Wrestling Observer Flashback – 11.11.96
Well, it sounds like the relationship between the WWF and USA is stronger than ever, and only something ridiculously terrible could possibly ever cause problems. And now I’ll just take a big sip of my drink while using my nice new computer and I’ll just open up this issue of the Observer and…
– In our top story, the WWF ran an angle on Monday Night Raw that was right out of “Cape Fear”, with Steve Austin breaking into Brian Pillman’s home and facing a gun-toting Pillman while Melanie Pillman was screaming in terror. The idea was to establish that even though the show might be taped (ew!) every four weeks, there’s still going to be a hot angle to open up the show every single week. (Well that’s ONE interpretation. USA had a different one.).
– It was actually shot at Pillman’s real house in Kentucky, as Austin was threatening to come to Pillman’s house and assault him, which was built up by Pillman receiving a call from Austin from a supposed “car phone” that Austin used on the way from the airport. (As if people would ever have PHONES in their CARS! What kind of science fiction nonsense is THAT? Next you’ll tell me that the entire camera industry will be gutted by people also using their “phones” to take PICTURES of themselves, too!).
– This led to Austin meeting two of Pillman’s “friends” outside his house, who were actually students from the wrestling school, which led to a lame fight where Austin beat them up and threw one of them into a kiddie pool. And then Austin broke into the house, facing off with the armed Pillman, at which point the picture died and we were left wondering what happened for the rest of the show.
– So after that it was off to a taped “Razor Ramon” v. Marc Mero match, while Vince McMahon took a phone call from director Kerwin Silfies at the scene, who wasn’t sure what was going on. Did a gun go off? MAYBE. (Oh man this sounds exciting! I bet ratings are going up as we speak!).
– Dave thinks it was probably OK’d by USA because they didn’t edit it off the West Coast replay, and really they’re just as desperate as the WWF to improve ratings.
– Dave’s feeling is that it’s a good angle if it works and draws ratings. “I’m beginning to fear we’re entering a wrestling environment filled with angles that have one-day shelf lives, which means by Wednesday, everyone has forgotten about them long before they really amount to anything.”
– Old man Dave further goes on to rant about how stuff outside the ring is the only thing that fans will care about, and in ring action will become meaningless, secondary to the wacky angles and swerves from the nWo and the like. (Oh Dave, that would require Vince McMahon to put his faith in some kind of talentless hack magazine writer instead of booking the shows himself! And how likely is THAT?).
– Even with the gun angle, the increase in RAW’s ratings in the new timeslot wasn’t particularly impressive, and it actually led to Nitro doing HUGER ratings in their second hour since they were unopposed. (Also Dave waits all this time to call it a “hotshot” angle and then just brushes it off with “pardon the pun”. No wonder he’s so bad at Twitter these days.).
– To Japan, where Dave gives a ***** rating to a Michinoku ten-man for the first time and declares that Taka Michinoku is a lock for becoming of the great workers of the next generation.
– To Mexico, where Antonio Pena did a batshit crazy press tour for his new PROMELL promotion, burying Konnan repeatedly and talking about how he was a “foreigner who came to Mexico and made a name for himself beating up Mexicans”. He also talked about having to bail Konnan out of jail multiple times (which actually was true, Dave notes).
– So then Konnan went on another TV show and buried Pena in response, taking credit for making the WCW connection himself and being the bad cop for Pena, firing wrestlers so that Pena didn’t have to be the bad guy. Then he stepped up the game and claimed that Pena was a drug abusing alcoholic who pushed people that had sexual relations with him, before going nuclear and claiming that Pena sent people to Tijuana to beat him up And then closing by spray-painting the AAA heavyweight title belt and throwing it in a garbage can.
– Oh, also he claimed that Psicosis had received a phone call from AAA’s offices, telling him to meet up with Halloween and Damian 666 somewhere in a deserted part of Tijuana, and one of the AAA office assistants drove him out there. When they got there, there was no one there, so Psi panicked and punched out the assistant and ran away.
– Unsurprisingly, AAA and Pena have denied everything said by Konnan.
– Also, with everyone leaving the promotion, Pena is going to repackage Mosco de la Merced as the new Juventud Guerrera, Histeria as the new Psicosis, and Venum as the new Rey Mysterio Jr. (Foolproof.).
– In another Japan note, Dan Severn’s opponent on the 11/17 U Japan fighting show has been changed from Amoury Bitetti to former FMW guy Mitsuhiro Matsunaga. Dave isn’t sure if they’ll allow him to bring a barbed wire baseball bat into the octagon or not. The semi-main is Kimo v. Bam Bam Bigelow, and apparently the theme of the show is “real fighters” destroying pro wrestlers.
– To Memphis, where Dave erroneously credited them with doing 800 people last week, and corrects it to the more accurate 400 instead.
– To ECW, where Scorpio finishes up his last few dates while fans chant “You sold out” at him. His response has been to welcome the chants and tell them “They’d also sell out if someone offered $200,000 a year”.
– On the same show in Middletown, Stevie Richards did a run-in during a Sandman match and got nailed in the neck with the Singapore cane, immediately collapsing before getting taken away by ambulance. He was paralyzed for a bit and could only move his fingers, but was recovered again after the weekend. (That one certainly came back on him a little later, unfortunately.).
– Jack Victory, who had been out of the business for years, was last seen working at a strip club in Atlanta, but worked a match on 10/31 in Georgia, 70 pounds heavier but bumping all over and still throwing great punches. (Maybe ECW should give him a look?).
– To WCW, where Marcus Bagwell began teasing a heel turn as an insincere babyface. Also Akira Hokuto appeared on Nitro under a mask as “Reina Jabuki” and did the job to Madusa in a tournament match, although she’ll be reappearing later as herself later on.
– WCW is going to start running main event matches after Nitro because fans are getting so upset at the shows ending without any good wrestling matches lately. So they’re getting Luger v. Giant this week and Luger v. Hogan next week. (Damned if you do…).
– Apparently the reason for the current Sting angle is that his contract stipulates a certain number of dates per year, and WCW had used most of them up and wanted to save the rest for big shows. (Well they certainly accomplished THAT).
– Although the plan had been for a Hogan-Piper match at Starrcade, they might hold off until Superbrawl and have Piper beat Giant first.
– To the WWF, where Mark Henry broke his leg in training and will be replaced at Survivor Series by Jake Roberts. Dave snarks that the $2.5 million spent on his contract “will go down in history as one of Vince McMahon’s best money investments”. (That’s only, like, one-tenth of a hush money payment for sexual misconduct! I guess if you factor in inflation, though…).
– House shows have been headlined by a cage match with Shawn Michaels & Undertaker v. Mankind & Goldust where they brawl all over the place and go in and out of the cage all the time, which Dave thinks kind of kills the idea of having a cage. (Don’t worry, I’m sure we’ll never again see a cage match with Undertaker, Shawn Michaels or Mankind where they leave the cage and brawl outside.).
– SCALDING HOT TAKE ALERT: Dave thinks that the Razor & Diesel angle isn’t work, and Rick Bogner in particular looks really bad.
– And finally, Dave “Chapelle” Meltzer wonders if anyone has ever actually seen a Japanese wrestler do a “Japanese arm drag”?
And that’s the news and I’m OUTTA HERE!