Wrestling Observer Flashback–07.12.93

It’s time to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN.

But first, Inoki’s troubles continue…

– The allegations against Antonio Inoki that started last week got even worse this week, and his political career looks to be over as a result. Inoki actually held a press conference and did a pro wrestling promo where he blamed his accusers for writing lies and FAKE NEWS about him, which amounted to Inoki supposedly taking political sponsorship money and using it to fabricate stories about saving Iraqi hostages. Which he didn’t actually have anything to do with. 

– Catching backlash now, unfortunately, is New Japan Pro Wrestling, which is basically intertwined with Inoki and now finds itself trying to put distance between Inoki any way they can.  They aren’t even cooperating with news sources who are looking for photos of him, as both the New Japan parent company and TV-Asahi are refusing to deal with any of the FAKE NEWS peddlers. 

– Unfortunately, yelling about FAKE NEWS and pulling wrestling cons didn’t help Inoki against actual news reporters instead of wrestling fans living in a smokescreen put on by the business.  He was completely destroyed at the press conference, not having any defense aside from attacking his attackers and not offering any contradictory evidence.  His reputation is pretty much up in smoke at this point, even as he brought God into the argument, claiming that the Almighty spoke to him and told him to fire business manager Shinma.

– Shinma, who is himself a heavily religious person, retorted that it was funny that Inoki, who never even goes to church or visits the grave of his dead daughter, should suddenly bring religion into matters. He noted that Inoki basically is out of control and can no longer differentiate between fantasy and reality. 

(At this point, Dave interjects, in all caps mind you, with the following:  “THERE IS A MAJOR LESSON TO BE LEARNED HERE THAT EVERYONE WHO HAS ACHIEVED POWER IN WRESTLING NEEDS HEED BECAUSE MORE PERSONAL TRAGEDY IS THIS BUSINESS IS CAUSED BY THIS INABILITY THAN ANY OTHER REASON”)

(Obviously the Von Erich tragedy was still fresh in the minds of everyone at this point, but sadly the inability to learn that lesson would claim more victims in the years to come.) 

– For the moment, Inoki is refusing to resign his position, although most people feel like he’ll recover from this and make a superman comeback as usual.  (And they’d be wrong.) 

– Moving away from all this dirty politics and scandal, we head back to the country where we know that an elected official will always be…BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA, couldn’t even finish that one, sorry.

– Anyway, we all know what time it is…

– Just like Donald Trump rising up and slamming his fake news oppressors and Twitter trolls, Lex Luger stepped up and slammed Yokozuna on the 7/4 Stars N Stripes Challenge, kicking off a rather large push. The decision has already been made to go all the way with Luger, taking the place of Hogan and giving him the biggest push of anyone since Hogan himself in 1984. For the moment he’s been taken off the road until Summerslam on 8/30, at which point he’ll be given the World title and begin his run as the top babyface in the WWF. 

– But wait, it gets better!  Luger will be put on a tour bus and sent from city to city, in what is being described as an “expensive and desperate attempt to turn him into a mainstream celebrity in two months”.  As it stands, a double main event of Luger/Yokozuna and Hart/Lawler isn’t going to draw a buyrate.  But Vince is going to spend his ass off and make Luger into a top babyface by any means necessary.

– So naturally there’s going to be some second-guessing about this coming up, with most saying that it’s either going to be a complete home run or a total failure. 

– Luger has been pushed as the top star of promotions before, most notably WCW in 1991, and that of course didn’t work out particularly well for either party.  On the bright side, Dave notes, the chances of Luger walking out on the promotion ala Warrior or Sid is pretty low, so at least he’ll be around the whole time.  Dave thinks that perhaps replacing one blond muscle man with another blond muscle man is a business move that might bite Vince in the ass, but pushing Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels last year resulted in record lows, so it might be worth a try.

– That being said, Luger was already a flop as the Narcissist, and turning him babyface isn’t likely to make him more over on its own.

– Back to the fake news and accusations therein, as the WWF published a statement in WWF Magazine, and it’s a doozy:

“The World Wrestling Federation Magazine has always been published with entertaining and informative articles for you, our fans. However, in the upcoming issues, TitanSports Inc., and the World Wrestling Federation will address some malicious issues that have confronted and unjustly challenged our company over the past two years. There have been libelous remarks and vicious newspaper and magazine articles written. The tabloid media has had a field day with us, and we have been subjected to tactics bordering on McCarthyism. We have spent a great deal of time, effort, energy and money combating the lies and innuendo, countering with our own lawsuits, and we are continuing to investigate the reasons for this witch hunt. Now it’s time for us to tell our story about Tom Cole, Rita Chatterton, Murray Hodgson, Superstar Billy Graham, Dave Schultz (sic) and others who have aided and abetted in spreading gossip and lies. Starting next month, we will do just that.”

