Happy weekend to everyone! I hope you’re not bogged down at work like I am today, and getting a chance to roll into Independence Week with family, friends, and BBQ.
Today’s Question: What’s your favorite wrestling trope?
We’ll check out your answers tomorrow. If you want to skip yesterday’s answers, please scroll right to the comments.
The IWC loves it some great wrestling. Over the years, it has latched on to wrestling’s greatest showstoppers, but deep down inside we’re entertainment fans at heart; and some of wrestling’s greatest slugs can win us over. And yesterday we were talking about those awful wrestlers you loved anyway. We had a great turnout, so let’s get to it.
brocore: Mike Shaw, specifically Norman the Lunatic. Norm was just such a fun character, and Shaw nailed it and was clearly having fun with the role.
The first time I saw Norman the Lunatic was at Clash of the Champions VII, and I was completely enamored with it. The idea that the man was so dangerous they needed doctors nearby with cattle prods to keep the man in check before they hauled him back to the asylum was a great twist on the normal “monster” character – and exactly the kind of thing that could be recycled today on a new wrestler, or someone like Kane.
Garth Holmberg, C.C.: Andre The Giant, the later years. This is more nostalgia from me, because as a kid renting Coliseum Video's, seeing an Andre match was always a big deal to me. It didn't matter that all he could do was hang on the ropes and choke people: He was an intimidating giant who made even the largest superstars look like midgets. His presence alone was enough to make me want to watch his matches, and even now, I could look past his physical limitations because of the aura surrounding him that I don't think anyone else has ever been able to capture.
Starscreamlive: I'm a big mark for Kamala. Terrible ring skills and a cheesey gimmick, but I bought it as a kid. He's still one of my all time favorites.
I saw him at an independent show about 7 or 8 years ago, and I told him how much I loved his match with the Undertaker at SummerSlam. He looked up at me, and through that facepaint, and wild eyes, he informed me autographed photos were $10 each.
Biscuit!: The Mean Street Posse really sticks out for me. Just hot garbage in the ring but the gimmick was a riot. To be really fair almost every Memphis wrestler was kinda bad in the ring but all of them were so good at getting heat.
Magoonie NOT Teddy Belmont: I know he's not considered "terrible" but everybody seems to hate on him, Kevin Nash. And I'm not even talking about where he was trying to put on good matches as Diesel. I'm talking about when he kinda stopped caring in WCW. I was still a big fan of his.
You’re preaching to the choir; I once ran Kevin Nash Appreciation Month on my ShootingStarPress webpage, concluding with a poll to determine once and for all who the greatest wrestler of all time was. Choices included Kevin Nash, Oz, Vinnie Vegas, Diesel, and Master Blaster Steel. And of course, his announcing was top of the line.
Jared Bellow: Everybody has this big thing about Sid only being "carried" to good matches. Fuck no. The dude had the look, the charisma, and a good amount of ability in the ring. He only really had bad matches with guys he had no chemistry with. So Sid, Vader, Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart allll just carried him, right on their backs? No. Sid is awesome. However, he is usually put on these lists.
Jared, you win – you were the first of over a dozen folks who named the Master and Ruler of the world as the greatest slug of all time. I tend to agree, Sid worked with good workers, and struggled against the useless lumps, despite having half the brain of Kevin Nash. There was a Montreal promotion that aired a pay-per-view in Canada in 2003 I believe, and one match was a battle royale which featured Sid just powerbombing everyone for 10 minutes. The fans ate it up. I also got to witness him crush Johnny Devine at an indy show, and after nearly blowing out my lungs in the front row chanting “SID” – he made a beeline for my friend and I, gave us each two giant sweaty fist bumps, and demanded to know “WHO’S THE MAN?” Sid, of course.
Mike_N: Mikey Whipwreck. Decent worker and hilarious when teaming with Foley as the perpetual deer in headlights. That gimmick could only work in ECW, but it was fun for what it was.
