Wrestling Observer Flashback – 10.23.95
Well, in a year of tumultuous change and problems for the WWF, at least we know that there’s a man in charge with long-term vision and a strong will. Yes, we know that Cowboy Bill Watts will be running the show for a long time to come. No matter what.
– After only three weeks with the company, Bill Watts officially quit on 10/13 after a disagreement with Vince McMahon.
– Also, Shawn Michaels apparently suffered a horrific beating at the hands of several servicemen outside of a bar in Syracuse and now he’s in the hospital.
– Also, Undertaker suffered a broken orbital bone against Mabel and he’ll be out of action for a month.
– Let’s take these one at a time.
– Bill Watts had officially been announced as being the new guy in charge at the 9/24 PPV in Saginaw, with Vince supposedly stepping back and acting more in an executive capacity, promising to “oversee” Watts but never overruling him. And then of course, Watts was almost immediately overruled by Vince and he quit the company as a result because he realized Vince was full of it. The actual disagreement seemed to stem from Watts getting into an argument with staff over his office not being ready on the Tuesday while voiceovers were being done for TV. Rumors spread that he was gone, and he officially gave his notice on the Friday. The belief from some is that Watts’ departure is over the creative direction leading to Wrestlemania 12, which is apparently already booked. Others think it was simply a matter of Watts’ vision for the direction of the company (no mixing of heels and faces, wrestler discipline, and not playing cards in the dressing rooms before matches). Vince thought everyone was fine as it was (Clearly…) and that discipline wasn’t a problem. (Oh for sure. That’s one thing they say about this era, that everyone was well-behaved and inmates were 100% not running asylum.) Either way, when Watts found out that “full authority” was subjective, he immediately quit.
– Meanwhile, there’s all kinds of stories swirling around the beating of Shawn Michaels in Syracuse. The one consistent element is that Shawn, Bulldog and 1-2-3 Kid were drinking at a bar by the hotel after a show in Binghamton. All the taxis were booked at the end of the night, so the bouncer offered to have his girlfriend drive them back to the hotel, at which point “eight to ten” servicemen followed them out of the bar and started some shit with them, throwing homophobic slurs at Shawn and punching Waltman into the car. Shawn got pulled out of the car and had his face smashed into the car and onto the bumper before Bulldog made the save. Davey leg-dived one of the guys and was trying to choke him out, but another serviceman thumbed him in the eye and tried to pull it out. Finally an undercover cop showed up and pulled a gun on the attackers, sending them running into a pair of White Ford Broncos as they fled.
– Davey was left with a black eye but was fine to work the next night. Kid wasn’t hurt and worked as well, but it was against Bob Backlund so there was absolutely no bumps. Shawn was taken to the hospital with both eyes swollen shut and blood coming out of his eyes and ear. His eyelid was nearly ripped off and needed 10 stitches to reattach it, plus his eardrum was busted. However, he didn’t suffer any broken bones and flew home to recuperate.
– Oddly, there was no police report on the incident, and in fact the police claimed to not even know about the incident. (Also the details changed a LOT in the years following. Also it soon came out that Shawn wasn’t exactly the innocent victim of a random attack.) It could be that WWF didn’t want it to be reported because it could be potentially embarrassing for various reasons.
– Of course, it wouldn’t be a big story without Mean Gene cashing in, as he reported on “a WWF superstar coming out on the short end of a fight with a fan” for the WCW hotline and did record business. Of course this is equally as much of a bad spin as the WWF’s “He got jumped by ten thugs unprovoked”.
– Marty Jannetty was flown in as an emergency replacement for weekend shows, taking Shawn’s place against Bulldog and winning because it’s WWF policy to put over substitute babyfaces. Shawn is still expected to work the PPV in Winnipeg. (It might have been SLIGHTLY better if he had, I suppose.)
– Also, Shawn had previously gotten into a confrontation with the Harris twins at the MSG show on 10/5, with Don putting a chair against the door to keep people from getting in while Ron choked Shawn out against the wall. Shawn was scared but uninjured, and the Blu Twins quit right after. (Probably heard that Shawn was spending too much time with Ahmed Johnson and wanted to put a stop to it.)
– Back to the Undertaker, who will 100% certainly be missing the Winnipeg show and a month’s worth of shows. The injury was suffered against Mabel on 10/7, as an errant clothesline hit him in the eye and broke his orbital bone, although worked the rest of the week against Isaac Yankem not realizing the severity of the injury until the pain became unbearable. (He worked for a week with a BROKEN FACE! That’s pretty badass.) The storyline reason for the injury is the RAW match against Mabel and Yokozuna on 10/9.
– To Japan (Sorry! I’ll keep it quick this time!) where Riki Choshu announced that he’ll be retiring after the December tour, after working himself to death leading up to the Tokyo Dome show against the UWFI guys. This is actually the third retirement for Choshu, for those keeping track.
– Meanwhile, Takada and the UWFI were so destroyed by the New Japan booking that they failed to sell out on their own show two nights later, and Takada was booed out of the building by his own fanbase. Takada, who was not used to this kind of reaction, cursed out the fans and told them to shut up over the house mic.
– The idea behind the booking of the interpromotional show was that Choshu deliberately wanted to “destroy” the UWFI before New Japan took it over, in order to prove that New Japan was the better promotion the whole time. (But, of course, everyone in wrestling learned their lesson and that sort of thing would never happen again.)
