Wrestling Observer Flashback–06.21.93

Previously on the Flashback… https://blogofdoom.com/index.php/2017/07/14/wrestling-observer-flashback-06-08-93/

And now it’s time for the Bret Hart Show…

– Big props for the debut of the King of the Ring on PPV, as Bret Hart won the tournament and Yokozuna regained the World title from Hulk Hogan, producing the best PPV since Summerslam. And most of the improvement was due to Bret Hart carrying the entire show.

– Yokozuna of course won the title back from Hogan, which Dave compares to the booking in Memphis with frequent title changes and angles, thus making it harder for the casual audiences to follow.  (Ironically, taking that philosophy to the logical extreme during the Attitude Era brought in the biggest casual audience they’ve ever had, before or since.)  Besides the Hogan title switch, the Steiner Brothers also won the tag titles from Money Inc on 6/14 at the TV tapings.

– The result of the title match seems to set up a logical third match between Hogan and Yoko at Summerslam, while Bret will now be programmed with Jerry Lawler on that show.  Dave thinks that because Hogan didn’t get the bodyslam here, he can get a “moral win” by slamming Yokozuna at Summerslam and winning by countout.  (A countout win at Summerslam?  That’ll be the day.) 

– So this somewhat explains him burying the WWF title in Japan, since at the point when Hogan made his “Honda” comments he knew he was losing, and so he can just brush off the loss to Yokozuna as “no big deal” because he doesn’t really care about the title anyway. 

– There was actually bizarre Japanese politics involved in the finish, as famous Japanese referee Hattori was supposed to be flown in to referee the match and give Hogan yet another excuse (you know, because of the evil biased Japanese ref) but apparently because Dave leaked that info in the Observer two weeks ago, they changed the finish.  Instead of having the heel ref screw Hogan, they changed it to Japanese photographer Akio Sato blinding him with a flashbulb.  Hogan’s proposed plan for Summerslam was to put over Yokozuna extra-strong, thus setting himself up to regain the title there.  (Well, THAT plan certainly went south on him.) 

– Bret Hart will probably end up with the title in the long-term, likely at the next Wrestlemania.

– King of the Ring did a legit sellout in Dayton of 6500 paying $80,000, with the PPV numbers probably coming in between 1.0 and 1.5, although going against the NBA Finals probably hurt. 

– Dave does note that Jim Ross seemed off his game, and the chemistry with Bobby Heenan and Randy Savage wasn’t there.  Also Savage just seemed like he wanted to talk much of the time, but actually know what he wanted to say. 

1.  Bret Hart pinned Razor Ramon in 10:27.  Bret was limping due to an ankle injury he had sustained coming into the show.  Good match with Bret reversing the Razor’s Edge into a cradle for a near-fall and then reversing a suplex off the middle rope for the pin.  ***

2.  Mr. Perfect beat Mr. Hughes by DQ in 6:02.  Perfect sold big, but Hughes has nothing to offer.  Hughes was DQ’d for hitting Perfect with the urn. *1/4

3. Bam Bam Bigelow pinned Jim Duggan in 4:59 with the diving headbutt.  Duggan is awful, but what else is new?  1/4*

4. Lex Luger and Tatanka went to a 15:00 draw, filled with restholds.  Afterwards, Luger took off his elbowpad and knocked Tatanka out.  **1/4 

5.  Bret Hart pinned Mr. Perfect in an excellent match at 18:55.  Perfect turned himself heel before the match to make sure the crowd wasn’t divided, and then he did subtle heel stuff like crotching Bret on the way into the ring.  They did really good submission exchanges, but Savage kind of ruined them by continually putting over how neither man would ever submit.  Bret won with an inside cradle and they made up afterwards.  ****1/4

6. Yokozuna pinned Hulk Hogan to win the WWF title in 13:11.  Hogan got the biggest reaction of the night, but whether he can still draw remains to be seen.  Hogan gave him the entire match, following the Jerry Lawler v. Monster formula from Memphis.  The match featured a bearhug that ran 2:15, but Hogan eventually made the superman comeback with three big boots, but Hogan got distracted by the fake photographer, legdropped and pinned.  *1/2 

7.  The Steiners & The Smoking Gunns beat the Headshrinkers & Money Inc in 6:49 when Billy pinned Dibiase.  Nothing to it as a match.  Rick Steiner never even tagged in.  *

