Wrestling Observer Flashback – 11.20.95
This week: Dave starts to suspect that the Monday Night Wars might lead to some one-upmanship. Burning hot takes coming through!
– Dave is pretty annoyed by the announcement that the winner of the World War 3 battle royale now gets the WCW World title, since it obviously means that they didn’t plan anything in advance because voiceovers on the syndicated shows are still talking about the winner getting “a title shot”. Granted, putting the title on the line will probably strengthen the buyrate. (Hey, I bought the show and it was the first one in more than a year where I had done so!) But Dave thinks having a “surprise” winner who isn’t going to do business with Hogan down the road is just wasting the good buyrate so there’s no point in making them a star. All of which is to say that the Giant is really the only person who should be winning this thing. But if they don’t want to job the Giant to Hogan this early, then that leaves Randy Savage as the logical winner. (Oh man, now Hogan is gonna get all upset about Dave spoiling the result and do something rash!)
– Hogan was original supposed to skip the match, but will now not only be in the match but several Nitro shows following it as well.
– Really, the guy who SHOULD be World champion is Ric Flair, but that train may have sailed.
– Although talk originally was of bringing a bunch of marginal outside talent, it now appears that they actually have enough contracted talent and hangers-on to fill out the 60 men by themselves. In another plan subject to change, the three “giants” will now be The Giant, the Yetti, and Hulk Hogan. Unless you want to count One Man Gang as a “giant”.
– Speaking of plans changing rapidly, the 10/23 RAW taping in Brandon Manitoba saw Sid beat Razor Ramon with the help of 1-2-3 Kid in a non-title match. However, all the advertising leading up to the match on TV was that it was a title match, and Sid was supposed to be Intercontinental champion coming out of it. In fact they had promised Sid the title for weeks and taped it as a title change, only to change the commentary on the day the show aired, inserting a segment from Gorilla Monsoon where he made it a non-title match for nebulous reasons.
– So with Sid no longer getting the title, it now turns out that Hunter Hearst Helmsley will likely be winning the belt from Ramon instead, and Sid is pretty pissed about it. Apparently, people backstage see this as “The Clique” controlling the championships. (Can we count that as an Understated Observer Debut for the Clique?) Of course, the leader of the Clique is scheduled to be losing his World title to Bret Hart in a week’s time, but the bitterness remains. (I’m sure it’ll all just blow over and amount to nothing.)
– Meanwhile, New York state is moving forward with plans to ban all UFC-type events. (For quite a long time it turned out!) The movement is led by Senator Roy Goodman, along with Governor George Pataki, and the usual rhetoric about “human cockfighting” and “animalistic” fights are being thrown around to justify the ban.
– Meanwhile, UFC owners SEG are now going to allow competitors to start wearing kempo gloves to protect their knuckles during fights, should they desire to do so. Ironically, the use of gloves makes it seem like the sport is less “brutal”, but in fact increases the risk of the fighters injuring themselves because they can throw more punches without breaking their hands, thus increasing the damage to the head of their opponent.
– ECW got called in for a hearing on the fire incident after the 10/28 show, although the meeting was confidential and the results weren’t disclosed. At the moment, the only known consequences are promoter Ed Zohn getting fined for not having a doctor present at the show. Also, Paul Heyman was told in no uncertain terms that the company would be shut down if this happened again.
– Speaking of ECW, a bunch of their top stars will be leaving shortly. Kevin Sullivan has offered Public Enemy a six-month contract to jump to WCW, which appears to be the winning bid based on the WWF’s current morale situation. Although Ted Petty, who is 43 years old, has had a lifelong goal of making it to the WWF and that might influence their decision-making. (Man, that makes their eventual jump there all the sadder, then) Currently the plans are for the WWF to turn them into a team called “Assault & Battery”, while WCW wants to call them “The Mac Daddys”. (Ironically they didn’t change their name in either promotion when it finally did happen! That being said, I like the WWF idea better of the two.) Meanwhile, Paul Heyman continues to insist that ECW is on the verge of getting a PPV deal and wants to keep them around until January. (Sure, Paul. Whatever you say.)
– Also meeting with the WWF this week…Cactus Jack. In times past, it was thought that Vince would never be interested in someone who looked and wrestled like Jack, but times have changed. Heyman doesn’t appear to object to Jack going, but told WWF officials that he wants to finish up his storylines, which would keep Jack with ECW until April of 1996. In return, WWF is looking use to ECW as a place to send talent to get work now that house show schedules have been reduced so much.
– Also leaving ECW, Woman, who is bound for WCW by the beginning of the year. She’ll either be managing Harlem Heat or Diamond Dallas Page (after Kimberly joins with Johnny B. Badd). There’s also interest in bringing in Konnan shortly as well. (Oddly, that ended up being the jump that made the biggest impact to WCW of them all.)
– To the surprise of…well, no one…Kensuke Sasaki won the US title from Sting at Sumo Hall on 11/13, becoming the first Japanese wrestler to hold it. Sadly, the combined New Japan/WCW show was a flop, only drawing 7500 people. It was their smallest show at Sumo Hall in 15 years. Sting is currently scheduled to get the belt back at Starrcade 95.
