I'm closing out the month of Halloween themed blogs with a tribute to fans who pay tribute to wrestlers. Each year at Wrestlemania, Chad and I (and whoever else goes along with us) dress up like wrestlers. You can check out our costumes through the years by clicking here.
Back in 1985, I dressed up like Hillbilly Jim for Halloween. It was a simple costume to come up with. I had a pair of denim overalls, a brown beard, and a hat. The beard ended up itching like crazy, so about halfway through the night of trick or treating, I swapped it out for a werewolf mask and became a hillbilly werewolf. Unfortunately, there are no photos of this epic costume.
But I do have photos of my costume from Halloween 2009. WWE Hall of Famer, Captain Lou Albano had just passed away, so I decided to pay homage to one of my favorite managers growing up. I donned a black wig, Hawaiian shirt, and actually glued some rubberbands to my face. I also found an image of Albano's old tshirt and ironed it on to a white tshirt. Most people had no idea who I was, but those who got the costume made my night.
Enough about me, here are pics of fans that I've found on the world wide web. Enjoy. And if I'm using a pic of you and didn't credit it properly, I apologize. Shoot me a message and I'll make up for it. Hope you've enjoyed the Halloween blogs, I had a blast writing them. Thanks to Chad too for his contributions.
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Since the WWE started introducing us to the Divas division years ago, the ladies of the ring have been dressing up for various holidays. We've seen them dressed as elves around Christmas, Pilgrims at Thanksgiving, and various sexy figures for Halloween.
So, instead of writing a lot today, I'm going to borrow some photos from the WWE and TNA and show some of the Diva Halloween celebrations through the years. Ladies who read this blog, if you're offended, I'm sorry...
When WWE renewed its interest in ECW and brought the company back to life, I wonder if the plan was to kill it off from the start. I say this half joking, but when you look back and how the show was booked and some of the insanity that ensued, I think you'll agree with me. Case in point: the Zombie.
I understand that ECWWE was airing on SyFy, the network of the paranormal. On those early shows, there were all kinds of Halloween type gimmicks, or so it seemed. Vampires like Kevin Thorn and Ariel, the monsters like Viscera, Kane, and Mark Henry squashed opponents left and right.
The Zombie came out the ring, moaning on that premiere episode. At first, it seems like Joey Styles and Tazz are taking the guy seriously, but it doesn't take long for them to change their views. Of course, the Zombie climbs into the ring and is handed a microphone and tries to cut a promo. It's awesomely bad. Click here to watch.
Sandman offers a beatdown (from WWE.com)
Then cue the Sandman's music. He makes his way out to the ring, beer in one hand, kendo stick in the other. He beats the crap out the Zombie with the stick and pins him after a White Russian Leg Sweep. The whole ordeal was only a couple of minutes.
That was the first and last time fans were subjected to the Zombie. He was played by Indy wrestle Tim Roberts. As far as I can tell, he hasn't wrestled much since that ECWWE stint. Roberts did some time in Puerto Rico as well. So the Zombie had a brief, but somewhat memorable run with WWE on a night when ECW rose from the dead too, but was eventually double tapped by Vince McMahon and NXT.
I remember the first time I saw Abyss wrestle for TNA back in the early days of the company. He started in 2003, but I didn't start watching until '04. My first thought was that he was a rip off of Kane, but I think there's more to him than met my eye intitially.
I'll admit I'm not the biggest fan of "the Monster", but I do think he's done some good things in the ring. At one time he was one of the most recognizable faces on the TNA roster. I'm not sure if that's saying much though. (I kid) But I would dispute the claim made by Hulk Hogan that Abyss is the second coming of John Cena. The character is different for sure, but I don't ever see him taking off to that next level.
Abyss has had his share of ups and downs in TNA. He's held several titles in the company, including the world, X division, and tag team titles. I always thought he was at his best when he was a heel though. But I'm old school and like the monster type gimmicks for the heels. To me, it just doesn't work as well for the faces. I think Mick Foley's transformation of Mankind as a face would be the rare exception. But his monster tendancies went away too.
That ain't Duggan's 2x4 (Impactwrestling)
Anyway, I thought the pairing of Hogan and Abyss and the whole Hall of Fame ring gimmick didn't do Abyss any favors. It's hard for a guy to go from barbwire and thumb tack matches to hanging with the Hulkster, in my opinion. But again, it worked for Foley to a degree. He went from hardcore to popular babyface pretty easily.
