Wrestling Observer Flashback – 04.10.95 (Part 2)
Continuing on! Last time we covered Wrestlemania and the giant Tokyo Dome show, and now we dig into the news, starting with major WCW shakeups…
– Eric Bischoff, contrary to his future reputation, is cutting the budget like crazy and it’s time to let the bodies hit the floor! Jim Barnett, Bob Dhue and Don Sandifer were all fired. Basically TBS is not willing to swallow any more multi-million dollar losses and the axe is falling. (Boy, would that attitude sure change shortly.) Bischoff is now the guy solely in charge of WCW, and more cuts are coming on the wrestling side shortly. Both Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan are obviously safe, and so are their friends. (But, I mean, there’s always other blond midcarders who might be chopped…)
– Also, Jerry Jarrett managed to broker a deal where Memphis would serve as training grounds for WCW Power Plant guys in exchange for him getting a payday as “consultant”, and as well he’ll be switching his syndicated TV network from WWF to WCW shows.
– Meanwhile, Steve Williams had missed the Tokyo Dome show, as noted, and word was that he was back in the US for a family medical situation of some kind. But then it turned into a six month suspension, and then a one year suspension. And then rumors became that he was fired from All Japan completely and would be shortly jumping to either the WWF or New Japan. (This paragraph is rapidly getting out of hand!) The WWF is very interested in him as a top heel challenger to Diesel, although Steve would be kind of dumb to give up his cushy spot. All that is really known for sure is that he arrived at the Narita Airport on 3/20 and was immediately sent back to the US.
– John McCain CAN’T STOP WON’T STOP with his vendetta against the UFC, as he’s pressuring North Carolina Attorney General Mike Easley to stop the 4/4 UFC V PPV. He really wants to try, despite the fact that everyone involved admits that there’s no actual legal precedent here. (Never stopped anyone in the government before.)
– Also, in a minor note on the show, Jeff Ruel was removed from the show because he was arrested for building a bomb.
– Back to Japan, (WAIT A MINUTE! How the hell can Dave just drop something like that and then casually move on? I was desperately Googling the guy afterwards and can’t even find anything about him!)
– Anyway, All Japan Women had a solo show a week before the Tokyo Dome, and Dave was there and thought it was even better than the Dome show! The main event saw Manami Toyota win the WWWA Women’s title from Aja Kong.
– Dave got to watch the Stan Hansen Triple Crown win over Kawada on the 3/4 TV show, and he thought it was really disappointing. It was slow paced and just didn’t have heat, and Dave gave it TWO STARS.
– Dave also watched the 3/11 New Japan show, with Koji Kanemoto winning the IWGP Junior title from Honaga. Dave notes that Kanemoto just isn’t good enough to hang at this level with the other guys in the division. (Well, just give him a couple of more years, Dave.)
– And now, it’s time for the rapid fire news notes like in the old days!
– The WWF will be running the last ever Boston Garden show on 5/13 and it’s going to be a giant legends show with a bunch of people who already work for the company, plus a main event of Diesel v. Sid.
– Harvey Schiller held his first meeting with WCW people, and said that “people who worry about competition too much aren’t spending enough time worrying about their own business.” (Hopefully he said it while riding a tank to the opposing company’s show.)
– Davey Boy Smith is claiming that Kody Light (the guy suing him for supposably beating him up in a bar fight in Calgary) is making the whole story up and there was never any fight, and for that matter Diana isn’t the type of girl who dances with drunken strangers.
– Vader was stripped of the US title because he can’t do any jobs in WCW due to his status as UWFI World champion, and they want to get the title on Sting. So they’re doing a tournament and Sting is going to win that instead. The TV reason is that Vader is being stripped because of his actions against Evad Sullivan.
– As a bonus, this will kill of the cruiserweight tournament again, because apparently they can only do one tournament at a time. Also, they’ve killed off the cruiserweight division, and Brian Pillman will no longer get a push. (Maybe he’ll go to 205 Live instead.)
– The 4/30 TripleMania show in LA has been moved to a later date because the Sports Arena is booked all week for Sesame Street shows. (Oscar the Grouch is still the top heel in the business.)
– The Dusty Rhodes situation was smoothed out and he’ll be staying with WCW and inducted into the Hall of Fame at Slamboree. Ricky Steamboat will still not be inducted.
– WCW Uncensored is being reported as a 0.96 buyrate, which would make it the highest grossing show in WCW history and put a cool $725,000 in Hulk Hogan’s pocket. (Although that’ll probably come down a lot in appeals.)
– As a note, Dave is now back on Team “Hogan Is Worth the Money” given that they made $3 million off the PPV and doubled their average buyrate.
– Men on a Mission are apparently heels.
– Crowds in Memphis continue to be up thanks to PG-13 v. Tommy Rich & Doug Gilbert, plus Razor Ramon stopped by and won the Unified title from Bill Dundee as well.
