Wrestling Observer Flashback–10.02.89

Wait a minute, the NWA actually raids talent from the WWF?!?

– The top story of the week is Tully & Arn giving notice to the WWF after the TV tapings, as they intend to return to the NWA after the Survivor Series.  It’s expected that the Busters will drop the titles at the next available TV tapings (even as a kid I thought that was a strangely abrupt title change!) and now the WWF is getting pretty thin on heel teams.  Although Vince signed them to a contract when they came in, Blanchard believes that since the contract doesn’t actually guarantee them any money, it’s not binding.

– In the NWA, plans are already underway to reunite the Four Horsemen with the new version being Lex Luger, Tully Blanchard, Arn and Ole Anderson.  Ole replaced Eddie Gilbert on the booking team and is gaining power, and the new Horsemen would oppose babyface Ric Flair leading into Starrcade.  That would have been AWESOME.

– Dave runs down the complete card for Halloween Havoc on 10/28, including the Steiner Brothers v. “The Team of Doom”, which is now masked Butch Reed and Ron Simmons managed by Kevin Sullivan and Robin Green.

– Dusty Rhodes had to take a leave of absence from the WWF and return to Florida for a ridiculous trial stemming from an incident in 1983.  A wrestler named Steve DiBlasio, who wrestled as Big Daddy for Rhodes in Florida, sued for a match where Rhodes apparently forced him to take a bump to the floor over the top rope.  DiBlasio claims that it was his first match and no one had taught him to take a bump before, and furthermore since he was 450 pounds he grabbed the top rope on the way down and BROKE THE RING.  That sounds like a punchline in a game of “Yo Mama” or something.  Anyway, he crushed his ankle and he’s claiming that Rhodes ruined his life by threatening to blackball him from the business unless he took the bump.  Sounds like he didn’t have much of a future in the business anyway.  The trial was notable because Dusty was forced to testify under oath that wrestling was 100% fixed and the scars on his forehead were from blading.

– The WWF’s newly enlightened policy on advertising no-shows in advance lasted about a week, as Dusty’s trip to Florida resulted in a main event being changed to Big Bossman v. Hercules without even telling the fans in attendance that Dusty wasn’t going to be there.  The NWA was a bit better when their entire crew got stranded as a result of Hurricane Hugo, offering refunds to the crowd once the show started, but they didn’t announce anything in advance either.

– In PNW, Art Barr did an injury angle with Brian Adams where he had his neck broken from a full nelson to explain his sudden departure after the rape arraignment.  However, he suddenly returned with no explanation or mention of the injury and it’s business as usual.

– Scott Norton abruptly quit the AWA and is apparently done with pro wrestling, as he went back to his construction job without giving proper notice.  He had been doing a gimmick where he issues an open arm wrestling challenge to all the champions in wrestling (like Flair, Hogan, etc.) that obviously no one would actually answer.  So to really make him look stupid after the fact, Verne taped a segment for AWA TV where Larry Zbyszko actually does answer his challenge, but of course Norton is gone and no-shows, making him look like a coward.

– The AWA will also be holding a one-night tournament for the tag titles on 10/1, the same night they start the Team Challenge Series, and there’s only six teams so who knows how that’ll work:  The Destruction Crew, the Tokyo Bullets, Greg Gagne & Paul Diamond, Sgt. Slaughter & The Baron, Johnny Stewart & Akio Sato and The Texas Hangmen.

– The TV angle where Scott Steiner got beat up by three masked thugs was so terrible that Dave TURNED OFF THE SHOW IN DISGUST.  And he never does that!  He didn’t even think that the plastic bag angle was so bad, but how are fans supposed to buy that three guys could just commit a criminal act on national TV while cameramen are standing there filming it all?  Man, Vince Russo’s whole career was predicated on exactly that.  He called the whole thing a “piece of garbage” and raged that this kind of crap never sells tickets or draws money.  Another unintentional funny line sees him talking about how obvious it was which one was Kevin Sullivan under a mask, because of his “tree trunk thighs”.  You mean there’s nothing ELSE more obvious to distinguish him from Reed and Simmons?

– With Tommy Rogers wanting out of the spotlight, Bobby Fulton brought in his cousin Jackie Fulton to form the New Fantastics, who immediately did a TV job to the Freebirds and made Dave realize what a great worker that Rogers really is.

– The NWA is trying to get Bruno Sammartino to referee the main event of Halloween Havoc, and is dangling the carrot of hiring David to get him to come in.

– Eddie Gilbert & Missy Hyatt have officially worn out their welcome and will be phased out immediately.

– Back in the WWF, the Rougeaus have also given official notice, and others are contemplating it.

– Not much out of the TV tapings, aside from a newcomer named Earthquake Evans who was a big guy managed by Slick, but didn’t look good.  Was that Tenta?

– Tugboat Tyler is now Tugboat Thomas for reasons that elude Dave.

– Newly heel Lanny Poffo will be following Curt Hennig around on TV and proclaiming how Perfect that he is.

– And finally, Randy Savage did a commentary gig with the Reds while the WWF was in town for a TV taping, and Marge Schott freaked out about the evil Macho King being in the booth and demanded that he be kicked out immediately.  She took a ribbing over that one.