Friday, December 31, 2010

Flashback Friday: Reporter Smackdown

We're turning the hands of time way back for this week's flashback.  It was December 28, 1984.  The WWF, NWA, and AWA were the big three in terms of wrestling companies.  Hulkamania was running wild.  We were months away from the first ever Wrestlemania.  And ABC News wanted to cash in on the popularity of the "sport."

20/20 correspondent John Stossel was doing a report on wrestling.  More of an expose piece.  I was 11 years old at this time, and until then I believed that wrestling was legit.  I knew there was probably some "acting" involved but the things Stossel's report uncovered were unbelievable to me.

You can watch the report on YouTube.  This is part two of the story.  It's also were things get interesting.  John interviews Vince McMahon about the company and if he has a monopoly.  He asks point blank if it's a legit sport and Vince gives a pretty good answer.  Remember this was just in the infancy of the WWF and Vince was still kinda green in terms of his media relations.  In fact, the term "sports entertainment" wasn't mentioned at all.  Maybe it was this report that helped to coin that phrase.

The end of the video is were you'll find the good stuff.  The whole reason for this post.  You see, Stossel decided to ask superstar Dr. D David Schultz if wrestling is fake.  Afterall, Schultz's former tag team partner Eddie Mansfield had just admitted it was.  Even showed the world how to blade.

Well, the Doc didn't take too kindly to the question.  If you're a long time fan, you know what happens.  Stossel took a couple of open handed slaps.  One to each side of the head.  Knocked him on his butt both times.  Schultz asks him if that's fake.  It wasn't.  Stossel sued and the WWF settled out of court and paid the reporter $425,000.

As a reporter, I will say this.  Schultz should have never put his hands on Stossel.  But as a wrestling fan, I would say, why would you ask a 250 pound meat head a question like that?  Prior to the question you could see Dave was aggatated.  I found it interesting that none of the other guys stepped in to stop him either.  I recognized Mr. Fuji.  I'm not sure who else is back there.

Schultz was fired a short time later.  But I've read that came about when he threatened to beat up Mr. T around the time the company was preparing for Wrestlemania.  So Schultz was clearly very protective of the business and didn't appreciate outsiders.  Can't totally fault the guy with that, but obviously Vince was taking his company and the business in a whole different direction back then.

One other thing I noticed in the Stossel report is the whole "violence breeds violence" line.  Fans have gotten disruptive and rowdy and even violent at football games, soccer games, and even concerts.  But that's never portrayed as something bad by the media.

Okay, I'm off my soapbox.

Hope you enjoyed this walk down memory lane.  I can still remember sitting in my parents room on their bed watching the 20/20 report.  In some ways it seems like it was just yesterday.  Man I'm old!

Wow, watching some more Dr. D videos on YouTube.  This is really interesting.  I hadn't seen a whole lot of him before as I was just getting into wrestling around the time he was fired.  Someone commented that Stone Cold ripped his gimmick from Schultz.  There are some similarities there.

Thanks for reading.  Be sure to check out My 1-2-3 Cents on YouTube too!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

She's Awesome

From TNA Wrestling
Looks like the Miz isn't the only "awesome" superstar in the WWE.  Awesome Kong has reportedly signed a deal with the top company in wrestling.  For lack of a better word, it's awesome news.

Kong is the former TNA Knockouts champion.  Admittedly, I don't watch a lot of TNA, but from what I've seen of Kong's work she is very good.  I think this will bring some much needed diversity to the cookie cutter Barbie doll image the WWE Divas division has.

My hope is that Kong is not saddled with a lame new name and gimmick.  Let her be the monster she was in TNA.  I don't know enough about her "Awesome Kong" moniker to know if it's copyrighted to TNA or if she'll be able to use it.  Who knows if Vince and company would even keep it.  Since the Miz has the market on the word "awesome" right now, I could see them changing her name to something else.

The divas division has gradually improved over the last few months.  I think in part because Natayla has been doing a lot more wrestling and not just standing in the corner of the Hart Dynasty.  Plus, Beth Phoenix is back.  I believe these two are the best of the best in the division.  Gail Kim is really good in the ring too, but she seems lost in the shuffle.  I also like Melina's athletic ability.  Adding AK to the mix will only make the division prosper.

I'm curious now to see how quickly we'll see her in the ring.  Hoping she doesn't have to go to the FCW or be a contestant on NXT.  Kong should really be able to hit the main roster and start dominating the division.  In addition to breaking that typical Diva mold, the division is in desperate need of a strong heel.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My Main Man(ager)

Jimmy Hart and me at Wrestlemania 22
In previous posts I've talked about the death or at least the dying out of tag team wrestling in the WWE.  If it were a person, it would be on life support.  That's a shame, but I'm not going to get into that discussion again today.

Instead, I'm focusing on another dying (or dead) aspect of wrestling that I thought added to the entertainment: the manager.

Now that Paul Bearer is "dead" again, are there really any managers in the WWE?  Alex Riley is more of  protegee.  Maryse, Eve, and Tamina are more valet than manager I would argue.

I definitely think managers should be brought back to the business, but it's not just the WWE that has stopped using them.  When I was growing up and watching wrestling in the 1980's, there was Slick, Bobby Heenan, Jimmy Hart, Elizabeth, Oliver Humperdink, Fred Blassie, Capt. Lou Albano, Mr. Fuji and the list goes on.  These men (and woman) added something to the product.  Most of the times they provided the voice for their talent.  Back then wrestlers didn't need to talk, they had their manager do it for them.

I always thought Bobby Heenan was the best at this.  He could talk all kinds of crap.  Build his men up and then usually himself end up on the receiving end of a butt kickin'.   He never seemed afraid to jump in there and put himself at risk.  That's what I loved about the Brain.  And he was funny too.

The E has experimented with other managers in recent years, Matt Stryker and Armando Estrada come to mind.  Personally, I thought they both did a good job.  I was disappointed when they released Estrada.  He and Umaga worked together perfectly I thought.

My tribute to Capt. Lou
There are Hall of Famers and legends who could move into the role of manager.  I'm sure there are even some up and comers in the developmental area who may not have the right stuff to make it in the ring, but could still make a contribution to the business. I thought Ric Flair was doing just fine when he was still in the WWE before Evolution really evolved.  It's a role he continues in TNA.

But I prefer it when managers only manage and don't wrestle.  Even if they wrestled in the past.   You knew most of the time that the manager would end up doing the job.  Of course the exception there was Wrestlemania 4 when Bobby Heenan pinned Koko B. Ware in that six man tag team match.

Maybe my desire for managers to make a come back has more to do with missing the way things used to be.  Times have changed, and maybe the manager, like the tag team division need to be put out to pasture.   Nah, they need to make a comeback.

Also, please check out my YouTube Channel.  It's brand new.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The New Nexus & Other Monday Night Ramblings

So the big news after Monday Night Raw is that Nexus apparently has a new leader.  That leader is the Messiah from the Straight Edge Society, CM Punk.

