NJPW was thrown into chaos this week when Keiji Muto, Satoshi Kojima, and IWGP Jr. Heavyweight champion Kendo Kashin all abruptly quit the company, along with 5 of NJPW's front office employees, and are headed to AJPW. Needless to say, this immediately killed the working relationship between the two companies and NJPW is already attempting to forge a new partnership with NOAH. There's also said to be a significant power struggle within NJPW right now behind the scenes that will likely be straightened out whenever Inoki returns to Japan (he's in Los Angeles right now). Tatsumi Fujinami is NJPW president but in the wake of losing these big stars, and the disappointing TV ratings for the Jan. 4th show, it's rumored his days may be numbered. There's rumors that Inoki may take over the role for the first time since he was forced out of the position back in 1983 (long story, bunch of financial scandals, Google is your friend here). Muto is currently half of the IWGP tag team champions and they were scheduled to defend the titles next month and he volunteered to still work the show, but NJPW wasn't having that so that won't be happening now and the titles will instead be vacated, along with the Jr. title Kashin held. And of course, the IWGP title is also currently vacant due to Fujita's injury, so all of NJPW's top titles are vacant right now (the only other active title is the Jr. tag belts, held by Gedo and Jado).
Lots of rumors floating around about how this happened, but the gist appears to be that Hiroshi Hase was the architect (no Seth) behind this whole thing. Reportedly, Muto (and maybe some of the other people who left) may be purchasing a stake of AJPW from Motoko Baba so he'll have some ownership say. The long-term idea is that Mrs. Baba will step down in a few years and Muto, who by then should be ready to retire (lol) will take over the role as AJPW president. Of course, that was the original plan for Misawa after Giant Baba died, but he and Motoko Baba couldn't get along and Misawa eventually left and formed NOAH instead. It's also worth noting that Kashin in particular wasn't thrilled about doing shoot fights while working in NJPW, but felt pressured to by Inoki and he reportedly wanted out of the company even if the AJPW thing hadn't been an option. As for Kojima, he and Tenzan have been the best tag team pro wrestling has seen in years and from an in-ring perspective, may have been the best pure worker in NJPW so his loss is going to hurt a lot too. The office workers who left are mostly accounting and merchandising people who will be doing the same jobs for AJPW.
One bummer of a note here is that, before this, Muto had talked of putting together a dream match against Misawa. But as long as Motoko Baba is breathing air, an AJPW star isn't going to work with Misawa, so that's probably a dead issue (yeah, sadly we never did get that match).
One final note: Muto also tried to recruit NJPW rising star Hiroshi Tanahashi, who most believe has the most potential of anyone in the entire company, to jump ship with him but Tanahashi decided to stay (oh man, can you imagine how different things would be if he had gone).
On Raw this week, Vince McMahon teased the impending arrival of Hall, Nash, and Hogan, saying he's going to do something soon that even he will regret. Vince has reportedly caved on most of Nash's demands, including the reduced schedule. Hall will be making less money than Nash and will be given an even lighter schedule, because he's a single parent with custody of his children (and Dave questions how fucked up Dana Hall must be if SCOTT is the one who has custody). And of course, you gotta figure Hogan ain't working a full schedule, since he hasn't done that in a decade and probably ain't gonna start now. Of course, this puts WWF in the same position WCW was in a few years ago: having all the top stars working TV and not appearing on house shows, which is something WWF used to openly mock WCW for. Now they'll be doing the same thing, with the same guys. It's something that killed WCW's house show business long before the TV ratings started going down. There's also the issue of how they'll get along backstage, since many of the agents (Dave says Gerald Brisco in particular) were very vocally against bringing these guys back. And then there's John Laurinaitis, who has a lot of power backstage now and he and Nash used to butt heads constantly in WCW. So things are gonna be interesting.
In a bit of a surprise, Vince has also agreed to let them use the NWO name and gimmick, and that reveal was made later in the week on Smackdown when Vince talked about killing the WWF with the help of the NWO. As of now, there's no plans for Triple H to join the group. X-Pac will probably find his way into it, given his relationship and history with the group. Nash is reportedly pushing for Shawn Michaels to be involved, but Dave has heard that's unlikely because there's still some fences that need to be mended there between Shawn and some in the company. But then again, Nash has gotten his way on everything else he's asked Vince for so far, so who knows? Anyway, Hall and Nash have officially signed, but Hogan still hasn't finalized his deal as of press time, but the office has been told it's inevitable and to start making plans as if he's signed. It's expected all 3 men will probably debut at the No Way Out PPV next month.
The Royal Rumble is in the books and was a huge success. Critically, it was an excellent show, nothing MOTY-worthy or anything, but nothing bad at all and was a legit sellout. Coming out of the show, it appears Chris Jericho will be defending the WWF title against Triple H at Wrestlemania, though that can still change. Triple H winning the Rumble was expected but made the most sense. The Rumble match lasted just over 69 minutes (nice), surpassing the 1993 Rumble and, as far as Dave is aware, making it the longest mach in WWF history (a famous Pedro Morales vs. Bruno Sammartino match in 1972 was reported in all the newspapers as lasting 75 minutes, but it was actually only 65 so don't come at Dave with no "well actually..." bullshit)
The return of Mr. Perfect and him being put over like a major star (he lasted until the final 4) proves that WWF has no intention of letting any other competitor get off the ground and will nip that in the bud before it ever happens. Hennig has been available for more that a year (WCW released him before they folded) and WWF never seemed interested, but as soon as XWF came along and made him their featured star (with plans to make him the face of the company), suddenly WWF swooped him up. Hennig's appearance was meant to be a one-off but it was known they were likely going to offer him a deal if he was impressive, and they have. It may not be a huge get for WWF, but it's a massive loss for XWF and pretty much renders their entire first set of TV tapings meaningless now, and Dave says that was precisely the point. Vince left the door open for competition once before and it nearly killed him. He won't make that mistake again (not until 2019 anyway). Dave says to let this be a lesson to any new promotion trying to start up: make sure you have people signed.