– Linda McMahon went on the offensive in a newspaper interview written by Mike Mooneyham, pretty much calling every single accusation and negative story against them a complete fabrication. 

– For example, she doubts that ringboy Tom Cole was ever abused, and he was just “confused”. 

– On the Warrior lawsuit:  They pointed out to Hellwig’s lawyer how ridiculous it was, and the suit was dropped.

– On the Nailz situation:  She has no idea why he acted that way, but the truth will come out in court.

– OK, onto WCW for a minute, as the September Clash show has been moved up to 08/18 to avoid competition from network premieres.

– Meanwhile, they’ve also added another PPV show called “Fall Brawl”, featuring a War Games main event with Sid Vicious & Vader teaming up with the Ebony Experience Ebony Nightmares ChiTown Heat Harlem Heat to face Flair/Davey Boy/Sting/Hawk.  (Can’t see how they could possibly get tripped up on this one.) 

– Roddy Piper’s appearance in AAA was just to cheer on Art Barr and he won’t be working there or anything.

– Ted Dibiase, meanwhile, will be starting with All Japan in September and stay through October. 

– The plans of running Hell Raisers v. Animal & Mystery Partner have been dropped in New Japan, since they want to leave the Road Warriors in the past.  So instead, the new challenging team will be Scott Norton & Hercules. 

– With Mr. Pogo unexpectedly jumping from W*ING to FMW, his former promotion decided to get some small measure of revenge by shooting an angle where W*ING star Matsunaga showed up at Pogo’s house with reporters in tow, and they got lots of good shots of Pogo cowering behind the windows and looking scared. Needless to say, Pogo wasn’t in on the angle.

– Owen Hart’s USWA title reign came to an end after only a week, as he dropped it back to Jerry Lawler. 

– Jackie Fargo did an interview with Jeff Jarrett where he gave him the “Fabulous Ones” name in order to carry on the Fargo legacy.  (Well, he stole the strut, but left for the WWF before that idea could proceed much further.) 

– In the real news of the week, Italian Stallion broke his own spaghetti eating record on 6/26, consuming one pound of spaghetti in 17.2 seconds, which breaks his old record of 21 seconds and puts him in the Guinness Book of World Records.  (AKA the Kevin Owens diet, AM I RIGHT?) 

– The new mystery promotion out of Texas will apparently be called the World Wrestling Network, or WWN.  First show is scheduled to be 7/30 out of Fort Worth.  (Paul Heyman was also involved in this, and as noted previously, this would have been the first wrestling company to shoot TV shows in HD….in 1993!) 

– Bastion Booger missed an indy date in Livonia, MI, when his car broke down and he ended up waiting on the side of the road for hours for someone to help.  Dave surmises that a 400 pound man with no eyebrows and a shaved head might not be a look that lends itself to people stopping to help.

– Kamala missed some shows because of family issues, and was replaced by Tonga Kid of all people. 

– WCW will be doing their mega-tapings in Orlando right away and likely giving away three months of future direction, although they’re trying to be super-secret about the whole thing and won’t return any phone calls related to them, nor are they advertising the shows.

– The Nasty Boys will be coming in with Missy Hyatt as manager, replacing the Hollywood Blonds as top heel team.  Dave can’t even with that one.

– Vader was told by doctors to take ten weeks off to heal his various serious injuries, so naturally he’s ignoring them and working the tapings plus all his house show dates and the PPV.

– WCW cancelled the Omni show on 7/3 because ticket sales were pathetic, like under 1000 pathetic, and the last time that happened Bill Watts got fired.  Basically if they flop anywhere else in the US, TBS doesn’t know and doesn’t care, but die in Atlanta where the Turner people can attend shows, and people start looking for new jobs.

– Dennis Coraluzzo has been demanding dates on the NWA champion, which of course is being cheerfully ignored by WCW executives, so now it’s going to get nasty.  In theory Bill Watts and Seiji Sakaguchi are the people in charge of handling this sort of thing, but no one can even contact the Cowboy at the moment, and everyone in New Japan was like “Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck you” to WCW as soon as Muta dropped the title to Barry Windham, and so Sakaguchi has washed his hands of the whole thing.  So basically Coraluzzo is going to have to sue BOTH WCW and whatever is left of the NWA to get control of the title again.  (But I mean, once he gets the rights back and holds a tournament, it’s smooth sailing from there, right?) 

– Jim Neidhart was already fired, and Ricky Steamboat is working without a contract at the moment.

– Flair & Anderson teamed up with Paul Roma for the first time in a six man against the Blonds & Barry Windham on WCW Saturday Night, getting a ***3/4 match in the process, with the key being that they never tagged Roma in. 

– And finally, a newcomer will be coming into WCW soon named Harold Rains, managed by Thunderbolt Patterson.  His name will be…ICE TRAIN.  (How’s that for a big finish?)