Two big questions come to mind.  Where is Wade Barrett?  And why CM Punk?  He was the other guy brutally attacked by the Nexus back in June when the group first formed on Raw.  I do however, like the idea of a "veteran" being involved with the group.  Whether Punk is the man for the job will remain to be seen.  But I have enjoyed Punk lately, especially as a heel.  I think his work in the ring is really good too, so this stands to be a win-win unless we get the breakup of the group by the time Elimination Chamber rolls around.

Thanks for giving away a potentially stellar pay per view match on Raw next week.  And I think we can pretty much all assume the Miz will win that one.  And it looks like dissention is already mounting between the Miz and A-Ri.  Personally I like these two together.  I hope they don't split them up. 

Speaking of split ups, it looked like for about 5 minutes that Tyson Kidd was going to be successful in his singles run.  He even threatened U.S. Champ Daniel Bryan.  Then he jobs to Mark Henry.  My first thought was okay, they're using Tyson as a way to help get Jackson Andrews over.  But then he gets himself punked out by Henry too.  So I'm scratching my head on this one...

No offense to the King, but why in the hell is he getting a push all the sudden?  I've complained before about making your champions look weak, and that's just what's happening to the Miz.  I know it was just a countout loss, but last week he was pinned in that six man tag match.  As Gorilla would say, "Give me a break!" 

I think it's great they're giving Santino a push.  But it's been in singles matches in recent weeks.  Isn't he a co holder of the tag team titles?  Where's Koslov?  Where are the belts for that matter?  Oh wait, it's the tag team division in the WWE, which we all know is going the way of the Dodo bird.

My guess is since Randy Orton beat Sheamus and the Miz will likely defend against John Morrison, I'm predicting an Orton-Miz rematch at the Royal Rumble.  B-O-R-I-N-G!

This is a really negative post on the WWE and the state of affairs, but I really wish they'd taking their booking in another direction.  Champions should be pushed as strong competitors.  Tag team champions should defend their titles or at least wrestle WITH their partners.  And new blood should be getting pushed. 

Okay rant over.  Thanks for reading.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Game On. Will Triple H's Return Help or Hurt?

HHH at Wrestlemania 24
For the better part of a decade Triple H has been one of the biggest players in the game.  After winning his first world title in 1999, started on a path of dominance that some could argue still exists today.

He's missed some big spans of ring time due to injuries though.  Remember in 2001, he was on the shelf during the whole WCW/ECW invasion angle?  Then in 2007, he suffered a torn quad that kept him out of the ring for most of the year.  Now he's still nursing injuries from the "attack" by Sheamus earlier this year.

Now there is speculation that the Game may be coming back to the ring.  But perhaps on just a part time basis.

His return to the ring is inevitable, especially since he still has a score to settle with Sheamus.  The King of Kings vs. the new King of the Ring will happen. It's only a matter of when.

Hunter of course is married to Stephanie McMahon.  We all know that and how much influence he has backstage in terms of his own story lines and those involving others.  Word is, HHH is going to split his time in the ring and backstage.  I don't like that idea.  I've never been a fan of active wrestlers being on the booking committee or overseeing things backstage.  I think most of the time it clouds their judgment.  Egos get involved, and let's face facts there are a lot of egos involved in this business.

Being silly with a HHH cutout at Axxess 2010
Some have Trips picked to win the Royal Rumble.  It's still too early for me to make a prediction on the Rumble, but the E does like to have surprise entrants win it all.  At least that's been the trend in recent years with John Cena and Edge each winning after a comeback.  And that wouldn't be HHH's first time doing that (remember the 2002 RR?)

No doubt, Triple H has added to the product during his time in the WWE.  He's a dedicated performer.  He eats, sleeps, and breathes wrestling.  Many will argue about how he got his spot, but I really do feel HHH had proven himself long before he became a "McMahon." But I think he should just stick to the performance aspect for now.  I can see him making a solid contribution for a few more years at least.  Then he can transition to an office job.

Of course, I don't mind him calling the shots and still wrestling as long as another title reign isn't in his future plans.  I can already see a squash match against the Miz at Wrestlemania 27.  That truly would be disappointing.

I think most fans miss HHH in the ring and anxiously await his return.  I'll be cautiously optimistic before making a final judgment.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Bah Humbug!

The Christmas Creature
There have been some pretty silly gimmicks over the years in the world of wrestling.  We've seen wrestling clowns, garbage men, and plumbers.

The holidays seem to spawn some weird gimmicks too.  In fact, until I had started researching this subject, I had never heard of the man to your left, the Christmas Creature.  But he did indeed exist.  Here's the video link to prove it.

Despite being dressed from head to toe like a Christmas tree wrapped in a candy cane, we all know the man under the mask.  It's the big red monster, Kane!

I can't find a whole lot of details about the gimmick, other than that video on YouTube.  From the looks of things, the Christmas Creature wasn't around very long.  He was part of the Memphis promotion USWA in 1992.

Xanta Claus
The WWE would not be upstaged by the USWA in the battle for silliest Christmas gimmick.  In 1995, Ted DiBiase introduced us to Xanta Claus.  He was from the South Pole and wore a black suit with red trim.  Xanta wasn't around very long though.  I don't know if it's because the gimmick was so lame or if it was because Christmas had come and gone.

Xanta would go on to become Balls Mahony, the former star of ECW.  I actually met Balls several years back after a WWECW show in Poplar Bluff, Missouri.  He signed my shirt in fact.

As we've seen from Xanta Claus, the Christmas Creature, and even the Thanksgiving flop the Gobbledy Gooker just don't seem to work.  They're fun (if you can call it that) at the moment, but just can't seem to get over with the fans.  Of course now they're fun to look back on and laugh (or cry) depending on your attitude.

And through the years, the WWE has dressed up different superstars and divas as Santa and his helpers.  In fact, they have a couple of albums set up on the company's Facebook page.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Flashback Friday: This Means War

 Christmas is a time for peace and love.  Friends and family.  Unless you're a wrestler. 

Christmas 1982 was anything but Merry for the Von Erich family and their fans at Reunion Arena in Dallas. It was a part of the annual Holiday Star Wars event put on by World Class Championship Wrestling.

Beloved Von Erich brother Kerry was gearing up for a shot against the NWA world heavyweight champion, Ric Flair.  But this was no ordinary title defense.  It would be inside a steel cage, and furthermore, there would be a special guest enforcer on hand too.  That referee was Michael Hayes, who with Terry Gordy and Kerry's older brother David had just won the WCCW 6 man tag team titles.

So it seemed like a lock.  The newest Von Erich ally was going to be calling the biggest match of Kerry's young career.  What could possibly go wrong?  Well, it is wrestling, so everything. 

Flair of course was the heel champion who everyone hated.  He and Hayes went back and worth throughout the match.  Terry Gordy hung out outside the cage as added enforcement.  This was long before the 4 Horsemen, so Flair was truly on his own at this event.  Or so it seemed.

When the official official in the match, David Manning was knocked out, Hayes took over.  He decked Flair and told Kerry to cover him.  Kerry refused.  Then Hayes forced Kerry to make the cover put the honorable Von Erich wouldn't let Hayes make the count.  As Kerry tried to leave the ring, he was greeted with the door of the cage right into the face.  That of course rendered him nearly unconscious and the opportunistic Flair, who had no honor, made the cover and won the match.

