Great-ing Gimmicks of the Past: The West Texas Rednecks

The West Texas Rednecks – WCW, 1999

History
In 1999, WCW was looking for the next big thing. No, they didn’t find Brock Lesnar. Instead, they realized that rap was what the kids were listening to, so they hired Master P and brought in an entire entourage for him.

On the May 17th Nitro, Master P friend Konnan was taking on Curt Hennig, whose name had been pulled out of a hat earlier in the night. Unfortunately for Konnan, he was friends with Kevin Nash, and Randy Savage was on a rampage against Nash’s buddies at the time. Savage leveled Konnan, then threw him back into the ring to give Hennig an easy win.

The next week, Hennig joined Tony Schiavone and Bobby Heenan at ringside as they announced a new relationship between WCW and Tommy Boy Records. Hennig bragged a moment about beating Konnan, then moved on to attacking rap in general. He talked about hating “Konnan wanna-bes,” then came up with a song. “I’m a rap, I’m a sap, cause it’s the crap!” He then lamented the fact that no one listened to “real” music anymore- like Merle Haggard or Willie Nelson. Hennig stayed at ringside for the next couple of matches, then Konnan came out and attacked him.

Hennig lost a match to Konnan in the main event of Saturday Night when he was counted out. Hennig responded by attacking the referee.

The following Nitro came to us from Houston, TX. Hennig made his way out in response to DJ Ran’s comments about having a problem with Hennig not liking hip-hop. Hennig called out Bobby Duncum Jr., who brought along an extra cowboy hat for Hennig, and they launched into “Blame It On Texas.” Konnan and Rey Mysterio Jr. came out to interrupt the impromptu concert and the two teams brawled to the back…

Only to immediately have the announcement made that they would be facing each other later tonight. The match ended with Duncum cleaning house with a cowbell, earning them a disqualification.

Thunder saw Hennig taking on Rey Mysterio in a match. Mysterio was battling back when Bobby Duncum ran in and attacked, drawing a disqualification. Konnan and Kidman hurried out to rescue Mysterio and ran Hennig and Duncum off.

Bobby Duncum, Jr. took on Rey the next week on Nitro. After Hennig got involved, the two country fans cleared out as Konnan hit the ring to make the save.

On Saturday Night, Hennig and Duncum teamed up to take on two Barrys – Darsow (better known as Demolition Smash or the Repo Man), and Horowitz (perpetual WWF jobber who won a feud with Chris Candido). Needless to say, Duncum was able to easily put Horowitz away.

That brings us to the 1999 Great American Bash. The show opened with Master P and entourage (in fatigues) piling out of a limo and meeting Curt Hennig. Hennig got a signed CD, oohed and aahed over it for a moment, then snapped it in half.

Later, Master P and crew took seats in the “conveniently-vacant” front row. That’s odd. Usually WCW did have plenty of empty seats, but they weren’t in the front row… but I digress.

Anyway, Hennig and Duncum were taking on Konnan and Rey (who came out wearing gas masks for some reason) in a tag team match. Note: Hennig and Duncum had new music – a song called “Rap is Crap.” Keep that in mind. It’s important later.

After Hennig made the point of noticing that Rey looked like the guy who cleaned his pool, the match was on. Anyway, just as Rey was getting an advantage, Barry Windham came out to give the cowboys a hand. That caused Master P’s bodyguard Swoll to hop the rail and pop Duncum, giving the win to Rey. After the match, Hennig, Duncum, and Windham joined forces to hogtie Rey. Rumors that Bradshaw immediately began requesting his release from Vince McMahon upon seeing this are unsubstantiated.

Hennig and Duncum opened the next night’s Nitro by taking on Brian Adams and Vincent (Ted DiBiase’s old bodyguard Virgil) of the NWO. With Windham’s help, the cowboys had an easy win.

