The View From Down Here – Heroes of Wrestling (Jake Roberts, Marty Jannetty, Jim Neidhart)

First of all, let me start this here column by apologising. I would loved to have engaged some of the commentators to last fortnight’s column because I actually enjoy intelligent debate and discussion, and the people who comment on Inside Pulse are, by and large, intelligent and not prone to some of the stuff I see on an all-too regular base on other sites. However, for some reason I am yet to fathom, I cannot post comments of my own. Disqus will not let me. I have tried all manner of fixes and none of them work. So, apologies, and I hope it won’t stop people from discussing what I write here.


Now, second point of business – have you bought my book yet? Please?


Okay, the column. Last week I posted my review of the local wrestling show, with my favourite promotion Riot City Wrestling. It was, quite simply, a blow-away show, (though not perfect; I’m not blind). When we do our year-end reviews, it is going to take something amazing to top that as my show of the year. And that got me thinking – I have seen some of the very best in local wrestling. So…


What about the worst?


Well, as luck would have it (“luck”?) I was given a copy of that all-time classic wrestling pay-per-view Heroes of Wrestling. This has been called the very worst wrestling PPV of all time ever. This is one of those things that I’d only ever heard about, but never actually seen, like some sort of urban myth (like an honest politician). And so with a mixture of trepidation and curiosity I sat down with my son to watch this… this show.


The year is 1999. WCW has entered its prolonged death throes with their throw everything at the wall to see what sticks policy. WWF is featuring such classics as Vince McMahon winning the Royal Rumble, Undertaker defeating Big Bossman in a Hell in the Cell at Wrestlemania, and more Crash TV than we could handle. So maybe it’s right that this PPV should occur in what could well be called one of the lesser years in wrestling. (See? No matter how bad TNA and WWE are now, some of lived through 1999 and are still here…)


And we are “live” (as much as we can be “live” 13 years later) from Casino Magic in some town in Mississippi. This is dedicated to Gorilla Monsoon. Why? Our commentators are Randy Rosenbloom (you think Michael Cole is bad? Mark Madden? Lord Alfred Hayes? Pshaw, I say! I have heard Randy Rosenbloom!) and Dutch Mantel. Having said that, they announced in the opening credits that Gordon Solie would be there. And he wasn’t. But I don’t think he would have changed a damn thing, and it is probably best for his legacy that he was not there. We also have a ring announcer (Crisper Stanford) with the most bizarre opening exhortation: “So throw down your toys and get out of the sandbox, play time’s over. Because tonight, somebody’s gonna get their ass whooped tonight in here!”


Already I am dreading this.


Match 1: Fatu and Samu, the Samoan Swat Team (with manager Paul Adams) v “Rocker” Marty Jannetty & “Fantastic” Tommy Rogers.
     Adams cuts a promo to start. Could have been well done if he didn’t have the delivery of a high school student performing in the school play in front of his girlfriend’s mother. Samu plays stall-a-go-go to start. Jannetty looks good physically. Samu throws Jannetty to start. And again. In the cormer Samu hammers away, Jannetty comes back with speed (as in velocity), is joined by Rogers and they defeat the SST by the power of pre-selling. Outside the ring the SST regroup. Eventually we’re back. Jannetty forces a mistake and then works the arm. Rogers in, Fatu in. Rogers takes over with a testicular kick. Jannetty in, double drop kick, and we hit the chinlock. Jannetty with a crossbody for 2. And the SST back outside again. So slow. Kick to the back from the apron stops Jannetty. Testicular head drop on Jannetty. Headbutt. Chop. Kick. Punch. Whip to the corner for a Jannetty oversell. He’s trying but this match is stuck in third gear. Jannetty outside and Fatu hits him with a chair (apparently “obscene” and “unethical”, according to Rosenbloom). Jannetty into a ring post. Rogers over. Fatu throws Jannetty back in. Samu misses a moonsault. “Hot” tag to Rogers. Rogers hits a flying leg kick (looked like a drop kick to me, but I’ll bow to the superior knowledge of Rosenbloom). Rogers with a powerslam to one Samoan, kick to the gut of the other, and we’ve hit second gear. Double headbutt drops Rogers, but he hits a double DDT, Jannetty hits a double bulldog, Jannetty hits Fatu on the outside.  Samu gets Rogers into a Samoan drop position and hits an Ace Crusher (or “faceplant” allegedly) out of it.
     Winners: Fatu & Samu.


