Wrestling Observer Flashback–03.20.89

Hoo boy.  I’m actually writing this Monday morning instead of my goal of Saturday night because I was suddenly hit with a bladder infection, and you do NOT want that on your plate.  Now I know how Tom Hanks in the Green Mile felt like.


– The lead story this time is the death of promoter and longtime Houston wrestling star Paul Boesch, from a heart attack at the age of 76.

– In other news, the NWA is basically ignoring the buildup for Clash VI and not even mentioning it on TV.  I don’t know when Dave goes into the details on this one, but I can tell you that there’s a reason for it and it’s because George Scott was stuck in the past and didn’t want the TV show to hurt the Flair-Steamboat house show rematches, showing how little he understood the business at this point.  And people thought Bill Watts was out of touch in 92!

– The WWF actually has already broken the all-time gate record at press time for WM5, with $1.6 million.  To put this in perspective, WM3 with somewhere between 78-93K people only drew 1.599 million, whereas this show has 25% of the crowd but tickets that are 4x more expensive.  That’s why UFC makes so much damn money now.  Although can you imagine if they only drew $1.5 million for a Wrestlemania today?  They’d have Vince’s head on a pole at the investor’s meeting!

– The SNME on Mar 11 featured a Rockers v. Brainbusters match would be Match of the Year in any other year, but this year it’s already been beaten.  And will be beaten again.  Twice.  Dave thought it was a strong show overall.

– So Titan screened “No Holds Barred” for distributors, and no one wants to pick it up and actually distribute it.  The movie is so terrible that the only company that even bid was a small outfit called New Vista that no one has ever heard of.  Dave notes that whoever releases it would probably be facing criminal charges for allowing this bomb to escape anyway.  Jesse Ventura, who plays a commentator named “Jesse Ventura” in the movie, won’t even talk about it.  Dave runs down the plot of the movie, and in an interesting trivia note it turns out that originally Hogan’s name in the movie was, um….Rip Rorem.


Like, out of all the things wrong with, THAT’S what they decided to “fix”?  They felt like having his name be a stupid pun was what was holding this piece of shit back from Oscar contention?  Jesus.

– Historic note, as Turner raids front office staff from the WWF for first time.  Don Glass was the guy booking arenas for Titan, and now he’ll do it for TBS at twice the pay.

– Ricky Steamboat is doing prelim tag matches in Japan for Baba and losing, while NWA World champion mind you, while Flair vacations in Hawaii. There’s actually tons of heat from the Japanese press on Baba over this, because Steamboat is half-Japanese and was traditionally treated like a native when he wrestled there before.  Dave’s theory is that Baba is trying to downplay the importance of the NWA title for some reason.  Wonder if that was part of the reason why WCW ended up partnered with New Japan afterwards?

– Dave clarifies that the Sumo Hara who will be debuting in Stampede is in fact rookie Tatsumi (Koki) Kitahara.  I thought he was out to lunch last week, but I was checking afterwards and indeed it was Kitahara playing the part and not Ashura Hara.  Apologies for doubting 1989 Dave.  Kitahara never really had much of a career afterwards and apparently retired in 1999 to run a security firm in Japan.

– Don Muraco has indeed agreed to return to Stampede to drop the North American title to the winner of a Davey Boy v. Makhan Singh #1 contender match.

– For those wondering what happened to John Paul after he quit the AWA, he’s now in Continental teaming with Tracy Smothers as the Mason Dixon Connection.  I can’t even think of a more hick name for a team.

– Eric Embry, who lost a loser-leaves-town match a couple of weeks back, returned to TV without explanation, defending the lightheavyweight title against a 330 pound Botswana Beast.  The explanation for THAT is that the weight limit for the title has been waived.  Sure, why not?

– Super Black Ninja, as predicted last week, has been pushed out by the Von Erichs and will debut for the NWA shortly.

– Dusty Rhodes ran his big “Homecoming” card in Florida, celebrating his return to the main event there, and sold about 200 tickets in a 3000 seat arena, basically just filling ringside seats.  Dave thinks the writing’s on the wall for that promotion already.

– Chris & Mark Youngblood returned to Puerto Rico to win the tag team titles, and Dave notes that you can draw your own conclusions about their role in the Bruiser Brody cover-up from that.

– Remember how Dave mixed up the retirement ceremonies of Mil Mascaras and Blue Demon, and it turned out that Demon was the one retiring?  Well, apparently the gate was good for that show, because he retired a second time in Tijuana and did another big house.

– Back to George Scott, as he issued a list of house rules for wrestlers in the NWA:

1.  All employees must be in the building one hour before the start of the show.

2. Babyfaces and heels can’t mix in public.

3.  No profanity at house shows or TV tapings.

4.  Wrestlers or managers are not allowed to use the house mic before intermission.

5. No low blows.

6.  No using chairs, tables or the guard railings.

7.  No fighting outside the ring before intermission.

8.  No touching referees.

9.  Wrestlers must wear collared shirts when arriving for and leaving from shows.  Reporters covering the show backstage must wear suits and ties.

10.  No spitting at any time.  (What about Iron Sheik, Dave wonders?)

11.  No pulling down tights.

12.  No wives, girlfriends, children or pets backstage.

13.  No long distance phone calls from the WCW offices in Atlanta.

Gee, I don’t know why everyone wanted Scott gone so badly?

– Super Black Ninja debuted as “The Great Muto” and will be managed by either Hiro Matsuda or Gary Hart or maybe both.

– Brian Pillman finally got a deal to come into the NWA, and they want him as a tag team wrestler to start.  He was apparently given two names as partners, neither of which actually work for the promotion yet.

– The decision has apparently been made not to renew the contracts of Jim Cornette and the Midnight Express, so expect them to leave soon.

– Michael Hayes turned heel on Lex Luger in the Omni, because they want to use Hayes as a color commentator with Jim Ross and he’s funnier as a heel.  Plus this gives them an excuse to bring in Terry Gordy now.

– Also, in a trivia note, Muta was actually not undefeated, as his debut came on that Omni show, losing in 90 seconds by DQ to JYD as a substitute for Abdullah the Butcher.  My guess is that Butcher wanted to use chairs and tables in the match and George Scott showed him the rulebook and sent him home.

– Jimmy Snuka and John Tenta got tryouts on the WWF TV tapings, and Snuka will probably get a job out of it.  Tenta didn’t make it until, what, 1990?

– Dave starts making the pitch for keeping the title on Savage at WM5 here, as houses for his title defenses are sellouts across the board, while Hogan sells out his shows just by being Hulk Hogan, so really there’s no need to change the title.  If you’re doing sellouts on the A-show AND B-show, why change it?  Plus then you can build to an even bigger rematch at Summerslam and put the belt on Hogan there.

– Titan did its annual bloodletting, cutting a dozen people including the Conquistadors, Sam Houston and Ron Bass.

– Finally, Dave talks about the fantastic six-man matches that the Foot Loose have been having in All Japan, and thinks that once Toshiaki Kawada graduates to stardom the matches will become even better.  Funny to think of a time when grizzled Kawada was just a pretty boy tag team wrestler.

And that’s the news for the week!