Injuries to Steve Austin and Undertaker, ratings notes, and the announcement of the New Japan IWGPP Heavyweight Tag Team Titles.
Wrestling Observer Newsletter
PO Box 1228, Campbell, CA 95009-1228 June 29, 1998
WCW GREAT AMERICAN BASH FINAL POLL RESULTS
Thumbs up 36 (26.5%)
Thumbs down 92 (67.6%)
In the middle 8 (05.9%)
BEST MATCH POLL
Chris Benoit vs. Booker T 71
Dean Malenko vs. Chris Jericho 18
Chavo Guerrero Jr. vs. Eddie Guerrero 17
Chris Kanyon vs. Perry Saturn 8
WORST MATCH POLL
Juventud Guerrera vs. Ron Reis 50
Hogan & Hart vs. Savage & Piper 47
Randy Savage vs. Roddy Piper 22
Based on phone calls, letters and fax messages to the Observer as of Tuesday, 6/23. Statistical margin of error: +-100%
A thought for the day. It took Steve McMichael 15 years of pro football to play in something like 220 consecutive games. It took him less than ten minutes this past Monday night on Nitro in a match with Stevie Ray to mistime 220 consecutive moves.
With its two top stars, Steve Austin and Undertaker, both out of commission due to injuries and being just one week before the King of the Ring PPV show, the World Wrestling Federation postponed weekend events scheduled for 6/20 in Oklahoma City and 6/21 in Tulsa along with the originally scheduled 6/27 show at the Fleet Center in Boston.
Austin was hospitalized on Friday night after the house show in Houston due to a staph infection in his right elbow which resulted in a high fever, said to peak at 104 degrees, and he was hooked up to an IV unit and remained hospitalized at least through Monday. It was unclear exactly where the infection came from but it was believed to have stemmed from a bad elbow bruise that may have taken place at the television tapings earlier in the week in either San Antonio or Austin. Austin had contracted a mild fever by Wednesday. He wasn’t originally booked on the two smaller house shows WWF ran on 6/17 in Corpus Christi and 6/18 in Tyler, TX because the WWF rarely sends Austin to work smaller shows after an agreement regarding that during the period Austin was suffering from the neck injury. He was scheduled to return in Houston and did work the main event on the sold out show at the Compaq Center beating Mankind, although was said to be in great pain backstage and had to be taken to the hospital after the show.
Undertaker suffered an ankle injury, which is believed to be a cracked ankle with some bone chips doing an angle at the 6/16 tapings in Austin, TX on location from what was supposed to be Paul Bearer’s house that he was tearing up which aired on the 6/22 Raw, although there wasn’t a noticeable spot on camera where he was injured. Ironically during the angle, Paul Bearer also suffered an ankle injury, which appeared to be when Undertaker was throwing furniture around and something landed on his leg, and although his role at the house shows is more limited physically, couldn’t appear to manage Kane on the shows for the rest of the week with them using the television beating as the storyline excuse. Undertaker also had Corpus Christi and Tyler off and tried to work in Houston, but he was so physically limited that he and Kane could only do a very short poor match ending abruptly with a double count out finish that was obvious to most fans that something was amiss.
The expectations were that both would be wrestling in their scheduled matches at the King of the Ring on 6/28 in Pittsburgh, Austin in the WWF title match against Kane which will be a first blood match, and Undertaker in the Hell in the Cell match against Mankind. Neither will be anywhere close to 100% for their matches and clearly the cancellation of Boston, the only originally scheduled show this week before the PPV, shows the feeling internally is that neither will be close to physically ready to perform under normal circumstances by the weekend.
The decision was made to postpone Oklahoma City, which had about a $100,000 advance, and Tulsa, which had sold out a few days in advance, because of the top two stars being unable to appear. Matches were set to be rescheduled on 9/20, with a 2 p.m. show in Oklahoma City and an eventing event in Tulsa with the tickets purchased for the events this past weekend being good for those events and that barring an injury problem, both cities would be reprogrammed with “loaded” shows. The original schedule had the WWF on tour in Michigan that weekend but that has since been changed. The Boston show, which was expected to be a sellout, was rescheduled for 7/10, which was originally an off date as the original schedule had everyone getting a full week off from 7/5 to 7/11. What was surprising about the decision is that it was somewhat unprecedented in modern wrestling to postpone live shows due to injuries to main eventers, even when the two top attractions aren’t going to appear and we’ve seen examples in years past of shows going on with as many as ten no-shows and not so much as even an announcement before the show of line-up changes, and in this day and age with the injury rate the way it is, it is a rarity when any house show from WWF or WCW doesn’t deviate from the card that is advertised. The deviation from normal business practices appears to be that WWF, realizing business right now is on a high, doesn’t want to take the risk of hurting its future in several markets by presenting shows where the key advertised attractions aren’t going to appear.
For obvious reasons, the main concern from a business standpoint is to have Austin and Undertaker appear on the PPV show, both because there is so much more financially at stake on a PPV, and also for storyline reasons as both matches and finishes build for all the summer plans leading to what appears to be an eventual Austin vs. Undertaker match which is expected to headline SummerSlam on 8/30 at Madison Square Garden, which is entitled “Highway to Hell.” To show just how bad off physically both have to be is that the Boston match was scheduled to be an eight-man tag, which easily could have been changed to a six-man with one of the two missing the show, and the one who appeared being able to work very limited duty while the LOD worked 95% of the match. The fact the WWF cancelled the show several days in advance, and announced it on Raw on 6/22, instead of that scenario shows just how physically weakened both must be at press time and still expected to be as of the weekend.
While there is no way Austin would be 100% by the PPV show, it hasn’t been that uncommon for wrestlers to literally drag themselves out of the hospital to work PPV matches with staph infections, as Ric Flair did on a number of occasions and Lex Luger did once as well and performed very good matches. Undertaker will almost surely work Pittsburgh, albeit in a limited capacity, and the feeling is that Mankind is going to have to almost completely carry their cage match. Undertaker may have to take time off after the PPV to get the bone chips taken care of in his ankle.
New Japan announced creation of a new IWGP junior heavyweight tag team championship and also unveiled plans for the 1998 G-1 tournament in a press conference on 6/19 in Tokyo.
The main thrust of the press conference was to hype four major shows, the traditional early August dates at Sumo Hall, this year limited to three nights in a row headlined by the G-1 tournament, and to get the ball rolling for the 8/8 show at the Osaka Dome, which will be called “Rising the Next Generations.” Nothing was announced for the Osaka Dome officially although the belief is that there will be a K-1 vs. New Japan match on the show, and that the finals of the IWGP junior heavyweight tag team title tournament will be at the show.
The tournament will be composed of four teams, who will each have one singles match against the other three on 7/31, 8/1 and 8/2 at Sumo Hall. The teams and matches were not announced although the eight participants broken up into the four teams will be Jushin Liger, Koji Kanemoto, Kendo Ka Shin, Dr. Wagner Jr., El Samurai, Shinjiro Otani, Tatsuhito Takaiwa and Yuji Yasuraoka. The two teams with the best record, and knowing New Japan booking, two teams will wind up at 2-1 and the other two at 1-2, wrestle for the title at the Osaka Dome. Although New Japan has always been both the pioneer group and the leading promotion on an international basis when it comes to the use of lighter weight wrestlers dating back to the creation of the division in 1978, it has never even toyed with the idea of creating a tag team championship in that division. Given the fact that the junior heavyweight matches are generally the most exciting and often get the most heat of any matches on a typical New Japan show, this adds a dimension in the promotion of the division as a separate entity which is really the only to make the division really go without ruining the perception of the wrestlers when they are in the ring with large heavyweights and look small in comparison and the illusion is exposed. In 1994, it did hold a tag team tournament featuring eight junior heavyweight teams which was won by Wild Pegasus (Chris Benoit) & Otani beat Great Sasuke & Black Tiger (Eddie Guerrero) in the finals. It was considered a pretty big success, as the two-week long junior heavyweight tournament actually drew better than the heavyweight tag team tournament which followed over the next two weeks, but it was never followed up on. All Japan, which has always relied more on heavyweights, did briefly create a junior heavyweight tag team title in a tournament in 1984, but it was just as quickly forgotten.
The G-1 tournament this year will be a 16-man single elimination tournament. On 7/31 will be the first round, composed of eight singles matches headlined by the second singles meeting ever between Keiji Muto and Genichiro Tenryu. The quarterfinals will be on 8/1, with both the semifinals and the finals taking place on 8/2. The G-1 tournament has become the August tradition in New Japan containing usually the most exciting matches of the year dating back to the first and probably most memorable one in 1991, where virtually every wrestler involved had the best matches of their career as Riki Choshu set the stage for New Japan wrestling for this decade by putting Masahiro Chono (the eventual winner, who really got over the top as a star that week) and Shinya Hashimoto over. The rules have changed, from round-robin to single-elimination, depending on the state of the business, how many participants, and how many dates New Japan books Sumo Hall.
The 7/31 matches were announced, as was the bracketing, and you can figure where it goes from these first round matches in bracketing order–Shinya Hashimoto vs. Tatsutoshi Goto; Muto vs. Tenryu; Big Titan vs. Tadao Yasuda; Satoshi Kojima vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan; Chono vs. Manabu Nakanishi; Osamu Nishimura vs. Shiro Koshinaka; Kensuke Sasaki vs. Michiyoshi Ohara and Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Kazuo Yamazaki. This sets up probable semifinals of Hashimoto vs. Tenryu or Muto but I’d figure Tenryu goes over at least in the first round although G-1’s entire purpose is to create new stars by having them beat the old stars, Titan vs. Kojima or Tenzan (that’s a hard one to pick as Kojima seems to be the hottest wrestler in New Japan but Tenzan was the star of last year’s tourney so they may want him going past the first round), Chono vs. Koshinaka and Sasaki vs. Fujinami, which at this point becomes anyone’s game on paper.
Time Magazine will be coming out with a story on pro wrestling that should be on the newsstands by the time you read this.
At press time we haven’t seen the story, but it is said to break no new ground. However as we’ve learned articles like this become the bench marks for media coverage of pro wrestling. The story claimed pro wrestling in the United States was a $1 billion a year business, a figure that is totally inflated even during today’s boom period, but will become, based on it being in such a prestigious magazine, regarded as the gospel.
But with that figure becoming the gospel, it is worth a look to try and gauge something approximating an accurate figure. We’ll use the month of May, since the business comparisons appear in this issue and it was certainly a great month for the industry, to try and get a view.
May was a big month for house shows, with the World Wrestling Federation doing 16 regular shows drawing a total of 150,112 fans and $2,431,184, not including the PPV show in Milwaukee which would increase the total house show take for the month at $2,617,567. Multiplied by 12 months, that figure would end up being around $31.5 million and you can throw in about another $18 million in merchandise. The approximate company revenue for the PPV show will be $2,550,000. For house show business, the number is roughly what the company has been averaging per month all year. The PPV buy rate was actually one of the lower ones of the year. Trying to average the year to date would be misleading because of the huge success of Wrestlemania. Probably a more accurate gauge of PPV would to take the average, forgetting Wrestlemania, so far this year, which would be about $3 million per show, multiplied by 11 which would be $33 million, and adding another $11 million for Wrestlemania totally $44 million. Since PPV companies and middle-men take a little more than half of the actual revenue, that means the total revenue the WWF will generate on PPV this year will be slightly upwards of $100 million, although the company itself will only see about $44 million of it. We don’t have accurate figures currently on what the television advertising is going at, but I’d guess the total ad revenue at between $15 million and $20 million for the year. There are numerous other revenue streams, from 900 lines, videotapes, to mail-order to magazines, but those are the big ones and all totalled they amount to maybe $115 million this year so I’d guess the figure by years end adding all the other streams up would put the figure in the $150 million to $175 million range, probably closer to the former than the latter. You can jack that figure up past $200 million if you figure in the money the cable industry makes from airing wrestling PPV shows, even though the WWF itself doesn’t see that money.
In May, WCW ran 23 house shows not including Spring Stampede in Worcester totalling 146,717 paying customers and $2,979,719. Including Worcester, the gross for the month was $3,331,754. The original plan was to run 31 shows in May, but due to injuries and to avoid even more of a revolt among the troops, it was cut to 23, and Eric Bischoff has said that in the future WCW will run no more than 18 house shows per month. If you figure they’ll end up doing 240 shows this year and averaging $140,000 per show which is roughly the company average for the year thus far, and that would require business to not fall before the end of the year, you’re right in the same range as WWF, doing $33.6 million. Based on this past month, WCW is averaging slightly less per head in merchandise than WWF and on pace to do about $15 million this year in that category. They are averaging for the year grossing about $3.74 million per PPV event, which multiplied by 12 months if they continue at this rate would be $44.8 million. As you can see both groups are on line this year to gross almost identical amounts of money on house shows, merchandise and PPV. WCW should have the edge slightly when it comes to TV revenue, because it’s shows on the whole will do significantly higher ratings than WWF even if WWF wins on Monday for the rest of the year, because WCW’s Thursday and Saturdays kill what WWF does on Saturdays and Sunday. The last time we checked, and this was more than one year ago, the ad rates for the two groups were fairly similar, so let’s figure WCW at around $20 million just for an estimate. We can ad everything up and get to around $113 million, and again, like WWF, throwing in all forms of ancillary income, get the figure in the $150 million to $175 million range, again more likely closer to the former than the latter. Realistically the two companies combined gross for this year, and this is certainly a way above average year, would be a little more than $300 million. Throwing in ECW and all the indies, you can probably get that figure up around $325 million, which is probably as close to accurate as you’d be able to gauge that true figure of what the industry in this country will gross this year. If you throw in money generated by the wrestling business to cable companies and the middle men, you can get that figure up to about $440 million. And actually that’s not even correct because the substantial WWF revenue in Canada and some WCW revenue from Canada would be figured into the mix already so the figure for the U.S. alone would be slightly less.
For the second straight week, WCW was able to parlay its signing of Dennis Rodman and Karl Malone for the main event on the Bash at the Beach PPV to getting a lot of national publicity. But for the fourth straight week, it was WWF that captured the Monday night ratings by a close margin.
Raw on 6/22, a taped show from Austin, TX, drew a 4.27 rating (4.08 first hour; 4.46 second hour) and 6.94 share. Nitro, built largely around an unsuccessful tease regarding airing a press conference with Dennis Rodman and Karl Malone, who to this point have, unlike Mike Tyson, showed no ratings power at all, and featuring Kevin Greene in the main event, drew a 4.10 rating (4.10 first hour; 3.98 second hour; 4.23 third hour) and a 7.08 share. Over the head-to-head two hours Nitro did a 4.10 rating and 6.81 share. Because of Raw having the slightly better time slot due to Nitro airing at 5 p.m. on the West Coast, realistically the share comparison over two hours is the most accurate barometer of interest and shows just how close this really is. The Nitro replay did a 1.3 rating and 5.6 share.
A major change will be taking place in two weeks when TNT moves to a split feed for the West Coast on 7/1, which would mean the first airing of Nitro moves from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the West Coast, meaning Raw and Nitro will be head-to-head in the entire country. Theoretically this should, all things considered, close the ratings gap to almost nothing because Nitro will move to a better time slot on the West Coast, and Raw will not be unopposed on the West Coast in prime time as it has been since TNT placed a movie in between the two editions of Nitro. That is theoretically, because it could also work to Raw’s advantage in that Nitro won’t go unopposed on the West Coast any longer either although Raw’s unopposed period due to being in prime time has about three to four percent more people watching television due to it being in prime time, which isn’t a lot, but in a ratings race as close as this one, it could be enough to spell the difference. There is a feeling from WCW that once this happens and once the new time slot gets established on the West Coast, which should take a few weeks, that Nitro will start winning, but there is no guarantee what the reaction on the West Coast will be.
