The SmarK 24/7 Rant for Shorties: Wild Kingdom!
OK, this month’s theme is pretty lame, but there’s a bunch of random stuff in the Shorties section (standalone angles and various matches) that I haven’t reviewed before or haven’t reviewed in a long time, so here’s the roundupâ€¦
– All of these are introduced by Beth Phoenix, who’s pretty hot for someone who can actually work.
– From December 28 1994, in SMW: Chris Candido and Boo Bradley (Ballz Mahoney) face Cactus Jack and Tracy Smothers, but Bradley’s usual incompetence costs them the win. Candido takes out his problems on Bradley, and Tammy Fitch comes down to ringside and kitty-naps Boo’s faithful cat, Boots. So they all fight back to the dressing room and return with the bag containing the cat, continuing the brawl in the ring. Tammy blinds Boo with hairspray, and Candido hits the top rope legdrop onto the CAT! HE’S HARDCORE! C’mon, how can you not love Jim Cornette’s booking? Boo is inconsolable, but Cactus Jack comes out and gives it a try anyway. The next week, Tammy is suspended and Chris protests that the stupid cat made his house all smelly. And then it gets BETTER with Cactus and Boo attending a funeral for Boots the Cat, with Jack delivering the speech.
– From In Your House V, December 1995: HHH v. Henry Godwinn in the famous hogpen match. I’ve long maintained that this match was an unintentional allegory for the Monday Night Wars, since HHH was created as a character for Vince to mock his Connecticut neighbours with but really could represent Vince himself, while HOG was the clueless redneck from down south opposing him. Hillbilly Jim is the special referee here to really pound home Vince’s endless fascination with hillbillies. Hunter pounds away to start, but HOG backdrops him. HHH goes to the eyes, but HOG slugs him into the ropes and rubs slop into his face. Now there’s a spot you wouldn’t see these days. Hunter gets all pissed about that and pounds away in the corner, following with a neckbreaker and a kneedrop. And it’s more hot knee action, as he gets the high knee and they head to the floor. They fight over to the hogpen section and HOG gets whipped into the fence. Hunter tries a Pedigree for some reason, but HOG backdrops him onto the fence to escape. Hunter, in a nice spot, recovers by standing on the fence and dropping an elbow onto HOG. They head back to the ring and HOG gets an inverted powerbomb (with cheering from Hillbilly Jim) and Hunter gets whipped out to the floor. They slug it out down to the pen again and HOG tries the Slop Drop, but makes the classic mistake of going “Soo-ee!” before trying it, which allows Hunter to block it. HOG recovers and whips HHH into the fence, then gets his inverted DDT, but makes the mistake of charging and gets backdropped into the hogs to give HHH the win at 9:07. Deadwood has since made hogpens much more ominous as a dramatic device, of course, but this was pretty fun. **1/2
– From TNT, July 1986: Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff demonstrate their mad camel-riding skillz. The camel REALLY hates Volkoff, and even poor Nikolai is having trouble keeping a straight face while Sheik doggedly stays in character and tries to get the animal to cooperate. Thankfully, the Sheik gets the camel to move, perhaps by threatening to humble it and break its legs. Funny stuff.
– From MSG, November 1986: Koko B. Ware v. Jimmy Jack Funk. The overdubbing here, with “Piledriver” being used for Koko 8 months before the record was released and Finkel’s redone intros, is even more blatant than usual. You do have to admire the attention to detail from the production guys, however, as they mix the music to sound like it’s being played in the arena and then add crowd noise on top of it as well. Funk powers Koko into the corner off the lockup and adds a dramatic slam, then a hiptoss off another lockup. Koko comes back with his own slams and dropkicks Funk out of the ring. Back in, Funk pounds away, but turns his back too long and gets attacked. They do the test of strength and Koko dropkicks out of it, then armdrags Funk out of the ring again. Gorilla and Alfred just openly busting on Jimmy Jack Funk is pretty funny. Criss-cross and Koko monkey-flips him, nearly killing him by dropping him on his head. Another try at the lockup and Funk knees him, but Koko fires back with another dropkick. More stalling from Funk, but he catches Koko with a stungun and knees him down. Spinning neckbreaker gets two. We hit the chinlock, and that turns into a sleeper, but Koko quickly rams him into the corner to escape. He comes back with a back elbow and backdrop, then goes up and finishes with the missile dropkick and brainbuster at 9:06. Nothing exciting. **
– From Superstars, November 1991: Now here’s the one to check out! The super-evil heel Jake Roberts wins a squash and calls out color commentator Randy Savage with some REALLY high quality smack talk challenging Macho’s machoness. Oh, you don’t go there with Randy. Savage, despite being “retired”, answers the challenge, but gets blindsided by Jake in major-league fashion, then tied up in the ropes. Then, the bit that makes his legendary, as Jake pulls out an actual (de-venomed) cobraâ€¦which bites Savage on the arm in gruesome detail. People at ringside were just freaking out over this, and it set up the grudge match to end all grudge matches at Tuesday In Texas, a match that I wish they’d show here as well because it was pretty awesome. Lemme tell ya, if Jake Roberts was around today in this form being this evil, they’d put the World title on him without blinking.