Well, that wasn’t a horrendous way to start, but so slow. I’ve certainly seen worse on too many WWE/TNA PPVs.


Sherri Martel and George “The Animal” Steele arrive being very friendly with one another. She’s his manager apparently. But he starts to undress her as they enter a room. Sherri then cuts a promo. Steele interrupts. Sherri shows leg to get Steele to go the direction she wants. As funny as sandpaper on a toilet seat.


Match 2: Greg “The Hammer” Valentine v George “The Animal” Steele (with Sherri “The Manager” Martel)
     Hammer cuts an interesting heel promo (taking on George Steele because Steele and his father had a long-standing feud) to start. Not too shabby. Then they face one another. Dear God, this looks like a fight at the local old folks’ home about a dodgy game of cribbage or something. Hammer out to stall because this match was clearly going too fast. Lock up and Animal bites Hammer’s arm and starts after a turnbuckle. The ref makes Steele take his shirt off (why?!?) giving Valentine the chance to attack. And then Martel attacks Steele! Wow, subtlety, thy name is wrestling. And she does it again, while screaming. And yet Animal doesn’t realise? Hammer back to hammering. Finally the shirt is off (again: why!?!). Steele with an international object pokes Hammer in the neck. He gives it to Sherri who hides it in her cleavage. Hammer back on the attack. Steele comes back. Sherri gives Hammer the object Steele gave her. Hammer plays hide the object with the ref between hitting Steele with it. Steele back on the attack. Hammer out because this needs to be slowed down even more. Sherri throws the object to Hammer, but Animal gets it and threatens to use it in front of the damn referee! Sherri then hits Animal with a chair and Valentine gets the pin. Oh wow, that was not a good match.
     Winner: Greg “The Hammer” Valentine.


Steele clears the ring afterwards. So, for a one-shot PPV, we have the heels going over in the first 2 matches. Steele fills the ring with chairs, Hammer back to hit him with a chair, Steele no sells it and they leave.


Match 3: Julio S. Fantastico v Too Cold Scorpio
     Scorpio comes out with a belt. Okay, sure. Oh, and now Lou Albano joins us on commentary. Hopefully this means Rosenbloom will be drowned out completely. The dodgy ring-side camera work is giving me a headache. Chain to start, reversal, reversal. Quick sequence ending in a drop kick (or a “leg drop”, because Rosenbloom is so knowledgeable). If it was a dropkick (and I think that was what Fantastico was aiming for) it was a lousy one, like a botched leg lariat. Ick. They go back to the mat and Scorpio ends up in control. A “look at that move” leads into a back flip into standing drop kick from Scorpio, even if Fantastico was out of place to take it properly. This Fantastico looks like he’s lost. Arm drag (or slam… okay, I’m going to stop. Rosenbloom’s call is giving me another headache) and Scorpio is back in control. Arm bar rest hold. Snap mare leads to an out of control flip by Fantastico and the two men stare at each other, then at the crowd. Fantastico whipped into the ropes and he hits the ropes like a cannonball. What is with this guy? I’m a bad wrestler, and I can run the ropes better than that! This is awful. Lock up series into a nice Scorpio drop kick and a spin kick (or a… no, I said I’d stop) which sends Fantastico somehow through the ropes. Urk. Pescado by Scorpio hits barricade and Fantastico. So botching is contagious now? Scorpio throws Fantastico back in and hits some chops in the corner. Another bad rope run by Fantastico ends up with Scorpio on the apron. He’s knocked down and jumps straight back up just so he can take the alleged drop kick and end up on the floor again. This is terrible. Fantastico just sort of flops over the top rope onto Scorpio, misses, skins the cat back in and then hits an alleged pescado. He was going for a pescado the first time? Seriously? Wow… I mean, wow. And he still almost missed Scorpio. Scorpio thrown into the barrier, Fantastico back dropped over it, fighting through the crowd and we can’t see a damn thing. Best part of the match right there. We’re back, and into the ring. Mule kick turns the tide for Fantastico. Bridging sort of suplex thing for a Fantastico 2-count. Fantastico elbow for another 2-count. Sort of a drop kick (or flying kick… sorry, I said I wouldn’t…) and Fantastico clotheslines Scorpio out of the ring and that was awkward from Scorpio. Back and forth in and out. Something went wrong there. Slingshot crossbody gets two for Scorpio. Slam by Scorpio and he goes up, Fantastico scoots around on his back, then jumps up and knocks the referee into the ropes but Scorpio was still on the second rope and so it just made him sit down on the top turnbuckle. How did that do any damage? Fantastico then hits some sort of bulldog thing for 2. Oh, just end it, please! Scorpio off the ropes and hits a kick thing (God knows what it was supposed to be). He slams Fantastico again and hits a second rope Harlem Hangover, then a top rope Arabian (half twist into) Harlem Hangover (whatever that’s called). That move missed Fantastico completely. Or maybe smashed the side of his head in. Who cares? For the three. Thank Christ that’s over.
     Winner: Too Cold Scorpio


