Wrestling Observer Flashback–10.07.91

Anaheim, CA phone repair


Previously on the Flashback…http://blogofdoom.com/index.php/2017/01/12/wrestling-observer-flashback-09-30-91/

It’s Friday the 13th, and more bad luck for the WWF!

– It seems that for unknown reasons, Vince McMahon is suddenly having cash flow problems, so a bunch of stuff is immediately happening.  First up, they’re adding another PPV on a Tuesday, 12/6, which is just six days after Survivor Series.  Next, 10% of the front office staff got the ax, but no one that would be recognizable.  Thirdly, tickets are being raised by $1 in most venues.  Fourthly, the travel schedule is being completely redone to cut back on air travel expenses, which are “completely out of control” and part of the reason cash is so tight.  (What, they didn’t just buy a private jet and fly everyone around the country like Crockett did?)  So now they’re going to book cities where they can fly into an airport, have the guys go by car to 10 shows or so, and then fly out from there again after the loop is done.  (What a wacky concept.) 

– Basically the company has been operating in the red for a while now, so they’re doing this stuff now to get back into the black again before it get much worse.  (Or, alternatively, they could spend $250,000 on a Wizard of Oz gimmick for Kevin Nash and then keep pushing it even after it bombs and wonder why the company is losing so much money.)  The blame internally seems to be pointed at the WBF, which had huge startup costs and big money contracts for 14 guys who don’t add anything back to the bottom line.  Other people are more realistically blaming the flop that was Wrestlemania VII and weak Hogan-Slaughter program over the summer.  One thing is for certain:  This too shall pass.  (I mean, it’s not like the entire business is about to fall into a downward spiral that will last for the next four years!) 

– Much like WCW and their mystery-laden shows, the new PPV will be kept DOUBLE SECRET from WWF fans, so as not to disrupt the buyrate for Survivor Series.  Right now it’s just listed as a generic “special event” with a $12.95 price, with no details given to cable companies.  The idea is that no card will announced until after the Survivor Series, when something so shocking and heinous will occur that an immediate rematch will be necessary, forcing everyone watching the show to order another show a week later.  Dave thinks it’s a gamble, to say the least.

– Wrestlemania VIII, which Dave is still counting on being headlined by Hogan v. Flair, sold 5500 tickets on opening day, which is a monster number to begin.  (Unfortunately it never really achieved the numbers it looked like it was going to.) 

– Hey, let’s get back to the exciting union talk with a brand new feature that I’d like to call…

– The full strike threatened by the union didn’t materialize after all, although there’s still some limited strikes happening at house shows where TV cameras are present.  The wrestlers all went to EMLL president Francisco Alonso and let him know that they’re UNIFIED in wanting the TV show taken off Televisa.  Or else.  Wrestling on weekly network TV just isn’t in the best interest of the wrestlers!  However, and this is going to come as a huge shock so I hope you’re sitting down on something comfortable, apparently some reporters dug into the story and it turns out…

…remember, I warned you here…

…the wrestlers are actually not unified at all.

– Yes, it’s hard to believe that a group of wrestlers could immediately backstab each other, I know, but it turns out that the wrestlers who work for EMLL and the wrestlers who work for the UWA are in it for entirely different purposes. The union is in fact split down those lines, and UWA faction (who are mostly older and more politically connected) are in fact fighting to keep EMLL off TV because they don’t want EMLL on TV, ya know?  The EMLL guys seem to think they’re righteous social justice warriors or some shit like that, whereas the UWA guys are just dicks.  And in fact the UWA has negotiated another deal with another network to air their show, ironically while this strike is going on.  The union is hoping that the Mexican president will step in and mediate the proceedings, but first they have to go through a billion miles of red tape and other assorted stages, so that doesn’t seem likely.  In fact, they’re having trouble even finding a branch of the judicial system that is willing to declare that they have jurisdiction to make a ruling in the first place.

– Variety (the only media outlet more up its own ass than WWE) actually produced a story on Warrior’s departure called “Ultimate Exit”.  The piece claims that Warrior was to be paid $50,000 for Summerslam but then discovered Hogan was getting $150,000, and so held up Vince for the extra $100,000 before he’d show for the PPV.  Vince paid him the money and then fired him immediately afterwards.  Dave can’t vouch for the accuracy of the numbers at this point.  (Of course, we later discovered that this was in fact EXACTLY the real story behind the firing!) 

– Hulk Hogan decided to open his mouth on the subject of George Zahorian yet again, and here was his latest life story:  He only knew Zahorian in 1983, when George prescribed him a MILD steroid, ONCE, to heal an injury, but then all of a sudden the doctor gets busted and here’s this picture of Hogan and him like they’re best friends.

– Hogan was interviewed again by Entertainment Tonight on the subject while doing PR for Suburban Commando, and just a few days later his story has now changed to the steroids being given to him in 1984. Still legal, still mild, still just three times.  Did he say three times?  He meant once.