Something I did discover about Abyss while researching this, we are roughly the same age. Not that we're old, but he is pushing 40 and the shelf life of wrestlers is not very long, especially ones who wrestle those hardcore type matches. I'll be curious to see how TNA utilizes the monster in the coming months. Clearly it appears that changes are on the horizon, I just wonder if he'll be a part of them.
I've mentioned in previous post that wrestling companies through the years have done tie ins with other forms of entertainment. Heck, in just a few days, the Muppets will take over Monday Night Raw. I'm actually looking forward to that. But one puppet who had a tie in with wrestling a decade or so ago was less than appealing to me.
For weeks on WCW Monday Nitro fans would hear a menacing laugh during the show. It wasn't until Rick Steiner was in the ring talking about his upcoming match with his brother Scott that the source of the laughter was revealed. About 15 seconds into Steiner's interview with "Mean" Gene Okerlund, Chucky started his cackle and popped up on the big screen.
Battle of wits...
The "star" of Bride of Chucky cut a promo on the Dog Faced Gremlin and Mean Gene. But the bottom line was, the doll was just there to promote the upcoming film. Now this segment lasted less than four minutes, but it has burned a memory in my brain forever. Funny how things so lame can have such an impact on a fan. I've never been a big fan of horror movies and I've not seen any of the Child's Play movies, so this segment didn't thrill me at all.
Thankfully, Chucky never had anymore screen time after this and the whole thing came to an end. Just imagine, there could have been a 3 way dance with Chucky, the Road Warriors' "Rocko", and George "the Animal" Steele's "Mine". Talk about scary...
It seems like the mid 1990's was a good time for silly gimmicks. Doink, Mantaur, and the Goon were just a few. So was Waylon Mercy. But I wonder if from the start this character, played by "Golden Boy" Danny Spivey was supposed to be as bad as it ended up being.
Spivey had a long history in the business before turning up in the WWF in 1995 as Mercy. I remember him early in his career when he and Scott Hall teamed up in the NWA as American Starship. He was "Eagle" to Hall's "Coyote". Spivey then came to the WWF in the mid 1980's and replaced Barry Windham in the U.S. Express. He and Mike Rotunda just didn't have that same chemistry that Windham and Rotunda had and basically Spivey became a jobber. In WCW he was a member of the Varsity Club and then part of the tag team called the Skyscrapers. Although he was big and fearless, he never really impressed me much. I think the stain of being that Hulk Hogan/Barry Windham look a like soured me. I should also point out though that Spivey had an impressive record overseas in Japan as well as in Puerto Rico.
Check out those eyes.
Anyway, fast forward to 1995 and the creepy character of Waylon Mercy. He was based off of the character played by Robert DeNiro in the film Cape Fear. I never saw the move, so the character went over my head quite honestly. Spivey was a nice guy, shook hands with the fans and his opponents, but then turned into a monster in the ring. Mercy used the sleeper hold as a finisher and always had a creepy look on his face. His promos were smooth, yet psychotic. And gone was the long blond hair and yellow tights. Instead, his hair was dyed black. He had fake tattoos, including a dagger on his forehead, and he wore a Hawaiian shirt to the ring. Check out this clip, it's Mercy's Monday Night Raw debut against Jeff Hardy. Wow.
Early on the character found a lot of success in the ring. He was going over the midcard talent like Doink, 1-2-3 Kid, and Bob Holly. Then when it came to competing against Diesel, Razor Ramon, and Bret Hart, well, let's just say they showed Waylon no mercy. Something I didn't know, but I have read (so take it for what it's worth) Spivey retired the same year he returned to the WWF after suffering a severe back injury. His last match was reportedly against Diesel and he had taken a couple of jackknife power bombs during the contest. So there's no telling where the character may have gone had he not been injured and forced to retire. My guess is Waylon Mercy would have remained in the midcard and eventually disappeared like the other silly gimmicks floating around the WWF back then.
I have a lot on my mind after finally seeing the end of Monday Night Raw from October 24th. I'm shaking my head and doing a lot of wondering. I'm going to jump around here, so please accept my apology for these ramblings.
I'll start with the main event. I thought it was cool booking Zack Ryder to be John Cena's partner against the Miz and R-Truth. The beatdown even made sense. What I don't understand is why Cena then picked the Rock to be his tag team partner at Survivor Series. There are a couple of things that bother me here. First, it was announced WEEKS ago that Cena and the Rock would be teaming up in a traditional five man Survivor Series tag team matchup. So the choice made by Cena had already been announced, and Jake the Snake Roberts circa Wrestlemania 7 could see it coming. (yes, I've used that one before) Why aren't we getting the 5 on 5 match? Maybe we will. I thought the way they were setting it up previously we could have gotten Cena, Rock, CM Punk, Triple H, and maybe Ryder against Miz, Truth, Kevin Nash, Alberto Del Rio, and someone else. Another question about this match, WHY would the Rock want to team with Cena. Of course, he hasn't responded yet, so I guess we'll have to see how this plays out over the next couple of weeks.
