The Netcop Rant for the "Heroes of Wrestling", a one-time-only (oh lord let that be true) so-called PPV that I wasted $19.95 on due to a long story that I don't wanna get into. Thankfully, I made sure to stock up on alcoholic beverages before the show, and BOY did I need them. (Rather ironic that I would rag on Jake Roberts for his behavior while getting wasted myself.)
First of all, the pre-game show looks like it was edited on a Video Toaster, with jump cuts so sudden that I think some poor editor down in Mississippi is suffering from whiplash as we speak. (Oh, the Amiga computer, still good for cheapshots years later.) We get some various BAD angles to set up the show, including George Steele & Sherri Martell getting caught in a secret tryst, Bob Orton cheating at poker, and Tully Blanchard getting shoved into a trunk by Stan Lane. I don't know who I pity more, btw - Sherri or George. Not a promising start.
Live from Bay Saint something, Mississippi. I didn't quite catch the name of the town where the casino we're coming from is, and I hadn't heard of it at any rate.
Your hosts are Dutch Mantell and some dufus named Randy Rosenbloom, not Gordon Solie as was triumphantly advertised leading up to the show. He wouldn't make so much as an appearance. (Gordon wasn’t long for the world, sadly.)
The arena is announced as 2,000 SRO, (Standing Room Only or Sold Right Out depending on who you ask.) but they're lucky if there's 600 people there, and the lights are so dim you can only see the first five rows anyway. A big banner for the casino sits on the ring apron, and I won't dignify it by reprinting the casino's phone number here. (An indy doing 600 people these days isn’t that bad, especially for a nostalgia group like this one.)
Opening match: The Samoan Swat Team v. Marty Jannetty & Tommy Rogers.
First of all, Fatu looks like Yokozuna, with his ass taking up most of the camera whenever he's on. Seriously, he's just that fat. (This was of course written in 1999, just before he went back to the WWF as Rikishi. So that’s at least one person who got a job out of this.) And it's not like he's been retired for the past few years or anything. The SST is managed by some Paul E. wannabe goof. Jannetty (who is looking like a crack addict) has let his hair grow back since his WCW stint last year. (He looks even worse these days. And the crack addict thing might not be far off given his habits at the time.) Stall session to start, with Jannetty taking control once Samu gets in. Jannetty is blowing moves left and right and missing his cues, which would indicate either drugs or alcohol tonight. Of course, had I known what was in store, I'd have counted my blessings for Jannetty at least being coherent. Stay tuned, folks. Lots of arm-working from the Fantastic Rockers, for lack of a better name. First chinlock of the show comes at 8:15 EST. Expect more. Inevitably, Fabu's HUGE ASS overcomes Marty and he plays Ricky Morton. Speaking of Ricky, the RnR would seem to be a perfect fit for this show - I wonder why they're not on it? (Because even Ricky Morton has standards?) Jannetty takes a chairshot and the announcer declares it "obscene" and "unethical". No shit. Where did they dig this dipshit up? Rogers gets the hot tag, but tries to headbutt the Samoans and gets nowhere. Jannetty and Rogers double-team the SST, with Jannetty hitting a plancha on Fatu, but that leaves Rogers alone with Samu. Samu hits a pretty good TKO and gets the easy pin at 9:51. Nothing special here. 1/2* Did I mention how bad lead commentator Randy Rosenbloom is, calling a simple dropkick a "legdrop" and other things equally ridiculous? Thank god Dutch was there to cover for him.
Greg "The Hammer" Valentine v. George "The Animal" Steele.
George has Sherri with him. It occurs to me that given the choices, George is smarter to eat the turnbuckle than to eat…oh, never mind. George starts to remove his shirt, and Hammer jumps him. Sherri attacks as well, thus throwing the subtlety card right out of the window. But George can't see the betrayal, because the shirt is over his head. Plus he's really stupid. Steele finds an international object and hits Greg with it, then hands it off to Sherri for safe-keeping. Sherri hands it right to Greg, who plays "Hide the object" for a bit, and then Sherri turns on George outright, nailing him with a chair and giving Valentine the win at 6:31. Hey, our first negative star match of the night! –*** (The booking and the matchmaking was just bizarre here. Valentine was still doing regular indy shots at this point and could have worked a totally acceptable match with someone like Tully Blanchard.)
Julio Fantastico (Sanchez) v. 2 Cold Scorpio.
