DDP Yoga

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

QOTD 126: Funny Money

Today's QOTD suggestion comes from Wes A, whose work I loved in "Anonymous". 

I was recently reading Cornette's latest rant on "funny doesn't draw money". What are your thoughts on comedy in wrestling? Should it be regulated to promos? Do you think comedy matches have a place in the business? Any examples of good comedy matches/promos that you like?

 
I love GOOD comedy in wrestling. The key to comedy is playing it straight and not overselling the gag - and restraint isn't really pro wrestling's strong suit.

Poor Jared from Subway.
It's one thing if at RAW 1000 there's a scene with Mae Young and she's standing next to a giant foam hand. It's a hilarious gag for long time fans. But I think at Raw 1000 he went as far as to say "Hi, I'm Mae Young's Son!" Which over sold the whole dang thing.

You can also get a lot of fun juxtaposition going, too. I watched Survivor Series 2008 I think, and during the pre-match interview Kane and Jeff Hardy were curious why exactly they were working with Triple H, who sent Hardy to hospital and accused Kane of being a murderer, then pretending to have sex with his dead ex girlfriend. It was a great little gag. Toss in Headcheese and all the great Rock v. Hurricane stuff and you're giving me a ton of reasons to tune in, but I'm not buying a PPV or a ticket because I get to see Santino shave his unibrow, ya know?

That time Foley got The Rock with the "IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT YOU THINK" and then ran around the ring to chants of "Foley! Foley! Foley!" was cool, and wasn't "This is your life" one of the highest rated RAW segments, ever?

But in terms of selling tickets?

I don't know. If I rack my brain and think of some of the 'funny' moments in big programs I'm a little sour on them. I thought the Rock v. Austin concert thing they did was a little silly and funny, but didn't really make me want to watch the match. The Spirit Squad was kind of a joke, and The New DX was a gag-a-minute, but didn't really do anything substantial to transcend just silly jokes.

I DO like that promotions like CHIKARA and Beyond Wrestling have some fun with wrestling tropes. There's a bunch of funny 'slow mo' matches that somehow managed to coordinate the audience into a slow mo "This is awesome" chant, and Beyond Wrestling has Star Man from the NES wrestling game on the roster. 




Comedy in wrestling is at its best when it's gratifying the long-time fan. Hogan's jokes about being old during the Lesnar feud, the time the "new" DX plastered Triple H's face over a picture of Vince's granddaughter, Crash Holly fighting in all manner of places against all manner of foes. The Ho Train, Val Venis, Santino's Power Walk, Molly Holly's baldness, fuck, even Sexual Chocolate, are all things I remember fondly and with warmth. While there's not the reasons I watch wrestling, They're a great reason to keep coming back.  

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Remember to vote for the Ottie Awards here!

 Also, have I used this spin gif before? I thought I did but I can't find where I put it.

122 comments:

  1. No comedy match will ever top Big Show v. Angle at Backlash 2000.

    Comedy GOLD, JERRY!

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  2. Yeah, that's my choice - I can't think of a better comedy match.

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  3. Slo Mo huh? Well its good they figured out a way to keep Arik Cannon from blowing up in a match.

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  4. Cornette says, "Funny ain't money". I think that is an over generalization. There have been plenty of top names that used humor. The Rock probably used it more than anyone.

    I HATE it when WWE tries to be funny though. 90% of the time it falls flat. It is much better to use the characters they have and make a humorous situation out of it.

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  5. I'm torn on Chikara type stuff. On one hand I'm an oldschool purist that doesn't like exposing the business. On the other, a lot of that stuff is pretty hilarious.

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  6. And THAT is the key distinction that they fail to make. Trying to write a sitcom style funny "scene" or circumstance than letting the characters be funny at the appropriate time is a death sentence.

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  7. Comedy has its place, of course...but you probably don't want to be seeing it in the main event.


    As far promos go...it's all about Edge and Christian's Five Second Poses.

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  8. All of their stuff with Commish Foley too.

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  9. I still crack up at the Kurt Angle/Steve Austin segments when they were both trying to be buddies with Vince McMahon. Kurt wearing the little cowboy hat, the guitar, and all of that. I would've loved to have seen a buddy comedy starring Austin and Angle... just not one written by WWE Studios.

    The problem with "WWE humor" is that the writers aren't comedy writers and it painfully shows. If you notice, pretty much every great comedy moment in WWE history was born out of the performers themselves who were naturally funny (Rock, Foley, Angle, Jericho, etc.)

    Cena does a lot of things well, but he isn't a comedian and stuff like "JBL is Poopy" proves that.

