Wrestling Observer Flashback–09.01.92

Previously on the Flashback… http://blogofdoom.com/index.php/2017/03/21/wrestling-observer-flashback-08-10-92/

OK, Dave is back after three weeks of vacation and a shitload of wrestling shows in Japan, so there’s tons of stuff to catch up on.

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I guarantee no one will be disappointed by this issue!

– Top story #1:  Pat Patterson is back in the WWF again in his old position, to the shock of no one.  Titan actually had lawyers circulating backstage for the past few weeks, asking “Would you have a problem with Pat Patterson returning to the company?” Dave notes that pretty much everyone knew Vince’s mind was already made up and they were like…

 

– The main impetus behind bringing him back appears to be the house show numbers and TV ratings, both of which are falling to scary historical lows without Pat. Although Tom Cole returned to his ringboy position thanks to a settlement that included Terry Garvin and Mel Phillips being banned from the WWF forever, Patterson’s name wasn’t specifically included in that list.  Although Pat WAS mentioned by many other accusers as being a part of the ring of harassment, including Paul Roma, Lord Littlebrook, Murray Hodgson, and Barry Orton.  In fact, Gorilla Monsoon referring to someone as “a student of the Terry Garvin School of Self Defense” was generally code for something more.  Dave’s feeling is that it’s a pretty scummy move on Vince’s part, and if Pat had never done anything wrong, then he never should have resigned and Vince never should have let him resign.

– The situation in Mexico went south in a hurry while Dave was gone, with the wrestler’s union (currently supported by EMLL and UWA) calling for a boycott of all non-union wrestlers (which means AAA), and many smaller arenas are already caving into the pressure for their own livelihood.

– Vince McMahon and Jerry Jarrett have come to a working relationship, so that the USWA will become a “feeder system” of sorts for the WWF.  Vince had been trying for years to establish a similar relationship with Stampede Wrestling, but they went out of business before it could be set up.  In return for the financial considerations, Jerry Jarrett will get to promote shows in Memphis for Vince and use USWA talent on them.  Vince will send green talent and stale midcarders, while Jarrett gets to have his top guys jerking the curtain on WWF shows before the “real stars” come out.  (This was the thing that led to Vince “invading” the USWA with guys like Tatanka and giving us the very first Mr. McMahon promos in 1993.  Really, the talent exchange ended up being pretty much nothing, with guys like the Orient Express and Jim Duggan going down for occasional shows, but wouldn’t you know that Vince ended up raiding the two biggest stars in the company under the guise of peaceful coexistence.) 

– As mentioned earlier, ratings and house show numbers are just completely in the toilet for the WWF in August, with the Summerslam preview show doing record lows for a PPV preview on USA.  The house show numbers also dropped significantly from July as well.

– Ultimate Warrior finally got the hint that everyone knew he was being allowed to “pass” the steroid tests, so he’s taken to wearing a bodysuit with muscles painted on to hide his shame as he gets off the juice.  Dave has talked to a lot of people who still think that Summerslam can do a buyrate in the mid-2’s because there’s a lot of buzz about which corner Mr. Perfect will end up in.  (Nope.) 

– Clash XX, which is all the 20th anniversary of wrestling on TBS, takes place on 9/2 with a main event of Ron Simmons v. Cactus Jack and Steve Austin v. Ricky Steamboat for the TV title.

– Although WWF house show business is awful, WCW is way up recently thanks to a gimmick where children are free with an adult ticket.  Numbers have jumped from 1000 or so all the way up to 4000 and up, although many of those are free.  But the family-heavy crowds have been enthusiastic and a major positive for the company.  Also, Ron Simmons winning the title seems to be juicing the numbers a little bit, although Jake Roberts is getting a huge babyface reaction everywhere he goes, which isn’t exactly what they wanted.  (To say that the Simmons title change was only a short-term solution would be a pretty massive understatement, as the company was hitting terrifying lows by Starrcade.) 

