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post #191 of 275 (permalink) Old 01-18-2013, 07:23 PM
In the end, everything is a gag.
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Re: 20 years Ago: Wrestling Observer

Never been to this thread before. Where do you get all this info?

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post #192 of 275 (permalink) Old 03-22-2013, 03:15 AM
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Re: 20 years Ago: Wrestling Observer

Excerpt from January 27, 1992 Wrestling Observer (WCW courts Bret Hart).

One of the stranger stories of the past week involves the Intercontinental title. Officially, as the storyline goes, Bret Hart went to the ring with a 104 degree fever on Friday night (1/17) in Springfield, MA and lost the title to The Mountie. Mountie in turn dropped the title at the Rumble two days later to Roddy Piper. As has become pretty common knowledge as the week went on, Hart had negotiated and at one point agreed to a deal where he would debut on Tuesday (1/21) at the Clash of the Champions for WCW in Topeka where he'd come out with the Intercontinental title as something of a payback for the WWF bringing in Ric Flair and having him wear what WCW considered their world title belt (of course the situations are completely different in that Flair was fired by WCW after the company attempted to cut an existing contract almost in half, which somehow six months later WCW feels is the WWF's fault for, to the extent they went to court over getting the belt off WWF television shows. So this idea was to gain revenge on the WWF, but the difference is that Hart would be walking out on a valid contract). The fact Hart was losing the title in Springfield was the world's worst-kept secret being that the WWF syndicated shows went out on the satellite Wednesday, which means anyone with a dish (which probably means well over one million potential viewers) would have been able to watch on Wednesday them talk about, in the past tense, in detail, an angle that was going to occur two days later.

It should be noted that the decision made to change the Intercontinental title from Hart to Piper was made weeks ago, before any talks had even started with WCW. So despite rumors to the contrary that are sure to spread, it wasn't a last-minute decision made by Titan to get the belt off Hart for fear he was leaving. If anything, Hart knowing he was going to lose the title may have been an impetus in his exploring the option of a jump. Apparently WCW offered Hart a guaranteed deal that was substantially more than he had been earning as Intercontinental champ. However after apparently agreeing to the deal, Hart had to back off because he realized his contract with the WWF, which he thought had run out, had rolled over
and he couldn't give notice for several more months. However, WCW sources indicate that Hart, who had backed out of the deal as of a few days ago, will be coming in after all in not too many months. Hart was promised that after losing the strap to Mountie at a house show that he would be getting it back at Wrestlemania, even if it meant in a babyface match against Piper. However those are the kind of promises in wrestling that aren't often kept. In this case, since word got out on several wrestling 900 numbers over the weekend (which said that Hart would be starting at the Clash on Tuesday, and I'm sure many people, with Hart not appearing at the Rumble--which was to sell the illness and allow Piper to get the match and the strap; believed that confirmed the reports he was jumping) the plan WCW was attempting, Hart probably isn't in exactly the most favorable political position in the WWF right now as a possible lame duck. As far as similar rumors involving Curt Hennig, first off, he's still months away from returning to the ring to begin with. Second, he just signed a new contract as an announcer with the WWF from what I'm told, although he is long-time friends with Rick Rude (they both grew up together in Robbinsdale, MN) and nearly everyone in wrestling is envious of Rude's contract with WCW (rumored to be $300,000 for working 142 dates).

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post #193 of 275 (permalink) Old 05-09-2013, 06:29 AM
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Re: 20 years Ago: Wrestling Observer

These are awesome to read and take a trip down memory lane
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post #194 of 275 (permalink) Old 05-20-2013, 06:32 PM
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Re: 20 years Ago: Wrestling Observer

Heres a letter written to Dave by none other then James E Cornette. From the Nov. 20, 1995 edition of the Observer.

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.

Jim Cornette

Smoky Mountain Wrestling

Morristown, Tennessee
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post #195 of 275 (permalink) Old 05-20-2013, 10:39 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 20 years Ago: Wrestling Observer

November 28th, 1988

-- "There's some major news from the NWA that should open up the issue, but I'm more in the mood to start off talking about the WWF and covering a few other subjects first."

-- "The Titan steamroller came into town for television tapings Tuesday and Wednesday night. I almost feel like entitling this page, 'My Week with the Fed', (as a takeoff on an excellent article a few issues back in Wrestling Forum by a Titan jobber), but actually it was only one five hour show that felt like a week. Well, it really didn't, but it was a loooong show, and that's with skipping the first two matches and leaving before the main event. They held the 'Superstars' taping at the San Francisco Cow Palace on 11/15, which drew a slightly padded legitimate sellout crowd of 14,600 fans (12,200 paying and $142,000 and 2,400 freebies) and they did turn away about 100 fans, although they weren't turning anyone away until after 8 p.m. for a 7:30 p.m. start. For reasons I'm unable to ascertain, the building was a good 2,000 shy of capacity, however as roughly 1,900 people who held tickets never arrived and there were plenty of empty seats noticable throughout the building, particularly up high, even though it was a turnaway event. One thing you have to give Titan credit for is the way they promote major events within the market. There was tons of local radio stations and even local television over the last two days. In reality, there was a lot of worrying about an empty arena because they had only 6,000 tickets sold the day before the event but had a huge walk-up, which on a Tuesday night is doubly impressive. My theory o this, which may not be worth much, is that doing tons of local publicity does work twice a year (which is all they do TV here) when Hogan is on the show because there were tons of casual fans, and that's really not what they were as I saw friends from high school and such the one time I wandered around the place and they wouldn't even be classified at wrestling fans in the least. It was simply a much-publicized thing to do and Hogan has name recognition with non-fans and can draw them once or twice, even if they don't care much about wrestling. Nobody else in wrestling has any pull anything near that with the non-fans. As one reader said, it was probably the highest IQ group ever to attend wrestling at the Cow Palace, but they also had the lowest wrestling IQ. We saw two turns, and fans didn't react to either of them. The only crowd reactions were the instinctive popping when music blared out and genuine heat during Ted DiBiase's match. The two most obvious lessons are that Titan can't run subtle turns here, because it was an audience that needed to be banged over the head to understand anything that occurred, and that for an organization that runs things so well, they really should be able to get a whole lot better quality of jobbers because even though the jobbers simply go into the ring and get squashed in two minutes, they at least have to know how to take bumps to sell the moves right and we had some outright disasters, particularly late in the show. The best thing about the show was the ring announcing by Howard Finkel. I've never really paid close attention to that before because I usually concentrate on the matches, but decided to concentrate on everything but the matches here. The guy belongs in the ring announcers hall of fame with Jimmy Lennon, and even Lennon wasn't so meticulously perfect."

