Previously on the Flashback… http://blogofdoom.com/index.php/2017/02/08/wrestling-observer-flashback-01-10-92/
So this is one that I’m sure many people have been waiting for.
– It’s ROYAL RUMBLE 92.
– But first, another story that actually ended up changing the wrestling business in a roundabout way. Joel Goodhart has announced that he’s out of money and out of the wrestling business as a result. Up until now, his TWA shows have been the biggest indy shows in the country, but he couldn’t maintain it, apparently. Goodhart had talked about doing TV tapings, but the first show was already falling apart as he went bankrupt. And his deal with New Japan also fell apart because his contacts there were tired of not having phone calls returned.
– Basically, Goodhart put on these huge indy shows with bloodbaths up and down the card, but those shows needed money to run and didn’t draw enough money to pay for everyone. Whereas most indy shows would run with a couple of name guys on top and then use local talent for the rest of the card, Goodhart would pay top stars to fly in and work his shows. Goodhart has disconnected his phone and no one knows if refunds will be issued for the “season tickets” he sold in advance of his tapings and quarterly shows. (As it turned out, controlling interest in TWA was sold to his silent business partner, a pawn broker named Tod Gordon, who then changed the name of the company to Eastern Championship Wrestling and got those TV tapings rolling after all…)
– Back to the REAL news, as Ric Flair became the first person to win both the WWF and NWA World titles, winning the Royal Rumble in a complete one-man show. The other news was Sid Justice beginning his heel turn on Hulk Hogan, although apparently those live said that Hogan was booed and Sid was cheered. This all sets up an apparently Flair v. Hogan title match at Wrestlemania. The Sid turn would seem to indicate Hogan will win the belt from Flair (they’ve avoided the legdrop finish up until now and this would seem to be the time) and then do Hogan v. Sid at Summerslam for the belt. In fact, they’ve already sent out posters to Japan listing Hogan v. Flair for the title as the Wrestlemania main event. (The plot thickens?)
– In other stuff around the Rumble, Bret Hart dropped the Intercontinental title to the Mountie on 1/17 in Springfield…
…no, the real Springfield. Anyway, it came out that Bret was negotiating with WCW and had agreed to make a surprise debut at the Clash on 1/21 with the IC title, which would be WCW’s receipt for Vince “stealing” the NWA World title. If you were lucky enough to have a satellite dish at that point, you could have seen the early airings of the syndicated shows on Wednesday where they talked about Hart losing the title on the Friday upcoming. LIKE MAGIC.
– So to be clear, they had this planned weeks in advance, and it was in no way a reaction to the WCW negotiation. Bret knew he was losing the title to set up the Piper feud, and the WCW jump was a totally separate deal. If anything, taking the title off him CAUSED him to jump ship, not the other way around. However, after he had already agreed to the deal, he discovered that in fact his WWF contract had rolled over because he didn’t give 90 days notice that he was leaving, and thus he had a valid one-year contract with the WWF again and would have been sued into the stone age if he had actually gone through with it. The WWF has promised Bret that he’ll get the belt back from Piper at Wrestlemania in a babyface match, but Dave suspects that they’re lying and Bret will end up in WCW by Summerslam.
– Also rumored to be jumping to WCW is Curt Hennig, but there’s nothing to that one. His back is still messed up and he just signed a new WWF contract.
– WCW did get one big coup, debuting Jesse Ventura as their new heel announcer, although the deal is only for the Clash and Superbrawl. It’s a big one, too. And if the Superbrawl show can pull of a miracle and hit a 2.0 buyrate, he’ll have HUGE bonuses that kick in. The WWF immediately went on the offensive, spreading rumors that Ventura signed with WCW because he was broke.
– Arn Anderson & Bobby Eaton won the tag titles from Steamboat & Rhodes on 1/16 in Jacksonville, by the way. Also, Big Josh and Ron Simmons won the US tag titles from the Pistols on 1/14. (What an incredibly random title change THAT one was.)
– Finally, to the Royal Rumble! Dave calls it one of the best PPV shows ever, although mostly because the Rumble itself was the best ever.