This set off one of the greatest rivalries in wrestling history.  The Von Erichs and Freebirds feuded for years.  The two sides swapped the 6 man tag titles and spilled plenty of blood in the years that followed.  Father Fritz would even come out of retirement to help his sons avenge the evil actions of the 'birds. 

So, a night of peace on earth turned into one of the biggest and best rivalries in the history of wrestling. 

Merry Christmas everyone.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Kaval Gets Endeavored

Courtesy: WWE
Most of you have probably read the news already, Kaval has been released by the WWE.  Big mistake.  As my friend Weston said, "Epic fail WWE."

I couldn't agree more.  Kaval was one of the most talented guys on the roster.  Sure he wasn't a big meat head, his mic skills weren't the greatest, but he was a solid worker.

I guess we know now why he was squashed in about 30 seconds the other night on SmackDown!

I haven't read the official reason for his release, but I'm sure it'll be something along the lines that creative had nothing for him.  Isn't that their job?  

I thought they could have built off his match against Dolph Ziggler last month and built up some kind of program there.  I thought for sure we'd see him with a singles title of some kind in 2011.

Heck, between Kaval, Daniel Bryan, Evan Bourne, Rey Mysterio, Chavo Guerrero, Justin Gabriel, Tyson Kidd, and Yoshi Tatusi why not reestablish the Cruiserweight division.  At least then we'd have a group of guys who would be facing each other and putting on matches the fans would be impressed with.

Seems like if you're not a main eventer, you're not going to get any attention.  Now that Cena is done with the Nexus, I'd be worried if I was Wade Barrett and other members of that group.

Merry Christmas, Kaval.  Here's your pink slip.

Sticks & Stones...

Vickie Guerrero & the other heel divas at WM26
There is a double standard in wrestling.  Lots of them actually.  But the one I'm going to address today is on the issue of bullying.

Before you click away, hear me out.  I understand it's wrestling, and you'd have to expect a certain amount of bullying, right?

TNA recently launched a campaign to stop bullying, but if you really think about it, it almost seems a bit hypocritical, doesn't it?  You're in a business were taunting is part of the job.  I guess it depends on what your definition of bullying is.  It really is all up to one's interpretation.

I briefly touched on this in yesterday's Tuesday Night SmackDown! post, but I want to explore it a little further today.  It's all about Vickie Guerrero and the double standard that seems to come into play involving her character.  And yes, I understand it is a character and that John Cena, Edge, and Jerry Lawler aren't really attacking Vickie Guerrero the person, the widow and mother of two.

Here's my question.  When Cena, Lawler and other tease Vickie, call her overweight (which she's not), and even dub her move "the Hog Splash" do the fans cheer about it?  Then when LayCool calls Mickie James "Piggy James" or Kelly Kelly "Smelly Kelly" why does the WWE Universe boo them out of the building.

Wrestling fans sometimes are illogical and hypercritical.  Another case in point.  People jeered CM Punk for telling it like it is when it comes to living a straight edge life.  The guy was basically saying, don't do drugs like Jeff Hardy does.  He's right, isn't he?  Hasn't this country been engaged in a war on drugs for decades now?  We arrest these offenders and put them in jail or make them go to rehab.  But when Punk wanted to get that message out about clean living he was hated for it.  Maybe it's all in the delivery.  Punk was supposed to be the heel.  The fans are supposed to hate him.  Jeff Hardy is the high flying superstar who teen girls around the country love.  So even if he does have a drug problem, it's okay because we like him.

The double standard thing has been an ongoing thing of course.  Gay characters are made to be bad guys.  Orlando Jordan, Adrian Adonis, and Goldust (although not gay, but had homosexual tendencies) were all booed by fans world wide.   Then there's those evil Canadians.  Last time I checked we were allies with Canada, yet for years we've booed guys like Dino Bravo, La Resistance, and the UnAmericans.

I guess I'm reading too much into the characters that are really here to just entertain us.  Maybe I should do a better job of suspending reality and just enjoy the show more.  Who needs to think about these things, right?

I'd like to know what you think.  Please share your thoughts.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tuesday Night SmackDown!

I enjoyed back to back nights of wrestling.  Actually for me it's back to back days as I DVR the shows and watch them after I get home from work.

First thought, and this will be a future in depth blog, why in the world are we starting the show off with two Raw superstars?  Why were Raw wrestlers on the show at all?  I know it was the same Monday night with SD guys on the show.

Wasn't really surprised by the finish of the match between Randy Orton and the Miz. I'm just glad the Miz at least didn't get pinned in this one.  But he didn't win either.  Still don't understand why there's opposition to putting the champion OVER the challenger cleanly?  I really don't get it.

The Santa Show thing was what it was.  Of course we all knew Cody was going to come out, well all of us but the Big Show.  And why was Cody so embarrassed about his "underwear" showing the other night?  They're roughly the same cut as his tights.

Kozlov kissing Beth, not interested in more Diva-Superstar love angles or triangles, if that's where this whole storyline is headed.

Santino gets the win over Chavo.  I like Santino, but he is a TAG TEAM champion now, so hey why not have him compete in a TAG TEAM match?  Just a thought fellas.

Probably my biggest annoyance of the entire night, maybe even the entire week, what are they doing with Kaval?  Nothing against Drew McIntyre, I don't have a problem with him winning, but they could have made this last longer than 45 seconds.  Geez, two months ago Kaval was competing for the Intercontinental title, now he's jobbing in under a minute?  Maybe he's hurt and this was a way of taking him off TV.  I haven't read anything to confirm this.  I just really am baffled why they'd treat a guy who the fans picked as the next breakout superstar like this.

The tag team match between Alberto Del Rio and Jack Swagger vs. Rey Mysterio and Kofi Kingston was action packed.  Four good workers here, and it was a SD vs. SD matchup.  Bonus points there.  My son was impressed and justified Kofi "cheating" to get the win because Swagger and Del Rio had bent the rules too.  He has so much to learn.

What was the whole McIntrye-Kelly Kelly thing about?  I haven't seen SD in a couple of weeks, so I'm guessing I've missed something.

Not even sure what to say about the handicap match with Vickie Guerrero and Dolph Ziggler vs. John Cena.  My DVR cut off early, so I didn't see the end, but read the Cena got the pinfall win.  Sigh.  Vickie shouldn't be in the ring.  She's a much better manager/mouth piece type character.  I hope the WWE gets out of the habit of putting her in matches.  Wondering if this mini program with Cena is going to elevate Ziggler at all.  Even though he lost, I still think he had an impressive showing.

Speaking of Vickie, I'm not sure why it's okay for John Cena and Jerry Lawler to make fun of Vickie's weight and the fans cheer.  But when LayCool called Mickie James, Piggy James, they were bullies and booed.  What gives WWE Universe?