Over the competitive two hours, Raw won six of the eight quarters. The comparisons saw Nitro take the first quarter with a 4.3 (Hart interview; Goldberg vs. Rick Fuller) to 3.8 (McMahon interview with Kane); Raw went up to a 4.3 (Shamrock vs. Henry; X-Pac vs. Runnels) to a 3.7 (Wolfpac interview); Raw did a 4.1 (Lawler-Snow angle) to a 4.0 (Wright vs. Eddie Guerrero; Konnan vs. Riggs); Raw did a 4.4 (Jarrett vs. Mero) to a 3.9 (press conference footage for the Malone/Rodman angle–this quarter has to be a major source of disappointment to WCW as they were building this up on all their television for four days and throughout the show and lost to a segment with Jarrett which right here exemplifies the difference between Rodman and Malone and Mike Tyson when it comes to marketability to wrestling fans); Raw did a 4.5 (Kane vs. Road Dog; Undertaker/Bearer angle; Edge vs. Estrada) to a 4.0 (McMichael vs. Ray); Nitro’s other quarter win was with a 4.5 (Hogan & Bischoff & Elizabeth interview plus Hart vs. Benoit) to 3.9 (Severn vs. Owen Hart), but despite Hart and Benoit having the very good match the finish of the match fell to a 4.2 while WWF did a 4.5 for HHH vs. Maivia; and in the final quarter hour, WWF with a Mankind interview, Mankind vs. Billy Gunn and Steve Austin and Kane coming out for the bloody finish did Raw’s peak rating (as they had saved Austin until the final quarter) of a 4.74 rating (the actual visual illusion of a bloodbath in the two minute over-run did a 5.7 rating) while Nitro for Greene vs. Giant and the post-match angle did a 4.24 rating.
The angle at the end of Nitro wound up with Greene being in the semi-final at the Bash at the Beach PPV, which is absolutely where outside celebs start working against you when they are booked in both main events. Greene & Bill Goldberg face The Giant & Curt Hennig in a match that should have some box office potential, but more for Goldberg locking up with Giant than for Greene’s involvement and the company could have saved itself a lot of money putting anyone of a number of wrestlers on its roster as Goldberg’s partner against Giant & Hennig and end up with the same number of PPV buys.
This week’s look back is a comparison of all the people who have held the WWF and original NWA/WCW titles during the 1990s and how their match performance in stars based on the standards of the time rated. This is based on PPV matches that aired in the United States and Canada (the two WWF PPV shows in England are included as was the title defense on the WCW PPV matches taped in Japan and shown in the U.S. on a tape delay from the Tokyo Dome) only while they defended the championship starting January 1, 1990 and continuing through the Steve Austin vs. Dude Love match a few weeks ago.
Wrestler Title defenses Match quality average
Bret Hart 14 3.54
Hulk Hogan 12 1.65
Ric Flair 11 3.48
Shawn Michaels 9 3.72
Diesel (Kevin Nash) 7 2.14
Sting 6 1.79
Undertaker 5 2.40
Yokozuna 5 1.30
Vader 4 3.69
Lex Luger 4 1.38
Barry Windham 3 3.25
Randy Savage 3 3.00
Rick Rude 3 2.58
Sycho Sid 3 2.08
The Giant 3 1.00
Steve Austin 2 4.25
Ultimate Warrior 2 2.75
Ron Simmons 2 1.00
Masahiro Chono 2 0.75
Sgt. Slaughter 1 1.50
Great Muta 1 1.25
Randy Hales’ Memphis Power Pro Wrestling promotion drew an estimated 3,500 fans for its first attempt at a major show on 6/23 in Memphis at the Mid South Coliseum, a showing that was considered a major success.
The show had lots of help from the WWF, which sent in Kane, Jeff Jarrett, Jesse Jammes, Rock & Roll Express and Midnight Express & Jim Cornette. It is expected that the WWF will start sending some wrestlers on developmental contracts to work as regulars in this territory.
The main event on the show pitted Jerry Lawler against Kane, who was being managed by Cornette with Paul Bearer injured. Cornette explained it by saying that he actually would rather be in Lawler’s corner but that Bearer is his friend and hurt and asked for him to manage Kane as a favor. The match ended with Lawler’s girlfriend Stacey attacking Kane as he was pounding on Lawler, hitting Kane with her shoe. Kane barely sold it and went to choke slam Stacey, but Lawler threw fire at him. Kane then went crazy, choke slamming both Cornette and referee Bill Rush for the DQ. Lawler had thrown fire at both Kid Wicked and Tony Falk on the television show on 6/20 basically to tell everyone he was going to throw fire at Kane as well.
Also on the show, Jeff Jarrett pinned Billy Travis, but after the match after Jarrett blasted manager Brandon Baxter with a guitar, Buddy Landel, who didn’t appear on the card, did a run-in and he and Travis left Jarrett laying. The other top matches saw Brian Christopher pinning Jesse Jammes after a superkick, in a ten-man brawl, Bill Dundee & Moondog Spot & King Mabel & Ashley Hudson & Jimmy Valiant beat Tracy Smothers & Tony Falk & Koko Ware & Master B & B.J. Awesome when Spot pinned Falk after a sick chair shot and Rock & Roll Express beat Midnight Express. In the ten-man, both Smothers and Awesome bled badly and Spellbinder did a run-in breaking a bottle over Awesome’s head. They also had a match where Derrick King faced Jackie, and the stipulations were that if King won, then Jackie would marry him in the ring that night (please don’t try and make logical sense out of that one) because he had to prove to her that he was a real man. Anyway, Jackie won, so she wouldn’t marry him.
This is the final issue of the current four-issue set. If you’ve got a (1) on your address label, it means your Observer subscription expires with this issue.
Renewal rates within the United States, Canada and Mexico remain $10 for four issues (which includes $4 for postage and handling), $19 for eight, $27 for 12, $36 for 16, $54 for 24, $72 for 32 up through $90 for 40 issues.
Rates for the rest of the world are $13 for four issues (which includes $8 for postage and handling), $25 for eight, $36 for 12, $60 for 20, $84 for 28 up through $120 for 40 issues.
All subscription renewals should be sent to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, P.O. Box 1228, Campbell, CA 95009-1228. All letters to the editor, reports from live shows and any other correspondence pertaining to this publication should also be sent to the above address.
Copyright 1998 Wrestling Observer. All material in this publication is considered copyright material and no portion of the Observer may be reprinted without the expressed consent of Dave Meltzer.
Fax messages can be sent to the Observer 24 hours a day at 408-244-3402. Phone messages can be left 24 hours a day at 408-244-2455. You can also leave major show poll results or send live show reports to either number. We are always looking for reports from major offices, particularly after the WWF or WCW television tapings, so we can get the news and results from the tapings into that week’s issue. In particular, if you are planning on attending a WWF or WCW Tuesday night taping, please contact us ahead of time and we’ll hold up our usual Tuesday afternoon press deadline if we know in advance we’ll be getting a report on the show immediately after its conclusion.
For the most up-to-date wrestling information, I can be reached every Monday, Wednesday and Friday on the Wrestling Observer Hotline (900-903-9030/99 cents per minute/children under 18 need parents permission before calling) with a recorded news update. We also have updates on all PPV events on options seven and eight. I’m on option seven approximately 20 minutes after the conclusion of the show and we immediately run down the major angles and results before getting into the details of the show. The option eight reports will be up later that evening. The reports stay on the hotline until the next PPV show.
Upcoming shows covered will be 6/28 WWF King of the Ring, 7/12 WCW Bash at the Beach, 7/26 WWF In Your House Fully Loaded, 8/2 ECW Heat Wave, 8/7 K-1 (option seven only, will be up only one day), 8/8 New Japan Osaka Dome (option five only, available about 2 p.m. Eastern time on 8/8), 8/8 WCW Road Wild and 8/30 WWF SummerSlam.
We should have details of hotline changes within the next two weeks. On Tuesdays, option one features coverage of Nitro and option two features coverage of Raw. Other reports are done by Steve Beverly (Tuesday, Friday, Saturday), Bruce Mitchell (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday), Bryan Alvarez (Wednesday, Sunday), Steve Prazak (Thursday), Georgiann Makropolous (Sunday) and Mike Mooneyham (Monday).
MAJOR EVENTS CALENDAR 6/26 TO 7/26
6/27 ECW Philadelphia ECW Arena (Candido & Storm vs. Sabu & Van Dam)
6/27 RINGS Tokyo Bay NK Hall (Tamura vs. Kohsaka)
6/28 WWF King of the Ring PPV Pittsburgh Civic Arena (Austin vs. Kane)
6/28 New Japan Nagano Big Hut Winter Olympic Hall (Koshinaka & Ohara vs. Chono & Tenzan)
6/29 WCW Nitro Tampa, FL Ice Palace
6/29 WWF Raw is War/Shotgun tapings Cleveland Gund Arena
6/30 WWF Raw is War/Shotgun tapings State College, PA Brice Jordan Center
7/2 WCW Thunder Columbus, GA Civic Center
7/2 WWF Winnipeg, MB Arena (Austin vs. Maivia)
7/4 WWF Vancouver, BC General Motors Place (Austin vs. Maivia)
7/4 Fuyuki Gun Nagoya City Gymnasium (Fuyuki & Kanemura vs. Onita & Hayabusa)
7/6 WCW Nitro Atlanta Georgia Dome (Hogan vs. Goldberg)
7/7 Pancrase Neo Blood tournament Tokyo Korakuen Hall
7/8 WCW Thunder Birmingham, AL BJCC
7/10 WCW Los Angeles Great Western Forum (Hogan vs. Sting)
7/10 WWF Boston Fleet Center (Austin & Undertaker & LOD vs. Helmsley & Outlaws & Kane)
7/12 WCW Bash at the Beach PPV San Diego Cox Arena (Hogan & Rodman vs. Page & Malone)
7/13 WCW Nitro Las Vegas, NV MGM Grand Garden Arena
7/13 WWF Raw is War/Shotgun tapings East Rutherford, NJ Continental Airlines Arena
7/14 WWF Raw is War/Shotgun tapings Landover, MD U.S. Air Arena
7/14 New Japan Sapporo Nakajima Sports Center (Fujinami vs. Tenzan)
7/15 New Japan Sapporo Nakajima Sports Center (Chono & Tenzan vs. Tenryu & Koshinaka)
7/15 All Japan Osaka Furitsu Gym (Kawada & Taue vs. Albright & Takayama)
7/16 WCW Thunder Oakland, CA Coliseum Arena
7/17 UFC Night of Champions taped PPV (Frank Shamrock vs. Horn)
7/18 K-1 Dream ’98 Nagoya Dome (Aerts vs. Filho)
7/18 ECW Philadelphia ECW Arena
7/19 All Japan Niigata City Gymnasium
7/20 RINGS Yokohama Arena (Maeda vs. Yoshihisa Yamamoto)
7/20 WCW Nitro West Valley City, UT E Center
7/24 All Japan Tokyo Budokan Hall (Kobashi vs. Akiyama)
7/25 WWF San Francisco Cow Palace
7/26 WWF In Your House PPV Fresno, CA Selland Arena
7/26 Pancrase Kobe Fashion Mart Atrium
7/26 WCW New York Goodwill Games Village
6/12 Tijuana, Nortecalifornia (Promociones de Mora): Animaniac & Astucia b Super Raton & ?, El Hijo del Enfermero & Conquistador & Sueno Chicano b Carmen Ping & Forastero & Mr. Tempest, Super Astro & Jungla & Arandu b Fishman & Rey Misterio & Damian, El Hijo del Santo & Felino & Mascara Sagrada b Blue Panther & Dr. Wagner Jr. & Psicosis
6/13 Longview, TX (Bad Boys of Wrestling): Jake Roberts b Doug Masters, Scott Putski b Greg Valentine-DQ, One Man Gang DDQ Terry Gordy, Greg Valentine b Sam Houston, Roberts b Michael Hayes-DQ
6/13 West St. Paul, MN (Wrestling Superstars 2000 – 321): Adrian Lynch won Battle Royal, Randy Gusto b Pakistani, Mr. Destiny b Scotty Z-DQ, Kenny Jay b Lynch, Bob Mason d Darrin Davis, Blood & Gutz DDQ Red Tyler & J.R. the Powerhouse, Ricky Rice & John Paul & Sheik Adnon Kaissey b Tony DeNucci & Lenny Lane & Z, Charlie Norris b Hater-DQ, Dan Jesser b J.B. Trask
6/13 Mocksville, NC (Ultimate Championship Wrestling – 66): Chris Hamrick b Shane Huff, Trent Knight b Funktown Kid, Brad Holton b Robert Roma, Madd Maxx b L.A. Stephens, Colt Steele b Hunter Thompson, Brad Anderson & Rikki Nelson b Surge (Matt Hardy) & Venom (Jason Ahrndt)
6/14 Roth, Germany (CWA – 300): Cannonball Grizzly b Bounty Hunter, Christian Eckstein b Drew McDonald, Robbie Brookside d Tony St. Clair, Eddy Steinblock b Karsten Krestschmar, Franz Schumann & Michael Kovac b Grizzly & McDonald-COR
6/15 Hakata (FULL): Tarzan Boy & El Sicodelico Jr. & Giant Dos Caras b Mosco de la Merced & Pierroth Jr. & Villano III, UWA welterweight title: Super Crazy b Kid Guzman to win title, Super Brazo & Brazo de Plata & Brazo de Oro & Dos Caras b Brazo de Platino & Brazo Cibernetico & El Brazo & Negro Casas
6/15 Akita (Battlarts – 456 sellout): Tomoaki Honma b Takemura, Willow the Whisp (Jeff Hardy) b Mach Junji, Takeshi Ono & Masao Orihara b Minoru Fujita & Ikuto Hidaka, Naohiro Hoshikawa & Carl Greco b Mohammad Yone & Daisuke Ikeda, Yuki Ishikawa b Yone Genjin
6/16 Austin, TX (WWF Raw is War/Shotgun tapings – 10,891): Darren Drozdov b Shawn Stevens, Tiger Ali Singh b Bill Irwin, Terry Funk & Bradshaw & Dustin Runnels b Jerry Lawler & Brian Christopher & Scott Taylor, Val Venis b Treach Phillips Jr., LOD 2000 b Midnight Express, Ken Shamrock b Mark Henry, X-Pac b Runnels *3/4, Jeff Jarrett b Marc Mero, Kane b Jesse Jammes, Edge b Jose Estrada Jr.-COR, Dan Severn b Owen Hart, Rocky Maivia b Hunter Hearst Helmsley **, Mankind b Billy Gunn **, WWF title: Steve Austin b Mankind
6/16 Higashimurayama (All Japan women): Miyuki Fujii b Zap Isozaki (Tomoka Isozaki), Mayumi Takahashi b Zap Nakahara (Nana Nakahara), Miho Wakizawa b Sachie Nishibori, Emi Motokawa & Kumiko Maekawa b Kayo Noumi & Yumiko Hotta, Manami Toyota b Momoe Nakanishi, Zaps I & T (Kaoru Ito & Tomoko Watanabe) b Nanae Takahashi & Takako Inoue
6/16 Takigawa (JD): Chikako Shiratori b Angie, Megumi Yabushita b Yuki Lee, Yuko Kosugi b Ryura, Jaguar Yokota b Sumie Sakai, Lioness Asuka & Fung Suzuki & Bloody b Sachie Abe & Kazuko Fujiwara & Cooga