Other notes from Royal Rumble: Goldust, who was also a one-off for the match, is expected to sign a full-time deal as well. FlaiVince street fight was way better than it had any right to be considering it was between two guys over 50, one of whom isn't even a trained wrestler and the other hasn't wrestled in nearly a year since the final Nitro. Jericho retained the title over Rock in an excellent match and Dave notes that no one in the history of wrestling with the kind of main event star power Rock possesses has ever done as many jobs as him. Maven dropkicking Undertaker out of the Rumble match was the biggest pop of the entire show. But then Undertaker spent the next several minutes beating poor Maven nearly to death, lest anyone think Undertaker was actually trying to get this kid over or anything. Overall, Dave thinks it was the best Rumble match in several years.
The tradition of Memphis wrestling on WMC-TV has been revived! Sorta. The show, dating back to the 70s, has been off the air since last spring when the TV station refused to allow them to tape shows in their studio anymore. For the next few months, they aired a bunch of "Best of" shows but those eventually stopped in December and they've been airing infomercials in that time slot ever since. But this week, a show featuring Jerry Lawler and Brian Christopher in the main event, taped at a nearby casino in Tunica, MS aired on the channel in the usual Saturday morning time slot. Dave says the production quality was garbage and there was no local publicity for it, so it probably did a terrible rating, but it's something (pretty much just one last dying gasp, this doesn't lead to anything).
Carlos Colon said he's going to cut back on being an active wrestler because he wants to spend more time with his kids. Dave points out that most of his kids are wrestlers in his company, so maybe he's actually trying to get away from them.
NJPW star Minoru Tanaka announced his engagement to former women's wrestler Yumi Fukawa, who retired last year (did some research and they're still married to this day. Tanaka still wrestles in NOAH and Fukawa is an actress in Japan).
Atsushi Onita, who has been issuing grandstand challenges to Antonio Inoki for months with no response, has now challenged Naoya Ogawa for a match and wants it to be a benefit show in Afghanistan for the kids there. Dave says don't hold your breath for that one either. Onita says if he beats Ogawa, he wants the match with Inoki. Again, none of this is happening, just Onita trying to work his own angle. Neither Inoki nor Ogawa want anything to do with him.
Goldberg participated in a charity golf tournament this week and while there, he made some comments about going to the WWF. "I personally believe that everything I've stood for when I got into the ring would be compromised and succumbed to the circus-like atmosphere that's out there, and that's putting it mildly. I would be an imbecile if I gave up half my money to work for a company I didn't respect." Dave wonders if his tune will change when that WCW contract money dries up (yup). Also, at the same tournament, they did a funny little angle with Goldberg throwing his caddie into a lake.
Superstar Billy Graham has reportedly lost nearly 60 pounds in just 3 weeks, most of it water weight due to edema he's suffering from and all the other liver issues he's currently dealing with.
Bruno Sammartino did an interview talking about the role he has in a new low-budget movie called Saloonatics where he plays a mob guy with cancer. Sammartino talked about how uncomfortable he was with all the profanity his character had to say but he eventually got more comfortable with it and was able to put aside his personal feelings and eventually was okay with it. (No idea where the full movie is, but here's a trailer and yeah this shit is LOOOOOOOW budget).
Former WCW announcer Mark Madden is in some controversy in Pittsburgh, where he hosts a daily sports talk show on the local ESPN radio station there. A few weeks back, the sports media in the city was swirling with rumors about NFL star Kordell Stewart's sexuality. Madden went on his radio show and criticized people who were spreading those rumors. A writer who works at the radio station then went on the air and accused Madden of being one of the main people who fueled those rumors and claimed Madden had said things in the past on his show implying that Stewart is gay. Madden denied ever saying that, demanded the guy find the tapes to prove he ever said it, and basically felt like the guy ambushed him live on the air with the accusations. The radio station apparently agreed because the writer was fired when he refused to apologize (for what it's worth, several people have made accusations about Stewart being gay over the years and he's always denied them, and even successfully sued someone a few years ago for claiming he had a relationship with him. Who knows and who cares? Not anybody's business anyway).
Jake Roberts was on a radio talk show in England recently and said some interesting stuff. Said he plans to stay in the UK for the next 2 years. Said he could walk back into the WWF and have a writing job tomorrow if he wanted it. Dave scoffs at that and says I guess he prefers wrestling in front of empty indie show crowds in England instead of earning a steady paycheck. Jake also talked about the scene in Beyond The Mat where the movie alleges that Roberts asked an indie promoter for crack cocaine as his payoff for working the show. Roberts denied it happened and said he doesn't trust a promoter with anything, so he wouldn't trust one to get him crack. Well okay then. Claimed he left the WWF last time because he wasn't comfortable with the angle he was doing with Jerry Lawler, feeling like they were exploiting his sobriety. Dave pretty much rolls his eyes at all this, because Jake was actually fired for going on a bender and no-showing a bunch of events (I'm glad we all love Jake now, but he was still 1000% full of shit and off the deep end during this period).
Iron Shiek missed an appearance on the Opie & Anthony radio show this week because he was detained for several hours at the airport. Turns out he wore his curly toed wrestling boots on the plane and because this is 4 months after 9/11 and only 1 month after the attempted shoe-bomber, and let's be honest, simply because Iron Shiek is Middle Eastern, people freaked out. And when they wanted to examine his boots, he initially refused to let them and, well, you can imagine how well that went over with airport security.
If WWA's PPV in Las Vegas happens next month, Bret Hart has agreed to reprise his role as the on-screen commissioner. As best Dave can tell, no one else has really been signed on for the show and the MGM Grand doesn't know anything about this alleged plan to hold the event in their arena and in fact, WWA hasn't even applied with the Nevada commission to get a license to run a show anywhere in the state and it's almost certainly too late to get one by the scheduled date. So Dave is skeptical that this even happens, and if it does, he can't see it being in Las Vegas. (Surprisingly, it does happen and it is in Vegas, but we'll get there.)
