Mar 21 1994 Observer Newsletter: Tonya Harding and wrestling, Hogan/WCW, Mania X preview, more
Wrestling Observer Newsletter
PO Box 1228, Campbell, CA 95009-1228 March 21, 1994
Just days before Wrestlemania, traditionally the biggest wrestling event of the year, it seems that virtually none of the major discussion within the business has to do with the big show.
In what became a major story in the U.S. media on 3/14 that was first reported in Japanese newspapers on 3/8, the All Japan Women's pro wrestling promotion is claiming they are going to make a $2 million offer to Tonya Harding to become a pro wrestler. The story garnered some publicity last week in Japan, and a second story hit the next day when Akira Hokuto returned from Mexico and announced she wanted to train Harding. On Monday morning the story hit in the U.S. in an AP story with a Tokyo dateline which quickly made it, as everything related to Harding over the past few months has become, one of the lead stories in the news.
The actual idea behind this could make a lot of sense. The promotion could use Harding's notoriety in an attempt to gain exposure for its product internationally, particularly in North America. The idea is that the product itself, once exposed to the masses, would be able to keep a level of interest once the novelty interest in Harding as a wrestler wanes. The reported story is that Takashi Matsunaga, one of four brothers who founded the All Japan Women's promotion back in 1968 and still own it today, will offer Harding the $2 million deal next week when Harding is in Japan for the World figure skating championships. Harding's agents were contacted and an employee of the company was going to be sent to Portland this past week to discuss a proposal, but there was no response from Harding's side to a meeting. Supposedly the only reason the $2 million figure is being used is that was the amount of money Disney paid Nancy Kerrigan (nope, you can't pick up anything without reading about them) and so that was the figure Matsunaga used.
There are negotiations set up for Harding and All Japan women when she's in Japan next week for the World Figure Skating championships and they want to bring her to the 3/27 Yokohama Arena show and sit her at ringside to show her what women's wrestling really is, and also to garner whatever mainstream publicity they can over having her in the front row at their big show. Although Matsunaga was quoted in the AP story as saying there was a 70 percent chance of signing her, the odds are tremendously long that will take place and she won't be welcomed into the company by the women wrestlers any better than baseball players are welcoming Michael Jordan. The AP quoted Matsunaga as saying she'd be a heel at first and then turned into a heroine, but Japanese sources claim that was a misquote because Japanese women's wrestling doesn't have babyfaces and heels. Harding has received virtually the same level of coverage in Japan and most of the rest of the world before the Olympics that she did in the United States, where the Tonya/Nancy story led to two of the largest television audiences for any event in U.S. television history for the Olympic women's figure skating championships a few weeks back. Of course Harding faces potential major legal problems stemming from
the Grand Jury's hearing evidence based on her role in the attack of Kerrigan. Indictments, if any, should be released within the next few weeks as well. As of late Monday night, Harding's publicists refused to either confirm or deny that Harding was considering accepting the All Japan women offer.
It is not unusual to take world-class athletes from other sports and try to turn them into pro wrestlers in not only Japan but also the United States. Attempts through the years to do such has resulted in both successes and failures. Anton Geesink and Wilhelm Ruska, both world champions in judo, were signed by All Japan and New Japan respectively in the 1970s, and both were given the megapush from the start, but neither was able to sustain it. In fact, Geesink, who from his debut was pushed behind Baba as the No. 2 babyface in All Japan in the early 70s is categorized as one of the biggest flops in history. Others, like Genichiro Tenryu, a top-ranked sumo wrestler, has become one of the biggest stars in the industry. However, two Yokozunas (Sumo grand champions), Hiroshi Wajima and Koji Kitao, were also flops as pro wrestlers although Kitao still is around with his own promotion. All Japan women took a television star/teenybopper heartthrob/rock singer from the late 70s, Mimi Hagiwara, and turned her into a wrestler and she wound up being a good worker and one of the biggest stars in the promotion's history. In the U.S. years ago, it was commonplace for football greats to augment their income in the days the NFL wasn't nearly as lucrative a profession as it is today and work as pro wrestlers during the off-season, some of which were good workers. Legit football legends like Jim Thorpe, Leo Nomellini and Bronko Nagurski were main event wrestling stars. Ernie Ladd and Wahoo McDaniel, who wouldn't quality as football legends but were stars in the 60s, were main event wrestlers for many years after giving up football. Many other ex-footballers didn't make it as wrestlers. Since Harding is a world-class athlete, the promotion hopes to be able to do the same with her as they did 17 years ago with Hagiwara--take a celebrity and turn her into a wrestler and make a drawing card out of them, although obviously Harding is far more well known even in Japan that Hagiwara was. The idea is for Harding to start training after the skating world championships which will be taking place this week and to debut at the Tokyo Dome on 11/10. Even without Harding that show, which will feature the retirement match of Hokuto, will almost surely break the all-time world record for attendance and gate for a women's wrestling show, however the owners of the company are worried about being able to fill the 63,000-seat arena when the largest crowd in the history of the promotion was 16,500 at last year's Dream Slam I. In addition, with Harding's U.S. and worldwide notoriety, it would open numerous doors to the promotion overseas. Although the women's wrestling business finished perhaps its biggest year ever in 1993, the company from a business standpoint is said to be in something of a precarious financial situation at present because during the glory years it invested the huge profits made when the Crush Gals were on top in real estate, and the Tokyo real estate market has collapsed. Harding's presence in the promotion as a regular would up the group's chances 100-fold of getting weekly television exposure in the United States and enable the major shows to be broadcast on PPV, which is something the group has talked about in recent months. If Harding does debut at the Dome show, the curiosity factor surrounding her would be such that a PPV show sent to the U.S. could do considerable business.
Reality break. None of this is going to happen. Yes, there's a chance the money is such that she'll sign if the $2 million figure isn't simply a publicity stunt. Harding isn't exactly wallowing in endorsements, but the $600,000 she made for doing tabloid interviews doesn't make her destitute as she was earlier in her life. The reported $250,000 deal offered for her to pose sans clothing and movie deals will take a lot less physical risk and allow her to continue to compete as a skater provided she isn't suspended. As of today, she doesn't have any product endorsements, and that isn't likely to change. For someone who grew up with little in the way of money, an offer of $2 million, if it's legit is something that probably would be considered. And if one thing has to be said to her credit, being a world-class performer in her sport takes incredible drive and determination, forgetting the crimes she may have had a hand in. Those attributes, drive, determination and athletic ability are the same attributes needed to survive and make it in the All Japan women's promotion. That would seem to give her a real shot at making it in the most athletically based wrestling promotion in the world. However, Tokyo is a different world from Portland. Figure skating is a different world than All Japan's women wrestling. Living in a different culture full-time is a lot different from visiting for a week for someone who in her own bizarre way can maintain a weird form of celebrity status at home. She doesn't have to go to Japan and go into a very dangerous business she knows nothing about to pay the rent. If she were to do it strictly for money, she probably won't be any good at it. It's one thing for a young girl who idolizes these wrestlers and is a good enough athlete to pass the audition to go through the dedication and torture of learning to wrestle at their level. Even at that, most never make it to their first match and this is their lifelong dream. It's another for someone from another world in a much more pampered sport to agree to get stiff kicked in the face and stretched for months and stick it out in a sport and world that there is no way she'll be able to understand at the beginning.
While Tonya Harding vs. Manami Toyota may never take place, there are a few "dream matches" in Japan that appear to be inevitable. In what will almost surely be one of the biggest wrestling events of all-time, it has been extensively reported in Japan that Antonio Inoki will face Satoru Sayama (the original Tiger Mask) sometime within the next year at a major stadium show. Inoki vs. Sayama is said to be either the headline match at the 5/1 Fukuoka Dome card, or the January 4, 1995 Tokyo Dome show. Sayama, 36, who said to weigh 245 pounds at 5-6, thus would have to lose close to 50 pounds to even look presentable in the ring which given the amount of time, makes the Tokyo Dome far more likely than Fukuoka Dome for the match. Sayama held a press conference on 3/9 challenging Inoki to a singles match and on 3/11, he made his first public appearance at a pro wrestling show since 1985 going to Korakuen Hall to challenge Masashi Aoyagi during Aoyagi's show. It appears Sayama's first match back will be on Aoyagi's show in October at the Yokohama Arena, and that victory will give him "credibility" coming back after a nine-year layoff to set the stage for a January match with Inoki. As the original Tiger Mask, he was one of the most innovative and popular wrestlers in history during his prime in the early 80s with New Japan Pro Wrestling before quitting in 1983 amidst one of the biggest scandals ever to hit the industry. He announced two weeks back that he would be coming out of retirement for a mixed match against pro wrestler/karate fighter Masashi Aoyagi in October. Rumor has it that Sayama will make a "surprise" appearance at a New Japan show on 3/16 at
the Tokyo Gym where Inoki is wrestling to set the stage for the ultimate shoot-work. Back in 1983, Sayama was the leader of wrestlers who successfully caused Inoki to lose is Presidency of New Japan due to them going public that Inoki and his personal business manager and New Japan CEO Hisashi Shinma were using the huge profits the company was making and funnelling it into Inoki's outside losing businesses, particularly an expensive Brazilian cattle farm. Shinma, who many consider the brains behind the early 80s New Japan popularity boom, was forced out of the company in the scandal while Inoki had to relinquish his power as well, although eventually he regained much of it. Shinma and Inoki remained close until this past year when they had a messy split which was a huge headline story this past August. Sayama, who was the secret source for the stories about the coup against Inoki and Shinma, then quit the promotion, fearing reprisals from Inoki's friends, when Inoki wasn't pushed completely out for good in the late summer of 1983. After retirement the first time, Sayama wrote books exposing pro wrestling, but then returned one year later for a one-year run in the original UWF until leaving the business "for good" in September of 1985. Another dream match will take place on 5/5 at Kawasaki Baseball Stadium (where Atsushi Onita and Terry Funk drew 41,000 last year), this one not in the least unexpected with Onita headlining against Genichiro Tenryu in an FMW show in a barbed wire explosive death match. This match was set up on the 3/2 Tokyo Sumo Hall WAR show when Onita & Tarzan Goto beat Tenryu & Ashura Hara when Onita pinned Tenryu with the Thunder fire power bomb. The dream match that might draw the most attention of all in Japan right now--Akira Maeda vs. Nobuhiko Takada, apparently isn't going to take place as on 3/11, UWFI announced in its press conference all five outsiders invited into the 16-man tournament, Mitsuharu Misawa, Genichiro Tenryu, Shinya Hashimoto, Akira Maeda and Masakatsu Funaki had turned down the invitation, even though Maeda publicly had accepted it under certain conditions that UWFI then refused to meet, so Maeda somehow managed to once again emerge without being embarrassed from a potentially embarrassing situation. The funniest thing is that Takada, after beating Vader, has no new superstar opponent in UWFI, and Maeda has no new opponent for RINGS, and a match between the two would sellout the Tokyo Dome, so it is in both promotions' best interest to forget personal problems and do business while the iron is hot.
As for a Hulk Hogan-Ric Flair dream match, in which the first interview to tease the potential match played over the weekend on WCW broadcasts, Hogan has at press time not signed a contract with WCW although serious negotiations have taken place during the past week in Florida. We have no word how close things are to fruition other than contracts are being drawn up and WCW officials seem very confident the deal will be done as they've been all along. The tentative plan right now is that the first Hogan-Flair match would take place at the July Great American Bash PPV show from Miami Beach. WCW is also said to be involved in negotiation with Marvel Comics, which owns the rights to the names Hulk, Hulkamania and Hulkster to get licensing and merchandising rights to use the names provided Hogan makes the deal. Apparently Hogan himself wants to hold things off until late August with the first match at Wembley Stadium, which probably is the site with the most potential for selling tickets to such a match.
In its last major event before its owner and the company itself go on trial, Wrestlemania X takes place 3/20 at Madison Square Garden. There is no organization in this business that can hype a show like Titan Sports, it appears this event has garnered far less interest than any previous Wrestlemania, despite the ten-year anniversary gimmick and increase in television viewership in recent months giving it some initial momentum. The momentum waned and interest seemed to lower each week due to the weak line-up of matches, and with one or two exceptions, a celebrity list of people that hardly qualify as celebrities. Six years ago when WCW used Ken Osmond ("Eddie Haskell" of Leave it to Beaver Fame) as a celeb for the first Clash of Champions, which ran head-to-head opposite Wrestlemania IV, people laughed at such a weak choice of celebrities. This year, he'd fit in right near the top of the list of luminaries including the president and pitchman for "Hair Club for Men," who cab drivers who do a comedy routine on Showtime, a scandal-ridden Burt Reynolds, a singer whose group dropped off the face of the entertainment earth several years ago and Jennie Garth aka "Kelly" from 90210. Still, Wrestlemania, based on name alone, will be the biggest grossing event of the year and it is believed to make up for the weak line-up, there will be a lot of unexpected surprises. With ringside tickets at $300, the highest priced ticket in the history of U.S. wrestling, the 20,000 seat Madison Square Garden alone should gross nearly $2 million which would be the largest live gate in the history of U.S. wrestling (the current record is $1.628 million set at Wrestlemania V in Atlantic City, NJ) although not even among the top 15 of all-time. It'll surely do the biggest PPV buy rate of the year, although almost as assuredly it'll do much lower than any WM in history with the absence of the crossover appeal of Hulk Hogan, the continual decline of PPV and the weak overall card. The rumor mill, which sounds to be about 50 percent accurate, has it that Roddy Piper and Mr. Perfect will return as guest referees (we know both had been contacted for that position but haven't received confirmation on Piper but it is strongly expected he'll be there and Perfect we've heard will ref Lex vs. Yokozuna and probably use that as a springboard for a much-needed heel turn), that Jerry Lawler will return (this one is almost a definite since he's already appeared on the radio show and they've talked about him on television and Vince McMahon was back on Memphis television this week), that Yokozuna will finish the afternoon as a babyface (which has been teased at house shows the past two weeks) and that Lex Luger really won't win the title (it's hard to believe Titan would do an entire elaborate angle at a taping simply to swerve newsletter readers but it has to be considered a possibility since it's clear Luger doesn't have the charisma to carry the promotion). What is for sure is that The Undertaker won't be resurrected on that show, as he's doing p.r. work that weekend in Japan for the WWF tour there in May.
The television situation in Japan is going through major negative changes. As reported a few weeks back, TV-Asahi and New Japan reached an agreement to move the television show to a late night spot in order for the show to air every week. However, when the new schedule was announced, the late night slot was announced to be 1:30 to 2:30 a.m. on Saturday nights starting the first weekend of April. This is hardly a positive move for what many would consider the No. 1 promotion in the world today and in the long run has to do major damage to the group's keeping that spot. New Japan isn't so upset about the switch since they are guaranteed to be on every week, but for casual viewers, that time slot is death and
it's the casual viewers a mainstream promotion needs to worry about, not the hardcores that will set up their VCR's before they go to sleep and watch the show the next morning. Even though their Saturday afternoon shows draw good ratings, they are frequently pre-empted whenever there is a major golf tournament. In the biggest blow of all to tape collectors, All Japan, which suffered a severe ratings erosion over the past year, received word that Nippon TV was considering dropping the show altogether, although the recent upswing in ratings was enough that it is thought that come April, when the new Japanese television season begins, that the show will be cut from one hour to 30 minutes. Actually this isn't so much a ratings problem as a sponsorship problem. Reportedly All Japan's ratings in the 12:30 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. time slot on Sunday nights were more than adequate, but the costs of producing a weekly show were too high for that time slot. A major sponsor of the show pulled out, and even though the reputation of pro wrestling in Japan is much higher than in the U.S., the "pride" of sponsors in Japan is much different in that they are very particular about what they'll associate with and sponsors don't want to be associated with pro wrestling unlike in the U.S. in which most sponsors just care about the return on their investment. Nippon TV, one of Japan's four major networks, which has carried All Japan since its inception in 1972, gave the company the option of a 30 minute weekly show or a one hour bi-weekly show, and the company chose the former. All Japan has the rep for having the best main event matches in the world, many of which last close to 25:00, so expect much heavier editing in the televised version of some of these classics.
Although it will only last a week in this position, the largest gate in the United States thus far in 1994 was the AAA show on 3/12 at the Los Angeles Sports Arena which drew 13,823 fans and $228,595. The number of fans, which was 3,000 tickets shy of capacity, was slightly less than the sellout the WWF drew in Providence, RI for Royal Rumble, although with the higher ticket prices, the AAA show took in more money live. It was the biggest house gate in the United States since SummerSlam and the first AAA show in Los Angeles both in late August. Ironically, even with the continued success in Los Angeles, the future of AAA in the United States is still somewhat speculative at best since there is continual jockeying over what percentages of these houses the American promoters get as opposed to the Mexican promotion and the incredible frustration level of dealing with a different cultural system which by our standards of promotion would be totally disorganized, yet has enormous popularity in some circles and in some ways has to be classified as one of the hottest if not the hottest promotion in the world both in terms of popularity and show quality. The 3/11 show in San Antonio was canceled due to a poor advance even though San Antonio ranks just behind Los Angeles as the city with the largest spanish speaking population in the U.S. The 3/13 show in Oakland, which doesn't have much of a Hispanic population or strong Galavision cable, still drew 1,250. With tickets at $32, $27 and $20 the house was still around $30,000 which is still better than all but a handful of WCW shows in the past year but less than the $45,000 the WWF did nine days earlier in the same city, and much bigger than the $7,000 house the last time WCW promoted in the same building. It wouldn't be an AAA show without advertising faux paus. There were no ads during the seven hours weekly of AAA television leading up to the Oakland show on the local station until Sunday night on the show that airs from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. locally, or just after the Sunday afternoon house show had ended. The Oakland
show was scheduled for a 5 p.m. start, which almost nobody knew. Several of the wrestlers were told it would start at 8 p.m. including a furious Jake Roberts who arrived at 8, only to find the show was over (he got paid since missing the show wasn't his fault). The Mexican wrestlers' booking sheet listed the show at a 7:30 start, although since they went to the building together in a van, they were all there. Antonio Pena told me the show was going to start at 6 p.m. Fans showed up at 5 p.m., another few hundred around 6 p.m., and others were arriving after the show was already over. Even with the small crowd, Oakland was a good show with Rey Misterio Jr. in the opener doing the most spectacular move anyone could remember seeing. It was the "simple" Liger dive, except Misterio flipped all the way around doing a complete mid-air somersault while flying over the top rope and then finished the move landing on one of the Payasos into a Frankensteiner on the floor. Actually there was a good sign on both shows in that the crazy dives, with the exception of the one just mentioned, were toned down in favor of more acrobatic spots in the ring that are just as impressive, probably every bit as difficult, but less dangerous.
Prospective dates in New York and Chicago in April were postponed once again because the American promoters want line-ups six weeks ahead to start publicity and they don't operate that way in Mexico. For example, AAA President Antonio Pena's three TripleMania shows which will now take place on 4/27, 4/30 and 5/7, don't even have definite buildings booked yet nor definite cards laid out, and they are tentatively planned to run in stadiums ranging in size from 37,000 to 55,000 (although depending upon availability of the stadiums due to soccer playoffs, one of the TripleMania shows may have to be moved into a 20,000 seat arena). There is also no return date for Los Angeles although it was hoped for a date in around 10 to 12 weeks. The Los Angeles show was the second best card AAA has produced since entering the U.S. market last August and contained the single best match that I've seen in the U.S. so far this year (keep in mind I didn't see Terry Funk vs. Sabu from New York or the 60:00 Funk/Sabu/Douglas trilogy from Philadelphia). Some thought the actual wrestling was even better than the first AAA show, although the heat was nowhere close. Oakland was nowhere close to Los Angeles quality, but was a good show and was as good, but no better than the SMW show I saw three nights earlier in Marietta, GA. and better than previous AAA shows in San Diego on the first tour and the second San Jose card.
The downside of the Los Angeles show, which may work against them at the gate (although with the gates they've been doing that aspect may not be worth criticism) is the main event didn't even go into the ring until 11:47 p.m. and the show ended at about 12:15 a.m. This kind of show draws a lot of very young children and the one thing noticeable about the card was not that many kids in attendance, which I attribute to the fact that parents who brought kids to the first two shows that ended around midnight weren't so hot about bringing them again although history seems to show that Friday night shows drew more young kids and Saturday nights draw more fans in their 20s. A lot of fans left before the main event because it was so late which made it hard for the main eventers to get a lot of heat even though the work in that Konnan El Barbaro vs. Jake Roberts match itself wouldn't have gotten heat anyway since they needed all kinds of outside
distractions to make what would have been a disaster into a pretty entertaining match.
