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20 Years Ago - WON 01/16/89


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-- The main event of Wrestlemania V will be Hogan vs Savage. It will be the biggest money match of the year, and has potential to be the biggest money match of all time. No confirmation of this, but there are rumors they'll be back in Trump Plaza. The main event will be set up on the NBC prime time special on 2/3.


-- SNME aired on 1/7 and had another small chapter in the expected Savage turn. The rundown:


* Beefcake vs Bass, Hair vs Hair: Bass lost. *1/2

* Hogan vs Akeem: Hogan won by DQ. Liz went to get Savage for help and Savage said Hogan was fine. As soon as Akeem and Boss Man went after Liz, he ran out to help. Dave liked the angle, but says the match was pretty bad.

* Anabolic Warrior vs HTM: Excellent considering who was involved, but bad by any other standard. *1/4

* Santana vs Rooster: George Steinbrenner was at ringside telling Heenan to fire Taylor. Good pacing around the angle. Lots of empty seats. Rooster beat up Heenan to turn babyface and Heenan took every bump he knows. **3/4

* Hennig vs Koko: Squash. *


Overall: Fake noise isn't necessary when the crowd makes real noise. The commentary sounds too canned.


-- In a clue Savage is turning soon, he has house show matches scheduled with the Ultimate Warrior in February in several cities.


-- Haku was found guilty of biting off the nose of a guy during a bar fight a few months back. He still has to face civil penalties over the case as well.


-- 12/27 in Worcester, MA drew 2,000 fans headlined by Savage vs Akeem. 12/30 in Chicago drew 11,000 paid and a $130,000 gate headlined by Hogan vs Boss Man. 12/31 in Hartford drew 6,700 headlined by Savage vs Bad News. 12/28 in Bloomington, MN drew 6,000 headlined by Hogan vs Boss Man. 1/1 in West Palm Beach, FL drew 6,500 fans headlined by Savage vs Brown. There are still lots of Hogan/Boss Man cage matches to come over the next two months. 1/7 in OKC drew 4,000 headlined by Duggan vs Bravo. 12/18 in Tacoma drew 5,800 and a $69,000 gate headlined by Hogan vs Boss Man in a five minute match. 12/9 in Jacksonville, FL drew 4,142 with Hogan vs Boss Man. 12/26 at the Capital Centre drew 12,500 fans headlined by Warrior vs HTM. 12/26 in Hershey, PA drew 5,000 fans headlined by Duggan vs Bravo. 12/28 in Binghamton drew 2,200 fans headlined by Andre vs Jake. 12/27 in Wheeling, WV drew 5,960 headlined by Hogan vs Boss Man. 12/28 in Lincoln, NE drew 6,194 headlined by Savage vs Brown. 12/26 in Toronto drew 15,000 fans headlined by Savage vs Brown. 12/26 in Kitchener, Ontario drew 4,000 fans headlined by Savage vs Akeem. Hogan and Boss Man also drew a huge $167,000 house in Auburn Hills, MI.


-- Mad Magazine did a funny feature on the WWF. "Make sure to see the comic with Vince & Jesse. The guy who did the comic knows a lot more than he thinks he does."


-- "Finally got to see the MSG card on 12/30 before 16,000 fans and approximately $200,000 and it was from top-to-bottom the best MSG show in a long time."


Quote #1: "By the way, Rude has just a few days to go to study for his chemistry exam on the 15th and he better study hard because the physique looked soft and flat." (My note: That is cringe-worthy.)


Quote #2: "Barbarian should be great with his size, speed, toughness and agility but seems to have no idea how to put the package together in a wrestling match."


-- TV was taped on 1/4 in Huntsville, AL and 1/5 in Birmingham, AL. No details, but highlights were the Hogan/Savage story continuing, and the Brooklyn Brawler coming to Heenan's rescue against Taylor. "Just think, all along you probably thought all this stuff was a bad gimmick to get Taylor over, but instead it was simply a way for Heenan to totally put himself over in an angle and for the booking office to get an excuse to put Lombardi into a pushed role." Also, Andre had been hypnotized and was no longer afraid of snakes.



-- Ricky Steamboat has agreed to terms and will headline the 2/20 PPV from Chicago against Ric Flair. He has already cut some promotional plugs for the event. It's not known what type of schedule he agreed to, only that he will have more than one big match and work semi-regularly at the least.


