Wrestling Observer Flashback–09.30.91

Previously on the Flashback… http://blogofdoom.com/index.php/2017/01/11/wrestling-observer-flashback-09-23-91/

Uh oh, it’s a strike in Mexico.  No one tell Donald Trump.

– Mexico’s wrestling companies are gearing up for a full-scale strike of wrestlers and referees, with syndicate head Manny Guzman calling for job action over EMLL’s network TV deal.  The feeling is that running a show in the traditional Sunday timeslot where live shows draw will kill off the house shows.  Guzman’s example is the US wrestling scene, where so much televised wrestling exists, and apparently less wrestlers than ever before have full-time positions.  Dave points out that this may be somewhat true, but those who ARE working full-time are making crazy stupid big money compared to the way it was before there was all that wrestling on TV.  (Can you even imagine someone inside the wrestling business in 1991 arguing that a network TV deal for wrestling is a BAD thing for the wrestlers? How willfully stupid or stubborn like Verne Gagne would you have to be in order to come to that conclusion?)  Guzman allowed the wrestlers and refs to appear to the big EMLL anniversary show at Arena Mexico on 9/6, but declared that anyone who showed up for the NEXT week’s taping would be in trouble.  So more than 70s shows around Mexico on the weekend of 9/13 had to be cancelled, causing hundreds of thousands in losses.

– Guzman is stressing that promoters aren’t the enemy, but Televisa (and Galavision in the US) are the enemy.  Guzman further said that if an agreement wasn’t in place to stop showing the weekly show by 9/27, then he would order a total work stoppage for all wrestling promotions in the country.  The strike made front page headlines of the major newspapers in Mexico, as everything is pretty much shut down at the moment.

– Dave has the full lineup for Survivor Series, and he has heard that “something very big is going to happen in the Hogan v. Undertaker match” but he doesn’t really have any idea what that might be.  (I’d say that’s a fair assessment.) 

– The WWF is doing a week-long tour of Europe, built around Roddy Piper and British Bulldog for obvious reasons.  They’re even taping a show at the Royal Albert Hall for airing on British TV and it’s already a tremendous success from a ticket sales standpoint.

– FMW drew 33,000 people to the Kawasaki baseball stadium, which is the biggest gate in history for an organization their size. The main event saw Onita beating Tarzan Goto in a no ropes electrical barbed-wire-wrapped-in-explosives match via knockout at 16:01.  (Fucking PG era bullshit.  Back in the day you’d have to win by BEHEADING your opponent with a samurai sword, too!) 

– Joel Goodhart drew 1500 people (or approximately triple what WCW drew in the same city two weeks ago) for a bloodfest on 9/21.  Main event was the Sheik v. Abdullah the Butcher in a cage match, with Owen Hart v. Takayuki Iizuka in a 21:00 match underneath.  Everyone but Owen bled on the show.

– It’s the one year anniversary of the WBF, and at this point it’s still a whole lot of nothing.  They’re almost never mentioned on TV anymore and the promotion is the joke of the bodybuilding world because of accusations that Vince predetermined the outcome of their first show.  The Weider-sponsored magazines have taken to calling them “We Bore Fans”, whereas the WBF magazine itself operates under the assumption that there’s only 14 bodybuilders in the entire world and they work for the WBF. Lou Ferrigno came out of retirement to sign with the WBF, and the “legit” bodybuilding mags are all over him for that, since he declared that he un-retired so he could “compete with the best” and then went to the WBF.

– One thing that they’re trying in order to combat the Weiders is the hiring of Dr. Fred Hatfield (who once wrote a book in 1982 called “Anabolic Steroids: How Much and How Often”, which is sadly unavailable on Amazon as of this writing) to develop some sort of food supplement line that they can merchandise.

– Although the WBF wasn’t a success by any measure, you can’t yet write off Vince McMahon’s endeavor.  There’s still no mainstream appeal, but the Ferrigno deal might help gain more publicity (Nope, the deal fell apart and Lou never appeared for them).

– Expect more steroid stories to break very soon!  Jane Pauley interviewed the mother of Ed “The Bull” Gantner for the show “Real Life”, and she is blaming her son’s kidney failure and suicide on steroids.

– For those trying to keep track of the Mexican promotions, at this point Steve Sims starts reporting on EMLL guys defending CMLL titles, but there’s never been any formal report here about the promotion changing names.  So I’m confused.

