Just one guy's opinion. Hope it doesn't offend anyone.
Running Again By M.C.
"Wrestling needs to go back to solid matches like Hogan vs Sid and Hogan vs Savage" - Terry Bollea, 2000
Everybody wants the Hulk. Japan wants him to kick Chono's butt (still payin' dues 45 years or so after his debut) so the Japanese press and fanbase can relive the good old days of Ax Bombers, blonde villains and shoot matches that really were works in the first place. The legend of Hulk Hogan, mean lean fighting machine, and his Japanese exploits has grown over the years to represent the best in modern day storytelling.
If you long for Apter Mag extravaganza, that is.
Rightly so, Jarrett and the whole American indy scene is salivating at the prospect of a date, let alone an entire program, with the man that changed wrestling, saving it from the depths of hell and shoot style bouts in dark, smoky arenas to the glitz and glamour of New York, Cindy Lauper and Liberace, not keeping count of how many athletes before Hogan created, destroyed and recreated the phenom called sporst entertainment in his 100 plus years of so called history. Of course, they didn't know better, so can we fault them for thinking Bruno Sammartino never partecipated in a worked bout or that Superstar Billy Graham now lies destitute because the ref didn't hear him say "I quit!" enough times to let the poor man get crippled by the crunching submission move from the good, clear faced hero?
But Hogan has a way to recreate history of his own, and that's why we celebrate to this very day his stunning victory over the then-undefeated Andre the Gentle-Yet-Mean-Giant, completing the passing of the Torch from the old guard to the new generation of 'rasslers and drawing mor than 129.000 screaming fans at the same time.
So with that in mind, it's now logical that programs and angles NWA TNA have seemingly been stopped to make room for the Red & Yellow just in case Hogan decided to hang around a little more bit than the cameo of your usual Big Star Return angle that really delivers nothing more than two or three babyface promos ("Watcha gonna do when Hulkamania runs wild on your evil scheming Russian ass!") and a lousy match where the MegaPower spends 10 minutes selling an atomic drop before the send-'em-home-happy finish and the final promo hyping new exiciting battles against rotten evil doers ("And don't forget to pick up a t-shirt! The one every Hulkamaniac has got to have, brother!").
It's the oldest con of 'em all, and really, who can blame the Hulkster for going strong on the same concepts that made him famous in the 80s, destroyed him in the early 90s and rebuilt his character in '00, when fans were either too tired of Cerebral Assassins or sick of "Hollywood" Dwayne main eventing between a movie and an evening with Jay Leno to really give a damn. Hogan knew better than to end on the same path as his old comrades of the Rock'nWrestling'n'Juice Connection. Some of them millionaires still addicted to the cheapest drug there is, fan adulation, some of them stuck in their own limbo of self-pity, looking for every oldschool mark that might remember them and, ego trips aside, maybe lend a buck, you know... "for the cause".
It's not like times have changed. Only the individuals involvoed have a wider range and can continue to perpetuate the Forever Young con longer and better.
Randy Savage - The man's either too stupid to realize he's playing into Hogan's game of promoting a match that will never happen or he just realized the only true rule in pro wrestling is that the money is in The Chase. This ultimately meaning excelllent, over the top promos ("Hogan, you're not a man unless you face the Machoooo Mannnn, dig it!"), a modern day setting (hip hop clubs across America are really just an analogy for Piper's Pit or any of the other in-house segments Titan used to run in the 80s), and the nice touch of bringing back oldschool heroes to give solid heat for the match ("So Randy, did Hogan apparently insulted your father, the great Angelo Poffo?"). Problem is, no one gives a crap about Randy macho man savage. Sincerely, the last time someone mentioned Scarecrow Hair was when his former wife/valet was found death, and that's something you just didn't want to hear for Elizabeth, first lady of wrestling gimmick that really winked to adults.
Now, I'm not waiting for that match to happen. I've got plenty of stuff keeping me busy, like Triple H getting married 'cause he really wants to rule pro wrestling (he's gonna doublecross Steph, believe me) or VIP Sections popping out of every possible untapped money resource like newsletters, sites and fan clubs (basically people paying for informations about a fake sport with no proper history, so it's pretty pointless). I can do without the MegaPowers in the year 2003. Savage's not the only one still kicking it, anyway...
The Warrior - Most fascinating about the guy is perhaps the evolution he went through to become the only wrestler, other than Hogan, to still get a response from the marks for something not related to drug scandals and bad rap CDs. From bodybuilder Jim Hellwig, to pro wrestler The Ultimate Warrior, to cult icon, right into borderline insanity.