-- Demolition vs Rockers: Dave missed it, but was told it was a **1/2 match and was the second best match on the show.
-- Ron Bass vs Ken Patera: DUD
-- Superstars taping summary: Fans didn't understand how the tapings worked and chanted "refund" during Big Boss Man's squash, because hey thought he was Hogan's replacement, and didn't realize the match was later in the show. Barry Horowitz is the best jobber in North America. Akeem is amusing as a novelty act, but has no chance of drawing money with that gimmick. Brother Love is really over. Rude has lost some heat compared to six months ago with the Cheryl Roberts angle. Bad News Brown would have made a great heel in the 70s. Dave enjoys Andre as an actor, but not as a wrestler. Duggan's popularity and heat has suffered greatly because of his feud with Dino Bravo, who is not over at all.

-- "Mean Gene came out to cheerlead for the intros to open the hours. They did two big opening cheers which did real good. Then Gene tried to lead fans in a chant of "Jesse, Jesse," but it was a real half-hearted response by the crowd which died almost immediately. When Gene previously announced Vince and Jesse's names, he paused for a big reaction to Jesse's name and it was surprisingly lukewarm with a few boos. Before I go on, there's one anecdote I've got to put in here. You know that Gene does those interviews with fans in the crowd (and yes, unlike anything else with Titan, these aren't plants). Anyway, Gene went up to this guy who looked like he was on furlough from a Massachusetts prison and started asking him all those stupid questions and the guy screamed on the mic, 'Mean Gene, you're a faggot.' Gene sprinted away from him lik ehe was Ben Johnson."

-- Ted DiBiase vs Tito Santana was **3/4 and the best match on the show.
-- Koko B. Ware & Blue Blazer vs Conquistadores was "okay if you don't mind watching Owen Hart wrestling while wearing an invisible straight-jacket."
-- Paul Roma had "the best physique in the WWF and maybe in all of pro wrestling."

-- "We went back to Superstars taping midway through hour #2 after an unplanned 10 minute intermission due to a wild brawl in the corner of the cheap seats. It took a long time to separate, had the best actual heat of the night (the punches looked real, probably because they were) and the participants kept breaking away from security to start pounding on one another. I haven't seen a crowd brawl like this one in a long time. It was ironic that what was planned next was, you got it, a brawl all over the arena."

-- More random taping thoughts: Sam Houston is taller and heavier than both Rougeaus, but has the rep of being skinny while they don't, so they get pushed and he doesn't. During the Rogueaus vs Houston & Stefan De Leon match, the building headed out for the concessions stands "like ants who had been given the message that Buddy Rose is unloading his picnic basket" ... "Rude's trunks now have a drawing of Rick Rude on them. Does that mean he wants to--wait, I better not even speculate."

-- Curt Hennig vs Lee Hansen: Hennig had less heat than anyone on the show, including some of the jobbers. This got "boring" chants, but Dave says Hennig beat the shit out of the guy, and it was like watching Ashura Hara in the WWF and was incredibly violent.

-- "It was off to Sacramento on 11/16 for a Wrestling Challenge and Saturday Night Main Event taping (for 11/26 air date). Sacramento had an awesome advance so freebies were limited, but they came just shy of a sellout with 15,900 (sellout would be 16,500) paying $170,000. "It totally mystifies me the crowd reaction for Hennig because they've given him such a big push but nobody cares. The theory among those who know more than I is that the problem is twofold: 1) Even though his character is not the same as DiBiase, his entrance to the fed is exactly the same and fans see it as nothing new. 2) Even though Hennig is a great worker and appeared to have a strong personality in the AWA, his interviews and personality which stood out amongst Kevin Kelly and Soldat Ustinov mean nothing when he's out there with guys with strong personalities who have their act down pat. Who really knows, all I know is it isn't working."

-- Even though there were 13,000 fans in attendance for Leonard-Lalonde, the paid attendance was only 5,000. The WWF also reduced their buyrate claims to 5.8 percent and 630,000 homes, but Dave says these figures bear no relation with reality, because clearance was only 9.4 million. Dave is hearing a lot of interesting information from cable companies despite the WWF's gag order.

