What if a column went online and there was no site to host it? #041 took a long walk off a short pier after the Pulse Wrestling server died again, so be sure to check it out, or at least skim down and watch the video at the end.
Welcome back to our resident Q&A feature. Time has been playing mind games again this week, so this latest update got delayed a little bit. Have no fear, a more frequent schedule has been restored, so keep the questions coming in.
“The Wikipedia article for the 1996 Survivor Series says that Ted Dibiase lost to Rita Rudaini.
Dibiase’s article seems to corroborate. It also says that the match took place after the main event, and ran 20 minutes! My question is, who the f*ck is Rita Rudaini, and why was Dibiase wrestlign a 20 minute match after he had been retired for three years?
What the f*ck is with Taker’s Batman getup?
Well, the Wikipedia article for the 1996 Survivor Series no longer says that Ted Dibiase lost to Rita Rudaini. For now. Be wary of what you read on Wikipedia. Dibiase debuted in WCW on the 19th August 1996 and had bugger all to do with any WWF PPVs after that date. He never wrestled any 20-minute matches after he retired in the summer of 1994, certainly not to lose to a woman. As far as I can figure out, Rita Rudaini is a jobbing actress from Malaysia, whose credits include Mendam Berahi, in which Madame X sends three glamorous government agent to retrieve sunken treasure from the clutches of some bad guys. She has a Friendster page here, a MySpace page here and, according to the Wikipedia entry for superkicks, delivers a Rudaini Kick as lethal as anything Shawn Michaels or Steven Richards could offer. She must have at least one fan with far too much internet lee-way on his hands. Just for the hell of it, here’s a video clip of her slapping around another woman in a swimming pool:
For some reason YouTube offered to take me from that clip to one of Gordon Brown pledging “a new type of politics”. I suppose that makes as much sense as Ted Dibiase jobbing to lovely Rita. Perhaps this is some sort of meta-viral storytelling technique, like how the Expose show in Lost is theoretically meant to refer to the wider storyline and make Lando into the Cobra. Maybe lovely Rita is Madame X, who is really on the side of the bad guys, and Dibiase and Brown are her minions, sent out into the ether to protect the treasured matryoshka doll and thus be able to rewrite wrestling history without the McMahons noticing? Wow, that is by far the best WWE Films pitch to date.
The Undertaker’s Batman get-up was, to put it simply, cool. In storyline terms, he had been betrayed by his father (figure) Paul Bearer when Bearer sided with Mankind and took the urn with him at SummerSlam ’96. The feud led to Taker losing the first Buried Alive Match at the intriguingly titled In Your House 11: Buried Alive PPV, which meant he was dead again and thus free to change his clothes at long last before coming back out to play. It brought an end to the lamentable Purple Era and was the start of the Leather/Goth/Emo Era. It has many names. The sight of him sporting a teardrop tatoo on his cheek was funny at the time and outright hilarious now. The so-called Undertaker Eras break down roughly like this:
First, he was dead. Or wrestling for WCW. Something like that.
Then came the Grey Era, which ran from his debut at Survivor Series 1990 until he died again at Royal Rumble 1994. He was then briefly replaced by Marty Jannetty and, much more painfully, by Brian Lee. In case you were wondering, and there’s no good reason why you shouldn’t be, Brian Lee was the best man at Taker’s wedding to Sara. That must be handy. Your woman is pissing you off and you need some alone time, you just send your mate over in Undertaker gear to keep her occupied.
Of course, you can’t keep an angry ginger down, especially not when his beloved pet urn grew wider and shinier, so the Purple Era commenced at SummerSlam 1994. It had nothing to do with Prince, which is unfortunate, since it denied us some potential Batdance action. This period saw the WWF go mental and book him against such embodiments of suck as Kama, King Kong Bundy and Mabel on major PPVs. It mercifully ended in October 1996 when he died once again after Mankind buried him alive.
That brings us to the, oh, let’s say Emo Era. Teardrop… snigger… It began at Survivor Series 1996 and got off to a wobbly start with a feud with half of Terry Gordy’s brain, then rebounded tremendously by giving him his biggest world title run to date. It also saw the debut of Kane and the pair of them had exactly seventy-six thousand and ninety-four matches with each other in a row. Eventually, Taker got bored and died yet again after being buried alive yet again. This time it was at the hands of Steve Austin at In Your House 26: Rock Bottom in December 1998.
After that came the Ministry Era, when Taker got tired of having no mates and so decided to try and make everybody else as emo-fun as he was with the Ministry of Darkness. It turned into the Corporate Ministry after a while for no easily explained reason but, hey, dead people gotta eat too. After a while it all fell apart, with the Acolytes going off to become alcoholics, Mideon training to be naked and Viscera continuing to suck too much for anybody to care about. Taker hung around with the Big Show for a while, mainly to yell at him and poke his belly, but eventually he was ‘suspended’ by Mr McMahon and by September 1999 is was over.
Somehow, despite not dying, this led to his biggest change of all when the Biker Era kicked off at Judgement Day 2000. This involved less druids and more petrol and was phenomenally popular at first. Okay, so they never really explained why Kane was still a voiceless zombie pyromaniac but it did give us their hilarious SummerSlam 2000 match together, which somehow never began and ended when even Taker got bored and went off to buy some more Kid Rock T-shirts. Anyway, it lasted until Survivor Series 2003. Take a wild guess what happened there. Yup. Dead. Buried Alive. Vince McMahon this time, with a l’il bit of Kane on the side.