Speaking of the Nevada athletic commission, XWF brought a bunch of wrestlers and a wrestling ring to the National Association of Television Program Executives conference in Vegas, with hopes of putting on a live show and impressing all the TV execs and trying to secure a TV deal. But the XWF didn't get permission from the Nevada commission, so they weren't allowed to use the ring and do a show. Whoops.
Speaking of XWF, morale is in the dumps in that company right now. Losing both Hulk Hogan and Curt Hennig (neither of whom were signed but had been working with them) as well as Sting reportedly not being interested has killed a lot of the excitement about the promotion for people within it.
Notes from Raw: Flair cut an emotional promo about his history in wrestling and how he was on the road so much and put wrestling ahead of his family and not seeing his kids and all that stuff. During the promo, Lawler made a sarcastic joke about Flair needing to have his priorities in order, which Dave thinks is pretty rich coming from Lawler, who lived the exact same life and wasn't much of a father to his kids either (which Lawler has admitted, to be fair). They're continuing to tease a Triple H/Stephanie split, with him being annoyed at her nagging. Speaking of Triple H, Dave thinks he needs to lose at least 15 pounds because he's totally slow and lumbering since he came back.
Notes from Smackdown: AJ Styles worked a dark match, losing to Rico Constantino, but apparently he looked awesome in the match (yeah he hits an awesome shooting star to the floor late in the match). And the show ended with McMahon doing the big NWO reveal on the back of his chair during his promo.
Regarding Triple H's match on Smackdown last week, where they gave away his return match on free TV 3 days before the Rumble. Remember how Dave was flabbergasted that they would be so short-sighted? Turns out Triple H felt the same way and fought hard against it, but Vince wouldn't budge.
Chris Benoit is telling people he expects to be back in the ring around June (yup).
Jim Ross answered some questions at a press thing last week and had lots of interesting stuff to say. He said the criticism WWF was receiving for bringing in Hall, Nash, and Hogan hurts, but they have to do what's best for the company and Vince feels this is it. Doesn't sound like JR loves the idea too much either. They've had no talks with Scott Steiner. When told of Goldberg's recent comments (mentioned above), he said he wanted to believe Goldberg hadn't really said that and thought it was a shame. Said there's heat on Jeff Jarrett for how he left the WWF last time so he probably won't be welcomed back anytime soon. JR also hinted that the brand split will come after Wrestlemania and implied that they will be reviving the cruiserweight division. Dave says he's convinced that Vince will never get behind pushing cruiserweights as major stars so he's not holding out hope for that. Said they may bring in Rey Mysterio if they decided to launch a cruiserweight division. Said they'd love to have Eddie Guerrero back but he has to get his personal issues straightened out first. Same with Shawn Michaels, plus they don't know if he could physically do it.
ESPN's Bill Simmons wrote an article reviewing Royal Rumble 2002 and Dave thinks it was great. In one piece, Simmons managed to pretty much sum up all of WWF's recent problems while still acknowledging that the show was entertaining. And the link Dave posted for it in 2002 still works!
Unless things change, Chris Jericho is gonna be in an awkward situation next week. Jericho is scheduled to play in a celebrity hockey game as part of NHL All Star Weekend. Who will his celebrity coach be, you ask? Goldberg. As of press time, most people in WWF don't seem to be aware of it and Dave wouldn't be surprised if Jericho gets pulled from it.
Booker T was on the Howard Stern show (after his comments last week saying he wasn't a fan of Stern, go figure) and talked about his time in prison and his plans to write a book. He also said he hopes to retire in 2 years which Dave ain't buying (yeah, still about 10 years away from that). He also said someone is suing him over the term "Spinaroonie" because apparently someone else thinks they own the rights to that name. Booker also mentioned that he's dating former Nitro Girl Sharmell Sullivan. Dave notes that they've been dating since WCW and Booker is the one who helped her get hired by WWF, where she's currently in developmental.
DDP has also said he plans to retire in 2 years, to become a motivational speaker. This one actually almost happened. He left WWF just 3 months after this and didn't wrestle at all for several years. Then he had a brief run in TNA but he's been mostly retired other than some one-offs ever since.
Randy Orton is moving up to the main roster. In his final OVW match, Orton lost clean to Prototype and Dave says it's clear they're grooming Prototype to be the next OVW champion.
Hello, as a student at WashU taking a COVID-19 awareness class in Anthro 048, I am reaching out to mississippi to talk about Nativ American Healthcare on reservations in this state. It is quite a unique situation for those that live in Domestic Dependent Territories, the official name for the sovereign tribes that live on reservations in America. Even harder is how they are handling the Covid-19 outbreak. What more, American politicians thought they had this covered way back in 1976. According to Dr. Siobhan Wescott of Harvard Medical School and a Native American herself, a part of the Gerald Ford administration was focused on improving a treaty agrreemnt made a century ago in the times of Manifest Destiny. In the late 19th Century, when it was evident that Native American tribes would either be wiped out, or expelled to smaller and smaller territories, they set up a diplomatic treaty that afforded some Tribes sovereign agreement land, and what more, basic healthcare. This might surprise some because healthcare was not exactly what it is these days. But, it's important to remember that before mass colonization, the biggest killers of Indian Tribes were a disease. Smallpox killed hundreds of societies before conquerors could ever set foot on the land. Thus, it was in the best interest to provide a basic healthcare program so that medical aid could be provided to conserve the nations if the white man ever brought over more disease. (Source: https://www.ihs.gov/aboutihs/legislation/) Fast Forward to 1976 when Gerald Ford passed the Indian Health Care Improvement Act that was amended to Social Security to provide reimbursed Medicare services to all American Indians and Alaska Natives in the Indian Health Service and tribal healthcare needs (Source: https://www.medicaid.gov/medicaid/indian-health-medicaid/indian-health-care-improvement-act/index.html) Now, we are in the midst of one of the biggest outbreaks in modern history. Native Nations, like the Choctaw in Mississppi or the Cherokee a bit more north, containing the virus is quite hard due to how their infrastructure is. With limited local government or taxes, nations are unable to provide provisions to block this. More over, the hardest-hit nations like the Navajo cannot sufficiently close their borders because of public US interstates and roads. What more, the sovereign status of these lands that originally attracted low-sanctioned casinos and bars, do not have the means to shut down or provide practical guidelines for the pandemic. This economic pressure is what hurts a lot of the lower-class Native American Families. And if you're saying to yourself right now, this doesn't affect me because I'm not Navajo, think again: more than 40% of all tribes have casinos that support millions of jobs. Even in Mississippi. This is a warning if you think just because MS is letting off the brakes on some regulations doesn't mean it's time to hit Tunica Casinos and blow money and aerosols around. Tribes like the Choctaw have much higher rates of diabetes and obesity due to the low-price food industry creating an oligarcy in food around these lands. This is why Native Tribes have the 3rd highest per Capita death rate for COVID, up there with New York City and New Jersey beaches. (Source: https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2020/05/the-impact-of-covid-19-on-native-american-communities/) So, I reach out to you now, Mississippi, as one of the states that started the Trail of Tears, we show our hearts to the Choctaw and Native American tribes and be precautious and follow COVID-19 procedures.
