Wrestling Observer Flashback – 10.02.95
We’ve got an In Your House to discuss, but first, big changes with UFC are afoot.
– In the top story, UFC VII went into overtime, which is gonna end up costing them a LOT of money due to furious cable companies. In fact, the show was going to gross $2 million originally but they had to pay back $650,000 to appease cable operators since this is the second time that it’s happened now.
– So get this: There’s probably going to be newly shortened TIME LIMITS on UFC fights now! (What’s next, rounds? Gloves?)
– Also, the governor of New York is attempting to keep UFC out of the state in the future. Thanks to good old Senator John McCain, of course.
– Meanwhile, Time-Warner has merged with Turner Broadcasting, resulting in the largest media conglomerate in the world. This leaves WCW “as roughly one-twentieth of one percent of the gigantic organization.” (Man, if Dave thinks THAT is the largest media conglomerate at the time, just wait until Disney starts buying everything.)
– WWF did their third “In Your House” show on 9/24 in Saginaw, with a decidedly mixed reaction. Dave would have given the show a thumbs up if the main event wasn’t right out of the “WCW screwjob playbook”. And then even worse, it turned into an AWA screwjob where you send the fans home happy and then reverse the decision on TV the next night. In fact, Dave thought that Fall Brawl was the better show this month, mostly because it actually did a good job of making Giant look like a threat to Hulk Hogan, whereas no one could possibly buy Davey Boy Smith as a top challenger to Diesel now.
(I’m omitting Dave’s numbering of the matches from now on because it screws up the formatting in WordPress.)
– Fatu pinned Hunter Hearst Helmsley in the dark match.
– Savio Vega pinned Waylon Mercy in 7:06 in the PPV opener, with a spinkick. Mercy’s knees and back are shot and he’s like Andre the Giant at the end now. Dave calls the end of this character a “Mercy killing”. (Slow clap.) ¼*
– Sid pinned Henry Godwinn in 7:23. Dave notes that Danny Davis now looks like Jim Carrey from “Dumb and Dumber” with his new haircut. Godwinn was OK, Sid was horrible. Dibiase tripped up HOG and Sid powerbombed him for the pin. And then Dibiase got the slop bucket dumped on him. ½*
– Davey Boy Smith pinned Bam Bam Bigelow in 12:00 with the powerslam. Match was OK but Davey wasn’t put over particularly big. *3/4
– Dean Douglas pinned Razor Ramon in 14:53. Bob Backlund appeared to be managing Douglas, but it was only for the one match. Kid interfered while Backlund took the ref, and Douglas got a sloppy cradle on Ramon for the half-assed pin. Match was all about putting heat on Ramon and the Kid and did nothing for Douglas. **1/4
– Bret Hart beat Jean Pierre LaFitte with the Sharpshooter in 16:37. Dave notes that “for all negatives thrown at Bret Hart, or actually that Hart’s mouth throws at himself, he is a fantastic worker when it comes to major shows.” (That’s fair.) Meanwhile, LaFitte is an excellent worker who lacks charisma. The match was excellent, ending with a collision and Bret twisting up his legs into the Sharpshooter for the win. ****
– Diesel & Shawn Michaels beat Davey Boy Smith & Yokozuna in 15:42 to apparently win the tag team titles when Diesel powerbombed Owen Hart. And then the titles were returned the next night, thus breaking the guaranteed title change stipulation, with the thinking being that it’s OK because the babyfaces won the match and got screwed. Dave notes that Yokozuna is at 700 pounds now and if he doesn’t lose weight soon, his life will get much harder as he gets older. (Sadly he wouldn’t get much older anyway.) ***
– Goldust pinned Bob Holly in a dark match.
– “Ahmad Williams” pinned Skip with a “messed up finish” in another dark match.
– Undertaker pinned Mabel with a chokeslam in a bad match.
– In a slight change to the next show, Undertaker will now face Mabel at IYH4 instead of Waylon Mercy, which Dave thinks is a good move. (But the Skyscrapers could have exploded!)
