Wrestling Observer Flashback–07.03.89

This week, another great era comes to an end.  For the first time of many.

– Yes, the rumors on the street are true and what all the kids were talking about in 1989 has sadly come to pass, as Antonio Inoki has announced his retirement at age 46 in order to run for public office in Japan.  Dave suspects that this may be a temporary retirement depending on the results of the election.  In fact, Inoki did win election, but kept right on wrestling anyway.  Dave thinks that if Inoki does hang it up for real, then the top stars of the 90s for New Japan will end up being Koji Kitao, Great Muta and Shinya Hashimoto.  Kind of, I guess. 

– Dave runs down the lineup for Great American Bash 89 on the 23rd, and notes that after next month we’ll pretty much be into a groove of one PPV per month.  Hopefully the business can survive that kind of blistering pace of oversaturation.

– Gordon Solie made a surprise return to the NWA, hosting their new “Power Hour” show on TBS, which was immediately delayed by Braves baseball.  The show ended up being an oddity in that Solie not only recapped NWA goings-on, but also updated viewers on Florida (which Solie had an ownership stake in) and even an update on No Holds Barred!  I don’t remember this at all, but then I only got Worldwide Wrestling until I moved to Edmonton and we were able to get TBS in 1991. 

– No Holds Barred dropped to #7 for the week, with $1.6 million in box office, leaving it at about $12 million for its domestic run, and that’s pretty much where it would end up.  By this point the revenue split is almost nothing for New Line and mostly goes to the theaters, and the movie isn’t really playing on its own anyway, as it’s now part of a double feature with “Pink Cadillac”. 

– Richard Belzer was on the radio show of some guy in New York named Howard Stern, and he blasted the movie pretty hard.  When Stern noted that Belzer wasn’t exactly an unbiased observer due to his lawsuit against Hogan, Richard fired back with “Even if I was sleeping with Hogan I’d still say the movie sucked.” 

– The Ding Dongs will be working full-time during the Bash tour against Morgan & Victory, but first they’re doing an Asian tour, working Hong Kong against King Kong.  You see, people accuse the NWA of booking without rhyme or reason, but now at least they have rhyme. 

– Jerry Blackwell didn’t need his leg amputed after all, but his health has taken a turn for the worse and now he has fluid in his lungs.  He’d actually live for another five years before dying from a car accident, in fact.

– Terry Funk actually injured his back, so now he’s also being held off of house shows until the Bash PPV to avoid screwing up the main event.  For the time being he’s doing angles where he attacks Sting at the start of the show to explain the cancelled main events.

– Rumors are flying about Jerry Jarrett pulling out of Dallas already.  What is known for sure is that World Class will shortly be changing their name to USWA, and the CWA in Memphis will likely be following suit soon after. 

– Jerry Lawler is in negotiations with the NWA for a one-shot deal in Memphis against Terry Funk and possibly using the territory as a feeder system for the NWA.  Of course, just a few years later the WWF would take him up on that one.

– Dave already thinks the hype machine for Zeus has been so effective that Summerslam 89 will be the biggest buyrate of the year, if not ever.  He also thinks that on the NWA side, Flair v. Luger is going to be the big money match at Starrcade.  Not so much.

– The AWA is now running joint shows with David McLane’s latest freakshow, the Ladies’ Sports Club, with talk of building towards a Wendi Richter v. Tina Moretti unification match.  The shows have been the usual bombs for the AWA, although Paul Diamond is now randomly back after quitting two weeks ago, doing what was described as a Brutus Beefcake imitation.  On a related note, I checked McLane’s Wikipedia page to see if there was any info on the Ladies Sports Club, but his page omits anything between GLOW and WOW and pretty much reads like McLane hired someone to write it on his behalf, as it talks about what a smashing success stuff like the “Triple Crown of Polo” and “Pro Beach Hockey” were.

– What would a week be without a riot in Memphis?  Lawler beat Master of Pain to retain his title in a match where manager Ronnie Gossett had to give him $1000 if he won, and Lawler threw the money into the crowd.  And of course, the idiot rednecks immediately stampeded for the small pile of $1 bills and someone ended up with broken ribs. 

– World Class, as noted, will be changing to USWA Wrestling, at which point they will start syndicating three different shows as a part of their rebranding.  The catch is that the company who handles their syndication is the same one that does the NWA’s syndication, and there are people very unhappy about this.

– World Class gates are up recently since they dropped ticket prices to $4 for several shows, although that’s only a short-term thing. 

– THIS WEEK IN KERRY VON ERICH STUPIDITY:  Kerry went on TV and claimed that his brother Kevin has won more titles than anyone else in wrestling history. 

– Up in Stampede, the Bulldog v. Bulldog feud is probably not going to happen, as Bruce Hart got into a backstage fight with Dynamite Kid and ended up getting hurt. 

– A new tag team only lasted one night – Dale Veasy and Bob Brown as the White Knights, but they were wrestling under the names Buddy Lee Parker and James Earl Wright.  So there you go, the State Patrol actually debuted in Stampede!

– Wahoo McDaniel announced his retirement due to an “eye injury” sustained in the AWA, although in reality he’s working as a road agent with the NWA. 

– Kevin Von Erich got a taste of his own medicine this week, as he was supposed to work a match against a reporter named Ken Hoffman, and Hoffman no-showed.  NOW YOU KNOW HOW IT FEELS, KEVIN!

– Roddy Piper is apparently on again with the WWF, as he’ll be starting as the new co-host of Primetime Wrestling with Gorilla Monsoon.

– Big Steel Man will be getting his WWF tryout this week in New York. 

– The new team of the Skyscrapers will now be managed by Teddy Long instead of Gary Hart.  Long’s proposed Ebony Experience team is pretty much scrapped because Ron Simmons refused to do it and Reed is “on some sort of suspension”. 

– Tommy Rich has actually managed to drop a bunch of weight via a “tuna only” diet, which makes Dave wretch.  He started this past week and got over pretty good. 

– The Ding Dongs start full-time this weekend with the Bash tour, although no one can offer Dave any kind of satisfactory reason as to why.

– Jim Ross has left the booking committee, so for the moment it’s Flair, Wahoo, Eddie Gilbert, Sullivan and Jody Hamilton. 

– Crowds around the horn are turning on Steamboat and cheering Luger, despite the Lex heel turn. 

– And finally, Teddy Long has been getting rave reviews everywhere.

And we’re out like a trout.