-- "They Live" has already surpassed the $20 million mark. The move is expected to be a huge success internationally, especially in Europe because of Carpenter's reputation as a director. Observer reader and film critic Paul Sherman of the Boston Herald interviewed Piper. Here is a summary:

* Piper would return to wrestling again if this failed, although it would hurt a lot to have to do so
* Piper explained that he is loyal to Don Owen because Georgia tried to blackball him after they fired him, and Owen was the only promoter in the country that would hire him. So he never went against him, even though there was pressure to do so in the WWF.
* He talked about being stabbed three times, being shot at, and living on the streets from the time he was 13 to 15 years old. He was a golden gloves boxer at 14 years old when he weighed 157 lbs and got picked on a lot because he didn't look like he could fight.
* "It's a time when you really got to test your morals. It would be really easy to snatch some old lady's purse or something like that. With Carpenter, he would ask me and I'd tell him some things and some things I wouldn't. In that particular scene it was pretty hard for me because of what I was fighting. I'm a pretty shy guy, and when I wrestled I just kept everything closed and I was extra mean. It was a way of hiding everything that happened to me. Nobody asked me no questions because they didn't want to. When it came time to do this movie, it was just the opposite. They wanted you to open up. And I'm still afraid people will laugh at me for it. It just my feelings, and that hurts more than anything. So it's really a touchy thing, so I'm not sure where to go with it. I used to stay mean so they couldn't hurt me, now I'm opening up, and if they hurt me what do I do? Do I get mean and hit them? Do I take the heat and get my feelings hurt? Especially in the 'daddy scene,' it was just coming from Roderick Piper."
* He retired from wrestling because his oldest daughter would cry when he would leave from the airport to wrestle. "Believe it or not, I have a heart way down there. It tore my heart out. I never had no family on my side. I worked my whole life to build a family, to have a little ranch up on the mountain. All of a sudden I was throwing it away for I wasn't sure what. How much glamour wa sI gonna get out of pro wrestling? Or how much more anything? It was a hard decision to make."
* He was not a natural actor, and had to work hard.
* Ric Flair is a stand-up guy and a credit to wrestling.

"I printed these comments here but want to mention you should take most of them with a grain of salt. To clarify, on the Don Owen question, while it is true that the Georgia office fired Piper at the height of his popularity in 1981, the tour he worked with Owen the following week had been advertised for a long time previously, and it was a one-week tour, and after that, he went to work full-time for the Crocketts in the Carolinas (for much of '81 he was splitting time between the Crockett Carolina office and Ole Anderson's Georgia office). His story about meeting John Carpenter at WM3 seems strange as if the acting career was a fluke as many months before his retirement it was well-known he was trying to market himself as a movie actor and had three film offers before he ever retired from wrestling or even thought of retiring for that matter."

-- Brian Blair was brought to California to do a TV job, but refused, so he was fired again.

-- 11/17 in Los Angeles drew 10,000 and a $128,000 gate headlined by Hogan vs Boss Man. 11/18 in St. Louis drew a sellout 9,600 and an $89,000 gate headlined by Hogan vs Boss Man in the biggest turnout in over two years. 11/15 in Champaign, IL drew 14,000 fans headlined by Hogan vs Boss Man. 11/11 at Nassau drew 12,149 fans headlined by Hulk Hogan vs Brother Love (!!!) with Hogan stripping him down to polka dot underwear, a gate that Dave says throws every rule of promoting wrestling out the window. 11/11 in Albuquerque drew $43,000 headlined by Roberts vs Rude.

-- Vince is keeping the Rougeaus and Bulldogs apart, but they are both part of Survivor Series, which is the last show for Davey Boy & Dynamite.

-- The Fantastics vs Sheepherders match for the Clash has to be cancelled since the Sheepherders are headed to the WWF to fill the spot on the card made vacant by the departure of the British Bulldogs.

-- Dusty Rhodes is trying to get Ric Flair vs Rick Steiner on top for Starrcade, along with Roadies vs Sting & Luger and Barry Windham vs Dusty Rhodes. "I have to carefully tread on this story, but this past Monday afternoon, Ric Flair had a meeting at TBS and was informed of his match and of the finish. Flair stormed out of the meeting, missed the TBS TV tapings that night, and for a 24-hour period it was tough-and-go whether he'd finally go to Titan since he's been talking of late about the matches he could have with Randy Savage (although he doesn't realize what he'd have to give up to have them, basically his wrestling dignity, and those matches would never live up to expectations because they wouldn't be given the time). Well, Jack Petrik of TBS has learned more about the wrestling business over the past seven days then most learn in a year and by Tuesday talked Flair into staying. At that point the main event was Flair vs. Luger with the two matches underneath uncertain, but that was the deal made between Petrik and Flair, with Rhodes not involved in the decision-making. Rhodes was furious, as you can imagine and he and Jim Crockett tried to explain to Petrik various reasons why the scenario he had wouldn't work (I can't go into details because it would give away a possible finish) and tried to talk Petrik back into seeing things their way, and then failing, tried to talk him into switching the main event to Flair vs. 'that Jap' (Genichiro Tenryu, who Flair himself wanted to wrestle despite the fact it would have no box office impact because he wanted a great, stiff, realistic match and also wanted to get himself and the NWA title 'over' as the real World title in Japan and wanted to open up Japanese style more to U.S. fans). Later Crockett dispatched Jim Barnett to convince Flair to see things Dusty's way on Thursday, but the last word I have is that it will be Flair vs. Luger on top. The story doesn't end here, because this weekend has been full of turmoil and disaster for the NWA. There have been several no-shows each night, finishing off with a near-record 12 no-shows tonight in Chicago (if you include managers). Most importantly, Dusty Rhodes missed all three major cards this weekend and it isn't clear to anyone as to why, whether the pressure of being accountable and not having 100 percent carte blanche when it comes to booking is taking its toll or whether its a protest for being overruled or whether it is something else. However on Friday night at the DC Armory in Washington, Rhodes was scheduled to wrestle Flair for the title on top and no-showed without leaving any word. They waited until 8 p.m., the show's starting time, for his arrival and since he gives finishes, had nothing worked out for the card. When he didn't arrive, Kevin Sullivan and Gary Juster had to frantically put together a replacement card and work out match finishes and actually completed the show with very few mishaps. Road Warrior Hawk missed Thursday and Friday with a bad back, but was back to work on Saturday and the injury was legit. He was in town to work Friday but was in so much pain and with Rhodes not there they decided to turn the main event into Flair & Road Warrior Animal vs. Sting & Luger with Sting pinning Flair for the finish. Bobby Eaton missed the weekend as well but the absence was excused. Then came Sunday night in Chicago and check out the list of no-shows: Stan Lane and Bobby Eaton and manager Jim Cornette (Cornette was advertised but wasn't scheduled to go there because of the decision not to send the managers on the road in many situations to save travel costs); Dusty himself; Bam Bam Bigelow (who got fed up with the way the organization was being run the previous night in Philadelphia but is still with the group and only missed the show); Fantastics and Sheepherders (since Sheeps quit and Fantastics had nobody to work with), Paul E. Dangerously (although his team was there, same story about managers), Paul Jones (ditto) and J. J. Dillon and Oliver Humperdink. Even at this Wednesday's kick-off to Battlestar Week in Baltimore, the promotion's hottest city, they don't have Cornette and Dangerously on the show. The story I got is that when TBS heard about all this about managers advertised in promos not showing up that they were 'very upset' because they want to run a first-class operation and just for practical business reasons, no-shows hurt the town's future gates worse than almost anything you can think of.

