I knew it would happen. Last time around I dared to mention how the column had made it up to #022 without skipping a week Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and then it skipped the following week. That’s what happens when combining exams and a new job and giving over the only available spare time to Spider-Man 3. If you haven’t heard enough about that movie yet, check out Matt Morrison’s excellent review in the Nexus, which more or less matches my opinion of it and saves me from spending too much time talking about non-wrestling matters here.
But I will quickly add that it was
And that if they do a second trilogy then they need an entirely new creative team and cast (except for J.K. Simmons, naitch) and should skip ahead by five years or so in the life of Peter Parker. Meantime, Batman: The Dark Knight, Iron Man and Incredible Hulk are all shaping up nicely, while Fantastic Four 2 looks to have tremendous drunken DVD night potential and the possibility remains that Superman might even get to fight something more interesting than a rock in his next movie. It’s a good time to be a comic book geek at the movies.
Wrestling? Oh, yeah. This is wrestling
Ladder defends title in Battle Royal
Uploaded by crazedfan
Yes, the (literally) inanimate object was the champion. Now there’s a challenge for Khali
Muru has something to add about on-screen swearing:
Ã¢â‚¬ÂI remember at Summerslam 88, I think a sign kept falling down behind Mean Gene. I am pretty sure he had enough and dropped an F bomb. He said something like “F- it” Of course I could be wrong.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Yeah, it was SummerSlam ’89 actually. Mean Gene was interviewing Rick Rude backstage, the big Ã¢â‚¬ËœSummerSlam’ logo hanging on the wall behind them fell down and wee Okerlund was rather spooked. I would include a clip of it but if anybody from TNA seen it then they’d wind up having it happen to Jeremy Borash all the time, turn his character into a nervous wreck and for some reason Abyss would wind up in prison.
Oh, and to the guy who wrote in last month asking about Seamus O’Shaunessy – he played the Scottish Champion, Hamlet Macbeth, that MVP defeated on Smackdown on the 27th April. Yes, even though O’Shaunessy is Irish. It’s still a closer ethnic match than Santino Marella, the Italian who used to be Canadian, American and/or Russian. I just call him Fez.
Now, onto the Q&A. This week we’re covering, amongst other things, shoulders, the AWA, Andy Kauffman, Owen Hart, and Royal Rumble ’94.
Remember and send in your questions for next time!
Michael Darnell wrenches the socket:
“Do you have any idea what the things are that Sonjay Dutt and Homocide sometimes wear on their shoulders during matches? Is it a kind of bandage or something? This is the best picture I could find. Sonjay Dutt was wearing a big black one on his shoulder on the 4/26 edition of Impact.”
Yes, it’s just a type of bandage designed to protect and support the shoulder. Homicide suffered a bad shoulder injury in December 2005 off of a tope gone wrong. Ironically, when he won the ROH title the following December it was from Bryan Danielson, who was taking time off to heal a serious shoulder injury of his own. Sonjay Dutt injured his shoulder in May 2005 during the Differ Cup Tag Tournament, a cross-promotional event in Japan featuring NOAH and Zero-One, among others. It was then hurt again by Senshi’s double-stomp at last year’s Slammiversary event. The dressing just allows the guys to work through the injury without as much pain as they would otherwise suffer. If anybody knows the technical term for it, let us know. As a guy who has had umpteen shoulder dislocations and shoulder surgery, I can only look on in amazement at what some of these guys can pull off with only one good arm.
By the way, if you ever meet him, don’t call him Homocide. Might not go down too well.
Matt Reed racks Ã¢â‚¬Ëœem up:
“Ian, my friend, I need your help.
In the last column, you spoke of the greatest promos and cockups in
wrestling. You also spoke of something terrible happening in 1989.
I have a not-so-big secret.
I love FUBAR situations. As long as noone gets killed or crippled or left
broke and homeless, there is nothing funnier than seeing everything go tits
up, either with a slow buildup to an epic explosion of incompetence, or just
one massive, sudden clusterf*ck. I laughed my ass off during the RAW show
where the lights didn’t turn on. I laughed even harder at that women’s
match with the blown Top Rope Bulldog.
