Wrestling Observer Flashback – 06.19.95
Last week: Dave made an off-hand comment about Eric Bischoff having a meeting with Ted Turner.
You of course know where this is going.
– In a move stemming from a meeting between Bischoff and Turner on 6/5, WCW will be airing a new TV show on Monday nights opposite Monday Night RAW on TNT, starting 8/7. It’ll probably be similar to RAW, with one week live and then three weeks taped. The show will be hosted by Bischoff, with main event caliber matches, coming from major arenas. The show was actually prompted by Vince McMahon indirectly, after he sent Ted Turner a series of letters urging him to fold the company because it was such an embarrassment to Turner’s good name. (I mean…he wasn’t entirely wrong…)
– Bischoff’s excuse for RAW consistently beating WCW Saturday Night has been that RAW is on in prime time, whereas no one is watching on Saturday nights. Of course, during the heyday of World Championship Wrestling, it was regularly beating WWF’s Prime Time Wrestling, which aired in the slot now occupied by RAW, so that logic is a bit faulty. However, when Bischoff gave Ted Turner that line, Ted responded by immediately giving Eric that time slot on TNT. And if the unnamed WCW show can’t draw in that slot, Bischoff might have sealed his own demise.
– Although Harvey Schiller initially had a mantra that companies that spent time worrying about other companies need to spend more time on their own product, that has obviously changed now. Thanks to Bischoff’s seeming obsession with putting Vince out of business, that has become the new company line for everyone.
– Early reports are that the show will be called “Head to Head”, but that’s not final. Also, WCW has a Clash scheduled for 8/6, which is the day before the reported debut of the new show. It’s also the final scheduled Clash of the Champions, and WCW actually tried to get it cancelled and the lineup moved to the new mystery show instead. However, TBS insisted on keeping the Clash show because the shows during August have traditionally drawn strong viewership.
– Dave notes that the pressure here is on WCW, not the WWF. (Yeah, for like a WEEK.) There’s gonna have to be hot shows and Hogan all over the place. And if they do build some momentum, WWF is going to have start loading up THEIR shows, too. Either way, it should be great for wrestling fans in the fall. (All very true!)
– However, both sides have to ensure that hyping TV doesn’t hurt PPV buildup, since the money is in PPV, not TV. In fact, despite record high ratings for RAW recently, house shows and PPVs are still declining rapidly. TV is for hyping PPV, not vice versa. (Well, not today, that’s for sure.)
– Both Sting and Renegade came out with title belts they were scheduled to win at Great American Bash during the Center Stage tapings on 6/7, so that pretty much gives away the results of that PPV.
– Meanwhile, the Bash card is in chaos, with all kinds of changes to the lineup. First up, the Dave Sullivan v. DDP match has been changed to an arm-wrestling match with Evad putting up his pet rabbit Ralph against a date with the Diamond Doll. Jim Duggan v. Kamala (with new manager “The Taskmaster” Kevin Sullivan) has been moved to the next PPV show instead. Finally, the Marcus Bagwell v. Craig Pittman match is probably off, due to Bagwell’s calf implants leaking and causing an infection.
(At this point, Dave does a fairly in-depth bit about how many competitive bodybuilders use implants so as not to throw off their posing symmetry due to calf muscles not developing as fast as other muscles, but COME ON. EXPLODING CALF IMPLANTS?!?)
– The Rock N Roll Express were supposed to do a job for Harlem Heat on the pre-show, but the deal fell apart because they didn’t want to seen as TV jobbers and the pay wasn’t enough for them.
– Over to ECW, where there is some tremendous turmoil happening behind the scenes and no one is exactly sure what’s going on. Heyman appears to be the guy in charge despite denials that HHG is owned by him. It’s known that Paul is trying very hard to buy out Tod Gordon, but Tod will likely stay on as a figurehead on TV.
– Chris Benoit had worked a WWF TV taping last week, but it was said to be a 50/50 deal whether he’d actually come in. For now he’s back in ECW, since he can continue to work New Japan that way. However, no matter how long he works in Japan, they still only think of him as a junior heavyweight, on the same level as a “young boy,” despite his popularity amongst other gaijin rivaling Williams and Hansen. Despite reports that Benoit had double-crossed ECW by working the WWF tapings, he actually had attempted to contact Paul Heyman over the weekend and couldn’t get a hold of him to give him the heads-up. Things have been worked out between them now.