-- Guys expected in before the 2/20 PPV are Bob Orton, Butch Reed, Brian Pillman, Jimmy Garvin and Genichiro Tenryu (the partner for the Road Warriors at the Clash).


-- By late February, they will have about 42-43 name wrestlers on the roster, which is going to create even heavier payroll demands than they already have. "But you've got to figure there will be tons of new angles and new scnearios in order to get the new talent into the flow of things and develop new issues."


-- Also at the PPV will be the Road Warriors vs Steve Williams & Kevin Sullivan, Steiner vs Rotunda, Windham vs Dusty, the MX & Cornette vs the Original MX & Paul E. where the loser of the fall has to leave the NWA, Sting vs Reed and the Bunkhouse Stampede finals, probably featuring Larry Zbyskzo, Lex Luger, Abdullah the Butcher and the Junkyard Dog. "I should mention the most important stipulation of all -- card subject to change. A lot can happen before this is officially announced and as Starcade (sic) showed, a lot can change after the official announcement as well."


-- There were somewhere between 100,000 and 150,000 buys for Starrcade, in a universe that had somewhere between 7.5 and 8.5 million homes. This was about a 1.8 buyrate, which is pretty much exactly what Dave predicted going in. By comparison, the Bash had 190,000 orders and a 2.2 buyrate, while Survivor Series did a 2.8. Dave sees the interest level as about the same as for the Bash, with the lower buyrate being because many cable companies were closed for the holidays right before the show. Since most PPV buys are impulse buys, that probably hurt them. They did have more advanced orders than usual because they stressed on TV to order by 12/23. The show probably grossed about $3 million. They also raised the price by $5.00 ($14.95 for the Bash, $19.95 for Starrcade) and all in all, the show was probably a financial success. The show did its best business in the Southeast and also did well in Baltimore, Philadelphia, Chicago and in a surprise, New York and San Francisco.


-- TV shows are expected to feature more competitive matches from now on. 1/14 has another Windham-Gilbert match, and also Rotunda-Steiner, and 1/21 has Gilbert-mystery partner vs Flair-Windham.


-- Lots of TV format and look changes coming, hopefully finalized by May.


-- Brian Pillman is set to debut on 2/12 at the Omni.


-- 12/27 in Washington DC drew 1,800 fans headlined by Luger winning a Bunkhouse Stampede. 12/28 in Chicago drew 2,987 and $31,200 headlined by Flair vs Steiner. 12/30 in St. Louis drew 4,500 and a $51,000 gate headlined by Flair vs Steiner. 1/1 at the Omni drew 9,800 headlined by Flair vs Sting in a 30-minute draw. 1/3 in Albany, GA for a TV taping drew 3,200 fans. 1/6 in Philadelphia drew 3,628 paid and $52,468 for Luger winning a Bunkhouse Stampede. 1/7 in Baltimore drew $63,000.


-- "Somebody PLEASE TELL LEX LUGER THERE IS NO SUCH WORD IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE AS ALLOCADES. THE WORD IS ACCOLADES. When they are done, please tell me why they are putting so much heat on a Flair-Luger rematch (By Flair saying he'll never wrestle Luger again, not only does it make him a paper champion, which at the present time is the worst thing possible for a title which already has no drawing power, but also it makes Luger the opponent. I realize they can't talk about Steamboat yet, but Flair's foes this month are Sting, JFD, Perez and Steiner and Flair hasn't talked about any of them. I call that the wisest use of television time.) There's nothing wrong with pushing a Luger vs. Flair match, but only if you're going to actually book the thing."


-- Lots of heavy "Dusty sux" and "Lex sux" chants on house shows.


-- "The Bunkhouses are sponsored by Schlitz Malt Liquor, but they should be sponsored by the movie The Poseiden Adventure since everybody jumps overboard at once."


-- Dusty's contract expires at the end of the month and rumors are flying.


-- Jim Herd fired a big name for no-shows earlier in the week and will apparently be cracking down hard on this.


-- Flair wrestled Gilbert for TV tapings on 1/2 in Columbus, GA in a match that went 25 minutes.



-- Mike Enos and Wayne Bloom will be given a push as The Destruction Crew.


-- 12/26 in Winnipeg drew 500 fans.