Okay, if you have answers to my questions, fill me in.  Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Climbing the Ladder of Success

John Morrison vs. Chris Jericho MITB at WM 24
John Morrison has literally climbed the ladder of success.  After years in the mid card and tag team ranks, Morrison now finds himself the number one contender to the WWE title.

But is he an official main eventer yet?  I don't think so, but he is certainly on the verge.  I like Morrison.  I've liked him since his early days as a member of MNM and then his run as ECW champion and his feud with CM Punk.

I cheered for he and the Miz as they dominated the tag team ranks and waved their Slammy awards while telling fans to "be jealous."

Even after Miz and Morrison split, I enjoyed both guys.  Of course, I tend to cheer for the heel, so the Miz has had more appeal to me in that respect.  But I really think Morrison will be a major player in the WWE in the coming year.

He's proven himself against former champ Sheamus.  He's beaten the first ever unified champion Chris Jericho.  Now can he carry that success into 2011?  I think he can, but I really don't see him winning the world title anytime soon.

I'm glad to see someone other than John Cena, Triple H, or Randy Orton in the title picture.  It seems though that the writers speed up programs and don't let these guys who are still developing properly prepare for the spotlight.  (ie. Sheamus, Punk)  That's my one big concern about the Miz's quick climb to the top.  I don't want to see him flounder and be booked as the weak champion like some of these other guys have.

So while I'm all for Morrison's sudden rise to the #1 contender spot, I'm hoping this opportunity isn't a one time deal where he's lost back in the shuffle and Orton or Cena gets back into the title contention.  We need to see the Miz get over some quality opponents like Morrison and Orton and stop being on the losing end of matches against guys who are past their prime.  Just sayin'.

Please share your thoughts on this or anything else wrestling related.

Eight Hillbillies A Milking

Forget the maids a milking on the 8th day of Christmas.  Instead, we've rounded up some wrestling hillbillies.  Eight of them to be exact.

The Hillbilly explosion started in the WWF sometime in late 1984 or maybe early 1985.  I remember watching WWF when it was on the Superstation TBS (remember those days) and Hulk Hogan got in a tight spot with Ken Patera and Big John Studd.  They had recently cut Andre the Giant's hair and as Patera held Hogan in the full nelson, Studd had the scissors in hand and was ready to give him a clippin'.  Keep in mind this was long before "the Barber" Brutus Beefcake was on the scene.

Suddenly, there was a ruckus coming from the front row.  The man who had been sitting there for weeks was coming over the security barrier and into the ring.  He was decked out in overalls and a brown leather hat.  We only knew him as Jim at that point, but once he said Hulk Hogan from the evil villains in the ring, we learned he was Hillbilly Jim and he could also grapple.

At first, Hillbilly Jim hung out with Hogan before bringing in some big guns.  His "Uncle" Elmer would soon arrive and a cousin named Luke.  (That's 3)  Luke wouldn't be around for long.  He'd leave the fed and be replaced by another one of the hillbilly cousins, this time Junior.  Of course, Granny Kim was the matriarch of the group, but I don't remember much of her.  I don't think she was too involved with any of the angles and I don't even remember her at Elmer's wedding on Saturday Night's Main Event.

Hillbilly Jim in 2006
So if we count Granny Kim (and I'm going to) we're up to five hillbillies.  They stayed around for a bit in the 80's before eventually leaving.  Jim stayed with the WWF and worked behind the scenes.  I actually saw him at the Axxess tent at Wrestlemania 22 in Chicago.  He looked great by the way.

Without a doubt Jim was the most popular of the group.  He had an LJN figure in his likeness (I still have mine) and he was a part of the "Hulk Hogan's Rock n Wrestling" Cartoon.  But I think the gimmick had run its course and Jim had actually been injured at some point.  So it made sense for him to work behind the scenes.

Then Jim came back on camera just about the same time as the Attitude Era, or at least when it was in its infancy.  He managed two other hillbillies.  Henry O. Godwin and his dimwitted brother Phineas I. Godwin. 

HOG and PIG.  Get it?  They were of course pig farmers and toted a bucket of slop with them to the ring.  When they were faces, they would nail an opponent with the messy mixture much to the delight of squealing fans everywhere.

This was at a time when the WWF was still in that cartoony, PG rated era.  Soon, when they decided to go a little more rouge with their programming, the silly hillbillies ditched Jim and brought in Uncle Cletus as their manager.  The duo was portrayed as a couple of inbred slackjaws like a scene from Deliverance, before they ended up as a couple of tough thugs named Southern Justice.  Hence came an end to their Hillbilly ways.

Solomon Grundy

Another Hillbilly as we count down to our 8, is Solomon Grundy.  He wasn't around very long, and only made a mild impact on the world of wrestling.  Grundy wrestled in World Class Championship Wrestling. I seem to think he was also a part of Global wrestling too, but I'm not 100% sure on that.  The big man was a lovable character who wrestled with no shoes.  This was just as the Hillbilly craze was coming to an end in the WWF, so I'm not sure if Fritz Von Erich was trying to cash in on the excitement too or not.

Haystacks Calhoun
 Perhaps the granddaddy of the whole hillbilly movement was Haystacks Calhoun.

He wore the typical hillbilly gear, including the overalls, white shirt, and a horseshoe around his neck.  It's something Hillbilly Jim also adopted when he debuted many decades later.

Calhoun was a big man, weighing in at one point around 800 pounds.  He wrestled all over, including the WWWF and the tag team titles with Tony Garea.  Haystacks would be the role model for all the bumpkins who would follow in his footsteps.

So there you have a quick history lesson on the 8 hillbillys a milkin' on this 8th day of Christmas.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Seven Up and Comers

Courtesy: fanpop & WWE
Technically this should have and could have been about 8 up and comers, but Daniel Bryan was "fired" from the Nexus just a week after the group was established.  

I think I was like most fans who witnessed the brutal attack by the 8 rookies from the first season of NXT. I was hopeful that something new was on the horizon.  That change was coming.  That young blood and fresh talent was on the way up the food chain and into the main event and WWE title pictures.

I was wrong.  That was about 6 months ago.  Nexus has floundered.  And it's not all their fault.  I think they've been booked to look like a bunch of boobs.  From this original group of 7, that actually adopted the name "the Nexus" shortly after that big attack back in June, three of them are gone.  Darren Young was excommunicated first.  When this happened, I thought they were actually going somewhere with the angle.  But when's the last time you saw Darren?  Same thing for Michael Tarver.  He's out and hasn't been seen in weeks, maybe even months.  Skip Sheffield is on the injured list, so I don't know what fate awaits him when he is back from the sidelines.

Tarver and Young of course have been replaced by Michael McGillicutty and Husky Harris.  Personally, they're better choices than the first two, but it still seems like they're trying to find their way in the group.  And in the WWE.

The group had so much potential.  They still do, but I'm a bit worried about that.  Especially after last night match between Wade Barrett and John Cena.  Cena won the encounter.  Barrett NEEDED to win that match.  Of course it's not all over for the winner of NXT season one, but he really could have used a victory.  Where does this angle go from here?  John Cena has destroyed each member of this "elite" group one by one.  Last night may have been the straw that broke the camel's back.