– Although the UWFI is alive in name, it’s believed that New Japan paid off their debts and took over the company, and will soon be running it as a satellite company of New Japan like Heisei Ishingun is.
– Also, Choshu believed that they couldn’t trust Takada with the IWGP title, which is why he wasn’t booked to win it.
– To Calgary, where the Hart Brothers are reportedly trying to put together a show to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Stu’s first match in the city. The show, called “Showdown at the Corral”, will feature wrestlers from both WWF and WCW, with top matches announced as Bret Hart v. Shawn Michaels, Owen Hart v. 1-2-3 Kid and Razor Ramon v. Davey Boy Smith. Also appearing will be Benoit, Pillman and Makhan Singh.
– With crowds WAY down in Memphis, they went back to the interpromotional well and brought back the SMW guys and Billy Jack Haynes for another go-around on TV. Basically Haynes showed up at TV and said that the 30 days after his loser-leaves-town match were up, so he’s back. This despite the fact that no one said anything about it only being 30 days when he originally lost the match. (He wouldn’t stick around for long anyways and would leave the business afterwards.)
– Speculation is that Robert Gibson will turn heel in SMW and end up as the mysterious Sgt. Rock that Jim Cornette is hyping. Ricky Morton has been calling him trying to mend fences ever since his firing a few months back.
– To ECW, where the Gangstas were officially fired over the Jim Thorpe PA incident last week. (If only that were true.)
– There’s talk that Heyman is going to attempt to bring in Lou Thesz to act as a manager for Taz. Dave can only imagine what Lou would say about an ECW show. Due to injuries, Taz has toned down his suplexes and is now using a choke as his finisher. (Like that’ll ever get over.)
– Steve Austin did another fantastic interview on ECW TV, claiming that Bischoff fired him over the phone via his secretary, but still called ECW “a bunch of violent crap”. Dave thinks he’s still ending up in the WWF sooner rather than later, so it’s all rather pointless on Heyman’s part.
– Even though Paul Heyman had TOTALLY REASONABLE explanations for the bounced cheques this week, some CRAZY wrestlers are still thinking that there might be financial problems with the company and they’re calling WWF and WCW looking for work. Just in case.
– New addition to the 10/28 ECW Arena show: Johnny Grunge faces Stevie Richards in a match where the loser has to wear a dress, in what is being billed as “A Raggedy Ass Ho match”. (Dave having to report this stuff as straight news is tremendous.)
– Promoter TC Martin is already talking about expanding his NWC promotion from Vegas into California. However, this is in stark contrast to the TV show, which was pulled and replaced by WWF Challenge this past weekend after Warrior pulled out of the promotion.
– To WCW, where Nitro on 10/16 saw a fantastic match between Chris Benoit and Eddy Guerrero featuring the greatest powerbomb that Dave has ever seen in his life. (HELL YEAH IT WAS.) He was also given the nickname “The Canadian Crippler”.
– Nitro actually beat RAW in quality by the widest margin to date, so of course this was the week where RAW beat them handily in the ratings, with a 2.5 to 2.2 victory.
– OK, so here’s the story on the Flair-Sting deal. The original idea proposed to Sting, three months ago mind you, was for the Horsemen to reform and turn on him at Halloween Havoc, all of which Sting agreed to. Then, a week ago, Lex Luger got into his ear and convinced him that it would make him look stupid if he went through with it. (WHAT? STING LOOK STUPID? That’s crazy talk!) Luger’s pitch was that Sting gets turned on, but then escapes the beating and thus DOESN’T look stupid. Dave correctly points out that he would not only still look stupid in this scenario, but also would not have any heat for the feud on top of it. Dave thinks that what should happen is that STING should turn, since it would create tons of new matches and shock everyone. But Sting would never agree to it and Flair desperately wants to be a heel again.
– Apparently the main event of the World War III PPV show is going to a three-ring 60 man battle royale, which Dave thinks sounds pretty scary.
– No update on Vader this week. Still not fired.
– They redid the Harlem Heat title win over the American Males at the Center Stage tapings on 10/11, which confused the fans who were at the LAST tapings where the Males already dropped the titles to the Heat in basically the same match. The match was apparently a bit better this time, but still filled with botches.
– WCW is papering the Halloween Havoc show in Detroit like crazy, giving out free ringside tickets to anyone who buys a WCW calling card at 7-11. (The cards probably randomly dialed the wrong number when you used them.)
– To the WWF, where the European tour is doing strong business. (With Razor and Diesel both on the tour, Shawn had no one to make sure he didn’t say or do stupid shit in Syracuse, it turned out later.)
– Jim Ross was doing a “heavy Okie gimmick” on Superstars and he seemed uncomfortable doing it. (Hopefully he gets over it.)
– Adam Bomb is definitely coming back.
– The WWF is cutting back heavily on the “B” show tours, so they started sending out letters to local indy promoters offering guys so they could get work with no house shows. So lots of people were thrilled, until they discovered that WWF either wouldn’t respond to their requests, or else promised them talent and then pulled them at the last minute after they were advertised for local shows. (That’s our Vince!)
– And finally, with the dropping of the B Shows, they’re also dropping the women’s division, so the live RAW on 10/23 from Brandon MB will likely feature Alundra Blayze winning the title back from Bertha Faye as the swan song for the belt. They might send her to Japan to defend the belt there and then bring her back to defend the belt on WWF shows later in the year.
(Yeah, yeah, we know.)