– Apparently Sherri missed the flight to the show and her status with WCW is questionable.
– Also in Japan, Dave throws some epic shade at WAR about their tag team tournament on 12/8, first with a note about “the dream team of El Gigante & Koji Kitao” and then later in the same paragraph, noting that “[they] will form the worst tag team in history for a tune-up match on 12/4”. (Just in case you thought he was being serious with his “dream team” description I guess)
– Over to Memphis, where things are getting so bad that they actually ran a main event of Jesse James Armstrong (Road Dogg) v. Jeff Jarrett as a “winner gets the loser’s promotion” stipulation. And still only drew 1200 people. Jarrett won the match and now USWA owns SMW in storyline. (Yeah, that was a moot point in two weeks anyway. Dave must have been really blindsided by the whole Rick Rubin deal because SMW dies at the end of the month and we’ve had zero buildup to it.)
– Jarrett’s return to TV in Memphis was actually great, and Jarrett did one of the best promos of his career building up the big match.
– Jarrett is still under contract to the WWF at this point, and they’re letting him work the USWA shows because Vince isn’t exactly in a position to making more enemies right now. Most expect he’ll be back on WWF TV shortly anyway.
– All of the SMW shows for the next week were cancelled, so there won’t be any shows until the “Thanksgiving Thunder” tour at the end of the month.
– The 11/18 ECW “November to Remember” show will likely be Terry Funk’s last US appearance for a long time.
– To the MONDAY NIGHT WARS, as the WWF won by a big margin, 2.6 to 2.0. The difference appears to be that the Razor v. Sid “title match” was a bigger draw. And Dave thinks people will disappointed in the Hogan v. Sting rating on 11/20. Although Dave does concede that Eric Bischoff is starting to get some move names right, so he’s about to blow past Vince McMahon on the announcer depth chart. Dave thinks it’s definitely time to get rid of Mongo, though.
– Mean Gene did his usual stellar job of promoting the women wrestlers coming to WCW for the World War III show, noting that “they sound like items on the menu at the sushi bar.”
– To the WWF, where Vince actually showed up for house shows somewhere other than MSG. There’s been a lot of unhappiness among wrestlers for not getting a lot of work recently, with Bam Bam Bigelow almost certainly leaving for New Japan right away. Kama and Bob Holly were both complaining to Vince as well about not getting dates, but neither has actually given notice.
– Diesel was on “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” this past week. (Which one was he supposed to be?)
– Survivor Series has only sold half the tickets in the building, which usually means they announce a “sellout” on TV with a week to go, but didn’t do so in this case.
– Aldo Montoya was told that they’re going to take the mask off him and do his hair differently, giving him a completely new character. (Sounds just…um…line?)
– And finally, here’s reader Jim Cornette with his letter to the editor about ECW…
I don’t get the Torch anymore, since, drat the luck, my parakeet died a few months ago so there’s no longer the need for it around the house, but I want to request all newsletter readers to keep me posted on the latest ECW story.
When SMW’s famous “Wise, Virginia” incident happened, it was a major story for months, necessitating calls to everyone but the Governor of Virginia. I was greeted with chants of “Wise, Virginia” from fans at WWF shows 1,000 miles away. I received dozens of phone calls from people in and around wrestling about our “major riot.”
For you statisticians, our major riot consisted of one out-of-line security guard being called a n—–, and later punched by Jimmy Del Rey. Several of his friends tried to start trouble. One of them pulled a knife. The Bruise Brothers swung a few chairs. A lot of people cussed each other. The police were called, hell, it was the most excitement they’d seen since Prohibition in that town. And then, everyone got in their car and went home. One fan said he got hit but never showed in court to press charges.
ECW Arena. October 28 scorecard. Tommy Dreamer got a broken nose and burned. Terry Funk was set ablaze and received second degree burns and was taken to the hospital. The ring, wet with kerosene from a previous match, set on fire. A fan, a fan for God’s sake, was set on fire. People were spraying fire extinguishers. The lights were turned out. A lot of chairs were thrown. Fans were coughing and choking from fire extinguisher fumes. Fans were cut and bruised from flying chairs that were thrown by other fans. “At most only one or two” fans were hospitalized. Car were vandalized. One car was stolen. People left panicked and furious. And there was a mock crucifixion to end the show. That last thing alone would have been enough to have gotten everyone responsible for the show thrown in jail in the state of Tennessee.
Has anyone figured out yet that as much of the blame for the wrestling business being in the worst condition it has ever been in history goes to this ridiculous horseshit that Paul E Dangerously is foisting off on the public as much as the ludicrous garbage presented by the gang of surgeons at WCW? Do you know how frustrating it is to try and present a solid wrestling product when the task is made hopeless by people being able to tune in to murders of nasty giants and a bunch of insane stuntmen at the same time? And now for the $64,000 question–Will this story be given coverage in proper ratio to Wise, Virginia, or is it a case of a first time offender getting 20 years because the jury didn’t like him or a man going free for two murders because of his bank book and his skin color? Whoops, there I go again.
Smoky Mountain Wrestling