In this edition of Inside The Magazine, I look at the June 1991 Pro Wrestling Illustrated. Ric Flair has been giving bonuses out to his teammates and one man is getting quite a bit more than the rest. Hulk Hogan visits Fort Bragg. Cactus Jack is a danger to himself. Is there going to be a clash between Ron Simmons and Butch Reed? Scott Steiner sits down for Press Conference. All this and much more!
Don from Florida really misses Magnum TA after a recent article on the former wrestler. Don is confident that if Magnum was wrestling today that he’d be world champion. Brian from California thinks that Randy Savage is stupid for costing the Ultimate Warrior the WWF World Championship. Now, Sgt. Slaughter is the champion and the WWF rarely ever does rule breaker vs. rule breaker matches. Savage is going to have to deal with a mad Ultimate Warrior now, too. Jose from New York believes that Undertaker is on the rise in the WWF and is going to be a top champion at some point in 1991 and will hold the championship for a long time. Eric from Virginia praises Ric Flair for coming up with the Black Scorpion plan to get the NWA World Championship from Sting, which he accomplished on January 11th. Eric thinks that Sting became overconfident that Flair took advantage of that.
Sgt. Phillip James is serving his country in Saudi Arabia and thanks the PWI for their year end issue that featured awards. He agreed with the awards and notes that the NWA is his favorite promotion since the WWF makes their wrestlers into sideshow freaks. Peter from Baltimore can’t believe that Black Scorpion was ranked number three in the rankings after having lost 19-straight matches to Sting and even lost to Tom Zenk. Dave from New York thinks it is a little unfair for fans to want to lynch Eddie Gilbert considering his actions may have been provoked by Jerry Lawler. After all, Jerry Lawler had Missy Hyatt do various household chores due to stipulations from a match.
Stephen from California really likes the Royal Rumble because the match allows rule breakers to battle rule breakers so they can get a taste of their cheating ways. Elena from Michigan thinks that fans need to allow Chris Von Erich to develop before saying that he isn’t a good wrestler. Ed from North Carolina remembers when the NWA ran the Mid-Atlantic area in 1985 and got big houses. However, now they come only four times a year instead of two times a month and their crowds are lower. Gary from Ohio wasn’t impressed with tag team wrestling in 1990, but 1991 has already been drastically different with teams like the Rockers, Hart Foundation, Legion of Doom and Orient Express. He thinks tag team wrestling is going to be great in 1991.
RINGSIDE: written by: Bill Apter
Undertaker already has a new manager named Paul Bearer instead of Brother Love. According to a WWF source, perhaps Love doesn’t know anything about wrestling to sell the contract of a top prospect like the Undertaker. Brother Love was recently attacked by Ultimate Warrior due to Love calling Warrior an embarrassment. Terry Taylor has changed his persona and joined with Alexandria York to form the York Foundation. Taylor believes he will never lose due to the computer system that York uses. Recently, Taylor got involved in Bobby Eaton’s match and was decked for doing so.
Carlos Colon won the vacant WWC Heavyweight Championship from Greg Valentine. Zeus is returning to wrestling scheduled to wrestle Abdullah the Butcher on April 13 for IWA in El Centro, California. Jamie Dundee recently turned on his father Bill Dundee. Bill literally spanked Jamie and was attacked by Jamie later on in the night during a six man tag match. Jamie is going to get a stable and get Bill out of the USWA forever. Dustin Rhodes and Big Josh have recently joined the NWA. Lady X got a huge upset victory over Susan Sexton to win the LPWA Women’s Championship on January 31. Apter isn’t sure if she’ll be champion by the time we read this.
FROM THE DESK OF…: written by: Stu Saks
Saks hopes that the WWF doesn’t breakdown and rely too much on videotape review. Replays wouldn’t be like the NFL were action is halted. Instead, it would be only if the outcome happened due to illegal activities. One referee believes this is a way to take control away from referees. The wrestlers wouldn’t listen to them and they the wrestlers would respect them now that their judgment isn’t fully final say. Saks notes that the replay rule would just have wrestlers wait for non-televised shows to cheat their way to victory. Saks doesn’t like the idea of two referees either. By the end of the article, Saks concedes that perhaps he is a traditionalist.