That isn't the only problem. Another major problem on the scene is that since the wrestlers were ordered to move to Atlanta by 11/1, all air reservations were bought from the Atlanta airport. This mean those who hadn't relocated to Atlanta, like those who stayed in Charlotte (many of them did) would have to drive to Atlanta to catch their plane to wherever (something like a six hour drive) and drive home from Atlanta. Some did the drive and others paid out-of-pocket to purchase their own plane tickets out of Charlotte. Apparently Steve Williams has a similar problem living in Shreveport and his deal when he joined the NWA was they would fly his leg from Shreveport to Dallas and then Dallas to wherever. Some tickets come out of Dallas since many of the wrestlers still live there including Crockett, Dusty and J.J. Dillon, however those on the East Coast's tickets are all out of Atlanta. Anyway, Williams' promise was reniged upon and he's been driving from Shreveport to Dallas to catch his plane flights. This should help some of you understand why in certain circumstances that some of the matches may be below par. The wrestlers were told that TBS ordered them all to move, but I'm wondering. Why would TBS, in its first month of owning the company, do something like this which is certain to destroy morale, which is already at below zero?"

-- The Dusty situation remains up in the air, but Dave thinks he's "already cooked his goose" (My note: I am Southern and have NEVER heard that expression) and knows it. There has still been no explanation for his missing the shows. "The real story behind this in my mind is that there has been a major power play going on behind the scenes ... between Rhodes and Ric Flair. One time Flair woke up and realized how much he had allowed himself and the title to be abused and also realized just how little the title meant to the casual fans because of the cheap way the champion had been portrayed, particularly over the past year with all the ref bump DQ finishes. Flair refused to do those finishes, particularly wth Lex Luger, and Rhodes and Crockett tried to paint Flair as a prima donna and not a team player to Petrik. Part of the reason also is that Flair had received a very lucrative offer from TBS and TBS is working on marketing Flair as the focal point of their promotion in 1989 as a babyface and are working on a Flair book, Flair videotape, etc. to come out next year after the turn. There was also a clause in the deal that gave Flair unprecedented power for a World champion and Rhodes and Crockett were upset Flair was given that type of power and Rhodes felt Flair went 'behind his back' in negotiating the contract and getting that certain power. In response, Rhodes only booked Flair for five shows the entire month of December and attempted to get the title from him at Starrcade, but it appears the entire situation backfired on him. As far as I know, Rhodes is still the booker but I assume Kevin Sullivan is in reality the booker and that the promotion is in a shambles temporarily due to a lack of leadership and guidance which has to be addressed quickly and my own opinion is that it will be very difficult to salvage anything from Starrcade because valuable build-up time has been lost in the in-fighting and petty-burying. Rhodes also had planned to bring his son Dustin (18-years-old) in along with Kendall Windham as the Texas Broncos tag team and give them a decent babyface push, and his timing in doing so couldn't have been worse."

-- Jimmy Garvin has quit, and is expected to end up in Texas teaming with Michael Hayes.

-- 11/16 in Raleigh drew $8,000 headlined by Midnight Express vs Road Warriors in a cage match. 11/19 in Philadelphia drew 5,000 fans headlined by Road Warriors vs Sting & Luger in a **** brawl.

-- "They also announced that they would be doing a live 'Straight Talk with the Boss' (Magnum T.A.) segment at Starrcade and in this week's update showed a three minute video of Magnum running on the beach with his mom that was taped many years ago to build up a Flair vs. Magnum match in Norfolk (a 60 minute draw which sold out the place). What is the purpose? Last year they had to rush certain matches to fit in a 2 1/2 hour show and hold the card to seven matches--this year they've got three hours bu probably will have more matches and they don't have time for a live Magnum's Pit-- it's just not the show to do it in. The video was great, but it should have been a new video done on whomever was wrestling Flair for the title or on Sting & Luger as a team or whatever. I personally enjoyed it but it was another waste of a Starrcade update on something and someone who isn't going to be selling tickets to a PPV event."

