On Saturday evening in Tokyo's Korauken Hall, Vince McMahon and Giant Baba met in the middle of the ring and shook hands, announcing that the April 13th card at the Tokyo Dome would be a joint show co-promoted by All Japan, New Japan and the World Wrestling Federation. The event should be an enormous draw, with the two major Japanese promotions working together in conjunction with the WWF and the Japanese debut of both Randy Savage and The Ultimate Warrior. This is a landmark deal for all involved, as All Japan and New Japan have not worked together since 1979, and the World Wrestling Federation has not co-promoted an event with anyone in years. The cooperation between All Japan and New Japan stemmed largely from Ric Flair pulling out of the main event of the New Japan Tokyo Dome show next week, which left New Japan vulnerable to making a deal favorable to All Japan with head Giant Baba for the supershow.
Wrestlemania VI has been offically dubbed "The Ultimate Challenge", leaving many to believe the main event will now certainly see Hulk Hogan meeting The Ultimate Warrior. There is no word on which title would be defended. Some are still speculating that this name for the show could also imply Hulk Hogan taking on Mike Tyson in what would likely be one of the biggest money matches of all time. Curt Hennig seems to have been noticeably demoted, with rumors of his involvement in the Wrestlemania VI main event from Toronto all but completely silenced.
The Saturday Night's Main Event taping on February 23rd in Detroit has a full card now. The lineup for the evening has been announced as: The Ultimate Warrior taking on Dino Bravo for the Intercontinental Championship; Andre the Giant and Haku defend the World Tag Team Championships against Demolition; Roddy Piper vs. Rick Rude in a lumberjack match; Dusty Rhodes takes on Curt Hennig; Jake Roberts meets Ted Dibiase in a grudge match; Bad News Brown locks up with Jimmy Snuka; Rick Martel takes on Brutus Beefcake, and finally Ronnie Garvin squares off with The Canadian Earthquake. The entire event will be taped, with probably two to three matches making the final NBC special.
On the morning of February 5th, The World Wrestling Federation held a press conference for Wrestlemania VI in Toronto, Ontario. The main event will officially see Hulk Hogan taking on The Ultimate Warrior in a battle of the two biggest fan favorite draws in the WWF. Both Hulk Hogan and The Warrior will remain fan favorites for the program, though both gave very strange, dark interviews over the weekend on syndicated programming. The Ultimate Warrior in particular gave a very unusual interview. The Ultimate Warrior also acted like a heel to local media at the press conference, though some say that is just what his real personality is like. At the press conference, Hogan and Warrior shook hands, and then gripped each other's tightly in a test of strength of sorts. There is no word on the planned outcome of the match, though with The Ultimate Warrior working many more dates than Hulk Hogan and Hogan not needing the title to draw, some believe that at this point it would make sense to give The Ultimate Warrior the biggest win of his career. On the prospects of The Ultimate Warrior becoming the Hulk Hogan of the 1990's, Dave Meltzer of The Wrestling Observer Newsletter comments "Doesn't the thought of The Warrior in that spot make you cringe?".
When asked by local media which title would be on the line at Wrestlemania, Gene Okerlund claimed that it had yet to be determined. The Skydome will seat 66,000 for Wrestlemania, and 10,000 tickets were sold within an hour of going on sale. Within another few hours, 24,000 tickets had been sold. Ringside seats are going for $150 each.
Don King, business manager of Mike Tyson, has gone on record claiming that Mike Tyson is being paid close to one million dollars for his role as a referee at the February 23rd NBC special. On the prospect of Mike Tyson stepping in to the ring to take on Hulk Hogan, Don King said in an interview with The New York Daily News "If Vince came up with the money - and I'm talking between $100 and $200 million - I might be able to convince Mike to do it". Vince McMahon met with Don King in Tokyo over the weekend and discussed the possibility of joining forces to establish a syndicated boxing TV network that would market Wrestling supercards, Mike Tyson bouts, and cartoons and movies featuring Mike Tyson.
Tully Blanchard has met several times with Jim Herd over the past week, and should be returning to the NWA at the Clash of the Champions. The two were said to be far apart in regards to what Tully was worth monetarily to the National Wrestling Alliance. When Tully Blanchard was fired by the World Wrestling Federation for failing a drug test, he opened negotiations with the National Wrestling Alliance and was scheduled to return immediately. The NWA got cold feet at the last moment about bringing Blanchard in so soon after testing positive, fearing a public relations disaster if word got out.
In other Horsemen related news, The NWA front office wants Ole Anderson out of the ring immediately. There is some talk of Ole putting Scott Steiner over in an "I Quit" match before retiring. Sid Vicious has re-signed with the NWA after being close to jumping to the World Wrestling Federation. Vicious' new deal is for one year, with early 1991 being the earliest that he can now go elsewhere if he chooses.
The World Wrestling Federation still has many local regional promoters onboard their operations, including Gerald Bricoe in the southeast, Jack Tunney in Ontario, Zane Bresloff in the Southwest and Stu Hart in Alberta.
Whipper Billy Watson, perhaps the most popular Canadian wrestler ever, has passed away at the age of 74. Watson was found in his home in Florida on Sunday after suffering a heart attack. Watson, a former NWA World Champion, will be remembered as much for his charitable contributions as he will for his legacy in the ring. For over forty years, Watson did volunteer work for children, and helped raise literally millions of dollars using his reputation and fame as a wrestler. Watson's wrestling career came to an end in 1971, when he was out of his car aiding a fellow motorist involved in an accident and was hit by a car and pinned between it and a parked vehicle. Watson suffered a shattered left knee and nearly severed his entire left leg. While Watson's wrestling career ended, his contributions to others lasted until literally the time of his death. The bell was tolled ten time in honor Watson at the start WWF house shows in Canada over the weekend. "Whipper" Watson was one of the true good guys in wrestling, and will be missed greatly.
