Re: 20 years Ago: Wrestling Observer
November 21st, 1988
OUTLOOK FOR 1989
-- "We're just a few weeks away from starting 1989 and what looks to be a new stage in the development of the pro wrestling business. It looks as though, at least for the next year, the business will become on the semi-major level, three promotions in the United States, all at very different levels. The king, of course, is Titan Sports, and barring something totally unforeseen, that isn't going to change in the next year, and if it ever changes in the next few years it will be the result of Titan's forays outside the wrestling business going sour unless the Turner organization has surprises that nobody can foresee. At the second level is Ted Turner's UWC, which faces 1989 in a struggle to see if they can turn the company into a financially and emotionally stable unit before there is any talk of competition for the top spot. The dark horse in this game is Jerry Jarrett, who is simply out of his league financially in comparison to Vince McMahon and Turner, but enters the year in a much-weaker version of the third place position Bill Watts held in 1987. WIth the World Class acquisition and the likelihood that the CWA and World Class will eventually become one unit, Jarrett has a decent start to a syndication network, and it wouldn't surprise me in the least if 1989 is the year Jarrett gets the ESPN slot which would give him the other major cable outlet. Can a low-budget, mainly territorial third group survive and be profitable in this day and age?
"About seven years ago was the first time I was told by a notable wrestling star to watch Japan closely, because you'll see all the U.S. trends five to ten years before anyone else does. Many years back we realized this was going to come down to two, possibly, three, but more likely two, major players in the game out here, and they would be television people running the show, just as in Japan where the promotions are really controlled and funded by the television networks. Vince McMahon was the first person who took wrestling from an arena show to really a television show, and the NWA, being owned by a broadcasting conglomerate, will almost certainly change its focus to putting together good television. I think the real key for a third group to be successful, besides needing the foundation of good television, good syndicated exposure and a cable outlet (and in this regard, ESPN is far worse than USA or TBS because it changes the wrestling time slot so frequently wrestling isn't able to build-up or really maintain a loyal audience) is to somehow get one or two stars over as national stars and celebrities. To an extend TBS has to do this as well, but they have several wrestlers with national names while Jarrett has nobody with anything close to a national name. Of course Jarrett isn't meaning to challenge either McMahon or TBS, but to carve a profitable regional niche. Whether he'll avoid the pitfalls which ended similar attempts by Bill Watts, Verne Gagne and Fritz Von Erich (in the latter case before ever really getting out of his home state) will determine whether this will be a two promotion or a three promotion country in the next decade."
-- "They Live" was the top grossing movie during its first week of release, with receipts topping $3 million. The opening turnout was described as "good to decent". Movies in this genre are expected to fall about 70% in the second week. If more than that, the movie has no legs, although at this point, the movie is at the very least expected to be a mild financial success. Many feel the reason Piper is getting such unfavorable reviews (though there have been exceptions) is the resentment of his outsider status in Hollywood. "The two lines I've seen over and over again in the reviews are the cute comments that Piper's movie character, named Nada, is apropos (Nada is Spanish for nothing, and as the joke goes, that is the extent of Piper's talents)." The other line against him has been that he proves that wrestlers aren't really actors. Still, Dave doesn't see him back in the ring anytime soon. He was on Larry King Live on CNN in the previous week and had a fictitious bio in USA Today. "Piper is now claiming to be 32 years old, which is quite impressive. I met Piper when I was 20, and he was 30 then according to his athletic commission records, and I just turned 28. He also claimed he had to lose 65 pounds to be an actor (from 260 to 195) but somehow I don't recall him ever being anywhere near 260 pounds."
-- The released numbers for the boxing PPV are a 7.2 national buyrate and 780,000 buys, "which of course is totally phenomenal, greatly profitable and probably equally unrealistic." Because Titan forced confidentiality with the cable companies, there is no way to independently verify these numbers. Later in the week, they announced that the show did a $19.5 millino gross on PPV, breaking the record of $18 million set by Wrestlemania IV. "I do know they had virtually no advanced orders going into the last day (as we've learned, PPV is mainly a last minute thing) and the last day price ranged mainly from $34 to $46 for the show, that comes out to 600,000 orders, so their own figures don't make sense unless you use McMath, which few have mastered." The show needed to gross about $20 million to be profitable, so if the $19.5 million is accurate, they probably broke even. Titan is thrilled because they were privately expecting a disaster, and they are now claiming they are in the boxing business for good. Three cable companies told Dave the show did far worse than the Bash, while one other one said it did very well.