– Dave also notes that Goldust debuting on PPV against Bam Bam Bigelow must make Bigelow feel great, given that he was main eventing Wrestlemania earlier in the year.
– The first live head-to-head between RAW and Nitro was a strong win by the WWF, 2.7 to 1.9. Both shows were good. RAW saw the Smoking Gunns win the tag team titles from Owen Hart & Yokozuna with Owen doing a great job in carrying the match to ***1/4. Dave also notes that it was ironic Jim Cornette would be paired up with a Clarence Thomas knockoff lawyer.
– Over to Nitro, where Dave wants to clarify that Disco Inferno’s real name is not Glenn Gilburnetti, but in fact is Glenn Gilburdy. (Gilbertti in fact)
– Over to All Japan Women, as they are now caught in the middle of a nasty political situation with WCW and WWF. WCW attempted to book a rematch from the Korea PPV using the same women, but Manami Toyota was unavailable so they got Mima Shimoda instead. So the 11/26 PPV show will feature Akira Hokuto & Shimoda v. Bull Nakano & Mariko Yoshida instead.
– Then after that was already booked, Dillon went to the AJW offices and asked to book six women for the Survivor Series to team with Alundra Blayze and Bertha Faye respectively. Specifically, they wanted to get Bull Nakano because she did so well in her previous run and everyone liked her. But with Bull already promised to WCW, this puts AJW into a bad position because they have stronger relationships with the WWF guys and don’t want to jeopardize it. This would give us the strange situation of AJW working two rival promotions’ PPV shows a week apart! (The matches ended up totally different than listed here, though.)
– There is also talk that WWF will scrap the women’s division at the end of the year anyway and let Blayze go back to AJW to work as Madusa again. Basically the division has never taken hold with Blayze on top for the past two years, with the Bertha Faye stuff in particular being set up for failure. (Hopefully they remember to get the belt back before she leaves.)
– Steve Austin appeared for ECW on 9/23 after getting fired by WCW on 9/15. He’s still six weeks away from appearing in the ring, and will probably get the ECW World title as soon as Paul Heyman can find a way to get the belt onto him. Dave is pretty sure Steve is going to stay with ECW long-term and make good money as a supplement to a Japan gig. (Yup, that Steve Austin is a good solid midcard hand for an indy promotion.)
– Keiji Muto beat Shinya Hashimoto in 24:08 to win the G-1 tournament on 9/16. Dave notes that he’s not sure what got into Muto, but he was on fire and a totally different wrestler in the tournament. The final match gets ****1/4 and it was an “excellent tournament”.
– As good as the G-1 Finals were, Dave also got reports that the Misawa v. Taue match from All Japan on 9/7 “blew it away”. (This is getting more heated than AEW v. NXT!)
– Sabu is trying to convince New Japan to let him bring his uncle’s old US title for the tour, so he can challenge Sting to a match that determines who the “real” US champion is. Mostly because he’s so tired of being cast as a junior heavyweight in Japan and wants to do a real program with someone.
– New Japan was trying to bring in Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan, but Savage wanted $30,000. PER MATCH!
(I mean, I love the Macho Man as much as the next fella. Maybe more. But COME ON.)
– Also, there’s huge heat on Hogan for pulling out of the Korea show, so expect him to be gone FOREVER from New Japan. Or until they want him back, since it’s wrestling.
– Dave does also think it’s funny that they’re supposed to be running this big promotional war at the biggest WCW show of the year, but New Japan won’t send over their biggest stars and WCW won’t involve their biggest stars. (Almost as if it was a stupid idea from the beginning.)
– To Memphis, where Billy Jack Haynes lost a loser-leaves-town match to Brian Christopher to end his surprisingly great run there, and is going home to Oregon. He’s claiming that he’s got a deal to work Japan with Crush as a tag team, although Dave can’t imagine who would book them. Maybe WAR? (I don’t know if Dave ever follows up, but in fact Billy came back to Memphis a couple of weeks after this and then wrapped up his career for good. No Japan tour ever happened.)
