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post #201 of 271 (permalink) Old 05-22-2013, 05:23 PM
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Re: 20 years Ago: Wrestling Observer

Extremely interesting how some things were forecasted, and how certain events were talked about at that time

KOTR1995 was utter shit. Pushing Mabel that hard is honestly one of the worst booking decisions ever by Vince.

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post #202 of 271 (permalink) Old 05-28-2013, 03:01 PM
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Re: 20 years Ago: Wrestling Observer

Was reading the latest back issue to be put on the Observer site, and thought this article on ECW was worth posting here. Bit of a long 'un, but worth a read.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wrestling Observer from March 18th 1996
Is ECW the next step in the evolution of American wrestling? Or is it simply a violent aberration with a cult following?

In recent years, there has never been a promotion anywhere in the world that has drawn so much attention while still not proving itself to any serious degree at the box office. The reasons for the attention worldwide is in many ways deserved. ECW has had a tremendous effect on pro wrestling, not only in the United States but also in Mexico. It's become a cult deal that has spread to Japan (wrestlers in smaller promotions in Japan and in AAA in Mexico routinely wear ECW t-shirts during wild street fight and barbed wire type matches), something other equally brutal and even more bloody promotions from the past such as Joe Blanchard's San Antonio office with national television exposure could never even approach. It has exposed numerous new stars and acts that the so-called big boys would never consider and in some cases literally laugh at because of their obvious weaknesses (usually in regard to either size or in some cases wrestling ability) and exposed their strengths and made those same offices come after the guys. It has produced, on a consistent basis, probably the best quality house shows in America. And since the start of the new year, the organization has even proven it could beat the rap of not being able to draw anywhere but in one building as it has sold out every show, albeit most in very small halls, since the new year began.

This past weekend, ECW presented its biggest back-to-back shows in history, entitled the "Big Ass Extreme Bash," in the midst of poor weather selling out to the tune of an estimated 1,200 at both Lost Battalion Hall in Queens, NY on 3/8, and following it up in its home ECW Arena in South Philadelphia the next night.

The shows ended with more questions coming up than questions being answered about what exactly is the future of what has to be considered right now the No. 3 wrestling promotion in the U.S.

The show in Queens was a study of everything that can go wrong with the concept of presenting a hard edged ultra-violent concept on television that encourages fan participation. The next night, the show was an example of nearly everything positive about the same concept. The wrestlers were the same. The angles were similar. The quality of the matches, while overall better in Philadelphia, weren't all that different. The biggest difference was the crowd.

In Philadelphia, ECW has become an every three week cult deal. The 1,200 or so fans who pack every square centimeter of the building are for the most part, the same fans that have been there for the last few years. In the annals of pro wrestling, that's nothing unusual. In the territorial heyday, every city that ran regularly and had its home arena, whether it be the Atlanta City Auditorium, the Portland Sports Arena, the Kiel in St. Louis, Madison Square Garden, The Cow Palace in San Francisco, the Ampitheatre in Chicago, Mid South Coliseum in Memphis or even the Amarillo Sports Arena would, after repetition, develop fans who were into the product on more than a superficial level. They had their local heroes and homesteaders, and a revolving cast of heels brought in. Some cities liked small guys. Some liked big guys. Some liked blood. Some liked credibility. In most cases, it wasn't so much the nature of the fans themselves, but of what the local promoter himself liked and after a few years, educated the area fans to like as well.

Outside of Philadelphia, ECW is a late night television show on a remote cable station in a few markets. It's wild. It's compelling. And it's creative as hell. When it gets right down to it, the question shouldn't be who it attracts and how they react as much as can it attract enough to make it. A promotion that draws 20,000 fans to house show that sit on their hands and make no noise or "react wrong" like cheering heels or even not showing respect for wrestling is still incredibly successful. One that draws 500 on their good nights that react on cue, cheer faces, boo heels, or show appreciation for what they see in other manners is still not successful.

Unfortunately, the fans in New York made the former part of the statement more important than the latter.