Captain Lou Albano is now announced the commissioner of HOW. Yay! Bundy interview. Welcome to 1986.


Match 4: Iron Sheik & Nicolai Volkoff (with Nikita Breznikoff) v Butch & Luke (the former Bushwackers)
     Russian national anthem from Volkoff. Club demonstration from Sheik (so slow). Rosenbloom pronounces Butch as though it rhymes with Dutch. Slow brawl to start with punches that wouldn’t break through wet paper. So slow. Things happen. Sort of. This is pathetic. But for the first time ever an announcer wonders why people chant “USA” at the Bushwackers (being from, you know, New Zealand). Sheik now does some more stalling. Well, it’s better than watching them wrestle, I suppose. So slow. Volkoff looks like he’s trying to wrestle. Oh dear God, this is so dull. And so slow. Sheik in and he is terrible. I mean, worse than awful. Oh, I can’t do this. The end comes when heel miscommunication leads to a foreign object being used by Volkoff hits Sheik and the Bushwackers get the pin. There’s more to this show? Yay! Oh, and did I mention – so slow?
     Winner: Butch & Luke


Post-match Sheik and Volkoff have a brief argument, and then make up. Yeah, that was pointless. Now we go to the back and see Tully Blanchard stepping out of a limousine earlier today, then Stan Lane attacks him. That 30 seconds sets up a match? Really? Well, at least it does set up a match, which is better than 50% of WWE nowadays. Tully then gives a good promo, promo of the night in fact.


Match 5: “Sweet” Stan Lane v Tully Blanchard
     Lane grabs the mic and does his own introduction (quite well, it must be said). He then runs down Blanchard (not that well, it must be said). Lane plays stalling to start. Blanchard follows him outside and Lane catches him coming back in. Clothesline by Lane. Lane in charge. Blanchard back with a nice hiptoss and drop kick. Fighting outside. Lane hits an atomic drop into the ring post on Blanchard. He strangles Blanchard with the TV cables. Back into the ring and Blanchard is fighting shadows. Swinging neckbreaker by Lane gets 2. Blanchard back with the super-punch, Lane back with some sort of karate move thrust thing. Lane locks in a form of chickenwing. Lane drops Blanchard across the top rope. Lane attacks against the ropes. Lane hits a Russian leg sweep. The commentators are focused on members of the audience. Blanchard blocks Lane in the corner and uses the trunks to sort of pull Lane outside. That was awkward. Lane hurled into the barrier. Tully on the attack, figure four on the floor outside the ring. Lane goes for the eyes to break the hold. Back in the ring Tully locks in a sleeper hold. Lane drops into the corner, but Blanchard misses most of it, yet still sells it. Lane goes for a piledriver, Blanchard backdrops Lane out of it. They are now totally gassed. Lane hits a backdrop suplex. Both men’s shoulders are down, but at 2 Tully lifts his. Lane thinks he’s won, but he hasn’t.
     Winner: Tully Blanchard.


