Wrestling Observer Flashback–06.08.93

This week, it’s time for the PR cleanup of the Vince McMahon resignation.  This should go smoothly.

– Rumors are running rampant about what would prompt Vince to step down as President of the WWF and turn power over to Linda, especially what with a Grand Jury investigation into the company ongoing.  Titan spokesman Steve Planamenta, hardest working PR rep in America, brushed off the gossip.  “It’s not as big a deal as people are making it out to be, people are reading things into this that aren’t there.”

– Dave does note that Linda has been a longtime figure of power in the company beyond a mere role as wife of the owner, but the timing here is just too coincidental.  Vince actually addressed the troops at the TV tapings in Halifax and put over his wife, and noted that he was under investigation but had no idea why.  Also, Shane McMahon will soon be taking a more active role as the “heir apparent” to the company.  (Yeah, about that…) 

– Meanwhile, NBC is already working on a major story about the wrestling business, based on whether or not charges are filed against Vince McMahon.  They’ve actually been contacting all the ex-WWF guys currently in WCW, but no one has cooperated yet.  The feeling seems to be that it’s better not to burn your bridges with the WWF, especially since WCW is “on a train headed nowhere” at the moment.  But hey, the business PROBABLY won’t collapse into a post-nuclear wasteland of indy promotions running bingo halls any time soon.  Probably.

– Meanwhile in WCW, Bill Shaw created a new drug policy to replace the previous policy from Cowboy Bill Watts. 

– That’s right, Shaw has FIRED those three monkeys and will actually begin testing for drugs as a radical departure from the previous drug testing policy.  If you’re using HGH, tainted supplements, diuretics, or steroids, you’re going to REHAB.  And then you’ll be fired if you get caught again.  Testing will be random based on “reasonable suspicion” and urine samples will be monitored for potential tampering.

– Uh, no reason.

– With a week to go before King of the Ring, Dave is still betting on the Hogan-Hart match at Summerslam as the most likely scenario, and any notion that there would be “shooting” involved is ridiculous, whatever their professional issues with each other might be.  And if Vince told Hulk to lie down for Bret, he’d do it.

– The All Japan office was actually furious with the Nikkan Sports newspaper in Japan for breaking the story about Jumbo Tsuruta’s career being over, since they didn’t have a chance to even make their own announcement first.  The paper interviewed Jumbo’s doctor directly, and he was quoted as saying that Tsuruta’s hospital stay due to Hep C had left him in such a poor state of fitness that he could never return to the ring. 

– Shawn Michaels regained the IC title from Marty Janetty on a house show on 6/6 in Albany in a title change that surprised no one.  Shawn won the title with the help of new bodyguard Kevin Nash, who actually went to Ole Anderson earlier in the week and demanded a raise or else, resulting in his WCW contract being cut short.  (Another brilliant move by Ole.  And a legit brilliant move by Nash.)

– The main event of the next Clash of the Champions has gone from one fall non-title match between the Horsemen and the Blondes to a two out of three falls title match, and Dave is like “Umm…” because the last time they did that, with the Flair-Eaton match, it was a colossal screwup due to poor timing of the show.

– The impending Orlando TV tapings for WCW have been drastically cut back again, this time to four days, only covering World Wide Wrestling, for a total of three months’ worth of that show.  That would take it through mid-October, so fingers crossed no one gets injured or leaves the promotion during that time. 

– Big praise from Giant Baba for the tag team main event at Budokan this past week, with Misawa & Kobashi beating Taue & Kawada in a match that Baba called “the greatest he’s ever seen in his 30+ years in wrestling.”  Meanwhile, Kobashi lost his All-Asian tag titles to the team of the Patriot & The Eagle in a result that seems bad for him, but is actually a huge step up since it’s a midcard title anyway and frees him up for bigger things. 

– A uniquely clever finish to a title v. mask match on 5/28, as George South defended his belt against Cruel Connection #2 and won.  So Cruel #2 pulled off the mask, but the lights went out just as he got the mask off, and when they went back up the mask was back on.  So as he notes, he was technically abiding by the rules. 

– To the WWF, where Hulk’s numbers continue to drop at a disappointing rate.  His shows against Money Inc. have been drawing in the 3000 range, which means that his name basically means nothing at this point.

– Rick Martel has been working some shows underneath, trying to get his job with the WWF back.

– Lots of grumbling that the payoff for working RAW is $150 per person, which isn’t even enough to get around for a day in New York.

– To WCW, where Center Stage fans have taken to singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” at Sid.

– Dusty Rhodes is still pushing for a match against the Assassin on the 7/11 PPV, but Bill Shaw is strongly against Dusty wrestling again and keeps nixing it. 

– Speaking of smartass fans, Paul Roma debuted as a babyface, but the crowd chanted “We Want Tully” at him the whole time.

– Lots of complaints from TBS viewers about the “Cactus Jack escaped from a mental hospital” skit on WCW Saturday Night, which was a horribly offensive parody of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and basically made the whole Jack angle into a complete farce.  (And this is just the beginning!) 

– Shane Douglas is heading back to his teaching career.  (If only we were that lucky.) 

– And finally, Sabu got a tryout on 6/3, but accidentally broke the jobber’s nose with a moonsault, so that’s that.