And that's nothing new. Anyone who remembers when ECW toured Florida the first time, and Chris Benoit and Too Cold Scorpio had a ****+ match before a bunch of disinterested fans in Fort Lauderdale, FL that were there only for the violence, knows that the New York reaction is nothing new for this promotion. The building was packed by an audience that largely had no respect for the wrestlers but wanted to see guys they had no respect for bust each other up (which is the nice way of putting it) and scantily clad women get their tops ripped off for their highly paid entertainment dollar as the packed little building with $35 ringside and horrible site lines drew something in the range of a $27,000 house. The crowd came to see stiff chair shots and lots of blood, and not much else. They got a lot of the former and none of the latter. They didn't like most of the faces (exceptions being Sandman, The Gangstas and Buh Buh Ray Dudley) or most of the heels, or each other for that matter, as some of the most pointed comments and yells from the fans were at other fans. The reaction while Rey Misterio Jr. and Juventud Guerrera were putting on one of the best technical matches in the history of the city--and maybe the entire country--was that they wanted the midgets out of there because they figured out they weren't going to bleed. It wasn't everyone in the building that reacted that way, but out of the 1,200, I don't think there were even 200 who actually got into the match, although that minority did give it the respect it deserved. As Mick Foley, a man who has given far more to pro wrestling than it will ever give back to him, had his next to last match ever as Cactus Jack in an arena not too far from where he grew up, he was pelted with loud chants of "You Sold out." Less than 90 seconds into a Too Cold Scorpio vs. Sabu match and the two were trying to exchange holds to build a match (what a novel approach) since they were going 20:00, the boring chants started. As the two went to the finish, a large percentage of the crowd, perhaps more than half, paid them no attention since some strippers from next door were handing out photos. As the Pit Bulls and Eliminators went to their finish, in a match which combined lots of missed spots with some incredible and even death defying spots (like Perry Saturn doing a moonsault off the top rope over the post to the floor), a loud chant of "Show your tits, Francine" started, the timing of which couldn't have been more ironic since she'd been out there for 13:00 and was doing nothing at the time to encourage the chants other than being barely encased in a leather outfit. Actually that was the main chant of the night, not only at every stripper type brought out to work ringside, but also at any even borderline attractive women in the audience who got up out of her chair and walked around to get a coke. The crowd itself was probably 98% male, almost all ages 20 to 35. There were less kids than at a UFC show, and the UFC bans kids from attending live. They called Chris Jericho a "Hunter Hearst Helmsley" wannabe, despite the respective talent of the two. They pelted the ring with so much garbage that at one point the state athletic commission ordered the show shut down and Paul Heyman had to use his best crowd psychology to keep the place under control to the point he could put on a main event. Fans sitting near me, who complained all night about no blood and how they were forced to sit through ten matches without any real stars like the WWF gives them, were also complaining any time someone tried to do any wrestling saying they could see that wrestling crap at the WWF shows. This was far from the worst wrestling show I've ever seen, and from a effort standpoint, world's better than almost any WWF and WCW regular house shows. From a work and execution standpoint it was nowhere close to what WWF and WCW provide at a standard house show.

In some ways ECW live was the opposite of the defunct SMW group. SMW relied on old tricks and psychology and the guys worked hard but took advantage of every psychological shortcut. The best analogy came from Sandman who said that since the crowds down there were so easy, that guys learned the shortcuts and started coasting. SMW featured veterans who largely knew what they were doing. There were never, or at least rarely, spots in the match where the guys got lost and you'd want to groan, although nobody was regularly risking their bodies like they did in places like Mexico and Japan to elevate the style. If anything, that was the last thing Jim Cornette wanted. ECW matches have the guys take unbelievable risks, but they get lost in the matches and there are a lot of miscues. For pure working ability, SMW was tons better than ECW. For workrate, there is no comparison as well, with ECW having the edge.

The Big Ass Bash in New York was a depressing night, among the most depressing nights I've ever spent watching pro wrestling.

The creation of the mad scientist combined with numerous other forces such as freezing weather, bad site lines, and just living in New York, led to an audience with no respect for the incredible amount of work he and his company put into the show. It was an audience that was the reality of the worst John McCain fantasy about what violence and UFC are supposedly to be about. The mad scientist himself was quick to acknowledge it and take the blame. At a team meeting the next night, Paul Heyman said the show sucked and took the blame himself, saying he tried to give people something they didn't want to see, and the next time, he'd give them what they came for. However, for a group whose logo is its initials wrapped in bloody barbed wire; a group that regularly uses props like a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire, and whose fans have been encouraged to hand wrestlers everything including the kitchen sink (there were items as bizarre as hockey sticks confiscated from fans as they entered the building), running a show in front of a strict commission with a self-imposed blood ban, it's going to be very hard to give that audience what it came to see. Was this crowd a product of New York City, or of the television or of the building or the bad weather?

The only similarity between the ECW Arena the next night, the bingo hall which is the home base for ECW, and the Lost Battalion Hall were that it was largely the same group of wrestlers and a similar workrate, and that both small arenas were crammed full of people.

