Wrestling Observer Flashback–03.06.89

Should be a major news dump this week after Dave’s road trip to Chicago.

– No solid numbers on the Chi-Town Rumble at the moment, but people within TBS are claiming that it did “slightly better than Starrcade”, so that’s a positive.  Meanwhile, the WWF made sure to issue a press release stating the 19,000 people at THEIR show in Chicago two nights before set a new indoor attendance record for the city.

– The showdown on 4/2 will of course feature Hogan v. Savage at WM5, and now it’s been announced that Steamboat will defend against Flair at Clash VI in the Superdome, and the NWA is going to get slaughtered on this one.  PPV companies are expecting a 7-8% buyrate for Wrestlemania, or around 700,000 buys.  Pretty close, actually.

– Apparently the NWA has hired Lance Russell to host Worldwide Wrestling with the departure of Tony Schiavone.  Really?  I watched Worldwide every week at that point and I only ever remember Jim Ross hosting after Tony left.  Wonder if that fell through later?  They also hired Joe Pedicino to do production work, and I do remember him popping up on TV from time to time.

– NBC has in fact come to their senses and will not be airing Inoki’s freakshow with the Russians.

– There’s some weird syndication exclusivity ruling by the FCC coming up later in the year, which has to do with local stations having the right to black out “Superstations” like TBS if, say, both are showing Gilligan’s Island at the same time.  The upshot is that TBS might be dropped by a lot of cable systems as a result.  Obviously that didn’t happen.

– The WWF’s crusade against athletic commissions moves to Washington state, where they hired a lobbyist who admittedly has never watched wrestling before.  Also they promised to hold Wrestlemania at the Kingdome in Seattle if their bill for de-regulation was passed.  Yeah, OK.

– Dave gives more in-depth thoughts on the PPV after watching it on TV.  Flair-Steamboat was easily the best the match in the history of PPV, he thought, although running two finishes where guys pin themselves to lose a title was really weak.  Also, Rick Steiner has cooled off about 85% since Starrcade.  I feel like maybe teaming him with his brother might revive his career a bit.

– The reason behind the random Kendall Windham v. Steven Casey match at the end of the show is that they actually finished at 10:48EST and the show was technically scheduled to run all three hours, so they just threw the match out there because in case some cable systems wanted to show the whole thing they didn’t want anything important to happen. As to why it went 25 minutes, the agents sent them out there and then forgot that the show was still going on during the celebration of the title change, so no one remembered to give them the go-home signal.

–  OK, Dave says, back to reality after the PPV:  The NWA sucks and George Scott is an atrocious booker right now.  The house shows are burning money and the matches on them make no sense based on the storylines and didn’t draw.  Also, the talent being imported is terrible, like Iron Sheik and Junkyard Dog instead of young talent like Brian Pillman.  Basically Scott and his crew of old fogies (Jody Hamilton, Paul Jones and Gene Anderson) are all stuck in the 70s and aren’t willing to change with the times.  And when they do bring in someone new, like Dan Spivey, they just stick him in a major program without even seeing if he can get over first.

– Antonio Inoki, still trying to get his supposed Sacramento show over, is now challenging Mike Tyson to a $10 million purse for a fight.  Dave is basically just mocking Inoki every week now.

– Over in Japan, Baba is pissed at the NWA for flying Tenryu in for the Clash and then doing the stupid skit where he was locked in a cage backstage and couldn’t wrestle.  Dave notes that he had a tough enough time communicating the Andre-Hogan twin referee finish to the Japanese media last year, and this was just as bad in a lot of ways.

– In Stampede, they’re doing a tournament for the North American title in April now that Muraco has vacated it.  And again, that didn’t actually happen.

– Dave notes that a new wrestler called Sumo Hara is coming in, but it’s not Ashura Hara.  Unless Ashura Hara had a twin brother who was also named Ashura Hara, which I’m pretty sure he didn’t, it was Ashura Hara.

– Dave thinks this Steve Blackman kid has the most potential of anyone on the roster right now.  DAMN YOU, MALARIA!

– Scotty the Body debuted in Portland as a color commentator and immediately got over as a crazy hilarious heel, demanding that he didn’t want any fat chicks attending the show or underaged girls with padded bras chasing him unless they have government ID proving their age.

– Also in Portland, Art Barr is trying his wacky new Beetlejuice persona.  They’re actually making a sequel to that movie this year, believe it or not.

– Dave uses his investigative skills to discover that the Master of Pain is actually young Mark Galloway.  Wonder if he’s related to Drew?

– Steve & Shaun Simpson have come crawling back to World Class after quitting and going nowhere.

– So with the Samoans gone to the NWA, the fans have turned Super Black Ninja into their new pet cause, cheering for him in his feud with Kevin Von Erich.  Think it’s any coincidence that HE showed up in the NWA soon after as well?

– A group of Verne’s former cronies is trying to put together a promotion in the Midwest to run opposition to the AWA.  Yeah, nothing came of that.

– Dusty Rhodes has renamed his Florida promotion into TWF – The Wrestling Federation.  I hope he didn’t pay someone to think of that.  He’s not exactly burning up the gates.  But Dave is (very sarcastically) sure that feature matches like Dustin Rhodes v. Terry Funk and the Von Erichs v. The Star Riders will turn things around soon.

– The AWA’s May PPV followup to SuperClash is now on permanent hiatus.

– Dusty has Brett Wayne Sawyer repackaged as The Bubble Gum Kid in Florida, working a gimmick where he tosses bubblegum to kids before his matches.  Not chewed, I hope.  Hepatitis is no joke!

– OK, so on the Roddy Piper front, technically the deal with the WWF is a one-shot for Wrestlemania, and then he’s go to the highest bidder, but the NWA has lost interest based on his history with the WWF and demands for only 10 shows a year.

– Jim Brunzell is now claiming that he was fired from the WWF for trying to organize a union.

– Sting’s contract is up in April, but NWA is offering him a big 6 figure deal to stay and keep him away from the WWF.

No news on the the VICIOUS WARRIOR?  Disappointing.  Maybe next week!