Wrestling Observer Flashback–09.03.89

It’s SUMMER TIME…TIME FOR SUMMERSLAM!

– Summerslam 89 went down 8/28 in Jersey, and Dave calls it “far from the worst PPV of the year”, so that’s something!  If Wrestlemania was a 2, this was a 6, Dave notes.  So that’s pretty good. 

– The rather shocking news coming out of the show was that Zeus did the job for the big boot and legdrop, brother, which pretty much kills the theory that they’re setting them up for Wrestlemania as a program.  They could still be doing the singles match in December, although why?  Zeus, at the very least, looked terrible, but not like Andre the Giant level embarrassing or anything. 

– Although the show was the usual strong technical affair, there was of course one major screwup, the famous “Fuck it” from Mean Gene during the Rick Rude interview.  Tony and Jesse, working together for the first time, tried to cover up the best they could.  To the review!

1.  The Brainbusters beat the Hart Foundation in a non-title match when Tully pinned Bret Hart at 16:23.  Match was slow but fine, and overall kind of disappointing because they’re big match wrestlers being put into an opening match.  **

2. Dusty Rhodes pinned Honky Tonk Man in 9:36 for Worst Match of the Night honors.  Dave really hated this match.  Dusty moved out of the way of a Jimmy Hart guitar shot and pinned Honky with the elbow.  -**, because Dave liked the finish and otherwise it was –***. 

3.  Mr. Perfect pinned Red Rooster with the perfectplex in 3:21.  No heat and not much action, with a finish out of nowhere.  Well, duh, Taylor blew out his knee about a minute into the match.  1/2*

4.  Rougeaus & Rick Martel beat The Rockers & Tito Santana in 14:58.  Dave notes that the heels spent the first several minutes getting heat on Tito, but not actual crowd heat because no one cared.  Thanks for clarifying.  It all led to the wacky six-way finish with Martel pinning Jannetty with a rollup.  Best overall match of the show.  ***1/4 

5.  Ultimate Warrior beat Rick Rude to regain the IC title in 16:02 in what Dave calls Warrior’s best match ever.  Thanks to Rude.  Because Warrior was terrible.  The finish of course saw Roddy Piper come out at 14:00 and moon Rude, allowing Warrior to suplex him and finish with the gorilla press and splash.  ***1/4 

6.  Demolition and Duggan beat The Twin Towers & Andre at 6:23.  Not good, but watchable.  * 

7.  Hercules beat Greg Valentine by DQ in 3:08.  This was just to continue with Valentine v. Ron Garvin, as Garvin was the ring announcer and messed with Valentine after he apparently won with his feet on the ropes.  He announced Valentine as the winner, then changed his mind and said that Herc won by DQ instead.  1/2* for the angle. 

8.  Ted Dibiase beat Jimmy Snuka by countout at 6:27.  Decent action but no heat.  *1/2

9.  Hogan & Beefcake beat Savage & Zeus in 15:04.  Savage carried the match for all four, with incredible heat throughout, although Zeus was mostly just doing chokes and bearhugs and pretty much wore out his welcome a few minutes in.  Hogan popped up after the big elbow and squared off with Zeus late in the match, then hit him with Sherri’s loaded purse and pinned him with a slam and legdrop to win.  And that was pretty much it for Zeus.  **1/2 

– As a note, Dave’s formatting of the review is weird, running on the first page, then abruptly jumping to midway onto page 6, and then finally jumping one last time to page 8 to finish.  This is a man who desperately needs a word processor. 

– In the new USWA, after big crowds for the new era changeover show, people have realized that it’s actually the same old shit again and houses are plummeting fast.  So apparently promising change and then not delivering is a…bad idea?  What a concept.

– Kerry Von Erich was in hot water with management again, so he was forced to do a clean job to Tarras Bulba in the middle of the ring with an iron claw. 

– Mark Lowrance in fact did not quit to be a preacher, he just missed a couple of shows and was back again on TV.