In Philadelphia, Foley got a thunderous and amazingly respectful standing ovation prior to and after his last match under the ring name Cactus Jack before joining the WWF as ManKind the next evening in Corpus Christi. His post match speech in his last night under the gimmick was among the best things I've ever seen at a house show. Misterio Jr. and Guerrera, spurred on by the crowd, had one of the greatest matches ever in the building. Everyone who was a regular was over with their gimmick. The crowd, while wanting blood, for the most didn't let the lack of it damper their enjoyment of the show. As Heyman said before the show in the same speech, this is our home base fans and we know what they want and we're going to give it to them. And they did. They made them laugh. They made them cry, well almost. They made them happy and made them sad. It wasn't flawless, and the crowd was quick to pick up on every flaw, particularly if it came from a newcomer not a part of their team. They chanted "don't come back" at Rick Bogner. Bogner, a Canadian who was a major star in FMW before jumping to WAR, whose ring name, Big Titan, is a heat getter and in its own way, after he worked a sometimes spectacular and other times clumsy match with Sabu. Fans loudly chanted "You f---ed up" at missed spots throughout the show, a few of which appeared to have been missed on purpose by wrestlers to get that reaction and chanted to end a prelim match which was obviously put there to be the backdrop of an angle.

To the credit of those running the company and those working for the company, the dressing room was more motivated with the idea of putting on a great show for the fans than any in the world. From top to bottom, I've never seen a crew work as hard and take as many risks, and that's from someone who regularly sees AAA live. That has its down side as well. Post-match looked more like the triage room in a hospital after a gang rumble than after a sporting event. Because they only work a few shows a month and are generally younger, they can survive taking more risks than the guys with the big paychecks can get away with or would want to get away with. The concept of playing with pain is taken to a level of borderline insanity when Scott Levy (Raven) worked two matches even though he needed crutches to get around because of contracting gout. The injury rate looks ridiculous to people brought up on the concept of pro wrestling being that you may it look like you're hurting people without anyone actually getting seriously hurt. Hack Myers suffered a fourth degree shoulder separation. Tommy Dreamer's body is falling apart from the brutality. Sandman took chair shots so stiff from the Head Hunters that he couldn't remember anything about his match later that night. J.T. Smith's hand was a mess when Axl Rotten threw a heavy fire extinguisher on it. One of the job guys, Joel Hartgood, named after a former promoter, had a nasty black eye when Sandman gave him a vicious cane shot that missed the forehead. The byproduct of working before a crowd that doesn't accept anything but the stiffest chair and cane shots to the head is a lot of scrambled brain cells.

But the show was very good, and excellent to the point of being off the charts in certain spots. In other spots it was maybe a little long, there were too many matches and too many angles (when the average fan can't remember the next morning running down the show all the angles, then it's a lock that they didn't all get across) it dragged in spots. But it could stand up to everything but the very best any major promotion in the world could produce even though by and large it has a less experienced crew who make up a lot of shortcomings in regard to skill and experience with enthusiasm and insanity. The angles were great for the audience.

There are still the catch-22s. Seeing the show live, because of the make-up of the audience, all the swearing wasn't a problem at all. Nobody live gets offended. The constant insulting of WCW was sometimes funny (such as New Jack saying that when he was in jail it was such an unbearable experience because they forced him to watch WCW on television or Cactus Jack saying that leaving this building is going to hurt me as much as it did when I had to sue my Uncle Eric or Shane Douglas ripping a t-shirt off ala Hogan, mentioning him by name and saying that was an easy as shit), but also overdone at times. In New York, Douglas got booed by a lot of fans, although not the majority, when he insulted other promotions and in particular when he opened by saying "Shawn Michaels, kiss my ass."

The swearing, violence and beating up of women, the most controversial aspects of the promotion, seem fine as a performance to the audience it is designed at in Philadelphia. However, the same stuff airing on television is a problem on many levels. It causes most self respecting television stations to steer clear of the show, even though it's often the most entertaining hour of wrestling in the country. It causes most self respecting wrestling fans to be turned off of attending live by the hard edge and apparently violent live crowd, while turning on a small segment that is there expecting to see things that are dangerous and now, in the case of blood, that they can no longer deliver although they do deliver on most everything else they tease. The other side of the coin is that if they presented wrestling with no shock value, because the names are newer and because wrestling is overexposed for free already, they'd have a hard time going anywhere either.