Hey guys, here are some recent job openings in ms. Feel free to comment here or send me a private message if you have any questions, I'm at the community's disposal! If you encounter any problems with any of these job openings please let me know that I will modify the table accordingly. Thanks!
Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives. PREVIOUS YEARS ARCHIVE:1991 • 1992 • 1993 • 1994 • 1995 • 1996 • 1997
The issue opens with the death of American MMA fighter Douglas Dedge who died from brain injuries suffered in a fight in Ukraine. It's a long story but TL;DR as you can imagine, this isn't good news for the fledgling sport, which is already struggling to stay alive in the face of government scrutiny over the perceived dangers. Political opponents of MMA have been waiting for something like this to happen and they wasted no time in jumping on it. Even though it wasn't a UFC event, that hasn't stopped UFC from taking the brunt of the bad publicity. Dedge was punched into tapping out and immediately stood up after the fight ended, but then collapsed again. He went into a coma and never woke up, dying 2 days later. Former UFC co-owner Art Davie (who now co-owns K-1 America after UFC fired him) sent a letter to UFC and, conveniently enough, also sent the letter to Arizona senator John McCain and several cable and PPV companies, saying that MMA wasn't a sport and that UFC should be banned and even plugging his own new kickboxing promotion. So obviously, his motives for sending this letter are questionable to say the least (here's the video of the fight. Fair warning: you'll basically be watching a guy die).
Scott Hall has checked himself into rehab again, almost exactly a year to the date that he did it last time. Hall is expected to be gone for at least 30 days. Last year, WCW caught a lot of flack for continuing to promote Hall when they knew he wasn't going to be appearing at shows. This time, they didn't mention his name once on Nitro and are no longer advertising him for house shows. This comes just a few weeks after the death of Louie Spicolli, who was a close friend of Hall's. Dave also mentions that 2 years ago, around this same time, Hall was suspended by WWF for testing positive for marijuana on the same day he gave notice that he was going to WCW.
The Academy Awards, usually one of the top 2 or 3 rated TV shows of the year, aired head-to-head against both Raw and Nitro this week and yet both shows still managed to do strong ratings, which is phenomenal considering most shows get eaten alive by the Oscars. Basically every week or two, both Nitro and Raw seem to be setting ratings records and not even the Oscars seem to be able to slow them down. Interestingly enough, Raw actually won a quarter-hour segment in the ratings for the first time in over a year, but WCW still owned the night. But WWF is undeniably beginning to close the gap. In related news, a recent Raw aired on Tuesday because it was preempted by another show. That Tuesday episode of Raw, without facing Nitro competition, did a pretty monster rating also and has USA considering possibly moving Raw to Tuesdays, but it's still premature to speculate on whether it will actually happen. Besides, Dave says that if Raw moves to Tuesdays, WCW would likely just move Nitro to Tuesday also. One final note: these big time Raw ratings were for taped shows, which once again proves that taped vs. live has no bearing at all on ratings. (not sure if you've heard, but turns out wrestling was pretty damn popular in the late 90s).
Les Thatcher will be promoting a Brian Pillman benefit show next month and he's managed to do the impossible: bring WWF, WCW, and ECW together under one roof. WWF has agreed to send Steve Austin and Sunny to co-host the show (but not wrestle). WCW will provide the main event, Chris Benoit vs. Chris Jericho. And ECW is sending Al Snow vs. Chris Candido. The rest of the show will be various indie wrestlers. All the money will go to Pillman's family.
Eric Bischoff appeared on TSN's Off The Record show, mostly to respond to Vince McMahon's comments on the show the week before. While Vince came off charming, confident, slightly out-of-touch, and somewhat dishonest, Bischoff came off as far more open and honest, but also defensive and somewhat arrogant. Dave says that a lot of the wrestlers who have worked for both Bischoff and McMahon say that Bischoff doesn't seem to care about the wrestlers, while Vince at least acts like he cares even though most feel like it's just a facade and that Vince doesn't care about them either. Bischoff is far more blunt with his opinions and is less liked by his employees than McMahon. But those same people also say they trust Bischoff to be honest with them far more than they do McMahon. During their interviews, both men refused to admit to their obvious mistakes (McMahon when talking about the Melanie Pillman interview, Bischoff when he refused to admit in hindsight that firing Steve Austin was a mistake).
