Wrestling Observer Flashback–11.09.92

Previously on the Flashback… http://blogofdoom.com/index.php/2017/04/14/wrestling-observer-flashback-11-02-92/

OK, let’s see if I can get two of these out to fil the weekend slots before heading out for Easter weekend.

– In our top story, Shawn Michaels won the Intercontinental title from British Bulldog at the SNME tapings on 10/27 in Terre Haute, IN.  All reports were that it was an excellent match.  The match was supposed to have been Flair v. Bossman, but with Flair’s ear injury that one had to be cancelled.  This makes the Survivor Series main event into a champion v. champion match, but Bret is scheduled for a “long title reign” and Dave doesn’t see them hotshotting another title switch anyway.

– Although business sucks everywhere for everyone, WCW got one piece of good news, with a 0.95 buyrate for Halloween Havoc, which is double the last two shows.  However, others are disputing the figure, claiming that it’s in fact as low as Bash 92 did.  Dave is confident in the larger number, regardless.  (And that’s the one that gets listed in all historical figures, if it helps.)  That number would work out to just under 200,000 buys, or one of the largest numbers the company has ever produced.  (Clearly the royalty cheque for that one should have one name and one name only on it, but he’d likely blow it all on booze and play blackjack while yelling at the dealer about having 22.) 

– OK, that’s enough positive news about WCW.  Now for all the rest of the shit going down.  President Bill Shaw called everyone to the table on 10/29 to yell at them about the ratings situation, since the show’s whole purpose is to be made cheaply and produce strong ratings.  Now, ratings have fallen to the point where TBS can air an old movie and get better numbers for free. Also, there was numerous complaints about the poor quality of the Havoc PPV, particularly the nonsense with the snake.  So on Monday morning, the WCW offices had a motivational message at the main desk, and this one needs a meme:

– If only someone in WCW had ever paid attention to that.

– Anyway, Bill Watts is acutely aware of how stupid the snake angle was, because he’s already taped an interview banning all reptiles from future WCW shows.

– By the way, the idea of the snake bite came from Roberts, as he felt that the moment would be shocking that people would forget that he just did a clean job for Sting.  Of course, what happened was the complete opposite of what they intended, in that no one remembered that Sting won, during a time when he badly needs a strong win.

– With dropping ratings on the WWF side comes LAYOFFS.  It’s mostly in the TV production side, most notably head TV producer John Fillipelli, who was a major “get” for Titan at the time, but now has “quit” because he wants to work in real sports again.  And thus most of his underlings will likely follow him out the door.  To save costs, the position that he held will be eliminated.  There’s no wrestlers being cut, but since Vince doesn’t offer guaranteed contracts and all paydays on the road are decided in an arbitrary manner by Vince himself, all he has to do to save money is cut the payoffs.  Which he is.

– Big Bossman, meanwhile, joins the parade of walking wounded and will take a “several month” sabbatical after Survivor Series to heal up nagging injuries. (And that pretty much spelled the end of his WWF push, in fact.) 

– The Mountie quit the promotion on Monday as well.  (That didn’t last long, obviously.) 

– Earthquake is also threatening to quit.  (No big loss there.) 

– Kamala and Sherri will both be turning babyface soon as they mix up the roster to freshen things up.  The breakup angle they’ve been running as a test with Kamala and Dr. Harvey are getting over well at house shows.  (Dave would eat THOSE words soon enough, I’d bet.) 

– Ric Flair spent the weekend campaigning for President Bush at a rally in the Carolinas, and got a big pop when he said “To be the man, you’ve got to beat the man”.  (I guess that makes Bill Clinton the Man, according to the properties of that particular logical argument.) 

– The weirdest story of the week comes from Japan (shocking, I know) where Lou Thesz is making waves in the business again.  So after Masa Chono won the NWA title tournament, Thesz did a press conference for UWFI where he agreed to award his old NWA World title belt to the winner of the UWFI World title match between Takada and Gary Albright.  Takada of course won that, and Thesz did another interview where he pointed out how he trained NWA World champ Chono and taught him all his submission moves, and how in his day the NWA champ defending against all comers.  So then Chono was doing an interview and a reporter asked him about getting a shot at winning the Thesz belt and of course Chono was like “Sure, that’d be cool, whatevs.”  So then Thesz and the UWFI then called another press conference where they officially accepted Chono’s “challenge” for the UWFI World title (even though said “challenge” was just an offhand remark) and Takada even offered to work the unification match for free and let New Japan book it.  So then Thesz closed the press conference by saying he was going to the New Japan offices to deliver the contract RIGHT THEN.  And sure enough, that’s what he did, with most people thinking this is strictly a grandstand challenge so that Takada can look like a badass shooter when Chono backs down from seriously doing the match.  And then New Japan ACCEPTED the challenge to the shock of everyone, and that’s where we stand.