-- The WWF ran Prime Time in Paris on election night. The show was taped on 10/6 or 10/7 at Bersey Stadium, an outdoor soccer field. The show drew a 3.6 national rating and was viewed in 1,664,000 homes, about a ratings point higher than Prime Time Wrestling normally averages. The competition was heavy that night, because of the idea that all the major networks were basically running the exact same programming, so cable networks were stacking up big movies thinking they could score a big rating. The rating was less than half of the Royal Rumble special in January and lower than every Clash. The matches themselves were background for Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan to do schtick. The production was bad because of problems converting from PAL to NTSC. They pretended Gorilla and Bobby were in France and ran gags all night based on it, but it was obviously canned. Dave wonders if most viewers can tell when the announcing is canned, because to him it's obvious. Dave felt the announcers went from amusing to insulting the intelligence of the audience, which is commonplace for WWF announcers. "It's always interesting to watch a foreign crowd with little knowledge of pro wrestling react." They reacted more to match quality than personalities, opposite of the U.S. During the bad matches, the crowd went silent. Aside from Randy Savage, Barry Horowitz got more heat than anyone on the card because he was the best worker on the show. The rundown:
* Greg Valentine vs Don Muraco: Dreadful. "If Valentine is leaving for the NWA, I hope they realize his days as a wrestling star are over." -*
* Andre the Giant vs Junkyard Dog: There was almost no reaction, which surprised Dave since Andre is from France. Worse than the first match even. Worst match of the year factoring out Tom Magee and Ultimate Warrior matches.
* Rockin' Robin vs Sensational Sherri: Robin is still green but worked hard and Sherri carried this well and it was the best match on the show. Decent-to-good heat. Robin threw some hard chops. Good nearfalls and a nice pop for the title change. **1/2
* Lanny Poffo vs Barry Horowitz: Lanny Poffo tried a crazy dive that didn't exactly work. Average work until the bad looking finish. **1/4
* Demolition vs British Bulldogs: Dull match. 1/2*
* Randy Savage vs Akeem: Savage and Liz got a big reaction for their entrance. The two worked as well as could be expected, and the show ending image was impressive. **1/4
-- The British Bulldogs are definitely gone after Survivor Series. Dave has heard conflicting reports, one being that Dynamite Kid is going to book Stampede. Either way, both the Bulldogs and JYD will be working full-time in Stampede when they aren't working for Baba. "A new tag team will replace them called The Bushwhackers, but I've got no idea who they are other than they will be babyfaces, but perhaps Ron Garvin will be part of the new team."
-- The WWF has a women's perfume coming out next year.
-- 11/12 in Philly drew 12,062 fans and a $152,158 gate headlined by Hogan vs Boss Man, which Dave calls the hottest box office feud in wrestling at the moment. 11/13 in Binghamton, NY drew 1,700 fans headlined by Warrior vs HTM. 11/5 in New Haven, CT, drew 7,100 fans headline by Randy Savage vs Haku. 11/6 in Springfield drew 3,100 fans headlined by DiBiase vs Hercules. 11/5 in Boston drew 6,500 fans headlined by Savage vs Brown.
-- John Studd will probably be back in around the beginning of the year.
-- Dave mentioned in passing that when Adrian Adonis died, a newspaper in Toronto interviews a WWF spokesperson, who only said that they told him a few months earlier he could no longer portray himself as a gay rights activist because the WWF was presenting family-friendly programming.
-- Rick Steiner finally turned on 11/9 in Greenwood, SC, but Dave doesn't know details yet.
-- "Jim Cornette's interview on TBS this past Saturday was one of the best interviews I've ever seen."
-- "I can't reveal much right now about some of the new things that will happen, but on the surface it appears things are going to get worse before they get better. The new regime will start in January and the present plan is to have Dusty Rhodes as a key part of it, although in theory his power will be reduced come the new year but he'll still be a powerful force and Ric Flair's title reign is in some jeopardy at Starrcade."
-- Jim Crockett and Bill Watts are rumored to have reached a settlement, but that is not confirmed.
-- "Morale here is horrible since there seems to be no direction the angles are headed. For example, Cornette and the Midnight Express are hot babyfaces on television, but they are still working as heels in the arenas until the last week of the month."
-- Managers won't be traveling to towns as much. Some will all the time, and some part of the time. The idea is to have the good ones sometimes, and the bad ones all the time, "which if it sounds like backwards logic, it is more like a positioning game before the ax falls."