8. Shawn Michaels pinned Crush to retain the IC title in 11:14.  This match was tough because Crush doesn’t work well with others, plus they’d already burned off all the “big v. little” stuff in previous matches.  Kevin Nash is now named “Diesel”, by the way.  The Doinks distracted Crush and Shawn got a superkick from behind for the pin. *1/2

9.  Bret Hart pinned Bigelow in 19:11 to win the tournament.  Bam Bam dominated due to Bret’s “injuries”, and got a seeming pinfall at 9:26 with the diving headbutt after Luna hit Bret with a chair.  Earl Hebner ran out and ordered that the match must continue, and the last 8:00 were hot action, ending with Bret getting the pin via victory roll.  ***3/4  And afterwards, Jerry Lawler came out and destroyed Bret and smashed the crown. 

– Chris Benoit won the Top of the Super Junior tournament on 6/14 in Osaka, beating El Samurai in the finals.  However, it was somewhat tainted in that Jushin Liger broke his foot on 6/12 and was supposed to be the other guy in the finals, so that Pegasus could get a win over IWGP Junior champion Liger and set up a future title match.  With Liger injured, that meant that 2 Cold Scorpio got a forfeit win that he wasn’t “supposed” to have, and left four people tied for second place going into the finals, necessitating extra matches to settle the tie.  So they had a mini-tournament with Dean Malenko beating Eddy Guerrero, then Samurai pinning Scorpio, and finally Samurai beating Malenko to get his spot in the finals against Pegasus Kid.  The Kid won the tournament with a powerbomb off the top rope.  (Awesome show, by the way.  Those tournaments were GOLD for tape traders back in the day.  Sadly, the show doesn’t appear to be available on NJPW World, or at least not that I can find.)   

– Dave has managed to find a copy of the WCW Substance Abuse Policy.

– Anyway, as previewed last week, it covers a wide variety of illegal drugs and masking agents and apparently people will be testing upon signing with the company and at random times.  Also, WCW management is prohibited from condoning or encouraging use of any substances named under the policy.  Dave wonders if they saw what the main event of the next PPV was before writing that clause.  (Dave bringing the SNARK!)  If the policy goes into effect and there’s no mass disappearances of the big roided guys on top, then you should probably view the policy with some degree of suspicion.  (Considering what the main event of Starrcade was supposed to be, I’d say there’s a LOT of suspicion.) 

– Big Van Vader is currently in a hospital “somewhere in the Ozarks area” with a pinched nerve in the back, as it went out in a match against Davey Boy Smith and it was initially feared that he was paralyzed.  Despite that minor setback, he’ll be at the Clash.  Which, by the way, has been cut to 2 hours by TBS, which means that 2/3 falls main event will be even more rushed.

– Jumbo Tsuruta is out of hospital and tentatively scheduled to return in October.  Dave thinks he better have a hell of a training regimen in place before then or he’ll look terrible compared to the other guys on top right now.

– The dominant tag team run of Bobby Eaton & Tony Halme came to a crashing halt on 6/14 when they finally got their tag title shot against the Hell Raisers and got crushed.  One guess who ate the Doomsday Device.  Halme appears to moving onto the Barbarian as a new partner already, facing Haku & Earthquake on the next tour.  (Not gonna lie, that sounds like an AMAZING trainwreck.) 

– Eddie Gilbert was scheduled to work a tour for W*ING on 6/10, but no-showed, to the surprise of no one.

– Undertaker worked a show in Memphis this past weekend and single-handedly doubled attendance.  Numbers have been pretty low due to fan annoyance with Jerry Lawler acting like a babyface in Memphis but being a heel in the WWF on TV. 

– Dave goes off on a “muscular African-American” guy under the mask who was on the show and was super-green and terrible named “Contract Inc.” and I was hoping it would be someone making an Understated Observer Debut, but it seems like he was just a guy.

– To SMW, where Dave thinks that Chris Candido is pretty damn good considering this is his first real territory. On TV this week, he beat Bobby Blaze by holding the tights and then claimed that it was “poor Southern camera work” because everyone knows that no one from New Jersey cheats.

– Another great line from Jim Cornette, who said that they exhumed the Pharaoh’s tomb and found Bob Armstrong’s birth certificate.