– ECW starts on the America One network starting this week. (Thus beginning my ability to actually watch the show on a weekly basis with my giant C-Band dish! Until I moved out on my own and got an apartment a couple of months later.)
– Cactus Jack started his new anti-hardcore gimmick at the Middletown, NY house show where Steve Austin debuted STEVE-O-MANIA. Anyway, Jack wrestled the entire match scientifically, teasing chairshots and then telling fans that they didn’t deserve to see blood. Dave also notes that Jack did “one of the greatest interviews in the history of wrestling” on the 9/19 TV show. And yeah, he knows that he says that every week, but Jack keeps topping himself.
– There were apparently no charges filed against Mustafa after the incident where the cops hauled him out of the Philly Travel Lodge, and in fact he was back in action over the weekend. (I feel like Dave must have glossed over that one last week because I thought it was a bigger deal at the time.)
– The NWA is doing a show on 10/28 in Woodbury NJ, with Dan Severn defending the title against Dr. Death on top, which is interesting because they faced each other in the 1982 NCAA tournament and it was the only time that anyone pinned Severn in college.
– Ultimate Warrior returned to wrestling for his second match in 20 months (What a grueling schedule!) pinning Ulf Hermann in Hannover Germany, in a complete DUD. The show was also a flop, mostly because Otto Wanz had booked an interview for Warrior with Germany’s best-selling newspaper for the day before the show, and Warrior cancelled it.
– To WCW, where they’ll be bringing Curtis Iaukea in for a live segment at Halloween Havoc to introduce One Man Gang and/or Giant Gonzalez to “the Dungeon of Dumb”, which Dave is sure will multiply future buyrates.
– Fall Brawl appears to have done 113,000 buys, making it by far the lowest amount of buys for a show with Hogan on it.
– Flair and Sting taped a series of interviews to build up their tag match, where Flair brought out six children dressed like Sting to convince him to team with him. Sting told Flair that he didn’t think even Flair could stoop so low as to use children to backstab him, and so finally agreed to the match. (And yet Flair COULD stoop that low and that’s why it was so great! And again, although this one gets brought up in the “Sting is dumb” canon, Sting knew all along that Flair was going to turn on him and told Flair up front that if it happened, he’d kick Flair’s ass. And that’s what he did.)
– There’s a joke going around that when Bischoff met Sabu, he talked about growing up in Detroit and being a big fan of the Sheik, remembering watching when Hulk Hogan beat him for the title.
– Also, Bischoff mis-called the “Arabian Press” on Nitro because Sabu went to him before the match and said that his finish was the Arabian Press, but then Nick Patrick screwed up and counted the pin for an unrelated move, so Bischoff thought it was the Arabian Press.
– After the debacle of Jim Cornette’s cronies bringing smart signs into Johnson City, WCW made sure to confiscate everyone’s signs before the show. In order to facilitate this, they asked the live crowd to “make noise and show us your signs!” and then went around and took the most offensive ones. (Come on, that’s pretty clever by WCW standards!) Dave’s favorite confiscated ones included “WCW Get a Clue, Read the Observer” and “Who’s the Man? Paul Orndorff. Just ask Vader.”
– AC Connor from SMW got a dark match tryout after the RAW tapings (aka D-Lo Brown).
– PG-13 debuted as heels, challenging the Smoking Gunns to a tag title match, but people didn’t take them seriously as a threat given how small they are. (That one ended up on the Unreleased DVD I think.)
– Ahmad Williams is now Ahmad Johnson and pinned Rad Radford in a dark match with a dead crowd.
– Adam Bomb was flown in, reportedly to talk with Bill Watts, about coming back in, but he passed.
– Barry Didinsky has disappeared after they ran a joke poll about “which wrestling personality would like you to see powerbombed” and he finished on top.
– And finally, for those who think Vince McMahon isn’t “with it” or hip to the kids, Tom Brandi is being talked about as coming in with a gimmick playing Erik Estrada from “Chips”. (Better than what we got, I suppose.)