Wrestling Observer Flashback–09.25.89

I know you’re all going to roll your eyes with disgust, but I took a job offer from WhatCulture again because James Dixon is on board with them in an editorial role and he talked me into it.  Plus, like Mr. Krabs, I love money.  Anyway, I think I’m going to do an article like “The 10 strangest things I learned about 1989” so I can discuss stuff like Zubaz, Idiot Kerry Von Erich, Memphis Monsters and Eric Embry’s booking. 

Remember, no one’s forcing you to read slideshows.  So just shut up in advance, Yano.

To the Observer!

– Dave watched Clash VIII this past week, and thinks that talk of turning around the promotion is a bit premature, but it was still a heck of a show.  To the review!

1.  The Road Warriors beat the SST in 6:46 to blow off the feud when Paul Dangerously screwed up and cost his team the match.  Afterwards, the Samoans walked out without Paul.  Good action to end the feud.  ***1/4

2.  The Z-Man made his debut by beating Cuban Assassin with a sleeper in 3:36.  No one cared and the announcers were doing this weird thing where they were acting all mysterious like they didn’t know who this Tom Zenk fellow was.  *1/2 

3.  Sid Vicious destroyed Ranger Ross with a powerbomb in 1:08.  1/2* 

4.  The Freebirds beat the Steiner Brothers to retain the tag titles at 10:27.  Dave says that they put this on at exactly 9pm EST to make sure they had a strong match to compete with “Roseanne”.  Apparently one of the tag team titles was stolen somewhere on the road, so the Freebirds only had one with them.  They actually tried to have two of the retired six-man title belts couriered in to replace them, but didn’t get them on time.  I personally remember being a HUGE Steiner Brothers fan at this point and thinking it was a done deal that they’d beat the Freebirds, but of course it was not to be, as Robin Green tripped up poor Scott, with the camera deliberately missing it to set up the question of whether it was Green or Missy.  Well neither one is exactly a saint.  ***1/2 

5.  Brian Pillman beat Norman “the Maniac” with the missile dropkick and a crucifix in 3:38.  I don’t know why Dave has insisted on called him the Maniac instead of the Lunatic for Norman’s entire run thus far.  They’re totally different things!  Norman was told specifically to work like it was Calgary, so he cut loose and they had a hell of a match for the time given.  Dave grudgingly gives it ***, because really it was too short for that rating but too good not to get it.

6.  Steve Williams pinned Mike Rotunda in 7:04.  I bet Mike was wishing he went to the WWF after all.  ***

7.  Lex Luger pinned Tommy Rich in one of the legendary surprise classics at 10:36, after a stungun.  Both guys worked really hard and they kept up a fast pace throughout.  **** 

8.  Ric Flair & Sting beat Dick Slater & Great Muta in 19:16 via DQ in an excellent match, but with a finish that got them into major heat at the time.  Terry Funk of course ran out and tried to smother Flair with a plastic bag, which was a bit over the line even by his standards.  ****1/4

The show also scored a high rating, even with strong competition on TV that night.  Like, you know, Rollergames.  BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

– Lots of injuries as of late.  Roddy Piper was rushed to hospital with fears of having to remote his gall bladder, but it turned out to be fractured ribs.  Either way, that sucks.  Sting is out with an ankle injury that will need surgery, and Brian Pillman was coughing up blood from one of his numerous throat surgeries and might need another one.

– The WWF runs their annual “King of the Ring” tournament on 10/14 in Providence, and the lineup kind of sucks.  Check out this field:

Red Rooster v. Haku

Jimmy Snuka v. The Barbarian

Jim Neidhart v. Hercules

Brutus Beefcake v. Akeem

Rick Martel v. Hillbilly Jim

Warlord v. Luke Williams

The Widow Maker v. Butch Miller

Holy shit that’s a terrible tournament. 