6/16 Kamagaya (JWP): Erika Watanabe b Tomiko Sai, Kayuko Haruyama b Watanabe, Devil Masami & Commando Boirshoi b Sari Osumi & Cuty Suzuki, Tomoko Miyaguchi b Kanako Motoya, Dynamite Kansai & Hikari Fukuoka b Rieko Amano & Tomoko Kuzumi
6/17 Takamatsu (Arsion): Aja Kong b Lady Metal, Candy Okutsu & Michiko Omukai b Aja Kong & Faby Apache, CMLL womens title: Mariko Yoshida b Lady Apache, Reggie Bennett & Mikiko Futagami b Rie Tamada & Yumi Fukawa
6/17 Hahoro (JD): Yuki Lee b Angie, Bloody b Kazuko Fujiwara & Masami Iizuka, Megumi Yabushita b Sachie Abe, Cooga b Yuko Kosugi, Jaguar Yokota & Chikako Shiratori & Sumie Sakai b Lioness Asuka & Ryura & Fung Suzuki
6/17 Walker, MN (Wrestling Superstars 2000 – 600): Bobby Dean b Karate Kid, Thunder Nation b Randy Gusto & Punisher, Lenny Lane b Chitown Thug, Buck Zumhofe b Doink the Clown, Jim Brunzell b Greg Valentine-DQ, Charlie Norris & Sam Houston b One Man Gang & Hater
6/18 Philadelphia (WCW Thunder – 14,436/12,641 paid): Chris Kanyon b Billy Kidman, Steve McMichael b Mike Enos 1/2*, David Finlay b Brad Armstrong, The Giant b Disco Inferno, IWGP tag titles: Davey Boy Smith & Jim Neidhart b Masahiro Chono & Hiroyoshi Tenzan-DQ, Konnan b Alex Wright, Chris Benoit b Eddie Guerrero, Street fight: Public Enemy b Sick Boy & Scotty Riggs 1/4*, U.S. title: Bill Goldberg b Ron Reis, Raven b Perry Saturn, Lex Luger b The Giant
6/18 Tyler, TX (WWF – 5,015): Terry Funk & Dustin Runnels b Mark Henry & D-Lo Brown, Taka Michinoku & Papichulo b Brian Christopher & Scott Taylor, Mankind b Too Cold Scorpio, Bradshaw b Marc Mero, Jeff Jarrett b Steve Blackman, WWF tag titles: New Age Outlaws b LOD 2000, Faarooq b Kama Mustafa, Kane b Vader, Submission match: Ken Shamrock b Owen Hart
6/18 Tokyo Korakuen Hall (FULL – 720): Kazuhiko Masada b Chinnen Nishida, Manami Toyota b Momoe Nakanishi, El Brazo & Brazo Cibernetico & Brazo de Platino & Mosco de la Merced b Brazo de Oro & Brazo de Plata & Super Brazo & Tarzan Boy, UWA welterweight title: Super Crazy b Kid Guzman, Dos Caras & Giant Dos Caras & El Sicodelico Jr. b Pierroth Jr. & Villano III & Negro Casas, Pierroth Jr. & Villano III b Hisashi Shinma & Giant Dos Caras
6/18 Lula, MS (Memphis Power Pro Wrestling – 300): Tony Falk b Mr. Wrestling, B.J. Awesome b Ashley Hudson, Bill Dundee b Billy Travis, Kid Wicked b Koko Ware, Jackie b Brandon Baxter, Street fight: Jerry Lawler & Moondog Spot b Tracy Smothers & Master B
6/18 Aitem (Arsion): Michiko Omukai b Lady Metal, Mikiko Futagami b Mary Apache, Mariko Yoshida b Faby Apache, Omukai & Reggie Bennett b Mary Apache & Futagami, Aja Kong & Candy Okutsu b Yumi Fukawa & Rie Tamada
6/18 Asahikawa (JD): Angie b Kazuko Fujiwara, Sumie Sakai b Chikako Shiratori, Yuko Kosugi b Yukie Lee, Lioness Asuka b Sachie Abe, Jaguar Yokota & Cooga & Megumi Yabushita b Bloody & Fung Suzuki & Ryura
6/18 Winston-Salem, NC (New Dimension Wrestling – 953): Dang Yankee b Maverick Buck, Atomic Freddy b Maxx Rhodes, Madd Maxx b Robert Roma, Roma & Rhodes & Buck b Maxx & Yankee & Freddy, Manny Fernandez b Willie Clay
6/19 Houston (WWF – 15,529 sellout): Taka Michinoku & Papichulo b Scott Taylor & Brian Christopher, Mark Henry b Too Cold Scorpio, Vader b Kama Mustafa, Jeff Jarrett b Steve Blackman, Undertaker DCOR Kane, New Age Outlaws & X-Pac b LOD 2000 & Darren Drosdov, Bradshaw b Marc Mero, Hunter Hearst Helmsley b D-Lo Brown, Submission match: Ken Shamrock b Owen Hart, WWF title: Steve Austin b Mankind
6/19 York, PA (ECW – 1,000): Chris Chetti b Danny Doring, Tommy Rogers & Blue Meanie & Super Nova b Tracy Smothers & Little Guido & Tommy Rich, ECW tag titles: Lance Storm & Chris Candido b Axl Rotten & Balls Mahoney, Justin Credible b Jerry Lynn, Bam Bam Bigelow b Mike Lozansky, ECW TV title: Rob Van Dam b John Kronus, Sabu b Mikey Whipwreck, Tommy Dreamer & Sandman & Spike Dudley & New Jack b D-Von & Buh Buh Ray & Big Dick Dudley & Jack Victory
6/19 Tokyo Korakuen Hall (FMW – 2,150 sellout): Hisakatsu Oya b Hideki Hosaka, Losers leaves Team No Respect: Hido b Super Leather, The Gladiator b Jado, Masato Tanaka b Tetsuhiro Kuroda, Hayabusa & Oya & Ricky Fuji & Daisuke Ikeda b Hiromichi Fuyuki & Koji Nakagawa & Yukihiro Kanemura & Gedo
6/19 Showa (Michinoku Pro – 130): Gran Naniwa b Minoru Fujita, Masaaki Mochizuki b Masaru Seno, Sasuke the Great (Masao Orihara) & Masked Tiger (Takeshi Ono) b Mohammad Yone & Tiger Mask-DQ, Jinsei Shinzaki b Yone Genjin, Super Delfin & Gran Hamada b Naohiro Hoshikawa & Masato Yakushiji
6/19 Okayama (Arsion): Candy Okutsu b Mary Apache, Mariko Yoshida b Lady Metal, Mikiko Futagami & Mary Apache b Michiko Omukai & Faby Apache, Aja Kong & Reggie Bennett b Rie Tamada & Yumi Fukawa
6/19 North Richland, Hills, TX (NWA Southwest Championship Wrestling – 125): Rod Begnaud b Krusher Kong, Generation X Crew b Dexter Hardaway, Critical Mass b Pad, Luscious Love b Mark Cox, King Parsons & Kong b Rod Price & Begnaud
6/19 Reading, PA (Pennsylvania Championship Wrestling – 640 sellout): Tommy Golden b Persian King, Joe Rules & Chris Kruger b Soul Brothers, J.R. Ryder b Armageddon, Mr. Ooh La La b Jeff Peterson, Lance Diamond b Christian Cage, Boogie Woogie Brown & King Kong Bundy b Don Montoya & Peligro, Jihad Hussein b Mike Quackenbush, Dave Patera won Battle Royal, Sexton Hardcastle (WWF Edge) b Glenn Osbourne-DQ, Julio Sanchez b Tiger Khan
6/19 Edmonton, Alberta (Can Am Wrestling Federation – 120): Katana b Black Bart, Steve Rivers b Teddy Hart, Steve Wilde b Vinnie Fever, Dr. Hannibal b Mike Casey, Gary Williams b Mike McFly, Steve Gillespie & Steve Wilde b Jason Freeze & Pitbull Kid
6/20 Tokyo Korakuen Hall (RINGS – 1,880 sellout): Akihiro Gono b Tomoki Kanuka, Yasuyito Namekawa d Minoru Toyonaga, Hiromitsu Kanehara b Wataru Sakata, Masayuki Naruse b Daniel Hingis, Tsuyoshi Kohsaka b Kenichi Yamamoto
6/20 Amarillo, TX (USWF – 4,000): Chris Guillen b Daniel Gomez, Larry Parker b Jason Saenz, Paul Buentello b Dustin Heronemus, Shane Saavedra b Arturo Arcos, Robert Sutton b Brent Medley, Mike Penning b Marcus Chacon, Eric Payne b Larry Bartholemew, Parker b Guillen, Paul Buentello b Saavedra, Johnny Cobb b Mark Matthews, Moses Sanchez b Javier Buentello, Tony Medina b Tony Castemada, Jeff Lindsey b David Davis, Paul Buentello b Parker to win heavyweight tournament, Paul Jones b Juan Mott-DQ, USWF hwt title: Evan Tanner b Tony Castillo
6/20 Philadelphia (ECW – 1,800): Tommy Dreamer NC D-Von Dudley, ECW tag titles: Chris Candido & Lance Storm b Chris Chetti & Mikey Whipwreck, Blue Meanie & Super Nova b Tracy Smothers & Little Guido, Sandman b Buh Buh Ray Dudley, Don E. Allen NC Equalizer, Taz NC Bam Bam Bigelow, Jerry Lynn b Justin Credible, Axl Rotten & Balls Mahoney b Jamie Dundee & Danny Doring, ECW TV title: Rob Van Dam b John Kronus, Sabu b Ulf Hermann, New Jack & Spike Dudley & Dreamer & Sandman b D-Von & Buh Buh Ray & Big Dick Dudley & Jack Victory
6/20 Sapporo Nakajima Sports Center (All Japan women – 2,200): Noriko Toyoda b Miyuki Fujii, Manami Toyota b Sachie Nishibori, Nanae Takahashi d Kayo Noumi, Takako Inoue & Mayumi Takahashi b Zap Nakahara & Zap Isozaki, Emi Motokawa b Momoe Nakanishi, WWWA tag titles: Masked Zaps I & T b Kumiko Maekawa & Miho Wakizawa, Yumiko Hotta d Manami Toyota 30:00
6/20 Memphis (Memphis Power Pro TV – 100): Koko Ware b Blade, Stacey b Paula Bunyon, Billy Travis b Bobby Brawnz, King Mabel b B.J. Awesome-DQ, Moondog Spot b Assassin
6/20 Brownsville, TN (Memphis Power Pro Wrestling): Kid Wicked d Ashley Hudson, Tony Falk b Derrick King, B.J. Awesome b Beau James, Samantha b Paula Bunyon, Bill Dundee & Moondog Spot b Billy Travis & Master B-COR, Spot won Battle Royal
6/20 Isehara (FMW): Mr. Pogo II b Naohiko Yamazaki, Shark Tsuchiya b Crusher Maedomari, Flying Kid Ichihara b Gedo, Jado & Koji Nakagawa b Yukihiro Kanemura & Hido, The Gladiator b Hideki Hosaka, Texas death match: Super Leather b Ricky Fuji, Hayabusa & Hisakatsu Oya b Hiromichi Fuyuki & Tetsuhiro Kuroda
6/20 Obanazawa (Michinoku Pro – 303): Gran Naniwa b Masaru Seno, Naohiro Hoshikawa b Yone Genjin, Mohammad Yone & Tiger Mask b Sasuke the Great & Masked Tiger-DQ, Jinsei Shinzaki b Masato Yakushiji, Gran Hamada & Super Delfin b Minoru Fujita & Masaaki Mochizuki
6/20 Hakodate (JD): Megumi Yabushita b Masami Iizuka, Yuko Kosugi & Sachie Abe b Yuki Lee & Kazuko Fujiwara, Bloody b Chikako Shiratori, Jaguar Yokota b Ryura, Fung Suzuki & Lioness Asuka b Sumie Sakai & Cooga
6/20 Wallingford, CT (NWA New England – 1,200 outdoor show at Toyota dealership): Tre b Jason Rage, Jay Kobain b Slick Wagner Brown, Jeff Mangles b Rocky Shore, Half Nelson b Tiny the Terrible, Mercenary b Knuckles Nelson-DQ, Curtis Slamdawg & Ron Zombie b Joel Davis & Trooper Gilmore, Steve Morabito b Mike Lawler, Eric Sbraccia b Beau Douglas
6/20 Staten Island, NY (Pro Wrestling America – 800): Yuri the Mad Russian b Ken Sweeney, Thunderbolt b Kodiak Bear, Ralph Soto DCOR Lance Diamond, Blast b Tony Rambo, Johnny Handsome won Battle Royal, Bodyguard for Hire b Handsome
6/20 Saratoga Springs, NY (New Breed Wrestling – 560): Roughhouse Ralph b Jeff Jacobs & Milwaukee Mauler, Rodney Allen b Rican Havok, Danger & Lunatic Chip Stetson b Steve Hunter & Tony Militia, Tom Brandi b King Kaluha, Primo Carnera III won Battle Royal, D-Sex b Jerry Idol & Fernando Fuego, Johnny Kain b Doink the Clown (Ray Apollo), Chainz (WWF) & John Diamond b Carnera & Tony DeVito, Greg Valentine b H.C. Loc
6/20 Downingtown, PA (WWWA): Johnny Law b Nate Hatred, Rocco Dorsey b Diablo Cujo, Mad Russian b Johnny Thunder, Sweet Destiny b Jade, Lost Boys b Don Rock & Bohemian, Black Sultan DDQ Mad Max, Jackie Black b Flash Wheeler, Gino Caruso b Nikolai Volkoff-DQ
6/20 Cherryville, NC (North American Wrestling Alliance): Flaming Youth b Ultimate Weapon, Johnny Ringo b Assassin I, Pat Beck b Buddy Shane, Kane & Abel Atoms b Brian Steele & Gary Royal, David Isley b Ken Timbs
6/20 Henderson, NC (United States Wrestling Federation): Hillbilly b Masa Fuchi (not original), Terry Harley b Violator, Body & Soul b Marc Ash & Bonecrusher-DQ, Rusty Allen d David Lee Gilbert, David Blanchard b Dark Starr-DQ, Ricky Morton b Jackie Fulton-DQ
6/20 Kings Mountain, NC (Pro Wrestling Federation): Super Brat b Flaming Youth, American G.I. b Man of Thunder, Ripper b Strutter, Breeze b Russian Assassin, Bodyguard b Cruel Connection II & Black Dragon I & Black Diamond & High Performance & Juicer, George South b Superstar, The Gladiators NC Italian Stallion & Black Angel
6/20 Newport, VT (Green Mountain Wrestling – 100): Mike Tucker b Wolverine, Scott Sharkey b Richie Rich-DQ, Ron Zombie b Jack Hill, Curtis Slamdawgg b Jay Jaillete-DQ, Wolverine b Tucker, Brian Walsh d Scott Sharkey, Jaillete b Hill, Sharkey & Wolverine b Walsh & ?, Unknown Soldier b Slamdawgg
6/21 Kobe (Pancrase – 3,350 sellout): Jason Godsey b Kim Jong Wan, Takaku Fuke b Minoru Suzuki, Kousei Kubota d Ikuhisa Minowa, Takafumi Ito b Daisuke Ishii, Katsoumi Inagaki d Yoshiki Takahashi, Ryushi Yanagisawa d Keiichiro Yamamiya, Semmy Schiltt b Guy Mezger
6/21 Richmond, VA (WCW – 7,293): High Morrus b Mike Enos 3/4*, Ernest Miller b Alex Wright 1/2*, Jim Duggan b Ron Reis DUD, Chavo Guerrero Jr. b Billy Kidman *3/4, Dean Malenko b David Finlay *1/4, Diamond Dallas Page b Raven 3/4*, Sting b The Giant 3/4*
6/21 Tokyo Korakuen Hall (Arsion – 1,500): Mary Apache b Faby Apache, Mary Apache b Lady Metal, Mikiko Futagami d Reggie Bennett, Aja Kong d Mariko Yoshida, Rie Tamada & Yumi Fukawa b Candy Okutsu & Michiko Omukai
6/21 Tokyo Korakuen Hall (LLPW – 900): Sayori Okino b Sato, Rumi Kazama b Keiko Aono, Eagle Sawai b Carol Midori, Yasha Kurenai b Michiko Nagashima, Shinobu Kandori & Noriyo Tateno b Harley Saito & Mizuki Endo
6/21 Shirakawa (Michinoku Pro – 308): Masaaki Mochizuki b Masaru Seno, Gran Hamada b Minoru Fujita, Sasuke the Great & Masked Tiger b Mohammad Yone & Tiger Mask, Jinsei Shinzaki & Super Delfin b Gran Naniwa & Yone Genjin-COR, Naohiro Hoshikawa b Masato Yakushiji
6/21 Takigawa (All Japan women): Sachie Nishibori b Zap Isozaki, Kayo Noumi b Mayumi Takahashi, Noriko Toyoda b Zap Nakahara, Masked Zaps I & T b Miyuki Fujii & Nanae Takahashi, Manami Toyota b Emi Motokawa, Takako Inoue & Kumiko Maekawa b Momoe Nakanishi & Miho Wakizawa
6/21 Kawasaki (Oz Academy – 800): Mayumi Ozaki b Bad Nurse Nakamura, Dynamite Kansai b Sugar Sato, Rieko Amano & Chikayo Nagashima b Sonoko Kato & Toshie Uematsu, Ozaki & Sato b Kyoko Inoue & Yoshiko Tamura
6/21 Martinsburg, WV (Championship Pro Wrestling): Nick Pisghetti b Orderly I, Chain Gang b Combat Kid, Switchblade b Juggernaut-DQ, Bubba Nuckles b Shorty Smalls, Mark Mest & Maxx Crimson b Mohammad Kane & Cremator, Bob Keller b Diablos Macabre, Shane Shadows b Honky Tonk Man
6/22 Jacksonville, FL (WCW Nitro – 8,749 sellout/7,795 paid): Disco Inferno b Len Denton, Yuji Nagata b Tokyo Magnum, Public Enemy b Horace Boulder & Sick Boy -*1/2, U.S. title: Bill Goldberg b Rick Fuller, Alex Wright b Eddie Guerrero, Konnan b Scotty Riggs, Steve McMichael b Stevie Ray-COR -***, Bret Hart b Chris Benoit ***1/2, Kevin Greene b The Giant-DQ
6/23 Memphis (Memphis Power Pro Wrestling – 3,500): Lance Jade & Bobby Brawnz b Bobby Doll & Jesse Dalton, Young Guns title: Kid Wicked b Jason Gibson, Jackie b Derrick King, Rock & Roll Express b Midnight Express, Anything goes: Bill Dundee & Moondog Spot & King Mabel & Ashley Hudson & Jimmy Valiant b Tracy Smothers & Tony Falk & Master B & Koko Ware & B.J. Awesome, Brian Christopher b Jesse Jammes, Jeff Jarrett b Billy Travis, Jerry Lawler b Kane-DQ
