Wrestling Observer Flashback–05.24.93

We’re on the eve of Slamboree, and things aren’t looking so hot for WCW…

– In a valuable lesson for all you kids out there, it turns out that building a show around retired old-timers isn’t a great way to sell tickets.  Go figure.  With less than a week to go before Slamboree, the Omni is sitting at less than 1000 tickets sold, and WCW is desperately running around Atlanta and trying to paper the building to a modicum of respectability before the show. 

– Dave is kind of mystified himself, as normally legends are a dependable way to sell wrestling shows and they’ve been doing a great job of building them up and explaining the history.  And aside from a couple of very questionable choices for “legends”, like Barry Owens, it’s actually a very solid group of people chosen.  (Oh, I know!  They could stick them all in a house together and do a reality TV show!) 

– Dave’s theory:  To the people who actually care about history, like the fine readers of his publication, the show is a big deal.  To the average WCW fan, it’s not, because they never talk about the legends of the past and when they do, it’s mostly about regional guys who don’t appeal to the broader audience outside of Georgia. 

– Also, due to the turnover of wrestling fans in the Rock n Wrestling era, the “good old days” aren’t the Briscos and Funks to this generation of fans, it’s Roddy Piper and Mr. T and all those guys.  (And now today, the “good old days” has become the Attitude Era.) 

– Also also, all the emphasis on the “legends” has taken away focus on the guys who are supposedly drawing the money today.  Not to mention the s--- job that they’ve done actually promoting the matches on the show.  Case in point, the main event is Vader v. Bulldog, but the feud with all the momentum is Vader v. Cactus Jack.  Barry Windham is defending the NWA title against Arn Anderson, but the match people want to see is Hollywood Blondes v. Flair & Anderson.  And Blondes defend against Dos Hombres in a cage, but why? 

– Also also also, the Tully Blanchard deal is DEAD, because they couldn’t come to a money arrangement.  They’ll still introduce a fourth Horsemen, “believed to be an ex-WWF mid-card performer who has never gotten a major push before, but has talent.”  (And then you watched the show and you’re like…

– WCW will air the next Clash of Champions on 6/17, four days after King of the Ring, but that likely will have a “negligible effect on the ratings”. 

– Hey, Marty Jannetty won the Intercontinental title from Shawn Michaels on the 5/17 RAW, his first match back after getting fired in January.  Marty only had a little ring rust and won the match in 10:58 of a **** match.  The impromptu feel of the match gave the show a “Memphis feel” that is one of the reasons for the success it’s having in the ratings.  Also, “The Kid” scored the first jobber upset win in WWF history, beating Razor Ramon with a moonsault in an angle that Dave has been waiting seven years to see. 

– Back to Marty, who is on his fourth chance after three previous firings, most recently for being passed out in the locker room at Royal Rumble.  Marty had been negotiating with WCW, Japan and whatever promotion that Paul E. is starting up, so apparently Vince felt like he had to get Marty wrapped up while he could. 

– Stan Lane lost a loser-leaves-town match to the Rock N Roll Express on 5/15 in SMW, with 1100 paying in Johnson City, TN.  At the next TV, Cornette introduced Jim Backlund as “Jimmy Del Ray”, replacing Lane in the team as Tom Prichard’s “gigolo cousin”.  Lane apparently wanted more money and more days off, and he was burned out by the travel and actually had wanted out at the same time Bobby Eaton left but Cornette talked him into staying for a while longer.  Also, he didn’t want to bleed, and that meant he was in the WRONG territory.

– Buzz is building for this new ECW promotion in Philly and their TV tapings on 5/15, with some big names working the show like Hawk and Terry Funk, and the big spot of night where JT Smith took a fall from the balcony down to the floor 18 feet below.  The original plan was for Smith to be hanging from the balcony by his hands and then fall from there, which would remove seven feet from the bump, but he screwed up.  (The future hallmark of JT Smith!)  The show featured wild Memphis brawls all over the building, including a giant brawl with the entire roster that ended the Funk v. Snuka main event.

– Terry Szopinski, aka the Warlord, had a court appearance for a steroids charge on 5/10.  Turns out he was arrested in November and no one bothered to report on it.  (Ouch.)  He had ordered steroids from England, but postal authorities intercepted it and then went to his home to arrest him.  (I’ve seen literally every episode of “Border Security”, both the US and Canadian versions, and they are AWESOME at catching guys who try s--- like that.  I’m not the least bit surprised he got dinged.)  He’s facing a maximum one year in prison, and went on a radio show and claimed that he needed steroids to maintain his physique, which led to the dissolution of his relationship with the WWF once they started testing.  (If he was found guilty, I can’t find anything about it, so he must have got off.) 

– There was another story about the Von Erichs, this time on “A Current Affair”, which basically spent all the runtime talking to Kevin and left unanswered all the questions that a viewer might have asked during the show. And the producers made sure to note that Kevin was “an international superstar who only works in this country on charity shows.”  (And then holds them up for $1000 before he’ll work.)  Dave’s feeling on the show?