Lane attacks after the bell, Blanchard back with a suplex. Not terrible or anything, just, well, odd.


Match 6: One Man Gang v Abdullah The Butcher (with Honest John Cheetah, or Cheatum, or something)
     OMG (doesn’t that look odd nowadays?) fills the ring with chairs and chains. OMG jump starts the match. Punches. Abdullah bleeding less than a minute in. Surprise! The guy would bleed in a pillow fight, seriously. And, well, that’s the match. Punches with and without weapons until there’s blood everywhere. Oh, and unprotected chair shots. And Abdullah just blades at every opportunity. Seriously, Abdullah even wiped the blade over his head in front of the camera more than once. Oh, some kicks. Good to see a varied offence. This is crap. Abdullah is covered in blood. God, even ECW had some wrestling moves on occasion. Abdullah keeps on wiping that blade over his head. Abdullah finally makes some sort of comeback. OMG is bleeding as well. Abdullah is using a fork. This is just terrible. It’s matches like this that make WWE’s current blood rules seem like they make sense. Both men are covered in blood. Chairs are used. The referee seems to just not give a shit at this point. Abdullah hits an elbow! Wow! Both men are now out of the ring. They’re counted out. It’s over.
     Winner: DCOR


Backstage some sort of poker game is going on. Bob Orton, Jimmy Snuka and Lou Albano are involved. Albano is now also managing Snuka as well as being commissioner. Accusations of cheating arise.


Match 7: Cowboy Bob Orton v Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka (with Captain Lou Albano)
     Lock up to start, Orton backed into a corner and Superfly on the attack. Superfly with a crossbody (which Orton politely waits for) into a sort of backward roll pinning combo thing by Orton. That looked awkward. Small packed by Superfly for 2. Orton tries to clothesline Superfly out of the ring, but… that was crap. So Superfly rolls out of the ring instead. Orton drapes Superfly over the top rope, drops an elbow and sends Superfly back to the floor. Orton hits a delayed vertical suplex to get Superfly back into the ring. Slams Superfly, then drops a head on Superfly’s gut for 2. Orton on the attack. Big back bodydrop by Orton for 2. This is more like it. Orton remains in control. Even an arm-bar gets the crowd in thanks to the wrestlers’ interactions with one another and the audience. Mind you, it is a looong arm-bar. Really long. Like minutes long. He finally hammerlocks Superfly and works the arm. Now we’re into a hammerlock, not an arm-bar. While this is fine technical wrestling, it’s not that exciting. Bob breaks the hold because the fans are riling him up. Wow, the gut on Orton makes me feel better about myself. Orton shoots Superfly into the ropes and drops his head so Superfly hits a head butt to take over. Chops by Snuka. Orton into the corner, ending on top. Snuka in control now. Collision knocks both men down, Orton falling on top for a long 2 count. Snuka up and goes to the top rope. Orton knocks him down. Orton goes for the 2nd rope superplex, but Lou Albano holds Snuka’s ankles so Orton flies backwards. He goes after Albano, but hits his arm on the turnbuckle. And because he isn’t wearing his cast – as we all know that that arm never fully heeled from all those years ago – he’s in pain and Snuka hits the cross body for the pin. By the way, I say “we all know” but the announcers don’t. They never mention it. It was obvious and yet… *Sigh!*
     Winner: Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka


We now have Jake Roberts giving an interview. He is so clearly smashed it is actually, well, sad. He is slurring his words and doing odd things with his hair and his eyes are not focused. And I quote: “In a casino, you should gamble. Let me tell you something, you don’t want to play cards with me, because I cheat, okay? I cheat. You want to play 21, I got 22. You want to play black jack, I got two of those. You want to play aces and eights, well, I got some of those too. Bottom line is this. You do not gamble with me.” Okay, about here I lost track of what he was saying, but apparently he wants to hit the casino with Neidhart after their match. Yeah, something’s wrong. They should have done something right there and then to stop the inevitable.