Please, good sir. Make my day, my week, my whole damn summer.
Tell us about the ’89 AWA crisis.
Show and/or tell us your top 10 favorite f*ckups in wrestling, be they
technical errors, blown spots, botched pyro, or something else incredibly
dumb that managed to f*ck up the program.
Give us some more hilarous promos, either hilarious on their own, or
hilarious because someone screwed up.
Name your choice for the single most hilariously terrible match in wrestling
history, with video if possible.
Basically, give us a small taste of that dream DVD that you and I would buy
the hell out of.
Oh, and one more unrelated thing.
What was your personal opinion of Andy Kaufman’s wrestling career?
Oh, and if you want to post your favorite HOLY SHIT AWESOME moments as well, go for it.
I want to know about this “finger poke of doom”, too.”
Well, okay then.
The AWA decline had of course started many years before 1989 but there were still plenty of groan-inducing booking decisions made by them then. For starters, one month after then champion Jerry Lawler had unified the AWA title with the WCCW title at Superclash III, he was stripped of the belt. Even worse, the following month they put the vacant title on the line in a battle royal, which was won by Larry Zbysko. Just imagine that. You’re a wrestling fan in 1989. The WWF has Randy Savage as the champ, heading to an epic collision with Hulk Hogan. The NWA/WCW has Ricky Steamboat and Ric Flair doing their timeless series of title bouts. The AWA has Verne Gagne’s son-in-law, who looks about as threatening as Al from Home Improvement, a guy that to this very day is still coasting off the memory of losing to his mentor in front of a large crowd in 1980.
Even more baffling was the Team Challenge Series, which, as Eric Bischoff has recently gone to great lengths to emphatically tell people, was not his idea. Greg Gagne seems to merit most of the blame. The basic concept was at least understandable Ã¢â‚¬â€œ there would be three teams, one for Zbysko, one for Baron von Rachke and one for Sgt Slaughter, who smartly left before the series ended, and they would each have a bunch of matches against the other teams to vie for supremacy. This type of thing has been done many times and generally works quite well, as in TNA’s X Cup tournaments in recent years. The AWA, however, was working with an incredibly shallow talent pool, had no money to bring in any big-names, and wound up having to hold some of the matches in closed TV studios due to overwhelming apathy killing ticket sales. They didn’t even just try their best to put on decent wrestling, instead trying to find a horrible halfway house between the NWA’s old-school mentality and the WWF’s cartoon gimmicks, resulting in matches like the Great American Turkey Hunt, which required the winner to rescue a stuffed and uncooked turkey from a pole to get the win. The world-renowned Jake “The MilkmanÃ¢â‚¬Â Milliman won that particular effort, proudly proclaiming to the proles Ã¢â‚¬ÂI won the turkey! I won the turkey!Ã¢â‚¬Â Oh, you sure did, pal. As if that wasn’t bad enough, there really was no point to the damn thing. Not unless the viewers were gullible to think that the winners really were meant to share a $1 million prize between them. At least awarding them with something like a trophy or medals or a title shot each would have made it somewhat easier to buy into. The series ended in the autumn of 1990, as did the promotion.
Still, by 1989 there was nothing that could be done to stop the AWA from tumbling downhill. They just wound up inflicting even more harm on themselves as the fell than the otherwise could have done.
My top-ten favourite f*ck-ups? We’ve already covered most of the obvious ones in recent columns, so I’ll avoid things like Arquette, Shockmaster, Gayda and Mean Gene’s F-bomb. Let’s go with
01/ Winning a match by taking a sodding turkey off of a f*cking pole. Ã¢â‚¬ËœNuff said.