The ECW Arena audience is unique and loves the violence, but still didn't seem dangerous, even when superheel Bill Alfonso or Brian Pillman were doing their things. New York was a throwback to the old days of heels (well, those two heels) getting heat and fans wanting to throw things and jump them, but with the lack of security, even in a building where alcohol was banned, the crowd nearly got the show stopped.

Showing the same stuff on television to people who haven't been attending matches every three weeks for the past two years creates an audience that is completely different from Philadelphia. Philadelphia is a relatively controlled and at least largely (not totally) respectful audience of the performers that appear on television to be totally out of control. The perception from watching television of the danger of going to the ECW Arena is exaggerated, however the perception becomes the reality in new markets. New market fans will believe when they attend they have the right to be totally out of control as well, except in many cases they will lack the respect for the performers and have no respect for other fans. The result in those instances is a horribly reacting and borderline dangerous audience.
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post #203 of 271 (permalink) Old 05-28-2013, 06:27 PM
If I really don't like someone, I call them a Tony Schiavone.---Ron Funches
 
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^That ties in with an earlier post I made about ECW's fanbase outside of Philly being more interested in hardcore.

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post #204 of 271 (permalink) Old 06-29-2013, 10:13 AM
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Re: 20 years Ago: Wrestling Observer

anyone any more of these Observer articles to post?
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post #205 of 271 (permalink) Old 06-29-2013, 10:34 PM
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I'll post more soon as I get home.

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post #206 of 271 (permalink) Old 06-30-2013, 05:32 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 20 years Ago: Wrestling Observer

December 5th, 1988

WWF
-- Survivor Series was easily the best PPV event of the year, although the buyrate will probably be lower than any PPV since Wrestling Classic. Dave will have legit figures in about a week, but he's prediciting around a 4.0 buyrate. Because there was not a hot angle to sell the show, it probably won't be as high as Summerslam, but it's on the best night of the year for wrestling, so the difference should be minimal. The show drew 13,500 in a 21,000-seat arena, which Dave credits to tournaments and novelty shows not capturing the imagination of wrestling fans the same way singles main events that are heavily hyped do. Dave says the show was good enough, and the WWF seemed to really want to put forward a good show, that it should help next year's show as a gimmick.

* Brutus Beefcake & Blue Blazer & Sam Houston & Anabolic Warrior & Jim Brunzell vs Honky Tonk Man & Bad News Brown & Greg Valentine & Ron Bass & Dann Davis: All action with lots of heat, except for Blazer's submission to a figure four, which puzzled the crowd. Everyone worked hard, but the timing was off. **

* Battle of the tag teams: Really fast paced, 33-minutes of Japanese-style action followed by about 10 minutes of rest holds and power moves. The Bulldogs went out with a bang. The reason for the Powers of Pain turn was actually because the Road Warriors just turned heel in the NWA and the WWF was trying to further the perception that they were the Road Warriors. They decided to do the double turn since they feel the Powers of Pain can't stay over because they can't do interviews, while Demolition does fine interviews and doesn't need a manager so much. ***1/2, would have been ****, but the crowd didn't react to the double turn at the end.

* Andre/Bravo/Rude/Race/Hennig vs Duggan/Roberts/Casey/Patera/Santana: The only bad match on the show since everyone but Jake, Rude, and Hennig are not in ring shape. Patera's farewell, but he had a good career and was great in the early 80s. Hennig is still really, really not over, but the WWF is determined to keep pushing him until he does get over. Dave can't figure out why Bravo is so protected. *1/4

* Hogan/Savage/Koko/Hillbilly Jim/Hercules vs Haku/DiBiase/Akeem/Rooster/Boss Man: Crowd was pretty silent when Hogan and Savage weren't in. Action was good once Hillbilly got out and the booking was fantastic. They are clearly teasing Hogan vs Savage for Wrestlemania. ***

-- Overall, this was the best booked major card in years and the announcing was excellent.

-- Ron Garvin will take Don Muraco's old spot and feud with Greg Valentine.

-- 11/25 in Hartford, CT crew 9,800 fans headlined by Hogan vs Boss Man. 11/23 in Cincinnati drew 6,500 headlined by Hogan vs Boss Man. 11/20 in Grand Rapids, MI drew 4,300 fans headlined by Rude vs Roberts. 11/20 at the Capital Centre drew 2,500 fans headlined by Savage vs Bad News Brown.