-- 10/30 in Alexandria, LA drew 2,793, the largest crowd there in three years, headlined by Flair/Perez vs Nikita/Luger, but Flair vs Luger was the advertised main event.
-- "Steve Williams did one of the most incredible interviews (as in not one sentence made any sense) from Japan which aired on NWA Pro last week. Actually it was quite entertaining."
-- "All I've heard about the houses for Sting & Luger vs. Warriors is they were in Pittsburgh on Friday night and drew $38,000, which is fairly bad but they drew well in Johnstown, PA ($17,000) the night before and had a 'big house' in Columbus, Ohio the night after."
-- Syndicated TV has been taped through the end of the month. No matches have been set for Starrcade except Midnights vs Midnights, but Dave is assuming Flair vs Luger on top.
-- Ricky Steamboat did an interview in a Tokyo newspaper saying he would wrestle for Turner, as long as TBS realized wrestling would be his #4 priority, with his first being his family, his second himself, his third his gym business in Charlotte.
-- A Pittsburgh newspaper ran a feature on Ric Flair over the weekend and called him the greatest wrestler of all time.
-- 11/12 at the Showboat drew 1,500 fans to see the Vegas debut of Kerry Von Erich. "Then a totally bizarre set of circumstances and an angle I've never heard of before took place as Kerry wrestled Col. DeBeers in a non-title match. Kerry was out of it but got a huge reaction, and they went to a double count out in 10:09. The finish saw both fight outside the ring and DeBeers held onto Kerry's bad leg so he couldn't beat the count, and just after the count Kerry dives in and DeBeers is supposed to let go so he gets in at 21. Well, DeBeers forgets to let go and Kerry goes in, sans his wrestling boot on the bad leg. Kerry totally freaked out because the ringside fans could plainly see that his foot was amputated (this has been a well-guarded secret and most of the wrestlers don't even known this, in fact I only know of three people who knew it, as Kerry always roomed by himself on the road and always took a shower with his wrestling boots on). The place was in stunned silence for a while. Kerry then put his foot under the ring so nobody could see while he put the boot back on and laced it up. Then he challenged DeBeers to a match but DeBeers said he wasn't a stupid American who would work for free and he said the audience would have to pay to see them wrestle again and he'd match whatever the audience paid. Anyway, they waited about 10 minutes collecting money from the crowd and got $130 (or about 9 cents per fan) and Rob Russen at ringside added another $20 and DeBeers went to the dressing room to match it. Then they restarted the match and the heat was incredible as Debeers jumped Kerry with two bulldog headlocks, went to the table to get the money, and as he reached through the table, Kerry got him from behind and cradled him in 36 seconds. Kerry then said he'd give the money to charity.
-- The WWF sent a nasty legal letter to the AWA threatening to sue if the kept billing Don Giovanni as Chief Jay Strongbow Jr. since they have the name registered, so he is now being called Superchief Jay Strongbow.
-- Madusa is quitting. She wanted an increased guarantee (she was currently getting $250 per week) in exchange for giving the AWA 40% of her merchandising rights, as she is trying to market a poster, a record, and a cologne. She was met with resistance.
-- Dave starts by announcing that moving forward, he will be combining these two promotions for news.
-- The WCCW office at the Sportatorium is closed and all business will now take place from Jerry Jarrett's office in Hendersonville, TN. Eric Embry will remain booker but will work from his home. The office was closed to cut costs, but Dave says it probably isn't a major expense, aside from the rent, electricity, phone bill (which he is told is high every month), and a secretary.
-- The new format started Friday night at the Sportatorium and drew 1,200 fans. The free taping the next morning drew 3,500 fans. The show aired later that evening and included Memphis clips. Frank Dusek was the announcer, and Dave isn't sure if that means he's taking over from Marc Lowrance, or if Lowrance is just going to be handling syndicated tapings now (He was there Friday night to do those.)
-- For local tapings on Saturday morning, jobbers get paid $15.00 for losing, and the winning guy gets no pay. The theory is that winning on TV increases your drawing power on the road. The wrestlers on the circuit will work on a $30 nightly guarantee.
-- 11/7 in Memphis drew 1,500 fans headlined by Lawler & Jarrett vs Hayes & Kerry ending in a DDQ when Fuller and the Stud Stable interfered.
