Wrestling Observer Flashback–05.15.89

Seven episodes into Daredevil.  Time to stop and flash back.

– So yeah, WrestleWar 89 happened, and it’s already looking like the best PPV in the short history of the medium thus far.  Just wait until the next one, Dave!  Let’s get right to the ratings:

1.  Great Muta squashed Doug Gilbert in 3:03.  Great while it lasted.  **  This was supposed to be Junkyard Dog getting squashed, but he simply decided not to show up, and this time he’s really really fired for real, really.  Until they bring him back 6 months or so later.

2.  Butch Reed beat Ranger Ross with a shoulderblock at 6:59.  1/2*

3.  Dick Murdoch pinned Bob Orton in a bullrope match at 4:54.  No heat for this.  1/2*

4.  The Dynamic Dude era began with an upset of the SST in 11:02.  Dave notes that with the skateboards and striped shorts, they’ll get over real big in San Francisco, if you know what he means.  **3/4  Dudes had surprisingly good heat for a debuting team.

5.  Michael Hayes won the US title from Lex Luger at 16:06, and this had the most heat by far of anything.  ***  Luger was surprisingly great here and even Hayes was working hard.

6.  Sting destroyed Iron Sheik to retain the TV title at 2:02.  DUD

7.  Ric Flair won his sixth World title from Ricky Steamboat at 31:37 in another “greatest match of all time” contender.  And then of course Terry Funk asked for a title shot and Flair refused him, triggering one of the all-time great sneak attacks and beatdowns from Funk, including a piledriver through the table that put Flair out for weeks.  Dave calls it one of the greatest matches he’s ever seen live and “five stars doesn’t do the whole thing justice”.  *****

8.  The Road Warriors beat the Varsity Club by DQ at 6:06, but after shenanigans with special referee Nikita Koloff the champs were stripped of the title.  This set up the tag title tournament that gave us our national nightmare of mascara and stalling for the next few years.  ***1/2

9.  Eddie Gilbert & Rick Steiner beat the other Varsity Club guys to retain the US tag titles in 6:41.  Good, but the crowd was burned out.  **1/2

– Overall, there was a feeling that this show was NWA Comeback:  Day One.  Maybe, maybe not.

– The WWF also had a show the night before in the same arena, headlined by Savage v. Beefcake, which was artificially stretched out to later at night to screw with the NWA.

– Larry Cameron won the North American title from Davey Both Smith in Stampede, and would in fact be the last champion for the promotion.  The night after losing the title, Smith was getting beat down by the heels, when Dynamite Kid returned from surgery (aka “retirement”) to make the save, and then turned on Smith to set up a Dynamite v. Davey feud that was new booker Bruce Hart’s last gasp at turning the territory around.  Unfortunately all the major players in this storyline are off to Japan for weeks, and by the time everyone was back things had cooled off significantly.

– Dave is still railing against the Savage-Hogan finish at WM, as he notes that rematches are steadily dropping at the house shows and Savage-Beefcake matches are doing mediocre numbers.  In fact, Savage-Warrior matches from before WM are handily beating Hogan-Savage matches now.  B shows, now headlined by Warrior-Rude rematches, are doing pretty good.  C shows with Andre-Studd are doing abysmal numbers by WWF standards.

–  A Japanese video game company is releasing a WWF game to arcades this summer, called “Superstars of Wrestling”.  Wrestling games haven’t had a great track record to date, but that would actually be the one to turn the trend around for the WWF.

– The WWF is not confirming reports that Zeus will wrestle, but pretty much he’s going to have to be the worst thing ever to set foot in the ring to prevent it from happening.

– Dick Ebersole took over NBC Sports this week, and as a condition of getting the position had to drop all his duties associated with Vince McMahon, including Saturday Night’s Main Event and the proposed Bob Costas talk show.

– Rick Steiner is injured, which is why the US tag titles were dropped shortly after this.

– Newcomers include Brian Pillman (who is getting hype videos starting this weekend), Norman the Lunatic and Scott Hall.  Hall must not have lasted long in this stint.  I remember him in the Bash double-ring battle royale but that’s about it.

– The Georgia state athletic commission bill (aka The Anti-Wrestling Commission) made it all the way into the final stages of becoming a law before the governor vetoed it to save the day for greedy promoters everywhere.

– Terry Funk is doing this little movie called ROADHOUSE with Patrick Swayze.  Now THAT’S a real movie about real men.  Fuck that No Holds Barred shit.

– Apparently a major, major talent acquisition is about to go down in about two weeks.  Dave doesn’t know details, but it’s “a biggie”.  I can only assume he’s talking about SID VICIOUS.  OK, probably not, but Sid was pretty awesome.

– Dusty’s big match with Terry Funk drew 650 people and it’s pretty much time to pull the plug, says Dave.

– The AWA TV tapings were another complete mess.  The Destruction Crew attacked the tag champions (Ken Patera & Brad Rheingans) to put them out of action, so it’s yet another AWA title vacated for no reason.  Tom Zenk was supposed to wrestle Muraco in a #1 contender match, but Muraco no-showed and Zenk beat Paul Diamond instead.  Sounds like a barn-burner.  Col DeBeers actually went over Derrick Dukes in the “paint the loser” match, but then Tommy Jammer ran out and started painting De Beers black before he escaped.  Seriously, you can’t even have the black guy win that match?  And Badd Company split up.  Again.

– Jeff Jarrett and Kerry Von Erich are working as a tag team in Memphis, with Kerry declaring Jarrett to be an honorary member of the Von Erich family.  So THAT’S why he never wants to do jobs and books himself as the biggest star of the promotions he’s in!

– And finally, Liz is going to do some PR work for her new WWF-branded perfume, but after that she’s no longer going on the road and will stay home for the foreseeable future.  And so she did.

I once again apologize for the lack of quality Kerry Von Erich material this week.  Who would think he could go so many weeks without doing something idiotic?  Hopefully next time.