Special thanks to: Bobby Baum, Georgiann Makropolous, Chuck Morris, Dominic Hazell, Terry England, Ron Rivera, Shawn Carpenter, Eddie Sharkey, Steve Berberovic, James Blair, George Wren, Ray Whebbe, Paul Guyten, David Rude, Marcus Watkins, Peter Jedlicska, Joe Silva, Rich Palladino, Trent Walters, Chris Plano, Tim Noel, Steve Nelson, Dominick Valenti, Dan Parris, Blaine DeSantis, Ken Bevan, Martin Mendizabol
JAPANESE TELEVISION RUNDOWN
5/30 NEW JAPAN: 1. Jushin Liger & El Samurai & Dr. Wagner Jr. beat Felino & Tatsuhito Takaiwa & Shiryu in 15:01. The last 5:00 aired on television and what aired started out great with the unmasked Shiryu mainly working with Wagner. After some good near falls, Liger tagged in with Felino for the finish but they blew a spot or two toward the finish before Liger put him away with the running Liger bomb. ***1/4; 2. Shinjiro Otani pinned Masakazu Fukuda as part of the Super Juniors tournament in 14:38. The last 8:00 aired on television. This was the first time Fukuda, who works regularly for the small Wrestle Dream Factory promotion and is only in his second year as a pro, has been on New Japan TV. The match was excellent but it’s hard to say how good Fukuda was because as good as Otani was here, he’d gave a great match with a stick. Fukuda is kind of tall, but with no physical presence as he looks nothing like you’d envision a wrestler. Fukuda did show his hot moves, the Fukuda special, which is a german suplex with a pause at the top, almost as if the wrestler getting suplexed has blocked the move, and then he takes him over. He used several choke slams and also got a big pop for a uranage off the top rope. Otani finally hit his springboard spin kick and got the pin with a dragon suplex. ***3/4; 3. Koji Kanemoto beat Kendo Ka Shin in 15:52 of a match to determine which of the two went to the Junior tournament final. The last 8:00 aired on television. Ka Shin worked on Kanemoto’s legs early. He came back with a powerslam off the top rope and a moonsault. When Ka Shin tried his flying armbar, Kanemoto caught the move in mid air and dropped him on the top rope like a hot shot. Kanemoto then missed a pescado. Good ending as Kanemoto was behind Ka Shin for a german suplex, and Ka Shin went for the Chono reverse back kick to the groin low blow spot, but Kanemoto blocked both low blows and hit a Tiger suplex for the pin. A great match with several creative spots. ***3/4; 4. Shiro Koshinaka & Tatsutoshi Goto & Michiyoshi Ohara beat Masahiro Chono & Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Hiro Saito in 10:25. The last 5:30 aired. Big Titan and Michael Wallstreet were both at ringside interfering freely and attacking Akitoshi Saito, who was also at ringside. Work was solid but nothing was spectacular. Finish was Tenzan go for a head-butt off the top on Koshinaka, who moved, and he his Saito. Koshinaka hit the butt bump and then got a pin with a high power bomb. **; 5. Tatsumi Fujinami & Kensuke Sasaki & Kazuo Yamazaki beat Tadao Yasuda & Shinya Hashimoto & Junji Hirata in 12:17. The last 7:00 aired. Solid work. Highlights were Hashimoto just beating the hell out of everyone. Finish saw Yasuda do the same sequence he does in every match which always gets a pop, doing the sumo chops on Fujinami backing him into the corner, hitting a double-arm suplex and then going for a big foot to the face, but Fujinami caught the foot and delivered a dragon screw and clamped on a figure four for the submission. Hashimoto jumped Fujinami after the match. After the other wrestlers dragged him off, he was throwing chops everywhere. If you’re old enough to remember (totally outdated reference alert) it was reminiscent of the 1960s cough medicine commercial where wrestler Tosh Togo was chopping everything in sight while having this ungodly cough. **1/4
6/13 NEW JAPAN: 1. In the first round of the IWGP tag team tournament, Satoshi Kojima & Manabu Nakanishi beat Goto & Ohara in 12:28. The last 5:15 aired. This was a one-man show. Kojima was incredible, carrying this to a good match even though Goto is the worst wrestler in the company and Nakanishi is a powerful klutz. Nakanishi did a great spot where he got Goto in the torture rack and when Ohara went for the save, Nakanishi while keeping the move on, delivered some front kicks on Ohara. Let’s see Luger try that without killing at least two people. Match was good except a spot where fans laughed at Ohara and Nakanishi trading chops because they were so bad. Nakanishi did do a Northern Lights superplex for a near fall on Ohara. Kojima got super heat for everything he did. Finish saw Goto use a low blow, a lariat and finally his dangerous backdrop on Kojima for near falls, until Kojima hit a diamond cutter out of nowhere, which they called the Kojima cutter followed by a lariat for the pin. ***1/4; 2. In the other first round match, Sasaki & Yamazaki beat Wallstreet & Titan in 12:00. Final 5:00 aired. Total style clash, particularly with Yamazaki and he worked most f the match. Finish saw Yamazaki pin Titan with a german suplex. During the match, Wallstreet hit Yamazaki with a sick clothesline in the corner. After the match backstage when they went to interview Sasaki & Yamazaki, Sasaki talked while Yamazaki was literally throwing up on the floor. The cameras never showed it but you could hear it in the background. Typical example of New Japan being so behind the times as compared with WWF as they don’t even realize what great cutting edge television viewing it is to watch a wrestler throwing up. 1/4*; 3. In the tournament semifinals, Genichiro Tenryu & Koshinaka beat Nakanishi & Kojima in 14:23. The entire match aired. Kojima & Nakanishi teased a split before the match before attacking both men. Nakanishi did an eight rep giant swing on Tenryu. Tenryu is an amazing worker for someone who is totally physically shot and he works perfectly with Kojima. Everything they did had heat, and Tenryu delivered some brutal kicks to the face. Nakanishi’s clumsiness took the match down a tad, but couldn’t keep it from being very good. At one point he nearly killed Tenryu with a mistimed clothesline. Real stiff and the heat was incredible except in the few spots where Nakanishi got lost and momentarily killed it. Finish saw Nakanishi got nailed with a sandwich enzuigiri and two power bombs by Tenryu for the pin. ***1/2; 4. In the other semifinal, Chono & Tenzan beat Sasaki & Yamazaki in 11:33. The entire match aired. It had a storyline in that Sasaki accidentally hit Yamazaki with a lariat and “knocked him out.” Yamazaki rolled to the floor and Chono didn’t do him any favors putting him in an STF out there. So the rest of the match saw Sasaki go against both guys. He got beat on for a while, made a comeback, but Hiro Saito tripped him from outside. Chono got him in a version of a figure four while Tenzan came off the top with a head-butt while he was stuck. Yamazaki finally recovered but as soon as he got in the ring, Tenzan threw him back out. The match kind of fell apart at the finish when Tenzan missed a lariat he was supposed to hit, but Chono then pinned Sasaki after a Yakuza kick. Storyline was real good but the work wasn’t. *1/2
MAY BUSINESS COMPARISONS
WORLD WRESTLING FEDERATION
Estimated average attendance 5/97 5,421
Estimated average attendance 5/98 9,382 (+73.1%)
April 1998 7,920*
Estimated average gate 5/97 $90,532
Estimated average gate 5/98 $151,949 (+67.8%)
April 1998 $148,617*
Percentage of house shows sold out 5/97 17.6
Percentage of house shows sold out 5/98 18.8
April 1998 45.5*
Average cable television rating 5/97 1.9
Average cable television rating 5/98 2.6 (+36.8%)
April 1998 2.7
Major show 5/97: In Your House (9,381/7,681 paid/$116,547/est. 0.57 buy rate/est. $1.27 million)
Major show 5/98: In Your House Over the Edge (9,822 sellout/$186,383/est. 0.58 buy rate/est. $2.55 million)
Est. buy rate +1.8%; Est. overall event revenue: +97.1%
*Overseas dates not included in average
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING
Estimated average attendance 5/97 4,348
Estimated average attendance 5/98 6,379 (+46.7%)
April 1998 7,018
Estimated average gate 5/97 $63,997
Estimated average gate 5/98 $129,553 (+102.4%)
April 1998 $135,323
Percentage of house shows sold out 5/97 9.1
Percentage of house shows sold out 5/98 52.2
April 1998 38.1
Average cable television rating 5/97 1.9
Average cable television rating 5/98 2.9 (+52.6%)
April 1998 3.2
Major show 5/97: Spring Stampede (9,643 sellout/$167,705/est. 0.60 buy rate/est. $1.88 million)
Major show 5/98: Spring Stampede (11,592 sellout/10,936 paid/$352,035/est. 0.72 buy rate/est. $3.17 million)
Est. buy rate +20.0%; Est. overall event revenue: +81.5%
ALL JAPAN PRO WRESTLING
Estimated average attendance 5/97 2,321
Estimated average attendance 5/98 1,717 (-26.0%)
April 1998 2,164
Estimated average gate 5/97 $74,883
Estimated average gate 5/98 $56,467 (-24.6%)
April 1998 $60,582
Percentage of house shows sold out 5/97 25.0
Percentage of house shows sold out 5/98 33.3
April 1998 45.5
Average television rating 5/97 4.1
Average television rating 5/98 3.4 (-17.1%)
April 1998 3.3
Major show 5/98: Tokyo Dome (58,300/est. $4 million)
NEW JAPAN PRO WRESTLING
Estimated average attendance 5/97 2,229
Estimated average attendance 5/98 2,442 (+9.6%)
April 1998 2,320
Estimated average gate 5/97 $62,412
Estimated average gate 5/98 $75,704 (+21.3%)
April 1998 $71,928
Percentage of house shows sold out 5/97 60.0
Percentage of house shows sold out 5/98 35.7
April 1998 36.3
Average television rating 5/97 3.1
Average television rating 5/98 2.4 (-22.6%)
April 1998 2.5
TELEVISION RATINGS RUNDOWN
Latest update on all WWF and WCW performers that have appeared as a main focal point of a segment at least four times since the two groups have been going head-to-head from 9-11 p.m. on 1/26. Ratings for the first hour of Nitro, for Thunder and for Raw and Nitro when they aren’t on head-to-head aren’t factored in. Updated as of 6/22.
Performer Up/down Total pts Qtr percentage
Mike Tyson 4-1 +23 +4.60
Randy Savage 13-4-1 +65 +3.61
Roddy Piper 8-1-1 +34 +3.40
Rick Steiner 6-1-1 +27 +3.38
Vince McMahon 9-3-2 +45 +3.21
The Giant 12-2-2 +47 +2.94
Kevin Nash 15-8-1 +68 +2.83
Ric Flair 7-1 +22 +2.75
Hulk Hogan 18-10 +68 +2.43
Chris Jericho 10-2 +25 +2.08
Klub Kaientai 4-0 +8 +2.00
Lex Luger 10-6-2 +33 +1.83
Steve Austin 13-8-1 +38 +1.73
Sting 9-8-1 +31 +1.72
Ken Shamrock 7-2 +15 +1.67
Bret Hart 13-9 +34 +1.55
Konnan 8-8-1 +25 +1.47
Scott Hall 4-3 +10 +1.43
Juventud Guerrera 4-3 +10 +1.43
Van Hammer 4-1 +7 +1.40
Mick Foley 15-5-1 +27 +1.29
Terry Funk 13-3 +20 +1.25
Bill Goldberg 6-3-2 +11 +1.00
Sick Boy 2-2 +4 +1.00
Shawn Michaels 8-6 +12 +0.86
Undertaker 11-5-4 +17 +0.85
Scott Norton 1-3-1 +4 +0.80
Dallas Page 5-6-2 +10 +0.77
Eddie Guerrero 4-4 +6 +0.75
Raven 5-5 +7 +0.70
Perry Saturn 6-3 +6 +0.67
Brian Adams 4-4 +5 +0.63
New Age Outlaws 18-6-4 +17 +0.61
Stevie Ray 2-2-1 +3 +0.60
Eric Bischoff 4-4-1 +5 +0.56
Marc Mero 8-4-2 +7 +0.50
Sable 8-5 +6 +0.46
Dan Severn 4-1-2 +3 +0.43
Chris Benoit 7-6-1 +6 +0.43
Triple H 20-12-3 +14 +0.40
Quebecers 3-2 +2 +0.40
Chavo Guerrero Jr. 3-5 +3 +0.38
X-Pac 11-5-3 +7 +0.37
Scott Steiner 4-6-1 +4 +0.36
Goldust Runnels 7-5 +4 +0.33
Marcus Bagwell 3-2 +1 +0.20
Curt Hennig 6-5-2 +2 +0.15
Bradshaw 3-4 +1 +0.14
Paul Bearer 11-7 +1 +0.06
Kane 13-8-1 -1 -0.05
Owen Hart 8-8-2 -5 -0.28
Rocky Maivia 7-9 -5 -0.31
Faarooq 6-7-2 -5 -0.33
Booker T 8-8-2 -6 -0.33
Mark Henry 4-2 -2 -0.33
D-Lo Brown 2-3 -3 -0.60
Brian Christopher 2-3 -4 -0.80
LOD 2000 4-7-4 -14 -0.93
Luna 4-6 -10 -1.00
Head Bangers 5-4-1 -10 -1.00
Barry Windham 4-6 -11 -1.10
Vader 4-2 -7 -1.17
Steve Blackman 6-4-2 -14 -1.17
Skull 3-6-4 -21 -1.62
Eight Ball 3-6-4 -21 -1.62
Taka Michinoku 3-5-1 -15 -1.67
Too Cold Scorpio 2-4 -10 -1.67
Jeff Jarrett 4-9-2 -27 -1.80
Disco Inferno 1-4 -10 -2.00
Aguila/Papichulo 0-3-1 -9 -2.25
Davey Boy Smith 1-6 -17 -2.43
Darren Drozdov 0-2-2 -10 -2.50
Val Venis 2-5-1 -21 -2.63
Kama Mustafa 1-3 -11 -2.75
Ultimo Dragon 1-4 -14 -2.80
Chainz 1-8-3 -42 -3.50
Midnight Express 0-5 -19 -3.80
MEXICO: The only news we have is that on 6/19 in Tijuana that Pierroth Jr. beat The Kiss in a mask vs. mask match that drew about 3,500 fans. Pierroth Jr., Tarzan Boy and Negro Casas had all worked the previous night in Tokyo. Kiss had been working as a masked wrestler dating back to the late 70s so him losing the mask was a big deal locally. Overall it was said to have been a bad show
On 6/26 there will be a largely AAA show with Blue Demon Jr. vs. Depredator on top plus Perro Aguayo Jr & Kiss & Arandu vs. Rey Misterio & two of Los Payasos and AAA minis with Octagoncito & La Parkita vs. Mini Abismo Negro & Mini Cibernetico. It appears Rey Misterio is trying to get a feud going with Fishman (and boy is he ever washed up) to wind up dropping his hair. This stemmed from the 6/12 show where Misterio & Fishman & Damian lost to Super Astro & Arandu & Jungla and afterwards Misterio attacked Fishman and took his mask off. Main on that show had Felino & El Hijo del Santo & Mascara Sagrada (subbing for the injured La Parka) beating Blue Panther & Dr. Wagner Jr. & Psicosis in 2/3 falls in a good match. It was interesting seeing just how good a main event heel Psicosis is not just from a work standpoint because everyone knows that but also from a charisma standpoint and again drove home the point of just how much WCW missed the boat with these guys.
