thrown onto a tag team soon anyways, there was no point in protecting him.

      • Gene Parmesan

        I realize that win is more a case of unique circumstances rather than evidence of a push. Then again, they could have chosen anybody as the substitute opponent for Quake.

    • BadNewsBrown

      Bret goes into this quite a bit in his book. Basically, every time anvil’s lawsuit was ready to settle, they started to push him out…but then it wouldn’t settle and they would have to keep him on payroll.

  • Napoleon Blownapart

    ” $25,000 a month”

    u wot m8

  • thejob111

    I loved the Mountie skits.

    Mountie is one of my guilty pleasure gimmick wrestlers. It was so ridiculous and played so over the top it worked.

    Repo Man was like that for me too.

    Even if the gimmick was dumb, guys that were dedicated to it could make something out of it.

    • mike

      I like anyone who sings along with their own music.

      • zahidf

        HE’S HANDSOME, HE’S BRAVE AND HE’S STRONG

        • RG-Dallas

          That theme didn’t show up until late 1992

      • Timothy Byrne

        Rougeaus always did that. I remember them singing along full-voiced to “All-American Boys”. Awesome.

        • The Gambler

          Top 5 entrance theme of all-time.

      • Griffin99

        The Quebecers’ “We’re Not The Mounties” pretty much closed off that full circle nicely.

    • Roman Reigns Winky Face

      We need to vote in a tournament to decide the best Intercontinental champion ever. I bet The Mountie would generate some interesting (read: stupid) debate.

      • teenagewildlife

        #rigged

  • Boomska316 .

    “WWF fans are fans of the WWF and won’t cross over to the competition just because an ex-WWF guy happens to be there.” I never understood the concept of being a fan of only one promotion above all others. I’ve always wanted to watch all the wrestling I could.

    • taabr2

      I am with you but even today you get people who refuse to watch any other than WWE and consider anything else as Indy junk. It sucks.

    • Dwayne

      Me too. Still my mentality today

    • anotheraccount24get

      It did go both ways. All those WCW fans fell off the face of the earth when it shut down.

    • I get it (though I’ve always watched multiple promotions) in the sense that a baseball fan may only want to watch his favorite team, and no other game.

      I know, not quite the same but that’s the best I can come up with.

    • Timothy Byrne

      Its like being a fan of Marvel comics, even while writers and artists are moving back and forth.

  • The Professor

    11 year old me thought the undertaker was undefeated or close to it when he won the title. I’m shocked that he lost so much that year to guys like sid and warrior.

    • House shows don’t count. Tatanka was pushed as undefeated for nearly 2 years even though he jobbed on house shows endlessly to Rick Martel when he first debuted.

      • So Goldberg wasn’t really 178 (or whatever the number ended up being) and 0? Excuse me, but I have to look for that feather that just knocked me over…

        • tamalie

          When the streak started getting pushed, Mike Tenay took great pains to push the actual win streak number on TV. As it built, WCW took to working the number upwards towards implausible amounts. While it worked with some fans, it cost WCW and Goldberg with others.

          • What was Sid’s final undefeated streak number?

          • The Gambler

            He was the Millennium Man, so it had to be at least 1000.

    • Hell, he jobbed to Tito Santana too!

      • RG-Dallas

        Tito was a former IC champion though.

  • SuckaFreeSince83

    Just imagining Warrior in 1991-92 WCW…. Warrior v Vader could have been a good brawl, if Warrior was willing to play ball. Cactus could have bumped all around for him. Rude always managed to get the most decent matches out of him consistently. Probably not getting Warrior v Sting, but how great would Luger vs Warrior been?! I have no illusions of it being a 5* classic, but just imagine the spectacle of those 2 juiced up monsters locking up.

    • anotheraccount24get

      Warrior had a bunch of house show matches with Vader when he returned in ’96 (Warrior always won); I wonder how competitive these matches were.

      • PeteF3

        A lot of them were 30-second squashes because of Vader’s bum shoulder. I know, monumentally dumb.