– Tenryu and Choshu were spotted together at some sort of meeting, so the magazines are going crazy reporting that Tenryu will wrestle on the January Egg Dome show with New Japan.  Dave thinks this logic is highly dubious.

– In an exceedingly minor Observer debut, one of the guys working FMW is Canadian import Big Titan, who would go on to the dubious distinction of being Fake Razor Ramon.

– Joe Pedicino is still negotiating with ESPN, trying to get out of the 46 show commitment that they want.  One funny line on the ESPN came from Scott Anthony (Raven), who was talking about how the Renegade Warriors’ outfits clashed, and “There’s nothing worse than a clash”.

– Dutch Mantell is still looking for Stan Hansen in Memphis, and now he needs the help of all his little Dutchamaniacs to find him.

– Back to the Joel Goodhart show, where Eddie Gilbert told Cactus Jack that “he sold out” by going back to WCW, and that Jack should pass on a message to Jim Herd to kiss Eddie’s ass.  Dave notes that Eddie doesn’t just burn a bridge, he torches the city.

– To the WWF, where latest word is that they’ll be asking Warrior to come back.

– Over to Randy Savage, who still hasn’t agreed to come back full-time yet.  They’re running matches on the road with Sid v. Jake Roberts for the moment, but advances are weak because that’s not the match people want.  They’re doing a storyline explanation of Savage trashing Jack Tunney’s office to explain why it’s taking so long.  Savage was talking with WCW, but it wasn’t particularly serious and the WWF considers WCW such a joke at this point that they’re not even paying attention, even though Savage gave notice and could actually sign with WCW.  (Wow, SUCKS to be WCW in 1991!)  The Rockers also gave notice and are talking with WCW, but Dave says it falls into the same category.  (OK, Shawn has since gone into WAY more detail on that situation, and basically the Rockers were pissed at each other and wanted to split, so they gave notice and talked with WCW to see if they could get a big offer to entice them to go.  Jim Herd offered $75,000 a year…for both of them.  So Shawn called up Vince and threw Marty under the bus, saying that it was Marty who had given notice and Shawn wanted to stay, and they quickly re-signed with the WWF, with Shawn suddenly in line for a big singles push and Marty out in the cold.) 

– Hulk Hogan returns to Arsenio Hall to promote Suburban Commando this week, and you can expect that neither guy will bring up the previous appearance.

– Greg Gagne tried out for a TV announcer position, and failed.  Dave thinks they should have stuck him in a tag team with Steve Keirn as Skinner and Skinnier.

– Ultimate Warrior’s name was brought up in a Toys R Us promo segment on the TV shows, which Dave interprets as they’re either bringing Warrior back, or Toys R Us has enough clout to demand they continue promoting him until they sell through their Warrior toys.  (It was the second one.) 

– The WCW show was supposed to change from WPIX in New York to rival station WCBS, and lo and behold on Saturday morning it was still airing on WPIX and not on WCBS and so the show did record low viewership because the company had spent the last week telling people it was changing stations.  Because WCW.  Dave is pretty sure they just got the date wrong and it’s changing stations NEXT week.

– Tom Zenk got arrested for steroid possession and misdemeanor battery, and spent a night in prison.  He was released on $36,000 bail, and the company was said to have been very supportive of him.  (Well until Halloween Havoc.  Also, what the fuck ever happened to Tom Zenk?  We STILL don’t know!) 

– Scott Steiner will return for the Chamber of Horrors match if he can get medical clearance to do so, which is far from a sure thing.

– One Man Gang is in fact fired for refusing to job to PN News last week.

– Speaking of Zenk, he’ll be working Halloween Havoc against some sort of “Halloween Phantom”.

– No decision has been made about the future of the Clash specials, but with the last one being the lowest rated in history there’s definitely concern within TBS about the return on investment of these things.  Perhaps they’ll cut down the number per year moving forward to try to salvage things.

– Apparently the ridiculous teams for the Chamber match and mysterious nature of the match itself is not a bug, it’s a feature.  See, that one Clash with Sting v. Black Scorpion did a big rating based on mystery, so they’re making this show MYSTERIOUS to build intrigue.  That’s also why they’re advertising a “WCW Halloween Phantom” for the Zenk match.  (Yeah, I bet that’ll be LAME!) 

– And finally, Rob Zakowski of Battle Creek, MI, is looking for tapes of his USWA matches, in case anyone has any.  (Seems unlikely.)