-- The 11/14 Mid South Coliseum show will have:
* Brickhouse Brown vs Mike Davis
* Scott Steiner vs Tommy Lane
* Brian Adams ("who worked the Northwest for Don Owen and Billy Jack Haynes, about 6-6 and 300 trained in Japan by Inoki's group doing a martial arts gimmick") vs The Executioner
* Mike Miller vs Todd Morton
* Phil Hickerson vs "rookie Brian Lee". To build this up, Hickerson brought out a rookie protege named Craig Brown and named him Phil Hickerson Jr. But he lost to Lee. Lee then beat Hickerson Sr. as well to set up the match. Dave expects Hickerson to drop the CWA title since he is working the tag tournament for Baba.
* Bill Dundee vs Sid Vicious "which is the size mismatch of the year)
* Downtown Bruno vs Sylvia where if Bruno loses, he has to wear a diaper and if Sylvia loses, she has to wear lingerie from Frederick's of Hollywood
* Robert Fuller & Jimmy Golden vs Gary Young & Cactus Jack where Bruno and Sylvia will be in cages on opposite sides of the ring and whichever one loses will be in the attire from the previous match. A football with a key will be in the middle of the ring and whoever gets the football with the key can unlock their manager, who will have a kendo stick, and make the match 3-on-2 with a kendo stick. To build up the gimmick, the Stud Stable was dressed in football gear on TV while Sylvia was dressed as a cheerleader (My note: HOLY OVERBOOKING)
* Eric Embry vs Jeff Jarrett
* Jerry Lawler vs Botswana Beast, with Lawler saying on TV that Fritz Von Erich put a bounty on his head to try to keep him from getting to Superclash, with Botswana Beast looking to collect. There will be no more Lawler/Kerry matches before the show, so if one of them can't make it due to injury, the other gets both belts.
-- On Memphis TV, the new Stud Stable of Fuller, Golden, Miller, Hickerson, and Sid Vicious asked Bill Dundee to join. He turned them down, so they attacked him. Dundee's son Jamie tried to help and Sid put him in a cobra. Jamie is 17 years old.
-- Rookie Terry Garvin and Mark Goleen are wrestling in prelims as Beauty & The Beast. Dave is told this could be a good gimmick but the wrong people are in the role.
-- 11/5 in Jonesboro, AR drew 500 fans with Jeff Jarrett vs Buddy Landell in a *** match built around lots of limb selling and Dundee & Morton vs RPMs in a ***1/2 match with a terrific post-match brawl.
-- 11/11 in Dallas drew 1,200 fans for what was billed as a Texas vs Tennessee shootout, but both Jerry Lawler and Jimmy Valiant were purposely held off the show so they could do an angle to get Jeff Jarrett over as a babyface in WCCW. Jarrett teamed with Eddie Marlin and the Samoan Swat Team against Kerry/Embry/Dusek/Steve Cox. Jarrett and the Samoans kept getting in each others' way and finally Jarrett decked one of them and things got out of hand. Dusek KO'd Marlin with a chair which left Jarrett alone with Samoans until Kevin Von Erich ran in and saved him. During the brawl, Jarrett also ending up saving Kevin, and it ended up with the Von Erichs, Embry, Dusek, Cox, and Jarrett in the ring together shaking hands. Also on the show, Eric Embry went to a DDQ with Kendall Windham to keep the Texas title. After the match, Akbar asked Embry to rejoin him and offered him a wad of money, but Embry sucker punched him and ran off with the money.
-- They have paired Iceman Parsons with a valet who worked there recently as The Blue Angel, and the theory is that putting a white woman with Iceman will make him the hottest heel in the United States. "He'd have a better chance being elected vice president with Buddy Roberts heading the ticket."
-- "Shootout at the OK Corral" on 10/28 in Yokohama drew 5,400 fans, about 650 less than the Inoki vs Fujinami match in August. The main event was Jumbo vs Tenryu and was said to be "sensational", even better than Inoki vs Fujinami.
-- The tag tournament starts 11/19 and ends on 12/16 at Budokan Hall in Tokyo. They are also running three cards from 12/13 to 12/15 with the Funks.
-- "The finals on 12/16 will come down to Tenryu & Hara vs. Gordy & Hansen (who had that tremendous match on the final night last year) and Butcher & Singh vs. Tsuruta & Yatsu."
-- All Japan will tour the U.S. in February with shows in Kansas City, Dallas, Portland, and Memphis. They will tape TV from those cities.