– However, despite the numbers sucking a little less, morale has never been lower.  Many WCW wrestlers spoke anonymously to Mike Mooneyham, basically saying that Bill Watts is destroying everything that the company slowly built over the past few years and everyone is going to leave for the WWF when their contracts are up.  So Watts flipped the fuck out on everyone at the next TV taping, and demanded that anyone who has a problem with him speak up.  And Nikita Koloff did, pointing out the stupidity of the rule that everyone has to stay until the end of every show, because guys would like to get out early and spend time with their families now and then.  Bill responded (although Dave heard it second hand and doesn’t want to misquote anyone) with something akin to “Fuck you, wrestlers don’t get to have a family life.”  (Congrats to Bill Watts, the one person who can make Vince look like a caring human being.) 

– Three weeks later and Dave is STILL inundated with ridiculous rumors about talent swaps and such between WCW and WWF.  You can’t just “trade” Ric Flair to WCW because it would open both sides up to huge anti-trust lawsuits.  (Unfortunately for Dave, at this point he’s starting to run into the phenomenon of that new-fangled thing called “The internet” and all the bullshit and rumors involved with it, and it took him a LONG time to figure it out and cope with it.)  The most prevalent rumor is that Sting is trying to jump to the WWF because he’s all pissed about losing the title, but Dave points out that he actually has the best contract in wrestling, making $700,000 a year plus merch.  (Plus he stopped giving a shit pretty soon afterwards anyway.) 

– Ted Dibiase has indeed spoken with WCW, but Dave doesn’t know his current contract situation.

– Bret may or may not have spoken with WCW, but there might be fire behind the smoke because his contract has some kind of negotiation clause coming due in a few days.

– Ric Flair is going nowhere, and that’s a certainty.

– So Dave did some investigating, because that’s how he rolls, and most of this craziness seems to come from JR’s 900 line literally becoming a telephone game.  Basically he promised a story on Hulk Hogan, which led to giant numbers for his hotline, and he speculated about Dibiase, Hart and Flair all returning to the promotion during that same update.

– The Steiners, meanwhile, really do have a contract expiring at the end of the year and WCW is already lowballing them, so they’re likely out of there.  New Japan wants to use them, but not as regulars because people would get bored of them.  So that pretty much narrows down the potential destination to one.

– Paul E. Dangerously has a contract until 1994, but Cowboy has made absolutely no secret about his feelings for Paul and what he wants to happen.  (That little vendetta ended up costing WCW a LOT of money.  It’s never a good idea to try to break a valid contract with someone who has a lawyer for a father.)  Dave also notes that it’s going to be a very touchy and difficult situation if you’re trying to get Paul to quit, because he knows the game extremely well.

– Bill is also said to be getting ready to fire both Bobby Eaton and Arn Anderson when their contracts expire in January, to save the $400,000 a year between them.

– Bam Bam Bigelow’s contract with New Japan (and by extension, WCW) runs out on 1/4 and he’ll be going to the WWF as a top heel at that point.

– New Japan, meanwhile, is looking for a top American heel to replace Vader, because they feel they can take any stiff and turn him into a top star like they did with Vader and Scott Norton.  Hercules appears to be their target.  (And THAT’S how you get bullshit like the Jurassic Powers.) 

– Terry Taylor was rejected by the WWF like a prom night dumpster baby and might end up in New Japan.

– Terry Funk is negotiating to come into FMW to replace the Sheik.

– Konnan was fired by the WWF before he even got started.  The relationship with AAA went south, and Konnan’s lucha libre style wasn’t their fit.  However, the nail in his coffin turned out to be Paul Diamond standing around backstage during a blowup between Konnan and Vince, as Paul remarked off-handedly that he could probably fit into the robot suit and BOOM, all of a sudden he’s playing Relampago and Konnan is gone.

– Chris Benoit won over the WCW brass with his match against Liger on 8/12 and now Dusty wants to bring him in.

– The Hogan deal with NJPW hasn’t been signed yet, but New Japan is already talking about Hogan v. Inoki as the main event of the Tokyo Dome show in January.  The holdup is that they’re already selling out without Hogan, so he’s actually in kind of a tough negotiating position.