The creative team could have carried out the Cena joins Nexus angle a bit longer and not made it so painful to watch.  Cena should have embraced the group.  I understand Cena is probably the biggest seller of merchandise right now, so maybe they shouldn't have saddled him with this program and stipulation.

And the whole firing storyline was a joke.  There wasn't a week that went by since the "termination" that we didn't see Cena on Raw.  Why?  He was no longer an employee with the company so why was he getting back stage?  Why was he allowed to interfere in matches and get into the ring?  To make the angle more authentic, they could have at the very least had cops come out and arrest him like back in the day with Austin and McMahon.  Does anyone care about consistency at all?

Anyway, back to the Nexus.  Will this group survive?  I have my doubts.  Mostly because the E is in the habit over the last couple of years of tearing teams and factions apart.  There are two many tag teams to mention here and we've seen what happened to groups like The Straight Edge Society (another great gimmick/angle) and Legacy (I was a fan of that one too).   They've teased the tension within the group.  I didn't see the reaction after Barrett's loss last night, but I'm sure there's more strife to come from that tonight on Raw.

So since it's Christmas, and the Nexus is (or is it are) the 7th day of Christmas gifts, I'd like to give the WWE creative team a gift.  A free piece of advice.  Find something for these men to do and don't let them get lost in the shuffle.  Watching them beat up on people every week or getting beat on by John Cena is not doing any of them any good.  Many of the members have a lot of potential and I think can be around for the long haul.  It's up to them and the creative team to come up with something so they're not lost in the shuffle and end up like Darren Young and Michael Traver.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Six Crazy Clowns

On the sixth day of Wrestling Christmas my true fans brought to me... six crazy clowns.  All named Doink, but played by six different men.

Okay, I struggled with this one.  I'm not even sure we'll make it to day 12, but I'm still working on that.

Doink the Clown was brought in to the WWF back in 1992.  When you hear wrestling clown, you probably assume a good guy brought in to bring cheer to young fans.  But that was not the case at all.

You see, Doink was an evil clown.  His music was even scary when he came to the ring.  He played pranks on fans, and not nice ones.  He was played by former WWF jobber Matt Bourne, who had been successful in Portland and World Class.  Bourne had come to New York after a stint as lumberjack Big Josh in WCW.

Doink's most notable feud was his first big program in the WWF against Crush.  The big Hawaiian himself had just gone through a gimmick change after Demolition disbanded.  He kept the name, but changed his look, still sporting the mullet, but lost the make up and black leather.  Instead he wore an orange singlet, looking like a can of Orange Crush.  It all made sense.

I think most people expected Crush to, pardon the pun, crush Doink when the two met at Wrestlemania 9.  But of course, the clown had a plan.  When the ref went down, a second Doink appeared.  This one was former Fabulous One Steve Keirn (who was also Skinner).  He named Crush with a fake arm and the "real" Doink got the pin.  The clown told fans it was all an illusion.

Bourne eventually left the WWF, but the clown stayed behind.  This time, former WCCW wrestler Ray Apollo filled those giant floppy shoes.  But this time, Doink was a good clown.  Big mistake in my opinion.  I wasn't a big fan of his face turn, and then when he adopted his little sidekick Dink, the gimmick was pretty much dead to me.

During that time, the Doink gimmick spread to Men on a Mission and the Bushwhackers at the 1993 Survivor Series and again at the 1994 event when Doink was joined by three little clowns in two of the worst matches in the history of the pay per view.

Steve Lombardi who wrestled as the Brooklyn Brawler, also donned the makeup and bright colored costume.  Other jobbers Dusty Wolfe and John Maloof played the character too.  Those are the six guys who remained unnamed as Doink.  Other superstars like Jeff Jarrett and Chris Jericho did the gimmick, but it was obvious who was under the green wig.

Doink is still on the indy scene as well as "Son of Doink".  A gimmick that started nearly 20 years ago, still having some popularity out there.  Again, the original gimmick was one of my favorites from back then.

So here's the Wrestling Christmas count:
A Red Rooster in a wrestling ring
2 Turtle jobbers
3 French Canadians
4 Wooing Horsemen
5 Brass knuckles
6 Crazy clowns

Stay tuned for tomorrow.  We'll come up with something.  

Saturday, December 18, 2010

No TLC for TLC

From WWE
I've mentioned it before, I'm not a huge fan of gimmick pay per views and gimmick title matches.  Although some from history have provided some great matches, including the Ladder match between Razor Ramon and Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania 10 and the original TLC match with Edge & Christian against the Dudleys and the Hardys.

But those are the exceptions.  I think overall they're an easy way to take the title off the champion without them having to actually put someone over.  John Cena falling through a table last year and losing the title to Sheamus did nothing to make Sheamus look good or a legitimate champion.

That may also have to do with the booking of him as champion.  If you don't win the title or at least defend it by PINNING some solid opponents, you're going to look weak.  I worry about that with the Miz now.

So on to my predictions for Sunday's big event.

The Miz vs. Randy Orton (Tables Match):  The Miz just won the title.  My hope is he stays the champion, and for a while.  This match isn't one that Randy Orton can be pinned in and made to look "weak".  So far, the Miz has beat a 62 year old Hall of Famer (Jerry Lawler) in a ladder match and a pinfall over Rey Mysterio, thanks to outside interference.  I hope that if the Miz does retain, they actually let him get an actual pinfall win or two over guys like Cena and Orton in future title defenses, but I'm not holding my breath.

My pick: The Miz

Kane vs. Edge vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Alberto Del Rio (Tables, Ladders, Chairs Match): Up until Friday, this was just supposed to be a one on one contest with Edge and Kane.  I'm not sure why they added Mysterio and Del Rio at the last minute.  Lazy booking?  Or was this the plan all along?  Did someone figure out that Rey and Del Rio weren't in a match earlier this week and throw them into the fold knowing that Kane might have trouble doing a TLC on his own with Edge?  I expect lots of interesting spots through this one, and really am not sure who to pick to win now that the other two have been thrown into the mix.  My gut tells me to go with Kane.  My hope is that it's Kane.  End the year with a dominant champion on Smackdown!  My only concern with a Kane win is that we get the fourth version of Kane and the Undertaker at Wrestlemania 27.

My Pick: Kane

John Cena vs. Wade Barrett (Chairs Match): So Cena has destroyed everyone in the Nexus, except for Wade.  Can he go 6 for 6 tomorrow night?  I think if Cena wins it makes Nexus look weaker than it already does.  But Cena lost that big one to Barrett at Hell in a Cell, so I'm not sure where they're going with this.  I can see Barrett winning with help from fellow Nexus members, perhaps even the returning Skip Sheffield. If Barrett wins, it wouldn't make Cena look weak, but a Cena win could make or break the first NXT winner's future.

My Pick: Wade Barrett

Swagger wins at MITB, can he win another ladder match?
Dolph Ziggler vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Jack Swagger (Ladder Match): This one is for the Intercontinental title.  I could see any one of these guys winning and not being disappointed.  And I feel like Kofi could actually be bumped into the main event picture and not held back on the mid card.  That being said, I can see him winning the title again and launching into an actual push to the upper card.  He had some great spots from Money in the Bank at Wrestlemania and I expect the same tomorrow night.  Though Swagger did win MITB at Mania, perhaps he'll be the ladder match master.

