Wrestling Observer Flashback–11.06.89

Time for HALLOWEEN HAVOC ‘89!

…AND DAVE DIDN’T LIKE IT.

– Dave felt that this show ended the string of excellent NWA PPVs for the year, saying it was far from the worst but came off as just another night of wrestling.  Ouch.  To the review!

1. Tom Zenk pinned Mike Rotunda in 13:23 by reversing a crossbody.  Philly fans turned on Zenk quickly and booed him, and the match was pretty boring.  3/4*

2.  The Samoans beat The Midnight Express & Dr. Death in 18:16 when Cornette accidentally bumped Lane, causing him to be pinned by Samoan Savage (Tama).  This was the debut of Oliver Humperdink as “The Big Kahuna”, managing the Samoans and trying to be Lou Albano.  Very good overall in spots, but disjointed in others.  **3/4

3.  Tommy Rich pinned the Cuban Assassin with the Thesz Press in 8:26.  Philly turned on Tommy Rich as well.  DUD

4.  The Freebirds retained the tag titles over the Dudes in 11:28 when Garvin reversed the backdrop suplex finish and pinned Douglas.  Philly was BIZARROWORLD for this one, of course, booing everything the Dudes did until you’d think they were Roman Reigns or something, giving them no chance to get over.  **1/2  I really think, in retrospect, the Dudes-Midnights match and angle should have happened here, because it would have glorious.

5.  Doom beat the Steiner Brothers in 15:26 with the old loaded mask gimmick.  Match went too long and had too many restholds for something that was supposed to be a heated grudge match.  **1/4

6.  Lex Luger beat Brian Pillman with a stungun to retain the US title in 16:48.  The crowd loved both guys, although it was weird because they piped in a taped “Luger, Luger” chant at his entrance and put up a big flashing sign behind the camera prompting the crowd to cheer for him, but he’s supposed to be a heel!  Anyway, Dave says this was set up to be a four star match, but didn’t quite get there.  ***1/4  You shut your whore mouth, Dave Meltzer!  No wonder he didn’t like the show if he couldn’t appreciate the awesomeness of this one.

7.  Road Warriors beat the Skyscrapers by DQ in 11:39 when Dan Spivey used the big gold key.  Crowd was really into this and it was better than it sounds on paper.  **1/2

8.  Ric Flair & Sting beat Great Muta & Terry Funk in the Thundercage finale. A crazy match, with Funk stealing the show with his antics despite a bad knee.  Also, the cage was a really impressive visual, although Dave has heard that overall the match didn’t come across as impressively on PPV as it did live.  ****

– Next up is Clash IX with Flair v. Funk in the I Quit match, which will likely be Funk’s retirement match.  Look at him, he’s 45 years old and physically broken down!  Dave doesn’t discount the possibility that he might come out of retirement again someday.

– The NWA also announced their round-robin tournament format for Starrcade, and Dave thinks it’s a great idea…for a free TV show.  For the biggest show of the year, you actually need a main event and storyline for fans to focus on, and this is not that.  Plus they’ll have Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson by then and they won’t even be on the show!  Can you imagine if they had subbed in Tully & Arn for the Samoans?  Why doesn’t someone rebook Starrcade 89?

– More on the trial of Lia Maivia in Hawaii.  The promoter who is claiming extortion, John Wakayama, as noted received a phone call from an employee of Maivia telling him to pay $5000 or face the consequences.  So Wakayama went to the FBI and they wired him for the meeting with Maivia, where he paid her $1800 and promised to pay the other $3200 at a later date.  And then the FBI arrested Maivia and Lars Anderson immediately after the meeting.

– There’s a promising new rookie in All Japan right now named Ken Shamrock, who can even do a moonsault!

– Furnas & Lafon did what was said to be a ****3/4 match against Joe Malenko and Kenta Kobashi, which is really impressive because this Kobashi kid is so green.  Dave feels like he’ll be a superstar in a few years, but isn’t quite there yet.  Bold prediction, Dave.

– Owen Hart, Johnny Smith and Chris Benoit all returned to Stampede after tours of Japan this week, which should help a lot because the promotion is falling apart rapidly.  Both Smith and Benoit are being offered a lot more money to go work Puerto Rico, however.

– The Blackhearts are just done now, although they’re exploring other options for people to wear the masks.  Still the tag team champions, mind you.  There’s also a goofy comedy team named Matt & Brett Derringer who do a “fake cowboy” gimmick and I can’t find ANYTHING on them.  They don’t even have links on Cagematch.net so they must not have been much.

– Jerry Lawler was fired as booker of Memphis and replaced with Dutch Mantell & Ricky Morton, but Lawler keeps control of his own stuff so he’s still happy.

– Speaking of which, Lawler unsurprisingly dropped the USWA title to Soultaker to complete phase one of that storyline, although in Texas they’re not recognizing that title change because the whole endeavor is already a huge mess.

– Punisher update:  Kerry Von Erich beat him to win the Texas title.  On the next show, Punisher is facing that rookie Steve Williams, who Dave would like to once again remind us is NOT Dr. Death.  Man, they should just change his name or something.

– Jonathan Holliday has wisely decided to get the hell out of Canada completely and will be working for PNW and feuding with Steve Doll.

– Buzz Sawyer is coming into the NWA to replace Terry Funk in the J-Tex deal, although Dave notes how risky it is to be using him in a major promotion.  No kidding.  Also, look for a Freebirds v. Steiners title change to be taped for sweeps very soon.

– Barry Windham apparently had a benign tumor removed two weeks ago, which is why he mysteriously missed shows for the WWF, although everyone involved denies anything.

– Koko B. Ware will be brought back early in 1990 after his firing in Europe due to the sensitive (ie, racial) nature of his fight with executive Jim Troy. Troy, who Dave describes as “Titan VP in charge of international affairs and lying about PPV buyrates” resigned from his position immediately after the fight and will be working more in boxing.  I dunno, there’s lots of black guys in that sport, too.

– Hogan v. Zeus is apparently going to be happening and taped on 12/11 for the 12/27 PPV show.

– Still no actual people quitting the WWF despite all the big talk.  Bret Hart is the only one with any interest from the NWA, but really where would anyone else go?

– And finally, Dave off-handedly notes in the letter section that the main event for Wrestlemania will be Hulk Hogan v. Ultimate Warrior.