So for a week now, I’ve been inundated with this SmackDown Blast From the Past brouhaha and I must admit, I fell for it hook, line, and sinker. I imagined red, white, and blue ropes. I imagined sky-blue floor pads surrounding the ring. Hell, maybe there would even be some metal barricades! …I got nothin’. I got a bunch of old guys in terrible skits. I know they’re old, I wasn’t expecting Ted DiBiase to come down off the 2nd rope with a fist drop, but for the love of god, give them something worthwhile. The closest thing to worthwhile entertainment was Jimmy Hart managing a tag team whilst simultaneously annoying the crap out of guest commentator Mick-cactus-dude-mankind-love-jack-Foley to the point of him taking out Sock-O. What was really great about it was the fact that the audience was on Jimmy’s side! Take that, Mick!
The rest of the evening was spent with 1 minute matches and Johnny Dimples stammering his way through his Jerkface speech to Sheamus. Here’s my problem with this work: He goes out and continues to be blatantly unfair to the faces, and that would be fine with me if the WWE hadn’t spent all of Summer 2011 working an angle of “the higher up’s can remove your ass if you’re out of line.” McMahon got thrown out on this premise, and he’s fuckin’ Vince McMahon! If they want me to swallow the notion that he could be kicked out of his position in the company, don’t you dare try to make also “believe” they couldn’t do the exact same thing to Johnny. I’ve brought it up in an old post, but i feel the need to reiterate it now: If you’re going to have fake rules and a fake hierarchy, at least have the decency to fake follow it! I don’t think I’m asking too much here. I think Johnny Dimples (i’m going to keep using this nickname til it sticks, so get used to it) is a great character. Now, the guy playing him sucks as an actor, but we’re kind of in a catch-22 in that regard, so let me approach it from another angle. Why doesn’t J-Dimps (spin-off of a nickname that hasn’t even caught on yet, man I’m good!) have to abide by the same standards of fairness that were required for HHH to keep his job? I understand that we want to build heat for this guy, but for the love of god, the heat is already so high, I think we can just let it continue to boil at it’s current pace. I feel like the audience would get a kick out of watching Johnny squirm as he has to play by the rules, knowing it’s killing him inside. Now, to be fair, the People Power era has just begun so perhaps this will come up eventually, but it’s already dragging too long for me. (Side note: Everybody’s hat needs to go off to the creative man or woman who played up this whole politician/propaganda angle for Johnny Dimples. It’s so good it almost pisses me off.) But I’ve been sidetracked by the worst wardrobe in show business for long enough, lets get back to the geriatrics.
“Cowboy” Bob Orton got mysteriously beat up by Kane, who then beat up Randy when he went looking for his dad. Kane then said “I love family reunions”. I should have turned the TV off right then and there, but I didn’t. Because I’m stupid. I then got to watch more of my heroes tarnish their legacy, until finally Roddy Piper came out and put on a clinic of how to use a microphone to it’s maximum potential. If you want to hear a badass story about Piper and Cowboy Bob, told by the Hot Rod himself, click here. Most of the Legends still looked pretty decent (considering their incredibly advanced age), and I would have bet my very last dollar that Mae Young was dead, so it was great to see her in what was honestly one of the funnier moments of the evening. But all is not bad in the WWE. One thing appears to be here to stay and I, for one, couldn’t be happier: SQUASH MATCHES! RyBack, Brodus Clay, and Lord A-Train are all squashing 180 pound sacks of potatoes and it’s fantastic! They kick jobber’s asses for 20-60 seconds and then they move on. This is how you introduce people. This is how you get people to believe that these guys are godless killing machines, and unstoppable forces of nature. Now, when every one of these guys get into their first legit feud, i’ll be truly wondering who is going to come out on top, and who is going to be the superstar to derail (pun intended) these new monsters on the roster.
Overall the night was a definite disappointment, but hey, these guys never take a week off, and even I can cut them a little slack. Here’s to hoping next week is better. Thanks for reading everybody. Remember, when life gets you down, kick out at 2. When you can’t kick out at 2, reach for the ropes.
This week’s Tales from the Turnbuckle takes a look at the all important “gimmick”. Every once in a while a wrestler has to go through a pretty bad cast of characters before he or she finds one that fits their personality and really lets them shine. Those road bumps along the way can be pretty embarrassing. Hey, we can’t all get it right the first time.
The most important thing for any superstar is to get over with the crowd. Be it in a positive or negative light, every wrestler needs to be receiving some sort of heat. Otherwise, nobody cares. A lot of credibility will come from in-ring ability, but the package still has to be pretty. A back story needs to be interesting, face paint needs to be impressive or intimidating, and we most certainly shouldn’t be laughing at you. Some characters, like Bobby Heenan or R-Truth, make a career getting people to laugh with them, but that is a totally different story and one that merits respect, not ridicule. But the importance of one’s shtick can not be underrated.
Here’s a fun fact: Before becoming “the Big Red Monster, the scarred evil brother of the Undertaker, the fire-breathing and brimstone-pounding machine” that is Kane, that scary mo-fo had a dental practice? In 1995, and thankfully not much longer after, The man now known as Kane was Dr. Isaac Yankem, DDS. A dentist with an ugly streak and an uglier mouth, Dr. Yankem was supposed to be every 7 year old’s nightmare, an evil dentist who wants to harm you by putting sharp metal instruments into your mouth. How could that possibly not be scary? Because he looked like Frankenstien ate Michael Cera. Blonde curly hair on a big oafish guy still makes him far less scary. Add that to the fact that Glenn Jacobs (the good doctor’s real name) was not nearly the in-ring wrestler he would become and he had horrible mic skills. There’s a reason Paul Bearer did all of Kane’s talking for a decade.
Before starting in the WWF, Terry Taylor and Curt Hennig were considered to be on par with each other as far as superstar potential goes. Well, Curt Hennig was fitted with the moniker “Mr. Perfect”, an arrogant super-athlete who was the definition of textbook wrestler, while Terry Taylor strutted his way into the boots of “The Red Rooster” a guy who had a strip of red spiked hair among his long blonde hair to symbolize a rooster as he bobbed his head throughout the match like a rooster and crowed out to the audience like, well, you see where I’m going with this. The Rooster was supposed to be a face and for all intents and purposes he was, but he was too goofy for anybody to take him seriously or really care if he won or not. Meanwhile, Mr. Perfect slapped his opponents in the face as he yelled at and ridiculed them. He would throw his hands up and his nose in the air as if to say “take it all in, losers” and people despised him. Guess who had the more illustrious career? Gimmicks matter. Here’s a few more fun “AKA’s” for you to impress your friends with.
-Before being the pimp-tastic “Godfather”, Charles Wright also portrayed afro-centric boxer “Kama” and voodoo master, “Papa Shango.”
-“Chris Kanyon” was mortal-kombat-meets-Oakland-Raider-superfan “Mortis”.
-“Konnan” was MAX MOON! If you don’t know max moon, go look him up immediately. I promise you’ll laugh.
So congratulations to those who were able to find a more successful way to express themselves. To the ones that didn’t, perhaps they needed a manager?
Discussion topic: Survivor Series 5-on-5 match. Who’s your 4 teammates and why?