Sunday, October 2, 2011

Boo: Dungeon of Doom

Hogan hits the Dungeon
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger on Twitter

In 1995 there was a group of wrestlers hellbent on destroying Hulkamania.  Hulk Hogan had been in WCW for about a year at that point and had already taken care of Ric Flair.  Then he defeated former friend Brutus Beefcake who was wrestling as "The Butcher."

But the Butcher wasn't done with the Hulkster.  He joined the group of misfits called the Dungeon of Doom.  The Taskmaster Kevin Sullivan seemed to be in charge of the group, although we learned he was taking orders from The Master, who was played by former WWF manager The Wizard (also King Curtis Iaukea)

Kamala, the Shark, & Zodiac
In reality, the Dungeon of Doom was almost comical, but not on purpose.  I thought the vignettes with The Master and Sullivan were laughable.  I think they really tired to make the group seem like a big threat.  With the exception of the Giant (now the Big Show) and the temporary use of Big Van Vader, the Dungeon was filled with a bunch of midcarders.  Beefcake now had crazy spiked hair, black and white makeup and was the Zodiac.  I never quite understood that.  I felt like when he jumped to WCW, despite having a friendship with Hogan, Beefcake was lost in the shuffle and became one lame gimmick after the other.

I guess Slick's intervention didn't help...
Another member of the Dungeon, Kamala.  I had always like the Ugandan Headhunter, especially in his feud with the Undertaker in WWF a few years earlier.  But to me, he seemed lost with this group.  I can't quite put my finger on it.  The One Man Gang was another wrestler I enjoyed in previous wrestling organizations, like World Class and WWF, but this time around, I just couldn't buy into him either. Hugh Morris (Tough Enough's Bill Demotte) was also a member.  If I remember correctly, he wore tights with question marks all over them and laughed a lot.  Big Bubba (Big Bossman), Konnan, Meng, the Barbarian, and apparently Lex Luger were also members.  Until I had read about it, I had totally forgotten about Luger's involvement, but I think it was when he was feuding with Randy Savage.

The Yeti.  Yes, this really happened.
John Tenta, who played Earthquake and Avalanche, wrestled as the Shark in the Dungeon.  I blogged about that gimmick before.  It was certainly beneath the big man.  Loch Ness joined the group, but was nothing more than a big man who could barely movie.  The Yeti, who was wrapped in bandages like a mummy, was a beast of a man too, but really did nothing in this group or in WCW for that matter.  The Ultimate Solution had tree trunks for arms, but didn't go very far either.  Jimmy Hart and Miss Jacqueline helped manage the group.

Tiny Lister was Hogan's rival "Zeus" in the movie No Holds Barred in the WWF.  The two had a couple of matches back in 1989.  Fast forward to 1995, and WCW thought it was a good idea to bring him back to join the Dungeon.  Z-Gangsta was just another guy who really couldn't do much brought in to destroy Hulkamania.

The Giant as champion
I think had the group focused on a just a handful of members, it might have succeeded in WCW.  This was nothing more than a group of guys who were hand fed to Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage.  They were a mix of guys who had problems with Hogan in WWF, and I think WCW put too much focus on them and took their eyes off guys who were young and hungry.  The Giant was really the only one who experienced any success.  He won the WCW title at least once, maybe twice as a member.  The only thing I didn't like about his time in the group was the fact that WCW pushed him as the son of Andre the Giant, and that whole infamous monster truck off the building incident at Halloween Havoc 1995.

The Dungeon of Doom makes it into the Halloween blogs in part because of their "fear factor" but also for the silly costumes that many of the members wore.  I'm not sure how many fans were actually scared of this group, but hey, they tried, right?

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