Beardmoney: I've heard some knuckleheads claim Hillbilly Jim was actually a "terrible" wrestler. I'm sorry, just because he didn't do the 450 Corkscrew Shooting Star Phoenix Splash off the top of a 20 foot ladder to put his opponent through a stack of flaming barbwire wrapped tables 7 nights a week, doesn't mean the guy was a bad worker. He just employed a less is more style. It was as much about the moves he didn't do, rather than just executing random Avalanche Burning Hammer Psycho Powerbomb Destroyer Drivers 365 nights a year. His ring-work actually meant something, accomplishing just as much with a simple Bearhug and a couple of well placed dance steps as your modern "extreme" grappler accomplishes by hitting 12 No Hands Flying Super Dragon Sliced Bread DDT Deathdrops.
It’s more of a revisionist history that’s been less kind to Hillbilly Jim, I don’t think anyone from the era would disagree the man was a good ring general. He was perfect for the over the top 80’s era, and could put on a show when needed to.
Stranger In The Alps: As a young Stranger, I was a huge mark for Hercules Hernandez, both as a heel and face. Looking back on his matches today, he was horrible. Especially in his bloated physique toward the end of his run after the Power & Glory split.
Petrock: At the time I really enjoyed JBL's title run. From day one he just completely owned that character.
He definitely owned the character, but I won’t lie – 2004 Smackdown was simply death with him at the top of the card. It seemed the more the fans revolted, the harder McMahon pushed him just to prove us wrong.
Piperfan01: Jimmy "The Boogie Woogie Man" Valiant, NWA, early-mid eighties, Charisma with a capital C, but when I look back now, simply horrible in the ring. I still mark out for his matches though, don't care.
Jobber123: So sid is my official answer but goddamnit I loved Mongo too. I can't get enough of his promos or him on commentary. I don't know if he's brain damaged, or just really stupid or what but that dude made me laugh every time he came on TV. The first time I remember seeing him was with LT during the Bam Bam angle and omg was he hysterical. His backstage promo is the best part of wm11. My all time favorite mongo moment was when he slapped a coffee out of goldbergs hand and yelled in his face "YOU DON'T DRINK COFFEE IN FRONT OF A MAN"
When I reviewed all the 1996 WCW shows, Mongo was a pretty standard whipping boy. One night he promised Mean Gene he’d whoop all the pretty boys, starting with Randy Savage (the hell??). He carried around that Haliburton like he’d never heard of a chequing account. And please don’t get me started on the stupid ferret. Still, nothing can top the coffee segment with the British Bulldog on Thunder in 98. We all learned a valuable lesson about when it’s appropriate to drink coffee.
dirtyearsbilly: I can't really say why, but I've always loved Balls Mahoney. We didn't get ecw here on the west coast until the tnn days, but my best friend had an illegal cable box and we used to watch all of their ppvs. As a 12/13 year old, there was something great about him. The airbrushed chairs, the tattered jean shorts, the fact that everyone yelled balls whenever he punched someone. I still love the guy.
Bones: Buff Bagwell...If any man wears a top hat with a likeness of himself and is an asshole about everything is alright by me.
A personal favorite Bagwell moment came during one of his entrances. Pointing proudly to his perfectly groomed facial hair, with all the class he could muster, Bagwell turned to the camera and belted out “BUFF HAS A NEW MOUSTACHE! HAHAHAHAHAHA!”
Andy PG: Let's be honest: Tommy Dreamer has mediocre mic skills, very basic offense, and his back was messed up for so long he can't sell correctly to save his life. But WOW were his matches fun to watch.
Rusty Shackleford: Scott Steiner is a huge favourite due to being an awesome worker in the first half of his career and an absolute psychopath in the second half.
I saw one of his Nitro matches with Chris Jericho from early 99 not long ago, and the thing that really stood out to me was the fact that Steiner genuinely looked like he might kill someone. He kept stalling to go beef with the fans in the front row, and there was more than one occasion that night he got into a face to face screaming match with a fan just daring him to step over the line … and you really thought he just might. Whether it was a brilliant, calculated make-over, or roid rage, Steiner’s White Thunder was great.