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  10. For recent comedy, I have to give props to having Kane in the anger management class recapping his entire life's story.

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  11. Your_Favourite_LoserMarch 25, 2014 at 12:57 PM

    it was awesome and totally ruled!

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  12. I like a healthy dose of comedy because after all, wrestling is low-brow by nature. However, it can't overpower the show an be used in place of actual story development or matches. And of course, most stuff WWE thinks is funny really isn't.

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  13. Your_Favourite_LoserMarch 25, 2014 at 12:59 PM

    but only for the benefit of those with flash photography

    i still remember the heat they got in dallas for having the pose having one of them posing as if in a car and the other perched on the turnbuckle posing as a sniper

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  14. Your_Favourite_LoserMarch 25, 2014 at 1:01 PM

    the original main event of wm xxx with orton vs. batista brings all kinds of funny!


    oh wait, actually it was just laughable...

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  15. Threadjack:


    Currently on Game Show Network: Deal or No Deal, with Dolph Ziggler as the guest Banker and Maria + some other Diva (I didn't get a good look) as the spinner girls. (It's the daytime version of D-ND)

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  16. I like to think of wrestling as a character-based Vaudeville act, but apparently WWE writers see it as a sketch show. This makes sense as many are comedy writers. The best wrestling comedy tends to just happen. Santino entertains people in-ring because he has goofy mannerisms and plays to the crowd. Snapping off one-liners isn't wrestling funny.
    Memphis wrestling had it right: ridiculous storylines and characters that were Dead. Serious. in their actions. They were being funny characters rather than getting over the jokes. That makes for funny situations. Well, that and the greatest straight man ever in Lance Russell. Where have the wrestling straight men gone?

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  17. It has to come from guys with a modicum of natural comedic talent -- Rock, Angle, Austin, Show. The occasional nod and wink to a past storyline can also be hilarious if done right.

    But, all in all, outside of Rock...Cornette is right. Comedy isn't a draw, even if it is a welcome component to the show.

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  18. Porn-Peddling Jef VinsonMarch 25, 2014 at 1:07 PM

    I hate comedy skits in wrestling. If it happens within the context of a match then so be it, but to have more than 5 minutes devoted to dumb shit is annoying.

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  19. Probably the funniest bit of the last 5 years.

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  20. My favorite comedy bits:

    -Dude Love debuts. This is a perfect example of taking the characters and stories and naturally evolving a humorous situation. Mankind had been campaigning to be Austin's tag partner, but ever the loner, Austin refused. Mankind promised to bring someone the next week and rumors flew that it was Cactus Jack. Instead, in a callback to his JR debut, Foley's teenage dream gimmick Dude Love comes out. Austin sells it beautifully.

    More in a few.

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  21. Your_Favourite_LoserMarch 25, 2014 at 1:15 PM

    how do you feel about comedy 'formers like grimlock, who occupy a prominent space on the card?

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  22. Pat Patterson converted them all.

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  23. Your_Favourite_LoserMarch 25, 2014 at 1:16 PM

    i chuckled last night when after the cody/fandango match, jbl said "summer rae hurt her heel and fandango is a heel"


    KAYFAB

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  24. Email me so I can help you with your cause...

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  25. Your_Favourite_LoserMarch 25, 2014 at 1:18 PM

    discussion of current awesome comedy wrestlers begins and ends with bad influence

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  26. Does the time that Kevin Nash did color commentary on that episode of Thunder count as a comedy bit? Because that shit was fucking hilarious.

    "Sid Vicious...6'10"...200...no! 300...no! 591 pounds!"

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  27. WCW, where the big boys play, but look at the adjective, 'play' we aren't here to play!"

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  28. Your_Favourite_LoserMarch 25, 2014 at 1:21 PM

    those of us who saw the "all shoot" edition of thunder back when it aired truly experienced something special

    that one episode is still talked about fondly and with great reverence some 15 year later

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  29. The Love-Matic Grampa!March 25, 2014 at 1:22 PM

    Cornette's being a bit disingenuous here, because there was tons of comedy throughout the MX vs. RnRs feud (especially the latter-day version) and they always drew fairly well. Obviously, the comedy was in small doses and didn't override the "these five men hate each other" narrative, but it was there.

    That said, comedy should generally be kept out of the money-drawing main events and it's usually not a good idea to turn your top stars into jokes. It all goes back to the circus theory: people love the clowns, but they're far more likely to pay a ticket for the lion tamer or the high-wire act.