– WWF is in some hot water with the Oregon commission for cancelling their last Portland house show, since a whole bunch of people had chartered a bus to travel across the state to see it, and they didn’t actually give any notice to fans or the commission ahead of cancelling the show. And in fact, on the TV show that aired in the city on 10/17 (two days before the show) there was no mention of the show being cancelled.

– Rey Mysterio Jr. won the Mexican welterweight title on 10/28 at the age of 17, becoming the youngest major national champion in Lucha history in the process.  (I see a bright future ahead for this kid.) 

– The Sid rumor mill continues, with the latest being that he’ll pop up in All Japan to reform the Skyscrapers with Dan Spivey as a part of the tag tournament.

– The WAR promotion is already on shaky ground, with the WWF relationship dead in the water at this point and money running out fast.

– To Memphis, where a SECOND King Killer was brought in as a partner for the Moondogs, but this one was quickly defeated and unmasked as Mike Miller by Lawler.

– Kerry Von Erich returned to the Sportatorium for Global on 10/30, saving Al Perez from a heel attack and then making big money at the merch table afterwards.  One of the geeks working for the promotion, named Metal Maniac, then stood in line and got his picture taken with Kerry.  (I was hoping that I’d look him up and discover that he became some big star down the road so I could laugh even harder at that one, but alas, it was not to be.) 

– In a unique injury angle in SMW, Jim Cornette decided to hurt Robert Gibson by having his team break Robert’s hand.  See, because Gibson’s mother is deaf, and Cornette didn’t want Robert to be able to speak to her anymore.

– Tracy Smothers had a hilarious interview on SMW TV explaining his departure from WCW, as they wanted him to shed his “Southern Boy” image and become a Young Pistol from Cheyenne, WY instead, which he said prompted him to quit.  “I’ve never even been to Wyoming, and I don’t reckon I’ll ever go.”  (And yet being “Freddie Joe Floyd” or fake Italian was NO PROBLEM for him.) 

– To the WWF, where post-Survivor Series programs look to be Warrior v. Nailz in a match that surely won’t turn around house show revenues any time soon, plus Razor v. Undertaker.  (Well, that Warrior/Nailz problem sure resolved itself soon enough.) 

– Also at the TV tapings, Shawn Michaels dumped Sherri, telling her that she should “stay home where a woman should be”.

– Bob Backlund still isn’t getting over at all.

– Brian Lee got a tryout at the tapings, as did someone named “Herman the German” and Dave has no idea there.  (I don’t know if he investigates later, but it was Ulf Herman.) 

– Jeff Jarrett also got a tryout in Louisville, and no one had any idea who he was.  This just goes to show that the regular crowds who attend USWA shows are not the same ones who attend WWF shows.

– The MSG date for Wrestlemania has been moved to 1994, so they can do a 10th anniversary show.  (THAT’S NOT HOW ANNIVERSARIES WORK, DAMMIT!) 

– Dave thinks Yokozuna is going to be a major success, although he pretty much has to be because they need some “killer heels” to feed to Bret Hart.

– A weird angle took place at the Louisville tapings, with Howard Finkel doing a stretcher job to Kamala after getting in his face.  He fell off the stretcher after agents loaded him on, then fell off again on the way back to the dressing room.  Dave suspects this is just for their own amusement, as they traditionally shoot goofy stuff and air it at the Christmas party and not on TV.

– Over to WCW, where Vader accidentally broke the back of jobber Joe Thurman, who was wrestling in his first match and didn’t know how to take a powerbomb.  He was initially paralyzed from the move.  Bill Watts had to give a speech after the tapings, telling the guys to go easy on the jobbers because it’s a work.

– Dave notes that the ratings are so bad that Sid is now in a very beneficial bargaining position.

– Chris Benoit was supposed to have debuted by now, but there’s trouble with his immigration paperwork and it’s been pushed back.

– Even though Terry Gordy quit, Steve Williams is sticking around.

– And finally, Dave describes the latest Erik Watts video package as “nightmarish”.

And that’s the news that was!  Enjoy your Easter weekend.