– The WWF’s new policy of allowing photographers at ringside is finished because they got in Shawn’s way at Wrestlemania. Vince had wanted them there to make sure there was as much mainstream publicity of Diesel and LT photographed together as possible.
– Despite suffering a concussion at MSG the week before, 1-2-3 Kid still went to Japan to work a one night tournament for WAR to determine the first Junior champion because he didn’t want to miss any dates. (Because, you know, if you’re suffering from multiple concussions, working tournaments in Japan is a great way to take it easy.)
– The WWF not only mentioned John Studd’s death, but even gave him a video package!
– Dan Spivey is rumored to be headed to the WWF after he’s done with All Japan, “as part of their New Generation theme”. (The snark is strong with this one.)
– FOUR HORSEMEN UPDATE: The deal is dead. Flair wanted himself, Curt Hennig and the Road Warriors, and Hogan wanted to be a part of it and proposed himself, Flair, Savage and Sting. So they broke off negotiations and now no one gets any Horsemen SO I HOPE EVERYONE IS HAPPY NOW.
– They’re still trying to get Elizabeth in time for the June PPV, though.
– FMW did a show on 3/30, before the Dome show, featuring King Pogo v. Great Nita in a no rope barbed wire street fight death match, which featured Nita using a hatchet to carve up Pogo. Then it was barbed wire baseball bats and blowing fire, and the fans were like…
So yeah, they were doing facebusters on flaming bats for near-falls, before Pogo whipped out his trusty jagged machete and stabbed Nita for the pin. Dave makes sure to note “Believe me, this wasn’t as good as it sounded.” (I’m so bored of jagged machete stabbing finishes myself. It’s like the new distraction finish.)
– Paul Levesque attended the WWF Fan Fest show while waiting for his WCW release to kick in.
– RAW on 4/3 is drawing rave reviews, with many thinking it was better than Wrestlemania. (Not exactly a high bar to clear.) Alundra Blayze regained the Women’s title from Bull Nakano in a match said to be better than Diesel v. Michaels the night before, and then Rhonda Singh attacked for the next program. Dave notes that she was a champion in Japan in 1979 but has been washed up since then, so “Blayze is going to have a tough time in this program”. (Another fine understatement.)
– Lex Luger & Davey Boy are the Allied Force and will probably win the tag titles from Owen & Yokozuna. They haven’t been impressive as a team, though. (Go figure, someone as selfless as Lex Luger isn’t a great tag team wrestler?)
– Speaking of Yokozuna, WCW is under the impression that both he and the Headshrinkers have given their notice, which has Hogan all excited because now he can get his win back. However, with the budget cuts, it doesn’t seem likely that any of them can be affordable enough to sign.
– Jim Cornette and the Gangstas are taping an episode of Jerry Springer on 4/10, although Dave doesn’t know when it’s going to air. (I believe the answer was “never”, but I WANT TO SEE IT SO BAD!)
– For those keeping track, Kama did indeed debut big gold chains at the RAW tapings, which are supposedly molded from the Undertaker’s urn. (So wait, after Undertaker got the urn back again, how did he get his parents’ ashes back?)
– Steve Austin returned faster than planned from his reconstructive knee surgery due to never actually having reconstructive knee surgery.
– Ricky Steamboat’s son Richie Blood won the age 7-8 North Carolina state wrestling championship and will go to the national finals on 4/22. (They seriously have national championship for EIGHT YEAR OLDS?!? My kid could go to the national finals of watching Minecraft videos on YouTube, I guess.)
– Dave notes that he’s not sure of the veracity, but there’s reports that the actual world attendance record for wrestling came in 1945, with 200,000 people for a show in Pakistan main evented by Emile Czaja and Hamida Pahelwan. (I heard Dave later amended that number to 73,000 after a tip from Zane Bresloff)
– Jim Crockett is about ready to give up running the Sportatorium, and will move from weekly shows on Saturdays to bi-weekly on Tuesdays instead, based on what used to work in the 70s. (Sounds like Bill Watts.)
– WCW policy update! No more foreign objects on TV, no more chairshots. Unless it’s Hogan.
– The expectation is for WCW to bring in more cheap “cartoon character” heels to feed to Hogan, starting with King Curtis Iaukea as the manager of some kind of group. Probably a bunch of good-working heels will have to be cut to save money for this new idea. (Stop teasing us with this one, Dave! We all know where it’s going! Also, you could argue that signing all those crap heels for the Dungeon of Doom led directly to Steve Austin getting fired and changing the business. That’s…kind of nuts.)
– And finally, the bitterness has already begun in the aftermath of Wrestlemania, since the football players all got big fat paydays for standing around in LT’s corner doing nothing. Dave notes, however, that much of it stems from the wrestlers being dumb enough to believe the worked “$1 million” payday rumors being thrown around in the media. (Oh, wrestling, never change.)