Great-ing Gimmicks of the Past: Head Cheese

Head Cheese – WWF, 2000

History

In January of 2000, Steve Blackman was having problems with Kurt Angle and Al Snow was having problems with the British Bulldog. The WWF’s solution? Tag team match!

On the January 20th’s edition of Smackdown, these two teams faced off. After a hard-fought match, Snow and Blackman pulled out the win. Afterwards, Snow started trying to buddy up to Blackman, which the Lethal Weapon wasn’t too sure about.

On the following Raw, Al Snow was ready to go all out. He offered Blackman a cape (since he had the personality of a dead guy) and said they’d call themselves Head Count. Then Snow offered up a wheel of cheese – Head Cheese. Despite Snow’s protests that they’d be huge in Wisconsin, Blackman vetoed this idea as well. Snow’s next idea was to offer up a set of Hungry Hungry Hippos – Head Games. Blackman just walked off.

Unfortunately for Blackman, the following match against Edge and Christian saw the fans rallying behind the Head Cheese moniker, chanting it several times during the match. Despite Blackman’s protests about the name, he and Snow were able to claim another victory.

The following Smackdown opened with Snow taking on Billy Gunn with the stipulation that if Snow won, he and Blackman would get a tag team title shot on Raw. Before the match, Al had another brainstorm about the team. He put some pink fuzzy rabbit ears on Blackman – Snow Bunnies. From the look on Blackman’s face, Snow decided it would better (and safer) to stick with Head Cheese.

The match itself was going well until Blackman made his way out to ringside with a kendo stick. Gunn grabbed the stick and attacked Al and Blackman, drawing the DQ.

Raw opened with Snow and Blackman backstage, preparing for their match. Snow had another idea this week – Snow Storm. Blackman finally gave in, wanting to concentrate on the match instead of a name. Snow grinned and offered Blackman a Sesame Street raincoat and a pink umbrella. Blackman did not approve, so Snow offered up another idea – Snow Balls – and held up a jock strap. Blackman just shook his head and walked away.

The match against the New Age Outlaws was notable for one very special reason – just as the match got going, Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Perry Saturn, and Dean Malenko (last seen on the WCW Souled Out PPV) made their way out and took ringside seats. Snow shook their hands, welcoming them to the WWF as the Outlaws double-teamed Blackman. Finally the brawl spilled outside and Road Dogg was dropped into the front row – and the WCW defectors. Dogg took a punch, the WCW guys responded, and that was the end of the match.

Smackdown saw a great victory for Al Snow before the match even started. Steve Blackman had promised he would do something if they didn’t lose to the Outlaws, and, well, they didn’t. Blackman came out for the match wearing a cheesehead hat, much to Snow’s delight. They went on to defeat Hardcore Holly and Crash.

Head Cheese got Raw off, but were back in action on Smackdown against the Hardy Boyz. Although Blackman was doing all he could to discourage the Head Cheese chants from the crowd, the crowd just got more and more into them. The match ended when the Dudley Boys cracked Jeff with a chair, leaving him easy prey for Head Cheese. Snow reveled in the chants after the match.

On Raw, Head Cheese were preparing to take on the Godfather and D-Lo Brown. Well, Blackman was preparing. Al Snow was trying to hypnotize him into having a personality (it didn’t work). Unfortunately, the Godfather’s hos proved to be too much of a distraction for Snow, and Blackman fell victim to D-Lo.

After taking Smackdown off to rework their strategy, Head Cheese took on Too Cool on Raw. This time, Snow wanted Blackman to dance the Dip with him after giving him yellow glasses (Yellow! The color of cheese!). Blackman responded by using his fighting batons to the radio. In the end, Scotty 2 Hotty ran Blackman into Snow and then rolled him up for the win.

On Smackdown, we got no backstage antics as Head Cheese took on the Hardys, Edge & Christian, and Perry Saturn & Eddie Guerrero in a four-way match, which devolved into a brawl between the Hardys and Edge & Christian. (Perry Saturn won, by the way).

Al Snow had another plan on Raw. Before Blackman could come out, Snow announced he had a new entrance song for him. The song? Personality. The lyrics? Repeating the phrase, “He’s got it.” The match was going well until Terri put on a cheesehead hat and started dancing around the ring, which distracted Blackman and allowed Edge to get the pin.

Smackdown saw Al Snow and Blackman (wearing loud Hawaiian shirts) sitting in a restaurant. Snow had set Blackman up with an overly peppy girl from his therapy group. Snow knew that this would help Blackman develop a personality. The date did not go well. First, the girl talked non-stop about anything and everything. Things went from bad to worse as Al Snow snuck away and paid the piano player to being playing Personality. Finally Al Snow returned to the table to find Blackman gone. His date said that he’d told her he was having a brain aneurysm and had to leave, so Snow began talking with her about how her guppy was doing.

On Raw, Snow was talking with the floor director that Blackman needed a better entrance – one with lots of streamers and midgets carrying plates of cheese. Blackman overheard and politely informed the director that if any of that happened, he would personally rip the man’s throat out. Blackman went out to take on Matt Hardy with Al Snow following, wondering where all the midgets were. Snow successfully countered any interference from Jeff, and Blackman was able to put Matt away.

It was Jeff’s turn on Smackdown. Backstage, Al brought over a guy wearing a cheesehead hat who started gushing about Blackman’s greatness. Al took a picture of the two, and while the picture developed, Blackman took advantage of the opportunity to punch the guy in the gut. Snow asked what had happened, and Blackman replied that he’d just been overcome by meeting his hero. Snow bought it, and Blackman headed out to his match (after another kick to the fan). The same sequence of events happened in the match – Snow kept Matt out of the match, and Blackman picked up the win.