WIN, LOSE, OR DRAW: written by: Andy Rodriguez
Andy recalls his comment from the March 1991 magazine where he thought the era of Ric Flair dominating the NWA was over when Sting won the NWA World Championship. However, Flair regained the title on January 11th but Andy doesn’t apologize for his words. Andy no longer feels that Flair is the same Flair from 1985 or 1988 when he would regain the title in less than six months like it took Flair this time. When Flair developed the Black Scorpion persona it was clearly a sign of desperation. Barry Windham defends the Scorpion gimmick saying that they eventually got the NWA World Championship back. He also insists they don’t need over the top characters to succeed in the NWA. Flair is getting older and is relying on his partners more and more lately. Andy also notes that he is confused why Flair fans would want him to lose the championship again in order to break the record currently held by Harley Race (tied with Flair at 7).
IN FOCUS: written by: Craig Peters
Peters is happy to see that Brother Love will no longer appear on WWF television. He never liked the religious nature of the character and how he had cured people in wheelchairs. He hopes nothing like Brother Love will appear on television again. A former PWI writer sent an article to Peters about a woman named Roberta Smith. She is Sting’s grandma and she notes how Sting didn’t get big until he got into bodybuilding. She watches Sting regularly but always gets emotional watching him. There could be some friction in the USWA between Stan Lane and Steve Keirn. Lane and Jim Cornette are bringing some rule breaker attitude to the group while Keirn has always been someone to follow the rules. Should they split, it wouldn’t be the first time they battled as they had some bloody matches back in 1981 that Jerry Lawler recalls being the most violent matches he had ever seen live.
THE STEEL CAGE: written by: Bob Smith
Bob recently went to Atlanta to witness a workout for WCW wrestler El Gigante. The training was essentially in private and no cameras were allowed in. David Sierra, the trainer, is finding it difficult to find people to train with Gigante similar to what Mike Tyson dealt with in 1985. Gigante came from the NBA where any contact called for a foul. He had to adapt to not being afraid of making contact in the ring. Ric Flair makes his blood boil the most and Gigante feels like he is the man to take the NWA World Championship from the Nature Boy. Gigante recently defeated Bobby Eaton and challenged Flair to a match on January 14th.
However, Flair responded with a slap to the face. That action is the ultimate sign of disrespect and has made Gigante even angrier. Gigante had a lot of hype around him but that fizzled shortly after he started to compete. However, now Gigante is actively getting better and becoming a top challenger to Flair’s championship. Flair, meanwhile, doesn’t consider Gigante to be a challenge and thinks he’ll beat Gigante with ease.
OFF THE TOP ROPE: written by: Eddie Ellner
Adam from England thinks that Ellner doesn’t like wrestling anymore since he is very negative and constantly talks about the “good old days”. Dudley Fulcrum from PA wants to know what Eddie thinks of Paul Bearer. Eddie finds it to be a weird coincidence that he’d be managing the Undertaker, but suggests that the Undertaker will be sending his opponents into a coffin shortly. Kevin from Mississippi wants to know if Ted DiBiase will be a singles champion soon. Eddie believes that it all depends on what makes DiBiase the most comfortable. Perhaps, he could renounce his rich lifestyle and go back to what made him one of the best wrestlers just five years ago. Who knows, it may be too late if he were to change his ways.
CACTUS JACK: NO REGARD FOR HIS OPPONENTS – AND EVEN LESS FOR HIMSELF!: written by: Bob Smith
Mike Williams, an enhancement talent, says that he has never been in the ring with someone who wanted to hurt themselves along with their opponent before. He doesn’t want to wrestle Cactus Jack ever again. Cactus has been becoming quite popular in the UWF having gotten more cheers than some favorites recently at a show in New York. Cactus isn’t happy until he disables his opponent. Kevin Sullivan admits that he stopped managing Cactus Jack because Jack wouldn’t listen to any kind of direction. Sullivan thinks that Cactus enjoys pain more than winning matches. Cactus has been rumored to be nearly banned from the UWF, but several wrestlers, including Bob Orton, have stood up for Cactus. Cactus has a dream of climbing up to a balcony and jumping off causing the ring to collapse and pinning his opponent.
THE INEVITABLE CLASH: RON SIMMONS VS. BUTCH REED WHCIH ONE IS DOOMED?: written by: Dave Rosenbaum
All tag teams are destined to come to an end and the team known as Doom isn’t an exception to that mindset. Dave looks at a series of events that included Doom nearly losing the NWA Tag Team Championships to the Freebirds. That caused Simmons to argue with Teddy Long, their manager. At Clash of the Champions XIV they lost the Sting and Lex Luger by disqualification and Simmons didn’t want to celebrate the win since Dan Spivey had gotten involved. A week later, Butch Reed proclaimed that he got them another victory, but Simmons reminded him they are a tag team. Almost a week later, Simmons teamed Dan Spivey to defeat the Southern Boys. The reasoning? Because, Reed deserved a night off. That explanation doesn’t sit well with Simmons. Rosenbaum is confident that Doom is doomed. Doom is a great team, but if they split then it will likely ruin their careers since neither man is a good singles wrestler. If they split, the other tag teams will be heaven.