    • taabr2

      For some reason I just can’t see Warrior working in a pre-Hogan WCW. I know WCW got cartoonish at times but there is a limit.

      • DerangedHermit

        I could imagine him in 1993 WCW

        • RG-Dallas

          IT’S THE BOSS!!!!!

          • RG-Dallas

            And man is he big!!!

        • The Gambler

          Is this warrior an ultimate specimen or what?

      • Jordan

        If WCW fans rejected Warrior (and they may have), you’d still have the option of turning him heel for a feud with Sting. They could have milked that for one or two PPVs.

        • Theberzerker #HUSStag

          Except he would never agree to turn heel, ever.

        • Bettis

          They could have booked Black Scorpion II Electric Boogaloo.

    • Kuetsar

      That’s the thing though, he would never really play ball with anyone. He was never the worker to hold up in WCW either. . . .

    • PeteF3

      The Warrior-Undertaker bodybag match from MSG is shockingly really good…I could see Warrior-Vader working the same way, since Warrior would be working another rare match as an underdog.

      • Dave was passing along conversations he had with regular fans in Oakland about the Warrior matches, where Sid was much more impressive because he didn’t sell for Taker, whereas Warrior would fight from underneath. It was really hurting Warrior’s brand in the eyes of the marks he spoke with. Better matches, but Sid looked like the bigger star.

    • Bettis

      Luger vs Warrior in 89 would have been pretty wild. Sounds like a PWI secondary title dream match. I think the only time they were ever in the same promotion was 1998. 1992 was close but Luger didn’t wrestle for WWF until ’93.

  • PrideOfCanada

    “Bret Hart beat Dibiase by countout in 14:56 to retain the IC title.
    Biggest babyface pop of the night for Bret, but it didn’t sustain.
    Boring match, ending with Virgil getting his revenge and costing Dibiase
    the match. *”

    When Bret Hart phones it in, Bret Hart REALLY phones it in.

    • taabr2

      But could you tell if he had tears in his eyes on the other side of that phone?

    • Oh yeah, Bret was infamous for his house show laziness. Dave said they were working a headlock for 12 minutes here.

      • RG-Dallas

        Sometimes that is just the magic of the headlock.

      • Michael Weyer

        But in his book, Bret claims that he always gave his best to a match, no matter where it was! Are you suggesting Bret could LIE?

      • Timothy Byrne

        But Bret frequently talks about European tours where he was adored…did he have a different mentality in other countries?

  • PrideOfCanada

    “Ric Flair still hasn’t officially signed with the WWF, but it’s a
    formality at this point. With Warrior gone and Sid as a babyface, this
    seems to make Hogan-Flair a sure thing for Wrestlemania.”

    “There was some talk about Hogan-Undertaker, but that’s now the main
    event of Survivor Series, and Hogan’s getting a clean win out of that
    one.”

    Dave’s prognostic ability is at Wrestlemania III proportions here.

    • Yeah well, um you know, yeah uh … Sometimes yeah. Uh.. Maybe it could’ve been right uh you know, Japan.

  • flamingtoilet

    It’s interesting watching some of the pre-SummerSlam syndicated shows- Heenan is pimping the hell out of Flair but even admits that he’s currently under contract to another company and might not even show up in WWF. It’s brilliant how they manage to pump up the new acquisition while still giving themselves just enough of an out in case the deal falls through for some reason.

  • Actually allowing Warrior to jump to WCW might have killed them faster.

  • And A Diddly New Year

    Not long ago, the ESPN network approached the bookers of the Global Wrestling Federation with a simple request: 35 new shows to fill a few holes in their programming lineup. That’s a pretty daunting task, and the bookers weren’t up to it. Instead, they churned out three GWF spinoffs, transplanting already popular wrestlers into new locales and situations. First up, a gritty crime drama starring Dallas’ beloved King of the Deathmatch Cactus Jack. Keep at least one eye open because his best friends, The Cartel, just might pop in to wish him luck. Let’s us wish him luck too. Good luck, Jack!

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