My Pick: Kofi Kingston

John Morrison vs. Sheamus (Ladder Match): This one is for the #1 contender to the WWE.  Traditionally the WWE has a throw away title match at the Royal Rumble, so I could see Morrison winning this match and going on to face the Miz in January.  There's a history there too, so it could be booked right.  Sheamus losing here wouldn't take much away from him either, as he is the King of the Ring now, and it's just a matter of time before Triple H returns and resumes that feud.  I'd prefer that one be contested WITHOUT the title.  Nothing against HHH, but I'd rather see some guys who aren't usually in the title picture getting pushed to the top.  Regardless of the outcome, I suspect Morrison will impress.  I just hope he doesn't get himself hurt in there.

My Pick: John Morrison

LayCool vs. Natalya and Beth Phoenix (Tables Match):   Not sure that I like a tables match involving the Divas.  That's not sexist or at least it's not supposed to sound that way.  I just don't think this is going to go well.  Not because of Natalya or Beth, I think they'd be better opponents for each other actually.  And I think that's where we're headed with this program.  Natalya has basically taken care of LayCool.  I believe a Phoenix heel turn is coming.  Maybe even tonight.  Perhaps she helps put Natalya through the table and declares the Glamazon wants the gold and not friendship.

My Pick: LayCool with the assist from Beth Phoenix.

By my count, that's only 6 matches.  Sounds like a pretty short night.  I'm wondering if they'll add any more matches "exclusively" on  I am disappointed that Daniel Bryan isn't on the card and we're not getting a tag team title match of any kind.  No matter what happens Sunday night it will put us one step closer to that Road to Wrestlemania.  Hopefully creative doesn't run us off course with the decisions they make.

Five Brass Rings

courtesy: WWE
It's the fifth day of Christmas and instead of gold rings, we're getting brass ones.  As in brass knuckles.

I understand that there are technically four rings for the fingers, and the fifth isn't really ring shaped, but I'm trying to go with a theme here, so bare with me.

Brass knuckles are an interesting weapon of choice in wrestling. So interesting in fact, some regions actually had Brass Knuckles Champions.  Guys like Blackjack Mulligan, Rocky Johnson, and Black Bart all held the NWA Florida version.

I never saw any of these matches, as the title was retired in 1984, which was about the time I started watching wrestling.  But I've seen plenty of villains use the knucks to their advantage.

Floyd "Money" Mayweather used them to knock out the Big Show at Wrestlemania 24.  I was there for that, and thought the booking of the match and it's ending were actually pretty creative.  I was skeptical of the match when it was first announced.  I had imagined another catastrophe like the Big Show-Akebono Sumo match at Wrestlemania 21.  At least at this one, Show was fully clothed.

My memories of the knuckles include Randy Savage using them to win the Intercontinental title from Tito Santana.  But I'm pretty sure they were wrapped in something and not the exposed knucks we see today.  Also, back in the World Class days, Gino Hernandez used them to beat faces like Kerry Von Erich among others.  In fact, Gino was the Texas territory brass knuckles champion.   Other legends like Fritz Von Erich, Abdullah the Butcher, and Bruiser Brody also wore that title.  It was an active belt off and on since 1953, before the NWA changed it to the Texas hardcore title in 1999.  That version only lasted a couple of years.

While there are no longer any brass knuckles champions, or at least none that I'm aware of, the weapon is still used today.  We don't seem them a whole lot, but William Regal is probably the wrestler most synonymous with using the foreign object.  Edge used them to beat John Cena at SummerSlam a few years back as well.

Running down our 12 Days of Christmas list (the whole point of this post)
A Red Rooster in a Wrestling Ring
2 Turtle Jobbers
3 French Canadians
4 Wooing Horsemen
5 Brass Rings

Friday, December 17, 2010

Four Wooing Horsemen

The best version of the 4 Horsemen, IMO
Day 4 of the Wrestling Christmas and of course I couldn't ignore the 4 Horsemen.  Perhaps the best stable in the history of wrestling.

The version in the picture (courtesy of Pro Wrestling Illustrated) was in my opinion the best foursome.  Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Barry Windham, and Ric Flair under the guidance of James J. Dillon.  It didn't get much better than that.

Anderson & Blanchard were the NWA tag team champions.  Windham was the U.S. champ, and of course Flair was the World champion.

Through the years we've gotten plenty of versions of the Horsemen, but Flair was always the staple.  Even when the WWE tried to reinvent the faction with Evolution, Flair was a big part of the group.

The original group, which formed in 1986 consisted of Flair, Blanchard, Anderson and his "cousin" Ole Anderson.  Dillon was the manager.  The concept was hardly new, having a stable of wrestlers.  But there was something different about the Horsemen.  I think it's the Flair factor.  The man was the best talker back then.  And he could back it up in the ring.

Of course all the other members contributed to the success of the group, but through the years, others would rotate in and out.  Ole Anderson was replaced with a younger, stronger Lex Luger.  He would eventually be replaced by a two timing Barry Windham.

For a time the Horsemen gimmick came to a halt, as many of the members, in fact all but Flair, had left for the WWF.  But in the world of wrestling, change is constant and Arn Anderson would eventually make his way back to Atlanta.

This time group reformed but as faces, and they added an up and comer named Sting to the group.  Ole Anderson was also invited back into the fold, but I think he mainly served as a manager, as Dillon was still working in the WWF's front office.  In true Horsemen fashion, they'd turn on the young, naive Sting and become the company's villains again.   Shortly after that Barry Windham left his Widowmaker gimmick in New York and came back to be a Horsemen.  The monsterous Sid Vicious was also a new member and Ole began fulltime management of the foursome.

Sid would leave about a year or so later for the WWF and Flair was soon to follow after his termination from WCW.  So that was the death of the Horsemen again.  But like a cat, the group seemed to have nine lives.  Or close to it.

When Flair returned to WCW in 1993, he got the "band back together" so to speak.  He and Arn Anderson and the unlikely third member, former WWF jobber to the stars Paul Roma.  Now it was just the 3 Horsemen.  I'm pretty sure this run was as faces too, as they feuded with the young cocky Hollywood Blonds (Steve Austin and Brian Pillman) who hazed Flair and Anderson about their age.

This formation didn't last long either though and Flair and Anderson eventually went back to their rule breaking ways and invited Brian Pillman and Chris Benoit into the group.  This was another good version of the Horsemen.  Youth, speed, agility, and experience melded well together here.

Dean Malenko, Curt Hennig, and my least favorite Horsemen of all time Steve "Mongo" McMichael would all become members at some point before the group finally disbanded.

Horsemen reunion for Flair's "retirement"
That was in 1999.  Then in 2008, something truly awesome happened.  My friend Chad and I had just witnessed Ric Flair's storied career come to an end.  We had planned to stay in Orlando on Monday (we had tickets to Universal Studios) but we had no plans to go to Monday Night Raw.