-- Jerry Lawler had a new belt made. The belt was presented to him on 12/31. Verne Gagne was opposed to this and wanted his belt kept separately, so on the 1/7 TV show, Lawler announced that he was sending back the AWA and WCCW titles to the promotions so they could do with them as they pleased. He said he imagined both groups would hold tournaments to crown new champions and that when he came in, he'd defend against their champions.


-- Terry Garvin stole Bill Dundee's jump suit in an angle on 12/31.


-- Phil Hickerson is now claiming to be a Buddhist. He has a shaved head and is called P.Y. Chu Hi. Downtown Bruno is being billed as his adopted son, Bruno Chu Hi. The name is a take off of Tojo Yammamoto's original name in the 1950s. Tojo, by the way, is in managing the Shoguns, Shinya Hashimoto and Shinji Sasazaki.


-- "Fuller set a record on the 1/7 TV show by doing only one interview."


-- Jerry Lawler has taken over as booker from Randy Hales.


-- Lawler and Dutch Mantell had a match on 12/26 at Mid South Coliseum going to a double count out and brawling all over the building.


-- The CWA TV show is off FNN until at least February. FNN is considering putting in a half-hour version of Pro Wrestling This Week and possibly a live call-in show with Joe Pedicino.


-- Lots of problems in WCCW with Michael Hayes leaving and Steve Cox quitting abruptly. As a quick fix, they turned Jimmy Jack Funk babyface to feud with the Black Ninja (Keiji Muto).


-- Cactus Jack captured the light heavyweight title from Eric Embry on 12/30 in Dallas. "If you are wondering how Manson could possibly qualify as lightheavyweight, well, World Class raised the weight class to '241.5 pounds', which of course would make ever single recognized World champion (Lawler, Flair, Fujinami and Savage) a lightheavyweight."


-- Late issue update: There seems to be big problems with Memphis and the AWA, as Lawler no-showed the 1/7 AWA show in Las Vegas. Verne feels Lawler's unification gimmick is discrediting his title and is expected to say Lawler chickened out of a title match on TV soon. "Please don't make it Greg. Nobody, I mean nobody will believe Lawler chickened out of a match with Greg." (For some reason, in the middle of explaining all this, Dave stops to explain how Jason Hervey got his start in acting on the ABC show Wildside, which also featured Terry Funk.)



-- They decided to proceed with the Tom Pritchard turn after some initial hesitation. The match itself was said to be very good. They needed heels since Dutch Mantell and Ken Wayne left over small payoffs.


-- Jerry Lawler is expected to work a few dates as the world champ and Terry Gordy is expected to come in this Spring. If Memphis and Continental can arrange a working relationship, Fuller and Golden will also split their time.



-- Piper is back. His wife is pregnant, so he's home for a few weeks, and will show up from time to time. He's also doing some DJ work for the local rock station.


-- Rip Oliver quit after a brutal dressing room fight with Matt Borne.



-- NJ signed a provisional contract with the Soviet Union. According to Inoki, all financial problems have been worked out. The Soviets are scheduled to debut in May. Inoki returned to Japan on 12/23, but Riki Choshu, Hiroshi Hase, Masa Saito and Shinya Hashimoto stayed behind to train the Soviets.


-- NJ wants Bam Bam Bigelow and Steve Williams in during May as well. They want Williams in singles matches against guys he could have faced had he not turned pro, and had the Soviets not boycotted Los Angeles in 1984. Dave says it would have been interesting if Yatsu jumped back to New Japan with Choshu, as Yatsu wanted to compete in the 1988 Olympics in the same weight class as Baumgartner, but he was deemed ineligible because the International Olympic Committee considers pro wrestling pro athletics. Yatsu breezed through the Japanese freestyle nationals in 1986 at 286, even with a six-year layoff from amateur wrestling.


-- There will be a card at Sumo Hall on 2/22. This is the first since they were banned at the end of 1987.


-- While Tatsumi Fujinami was in Memphis, they shot an angle where he was attacked by Sid Vicious. Vicious will be billed as the Vicious Warrior and challenge Fujinami for the title. Inoki knows he isn't ready, but wants him before Vince gets him. "The guy is tailor made for Titan and he is already better than the Anabolic Warrior."



-- There will be a TV taping on 2/2 in Kansas City with Jumbo & Yatsu vs Hansen & Gordy.