– Cactus Jack lost a loser-leaves-town match to “Superman” Eric Embry in TWELVE SECONDS because he had a broken wrist and needed to get some time off to heal it.  I’m sure Mick gave his injury all the proper recovery time it needed. 

– Dave complains that the latest show set a record with two hours of TV time and only 14 minutes of wrestling.  Just wait until the Russo era.

– As noted last week, the NWA was threatening Dan Spivey with replacement if he went back to All Japan to work for Baba, so Spivey actually told Baba that he had a deal with the WWF and that’s why he couldn’t come.  Baba then found out the truth and he was PISSED and swore never to use Spivey again as a result. 

– Art Barr was arrested on 8/11 for first degree rape, stemming from an incident in July with a 19 year old.  His lawyer quickly told him to shut up and not provide any details to the media.  Unfortunately for the Oregon territory, Barr was hugely popular with kids doing the Beetlejuice gimmick and crowds suddenly died after the arrest, dropping nearly in half with parents not wanting to bring kids all of a sudden.

– Scotty the Body actually gave up his Matman gimmick to a rotating crew, with Pat Tanaka the latest one playing the part. 

– The AWA did a TV taping that was supposed to be the debut of the Team Challenge Series, but apparently plans changed and nothing happened with that.  Only thing of note was the debut of Kokina Maximus, who will be getting a pretty big monster heel push. 

– In a bad sign, Stampede suspended operations completely for a few weeks while Owen Hart tours Japan. 

– The Florida group is also in major trouble, cutting back to one show a month at the moment. 

– The 8/26 NWA TV show ended up being amazing, with Robin Green turning into Woman (although not called that quite yet) and Rick Steiner’s reactions carrying the angle.  Dave also thinks that “Robin Green” is a combination of “Robin Givens” and “Mitch Green”, thus referencing the Mike Tyson rape case. 

– The mysterious Dick Slater lost angle actually showed up on that episode, as they somehow managed to piece it together from raw film that had been shot from different angles for secondary usage, along with the original soundtrack over top of it.  Dave was mighty impressed with the expertise needed to pull that off, thinking previously that it would have been easier just to reshoot the angle at a house show and use that instead. 

– Director Tommy Edwards fell on his sword for the tape mixup last week and will be reassigned within the Turner empire, but no longer in wrestling.  Thus began the Keith Mitchell era.

– TBS got hundreds of angry phone calls about the mixed up tape, and actually did find the right one while the show was airing, but not until 45 minutes into it.  By that time, they just figured it was already a lost cause.

– The Star actually called Dave looking to corroborate a story about Jane Fonda dating a pro wrestler, so look for that “bombshell” in a future issue of that tabloid. Dave notes that he didn’t answer the call. 

– Eddie Gilbert is booking the promotion while Flair is on the road. 

– Sadly, Benjamin Franklin Peacock and Kevin Kelly did not get picked up after their tryouts.  Tom Zenk will debut as the Z Man on the Clash in September, although he may or may not be masked. 

– Former CNN correspondent Brian Doble got a tryout and will be starting shortly under the new name of “Chris Cruise” once they train him to announce the WCW way.

– The WWF PR department were actually happy about the whole Andre arrest situation, because it got publicity for them everywhere and Andre didn’t put up a fight.

– Wrestlemania is almost certainly going to be at Skydome, although the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is also lobbying hard for it.  I bet if they did it in LA it would BOMB.  Get it, because…never mind.

– WWF broke off their relationship with NESN and will not being showing Boston Garden shows any longer.

– Primetime was dropped on Monday so as not to force people to choose between that and Summerslam.  Unlike the competition, who frequently would do exactly that on Sundays. 

– The Hogan-Savage program has finally run out of juice, with houses dropping like it’s week two of Batman v. Superman or something.

– Speaking of bombing, Dusty Rhodes v. Big Bossman is a complete washout at the box office.

– The letters pages are OUTRAGED about the two guys who got kicked out of the WWF TV taping in Oakland for holding up a “NWA #1” banner.  Man, just wait until Vince really cranks up the jackbooted control freak knob in the 90s and starts checking people for the wrong signs and T-shirts.

And that’s the week that was.