I have no idea why they even bothered with this one. 2CS has a WCW World title knockoff with him, which is never mentioned by the announcers. Captain Lou Albano comes out to do rambling commentary. Decent, but awkward wrestling sequence to start. Julio ends up on the floor and Scorp follows with a pescado. Now it's Julio's turn, as he blows a pescado and ends with a skin-the-cat type thing, then decides to REDO THE SPOT (Ugh!) and hits it better on the second try. Sure sign of a jobber 4 life right there. NEVER REDO THE SPOT! He does take a nice backdrop over the railing into the crowd. Back in the ring and then a very ugly sequence begins, with the end result being a legdrop from Scorpio and a badly blown Tumbleweed to finish it at 9:48. Hey, if you're gonna do a spotfest, HIT THE DAMN SPOTS! * (Julio never ended up doing anything in the business anyway.)
The Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff v. The Artists Formerly Known as the Bushwhackers.
The heels have some goof named Nikita Brezhnikov in their corner, who does a bad Russian accent and wears what looks like a Cossack uniform and waves a USSR flag. Geez, read the news once in a while, guys. We get the Russian national anthem (short form version) and the Iranian club demonstration, for old (and I mean OLD) time's sake. Thankfully, I'm on my third drink by this time and I'm getting pleasantly detached from the living room. Ssssssssssssss tttttttttttt aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa lllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll. The old, wrinkly, Volkoff beats on Luke to control, although there's six inches of air between Luke and the bottom of Nikolai's boot on every kick. Sheik comes in and gives Luke what can only be generously described as a lovetap, and Luke sells a throat injury like Steamboat. Yeargh. The heels are working so loose they might as well stand in the aisle and kick them from there. It'd look more believable. Seriously, this is just SO sad. Butch finally gets the hot tag, and heel miscommunication involving the wrong person getting hit with an international object gives Butch the pin at 8:45. Oh. My. God. –**** (That’s actually a generous rating given Meltzer’s famous demolition of the match in the Observer. This is where I would have stuck George Steele, by the way. Steele & Bushwackers v. Sheik/Volkoff/some other geek at least confines the major suck to one bad comedy match.)
Stan Lane v. Tully Blanchard.
Both guys look pretty good, age and layoff time considered. Pretty nice start with Tully taking a bump into the post early, and Lane gets a neckbreaker and a cobra clutch. Russian legsweep gets two. They hit the floor and Tully puts a figure-four on him on the floor. Lane is playing the heel but Tully is drawing the heel heat for some reason. Lane is also sporting the Chris Candido hairstyle. Anyway, back in the ring and after a brief bit involving a sleeper, we get the stupidest ending in wrestling, the "belly-to-back suplex and one guy lifts his shoulder" double pin. In this case, Tully gets the shoulder up first and wins at 7:12. Well, they tried, I guess. 1/2* (Much like getting the gold medal at the Special Olympics…)
Who in god's name is booking this crap? I mean, the double pin spot? I know this is supposed to be nostalgic, but let's at least get past 1985 in the booking, PLEASE! Do an nWo run-in and get it up to 1997 or something…
One Man Gang v. Abdullah the Butcher.
Both guys bleed. Both are counted out at 7:29. There's your match highlights. Oh, those and Abby swiping the blade over his forehead every five seconds with a camera focusing on his head. Almost forgot about that one. –*** (Hopefully Gang didn’t get Hepatitis from this match.) What's the point of doing a non-conclusive ending to a one-time-only match? To protect the reputation of two semi-retired wrestlers? (I think their reputation was long gone by this point anyway. OMG could have teamed with Sheik and Volkoff, I think.)
"Cowboy" Bob Orton v. Jimmy Snuka.
I'm on drink #4 by this point, so it's gonna be hard to faze me. (These days I stop after one. Just doesn’t interest me anymore.) Snuka gets a quick two off a cross-body, but Orton takes control with a cheapshot. A suplex into the ring and a kneedrop gets two. Orton is moving slow, but he's pacing himself nicely and doing his usual great job of working the mat. He works one armbar in particular for quite a long time. (Like father, like son.) Dutch is doing an absolutely spectacular job of selling the armbar for the fans at home, because Randy Rosenbloom has no idea what the hell is going on, in terms of the psychology. The fans invent increasingly crude taunts for Bob during the armbar, leading to the epic "Bob is a faggot! (clap clap clap-clap-clap) in D-Minor" to close out the armbar. (Clearly we know he reproduced, so they’re probably off-base in their criticisms of his sexuality. I don’t think Snuka ever had any children, though.) Snuka comes back with the usual, and they do a double-KO with Orton falling on top for two. Snuka recovers and heads to the top, but Orton tries to reverse to a superplex. Lou Albano grabs Snuka's ankles to stop the move, and Snuka hits a bodypress off the top for the pin at 11:42. Match of the night, at a whopping *1/4
And now…THE FUN PART!