1. Tim Patterson & The Killer Blond (Louie Spicolli) & Super Rabbit (Bobby Bradley Jr.) beat Chavo & Mando & Hector Guerrero via DQ in 18:57. The Guerreros, particularly Chavo, were huge stars in Los Angeles in the late 70s, but showing that the audience has totally changed since those days, Chavo got no special reaction at all. He really looked old as well (he's now 44) and has declined terribly as a worker from the days in the late 70s when he was one of the biggest draws and best workers in the country. Hector is still very good and hard-working while Mando was both excellent and bad at the same time, which is also the best description of this match. Rabbit entered the ring in a cheesy looking costume that looked like it would be the Easter Bunny costume from an elementary school play, and came to the ring throwing carrots to the fans which was one lame gimmick. Well, carrots are good for your eyesight. The match had no flow, but had many super moves and spots, but also a lot of badly missed spots. Mando did a perfect Asai-moonsault outside the ring in the first fall which ended when Chavo pinned Patterson with a moonsault bodyblock. Second fall was filled with both great spots and missed moves, ending when Blond pinned Mando with a Northern Light suplex and Patterson made Chavo submit while Rabbit dove off the apron with a superfly splash onto Hector on the floor. The third fall had a lot of heat but the action got sloppy. It picked up at the end with Chavo and Patterson doing one near fall after another before heel ref Tirantes DQ'd Mando for a low blow on Patterson. **3/4
2. Los Payasos beat Misterioso & Torero & Mascara Sagrada via DQ in 23:41. Misterioso got a mixed reaction since fans are well aware he's been turning in every match on television for weeks. However, Misterioso worked as a tecnico and won the first fall with a double chicken wing submission in 10:25. The second fall was hot with Sagrada giving one a face-buster but the clown mask came off and Tirantes disqualified him for removing the mask. The heat was incredible on Tirantes since he had already DQ'd the faces in the first match. The heat got even hotter when Tirantes saw one of the Payasos do a low blow but didn't call it. Finally Torero did a tope and Misterioso a plancha and Sagrada had the other pinned with the Tim Horner natural bridge finish but Payaso kicked out to save the winning streak which is just under 100 matches. With the Payasos about to lose, one pulled off another's mask behind both refs back as they were on the floor and threw it into the ring, Sagrada caught it, Tirantes turned around, and you guessed it, called for the DQ. This was a total screw-job but at least it developed the storyline that would climax later in the show. As he does every week on television, after the match Misterioso was so mad at Sagrada for losing the match that he attacked him. ***
3. Espectro Jr. & Fuerza Guerrera & Jerry Estrada beat Rey Misterio Jr. & Heavy Metal & Winners in two straight falls in 22:59. The first fall contained one perfectly executed spot after another. Biggest move of the show was Misterio running across the apron, leaping off onto Guerrera who was on the floor, and then turning the move into a Frankensteiner on the floor. They didn't miss a spot in the first fall and these were all with high degrees of difficulty. After the faces controlled the entire fall, the finish saw Misterio go for the moonsault bodyblock on Estrada, but he caught him in mid-air and turned the move into a powerslam for the pin and Espectro made Winners submit. Between falls Estrada did a one-handed press-slam
on Misterio and dropped him on the buckles and Guerrera crotched him on the post, Espectro did the same and Guerrera posted Metal. The heels destroyed the faces in the second fall with Metal taking a chair shot and bleeding, Guerrera doing a low blow on Misterio right in front of Tirantes, etc. Estrada press-slammed Metal on the floor and then shot-putted him over the guard rail into the third row seats. Estrada is one of these guys like Bob Orton who isn't particularly big and doesn't look muscular at all, but can do power moves in the ring with ease that guys with 20-inch arms couldn't even dream of doing. After taking punishment the entire fall, Espectro pinned Winners with a senton off the top rope. ****
4. In a match to determine the first IWC minis champion, Mascarita Sagrada won 2/3 falls from Espectrito in 24:45. This was the best midget match I've ever seen and would have been a five-star match except there is some flaw in Sagrada's style when it comes to transitions. But it was easily the best match this group has put on in the U.S. since it started coming and better than any television match in Mexico in many months. It combined 1970s U.S. world title match style (Brisco-Dory Funk) pacing early, with unique submission holds, many of which I've never seen, the high spots were 21st century and the near falls during the third fall were Japanese style with fans stomping in unison because of the tension when they kept kicking out of what appeared to be finishing moves. In the first fall alone, Sagrada did a tope, a plancha off the top rope to the floor and an Asai moonsault. Sagrada scored the fall with an incredible series of twists and turns in mid-air that wound up as a Dandina cradle. Second fall went back-and-forth with Espectrito carrying the match with his unique submissions and Mascarita doing comebacks with his high flying. Espectrito gained a submission to win the fall with a move I've never seen before. Third fall from start-to-finish was near falls by Sagrada and near-submissions by Espectrito. Sagrada was on the top rope again and did a Liger flip splash plancha to Espectrito on the floor. Espectrito did the upside down surfboard move (La capatia), dropping him into near falls, and without releasing the move, putting him back up for submissions that he didn't get. Sagrada at one point did a moonsault block off the top rope and turned into a sunset flip for a near fall. The climax of the match saw Sagrada lose control because Espectro Jr. had kept kicking him, so he did the Santo spot where he did a rolling splash on Espectrito into a tope onto Espectro Jr. However, Espectro Jr. caught him and held him up in mid-air (remember, he's only three feet tall) and Espectrito went for a tope but at the last second Mascara Sagrada made a diving tackle out of nowhere knocking Mascarita out of the way so Espectrito dive on his own second which got a huge pop. Sagrada leaped onto the middle ropes and came off with a Frankensteiner for a near fall before finally turning another flying move into a sunset flip for the pin, with a pop sound-wise reminiscent of the Sting title win over Flair in Baltimore in 1990, although the pop wasn't as long. ****1/2
5. It was up to Octagon & El Hijo del Santo & Lizmark vs. Psicosis & Love Machine & La Parka to follow it, with the faces going over in 22:59. Santo pinned Parka with a somersault splash in the first fall. Psicosis pinned Santo with a legdrop off the top rope in the second. In the third fall, Machine pulled off Octagon's mask and then started pounding on Lizmark. It was funny because a fan at ringside handed Octagon an Octagon mask to put on when he was supposed to be on the ground hiding his face so he put the mask on but still hid on the ground anyway. When
Octagon got his real mask back on, Lizmark went after him and they were shoving back and forth while the fans pleaded at Lizmark not to attack Octagon. Santo tried to get them to calm down and then Octagon went after Lizmark, but finally Santo got them to shake hands to a big pop. Psicosis took a header bump over the top reminiscent of Cactus Jack. Finally Lizmark did a facebuster on Parka and wound up with the mask in his hands, put the Parka mask on and attacked Machine which was a super spot. Machine and Parka started fighting and kept fighting all over the place while the three faces had Psicosis left alone against them and finally Santo pinned Psicosis with an elbow drop. Machine and Parka continued to brawl after the match and Psicosis finally sided with Parka and attacked Machine as well, which because of the 2-on-1 makes Machine the face. However Machine grabbed the house mic and called Mexicans stupid and that Americans were smart so he kept himself heel, but to make sure Parka didn't turn, Parka & Psicosis went into the crowd to insult them as well and got pummeled with drinks. The angle itself was great since it built on angles they've been running for months with Machine getting faces to turn on each other by wearing their masks and attacking their partners, but due to the angle there was no "big climactic finish" of this match with all the great workers. ***3/4
6. Konnan El Barbaro beat Jake Roberts in a cage match in 20:17. This match, because of the storyline, will read like it was a good match. It was very watchable and good if you consider what took place outside the ring. The match itself was terrible. Jake has put on a lot of weight in the gut, looks to be about 280 pounds. Before the match started, Tirantes was in the ring and Antonio Pena threw him out saying Pepe "Tropi" Casas (face ref) was assigned to the main event. Blue Panther and Sherri Martel were in Jake's corner while Perro Aguayo was in Konnan's, and they provided most of the entertainment as Panther kept teasing and hitting Perro and hiding behind Sherri. Jake slammed the cage door on Konnan to get the initial advantage and Konnan juiced a small amount. Jake pretty well just choked and kicked Konnan for the first 7:00 and there wasn't really enough outside the save that. Finally the match got interesting when Panther hit Perro's with Sherri's high-heel shoe. Sherri for some unknown reason took off running to the dressing room when Konnan made a comeback, and then came back out with a foreign object that she gave to Panther. Finally Roberts tried to climb out of the cage but Aguayo climbed the cage on the other side and on top started punching him back in. Later Sherri held Aguayo and Panther went to hit Aguayo with a running blow with the object but Aguayo moved and Panther KO'd Martel. However, later Panther managed to KO Aguayo from behind with the object as well. Both Sherri and Aguayo wound up being carried out on stretchers. When they had Sherri on the stretcher, they put a sheet over her like she was dead. When they carried Aguayo out, Panther kept beating on him on the stretcher. In the ring Konnan regained the advantage but Panther climbed up the cage and as Konnan was hurdling the top of the cage, Panther pulled on his leg wrenching his knee, similar to how Sting legit tore up his knee. Konnan then got the advantage once again and went to climb out and again Panther stopped him at the top. At this point Mascara Sagrada and Mascarita Sagrada ran to ringside which actually got a huge pop and Mascarita dropkicked Panther. Finally Jake hit the DDT on Konnan and went to climb out. At this point both Mascara and Mascarita climbed up the cage. Mascara knocked Jake back into the ring and Konnan got up and held him while Mascarita came off the top of the cage (10 feet high) with a Superfly splash onto Jake, who didn't sell the
move for more than a second which is ridiculous since even though the guy is only three-feet tall, it was an incredible spot. Mascarita was standing on the top of the cage and could have easily lost his balance and become soup on the floor. Jake pulled out a foreign object and KO'd Konnan and then cornered Mascarita and began mauling him and ripping up his mask. Panther held Mascara and get him from climbing into the cage while Konnan was out. As Jake continued on the midget, finally Mascara got a coke and threw it in Konnan's face to revive him and he made the big comeback, Jake dropped the object, Konnan used it to bloody him up badly and finally pinned him. After the match Mascarita kicked Jake several times and dropkicked Panther. ***
The United States Wrestling Association drew its biggest crowd in nearly six years on 3/7 for the "Memphis Memories" show which drew 7,934 paid and right at $30,000. It was both the largest crowd and gate for a USWA show since the 1988 match where Jerry Lawler said he'd retire if he didn't win the AWA title from Curt Hennig, which obviously Lawler won. The main reason the crowd was so large was because of the Slamboree type atmosphere, an idea of Randy Hales, taking it from WCW but achieving in some ways even more success from it by bringing in so many names who were major draws in the past in Memphis, most notably former television announcer Lance Russell, Sputnik Monroe, Austin Idol, Jimmy Valiant and Terry Funk, Al & Don Greene, Tommy Gilbert and Jerry Jarrett. Another reason the crowd was so large, although not necessarily the gate, was because they dropped G.A. ticket prices down to $3 for the show. Complete results from the show (although in this case the matches were largely secondary to the old-timers when it came to the drawing of the house) saw: 1. The Nightmares (Ken Wayne & Danny Davis) & Skull Von Crush beat The Spellbinder (Del Rios) & King Cobra & Jeff Gaylord when Davis pinned Gaylord in 8:28 DUD; 2. J.C. Ice went to a double count out with Wolfie D in 8:12 ***; 3. Koko Ware pinned Billy Travis after hitting him with a chain in 9:24 **; 4. Tommy Rich beat Jimmy Valiant via DQ in 4:00 when Valiant, who looked to weigh about 135 pounds, was caught using the chain that Rich had brought into the ring DUD; 5. The Moondogs retained the USWA tag title beating the masked Dr. Frank (?), a creation Jerry Lawler pulled out of a coffin some 15 years ago, & Leatherface (Ken Raper) in 2:24 DUD; 6. Lawler & Austin Idol (who surprisingly since he hasn't wrestled much in years looked exactly the same physically as in the mid-80s and worked close to his previous level aka awful) & Brian Christopher beat Doug & Eddie Gilbert & Terry Funk when Rich interfered for the DQ. **1/2; 7. The finale was an elimination tag team match which lasted 42:00 which ended up with four faces (Lawler & Valiant & Idol & Christopher) against six heels (Funk & Rich & Gilberts & Ware & Moondog Spot). Christopher pinned Doug Gilbert first, then Valiant pinned Rich, Lawler pinned Spot, Idol was disqualified for giving Ware a low blow and Christopher and Ware were both counted out leaving Lawler in with both Eddie Gilbert and Funk. Funk, who had earlier pulled off yet another moonsault (which is now becoming an every-match spot) and from all reports was far and away the star of both the match and the card itself, wound up disqualified at 34:00 for using the piledriver on Lawler. Gilbert pounded on Lawler until the big comeback ending when Lawler pinned Gilbert after a fist-drop. After the match the heels all attacked Lawler and handcuffed him to the ringpost and tried to get Lawler to say Eddie was King until Idol and Christopher made the save. ***1/2
Another show this past week that received a lot of interest nationally, but apparently not enough locally was the Smoky Mountain Wrestling card on 3/10 in Marietta, GA. The show drew 1,075 paid (1,200 total) and $9,500 for a show in which the SMW talent was augmented by several WWF stars. It was definitely a good show, although it was surprising the lack of crowd heat for the show as a whole as compared to most SMW house shows. It appeared that the local Ch. 14, which SMW airs on and is the weakest station in the market and not on many key cable systems, which runs a Saturday night wrestling block with Joe Pedicino and Boni Blackstone, doesn't have a great deal of exposure as the crowd seemed a combination of hardcores who reacted to spots and fans who liked the show but really didn't know the storylines. Unlike most wrestling promotions, SMW's product is not based on delivering stars to the arena but on putting together compelling storylines.
1. 1-2-3 Kid drew with Bobby Blaze in a 15:00 match that actually lasted 12:23. It was a decent opener with both men kicking out of the others' finisher (Blaze kicked out of a moonsault bodyblock; Kid out of a Northern Light suplex) toward the end, but had some missed spots. Considering these two started out together in Florida at the Malenko school, it was disappointing. Fans didn't seem to know who Blaze was, and even though neither played heel, fans were more into Kid. *1/2
2. Hillbilly Festus won the North Georgia title from New Jack in 6:27 when New Jack gave Festus a back suplex but both had their shoulders down and Festus lifted his up at two. I'd been warned how bad Festus was, so given that, it wasn't disappointing or unwatchable and both guys at least tried. 1/4*
3. Tracy Smothers pinned Chris Candido in a non-title match in 12:08. These guys had to work really hard to get a reaction as the crowd didn't seem immediately into their feud. Dennis Coraluzzo managed Candido for this match since he does heel spots on SMW television as the president of the WWA and recognizes Candido as world heavyweight champ. However this had a lot of hot moves and well-timed spots and was a damn good match. Just for wrestling moves this was the best match on the show, however the tag title match was better because the fans were more into it. The highlight was Candido doing a Frankensteiner off the top rope for a near fall. Smothers won clean with the jawjacker. ***1/2
4. Ron Garvin beat Kevin Sullivan via DQ in 9:20 when Sullivan hit the ref out of nowhere. Garvin had brown and grey hair and looked old, and even though this was his old stomping grounds, the fans really didn't seem to care. They slapped each other hard but it wasn't a good match. *
5. Lex Luger pinned IRS with a schoolboy in 8:06. IRS pinned Luger with his feet on the ropes but the ref saw it and ordered the match re-started. As IRS argued with the ref, Luger schoolboyed him. Luger got the biggest pop on the show since he lives in Marietta and everyone sees WWF on cable. Match was boring. 1/2*
6. Dirty White Boy & Dirty White Girl beat Brian Lee & Tammy Fytch in 10:32. The finish saw White Girl chase Fytch back to the dressing room leaving the guys in the ring and White Boy pinned Lee with an inside cradle. The guys took a backseat to the women when it came to the audiences attention here, but in the ring neither is experienced so they couldn't be in there for very long. *
7. Brian & Scott & Steve Armstrong beat Owen Hart & Well Dunn in 10:40. The Armstrongs all grew up in Marietta. Hart wasn't over strong as a heel here although he is everywhere he's against Bret. This was a solid match with the best work when Owen was in with Steve. Those two have a lot of talent and they both had their working shoes on. Hart wasn't over nearly as much as a heel here as he is in the WWF when he faces his brother. Scott pinned Well after Steve did a tremendous dropkick off the top rope. **3/4
8. Rock & Roll Express beat Heavenly Bodies via DQ in 16:20 in an SMW tag title match. This was the same basic match I've seen numerous times but they worked hard, it had the best heat of the night and told the best story. You probably could call 70 percent of it in your head but it all worked and everything looked good. Jim Cornette threw the tennis racquet in and Jimmy Del Rey got it and ref saw it and called for a DQ on Bodies, even though Del Rey wound up with the racquet taken from him and Ricky got it and used it on all three heels. After the match Morton talked about the upcoming loser leaves town match on 4/1 in Pikeville, KY and said that they weren't planning on losing or leaving. ***3/4
9. Bob Armstrong pinned Jim Cornette in 6:00 in a cage match. Because the fans weren't total into the storyline, this match meant a lot less than it would have in an SMW regular city. It got decent heat but nothing great. Cornette came out with his arm in a sling saying he got hurt in the previous match. Finally Scott & Steve Armstrong threw him into the cage. Cornette threw powder early to get the advantage but Armstrong made the comeback. Finally the racquet got tossed in and Cornette used it but Bob didn't sell it. Bob made a comeback and Cornette juiced for only the third time in his career, which is a testimony to just how important the show was to him personally, and Armstrong quickly pinned Cornette. *
There was even more action backstage. Numerous wrestlers both from other groups and local wrestlers were there. Dory Funk was there perhaps scouting for All Japan, which may form a business relationship with SMW. Numerous WCW officials including Gary Juster, Chris Potenza and Robert Welch (Rob Parker) were there. Jim Ross was backstage just watching the show. Ross is still suffering from Bells Palsy which is a sad situation in that he needs to find a new job, but in his current condition, can't do job interviews and there's no way of knowing when the condition will improve enough to where he can. The show opened with a rock concert with The Clintons, who have performed before six or seven major SMW shows and The Armstrongs and Tim Horner all sung with the group. Overall it was a good show, but not great and probably slightly disappointing if anything to the SMW crew who wanted to put on a blow-out show because the show was in the heart of WCW territory. The heat was such that there were a few knocks on WCW during the show. The program, which listed the wrestling block on Ch. 14, in the spot occupied by WCW World Wide simply listed it as "Wrestling?" and local d.j. Rhubarb Jones, who did the ring announcing and was the former WCW ring announcer at Center Stage said before the main event over the p.a. that he had given up on wrestling because of how boring the WCW live shows in the area were but that Pedicino had told him to give this show a chance and come out. He said how much he enjoyed himself at the shows. While the paid attendance was larger than the 789 paid the last time WCW ran the Omni, nobody was making note of that point since they were hoping for at least 1,500. SMW is planning on expanding into North Georgia
and making Marietta's Cobb County Civic Center a regular stop with 5/22 being the next show.
New Japan held a press conference on 3/13 in Tokyo to announce the line-up for the All-Star Junior tournament which takes place on 4/16 at the already sold out Sumo Hall. While using wrestlers from several promotions makes this a unique venture and there are some great wrestlers involved and should provide top matches, there is some disappointment with the line-up because of three names not involved--Ultimo Dragon, Gran Hamada and Sabu. I'm not sure the circumstances of Sabu, who had been talked about at length as a possible participant, or Dragon, who it seemed was a sure thing, but at the press conference the company did announce that Hamada had turned them down. This leaves it as a 13-man tournament, with Jushin Liger (who is booking the tournament), El Samurai, Shinjiro Ohtani, Wild Pegasus and Black Tiger representing New Japan, Negro Casas representing EMLL, Masao Orihara representing WAR, Ricky Fuji representing FMW, Hiyabusa representing the Tijuana-based WWA, Great Sasuke, Super Delfin and Taka Michinoku representing Michinoku Pro Wrestling and Masayoshi Motegi representing SPWF.
Two fairly big names in the industry from a few decades back, Ronnie Etchison and Eddy Creatchman, passed away over the past two weeks.
Etchison, who was a big name babyface largely in Northern California in the 1950s and in his home Central States territory in the 1960s passed away on 3/4 at the St. Joseph, MO Care Center that he had been residing in for the past seven years. Etchison, who age was listed as 73, although that sounds about five years too young because that would have made him both in college and having pro wrestling matches at the age of 14, had been in poor health suffering from a form of Alzheimer's Disease which had developed from numerous lesions on his brain that doctors believed stemmed from his days as a Golden gloves boxer although Etchison himself apparently felt that numerous head bumps during a 45-year career as a pro wrestler were also a contributory factor. Etchison's main claim to fame in wrestling is he was one of the few men in history to wrestle in six different decades, beginning his career in 1935 while attending college and his final match took place on January 4, 1980 at the Kiel Auditorium in St. Louis where he teamed with Sailor Art Thomas to beat Bulldog Bob Brown and protege Ed Wiskoski (Col. DeBeers). Etchison grew up in St. Joseph, MO, which later became the headquarters for Heart of America Promotions run by the late Gust Karras which promoted the old Central States region, which Etchison finished his career with. Etchison started as both a boxer and a pro wrestler in 1935 while in college at the University of Missouri. He had to give up his position on the college boxing team because it was found out he was wrestling professionally and in those days you couldn't be a pro in one sport and maintain collegiate eligibility in another. He ended up as a pro in both sports, winning the St. Joseph City championship in boxing in 1938 and the Missouri state wrestling championship in 1939 before going full-steam into wrestling where legend has it he held the unique distinction of being Harry Truman's favorite wrestler when Truman lived in Kansas City and would regularly attend the matches. After serving in World War II with the late Paul Boesch, Etchison had a good deal of success in wrestling particularly in the early 1950s as Pacific Coast champion for promoter Joe Malciewicz as "Golden Boy" Ronnie Etchison. He returned home in the 1960s as a
babyface headliner in the Central States, holding the Central States title on ten occasions and winning two non-title matches against Lou Thesz and also defeated Jack Brisco before his run as world champion. Etchison was the first opponent in St. Louis in 1961 for Buddy Rogers after he had won the world title from Pat O'Connor and continued to be a fixture in St. Louis, considered in many circles as the wrestling capital of North America, for the remainder of the decade, generally working in the middle or near the top. He worked most St. Louis shows in the early 70s, although by this time he generally worked in the opening tag team matches. Later he trained wrestlers for Karras, with his most famous proteges being Mike George, Wiskoski and Butch Reed. After retiring from the ring in 1980, he spent a few months booking spot shows for Bob Geigel before getting out of the business completely and working as a bouncer and a bartender before his illness confined him to a rest home.
Eddy Creatchman, nicknamed "The Brain" before Bobby Heenan took the nickname, was most famous for his run as the manager of The Sheik, passed away on 3/9 in a Montreal hospital at the age of 66. Creatchman, who had suffered a diabetes-related heart attack six months ago, suffered a second heart attack that day and quickly passed away. Creatchman started out as a wrestler in the 1950s, with little success, then became a referee in 1958, but didn't achieve any notoriety in wrestling until 1963 when he became a manager. He managed most of the heels in Montreal at various times, with his most famous charges being Sheik and Abdullah the Butcher. He was known for carrying a cane to the ring and smoking a cigar, although in reality he hated smoking and only did it because it helped get him heat. During the heyday of The Sheik, Sheik was managed in some cities, most notably Detroit, by Abdullah Farouk (Ernie "Grand Wizard" Roth) and in others, most notably Montreal by Creatchman. Eventually Wizard became a fixture in the WWWF and Creatchman branched into Detroit and Toronto as Sheik's mouthpiece. Creatchman continued to manage in Montreal through 1987, after which he owned a flea market. His son Floyd Creatchman later became the top heel manager for Gino Brito's International Wrestling in Montreal during the late 80s.