-- 11/18 in DC drew 3,000 headlined by Flair & Animal vs Sting & Luger. 11/20 drew 4,500 and a $52,000 house headlined by Sting & Luger vs Road Warriors. 11/13 in Huntington, WV drew 5,000 headlined by Sting vs Flair. 11/10 in Johnstown, PA drew 1,549 and a $15,661 gate headlined by Sting & Luger vs Flair & Windham. 11/11 in Pittsburgh drew 3,400 and a $35,000 house headlined by Flair vs Luger.

-- Later in the issue, Dave says Rhodes claimed he was ill and that's why he missed the weekend shows, but he is probably out as booker but may stay temporarily as a wrestler.

-- The NWA wrestlers received their balloon payments from Crockett, but only at 40 cents on the dollar. The best estimate is that one major NWA star will wind up with around $120,000.

-- Correction from last week: The Dallas office has not closed, but most of the major decisions are coming from Tennessee. Only Eric Embry and Bronco Lubich are working from Dallas now.

-- Jerry Jarrett may be looking to replace Marc Lowrance because he has no credibility in World Class and it reflects badly on the product and hype.

-- "Eric Embry pulled a Robert Fuller and ran the whole show around himself. Scandor Akbar now has a $50,000 bounty on Embry. During an interview, Iceman King Parsons and Botswana Beast beat up Embry who juiced and was stretchered out and it was announced to the crowd he was taken to the hospital. Later in the show Embry came back and attacked Iceman and Beast and they said that he refused to get in the ambulance to take him to the hospital and stayed in the building for revenge."

-- Lawler did an interview to cover for his no-show on 11/11 at the Sportatorium, saying he was in town and WCCW personnel drove him all over Dallas. He claims Fritz Von Erich paid them off so he wouldn't hurt Kerry before Superclash.

-- The British Bulldogs will be in full-time starting 11/25. Don Muraco and Junkyard Dog will be in the first week of December. Dave expects crowds to pick up since they're all major league stars, but they all need heels to face, although Dave thinks Muraco teaming with Steve DiSalvo against the Bulldogs would draw. Dave can't see JYD staying over very long here because the fans are used to great matches.

-- 11/11 in Calgary drew 1,000+ headlined by Benoit/Wellington/Bruce Hart vs Smith/Cuban Commandos

-- The WWF is running Calgary on 12/9, so Stampede will run a day earlier that week.

-- They ran an angle where Abdul Wizal threw ammonia in Steve DiSalvo's eyes, and they actually used real ammonia and some got in DiSalvo's eyes, so he had to wear a protective face mask.

-- Ashura Hara has been fired. This is a huge loss for All Japan which Dave compares to Arn & Tully leaving for the WWF. He can't see anyone filling Hara's spot except maybe Toshiaki Kawada, but that would break up the popular Foot Loose tag team. Also, Kawada is too small to work on top. The story was that Hara kept piling up outside debt, and Baba kept helping him out, but Hara refused to help himself, and Baba got tired of doing so and got rid of him.

-- Weekly Pro Wrestling, which Dave compares in some ways to the WON, just that they are more subtle and have more read-between-the-lines reporting, said that Tenryu vs Jumbo on 10/28 was fantastic, but had a weak finish that some are complaining was too revealing.

-- Weekly Gong will have a 10-part interview with Barbara Goodish starting in a few weeks.

-- 11/11 in Tokyo started the tag tournament.

-- 11/12 in Matsumoto drew 2,230 fans.

-- Lance Idol no-showed the tour, so Kendo Nagasaki is replacing him and will team with Buzz Sawyer & Manny Fernandez.

-- Hiroshi Hase will be out several months with a staph infection, which could be career-threatening.

-- 11/10 in Tsuyuhashi drew 5,000 fans and a $175,00 gate headlined by Maeda vs Takada.

-- The plan is to air the 1/10 show which will probably be Maeda vs Backlund in closed circuit, the first show of its kind in Japan.

-- They had their first TV exposure ever over the past week, airing the main events on Ch. 6 in Tokyo, an independent station. It drew a national 12 rating, which makes it the third highest rated show of the year after Hogan vs Andre and Dump's retirement. Ch. 6 pushed the show hard, saying they would be airing real wrestling, with Maeda saying "All Japan and New Japan are fake and our fights are real fights."

-- Hisashi Shinma is starting JWP in large part due to his anger over Maeda's comments about other promotions. Devil Masami and Shinobu Kandori will have a big main event in January.

-- "There is a rumor floating around that Merv Griffin was going to start a wrestling promotion that word I get is it was just a passing thought."

-- Vader is running an indy show called "Superclash '88" on 12/2 in Boulder, CO.

-- Lia Maivia and Lars Anderson were released on $20,000 bail. Maivia, Anderson and Ati So'o were required to surrender their passports, not leave Hawaii, and have no contact with any witnesses.

-- Manny Fernandez was arrested for assaulting a fan in Hickory, NC where he wrestled Hector Guerrero.
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post #196 of 275 (permalink) Old 05-21-2013, 12:35 AM
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Re: 20 years Ago: Wrestling Observer

Love reading this stuff. Keep 'em coming!

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post #197 of 275 (permalink) Old 05-21-2013, 12:51 AM
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"Mean Gene, you're a faggot."

Awesome quote. Love this thread.

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post #198 of 275 (permalink) Old 05-21-2013, 01:27 AM
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Re: 20 years Ago: Wrestling Observer

An excerpt I found to be amusing. Meltzer talks about King Of The Ring 1995:

So how bad was it?

Bad enough that when it ended 11 minutes early, nobody complained.