02/ The Gobbledygooker. I remember the first time I seen Survivor Series 1990. It was one of the earliest times I had enough money of my own to go and actually buy a wrestling show to keep. Back then I was still young enough to mark out for WOYAH and indeed for anything involving face-paint or tassels, so after the opening match the show started to drag. Then I saw the giant egg and started to feel rather uncomfortable in a youthfully vague don’t-touch-me-there kinda way. Then came the hatching and the sight of Mean Gene dancing with a giant turkey for a good ten minutes whilst Vince McMahon cheered them in on with what can only be dubbed an Ã¢â‚¬Ëœaroused’ tone of voice. Meanwhile, I was left staring at the TV trying to sever the connection between my eyes and my brain. I was not yet old enough to know what it felt like to get stoned, yet when that fateful day did arrive it felt an awful lot like being back in that old flat, trying to figure out why, why, why there were images of a giant turkey in front of me. Clearly, I needed a better stash. The real mystery with the Gobbledygooker is that they went and made a brand new costume for it in 2001! And it still got nearer to the spotlight than the WCW guys!
03/ Moving away from the poultry theme altogether, there’s always the hysterical sight of Vince McMahon sitting flat on his ass in the ring after his legs imploded at the Royal Rumble 2005.
A billion dollars and a swagger don’t mean shit to the passing of time, sir.
04/ Either the Kennel in the Cell, when the vicious dogs did nothing more than lick themselves and crap on the ringside mats, or that British Bulldogs match when Matilda took a dump in the ring itself during the introductions. Either way, dog poop is important to this list.
05/ This one not only cracks me up but describes Orton’s entire career:
Oh no please don’t fire him best wrestler ever amen.
06/ Sid Vicious going into a world of his own design during War Games ’91. At one point he had Rick Steiner backed into the corner, asking “Is he there yet?Ã¢â‚¬Â whilst choking him, to which Rick replies in the affirmative, so Sid says “Let’s go!Ã¢â‚¬Â and whips him across the ring to the waiting Scott Steiner. Later on in the match, Sid was down on the mat and Brian Pillman was standing over him. Sid yelled out “Give me the figure four!Ã¢â‚¬Â He got it. Towards the end of the match you can also hear him asking Pillman “Is this where you guys lose?Ã¢â‚¬Â Better safe than sorry. Oh, and don’t forget when he rammed Pillman’s head into the ceiling of the cage during a powerbomb.
And there was that other time when Sid cut a scathing promo, informing his opponent that “I’ve half the brain you do!Ã¢â‚¬Â
God bless that Sid.
Nothing at all to do with wrestling but a valuable life lesson nonetheless. And I might as well throw in a cheap-plug for his Q&A at AICN.
08/ The Undertaker’s entrance at WrestleMania XX. The announcers act like it is the second coming; I just chuckle at the dubious merits of the biker getting a new hat and a Liam Gallagher hairstyle. Similarly, at WrestleMania XXI, while the announcers dribble their usual spiel and Taker Ã¢â‚¬Ëœglides’ towards the ring, I was left chortling at the sight of him on a skateboard. Sadly, the Skatertaker gimmick did not come to fruition. C’mon, you know he’d love it. Avril Lavigne could play him to the ring for his return. He could get a new cap. Dead Man Ollie
09/ Survivor Series 2002. Rico eagerly awaits the next big spot in the match. Jeff Hardy contemplates the necessary meaning of existential angst amongst the plankton community. Rico snaps and yells “Where the f*ck’s Jeff??Ã¢â‚¬Â Later in the match, the youthfully unsober Jeff fell of a rail and twatted his face on the floor. Later in the evening, Scott Steiner came into the ring to get a mic and yelled “Give me the f*cking mic!Ã¢â‚¬Â He got the mic.
10/ There are many weird statements made by wrestlers during their promos few are as bizarre as this one
His logic is oddly illogical.
I never saw any of Andy Kauffman’s wrestling appearances at the time and still haven’t seen any of his matches. There’s no denying that it was highly effective though, with the right person hitting the right chord for the right audience at the right time.