NWA
-- "The daily soap opera, 'The Young and the Wrestless,' continued this week involving the National Wrestling Alliance. After missing the entire weekend with what is now known in wrestling terminology as the 'Dusty flu,' we got the word that the Dream was in hot water. In fact, Jim Crockett was ordered to replace Dusty Rhodes as NWA booker. Since Crockett knows that with the exception of Rhodes himself, there is only one person in this entire universe capable of booking the NWA, he was in a panic when he made the call to Colorado, but Crockett's panic was relieved a bit when the party on the other end of the phone said he'd drop all plans and arrive in Sumter, SC to take over the booking chores the next day. You could imagine the shock among the wrestlers Tuesday night when the new booker walked in. Yes, it was the Midnight Rider, in public if you will.

"Unfortunately, the Dusty flu is a contagious disease and spread all around the NWA this past week and Battlestar Week was marred by several no-shows once again, including wrestlers in key matches most every night."

-- Dave thinks Starrcade will be okay, but can't see it having the impact or buy rate of the Bash. Also, that show stood on its own while this one is right in the middle of some major oversaturation.

-- They are planning a PPV for 2/19 in Chicago, which was originally called Chi-Town Heat II: Freddy's FInal Revenge (???) headlined by Flair vs Steamboat, or at least that's what they're hoping for. Dave says Chicago is not the city to do Flair/Steamboat because no one knows the rivalry outside of the Carolinas and Toronto. In the ring, it should be excellent, but they will have to really deliver some special hype for it to draw.

-- They ran an angle with Dusty and the Road Warriors on Thanksgiving afternoon that aired on TBS on Saturday where the Road Warriors spiked Dusty's eye. This was planned for months from now, but Dusty needs an angle in a big way or he's going to find himself out the door. Dusty will work with a patch over his eye.

-- 11/12 in Columbus, OH drew between 2,500 and 3,000 headlined by Flair vs Dusty with Flair actually winning by pinfall. 11/23 in Baltimore drew 9,000 and a $106,000 gate headlined by Sting & Luger vs Road Warriors in a ***1/2 match and Flair vs Rick Steiner. Thanksgiving at the Omni drew 8,000 and a $96,000 gate. 11/25 in Charlotte drew 5,000 fans and a $57,000 gate. 11/26 in Greensboro drew 7,500 fans headlined by Road Warriors vs Sting & Luger, with a notable Steve Williams vs Rick Steiner match that was **** underneath, and couldn't be followed. The ans were going crazy and Steiner did an incredible dive over the top rope out of the ring. Super heat and intensity. 11/27 in Richmond drew 3,500 fans headlined by Sting & Luger vs Road Warriors.

-- The deal with managers is that only the managers associated with the top two matches on the show get to travel to the cities.

-- The current plan is to bring back Gordon Solie to host the Sunday show with JJ Dillon, and Dave has no idea why Dillon. "The current plan is also to drop several managers early next year and they are trying to make sure Dillon stays. That seems like part of the reason they are holding Dangerously and Cornette from going to the arenas, in order to make it seem like Dillon is the No. 1 manager and assure his spot. It may work, and it may backfire completely."

AWA
-- 11/26 in the Twin Cities drew 1,500 fans and was headlined by Jerry Lawler vs Wahoo McDaniel. Kerry Von Erich and Ricky Morton, who were key in building up the show, both no-showed. Morton had flight issues.

WCCW/CWA
-- Thanksgiving on 11/25 in Dallas drew an $11,200 gate, the largest in a long time, and everyone was happy. The show was headlined by Lawler vs Kerry in a cage and Kerry won clean.

-- "Lee Marshall was at the Sportatorium helping Marc Lowrance do the commentary and you know he needs the help."

PORTLAND
-- In what Dave says is "probably the first, last and only time that Portland Wrestling will be the lead story in the Observer", the Oregon State Athletic Commission closed down Don Owen's Big Time Wrestling Promotions for violating state regulations. Owen had his promoters' license pulled and had to close shop.

-- This started on 11/5. Matt Borne was doing an interview to plug a match with Steve Doll on 11/12. Borne guaranteed blood, but the commission was adamantly against this, because Billy Jack Haynes had clued them in on how wrestling works. Not only did he guarantee blood for the first time in months, but also said the commission better be there, because there will be blood all over the place. Another wrestler, Abbuda Dein (Rocky Iaukea) said the same thing.

-- At the 11/12 show Borne was posted by Steve Doll and gigged himself, and the referee immediately stopped the match.