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  30. Rock breaking and grinning when Foley ran around and led "Foley! Foley! Foley!" chants was the icing on that cake. Never happened back then, it was great when he couldn't help it then.

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  31. Your_Favourite_LoserMarch 25, 2014 at 1:23 PM

    also when foley's sunglasses fell off and foley was all like "here, you dropped these" and rock said "the rock appreciates that" while trying not to laugh

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  32. Oh God, the Kevin Nash Officially Doesn't Care Anymore all-shoot Thunder...good grief, I can't decide whether that was awful or spectacular.

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  33. I think Cornette was referring to guys who are comedy acts, not performers being funny. Obviously Cornette himself injected a lot of humor into his promos. He was referring to guys like Colt Cabana who really don't bring anything to the table outside of comedy.

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  34. Your_Favourite_LoserMarch 25, 2014 at 1:25 PM

    it was spectacular, like teri hatcher's boobs!

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  35. The Love-Matic Grampa!March 25, 2014 at 1:25 PM

    Fair enough, but doesn't he hate Cabana anyway?

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  36. I'm going with "specterrible" myself. It was painful and funny all at once.

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  37. Stranger in the AlpsMarch 25, 2014 at 1:26 PM

    One rule of wrestling comedy: if the announcer needs to cue you to laugh, it's not funny.

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  38. Haha, yeah. Foley had a great effect on The Rock.

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  39. That was cut from Smackdown and it was a big deal in the second Foley book. He was supposed to turn heel.

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  40. Pretty much anything Stevie Richards did in ECW was good for a laugh. The bwo, KISS, the Fabulous Ones. I remember one bit where they were filming themselves in NYC and Richards Steviekicks a department store Santa.

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  41. The Love-Matic Grampa!March 25, 2014 at 1:27 PM

    True, but I miss Vince's fake laugh.

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  42. What is all shoot thunder?

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  43. PS - keep the QOTD suggestions coming in! We have a queue of like 4 and I'd love to have a week or more's worth for days where my C+ player brain is functioning at Essa Rios levels.

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  44. Your_Favourite_LoserMarch 25, 2014 at 1:30 PM

    his discussion of that time period gets confusing. it's as if the decision to retire came up suddenly and derailed everything

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  45. This: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1ZL8wC8czg

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  46. Your_Favourite_LoserMarch 25, 2014 at 1:32 PM

    this was after he "retired" after road wild 99 when he lost to hogan

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  47. Rule one of all comedy: If you have to explain the joke, it isn't funny.

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  48. I still think "CHRIS BENOIT IS HERE AND HE'S REALLY MAD. CHRIS BENOIT IS HERE AND HE'S REALLY AN-GRYYYYY..." when his theme comes on during old PPVs. E&C's Bill and Ted days ruled.

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  49. That was superb, haha.

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  50. Maybe it's just me, but I'm of the belief that the business has already been exposed. Everybody who watches any type of pro wrestling, and even the people who don't, know that it is scripted and predetermined. I can understand when oldschool guys who were in the business complain about it, but as a fan, it doesn't bother me, personally, when groups like Chikara try to expand the definition of what Pro Wrestling can be.

    I think one of the reasons we don't see as many insane, rabid fan reactions like we did throughout the Attitude Era is that nowadays everything is super-serious for the most part. There's no levity to break the tension. Even in the midst of some of Austin's most heated feuds - with Rock, Vince, Foley, Michaels - a lot of those segments were downright hilarious. And when someone does something fun, a la Fandango during the buildup to Mania 29, and it grows naturally, WWE is quick to overhype it and blow it out of proportion, and the fans grow tired of it.

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  51. He hates everyone.

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  52. You can subvert anything that is perceived unfunny and make it funny if you have the right tools.

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  53. A lot of Cena's edgier raps were pretty damn funny. When he wasn't basically coming up with clever ways to say "eat my feces" or "fellate someone", he could generally do a good job tearing down an opponent while also being humorous and entertaining. But Cena, as a speaking human being babyface, I don't think has ever really made me laugh, minus some of the things he said about The Rock during their first Mania match build-up.

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  54. On the Cesaro swing, how come not once in his tenure with the Real Americans have they ever called that move The Swing State?

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  55. Those segments were clearly well written-out, too. So you have to give credit to the creative team there. Not to take anything away from Kane, Bryan and Doctor Shelby's performances, but those were clearly well-written, well-produced segments that were downright hilarious. I can't think of MANY examples in the past few years of WWE pulling off great comedy, but that angle is a prime example.

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  56. And that stuff was a callback to his Thug Life character.