ALL JAPAN: It was announced this week that Mitsuharu Misawa won’t be returning due to his broken kneecap until 8/22 at Korakuen Hall
The next tour will be 7/4 to 7/24. The 7/24 Budokan Hall main event will have Kenta Kobashi defending the Triple Crown against Jun Akiyama, and they’re already hyping this match with the storyline idea that if Akiyama wins, which is highly doubtful, he’ll be the youngest wrestler ever to hold the title. The Double tag team title will be defended on 7/15 in Osaka with Toshiaki Kawada & Akira Taue defending against Gary Albright & Yoshihiro Takayama. With Maunukea Mossman having vacated the PWF jr. heavyweight title after his successful title defense against Satoru Asako on 6/12 at Budokan Hall, there will be a five-man tournament round-robin style from 7/6 to 7/18 involving Yoshinari Ogawa, Tsuyoshi Kikuchi, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Kentaro Shiga and Asako. The top two point getters will meet in the championship match on 7/19 in Niigata. After seeing the Mossman-Asako match, he was probably the most ridiculous junior heavyweight champion, since he looked to be around 245 pounds, since Cactus Jack held the light heavyweight title many years ago in World Class. It was a hell of a match, by the way
Akiyama will be getting a major push on this tour on the road to the title match with singles matches against Takao Omori, Jun Izumida, Tamon Honda and Mossman
From those who saw the Kobashi-Kawada title change on television this past weekend, there is apparently the sickest back suplex spot ever with Kobashi being dropped at a 90 degree angle right on the top of his head
On a radio show this past week there was some unintentional humor. Super Delfin was on and he mentioned in the interview that he was going to be wrestling on the next All Japan tour. Later in the show Baba was on, and they brought up Delfin, and Baba acted as if he had no plans for anything of the type although he thought it might be a good idea to book Delfin on the 7/15 Osaka show since he lives in the area. Baba was also non-committal about running another Tokyo Dome show, saying the first one was successful but saying that to do it again you’d have to have a match that can sell ringside tickets for 30,000 yen (which due to the falling yen is now around $215)
6/7 TV did a 3.8 rating.
NEW JAPAN: Next tour opens up on 6/24 in Yamagata with Osamu Nishimura & Satoshi Kojima & Tatsumi Fujinami vs. NWO Sting & Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Masahiro Chono, Shinya Hashimoto & Tadao Yasuda & Manabu Nakanishi vs. Hiro Saito & Michael Wallstreet & Scott Norton, Kensuke Sasaki & Kazuo Yamazaki & Osamu Kido vs. Michiyoshi Ohara & Tatsutoshi Goto & Shiro Koshinaka, Jushin Liger & El Samurai vs. Kendo Ka Shin & Koji Kanemoto and Shinjiro Otani vs. Dr. Wagner Jr. as the top matches
There will also be a television taping on 6/28 in Nagano at the Winter Olympic Hall with Nishimura & Takashi Iizuka & Fujinami vs. Yasuda & Kido & Hashimoto, Koshinaka & Ohara vs. Chono & Tenzan in a non-title match, Kojima & Sasaki & Yamazaki vs. Hiro Saito & NWO Sting & Norton, Nakanishi vs. Wallstreet, Liger & Wagner Jr. vs. Tatsuhito Takaiwa & Otani and Kanemoto vs. Ka Shin
Liger has a singles match with Wagner on 7/2 in Morioka
Wagner is now working here on every tour and it is said that he is Riki Choshu’s favorite wrestler
This company had some major business meetings over the past week and made the announcement that Seiji Sakaguchi was voted to keep his position as President of the company. They also announced a business plan for 1999. This year the schedule is to run between 130 and 140 house shows and three major shows, the two Tokyo Dome shows and the 8/8 Osaka Dome show. In 1999, the schedule will be cut to around 100 house shows and five Dome shows, with the two in Tokyo, the Osaka show, plus a Nagoya Dome and a Fukuoka Dome. In addition, New Japan will start running, probably on an every other year basis, shows at the new Sapporo Dome (which opens in 2001) and the new Seibu Dome near Tokyo (which opens in the next year)
As part of the Naoya Ogawa storyline as to him being fired, Sakaguchi ordered new posters for the Osaka Dome to be printed without Ogawa listed as appearing, and also had him completely removed from the program
New Japan also as part of an angle officially announced that Don Frye and Brian Johnston had been signed to New Japan and not UFO
5/30 TV did a 2.7 rating.
OTHER JAPAN NOTES: With the Japan vs. Croatia World Cup soccer game on 6/20 doing a 66.9 rating, it dropped the 1963 Rikidozan vs. Destroyer match down to fifth place on the list of the highest rated shows in the history of Japanese television
Yumiko Hotta and Kengo Kimura are both out campaigning for seats in the Japanese Diet. It doesn’t appear that either have a serious chance of winning the election. Hotta did an interview saying that she wanted to use her Pyramid driver finisher on her political opponents. Kimura has been traveling on a bicycle campaigning
64-year-old Hisashi Shinma wrestled on 6/18 at Korakuen Hall on the final night of the one-week tour for the FULL promotion. Even with Shinma wrestling and all the media hype building it up, there was no actual fan interest as it only drew an estimated 720 fans. Shinma teamed with Giant Dos Caras (Kenji Takano) against Pierroth Jr. & Villano III. When Shinma finally tagged in, he tried chopping both men but they just stood there, and then tried to take both men down using his judo background from 40 years ago but he couldn’t move them. Pierroth Jr. finally grabbed Shinma and dropped him on his head with a tombstone piledriver and knocked him out and Shinma didn’t move. As is always mentioned to me by Japanese before Americans bring out some gimmick guy like Lawrence Taylor or Mr. T, that in Japan when they bring guys like that in, the wrestler has to beat them to protect the credibility of the craft, while in America it’s usually the wrestler that puts the star over because the public has no respect for the craft and that’s what they want to see. Overall the FULL tour drew poorly, including one show in Maebashi that only drew 107 fans. They announced they would have another tour in October but it’s questionable if after all the pub they got for putting Shinma in the ring that they couldn’t draw any fans. On the tour, Super Crazy won the UWA welterweight title from Kid Guzman on 6/15 in Hakata and Crazy retained the title on 6/18 at Korakuen Hall
In the Michinoku singles tournament that was won by Naohiro Hoshikawa who ended the tourney with a 5-0 record, the final standings saw Tiger Mask, Gran Naniwa and Yone Genjin all tied with six points with 3-2 records for second place and Flying Kid Ichihara and Masaru Seno bringing up the bottom
Kendo Nagasaki has quit the Big Japan promotion and may start up his own company
Ayoko Hamada, the 17-year-old daughter of Gran Hamada, debuts with Arsion on 8/9 at Korakuen Hall against Candy Okutsu
AJW ran a big show in Sapporo on 6/20 with Hotta and Manami Toyota going to a 30:00 draw in their Japanese Grand Prix singles match, plus Zaps I & T retained the WWWA tag titles beating Kumiko Maekawa & Miho Wakizawa
Pancrase drew a sellout 3,350 in Kobe on 6/21 with Semmy Schiltt knocking out KOP champion Guy Mezger in 13:15 of a non-title match. Schiltt, who is 6-10, but has unusually long arms and legs and a short torso for someone of that height, has learned to use his incredible reach which makes him a very difficult opponent to stand up with. Every other match on the card except the opener, where Jason Godsey beat Kim Jong Wan in 2:03, went the time limit, either ending with a draw or a decision. The next Pancrase is the Neo Blood tournament on 7/7 at Korakuen Hall with Evan Tanner vs. Ikuhisa Minowa, Tony Rojo vs. Kousei Kubota, Justin McCulley vs. Mark Van Emann and Daisuke Ishii vs. Ryan Stoutt as the first round matches
LLPW ran Korakuen Hall on 6/21 with the retirement match of Michiko Nagashima, who joined the promotion in 1991. Also at the show, Mizuki Endo said it would be her final match in Japan as she was moving to Portland, OR and wanted to wrestle in the United States. I recall Endo years back being good friends with Terri Power, when Power was a regular in Japan but don’t know if one has to do with the other
RINGS ran 6/20 at Korakuen Hall with a minor show drawing a sellout 1,880 with Tsuyoshi Kohsaka going over Kenichi Yamamoto in 9:15 with a kneebar on top. RINGS has a major show on 6/27 at Tokyo Bay NK Hall with Kohsaka vs. Kiyoshi Tamura on top
CMLL will be running a tour from 8/19 to 8/23, which will be a localized promotion based in Kyoto using El Hijo del Santo, Atlantis, Lizmark Sr., Rey Bucanero, Mr. Niebla, Ultraman Jr. and Tsubasa on the first tour
Mayumi Ozaki ran her own show under the promotional name of the Oz Academy, which was the name of her group in JWP, on 6/21 at Club Chitta in Kawasaki which saw her beat former FMW woman wrestler Bad Nurse Nakamura and using mainly Gaea wrestlers plus Rieko Amano from JWP and also brought in Kyoko Inoue & Yoshiko Tamura from Neo Ladies to lose to her and Sugar Sato in the main event
Neo Ladies appears to be in trouble already. The road shows are drawing poorly, which isn’t a surprise because all of the women promotions in Japan aren’t drawing. The top three front office officials were all fired and Kyoko Inoue, Etsuko Mita and Mima Shimoda are now doubling doing both the wrestling and running the office.
HERE AND THERE: Larry Doyle, a fixture on the Southern California independent wrestling scene for years, passed away on 6/21 from a blood clot in his lungs at the age of 37. The blood clot was the latest in a series of health problems related to diabetes he’d been suffering from for several years. Doyle suffered the blood clot while playing recreation softball, despite warnings from doctors that largely went unheeded to limit his physical activity because of the diabetes. Doyle, known as “Lucha Larry Doyle,” had promoted, announced, ring announced, worked as a manager and even wrestled on small shows under such names as No Mercy Man and La Femme Nikita Koloff. He had also for years been a correspondent to this publication regarding the Southern California independent scene, where he worked with Dan Farren promoting shows under the banner of Cal International Wrestling using wrestlers such as Terry Funk, Sabu, Al Snow, Road Warrior Hawk and Dan Severn over the years
The USWF ran on 6/20 in Amarillo, TX before 4,000 fans with the headline match having heavyweight champion Evan Tanner beating Tony Castillo in 4:06 when the match was stopped after three knockdowns. Tanner, a two-time state high school wrestling champion, voluntarily stayed on his feet against the kickboxer to prove a point about his striking, as in what was reported as a real wild match, dominated with strikes and knees. Tanner is leaving this week for Japan, where he’ll train for one month with the Pancrase fighters and also compete in the Pancrase Neo Blood tournament on 7/7. In something of an upset, local fighter Paul Buentello won the heavyweight tournament beating Larry Parker, who has fought in Japan for Kingdom and has also fought in Russia and Abu Dhabai, when Parker went for a takedown and was caught with a perfectly timed knee to the head in 40 seconds. Parker was knocked cold and was carried out on a stretcher and had to be taken to the hospital. Both Parker and Buentello had won two prior tournament matches rather quickly. Paul Jones beat Juan Mott, who has fought in MARS and also in Japan for KRS, when Mott was disqualified in 8:00 for throwing a knee and a kick when both were down in violation of the rules. USWF debuts on 7/25 in Odessa, TX, and will have the biggest show in its history on 8/22 in Amarillo headlined by Ralph Gracie vs. Steve Nelson, Jones defending the light heavyweight title against Wayne Admire (which is an interesting match because Jones is Admire’s coach) and Tanner defending the heavyweight title, and his foe will probably be one of two former UWFI stars and Billy Robinson proteges in Japan, either Gene Lydick or Billy Scott
The group with Doug Gilbert and Dutch Mantel as its top stars that is running in Tennessee in opposition to the Memphis Power Pro group called either Kick Ass Wrestling Association or Bad Ass Wrestling Association depending upon the city, doing an ECW style of brawling, is running on 7/1 in Memphis at the New Daisy Theater
Angelo Mosca is appearing in a national television commercial in Canada for adjustable beds. He mentions needing one because of his bad beck for playing 15 years of pro football in Canada (where Mosca was something of a legend before getting into pro wrestling full-time). While he talks they show old grainy black & white footage of Mosca’s CFL days. Not once in the spot do they mention Mosca as a former wrestler
NWA on 6/27 in Mount Holly, NJ is headlined by Dan Severn vs. Gilbert and 7/23 in Wildwood, NJ has Head Bangers vs. Pit Bulls, Tito Santana vs. King Kong Bundy, Jimmy Snuka vs. Iron Sheik and a debate between Jim Cornette and Lou Albano, which is the mental equivalent of the talent disparity in the recent Juventud Guerrera vs. Ron Reis match
Speaking of Albano, he has a book called “The Idiot’s Guide to Pro Wrestling” which will be released in August by Simon & Schuster
Mr. Hughes starts this week in Music City Wrestling teaming with Flash Flanagan to face Steven Dunn & Reno Riggins on 6/23 in Louisville
NWA New England has a show on 7/9 in Swansea, MA at the High School with Cornette, Bundy, Severn, champ Eric Sbraccia and Tony Rumble and 7/11 in Somerville, MA at Good Times Emporium with Bundy and Severn. A correction on some notes about this promotion in the 6/15 issue. The results of 6/6 in Dorchester, MA had Public Enemy beating Joel Davis & Ralph Lano but it was actually beating the tag team of the Lying Lano Brothers Mike & Ralph. On the 6/7 WEEI Sports Festival show, Rocky Shore beat Jeff Mangles. We had reported Mangles winning
Wolverine Pro Wrestling on 7/8 in Dearborn, MI at the Civic Center has Severn vs. Geza Kalman Jr. in what is being billed as a Pancrase rules shootfight, New Jack vs. Axl Rotten, Dudleys with Joel Gertner and Sign Guy vs. Flanagan & Wolfie D in a falls count anywhere match plus Reckless Youth, Steve Corino Big Dick Dudley and others. For more info you can call 313-943-2360
Empire Wrestling Federation on 7/5 at El Patio
All Pro Wrestling this week has its Gym Wars show on 6/26 in Hayward, CA and has an outdoor show at 2 p.m. on 6/28 at Swiss Park in Newark, CA with a falls count anywhere in the park main event
Maryland Championship Wrestling on 7/19 at Patapsco Arena has Tom Brandi, Head Bangers, Tommy Rich, Tracy Smothers, Little Guido, Axl Rotten, Balls Mahoney, Jerry Lynn, Stevie Richards and others
Independent Wrestling World on 7/25 in Hannover, Germany has Michael Kovac, Dirt Bike Kid, Cannonball Grizzly, Robby Brookside, Franz Schumann, Tony St. Clair and Ulf Hermann appearing
Pennsylvania Championship Wrestling on 6/27 in Pottstown, PA has Doink the Clown (Ray Apollo), George Steele and Lou Albano appearing along with debuting Andrew Martin, who is under a WWF developmental contract and run 7/24 in Reading, PA headlined by Glenn Osbourne & Jon Rock vs. Christian Cage & Sexton Hardcastle (WWF Edge) in a death match.
MMA: The show in which Becky Levi fought a Mexican pro wrestler in a shoot did take place on 6/12 in Pasadena, TX with Levi winning in 45 seconds. Levi, who is 6-2 and about 210 pounds, had several matches with women opponents cancelled when foes pulled out over the past few months, and heard from Dan Severn about a small show which wouldn’t be expected to get a lot of publicity and was told her foe would be a 6-1, 230 pound Mexican pro wrestler named El Soberano. As it turned out, Soberano was closer to 5-5 and around 230 and was described as having a physique like a beach ball. Levi got him in a choke almost immediately, and he tapped her and she let go, and he then claimed he didn’t tap and since the ref didn’t see the tap he didn’t stop the match. When he shot in on her, she got him in a front guillotine and really cranked it and he tapped again. The show drew about 250 fans and was held under Pancrase rules with no closed-fist striking to the face allowed. Severn also fought on the show, having had three straight opponents pull out on him, and he wound up beating a guy named Steve Miller (no, not that Steve Miller) rather quickly. Levi has done boxing and Tough Woman events, largely because she wants to do no-holds-barred type fighting and their are no female opponents around of her size willing to face her in that genre even though most of her fighting experience is ground fighting stemming from doing judo and coaching high school wrestling although she never competed as a female wrestler because the top weight division is 165 pounds and she couldn’t come close to that weight. Levi, who is currently in Minnesota training with former UFC fighter Scott Ferrozzo, said after the match that it would be pretty unlikely she’d do another match against a man because she said she doesn’t want to turn into a freak show, and it’s also unlikely that such a match would be allowed in Texas again as the commission is looking like it is going to regulate shootwrestling
KRS held a press conference on 6/22 to promote its 6/24 Budokan Hall Pride Three event. Nobuhiko Takada, who is the big drawing card on the show, no-showed the press conference allowing opponent Kyle Sturgeon to run him down as being afraid
The 7/18 K-1 card at the Nagoya Dome was announced as Francisco Filho vs. Peter Aerts, Graube Feitoza vs. Mike Bernardo, Nicholas Petas vs. Stefan Leko, Masaake Satake vs. Matt Skelton, Musashi vs. Ernesto Hoost, Sam Greco vs. Jerome LeBanner and Andy Hug vs. ?. Caught the Zurich, Switzerland K-1 and while Andy Hug was obviously super over and the big draw, the crowd reactions to him weren’t as off the charts as they were at last year’s Switzerland K-1 show
A clarification on the note about Kevin Jackson and trying to get the job as a full-time resident coach for USA wrestling. It isn’t so much that USA wrestling wouldn’t allow Jackson to do UFC because of the image of UFC at that point as much as the job itself is full-time and wouldn’t allow time for the training for UFC.