-- On 11/15, the commission issued a complaint about the blood and the guard rails, which failed to meet safety standards. Owen's lawyer claimed the blood was accidental and that since they stopped the match, they were compliant with the commission rules. They also argued that the guard rails were within guidelines. Owen said wrestlers are independent contractors and he can't control what they do in a match. The judge ruled in favor of the commission and said Owen's promoters license should be rescinded. Owen appealed, but the judge again ruled in favor of the commission, so he had to cancel his 11/26 Thanksgiving card, which was expected to sell out.

-- The story made Portland newspapers for four days and also made the national AP and UPI wires.

-- It is expected in the next week that Owen and the commission will reach a compromise because they need each other. Owen obviously needs to be reinstated, but tax revenue from wrestling is what funds the commission. This happened one week prior to local businessman Mel Saraceno and Moondog Moretti opening a rival promotion on 12/3.

DAVE AND WADE KELLER ON THE LETTERS PAGE

From Wade:

"All of this controversy about smart fans, what they are, what they think, what their responsibilities are is getting very old, very fast.

First of all, since smart fan is a slang term, there is no definite definition. A lot of people feel a smart fan is one who reads the Observer, Torch, Forum or other insider sheet. Others think a smart fan has to know everything about the business to be truly smart. Some think it's anyone who doesn't think wrestling is real is smart. And so on.

Maybe Trent Walters was correct in saying Bill Kunkel and Ed Garea are the only true smart fans he knows of, but that is simply because they fit his definition of smart fans.

When Jon Gallagher wrote the article, "Dealing With Wrestlers" in the Pro Wrestling Torch Annual, he said, '...Perhaps the easiest way to end your meeting quickly is to call the wrestler by his real name. Though this will let the wrestler know that you are smart, that is the only purpose it serves. The wrestler already knows his own real name and chances are that he will not stick around for the conversation.' Jon did not mean the wrestler will assume that the fan knows the complex business of wrestling inside and out. I interpreted that he meant that the wrestler will think this fan has been smartened up to the point he knows angles are predetermined and personalities are contrived. Generally, most wrestlers feel uncomfortable talking to that type of fan.

The point is, Trent Walters doesn't seem to realize his definition of a smart fan isn't everyone's.

As far as good matches go, it is okay for him to like a match with good ring psychology, but since match endings are predetermined, a lot of fans like exciting matches and rate wrestlers who execute good moves often higher than those who don't. Those fans aren't wrong. They just don't agree with you.

Owen Hart hurts the business? I don't think so. An Owen Hart match doesn't expose the business, at least not compared to anything else in the business. The cartoon image of the WWF and things others portray does hurt a whole lot worse. The general media treating pro wrestling with laughter and contempt is what hurts the business. When a fan watches a wrestler sit there and not move out of the way when Randy Savage comes off the top rope or when the referee pretends not to see a foreign object that the heel doesn't try to hide might expose the business. Owen Hart shows tremendous athletic ability and durability. Absorbing tremendous punishment and coming back from this punishment may be unrealistic, but exposing the business, it does not.

Trent also says, 'Please don't hurt the business. I have never tried to smarten anyone up. I don't talk smart.' Is he telling me to lie to my friends? Should I tell them it's real? When I got my first copy of the Wrestling Observer, it didn't hurt the business. If anyone reads the Wrestling Observer, it doesn't hurt the business. If every single wrestling fan read the Observer, it probably would hurt the business, but since that isn't conceivable, it is nothing to worry about. The business of wrestling has to be run with the assumption that its fans are pretending that it's real, even if it is common knowledge that this isn't the case."

Dave:

"There are those who believe the knowledge that pro wrestling is worked hurts the business. But think about this. Of the several million fans who watch pro wrestling on TV each week, what percentage do you think truly believe it is a legitimate sport? I'll bet 10 percent would be overestimating the mark. What percentage of those at house shows truly believe? I don't mean they suspend disbelief or fool themselves or pretend while they are at the show, but truly believe in their heart of hearts it is true sport? That varies by the promotion, but at the WWF it is less than 20 percent. At some of the smaller promotions the percentage would be higher since they have no general public appeal. I've had several wrestlers tell me the last promotion where the fans really believed was Bill Watts' Mid South, and they didn't believe for the most part by 1986. If tomorrow, all wrestling fans who believe wrestling is a work were to all give up watching and following wrestling and leave it to the marks, so to speak, what would happen. TV ratings would drop 90 percent. Virtually every wrestling TV show would disappear from the airwaves within six months. House show gates would drop more than 80 percent because not only would those who don't believe be gone, but those who do would lose interest without the television to keep them interested. Every promotion would be obliterated, except the WWF, which would be badly wounded. Most wrestlers would be unemployed, and those who would be employed wouldn't make anywhere near what they earn today. So saying that pro wrestling is for the marks is gaga. Wrestling is for all wrestling fans, all of whom have different tastes. A promoter either has to figure out what the public wants and give it to them, or be such a good promoter that he can convince the public to like what he wants to give them, and most wrestling promoters fall into the latter category of thought. The problem is, with the exception of Vince McMahon, none are good enough promoters to turn a profit doing it. Jerry Jarrett turns a profit, but his company tries to give the public what it wants, while Titan tries to lead the public into wanting what it feels like giving. But saying that unless you pretend in public that wrestling is real you will destroy the business is ridiculous. Nobody exposes the business more than the promoters in the first place. And it takes no great knowledge or incisiveness to be able to figure out whether wrestling is real for yourself in the first place. I do believe most all fans want the wrestlers themselves to pretend it's real, tho.