– OK, time for Dave to debunk this nonsense once and for all.  Zahorian testified at the trial that he met Hogan in 1984, at which point Hulk already had a serious abuse problem.  However, it’s hard for anyone to reasonably believe that the two men never met in 1980 when Hogan was doing the Allentown tapings every week as a regular and Zahorian was the ringside doctor.  It’s also strange that Hogan would have suffered an injury in 1983 as champion, when we won the title in 1984.  It’s also strange that Hogan would seek the medical advice of WWF doctor Zahorian in 1983, when he was wrestling as the top star for the AWA, thousands of miles away.  Unless Zahorian was his personal physician.  Which Hogan says he wasn’t.  Because they never met until 1984, or so Hogan claims.

– Also, Hulk is getting his medicine confused in the midst of his ever-changing stories, admitting to using what is essentially the cortisone version of steroids (like the anti-inflammatory type that are in inhalers and such) while pretending not to know anything about the muscle-building version of steroids.  In fact, the anabolic steroids used by wrestlers have never been used by legitimate medical doctors to treat legitimate injuries.  EVER.  They are for a specific purpose, which is building muscle, and any medical purpose would be for treating forms of breast cancer or kidney disease.

– Speaking of kidney disease, Ed Gantner’s mother continues to make the news, as she told the press that her son continued using steroids even after his first kidney failed because “I may die, but I’ll be so big they’ll have to bury me in a piano crate”.  She plans to testify at the hearings in Florida to determine whether drug testing should be regulated by the government there.  (Oh man, you can just FEEL the bad mojo building and building towards something big here.) 

– Anyway, back to Zahorian, as Hogan’s story is now that his name only came up in the trial because they found a photo of him and the good doctor from 1983 (or was it 1984, Hulk?) in his office when they did the bust.  In fact, they found Hogan’s name because federal investigators caught him shredding Fed-Ex receipts for drugs shipped to 43 different WWF employees, of which Hogan was one.  In fact, there was another 15 shipments sent directly to the offices at Titan Towers, totaling more than 36 pounds of drugs, ordered by Vince himself.  The WWF had no comment on that one.  And the raid only covered people that Zahorian was supplying by Fed-Ex, because there was another large group (including admitted client Billy Graham) who bought from him via other methods.

– So yeah, Hogan actually received five packages from Zahorian in 1988, sent to his homes and signed for by either himself or his wife, using either real or worked names.  Now, there’s no proof that a three pound package sent via Fed-Ex to an alias like “Tiny Bolen” was actually drugs of any kind, but THAT is why his name was associated with Zahorian at the trial, not because of a stupid photo.

– Hogan talked to the local paper in St. Petersberg, claiming that he’ll never wrestle a full-time schedule again (unless WCW drove a dump truck full of money up to his door) and he’s currently grooming his replacement.  Dave hopes that this time they’re at least smart enough to use a transitional guy to put the title on Sid instead of wrecking Warrior by splitting crowd response.

– OK, enough about steroids.  Over to Japan, where the UWFI sold out in Sapporo but nearly had a riot because Takada knocked out Bob Backlund in the main event in only 1:15 and people were PISSED at the short match. (They must have really hated that CM Punk fight, then.)  Bob immediately apologized to the crowd for the poor showing and promised to train better kick blocking next time.  Dave clarifies that “better” would be “not blocking kicks by using your face” like he did this time.

– After their epic brawl that sold 33000 tickets, Onita and Tarzan Goto have apparently mended fences and will resume their partnership as a team again, built on mutual respect or whatever.  (I can’t see any way this could possibly backfire on them.) 

– The GWF will be holding yet another tournament, this one for the TV title vacated by the Patriot.  (Apparently Joe Pedicino subscribes to my philosophy about tournaments being awesome.  However, I’m not down with his views on taking money from Nigerian scammers.) 

– Jerry Lawler did a promo in Memphis talking about how he was faithful to the USWA even though he could go anywhere he wanted, and he wanted to prove himself against a WWF wrestler, so it’s building to a match against Koko B. Ware at the end of the month.  (This would actually lead to a pretty steady stream of WWF crossover for the next couple of years, culminating in Lawler leaving for the WWF and the amazing evil Vince interviews.) 

-Apparently Joel Goodhart’s Philly promotion is gaining a cult following, and he’s got dates tentatively booked for much of 1992 at the bingo hall he runs out of as a result.

– To WCW, where the Sting v. Cactus Jack & Abdullah program is actually starting to liven up the TV shows a bit.

– There’s also talk about bringing in Rick Rude and giving him a big push.

– So here was the original planned finish for the Chamber of Horrors match, in case you’re looking for a good party story to impress a girl with:  One Man Gang would do the job by getting “electrocuted” in one of the gimmick chairs, but instead of dying he would simply get amnesia and return as the Reverend Billy Bright as a babyface.  THIS WAS A REAL THING THEY WANTED TO DO.

– To the WWF, where the tag team known as the Undertakers on the indy scene got a tryout because of a lawsuit settlement over the name.  They were called Double Trouble and it went about as well as you’d expect given none of us have ever heard of them again.

– Tito Santana debuted as El Matador and everyone was just confused rather than reacting in any specific way.  He does the gimmick of dodging the jobber and yelling “Ole” and Dave is worried that fans will think he’s talking about the former WCW booker.

– And finally, the poor Beverly Brothers are the only team who continues to shrink in size since the drug program was instituted.  (Hopefully they’re making a killing selling their clean piss to everyone else, at least.)