-- Giant Baba held a press conference on 12/26 to announce that Hiroshi Wajima and Takashi Ishikawa were both retiring from pro wrestling. Ishikawa, 35, wrestled for about 11 years, leaving sumo around the same time Tenryu did. He was a decent midcarder and said he didn't want to keep going until 40 and wanted to get into other business interests. "Wajima didn't appear at the press conference and it is believed that in reality Baba fired Wajima who was an experiment that just didn't go. As some of you may know, Wajima was a Grand Champion in sumo wrestling (equivalent to World champion) who retired seven years ago and was one of the most popular and famous athletes in all of Japan. He then promoted sumo, but got deeply in debt and fell into a scandal involving his points in the sumo business and was kicked out. Since he was in debt, rumored to be in the neighborhood of $250,000, Baba hired him amidst tremendous publicity and he was a 39-year-old rookie. The other promotion and its wrestlers laughed at the idea, but Wajima's first television match drew an incredible 23.5 rating in November 1986 and he did draw a few big houses early, although he didn't draw as well as hoped for and was a poor wrestler because he started so late and never really improved even though he was in the ring with good talent most of the time. Several times over the past year it was rumored he would be fired, and publicly a few times Baba said that if Wajima didn't improve his wrestling he'd be through. By the end of this year,Wajima was rarely on television and the experiment seemed to have failed. Wajima would have turned 42 this month."


-- The new series opened on 1/2 at Korauken Hall with Davey Boy Smith winning the annual battle royal. The next night, also at Korauken, was a sellout 2,350 fans.



-- Bob Backlund returned on 12/22 for the UWF. Dave has no idea what happened, but his return is apparently cut short, as Backlund was telling reporters in Japan he was never coming back again. It was either a double cross on the finish or the payoff, but Backlund appeared upset at the finish and didn't do the whole handshake bit. The show drew a sellout 7,000 fans paying $280,655. This leads to Maeda vs Takada on 1/10 which will be the first Japanese show ever to be broadcast on closed-circuit television. Backlund has been working as a P.E. teacher in Connecticut. Dave suspects he trained like a maniac, because he looked exactly the same he did in 1978 body-wise.



-- Atsushi Onita and El Gran Hamada are continuing their feud in Mexico. Devil Masami is also working there and is almost the size of Dump Matsumoto.



-- The Jose Gonzales trial for Brody's murder was postponed again until 1/24.


-- Irv Muchnick wil have an article on Antonio Inoki and the Japan wrestling scene in Penthouse Magazine in the upcoming months.


-- David McLane has recruited 24 new women to tape POWW in January and is searching for someone to spend three weeks teaching the new women how to wrestle.


-- Scott Putski was kicked off of his Texas Christian football team for saying his team lost their game because they were "outcoached" on television. There were already problems because Putski rushed for 102 yards in the third game of the season and never started again.


-- ICW ran a show on 12/28 in Augusta, ME that drew 2,800 fans. "Sky Low Low, all 6,033 years old of him, also worked the show." Jonathan Boyd is the booker.

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-- Mad Magazine did a funny feature on the WWF. "Make sure to see the comic with Vince & Jesse. The guy who did the comic knows a lot more than he thinks he does."

I think he's talking about Mad number 285. Here's a pic of the awesome cover by Mort Drucker: https://d1466nnw0ex81e.cloudfront.net/iss/6...1/7587231_1.jpg I don't know if I've seen the feature but if it's also drawn by Drucker then it might be worth digging up.
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I had that Mad. I remember the article being a thing where they put wrestlers in famous movies. Bruno Sammartino as The Godfather. Mr. Fuji, Hogan, and Miss Elizabeth in Casablanca. I don't remember the Jesse/Vince part that Dave mentions.

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According to Prowrestlinghistory.com, the first appearance for Hashimoto was January 10, 1989. (They list the Shogun and the Samurai, I assume one is Hashimoto.) So if Hashimoto were in Russia for two weeks or so after December 23, that timeline fits.

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  • 6 months later...

My favorite:

-- Haku was found guilty of biting off the nose of a guy during a bar fight a few months back. He still has to face civil penalties over the case as well.

Most guys would PUNCH somebody in the nose, but not Haku. He'll BITE it off.
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  • 2 years later...
  • 4 weeks later...

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