We had gotten back from a day at the park and Chad read online that the Horsemen (Tully, Arn, Barry, and JJ) were going to be at Raw for Flair's big send off.  We immediately decided to head to the arena and try to get tickets.

Not only did we get tickets, but we had awesome seats.  We were just off the floor and on the opposite side of the camera.  So if you own the Ric Flair Definitive DVD collection and you watch that retirement ceremony, you can see Chad and I in the crowd.

Anyway, I never had a chance to see the Horsemen wrestle live as a group, but seeing them in the ring and reuniting was the next best thing.  So here's a Woooo! and a "diamonds are forever and so are the 4 Horsemen" for you.

For those keeping score...
A Red Rooster in a Wrestling Ring
2 Turtle Jobbers
3 French Canadians
4 Wooing Horsemen

I Am the Champion

The World Anchoring Champion
My job gives me the opportunity to do a lot of fun and interesting things.  This year along I've been tasered live on the air, got to go inside the operating room for a surgery, and locked horns with an MMA fighter.

This morning, I was "crowned" the World Champion of Anchormen.  It was all part of an interview I did with wrestlers Tojo Yamamoto Jr. and "Iceman" Danny Ice.  They are both part of the Renegade Pro Wrestling group in Metropolis, Illinois.

They run shows every Friday and Saturday at the RPW Arena at 1407 E. 5th Street, behind El Tequila Restaurant.

Tojo is the son of the late, great Tojo Yamamoto.  He has a lot of connections to the legends, and brings them in for many of his shows.

In fact on Saturday (December 18) Kamala will be in town.  He'll be a part of the 4th annual show that raises money for the Toys for Tots Program.  That's the thing I really like about Tojo and his organization.  A lot of their shows are fundraisers for groups that are in need.  Actually a lot of the independent wrestling groups here in southern Illinois give back to the community.

Tojo talks more about his commitment to giving back in our interview from this morning.  Also, during our exchange, he and the Iceman presented me with the belt.  I did give it back of course, but it was nice to be the champ, even for a few moments.  And even though I don't have the physical belt in my possession, I'll still consider myself the champion.   I was even invited to come down and be the guest ring announcer for Kamala's match, but I have a previous commitment and can't make it.

If you can't be at the show this weekend, support local groups like RPW.  They are supporting our community.

Flashback Friday: A Black December

The Black Scorpion
Turn back the clock 20 years for this week's Flashback.  It was December 16, 1990.  I was a senior in high school and ready to attend my very first wrestling pay per view.  Sure I had attended house shows before, but this was the first time I'd actually be a part of the live audience. 

Starrcade 90 was being held at the Kiel Center in downtown St. Louis.  My friend Jim and I were wrestling fans and got tickets for the show.  Since it was our first PPV, we really weren't sure what to expect.

The card was stacked.  There was an international tag team tournament in memory of former NWA Champion Pat O'Connor.  That tournament featured a Rey Mysterio, Sr. on Team Mexico.  He and Konnan lost to the Steiner Brothers in the semi finals.  The Steiners would go on to win the tourney.

The event was to feature a tag team title match Doom vs. Ric Flair and Arn Anderson in a St. Louis Street Fight.  But prior to the match, they announced Flair was hurt and wouldn't be competiting.  As soon as they said that, they pretty much revealed the identity of the Black Scorpion, the guy who had been tormenting world champ Sting for several months.  More on that later.

Barry Windham ended up replacing Flair in the tag match and going to a no contest with Doom.  How does that happen in a street fight?  I always thought there were no rules in such matches.

Lex Luger also regained the U.S. title from Stan Hansen in a less than eventful match.  It was a Texas Lariat match.  Of course it was something that would favor the heel champion, so naturally he's the one to lose.

One thing that stood out to me that night was how over Sid and Dan Spivey, the Skyscrapers were.  The crowd went nuts when they came out and destroyed the Big Cat (Mr. Hughes) and the Motor City Madman.  

Back to the main event now.  Black Scorpion has been threatening Sting and making challenges in the months leading up to this match, which was to be held in a steel cage.  If you were a fan back then, you remember the cheesy promos featuring the Scorpion as he performed different magic tricks to get Sting riled up.  He turned a fan into a tiger at one show.  He made another vanish in thin air. 

St. Louis wrestling legend Dick the Bruiser reffed the main event.  It was your basic back and forth cage match.  I think by the time we got to the match even Stevie Wonder could see that the Scorpion was Flair. 

Of course it would only take about month before Flair would regain the title, which was now the WCW World Title.  The NWA affiliation was dropped around the time of Starrcade.  I can't even remember now if it had already happened or not.  And about six months later Flair would end up in the WWF. 

On that night back in December 1990, I never imagined that would happen.  It was the first of many pay per view events I would end up attending in my life as a wrestling fan.  But it was my one and only WCW/NWA event.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Three French Canadians

No French hens on the third day of wrestling Christmas.  Instead, we've got three French Canadians.

Of course you know the fellas in the picture.  It's Rene Dupree and Sylvain Grenier, La Resistance.  These two debuted as a tag team in WWE back in 2003.  This was a time the tag team ranks were stronger then they are today, but the division was starting to slip.

This version of the team held the tag team titles one time.  It wasn't long that they added a third member, an American named Rob Conway.  Conway and Grenier went on to hold the tag titles three times.

Eventually Dupree would move to Smackdown! and try his luck as a singles star (he didn't fare too well)  Conway and Grenier would stay together for a while, but like most teams in modern day WWE, the two ended up splitting and then feuding, albeit very briefly.

Dupree and Conway were saddled with really lame singles gimmicks.  It didn't take long before all three men were "future endeavored."  Grenier and Conway still team up on the independent scene and Dupree wrestles in Japan now.  He has a much different look now and said in a recent interview he doesn't miss his days in the ring here in the States.

So that's two French Canadians.  The third is Maryse, the two time former Divas champion.

Maryse has come a long way since arriving in the WWE.  She worked in the OVW honing her skills back in 2006 before finally making it on TV in 2008.

My first thoughts of her was that she was nothing more than eye candy, someone for Jerry Lawler to oggle over.  And while she is a beauty, she can really work too.

I think she's developed a lot in the ring over the last couple of years.  Although she now seems to be stuck with this Ted DiBiase valet gimmick.  She's done some wrestling, but nearly as much as before.  I'm not sure if she's recouping from an injury and taking it slowly.

My favorite Maryse moment was back in November 2009 when she showed up on Raw dressed as the Gobbledy Gooker and attacked Melina.  The initial attack went off great, but then when it came time to shed the turkey legs, she ran into some problems.  But she covered well (as did Melina) and continued to lay the smackdown on the fallen divas champion.

Her finishing move is called the French kiss.  It's an exaggerated DDT, which is actually one of my favorite finishers anyway.  Having it done by a beauty like Maryse makes it all the more awesome.  Okay, I'm starting to sound like "the King."

Anyway, I'm hoping Maryse gets back into the Divas title hunt in the new year.  The division needs some work, and I think she definitely brings something to the table.