– Also backstage at the WWF tapings: Shane Douglas. He’d have to give up his teaching job to work full-time in the WWF, although he was telling people in ECW that he’s staying there. He was apparently upset about losing the ECW title to Sandman on the pretense of getting it back right away, at which point Paul changed his mind and told him it wouldn’t be happening that way.
– WCW is reportedly interested in signing away Tommy Dreamer, and Terry Funk is likely done with ECW after the 7/1 show. (Really? Tommy Dreamer?)
– However, Heyman is making a new deal with Konnan, reportedly for the purpose of bringing in AAA talent like Rey Mysterio and Psychosis. Dave thinks they can probably get over in the ECW Arena.
– Dave also wonders who the heck is paying for all this new talent, since the group has never even drawn 1000 people to a show and all reports are that the promotion is bleeding money with no end in sight.
– Speaking of bleeding money, the “Memphis Memories II” show was a major disappointment, drawing 3000 to Memphis and then 2500 the next night to Louisville, where the first versions did over 7000 the year before. On the bright side, Jos LeDuc did in fact show up and looked good.
– Advertising is already out in Nashville for In Your House II, which will feature Diesel v. Sid II in the main event, and Jeff Jarrett making his singing debut in addition to defending the IC title. The idea of course is that Roadie is the one doing the singing for real, which will lead to their breakup.
– Davey Boy Smith’s assault trial was postponed until January 1996, at the request of the prosecution, with no reason given. Apparently the prosecution is having some trouble actually finding a medical expert that can find injuries sustained by defendant Kody Light that are consistent with what he says occurred during the fight. In particular, the claim was that Smith used a “piledriver” during the fight, and the injuries don’t match up with that particular move at all. Not to mention Smith doesn’t use a piledriver. With the trial’s postponement, Davey is expected to resume his WWF schedule shortly. (Although the Allied Powers still suck.)
– Speaking of sucking, the 6/12 SMW TV tapings saw the former Spiders debuting as a new team called The Head Bangers, Mosh and Thrasher.
– The SMW TV title has been dropped since Bobby Blaze no-showed as champion.
– Over to ECW again, where Cactus Jack had what was described as a “really weird match” with Axl Rotten. Basically Jack told the fans that he’d shed enough blood in his career and deserved a night off, and so would give the fans a scientific match. So when the fans started booing all his holds, Jack insulted them and told them “if anyone’s faxing Dave Meltzer make sure to tell him it’s a five star match”. The storyline was apparently that they were trying to do a scientific match, but both guys are just too violent at heart to maintain it. (Oh, this storyline isn’t over by a long shot!)
– The Tazmaniac is now just going by “Taz”, wearing normal tights and wrestling boots with a crewcut. (Like that’ll ever get over.)
– An indy promotion in San Francisco saw the debut of THE ABORTIONIST, who uses a coat hanger as his gimmick weapon.
– Over to WCW, where the Kevin Sullivan vignettes began on TV, with Kevin running around through caves and finding King Curtis, who orders him to destroy Hulkamania.
– The injuries are piling up in the WWF, with Roadie suffering from a staph infection in his knee that has him questionable for the PPV. Razor Ramon hurt his ribs in a ladder match and he’s also questionable for the PPV. (Hopefully they have someone lined up to replace him!)
– Chris Benoit did another tryout match, managed by Ted Dibiase this time, and got a ***1/4 match out of Adam Bomb and looked great.
– Update: Benoit did another tryout on 6/7 and had a ****1/4 match with Owen Hart as a babyface.
– Bret Hart has been campaigning to get rid of Shinja and turn Hakushi babyface, with Andre the Giant’s New Japan manager Wakamatsu seconding him. Bret’s argument is that Shinja has no charisma and Hakushi should really be a huge babyface given all his hot moves. (Yeah, but he’s Japanese, so you can see Vince’s side of things.)
– Sionne has seemingly been fired, so Fatu might be working as a single. (Like that’s gonna make a difference.)
– And finally, Dave is gobsmacked that the new rumored favorite to win the King of the Ring is MABEL. The idea of booking is supposed to be making money, not just fooling the fans with stupid choices. Shawn Michaels is money, not Mabel. (Gee, Dave, I think Vince knows a LITTLE bit about drawing money and he’s got this under control.)