Other notes from the interview: Bischoff claimed that much of McMahon's success was because of the talent, not because of McMahon's alleged promotional genius. Bischoff pointed out how both Hogan and Randy Savage already had the gimmicks that made them famous before coming to WWF and in Hogan's case, he was already a huge international star from his years in AWA and NJPW. Or in the cases of gimmicks that really hit, it was usually the talent that came up with it (Bischoff noted Scott Hall's Razor Ramon gimmick, which was Hall's idea and was basically just his old WCW Diamond Studd gimmick with a Scarface twist. Bischoff claimed Vince originally wanted Hall to do a G.I. Joe-style gimmick). As for Vince's claim that WWF was winning everything other than the ratings war, Bischoff disputed that too, saying WCW is leading in PPV buys (true) and that WCW is outdrawing WWF in house shows so far in 1998 (also true, although it's very close). As for TV ratings, Bischoff said Tuesday afternoons, when the ratings come in, used to be exciting but now they're so used to beating WWF that it's not even a big deal anymore (he's gonna be choking on those words in a few months).
And still more notes from the interview, because paragraph breaks are helpful: Bischoff points out that Austin's gimmick was his own creation and that Vince's idea (The Ringmaster) flopped, but admits WWF deserves credit for pushing Austin to the moon when he got over. As for firing Austin, Bischoff said Austin was injured a lot and they felt like Austin wasn't being honest with WCW about his injuries, which is why they fired him. Said Austin in WWF is "a big fish in a small pond" and he wouldn't be a top star in WCW. Talks about meeting Vince in 1990 for an announcer tryout and admits he wasn't a good announcer back then. Bischoff also admitted that he came up with the NWO concept after seeing the NJPW vs. UWFI feud in Japan in 1995. Says Lex Luger was originally supposed to be the 3rd man and then Sting but he figured both were too predictable, so they made the decision to go with Hogan 4 days before the show (Dave calls bullshit on that one, since he knew 10 days before the show that it would be Hogan). Said WCW plans to do a Hogan vs. Hart angle sooner or later and that it won't be a U.S. vs. Canada angle like WWF did. Regarding rumors that Bret was going to show up on Nitro with the WWF title the night after Survivor Series, Bischoff said "absolutely not" and explained how the circumstances were different from the Madusa WWF women's title incident. Given Hart's contract situation and WCW's ongoing lawsuits with WWF, he said there was no chance whatsoever that Hart would have shown up on Nitro that night. When questioned about all of WCW's top stars being over 40, Bischoff name dropped guys like Mysterio, Guerrero, Benoit and Jericho but the host pointed out that they're all mid-card guys and not presented as main eventers but Bischoff sorta dodged the question. And finally, he said McMahon tries to portray the wrestling war as himself vs. big bad billionaire Ted Turner, but Bischoff says Turner's involvement in WCW is minimal and that he actually only talks to Turner maybe twice a year. Eric Bischoff says he is the one kicking Vince's ass, not Ted Turner. (Weirdly enough, I can't find video of Bischoff's interview, but here's a more in-depth recap with a lot of exact quotes):
Promo Azteca has taped a few demo shows with higher production values in an attempt to sell them to a network to air in the U.S. WCW is reportedly interested in airing it as their own Lucha show and is willing to pay for the extra production costs. On the flip side, WWF is interested in doing their own Mexican show called WWF Latino and have been negotiating with Televisa in Mexico about airing a show, but it's all in the discussion phases for now.
Giant Baba has finalized the deal with WWF for Vader to appear at AJPW's upcoming Tokyo Dome show. There have been discussions for a relationship beyond that but the problem is basically....Baba is cheap. He's still stuck in the old mindset of paying a headliner around $10,000 per week. But when you're trying to sell out the Tokyo Dome and you need to bring in special attractions and gate money is potentially in the millions, it takes more than 10K to get a top WWF star. Baba won't put any serious money on the table for big time foreign names, so WWF ain't biting.
A 19-year-old named Takeshi Morishima debuted for AJPW this week. Word is they're really high on him and he has great potential since he's a tall guy with a lot of skill and a judo background (he's mostly known for being one of the top names for NOAH and also a former ROH world champion. He retired in 2015 due to health issues but still helps run NOAH behind the scenes).
NJPW rookie Shinya Makabe (better known these days as Togi Makabe) suffered a broken leg in a match last week and will be out for awhile.
Randy Hales' new promotion Memphis Power Pro Wrestling debuted sooner than anticipated, holding their first show at Lady Luck Casino in Tunica, MS. It was basically the same group of people who have been working Jerry Lawler's casino shows for months, including Lawler himself, Sid Vicious, Bill Dundee, Tracy Smothers, etc. Despite basically being the exact same promotion as USWA, on paper, the company is 100% owned by Randy Hales, since he has no part in the ongoing legal mess from USWA. Speaking of...
The legal situation over the demise of USWA got messier this week. Mark Selker filed a 200-page lawsuit against Lawler and Larry Burton, alleging conspiracy to defraud. Vince McMahon and several others are also named in the suit as co-conspirators, but not as defendants. The suit claims McMahon lied to Selker about the potential value of USWA in regard to advertising revenue that the promotion could bring in.
A&E will be airing a 2 hour special called The Unreal Story of Pro Wrestling featuring interviews from many of the biggest names in the business (this is actually a pretty good documentary. I could only find it broken down into 7 videos. Here's Part 1 and it should automatically play the next part).
Many in WCW are expecting that Syxx will be brought back. Hogan and Kevin Nash have been talking about doing a storyline to use the real-life heat between them, including the firing of Syxx, to work an angle where Nash would headline against Hogan, which pacifies Nash somewhat since he's been vocally unhappy about being held below Hogan's level.
There's also rumors of Ultimate Warrior heading to WCW and it was even referenced by Mark Madden on the WCW Hotline. Dave says that 95% of the time, when you hear rumors about Warrior returning, they're false but in this case, there might be some truth to it. There's been talk of him working a couple of WCW PPVs in late 1998. Dave doesn't know if it's going to pan out but he says it'll surely bump ratings up in the short-term. Of course, Warrior has a known track record so he probably won't last in WCW long term, which is okay because aside from a short-term curiosity boost in ratings or buyrate for his first match, Warrior isn't good for much in the long run anyway.
