Wrestling Observer Flashback–08.07.89

Even bigger than Wrestlemania this weekend, it’s WRESTLING OBSERVER MANIA, brother!  Watcha gonna do when historical perspective runs wild on you?

– The big story of the week is that Rick Steamboat’s short-term contract with the NWA has run out, and he’s gone.  Dave says that the sides were as close as $10,000 apart on a new deal, but later it came out that Jim Herd severely lowballed Steamboat with a take it-or-leave it offer and basically forced him out so they could use cheaper talent in his place.  Really, although it hurt in the short-term from a match quality standpoint, in the long term guys like Sting and Luger ended up overtaking him as drawing cards anyway. 

– Dave watched the TV version the Bash, and upgrades the Sting-Muta match to ***3/4 and the Steiners match to “at least ***”.  He notes that the Wargames was still better live, although Michael Hayes was hilarious on TV and added a lot to the match in different ways. 

– PPV buyrate estimates vary a lot right now, with most thinking it’s somewhere between 1% and 1.5%, which is OK.  I think it ended up doing really well, actually.

– Meanwhile, Saturday Night’s Main Event was all about setting up Summerslam and it went great.  To the review!

1.  Hulk Hogan destroyed Honky Tonk Man in 6:00 to keep the WWF title.  Basically awful.  3/4*  As a sidenote, Honky used a guitar on Hogan to get the heat briefly, and that’s what is being blamed for Hogan injuring his neck.  Uh oh, not a good time to be Honky.

2.  Jimmy Snuka pinned Greg Valentine at 3:00.  Just a backdrop for the Ron Garvin angle.  1/2* 

3.  Brutus Beefcake beat Randy Savage by DQ in a great match.  Savage was working his ass off here, as was Sherri.  ***3/4  The match ended up with Zeus coming in and destroying everyone, no-selling chairshots from Hogan and laughing at him.

4. Tully & Arn won the tag titles from Demolition in a 2/3 falls match in 13:00 total, with help from Andre of course.  Dave finally notes that Demos were the longest reigning champions in history, and that the Brainbusters were the first to hold the WWF and NWA tag titles.  ***1/4

– Dave did some investigation on the rumored Bam Bam – Tyson boxing match, and basically Bigelow is full of shit because no one in the boxing world or Japan sports media has heard anything about this “done deal”. 

– Dave discusses the Warrior-Andre house show matches a bit, and notes that fans in those cities were REALLY pissed to get a 15 second main event. Apparently they already met earlier this year in Switzerland and it nearly got the country to abandon neutrality and declare war on Connecticut! 

– Lioness Asuka retired due to mandatory retirement age in All Japan Women.  That’s pretty weird.  I’m assuming the current Asuka chose that name in tribute?

– Over in All Japan, this Kenta Kobashi kid is slowly getting elevated with upset wins.  He’s even done a couple of main event tag team matches, where he’s there to do the job.  But he’s there.

– Up in Oregon, they try for a Batman cash-in with something right out of Memphis, as a guy doing a Michael Keaton impression declares himself to be MATMAN.  Beetlejuice AND Matman in the same promotion, huh?  By the second week of TV it was obvious that it was Scott Levy under the mask, which makes it go all the way around to being awesome. 

– Last week for World Class, since the big Embry v. Hickerson blowoff match is this weekend and then USWA takes over.  Dave notes that crowds were still up even without Embry, which kind of contradicts the Embry-born wisdom that Eric Embry has been the reason for crowd increases. 

– Kevin Von Erich no-showed some shows and has once again disappeared without any mention on TV.

– Owen Hart is back in Stampede subbing for Davey Boy Smith, but word is that he’ll end up back in the WWF by the end of the year. 

– Verne Gagne actually wants Nick Bockwinkel back again, at least as a commentator and maybe a wrestler.  Dave notes that even retired two years and 54 years old, Nick is still a better worker than everyone in the promotion.

– The renamed FCW promotion is down to drawing 150 people for a house show, although as a trivia note one of the job guys was Dennis Knight, the future Mideon. 

– On a house show with a miserable $15,000 gate in North Carolina, Tim Horner finally got his first WWF win!  Over Tom Magee, which Dave notes pretty much means they’re finally giving up on him after all these years. 

– One idea that almost happened was giving the abandoned Blue Blazer gimmick to Mark Young.  That sounds like a winner.

– Barry Windham’s Widow Maker gimmick is being groomed for a Hogan run at the end of the year.

– The USA network HATED the Bobby Heenan show and wanted to pull it after two weeks, but Vince fought for it and it’ll stick around for now.

– Big Steel Man may be getting a job with the WWF after all, but as a heel because he flopped as a babyface.

– Big Van Vader is trying to negotiate rights to the name from Inoki so that he can wrestle in the US under that name. 

– Although ratings for Primetime Wrestling are strong with Piper, the Bobby Heenan Show is flaming ratings death and an official decision will be made by USA after August 14. Dave suspects that the decision has already been made.

– And finally, the NWA is talking about doing some kind of Costume Battle Royale for Halloween Havoc, which Dave is dreading.  That particular bit of brilliance would have to wait for Wrestlemania X-7. 

And with that, enjoy Wrestlemania!