The Wrestling Observer Files: January 6th, 1992
The first newsletter for 1992…
72% of the Observer readers considered Starrcade ’91 to be a thumbs down worthy show. The best match on the show was voted as being Lex Luger & Arn Anderson taking on Tom Zenk & Terry Taylor. The worst match on the show was Jushin Liger & Bill Kazmaier taking on Mike Graham and Diamond Dallas Page.
The major story is the Inside Edition special they had that featured Superstar Bill Graham talking about steroids and how he personally injected Hulk Hogan. This could possibly cause big embarrassment for the WWF and Hogan. Inside Edition brought in their top producer from vacation in an attempt to make it an exceptional piece. Needless to say, Titan Sports responded saying they will not respond to the claims. Apparently, Inside Edition declined to include Titan Sports new drug testing procedure (I’d imagine that would hurt the piece to begin with.)
World Championship Wrestling will be keeping their distance from the issue and most of the heat will be on the WWF and Hulk Hogan. Hogan simply because he wasn’t truthful when he appeared on Arsenio Hall.
Dave Meltzer notes that the real issue is the impact that anabolic steroids will have on someone if they use the drug for a long period of time. Zahorian, the doctor in the middle of the steroid issue, was sentenced to three years in prison, two years probation for each of the 12 counts, $12,700 in fines and had to give up $3.7 million of his complex.
Meltzer notes that he’s expecting that if the WWF were to respond they would try to discredit the creditability of Billy Graham or Dave Schultz. From the guys he’s talked to, most of what Graham and Schultz have said, have been supported. Schultz was fired from the WWF due to an attack on Mr. T, which wasn’t staged. He was also close friends with Hulk Hogan having worked with him in AWA and WWF.
Back to WCW Starrcade ’91, which was given the Battle Bowl title. According to Dave, the PPV wasn’t as good as their free Saturday Night program. In fact, the first match didn’t appear on TV, at least for Meltzer. Here’s a rundown of the results and star ratings that Meltzer provided.
1.) Jimmy Garvin & Marcus Alexander Bagwell defeated Michael Hayes & Tracy Smothers (NR)
2.) Rick Rude & Steve Austin over Van Hammer & Big Josh (3/4*)
3.) Dustin Rhodes & Ricky Morton defeated El Gigante & Larry Zbyszko (3/4*)
4.) Jushin Liger & Bill Kazmaier defeated Diamond Dallas Page & Mike Graham (3/4*)
5.) Lex Luger & Arn Anderson defeated Terry Taylor & Tom Zenk (***1/4) – Meltzer considers Taylor to be the most unappreciated wrestlers.
6.) Ricky Steamboat & Todd Champion defeated Cactus Jack & Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker (*1/2)
7.) Sting & Abdullah The Butcher defeated Bobby Eaton & Brian Pillman (***1/4)
8.) Big Van Vader & Mr. Hughes defeated Rick Steiner & Night Stalker (*3/4)
9.) Scott Steiner & Chip The Firebreaker defeated Arachnaman & Johnny B. Badd (*1/4)
10.) Ron Simmons & Thomas Rich defeated Steve Armstrong & PN News (3/4*)
11.) Sting & Lex Luger won their respective rings in Battle Bowl (1/2*)
12.) Sting eliminated Lex Luger to win the Battle Bowl (**3/4)
Meltzer likes the idea of a blind tag team style tournament, but not on pay per view. Besides, none of the interesting match-ups took place. For instance, a Steiner vs. Steiner or Rude teaming with Sting. He expects the buyrate to not be very good.
Dave mentions the 1/21 Clash of the Champions and runs down the card. This will likely setup a pay per view to take place on February 29th. If they can get Pillman vs. Liger to go along with the other three top matches, they’ll likely have a great show.
He also runs down what will be see at the 1/19 Royal Rumble pay per view. Pat Tanaka and Jimmy Snuka will be returning for a one-off.
Florida has a bill up for vote where they will discuss regulating professional wrestling in the state. Linda McMahon will attend to oppose it, as will several independent wrestling promotions. However, WCW will not be attending it. Changes include the following, if the vote is successful.
*A five percent tax on gross receipts from live gates, pay-per-view events and closed-circuit telecasts purchased in Florida
*Non-refundable license fees for announcers, booking agents, managers, referees, wrestlers and timekeepers (not to exceed $100 per person against $250 in the case of booking agents)
*An increase in a promoter’s security bond from $3,000 to $5,000
*Promoters must pay for an ambulance and two emergency medical technicians to be on hand for the duration of a show; Promoters must also provide a ringside physician at every match and each participant must be examined within 12 hours of their match to determine their health and well-being
*Promoters must pay for each wrestler to have a minimum of $2,500 in insurance coverage for medical, surgical and hospital care stemming from injuries incurred during a match
*No wrestler past the age of 45 can be licensed unless they are pronounced physically fit by a physician
*Performers are banned from touching or threatening a referee
*Action is banned outside the ring or on the ring apron
*Wrestlers must register a fictitious or assumed ring name with the commission prior to match time
*”The commission’s representative may order a promoter to withhold money’s payable to a participant if…there appears to be collusion to fix, alter or influence the outcome of the match.”