PRESS CONFERENCE: SCOTT STEINER
Steiner wanted to make a statement after his time limit draw with NWA World Champion Ric Flair by having his brother Rick there for the interview. His top priority is his tag team with his brother and it will always be the case. Scott isn’t going to give up his singles career and is going to pick and choose his spots. Scott downplays any tension between him and Rick and notes that his brother was at ringside for his match against Flair. Scott does apologize for Rick breaking the rules by tossing Flair back into the ring three times. He thinks it’s just because Rick can get excitable in the ring area. Scott admits that being regularly in tag matches could have cost him in the match with Flair as he didn’t pace himself correctly.
Scott admits that if he were to have won the NWA World Championship that his brother would have gotten a shot at it. The reasoning being that Rick is a great wrestler and deserves it. Plus, it would be a clean title match. Scott doesn’t feel comfortable declaring a winner and says that it would be a draw. After the match, Scott focused on the US Tag Team Championships and hasn’t forgotten about Doom, either. Scott wants a unification tag match with Doom where the winners are the undisputed tag team champions. Scott believes that 1991 is the year of the Steiner Brothers.
HULK HOGAN: AMERICA’S HERO: written by: Bill Apter
Hogan recently visited Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, North Caroline to lift the spirits of the troops involved in war. Hogan constantly corrected the soldiers saying that they were the real heroes, not himself. Hogan was busy at Fort Bragg where he even jumped off a 100 foot high jump tower. Most soldiers thought it was great that Hogan would visit. Hogan is clouded in controversy as the WWF has been seemingly tried to cash in on the war with Sgt. Slaughter as WWF World Champion and denouncing America. Hogan’s history with Mr. Saito and Iron Sheik are mentioned. Hogan won the WWF World Championship on January 23rd, 1984. Sheik is quoted as saying there was no way he could have beaten Hogan will all that patriotism behind him. He thought Hogan was a crazy man on that night. Hogan has never failed when he battles against someone who has insulted America.
RIC FLAIR’S ANNUAL BONUS PAYOUT!: written by: Dave Rosenbaum
According to the magazine, Flair gave a $75,000 bonus to Barry Windham, $85,000 but a one million dollar bonus for Sid Vicious. Flair has his men as paid protectors to keep the NWA World Championship around his waist. Flair earned an estimated 7.5 million in 1990. Flair and Vicious have been teaming lately to take out Sting and Lex Luger in tag matches. Sting and Luger both recall always knowing what their roles were in the Four Horsemen. They were a roadblock to prevent a title change from happening. Sting never was going to go along with it, but was shocked that the Four Horsemen operated in such a way. At some point Sid is going to have to think if the money is really worth it. If it is not, Sid could cost Flair more than one million dollars.
THE NASTY BOYS DIS THE LEGION OF DOOM: AND THERE’LL BE HELL TO PAY: written by: Eddie Ellner
The magazine is published before the results of WrestleMania are known. The Nasty Boys are in trouble either way, though. With the championships they become the number one target. They defeated teams in a battle royal, but not in a straight tag match. Even without the belts, they face trouble in the form of the Legion of Doom. LOD weren’t given a red carpet treatment and they are pissed off by it. They thought they’d get a title match in a reasonable timeframe and that hasn’t happened. The tension between the two teams have gotten so bad that they must be kept apart at all times. Perhaps, LOD is past their time and without Paul Ellering they can’t beat the Nasty Boys. LOD has put several tag teams in the hospital and that won’t stop with the Nasty Boys now.
Sherri Martel is likely to start managing Ted DiBiase and ditch Randy Savage soon. It all comes down to money as DiBiase has offered her more than six figures to manage him. The rumors have gotten savage quite angry at both Martel and DiBiase. Larry Zbyszko has arrived in the NWA and wants to fight Sting so he can get a shot at NWA World Champion Ric Flair. However, in his return match to the NWA, Zbyszko was pinned by Terry Taylor. Kevin Von Erich has been awarded the World Class Heavyweight Championship because he has the best record. Madusa is back from Japan but is going to have to work her way back up the card in LPWA before she gets a title match. She may be a champion in Japan, but that doesn’t give her a title shot in the US.
That concludes this edition of Inside The Magazine. What are your memories of the magazine or what was going on in wrestling at the time?
Thanks for reading.