If Andy Rooney were commenting on the latest raging controversy within wrestling fandom, he'd probably say: "Didja ever notice how obsessed some people are with how smart they are? Didja ever wonder why?"
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post #207 of 271 (permalink) Old 07-01-2013, 01:26 AM
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Re: 20 years Ago: Wrestling Observer

May 11, 1992---Sid suspended from WWF

The continuing saga of Sid Eudy took another strange turn this past week. The former Sid Vicious, now Sid Justice at least as of last week, was officially suspended for a period of no less than six weeks by the World Wrestling Federation for its all-inclusive term, "unprofessional conduct." This came after Justice stormed out of the Boston Garden after a match last Sunday night with the Ultimate Warrior because he was unhappy over either the way they were going to the finish, the finish itself (the finish was him losing via disqualification in about 4:00), and/or the working proficiency of his opponent (which many have termed a pot calling the kettle black story). As the week went on, the story was Justice had, in this order, quit, been fired and been suspended. On Monday, Papa Shango (Charles Wright) was contacted and flown to the Northeast for a show that night in Rochester, NY to take Justice's spot in main events against Warrior from his Midwestern bookings since word was out that Justice had gone AWOL and quit the promotion. Justice hasn't appeared since, including missing television tapings on Tuesday and Wednesday. In Sunday's Tokyo Sports, it was reported that Justice, who it is believed has a little more than one year left on his WWF contract, was negotiating with New Japan, although the New Japan office didn't confirm the story. This marks the third straight year that Justice hasn't worked during this time of year, ie, softball
season. Two years ago, while recuperating from a collapsed lung, the then-Sid Vicious no-showed World Championship Wrestling house shows in which he was supposed to appear in the corner (since he hadn't gotten clearance to wrestle) in lieu of apparently playing in a local softball league, which gained him his reputation as Softball Sid. Last year at this time, he quit WCW after attempting (and succeeding, but still quitting anyway) getting his contract renegotiated due to the lure of the promised Wrestlemania main event against Hulk Hogan the following year. He then took a few months off, just working television tapings, before starting on the road in August with the WWF.

At the television tapings Wednesday night in Syracuse, a major angle was shot to marry up Shango with Warrior to be the WWF's other headline match for the foreseeable future to go along with Randy Savage vs. Ric Flair on the other tour. In addition, USWA champ Kimala (James Harris) was brought in to be the new protege of Harvey Whippleman. Kimala is expected to drop the USWA title on 5/4 in Memphis to Jerry Lawler.

In last week's Observer, we reported that a major WWF wrestler had allegedly falsified his steroid test about a week before Wrestlemania by using someone else's urine out of a Visine bottle rather than his own, that the incident was reported and the wrestler had not been suspended. At the time there were some wrestlers somewhat miffed over the apparent lack of punishment for the incident that had become well-known, feeling it established that there were two sets of rules in the WWF in regard to the steroid issue. Others felt if they were found to have done the same thing, they would be suspended immediately as per the WWF steroid policy statement, even though nobody questioned the decision not to suspend
before Wrestlemania. According to another source, it wasn't clean urine from a Visine bottle but apparently one of the wrestlers was able to get a large supply of the bottles the urine specimens are sent in. According to the source, the tests are indeed monitored to make sure it is the person's urine that goes in the bottle, but in carrying an identical bottle on the person, with someone else's clean urine, the person is able to make a switch after he is monitored if need be. Supposedly this has been common practice at least with the few obvious candidates. We were, in fact, talking about Justice, whose name wasn't revealed last week because of all that was going on with him right at press time and the supposition that he still might be suspended. His six week suspension part of not being around for now may be related to that alleged incident and certainly is heavily rumored to be. While we have been unable to reach Steve Planamenta of the WWF before press time, Planamenta did tell Alex Marvez of Three Count in regard to the report of the test falsification, "I can't say if the report is true or false, but I wouldn't fault you if you printed it."