During the night, the wrestlers have been cutting various pre-match promos with some Pettingill-ish clone backstage, with nothing of note being said. Then comes Jake Roberts. The promo itself was unexceptional. No, what was so memorable was the fact that he was PLASTERED. I mean, he was literally so stinking, falling down drunk off his fat ass that he could hardly string together a sentence, and in fact needed to grab onto the interviewer to keep from falling over. The interviewer looked SERIOUSLY freaked at having Jake hanging on him, with the snake crawling around in it's bag on the floor.
(Let’s GO TO THE YOUTUBES!)
And then the match…
Jake "The Snake" Roberts v. Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart.
PLEASE let it be quick, that's all I ask. (Dozens of young wrestlers also thought the same thing before trips into the shower with JBL.) Jake is literally STAGGERING down the aisle on the way to the ring. He tosses Damien into the corner, then staggers back to the dressing room, takes his shirt off, and staggers back. Poor Neidhart has no idea what to make of the situation. (I’m guessing “This guy is almost as fucked up as my wife!”) Jake hits on a couple of ugly chicks in the front row, then rolls in and we're underway. Anvil literally does all the work, physically carrying Jake through the "match" so he doesn't' fall over and puke all over the ring. Damien wriggles free of the bag, so Jake pulls him out and makes uses it as a surrogate penis, waving it around the ring while protruding from his crotch, pointing towards women in the front row. And there's KIDS in the audience, all over the place. I think Jake can finally kiss his wrestling career goodbye, for good this time. And now obviously someone in the back realizes this is getting out of hand, so King Kong Bundy comes out to run interference. Anvil puts Jake in a long chinlock, and looks to be bitching him out while there. Jake goes for the DDT, but he can't get the spot quite right, so Bundy runs in for a 2-on-1. Yokozuna makes the save, and it's turned into a tag match. Jake takes a couple of chairshots from Neidhart to hopefully make him stay on the floor, but he rolls back in and Bundy gets a two count. Jake hasn't even bothered to lace his boots, and when Neidhart pulls on his foot to stop a tag, the boot comes free. Jake makes the hot tag to Yoko, but about 2 seconds later Bundy splashes and pins Jake (the illegal man) for the pin to end the whole fiasco. Jake and Yoko beat up Bundy's manager, and the show is hastily yanked from the air 15 minutes early without so much as a goodbye from the announce team. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is your Worst Match of the Year, hands down. -***** I suppose it would be harsh of me to wish Jake would just choke on his own vomit one night and spare us all ever watching him ruin his life or the lives of the people that care about him ever again, but at the rate he's going he's probably not far off. (I’m continually amazed that 15 years after this, he’s still alive.)
The Bottom Line:
You may have noticed that we didn't get the advertised main event, or even Yokozuna or Bundy wrestling for more than 5 seconds each. Leave it to Jake to ruin an entire show for everyone. Not that there was much there to ruin. Easily the worst PPV I've ever seen, and that includes a lot. I don't know how these morons got a PPV deal in the first place, but since the buyrate is likely to be somewhere between 0.00000005 and 0.1 (if they're lucky) I doubt we'll have to worry about seeing this abortion stink up our TV screens ever again.If there was a rating even lower than thumbs down I'd give it. If you want nostalgia, watch WCW. You might even see a wrestling match there by accident, too.
(Given the people involved, here’s the matches I would have booked instead:
Stan Lane & Marty Jannetty v. Scorpio & Tommy Rogers
George Steele & The Bushwackers v. Samoan Swat Team & Yokozuna
King Kong Bundy v. One Man Gang
Bob Orton & Greg Valentine v. Jimmy Snuka & Jim Neidhart
Main event: Jake Roberts v. Tully Blanchard
I dunno, still not great, but I’m big fan of disguising weakness with tag matches. This would also presume that Roberts wasn’t shitfaced going into the show, and that he and Tully could do promos leading up to it.