Ron Reis, the 7-2, 370-pound former Santa Clara University star who has been training with John Studd and Killer Kowalski, made his debut on Kowalski's 3/12 show in Brantford, CT beating Mike Hollow. At press time we haven't received any reports on Reis, although mentor Studd hasn't been shy about telling people that he will be the biggest thing since Andre the Giant because he's both taller than Andre and a better athlete.
Brazilian jiu-jitsu master Royce Gracie looked unbeatable once again in winning the Ultimate Fight II on 3/11, a 16-man mixed match tournament that once again looked to be a shoot even though many will dispute that. The 176-pound Gracie had too much ground wrestling technique, which saw him never in trouble as he easily defeated a Japanese karate star, a 260-pound sambo wrestler from Holland and a Sabaki champion from Denver. Pro wrestler Ken Wayne Shamrock, who undoubtedly would have been his toughest competition since Pat Smith, who lost to Gracie in the finals, submitted in less than 90 seconds to Shamrock at the first Ultimate Fight, was at the show but didn't compete due to a broken hand suffered in training. Shamrock, who was one of many who predicted Gracie would whip the field, said he'd be in the next Ultimate Fight PPV in September. Overall from a
spectator standpoint this was a better show than the first, and was certainly a lot more brutal, except where Gracie was concerned. The event, which drew a sellout 2,000 at Denver's Mammoth Gardens, opened with seven first-round "dark" matches. Unlike the first show, which had most matches last around 1:00, there was a 15:00 match in the first round. Gracie's first round match, against Minoki Ichihara of Japan, a karate master who wasn't nearly as famous in Japan as they tried to make him out to be, lasted 5:06 although it was really over in 12 seconds which was the time it took for Gracie to take him down and mount him rendering him helpless. Ichihara deserved credit for not quitting and protecting against Gracie's choke, but finally Gracie caught him in a short arm scissors for the submission. Pat Smith of Denver, who would go the finals, was in a brutal :21 match with Scott Morris. Smith wound up on top of his foe and threw rapid punches and elbows to the head until Morris was busted up really bad. The repeat punches and elbows to the eye were not only brutal, but almost sickening even when expecting brutality going in. The next match, Johnny Rhodes vs. Fred Ettish, featured two stand-up fighters so it didn't go to the ground right away and they took standing cautious stances. Finally Rhodes caught Ettish with a knee to the head and a few punches and he went down with Rhodes on top. Since Rhodes had no knowledge of wrestling, he just pounded on Ettish who wouldn't quit until 3:08. The final quarterfinal match had 6-4, 260 pound Renco Parduel, a sambo wrestler from Holland, against Muy-Thai kick boxer Orlando Weit, at 5-10, 170. Weit had such a chiseled physique than even though he was outsized, and history shows that kick boxers don't fare well in mixed matches with ground fighters, he was a major favorite. But Parduel took him down in 15 seconds and threw a series of elbows straight down to his head and split him open and knocked him flat out in 1:26. Gracie's quarterfinal was against Jason DeLucia, a former trainee of Gracie's who is a champion in American Gung fu. DeLucia took Gracie down, but in the disadvantage position, Gracie trapped him anyway and won with a short arm scissors in 1:02. Semifinals saw Smith vs. Rhodes and Smith caught him in a front facelock, and as Stu Hart would say, that's the end of that one in 1:05. Gracie was outsized by Parduel and was facing a ground nighter, but Gracie got behind him and took him down in 38 seconds, and finished him with a choke in 1:29. This left Gracie vs. Smith and nobody thought Smith had a chance, and they were right although it took Gracie 36 seconds to get Smith down and once he was there, he really fought it but he was quickly busted open and his corner threw in the towel at 1:16 when it became apparent he wasn't going to quit without being hurt. At the end of the show, which could also pass as a Gracie Family promotional film, Gracie said that after the first show all kinds of guys said that if they were in it they could win and he challenged all of them. The promoters have put out ads in martial arts magazines challenging people to enter, although again most martial arts are too limited in scope in that they don't teach ground training submissions so as long as Gracie could block punches and kicks long enough to take the guy down, which his style is designed to do with ease, most martial artists would seem to be sitting ducks stylistically. It was reported in mainstream media reports after the show that Ultimate Fight II drew 100,000 buys, which is roughly the same as most WCW PPV shows, although I'd dismiss that figure as being the typical exaggerated PPV figures that come out first from nearly every organization. Another PPV that aired a week earlier, called Future Fights, was said to be an obviously scripted series of
Hollywood karate stunt men matches which even included the introduction of theatrical blood.
Because of an injury, I was unable to put together an Observer last week so this double issue is both the third and fourth issue of the current set. Ever since I'd been hospitalized in December, it's been somewhat painful to type because of an injury to my left arm. The pain level when I was doing the issue two weeks was pretty serious and I was told by doctors to take a few weeks off. There was no way I could have done any typing last week and it wasn't feasible to get someone to type it for me. It's not better right now but it's a lot better than it was. There definitely will be an issue next week to cover Wrestlemania and catch up on more news. There definitely won't be an issue the following week since I'm scheduled for abdominal surgery on 3/28. I expect to be doing an issue the week after that, but that isn't a guarantee. The week after that is a definite and hopefully from that point forward everything will be weekly again.
So this is the final issue of the current set. If you've got a (1) on your address label it means that your Observer subscription expires with this issue. Renewal rates for the United States, Canada and Mexico remain $12 for eight issues, $24 for 16, $36 for 24, $48 for 32 up through $60 for 40 issues. Rates for the rest of the world for weekly airmail delivery are $9 for four issues, $18 for eight up through $90 for 40. All subscription renewals along with match reports, news items, letters to the editor and any other items pertaining to this newsletter can be sent to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, P.O. Box 1228, Campbell, CA 95009-1228.
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2/13 Zapopan (AAA - 15,000): Prelim results unavailable, Los Payasos b Herodes & Rambo & Ice Killer, Angel Azteca & El Hijo del Santo b Psicosis & Fuerza Guerrera, Konnan El Barbaro & Perro Aguayo & Tinieblas Jr. b Cien Caras & Mascara Ano 2000 & Universo 2000
2/14 Puebla (UWA): Pequeno Chucky & Micro Konnan b Fuercita Guerrera & Pequeno Goliath, Vito Hiroaki & Celestial & Nuevo Audaz b Zandokan II & Bucanero Jr. & Shu el Guerrero, El Signo & Negro Navarro & El Texano b Los Machos I & II & III, Los Villanos III & IV & V b Dos Caras & Gran Hamada & Halcon Dorado Jr., UWA hwt title: Canek b The Killer
2/15 Zacatecas (AAA - 7,500 sellout): Prelim results unavailable, Tony Arce & Rocco Valente & Vulcano b Misterioso & Latin Lover & Torero *1/2, Volador & Mascara Sagrada & Lizmark b La Parka & Fuerza Guerrera & El Satanico ***1/4, Heavy Metal & El Hijo del Santo & Octagon b Eddy Guerrero & Love Machine & Jerry Estrada ***1/2
2/15 Arena Coliseo in Mexico City (EMLL): Felinito & Ultratumbita b Pequeno Jaque Mate & Damiancito el Guerrero, Metalico & Super Brazo & Brazo de Platino b Supremo II & Rey Bucanero & Nuevo Lynx, Fiero & Reyes Veloz & Escudero Rojo d Mogur & Babe Richard & ?, Mocho Cota & Jaque Mate & Sangre Chicana b Blue Demon Jr. & Americo Rocca & El Hijo del Solitario, Javier Llanes & Mano Negra & Black Magic b Dandy & Atlantis & Ringo Mendoza
2/15 Tokyo Korakuen Hall (W*ING - 1,400): Kazuhiko Matsuzaki b Hiroshi Ono, Masayoshi Motegi & Zuleyma b W*inger & Janet, Head Hunters b Shoji Nakamaki & Matsuzaki, Barbed wire baseball bat match: Jason the Terrible b Bart Sawyer, Falls count anywhere: Leatherface b Freddy Krueger, Kendo Nagasaki b Nobutaka Araya, Loser leaves town: Yukihiro Kanemura b Hido (Hido had given notice as he was jumping to NSBW)
2/16 Aguascalientes (AAA - 8,000 sellout): Prelim results unavailable, Los Payasos b Lizmark & El Hijo de Lizmark & Solar-DQ, WWA welterweight title: Psicosis b El Hijo del Santo-DQ to win title (titles change via DQ in Mexico), Konnan El Barbaro & Tinieblas Jr. & Perro Aguayo b Cien Caras & Mascara Ano 2000 & Black Cat (New Japan wrestler)
2/19 Southern Pines, NC (East Coast Wrestling Federation - 200 sellout): John Savage b Willow the Whisp, Dark Patriot b Hollywood Star-DQ, Colossus b White Knight, Mike Vice b Wachee the Samoan-DQ, El Hijo del Fuego b Grave Robber, Black Dragons b Commando & Devastator, Wolverine & Sub-Zero & High Voltage b Colossus & Devastator & T.C. Flexer
2/20 El Toreo in Naucalpan (UWA): Prelim results unavailable, Los Villanos III & IV & V b El Signo & Black Power II & Karloff Lagarde Jr., The Killer & Andy Barrow & Enrique Vera b Canek & Dos Caras & Halcon Dorado Jr.
2/22 Arena Coliseo in Mexico City (EMLL): Comodin & Rey Bucanero b Ultimatum & Angel de Plata, Lady Apache & La Sirenita & Cynthia Moreno b Reina Jabuki (Akira Hokuto) & Lady Star & La Procticante, Panico & Tornado Negro I & Mogur b Trueno & Gran Apache I & Americo Rocca, Ringo Mendoza & Vampiro Casanova & Brazo de Plata b Sangre Chicana & Mocho Cota & Mano Negra, CMLL middleweight title: Dandy d Javier Llanes
2/24 Whitewater, WI (WWF - 1,300): Sparky Plugg b Rick Martel, Diesel b Virgil, Alundra Blayze b Heidi Lee Morgan, Tom Stone b Bastion Booger, Head Shrinkers b Men on Mission, Doink the Clown b Bam Bam Bigelow, Bret Hart & 1-2-3 Kid b Shawn Michaels & Owen Hart
2/25 Oshkosh, WI (WWF - 2,300): Sparky Plugg b Rick Martel DUD, Diesel b Virgil DUD, Alundra Blayze b Heidi Lee Morgan *1/2, Mabel b Samu DUD, Bastion Booger b Tom Stone DUD, Doink the Clown b Bam Bam Bigelow *3/4, Bret Hart & 1-2-3 Kid b Owen Hart & Shawn Michaels **3/4
2/25 Columbia, SC (WCW - 1,800): Jim Steele b The Gambler, Craig Pittman b Brian Anderson, Too Cold Scorpio & Marcus Bagwell b Tex Slashinger & Shanghai Pierce, Arn Anderson b Paul Orndorff, WCW TV title: Steve Regal b Dustin Rhodes, Sting b Steve Austin, WCW title: Ric Flair b Vader
2/25 Poza Rica Baseball Stadium (AAA): One-night tag team tournament, Octagon & Blue Panther split Battle Royal, Fishman & El Satanico b El Hijo de Lizmark & Mascara Sagrada-DQ, Heavy Metal & Latin Lover b Eddy Guerrero & Love Machine-COR, Jerry Estrada & La Parka b Tiger Mask (Koji Kanemoto) & Volador, Octagon & El Hijo del Santo b Blue Panther & Fuerza Guerrera, Metal & Lover b Fishman & Satanico-DQ, Estrada & Parka b Octagon & Santo-DQ, Finals: Estrada & Parka b Metal & Lover-DQ
2/25 Cranford, NJ (Ind): Sledgehammer Al b Damian Stone, Crusher Blackbeard b The American, Gino Caruso b Johnny Grunge, Rockin Rebel DDQ Johnny Rotten, Tommy Cairo b Kodiak Bear, King Kaluha b Cheetah Kid, Keith Scherer b Flex Lavander
2/26 Pachuca (AAA): Stelaris & Bat Blue b Suspenso & Titere, La Monster & La Briosa b La Rosa & Martha Villalobos, Falcon & Antifaz b Igor El Vikingo & King Xadu, Angel Azteca & Love Warrior (Super Calo) b Ice Killer & El Hijo del Espectro, El Satanico & Fishman b Konnan El Barbaro & Tinieblas Jr.
2/26 Manhattan, NY (Lower East Side Wrestling - 75): Inferno Kid b Rick Ratcher, Venom b Devon Storm, Gino Caruso & Metal Head b Assault & Battery-DQ, Johnny Goldfinger b Gemini Kid, El Fantastico & Capt. America b Coco Powers & Chabalin, El Bandito DDQ Fire Hawk, Jason Knight b Rambo, Halcon Lobo & Black Panther & Art Steele b White Star & Mike Stone & The Acrobat, Jason won Battle Royal
2/28 Tokyo Korakuen Hall (Pro Wrestling Fujiwara Gumi - 1,500): Funaki b Tanaka, Otaku Hozumi & Shinobu Kandori b Harley Saito & Mikiko Futagami, Berto Dieuseul b Shupo Toto, Yoshiaki Fujiwara b Osuda, Glen Jacobs b Yuki Ishikawa, Ishikawa won 11 person Battle Royal
2/28 Niage (NOW): Kazuhiko Matsuzaki b Hiroshi Ono, Umakaras b Apollo Sugawara, Tiger Jeet Singh Jr. b Ryo Myake, Tiger Jeet Singh Sr. & Umanosuke Ueda b Rod Price & Kishin Kawabata, Kendo Nagasaki b John Hawk-DQ
3/1 Iida (All Japan - 2,100 sellout): Yoshinari Ogawa b Kentaro Shiga, Tamon Honda b Rob Van Dam, Dan Kroffat & Doug Furnas b Tsuyoshi Kikuchi & Mighty Inoue, Haruka Eigen & Masa Fuchi & Ryukaku Izumida b Giant Baba & Rusher Kimura & Mitsuo Momota 24:44, Dory Funk & Takao Omori b Johnny Gunn & Johnny Ace, Steve Williams & Richard Slinger b Al Perez & Barry Horowitz, Stan Hansen & John Nord b The Eagle & The Patriot, Mitsuharu Misawa & Kenta Kobashi & Jun Akiyama b Toshiaki Kawada & Akira Taue & Masao Inoue 24:00
3/1 Kumamoto (NOW): Kazuhiko Matsuzaki b Hiroshi Ono, John Hawk b Ryo Myake, Umakaras b Kishin Kawabata, Kendo Nagasaki b Rod Price, Apollo Sugawara & Tiger Jeet Singh Jr. b Tiger Jeet Singh Sr. & Umanosuke Ueda-DQ
3/1 Tampa (WWA): White Shadow b The Mechanic-DQ, Jeff Bradley b Chris Nelson, Frankie Rose b Surgeon General, Odessa Slim b Nuclear Assassin, Lou Perez & Rico Fredrico b Rick Thames & Sonny T, Ned Brady b Randy Fuller
3/2 Tokyo Sumo Hall (WAR - 11,000 sellout): Gedo & Jado b Masanobu Kurisu & Nobukazu Hirai, Koki Kitahara b Kim Duk, Hiromichi Fuyuki b Arashi, Ultimo Dragon & Masao Orihara b Great Sasuke & Sato 28:13, Super Strong Machine b Corazon de Leon, King Haku b Mr. Hughes, Koji Kitao b Koji Ishinriki, Atsushi Onita & Tarzan Goto b Genichiro Tenryu & Ashura Hara
3/2 Kasugai (All Japan - 2,800 sellout): Rob Van Dam & Johnny Ace b Mighty Inoue & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi, Al Perez & Barry Horowitz b Dory Funk & Johnny Gunn, Giant Baba & Jumbo Tsuruta & Rusher Kimura b Haruka Eigen & Masa Fuchi & Ryukaku Izumida 20:44, Akira Taue & Yoshinari Ogawa b Richard Slinger & Steve Williams, Asian tag title: Dan Kroffat & Doug Furnas b The Eagle & The Patriot, Stan Hansen & John Nord b Kenta Kobashi & Tamon Honda, Mitsuharu Misawa & Jun Akiyama b Toshiaki Kawada & Takao Omori
3/2 Fukuoka (NOW): Hiroshi Ono b Kazuhiko Matsuzaki, Umakaras b Ryo Myake, Tiger Jeet Singh Jr. b Kishin Kawabata, Tiger Jeet Singh Sr. & Umanosuke Ueda b Apollo Sugawara & Rod Price-DQ, Kendo Nagasaki b John Hawk
3/3 Atlanta Center Stage (WCW Saturday Night tapings - 500/all freebies): Non-squash results: Rick Steamboat b Paul Roma, Uncle Buck (Jimmy Golden) b Tom Zenk, Marcus Bagwell b The Terrorist (David "Cuban Assassin"
Cannell), Sting & Brian Pillman b Paul Orndorff & Roma, Roma & Orndorff b Thunder & Lightning, Buck b Erik Watts
3/3 Anaheim, CA (WWF - 5,800): Bushwhackers b Heavenly Bodies, WWF tag title: Quebecers b 1-2-3 Kid & Jim Powers, Doink & Dink b Bam Bam Bigelow & Luna Vachon, Yokozuna & Bastion Booger b Men on Mission, Smoking Gunns b Tonga Kid & Samu, Lex Luger & Bret Hart b Owen Hart & IRS
3/3 Handa (All Japan - 1,800 sellout): Tsuyoshi Kikuchi b Kentaro Shiga, Mighty Inoue & Takao Omori b Al Perez & Barry Horowitz, The Eagle & The Patriot b Dory Funk & Johnny Gunn, Giant Baba & Rusher Kimura & Mitsuo Momota b Haruka Eigen & Masa Fuchi & Ryukaku Izumida 21:43, Dan Kroffat & Doug Furnas b Kenta Kobashi & Tamon Honda, Steve Williams & Johnny Ace & Richard Slinger b Stan Hansen & John Nord & Rob Van Dam, Toshiaki Kawada & Akira Taue & Yoshinari Ogawa b Mitsuharu Misawa & Jun Akiyama & Satoru Asako 20:02
3/3 Tokyo Korakuen Hall (All Japan women - 2,100 sellout): Kumiko Maekawa b Miki Yokoe, Tomoko Watanabe & Chapparita Asari b Chikako Shiratori & Rie Tamada, Suzuka Minami & Kaoru Ito b Etsuko Mita & Mima Shimoda, Yumiko Hotta b Takako Inoue, Sakie Hasegawa d Toshiyo Yamada 30:00, Bull Nakano & Kyoko Inoue b Aja Kong & Manami Toyota 29:17
3/3 Everts, KY (SMW - 250 sellout): Bobby Blaze b The Hornet, Rock & Roll Express b Moondogs-DQ, Dirty White Boy & Tracy Smothers b Chris Candido & Brian Lee, Smothers won Battle Royal
3/3 Tokushima (Michinoku Pro - 1,300 sellout): Kazumichi Nakajima b Naohiro Hoshikawa, Taka Michinoku b Yone Genjin, Terry Boy b Awa, Megumi Kudo b Tsuppari Mack, Super Delfin & Ginsei Shinzaki & Gran Naniwa b Great Sasuke & Sato & Shiryu 28:25
3/3 Mikado (NOW): Kazuhiko Matsuzaki b Hiroshi Ono, Umakaras b Ryo Myake, Tiger Jeet Singh Jr. b John Hawk, Kendo Nagasaki DDQ Rod Price, Kishin Kawabata & Apollo Sugawara b Tiger Jeet Singh Sr. & Umanosuke Ueda-DQ
3/3 Winnipeg (River City Wrestling - 190): Robby Royce b Steve Stryker, Sgt. Steele & Major Impact b Bobby Jay & Sluggo Smith, Brian Jewel b Stan Saxon-DQ, Mike Stone won River City Rumble Battle Royal to become first RCW champ
3/3 Plant City, FL (Plant City Wrestling Federation): Chubby Mo Cool b Butch Long, Cody Wade NC Ned Brady, Luscious Luke & John Law b Sensuous Lee & Hit Man-DQ, Vern Henderson b Chris Nelson, Rick Thames & Sonny T b Randy Fuller & Jimmy Watts, Odessa Slim & Chubby Mo Cool b Dr. Doom & Brady
3/3 Shelbyville, TN (All-State Pro Wrestling): Big Bubba b Chris Kerns, Boogie Woogie Boy b Quinton Quarizma-DQ, Tony Falk b Big Bono, Robbie Rage b Candi Divine, Billy Montana & Ken Arden b Wild Boys, Dutch Mantel b Ben Mullins
3/4 Lenoir, NC (SMW - 500): Anthony Michaels b The Hornet, Bobby Blaze b Jeff Viktory, U.S. jr. title: Chris Candido b Tracy Smothers, Dirty White Boy & Dirty White Girl b Brian Lee & Tammy Fytch