Sting suffered a serious knee injury on Tuesday at The Clash of the Champions that will require him to miss at least a few months of ring time. This is an enormous disaster for the NWA, who have been planning the World Title picture around the young star for several months. In less than three weeks, Sting was scheduled to face and probably defeat Ric Flair for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestle War 1990. With no main event for the pay-per-view at all right now and the number two babyface behind Sting currently being Norman the Lunatic, the NWA will have some major problems to deal with. Management is blaming Ric Flair for almost every problem in the company at this point and wants the title off of him badly, with tensions within the company approaching new highs. The new main event for the pay-per-view is looking to be Lex Luger taking on Ric Flair yet again. With Ricky Steamboat gone and not coming back due to a contract dispute, the company is badly in need of several new top babyfaces. To make matters worse, The Great Muta has quit the NWA as well.
The WWF is panicking this weekend as well, as Mike Tyson was knocked out over the weekend in Tokyo by James "Buster" Douglas in a shocking upset. The current plan is for Mike Tyson to still appear on the WWF NBC special, and he is still under contract to do so, but the fear as of this point is that Tyson will be unwilling to do such a high profile appearance after the embarrassing loss.
Tully Blanchard was backstage at the Clash of the Champions in his gear, ready to debut at the show. Ric Flair had been personally lobbying for Tully to be brought back in as the fourth member of The Horsemen, but at the last moment the two sides just could not reach a deal that satisfied both financially, and Tully Blanchard will not be returning to the NWA as of this point.
Vince McMahon is planning to make an aggressive movement into the world of bodybuilding, an industry long dominated by the iconic Joe Weider.
Rumors are strong that AWA World Heavyweight Champion Larry Zbyszko has signed to meet NWA World Champion Ric Flair in an interpromotional event on April 1st in a card that will go head to head with Wrestlemania VI. Another interpromotional event, the Tokyo Dome card that All Japan, New Japan and the WWF are cooperating on, will be headlined by Randy Savage taking on Hulk Hogan.
Mike Tyson is no longer involved in the Saturday Night NBC special at 10:00PM this weekend. After suffering a shocking loss to Buster Douglas, Vince McMahon took the offer to Tyson off the table and has actually signed on James "Buster" Douglas to referee Hulk Hogan vs. Randy Savage. The reason for this mainly boiled down to money, and Douglas was available for 10% of Tyson's one million dollar asking price, and will be working with the WWF for a one night payout of $110,000. Jack Tunney will be at ringside for the match, which is rare and suggests that he may somehow be involved in the outcome of the match. Some within the company are apprehensive about using Douglas because of his height. Like Mr. T., Mike Tyson has a huge reputation but stands well below six feet tall, which makes almost everyone in the WWF, especially Hulk Hogan, appear to tower over him. Douglas is much closer to Hogan's legit 6'5". The NWA was in the process of making a bid on Buster Douglas when the WWF approached him.
Andre the Giant has no-showed several house shows in the last week and rumors remain heavy that he is on his way out of the WWF after Wrestlemania. It is believed that Demolition will defeat the Colossal Connection in Toronto to once again wear the tag team titles.
Steve "Dr. Death" Williams is the latest wrestler to leave the NWA. He will be headed to Japan. The discussed Larry Zbyszko vs. Ric Flair match could also be off, as Zbyszko dropped the AWA World Title over the weekend to Masa Saito in Japan.
Buddy Rose and Jim Brunzell are returning to the World Wrestling Federation. Don't expect very big pushes to be given to either.
Sting had successful knee surgery several days ago with Dr. Jim Andrews in Birmingham, Alabama. Andrews suggested that Sting stay out of the ring for at least six months, but Sting is already talking about returning on the July Great American Bash pay-per-view in Baltimore.
The Great Muta quit the National Wrestling Alliance immediately after the Clash of Champions in Texas. Muta had been being buried since December, and his moral was said to be low. Those within the NWA stated that Gary Hart was too influential over Muta, as he told Muta repeatedly that Americans would never cheer a Japanese babyface. As a result, whenever Muta was asked to turn babyface because the crowd was cheering him anyway, Muta rejected the ideas and refused to become a fan favorite. Muta will probably return to Japan almost immediately.
The exodus of talent continues in the NWA, as The Midnight Express were told this week that they wanted them to re-sign for significantly less money, with many believing that the company wants to break the team up entirely and only keep Jim Cornette. Jim Cornette is insistent that the threesome remain together.
At tapings for WWF syndicated television this week, Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty showed up black and blue. According to The Wrestling Observer Newsletter, the two got in to a brutal fistfight, and judging from facial damage, Marty got the best of Shawn Michaels. They were sent home and won't be given work for at least a month. The duo no longer wants to work as a tag team, with each wanting a singles push
The main event for the April 13th WWF/All Japan/New Japan card is now looking to be Terry Gordy vs. Hulk Hogan, with Tenryu vs. Randy Savage, Babe & Andre vs. Demolition and Chono vs. Jake Roberts underneath.
Damien, Jake Robert's python, will no longer be used after it bit Roberts twice recently. A rubber hose is now being used in Jake's bag. Paul Roma and Hercules are now tagging under the name "Team of the 1990's".
Look for Part Three of Fourteen Weeks in 1990 soon, exclusively at The Pro-Wrestling Chronicle. All news and information is derived from The Wrestling Observer Newsletter, The Pro-Wrestling Torch Newsletter, Herb Kunze and various wrestling books and biographies.