Wrestling Observer Flashback–06.05.89

It’s Good Friday!  What’s good about it?  Why, an Observer flashback, of course!

– Before we get into the news, Dave leads off with an old joke about the rich man dying of cancer who buys each of three sons one last gift to remember him by.  The oldest wants a yacht, the middle one wants a Porsche, and his youngest wants a Mickey Mouse outfit.  So the father buys them a yacht, a Porsche, and the AWA.

– I’ll insert one of those WWE script notes here while everyone doubles over with laughter. (***)

– Actual news now, as Barry Windham is joining Dusty Rhodes in the WWF.  He didn’t exactly leave on the best terms in 85, but most feel like the WWF will leave well enough alone and Barry will be pushed as a good heel opponent for Hulk Hogan.

– So apparently the reason why the Varsity Club lost the World tag titles so soon after beating the Road Warriors is that Mike Rotunda’s contract is up and the WWF is now claiming they have a deal in place for him.  He does, however, still have a one year contract with TBS, a fact that the WWF seems to just be ignoring.  Dave thinks that if this goes through, Vince is opening himself up to all sort of anti-trust lawsuits, and Rotunda isn’t the guy who’s worth enough to risk that kind of legal trouble.  That’s pretty crazy, isn’t it?  I mean, just calling up a guy already under contract and making a deal with him?!

– No  Holds Barred opens this week, and critics are predictably savaging the movie.  Basically, the movie realistically has one week to make whatever money it can, and then it’s going to die, so we’ll pretty much know by Monday whether it was a success or a failure.  Spoiler:  It was a failure.

– Vince did the David Letterman show as a part of the press for the show, and Letterman pretty much made a fool out of him as a rib to piss off NBC.  Vince was totally flustered and out of his element here.

– The latest SNME, on 5/27, was pretty much the best one ever, sez Dave.  They’ve got the formula down pat, with the hot five minutes, then a break, then the hot three minutes to end, which makes it easier than having “real” matches.  To the ratings!

1.  Jim Duggan beat IC champion Rick Rude by countout in a match that was much better than it reads on paper.  **3/4

2.  Randy Savage beat Jim Neidhart with the big elbow in a match where Anvil sold his ass off for Savage.  ***1/4

3.  Hulk Hogan retained the title over Bossman in the famous cage match.  Zeus made his NBC debut here for the staredown with Hulk.  The superplex spot was smoother executed than in MSG, and Dave calls it one of the most impressive bumps he’s ever seen.  Summerslam will draw, he notes, but Zeus looked even worse than he was warned about.  ***3/4

4.  Tully & Arn beat Demolition by DQ in another really good match.  ***1/4

5.  Jimmy Snuka splashed Boris Zhukov to end the show.  DUD

Basically a PPV-quality show right there, notes Dave.

– Speaking of quality, I’m a bit disappointed when Dave is going over the lineup for Clash VII and he only momentarily stops to mock the Ding Dongs.  Hopefully we get a more in-depth thrashing of this stupidity as we get closer to the show!  Apparently Reed & Simmons will also debut as the Ebony Experience, managed by Teddy Long.  So weird how they basically circled back to the original plan months later.

– Meanwhile, Inoki is RAKING in the dough thanks to his gamble on the Russians, selling out show after show to the point where he’s now talking about promoting shows in Russia to see if he can make money there as well.  I think the Germans were going to try that years ago, but couldn’t get the equipment trucks through the Ural mountains in the winter.

– World Class featured a loser-leaves-town vs. mask match between Eric Embry and the Zodiac.  If Embry lost, he would leave town immediately without sticking around to fill commitments.  And if Zodiac lost, he would have to immediately unmask, and if it was Gary Young under the mask, then HE would have to leave town immediately because he had previously lost a loser-leaves-town match to Embry and had just returned under a mask to get around it.  So Embry won, Zodiac unmasked as Young, and then returned the next day because World Class decided to overturn his original loser-leaves-town loss anyway.  Maybe they should have just let Kerry do the booking.

– For those wondering, Austin Idol did not in fact turn on Jerry Lawler and they teamed up against Master of Pain & PY Chu-Hi without incident.

– Dave stops to praise the work of young 19 year old Louie Spicoli in Continental.