3/4 Tokyo (All Japan women - 1,820): Rie Tamada b Chikako Shiratori, Chapparita Asari b Kumiko Maekawa, Etsuko Mita b Tomoko Watanabe, Suzuka Minami & Toshiyo Yamada b Takako Inoue & Kaoru Ito, Kyoko Inoue b Mima Shimoda, Aja Kong & Bull Nakano b Manami Toyota & Yumiko Hotta
3/4 Osaka (Michinoku Pro - 2,563 sellout): Kazumichi Nakajima b Naohiro Hoshikawa, Taka Michinoku b Monkey Magic (not original), Megumi Kudo b Tsuppari
Mack, Ginsei Shinzaki & Gran Naniwa & Yone Genjin b Great Sasuke & Terry Boy & Shiryu 28:23, Mask vs. hair: Super Delfin b Sato
3/4 Dallas Sportatorium (GWF): Mike Davis b Roberto Soto, Awesome Kong & King Kong b Koko Ware & Jeep Swenson-COR, Chaz Taylor b Danny Davis, Sweet Daddy Falcone & Vito Mussolini DCOR Scott Putski & Ware, Awesome Kong b Putski-DQ, Ware b Mussolini, Calvin Knapp b Falcone, Putski b Moadib-DQ
3/4 Dallas (Big D): Broadway Danny b Chris Rox, El Gato Negro b Ricky Long, Terry Simms b Ray Evans, Mike Savage b Tim Brooks-DQ, Mascara Del Fuego b Cuervo II, Bill Irwin b Jimmy James, Big D & Mr. Mister b Kit Carson & Bullman Downs-DQ
3/4 Ohita (NOW): Kazuhiko Matsuzaki b Hiroshi Ono, Umakaras b Kishin Kawabata, Tiger Jeet Singh Jr. b Ryo Myake, Kendo Nagasaki b John Hawk, Tiger Jeet Singh Sr. & Umanosuke Ueda b Apollo Sugawara & Rod Price
3/4 Yamato (LLPW): Prelim results unavailable, Eagle Sawai b Michiko Nagashima, Noriyo Tateno & Otaku Hozumi b Mikiko Futagami & Shinobu Kandori
3/4 Forest City, NC (Pro Wrestling Federation - 105): Chad Starr b Black Scorpion (Ray Hudson), Sammy Fritz b Eric Drew, Chris Hamrick b Russian Assassin (Terry Austin), Texas Outlaw b Emilio Ulacia, Randy Sledge b Executioner #1
, George South b Brian Lee (not original), Star Ryder (Hudson) & Italian Stallion b Austin & Austin Steele-DQ
3/4 Central City, KY (Tri-State Wrestling): Mike Samples b Hit Man Louie, Dan Shannon b Mark Adcock, Sheik Ali Khan (Mr. Clyde) b David Adcock, The Buzzard b New Dog, Mad Man Pondo & Sledge b Flash Flannagan & Doug Basham
3/4 San Bernardino, CA (Golden State Wrestling): Thrashmaster & Larry Ludden b Kid Kaos & Renegade, Prime Time Peterson & Jeff Bennett b Eric Studd & The Sadist, Thrashmaster & Ludden b Superstorm & Kimara, Scott Cole & Jason Redondo b Peterson & Bennett, Thrashmaster & Ludden b Cole & Redondo to win GSWA tag titles
3/5 Tokyo Budokan Hall (All Japan - 16,300 sellout): Satoru Asako b Kentaro Shiga, Al Perez & Barry Horowitz b Dory Funk & Masao Inoue, Dan Kroffat & Doug Furnas b Tamon Honda & Yoshinari Ogawa, Rusher Kimura & Mighty Inoue & Mitsuo Momota b Haruka Eigen & Masa Fuchi & Ryukaku Izumida, Johnny Ace & Richard Slinger & Rob Van Dam b The Patriot & The Eagle & Johnny Gunn, Akira Taue & Toshiaki Kawada b Takao Omori & Jun Akiyama, Steve Williams b John Nord, Mitsuharu Misawa & Kenta Kobashi b Giant Baba & Stan Hansen
3/5 Wakayama (New Japan - 1,800 sellout): Nobukazu Hirai b Shinjiro Ohtani, Manabu Nakanishi & Satoshi Kojima b Yuji Nagata & Tokimitsu Ishizawa, Killer Bee (Brian Blair) b Takayuki Iizuka, Akira Nogami b Kuniaki Kobayashi, Villano V & Black Tiger (Eddy Guerrero) b Jushin Liger & El Samurai, Tatsutoshi Goto & Great Kabuki & Kengo Kimura b Tatsumi Fujinami & Masa Chono & Tadao Yasuda, The Barbarian & Power Warrior b Scott Norton & Hercules Fernandez, Akitoshi Saito & Michiyoshi Ohara & Shiro Koshinaka b Riki Choshu & Shinya Hashimoto & Osamu Kido
3/5 Philadelphia (ECW - 1,400 sellout): 911 b Paul Laurie & Mikey Watson DUD, Pat Tanaka & J.T. Smith b Rockin rebel & Pit Bull **1/2, Tommy Dreamer b Jimmy Snuka *3/4, Falls count anywhere: Bruise Brothers b Public Enemy ***1/2, Road Warrior Hawk b Mr. Hughes *, ECW TV title: Sabu b Mike Awesome ***1/4,
ECW tag title: Kevin Sullivan & Tasmaniac b Bruise Brothers-DQ **, Sandman b Chad Austin DUD, Taped fist match for ECW title: Terry Funk b Shane Douglas ****
3/5 Morristown, TN (SMW - 700): Anthony Michaels b The Hornet, Bobby Blaze b Mike Samson, Mongolian Stomper b Larry Santo, Rock & Roll Express b Moondogs, Cage match: Dirty White Boy & Tracy Smothers b Brian Lee & Chris Candido
3/5 Tokai (All Japan women): Kumiko Maekawa b Rie Tamada, Chapparita Asari b Chikako Shiratori, Suzuka Minami b Etsuko Mita, Manami Toyota & Takako Inoue b Bull Nakano & Tomoko Watanabe, Yumiko Hotta b Kaoru Ito, Kyoko Inoue & Toshiyo Yamada b Aja Kong & Mima Shimoda
3/5 Clementon, NJ (WWA - 510): Father Ed b Mr. X, Chris Weider b Akita Kaos, East L.A. b Ed Atlas, The Spiders b The Stryker & Boy Gone Bad, Frank Finnegan b 3-D (Damian Demento)-COR, Abdullah the Butcher DDQ Abbuda Singh
3/5 Kyoko (JWP): Prelim results unavailable, Hikari Fukuoka b Candy Okutsu, Mayumi Ozaki & Dynamite Kansai b Plum Mariko & Cutie Suzuki
3/5 Austin, TX (Lone Star Wrestling): Pete Christie b Too Sweet Jones, Bubba Monroe & Gorilla Johnson b Tracy Austin & Bobby Perez, Danny Davis (not original) d Chaz Taylor, Rick Garren & Rico Suave b Hounds of Hell, Dusty Wolfe b Tarzan Taylor, The Heathen & Night Breeder (Moadib) b Hawaiian Crunch & Dr. X, Giant Warrior (Butch Masters) DDQ Tugboat Taylor
3/5 Denton, NC (Atlantic Wrestling Federation): T.C. Flexer b John Savage, High Voltage b Wolverine, Rikki Nelson b David Isley, Thunderfoot I (Isley) & Russian Assassin (Dan Grundy) b Robbie Auman & Les Parker-DQ, Wahoo McDaniel b Nelson
3/5 Cloverdale, BC (West Coast Championship Wrestling): T-Chuck b Lance Idol (not original), The Bodyguard b Buddy Wayne, Firefighter Adrian b Dillon Powers-DQ, Billionaire Boys Club b New Canadians to win Intl tag title, Badnews Allen & Rocky Dellasserra b Timothy Flowers & Adrian
3/5 Chester, SC (North American Wrestling Alliance - 102): Hunter Thompson b Kevin Kirby, Dozer (J.R. Scruggs) b American G.I. (Rich Scruggs), The Assassin (Ken Boone) b Buddy Porter, Ivan & Vladimir Koloff b Harold Helms & Super Rocker (Don Herbert)-DQ
3/5 Centre, AL (Bama Pro Wrestling): Sam Colt b Joel Travis, Richie Dye b Jason Valentine, Billy Montana & Ken Arden b Big Bubba & Tracy Black, Widowmaker b Keith Hart-DQ, Ken Timbs b Tim Strong, Woody Woodchuck b Rawhead Rex-DQ
3/5 Dayton, OH (Global Wrestling Association/Al Snow & Dale Grow promoters):Steve Nixon b Jake LeDuc, Dan Severn b Kodiak, Rock Stevens b Mike Kelly, Al Snow & Denny Kass b Bobby Clancy & Otis Apollo, Reno Havoc b Shawn Casey, The Patriot (not original) b Shinobi (Al Snow), Rick Keller won Battle Royal
3/6 Seattle (WWF - 4,700 sellout): Bushwhackers b Heavenly Bodies, Smoking Gunns b Samu & Tonga Kid, Doink & Dink b Bam Bam Bigelow & Luna Vachon, Men on Mission b IRS & Bastion Booger, WWF tag title: Quebecers b 1-2-3 Kid & Jim Powers, Bret Hart & Lex Luger b Yokozuna & Owen Hart-DQ
3/6 Okayama (New Japan - 4,000 sellout): Nobukazu Hirai b Tatsuhito Takaiwa, Satoshi Kojima b Manabu Nakanishi, Black Tiger b Shinjiro Ohtani, Jushin Liger b Villano V, Great Kabuki b Tadao Yasuda, Masa Chono b Akitoshi Saito, Killer Bee & The Barbarian & Hercules Fernandez b Takayuki Iizuka & Akira Nogami &
Power Warrior, Hiro Saito & Yoshiaki Yatsu b Michiyoshi Ohara & Kuniaki Kobayashi, Non-title: Scott Norton b Shinya Hashimoto, Riki Choshu & Tatsumi Fujinami & Yoshiaki Fujiwara b Shiro Koshinaka & Kengo Kimura & Tatsutoshi Goto
3/6 Beckley, WV (SMW - 425): Prince Kharis b Anthony Michaels, Ladder match: Tracy Smothers b Chris Candido, Rock & Roll Express b Moondogs, Dirty White Boy & Dirty White Girl b Brian Lee & Tammy Fytch
3/6 Philadelphia (ECW TV tapings): Bad Breed b Johnny Hot Body & Tony Stetson, Bruise Brothers b Hack Myers & Bob Starr, 911 b Eric Anderson, ECW tag title no DQ: Public Enemy b Kevin Sullivan & Tazmaniac to win titles, Road Warrior Hawk b Pit Bull, 911 b Damien Stone, Mr. Hughes b Billy Fire Hawk, Ray Odyssey b Anderson, Chad Austin b Fire Hawk, Judge Dredd b Devon Storm, Sandman b Sal Bellomo, Terry Funk & Kevin Sullivan & Crash the Terminator (Bill DeMott) b Shane Douglas & Public Enemy, ECW TV title: Tazmaniac b Sabu to win title, Sandman & Jimmy Snuka b Tommy Dreamer & Tommy Cairo, Douglas b Pat Tanaka, Pit Bull & Rockin Rebel b Young Dragons, Bruise Brothers b Devon Storm & Stone, ECW TV title: J.T. Smith b Tazmaniac to win title
3/6 Tsu (All Japan women - 1,740): Rie Tamada b Miki Yokoe, Chapparita Asari b Kumiko Maekawa, Mima Shimoda b Tomoko Watanabe, Bull Nakano & Yumiko Hotta b Kyoko Inoue & Toshiyo Yamada, Takako Inoue b Etsuko Mita, Aja Kong & Suzuka Minami b Manami Toyota & Kaoru Ito
3/6 Tokyo Korakuen Hall (LLPW - 1,900): Harley Saito b Noriyo Tateno, Mikiko Futagami & Jen Yukari d Mitsuki Endo & Carol Midori 30:00, Handicap match: Yasha Kurenai & Shinobu Kandori b Michiko Nagashima, Rumi Kazama b Leo Kitamura, Otaku Hozumi & Miki Handa b Omukai & Eagle Sawai
3/6 Osaka (JWP - 500): Prelim results unavailable, Dynamite Kansai b Candy Okutsu, Hikari Fukuoka & Cutie Suzuki b Plum Mariko & Boirshoi Kid
3/6 Akita (Michinoku Pro - 650): Yone Genjin b Masato Yakushiji, Taka Michinoku & Terry Boy b Kazumichi Nakajima & Naohiro Hoshikawa, Ginsei Shinzaki b Nakajima, Great Sasuke & Shiryu b Super Delfin & Gran Naniwa
3/6 Hiratsuka aft. (FULL - 636): Pantera II & Kendo b Adrian El Exotico & Karloff Lagarde Jr., Los Brazos b Robin Hood & Brazo de Platino & Rocky Santana, Shu el Guerrero & Villano IV b Dos Caras & Gran Hamada-DQ
3/6 Hiratsuka p.m. (FULL - 632): Rocky Santana b Adrian El Exotico, Karloff Lagarde & Villano IV b Brazo de Platino b Robin Hood, Los Brazos b Dos Caras & Pantera II & Kendo, UWF super middleweight title: Shu el Guerrero b Gran Hamada to win title
3/7 Denver (WWF - 2,300): Bushwhackers b Heavenly Bodies, WWF tag title: Quebecers b 1-2-3 Kid & Jim Powers, Smoking Gunns b Tonga Kid & Samu, Doink & Dink b Bam Bam Bigelow & Luna Vachon, Men on Mission b IRS & Bastion Booger, Bret Hart & Lex Luger b Yokozuna & Owen Hart-DQ
3/7 Nakamura (New Japan): Tatsuhito Takaiwa b Tokimitsu Ishizawa, Yuji Nagata b Satoshi Kojima, Shinjiro Ohtani b Nobukazu Hirai, Black Tiger b Villano V, Great Kabuki & Akitoshi Saito b Tadao Yasuda & Osamu Kido, Michiyoshi Ohara & Tatsutoshi Goto & Shiro Koshinaka & Kengo Kimura b El Samurai & Jushin Liger & Akira Nogami & Takayuki Iizuka, Shinya Hashimoto b Killer Bee, The Barbarian & Hercules Fernandez & Scott Norton b Riki Choshu & Masa Chono & Tatsumi Fujinami
3/7 Dungannon, VA (SMW TV tapings - 250 sellout): Tracy Smothers b Jason West, Bobby Blaze b Larry Santo, SMW TV title: Mike Furnas b Killer Kyle to win
title, Thrillseekers b Masked Infernos (Anthony Michaels & Brian Keyes), Ladder match: Tracy Smothers b Chris Candido, Well Dunn b Blaze & West, SMW TV title: Furnas b Mike Samson, Dirty White Boy b Kyle-DQ, Rock & Roll Express b Infernos, Thrillseekers b Santo & Samson, SMW TV title: Mike Furnas b Inferno #1
, Prince Kharis b Blaze, Rock & Roll Express b Lee & Candido, Thrillseekers b The Hornet & Samson, SMW TV title: Furnas b Santo, Dirty White Boy & Dirty White Girl b Brian Lee & Tammy Fytch
3/7 Gamagori (All Japan women): Chikako Shiratori b Miki Yokoe, Chapparita Asari b Rie Tamada, Kaoru Ito b Tomoko Watanabe, Yumiko Hotta & Suzuka Minami b Manami Toyota & Kyoko Inoue, Bull Nakano b Mima Shimoda, Aja Kong & Etsuko Mita b Toshiyo Yamada & Takako Inoue
3/8 Ludwigshafen, Germany (WCW): Too Cold Scorpio & Johnny B. Badd b Paul Orndorff & Paul Roma, Steve Regal b Cactus Jack, Frank Anderson b Harlem Heat Kane, Ron Simmons b Marcus Bagwell, Sting b Harlem Heat Koal, Vader b Rick Steamboat, WCW title: Ric Flair b Steve Austin
3/8 Matsuyama (New Japan): Nobukazu Hirai & El Samurai b Tatsuhito Takaiwa & Yuji Nagata, Tokimitsu Ishizawa b Shinjiro Ohtani, Hiro Saito b Satoshi Kojima, Tatsutoshi Goto b Tadao Yasuda, Killer Bee b Osamu Kido, Scott Norton & Hercules Fernandez & The Barbarian b Manabu Nakanishi & Riki Choshu & Shinya Hashimoto, Non-title: Black Tiger b Jushin Liger, Akira Nogami & Takayuki Iizuka & Masa Chono & Tatsumi Fujinami b Michiyoshi Ohara & Kengo Kimura & Shiro Koshinaka & Great Kabuki
3/8 Tokyo Korakuen Hall (FULL - 500): Rocky Santana b Adrian El Exotico, CMLL trios title: Los Brazos b Kendo & Robin Hood & Brazo de Platino, Gran Hamada & Dos Caras & Pantera II b Shu el Guerrero & Villano IV & Karloff Lagarde Jr., Brazo de Plata won Battle Royal
3/9 Cologne, Germany (WCW): Marcus Bagwell & Johnny B. Badd b Paul Orndorff & Paul Roma, Frank Anderson b Harlem Heat Kane, Maxx Payne b Ron Simmons-DQ, Steve Austin b Too Cold Scorpio, Rick Steamboat b Harlem Heat Koal, Ric Flair b Steve Regal, Vader b Sting 22:00
3/9 Iwakuni (New Japan): Manabu Nakanishi b Tatsuhito Takaiwa, Satoshi Kojima b Tokimitsu Ishizawa, Akitoshi Saito b Yuji Nagata, Jushin Liger & Shinjiro Ohtani b Black Tiger & Villano V, Kengo Kimura & Michiyoshi Ohara b Hiroshi Hase & Tadao Yasuda, Akira Nogami & Takayuki Iizuka & Masa Chono b Killer Bee & Hercules Fernandez & Scott Norton, Osamu Kido & Riki Choshu & Tatsumi Fujinami b Tatsutoshi Goto & Great Kabuki & Shiro Koshinaka
3/9 Tokyo Korakuen Hall (W*ING): Masayoshi Motegi b Fukumentaro, Rico b W*inger, Bruise Brothers b Kazuhiko Matsuzaki & Nobutaka Araya, Kendo Nagasaki b Shoji Nakamaki, Crypt Keeper & Head Hunters b Jason the Terrible & Leatherface & Yukihiro Kanemura
3/10 Berlin, Germany (WWF): Sparky Plugg b Bastion Booger, Diesel b Virgil, Rick Martel b Jeff Jarrett, Earthquake b Adam Bomb, WWF womens title: Alunda Blayze b Leilani Kai, Tatanka b Kwang, Razor Ramon b Shawn Michaels, Randy Savage b Crush
3/10 Saga (New Japan - 2,860): Satoshi Kojima b Tatsuhito Takaiwa, Manabu Nakanishi b Tokimitsu Ishizawa, Yuji Nagata b Shinjiro Ohtani, Michiyoshi Ohara & Akitoshi Saito & Tatsutoshi Goto & Kengo Kimura b Tadao Yasuda & Takayuki Iizuka & Akira Nogami & Osamu Kido, Kojima won Battle Royal, Killer Bee & Black Tiger b
El Samurai & Jushin Liger, Tatsumi Fujinami & Hiroshi Hase b Great Kabuki & Shiro Koshinaka, The Barbarian & Scott Norton & Hercules Fernandez b Masa Chono & Shinya Hashimoto & Riki Choshu
3/10 New Port Richey, FL (Florida Wrestling Alliance): Bill Pain d Mike Haynor, Manny Fernandez (not original) b The Mechanic, Jeff Bradley b Navy Seal, Haystacks Calhoun Jr. b The Viper-DQ, Fernandez & Randy Fuller b Surgeon Generals-DQ
3/10 Shelbyville, TN (All-State Pro Wrestling): Big Bubba b Ken Arden, Rex Rider b Gypsy Joe-DQ, Billy Montana b Bongo Cool, Boogie Woogie Boy b Blackie West, Candi Divine b Robbie Rage-DQ, Ben Mullins & Big Bono b Tony Falk & Dutch Mantel
3/11 North Charleston, SC (WWF - 3,100): Bushwhackers b Well Dunn, Smoking Gunns b Afa & Samu, Doink & Dink b Bam Bam Bigelow & Luna Vachon, WWF tag title: Quebecers b 1-2-3 Kid & Jim Powers, Yokozuna & Bastion Booger b Men on Mission, Bret Hart & Lex Luger b IRS & Owen Hart
3/11 Halle (WCW): Marcus Bagwell & Johnny B. Badd b Ron Simmons & Harlem Heat Koal, Frank Anderson b Harlem Heat Kane, Too Cold Scorpio b Maxx Payne, Vader b Paul Roma, Cactus Jack b Paul Orndorff, Sting & Rick Steamboat b Ric Flair & Steve Regal
3/11 Onoda (New Japan - 2,250): Shinjiro Ohtani b Tatsuhito Takaiwa, Michiyoshi Ohara b Yuji Nagata, Tatsutoshi Goto b Satoshi Kojima, Akira Nogami & Takayuki Iizuka b Killer Bee & Black Tiger, Jushin Liger & Osamu Kido b Tokimitsu Ishizawa & El Samurai, The Barbarian & Hercules Fernandez & Scott Norton b Tadao Yasuda & Hiroshi Hase & Tatsumi Fujinami, Shinya Hashimoto b Akitoshi Saito, Great Kabuki & Shiro Koshinaka & Kengo Kimura b Manabu Nakanishi & Masa Chono & Riki Choshu
3/11 Paintsville, KY (SMW - 450): Thrillseekers (Chris Jericho & Lance Storm) b Infernos, Non-title ladder match: Tracy Smothers b Chris Candido, Handicap match: Bob Armstrong b Dick Murdoch & Jim Cornette, SMW tag title: Rock & Roll Express b Heavenly Bodies-DQ, Dirty White Boy & Dirty White Girl b Brian Lee & Tammy Fytch
3/11 Iwatsuki (All Japan women): Kumiko Maekawa b Chikako Shiratori, Chapparita Asari b Rie Tamada, Toshiyo Yamada & Takako Inoue b Sakie Hasegawa & Kaoru Ito, Bull Nakano b Tomoko Watanabe, Yumiko Hotta & Manami Toyota b Aja Kong & Kyoko Inoue
3/11 Tagajyo (W*ING): The W*inger NC Rico, Kazuhiko Matsuzaki b Rico, W*inger b Matsuzaki, Kendo Nagasaki & Leatherface (Rick Patterson) DDQ Bruise Brothers, Crypt Keeper (Jose Estrada Jr.) b Nobutaka Araya, Head Hunters b Shoji Nakamaki & Yukihiro Kanemura
3/11 Dallas (GWF - 380/papered): Tugboat Taylor NC Rod Price, Jeep Swenson b Krusher Kong-DQ, Chris Adams b Dr. Doom, Bullrope match: John Hawk b Scott Putski
3/11 Dallas (Big D - 140): Tigre Potocino b Sangre Hidalgse, Jimmy James b Kit Carson-DQ, Ray Evans b Big D, El Gato Negro b El Siniestro, Terry Simms b Bill Irwin, Mr. Mister & Chris Rox b Tim Brooks & Bullman Downs-DQ, Mascara Del Fuego & Condor Azul b El Medico & Quervo II
3/11 Westfield, MA (New England Pro Wrestling - 235): Scott Sharkey b Sky King, Garfield Quinn b Scott Ashworth, Little Louie b Mighty Doom, Izzy Straight
won Battle Royal, Forces of Evil DCOR Party Man & Maverick Wild, Scott Taylor b P.J. Walker, Greg Valentine b Rick Fuller, Jimmy Snuka b Metal Maniac
3/11 Tampa (Mighty Warriors Presents): Frankie Rose b The Lifeguard, Terry Platt Jr. & Sr. b Kenny Kendall & Dr. G, Sonny Beach b Black Panther, Rico Fredrico b Manny Fernandez, Fire Cats b Jumbo Baretta & Jerry Flynn
3/12 Pittsburgh (WWF - 4,500): Bushwhackers b Well Dunn *, WWF tag title: Quebecers b 1-2-3 Kid & Jim Powers 3/4*, Smoking Gunns b Afa & Samu *3/4, Yokozuna & Bastion Booger b Men on Mission 1/2*, Doink & Dink b Bam Bam Bigelow & Luna Vachon 1/2*, Bret Hart & Lex Luger b IRS & Owen Hart **1/2
3/12 Dresden, Germany (WCW): Too Cold Scorpio & Marcus Bagwell b Paul Roma & Paul Orndorff, Frank Anderson b Harlem Heat Kane, Vader b Cactus Jack, WCW TV title: Steve Regal b Maxx Payne, WCW title: Ric Flair b Johnny B. Badd, Rick Steamboat & Sting b Steve Austin & Ron Simmons