ECW: Both shows this weekend were said to be pretty hot, drawing about 1,000 fans on 6/19 in York, PA and about 1,800 fans on 6/20 in Northeastern Philadelphia. The 6/20 show was a TV taping largely to push the Dudleys & Jack Victory angle against Tommy Dreamer & Sandman & Spike Dudley & New Jack. It started with Dreamer being mad about what happened to Beulah and challenged any of the Dudleys to wrestle him. D-Von came out, but before long all the Dudleys were out attacking Dreamer. The rest of the faces made the save. Later in the show they did a backstage angle where Dreamer put Sign Guy Dudley’s leg in a locker and slammed it on him, so Sign Guy will be selling a knee injury for the next few weeks. It got even weirder as later in the show they did a Sandman vs. Buh Buh match which was largely a backdrop for someone said to be Beulah’s brother as a fan at ringside to start heckling Buh Buh. Buh Buh ended up attacking the brother and giving him a beating which some thought was a shoot since Buh Buh has a rep for getting aggressive with the audience, although in this case it was a total angle
Mikey Whipwreck suffered a hand injury on 6/19 in York, PA going through a table in a match with Sabu, although he wrestled the next night
Shane Douglas really did have his elbow surgery
The only match announced for the 6/27 ECW Arena show is Chris Candido & Lance Storm defending the tag titles against Sabu & Rob Van Dam. The original plan was to do the title change on the 6/6 show, but Storm couldn’t make it due to visa problems
This past week’s television show may have been the best one of the year. They aired a heavily edited version of the eight-man Rumble rules match with Dudleys & Victory vs. Dreamer & Sandman & Spike & New Jack from the 6/6 ECW Arena show. It was a really violent match with a few incredible bumps including Buh Buh going head fist through a table and Spike climbing to the next to the last step of a very tall ladder in the ring and doing a plancha to the floor off the ladder. Dreamer debuted a side piledriver which saw Joey Styles scream about it being a Dreamer driver and how you’ll be seeing wrestlers on Monday nights steal the move. What he failed to mention is that the move was debuted by Mitsuharu Misawa in January when he beat Jun Akiyama to keep the Triple Crown and not in that match by Dreamer as he indicated. Match in edited form looked real good, although the premise in regard to all the guys who hate each other so much, in particular Dreamer, since they not only injured but mocked his girlfriend, staying backstage for several minutes while their partners were getting pounded makes no sense in a promotion where everyone does run-ins constantly with no restraint. They also showed the Beulah vs. Bill Alfonso finish from last year after Dreamer and Rob Van Dam had been eliminated in an elimination tag match which was incredibly bloody and had great heat. The crowd was going so nuts because of the blood and because the two non-wrestlers were wrestling better than a lot of regular wrestlers that they were willing to overlook the spots that didn’t look great. Finally they aired the I Quit match with Justin Credible vs. Jerry Lynn, which is easily the best series of matches in ECW in a long time. This may have been the best of the bunch so far, probably the second best match in the promotion this year (behind the Rob Van Dam vs. Bam Bam Bigelow match) and better than anything on the most recent WCW PPV show
When Styles talked about moving the PPV show from Indianapolis to Dayton, with them blaming the fact that NASCAR had a major race that weekend and they couldn’t get any flights in, hotel rooms or rental cars, he tried to get over the Hara Arena in Dayton, which is actually locally considered something of a secondary “dump” arena in the area as being the equivalent to running the Tokyo Dome or Madison Square Garden. It was hilarious how much he (no doubt on orders from Paul Heyman) oversold the prestige of working a show in that building and create this idea that Heyman was taking this incredible risk of booking a PPV show in such a “large” arena.
WCW: The latest when it comes to lawsuits is a $5 million racial discrimination lawsuit filed by Bobby Walker against WCW in Fulton County Superior Court in Georgia. In the lawsuit, Walker, who is the nephew of former wrestling star and noted Atlanta racial activist Claude “Thunderbolt” Patterson, claimed he was told he was a hired by WCW as a token black and was scripted to lose all his matches. He claimed that white performers that he worked with were told to make him look bad in the ring, and said he was told that he would never be scripted to win a championship and that the company threatened to fire him if he complained about it. Walker said that he was fired by WCW, but then WCW offered to bring him back on a month-to-month deal, but he turned them down. In the lawsuit, Walker pointed out that he earned a lot less money than white performers, citing what Ric Flair of all people earned (since that became public knowledge from WCW’s lawsuit against Flair) and that he was passed over for promotions in favor of white performers. There are people close to the situation who see a key potential component of the lawsuit being Teddy Long, the rarely seen WCW manager. Long is under contract with WCW until mid-August, and if he isn’t renewed, the belief is he may become Walker’s strongest ally because of his knowledge of the inner workings of the company. My own belief is the only racial discrimination in this case is if Walker was pushed to the top, only then would it have been racial discrimination
Representatives of Ric Flair claim their key point in their lawsuit against WCW to get out of the three year agreement which as part of the signed agreement with both parties claimed it would be fully enforceable and legally banding is that in the margin of the contract Flair wrote a hand-written note claiming he only agreed to that point “if subject to review and mutual acceptance.” WCW wants Flair back, especially with the ratings falling from their peak of a few months back. At this point in hindsight it appears Eric Bischoff’s speech in front of the guys about suing Flair into bankruptcy and about Flair’s character in the long-run wasn’t the wisest business move because of how difficult it makes it for Flair to return. Flair’s attorney, Bill Diehle, appeared on a Carolinas radio show and strongly hinted Flair was looking at getting out of his contract and signing with the other company. He characterized Bischoff as a guy who has gotten so consumed with his TV role that he treats his employees off television the same way his television character acts. The belief is that Flair will get a hearing in August in Charlotte regarding both the validity of the deal and to have WCW lawsuit against him thrown out on grounds it is baseless. If the judge rules the deal isn’t valid, he’s probably almost as good as in the WWF, and if the judge rules the deal is valid and doesn’t throw out the suit, he has a choice of probably either returning to WCW, the result of which one would assume the suit would be thrown out as part of a settlement, or retiring and fighting the lawsuit, but I don’t anticipate Flair making any big moves until the hearing. It is interesting also that worded in the lawsuit is that Flair contends is role in WCW was downplayed by Bischoff in order to satisfy demands by and commitments to other wrestlers including Terry Bollea
With Randy Savage having knee surgery, the only big match Savage was on the books for which was the main event on 7/10 at the Forum in Los Angeles against Hogan in a cage match was switched to Hogan vs. Sting in a cage, which will probably wind up being a non-title match which guarantees the finish since Hogan doesn’t mind doing jobs in his current role, especially with no TV cameras present. Originally they were going to have Bret Hart vs. Chris Benoit on the card, but when WCW put that match together they didn’t realize they had already booked Benoit for New Japan that week. Since that match intrigued so many people, when it was cancelled for L.A., they added it to the 6/22 Nitro. L.A. was then switched to Hart vs. Booker T, but then switched again to Hart & Giant vs. Kevin Nash & Lex Luger. The rest of the show has Bill Goldberg vs. Curt Hennig for the U.S. title, Chavo Guerrero Jr. vs. Eddie Guerrero, Chris Jericho defending the WCW cruiserweight title against Rey Misterio Jr., Ultimo Dragon vs. Dean Malenko, Konnan vs. The Disciple and T vs. Fit Finlay. It’s amazing that they go into Los Angeles without a strong Lucha six-man and with Konnan put in a match which will likely be mind-numbingly bad and in a spot on the show where it means nothing
Add the probability of Jericho vs. Misterio Jr. to the San Diego PPV show in a title match although at press time the only two matches that are official are the two with the outside athletes
Nitro on 6/22 in Jacksonville, FL drew a sellout 8,749 (7,795 paying $141,190). The show had its moments, but was overall a weak show with one very good match and a lot of really bad wrestling. It opened with Diamond Dallas Page doing a strong interview regarding the main event on the PPV, but for this angle to work, they desperately need Karl Malone to be able to do a strong face promo and thus far there is no indication that is going to happen. Disco Inferno beat Len Denton with a piledriver in 3:27. Kevin Greene did an interview that went on way too long, trying to turn himself face in Jacksonville which is pretty hard since the Carolina Panthers are somewhat rivals of the Jaguars. Greene talked about how great the Jags were, how great their QB was, how great their fans were, about missing his friends in WCW like Chris Benoit and Steve McMichael (jeez, the guy has only done about two angles in his entire life and he can’t remember either of them, the first time he wrestled McMichael turned on him to join the Four Horsemen and the next year when he came back he was feuding with McMichael) and still the people only half-heartedly popped for him but he kind of got over a little as a face when he mentioned that Goldberg was his roommate in training camp in 1990 with the Los Angeles Rams (which is a true story). Finally Curt Hennig & Rick Rude came out, and it took them forever to get there, and began insulting him when Giant jumped Greene and they all pounded on him. Greene got up and ran to the back, and they had a pull-apart in the back which led to signing Greene vs. Giant as the TV main event which was sort of a back-handed insult since Hart vs. Benoit was moved to the semi-final. Yuji Nagata beat Tokyo Magnum in 4:24 with the Nagata lock. Decent match. Magnum has a lot of potential. Backstage Stevie Ray jumped Benoit. Public Enemy beat Sick Boy & Horace Boulder in an unbelievably bad match in 8:17 when Rocco came off the top and I guess knocked the stop sign Horace had into Horace’s head and landed on him for the pin. Grunge in this match did the single worst armdrag in pro wrestling history, although it was how Boulder took it that made it so bad. Throughout the show they were teasing footage of the Tonight show and the press conference and eventually aired it, but in all cases the finished product was such a letdown after the overhyped teases. In a wrestling world that moves by the day, airing the Tonight show footage five days late made it seem like dated material, plus Jay Leno did his best to make sure nobody could take any of it seriously, and DDP’s overacting in the other direction only made it seem even more staged. WCW also never aired any footage from the Tonight show on 6/18 where Malone was a guest along with Page and Malone did a pretty good job as compared with 6/17 when he came off pretty stiff doing a wrestling angle and Page really carried that end of it. Goldberg destroyed Rick Fuller in 1:30 with all the fake Goldberg chants. Someone desperately on this show needed to instruct the directors that when they are piping in the fake Goldberg chants, not to show close-ups of the crowd because when you hear all the loud chants and see that NOBODY in camera range is chanting, in this day and age people are going to pick up on it fast and the one thing they can’t afford now is for people to see Goldberg as this paper fraud. They already killed the winning streak gimmick as if you noticed, nobody in the stands cared about the number anymore because everyone knows it’s a work. The Wolfpac came out for an interview to a big pop and said absolutely nothing. Sting challenged anyone in the back for a tag title match that night, and showing all the intense competitive superstars in WCW, nobody answered the challenge, which only made it come off even more stupid. Alex Wright pinned Eddie Guerrero in 4:57 when Chavo distracted Eddie. Chavo came out and did an interview which may have been the best interview on the show. Konnan beat Scotty Riggs in 4:47 with the Tequila sunrise. It was really bad that with the exception of the Hart-Benoit match, the best action of the entire show was the Mug Root Beer commercial with that old ref running around throwing all those cool kicks. They finally aired clips of the Los Angeles press conference and what a bore that turned out to be. And then, in perhaps the worst match of the year, Steve McMichael beat Stevie Ray in 9:29. How you book a match with those two to go that long on live TV in a competitive situation is mind-boggling. As bad as it looked on paper, it was far worse as they mistimed each and every spot. Ray grabbed a chair after throwing down Dave Penzer. Before he could use it, Benoit hit the ring and grabbed it from him. At this point the whole crowd started the not piped in “We Want Flair” chants. Booker T took the chair from Benoit. Then everyone just stood there and did nothing. Booker T talked Ray into leaving the ring, and Ray was so intent on winning that he listened, and the ref counted him out of the ring, just to make sure the booking of the finish was as lame as the match itself. Hogan & company did their interview. Hogan did a good interview. God is Bischoff’s character obnoxious. They mainly ran down Savage with Bischoff taking credit for breaking Savage’s leg (and here they have this perfect opportunity to elevate someone to have a potential hot feud with Savage next year when he returns to being the one to injure him, and instead of creating a new star who can have good matches with him, they give it to Bischoff and have Bischoff as the one who is supposedly doing Liz). Hart beat Benoit in 15:05 of a very good match. It was the first time the two had ever wrestled a singles match and was building its way to a great match except the finish was a little weak. Ray came out and distracted Benoit allowing Hart to KO him from behind with a foreign object (none of the announcers called it a foreign object shot until the replay showed it several minutes later as it was weird that Benoit appeared to oversell one punch from behind). Hart then put Benoit on top of him and the ref counted two and Hart kicked out and put on the sharpshooter and when Benoit couldn’t get out of it, the ref stopped the match. Finally Greene beat Giant via DQ in 1:14 when the white and black J-brones all hit the ring until Goldberg cleaned house and made the save. Giant was long gone before Goldberg made it to the ring so they never even teased a first confrontation between the two which does have money potential
To cut down on the rowdiness at the TV matches, they weren’t selling beer at the show
Bryan Clark (Wrath) should be back with a new gimmick soon
The article on Goldberg in the Jewish weekly in New York included Goldberg saying there was other Jewish wrestlers in WCW, noting Dean Malenko and Barry Horowitz, and said that he was planning to use the star of David as a symbol at some point and when asked about real vs. fake, claimed that all he could say is that his matches were real. Good luck in getting a second interview with that newspaper after a response like that
There was an incident after the show at the Nassau Coliseum involving Giant and a fan. From what we were told, a very big (said to be around 6-6) fan was harassing Kevin Nash, who basically ignored it and went on his way. He then turned his attention to Giant and was really ripping into him. It wound up apparently with Giant throwing a punch at the guy and him running away
Thunder on 6/18 in Philadelphia at the Core States Spectrum drew a total of 14,436 fans, which was 12,641 paying $216,265, which was just shy of a sellout. Nobody from WCW mentioned anything about a mass transit strike as a reason for not selling out. The show drew a 3.58 rating and a 6.67 share on the live airing and a 1.3 rating and 4.8 share on the replay. It was almost mind-boggling how bad the show was considering it was Philadelphia which has a certain brand of fans that want to see action and this show had almost nothing. WCW came off really unprofessional in comparison with WWF in that the press conference was earlier in the day and they didn’t have any footage (teasing it for ratings on Monday where it flopped) and they spent the show talking about it being the most eventful and greatest press conference ever without saying anything about it, and when it aired there was nothing about it to begin with. In addition, they didn’t even have any footage from the Tonight show which was the previous night. Can you imagine WWF in the same situation not having the footage on its next TV show? They aired a different camera angle of the Savage “injury” to show Bischoff throwing this totally weak kick to a chair onto Savage’s knee, claiming it broke Savage’s leg. After Savage had the leg wrapped around the post at every PPV show, for that kick to be said to have broken the leg came off really bad. McMichael pinned Mike Enos with a tombstone in 3:31, most notable for “We Want Flair” chants and signs for Flair. Raven did an interview trying to re-do the Dreamer angle by acting like he and Saturn grew up together as best friends. Saturn came out but the Flock jumped him. Kanyon made the save for Saturn and they cleaned house on the Flock while Raven had already vanished. Fit Finlay beat Brad Armstrong with a tombstone piledriver in 5:44 of a disappointing match. Giant came out smoking and choke slammed Disco Inferno in :57. Davey Boy Smith & Jim Neidhart beat Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Masahiro Chono in 4:20 via DQ when Bulldog powerslammed Tenzan and Chono hit him with the title belt. It was billed as being an IWGP tag team title match. This became something of an issue in Japan as a worked angle with the idea that New Japan never sanctioned the match but Chono said that since he was the champion he could do as he pleased. The other part of the issue is that Tenzan & Chono lost via DQ, but in Japan that would mean a title change as it’s only in America where screw-jobs reign as we have those nonsensical rules that make sense to us because we were all brought up with them. Rick Rude did an interview and they piped in all the fake Goldberg chants. The production was horrible because they abruptly stopped the tape and right in mid-chant the entire place went quiet. Konnan pinned Alex Wright in 4:17. Benoit beat Eddie Guerrero in 3:43 with the crossface. It was the best thing on the show but too short. They are doing a gimmick with Guerrero where he’s no despondent about losing to Chavo that he loses all his matches. Chavo is a riot, but this losing streak gimmick is not exactly doing to do wonders for Eddie’s elevation to the top. In a cartoon street fight, Public Enemy beat Riggs & Sick Boy in 6:21 when Rock pinned Sick. TV main saw Goldberg jackhammer Reis in 1:13. The entire show was built around the question as to whether or not Goldberg could lift such a big man in his hold, which would be an interesting question if we hadn’t already seen him plant the guy on two occasions. They did a few dark matches on the show, with Kanyon over Kidman, Raven beating Saturn in 90 seconds, and Luger pinning Giant clean
