Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Bully, The Aussie, & The Corporal

Busick, Jack, & Kirchner
Photo by WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents

Keep in mind as you read this, I'm writing this from the perspective of a teenager in the late 1980's.  Wrestling was a different beast back then.  I'm exploring three gimmicks that got a lot of buildup on WWF programming, but fell flat with fans and soon disappeared.  And no, I'm not including Beaver Cleavage, but I had thought about it.  These are three characters I was interested in for a short period of time.

In 1991, long before the Be A Star campaign was underway, the WWF had a wrestler on the roster named Big Bully Busick.  His whole gimmick was to pick on wrestlers, announcers, even fans.  Busick and his manager Harvey Wippleman would get heat by popping a young fan's balloon, pushing around smaller wrestlers, and getting in the face of female announcer Mike McGuirk.

Harvey Wippleman & Big Bully Busick
Photo by WWE
I knew of Busick from what I had read in the Apter magazines prior to his arrival in the WWF.  He was a power lifter and an okay wrestler. However, he just never caught on with the fans in the big leagues.  I think he may have been around about three months total before fading into obscurity.  While I wouldn't say I was a fan of the Bully's, I was willing to give him a chance, but unfortunately for him, it was not meant to be.

Someone I had really high hopes for was an Australian wrestler by the name of Outback Jack.  It was 1987, and the buzz of the Paul Hogan (no relation to Hulk) film Crocodile Dundee was at a fever pitch.  So in his infinite wisdom, Vince McMahon tried to capitalize on the popularity.  Vignettes featuring a big, burly man in the Australian Outback started airing on WWF Superstars. He was seen with the Aborigines and told fans he was ready to come and take on the best of the World Wrestling Federation.

Outback Jack
Photo by WWE
When he first arrived, he beat the likes of the typical crop of prelim stars, Barry Horowitz, Steve Lombardi, and Iron Mike Sharpe.  I thought he had potential.  The WWF made a tshirt for Jack and LJN produced a wrestling figure in his likeness. It wasn't long though before Jack was on the losing end to guys like Killer Khan.  I still remember their match on Superstars and thinking this was going to be Jack's biggest win.  I was nearly stunned (remember I was only 13) when Khan blew his green mist into Jack's eyes and eventually pinned him.

Outback Jack lasted longer in the company than the Bully.  I think he was there a couple of years.  I really wanted Jack to succeed, and I don't think he did a whole lot of wrestling after that.  Now I've read that he's legally blind.  Sorry to hear about his misfortune, I really was a fan of his.

After Sgt. Slaughter, the Real American Hero, left the
Cpl. Kirchner
Photo by WWE
WWF, the company needed  a new patriot.  They found that person in the form of Corporal Kirchner.  He was a rough and tumble military man, who was a real paratrooper in the U.S. Army.  Kirchner engaged in battle with Nikolai Volkoff and the Iron Sheik, just as his predecessor had.  Only in most cases, Kirchner ended up on the losing end.  I'd say his one big claim to fame was a victory over Volkoff at Wrestlemania II. The two had wrestled each other in a Flag Match.  I remember watching them go at it again on Saturday  Night's Main Event and Volkoff winning.  I would imagine trying to fill the shoes of Slaughter was a daunting task and fans just didn't take to Kirchner.

I've read Kirchner left the WWF for alleged drug use, I don't know if that's true, but I do know he went on to Japan and had a successful career as the sadistic Leatherface.  A few years ago, the WWE made a gaffe and printed an obit for the former Superstar on their website. They later retracted it, after obviously getting some bad information.  He's now on the "Where Are They Now?" section of the site.

So there you have it. Three wrestlers. Three gimmicks.  Three shots at glory that never really went anywhere.

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