Match 8: Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart v Jake “The Snake” Roberts
     Jake looks like he’d rather be anywhere else. He undoes the snake’s bag. He goes back to the back. Anvil plays up to the crowd. He knows something’s up. Roberts is back. He hits on some woman in the front row. He finally gets into the ring. He can barely stand. Anvil looks legitimately pissed. Anvil heads to the back, but stops. Lock up. Anvil calls an audible and Roberts does some sort of judo throw. Lock up, into the snake’s corner and Anvil backs off. Into a different corner and Anvil lays in some stiff shots. Anvil in control. Roberts reverses to a hammerlock (or Neidhart pushes him through into a hammerlock), then Anvil is in the corner. Roberts sort of ambles in after him, goes for the DDT set up so Anvil gets out of there. Anvil back in the ring eventually and Roberts takes his snake out of the bag. And he holds it between his legs and simulates masturbation with it. Anvil looks really pissed. I mean *really* pissed. Roberts now simulates French kissing with the snake. King Kong Bundy now comes down to ringside. Bundy and Neidhart chat. Roberts back chats Bundy, Neidhart attacks from behind. Neidhart with a tight chinlock. Neidhart is trying to turn this into a match, but he’s clearly fighting a losing battle. Roberts gets Neidhart into a corner and looks like he falls asleep against him. Neidhart does the Bret Hart chest bump into a corner and Bundy’s up on the apron. Now Bundy’s in the ring. WTF? Now comes Yokozuna (or, as they called him, the Former Yokozuna). Man, he is freakin’ huge! Yoko goes after Bundy, Neidhart stops him. So now it’s announced as a tag match.

Match 8b: Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart & King Kong Bundy v Jake “The Snake Roberts” & the Former Yokozuna
     Neidhart and Bundy work Yoko over. Jake is outside, barely able to stand. Heel miscommunication sees Neidhart lay a forearm into Bundy. Roberts is laying on the ground outside the ring. Some “Mini-Me Bundy” talks to everyone. Roberts is in the ring, sort of standing of his own accord. Roberts collapses. Neidhart pulls Roberts out of the ring and works him over with much softer shots than before. Neidhart with unprotected chair shots to Roberts’ head. Bundy goes after Jake with a chair. Bundy throws Jake into the ring and Neidhart works him over. Bundy Mini-Me gets some shots in as well. Bundy in and he drops a knee on Roberts. Then an elbow. Roberts gets his foot on the rope. Anvil back in. Bundy back in. Roberts kicks out. For God’s sake, end this shit. Roberts with a pair of groin shots to get the hot tag to Yoko. Yoko works over Neidhart, but Bundy hits a big splash on Roberts for the 3-count. Thank Christ.
     Winners: Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart” & King Kong Bundy


So this means the main event of the Former Yokozuna v Kong Kong Bundy does not happen. After all that hype and everything else (the 1000lb War), it simply does not happen. Bundy and Neidhart go to the back and Bundy Mini-Me is hit with a Samoan drop by Yokozuna even though the crowd wants a Jake DDT. The snake gets put on him anyway. Neidhart was willing, but not even Ric Flair in his prime would have been able to pull anything out of Roberts on this night.


Worst PPV of all time? Worst wrestling show of all time? Well, certainly the worst I’ve ever seen. But it falls into train wreck territory, where it was so bad you had to keep on watching to see what was going to happen next. Wow. I don’t know what else to say.


I watch these things so you don’t have to…



So, to some Australiana.


How about something intentionally funny?


(By the way, the fat one with the two leg braces is me…)



Hope you enjoyed this view!

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