Wrestling Observer Flashback – 12.26.95
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Madusa shows up on Nitro with the WWF Women’s title…
– The Monday Night Wars produced the most memorable moment yet on the 12/18 Nito, when the former Alundra Blayze showed up with the WWF Women’s title belt and threw it in a garbage can, calling herself Madusa again. Apparently the garbage can symbolizes what she thinks of the WWF and the WWF title.
– This is topping off quite a week for both companies, as Micelli’s contract expired on 12/13, but her WCW negotiations were well known, so technically she was fired before she left. She was supposed to be sticking around with the WWF in the short term and do a match with Aja Kong at the Royal Rumble, but the decision was made by Vince to essentially abandon the women’s division and Blayze was going to be dumped anyway. Oddly, despite this treatment of Blayze and the division in general, All Japan Women still wants to maintain their relationship with the WWF because it’s somehow still better than WCW’s treatment of them. (Battered promotion syndrome.)
– Vince reportedly found out about the appearance on Nitro from a technician early in the live RAW show, and he was “stunned” and spent the rest of the show distracted by it.
– But then the strangest return appears to be yet to come, as Ultimate Warrior’s name was brought up on Superstars by Jim Ross, but then not mentioned again on the PPV or Action Zone. No one seems to know for sure what the deal there is. Dave thinks it’s equally likely that Warrior had struck a deal earlier in the week and then it fell apart by the time that Superstars aired.
– Meanwhile, Steve Austin debuted at the RAW tapings as THE RING MASTER, using a Million Dollar Dream as a finisher and sporting the Million Dollar belt. Also, Jeff Jarrett returned and started a program with Ahmed Johnson. (Yeah that didn’t last long.) Tom Prichard is already gone from ECW, debuting as Flip of the Bodydonnas. (What a stupid name. I’m so glad they changed it to Zip instead. Otherwise people might still be making fun of him!) Buddy Landel is already gone, doing a job to Bret Hart at the tapings on the way out. Also the former Headbangers in SMW debuted as the Spiders under masks, doing a job for the Smoking Gunns on the tapings. And Boo Bradley from SMW debuted as the evil Zanta Claus.
– But despite all the former SMW talent on the WWF side, Jim Cornette is not involved in the booking at all, according to the people in charge of this sort of thing. (ie, liars)
– Also Nitro did its all time highest rating for the Madusa episode, with a staggering 2.7. (They’ll never top that number again!)
– Dan Severn won the Ultimate Ultimate on 12/16 in Denver after all the controversy over the show, beating Oleg Taktarov in the finals via unanimous decision.
– Dave then goes on for about 15 paragraphs about how judges will affect the sport in the future and blah blah blah.
– OK, back to wrestling. In Your House V was shat from Vince’s womb on 12/17 in Hershey, PA, and was “like two different shows” according to Dave. The first show was one bad match after another and a complete mess, like watching the dying AWA at the end of the line. But then the main event saved the show, with Bret Hart doing heavy juice while Vince played both sides, apologizing to the cable companies afterwards but really engineering it because he wants to ape the ECW style to modernize the product. In fact, the main event was so good that Dave felt guilty giving the show a thumbs down afterwards. (I didn’t. That show was fucking awful.)
– In the dark match, Savio Vega pinned Bob Backlund in a match that was said to be dreadful. ½*
– Razor Ramon & Marty Jannetty beat 1-2-3 Kid and Sid in 12:22 when Ramon pinned Sid with a bulldog. Goldust gave Todd Pettingill a note during the match, which turned out to be a love letter to Ramon. Match was a disappointment although Ramon v. Kid had good heat. *1/4
– Next up, the ring announcer introduced “Buddy Ridell” but Jerry Lawler went to the ring and brought out Jeff Jarrett insteadmaking his big return to no reaction.
– Ahmed Johnson pinned Buddy Landel in 0:42 with the Pearl River Plunge and then spanked Dean Douglas with a paddle. And then Jeff Jarrett came back out while Ahmed was being interviewed and broke a gold record on his head, setting up that feud.
– Hunter Hearst Helmsley beat Henry Godwinn in the Hog Pen match in 8:58, with Hillbilly Jim making a surprise appearance as guest ref. They worked hard in the ring but the point was to throw your opponent into the hogpen that was far away from the ring, so it was all pretty pointless. The finish saw HOG charge HHH and miss, landing in the hogpen to take the loss. But then HOG slammed Hunter into the slop to get revenge, which was double gross because Helmsley had been cut open on his back earlier in the match and had to roll around in the filth. *
– Owen Hart beat Diesel by DQ in 4:34 when Diesel shoved the ref. Owen did a great job carrying the match. *1/2
– At this point, Ted Dibiase teamed up with Santa Claus to attack Savio Vega.