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  57. Too smart. Would make viewers google what that was.

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  58. I prefer a sledgehammer.

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  59. This! Took the words right out of my mouth,the 'Comedy" writers aren't funny.

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  60. He had to have drank at least 12 beers before that show, don't you think? From what I've heard in shoot interviews and podcasts, he tends to imply that if he wasn't working in the ring, he and the boys were throwing them down backstage. Doesn't matter, that was so funny.

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  61. They would be in a government class 5 years later, before they got the joke.

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  62. More video games and comic related questions.

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  63. He and Booker were fun on commentary when the Main Event Mafia took over and episode of Impact.

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  64. His '03 raps were hilarious. But then the FCC started bitching about them and they stopped letting Cena write them after his face turn, at which point they took a nose dive in quality and became a nonstop foray of gay jokes.

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  65. There was a long period when santino was the best thing on RAW.

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  66. Before or after Santina?

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  67. Ah, yes. I was more referring to the Cena we've seen over the last 7-8 years who doesn't rap. Yes, some of his raps were pretty funny back in the day.

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  68. When he started carrying around pouches of actual nuts, as if to distract the FCC and say, "Literally, I'm talking about THESE nuts! Not the sexual innuendo, I swear!", it was funny at first, but he really ran that joke into the ground when he did it for MONTHS on end.

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  69. So glad they put that segment on DVD.

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  70. The worst thing is when the commentary team is cracking up over something that you know Vince is cracking up about in their headsets, and they have to act like they also think it's the funniest thing they've ever seen, but they are over-laughing to the point where you know they can't no-sell the joke and piss off Vince. I can't think of any specific examples right now, but that irritates me to no end.

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  71. I'd say before. His prime was as a heel with Maria and beth.

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  72. Vince getting hit in the head with the bedpan.

    hahahahaha.......

    DX making fun of The Nation.

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  73. The dramatic camera cuts added to the hilarity.

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  74. Any time JBL or King says, "This is hilarious!" or "This is great! I'm loving this!", you know that what's happening on the screen is 100% NOT funny.

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  75. Glamarella. That shit was gold. He needed the straight (wo)man to accentuate the act.

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  76. The intersection of the Katie Vick angle and the UT/Lesnar feud with Kane's simple "so... how was your week?" was brilliant in its understatement.

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  77. Best comedy would be any Scott Steiner promo from his time in TNA

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  78. When JBL was a heel and did his over-the-top laugh during heel promos, it added to the humor (check his over-the-top reactions to The Rock Convert, for example) since they were ultimately trying to piss people off. But otherwise, it's basically them trying to tell you to laugh and it kills any chance of humor.

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  79. Yeah, it was unintentional intentional.

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  80. "I was in a relationship with a girl named Katie Vick. That didn't turn out to well."

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  81. Especially Steiner Math

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFoC3TR5rzI

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  82. Hawk's WWF promos were some of the best. He's a legitimate bad ass who would make you laugh...


    "Natural Disasters, you say you like to throw your weight around... Well that's just, stinkin, fine with us... we like throwing your weight around too!"

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  83. Can never go wrong with Jericho. Whether he's super goofy or playing straight, always fun to watch.

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  84. "Tell em Hawk!"


    "Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelllll.."

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  85. Kurt Angle is the perfect example that you can have ME with comedy gimmicks.

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  86. I like when Lawler laughed at the Rock making fun of Taker (who was a heel at the time in 1999), stopped himself and said to Michael Cole, who wasn't laughing, "What are you laughing at?"

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=godn_ujvzjw

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  87. I couldn't agree more. My other problem with JBL is that he's a little too impartial sometimes when it comes to how he criticizes members of the roster, even those guys that are also heels. Burying talent in any way should be the last thing a commentator does. If this person is so god-awful and getting airtime that you don't think they deserve, doesn't that make your job much less meaningful? You never heard Jesse Ventura saying things like, "This is just terrible. This guy is awful," but I feel like JBL does that a LOT.

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  88. If your not down with that,he'll come after you and break your ankle.

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  89. Remember his version of HBK's theme? "I'm just a sexy Kurt / I'll make your ankle hurt"

    Yet everyone knew Angle was a bad ass and they had a great match at Mania. The comedy didn't hurt the match.

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  90. The E can do comedy, but they usually aren't that great at it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DlyZYOZFQuA is pretty good.

    All of the WWE Goes Hollywood ones are good too, like so

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcznOxmCCho

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  91. Porn-Peddling Jef VinsonMarch 25, 2014 at 2:05 PM

    Once in awhile...maybe. But not every week.