The Fingerpoke of Doom is as good a choice as any for the worst match of all time:
The only remarkable thing about that match was Nash managing to avoid injuring himself during it. Realistically, pinpointing any single moment as the downfall of WCW, or as the beginning of anything in any given environment, is always a flawed argument as there will always be various sub-details that play a pivotal part in the development. Still, the fingerpoke is as good a place as any to arbitrarily mark the period when WCW began to noticeably lag behind the WWF. Remember, Raw still had the red-hot peak of Stone Cold Steve Austin going on, as well as the Rock/Mankind feud that sparked such an interest with the fans, including many of WCW’s. Those two were fighting over the WWF title in rather brutal and enjoyable contests, whilst here Nash and Hogan had devalued the WCW belt to nothing more than a prop that could be used as a pawn of their egos. Whilst the WWF had a fresh vibe to it, here WCW squandered their latest chance to move away from the nWo (the greatest chance had been Sting in December ’97) and now, in January ’99, reverted to the very same angle that had dominated their show since July ’96. Hell, they didn’t even limit it, still allowing the nWo Hollywood jobbers to clog up the undercard and make it harder for the homogeneity to end. Goldberg, still very popular in spite of his winning streak having ended at the hands of Nash, had been stuck in an ill-suited storyline in which Miss Elizabeth accused him of harassment and gotten the police involved. Soap opera was not Bill’s forte, that’s all I’ll say. Even after the fingerpoke when Goldberg ran in to triumphantly beat-down the nWo, his heat was threatened yet again by a Lex Luger heel turn. Yes, a Lex Luger heel turn was the climax of the main event in 1999. Heard enough? Many had seen enough by that point and Nitro’s ratings would only once climb above the 5.0 they got for this show – and that only happened because Raw was pre-empted that night. Raw did not fall below 5.0 until the 30th August that year – but it still beat Nitro then. Of course, this was also the night when Tony Schiavone was ordered to spoil Mankind’s title win on the taped edition of Raw that Nitro was going up against, which backfired greatly when hundreds of thousands of Nitro viewers changed the channel to see Foley win. As I said earlier, the evidence clearly shows that the unsullied waters of Raw were more tempting to the general wrestling fanbase than the on-screen political fiasco that Nitro was being headed by – and that was before the fingerpoke actually happened. All in all, a colossal f*ck-up.
Right, I think I answered all your questions
DAVEHater kicks a leg out of a leg:
“Do you not think it would have been a smart move to hotshot the WWF Title
to Owen Hart in January 1998 (probably at the Rumble) and then move the belt
back to Michaels at No Way Out to set up ‘Mania? This surely would have set
Owen up as a credible upper card guy and then they could have used him as
their go-to guy as a face if Austin needed time off or stuff? Owen coulda
been huge after Montreal.”
No, I don’t think there would have been much point in that. Austin was the mega-face of the moment and there was just no way that Owen would have been able to match his heat in the long-term, so why run the risk of diluting Austin’s momentum in the meantime? The entire focus of the promotion had to be around Austin’s ascension from mid-card anti-hero to main-event phenomenon, matched against the burgeoning heel heat of Mr Vince McMahon blurring the fact-fiction divide, spurred on by the similar heat that Shawn Michaels was getting, topped with the buzz factor of DX and the hype of Mike Tyson. If Owen was added to that mix to the extent that he became champion it would have just been one ingredient too many. They probably should have done an Owen/Shawn match at In Your House 19 in December ’97 though.
Yeltzin’s Eternal Spirit rises with a question:
“If you were Vince McMahon and could nick three guys from TNA, who would
they be, why have you chosen them and what would you do with them?”
If I was Vince McMahon then I’d be a vindictive bastard and would choose Vince Russo, Jeff Jarrett and Shane Douglas, then put each one in a series of matches with Bob Holly. Behind closed doors. For “training purposesÃ¢â‚¬Â.
If I was me then, well, life might be less confusing. It would also mean I could pick Samoa Joe, Christian Cage and Tyson Tomko.
Oh, I know the smarkboys out there are going to convulse their brains about me not picking Styles, Daniels, Homicide, Shelley and the like but, let’s face it, there would be no point in such people going to WWE. At best they would wind up as restricted and overlooked as Paul London and Brian Kendrick. At worst they would never make it further than Ultimo Dragon did. At least in TNA they have a greater opportunity of being able to showcase their talents in decent matches, even with the mandatory involvement of the Booking for the Insane bible. They’d get paid less, but I’m selfish and don’t care. Get a paper round in Orlando, ya bums.