Atlantis, Vampiro Canadiense and Emilio Charles Jr. will all debut at the Orlando tapings this week. Dr. Wagner Jr. won’t be appearing because he’s booked in Japan
On the World Wide show that aired over the weekend the announcers were talking about Perry Saturn being a member of the Flock and being good friends with Raven as if they had no idea about an angle that had taken place the previous week (and when they did the announcing, no doubt they did have no idea)
Ultimo Dragon has been at the last few TV’s but not been used
A correction from last week’s issue when talking about Kevin Nash. He played basketball at University of Tennessee, not UTC
Cards for 7/14 in Reno and 7/15 in Stockton are both Nash vs. Giant, Page vs. Hart, Malenko vs. Jericho, Saturn vs. Raven, Juventud Guerrera & Chavo Guerrero Jr. & Lizmark Jr. vs. Dandy & Villanos IV & V, Hugh Morrus vs. Finlay and Chris Adams vs. Kidman
For 7/17 in Sacramento it’ll be Sting vs. Giant, Goldberg vs. Hennig, Benoit vs. T, Dragon vs. Eddie Guerrero, Juventud Guerrera & Psicosis & Super Calo vs. La Parka & Silver King & Ciclope, Disco vs. Riggs and Marty Jannetty vs. Nagata
The only regular house show of the week was 6/21 in Richmond, VA which drew 7,293 paying $146,560. Sting-Giant headlined. Reports we got was it was a pretty bad show with Chavo vs. Kidman as the best match and it was only *3/4. Merchandise for the week was $275,359 or $9.93 per head
The Luger interview in Philadelphia where he talked about Hogan and said how all the little dogs have grown up in reference to an interview Hogan did years ago was pretty much a shoot and not something he was supposed to do
There was a lot of talk about Scott Hall returning at the Nitro in Jacksonville. Don’t know what the story is on Hall but he’s not booked on any house shows but his return should be imminent. While nothing is confirmed until it happens, there has been a lot of talk about them trying to give an explanation as to why he turned and erase the turn and put him and Nash back together again
There was a big story in the South Bend, IN Tribune regarding an eighth grader who started a satanic cult at a middle school. The boy he was being detained was actively recruiting fellow students to join his cult, which he called Raven’s Flock. The boy was being held on two charges of intimidation from two students who joined the Flock but wanted out. All the recruits upon joining the flock had to sign contracts that stated they agreed to join “4 life.” It was alleged that the leader threatened to kill the students when they wanted to leave. The cult is believed to have spray painted graffiti on the walls of the school and scratching the paint on some new cars at a car dealership with the words “Raven is the key scratcher.”. . The absolute sickest attempt at a practical joke if that’s what it was, took place at the Great American Bash PPV. As Hart, Hogan, Piper and Savage were going over their match, Bischoff and Dillon came in and Bischoff called Hart away from the group and gave him a note that basically said they had just gotten word that his father Stu had just passed away. Bischoff told Hart that he didn’t have to do the match, that he’d charter him a flight back home immediately and that any wrestler on the card who was close with him could leave with him as well. Apparently someone, and the police locally are currently working on finding out who, called an unlisted number at the box office of the Baltimore Arena and claimed to be Bruce Hart and gave very specific details about things that only a real insider would know which is why Bischoff and Dillon believed the story because of how specific the message was. About 10 or 15 minutes later, after Dillon had called Stu’s house and found out he was alive and fine, he told Bret that Stu was fine. Bischoff felt horrible and apologized heavily and apparently when Bret saw the way the message was worded because of the obvious inside knowledge of the message he understood why Bischoff believed it although there was apparently heat from others as to Bischoff telling Hart before checking it out. Bischoff again told Hart that he didn’t have to work the match, all of which was in total stark contrast to years back Vince McMahon’s reaction at a PPV when the word reached him that Dean Hart had died. When Hogan, Piper and especially Savage found out about how everything went down, they were all furious, Savage in particular, based on how anyone could do something like that to someone as a practical joke and obviously to try and ruin the show. This also may partially explain why everyone in the ring looked so lost at times
There has been the expected negative comments regarding Malone doing the pro wrestling gig leading to the typical non-thinking wrestling rhetoric. Columnist Linda Dougherty in the Trentonian in Trenton, NJ wrote about the Tonight show angle said it was sad to see Leno sully the good name of his show with such garbage. Leno did try to play TV wrestling announcer by acting like there was a big surprise backstage for Rodman & Hogan that they didn’t know about and then Page & Malone came out. The next night when Malone was on, Leno again claimed that unbeknownst to Rodman & Hogan, that Malone was backstage. Dougherty wrote the saving grace of the angle was Leno was mocking them while it was going on. “Professional wrestling just gives kooks like Rodman an outlet and excuse for stupid behavior and is a vehicle for the promotion and creation of violence
Professional wrestling has absolutely no redeeming qualities–its loud, obnoxious, annoying and has zero intellectual value. In contrast, handicapping a horse race–blasted by some as the mindless pursuit of scruffy degenerates–can actually be beneficial to a youngster. It’s an exercise in memory, mathematics and money management, plus teaches self control and responsibility
Learning how to decipher the abbreviations and numbers in the Daily Racing Form and then applying that information at the mutuel windows builds character and promotes decision making.” Please don’t ask me how handicapping horse racing and making bets has anything to do with Karl Malone or pro wrestling
WCW Saturday Night on 6/20 did what may have been its lowest rating in history–a 1.5
WWF: Complete 6/28 King of the Ring PPV show has Steve Austin vs. Kane for the title in a first blood match, and if Kane loses, he’ll set himself on fire and basically if we are to believe WWF stipulations, commit suicide, Undertaker vs. Mankind in the Hell in a Cell, the three King of the Ring matches with the semifinals being Jeff Jarrett vs. Ken Shamrock and Dan Severn vs. Rocky Maivia, X-Pac vs. Owen Hart and Al Snow & The Head vs. Brian Christopher & Scott Taylor and if Snow loses, he has to leave the WWF. Being that Vader no longer wrestles with his mask on and that Sable returned two weeks later with no explanation other than she’s been hired by Titan Sports, and thus somehow isn’t in the WWF although she interferes in matches every TV show, I’m sure people not only care greatly and believe intently that if Snow loses, he’s actually going to leave
The Raw show that aired on 6/22 was taped 6/16 in Austin, TX before a non-sellout of 10,891 paying $200,005. In the Shotgun match highlights, Terry Funk & Bradshaw & Dustin Runnels beat Jerry Lawler & Brian Christopher & Scott “I wanna be Eddie Gilbert” Taylor when Bradshaw pinned Christopher and LOD beat Midnight Express. Raw opened with Vince McMahon interviewing Kane. Continued on page 15.
THE READERS PAGES
The WWF training camps are a step in the right direction. Yet, one must still question the criteria in recruiting by the WWF. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that people like Kurrgan and Mark Henry will never draw a dime or become good workers. They can be chalked up as a waste of time and investment from the start.
Barry Buchanan is another. He spent about a year in the USWA. When he was finally brought up to the major leagues, he quickly disappeared. He was saddled with two worthless gimmicks. He can be chalked up as another failure but in his case it has nothing to do with his ability, but due to being given lousy gimmicks.
Brackus was introduced last year in one vignette. He worked mostly tag team matches in USWA and worked a few matches in ECW. WWF barely even used him to get any return on their initial investment.
I can see Sean Morley and Adam Copeland being successful. They both look to have athletic potential, but that also can be misleading. Most of the WWF newcomers are former athletes. Darren Drozdov has a good look but hasn’t wrestled long enough to be put on national television.
The end result may be many green wrestlers being exposed before they are ready for the big time. WWF needs to send these wrestlers to a territory for some seasoning and then put them on national television when they are ready.
David Heath is an awesome wrestler when given the opportunity. I saw him on an independent show three years ago. He had the flu that made it difficult to breath yet had a match in the ***1/2 range. I can see tons of potential in him. But it isn’t like WWF and WCW haven’t had a million chances with him already. One must ask the WWF why they have this new found interest in him? He has wrestled on-and-off with them as a jobber for five years.
Not all the WWF’s hopefuls are going to be successful on their wrestling ability. The gimmicks are an important ingredient. Morley was given the opportunity to be a star from his vignettes and the character they gave him. Buchanan got screwed in that department. Kurrgan sucks no matter how he’s repackaged. They need to be careful when it comes to gimmicks because a bad gimmick can screw somebody up big time.
The WWF needs to use more wrestlers with some experience. They are interested in a lot of guys with no wrestling foundation and the result is they are starting from the ground up, and putting some of them on television before they are fundamentally ready. The result is people catching on to green wrestlers with mechanical work rates, or complete failures.
Brooklyn, New York
Your obituary of JYD was off-the-charts. I broke out all my JYD Mid South tapes to see for myself what I had long forgotten. JYD from 1980-84 was outside of Hulk Hogan and the Von Erichs, the top babyface in the country. The story also made me feel sad for the way JYD ended up destitute and a shell of his former self.
As an African-American, I feel pride when I look back at how JYD carried himself as the top star in Mid South. I also hated him when he allowed himself to be involved in a very racial angle with Terry Funk based on racial epiteths being hurled by Funk. This was the prime example of Vince McMahon’s inability to promote and book African-American talent. Look at their track record, The Natural Butch Reed, Saba Simba and the Nation of Domination.
Robert Silva Jr.
Brooklyn, New York
I would like to thank you for the wonderful piece you did on JYD. The piece brought back so many memories of when I lived in Houston from 1983 to 1990. Before I lived in Houston, I lived in Cleveland, but there was not much wrestling on television there that I knew about. However, when I moved to Houston, I was very happy to see Houston and Mid South Wrestling. I have very fond memories of seeing JYD, Butch Reed, Jim Duggan, Terry Taylor, Jim Neidhart, Jim Cornette and the Midnight Express and others at the Sam Houston Coliseum. These house shows were very, very entertaining. Only after becoming a subscriber have I become aware of just how popular Mid South Wrestling was in the 80s. Yes, the Coliseum was often full but I had no idea about the television ratings. The most memorable match from that era was between Stagger Lee & Bill Watts vs. Midnight Express. The stipulations were that if the Midnight Express won that Jim Cornette would replace Watts heading Mid South Wrestling for one month. If Watts won, Cornette would have to wear his mother’s dress. My sister and I harassed our parents for weeks to get tickets. I still remember being surprised by them by getting those tickets. The Coliseum was sold out for the match and the crowd went crazy seeing Cornette in the dress. I didn’t because I was a big Cornette fan.
Brooklyn, New York
WWF VS. WCW
The trend of false advertising, teasing things that never happen an blatant lying that goes on every Monday night is happening in regular television as well. The trend now is to not tell the audience that a regular show is a two-parter. Merlin, Creature and several other sweeps type big productions by the networks were all promoted this way.
Is Dusty booking WCW again with all the turns? For the first time in a long time, I saw Raw live, and Nitro on replay maybe. The Austin/McMahon angle is fun to watch. Anything big on Nitro gets repeated over and over and is usually rendered useless within a few days anyway. Raw is much more entertaining and you hit the nail on the head when you said Nitro can’t compete with the soap opera that is Raw. WCW is too fly-by-night. WCW could dominate by presenting the better wrestling but they choose not to. It’s unfortunate that who Chris Benoit may or may not be dating affects his career. Can you imagine the heat that would come down if a coach didn’t play a superstar because he dates the assistant coach’s ex-girlfriend? Watching both shows gives you the understanding of just how much mainstream they really are. When Bret Hart did his turn on Nitro, a fan in the front row with an Outsiders t-shirt gave him the cross chop. High school kids give the Outsiders over the head sideways salute to each other at games. Hershel Walker gave the Diamond cutter symbol and the bang when he scored a touchdown. It’s everywhere. Of course, ten years ago when I was in high school, we all gave the Four Horsemen signal to each other.
DM: Actually in the real world, plenty of people’s careers get affected both positively and negatively based on who they are dating.
I attended Monday Nitro in Providence on 5/18 and needless to say, it was horrible. the sound system was terrible for the first half of the show. The wrestling matches and the wrestling was horrible. They mentioned coming back in August for Thunder and if we showed out tickets, we’d get $3 off. They should let us back for free.
I noticed a big heavy-set guy most likely from WCW going around and taking signs. I waited for him to get near us and I had blank cards and a marker. I quickly jotted down, “Eric–Vince says suck it!” Well, this guy zoomed right at me and pointed at me and told me to give him the sign. I acted like I didn’t hear him and held it up higher. I then passed the sign down the row. He told me to get the sign or I’d be thrown out. So I give him the Degeneration X sign and told him no way, I have freedom of speech and told him to suck it. Not nice I know, but someone needed to tell WCW people where to go on this issue. Anyway, before he could get help to get me escorted out, I worked my way to the end of the row and gave him the Degeneration X sign again and for the rest of the show. I had to hide from this guy and the two goons he had with him. It made my night but the show rotted. Whatever happened to freedom of speech?
Coventry, Rhode Island
I don’t think the WWF has gone far enough with their attitude gimmick. They should go totally hardcore and aim for a TV-M rating. They wouldn’t lose any viewers since they have primarily an adult audience. They should ditch the NWA, get rid of Jim Cornette and Jim Ross and work more with ECW. I hope the WWF never becomes No. 1 again, though. Thinking back to Doink and Duke Droese, they are better off on the offensive. Plus, when you’re on top, your main concern is brown-nosing the network.
Garden City, New York
DM: You’re taking a marketing ploy like it’s reality.
Regarding some of your comments on the mid-year favorites for awards, the only one I find any disagreement with is Worst TV show. It seems that with Monday Nitro plus Thursday Thunder, the new worst show is the forgotten and completely useless WCW Saturday Night. It was just a few years ago that most of us would postpone the starting of any Saturday night festivities until after 8 p.m. Now it’s a show that is meaningless and not worth anyone’s time. This is really a shame when you consider that if WCW was smart, they could use the time slot to push the cruiserweights and make it more of their show. As it is, all the WCW TV shows are just imitations of each other and none do justice to the best workers in the promotion.
I’m going to try and use a little logic and I think what I’m going to say makes sense, but this being wrestling, logic doesn’t always apply.
It appears to me that WCW is building their television toward one thing, the return of Ric Flair. They have taken all of their big name stars and put them into either NWO Hollywood or NWO Wolfpac. That leaves a huge hold in WCW. Who is the only big name established star who is so over and such a good interview and who has the credibility to be the leader of WCW? Ric Flair. A Horseman group of Flair, Bill Goldberg, Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko would give WCW the legitimate group they need to keep the feud from going stale. With Benoit and Malenko, you could carry either side to better quality of matches. Goldberg would be even more over by being linked with Flair, and the education he would get to building his future would be invaluable. The two wrestlers who should be the stars of the company in the new millennium are Goldberg and Benoit, with possibly Chris Jericho right behind. This would give both of them the rub they need to be elevated to that position.
Another option would be to leave the fourth spot open for Bret Hart when he turns face. You could feud Hart with Benoit for a while to set it up. Also, putting Hart in a group with Flair, Goldberg and Benoit will get him over before his run with Hogan. Finally this scenario accomplishes one other thing, it gets Arn Anderson back on television. Having him talk for Goldberg will only help Goldberg develop the interview skills he needs if he’s going to be the star of the company in the future. I think this whole scenario makes sense so that means they probably won’t do it.
