All Japan Pro Wrestling kicked off the New Year’s Giant Series, once again at Korakuen Hall. The in-ring highlight of the show was Toshiaki Kawada and Samson Fuyuki, collectively known as The Footloose, defending the All Asia tag titles against The Fantastics, Tommy Rogers and Bobby Fulton. Both teams were as good as just about any tag team in the world in the late 1980s and they had a solid match here. However, both teams were also nearing the end of their respective runs — Fulton would alternate between teaming with Rogers in Japan and his brother Jackie in the U.S., while Kawada was primed for a singles push and ascension through the All Japan ranks.
Vince McMahon interviewed Lex Luger in an empty arena on the WWF’s Monday Night RAW. Luger revealed that he wanted to be in the Royal Rumble match, but was facing opposition from Yokozuna’s camp based on the Summerslam stipulation that the match would be Luger’s only shot at the title. We were told Jack Tunney would be making a decision soon. Also on the show, a vignette aired to hype the upcoming debut of Bob Holly. While he would eventually become Bob “Spark Plugg” Holly, he was simply called Sparky Plugg when the character was initially conceived, which was obviously a terrible name for a wrestler. Holly’s gimmick was indicative of the WWF’s malaise at the time, as many of the wrestlers on the undercard had entire personae based on outside occupations. Holly was often referred to as a “two sport athlete”, for example, yet fans who watched NASCAR were not going to see him competing, so the gimmick either exposed him as a liar or wrestling as fake, a lose-lose proposition. The show did a 2.5 rating. You can watch this episode of RAW on the WWE Network.