They weren’t finished for the night, though. Later on, immediately after Konnan and Rey defeated Psychosis and La Parka, Hennig and crew took over DJ Ran’s booth. Yes, WCW had a DJ who tried to pump up the crowd, and yes, he failed miserably. Anyway, Hennig and crew decided it was time to exercise the better part of valor and cleared out, allowing Master P to take control of the booth and start playing one of his own songs.

Thunder opened with Hennig and Duncum taking on the Texas Hangmen. Hennig and Duncum easily won, and then they hogtied one of the Hangmen. Rey and Konnan showed up and cleared the ring.

Things continued to build on Saturday Night as Rey took on Kidman in a cruiserweight title defense. Anyway, Hennig and Duncum attacked, until Konnan ran in and made the save.

The “fun” continued on Nitro, where we discovered that Brad Armstrong had joined the No Limit Soldiers. Anyway, apparently it was Master P’s little brother Seth’s birthday. That brought Hennig out with a present. Seth opened it and discovered it was a cowboy hat, so Seth stomped it, then Hennig wound up getting pasted in the face with a cake. Maybe Hennig should have gone with a book by Miss Manners instead. A perfectly civil person bringing a nice gift to a birthday party should get a thank you, not splattered by the cake.

Later in the night, Konnan and Rey got a tag team title shot against Kanyon and Diamond Dallas Page. Just as Konnan hit a facebuster, Hennig, Duncum, Windham, and new member Kendall Windham ran in and attacked Konnan and Rey. Just to keep things fair, former champs Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko attacked Kanyon and DDP. Then the No Limit Soldiers (minus Swoll, Chase Tatum, and Brad Armstrong who were already out) ran out, attacked just about everyone, and cleared the ring.

Saturday Night’s main event was Barry Windham taking on Rey Mysterio. Needless to say, Kendall wound up getting involved, which drew a DQ for Barry. Then No Limit Soldier BA (Brad Armstrong) got involved. Then Hennig and Duncum ran out and got involved. Then Konnan, Tatum, and Swoll ran out and got involved, which prompted the cowboys to clear out.

On Nitro, the cowboys took on NWO representatives Stevie Ray, Vincent, Horace Hogan, and Brian Adams. Needless to say, this one soon broke down and the Windhams were able to double-team Vincent for the win.

This was a very special Nitro, however. Later in the night, we got to see the filming of the video for Rap is Crap. Barry was on drums, Duncum was on lead guitar, Kendall had the bass, and Hennig was the singer. Here, in a special treat, are the lyrics:

“I like country music
I love country girls
I like Willie Nelson
And don’t forget about Merle

There’s only one thing that I hate,
Cause it’s a bunch of crap
I hate rap

I like Nascar racing
Richard Petty’s still the king
Yeah, they call me a red neck,
But you know that’s a beautiful thing

There’s only one thing that I hate,
Cause it’s a bunch of crap
I hate rap

There’s only one thing that I hate,
Cause it’s a bunch of crap
I hate rap

There’s only one thing that I hate,
Cause it’s a bunch of crap
I hate rap

Rap is crap
Rap is crap”

Thunder showed a replay of the video, then the cowboys took on Silver King, El Dandy, Damian, and Villano V. Needless to say, the cowboys won, this time by Kendall pinning Damian.

This match was notable for Larry Zbyszko’s commentary, in which he made a comment about suing stations playing the Rap is Crap song. One benefit of showing the video was that radio stations were able to tape the song from the broadcast with nothing over it, as opposed to a normal entrance, where you have the announcers talking and crowd noise drowning out the music. Country stations had discovered that their listeners loved the Rap is Crap song, and it soon found its way into heavy airplay.

On Nitro, Hennig and the now-named West Texas Rednecks made their way out and performed their song live. And, since this was WCW, they then left.

Thunder first saw the Rednecks playing their song, and then leaving. But it’s not over yet! In the main event, Hennig took on Konnan. As the Soldiers and the Rednecks brawled at ringside, Barry took a second to crack a cowbell over Konnan’s head, giving the win to Hennig.