Cole disses JR again
Notice how many times Michael Cole brought up Twitter? Geez, not only did he bring it up non-stop, he failed to talk much about the company's website, WWE.com. Joey Styles pointed that out, ironically enough via Twitter. Plus, I HATE the way they are burying Jim Ross. I don't understand the reasoning behind it. The pictures last night were lame and on the surface this just appears to be another way to jab at the broadcasting legend. My gut tells me JR is going to show up in Atlanta and be humiliated one last time before fading into the sunset. It's not right to treat him like that. I don't blame Cole for this, I question the WWE's motives though.
Shane Douglas & Johnny Ace
Punk and Cena both made cracks to John Laurinaitis riding a skateboard. I have to wonder how many fans actually get the jokes. For those who don't, Laurinaitis was a surfer dude/skaterboy babyface in the late 1980's in WCW. He and Shane Douglas were the Dynamic Dudes. I think the WWE should have put up some pics or done a video or something better to explain this. The target audience now was probably either not born yet or just in diapers when this angle was going on in WCW.
Looks like they're setting up Dolph Ziggler to feud with Mason Ryan. I really hope they don't take the U.S. title from Dolph. He is in my opinion the best heel on the show right now. I hate to see John Morrison slide down the ranks. Good for Wade Barrett though. I know you can't have everyone at the top of the pack. Where the heck is Daniel Bryan? He won Money in the Bank, I figured he'd get a little more TV time at least. The Divas match was fine. I just hope this doesn't end with Natalya Neidhart and Beth Phoenix feuding.
Nash bashes his "best" friend (WWE.com)
Speaking of hoping for things to not come true, please keep Stephanie McMahon out of this angle. I have a feeling she's somehow behind all of this. I thought the beatdown of Triple H with the sledgehammer was pretty good actually. But do we really need or want to see a feud from nearly 10 years ago revived? It's a little Impact Wrestlingish in my opinion. One has to wonder though with all the names they're bringing back (Rock, Mick Foley for Raw in three weeks), will Shawn Michaels somehow get involved here too?
Punk beats down ADR
Alberto Del Rio is the champion, but it doesn't feel like it. It's similar to when the Miz held the title. It seems like the focus of the show is still around John Cena. The company needs to start doing a better job of elevating talent and giving them a chance to run with the ball. I'm still not completely sold on ADR, and the lack of effort coming from creative isn't helping.
So many questions, which I guess is good. We can't have everything solved in 120 minutes, or we'd stop watching each week. I'll be curious to see where things go. But if anyone from WWE happens to read this, my main point today is (I have two actually): Bring back the traditional 5 on 5 (or 4 on 4) tag matches at Survivor Series, and secondly LEAVE JR ALONE! Either bring him back and let him do his job or leave him off TV and stop berating him.
Here's my video review too. Your thoughts? Post them here, on Facebook, or Twitter.
I was originally going to write about Mortis and Wrath for this post, but as I was researching I came across a lot of information on this duo's manager James Vanderberg. At least that's what his name was back in WCW in 1996. You may remember him better as former TNA manager "Father" James Mitchell or "Devil" James Mitchell.
As I mentioned, it was 1996 when Mitchell first arrived on the national wrestling scene. Prior to this, he had done some work with Smoky Mountain Wrestling, but I have no recollection of his work there. In WCW though, Mitchell aka Vanderberg was managing Mortis (played by the late Chris Kayon) and Wrath (played by Bryan Clark, aka Adam Bomb) in a gimmick called "Blood Runs Cold." It was a weird set up for sure. The whole idea was to push a wrestler called Glacier. Mortis and Wrath were his rivals in the feud. They all dressed like characters from a video game, or rejects from the Masters of the Universe. But as you can see in the picture, Vanderberg didn't dress like his men, instead he looked more like a traditional manager.
The Sinister Minister (ECW)
He later left WCW for ECW and started managing Raven. But it wasn't long before Raven flew the coop and left the company. The manager then became a narrator of sorts for ECW and was dubbed The Sinister Minister. He managed Tajiri and Mikey Whipwreck, but again I don't remember much of this gimmick either, as these were the dying days of the ECW brand. He even appeared at One Night Stand (the WWECW PPV in 2005), but my memory of him being there is strained.
