Wrestling Observer Flashback – 06.26.95
Well, originally I was just going to repost One Night Only, but I decided to do a Flashback on Xmas Eve as well. So MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Also, WCW had a PPV. And it was pretty good!
– Dave notes that it wasn’t a “great” show or anything, it did have two very good matches, which puts it in the upper echelon of WCW shows lately. The show was actually a legit sellout of 6000 people at Hara Arena and a gate of $63,000.
– Dave gives it THUMBS UP, but most of the feedback is leaning more thumbs in the middle.
– There was of course some behind the scenes problems because it’s WCW. Jim Duggan had to replace Marcus Bagwell due to the EXPLODING CALF IMPLANTS OF DEATH. Hawk didn’t show up in Dayton for reasons that are many and confusing. Most people assumed he was done already, but he was back on Monday and everything is apparently fine again.
– But in the most WCW move of all, Alex Marvez used the results of the most recent TV tapings and SHOCKINGLY was able to guess all the finishes of the matches on the show, and wrote an article in the Dayton newspaper listing them all with 100% accuracy. So of course WCW officials assumed there must have been a mole and went into panic overdrive. So the end result was booker Ric Flair changing two of the finishes (because you know if kayfabe was exposed in a newspaper in Dayton, wrestling would be FINISHED!) including the main event result. Originally Savage was supposed to win, but Flair felt that it was super-important to protect the business by making sure that he went over instead. In fact, some people backstage suggested that Flair himself was the mole because it worked out so well for him.
– Dave would again like to stress that there is no mole and Marvez just guessed everything because WCW is stupid.
– Speaking of stupid WCW, they ran a sleazy bait-and-switch angle on the pre-show, where Vader attacked Nick Bockwinkel and Eric Bischoff before Hogan made the save. This led to an enraged Vader demanding a match with Hogan TONIGHT, IN THIS VERY RING, leading you to believe that they’d do an impromptu match on the PPV. Except of course it didn’t happen, even though both guys were there and were dressed in their gear for the angle. (I dunno, as far as sleazy WCW angles go, that one barely scratches the surface.)
– In the dark match, Harlem Heat beat the Fantastics, who were substituting for the Rock N Roll Express. The RNR were supposed to come in and do a job here, but they wanted either a better result or more money, and WCW wasn’t willing to provide either one. Booker pinned Rogers with the Harlem Hangover in a disappointing match. *1/2
– In the other dark match, Craig Pittman submitted Chris Kanyon with the Code Red armbar in 2:16. The match was ruined by the camera constantly focusing on Paul Wight at ringside. On commentary, Bischoff put over Pittman entering a “UFC style” show in Japan and going through the tournament “like a hot knife through butter”. Dave wonders how amazing the praise would have been had Pittman won more than one match in the tournament!
– In the third dark match, Slater & Buck beat Frankie Lancaster & Barry Houston in a weak squash in 3:52. -1/4*
- Alex Wright pinned Brian Pillman in 15:26. Wright was booed so soundly that they basically decided to turn him heel afterwards. (Or in a couple of years, whatever.) Pillman was a little rusty but still got an excellent match out of Wright. In fact, Dave thinks that people’s hatred of the dancing gimmick is overshadowing how much he’s improved as a worker. Pillman was playing subtle heel to start and got less subtle as the match went on. Pillman tried a crucifix and Wright reversed it for the pin. ***3/4
- Dave Sullivan beat DDP in an arm-wrestling match with epic stakes: Ralph the Rabbit against a date with the Diamond Doll. “It was good for what it was.”
- Jim Duggan beat Craig Pittman by DQ in 8:13. Fans were chanting “USA” for Duggan, which is of course extra moronic because Pittman is a former US Marine. The match got more awful as it went on. Duggan made the ropes to escape the Code Red, but Pittman refused to break and got disqualified. So for those keeping track, Pittman ran through a UFC tournament like a hot knife through butter, but couldn’t even beat Duggan. This was the other finish changed to mess with Marvez, as originally Duggan was supposed to submit clean. DUD
- Harlem Heat beat Slater & Buck in 8:39 in a slow match with no heat. They did the old “small package reversed twice by the managers” finish. DUD
- Renegade beat Arn Anderson to win the TV Title in 9:07. Dave delivers the ultimate in back-handed compliments here, noting that Arn delivered the best performance he’s ever seen in a negative star match. (He’s like the Kenny Omega of terrible matches!) The match completely exposed Renegade and showed he wasn’t ready for prime time. Also, he’s shrinking by the week. Renegade won with a splash off the top rope. -1/4* (That actually feels really generous for a match that ended up being a complete disaster on many levels)
- The Nasty Boys beat the Blue Bloods to retain the WCW tag titles in 15:03. Regal & Eaton have potential but there’s just no one at the same level for them to work with. Regal had the greatest facial expressions in history after taking the Pit Stop. Harlem Heat interfered to cost the Blue Bloods the match, as Eaton crotched himself on the top rope and got pinned. **1/4
- Sting pinned Meng to win the US title in 13:34. Meng was slow but the psychology was good. Meng became the first person ever to power out of the Scorpion Deathlock, but Sting pinned him with a DDT in a Japanese-style finish where the loser kicks out of the normal finisher and thus still looks good. **1/2
- Ric Flair pinned Randy Savage in 14:42. Dave: “Anyone who says Flair is washed up as a worker can eat it.” (It’s a HOT AND SPICY take from Dave!) Dave does concede that he may be washed up as a draw. The match was an excellent brawl, fast and furious. Savage dropped the big elbow but picked up Flair at two, and then threatened to use the ring bell ala Ricky Steamboat. Flair ended up using Angelo Poffo’s cane for the win, at which point Bobby Heenan made a reference to Ted Williams, showing how hip and with-it he is. ****
– During the match, they filmed a quick vignette of Hogan and Jimmy Hart leaving the building, but they couldn’t show it on the PPV because then they’d have to pay Hogan for appearing on the show.