0. Chris Walker beat Brooklyn Brawler in the dark match by DQ when Jack Tunney came out and reversed the original decision. DUD
1. The New Foundation beat the Orient Express in 17:18. Owen Hart was the second-best star of the show after Flair. Owen won with a Rocket Launcher on Tanaka. ***1/4
2. Roddy Piper beat the Mountie with the sleeper in 5:18 to win the IC title. Nothing much happened in the match. *3/4 (Way to undersell THAT moment, Dave.)
3. The Beverly Brothers beat the Bushwackers after 15:26 of hell. The match was so bad that it would have made for an instant thumbs down on many other PPV shows. Jamison plays his role well, at least, and he couldn’t make the match much worse. -*1/2
4. The Natural Disasters beat the LOD by countout in 9:27. This was the best match between them that Dave has seen! Of course, every other match has been awful. Dave suspects that the finish was booked in between bites of a roast beef sandwich compared to the time they put into booking the rest of the show. *1/2
5. Ric Flair won the Royal Rumble in 62:00 to become WWF champion. Knobbs was replaced by Volkoff due to the stabbing incident (Ah! That explains it, then). Overall, one of the better battle royals that Dave’s ever seen because there were several storylines and Flair went over big. ***3/4 (Say WHAT? He gives out **** ratings like candy for Royal Rumbles now, and this one only gets ***3/4? SHENANIGANS!)
– By Dave’s reckoning, about half of the guys were in the middle of some kind of steroid cycle on this show, so clearly the testing is a joke.
– JWP is still going out of business, make no mistake, but they’re finishing up with one last tour, drawing 1100 in Hiroshima.
– The PNW weekly show in Portland is down to 300 fans now, and they’re still negotiating with a new TV channel, which is pretty much going to spell the difference between life and death for the company.
– The Moondogs had a match with Jeff Jarrett & Jerry Lawler that tape collectors will likely be all over, fighting all over the Memphis TV studio in a tribute to the famous Tupelo concession stand brawl and using food, broken glass, tables, etc. Ironically, the original match featured Wayne “Honky Tonk Man” Ferris & Larry Latham, and Latham is now one of the Moondogs.
– Dennis Coraluzzo is playing heel manager in Memphis at the moment, doing a storyline where he claims to be the executor of Andy Kaufman’s will and blaming Lawler for Andy’s death.
– Eddie Gilbert is doing promos on Global’s TV show, claiming to be the man who retired Bill Watts. Dave notes that this is technically true, since he was booking the UWF when it got bought out by Crockett. (OUCH.)
– Kendall Windham is out of prison on work release and back in Florida. (Hopefully no one let him near the payouts.)
– Carol Lindsay, who was the original money mark for the GWF, is running shows branded as “GWF” with the Patriot on top and a bunch of the guys from the ESPN show. (Is this promotion REALLY worth waging a war over?)
– To the WWF, where Sid is supposed to be turning heel, even though no one at the Rumble actually “got it”.
– Lex Luger will indeed be joining the WBF, but the idea is that he’ll be “blown away” by the super-talented bodybuilders on the show and then through some sort of booking magic decide to become a WWF superstar instead or something.
– Hogan v. Flair sold out Boston, for those keeping track, which is the first sellout in Boston that Dave can remember in many years. (If you don’t count Tom Brady! Everyone hates that guy, AM I RIGHT? GO SPORTS!)
(Yeah! He did something with the footballs and now you just stick him in a meme and it’s INSTANT HILARITY. Like Cup-A-Soup but with internet humor.)
– Kevin Von Erich is scheduled to work the TV tapings in Texas next week.
– WCW will be announcing three new names soon, two of which are supposedly current WWF stars. (I’m drawing a complete blank on that one. Hercules as Super Destroyer, maybe?)
– Unsurprisingly, Marvel Comics sent a nasty-gram to WCW’s offices about Arachnaman, so that gimmick is dead.
– And finally, Rick Steiner arrived late for a house show in Jacksonville because he went through the airport with a gun in his bag that he’d forgotten about, and got stopped by security. (Can you even IMAGINE what would happen to the poor guy if that went down today? He’d be locked up by Homeland Security until he was 70! Too bad that hasn’t happened to that Tom Brady fucker, AM I RIGHT? FUCK YOU, PATRIOTS! OTHER TEAM ALL THE WAY!)