"Father" James with his "son" Abyss
After his time in the original ECW, Mitchell ended up in TNA. He managed once again, this time leading the way for a team called the Disciples of the New Church. Brian Lee and Slash were the two members of the New Church. Eventually, Mitchell would leave the company and return to manage Abyss. If my memory serves me correctly the storyline was Mitchell was the father of Abyss. It was a long, played out angle between the two before the revelation was actually made. Then Mitchell ended up getting released from the company. Personally, the storyline was starting to remind me a lot of the Kane-Paul Bearer angle from a few years earlier.
The devilish manager hasn't been seen from in years, but certainly made an impact (pardon the pun) on TNA wrestling while he was there. Maybe he and his "son" will be reunited in the future. You never know.
I know I'm late to the party on this one, but I wanted to throw out some quick thoughts on the newest "acquisition" to TNA. Jersey Shore star Ronnie Ortiz-Magro is making his wrestling debut on the November 3 episode of Impact. The taping for the show is later this week, so I have no idea who his opponent is or how the match goes.
I've blogged in the past about reality stars getting into the ring. You can check that out here. I'm not sure what TNA's obsession is with the Jersey Shore. They have had two other "stars" from the show wrestle (JWoww and Angelina) Actually, I'm not sure if JWoww actually wrestled, but she was paid a rather large sum of money to appear on Impact (a show that doesn't charge fans to see in person or on TV). Did either of these angles result in a boost in ratings? No. I think just the opposite happens, you alienate the fans who are watching and frustrate them.
I'm not going to pass a whole lot of judgment yet, because I don't know if this is a one shot deal or if Ronnie is actually going to try to become a wrestler. Obviously it worked for the Miz, maybe it will for Ronnie too. If this is a one shot deal, I ask again, why? Jersey Shore is on OPPOSITE Impact. So people who are regular watchers of the Shore are not going to be likely to switch the channel, are they? Maybe I'm wrong here.
Me and Robbie E.
One would have to assume that Ronnie will work some kind of program with Robbie E, since he's the Jersey Shore wannabe. The teaser on the Impact Wrestling website specifically says Ronnie will be making his "wrestling debut." Maybe he and Eric Young will team up against Robbie E and Rob Terry. I just hope that if it is a one time deal, they don't make Ronnie's opponent look horrible in the process. But that's the tendency when a star outside wrestling is brought in. They're used to make someone on the roster look bad. It's happened in every company since the beginning of time. But that doesn't mean I have to like it, right?
Snooki at Wrestlemania
And just to be clear, I also complained when Snooki was a part of Wrestlemania 27. I know with wrestling these days it's also about entertainment and getting that main stream media attention. I suppose all is fair, right. At least Ronnie has the look of a wrestler, but does he have the heart and the talent to back that up? We'll find out in a few weeks.
I grew up in the 1970's and 80's. When I was about seven or eight years old, my younger brother had an obsession with the rock band KISS. He had the makeup, and would "play" the guitar to the old LP's on our family turntable. When he was old enough, he even attended one of their concerts. This was around the time they started performing sans makeup. KISS was cool back then.
Fast forward to the late 1990's, and WCW's attempt to case in on the craze. There was a lot of buzz around the reunion tour and release of a video game. So the powers that be, as they so often did tried to tie in pop culture with their product. (Remember they did this with RoboCop, Chuckie, and even David Arquette as WCW champion) Anyway, the Kiss Demon was born. He looked just like Gene Simmons, only more buff.
According to the websites I've read about the gimmick, the late Brian Adams (formerly Crush) was set to play the KISS Demon. He didn't like the idea, and a newcomer named Dale Torborg picked up the pieces. Apparently this idea was Kiss approved and there was some kind of deal made that the Demon would be in the main event of a WCW pay per view. His opponent was to be Vampiro, but when Eric Bischoff lost power in the company, the idea was scrapped.
The idea was to also include a group of KISS themed wrestlers, called the Warriors of KISS. Honestly, I'm glad that idea never saw the light of day. The Demon pretty much became a jobber, and I don't remember a whole lot of him after that initial hoopla. He jobbed to the Wall and I think feuded briefly with Vampiro after teaming up with him and the Insane Clown Posse. For some reason, WWE didn't sign him when they bought WCW in 2001.
WWE has a great slideshow on their website with some classic pics of this gimmick gone bad. This is one idea that surely got the kiss of death.
I’m going off memory for this introduction. Some of the details may be a bit off, but I think the overall message is correct.