ECW has sold out 15 consecutive shows in a row. Meanwhile, WCW had sold out 20 in a row, but that streak came to an end last week in Cincinnati.
Notes from the latest Nitro: Lodi suffered a legit broken ankle when catching Psicosis outside the ring during a spot. DDP vs. Sting was possibly Sting's best match in years. Chris Jericho was fantastic and hilarious yet again and has just been killing it the last few weeks. The Giant has been legitimately gaining a bunch of weight and when the announcers said he's 493, it's not an exaggeration.
Kevin Wacholz, formerly Nailz in the WWF, is expected to join WCW and be part of the NWO and get a big push (nah never happened). Dave recaps the incident from 1991 where Nailz attacked Vince McMahon and choked him over his Summerslam payoff and then filed a police report claiming McMahon sexually assaulted him. Nailz then testified against McMahon in the steroid trial and was so obviously full of shit that it actually helped McMahon rather than hurt him. Dave seems befuddled that anyone would hire this guy and says, "Next thing you know, somebody can O.J. his girlfriend and get a job in this profession. Hell, they can do that and afterwards be considered for the Hall of Fame in this profession." Chris Benoit respectfully disagrees.
Latest update on the Jim Carrey "Man on the Moon" movie about the life of Andy Kaufman: Jimmy Hart will play himself but it's believed they may not actually call the wrestler in the movie Jerry Lawler because it's being produced by a Time Warner company. So they will tell the story of the wrestling angle, but it's believed it'll just be a fictional wrestler. WCW is actually pushing for Disco Inferno to get the part (Lawler later confirmed this in his autobiography but thankfully it didn't happen that way. Can you imagine?)
Notes from the latest Raw: indie wrestler Christopher Daniels, who wrestles as Fallen Angel, worked a dark match before the show. Rocky Maivia is great. Vince Russo appeared on TV as part of an angle with Sable and Luna Vachon.
John Tenta and Steven Regal are reportedly close to signing deals with WWF.
Shawn Michaels will work Wrestlemania but it's expected that he won't be wrestling again for a long time afterward (boy, I'll say).
Someone who attended the Eddie Gilbert memorial show put on by Dennis Coraluzzo writes in and talks about the show, specifically about Coraluzzo and Gilbert's mom cutting promos burying Paul Heyman and claiming he stole ECW from Gilbert. Dave responds and says he doesn't really think a memorial show is the classiest place to be burying people. He also says the story between Gilbert and Heyman over ECW is a lot more complicated than Heyman allegedly backstabbing Gilbert and stealing it and for Coraluzzo to simplify it to that extent is pure fiction.
FRIDAY:Wrestlemania 14 fallout, X-Pac debuts in WWF, news on Antonio Inoki's upcoming retirement, and more...
Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives. PREVIOUS YEARS ARCHIVE:1991 • 1992 • 1993 • 1994 • 1995
Fighting TV Samurai, the first ever 24-hour pro wrestling and martial arts TV network, debuted in Japan this week with a live show put together by Antonio Inoki. It's a premium channel that customers pay for as part of their satellite package. Only 3,000 homes had signed up for it by launch time which is disastrous for the new network, but Dave points out that ESPN and CNN lost millions of dollars for years before they really took off to where they are today. Whether Samurai has the financial backing to lose money like that for the first years is the big question. But they seem to be aware that it will be an uphill climb, as financial backers have been saying they expect it to be around 2005 or so before the channel starts to pay off. Among the content on the channel are old episodes of AJPW and NJPW, live events from WAR, Tokyo Pro, Big Japan, WCW's international shows, Promo Azteca, and some old golden age of American wrestling shows. Plus a weekly sports talk show hosted by Inoki, a SportsCenter-type nightly show covering all the wrestling news in Japan, and more. Plus they have the entire 300-episode run of Tiger Mask cartoons. Plus lots of karate, kickboxing, and martial arts events. They plan to have 8 hours of programming per day that will repeat 3x daily. The only notable note from the live Inoki show that aired at the debut is that Willie Williams indeed challenged Inoki to a match for the Jan. 4th Tokyo Dome show (as covered in the last issue) so that match will happen (turns out that channel still exists today, so they did indeed survive. I have no idea if it's still a wrestling/MMA channel or not though).
There's been a lot of random media coverage about pro wrestling this week. An article in TV Guide was critical of Milton Bradley and Nintendo for their sponsorship of Raw and Nitro. The article called both shows "the creepiest, most unnerving, least scientifically explainable, most downright bizarre (television) programming of all." The author wrote negatively about the Pillman/Austin gun angle and took some shots at Nitro as well. The article concluded by saying the 2 shows "supply the most sadistic, stomach-turning, gross, psychologically discombobulating programming on television today." The Feb. 97 issue of Muscle Mag has an article about bodybuilder Achim Albrecht and weightlifter Mark Henry joining the WWF and talks about others in that industry who have joined pro wrestling.
EMLL announced they will be doing a tour of Japan in February. They'll be only the 2nd foreign promotion to try and run a tour of Japan on its own (WWF did one in 1994 that flopped). Due to the El Hijo del Santo heel turn, EMLL is currently the hottest promotion in Mexico. AAA was left in shambles by all of its best workers jumping to Promo Azteca and they're surviving on big names from the past to carry them right now. As for Promo Azteca, they have great workers, but the few shows they've held so far have been lackluster.
Speaking of the Santo heel turn, the heat for it has been so insane that police have been having to keep fans from rushing the ring to attack him. In an interesting note, Santo is only working heel at the major arena in Mexico City right now, but is still working babyface at other shows throughout the country.