Christian and Tomko are an easy fit into WWE, obviously. At the moment their greatest potential lies in sticking together as a team and providing a solid basis for the revitalisation of one of the tag divisions. The fact is that the audience don’t care enough about any of the other teams for them to be placed in the driver’s seat. The Hardys are the obvious exception but they need opposition that can be seen as equal in stature and none of the other teams can do that thanks to the way they have been booked, not even Haas and Benji. They could throw together random combinations, like Chavo & Helms, but the fans have seen enough of those types of teams as well. It would be far easier for a duo from outside to come in and take a stand. Christian and Tomko have a recent history known to the WWE audience, a good rapport with one another, an easy lead into a feud with the Hardys, and could even provide the basis for a new heel stable to be led by Edge. Of course, if they returned outside of my fantasy world the WWE would have them split up and feud with one another inside of six months before moving Tomko into a feud with Snitsky that would die a dreary death but what ya gonna do?
Meanwhile, Joe would definitely get a newly invented surname. “The Samoan Submission MachineÃ¢â‚¬Â is a fine moniker but, let’s face it, the name “Samoa JoeÃ¢â‚¬Â is distinctly bush league. Did you know he was from Samoa? If only they had told us. The obvious way to start him off is a feud with Umaga, with the reality clashing against the stereotype in a series of hard-hitting bloody brawls. The storyline could be that Estrada is exploiting Umaga and Joe is trying to prevent it whilst protecting the integrity of his culture. This could lead to Umaga eventually revisiting his Jamal persona and reforming 3 Minute Warning, either with the return of Rosey or the addition of Afa Anoa’i Jr from developmental, again providing another key team for the Hardys and Christian/Tomko to fight with. We’ll keep Joe in singles though, winning the Intercontinental Title and running roughshod over any and all challengers for several months. After that, we bring in Chris Benoit, who would share our curiousity about Joe’s submission skills, and they can feud with one another for a few months in several intense bouts that recall and surpass the Benoit/Angle series. He can then do a Dibiase in the Royal Rumble, perhaps even making it as far as the Final Four, before going on to win Money in the Bank. After that he can have various backstage altercations with the WWE and World Heavyweight champions only for him to cash it in against the ECW Champion and win. It would raise the profile of the ECW strap and perhaps even give us the chance to see Joe/Punk feud on a bigger stage. If they give Joe the chance to cut his own promos and use the personality we are all familiar with, the audience would learn a little about his background, about how valuable legitimacy is to him, and about how his mission is not just to take things to the extreme but to do so with honour, to do so with pride, and to avoid the commercial and political bullshit that infects the other brands so much, so that he can run ECW with one foot on the ground and the other one on the throat of the opposition. Codswallop, yet useful. Then, after a year or two, move him over to one of the other brands to challenge for their main titles.
Or something like that.
JigglyPuff the Magic Dragon mentions the forbidden D.A.:
Ã¢â‚¬ÂWith Vince recently winning the ECW champion, he is now both a WWE and ECW champion. David Arquette and Vince Russo have both been WCW champions. I was wondering if there have been any other notable instances of promoters, movie stars etc. who have been champions.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Verne Gagne winning the AWA title springs immediately to mind. He founded, owned and ran the promotion and still managed to hold the belt on 10 different occasions. The last time he won it he was 55 years old and it was simply awarded to the previous champion, Nick Bockwinkel, rather than attempting to do anything of interest with it. Still, there’s no denying that Gagne was the best man for the belt in earlier decades. As mentioned earlier, the belt later wound up on Larry Zbysko, Gagne’s son-in-law.
Dusty Rhodes might not have been the outright promoter of Jim Crockett Promotions but he did book himself to become NWA World Champion in the mid Ã¢â‚¬Ëœ80s. Similarly, Jeff Jarrett got himself six reigns with that title after putting TNA together in 2002. Kevin Nash dropped his first WCW title in the Fingerpoke of Doom, as seen above, when he was the head booker. He had already been the one to end Goldberg’s streak and went on to rack up five title wins in total.
