Wrestling Observer Flashback – 09.05.94 (Part 2)
Continuing on from yesterday, it’s time for what would actually go down as the most significant happening by far from this packed week: The NWA World title tournament!
– Even by the standards of a business known for lies and double-crosses, the ECW-hosted NWA title tournament on 8/27 will go down as one of the biggest.
– So the plan all along from Gordon & Heyman was to have Shane Douglas win the tournament, then throw down the belt and call it worthless, which would give Shane the credibility as ECW champion that they needed as they moved from “Eastern Championship Wrestling” to “Extreme Championship Wrestling”. They’ll now attempt to expand out of Philly, and screwing over Dennis Coraluzzo and Jim Crockett gives them exactly the kind of bad-boy image that they want to portray. (I bet SHIMMER can change them, though.)
– Dave notes that the angle with Shane trashing the title got over “surprisingly well” with the ECW hardcores. After the angle, Paul Heyman tried to placate (ie, lie his ass off) Coraluzzo by telling him that it was only done to get heat on Douglas. And then three days later on TV, they buried the NWA and quit the organization publicly, revealing that it was just another lie on top of a bunch of others.
– Tod Gordon had previously got permission to proceed with the tournament based on an agreement that Douglas would win and then drop the title to Chris Benoit right away. And then they set up the brackets so that Benoit lost in the first round to 2 Cold Scorpio, thus double-crossing the NWA yet AGAIN. On the bright side, Benoit had a ****1/4 match with Scorpio and stole the show. So there’s that.
– Shane beat Scorpio in the finals in a ***1/4 match and then did the famous speech where he pretended to accept the belt and then told everyone to kiss his ass and threw the belt down. Before the match, Coraluzzo had made Shane sign a contract stipulating that he would drop the title when requested by the NWA board, and he’d be paid $500 per appearance plus expenses. If he doesn’t abide by the terms, which he definitely will not be doing, then they’ll strip him of the title.
– Amazingly enough, Tod Gordon is taking all the heat from the NWA numbskulls, even though Paul Heyman was clearly the mastermind behind the entire thing.
– Jim Crockett was said to be “unconcerned” about the whole thing.
– NWA lawyer Bob Trobich was particularly butt-hurt by the incident, since he was charmed by Gordon & Heyman into going to bat for them with Coraluzzo and the NWA board, and now he looks completely stupid.
– In the only non-tournament match on the show, Cactus Jack & Mikey Whipwreck won the tag titles from the Public Enemy after Terry Funk missed his flight and couldn’t make the show. He had originally been planned to win the tag titles with Jack and then do a three-month program with him based off that. (I feel like we haven’t seen the last of that Funk & Jack team for some reason.)
– To Japan, where All Japan Women drew 15,000 to Budokan Hall for a show where they had to start at 5:00pm to make sure they didn’t go over the arena curfew of 9:00pm. The show was excellent, but not at the level of the last couple of Dream Slams.
– And now, your…
– In Mexico, Chavo Guerrero’s son Salvador Guerrero III debuted on 8/28 in Juarez, using the name “El HIjo de Chavo Guerrero”. (Or as he was later known, Chavo Guerrero.)
– Jumbo Tsuruta is only working comedy six-mans now in All Japan.
– Antonio Inoki was actually in the US for the Clash because he had a meeting with George Foreman on 8/21 at the home of Henry Holmes (Hogan’s laywer.) The idea is for them to have a match at the 100,000 seat soccer stadium in North Korea sometime next year, and Inoki is already claiming that Muhammad Ali is on board as a special guest. Dave thinks that with that kind of star power, they could sell out the stadium! (Or the government could literally force everyone to attend. Regardless, we now know what the eventual North Korea fiasco was supposed to be!)
– It appears they’ll be doing a second J-Cup tournament from 11/15 – 11/20 as a joint venture with AAA. (No idea what that was supposed to be. They did a tag tournament in September, but no other junior singles tournament in 94 that I can recall.)
– FMW had their biggest show of the year, drawing 15,000 to Osaka Castle Hall for an Onita v. Aoyagi “double hell” match. The ring had electrified barbed wire on two sides, and then no ropes on the other two sides, but the mats on the floor were covered with barbed wire, you see. Onita had 111 stitches in his back after the match, and Dave hopes to god that was a worked number. On the bright side, this gives him a career total of 1032 stitches in his body, which was the magic number to get him into the Guinness Book of World Records. (I’d say for it’s dumbest person alive, but the NWA has him beat pretty handily this week.) Also on the show, Hayabusa returned from his excursion to Mexico and pinned Sabu. (WHAT? They seriously had a singles match in FMW? I didn’t even know that! And holy cow, someone actually videotaped it!)
Crazy goddamned wrestling fans!
– Here’s a team for you: Bob Backlund & Warlord & Scott Putski won the WAR six-man tag titles on 8/26 from Gedo & Jado & Fuyuki. They’re expected to lose them back on 9/1. Also on the show, they debuted a new masked heel named Aka Oni, which translates to “The Red Fiend”, who is feuding with Tenryu. (So I looked it up for fun because Dave doesn’t mention if it was someone of note, and HOLY SHIT, it was someone of note! It was actually a big name, and I guarantee you will never guess without cheating and looking it up. I will give you multiple choice. Was it…
A) Ultimate Warrior
B) Magnificent Muraco
C) Junkyard Dog
– To Memphis, where…and I hope you’re sitting down…BUDDY LANDEL NO-SHOWED.
– Dave has half-solved the mystery of Mephisto & Dante, as one of them is local guy Tommy Heggie. Well now we can all sleep at night.
– Sid Vicious also no-showed a Jonesboro show, but he had a valid excuse this time.
– To ECW, where Dean Malenko debuted a new gimmick of “The Shooter”, doing a 5’7” Big Bubba Rogers bodyguard deal for Jason.
– GWF put on a shockingly great show on 8/26 with everyone working hard to impress the contingent of Japanese fans who had flown in for the Clash. Osamu Nishamura was given the GWF light heavyweight title in the main event.
– Details are sketchy on the AAA/WCW co-promoted PPV on 11/6, but the main event will be a cage match between Konnan and Perro Aguayo, which will make four consecutive PPVs headlined with cage matches.
– To WCW, where the crew is off to Europe with Hogan v. Flair on top for the entire tour, so Hogan can get another 11 pins in a row on Flair. Fear not, Hogan’s injury isn’t being recognized by the WCW International Board of Directors, so he’s fine to compete in Europe.
– Johnny B. Badd’s ankle will indeed be fine in time for the PPV.
– That Jean Paul Levesque kid will be getting a bigger push as the year comes to an end.
– To the WWF, where Jim Ross has been fired again, effective this past weekend, rumored to be over comments he made in the Torch. He’ll end up in SMW.
– Just to demonstrate how dead the Bret v. Owen program really was, they managed to set all-time lows at MSG, Nassau and Meadowlands, all in one three-day stint from 8/25 to 8/27, with estimates at 4000, 2500 and 2000 respectively. (To be completely accurate, the main event was Bret & Razor v. Owen & Neidhart.)
– Crush is gone and was replaced by the Barbarian on all the future bookings.
– And finally, in a terrifying vision of what was to come, Bruiser Mastino beat Nikolai Volkoff at the house shows this week, subbing for Virgil. (Much like the Marvel universe was unprepared for Thanos, we were equally unprepared for the coming of…MANTAUR!)