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  92. The Basic instinct sketch was the best.

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  93. Especially the Mae Young part.

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  94. Stranger in the AlpsMarch 25, 2014 at 2:07 PM

    Roddy Piper in the 80's was coked out funny. I mean, it was so outlandish that you had to laugh at him, rather than with him. At Wrestlemania 2, before facing Mr. T in the boxing match, he stated that "I don't have to shave my head like and Indian, and paint myself black".

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  95. Best ones the Taxi audition.

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  96. I've always been particularly fond of the Pulp Fiction one.

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  97. Christian was the best parts.

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  98. Benoit throwing up at the end makes the video.

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  99. If you listen to Heenan and Ventura, they would always complain about things outside of the Face's ability. Like being a goody two shoes, or "This guy would be great if he had me as a manager".

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  100. I miss Goldust and Booker T. The funniest segment I can remember is Goldust running backstage away from X-Pac, and as they rounded a corner, BAM, Booker knocks out Pac with a silver tray. And proceeds to call him a jive sucka wombat (or something like that) and asks him could he dig that......*audience finishes the catchphrase for him*.....SUCKAAAAAAAAAAA.

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  101. Exactly. With JBL, you could tell that he did not like the Emma character or gimmick at all, and he basically shat on it from the word go once she was on RAW. It wasn't, "She needs dancing lessons!" It was "this is terrible, this is stupid," which just comes across as, "I don't personally like this person or this character" and that doesn't enhance the story, and it makes JBL and Emma BOTH look bad.

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  102. Funnier in hindsight is AJ's "we need to hydrate" and Punk's "Awwww, I don't wanna go to Kuwait!!!"

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  103. "Hello Lexington" is one of the best bits every. On his Podcast Jericho confirmed what I always suspected, that he was just doing whatever he wanted because Bischoff only monitored the main eventers.

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  104. God, I just cannot tolerate Colt Cabana, Santino, or anyone like that. They just irritate the fuck out of me.

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  105. He's really bad with AJ too. You can totally feel bully Bradshaw seeping through when she's out there.

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  106. I don't think I've ever seen that, but reading jive sucka wombat made me laugh.

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  107. I remember when the Blue World Order made their entrance at ONS 2005 and Joey Styles laughing "if any gimmick never deserved to make a dime and made a boatload of cash, this is it!"
    Do remember the Boogeyman taking off mostly thanks to how he played it as there was never a moment he WASN'T the Boogeyman, just so at home as this lunatic that you were sucked in.

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  108. I enjoyed that Blue World Order moment for Joey's laughter.

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  109. The bits with Koslov were great, a wonderful odd couple pairing and adored his "tea party" with Sheamus.

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  110. I do remember a fun bit where Hornswoggle takes on Swagger's Eagle with great commentary:
    Striker: "Eagles are known for their keen eye-sight...."
    Cole: "You're going to call this?!"
    Striker: "I am, eagles are capable of carrying three times their weight..."
    Cole: "This is a PG show so Hornswoggle can't flip the bird!"

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  111. Austin as Maximus/Gladiator was my favorite of the Hollywood ones. When he describes himself as "Truster...of no one," I crack up every time. Similarly, his skits with Vince and Angle were gold. I still can't get over when he's trying to cheer Vince up. There's this throwaway item in a list describing how Vince is stressed--"your hair's falling out." After serenading Vince, Austin sneaks in the line, "Your hair's growing back," to show just how well his plan to cheer Vince up was. Guys like Austin and Foley could steal every scene they were in, be it comedic or dramatic. Even if the Rock and Angle could arguably be more exciting or funnier, they didn't quite have the accompanying gravitas of the former two.

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  112. Also, how could you not love Kaentai and their always hysterical "announcements" during their entrances.
    "We reek of one thing and one thing only...>EEEEEEEEEEEEEVIIIIIILLLLL!!!!"
    "INDEEEEEEEEEEEEED!"

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  113. I like when Vince says that Shane is consumed with power and Austin chimes in with "consumed! He's consumed!....damn he's consumed!"

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  114. The original Four Horsemen wrestled The Road Warriors and Superpowers back in 87. It turned into a comedy match with Flair and Tully doing all kind of exaggerated selling. It was one of those deals where the match went off the air before it finished.

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  115. Stranger in the AlpsMarch 25, 2014 at 2:33 PM

    Commisioner Foley riffing on Edge & Christian gave us some classics. The chicken suit....calling Mick a reekazoid....etc.

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  116. "Princess peach is a tramp!"

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwbKcZAveiU

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