Antonio Inoki was the founding father of NJPW and made himself the inaugural IWGP Heavyweight Champion in 1972. Giant Baba got himself three brief stints with the NWA belt in the Ã¢â‚¬Ëœ70s after co-founding AJPW and taking the JWA’s place in the Alliance. Keiji Mutoh, the current head of AJPW, got himself a second Triple Crown after taking charge of the promotion.
They’ll probably be the most renowned instances of promoters, bookers, owners, etc. becoming champions, but I’m stumped on the celebrity front. Other than the people behind the Arquette debacle, I don’t think anybody has been stupid enough to try it.
Kane, or least someone who wishes very much that he were Kane, asks:
Ã¢â‚¬ÂAlso, WHERE THE HELL IS HEIDENREICH?Ã¢â‚¬Â
Wherever you want him, baby.
He kept wrestling on the indie circuit since his WWE release in January 2006. Some of his more notable turns include winning the tag team titles in TNT Pro Wrestling with none other than the sexually-aware Orlando Jordan. The promotion has since folded. He also appeared in the fake AWA currently undergoing legal action from WWE, beating someone with the Brockless name of Eddie Venom. He also turned up in WWC in Puerto Rico, winning their Universal Heavyweight Title, which is clearly way better than a mere World title, dropping it briefly to Carlito. WWE forced Carlito to drop it due to his contract with them, which led to Heidenreich later losing it to Eddie Colon, Carlito’s brother, even though he is now due for a call-up to the main rosters this year. Sense! We need sense! We need creepy, crazy, steroid abusers with Aryan good looks reading poetry to under-age girls that he wants to become Ã¢â‚¬Ëœfriends’ with! HEID-EN-REICH! HEID-EN-REICH!
The Haddock King gets fishy:
Ã¢â‚¬ÂWho has Lita knobbed/noshed/received facials from etc?
Why the reputation for her being a massive slut before she did the dirty on
Bearing in mind that this is all based on rumour and there’s no way to actually prove it
She was a ring rat in OMEGA and whilst there slept not just with Matt Hardy but with Joey Matthews, Steve Corino, Shannon Moore, Christian York, Mike Maverick and many others She took golden showers from Corino and Danny Doring whilst in ECW She let Corino take a dump on her too She used to be a stripper She turned tricks for wrestling train whilst in Mexico She was with El Dandy for a bit and the phrase Ã¢â‚¬Ëœsex toy’ was used to describe that relationship She was a groupie for a punk band in Richmond She is bisexual and was also with many women She has a face that looks like she has something jammed up her arse all the time
And yet she also has a reputation for being a private person, who took great offence at the Ã¢â‚¬Ëœlive sex celebration’ with Edge and left WWE because the Divas were increasingly nothing more than sexual objects.
Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd we’ll leave it there.
Meanwhile, elsewhere near here
VS #4 is up, as the hairy Matthew Michaels takes on Dan Hevia, who gives one of the most short-sighted answers yet, all under the watch of special guest judge Pulse Glazer, who also pops up in recently-released VS #3 to take on Allen Noah, who usually writes about proper sports, under the judgement of Rob Blatt, who is now married. That was an extensive sentence.
The Hot Seat, the red-headed precursor to VS, is also back, this time with Steve “Mr BrightsideÃ¢â‚¬Â Murray in the aforementioned very warm chair.
Mark Allen becomes the first person in history to quote Voltaire whilst talking about WCW’s BattleBowl. At least, one would hope so.
Who will win the 2008 Royal Rumble?
Big Andy Mac GUARANTEES what will happen at the first ROH PPV taping. We all know that for a GUARANTEE to work it needs to involve JBL and, sadly, ROH does not.
Michael Fitzgerald kicks PC World goodbye and keeps up his enjoyable reviews, this time covering the latest in Silvervision’s Best of Raw and Smackdown series. Between them and the Tagged Classics it seems the UK gets a better WWE DVD line than the USA, which would be cool if I had the money to get any of them.
People who have more time to waste than I do contribute to the Roundtable for TNA Sacrifice. Because the internet would crack if it didn’t have our official opinions of Jeff Jarrett vs Robert Roode
Aaron writes about ROH, perhaps whilst wiping Gabe’s cock juice from his lips
Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd we really shall leave it there.
They also go here.