– All kinds of World titles changed hands in Japan, with Masa Chono winning the NWA World title tournament over Rick Rude in the finals on 8/12.  Muto was supposed to be the winner, but plans changed at the last minute and instead he beat Riki Choshu to win the IWGP title on 8/16 while wrestling as The Great Muta and doing all the gimmicks.  And with all the New Japan hoopla, All Japan needed to counter with something big, so Misawa got a surprise win over Stan Hansen on 8/22 to win the Triple Crown.  (I know Dave isn’t clairvoyant or anything, and this issue was crazy packed with stuff, but that one title switch completely changed the business in Japan for DECADES following and I’m kind of sad that Dave just brushed it off as a reactionary title switch done for shock value.) 

(Also, while I’m thinking about it, this issue is AWESOME because everything for the past year has been this depressing slog of scandals and endless discussion of steroids and lawsuits and bullshit and BLAH BLAH BLAH, and this is like Classic Dave from the 80s where he’s back from vacation and all hopped up on caffeine or coke or whatever his stimulant of choice is and he’s just like “Fuck it, NEWS NEWS NEWS NEWS NEWS” and you keep up or don’t, he doesn’t care.) 

– More title changes!

– GWF North American champion Scott Putski was fired on 8/14, so the promotion was like “Uh…I dunno, Rod Price is champion, I guess” and gave him the belt.

– Lucha Libre in California is already a dead issue again, as AAA is done with the local promoters, and when they reached out to EMLL and UWA to find a replacement group they were basically ignored due to both being involved in the promotional wars there.

– Mike Tenay quit his Wrestling Insiders radio show due to frustrations with management, so John Arezzi (who was hanging on by a shoestring with his own Pro Wrestling Spotlight show in New York) stepped in and took over.

– Muscle Mag International confirmed last month’s story about all the WBF bodybuilders failing steroid tests six weeks before the “drug free” show promoted by Vince.  In fact, their suspension was for six weeks and just HAPPENED to end right before the PPV show.  That didn’t stop the WWF from promoting them as “drug free” even during their suspension, as they tried to build up the show.

– While in Japan, Dave saw the match that he still calls the greatest one he’s ever seen live, a ***** hair v. hair match between former partners Manami Toyota and Toshiyo Yamada for All Japan Women.  The match was not only great, but the post-match saw Toyota have a change of heart when she saw the barber come into the ring, and she was suddenly unable to actually watch her former partner and best friend have her head shaved in defeat.  She actually tried the fight off the barber and started to cut off her own hair before officials held her back and she had to watch Yamada get shaved bald.  It was a pretty emotional scene in the audience, sez Dave.  (Damn, I don’t know which woman would be up for doing this one exactly, but they could KILL with the right people.  Like if Bayley and Sasha’s feud got super-heated and Bayley had to go to a bad place to finally beat her former friend, and then had to watch as Sasha gets shaved bald as a result of their relationship falling apart? They would sell the shit out of that one.) 

– Dave was in fact in attendance for Misawa winning the title and the crowd was INSANE for that, as you’d expect.

– Also, he went to the WAR show and it was just…no.

– Dave says that we should probably remember the New Japan opening match tag team, because they’ll be the next Masa Chono & Keiji Muto.  Their names are Satoshi Kojima and HIroyoshi Yamamoto (Tenzan).

– Also, this Great Sasuke kid, you should probably keep an eye on him.  UWA is giving him Ultimo Dragon’s old music as a middle finger to Asai, but Sasuke is pretty good in his own right.

– And finally, even after those last two, here’s your…

– In the letters pages, we get this gem:

Christopher Klucsaritis of 1324 Willow Oak Dr., Columbia, SC 29223 is looking for any info on wrestling schools or independent promotions in the Carolinas, Virginia and Georgia.

Good luck to Mr. Klucsartitis in his quest to become a wrestler.  And really, who better than him?