– Rod Price returns from having his hair ripped out, and used scissors to cut Chris Adams’ hair into a goofy mohawk and set up their grudge match on next week’s TV.  Price had been scheduled to return earlier, but had to go to Japan to replace Calvin Knapp as an emergency after Knapp blew out his knee trying an elbow drop.  (According to Cagematch, Knapp never returned from that injury, only working occasional matches for the rest of his career.) 

– GWF will finally be off ESPN at the end of the month…and onto ESPN 2.  Dave doesn’t even know why the network even bothers with them at this point instead of doing 10 seconds of research and finding something better.

– Dick Murdoch ribbed rookie John Hawk on 6/13, as they were booked to go to a double countout but Murdoch laid down and got pinned, then went off on Hawk in the dressing room afterwards for screwing up and not being in the ropes like they planned, blaming it on how green he was.  (And then young JBL thought to himself “Hey, I think from now on it’ll be me doing the ribbing!”) Also, Hawk will be going to Mexico to play The American Vampire, feuding with the obvious person. 

– Dave talks about a newspaper article profiling college basketball star Ron Reis, who is a legit 7 feet tall and training with John Studd for a career as a wrestler.  Apparently the WWF is “aware” of him, and Dave notes that he probably can’t be any worse than Giant Gonzalez, but being trained by Studd means he won’t be much better either.  (I’d call it a push.) 

– Rumor around the gym world right now is that Norman Smiley died of steroid use.  DON’T WORRY, Dave notes, he’s alive and well and World champion in Mexico.

– Dave notes that Bruiser Mastino of Otto Wanz’s promotion is actually the younger brother of PN News.  (Cousin, in fact.)  Also, this kid named Lance Storm is the best worker there by far. 

– Dave goes OFF on the WCW Saturday Night show from this weekend, calling it “one of the worst ones in history”.  Yes indeed, this was the infamous MINI-MOVIE episode, featuring the Masters of the Power Bomb doing a press conference at a dive bar, plus Catherine White going to Cactus Jack’s house to interview Collette and Dewey.  Although it was actually an actress portraying Collette and not the real one.  (That’s nuts…had they not SEEN Collette Foley?!?  MIck married way above his station.)  Also, the introduction of Lord Steven Regal was “an interview which could only have been put together in the minds of scriptwriters who think pro wrestling is nothing but a show to do Saturday Night Live comedy sketch rejects.”

– Here’s a huge shocker:  Shane Douglas did an embittered interview with a wrestling newsletter about his exit from WCW.  He claims that WCW has a steroid problem and that he’s done with the business and will be going back to teaching full-time.  Also, lots of top talent will be leaving WCW in the coming months and going to the WWF, replaced by “non-talent”. 

– Tully Blanchard actually sent a letter to WCW two weeks before Slamboree saying that he wouldn’t be there, so don’t advertise him for the show. 

– A TV producer is currently trying to sell the pilot for a show called “The Main Event”, based in the Main Event Gym owned by Sting and Lex Luger, starring Johnny B. Badd.  Dave gives this about as much chance to succeed as you’d expect.  (Would that be like Cheers? Except everyone is doing steroids instead of drinking beer?)

– In the WWF, Hogan’s box office continues to drop like a rock, doing 1800 in Richmond VA on 6/11 as this tag title feud can officially be called a flop now. 

– The Harlem Knights debuted on TV as the Men on a Mission, doing a rapper gimmick.

– The Mountie is headed back in, probably at the next TV tapings.

– Marty Jannetty’s push is over, as he’s doing squash jobs to Mr. Hughes now.

– David Heath, who was supposed to start with WCW, instead did a tryout match for the WWF at the last tapings and put over a jobber.  He’ll probably get a vampire gimmick if they hire him.

– Dave thinks something is up because Brutus Beefcake was not at the King of the Ring, despite being hyped by Hogan as being in the corner, and his name was never mentioned on TV at the show or afterwards. 

– Finally, the Typhoon mystery has been solved!  He has a shoulder injury.  (Wonder if he fell on it or something?) 

– And finally, Bob Backlund did his first ever pinfall job in Madison Square Garden on 6/12, losing to Bret Hart cleanly in a match described as “pretty bad”.