Wrestling Observer Flashback–07.24.89

Part of me wanted to do some very drastic alterations to the news this week in honor of April 1, but most of me just thinks that’s cliché and silly.

– First up, Dave updates the injuries from last week’s car accident, and as usual things were a bit exaggerated or wrestlers are stupidly prone to coming back too soon or maybe both.  Either way, Chris Benoit and Sumo Hara are already back in action, and Davey Boy is walking around on crutches and is advertised for shows a couple of weeks later.  Jason the Terrible, however, is still in the hospital and as noted last week, would end up getting the worst of it out of all of them.

– Jake Roberts is now facing 15 years in prison stemming from his assault conviction, and the Titan PR machine is working overtime to deny deny deny and cover this up.  Their desperation comes from a rather poorly-timed “get well Jake” campaign where they were going to encourage those young’uns to send in cards and letters after Jake’s legit neck surgery, but the feeling is that if he ends up in prison then that’s not exactly something they want to be associated with.  Although 15 years is the max, first offenders typically serve 12 months.

– Bam Bam Bigelow is now rumored to be quitting wrestling and taking up a career as a boxer, leading to a showdown with Mike Tyson.  The feeling is that Tyson has no legitimate contenders left and needs a big box office attraction to draw.  Hoo boy, would THAT sure come back to bite Tyson in the ass very soon afterwards.  Pride before the fall and all that.

– Summerslam did a whopping big number on the first day of ticket sales, moving 15,000 of the available 21,000 by the end of the week, and they’re predicting a big buyrate for it.  They’re even talking about doing closed circuit in poor backwards Canada, which didn’t have PPV at that point.  In fact, that did not happen and we had to wait for the video like everyone else.  Dave is convinced that Brutus Beefcake is in there to do the job for Zeus, and Big Z is going to challenge Hogan for the title at Wrestlemania VI.  Thankfully, no.

– The Dusty Rhodes “clogged toilet” skits are actually causing more trouble for the WWF than anticipated, with one sponsor already pulling out and several more making threats to do so.  Geez, everybody poops!

– The Superstars of Wrestling arcade game is cleaning up with big revenues, doing almost double the business of the #2 game on the market, Double Dragon.

– Morton Downey Jr. did a wrestling-themed show, with Lou Albano as a guest, and it was a complete embarrassment on every level.  Yeah, I remember that one.  Not good.

– Stampede is in a complete free-fall right now, canceling shows due to the car accident and now they’re no longer taping semi and main events for the TV show because of the feeling that they’re “giving too much away” for free.  If there’s one thing you couldn’t accuse Stampede of doing, it was giving away too much on those shows.  So basically Owen Hart, if and when he returns, will not be featured on the TV shows.  They’re bringing in all kinds of freakshow acts now trying to boost business, like Maximum Overdrive (the Road Warrior ripoffs from Minnesota) and even talking about bringing Barry Orton back as the Zodiac once he’s out of prison.  I’m no wrestling promoter, but I’d have to think that if you’re waiting on guys to GET OUT OF PRISON before they can come back, it’s probably not a good sign for the long-term health of your company.

– In your Master of Pain update for the week, his babyface turn was quickly aborted and instead Dutch Mantell turned babyface to pay off the Lawler “tar and feather” angle.  Whew.

– The good news:  The AWA drew 3000 people to a country fair show this week.  The bad news:  Because tickets were free.

– As expected, the USWA vs. WCCW “battle for stock options” angle will be decided by a match between PY Chu-Hi and Eric Embry after stock negotiations “got out of hand”.  So you know, a wrestling match is the logical conclusion.

– THIS WEEK IN KERRY VON ERICH STUPIDITY:  Mr. T was in Dallas to work a show for World Class (no, really!) and Kerry did an interview where he said that he stood for the same things as T:  Kids, Jesus, and wholesome living.  As Dave notes, they might stand for the same things, but it’s sure not any of those.

– Jeep Swenson is in doing some shots, and they’re billing him as “The star of No Holds Barred”.  Disregarding the fact that it’s not really true, why would you even want to be associated with that?

– Although Dave reported that Windy City Wrestling was close to closing up shop a few weeks back, they’re still plugging away with shows for 300 people.

– The deal that was going to sell the TV station in Atlanta and end Joe Pedicino’s wrestling block fell through, and now it will continue on for the foreseeable future. It was supposed to become a Home Shopping Network affiliate, but the deal fell apart at literally the last minute and Pedicino didn’t even miss a show.

– Pro Wrestling Illustrated will be starting up their own weekly newsletter in September.  PWI Weekly, baby!  For those who weren’t around for it, it was GREAT.  Basically the closest thing to a dirt sheet that we were gonna out of a mainstream publication at the time.  Although they stuck close to kayfabe at the beginning, pretty soon stuff like TV taping results started leaking into it and by the early 90s they were doing features like “Hey, did you know that Big Josh is now Doink the Clown and Razor Ramon is just Scott Hall with black hair?” and my mind was BLOWN.

– The WWF’s new strategy is to put their Superstars arcade game into the concession area, so that kids can go play that during matches rather than having to watch the show.  And miss classics like Dino Bravo v. Mark Young?  Their loss.

– Steve Blackman had a tryout but Dave didn’t hear how it went.  Turns out it went well and then Blackman got malaria.

– Vince tried to run a Hogan-Savage main event at the Baltimore arena the night before Bash 89, but the arena wouldn’t play ball and forced them to book the weekend before instead so they could, you know, make money.  Vince still did a sellout and made sure to pump a lot of money into promotion to erase as much of the Bash hype in the city as he could.  Because he’s all about not hurting the other guy, you see.

– Apparently we’re being threatened with Dino Bravo & Greg Valentine being repackaged as a tag team once again to feud with the Hart Foundation, and then immediately afterwards Dave notes that Chris Von Erich begins training to be a wrestler this summer and he’s not sure which prospect is worse.  Well at least Bravo & Valentine were actual pro wrestlers.

– The Skyscrapers have been doing the Bash tour and are overwhelming babyfaces on every show despite being booked as heels.

– And finally, in a very WCW move, the company is being forced to bring back Iron Sheik against the wishes of everyone because Sheik felt he was unfairly fired and Turner’s lawyers agreed that he might have a case.  So now he’s going to be booked as an opening match jobber  while he works through his one-year contract making six figures a year.  Thanks, George Scott!