Bad enough that the fans were chanting the promotion's name during the bad matches. The problems were. There were too many bad matches. And the name they were chanting was of the wrong promotion.

Bad enough that the most entertaining part of the show was the color commentator doing a fake spanish language translation of a spanish language interview segment.

Bad enough that somebody putting it together actually thought watching someone throw up on camera, at dinner time on the West Coast, was family entertainment.

Bad enough that watching someone throwing up on camera was more entertaining than many of the matches.

Bad enough that the worst wrestler on the show, Mabel, won the tournament and that the best wrestler, Shawn Michaels, was eliminated in the first round. Although this "surprise" wasn't just for the sake of delivering a "surprise," it certainly made a show that looked weak going in on paper be even worse then expected.

Bad enough that numerous callers claimed it was the worst PPV show that they had ever seen. It wasn't just a negative response but a vehement negative response. I wouldn't go so far as to say it was the worst ever, or even the worst in a long time, but it was one really bad show.

And you thought the WWF, because Jim Ross was on the booking committee, was finally into promoting talent ahead of size. Think of Ross' upbringing in wrestling. It was under Bill Watts who had to be dragged kicking and screaming by Bill Dundee into pushing smaller guys. Even when Dundee's smaller guys led to setting all kinds of attendance records in his region, when crowds started dropping, Watts blamed it on the idea that nobody truly believed Terry Taylor could beat Kimala and went back to what he knew best. He ended up out of business. There were many factors in that such as the economy in his region and the fact that it was during a time period when virtually every regional promotion was on the verge of inevitably going out of business anyway. Who he pushed at the end was at best only a small part of that. But it did point out that under stress, despite what had been proven within his own territory, he went back to his upbringing and what he knew best. WWF is in the same situation. Not as far as danger of going out of business but arena business is weak, perhaps at its weakest level ever. The Monday Night TV ratings are excellent. Hell, even when his company was going down, Watts always had excellent TV ratings because he put together great television. And you can see the philosophy. Yes, WWF has brought in a wealth of good young talent, some of whom undoubtedly will be superstars of tomorrow. And in comparison to WCW, the young talent looks great, although almost none of it was on this show. There were only two great wrestlers on this PPV, Michaels and Bret Hart. They were also the two most over wrestlers on the show. They were also two of the three smallest men (the other being Jerry Lawler, who even though his style looked outdated, drew more heat by far than anyone on the show) on the show. But when things get desperate, and the one and possibly only thing Dusty Rhodes, Watts and McMahon had in common was when things got desperate, they continually went to the cage match (the plethora of cage matches on house shows now is indicative of desperation) and the latter two thought the answer was to find some big heels to push, even if they at times lacked charisma. And in the case of those who did, it didn't work. What took place at this show was no surprise. Mabel is simply a generation later version of the late Ray Candy and Leroy Brown, both of whom Watts pushed heavily. In almost every business when things get tough, those in charge usually go to their instinctive upbringing. Watts was a big man and it's what he understood worked. McMahon's father ran a big man's territory. McMahon Jr. ran a big man's territory. Ross is still, instinctively and that's the key, a product of the Watts upbringing. Big isn't necessarily bad by any means. But big is bad in this case when big is being pushed regardless of quality and when the interest of the crowds have changed. The best crowd responses on this show came from the smaller and more talented men.

King of the Ring '95 on 6/25 from the Core States Spectrum in Philadelphia was the worst WWF PPV in a long time. It was so bad one can only speculate on how those booking the show together in the first place thought they'd be able to pull it off. On the positive side, it was an extremely well produced show. Not a glitch in sight other than the segment where Mo read the proclamation creating "King Mabel." In some parts of the country we received reports of transmission problems (picture flickering) but that obviously was out of Titan's control and most of the country received a perfect signal. The video segments for the Special Olympics and the Hall of Fame banquet were exceptional. The announcing was damn good, with Dok Hendricks (Michael Hayes) going back into his old Hayes character rather than trying to be something he isn't. When Hendricks wasn't in Michael Hayes character, he was reciting Jim Ross trivia. It was obvious that either Ross had prepared a ton of notes for him to read off, or Ross was on the headsets with him throughout the show feeding him with points to bring up as soon as he recognized the opening. No bad camera shots. Excellent atmosphere at the beginning of the show although as the matches got worse, the show got deader. The only thing bad were the matches themselves. And for the most part, they were really bad. Although it was announced on the air that the show drew a sellout of 19,767 and turned away many. The figure was exaggerated by about 5,000 as the actual crowd was estimated at 15,000. The upper tier of the building was almost vacant. It was a high ticket scale with $200 ringside so the gate was likely in excess of $300,000 which would trail only Wrestlemania as the largest of the year.

A. Savio Vega (Juan Rivera) pinned IRS (Mike Rotunda) in 4:01 of a King of the Ring qualifying match which aired on the pre-game show. It was announced on television over the weekend that Razor Ramon's rib injury hadn't healed sufficiently and that this match would be added to the show with the winner going into the tournament. With IRS about to retire to become a road agent not to mention the winner facing Yokozuna, the finish was guaranteed. They played the show as a story of Vega somehow being equated to Rocky Balboa. Both worked hard but a lot of stuff wasn't well-timed. Vega won with a spin kick. *1/2

In the pre-game show, they brought out Michaels to do an interview where he gave a shoot line about not being the most popular wrestler among the wrestlers but being popular with the fans. A lot of WWF wrestlers have to be brought into grudgingly admitting Michaels' talent and most reaction we've gotten is that the as a rule the wrestlers themselves will have a lot more nice things to say about Bret Hart.