It is expected that at some point Justice will be brought back to the WWF, if he is willing to return, and there is some question about that. But WWF officials over the weekend were expecting him back in six weeks to two months. He will probably be given a new program at that time, since Warrior and Shango will be working on top for the next few months. It's debateable whether his return is even in the promotion's best interest. While an imposing presence right now, as many have noted, his main attribute is in having the monster size and physique which the current rules against steroids would seemingly make very difficult (wink, wink), if not impossible to have. It brings up the double-standard question and
credibility of the testing if he's brought back in his monster form. But everything else about him is a question mark given his track record in regard to injuries and quitting, not to mention that some in the WWF have said his presence in the dressing rooms creates the biggest morale problem the company now has. But in his monster form, he is seemingly the easiest wrestler in the country for either major promotion to "get over" with little effort. But whether him being over as an individual is any kind of an asset to a company is very much in question Probably yes as far as merchandising and probably no as far as longterm booking for the overall good of the company as a whole.

The WWF also canceled four more shows this past weekend, bringing the total of cancellations to six since starting back in the United States after Wrestlemania. After working before a weak house on Thursday night in Las Vegas, the WWF canceled the remainder of the West Coast swing and the Monday night show in Jacksonville, all headlined by Flair vs. Savage, due to both racial tension and weak advances. The Friday night show in Long Beach would have had to have been canceled no matter what due to the second day of major rioting in the area after the verdict in the Rodney King beating case came out. Virtually all sports and entertainment events in that area scheduled for that night were canceled. However, that doesn't seem to be a valid excuse in the cancellation of the Saturday night show in Fresno and Sunday night card in San Francisco, as there were no outbursts in Fresno and all sports and entertainment events in Northern California were already back on as scheduled as of Saturday. In addition, the Monday night card in Jacksonville was canceled because of a poor advance before the King verdict was even released. Last weekend, shows in Valpraiso, IN and Richmond, VA were also canceled with weak advances. Some of the bad news in regard to the relatively weak attendance figures at the WWF shows since Wrestlemania were tempered on Friday night with a paid attendance of approximately 11,000 at the Nassau Coliseum, now the
company's hottest building in North America, to see a show billed as being headlined by Warrior vs. Justice. The other two Warrior vs. Justice shows, which turned out to be Warrior vs. Shango although in many markets they had already gotten the advertising changed as of the weekend and posted signs in front of arenas that Justice wasn't going to be there, both in Philadelphia and in Hershey, PA drew about 8,000 and 5,000 respectively, which are respectable numbers. With the poor first weekend back, this seems to indicate that part of the poor first weekend back was simply not enough television time to get over the matches since Warrior's return to New York and Philadelphia did draw decently. Still, the overall
direction doesn't look to be strong over the short run although I wouldn't read anything long-term into any of this.
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post #208 of 271 (permalink) Old 07-01-2013, 04:31 AM
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Re: 20 years Ago: Wrestling Observer

Sid sure got away with a lot of shit during his career in both WCW and the WWF.

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post #209 of 271 (permalink) Old 07-01-2013, 07:38 AM
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Re: 20 years Ago: Wrestling Observer

Thanks for these.

"There are those who believe the knowledge that pro wrestling is worked hurts the business. But think about this. Of the several million fans who watch pro wrestling on TV each week, what percentage do you think truly believe it is a legitimate sport? I'll bet 10 percent would be overestimating the mark."

Nice pun

Last edited by Forever Unchained; 07-01-2013 at 07:42 AM.
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post #210 of 271 (permalink) Old 07-01-2013, 02:32 PM
If I really don't like someone, I call them a Tony Schiavone.---Ron Funches
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quasi Juice View Post
Sid sure got away with a lot of shit during his career in both WCW and the WWF.
I know in 1 issue Meltzer had about WCW's "steroid policy", he mentioned that when both companies announced testing, they would sign Sid, who was obviously on steroids.


Also needs to be said that shortly after his reported suspension, Sid chose to quit, rather than accept the suspension. Fucked himself over 3 times between the fall of '91 and the fall of '93, as in all 3 instances, he was in the midst of a big push and in both WCW runs, was slated to win the title.

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