– So Paul E. Dangerously was officially fired from the NWA after the Clash, stemming from backstage issues with Ric Flair and an ongoing personality conflict with the Samoans.  Dave isn’t even sure what the whole issue was about, although the official company line is that Paul went off-script on an episode of the Danger Zone.  Paul’s stance is that no one told him what the direction was in the first place.  Again, I must heartily recommend the Paul Heyman documentary DVD (now available on the WWE Network!) where he tells his side of the story on this one and it’s hilarious.  Needless to say, they were unable to actually enforce that “firing”.

– The AWA finally announced the teams for their Team Challenge Series, to begin filming 10/1 and holy god is it pathetic.  They actually teased that possible entrants would be Ricky Steamboat, Tully Blanchard, and the Rockers.  Quite the class act.  Anyway, the actual teams are made up of the usual AWA losers, with initial teams captained by Larry Zbyszko-Gagne, Sgt. Slaughter and the Baron. 

– The Bam Bam Bigelow boxing story still keeps going for some reason, as now Tokyo newspapers have picked up on it, stating that Bigelow has signed with George Foreman’s management and will be getting a shot at Tyson after he wins six fights in a year.  Yeah, OK.

– Dave attended an NWA house show in Chicago because he was there “for no particular reason” and it was terrible.  He just happened to be in another state?

– As noted last week, Sakahuchi from New Japan went to the US to try and snag Hulk Hogan, but Vince McMahon refused to meet with him.  Apparently the fear was that Inoki would double-cross Hogan and they didn’t want to take that risk.

– The UWF is now trying an experiment where they book squash matches on two consecutive cards to see how little they can give the fanbase and still sell out.  That way they can save the “big” matches for when they know the crowds will be bigger.  What a concept.

– The Blackhearts introduced new manager Hugo Hart in Stampede, and they were supposed to be an estranged member of the Hart family and/or illegitimate sons of Stu.  So there you go, someone was just asking about that in yesterday’s post.  That was REALLY quickly dropped.  Dave finds out here that the team is Tom Nash and David Heath from Florida.

– In the USWA, The Chris Adams-Chu Hi feud continues, with the next stipulation being that a Chu-Hi win gives Tojo Yamamoto a date with Toni Adams.  A very rapey date, I’m assuming.  Also, Eric Embry won another title shot at Jerry Lawler, because of course he did, but they’re already telegraphing a Billy Travis heel turn to cost him the title. 

– The Rock N Roll Express are currently in Memphis and not doing too well there as babyfaces, since the young girls want to cheer Wildside (Chris Champion and Mark Starr), so Ricky Morton got frustrated and cut a promo during a match against them, where he accused them of being devil worshippers and said that any of the fans who cheered for them would burn in hell along with them.  I feel like Roman Reigns would benefit from that approach. 

– The WWF is short on heels, so they hired Nikolai Volkoff back and will be reforming the Bolsheviks.  Was there literally no one else left they could bring in?  Also, Al Perez will be coming in to jerk curtains at an armory near you, although he was told that in advance.

– Big John Studd did an autograph signing at a video game convention and portrayed himself as still working for the WWF.  Oddly, Studd was the original partner for Demolition at Summerslam and all the advertising in newspapers for the show listed him all the way until the PPV. 

– The WWF kicked the NWA out of the Cap Centre in Maryland, insisting on total exclusivity or else they wouldn’t come back there again.  Because, as we have learned time and time again, they’re not about hurting the other guy.

– Jim Cornette will now be managing the Dynamic Dudes, and has joined the booking committee as an assistant.  This has the boys quite annoyed, because he’s not a wrestler, you see. 

– The Samoans are back in California for the time being, but they should be returning to the NWA in mid-October with Oliver Humperdink as manager and Tama as the third member of the team.  The new finisher will be where they try to explain their family tree to their opponent and then pin them when they expire from confusion.  My joke, not Dave’s. 

– And finally, they taped an angle for NWA TV where Rick asks Robin Green to marry him and Scott gets all suspicious of her motives, then winds up getting beaten down by two guys in masks backstage.  This mysterious team was supposed to be Butch Reed and Kevin Sullivan (which makes sense given the Nancy connection) but ended up as Reed and Simmons.