– Still with WCW, as their rumored show “Head to Head” starts on 8/7 on TNT, going directly opposite of Monday Night Raw. Nancy Sullivan got a tryout as an announcer but didn’t get the job. Supposedly it’s going to be Bischoff on commentary and the show is going to have a totally different look and feel to it. The plan is still for the show to be done one week live and three weeks taped, like Raw. Although they had originally planned to run the show from a series of large arenas around the country, now the idea is to do smaller shows and stick to the south in Florida and Georgia. (Something something Florida-Georgia line something something Chris Cruise hosting…I dunno, they can’t all be gold.)
– The show might also use some more outside international talent to spruce up the product quality. (Crazy talk.)
– Regardless, one thing that Dave is sure about is that they’re suicidal to go head-to-head with the WWF.
– Nobuhiko Takada, top star of UWFI, announced that he’s retiring after noticing that his stamina in the ring hasn’t been what it used to be. He completely denied running for office after retirement like everyone else in Japan, though. This is not good for UWFI, which has been dropping in popularity for a long time now, mostly due to UFC and Vale Tudo exposing that (gasp!) UWFI is just another form of pro wrestling. Also, another theory is that the disastrous Yoji Anjyo vs. Rickson Gracie incident. Dan Severn leaving and becoming a force in UFC could have helped, but then he never returned to the UWFI to follow up. If Takada does retire, the company is basically screwed. (DEAD BY…well, actually they were dead pretty soon.)
– Vince McMahon was interviewed on Chet Coppock’s Sports Channel on 6/15, plugging the King of the Ring PPV. Vince took the opportunity to slag Ted Turner, Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage and emphasized that WCW isn’t serious competition. Vince was also insisting that his product was family-friendly sports entertainment and was non-violent, and they had a drug policy that was the envy of any other sport.
– Also, Vince said WCW was making a big mistake going against him on Mondays, and Ted Turner doesn’t know how to sell Hogan, and that Hogan should have told the truth about his steroid use before the trial. He buried Savage a little less, saying that going to WCW was like jumping off a bridge but at least Savage was “more honest” than Hogan and they were still friends. (So, conspiracy people, at this point Savage and Vince are still “friends”)
– For those who think that Dave broke the star rating scale for Okada-Omega, his review of Taue & Kawada winning the tag titles from Misawa & Kobashi gives the rating as “*****+”
– For those wondering, Keiji Muto indeed won the Battle of Moonsaults over Hiroyoshi Tenzan with a moonsault in 19:04, so Tenzan can never use the move again as a result.
– The Gangstas suddenly left SMW for ECW, missing their last few dates with the former company. The Headbangers were booked to replace them on all the shows, so Cornette obviously wasn’t that shocked by their departure. However, New Jack was indicted on three counts of assault on 6/12 in Morristown, TN after getting into an altercation with 2 cops and a 14 year old fan.
– Although Tod Gordon announced at the ECW Arena show that Chris Benoit would be back for the 7/15 show and has turned down the WWF deal, that isn’t actually the case. He has neither accepted nor declined the offer, and in fact the deal now has the provision that he can continue to work his New Japan dates provided Japan gives three months notice to the WWF beforehand.
– On the same show, The Gangstas made their surprise debut, brawling with Public Enemy to replace Axl & Ian Rotten (who aren’t allowed to team up any more) before the cops arrested the Gangstas and dragged them out of the building. (Must have been tough for New Jack to pull off that acting.)
– Bill Alfonso is just getting nuclear heat as the heel authority figure right now, to the point where people are getting worried that it might be dangerous for him to be around the crowds if he gets any more heat. (People who claim that Baron Corbin is playing an effective heel really should watch those old ECW shows with Fonzie to see TRUE heat.)
– Dave calls Hostile City Showdown a “must-see” and the best US wrestling show of the year.
– Back to WCW as Dave has more details on Bagwell and his exploding calf implants. First up, Dave wonders why a wrestler who wears long pants all the time would need his calves enhanced. Anyway, the implants were put in around May, and he was in pain from the start and had problems with circulation, which could have resulted in the end of his career from the infection.
– Although RAW ratings are continue to hit record highs (with a 3.4 for the Luger v. Yokozuna show) attendance at house shows is dropping at an alarming rate.
– Doink is being kept around for marketing purposes but he’s basically a jobber now.
– And finally, with Davey Boy Smith’s trial not happening for a while, he was back on the road beating Tatanka, subbing for Bam Bam Bigelow, who was subbing for Diesel. And they wonder why attendance is down.
Merry Christmas, you filthy animals!