Wrestling Observer Flashback – 10.09.95
Today in “bad ideas that backfired in record time…”
– Vince McMahon announced in a meeting prior to the In Your House show on 9/24 that Bill Watts would be “taking a larger share of responsibility” for the creative end of the WWF wrestling business. The meeting was “anti-WCW oriented”, and Vince apparently told the wrestlers that they weren’t interested in running weekly live shows and would start teasing next week’s episode with highlights at the end of the taped shows. You know, like “Melrose Place”?
(Or that. In the case of Bill Watts, though, Vince would quickly say…)
(OK, now that’s out of my system for the moment. Carrying on…)
– Anyway, Vince promised to be spending more time in his new role as corporate executive, leaving the day to day operations to Watts. Vince also promised that he’d work with Watts, but wouldn’t overrule him.
– Although Bill Watts wasn’t particularly well-liked during his WCW run in 1992, there hasn’t been any serious discontent with him. Yet. (YET.)
– Bill’s mandate appears to be reversing the ratings freefall of WWF Superstars by putting more marquee matches on it, since in many peoples’ eyes RAW is the only show they’ll watch in a week. In fact, RAW’s strong ratings number have actually pulled attention away from how badly ever other WWF property on TV is currently doing.
– Also, Bill really wants to push Ahmed Johnson as a top level black babyface. And Bret Hart is getting the belt back ASAP.
– Further on with Vince’s stirring oration, he blasted WCW for daring to go against them on Mondays, when they could have easily put their show on Wednesday or Thursday and had the night to themselves! Apparently (you might want to sit down for this one), it’s more important for them to try and hurt their competitor rather than helping themselves! That’s just BAD BUSINESS! (What gem of wisdom is he gonna drop NeXT I wonder?)
– Bill Watts added that Time-Warner knows nothing about wrestling, and with Ted Turner suddenly getting phased down, it was actually quite likely that TBS would just dump wrestling completely. Vince apparently responded that “he hoped it wouldn’t happen because overall that would be bad for business”. (THAT’S SUCH GOOD SHIT, PAL!)
– So then Bill and Vince played some “what if” with regards to WCW and their talent, should the company go out of business as predicted by Cowboy Bill. Hulk Hogan? He’s never gonna work in the WWF again. Lex Luger? “We’ll see him in court!” He did, however, have positive things to say about Sting and Brian Pillman and Harlem Heat. (They’re his ni….well, you know.)
– And now, a word about fiduciary responsibility. Apparently Nitro was costing WCW $150,000 a week, and the WWF just can’t afford to do that. In fact, their strength would be giving away their own taped shows with the “Melrose Place” end of show highlights to hook people for the next week. (That’s quite the spin job.)
– Vince finished with a flourish, noting that Ted Turner has held a grudge for 10 years because he tried to buy the WWF and failed, and that the WWF has better production, better wrestlers and better booking. (That’s a unique interpretation.) Also, Eric Bischoff has less experience in the wrestling business than most of the wrestlers in the room with Vince at that moment.
– To Japan, where Ultimo Dragon and WAR were announced as hosting the second annual Super J Cup tournament, to be held mid-December at Sumo Hall. Participating promotions will include WAR, New Japan, FMW and Michinoku Pro.
– (Just as a personal note, the rundown of results provides me with a laugh, because there’s actually a promotion in Charlotte at this point called the PWF, or “Pro Wrestling Federation”. Now there’s some low-effort creativity! Not to be outdone, apparently the Sportatorium group using all the old Global guys is now called “Confederate Wrestling Federation”. Hopefully the Freebirds were being used as top babyfaces.)
– The wedding of Akira Hokuto and Kensuke Sasaki was the biggest news of the week in Japan, with all kinds of wrestling celebrities and actual celebrities attending. Wrestlers there included Inoki, Aja Kong, Bull Nakano, Muto, Hashimoto, Great Sasuke (wearing the mask), Jushin Liger and Hayabusa.
– So the massive New Japan v. UWFI show has gone a bit awry, as Takada was forced to finally admit to the press that in fact Lou Thesz had broken ties with the company and taken his World title belt back to the States with him. (Who is he, Shawn Michaels?) Thus, in a rather head-scratching leap of logic, this means that Takada can no longer be called UWFI World champion and the match with Muto at the Dome can no longer be a title v. title match. Dave notes how stupid this is, especially since the show is already sold out anyway, so if they suddenly bait and switch it to a non-title match, you’re just screwing over the paying fans.
– The one-off Smoking Gunns v PG-13 match in the WWF actually led to a rematch in Memphis, which was once again won by the Gunns.
– Dave watched the Rey Mysterio v. Psicosis match on ECW TV and gave it ****1/4 (That’s like 17 stars in non-Japan speak!) and he also praised the commentary work of Joey Styles in making it even better.