– In EMLL, this kid Corazon de Leon (Chris Jericho from Calgary) is now said to be the most popular wrestler in the promotion.  (Fame is fleeting there.  Just ask Vampiro.  I bet this Jericho has ZERO staying power.) 

– Dave is still not sure about the spelling of Tamon Honda’s name, but he’s getting closer with “Tabun Honda”. 

– New Japan is REALLY pissed about the Vader situation, and now they’ve expanded their lawsuit against UWFI,  to include Vader personally for breaking his contract with them.  Vader’s defense being that they hadn’t paid for the operation that he needed to fix an injury suffered while working for them. 

– The upcoming Top of the Super Junior Tournament will feature young boy Shinjiro Otani as the “designated jobber”, giving him his first shot at something.  (Yeah, he developed pretty damn fast.) 

– Your bizarre Japanese gaijin tag team of the week:  Bobby Eaton & Tony Halme will be regulars as a team on the next tour.  (I know Eaton is a tag team miracle worker, but EVERYONE has limits.  It was probably still better than Bad Attitude with Steve Keirn.) 

– Back to Vader, as the announcement of the first Takada v. Vader match is coming soon, with the scheduled date as 8/13 at Budokan and pretty much a guaranteed sellout to result.

– Masakatsu Funaki officially announced the formation of his new promotion, to be called “World Pan Class Creation”.  (Holy cow did Dave or whoever was reporting it mangle THAT one but good!)  Apparently the “Pan” is short for “Pantheon”, an event in the ancient Olympics.  (Or, how about, Pankration, the real answer.  But 1993 Dave didn’t have Google or Wikipedia.) 

– To Memphis, where using all the WWF talent has pretty much decimated attendance for the “normal” shows without all the big stars.  Papa Shango doesn’t count as a big star, by the way.

– To SMW, where Tony Atlas was supposed to be the payoff for the Tammy Fytch angle, but he backed out of the deal and she’ll have to manage someone else now.  In completely unrelated news, Chris Candido is now defending his “WWA World title” in the midcard, but Bob Armstrong refuses to recognize it.

– And now the story I’ve been waiting WEEKS for us to get to!  Down in Texas, Chris Adams and Rod Price were continuing their feud in a “judo jacket” match, during which Chris Adams “accidentally” ripped out Price’s hair weave, taking gobs of flesh with it and leaving blood all over the ring.  Adams contends that it was entirely accidental.  (Come on, if you can’t trust Chris Adams…)  To their credit, the promotion is at least smart enough to make the thing into an angle.  (If it was WCW, they’d have Price disappear for 4 months and then return with amnesia.) 

– Ultimate Warrior continues to make friends, as the successful tour of Europe for promoter Bob Ury is looking less successful now.  Ury is pursuing charges against several wrestlers on the tour (not Warrior) after being physically extorted for money at one show, and is claiming that Warrior held up local promoters for more money before he’d perform, on top of the thousands he was already contracted for.  In fact, he demanded $67,000 before he’d even got on the plane and then another $35,000 before he’d wrestle his first match.  But he got the money, so who’s the dumb one, really?

And now…

– To quote Dave:  “Bob Orton Jr’s son Randy won the Missouri 13-and-under age group state amateur wrestling championship.”  (Probably bored everyone in the crowd to tears, as well.) 

– For those who wonder why Dave hasn’t waxed nostalgic about GLOW with the release of the current (awesome) show on Netflix, here’s why:  “Reader Jack Thompson sent a letter giving the whereabouts of the former stars of GLOW wrestling, the T&A show that had a few weeks of strong syndicated ratings before fizzling into oblivion.” 

– In what Dave thinks is a minor note that may become a major note, it was announced that Japanese referee Tiger Hattori would officiate the Hogan-Yokozuna title match at King of the Ring. Dave has got all kinds of wild theories, although the first one listed turned out to be the true one (Hogan put the deal together to use the ref as a way to lose the title via massive screwjob and then get out of the Bret Hart match at Summerslam).  Although Dave thinks the more likely one is Vince McMahon making a deal with New Japan to trade talent and cut out WCW for good.  (Hahahahahah, no.) 

– Dave thinks that jobber Scott Taylor showed a lot of potential “taking hot bumps” on the 5/17 RAW.  (you could say “2 Hotty” in fact.) 

– The 5/10 RAW, with Shawn Michaels going through Finkel’s windshield, was in fact a practical joke on Finkel. 

– To WCW, where the US title is held up after a match between Rick Rude and Dustin Rhodes.  (God, that angle went on FOREVER it felt like.) 

– World Wide tapings moving to Orlando in July is a done deal. 

– And finally, Dave thought the Flair for the Gold segment with the Blondes was INCREDIBLE, and the Blondes have shot past everyone to become the best team in the world after being put together at the last minute due to Chris Benoit falling through. 

(Well, we’ve gotta link to THAT to finish things!)