-- All Japan really wants Ric Flair and Barry Windham to work some shows next year. Jack Petrick of TBS met with Baba last month and they talked about bringing in Tenryu for major cards, but Dave doesn't think Tenryu would get over to U.S. fans. "Of the All Japan guys, the best chance for someone to get over is Tiger Mask, but only if lots of tapes of his flying stuff airs because the fans won't react to anyone 'cold' anymore."
-- "Now it's time for international news. First, move over Nikolai, Ivan & Nikita, Bore-us, David and the rest. The real Russians are coming. The Soviet Union is actually going to export wrestlers to join pro wrestling, specifically, they will exchange a bushel full of yen to the government of the Soviet Union, to help the country's ailing trade deficit with Japan, and in exchange the government is apparently going to allow some of its Olympic heroes to be used by Antonio Inoki in a last-ditch effort to convince the general public of Japan that he, and not Akira Maeda, is the one who is legitimate." Masa Saito visited first, then Inoki traveled between tours. The USSR Sports committee reached a deal with New Japan to trade wrestling talent for foreign currency. The written agreement is expected to be signed in December, and all the key heavyweights and several world champions from the Soviet Union will be taught pro wrestling. Two Japanese networks led off their newscasts with this and they are saying that CNN "(because of Ted Turner's connections with the Soviet Union)" (My note: ????) will do a feature on this. In addition, the Soviet Union will allow its amateur boxers to turn pro in the hopes that they can do boxing PPVs in the US with Mike Tyson. If all goes as planned, next year, there will be a card with all New Japan vs USSR matches. Inoki will win big to revive his legend. "If you think about this, this story is so totally amazing that a government will sell out its athletes as a national resource in this manner."
-- A 6-man elimination tournament begins on 11/11 at Korauken Hall. The teams are:
* Antonio Inoki & Riki Choshu & Kantaro Hoshino
* Tatsumi Fujinami & Shinya Hashimoto & Masa Chono
* Kengo Kimura & Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Osamu Kido
* Seiki Sakaguchi & Masa Saito & Tatsutoshi Goto
* Shiro Koshinana & Kuniaki Kobayashi & Hiro Saito
* Super Strong Machine & The Tiger & The Jaguar (Shinji Sasazaki/Viet Cong Express #2 in Stampede)
* Dick Murdoch & Bob Orton & Scott Hall
* Buzz Sawyer & Manny Fernandez & Lance Idol
* Tracy Smothers & Steve Armstrong & George Takano
Originally, Inoki was going to team with Chono & Hashimoto, who are being pushed big as newcomers and Fujinami with Kimura & Kido and Choshu, Fujiwara & Hoshino would be a team. But Fujinami refused to participate with those pairings and got the pairings as he wanted them.
The night the tour opened, Hashimoto threw a shoot kick to Takano's chest, the fans realized what was going on, and the two almost got into it. Hashimoto is hot right now because of his attitude where he doesn't respect his superiors.
-- Len Denton is headed in. Kerry & Kevin Von Erich will be there from 11/30 to 12/9. Shinji Sasazaki and Shinya Hashimoto will start in Memphis after the tournament.
-- New Japan wants to buy a territory in the U.S. to use as a farm system.
-- Keichi Yamada will start teaming with Masaharu Funaki on 12/17 in England. Funaki is being groomed to be a superstar. Fujinami met up with Funaki in West Germany to try to get him to change his style, getting away from doing so many Koppo moves and to do more wrestling moves. He feels like if Funaki relies on koppo too much that it will hurt wrestling. Fujinami also wants Funaki on his side in upcoming power struggles.
-- "In a major in-ring surprise, Akira Maeda did a clean job in the middle on the UWF's 11/10 card in Tsuyuhashi. The result of the match is story enough, but contrast this with others in a similar position in other promotions. Maeda basically controls and books the UWF, is their leading star and is the hottest wrestler from a box office standpoint in the world right now. The story of the match itself, against Nobuhiko Takada, was that Maeda knocked down Takada four times with kicks (five knockdowns constitutes the ending of a UWF match as do pinfalls and submissions and knockouts) however Takada came back to win the match via knockout with his back against the wall, so to speak. Whether this turns out to be a smart business move or not can't be evaluated right now, it depends on if Maeda lost anything but losing and if whatever losses are offset by what Takada gained by winning and the promotion gained from the upset."
-- As a result of the Takada victory, he will now face Bob Backlund on 12/22 in Osaka and Maeda will wrestle Norman Smiley.