3/12 Fukuyama (New Japan - 2,350): Yuji Nagata b Tatsuhito Takaiwa, Osamu Kido b Satoshi Kojima, Black Tiger b Shinjiro Ohtani, The Barbarian b Manabu Nakanishi, Kengo Kimura & Shiro Koshinaka & Tatsutoshi Goto b Hiro Saito & Yoshiaki Yatsu & Shinichi Nakano, Hiroshi Hase & Riki Choshu & Tatsumi Fujinami b Akitoshi Saito & Michiyoshi Ohara & Great Kabuki, Takayuki Iizuka & Akira Nogami b Jushin Liger & El Samurai, Tadao Yasuda & Masa Chono & Shinya Hashimoto b Killer Bee & Scott Norton & Hercules Fernandez
3/12 Johnson City, TN (SMW - 1,000): Mike Furnas b Jeff Viktory DUD, Thrillseekers b Infernos **, Non-title ladder match: Tracy Smothers b Chris Candido ****, Handicap match: Bob Armstrong b Jim Cornette & Dick Murdoch **1/4, Dirty White Boy & Dirty White Girl b Brian Lee & Tammy Fytch **, 60:00 marathon match: Heavenly Bodies b Rock & Roll Express 2-1 ****
3/12 Kasumigaura (FMW - 2,332): Gosaku Goshogawara b Mr. Chin, Crusher Maedomari b Yukie Nabeno, Damian b Masato Tanaka, Koji Nakagawa & Tetsuhiro Kuroda b Battle Ranger & Goshogawara, Combat Toyota & Shark Tsuchiya & Tsuppari Mack b Megumi Kudo & Miwa Sato & Keiko Iwame, The Sheik & Sabu b Masaru Toi & Hideki Hosaka, Mr. Pogo & Goro Tsurumi b Tarzan Goto & Katsutoshi Niiyama, Street fight: Atsushi Onita & Sambo Asako & Mr. Gannosuke b Big Titan (Rick Bogner) & The Gladiator (Mike Awesome Alfonso) & Ricky Fuji
3/12 Nagoya (Pancrase - 3,750 sellout): Katsumi Inagaki b James Matthews, Ryushi Yanagisawa b Robert Yonaso, Andre Ultra b Scott Badeck, Masakatsu Funaki b Vernon White, Minoru Suzuki b Yusuke Fuke
3/12 Katsuda (All Japan women): Rie Tamada b Chikako Shiratori, Kumiko Maekawa b Chapparita Asari, Bull Nakano & Kyoko Inoue b Takako Inoue & Sakie Hasegawa, Aja Kong b Tomoko Watanabe, Manami Toyota & Toshiyo Yamada b Yumiko Hotta & Kaoru Ito
3/12 Mito (JWP): Prelim results unavailable, Mayumi Ozaki b Plum Mariko, Devil Masami & Fusayo Nochi b Candy Okutsu & Dynamite Kansai
3/12 Brantford, CT (IWF): Perry Saturn b Tim McNeeney, Brittany Brown & Steve King b Snooky Fink & Jamie West, Ron Reis (debut) b Mike Hollow, Terra Rizing b Tony Roy, The Warlord b Lanny Poffo
3/12 Melrose, MA (Century Wrestling Alliance - 1,200): El Mascarado b The Viper, Little Louie b Little Doom, Randy Starr b The Intern, Tony Rumble b New Hampshire Nightmare, Vic Steamboat b Metal Maniac, Hillbilly Jim & Cousin Luke b
Trouble Makers, Demolition Ax b Tony Atlas-DQ, Jimmy Snuka b Honkytonk Man-DQ
3/12 Pasadena, MD (Maryland Championship Wrestling): The Comet b Wayne Gill, Duane Gill b T-Bone Strong, Mark Shrader b Mad Maniac, Mike Khoury & Johnny Paradise b Chicken Neck & American Ninja-DQ, Colossal Kongs (not original) b Pat Patterson Jr. & Knife Man, Goodfellas b Agent Orange & Sgt. Smasher, Hack Myers b Axl Rotten to win MCW title
3/12 Centre, AL (Bama Pro Wrestling): Frankie Lee b Jason Valentine, The Flame b T.D. Hogan, Big Bubba & Widow Maker b Billy Montana & Ken Arden, Ken Timbs DDQ Tim Strong
3/13 Philadelphia Spectrum (WWF - 3,800): Bushwhackers b Well Dunn, Smoking Gunns b Afa & Samu, Doink & Dink b Bam Bam Bigelow & Luna Vachon, WWF tag title: Quebecers b 1-2-3 Kid & Jim Powers, Yokozuna & Bastion Booger b Men on Mission, Lex Luger & Bret Hart b IRS & Owen Hart
3/13 Kassel, Germany (WCW): Too Cold Scorpio & Marcus Bagwell b Paul Orndorff & Paul Roma, Frank Anderson b Harlem Heat Kane, Maxx Payne b Harlem Heat Koal, WCW TV title: Steve Regal b Cactus Jack, Vader b Rick Steamboat, Sting b Ron Simmons, WCW title: Ric Flair b Steve Austin
3/13 Knoxville (SMW - 1,200): Thrillseekers b Infernos, Mike Furnas b Killer Kyle, Non-title ladder match: Tracy Smothers b Chris Candido, Handicap match: Bob Armstrong b Jim Cornette & Dick Murdoch, Dirty White Boy & Dirty White Girl b Brian Lee & Tammy Fytch, 60:00 marathon match for SMW tag titles: Heavenly Bodies b Rock & Roll Express 3-2
3/13 Oakland (AAA - 1,250): Los Payasos b Rey Misterio Jr. & Winners & Heavy Metal *1/2, Jerry Estrada & Papucho Jr. (Wayne Bradley) & Espectro Jr. b Misterioso & Torero & Mando Guerrero *1/2, IWC minis title: Mascarita Sagrada b Espectrito ***, Octagon & El Hijo del Santo & Lizmark b Super Rabbit & Fuerza Guerrera & Psicosis ***, Konnan El Barbaro & Perro Aguayo & Mascara Sagrada NC Blue Panther & La Parka & Love Machine ***1/2
3/13 Tokyo Theater (FMW - 2,000 sellout): Koji Nakagawa b Masato Tanaka, Katsutoshi Niiyama b Mr. Gannosuke 33:27, Katsuji Ueda b Gosaku Goshagawara, Tsuppari Mack & Crusher Maedomari & Combat Toyoda & Shark Tsuchiya b Yukie Nabeno & Nurse Nakamura & Megumi Kudo & Miwa Sato, Masaru Toi b Battle Ranger, One-night trios tournament: Hideki Hosaka & Mr. Pogo & Goro Tsurumi b Damian & Sabu & The Sheik, Atsushi Onita & Tarzan Goto & Sambo Asako b The Gladiator & Big Titan & Ricky Fuji, Onita & Goto & Asako b Pogo & Tsurumi & Hosaka to win tournament
3/13 Tokyo Korakuen Hall (JWP - 2,010 sellout): Japanese jr. title: Candy Okutsu b Fusayo Nochi, Dynamite Kansai b Boirshoi Kid, Devil Masami & Mayumi Ozaki b Plum mariko & Hikari Fukuoka, Chigusa Nagayo b Cutie Suzuki
3/13 Tokyo (W*ING): The W*inger d Rico, Kazuhiko Matsuzaki b Rico, W*inger b Matsuzaki, Bruise Brothers b Head Hunters, W*ING hwt title: Crypt Keeper b Leatherface, Ring filled with cream match: Nobutaka Araya & Kendo Nagasaki b Shoji Nakamaki & Yukihiro Kanemura
Special thanks to: Eddie Goldman, Shannon Rose, Scott Hudson, Lenis Sargent, Dave Scherer, Paul Sosnouski, Dave Pinsky, David Geck, Dan Adam, Mike Mooneyham, John LaOxiOxiOxiOxin, Peter Schaar, Jason Peters, Karin Moore, Bob Koenig, Bob Verhey, Johnny Gnatt, Chuck Allen, Brent Kriemen, Chris Dick, Oliver Hollman,
John LaOxiOxiOxiOxin, Dan Reilly, Matt Creamer, Steve "Dr. Lucha" Sims, Eric Brehm, Stefan Pickshaus, Mark Markley, Rich Palladino, Brian Hildebrand, Daryck Beyer, Ted Hobgood, John Clark, K.C. O'Connor, Dan Parris, Shelby Adcock, Freddy Fargo
JAPANESE TELEVISION RUNDOWN
1/19 ALL JAPAN WOMEN: 1. Nakano pinned Ito in 10:38 with a legdrop off the top rope. It was a decent match early. Highlight was Ito burying Nakano under 10 chairs outside the ring. **; 2. Mita & Shimoda beat Hotta & Hasegawa in 22:01 (half of which aired on television). There were a lot of good moves and dives but the pacing was too fast for the audience so it didn't have as much heat as it should have. Finish saw Shimoda do a double cross-armed behind the body german superplex while Hasegawa was sitting on the top rope. ***1/4; 3. Kong pinned Minami in 13:30 with a german suplex. A lot of brawling outside the ring. Kong threw a few tables on Minami and destroyed her with one chair shot and wiped out some rows of ringside with Minami's body, hit her with a metal barricade and piledriver her on a metal barricade, then gave her four piledrivers but Minami kicked out anyway. ***1/4; 4. Toyota & Yamada beat Kyoko & Takako in 17:31 (only 10:00 aired). The crowd was very hard but this was all action and the wrestling was as great as would be expected, but the match was hurt by lack of heat. Toyota blew an Eddy Guerrero jump on the top rope in the middle into a plancha by falling off the ropes, but got so mad that she debuted a new spot right away, a full Superfly splash from the top rope to the floor. Dynamite Kid tried that move about 14 years ago against Bruce Hart and wound up blowing out both his knees in the process. Yamada finally pinned Kyoko with a form of a back suplex. ***3/4
1/30 ALL JAPAN: 1. Inoue pinned Asako with a blockbuster. Match had all kinds of good near falls at the end which drew a lot of heat. Asako is going to be a great worker some day but will be hampered from superstardom because he's so small. ***1/4; 2. Williams & Slinger & Gunn beat Hansen & Nord & Brian Costello when Williams pinned Costello with a Doctor bomb. The match was good since the guys who could work were in the ring most of the way. ***; 3. Taue & Kawada & Omori scored a major upset over Misawa & Kobashi & Akiyama in 32:00. An all action typical super main event. Omori fit in like a glove in this company. He's on his way to being great and will be great in very short order. He's easily the most improved wrestler in the world over the past year. Since the match went so long, it slowed a bit when Misawa's team kept working over Omori but the crowd was hot for him to make the comeback. Match was great, climaxing when Kobashi kicked out of a nodowa by Taue. Finally after Taue & Kawada simultaneously power bombed Kobashi & Misawa, Taue pinned Kobashi after a nodowa. ****1/4
2/5 NEW JAPAN: 1. Hase pinned Ohara in 15:06. Somewhat disappointing considering Hase is easily the top wrestler in the promotion and Ohara is a decent brawler. Match didn't have much early but turned into a good match with back-and-forth near falls. Hase kicked out of Ohara's nodowa (choke slam) finisher twice and a power bomb, and also broke a Texas cloverleaf submission. After two Soviet suplexes (uranage), Hase for the second time did an upside down STF submission for the win. The first time he used the hold was to gain a submission on Masa Chono. **; 2. Hashimoto pinned Rambo in a battle of the IWGP world champ against the CWA world champ although neither belt was at stake. Largely a dead match, made worse since it was a battle of world heavyweight champions. Rambo
is nothing so Hashimoto had to carry it, which isn't a pleasant thought. Hashimoto won in just 8:23 with a flying DDT. 3/4*; 3. Choshu & Fujinami beat Koshinaka & Kabuki in 9:06 when Choshu made Kabuki submit to the scorpion. Match was good when Koshinaka was in, but very weak for a main event. **
2/6 ALL JAPAN: 1. Akiyama pinned Inoue with a Northern Lights suplex. ***1/4; 2. Williams & Slinger beat Gunn & Ace in 15:00+ when Williams pinned Gunn with a backdrop driver. Not much heat. Gunn was solid but got no heat. Ace just didn't have it but Williams and Slinger were good. **; 3. Misawa & Kobashi & Asako beat Baba & Fuchi & Ogawa in 20:30. Not a lot of heat early but the match was solid. Baba mainly worked with Kobashi so it was acceptable. As usual, the finish was excellent with Misawa pinning Ogawa with the Tiger-driver. ***3/4; 4. Hansen & Nord & Costello beat Taue & Kawada & Omori in 16:30 when Hansen pinned Omori with a lariat. The Japanese side must have been great since this was a hot match, although Hansen did dominate ring time. Omori again was the highlight. Costello has neither the look or ability to be in a main event. Nord doesn't have the ability. ***1/2
2/12 NEW JAPAN: 1. Hell Raisers beat Choshu & Hase in 13:36. A lot better than most Hell Raisers matches since Choshu was Power's boyhood hero and Power has so much respect for Hase. Finish saw them do the double impact on Hase and then Power got his new submission maneuver, a form of a crooked head scissors called the Power special over by making Hase submit to it. ***1/4; 2. In the seven match WAR vs. Skinheads feud matches, first Fuyuki pinned Kobayashi with a german suplex in 9:35. These guys are both really washed up compared to their respective primes in the 80s, but worked hard and had a good match. ***; 3. Kitahara pinned Akitoshi Saito with a captured suplex. All kinds of missed moves. This was a disaster. DUD; 4. Kimura pinned Hirai with a leg lariat. 1/2*; 5. Ohara pinned Orihara in 10:18 after two choke slams. Both worked hard but they didn't work very well together. *1/4; 6. Kabuki pinned Hara with a thrust kick to the throat. Only the finish aired and it looked okay; 7. Tenryu pinned Goto. Tenryu, with his team one behind, just destroyed Goto with a chair and Goto juiced. Both guys worked stiff with each other and it was a very exciting match, but only went 4:07 before Tenryu power bombed him for the pin. **1/2; 8. With it tied 3-3, it was left to Koshinaka vs. Machine. Both guys have no charisma but their work started out okay. But without heat, it looked like it would be a dead main event. But these guys worked their asses off and it turned into an excellent match with good intensity and all kinds of near falls that looked to be the finish. Koshinaka finally got the pin with the reverse cradle and natural bridge in 15:50. ****
2/13 ALL JAPAN: 1. Akiyama pinned Omori in the finals of the Asunaro Trophy tournament. Excellent match. Really got heated when Omori reversed Akiyama's Northern Light suplex finisher into a DDT. Omori got another near fall with an elbow off the top. Omori got one near fall after another, then Akiyama came back with the Northern Light suplex but Omori kicked out. Finally Akiyama won with a second Northern Lights. ****; 2. Hansen & Nord beat Ace & Williams. Really stiff with Hansen against Williams. The crowd didn't buy Nord but he is getting better. Hansen pinned Ace with a lariat **1/2; 3. Misawa & Kobashi & Baba beat Fuchi & Kawada & Taue in 39:02. The last 22:00 aired on television and it was hot all the way. Kobashi's selling was incredible. Baba was great when he made the hot tag. Don't ask me why or how that is possible, but he was. He got out of there before he
could wear out his welcome. This turned into a must-see match of the year candidate before Kobashi pinned Fuchi with a moonsault. *****
2/19 NEW JAPAN: 1. This was a one-night Skinheads vs. New Japan feud. Unlike the previous week where it was weak until the final match, this seven match series was really heated. Choshu beat Kimura in just 3:30 in the opener with great crowd heat. Kimura got heat by giving Choshu a low blow early, but Choshu made the comeback with a superplex, lariat, low blow and scorpion submission. **; 2. Hase pinned Kabuki with a Northern Light suplex in 6:15. Hase did a 21-rep giant swing. Hase was a miracle worker here in actually making it a good match. **3/4; 3. Goto pinned Iizuka in 5:44 with a back suplex. Earlier Iizuka ripped Goto's bandages off from the Tenryu match and he juiced heavily once again. **1/2; 4. Ohara pinned Kojima in 4:05. This was as good a short match as you'll ever see. Kojima was hot and they worked a great match with super heat. Kojima is going to be a superstar barring injury. ***1/2; 5. Kobayashi upset Nogami in 5:41. Another match with great intensity . ***; 6. Kido made Akitoshi Saito submit in just 2:21 with the armbar. It was the interesting mixed match style with Saito using kicks and Kido working UWF style. Even though short, it was very exciting. **; 7. It all came down to Fujinami vs. Koshinaka which everyone "knew" Fujinami would win. Match started fast but slowed in the middle and picked up into a great match. I'm in the minority on this but I loved the storyline here and the upset finish even though there were no great moves. Fujinami's offense was nothing and he was on top most of the way, but the storyline was great with Koshinaka working on his injured arm and using submissions until finally getting a short arm scissors in the middle. ***3/4
2/20 ALL JAPAN: 1. Kawada & Omori beat Kobashi & Asako. These four chopped the hell out of each other and all had bruised up chests. Kawada was really brutal on Asako with hard slaps and shotgun lariats and finally pinned him. This was an awesome match. ****1/2; 2. Hansen & Nord beat Ace & Patriot. Match wasn't good when Nord was in with Ace, but Hansen made it watchable. Hansen pinned Patriot with a lariat. **1/4; 3. Misawa & Akiyama beat Eagle & Williams. Real good match, better than it sounds on paper, ending when Misawa made Eagle submit to the facelock while Akiyama kept Williams from making the save with a plancha. ***3/4.
W*ING world heavyweight champ Crypt Keeper (Jose Estrada Jr.) was in last week but lost when challenging El Signo for his WWF light heavyweight title.
A correction is that the 2/18 show where Ultimo Dragon won the UWA middleweight belt back from Koji Ishinriki, the attendance listed here as 12,000 was actually 1,200.
Corazon de Leon (Chris Jericho from SMW) returns this week until 4/1 to drop his NWA middleweight title. Most likely recipient will be Negro Casas.
Javier Llanes was suspended for attacking a fan after a match on 2/22 at Arena Coliseo.
EMLL is planning on running a major show with Mil Mascaras brought in on 4/30 in Acapulco to steal some of the thunder from TripleMania the same day.
Monterrey promoter Carlos Elizondo has raised a lot of ire for debuting a new wrestler called Konnan 2000 (Scott Putski) dressed up exactly like Konnan, billed as Konnan's cousin, on 3/6 teaming with La Fiera in the main event against Mocho Cota & Black Magic. Word has it that Televisa will take legal action if Elizondo doesn't drop the character.
With the annual Champion Carnival tournament, won the past two years by Stan Hansen, in the 3/19 to 4/16 tour, it really makes this the least opportune time for cutting the television back to 30 minutes. Line-ups already announced for the tour are 3/19 at Korakuen Hall has Misawa vs. Akiyama, Kawada vs. Dan Spivey, Hansen vs. Nord and Williams vs. Eagle; 3/20 at Korakuen Hall has Kobashi vs. Ace, Taue vs. Furnas and Nord vs. Eagle; 3/24 has Hansen vs. Kawada, Misawa vs. Ace and Taue vs. Kobashi; 3/27 has Misawa vs. Kobashi, Kawada vs. Ace and Spivey vs. Nord; 3/28 has Misawa vs. Williams, Kobashi vs. Furnas and Nord vs. Akiyama; 3/29 has Misawa vs. Hansen, Kowada vs. Williams and Kobashi vs. Spivey; 4/1 has Misawa vs. Taue and Kawada vs. Akiyama; 4/4 has Hansen vs. Ace, Taue vs. Williams, Kowada vs. Furnas and Akiyama vs. Eagle; 4/6 has Kawada vs Kobashi, Taue vs. Akiyama and Hansen vs. Spivey; 4/10 has Hansen vs. Kobashi, Akiyama vs. Williams and Furnas vs. Spivey; 4/11 in Osaka has Misawa vs. Kawada, Kobashi vs. Akiyama, Taue vs. Hansen and Nord vs. Williams and 4/14 in Nagoya has Kawada vs. Taue, Hansen vs. Williams and Misawa vs. Spivey. The two wrestlers with the best records in the round-robin meet on 4/16 at Budokan Hall for the tournament championship.