On Raw, the teams were united as the Hardys took on Head Cheese. But first, Al Snow had another idea – a TV show called the Al Snow/Steve Blackman Mystery Time Travel Adventure Hour. The premise would be that they would travel through time, solving mysteries as they went. Unfortunately, Blackman vetoed the idea by telling Snow that he needed a straightjacket and a muzzle. As he left, Snow turned to a closet. As the door opened and the occupant emerged, Snow told Abraham Lincoln to hold on. The match didn’t go exactly as planned – Matt Hardy pinned Blackman with a rollup.

Smackdown had Head Cheese taking on the Acolytes. Before the match, Al had another idea for a TV show – Snow/Blackman: Outer Space Ninjas. He then introduced Blackman to a Martian – well, a midget wearing oven mitts with a green head. Blackman waited until Snow walked away and welcomed the Martian to Earth by whacking him in the head with a baton. This time, Mideon got involved on behalf of the Acolytes, and the combined assault was too much for Head Cheese to withstand.

Before going up against the Hollys on Raw, Snow advised Blackman that Smackdown would be very special – they’d be in Wisconsin. Blackman yelled back that he didn’t care about Wisconsin or cheese. Snow said that maybe he’d listen to George Washington, and Blackman was indignant that Snow would try to bribe him with a dollar. Snow replied that maybe he’d listen to Ben Franklin, so Benjamin Franklin came out and began discussing the fine cheeses of Wisconsin. Snow explained that he was an extra from the time travel show. Anyway, Head Cheese came out with the win when Tazz came out and chased Crash away from the ring while trying to win the Hardcore title.

On Smackdown, we saw Snow taking Blackman to a Wisconsin farm to get back in touch with his “cheese roots.” Al suggested Blackman try milking a cow. Blackman did, and got sprayed in the face for his trouble. Blackman walked over to Al and the farmer, distracted them, then grabbed his baton and walked off camera. We heard a swoosh and a pained moo, then Blackman reappeared, telling them that the cow was sick.

In the match, things didn’t go as planned – for the Hollys. Hardcore decided that he wanted the Hardcore title, and chased Crash away as he tried to win it. As Head Cheese won by count out, they were jumped from behind by the newly formed T & A (Test and Albert).

Raw saw a furious Al Snow forgoing the backstage hijinks in order to psyche himself up to take on Test. Al had the match won, then had Blackman throw him Head. Unfortunately, the throw was off, which allowed Test to recover and score the win.

Wrestlemania saw Head Cheese taking on T & A. Long story short – Test won after hitting a flying elbow on Blackman.

It was April 6th’s Smackdown when we saw the team together again. This time it was the Big Boss Man and Bull Buchanan who defeated them.

Al resumed his quest to give Blackman a personality a week later. This time they were at the Shady Palms Retirement Home. Blackman had believed that they were there to sign autographs. Instead, the Comedy Stylings of Steve Blackman was announced. Snow shoved some note cards into his hands and pushed him out onto the stage.

Unfortunately, Blackman’s Comedy Stylings did not go over well. After Al Snow’s heckle-card failed (Your momma’s so hairy, Bigfoot takes pictures of her!), Blackman grabbed his trusty baton and headed out into the crowd to restore order. It wasn’t long before we saw Snow and Blackman jumping into their car with Snow telling Blackman that you couldn’t use martial arts weapons on the elderly. They took off as we began to hear sirens approaching (with Blackman protesting that she’d annoyed him).

On Raw, Snow and Blackman teamed to take on the Dudleys. They were having a rough time of it, until T & A came out, leveled all four of them, then put Snow on top of D-Von for the three count. But hey – a win’s a win, right?

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, and they did on the April 23rd Heat. Snow was pushing the Snow Bunnies idea again, trying to get Blackman into a bunny suit. Blackman stormed out, so Snow grabbed Harvey Whippleman. Blackman and Snow then went out to the ring to take on the Hardys. Snow accidentally hit Blackman, and Jeff got the win. Afterward, Snow called out Whippleman, now wearing the bunny suit. Blackman had had enough and attacked Snow with a kendo stick.

Analysis
You know, I’ve never understood why Al Snow couldn’t have made it farther in the WWF than he did. The man’s got charisma running out his ears, the skills to back it up, and he doesn’t seem to take himself too seriously. I mean, let’s face it. Paul Heyman gave him a hairstylist’s dummy head, and he made his way to ECW main events.

Blackman… Well… Blackman had the skills.

In Head Cheese, we actually saw Snow not only getting himself over, but dragging Blackman along for the ride as well. The crowd was into these guys, so of course WWF creative split the team. I’ve got to say – if this decision hadn’t been made, I would have loved to see a Head Cheese title run. After all, there aren’t enough guys who are willing to make the shows fun like these guys were (and we didn’t have Jim Ross informing us every five minutes that they were just out there to have fun).

Where Are They Now?

Steve Blackman left the WWF in 2002 when his contract was not renewed. At the time, Blackman was suffering from a potentially career-ending neck injury. Today, he runs a self-defense school, and is also working with Ken Shamrock on a clothing line.

Al Snow is still with the WWE, working mainly behind the scenes as a trainer and occasionally fills in as necessary to do commentary. He is currently working with OVW.

Next Week
More Al Snow fun as we look at one of Al’s title reigns!

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