Wrestling Observer Flashback–11.20.89

It’s a good week to be Akira Maeda, apparently.  To the news!

– The big story this week is that Maeda’s UWF is making a shit-load of money, selling out a Tokyo Dome show in record time and setting a record with a $3.2 million gate.  Dave notes that New Japan firing Maeda might go down in history with Babe Ruth getting traded from the Red Sox, but really the UWF ended up flaming out too fast to make that kind of insane comparison.  Meanwhile, the card is basically secondary to the importance of the show’s very existence as there’s nothing on it that’s particularly captivating.  This is interesting now because that’s exactly what’s happened to Wrestlemania. 

– Elsewhere in Japan, New Japan is trying this new high concept tournament for the first time, with round-robin brackets leading up to finals at their big show in December.  It doesn’t have a name yet but of course we know it now as the G1 Climax. 

– Also, they’re really going ahead with the insane idea of promoting a show in Moscow on New Year’s Eve, featuring Inoki, the Russians, and guys like Bam Bam Bigelow and Buzz Sawyer. 

– Back in the good ol’ USA, Tully Blanchard did something to piss off Vince but good, and got fired mere days before he was scheduled to finish up with the company and head back to the NWA.  His last match (which ended up being his last match in wrestling for many years) was a quick job to Ultimate Warrior, which ended up as a DQ because he refused to get squashed and instead Arn ran in for the finish.  There was, of course, much more on this story that came out right away.

– After months of threatening us with the spectre of a Hogan-Zeus singles match for that No Holds Barred PPV thing, Vince blinked first and changed it to a Summerslam rematch with Hogan & Beefcake v. Zeus & Savage in a cage match instead.  And it’s still going to be taped at a Superstars taping a week in advance so they can edit the shit out of it.  Also, it gave us this promo:


– After weeks of back-and-forth, Toronto has now wrapped up the bid for Wrestlemania VI and will be hosting it at the Skydome. 

– So now Jim Ross was trying to convince TBS to hire this Argentinian basketball player named Jorge Gonzales so they can market him as their own version of Andre the Giant, and apparently succeeded.  Gonzales was a draft pick of the Atlanta Hawks who didn’t get picked up because he wasn’t in great shape and wasn’t tough enough to play at that level.  Well, soon you can add wrestling to the list of stuff he was terrible at.  Dave calls him a “crap shoot” as a wrestler, which was putting it kindly.  Dave goes over a brief history of Andre here and why Andre was a star and no other giants are likely going to be.

– Down to Memphis now, where Jerry Lawler regained the USWA title from the Soultaker and then turned heel on Dutch Mantell, the first time he’s been a heel in Memphis in a LONG ass time.  Lawler was said to be extremely reluctant to try this, but desperate times and all that. 

– Speaking of desperate, New Japan has a Tokyo Dome show on Feb 10 and they want Hulk Hogan for the main event so badly that they offered Vince $200,000 for a one-night payoff to get Hulk.  So far, no dice.  With Inoki “retired” and Tatsumi Fujinami seriously injured, crowds are dropping to record lows and New Japan is hoping that the debuting Koji Kitao will draw some excitement. 

– Big Van Vader is supposedly taking the gimmick to the NWA after that Tokyo Dome show, although Dave doesn’t believe it’ll happen.

– With Eric Embry’s reign as booker over and Bill Dundee’s reign beginning, Kevin Von Erich is now back and appears motivated again.  Dave goes off on a funny rant about how Kevin used to disappear for weeks at a time and they’d go on TV and say he was touring foreign countries giving speeches for Christianity, when in reality he was just sleeping on his couch the whole time.  Well, this time was different, as Kevin went on TV and said that he had pretty much been doing nothing for the weeks that he was gone from USWA and now he’s back and ready to fight anyone for titles or whatever. 

– Although the Toni Adams spanking angle drew lots of heat from local media, it didn’t sell shit for tickets.

– Crowds for Stampede have picked up sizably with the return of Owen Hart as a full time attraction.  I’d say things are going to be just fine for them!

– Crowds for WWF shows are down as of late, because Hogan v. Savage is out of juice and Savage/Duggan and Warrior/Bravo aren’t exactly ticket-selling feuds.  Dave thinks that Hogan/Perfect will do business, but it didn’t.

– John Tenta is now Canadian Earthquake after his TV debut.  Which is silly, we don’t have earthquakes up here very often.  If he was like, Canadian Blizzard In Late April or  something like that, it’d make more sense. 

– Haku has been subbing for Tully since the firing.

– And finally, cable companies got a large volume of calls from wrestling fans on Halloween night wondering how to order Halloween Havoc, so apparently the NWA missed a pretty lucrative market in not having it on the same night as the holiday.  Or maybe those fans are just idiots.  Either way.