The first season I started watching Chikara (2005) the main story was Chris Hero had turned on his tag team partner Mike Quackenbush in the Tag World Grand Prix to side with Claudio Castagnoli and Arik Cannon to form the Kings of Wrestling. The story of the KoW dominating the Chikara roster while Quack sought revenge ran the rest of the year.
At one of the final shows of the season Arik Cannon, who had been showing signs of regret during previous shows at how violent Claudio and Hero were becoming, turned on the Kings and tried to side with Quackenbush.When Cannon tried to high-five Quack, Quack asked what Arik was doing. Arik said he was had helped Quack and they were now on the same side. Quack backed away and told Cannon his memory goes back more than two minutes.
At the start of the next season, Arik Cannon couldn’t find a partner for the Tag Team Grand Prix as the Chikara roster didn’t trust him based on his association with the Kings of Wrestling the previous year. It took several months for Cannon to earn the trust and respect of the rest of the wrestlers. This relatively small detail is one of the many reasons why I consider Chikara to be the best promotion in the wrestling business.
Granted, Chikara only runs on average about 25 shows a year compared to WWE and TNA doing roughly 110 and 60 shows respectfully so it may be easier for Chikara to plan out long-term storylines. But really, is that an excuse for the nonsensical almost weekly happenings in WWE and TNA?
Hogan & Sting reunite (Impactwrestling)
There are two perfect examples that happened in the last two weeks to illustrate my point. At TNA’s Bound For Glory after Sting had beat Hulk Hogan, Immortal came to the ring and started assaulting Sting. As he was getting beat down, Sting begged Hogan to help him. Hogan tore off his shirt, the crowd went crazy and Hogan made the members of Immortal flee in fear. On the next episode of Impact, Hogan came out in the famous red and yellow Hulkster gear. Sting and Dixie Carter welcomed Hogan back with open arms. The last 18 months of Hogan wrangling control of TNA away from Dixie and being a jerk to the TNA roster was forgiven and brushed under the rug like it had never happened.
Punk & Triple H team up (WWE)
Over in the WWE Universe, CM Punk threatened to leave the company and take the world title with him. Punk publicly trashed the company and insulted Triple H. After Triple H was named COO of WWE (though only having power to control Raw and not Smackdown) Trips and Punk had several verbal sparring matches before having an actual match at Night of Champions. Due to constant attacks from The Miz and R-Truth, at Vengeance, Punk and Triple H are teaming up for a tag team match. Granted, they are battling a common enemy, but unless I’ve missed something Triple H and CM aren’t showing signs of hating each other which is what you’d expect from guys who less than a month ago were mortal enemies.
I blame part of the lack of memory problem on the fans. Wrestling fans have a tendency to be sheep and accept whatever the companies present to them. They want to cheer the popular names and don’t care about the small details. Even though fans generally accept whatever is given to them, that doesn’t excuse the companies booking with such short sightedness.
With the seemingly face to heel to face turns that happen on a weekly basis these days, there shouldn’t be any wrestler who trusts another wrestler. It’s not just turns that cause problems with memories. Ever since Triple H took charge of Raw, the Anonymous GM’s Internet connection must have been disabled because he hasn’t sent any emails. Despite the lack of emails, the GM’s podium is still at ringside. Yet there hasn’t been any mention by the announcers, by Triple H, by anyone about the GM. It’s like he never existed.
I wonder if the writers aren’t concerning themselves with small details or if there are other reasons for certain aspects to be simply forgotten. Are Edge and Christian brothers or best friends? Does John Cena have a scar from being stabbed by Jesus?Anyway, what are your thoughts on short attention span theater?
Pulling another silly costume from the vault for today's post. Max Moon. I learned a few things about the character doing a little research. I think I knew that Konnan originally donned this goofy costume, but somewhere along the way I had forgotten that fact. He had a contract dispute with the WWE back in 1992, and because the costume fit, Paul Diamond got the gimmick.
I was in college during this time period, so I didn't get to watch wrestling as much as I wanted to. I lived in the dorms and back then there weren't a whole lot of fans around me. I kept up with things through magazines, but I did catch Superstars and Raw from time to time. I saw Max Moon wrestle Shawn Michaels on the first Raw. That was the Paul Diamond version of the character from the future.
Something else I learned about the gimmick, that costume apparently cost about $1,300 to create. The leather get up was equipped with electronics and pyrotechnic gun. Pretty impressive, sort of. The character was only around about a year, so I guess he didn't impress much of anyone. The cartoon character ride proved to be a failure in this case.
I wonder if they still have that costume. Maybe it will be a part of the Wrestlemania Axxess exhibit, I'd like to see it up close after reading all these new details about it.