So let's recap:
On the 1st day of Wrestling Christmas, my true fan gave to me: A red rooster in a wrestling ring.
On the 2nd day of Wrestling Christmas, my true fan gave to me: Two turtle jobbers.
On the 3rd day of Wrestling Christmas, my true fan gave to me: Three French Canadians.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Two Turtle Jobbers

Brian Hildebrand as Kowabunga
Okay, I hope I don't lose any readers over this one, but I'm having a good time with my 12 Days of Wrestling Christmas.  And I must credit my friend Chad for the suggestions.  I was leaning toward a turtle neck theme for the turtle doves, but Chad reminded me of a couple turtle gimmicks from back in the day.

The picture to your left is an actual wrestling gimmick from 1992.  It's Brian Hildebrand aka Mark Curtis, a wrestler who eventually turned referee.  He wrestled in the Smoky Mountain Championship Wrestling group as Kowabunga.  A gimmick dedicated to the popular Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

I didn't really follow SMW back in the day, so all I know about is what I've read online.  And there's not even a whole lot there.  I can't find anything on Youtube, I was hoping to link something.  I can only imagine back then when wrestling was a bit more cartoon than athletic event that Kowabunga was probably over with fans.  Maybe.

I do know Brian only wrestled sporadically and did the referee thing for most of his career.  His life was cut too short though when he died in 1999 of bowel and colon cancer.  He was only 37.  (So am I)

From Chikara Fans
Next up, Steve "the Turtle" Weiner.  He's a wrestler in Chikara, a group that runs out of Pennsylvania.  I've seen some of their shows on DVD.  They put on a decent product, but it's kinda cheesy.  Of course wrestling and cheesy go hand and hand.

The Turtle won the gimmick of the year award among voters on the Burning Hammer website back in 2009.

Again, I don't know a whole lot about Steve or his gimmick.  I just watched a promo of his on Youtube.  He's a little out there.  But I think to be involved in wrestling, you have to be a little out there.

Judging from this video, he seems to be almost like a Eugene/George Steele/Norman the Lunatic type character.  Yes, I'm calling the turtle slow.  Someone must like him, as he won the gimmick of the year award.  I'm guessing he's a marketable face, with lots of turtle type merchandise to sell between matches.

So, so far one the first day of Christmas my true fans brought to me: a Red Rooster in a Wrestling Ring.
On the second day, I got two turtle jobbers.  I wonder what's coming tomorrow...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Rooster in a Wrestling Ring

New feature time:  the 12 Days of Christmas, wrestling style.

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me, a rooster in a wrestling ring.

This was one of wrestling's lamest gimmicks, perhaps of all time.  Terry Taylor, a fine wrestler in his own right, ventured to New York back in the late 1980's.  He had been relatively successful in the MidSouth (and UWF) region, World Class, and NWA.  In 1988, when he arrived in the WWF he underwent a gimmick change.

He was first a face, but quickly turned heel and hired Bobby "the Brain" Heenan as his manager.  I thought he made a pretty good heel.  Of course Taylor was not big in stature in the pumped up land of the giants.  In fact, I remember Heenan putting him down as he introduced him to fans and started calling him the Red Rooster because he was supposed to be some sort of novice.  Back then, the WWF didn't really acknowledge wrestler's past lives.

So the initial Red Rooster gimmick was okay.  I didn't mind it so much.  But Taylor never really climbed up the food chain.  He did a lot of jobbing.  I don't really remember him standing out at all when Heenan was managing him.

The insults kept coming from the Brain, and eventually the Rooster would fly the coop that was the Heenan family.  He turned face and that's when the gimmick got even more ridiculous.  Taylor spiked his hair and colored it red.  He did the cock-a-doodle-do when he strutted to the ring.  It was so incredibly lame.

He feuded with Heenan, beating him in an actual match at Wrestlemania 5.  The Rooster also feuded with jobber Steve Lombardi who became "the Brooklyn Brawler".  That war went no where fast and Taylor was gone from the WWF relatively quick.  In all, I think he might have spent about two years there.

Taylor would eventually return in 1992 as "Terrific" Terry Taylor.  This time he was a cocky heel, but never really materialized into anything.  He bounce between organizations and became a backstage interviewer at one point for the E.  Then a road agent.  Now he works for TNA.

Now depending on how creative I can get, my plan is to do one of these 12 Days of Christmas features every day up until Christmas.  We're 12 days out.   Hopefully you'll enjoy them.  If not, other regular blogs will be posted too.


Another year has come and gone and another Slammy awards ceremony is in the books.

Let me start off by saying when I saw David Arquette come out and started talking, I was ready to change the channel.  There is something so irritating about this man.  But I know he is a good guy because he donated the money he earned during his WCW stint to charity.  But wow, his voice last night sounded hoarse and he was hard to understand.

I think the E should have gone with former MC Todd Pettengill.  Do you remember this?  IMO, it was AWESOME!  It's creative stuff like this that the E seems to be missing out on.

The show last night was okay.  I talk via the internet with a couple of wrestling buddies, Chad and Travis a couple of times a week.  Here are some thoughts from my friend Chad.

About the only good thing about the Slammy Awards was the return of former champ David Arquette and an appearance by Angry Miz Girl. Other than that, another plodding episode with the big angle seemingly written by people who think the next show is the potential last show so need to wrap things up nicely so there are no cliffhangers.

I'm not sure, but I think he's being sarcastic about Arquette. You already read my thoughts on him. I thought the Angry Miz Girl segment could have been better. Maybe have Miz destroy the Slammy. Yeah, I like picking on kids.

Seriously, Cena is rehired before the next PPV? And he was on every show since the last PPV so what was the point of him being fired? At this point I would have been happy with him not appearing for two months and then have Juan Cena enter the Rumble. Whoever is the head writer for this angle should be replaced ASAP.

I couldn't agree more. Lots of missed opportunities with this angle. Was this the plan all along? Or did someone just drop the ball.

Liked how they threw matches together quickly to fill out a PPV that is 6 days away. I don't know what's worse, last year's TLC PPV that had one Tables match, one Chairs match and one Ladder match and several regular matches, or this year's TLC show which appears to have nothing but gimmick matches.

Guessing Morrison will beat Sheamus and get the token no chance title shot at the Rumble. At least they'll have history to play off of is Miz is still champ.

This is a good point. The Royal Rumble typically features a title match that the contender doesn't stand a chance. Remember Hardcore Holly a few years back? And Test for the ECW title. I'm by no means putting Morrison in the same class as those two. I actually think it will be a good match if it actually happens.

A Diva's table match? really? why?

Enough said.

More of my own thoughts, I'm glad the Miz actually pinned Rey, but I was hoping he would get a clean pin.

Cena winning SOTY was weak and lame. But not a surprise.

Michael Cole still annoys me. Not like he used to, but he's still irritating. That's the point, I know.

Will we ever see Michael Tarver or Darren Young again? I know Skip Sheffield is hurt. But is he still Nexus?

Later this week I'll collect my thoughts on TLC. I know you can't wait.