1. Vega beat Yokozuna (Rodney Anoia) via count out in 8:24. It's very hard to work with Yokozuna because of his size and physical condition. After Vega missed a spin kick, Yokozuna went to a lengthy nerve hold. Vega got out but was thrown over the top rope. Yoko missed a legdrop. The fans then started chanting "USA, USA." Go figure. Vega came back with four clotheslines that didn't budge Yoko, but a spin kick knocked him down. He then punched Jim Cornette. Razor Ramon, at ringside for all Vega's bouts, wound up chasing Cornette. Owen Hart, who was at the show doing the 900 line segment, ran to the ring and attacked Ramon. Vega went out to save Ramon. As Yoko went to attack Vega from behind, Vega moved and Yokozuna ran into the ringpost and Vega got back in the ring to beat the count. 3/4*

2. Roadie (Brian James) pinned Bob Holly (Robert Howard) in 7:30. Fast paced with a lot of near falls early. Holly was very impressive here. Roadie takes good bumps. He's green on offense but has great potential. Finish saw Holly come off the top rope, Roadie stuck his foot up and hit Holly in the face and scored the pin. **1/2

3. Michaels (Michael Hickenbottom) drew Kama (Charles Wright) in 15:00 to eliminate both of them. They had the Creatures of the Night at ringside. Michaels did about as good a job as possible considering the handicap of working with someone for 15:00 who outweighed him by probably 120 pounds legit and who is marginal at best. Michaels used his speed early until Kama caught him with a clothesline over the top at 3:55. Kama rammed Michaels back first into the post. Kama kept the advantage until putting him in a backbreaker over the shoulder. Michaels kicked off the turnbuckle and flipped over for a near fall. Michaels took a flip bump over the turnbuckle and out of the ring where Ted DiBiase put the boots
to him. The last 2:00 consisted of Michaels getting several near falls before time expired. **3/4

4. Mabel (Nelson Frazier) pinned Undertaker (Mark Calloway) in 10:44. It was the first pinfall loss I can recall Undertaker taking since challenging Hogan for the WWF title back around 1991. Because of the draw in the previous match, the winner of this match would go to the finals. Match was terrible. Undertaker had the early advantage until Mo distracted him allowing Mabel to use a belly-to-belly. Mabel went into a lengthy camel clutch and chinlock and rammed Undertaker into the steps. After a lengthy slow period, Mabel ran into Undertaker's foot and a clothesline. Mabel used a piledriver for a near fall. After a collision, Mabel missed an elbow drop and Undertaker made the big comeback. After a ref bump, Undertaker had Mabel pinned with a flying clothesline. After a choke slam, Mo interfered but Undertaker decked him. Kama did a run-in and kicked Undertaker in the face, Mabel gave him a legdrop and the revived ref counted the in. After the match Kama slapped Undertaker in the face which "woke him up" and Kama then ran away from him. -1/2*

They aired a video from the Hall of Fame banquet the previous night at the new Philadelphia Downtown Marriott. Yes that was Bill Watts on the video talking with Ernie Ladd. Like last year, the video piece was excellent with Antonino Rocca's widow crying during her acceptance speech. Scott Putski (Scott Bednarski) gave a speech about his father; Watts gave a speech introducing Ladd; Alundra Blayze gave a speech introducing Fabulous Moolah; Lou Albano introduced the late Grand Wizard (Ernie Roth) whose award was accepted by his former roommate and protege Bob Harmon (Beautiful Bobby), the same Bob Harmon who did that brief SMW stint as Buddy Landel's manager in December; Miguel Perez Sr. (father of current IWA wrestler of the same name) introduced Rocca, his former tag team partner in the 1950s when they frequently sold out Madison Square Garden), who award was accepted by Rocca's widow. Gorilla Monsoon introduced Savio Vega, who accepted the award for no-showing Pedro Morales. Morales, who is the spanish language announcer for WCW, canceled out of appearing at the banquet for fear it would create heat within his own company. Famous movie comedian Bill Murray did a taped introduction of George Steele (Jim Meyers). A crowd of about 750 attended and it was considered a major success by almost everyone.

5. Vega pinned Roadie in the semifinal in 6:36. Roadie took some great bumps and scored a head-butt off the top for a near fall. He missed a second heat-butt. No heat at all. Jeff Jarrett tripped Vega at one point. Finish saw Jarrett and Roadie collide and Vega pinned him with a schoolboy off the collision. *

After the match Carlos Cabrera, a lead announcer of the Spanish language announcing team (mainly for Puerto Rico as WWF PPV doesn't go into Mexico) did an interview with Vega in spanish. Hendricks did a translation of both men saying that Cabrera was telling Vega that Mabel was going to kill him and Vega agreeing. It was really funny.