– Sabu update: He’s not coming back to ECW. He’s working against Paul on a Coraluzzo show on the same day as an ECW Arena show, so Paul Heyman is once again adamant against ever bringing Sabu back ever again, ever.
– Terry Funk update: He’s only going to do the one week for IWA in Japan, and then finally hang it up at age 51. ECW is very interested in using him, but don’t expect him to be doing anything further in the ring. At least not until 1996 at least.
– New York state senator Roy Goodman is trying to introduce legislation to have UFC banned from New York in the future. In particular, Goodman did a press conference where he compared the sport to cock-fighting, and noted that UFC isn’t regulated in the way boxing or wrestling are.
– Speaking of things never happening again ever, Ultimate Warrior is sending out letters letting people know that he’s never going back to the WWF ever again because Vince McMahon is “a control freak”. (Hello, kettle? This is the pot…)
– Interesting trivia note from the Confederate Wrestling Federation at the Sportatorium, as the main event saw a tag team of Konnan teaming with Konnan 2000, the first time that had happened. Of course, neither person was actually played by Konnan.
– Al Snow vacated his Midwest Territorial championship on 9/30 on his last show with the group, announcing that he was going full-time to the WWF. Originally he was supposed to get a gimmick based off The Crow, but that appears not to be the case. (Hopefully someone else can get over with that one. Of course, knowing Vince he probably though it was Heckle & Jeckle being pitched.)
– To WCW, where Harlem Heat regained the WCW tag titles from the American Males at the Center Stage tapings on 9/27, although who knows when the match will actually air.
– Speaking of the Heat, there is now serious talk of doing a wedding on TV with Parker and Sherri. (It ended up ranking pretty highly on the list of awesome wrestling weddings, as I recall.)
– Randy Savage beat The Man of Question with the flying elbow in a tryout for that gimmick, with Bill DeMott looking good. (Heard he turned out to be a real hole of the ass.)
– Teddy Long returned to an on-screen role after years of being backstage and doing local p.r. work. His first client will likely be Joey Maggs.
– Jim Duggan beat Big Bubba after taping up his fist, but during the match VK Wallstreet stole Duggan’s 2×4 to start a feud. Dave wonders why Duggan can’t just go to the lumberyard and buy a new one?
– Jerry Lynn debuted as the mysterious Mr. JL.
– The Nitro from 10/2 drew 9000 to Denver, but wasn’t as good as previous weeks because they promised a Hogan title match and a tag title match and didn’t deliver either. Kevin Sullivan dressed up as a woman and attacked Hogan for the big angle, shaving off his legendary mustache for the heat.
– Luger and Savage had a crappy match on the show, which went through a commercial break where live fans at ringside were treated to Luger loudly asking the ref over and over when the commercial was over so they could stop doing a chinlock and continue the match.
– WCW was not only confiscating signs from fans on the way in, but also handing out their own properly approved signs to those same fans in exchange. So now the fans are playing a new game where they bring markers with them and write on the BACK of the approved signage, which has resulted in David Crockett being given the task of watching the crowd and trying to pick out fans who are writing on the backs of signs during the show so that they can confiscate THOSE signs, too. (And yet people are still shocked, SHOCKED I SAY, that this company barely made it to the next century before imploding for good.) To be fair, Dave notes, the WWF is also having trouble with renegade signs as well. But not as much.
– Dave also notes that with both companies already doing hot-shot title changes on their Monday shows, they’re going to the nuclear option much faster than he would have guessed.
– Talk of having Starrcade live from Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, although that’s far from definite. (Cool idea, though.)
– The Sheik is unable to physically walk to the ring without limping these days, so he has declined to appear in Sabu’s corner at Halloween Havoc.
– Vader update: Still not officially fired yet.
– Warlord & Barbarian were announced on the WCW hotline as coming in soon as a team.
– The hotline also did a report on the mysterious Tatanka situation, which earned them a “nasty legal letter” from the WWF.
– To the WWF, where prelim ratings for the Wrestlemania special on FOX are sitting at a 3.8, which would make it the most watched wrestling show of the year.
– The Blu Twins had their last match at the Superstars tapings on 9/26, losing to Razor Ramon & 1-2-3 Kid before giving notice.
– Jeff Jarrett update: He was flown in to Connecticut about coming back, but nothing has been agreed yet. (Not even that he’s great? Ain’t he?)
– As for Tatanka, we still don’t know the details, but it’s something significant and he’s not coming back until everything is cleared up and he’s exonerated.
– And finally, on RAW, they ran a poll about OJ Simpson’s guilt or innocence, promising to give the proceeds of their hotline to various abused childrens’ foundations. Those foundations immediately freaked out and disavowed all knowledge of this plan, saying that they wouldn’t want proceeds from a poll about a horrific double murder. For their part, the WWF only had one thing to say as an apology…
(Peace out. Stay safe!)