Saturday Night saw Barry and Kendall Windham taking on Rey and Konnan. As Konnan started turning the tide, Hennig and Duncum attacked. That caused Swoll, Tatum, and BA to run off the Rednecks and then they celebrated the DQ with Konnan and Rey.

And that brings us to the Bash at the Beach, where the Rednecks took on Konnan, Rey, BA, and Swoll in an elimination match. Swoll eliminated Duncum. Hennig responded by putting BA away with the Hennigplex, while Duncum brawled with the rest of the No Limit Soldiers at ringside. Kendall was the next to go, thanks to a Rey-Konnan double team. Konnan and Barry then started fighting outside and got themselves counted out. Rey and Swoll were then able to put Hennig away, with the help of another No Limit Soldier named 4×4.

The following Thunder, Hennig and Barry Windham took on DDP and Bam Bam Bigelow for the tag team titles (the reason for the partner switch is simple – much like the Fabulous Freebirds, the Triad was claiming that they could use any two of the three members to defend the belts at any time) in the main event. Needless to say, it didn’t take long for the match to completely break down and the ref to throw it out.

On Nitro, we had the Rednecks taking on Chris Benoit and Perry Saturn. The match ended in the usual schmozz, and then Shane Douglas showed up, helping Benoit, Saturn, and Malenko clear the ring. The Revolution was born.

Thunder had Hennig taking on Tatum in a one on one match. Unfortunately, Swoll missed his finisher (an open palm thrust to the chest) and nailed Tatum, giving Hennig the win.

Nitro opened with Kendall and Duncum taking on Psychosis and Juventud Guerrera. After Juvi missed a tag, Kendall and Duncum were able to double-team him for the win.

Just to kill any heat the stable had, Hennig was destroyed by Goldberg later that night.

Analysis
Want to be like WCW in three easy steps? Here’s how! 1) Get a gun. 2)Aim at your foot. 3) Pull trigger.

WCW had decided to bring in Master P to help build publicity. Fine. The problem was – where was WCW’s traditional fanbase? In the South. Traditional Southern music is not rap – more like… I don’t know… country? WCW really knew what the fans wanted, didn’t they?

Another example of how well WCW knew what their fans was when they brought in DJ Crowd Killer.

So we’re off to a shining start. Add in the fact that most of the time, the No Limit Soldiers cheated as badly as the Rednecks, and you can’t tell who you’re supposed to cheer. Actually, with the Soldiers running around like idiots screaming “Hooty hoo!” doesn’t really push me to cheer for them. More like throw things at them.

Then we’ll add in Larry Z.’s brilliant observation from Thunder that I mentioned above. Country stations were taping the “Rap is Crap” song and putting it into rotation – and people were calling in to hear it! WCW could have cleaned up if they’d sent out licensed copies and started selling singles at arenas. Heck, don’t even charge royalties from the radio stations – just have them mention that this is “The West Texas Rednecks from WCW.” Bang! Instant positive publicity! (Which, by the way, was something WCW was missing at the time).

Instead, Larry asks if WCW can sue those stations. Brilliant, Living Legend. Smooth move. Let’s see if we can do anything else to drive fans away.

In the end, the Rednecks were another money pot that WCW fell into that they shoved away. I guess they didn’t need those fans. Of course, less than two years later it was another story altogether…

Where Are They Now?

Curt Hennig passed away on February 10, 2003 in Tampa, Florida. He was in town to wrestle on a show that Jimmy Hart was putting on at the Tampa Fairgrounds.

Bobby Duncum Jr. passed away on January 27, 2000.

Barry Windham still competes on the occasional reunion card. In January, Barry and partner Mike Rotundo lost a tag team match to Ron Bass and Larry Zbyszko at Wrestlereunion.

Kendall Windham has apparently since retired.

Next Week:
Be here next Wednesday as we head back down to Mexico’s CMLL to witness two universities go to war! Keep your requests coming, and you may see your favorite (or least favorite) angle show up here in the future!

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