TV ratings had the big improvement the past two weeks as 2/27 did a 4.1 and 3/6, headlined by Misawa & Kobashi vs. Hansen & Baba, did a 4.6.
The Misawa & Kobashi vs. Hansen & Baba match sold out Budokan on 3/5 with almost nothing underneath with Misawa pinning Baba in 35:11 after a clothesline off the top rope. I know this sounds both impossible and ridiculous to say this about a match with Baba but it was a genuine classic that will get consideration in Japan for match of the year. It was only the second time in his entire career that Baba had ever done a job for a Japanese wrestler (he lost to Tenryu in a tag match several years ago) and even though the match had super heat, the place died when Baba laid down for the three since it was a finish that nobody wanted to see. To show how weak the undercard was, the semifinal was Williams pinning Nord.
It is expected that Terry Gordy will return in April or May, since he's got a tune-up match for GWF at the Dallas Sportatorium on 4/1.
New Japan announced that Rick Rude will be defending what they are calling the WCW International heavyweight title against Hiroshi Hase on 3/16 at the Tokyo Gym and again against Hase on 3/24 in Kyoto. Another addition to the 3/16 show is Antonio Inoki teaming with rookie Tadao Yasuda, who was a big-name in sumo, against Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Osamu Kido. Inoki's appearance combined with the rumors of Sayama attending the show should guarantee a sellout.
Keiji Muto remains out of action recovering from knee surgery in January, and had to cancel several matches this tour. As expected, the Nasty Boys canceled the current tour due to the legit shoulder injury Brian Knobs suffered against Maxx Payne at SuperBrawl. Hase, now nicknamed "The Professor of Pain" because he was a college professor before going into pro wrestling, also missed some dates with an injury but is already back, and Villano V was injured in a match against Black Tiger and left the tour early.
Both IWGP singles champs lost non-title matches to set up title bouts. Scott Norton beat Shinya Hashimoto on 3/6 in Okayama with a blockbuster suplex, while Black Tiger pinned Jushin Liger on 3/8 in Matsuyama. Both title matches take place 3/21 in Nagoya.
The 3/28 show at Tokyo Bay NK Hall, which is a make-up date because the 2/12 show was canceled due to a snowstorm, has New Leaders vs. Now Leaders with Hashimoto & Muto & Chono & Hase vs. Choshu & Fujinami & Fujiwara & Kido on top, plus Yoshiaki Yatsu & Shinichi Nakano & Norio Honaga & Hiro Saito vs. Skinheads.
New Japan also announced a major show in Hiroshima on 4/4 with Choshu & Tenryu vs. Muto & Chono, Hashimoto defending the IWGP title against Fujinami, Inoki & Hase vs. Fujiwara & Yuki Ishikawa, Steiners vs. Liger & Pegasus and an eight man tag with Yatsu's group (Yatsu-Hiro Saito-Nakano-Honaga) vs. Skinheads.
Steiners had a ****+ television match against Liger & Power Warrior that aired last week, and combined with Tenryu vs. Hashimoto were responsible for the New Japan show to do its highest rating of the year--9.5--on 3/5. With the time slot switch, we won't be seeing anymore numbers anywhere close to that for a long time. 2/26 show did a 7.2
JWP announced some major matches upcoming. On 4/10 at Korakuen Hall they'll headline with Chigusa Nagayo vs. Devil Masami. Nagoya is being groomed for the main event at 5/22 at the Ariake Coliseum (12,000 seats, JWP's biggest card in its history) against Dynamite Kansai for the JWP title, and to give her the megapush she pinned Cutie Suzuki in 48 seconds in the main event of the 3/13 Korakuen Hall show. It was a real shock since JWP main events always go around 25:00. Besides Nagayo-Kansai, the 5/22 card has Bull Nakano & Devil Masami vs. Hikari Fukuoka & Sakie Hasegawa and Cutie Suzuki vs. Takako Inoue.
All Japan women have just run spot shows the past two weeks, but have several big dates in the next few weeks. On 3/21 at Korakuen Hall they'll headline with Aja Kong & Nakano vs. Toshiyo Yamada & Kyoko Inoue, Yumiko Hotta vs. Hasegawa, Takako Inoue vs. Manami Toyota. 4/3 back at Korakuen Hall has Kong & Yamada vs. Hotta & Hasegawa under UWF rules with no pinfalls allowed, match can only end via submission or a ten count knockout, Nakano vs. Reggie Bennett and Chapparita Asari & Toyota & Kyoko Inoue vs. Suzuka Minami & Etsuko Mita & Mima Shimoda. 4/9 in Sendai is billed as the Super Hurricane Matches with Yamada & Hotta vs. Harley Saito & Shinobu Kandori, Kong vs. Bennett, Hasegawa & Nakano vs. Kyoko & Toyota, Eagle Sawai vs. Mita and Shimoda vs. Miki Handa.
On 3/3 at Korakuen Hall both main events lasted about 30:00, with Yamada and Hasegawa going to a draw, and Nakano & Kyoko Inoue beating Kong & Toyota when Nakano pinned Toyota.
OTHER JAPAN NOTES
Besides Onita vs. Tenryu, Terry Funk will also appear on the 5/5 Kawasaki Baseball Stadium show and they'll bring in Fuerza Guerrera for a grudge match against Great Sasuke.
Super Delfin beat Sato in a mask vs. hair match on 3/4 in Osaka so Sato is now bald.
On the 3/2 WAR card at Sumo Hall, the Ultimo Dragon & Masao Orihara match against Sasuke & Sato was a disappointment since Dragon & Orihara didn't want to make the duo from the "minor league" promotion look good. Sasuke was really over big since fans were chanting for Sasuke during the prelim matches and in an early match when Hiromichi Fuyuki faced Arashi and they went to the time limit and Fuyuki asked for 5:00 more, the fans started booing and chanting "We Want Sasuke" and when the ref ordered the match re-started fans were chanting "End this match." The crowd was really into the Onita & Tarzan Goto vs. Tenryu & Ashura Hara match, in which both Onita and Tenryu juiced, particularly the finish with Tenryu doing the job to Onita's thunder fire power bomb (it took Onita three tries to finally do the move) on his own card. Tenryu doing the first job makes sense in building to the stadium show since it was more important for the feud for Tenryu to do the first job since long-time fans could never envision Tenryu losing to Onita since when they were together in All Japan, Tenryu was a main eventer and Onita was a mid-card wrestler.
The 3/19 Rings show at the 17,000-seat Yokohama Arena is pretty anti-climactic with Maeda vs. Andrei Kopilov as the main event. That same main event drew 14,700 in the same building in August of 1992, but Rings was a lot bigger deal at that time.
Super Vader signed a contract extension with UWFI and was given a raise from his original $25,000 per match deal.
Shu el Guerrero captured the UWF super middleweight title from Gran Hamada on 3/6 in Hiratsuka for the FULL promotion. The FULL promotion ran three shows but died at the box office. Actually right now most of the smaller groups aren't doing any business at all.
The Bruise Brothers are working for W*ING this week and on 3/13 in Tokyo they defeated W*ING tag champs The Head Hunters in a non-title match. When you think of W*ING you think of brutal gimmick matches, but the main event on that show was anything but, with a ring filled with whipped cream as Nobutaka Araya & Kendo Nagasaki beat Yukihiro Kanemura & Shoji Nakamaki.
Japanese Wrestling Journal reported that the 2/11 match with Gedo & Jado (in their last W*ING match) & Hido vs. Nakamaki & Kanemura & Nobutaka Araya was the best match in the history of the promotion and when it was over fans were chanting "WING, WING."
Masayoshi Motegi quit W*ING and will join Yoshiaki Yatsu's SPWF.
The showing in Memphis and also in Louisville and Nashville has given the company a lot of momentum. Austin Idol and Jimmy Valiant were scheduled in Louisville and Nashville and put both cities above $6,000 for the first time since the early days of the WWF talent trading although Idol no-showed both cities and television, only working the Memphis show.
With Jerry Lawler's legal situation cleared up, the Vince McMahon angle is being revived. McMahon did an interview on 3/12 saying that he welcomed Lawler back to the WWF but said that if Lawler didn't come to the WWF, the WWF would come to Memphis looking for him. As usual, it was said to be a great heel interview. This is all scheduled to build toward a Memorial Day spectacular which will consist of all WWF vs. USWA matches with perhaps McMahon appearing at the show.
The only angle run on 3/5 television before the big show was they had a photo and plaque of the late Sam Bass for induction into the Memphis wrestling Hall of Fame and the Gilberts broke the photo.
Lance Russell did the television and was said to have done a great job selling the show, and got the best reaction of all the old-timers when introduced. Tommy Gilbert, whose two sons are the group's top heels, was the only old-timer that was booed.
Jimmy Hart did a telephone interview on 3/5 saying he'd be in Memphis for the 3/7 show, but wasn't there since his scenes on the Hogan television vehicle are usually shot on Monday and Tuesday, but was back on TV on 3/12 doing a long telephone interview talking about all his battles with Lawler and said he'd be sending the Dream Machine (Troy Graham) to team with Lawler & Christopher for the 3/14 main event against The Gilberts & Tommy Rich. Dream Machine was a mediocre worker in the late 70s and early 80s who was an incredibly underrated interview. His career ended around 1985 when he suffered a broken ankle due to a faulty ring in Nashville in a match with Tommy Rich, although on television they claimed it was Lawler that injured him to put him out of wrestling for years and he had to go on food stamps which makes one think he's going to turn quickly.
Eddie Marlin did an interview on television thanking everyone for coming out on 3/7.
Lawler & Christopher had a match against The Moondogs which was an all-out brawl with tables and chairs and Bert Prentice chasing Ronnie Lottz out of the building before the Moondogs finally left and were counted out.
3/14 line-up featured Moondogs defending the tag titles against Spellbinder & Billy Travis, Koko Ware vs. Robert Gibson with Eddie Marlin as referee, J.C. Ice vs. Wolfie D in a loser leaves town match (both are said to be headed to Mexico), Christopher vs. Eddie Gilbert in a match to unify both the Unified title (isn't that redundant, unifying the unified title?) and the USWA title, Lawler vs. Rich to determine which teams gets a 3-on-2 advantage in the main event which is a Rage in the cage match with the object to handcuff your opponents to the cage with Rich & Gilberts vs. Lawler & Christopher & Dream Machine.
Missy Hyatt turned down the offer to work a few Monday's here in a feud with ex-husband Gilbert.
Most of the television the next few weeks will build toward the 4/1 Bluegrass Brawl II in Pikeville, KY with the top matches being Rock & Roll Express vs. Heavenly Bodies in a cage match for the SMW belts with both members of the losing team leaving town and Ricky Morton vowing to retire if the Rock & Rolls lose, Dirty White Boy & Dirty White Girl vs. Brian Lee & Tammy Fytch in a match which continues until both members of the losing team are stripped of their clothes and left in their underwear, Bob Armstrong vs. Jim Cornette & mystery partner who I believe will be called Bruiser Bedlam (I don't know this, but my assumption is that it'll be Johnny K-9) and Chris Candido vs. Tracy Smothers in a ladder match.
The Thrillseekers debuted and got big pops everywhere.
Among the highlights of the four television shows taped on 3/7 in Dungannon, VA were Mike Furnas winning the TV title from Killer Kyle and then retaining it for the remainder of the taping. Furnas looked way too green even though all his matches were kept to about one minute although there is a storyline reason that will be made clear at the next taping why this is happening. They announced that at house shows after 4/1, that the main events will either be tag title matches with Rock & Roll vs. Lee & Candido or Bodies vs. Thrillseekers, depending on which team loses the match.
In an interview with Lee & Fytch, White Boy & White Girl came out and stripped Lee down to his underwear.
Smothers and Candido had a **** ladder match on television (reports are their ladder matches at the house shows have been in the **** range as well) which Smothers won by grabbing the $2,500 check at the top, but after the match Candido hit Smothers with the ladder and ran off with the check.
Interviews will air before 4/1 with Eddie Marlin (USWA) and Vince McMahon saying that they'd love to have the losing team in the 4/1 match come to their territory. Cornette said that he'd already been in the USWA and WWF and would rather stay in SMW.
Fytch did an interview challenging White Girl to come out for a match, but when White Girl came out, she was jumped by Peggy Lee Leather. When Dutch Mantel tried to stop it because he was tired of all the brawling during his interview segments, Leather bodyslammed him.
Rock & Roll had their first match against Lee & Candido, who had interfered in their match with the Infernos the previous week, which saw Morton kiss Tammy, Candido hit Ricky with the purse but Morton kicked out and the R&R eventually won the match. Later Fytch in an interview freaked out about being kissed by Morton saying she's afraid she's going to get cooties or AIDS.
White Girl accepted the challenge from Leather to a series of matches.
Another feud started over the SMW title with White Boy going to defend against Prince Kharis. White Boy called the 3,000 year old mummy Prince Charmin and
knocked Darryl Van Horn's hat off. Van Horn, in order to prove that Kharis really was a mummy cut off his thumb and sand came out. Kharis then loaded his forearm and hit White Boy and put the Shinanomachi on him before some of the faces had to break it up.
The ring truck broke down coming from the 3/11 show in Paintsville, KY to Johnson City so they had to use Tim Horner's school wrestling ring in J.C., which isn't nearly as good a ring, but they still had two four-star matches in Johnson City. Rock & Roll and Bodies did a classic marathon match on 3/13 in Knoxville. It was tied 2-2 when Morton had Prichard out with the sleeper but Cornette came out and revived Prichard with an oxygen tank and hit Morton with the oxygen tank to win the fifth fall at 59:40.
J.R. Benson is going to manage The Infernos at a spot show this week.
Next house show is 3/26 in Valley Forge, PA with an eight man cage match billed as Ultimate Jeopardy with Terry Funk & Kevin Sullivan & Tasmaniac & Road Warrior Hawk vs. Mr. Hughes & Public Enemy & Shane Douglas. The stipulations are that if Funk loses, he loses the ECW title to whomever in him, if Sullivan & Tasmaniac lose, they must split up their team, if Hawk loses, he can no longer ever wrestle with the Road Warrior gimmick (fat chance that's going to happen), if Hughes loses, then Jason must go into the cage for five minutes alone against all four members of the other team, if Public Enemy loses, they lose the ECW tag titles (which they won on 2/6 from Sullivan & Tasmaniac) and have to leave town and if Douglas loses, he gets his head shaved.
Also at the 3/6 tapings, the ECW TV title changed hands twice with Sabu losing to Tasmaniac, who then lost it to J.T. Smith. Apparently this happened more because Sabu refused to drop the strap to Smith, but was willing to put over Tasmaniac, so in getting it to where he wanted it, booker Paul Heyman had to add another title change.
The 3/5 house show at ECW Arena drew another sellout of 1,400 headlined by a taped fist match where Terry Funk kept the ECW title beating Shane Douglas in 22:46 in a match rated between **3/4 and ****3/4 depending upon who you talk to, with most around ****. Bruise Brothers lost via DQ in a tag title challenge to Sullivan & Tasmaniac when Public Enemy attacked both teams with boards. In the TV title match, Sabu pinned Mike Awesome. At one point Sabu had Awesome on a ringside table and then climbed to the top rope to moonsault him but he undershot and crashed onto the floor. No matter, Sabu still got up and when 911 attacked Awesome and laid him out on the table, Sabu this time gave him a flying splash off the top rope onto the table and threw Awesome into the ring for the pin. Awesome attacked the ref afterwards.
Dutch Mantel has started as the new booker for Carlos Colon's WWC in Puerto Rico. Will wonders ever cease?
The Freebirds, who will consist of Michael Hayes, Jimmy Garvin and Terry Gordy will work the GWF show on 4/1 at the Dallas Sportatorium. GWF and Big D continue to
go head-to-head on Friday nights. This past weekend, Big D drew 140 fans while GWF had 380 in the building although that was heavily papered.
Brandon Baxter is doing a gimmick of GWF shows where he paints his face black and calls all the fans honkies.
Damian Demento debuted a new gimmick called 3-D on 3/5 in Clementon, NJ on Larry Sharpe's show. The new ring outfit looked great, but unfortunately he wrestled the same as before so didn't get over. On the same show, Abdullah the Butcher and Abbuda Singh tore the house down in the main event.
Chicago-based indie wrestler Sonny Rogers didn't get his nose broken by Vader in a TV match a few weeks ago as reported here, he just got a nice bruise from the match.
Steve Signore (working name manager Joey "Baggs" Baglia) did a whopping $34,000 house which is the largest indie house in this country in years on 3/5 in Cicero, IL as the debut television taping of his group Midwest Championship Wrestling using King Kong Bundy, Jim Duggan, Jake Roberts, Tito Santana, Nailz, Demolition Smash (Barry Darsow), Ron Powers, Bob Orton and Eli the Eliminator. Steve Regal (Indiana version) did the television announcing and they have six more shows scheduled in upcoming months in the Chicago area.
Sandy Barr has stopped promoting in the state of Oregon although reportedly he's hired a new lawyer to appeal the decision and has moved his Saturday night matches across the river to Vancouver, WA, where he has no problems with the commission. Barr has also reached an agreement with Billy Jack Haynes to come in as his top star. Haynes broke away from the Oregon Pro Wrestling Federation group he started up and did the original legwork for because he apparently was hot that the money man was insistent upon using Buddy Rose.
Art Barr is going to attempt to get a chance to get a rebuttal in The Oregonian, the local newspaper in his hometown regarding the incident with John Rambo, although if he does it'll be a tricky deal since he won't say anything that would expose wrestling.
Former wrestler Dick "Bulldog" Brower was on some television shows in Philadelphia area doing wrestling style promos as a spokesperson for the Klu Klux Klan.
The wrestler Tracy Austin, as opposed to the tennis player, that debuted last month in Texas is actually the first cousin of Dustin Rhodes which makes him Dusty's nephew. Dusty's mother and numerous other family members were in attendance at his debut on 2/26 in Humble, TX. Austin was trained by Tugboat Taylor.
Sid Vicious' first match since being fired by WCW after the incident with Arn Anderson last October will be for the MEWF on 4/9 in Essex, MD in the main event against Jerry Lawler. The Heavenly Bodies are also scheduled on that show. I don't know how feelings are within the industry today, but months ago it would have raised considerable heat toward any promoter that booked Sid.
American Commonwealth Wrestling has shows 3/26 in Johnsonburg, PA with Doink the Clown vs. Damien Demento on top and 4/22 in Cocolamus, PA with Jim Duggan vs. Vladimir Koloff with Terry Funk referee plus Chris Benoit working underneath.
The Gulf Coast Wrestling Reunion on 3/4 and 3/5 in Irvington, AL saw some 85 wrestlers, referees and promoters attend including Rip & Randy Tyler, Bill & Joe Sky, Sputnik & Flash Monroe, Corsica Joe, Sara Lee, Dick Steinborn, Don Greene, Michael P.S. Hayes, John Tatum, Paul Bearer, Eddie Sullivan, Dandy Jack Donovan, Tony Charles, Pat Barrett, Lester Welch, Jack Welch, Rick & Bobby Fields, Jim White, Cowboy Bob Kelly, Dick Dunn, Buddy Wayne, Terry Latham, Treach Phillips, Billy Wicks, Frank Morrell, Fabulous Moolah, Mae Weston, Diamond Lil, Mae Young, Cora & Debbie Combs, Bob Boyer and more.
Southern California wrestler James Aiono has a 3/18 try-out for American Gladiators.
Saw an obit for Dominic Doganiero, 72 of Camden, NJ, who was said tohave been a heel wrestler in the 1950s as Chief Thundercloud.
Indianapolis promoter Jeff Cohen tried to get two local newspaper columnists who are feuding into the ring for a match on one of his shows, but they turned him down.
Speaking of Cohen, he's asked us to get word out that his group won't even consider booking anyone unless they are a name wrestler unless they send a videotape first at CWA at Box 40091, Indianapolis, IN 46240.
The 2/94 issue of Sports Spectrum magazine had two articles on pro wrestling, a background article on a show in Philadelphia and an article on Tully Blanchard. Speaking of Blanchard, he was on the Wrestling Insiders radio show over the weekend and made it very clear he's looking to return to WCW. WCW officials want to debut him at the 5/22 Slamboree show against Terry Funk although that match I believe is simply in the idea phase. It's funny because in numerous interviews Blanchard has said how he couldn't go back into wrestling because of what it stands for because of his religious beliefs. It's really interesting to see people who were very strongly against a business like Blanchard and Sayama, when faced with the fact they won't have a chance to come back later (Blanchard is now 41) and faced with the opportunity to make far more money over the short run as would be possible in any other manner suddenly coming back.
Sabu vs. Al Snow on 4/2 in Lima, OH.
Former wrestler/manager/promoter George Cannon, who is in rough shape suffering from throat cancer, would like to hear from former wrestlers and fans at P.O. Box 204, Emeryville, ONT N0R 1C0.
Apparently Davey Boy Smith's upcoming tour of Australia is running into snags because Titan Sports has taken action to keep Smith from using the British Bulldog name on the tour.
Sports Illustrated, in the 3/7 issue, ran down a list of some former athletes who had major roles in movies. Two former wrestlers, the late Harold Sakata (who wrestled as Oddjob Tosh Togo) and Woody Strode were listed. It didn't list either as being ex-pro wrestlers, however, with Sakata listed as a silver medalist in weightlifting in the 1948 Olympics and Strode as a football teammate of Jackie Robinson's at UCLA.
The Memphis Commercial Appeal ran two stories on Sputnik Monroe (real name Rock Brambaugh), one of 3/5 and another on 3/14. The first was as a preview to the 3/7 Memphis card which Monroe was inducted into the USWA Hall of Fame. The second story was about a party in Memphis over the weekend in his honor.
Phil Mushnick of the New York Post wrote a critical short directed at the Boston Garden for putting Hulk Hogan into the Boston Garden Hall-of-Fame, saying that someone whose fame was built on using steroids and then lied to the public about it didn't deserve to be honored in that way.
WWOR-TV news will be doing a follow-up piece on the business of pro wrestling on 3/25.