– Undertaker beat King Mabel in a casket match in 6:11. Undertaker kept sitting up through Mabel’s moves, but they finally got him into the casket and forgot to close the lid. So Undertaker made the comeback, put both Mo and Mabel into it, grabbed his melted down urn necklace, and shut the lid to win. “It wasn’t anywhere near as bad as their previous PPV match”. (Well that’s a backhanded compliment if I’ve ever heard one.) *1/2
– Bret Hart beat Davey Boy Smith in 21:09 with a cradle to retain the WWF title. Started slow but turned into an excellent match. Bret juiced heavily after a trip to the steps. (Bret has since claimed that he talked Vince into thinking it was hardway blood.) The commentary at the end almost gave you the impression that Davey was turned babyface again. (Nope.) ****1/2
– In the dark matches after the show, Goldust pinned Duke Droese in a DUD match and then Smoking Gunns & Barry Horowitz & Hakushi beat Yokozuna & Isaac Yankem & Skip & Flip in a * match.
– The news story about Laura Brevetti’s husband Marty Bergman just won’t go away, as the Village Voice did a followup story in the 12/19 issue called “The Fixer”. Apparently Bergman has a career ranging from journalist to private eye to media manipulator to snitch, finding dirt on people and selling it for the right price. (Holy shit, maybe he’s the guy who was the Smackdown hacker! Anyway, there’s a lot of alleged stuff against Bergman and his involvement in the steroid trials, but none of it every went anywhere.)
– The former Stampede Wrestling did a reunion show of sorts in Calgary on 12/15, although it was marred somewhat by disappointing no-shows from Dynamite Kid and Abdullah the Butcher. Despite buying him a plane ticket and arranging things for him a week in advance, Kid never called to cancel. Apparently he doesn’t actually have a phone at his home in England, but the organizers tried to contact him at the steel mill where he works as a night watchman and couldn’t get a hold of him to find out what the hell was going on because he wouldn’t answer the phone there. Finally, on the day of the show, a co-worker picked up the phone and told them that Kid wasn’t going to show up. (What a guy.)
– However, despite the Kid being a dick about the whole thing, the show was still a success, with WCW talent like Brian Pillman and Chris Benoit showing up, along with Bret and Owen Hart, Razor Ramon, British Bulldog and 1-2-3 Kid.
– But stealing the show was Terry Funk, as he wrestled his final match ever, teaming with Dory Funk to face Bruce Hart and Brian Pillman. They had a brawl that went all over the building, ending with Terry hitting the ref for a DQ finish. (Farewell, Terry Funk! We’ll always remember 1995 as you hung it up for good!)
– Jushin Liger won the second Super J Cup, beating Gedo in the finals of a tournament that was said to be very good, but nowhere near the level of the 1994 one. The best match of the show was actually a non-tournament one, with Rey Mysterio Jr. beating Psicosis.
– AAA is apparently looking desperately for anyone who might have taped the STAR OF DEATH cage match in Los Angeles, since they didn’t tape it and might want to use footage of it someday.
– To All Japan, where Jungle Jim Steele is now going by “The Lacrosse”. (Just leaving that one here.)
– To FMW, where FMW Women’s champion Shark Tsuchiya disappeared after dropping the title to Combat Toyoda on 12/10, and then no-showed every card for the next week. Apparently if she doesn’t show up for her 12/22 barbed wire match with Meguni Kuno, she’ll be fired. Dave smells an angle. (Hot take, bro.)
– To Memphis, where attendance again hit the all-time low of 450 people on Monday night, so they’re going to move to Wednesday on 12/27 as an experiment. And also bring back Jimmy Valiant.
– The stuff with Bob Armstrong taking over the USWA on behalf of SMW has been such a disaster that they essentially wrote off the entire angle on TV, with another judge overruling the first judge who put Bob in control and Randy Hales saying that all the stupid matchmaking is done and he’s back in control for good.
– The Bruise Brothers are headed into ECW soon.
– Incredibly Strange Wrestling returns on 12/23, debuting new characters like “Santo Claus” from Mexico and “The Fire Starter” hailing from Paul E, PA.
– And yet we must soldier on and finish the issue.
– UFC finally has their own section in the newsletter now. I think we knew that was coming.
– WCW brass have reconsidered their idea to tape Nitro bi-weekly and they are FLIP FLOPPING because clearly RAW is on its last legs and it’s time to deal the death blow. So they’re now going live at least through April.
– However, they still aren’t going to go live on Christmas, so they pre-taped a couple of weeks on 12/18.
– Meanwhile, Hogan is using every trick in the book to make himself a babyface, making sure to tell the Augusta crowd that he was born there, and then booking himself as the superhuman babyface by beating up all the heels with chairs while saving Randy Savage, and getting suspended. That way fans will have to request he returns, you see.
– Sadly, the deal to bring in Luke and Butch from Down Under has fallen through, as they’re still under contract to the WWF. (One of the biggest what-ifs in wrestling history.)
– Public Enemy will indeed be Public Enemy.
– Mark Madden was fired for recording a hotline segment where he pointed out that Hogan was booed in Charlotte and Bischoff freaked out and fired Madden on the spot. But then WCW legal actually listened to the segment and pointed out to Bischoff that WCW had to approve anything posted to the hotline first, so it was actually his own fault. At which point Madden was unfired.
– To the WWF, where they’re really pushing the Razor v. Goldust angle for Royal Rumble.
– Reports are that the blood in the Bret-Davey match was a blood capsule. Dave is skeptical. (Ah yes, the mythical “blood capsule”)
– And finally, Terry Funk was offered a spot in the Royal Rumble, but had to turn it down. Because, you know, he’s retired and all.