Tom Dawkings: Surprised no mention of Warrior yet. The guy was getting the rocket push at the time I first started watching wrestling so Warrior was my 'Hulk Hogan'. Plus Warrior was a cooler version of Hogan as he was younger, more energetic and had a better look.
Basscase: Nathan Jones, only because he could refresh himself with a tall glass mid-match.
I legit laughed out loud at this.
catfishhedberg: I really enjoyed Kronik in the dying days of WCW. I've always been a mark for the invincible power teams. I also liked the KISS Demon for some reason.
Dirty_Dave_Delaney: The most awful wrestler that I found bizarrely entertaining has to be Heidenreich. His pre-match disaster-piece poetry promos, his over the top facial expressions, his Naziesque theme music combined with shitty in-ring work always guaranteed me being not far off from hysterical laughter. Plus he gets extra points for trying to rape Michael Cole! Also have to give a little bit of love to Snitsky for the whole 'IT WASN'T MY FAULT' baby-killing storyline over on Raw around the same time which of course lead to Snitsky and Heidenreich's epic gruntling and snarling confrontation at I think Survivor Series 2004.
I was writing weekly articles at that point – and I could not damn either of these guys with enough praise. Between their meeting at the 2004 Survivor Series (“I LIKE YOUR POETRY!” “AND I LIKE WHAT YOU DO TO BABIES!”), and the 2005 Royal Rumble (“I LIKE YOU JON!” “I LIKE YOU TOO GENE! BUT I STILL HATE CASKETS!”), this was truly a bromance that not only needed more segments, but quite frankly, their own spinoff.
YankeesHoganTripleHFan: Earthquake....I didn't love him, but when he was a heel between injuring Hogan, Tugboat, Andre, squashing the snake and sending all those jobbers out on stretchers the mark in me feared him, thus his matches were always fascinating because you knew he could leave someone laying in a heartbeat.
Jonathan Meisner: Beefcake. Loved him as a kid. The outfits, the synth heavy entrance music. And, the greatest thing to ever be thankful for, from the original Coliseum release of Survivor Series '89. "I'm thankful for wresting, cuttin' and struttin'!!"
Jabber2: David BOWTUNGA. My phone autocorrected that to all caps, which should tell you something. The swank jacket. The ridiculously jacked up physique. Rubbing the baby oil on himself. The sweater vests. The obnoxious slurping.
Daniel Swinney: ERNEST. MILLER. Very few men in wrestling have provided me as many laughs on the mic as him. The time he was basically asked to go out and kill seemingly ten minutes on Nitro and started just ripping on fans. "I'ma whoop everybody in this arena one by one! Sit down fat boah I can't fight you you ain't in my weight class. I'll whoop... entire NWO all by myself!" "Scott Steiner you big dumb stupid bitch! You know I HATE yo dumb ass!" Or the time he escaped a Bigelow beatdown by proclaiming, "I LOVE you. You my hee-ro!"
I could not agree more Daniel; Ernest Miller also happens to be my choice. There was something positively hysterical every single time they sent Miller out to rip on the entire crowd. You’d sit there for upwards of ten minutes, wondering what in the bloody hell was the point – and all he’d do is keep going. I can remember him being on the Bottom Ten Wrestlers list week after week in 1999 on WrestleLine, but that’s only because the masses hadn’t caught on to the greatness of the Cat.
Some of my personal favorite memories include him beating up Scott and Steve Armstrong one night, and demanding they send out the Bullet so he can whoop him too. On a random Thunder, he once entered the ring wearing a cowboy hat, and demanding Sonny Onoo sing “Purple Rain” in honor of the fact he was fighting Prince, then complaining that Prince Iaukea wasn’t the Prince he wanted to whoop at all. And finally, Catbo.
The Easter egg in the video above, was that the 1-800 number led directly to Eric Bischoff’s office – which had to be immediately changed following the airing of this. Late 90’s WCW simply cannot be topped for sheer incompetence and hilarity, no matter how hard TNA tries.
See you tomorrow!