6. Bret Hart beat Jerry Lawler in the kiss my foot match in 9:20. Although this was advertised as a first-ever in WWF history, they actually did one on 5/12 in Providence, RI between the same two with the same finish. Lawler hit three piledrivers at the onset but Hart kicked out. Lawler took off his boot and hit Hart in the face, but Hart again kicked out. Lawler tried to rub his ripped up sock in Hart's face but Hart made a comeback using a head-butt to the groin. Lawler came back again hitting Hart with his boot and used a fist-drop but Hart kicked out. Lawler tried to run Hart's groin into the post but Hart did a reversal and Lawler's face went into the post. Hart started his comeback when Hakushi and Shinja came to ringside. Lawler held Hart and Hakushi threw a chop but Hart ducked and Lawler took it. Hart did his typical finishing sequence of a leg sweep (sloppily executed which appeared to be Lawler's fault), a backbreaker (it appeared Lawler didn't get up right for it so it was also sloppy) and the forearm off the ropes before using the sharpshooter for the submission. After the match Hakushi and Shinja showed up once again. Hakushi went for a springboard shoulderblock on Hart, who moved again and hit Lawler. With Lawler "KO'd" from the move, Hart knocked Hakushi out of the ring and shoved his foot in Lawler's face. He then twisted Lawler's own foot and put it in Lawler's face. Lawler sold it like he was going to throw up, which he did laster in the show. Not a good match technically but Hart was the most over person on the show, and Lawler did a great job working the crowd so the match had by far the most crowd heat and interest. **3/4
They showed a special Olympics video. Video was also excellent although there's something really pathetic about using the special Olympics to get the company over. Not that other companies don't do it but don't confuse public relations with charity work. Especially when a company continually beats you over the head with it. It means a lot more when a guy like Johnny B. Badd does the stuff because it's not used as part of packages to get him (or in this case the company) over and you never hear about it.

7. Mabel pinned Vega to win King of the Ring in 8:32. Horrible match. Mabel held a long bearhug and then a long chinlock. Fans started chanting "ECW." It wasn't a surprise to hear the chant, but was to hear just how many were doing it and how loud it was. Apparently there were several other "ECW" chants during the show but this was the only one really audible on camera. Apparently after the show in front of the building and in the building, there were tons of "ECW" chants, which was explained to me as more of a negative reaction to the quality of the show than anything else. There were also tons of banners confiscated before the show for the ECW promotion and characters. Vince McMahon didn't know what was going on because he said, "Listen to the crowd" thinking they were chanting for Vega and it was a very loud chant. They quickly turned down the crowd audio when they figured out what was going on. The guys got up and went right to the finish with Mabel kicking out of Vega's spin kick, then Mabel hit a powerslam for a near fall before winning with a big splash. After the match, Ramon decked Mo and started beating on Mabel. Mo attacked Ramon from behind and Mabel gave him a bodyslam, elbow drop and dropped an elbow onto Ramon's bad ribs. 1-2-3 Kid did a run-in and threw a few kicks before Mo & Mabel laid him out as well. -*

Afterwards they did a long coronation ceremony with Mabel which saw fans felt him with garbage. Then they aired a video of Lawler backstage vomiting and washing his mouth out with toothpaste and mouthwash. The former segment fell flat. The latter would have been funny without the vomiting which made it disgusting.

8. Diesel (Kevin Nash) & Bam Bam Bigelow (Scott Bigelow) beat Tatanka (Chris Chavis) & Sid (Sid Eudy) in 17:35. Bigelow worked most of the early portion. When Diesel tagged in, the heels went to work on his bad elbow for several minutes. Bigelow did the hot tag in but after a brief flurry, was distracted by DiBiase and cut off. Sid gave him some lame looking punches from behind and a choke slam off the middle rope. Tatanka used a back suplex. When Bigelow was in with Tatanka the match was good, but the rest of the time it was bad. Bigelow went for a slingshot over the ropes but Tatanka grabbed his foot and dragged him to the floor. Bigelow was pounded on until Diesel hot tagged in at 11:20. Diesel used an elbow drop but then started selling his elbow and immediately tagged out. Bigelow was worked over including Tatanka doing a nice leaping DDT. Bigelow made a comeback with an Edouardo Carpentier somersault splash and an enzuigiri leading to tag to Diesel. Diesel gave Tatanka and side slam and foot to the nice and a very sloppy jackknife. Diesel picked Tatanka up at two and signalled he wanted Sid to tag in. Sid simply walked to the dressing room to build up their rematch next month leaving Tatanka alone to be pinned after an elbow drop. Finish was flat and did wonders for Sid as a killer heel, making him more a Buddy Landel/Lawler type of coward heel. *1/2

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post #199 of 275 (permalink) Old 05-21-2013, 11:35 AM
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Re: 20 years Ago: Wrestling Observer

7. Mabel pinned Vega to win King of the Ring
And people wonder why they struggled in the 90s. Nobody wants to see that sh*t.

8. Diesel (Kevin Nash) & Bam Bam Bigelow (Scott Bigelow) beat Tatanka (Chris Chavis) & Sid (Sid Eudy)
And nobody wants to see this either. LOL @ this being the main event on a major PPV.

Especially when you have Undertaker, Hart, and Michaels all on the same card.

They really did everything they could to make Diesel happen. I remember when he eliminated, like, 20 people in a row at the Royal Rumble, lol. Made him seem so powerful, and gave him a huge push.

Nash talks about how when Vince first saw him, Vince was sitting with Lex Luger, and someone else (I forgot who). Nash said that Lex & the guy said that Vince was practically creaming his pants, over how big Nash looked. Nash said he knew right there, big things would be instore for him.

Vince and his freakin' big man fetish...

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post #200 of 275 (permalink) Old 05-21-2013, 11:25 PM
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Re: 20 years Ago: Wrestling Observer

I'm a diehard ECW fanboy and even I love Cornettes deep, passionate hatred of ECW. I came across some interesting promos from The Gangstas in ECW where they were burning Jim Cornette & Smoky Mountain really good. Interesting stuff. Interesting how that "ridiculous horshit" Paul E. Dangerously was pushing pretty much led to the biggest boom Cornettes ever seen. A few months after he wrote that letter Austin, Foley, and Rey Jr. wrestled in the best wrestling show in north american in 1995 in my opinion(November to Remember).

Last edited by ShinobiMusashi; 05-21-2013 at 11:28 PM.
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