These are kind of companion pieces to the trip I'm making through the WWF. The Observer serves as a really fantastic snapshot of opinions "in the moment" against the almost 20 year lookbacks I'm doing. I'm not just going to copy the whole Observer, just little news and notes bits that are either relevant, funny or interesting and maybe offer my own thoughts on them.
Obviously, the Observer was a bit off timewise because of distribution. So the issues covered stuff happening the week before so the dates don't exactly line up with what the show they're talking about, they're about a week ahead.
- "A minor note from Japan may turn out to be a major note here. It was announced that Masao "Tiger" Hattori will referee the Hogan-Yokozuna match in Dayton. Hattori was the same New Japan referee who did the Flair-Fujinami match in St. Petersburg in 1991. This means one of the following things: 1) It was a deal put together by Hogan to use a heel Japanese ref as a way for him to lose the title via screw-job since he just agreed to do a new movie over the summer which would limit house show appearances and then doesn't have to do a match with Bret Hart at Summer Slam; 2) It will be teased as a heel Japanese ref (in which case some emphasis needs to be put on this beforehand on television) to add a storyline to a match that needs a major storyline to go more than 7:00, but in the end Hogan wins; 3) It may the beginning of a business relationship between the two biggest money promotions in the world, New Japan and WWF, which, if it happens, would cut WCW out of a significant revenue stream and out of Japanese talent, which it never used correctly to begin with, and would enable Titan to use Great Muta, Jushin Liger, etc. on big shows. This scenario is feasible since there has to be some question about continuing the relationship with WCW when the only WCW name New Japan pushes is Sting, and the contract renewed on March 31, 1993 for one year has already technically been violated when Vader (WCW world champion) worked for a rival office in Japan. It should also be noted that Antonio Inoki and Vince McMahon Sr. had a long-time working agreement which dissolved under Junior in the mid-80s when Junior wanted to work with nobody. The WWF's recent business downswing has changed that attitude with working deals with USWA already in evidence."
- From notes on Cow Palace show on 5/15: "8. Steiners beat Money Inc. via DQ in 15:40. The place emptied out big-time right after the ring introductions which tells you how much interest the tag title has right now." So yeah. Stop pretending this is the only time tag wrestling sucked in the WWF. It USUALLY sucked in the WWF.
- "Besides Ramon turning face at houses and still working as a heel on television, another faux paus was Hughes being on television on Raw 5/10 with Harvey Whippleman as manager, and then on syndication on 5/15 with them still doing the angle of all the managers looking to sign him and showing an interview with Slick wanting him." Oh man, I totally called that in the comments of Scott's Wrestling Challenge Post. I'm so SMART! I'm no stupid mark! My eyes are open to the TRUTH!
- "The WWF seemingly beat WCW to the punch on one idea by announcing a Hall of Fame and Andre the Giant as the first inductee, since it was known within the industry it was going to announce its own Hall of Fame this past weekend."
- "This was the weekend of Hulk Hogan's return to house shows and the results have to be classified as slightly disappointing. Hogan worked on Friday night in Pittsburgh and did a double shot of Philadelphia and the Meadowlands on Saturday, all in tag team title matches with Brutus Beefcake against Money Inc. Reports we received were that the matches were terrible, with the obvious heel DQ ending." I blame Beefcake.
- From a Pittsburgh house show "Randy Savage b Giant Gonzalez-DQ -***" I so desperately want to see this match to see if it was the worst of Savage's career. It happened on several more of the house shows also. They also were running Virgil vs. Blake Beverly in basically every city too. That musta been a hum-fuckin'-dinger.
"Mike Shaw, formerly Friar Ferguson, is booked as an underneath heel on the road in July under his real name, although that could be changed. His first opponent looks to be Owen Hart, which is interesting because those two had many classic matches in 1987 when Shaw was Makhan Singh in the old Calgary territory. Somehow doubt that level of performance would even be allowed." Dave could be SO catty.
"Del Wilkes, who works for All Japan as The Patriot, got a try-out at the 5/10 Raw taping under the name Del Rios doing a magician/mime gimmick." Sadly, that didn't take off.