-- "The way I've got them figured, this in theory gives the UWF hot matches through the spring which should continue their 100% sellout business since their inception. In January they will headline with Maeda vs. Chris Dolman, the world champion in sambo wrestling (the soviet form of legitimate wrestling with matches ending only via submission) and plan to closed-circuit that card in other major cities. Then in February, assuming Backlund beats Takada (which will get Backlund over HUGE in Japan), you've got a natural Maeda vs. Backlund match which will mean more then than it would have in December. Then, figuring Maeda will win that one, you still have the Maeda vs. Takada rematch from the March card, and then many assume that when Yoshiaki Fujiwara's contract with New Japan expires in April, he'll join the UWF and that gives potential main events with Fujiwara against both Maeda and Takada, which, with alternating wins and a few foreigners brought in to mix in with the main events, gives them a booking schedule that gets them through 1989. The question is whether the UWF's success is based on the popularity and drawing power of Maeda, or the popularity and drawing power of 'real wrestling.' If it is Maeda, and Maeda alone, responsible, then removing his aura of invincibility could hurt the promotion. If the real draw is the style, then they've helped themselves significantly. Either way, what other wrestler in the same position with the same power would do a clean job and hurt themselves personally for what in theory is the best thing for the company? The Tsuyuhashi card drew 4,000 fans and $134,000 and sold out five weeks early in just 45 minutes on the first day tickets went on sale."
-- Lia Maivia, Lars Anderson and Ati So'O have been arrested for extortion. According to an FBI affidavit, they threatened John Wakayama who was running a big tour of the islands from 11/13 to 11/15, including a big show at the NBC Arena headlined by the Funks vs Hansen & Gordy. On 10/24, they told Wakayama he would have to pay $5,000 and include two wrestlers of their choosing on his show or they would physically harm both him and his children. They were being filmed at the time. They were held without bail after their arrest and were scheduled to have a hearing to decide a bail price. The maximum is 20 years imprisonment.
-- Jose Gonzales was indicted on 11/2. The charges were dropped to manslaughter. None of the witnesses were present at the hearing, but the two doctors who operated on Brody and talked with Brody as he described what happened to him was considered enough evidence for an indictment. July 3, 1989 is the trial date. Gonzales is claiming self defense, and his attorney is pushing for the trial to take place as soon as possible. Dave doesn't understand why the murder weapon disappeared if it was self defense, and if it was self defense, why are so many wrestlers not only afraid to testify, but also afraid to set foot in Puerto Rico? Tony Atlas saw everything and has claimed he has received death threats if he testifies. Chris and Mark Youngblood left the island and know exactly what happened, and while they haven't been threatened, they are afraid to go back. Dave wants to know what the real motive was if it wasn't self defense, and why witnesses told police at the time that it was cold blooded and pre-meditated. "I've been very careful not to criticize Carlos Colon, or the promotion, in these pages for anything more than bad judgment. I originally felt they had taken a ton of heat for something they seemed embarrassed over and really had no control over. And even though Brody was a generally mild-mannered individual, he did have a rep for legitimate violence when provoked." The promotion is backing Gonzales, and is now giving him face time on television and having him carry finishes in the dressing room. If it was self-defense, Dave says to a point, Colon should be commended for backing his friend. But it doesn't make sense why everyone is afraid to testify if that's true. And if justice isn't being served, why is the promotion backing Gonzales so strongly? "Why did the promotion tell the wrestlers in the middle of the week following the death that Gonzales would never be involved again in the business to avoid a potential walk-out, and how Gonzales is back in and seemingly ready to resume his career if he can get the charges cleared next year? A lot of questions, but there are so few answers."
-- AJW ran shows in Honolulu in late September and drew near sellouts of 6,800 at the NBC Arena both nights, more than either Flair or Hogan have ever drawn in Hawaii. JWP is looking to expand and add men's matches to their shows. Hisashi Shinma, who everyone thought was back in New Japan, appeared on the 10/28 show at Korauen Hall and said he wanted to form a men's group to do joint cards with JWP. Later that night, Atsushi Onita came out of the audience to attack referee El Gran Hamada and bloody him up. "Onita was a former jr. heavyweight champion for Baba in the early 80s and a protege of Terry Funk and a real good worker who retired in 1984 due to knee problems. It was very surprising for him to do this because I was told the Babas considered Onita like a son to them." Ryuma Go and Nuboyashi Sugawara are also expected to join the group, since they have nowhere else to work.