So, that brought us to the Rerun Era, which began in earnest at WrestleMania XX and is still with us today. Randy Orton did shove him in a casket and set it on fire but I guess Taker’s teleportation powers were working that day because he didn’t die. Not officially at least. Mark Henry may have killed him with the power of fatness in May this year but his condition was later altered to ‘itchy’. I guess we’ll find out for sure when Taker returns on Sunday. Personally, I’m hoping he’s going to follow the Batman costume with an Aquaman motif. The world needs undead fish lovers. And no, Troy McLure doesn’t count.
The crashing and the burning of RVD and Kennedy, and all the talk
of Test in the PWA#40 got me thinking. During the “engaged to
Stephanie” story line, Test was handed the brass ring on a silver
platter and he went over like a lead balloon. (See what I did there?)
Which wrestlers have been given the biggest push and done the least
I really enjoy this column”
– The Mutt
I saw what you did there. I enjoyed it.
To be fair to Test (boy, there’s something I never thought I’d type), his 1999 push wasn’t all that big. The engagement angle with Stephanie got him some great heat, plus a very enjoyable match with Shane at SummerSlam, but after that came a couple of months of nothing-in-particular until they were ready to throw the Triple H swerve into the story. He remained rather popular for most of that period and, given how little they thought of random title changes back then, they did miss out a little by not having him replace Austin in the Survivor Series title match. Apparently the preferrable option was to have the Big Show defend the title against Bossman at the next PPV to honour his dead father or whatever, whilst it was up to Stephanie’s dad to take on Triple H rather than her fiance. In fact, Test didn’t even get onto the Armageddon 1999 card. By the next month/year/decade/century/millennium he was mixing it up with the other jobbers over the Hardcore Title.
Owen Hart is a great example of a big push that led nowhere. His epic feud with Bret Hart started at Survivor Series 1993 and ran for around a year at first, dominating the title scene for most of that period. Hell, his staredown with Bret even brought WrestleMania X to a close. In the end, however, Owen just wasn’t able to make himself a dynamic enough singles star to convince people that he was worthier of a regular main event spot than Shawn Michaels or Kevin Nash. As an upper mid-card fixture, however, he was tremendous. When he kicked Michaels in the head and knocked him out, scores of gullible teenage girls wept. When he was called upon to resume the Hart Foundation, he embraced it with gusto and two (yes, two) Slammy Awards. When he had the chance to reinvent his Blue Blazer character for a contemporary audience, it made us all laugh. That’s what Owen was best at – making people happy, not making people money.
Oh, wait. Billy Gunn. The WWF pushed him more or less consistently for a f*cking decade and still nobody pulled. It didn’t work as a cowboy, as a Honky Tonk Man fan, as a degenerate, as a King of the Ring, as an Ass Man, as a homosexual, as a ladies man, or as a generic mid-carder with bright and distressingly tight shorts. Okay, okay, the degenerate stuff did work for a while, yet that was mostly residual heat from Triple H and from Road Dogg’s crowd-pleasing intro spiel. When it came time for Billy to fly solo, he crashed and burned.
Or how about Zeus? It’s hard to get a much bigger push than having a wrestling promotion release a movie with a jobbing actor as the lead villain and then expect him to repeat the role in a wrestling ring. I believe the justification for Zeus’ anger was that he lost to Hogan in No Holds Barred but that was fake, so he came to the WWF to beat him there because then it would be real… yet Zeus was a character in the movie and it was Zeus that came to the WWF, not Tony Lister Jr, yet his opponent in the movie was Rip, not Hulk Hogan, though in the WWF it was Hulk Hogan, while Terry Bollea didn’t exist in either world and… oh, f*ck it, meta makes my head hurt. Suffice it to say that Zeus stank up the ring badly enough to get turfed from the promotion after five months. Not badly enough to stop WCW from bringing him in seven years later though, which says plenty about WCW.
Speaking of WCW, I guess the Natural Born Thrillers merit a mention here as well. The stable took up endless amounts of screentime in 2000 as Russo hamfistedly attempted to get anybody vaguely fresh over with the fans. Kevin Nash was their coach for a while and to this day he remains more popular than any of them. Just look at where they wound up…
Mike Sanders – billing himself as a “former pro wrestler gone legit” on his MySpace, he’s now doing improv comedy shows in Florida.
Chuck Palumbo – now that he’s finished pretending to be gay, he gets to ride around on a motorbike with Michelle McCool and touch such legendary opponents as Chris Masters.
Sean O’Haire – once meant to be the poster boy for WCW Fusient, this year he has been in bar fights, hospitals and a bunch of MMA shows with minimal interest.
Shawn Stasiak – most famous for failing to touch The Rock, he’s currently doing far more sensible work as a chiropracter in Texas.
Reno – retired… and… nope, that’s all.
Mark Jindrak – the Stuart Sutcliffe of Evolution is down in Mexico pretending to be Italian.
Johnny The Bull – most likely to turn up as an associate to a jobber, namely Nunzio, or is it Guido again, in ECW, which puts him in the minority of a minority of a minority. Poor fella.
Here the Thrillers are, in action against The Insiders, DDP & Nash:
“What the hell is Quechup.com and why do people keep sending me invites to join it?”
– Iain Burnside
I don’t care and because they’re stupid. That’s why everybody does everything.
If you have a question you’d like to pester us with, send it here and feel justified in doing so.
Tags: ECW, WCW, WWE