Larry Sharpe has a show on 4/2 in Clementon, NJ with Jim Duggan vs. Abbuda Singh, Kimala vs. Boy Gone Bad and Super Jocks vs. Bushwhackers.
The match where Psicosis won the WWA welterweight title from El Hijo del Santo on 2/16 in Aguascalientes aired in the U.S. on 3/13. It was a total screw-job finish where Santo did a rolling splash onto a prone Psicosis and got up and accidentally crashed into Tirantes, knocking him out of the ring. He then put Psicosis in the camel clutch and Tirantes signalled for the bell (well, it's a whistle in Mexico) and fans popped like Santo won and then he raised Psicosis' hand for the DQ. Titles can change via DQ in Mexico. I haven't seen the tape but was told people were disappointed with the match, but the Mexican magazines raved about how good Psicosis was in the match.
Love Machine and La Parka got into it on 3/13 in Oakland in the six-man main event and were beating the crap out of each others' chests on the floor causing the main event with Konnan & Perro Aguayo & Mascara Sagrada vs. Machine & Parka & Blue Panther (subbing for Jake Roberts who arrived late) to end without a decision. The match was a whole lot better without Roberts. They made the announcement that Roberts wasn't going to appear and it got no reaction from the crowd, which apparently will make the promoters realize that Roberts isn't that big of a deal to this audience. Sherri Martel won't be back since she's expected to sign a two-year exclusive deal with WCW next week.
Torero cut himself way too deep in Oakland and bled like a faucet, legitimately needing 16 stitches to close the wound and was hospitalized that night and in rough shape due to loss of blood.
Tiger Mask and Black Cat from New Japan are in. Mask isn't doing very well while Cat had one main event and isn't on upcoming shows so either he's done or injured. Great Sasuke postponed his debut until April for his feud with Fuerza Guerrera.
The 2/25 tag team tournament from the Poza Rica baseball stadium was a night of screw-jobs, as of the seven tourney matches, only two ended with clean finishes and five were either low blow or fake low blow DQ finishes to get heat on Tirantes including the championship match of Jerry Estrada & La Parka beating Heavy Metal & Latin Lover. Parka accidentally low blowed his partner, and then Tirantes DQ'd the faces for no reason.
Leilani Kai will be the opponent for Alundra Blayze at Wrestlemania. Reports from Japan are that Bull Nakano may come to the WWF in December although I don't believe that is a done deal. Blayze will work under the name Madusa in May when the WWF tours Japan for the first time in a few years.
The Undertaker is doing PR
work for the tour in Japan starting 3/19 so he's definitely on the tour which is important since he'd be the biggest drawing card. Also on the shows will be Yokozuna, Bret Hart, Randy Savage, Tatanka, Bam Bam Bigelow, Shawn Michaels, Adam Bomb, Doink the Clown, 1-2-3 Kid, Head Shrinkers, Smoking Gunns, Owen Hart, Lex Luger and Bob Backlund along with several Japanese wrestlers.
It is said that Dave Heath doing television jobs as the Black Phantom wearing his old Black Hearts ring costume was because he was mad at Tom Nash, who still wears the Black Heart gimmick on indies, because of comments Nash made directed at ex-wife Luna Vachon in the newsletter Chairshots.
WWF bought a special advertising pull-out section in the New York Daily News on 3/13 to promote Wrestlemania.
Fatu is out of action after Mabel landed on him wrong on 2/24 in Whitewater, WI. The Head Shrinkers worked the U.S. shots against Smoking Gunns, so on the West Coast they used Fatu's brother Tonga Kid as part of the team, while on the Eastern shows, Afa teamed with Samu. With the exception of a show in Oakland (the Samoans grew up in San Francisco), the Gunns have won all the matches. That's a change of philosophy from the 1980s WWF which wanted to show its power over its wrestlers by usually having them do jobs in their hometown, and now it's the traditional wrestling approach of letting guys win when the tour comes to their hometown.
The Yokozuna vs. Randy Savage title change brought the Monday Night Raw ratings on 2/28 up to a 3.4, while All-American did a 1.9 and Mania a 1.2 that weekend. For the next weekend, Raw (Owen Hart & Crush vs. Gunns) did a 2.8, All-American a 2.1 and Mania a 1.3.
The average for Raw during January, a 3.3, was the highest rated average of any televised wrestling show in the United States for any calendar month since the WCW Main Event show averaged a 3.8 in February 1990 (when Sting was injured and Luger turned).
With the exception of a different result for the Gunns vs. Samu & Tonga Kid match, we got the basic same WWF show that has been running everywhere on 3/4 in Oakland before 3,700 fans: 1. Bushwhackers beat Heavenly Bodies in 11:44 when Butch pinned Del Rey after the battering ram. 3/4*; 2. Doink & Dink beat Bigelow & Luna in 13:23. This was good comedy for about 2:00 but then lost its appeal. Dink was knocked off the apron and carried out, then ran back and distracted Bigelow and Doink schoolboyed him. DUD; 3. Quebecers kept the tag titles beating 1-2-3 Kid & Jim Powers (subbing for Marty Jannetty who has been fired for the fourth time, trailing only Iron Sheik in WWF record books). Kid is wearing a new red outfit that doesn't look nearly as good as the blue one. Pierre pinned Powers with a leg
drop off the top in 11:51. **1/4; 4. Yokozuna & Bastion Booger beat Men on Mission in a weird match. Yokozuna worked the entire match as Booger kept refusing to tag. Yokozuna sold the whole time until out of nowhere hitting Mo with a belly-to-belly for the win in 7:59. After the match Booger tried to congratulate Yokozuna, but Yokozuna head-butted him and played to the crowd as a face but only got a very small face reaction. I can't describe how awful it was when Yokozuna was in with Mabel. Well, actually I can. Remember the Sid Vicious-El Gigante stretcher match. -*; 5. Samu & Tonga Kid beat Smoking Gunns when Samu pinned Bart as he came off the top rope but was met with a thurst kick in 13:02. Both teams worked very hard. Samoans always work harder in front of their friends. ***1/4; 6. Bret Hart & Luger beat IRS & Owen Hart in 14:46 when Luger schoolboyed IRS. Bret received more than double the amount of cheers as Luger. Fans were chanting boring when Luger was in with IRS but Owen vs. Bret had great heat even though they only wrestled scientifically and neither is very animated facially. What they did was good, of course. **.
Interesting that among the people will full page photos in the 1994 WWF calendar were Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior (who hasn't been with the company since 11/92), Ric Flair, Nailz and Repo Man.
Randy Savage made an illusion toward Hogan in an interview on the March to Mania show talking about Crush and comparing him with another friend who turned on him and made it obvious he was talking about Hogan.
Business is said to be very strong on the German dates while U.S. gates are largely subpar with the exception of a sellout in a 4,700 seat building in Seattle on 3/6.
Jacques Rougeau is nursing a sprained ankle so barely worked over the weekend in the tag title matches and may be less than 100 percent at Mania but has told friends he'll be fine for the show.
Even though the Wrestlemania card totally blows, I expect enough surprises on the show to keep things interesting.
The Chicago Tribune did a puff piece story on Vince McMahon on 3/14, complete with a ridiculous $500 million listed as the value of the WWF and the story of how Vince took wrestling out of smoke-filled arenas. What took wrestling out of smoke filled arenas is that virtually every major arena in the country these days bans smoking. While Vince McMahon detests smoking, he had nothing to do with any of this legislation passing. It mentioned the trial with McMahon quoted as saying, "I feel in the end I'll be vindicated. This investigation has been ongoing for almost two years. An investigation of that magnitude does impede the normal flow of daily business activity. You can't concentrate as well as you'd like to. It's been bothersome."
WWF introduced a sound machine on the Superstars show over the weekend. While Johnny Polo is a big improvement over Stan Lane on Superstars, that sound machine made the show even more cornball than before. Some of it was funny, but it was used so frequently it was stupid. Lane leaves a lot to be desired on Face-to-face as well but I think Todd Pettengill does a great job selling the PPV shows.
The whole crew is in Germany this week and returns for TV tapings on 3/22 and 3/23.
The dates listed in the past Observer for Saturday Night television show airings are one week behind the date they'll actually air.
WCW officials are claiming SuperBrawl did a .67 buy rate, which if true would be a success. While national cable sources have listed a .5 and I've been worked big-time in the past about WCW buy rates, I think the source of the .67 this time is accurate. If it is the case, WCW isn't trailing WWF by much right now and that's before throwing Hulk Hogan into the equation.
There are new announcing changes on TV. Tony Schiavone and Bobby Heenan will host Saturday, Gene Okerlund and Heenan host Sunday but Eric Bischoff and Jesse Ventura will call the play-by-play for the show which will now consist of new voiceovers being done for all the television main events of the other weekly shows and a special main event only for broadcast on Sunday. Because WCW Pro is in so few markets in syndication, the Power Hour show is being replaced in the mornings by WCW Pro which will be hosted by Gordon Solie, Larry Zbyszko and Dusty Rhodes. Schiavone and Ventura will do World Wide.
Ventura, in response to what was written here about expected changes to make Heenan the No. 1 announcer said that since he gets paid more than any other announcer, it makes him the No. 1 announcer. Ventura also said he'd be doing the announcing on all Clashes and PPVs. It may be worth an experiment of doing a three-man team for one show and see how it works, but when it comes down to choosing between Ventura and Heenan, I think Heenan wins hands down.
Ventura's court case against Titan is now scheduled for 3/21. Ventura is suing claiming he deserved a better cut of his merchandise in Titan because his deal was made under duress, and that he deserves a percentage of the videotape sales because his voice was used on so many of the tapes. His current WCW contract expires in March of 1995.
Brian Pillman's contract expired and at press time was still involved in negotiations.
Despite what has been reported elsewhere, Elizabeth was not at the Orlando tapings and she is not negotiating to come into WCW. Apparently she was thinking of going to the tapings but decided against it.
Lots of heat among the wrestlers because many have been asked to take pay cuts while at the same time WCW has spent so much money on its announcing team and recently spent $400,000 on renovating the look of the Saturday show, not to mention how much money they are putting on the table for Hogan.
Hogan's interview and the beginning of a subtle Flair turned both aired over the weekend. Based on reaction here, the Hogan interview caused less of a stir than expected but most readers already knew about it ahead of time.
Jungle Jim Steele isn't Rio Lord of the Jungle. There's two of them.
The Steamboat-Paul Roma match that airs on 3/26 was re-taped with Steamboat not using the figure four.
On 3/3 they taped again at Center Stage with lots of empty seats. The 4/2 show has Uncle Buck over Zenk, Nasty Boys working although not doing much and interviewed about Cactus & Payne at Spring Stampede which will be a falls count anywhere street fight, Steve Austin is now using the old Fuller leglock as his finisher and Sting & Pillman beat Roma & Orndorff when Sting pinned Roma. After the match Rude attacked Sting and gave him a Rude Awakening. Apparently there is some heat because Rude is refusing to drop the strap to Sting which was the company's original plan.
Steve Keirn looked like George Washington in the interview to build up the Fabulous Express tag team, although there is a lot of talk that gimmick is being dropped. It is certain that the Freebirds vs. Johnny B. Badd angle has been dropped and Freebirds are done.
Reports from Germany are that the matches haven't been that good overall. Surprise result on 3/9 in Cologne saw Vader pin Sting in the middle with a moonsault.
Ratings for the weekend of 2/26 saw Saturday Night (Steamboat vs. Vader) do a 2.6, Main Event a 2.2 and Power Hour a 1.8. For the following weekend, Saturday Night did a 2.4, Main Event a 2.6 and Power Hour a 1.6. The Main Event rating, headlined by Pillman vs. Austin, was the highest rating for a Sunday Main Event show since December of 1992 when they replayed the Flair-Steamboat match from Chicago from 1989.
Funniest line of the month, and it was by of all people, Tony Schiavone. When Bobby Heenan was talking about scam artists, Schiavone responded, "I've worked for many of them."
The WCW All-nighter was a classic show and drew a 1.5 rating, which is very strong. The cut-ins at "Tony Schiavone's house" with all the announcers were pretty funny and the matches, most shown in their entirety, were mainly classics. The most notable thing about them to me were: 1) In 1988, Teddy Long looked to weigh about 140 pounds and now he's 230; 2) Anyone who thinks Bret Hart is even comparable to Ric Flair in his prime can't see the big picture, and I think Hart is great, but Flair did so many little things in matches and had so much more charisma that there is just no comparison; 3) The matches from years ago look even better now than then, which shows just how far the overall quality of the product has dropped. They aired a Flair-Lex Luger match with Lex as the face which was very good.
Michael Buffer, the sometime WCW ring announcer, was announcing last week for the opening of the Grand Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles boxing show and welcomed everyone to a night of World Championship Wrestling, er boxing.
THE READERS PAGES
John Tavolacci of 47-29 49th St., Woodside, NY 11377 is selling his collection of wrestling tapes and comic books.
Cory Van Kleeck of 4101 NW Expwy CBT 6-140, Oklahoma City, OK 73116 is looking for tapes of Williams vs. Kobashi 8/31, Hokuto vs. Kandori 4/2, Hansen vs. Kobashi 7/29, Lightning Kid vs. Sabu 4/17, Hansen vs. Kawada 2/28, Kawada vs.
Kobashi 4/14, Misawa vs. Kawada 3/27, Onita vs. Funk 5/5, Dream Slam I, 2/28 and 12/3 All Japan Budokan and Misawa vs. Williams 8/3 and would like a regular supplier of All Japan tapes.
Rob Adzima of 52 Gibson Ave., Trumbull, CT 06611 has tapes for trade.
Stu Kaplan of P.O. Box 176, North Weymouth, MA 02191 is looking for a tape of the 2/21 Vicki Lawrence show.
Joe Manna of 277 Brookville Ave., Islip, NY 11751 has Japanese tapes.
Darrin Lilly of 1101 S. Wall St. #431
, Carbondale, IL 62901 is looking for Ric Flair, Ron Simmons and Missy Hyatt merchandise.
Ian Greenhalgh of 162 Albert St., Millon, Cumbria, LA18 4AB England is looking for tapes from all promotions.
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Don Lueft of 1020 Kennett Wy., West Chester, PA 19380 is looking for Ultimate Warrior vs. Undertaker and Bret Hart vs. Mountie matches.
Jason McKenzie of P.O. Box 2720-150, Huntington Beach, CA 92647 would like to alert those he corresponds with of his new address.
Robert Sears of 1019 Vasquez Ct., Los Lunas, NM 87031 is looking for a tape of the Larry King show with Ric Flair.
Bill Pancoast of 187 Plaza Dr., Middletown, CT 06457 is looking for tapes of Mid Atlantic and Georgia wrestling 1977-79, Georgia 1983-85, Bob Backlund vs. Dusty Rhodes from Japan and Ric Flair vs. Bob Backlund from Atlanta.
Bill Strong of 447 Marcia Dr., Bristol, CT 06010 is looking for a tape of Ric Flair on Larry King, the Sweden-Canada gold medal hockey game and New York Islanders playoff games 1980-83.
Georgiann Makropoulos of 23-44 30th Dr., Astoria, NY 11102-3252 has a 115-page book of Bruno Sammartino career results with an autographed 8x10 B&W photo to go for the first 12 orders for $15. She also is selling a Buddy Rogers tribute videotape for $25.
Mike Lano of 68 Sable Point, Alameda, CA 94502 is looking for Hasbro figures of Von Erich, Valentine, Ware, LOD, Nasty Boys and has videos for trade and photos dating back to the 60s for sale.
David Whitley of Route 7 Box 105, Washington, NC 27889 is looking to buy wrestling magazines and high quality videos.
Chris Souders of 3600 Keeper Ct., Columbus, OH 43221 would like to purchase the Sammartino autobiography and other non-fiction wrestling books.
James Solomon of Route 5 Box 76, Forest City, NC 28043 is looking for the Gap employee training film with Winona Ryder and will trade anything in his wrestling or concert collection in exchange.
Lauren Fortuna of 59 Oswald Pl., Staten Island, NY 10309 is looking for Memphis tapes of Scotty the Body, Sabu, Cactus Jack, Randy Savage and SMW and Japanese tapes.
Dean Minervino of 48 Ginger Dr., Mount Holly, NJ 08060 has Hasbro WWF figures and AAA figure for sale.
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, Springfield, MA 01129 has two Medium Ribera tank tops, 3 FMW programs and a seven hour Japanese video including two FMW house shows. He is planning to attend the January 4, 1995 Tokyo Dome show and is looking for 8-10 other readers to attend with him.
Lewis Curry of 1607 N. Port St., Baltimore, MD 21213 is looking for current Japanese merchandise, tapes of Hawaii 5-0 and Entertainment Tonight with A-Ha from Lillehammer, Norway.
James Stevens of 1336 16th St., Columbus, GA 31901 is looking for ECW tapes.
Joey Sprinkle of 8505 Fort Clinch Ave., Orlando, FL 32822 is looking for wrestling cards from any year and football cards of ex-pro wrestlers.
Mark Dylong of 1730 3rd Ave. #405
, San Diego, CA 92101 is looking for martial arts cult videos, Jayne Kennedy's underground home video and videos of Pancrase and Rings.
John Erigo of 410 Pennsylvania Ave., Mineola, NY 11501 is looking for Ric Flair tapes.
Pete Ponzaetti of 2211 Orchard Lake Dr., Fenton, MI 48430 puts out Wrestling Ringside & Locker Room for $2 per issue.
Ken Verret of 505 Gouaux Ave., Houma, LA 70364 is looking for tapes of the 12/4 and 12/18 Southern Wrestling Association shows in Lenior City, TN.
WCW is putting out a special set of merchandise for hardcore fans at Ha-lo Ad Specialties, P.O. Box 48865, Niles, IL 60714. All are limited edition, a High gloss 8x10 color photo of Ric Flair raising the belt after beating Vader for personally autographed for $25.75, ticket stubs from Starrcade '93 at $16.75 and a color photo of Flair winning the belt for $9.75.
Stefan Pickshaus of Brehmstr.4 42549 Velbert, Germany is looking for Japanese merchandise, Howard Stern PPV and Roger Daltrey PPV and is looking to get in touch with fans from Japan.
Mike Cusartelli of 3266 Blandon Rd., Oakland, CA 94605 is looking for SMW tapes.
Ben Lagerstrom of 2440 Broadway Box 112, New York, NY 10024 will send a free copy of his newsletter to anyone who sends two stamps.
John Krollman of 43 Maricrest Dr., Amherst, NY 14228 has SMW, ECW and 1980 Olympic Hockey games for trade.
Stuart Dinkes of 13913 Dressler Ave., Garfield Heights, OH 44125 has tapes from the 60s through 80s for trade.
Sean Pascoe of P.O. Box 363, Pascoag, RI 02859 is looking for best of tapes of Terry Funk, Roddy Piper, Road Warriors and the Freebirds-Von Erich feud. He has all recent SMW, USWA, ECW, Dream Slam I, Onita-Funk and All Japan tapes to trade in exchange.
Bill Pancoast of 187 Plaza Dr., Middletown, CT 06457 is looking for tapes of Road Warriors from Georgia (1983-85), Mid Atlantic (1976-79) and any Georgia tapes from 1983-88.
Scott Cornish of 8603 Seneca Turnpike, New Hartford, NY 13413 would like to let people he corresponds with know his new address.
Sheryl Dunn of 602-A Mulberry, Charleston, MS 38921 has photo key chains for sale. Write for a list of photos available.
Scott Slattery of 18 Chipman St., Medford, MA 02155 is looking to purchase Nasty Boys figures and any Japanese figures.
Michael Ford of 130 El Campo Dr., San Jose, CA 95127 is looking for Hasbro WWF figures of Crush, Shawn Michaels, Kimala and Razor Ramon and WCW International figures of El Gigante, Freebirds, Big Josh and Dustin Rhodes and has LJN Ultimate Warrior and Rick Rude to trade or will buy.
Don Braddy Jr. of 4901 Heil Av. #B-10
, Huntington Beach, CA 92649 is looking for tapes of Halloween Havoc, Starrcade and SuperBrawl and has also PPVs from 1987-92 to trade and old Observers.
Norm Connors of 1719 Rialto #1
, Pittsburgh, PA 15212 is looking for someone who can supply him with tapes of the next six weeks of Wrestling Challenge.
Dee Normandy of 581 Crown St. #42
, Meriden, CT 06450 is looking for a tape or Mr. Perfect on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.
Lance LeVine of 507 W. 43rd Pl., Chicago, IL 60609 puts out the monthly comedy newsletter Chokehold for $1.
Jon Peck of 11 Dix St., Hamden, CT 06514 has a list of custom made wrestling figures for $1.
Buddy Phillips of 71 Country Meadow Ln., Atoka, TN 38004 has photos of USWA wrestlers from the past and present and will send a list to anyone who sends a SASE. He's also looking for audio tapes of the Wrestling Insiders radio show since the show returned.
Matt Szabo of 7004 Meadowbrook, Cleveland, OH 44144 is looking for a weekly supplier of SMW tapes.
A new Las Vegas promotion is looking for men and especially women wrestlers for work on casino shows in the near future. Please send portfolios with resumes, photos and tapes to P.O. Box 34904, Las Vegas, NV 89133.
Steve Gennarelli of 69 Kendall Ave., Binghamton, NY 13903 is selling his collection of wrestling magazines and newsletters.
Sarah Buisse of 43463 51st W, Quartz Hill, CA 93536 is looking for a regular supplier of New Japan tapes and for a tape of Raw with Steiners vs. Bigelow & Yokozuna.
Alex Rodriguez of 83-08 Broadway #509
, Flushing, NY 11373 is looking to buy wrestling videotapes and is looking for tape lists.
David Stroud of 100 Snow Ave. #303-D
, Raleigh, NC 27603 is looking for tapes of Pancrase and other tapes of Wayne Shamrock, tapes of Teen Pro Wrestling and other indies as well as a pair of good condition red or blue patent leather wrestling boots size 10 or 11.
Mike Motley of P.O. Box 691482, Tulsa, OK 74169 is looking for AAA and EMLL tapes both past and present.