La Parka debuted for Promo Azteca and did an interview saying he left AAA because they didn't take care of the wrestlers as human beings and said he had to miss shows due to personal reasons and AAA didn't work with him on those issues. He said he didn't leave over money. Dave disagrees, saying the "personal reasons" he missed AAA shows was because he chose to work WCW shows on those dates instead because they paid more, so when it comes down to it, he definitely left over money.
Vampiro will no longer be going to Promo Azteca to team with Konnan, saying that he is afraid it will damage his reputation in Mexico after all the things Antonio Pena has said about him. Also, Vampiro is apparently mad at Konnan for getting tattoos on his arm because Vampiro feels that is copying his gimmick or something. Umm, sure.
Antonio Pena is using his WWF deal to try to get big stars to sign deals with AAA, promising them he can get them work in WWF if they join him. He's gone after El Hijo del Santo, Vampiro, and Lizmark, among others. The magazine Super Luchas, which Pena puts out, has listed almost every major name in AAA as working the Royal Rumble PPV.
Hiroshi Hase debuted in All Japan this week, cutting a promo. He said he'd always wanted to work in AJPW (having spent his entire career up until now in NJPW). He made no mention of New Japan and NJPW has never publicly acknowledged that he's left the company.
Sabu has been working in All Japan and to the surprise of many, he has been allowed to do all of his usual crazy table and chair spots. That style goes completely against the usually serious AJPW style and some of the other wrestlers have complained about it. But Giant Baba's opinion is basically that Sabu is a small, below average worker otherwise, so if you're going to use Sabu, you may as well let him do his gimmick because otherwise, what use is he?
Atsushi Onita cut a promo at an FMW show, saying that he had only told one lie in his life and that was that he would never wrestle again. He asked the fans to forgive him and asked if they had ever lied before too. It didn't work. The crowd booed him and chanted that he was a liar. Japan takes their retirement stipulations seriously and they're upset that Onita is going back on his word. Onita is scheduled to make his return to the ring next week after retiring over a year ago. The arena holds 4,000 and is already sold out.
Nude photos of Japanese women wrestlers Manami Toyota and Chikako Shiratori have been released in the past few days. No word if Brad Maddox or Xavier Woods was involved.
Last week's USWA show drew another record-low crowd, with some saying it was as low as 150 people. But this week's show was back up to around 600 with Jerry Lawler's first match back as a babyface. Memphis shows have been losing money for awhile but the Louisville and Nashville shows were carrying the company. But business in those cities is down now too. They're trying to start running more shows at the casinos in Tunica, MS since they get paid a guaranteed amount no matter the attendance. They're also considering moving the weekly Memphis shows back to Wednesday nights, so that Lawler can be there every week. Right now, most of the wrestlers in USWA are making the minimum $40 per show and work other jobs outside of wrestling to pay their bills.
There was more this week on the story of the 17-year-old kid who got bladed by New Jack at an ECW show last week. People there live were saying it was the most blood they'd ever seen in a wrestling match. It has become a major story since the kid was underage. After the incident, New Jack got on the mic and said he "didn't care if the motherfucker bled to death." Most people thought it was in character, but backstage, with no fans around, New Jack was said to be laughing about it which led a lot of people to saying he should be fired. New Jack was fired once before, for attacking another wrestler backstage, but Heyman eventually brought him back, saying that if he made one mistake, he'd be gone. A few weeks later, New Jack ended up going to jail for awhile, which seems like it should be the "one mistake" but Heyman didn't fire him. Then he had a fight with Brian Pillman, which also didn't lead to him being fired. A few weeks ago, New Jack got into a fight with a fan, but Heyman said the fan hit him first and called him the N-word, but others have disputed that and Heyman seems to have buried any footage of the incident. Point being, The Gangstas are one of ECW's most popular acts and Heyman has found a million excuses to avoid firing New Jack when he obviously has deserved it. As for this incident, there have been accusations that New Jack cut the kid that bad on purpose but Dave hasn't seen the video of it yet. Heyman says the kid told him he was 19 and that he was trained by Killer Kowalski (neither of which is true) but the kid's father says everyone knew he was 17. Also, the police nearly arrested the kid's father for child abuse later that night because they didn't believe a cut that deep could come from a wrestling match and thought the father had abused him. For now, the family has no plans to take any legal action and they actually seem to be enjoying their 15 minutes of fame.
Here's the only known footage of the Mass Transit Incident. It's shit quality but still pretty graphic, so....be warned. The cutting is at about 3:08.
ECW is planning to release Blue World Order t-shirts because the group has gotten over so big.
ECW is also planning to come out with those foam hand merch gimmicks that say EC F'n W on it and has a middle finger pointing up. Expect those to get confiscated at every WWF and WCW show that people will inevitably bring them to.
Big Dick Dudley is currently in jail for probation violation. No word why exactly.
Paul Heyman is looking at either March 2nd or March 30th as possible dates for the first ECW PPV. The 30th would be Easter Sunday but Dave doesn't think it will hurt the buyrate any for them to run a show on that date.
On Nitro, Chris Benoit and Steve Regal had an insanely stiff match against each other, which led to Regal getting busted open early in the match. The camera pulled away so as not to show the blood. So the entire match was only shown from one stationary camera a mile away from the ring.
Japanese wrestler Yuji Nagata is scheduled to work all of 1997 in WCW and Dave says he's an incredible worker, which means WCW won't push him at all.
Harlem Heat is reportedly negotiating with the WWF.
The WCW hotline talked about former ECW valet Kimona Wanalaya possibly coming in to WCW soon. They also mentioned Raven coming in, but Dave says that was a 100% work. He says Gene Okerlund needed a name to use because the lie about wrestlers jumping promotions usually does good business on the hotline and they needed a boost since the hotline numbers have been down lately. So he made up the story and someone suggested he use Raven (considering Raven would indeed be in WCW about 6 months later, I think Dave was probably wrong about this one).