– Amazingly, the Florida promotion will continue without Dusty Rhodes to guide them like the hand of god.  Oliver Humperdink will book, and Dustin Rhodes will of course be the top star.   Office operations will be run by Mike Graham, or at least he’ll take all the credit later on for whoever is actually running it.

– With the Bulldogs out of Stampede at the moment and WWF running Hogan-Savage matches in Alberta, crowds have dropped to dismal levels.  But then main events are Larry Cameron v. Ricky Rice at the moment, so that probably doesn’t help.

– Back to Japan, as Inoki is doing so well with the Russian invasion that he put the IWGP title on Hashimikov, with Vader already doing the job.  Steve Williams was actually asked to job first, but refused, so instead they’re building that up for later down the road as a “toughest US wrestler v. toughest Russian” blowoff.

– In All Japan, The Bulldogs might be almost done as a team, but they’re tearing down the house every night with Furnas & LaFon in ****1/2 classics, and will be main eventing soon against Hansen & Gordy.  That sounds like a friggin’ awesome matchup.

– Satoru Sayama is promoting a new type of show called “shooting” in Japan, which takes place in an octagon instead of a ring and features guys wearing boxing gloves and doing a mix of martial arts, with wins by submission or KO.  I’m surprised Dave didn’t immediately start clearing 6 pages per Observer for it right there.

– The AWA once again gets a section, but it’s to announce that Badd Company and Tom Zenk have both quit.  Didn’t they just shoot an angle where Tanaka and Diamond broke up?

– “Roadhouse”, with Terry Funk in a supporting role, is taking a critical drubbing and is a complete flop at the box office.  YOU SHUT YOUR HOOKER MOUTH, DAVE!  Time has certainly proved kinder to that movie than Hulk’s movie, that’s for sure.

– Nikita Koloff’s wife Mandy is not long for the world, and Nikita has cancelled all his dates effective immediately.

– Jerry Jarrett, still unpaid for SuperClash III months later, is now blaming the Financial News Network for brokering the deal in the first place and is with-holding tapes until SOMEONE pays him money owed.  The irony of JERRY JARRETT bitching about payouts is delicious, but Dave rightly points out that his beef is with Verne anyway.

– An independent PPV accounting firm listed the top 10 shows of the past year, and the list showed how much the WWF lies about their numbers and market share, as the NWA shows were very competitive even without all the hype and promotion, while boxing PPVs continue to wreck everyone else by comparison.  Except of course for the one promoted by Vince, which somehow managed to be the ONE boxing show that couldn’t make money.

– So many people have talked about shooting on Dusty when he comes into the WWF that they actually sent out a memo reminding everyone to be welcoming and friendly to him when he shows up.

– Roddy Piper is back doing house shows for the WWF again, this time on a Canadian tour against Ted Dibiase.  Piper had done a few shows last week as a short-term deal and then quit, went to Jim Herd and said he was done, negotiated a deal there, and then went back to Titan and used that deal as leverage to get the deal he wanted all along.  Slow clap.

– Lex Luger regained the US title over Michael Hayes in the famous “blue moon” match where he pulled the tights to win, and then turned heel on Steven Casey later in the taping.

– Sid Vicious had his tryout, and DUH, was so impressive that they immediately signed him.

– Bob Orton was supposed to do a clean job to the Midnight Express in a tag match to heat up the MX again, but bitched about wanting to look stronger, so they fired him after he refused to do the match.

– The Varsity Club has been dissolved, since Steve Williams turned babyface and Dan Spivey is about to move onto bigger things.  The Williams turn, much like his original heel turn, was a phantom turn in Japan as they just announced that Sullivan hired Terry Gordy to beat him up with a tire iron after a show there.  The only problem is that Williams worked for Inoki at that point and Gordy worked for Baba, so they would never be at the same show.  And then the TV announcers ACKNOWLEDGED that!

– Another syndicated show spoiled the tag tournament AGAIN, advertising the Freebirds defending against the Midnight Express at a house show.  The tournament finals are still two weeks away at this point.

– Finally, Dave says that Muta looked awesome beating three jobbers on TV at the same time, but why would Tommy Young count a pinfall on Mike Justice on the floor?  Because he’s AWESOME, that’s why!

And on that note, we’re done.  Enjoy the long weekend!