Lou D'Angeli of P.O. Box 2040, 200 Bloomfield Ave., West Hartford, CT 06117 has ECW, SMW hand held tapes, NWA, TWA and homemade wrestling tapes for trade and is looking for just about anything but mostly indie shows.
Ted Malash of 520 Old Town Rd., Trumbull, CT 06611 is looking for good quality tapes of the old TNT shows and a copy of ECW Holiday Hell.
Luis Marrero of 1718 McClellan, Philadelphia, PA 19145 puts out the newsletter Mat Mania for $2 per issue.
Three weeks ago I wrote about how the Michigan State Athletic Board of Control failed to protect the wrestlers who got stiffed on payoffs on last month's card in Taylor, MI. On 2/19 I was back in Taylor, this time ring announcing for a much more reputable Midwest Territorial Wrestling promotion, and witnessed yet another great example of Michigan's inept commission. The main event was a match for the Smoky Mountain tag titles with the Rock & Roll Express vs. Heavenly Bodies. Ricky Morton limped back to the locker room. By the time I had arrived his boot had been quickly removed so ice could be placed on his injured ankle. I was instructed to find the commission-appointed doctor. I paged him on the p.a. and then went out to the parking lot to try and find him only to be told by the state inspector that he had already left. Promoters are required by the state to pay a minimum of $100 for a commission physician on all pro wrestling cards. Apparently that doesn't guarantee a full night's work because nobody from the commission asked to find out if all the workers finished the evening unhurt.
Overall an obvious thumbs down. There was nothing to this show to recommend it to anyone. Rotten would be too subtle a word to describe the undercard, which was maybe the worst ever. Who was the person responsible for putting the Jim Steele vs. Equalizer match on a PPV? The show was poorly booked, with a screw-job finish in the main event. Arn Anderson vs. Steve Regal was a disappointment, the six-man tag was good and the main event finish showed contempt for the title.
Thumbs down. The show wasn't bad, but I expect a lot more for a $24.95 price tag. This wasn't any better than a typical 1986 house show with a few gimmick matches. None of the matches were that bad, but nothing was that good either. The show looked like a Jim Herd show seeing Hayes and Garvin again. Best match was Flair-Vader. The heat was decent, but I had some problems with this match. This match should have gone 25:00 and badly needed double juice. Instead it just looked like a way to lead from Flair-Vader to Vader-Boss. I never got the feeling during the match that Vader had a chance to regain the title. The six-man had so much potential but never got off the ground. It was too short.
Thumbs up. Even though the undercard was mediocre, the two main events mae up for any earlier boredom. Steve Regal and Arn Anderson would have been good or even great if it had been shorter. The six-man was a solid ***3/4 and Flair vs. Vader was **** with Flair doing some great selling.
Mike Mahoney Jr.
Thumbs in the middle. Everyone is always complaining about wrestlers not having any wrestling ability. Then WCW brings in Steve Regal and people jump all over them. Granted his match shouldn't have been that long. Bobby Heenan is good, but his humor trivializes the good matches.
Which one of The Freebirds or was it Johnny B. Badd that married into the Rhodes family? 30:00 of that on PPV. No thanks. Two decent matches for $20 is not good value for your money and I definitely won't be ordering another. For my $20 I'd rather invest in Tod Gordon's house show tapes. It amazes me the smaller promotions run the best shows around.
Before everyone gets too excited about the possibility of a Hogan-Flair match in WCW, let's take a stroll down memory lane. Hogan's last return to the WWF was a big bust. Wrestlemania IX didn't have a good buy rate and the house shows he was on stunk. The days of Hogan being an automatic draw in this country are probably over. For Hogan-Flair to draw, I think it is Hogan who would have to turn, something he isn't prepared to do.
Round Lake Beach, Illinois
DM: While Hogan's performance in his 1993 return to the WWF left something to be desired and didn't garner anywhere near the fan reaction of years past, Wrestlemania IX actually did pretty well as far as buy rate goes as it was way above any other show for the year. King of the Ring, which Hogan's defense against Yokozuna headlined didn't do a strong buy rate which shows just having Hogan in the main event on a card today is no guarantee of success as it was at one time. Hogan-Flair should do very well for the first PPV match. After that depends on a lot of factors including how hard Hogan wants to work, how well the storyline is executed and how much "legs" Hogan's appeal has in 1994.
If Hulk Hogan does wrestle in WCW, can or will he be allowed to use the name Hulk Hogan, Hulkamania or Hulkster, all of which are trademarked by Titan Sports?
Castle Hills, Australia
DM: The Hulk name is owned by Marvel Comics who leased rights to use it to Titan Sports, so Titan doesn't own a trademark to the name. If Terry Bollea goes to WCW, WCW would have to negotiate a deal with Marvel to be able to merchandise the name. As far as ring use, while Vince McMahon Sr. was the first promoter to give Bollea the name Hulk Hogan with the old Capitol Sports, Bollea used the name worldwide and was a huge name in wrestling internationally and even did the Rocky III movie using the name before ever working for Titan Sports so, as would be the case with Dynamite Kid or Junkyard Dog or anyone who used their ring name prior to entering the WWF, they could continue using the name after their tenure.
I've been reading tons of criticism lately regarding the false advertising of WCW and especially WWF regarding their 900 lines. There can be no doubt that this is dishonest and unethical, but how can anyone who supports professional wrestling condemn these promotions for making money off worked votes or things falsely advertised on hotlines? Sure, the decisions people are calling in about on the WWF hotlines are already made. But every time people pay to see pro wrestling, the matches are also predetermined and I don't hear any complaints about that. Pro wrestling is based on hyping worked events as real, and suckering marks into spending their hard earned money on something they believe to be true. The argument can be made that hardly any of the public believes pro wrestling to be real, but if that's the case, than people who call the 900 lines would be stupid to think that their votes count. I didn't hear anyone complaining about the UWFI PPV show which was advertised as being real. It wasn't real and that was false advertising, just like the WWF 900 lines, and I don't have a problem with either. If there are enough marks out there that believe their votes count and are gullible enough to call in, they are probably enjoying watching wrestling more than ever because they believe they are taking part in making things happen. Anyone who can condemn these 900 line promotions and praise UWFI or Akira Maeda needs to sit down and take a look at their own double standard.
San Francisco, California
DM: You're comparing apples to oranges although there can be no denying that Akira Maeda in many ways is the biggest hypocrite of all. There were numerous complaints about UWFI's advertising of its product as real and the negative remarks toward "American pro wrestling's phoniness" by the announcers on the PPV show. I don't have a problem with using the word "real" because in its own way, pro wrestling is real and what they were doing was real, although the outcomes are predetermined and some of the moves are choreographed, but in that way it isn't all that much different from a gymnastics routine or ice dancing or figure skating or live theatrical plays or any type of sport or theater played out in front of a live audience that use routines, none of which would be called fake by the general public. Accepting that premise, you can't criticize American pro wrestling for not being real, because it's the same thing, only for looking less realistic than UWFI when it comes to being judged as a combative sport. 900 lines come under consumer fraud jurisdiction which is why the sleazy late-night 900 ads specify they are for entertainment purposes only. If WWF and WCW specified the same thing when they were doing worked come-ons, there would be no problem. Pro wrestling, as defined numerous times by the WWF is two (or more) wrestlers working together to entertain the audience, not as a competitive sport although one can make a strong and valid argument that the nature of the hype and how events are sold and the fact that definition is never referred to when the events are sold, that inherently pro wrestling is a fraud. By that definition therefore everything associated with it can't be any more fraudulent than the pro wrestling itself.
I think it's safe to say that Jim Cornette is a hypocrite for being associated with the WWF. The Undertaker resurrection angle was way more embarrassing than anything WCW has done including the exploding boat fiasco. Yet I don't see Cornette complaining about how the WWF is a disgrace to the business like he does with WCW. I understand it is possible that Cornette didn't know what had been planned ahead of time at the Rumble, but that doesn't change the fact he has kept quiet on the subject, he still works for the WWF and if WCW did the same angle, he would never let it go without condemning it. Incidentally, I won't dispute the fact that Cornette is a great manager but I'd say he is slightly overrated.
Richmond Hill, New York
Your rebuke to my criticism of Tracy Smothers' loud spot calling has regenerated me. The SMW fans were laughing every time he opened his mouth. Too loud spot calling equals suspension of disbelief, something you criticized Sid Vicious and Rick Steiner for in the 3/4/91 Observer. You can't have it both ways. I know spots are called in virtually every match, but I've been ringside hundreds of times and seen lips move but have never heard anything.
Santa Monica, California
DM: According to the 3/4/91 Observer, in a quarter-page review of a War Games match from Phoenix on PPV which was given five stars (so obviously I didn't think it hurt the match or the show, which was the third best received by readers in Observer poll history, to any significant degree, which was my point) the so-called criticism was "On TV, the down side was that on one occasion you could hear Sid Vicious and Rick Steiner setting up a spot."
In regard to Bob Barnett's letter in the 2/28 Observer concerning Sunday Bloody Sunday, I felt some things needed to be clarified. His comment about too many screw jobs isn't correct since there were no matches where the referee's original decision was reversed in favor of the heel which is technically the definition of a screw job. No decisions were reversed in favor of the faces either. Concerning the crowd hanging around the babyface curtain, this has nothing to do with fans expecting a run-in. This happens at all the Knoxville shows because fans want to get a peek at the faces when they stick their heads out of the dressing room and because there were no more chairs on the floor due to the large crowd.
Barnett showed he hasn't been paying attention to the storylines with his remark about Mike Furnas not being ready to do jobs yet. That's the whole idea and even the biggest marks understand the angle. Mike is a former University of Tennessee football player who has never had a match. The big heel team, The Heavenly Bodies, were pushing him around, but then he got someone to stand by his side, his world class wrestler and athlete of a brother, Doug. It's called an angle. As for his comment that Dusty Rhodes could have booked the finishes, he's right about that. Unfortunately, he couldn't book a show with half of the appeal, which wasn't bad for a guy who is "spreading himself too thin."
Perhaps Barnett is crying sour grapes because he had to be escorted from behind the curtain at the show like Bob Uecker after he was caught backstage pestering the wrestlers to tell him Eddie Gilbert stories. Then again, he shouldn't be too unhappy since I've already heard from four people who have paid for a copy of a tape of the show that he taped with his video camera. I guess the SMW office can expect a royalty check in the mail.
Smoky Mountain Wrestling
When I called WSLS-TV in Roanoke, they told me that WCW beat SMW in votes to determine which should would air. WCW was in the low 800s and SMW in the high 500s.
There are a couple of points raised by Jerry Wilson's letter and your reply that I'd like to address. In your reply you pointed out the loss of Frank Goodish was a great tragedy to his family and that it was a far greater loss to them than to the fans because of the matches we would never see. You're correct. However, I think you were selling our loss short. I admired Frank Goodish. He was and is my favorite wrestler. But beyond that, I admired him as a performer or an artist. I'm a cartoonist by trade and have nothing to do with the wrestling business, but I could never view Goodish as anything but a fellow artist, a patron saint for artists of all types. His sense of self-worth, integrity and unwillingness to go against his own artistic sensibilities were not only inspiring, but set an example for all artists. People liked to call him a stubborn hard-ass, but he was only looking out for himself and nobody else in this business is going to do that for you. While I may not have felt the sort of loss that his family and friends did, nonetheless I certainly felt a loss that I won't have undersold. I hope that his family understands that we also feel sorrow and sympathy for them.
In your reply you speculated that Brody at 47 would have been a worse performer than in his prime. That speculation is pointless as we'll never know. But I think a 47-year-old Brody would have been just as good as ever. Look at Stan Hansen. I think Stan Hansen is every bit the performer today as when he was younger.
As for Wilson's anger at not getting to see a Brody vs. Vader match, I have a Brody vs. Leon White match from the mid-80s AWA. Yeah, Leon wasn't as great as he would become, but I liked him back then. This match doesn't even hint at what it would have been like but it's still fascinating.
After reading Jerry Wilson's letter on Bruiser Brody in the 2/28 Observer, I had several questions. For example, what did Brody think of Dusty Rhodes as a booker or of both Bill Watts and Ole Anderson as promoters? Maybe these opinions would have determined if Brody would have wrestled for WCW if he had lived. While Jerry Wilson was talking about Brody-Vader matches, I think it's more likely we'd be seeing Brody vs. Sabu and Brody vs. Steve Williams or Brody vs. Hulk Hogan. Did Brody ever wrestle Hogan in his pre-WWF years? In an old book I own there is a story about a Ric Flair-Bruiser Brody feud in St. Louis. I'd like to know the date of this match and was it ever televised or videotaped? How good was it?
Floyd Perry Jr.
DM: I really can't answer what Brody thought of Rhodes or Anderson but know he wasn't fond at all of Watts. Brody and Rhodes were college football teammates in the mid-60s at West Texas State University. Brody never wrestled Hogan, although I'm relatively sure had he lived that at some point he would have gone to the WWF for a short run and wrestled Hogan. Brody wrestled Flair numerous times, mainly around St. Louis and Kansas City. Matches from both cities have aired on television (St. Louis
matches aired in Japan) and the ones I saw ranged from good to excellent, although they never did any finishes.
Thumbs up to the WCW all-night special. I enjoyed the idea of all the announcers gathering at Tony Schiavone's house to watch the matches. I hope they do it again, although not too often. How about going further back in the archives and putting together a show of highlights of the old Georgia Championship Wrestling. Starrcade at the Georgia Dome? Not in this century.
DM: WCW doesn't have tapes of the old Georgia Championship Wrestling. Rumor has it that Ole Anderson had all the tapes in his house and feeling that they were worthless, simply threw them away because they were taking up so much space. In 1992, when they did the 20-year anniversary, they had to get tapes from fans for the clips which, because they were so old and had been dubbed were not of broadcast quality to air for more than a minute or so.
PPV BUY RATE FALLING
Do you think the falling off of buy rates of PPV shows over the last few years might have something to do with the sudden proliferation of illegal hot boxes? This is something I've never heard discussed and yet I know many people who have laid out up to $300 for these boxes. I'm sure the cable industry is losing millions of dollars a year from this.
Staten Island, New York
DM: These boxes or similar decoders will cause fewer people to buy PPV events, but I'm sure if there is enough of them to make a significant enough (statistically measurable) decline in orders. If a million homes have them, you can figure they're cutting at least five percent from the total orders. I've never seen pirating of PPV events talked about in trade journals as reasons for declines in orders either.
I was watching the WWOR news report on wrestling. Some reporter who acted like he knew everything said that he told everyone back in 1985 that pro wrestling was fake. No kidding. He then went back to a 1985 report and showed a Bob Backlund vs. Larry Zbyszko match from Pro Wrestling USA. They showed Zbyszko being held in a headlock telling Backlund the next moves. In the first place, if they think this is news, they should wake up. In America, pro wrestling isn't a sport, it's entertainment.
To say the 2/23 WWOR TV piece on wrestling was a joke would be a mild understatement. It was amazing how the whole steroid trial issue was just glossed
over. This piece clearly illustrates why even if McMahon is found guilty, it won't receive much mainstream publicity. To the media and general public, when pro wrestling is involved, all credibility and serious reporting is thrown out the window. Let's look at the story. They were dealing with a man being accused at the very least of dealing in controlled substances and perhaps even ordering people to put their personal health at risk and yet all WWOR wanted to emphasize is that wrestling is a work.
Williamstown, New Jersey
What do you see as the future for Terry Taylor in WCW? Do you see either Sabu or Chris Benoit landing in either of the two major promotions?
DM: Although Taylor is a great wrestler, it seems his career was destroyed so much years ago by doing The Red Rooster gimmick in WWF that nobody has given him a serious shot since. I can see him put in a mid-card or television feud but not in a prominent role although a booker can do almost anything he wants to change a guy's character and try to revive his career. It's hard to say about Sabu's future although I'm sure if he wanted to be in any promotion badly enough besides maybe All Japan, he'd probably be able to get in. Ditto for Benoit, who already is a regular in one of the two major promotions, which is something that can't be said about Ric Flair.
Is Dan Kroffat the same guy who wrestled in Canada in the 1970s? Why did Missy Hyatt get fired? Are Chris Benoit or Bobby Eaton still under WCW contracts?
Bay City, Michigan
DM: The Dan Kroffat in Japan (real name Phil Lafond) is not the same Dan Kroffat that worked in the 60s and 70s in mainly the Stampede Wrestling territory. That Dan Kroffat was also known in the United States, particularly California, and Japan for his reign as United National champion under the name King Krow. Missy Hyatt got fired for going over Eric Bischoff's head to Bob Dhue in attempting to get her contract, which was expiring at the end of February, renewed. Chris Benoit isn't under contract to WCW. Bobby Eaton is through April on a $500-per-night deal, and it is expected the deal will be renewed since they are putting him back in a pushed position after nearly erasing him from existence this past year.
Some time ago I was talking to my cousin who lives in Virginia and he told me about a promotion running a fund raiser for his high school and the promotion took 70 percent of the money raised and the school got the rest. Can they do that? Can they take such a big percentage of money that's raised for the school's benefit?
DM: Fund raisers are a funny deal. There are instances where the organization doesn't get a dime when the show is over and times when they raise decent money. Again, it comes down to two things, the NEGOTIATED deal made between the promotion and the organization or person beforehand and the honesty of each. The promotion getting 70 percent is not out of line if that's the negotiated deal, and the general trend has seemed to be 65 to 85 percent so it isn't out of line given the parameters of the business.
Your description of Jerry Lawler's impersonating a masked wrestler and hitting Chris Benoit with a plaque brought a smile to my face. You mentioned this is an ancient angle by American heels on top local faces. I recall it being run in Memphis with Lawler himself the victim. Lance Russell, with typical understated excellence, announced throughout the television show that a Mexican wrestler would be giving Lawler a plaque at the end of the program. When the time came, Lawler expressed great humility and pride over the lovely gift being shown to him by a silent masked Mexican wrestler. As Lawler reached to accept it, the masked man smashed it over his head. The evildoer removed his mask and if memory serves me correct, revealed himself to be Wayne Farris. The angle may lack originality, but my father and I had never seen it before and it cracked us up. Russell displayed that hilarious moral outrage of his. After a commercial break, a bandaged and bloody Lawler accused the horrified Lance himself of being behind the split. This has always been one of our favorite memories and wrestling in Memphis. More than ten years later we still chuckle over it.
Temple Hills, Maryland
DM: I recall the angle you described being done with Austin Idol as the masked man. The funniest instance to me was probably in the late 70s in Florida with Dusty Rhode getting an award from El Santo, who removed his mask only to reveal another mask, being The Assassin. It was funny to see a masked man remove a mask to reveal a second mask, and even funnier seeing a 300+ pound man pretend to be El Santo.
The WWF announcing team is at an all-time low with the losses of Gene Okerlund, Bobby Heenan and Jim Ross. Vince is stuck with some real losers. Todd Pettengill, while amusing one percent of the time, is totally out of his element. Lord Al Hayes is horrible. Stan Lane needs to go back to wrestling. He has a voice but he announces like Gorilla Monsoon. Speaking of Monsoon, he's still obnoxious, insipid, condescending and just plain irritating. I watch WWF wrestling now with the sound off because it's much more pleasant that way.
Sound Beach, New York
I have questions involving the evolution of the World Wrestling Federation. I believe it was founded by Toots Mondt and Vince McMahon Sr. in 1963, and originally called the World Wide Wrestling Federation. Was the parent company then Capital Sports? When did the WWF and Titan Sports come into existence. Was the WWWF a member of the NWA? Was Jesse McMahon a wrestling promoter? Are there any other partners in the WWF besides Vince McMahon Jr? Is Vince McMahon's son Shane involved in the business?
Dobbs Ferry, New York
DM: I believe Vince McMahon Sr. and Toots Mondt's Capital Sports based out of Washington, D.C. and promoting most of the Northeast went back to the 50s as a member of the NWA. When Buddy Rogers was NWA champion in the early 60s, they had control of his bookings and made it difficult for the other NWA promoters to get good weekend dates on Rogers. Because of that, the NWA decided to take the title from Rogers and the board decided to give it to Lou Thesz, who was semi-retired, because it was a tenuous political climate and they wanted someone who they had confidence that if things got out of hand, could easily spank Rogers. Several strange things happened in late 1962 before scheduled Rogers-Thesz matches where the title was supposed to change hands as both sides were at work politically in either trying to make sure the match did or didn't happen. Finally in Toronto, Rogers was backed into a corner and was told he either had to forfeit his $25,000 bond on the title, or show up for the match, and it was well-known that if he tried to not do the job, that Thesz was under orders to take it from him and Thesz' reputation in the business was such that it was more than enough to get Rogers to not try something funny. At that point Capital Sports pulled out of the NWA and formed the WWWF so they could recognize Rogers as world champion. Although this part of the story has been disputed by Bruno Sammartino, it is generally accepted and has always been claimed by Rogers that shortly into his reign as WWWF champion, Rogers suffered a heart attack and was literally dragged out of a hospital bed to put Bruno Sammartino over in 47 seconds. In 1971 or 1972, McMahon Sr. rejoined the NWA, so the WWWF was a member of the NWA and the champion was no longer referred to as "WWWF World heavyweight champion" but simply as "WWWF heavyweight champion," and the NWA champion was recognized in the programs, but almost never on television, as "World heavyweight champion" although he was virtually never booked into the territory (an exception came during Bob Backlund's title reign when McMahon Sr. booked Harley Race several times, including in a few title vs. title matches that ended without clean finishes). In 1982, when McMahon Sr. passed the company on, McMahon Jr. closed down Capital Sports and reformed the corporation as Titan Sports. I'm not sure when the other W was dropped from WWWF, but it was around the same time, but may have been a year or two earlier. Jesse McMahon, the grandfather of Vince Jr., was a boxing matchmaker at Madison Square Garden and had some involvement in wrestling, although not nearly to the extent as claimed in the largely
fictitious history of wrestling p.r. pieces McMahon's company put out which tried to credit Jesse McMahon with the birth of pro wrestling. McMahon owns 100 percent of the stock in Titan Sports, unless some shifting of stock has been done in recent times. Shane McMahon works in the Titan front office and is being groomed to someday run the company.