*Wrestlers are prohibited from participating in more than one match within a 24-hour period
*The commission was be allowed to suspend the license of any promoter who has consistently failed to make matches between participants of similar ability and skill
*Anyone under the age of 18 is prohibited to be licensed
*Refunds are to be granted upon the postponement of the main event or substitution of either main event participant. Failure to do so will result in a penalty of suspension of the promoter’s license
*”No promoter shall advertise or continue to advertise that one or more participants will perform when such is not the case. The license of any promoter who continues this practice after a warning by the commission shall be suspended or revoked
*Drug testing is called for, but anabolic steroids are not specifically mentioned nor have penalties been established
Roddy Piper showed up on television and gave an emotional speech about how much Don Owen helped his career and then took a shot at Ch. 12 for dumping Portland TV in favor of WWF Superstars in the slot.
Billy Jack Haynes has been fired, and it’s not a shock.
Buddy Rose has returned at 375lbs and will be feuding with Demolition Crush over the Pacific Northwest Championship. Rose was originally a face but turned on Crush by tossing powder into his face. He also claimed that he wouldn’t wrestle on TV unless the arena was sold out. To explain why he’d wrestle, Don Owen said that Piper brought out empty seats and the place was actually sold out. That didn’t matter because Rose was able to win the match. Sure, he had help from the Harris Brothers and a towel with ether on it. But, he still won.
Ch. 12 explained that because of the declining ratings it was costing too much to foot the bill of the show.
The December 25th show in Portland saw Crush retain the championship over Pat Rose when powder was kicked into Rose’s face. The Harris Brothers lost a steel cage match to Steve Doll and the Grappler. Jesse Barr lose to Madril, and the babyface referee, Sandy, had to wear a diaper and essentially act like a baby.
Three days later at the final TV taping, Pat Rose defined logic by doing stuff in the ring that nobody weighing 375lbs should be able to accomplish.
Sandy Barr is running shows in Vancouver, WA and they drew 600 fans. The show featured Pat Rose pinning Crush in a non-title match. Al Madril won a mask vs. hair match against Sandy, but the referee saw the illegal object and Madril was unmasked. However, the Harris Brothers prevented any kind of reveal.
The 12/20 show drew 336 fans. Barry Horowitz should have won his second match against Terry Daniels, but he played to the crowd too much and thus the match ended as a draw. The best match of the show was Eddie Gilbert battling Terry Garvin to a double disqualification.
Speaking of Horowitz, he is selling a tape of his only victory for $49.95.
Their 12/27 show drew their best crowd of 1,400 and was also their best show to date. It featured a great match between Jerry Lynn and the Lightning Kid, which saw Lynn win the GWF Light Heavyweight Championship. Eddie Gilbert retained the GWF TV Championship against Terry Garvin. They ran an angle where fans found Gilbert trying to hide various illegal weapons, and then a referee named Sam Boswell would referee all of Gilbert’s matches because he knows what he’s trying to do. The Patriot retained the North American Championship against Scott Anthony. After the match, Dark Patriot sprayed ink into Patriot’s eyes. Irwin & Bart won the tag titles from Tatum and Price in a best two out of three falls match.
To explain his absence for Christmas, Eric Embry took five piledrivers from Tom Prichard.
12/28 show in Memphis saw Jerry Lawler win a double elimination tournament to get a title shot against Kamala. Oddly enough, in most cities Lawler is acknowledged as the champion. However, in Memphis, Kamala is the champion.
Brian Christopher turned on Tony Williams saying he isn’t anyone’s job boy.
Slick is back on Prime Time Wrestling as a babyface. Sid Justice should be back on TV at the Florida taping.
Jesse Ventura is suing Titan Sports for using his announcing outside of the agreed upon shows.
The 12/29 MSG house show drew 11,000 and it featured a match between Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair. It also featured a singles match between Bret Hart and Ted DiBiase.
Jushin Liger won the WCW Light Heavyweight Championship on 12/25 from Brian Pillman. They’ve been having incredible matches all week. The New York crowd gave them a standing ovation while the crowd in Dallas booed Liger and in Atlanta it took them a couple of minutes to get invested in the match.
Crowds were up for the Christmas week of shows due to the loaded cards.
Apparently, PN News couldn’t beat Rick Rude in an arm wrestling contest and was decked by Rude when things got heated. So, on TV, News was sent face first into the ring post by Mr. Hughes to explain the swollen eye.
Meltzer doesn’t believe that WCW runs angles on TV and instead just shoot stuff to kill time. Instances of Rude and Sting not selling recent attacks makes him jump to that conclusion.
Eric Bischoff continually called a Japanese wrestler by the wrong name. It was Hiro Saito competing, but Bischoff said Hiro Tatsuki instead.
Aside from the Tokyo Dome show on January 4th, Lex Luger has the entire month of January off. It’s being rumored that Luger won’t be sticking around much longer.
Power Hour might become a more magazine style show.
Some house show matches in January should include Steiners vs. Young Pistols, Steiners vs. Hughes & Vader, Vader vs. Gigante. Sting vs. Rude will be the main attraction.
Steve Armstrong is trying his hand at singing had had a concert in Sandy Springs, GA. He recently recorded an album.
12/25 at the Omni drew 3,600 and a show on 12/27 at the Meadowlands drew 3,900.
Diamond Studd missed Starrcade due to getting bone chips removed from his elbow.
1/1 Omni show will have a main event tag team match. Sting teams with Ron Simmons taking on Cactus Jack and Rick Rude. Balcony seats are only $3.
Before I continue this new series, I figure I’ll point out what I’m doing. I’ll be focusing only on American wrestling companies, and their backstage news. So, I won’t be covering anything overseas related.
I will also be jumping around, but I will start at the beginning of whichever year.
Thanks for reading.