Marcus Bagwell has a role in a movie called Day of the Warrior and apparently it's so bad that it makes Hogan's movies look like Masterpiece Theater. Bagwell plays "The Supreme Warrior" in a loin cloth and face paint and he has a fight scene with a Penthouse Pet who he headbutts in the breast and get knocked out by it. (Here's the movie. Enjoy. Heads up if you're watching at work though, lots of nudity throughout, even in the opening credits. And Bagwell basically looks like Tatanka. It's so laughably, terribly low-budget bad.)
Eric Bischoff was interviewed in a South Carolina newspaper and talked about the time Vince McMahon interviewed him for an announcing job in 1990 and being told McMahon didn't remember him. "In June of 1990 I was down there for an interview and audition and talked to Vince for probably half an hour. If he doesn't remember it, perhaps he was engaged in some of his admitted chemical activity during that time. But I was there. He was there....The nonsense and perception of reality that Vince McMahon, a guy who has admitted using steroids to try to beef up what was otherwise a scrawny, frail little individual, I think when he wakes up in the morning, he looks in the mirror and still sees that 80-pound birdface punk that nobody wanted to play with, and he has to deal with that every day. And the way he's trying to deal with is trying to create this perception. And I just hope people are smart enough to see through this nonsense and deal with reality."
WWF is taping shows from London this week and told a story about Sid and Bret Hart having a brawl at the hotel after one of the shows, which is obviously playing off the real life story of the Sid/Arn Anderson brawl in England a couple of years ago.
When Ahmed Johnson returns, they plan to put him against Goldust so Ahmed can get a few wins under his belt. They're pretty much phasing out the Goldust character now (21 years later, Goldust is still killing it on Raw and no one has seen Ahmed Johnson since he played Suge Knight in an MC Hammer movie for VH1 16 years ago).
Achim Albrecht made his debut on the latest house show tour, using the name Brakus. He wrestled against Tom Prichard (his trainer) 3 nights in a row and reports are that he was absolutely huge. Prichard sold well for him but the crowd didn't get into it and he didn't seem to get over.
There's a good chance Mil Mascaras will be in the Royal Rumble match, because apparently this show is being held in 1972 instead of 1997. Dave says Mascaras was one of the biggest draws in the world at one point, especially in that San Antonio region. But by the 80s, he meant nothing there, and means even less now.
TOMORROW:UFC Ultimate Ultimate 2 fallout (it takes up a big chunk of the issue so I had to give it a paragraph), Royal Rumble news, tons of ECW happenings, and more...
I am a 21 year old who wants to begin a career as a casino dealer preferably in Tunica, MS close to where I live, but I am basically clueless. What type of training do I need, how much money does it cost and how long does it take to complete? Also, what is the best place to go for training and will it be fairly easy to get a job once I complete said training? I am serious about doing this and I really want to make it happen. Any info at all would be helpful.
This is my speciality and there's really not a lot of literature out there. Depends on what you're trying to get at but Ralph Thomas is way ahead of the curve. If you're new to it and are looking to start from the bottom, it's a lot tougher. I haven't read a lot of the books out there because I had on the job training but the one that I thought was best (and it's still really not that good) is this one
1.) Feel: You know a lot of times, to be quite frank we just don't have time to do meaningful analysis so you have to be comfortable with making an educated guess. For example, hotel occupancy in July was softer than expected. Rates for all of our competitors were dropping so they obviously were feeling the same thing. We weren't sure why but we knew it was Tuesday and the the next two weeks look bad. Anything you would do to try to affect occupancy that quickly (e.g., do hotel rate specials on expedia, send out a postcard, send out an email, etc.) is going to take a few days to get done. Do you have time to do a few days worth of analysis then sit around and figure out what it all means to the business?
2.) Qualifications: To get in at the entry level (e.g., analyst) we'd look for some sort of analysis training. If it's not through experience, something like a degree in stats or finance. If you wanted to work in marketing and we didn't have a business intelligence tool in place, you'd also need to know SQL and access. At a managerial level you'd need a few years of experience doing this kind of work and industry experience.
3.) There's really no standard. Teradata had a lion's share of the market for a long time but most people are shying away from it as it's quite experience. You see more and more places using SAS now. But again, because of the expense, you also have a lot of places that just get the data out of the source system via SQL and dump it into excel and access.
Overall, it's probably 65% planned and 35% unplanned depending how dynamic a market you're working in. On the strip, you're dealing with longer timelines to get people in the door (e.g., you're planning a big concert that's going to take place in 9 months) so it's a little less reactionary vs. a local's market like a Stations casino or some smaller market where you have lots of competitors and people who come very, very frequently which causes business to be very volatile. But definitely, in every market I've worked in, the first thing you do in the morning is look at the previous day's performance and do a lot of talking and looking at reports to figure out if you're on the right track or if you need to change directions.
The biggest challenge with the casino business is that we rely solely on discretionary income and for the most part customers are still weary of spending too much since 2008. That and the expansion into new jurisdictions diluting supply.
With regards to your second question, what's the saying? You don't know what you don't know? There are various technologies I can think of that would really help us but they're generally expensive and as a business we don't really like to spend money on un-proven tech.
At my particular casino it's easily 90% North American and 10% international with the 10% not gambling much. Usually here to sightsee or for a conference. Have never broken it out by country of origin but typical stay is 3 days and $100 per day in gambling which is a little on the low end for the strip.
Well, this is quite broad, and depends on a lot of things like your age, budget, tastes, etc. Give me more of that kind of stuff and I can help you. With regards to hotels, the first few weeks of December are the slowest of the year. Once you get to your hotel try this.
It's all relative depending on the casino, time, etc. At a place like Wynn, in the middle of the night on a random Tuesday,you're probably talking like $50K to catch your eye. At a shitty place in the middle of nowhere Mississippi, then it's probably $1K.
Definitely very separate as LV locals are notoriously price sensitive. I.e., they go to whoever gives them the biggest offers in direct mail. Since we're on the strip, we choose not to play in that kind of marketing war with the Stations of the world.
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