Union, New Jersey
It seems to me that after Eric Bischoff challenged Vince McMahon, the smart response by McMahon would have been to publicly turn down the fight acknowledging that Bischoff was ten years younger than him and had experience in kickboxing, but McMahon should have responded and said that instead of a fight between non-wrestlers that the wrestling fans would rather see a contest between the top athletes from the two organizations who are trained for fighting. He could have invited Bischoff to pick his wrestler and that he would pick his, perhaps Dan Severn or Ken Shamrock. It just kind of hit me right away when Bischoff was making his challenge that he was setting himself up. It seemed so obvious to me what McMahon should have done logically as one would think the WWF would have the upper hand in any kind of a grandstand challenge of this type. I was shocked that not only did McMahon not respond in the logical way, but that you never even brought up this scenario in the Observer, even if only to explain why it wouldn’t have been a smart business decision.
DM: Ultimately in the game of grandstand challenges if the game were to be played out until its conclusion like it would be in Japan or like it was in the old days of wrestling wars, WCW would have to come up with a face saving excuse for backing down because the obvious point of checkmate is that the WWF has Shamrock. Bischoff was smart enough to realize it would never get to that level because McMahon’s personal ego wouldn’t allow him to appear to back down publicly by making the suggestion of using a wrestler instead of fighting the fight himself against the smaller guy, and because of the WWF’s public attitude gimmick, McMahon must have felt he had to respond in some forum, which he did in that silly Internet response. Obviously no interpromotional match at this point can take place, and neither side would ever let it take place without an agreement and with it all being a work because who makes the money from the match would end up with a discussion on how everyone could make the most money from it and then how everyone could get out of it saving face and it becomes business as usual. Nobody ever discussed the game getting that far because it just wasn’t going to get that far.
Who is the greatest WWF champion of all-time? If you ask most wrestling fans, they would say either Hulk Hogan or Bret Hart. For being a great draw, there is no question Hogan was the best. Two years from now we may say Steve Austin but at this point that is still premature. If you’re looking at the best wrestler, most would figure it would be Hart. At one time I thought that as well. But looking back, Hart may be the most overrated wrestling champion of all-time. For so many years, WWF fans were subjected to such horrible main events that when McMahon decided to change directions and go with Hart, fans remembered the main events of the past and praised Hart for being such a great wrestler. But if we look back, Hart was as overrated as a wrestler as Ultimate Warrior is and was overrated as a drawing card. Compare Hart to Shawn Michaels and Steve Austin. In Michaels’ two title reigns, he’s had five four-star matches and that doesn’t even include the Hell in the Cell match. Austin has had two four-star matches and his reign has just started. Looking back, Hart only had one, the match with Bulldog in Hershey, and he had more time as champion that Michaels or Austin. As a draw, everyone can agree Hart was an average champion as a drawing card. By quality of his matches, he was also an average champion. Michaels may not have been a better draw than Hart, but he was leaps and bounds a better match performer. Austin is both a better draw and a better match performer. Michaels and Austin wrestled the better part of last year with numerous serious injuries, while Hart was a lot healthier during his title reign. If that wasn’t enough proof Hart is overrated, look at the television ratings since he’s left. Sure, you can attribute it to Mike Tyson, Steve Austin and Vince McMahon, but Tyson only showed up in January and the ratings started going up right after Survivor Series. Hart in an interview that he thought Diesel, Razor Ramon and Sid all had their best career matches against him. I’ve read silly quotes in the past but that one tops the list. It’s sad to see Hart really believes what he says, which only proves that when you take one too many shots to the head, you lose your mind.
St. Leonard, Quebec
DM: It’s all subjective but I believe Hart had a whole lot more than one four-star match as WWF champion. As far as being a drawing card, the only two WWF champions who can really point to themselves as being big drawing cards are Hogan and Austin. The rest drew as well as the business at the time was doing, with Hart being an average draw and others, like Diesel, being a poor draw. I believe Hart, Michaels and Austin were all great performers as champion and picking between the three is more a matter of style preference, although Michaels to me is the single most talented wrestler I’ve ever seen but also is the least professional of any recent WWF champion. As far as all the world champions in WWF and WCW of this decade and their matches as champion, Austin is too soon to put a level on after two title matches, but of the rest, the four who stand out heads and shoulders above everyone else are Flair, Michaels, Hart and Vader. As far as ratings, as weird as everything has turned out in hindsight, if you look back at what jump started the ratings for WWF, it was Hart, because Raw focused on Hart and the segments relating to Hart drew by far the best quarter hours for the six weeks after he left, basically until Tyson showed up and Austin got so incredibly hot. I do think the best match Diesel and Razor had and ever will have were against Michaels although Hart did have one unbelievable match against Diesel on a PPV.
One retiree you left out in your recent list of people who kept their word about retiring was Gorilla Monsoon. Monsoon had a match with Ken Patera at the Spectrum in Philadelphia and said that if Patera beat him, he’d finish up his current commitments but then never wrestle again. As far as I know, he finished up at the end of that month and never wrestled again. He actually did very little as far as in-ring angles and refereeing went after that point. I think at this point we can safely say that he won’t be coming back.
It’s great to see Mark Curtis back even though he called me all kinds of names when he managed Chris Evans and others in the New Jersey independents. The backdrops he took were worth the price of admission alone.
Gloucester, New Jersey
I was a regular attendee at the Olympic Auditorium from 1963 through the early 70s. I’ve seen some classics. I’ve also seen some duds, which for some reason became legendary. The Gene Kiniski-Bobo Brazil one hour draw where Bobo’s WWA title was retired was horrific. They just held each other on the mat for most of the match.
Los Angeles, California
I think that Music City or any indie that runs shows four nights a week probably should get more coverage in the Observer. Even WWC gets more space. I’ve never seen MCW TV, but a true territory likely deserves a bit more space.
The Observer has been sensational this year. Pulitzer level journalism in the Vince McMahon-Bret Hart double-cross story, brilliant analysis putting your readers well ahead of the curve on WCW’s problems, great historical pieces.
I saw a note a couple of weeks ago that Basil DeVito was named acting Vice President of television and sponsorship for the National Thoroughbred Racing Association. Pro Football Weekly back on 10/12/97 had a long article on the Chicago Panthers semipro football team. One of its linemen was Jon Stewart, the same Illustrious Jonnie Stewart from pro wrestling. Maybe one of his old teammates or opponents in the semi-pro ranks is Bradshaw, as I can’t find any evidence that John Leyfield ever played in either the NFL or USFL.
San Marino, California
Please lay off the sarcasm in regards to wrestlers hairstyles. For a person who has always protected the private lives and sexuality of wrestlers, you seem to have a problem with wrestlers who change their hairstyles.
Any changing of hairstyles is not to be questioned by you or I. Your comment about Nikita Koloff letting his hair grow and finding Jesus offended me. Besides, who knew Jesus was missing in the first place.
Forest City, North Carolina
By adopting a policy dictated by an era of immovable egos and having constant main event run-ins and non-finishes, I feel much of the excitement of the business has been suffering. I understand that to lose, even in a worked environment, may cause the wrestler to lose credibility. However most of today’s main eventers are over enough that they can still sell tickets based on their name. A contest that builds on hype outside the ring and climaxes with fast-paced near falls and a clean pin at the end allows fans to experience the genuine emotion of their favorite star either winning or coming close to winning. All Japan captures this spirit on a regular basis. I recall the Hogan-Warrior match at Wrestlemania VII as a terrific example as well. This was how wrestling should be portrayed to the fans. Great hype. Great heat and an emotional climax. What do you consider the five or ten most entertaining matches since the early 80s?
DM: There are so many I couldn’t begin to make a list. I think most of the matches that finish in the tops in the Match of the Year polls could all be considered. The most emotional matches I’ve ever seen live were both in Japan, the first time Mitsuharu Misawa beat Jumbo Tsuruta in 1990 which finished high in the balloting that year but television really didn’t capture the feeling that was there live, and a 1992 hair vs. hair match with Manami Toyota vs. Toshiyo Yamada which was just as good on television as it was live. The best matches I’ve seen were from All Japan, but there have been so many singles involving Misawa, Kobashi and Kawada against each other and tag matches involving them with Taue that I’m not sure which ones to pick above the others, other than for a complete match, they have an element that a lot of the super matches lack. Just because they are unforgettable and memories of the matches will remain clear probably for years, the Flair-Steamboat matches from 1989 and the Razor Ramon-Shawn Michaels ladder match from Wrestlemania X would have to be on any list, but the top All Japan matches, due to style advancements over the years, seem to me to be at a different level. Judged by today’s standards, Flair’s best matches and Liger’s best matches are still excellent, but the All Japan top matches seem more technical, more physical, have better psychology and have more intensity and build more emotion, not that Flair or Liger’s top bouts in their prime lacked anything in those regards, its just that those matches are newer and thus better due to the style being advanced. But if you’re judging everything in its context, matches like Tiger Mask vs. Dynamite Kid in 1982 and Jaguar Yokota vs. Lioness Asuka in 1985 should also be mentioned since they were ahead of their time. There were matches of a few years back with Toyota & Yamada as a tag team against Dynamite Kansai & Mayumi Ozaki that still stand out in my mind like the Flair-Steamboat matches. But you could list 100 matches if you went and studied the subject, all of which could easily be in the top five.
Continued from page 12. Kane talked with some voice box deal that made him sound like a robot. Anyway, McMahon said that the PPV match would be a first blood match and that if Kane loses, he’ll set himself on fire and breathe his last breath. Shamrock beat Mark Henry in 4:37 of a KOR match with a belly-to-belly largely because Vader ran to ringside and clobbered Henry. Match was bad but that wasn’t due to Shamrock at all as Henry has improved but he’s still a big guy who little movement or charisma. X-Pac pinned Runnels in 5:31 of an average match when Chyna distracted the ref. It was amazing to see Runnels sell almost the entire match for a guy so much smaller than him. Runnels seemed like he was on his knees praying both before and after the match. Lawler did an angle with Snow, who came out wearing a dress and an old-lady wig, while the head was wearing Lawler’s crown. Lawler facially is really beginning to show his age. There was no crowd reaction to Snow when he used terms like doing the job. Jarrett beat Mero in the second KOR match 4:31 when Sable, who appeared to have gotten yet another breast enlargement (Seriously, are there any two more screwed up characters in this business than the Giant, who is 500 pounds and wants to get bigger, and Sable, whose breasts make her look like a human oddity and she should be managed by Jackyl but for whatever reason will probably get them enlarged a few more times by the end of this year), distracted Mero. Kane destroyed Road Dog in 4:09 with the tombstone. Road Dog used a low blow but Kane didn’t sell that either, prompting Lawler to say Kane had Titanium testicles. Paul Bearer did the interview from “his house” and Undertaker came out and destroyed him and both ended up getting killed. Edge beat Jose Estrada Jr. via count out in 1:07. About 45 seconds into the match, Edge did a running flip dive onto Estrada and legitimately landed on him wrong and Estrada’s neck went out. You couldn’t get any kind of a read of Adam Copeland because the match ended so fast. It turned out to be either a sprained or jammed neck along with a pinched nerve in the neck and Estrada was hospitalized overnight but will be okay and is expected back in action in a few weeks but there were some scary moments when he was motionless on the ground with people having Bagwell flashbacks. They pushed the hell out of Edge up to that point in the show. Severn beat Hart in 2:59 of the KOR match when X-Pac nearly killed Hart in the back of the head with a chair shot. Hart’s head was busted open legit and he needed seven staples to close it up in the hospital that night, although he worked all his scheduled house dates during the week. Rocky Maivia beat Hunter Hearst Helmsley shockingly clean in 8:07 of an average match. Chyna DDT’d Rocky, who kicked out of the pin. Helmsley tried a Pedigree but Maivia hit him with a low blow and got the pin using a fisherman suplex to get the final KOR berth. Mankind did a very good interview talking about figuring he and Undertaker would end up being friends but because of what Undertaker did, they would never be friends and he promised a surprise on the PPV (don’t you hate WWF surprises because they build up something big and it usually ends up with Billy Gunn dancing). Mankind beat Billy Gunn in 5:39 with the claw in an average match. The show ended with Austin doing a promo challenging Kane to come out. Kane came out and made some motion and all sorts of red liquid came from the cage to give the impression it was raining blood on Austin. After the show went off the air, Austin beat Mankind in a title match rather quickly
There were loud “Goldberg” chants during breaks at the taping
House shows this week saw 6/23 in Corpus Christi draw a sellout 3,748 paying $64,833, 6/24 in Tyler, TX drew 5,015 paying $79,122 which is the all-time record for that city, and 6/25 in Houston drew a sellout 15,529 paying $250,537 which is actually a bigger gate than they drew in the same building for a PPV show in February. In Corpus and Tyler, Undertaker and Austin were both never booked on the show so the main event was Shamrock beating Hart in a submission match plus Kane (without Bearer) using a tombstone on Vader. Merchandise for the week was $367,844 or $10.46 per head
Not only is Pittsburgh sold out for the KOR PPV show, but the TV tapings on 6/29 in Cleveland and 7/13 at the Meadowlands are both either very close or totally sold out
The first matches taped for the WWF’s Mexican television show on Univision could be as early as this week in Cleveland. The 30-minute show will air nationally at 11:30 a.m. Eastern time on Sundays starting on 8/2 and will be an all-Latino format with Hugo Savinovich and Carlos Cabrera doing the announcing. As of right now, it will be built around the Latin wrestlers under contract such as Papichulo, Pantera and the minis
Pierre of the Quebecers is out of action rehabbing after having his knee scoped
Maivia did have his knee scoped even though he worked the television tapings
Phineas Godwinn was hospitalized after the TV taping on 6/15 in San Antonio with an intestinal infection
Luna Vachon missed the TV tapings due to being ill with food poisoning
Shawn Michaels was at a WWF event for the first time since Wrestlemania when they did the TV in San Antonio. The report from those who saw him is that he mentally appeared in better shape than in a long time. He had cut his hair. He was able to sit down and stand upright for periods of time without excruciating pain which is an improvement. Michaels doesn’t want to get the back operation to fuse discs that a lot of people think he may need to return to wrestling and just wants to rest and rehab. The basic word right now is that in about three months he will undergo a major exam of his back and at that point they’ll have an idea as to if or when he’ll return. The WWF has no plans written in stone regarding a program for Michaels, but is hopeful he can start at Royal Rumble. There is at least a possibility being taken seriously that he’ll never wrestle again. Michaels left the building before the taping started and there was no thought to putting him on television since the feeling was it didn’t make sense to reintroduce the character when there would be no follow-up on it for months or maybe until next year
United Kingdom only PPV show that was originally set for September has been moved to December and will probably take place in London
The Vince McMahon-Steve Austin arm wrestling angle and ticket selling kick-off for the Foxboro Stadium show on 8/8 will be on 7/1 at the Galleria Mall in Cambridge, MA
Sunny missed yet another autograph session on 6/21 in Ridgewood, NY with the excuse being given that she was in an auto accident
Steven Regal spent this past week training at the WWF gym in Connecticut and will be back training this week with the plan for him to debut on 6/29 in Cleveland. Steve Williams will be starting soon, but probably not as soon as Cleveland as they want him to get his weight down a few more pounds and they want to get vignettes with people like Bill Watts and Barry Switzer aired to build anticipation for his start
There is pressure being put on Vader, Jose Estrada, Faarooq, Runnels and Mark Henry to drop weight
There have been some reports going around, including some fairly significant press in Japan, about the World Wrestling Federation being interested in buying the Minnesota Vikings. There has been to the best of my knowledge, no mainstream media reports on this in the U.S. What we do know is that at a company meeting on 6/12, McMahon told some of the higher-ups he was interested. One would think the Vikings, since they’d go for a few hundred million, would be way out of McMahon’s league although McMahon could head a group of investors. Officially the word from Titan is only to the extent that there has been dialogue
Terry Funk turns 54 on 6/30. If it seems like he’s been 53 for about three years, the reason is because when he was in ECW, Paul Heyman jumped the gun on him being 53 about a year early to set up promoting the first PPV show
Live Wire on 6/20 did a 1.6 rating and Superstars the next day did a 1.7, which would have to be the first weekend in history in which both WWF weekend shows drew a higher rating than WCW Saturday Night
Beef Wellington is expected to get a shot on the 7/3 Edmonton show working against Val Venis.
WRESTLING OBSERVER NEWSLETTER June 29, 1998
POST OFFICE BOX 1228 U.S.Postage Paid
CAMPBELL, CA 95009-1228 Permit No. 5634
San Jose, CA