Face it. In a perverted, yet interesting kind of way, DESTRUCITY is like Christianity: Everybody knows some of it but few can quote psalms off the top of their heads when need be. This would make Warrior seemingly into the professional wrestling version of Jesus Christ, and if you really are that gullible, him getting beaten and humiliated by Hogan at Halloween Havoc'98 might be akin to dyin' for the sins of Mankind.
Not that Mick Foley ever issued an apology in the first place.
So Warrior, having resurrected from the grave of indy booking madness, is announcing a return to action. This time versus his greatest opponent, his baddest nemesis, his dirtiest foe ever.
Young nerds playing video games.
That's right, the Warrior is set to debut on Sony Playstation 2 for what is destined to be the best wrestling game on the market in the years to come (if you forget the SmackDown! and Fire Pro series and the majority of Nintendo's old grappling games). Acclaim, always willing to give back to the business that made the company synonimous with Create-a-Wrestler, giving video gamers their first computerized version of Tracey Smothers and CW Anderson and reaping the benefits, is just too happy to have Warrior, "A talented wrestler who won the World Wrestling Federation title and 2 (and I mean two!!!) I-C golds", represent the company in its next big oldschool/newschool project Legends of Wrestling: Showdown! (that really rhymes with SmackDown! on an ironic coincidence), the third in a series of game featuring veteran legends like Jimmy Hart, Dynamite Kid and Robert Gibson.
Because nothing says old school like King Kong Bundy hitting Last Ride Powebombs to win a tables match.
The mistery of Warrior is perhaps the biggest truth in the business. The fans, the marks, the not-so-hardcore fanboys who buy the magazines and read very little on the internet couldn’t care less about Rey Mysterio’s modified 619 from the top of a cage onto a bed of nails placed on the face of Chavito, or whatever the variant is this week. They couldn’t care less about who is the next big clubhouse lawyer, or if Nash put up a fuss about losing his hair, or if the main reason Owen Hart was given the Blue Blazer was as a punishment for vetoing an angle that would have pitted him and his partner’s valet in bed together.
Today, just like yesterdays, common denominator fans are looking for new Warrior costumes and movesets. For those that still want to learn about the biz, well…
Rowdy Roddy Piper - See, I don’t care about promoters making news up or spinning half truth so they can become the next big locker room rumor that inevitably makes it to the ‘net. I can live with that. I learned the trade a long time ago. It’s the beauty of this sport.
What bothers me is a guy like Roderick Toombs, professional wrestling and shooter on free time.
I won’t get into details. The day I’ll be a full time columnist I’ll reserve myself the luxury of ordering books for the mere purpouse of dissactrating them. This too is the beauty of this sport, now ain’t it? Just rest assured you’ll have a different perspective on this biz after reading Roddy Piper’s book, aptly entitled “In The Pit With Piper”, because let’s face it. Who knows more about the whole deal than the man that, and I quote several internet urban legends:
- Created the Phenomenon known as the GrandDaddy of Them All, WrestleMania. - Created the phenomenon known as the Potential Uncle of Them All, Starrcade. - Singlehandly saved wrestling from it’s famous 1983 downward spiral when he faced Greg Valentine in the legendary Dog Collar Match. - Was really the main catalyst for fans buying WWF tickets, even by the time he had already qualified as inferior to archnemesis Hulk Hogan (or Adrian Adonis, for that matter). - Created many of the modern day finishing formulas now adopted in WWE, like the bump off the top of the Hell in the Cell that made Mick Foley famous.
On and on and on.
By the time you’ve finished the book you may have found many answer to questions you never asked in the first place. Yet the one you really know is THE question never gets answered:
Why are hardcore fans always seen as stupid dorks? Specifically, how come this guy here seemingly created the whole damn show, yet he has to resort to selling shoot interviews of himself talking shit about Hogan and McMahonon the internet to support himself and his family.
But if look closely, just a little bit closer, you’ll see the man has got a point.
See, he’s been badmouthing Vince McMahon, Vince Russo and the whole modern day booking system, even going as far as to tell Russo he killed Owen Hart, live on PPV in the worked shoot Jerry Jarrett could barely afford if he wanted to keep on promoting in the good ol’U.S. of A. It’s his gimmick, his character. The only difference between a Roddy Piper and a Randy Savage is that Piper actually has the wits to promote himself. Who gives a crap about truth and lies, just tell me where and when to order the shoot interview and I’ll buy it.
The he joined Vince McMahon, probably more on McMahon’s perverted need to “buy, use and sell” all of his enemies, just because he can.
And you know what? Frats, The Sickness and all of that fake locker room propaganda just went the same course of the Boogie Woogie Brigade and Lex Luger’s Call to Action. It disappeared, laid to rest ‘til the day some good hearted fan will lay down his hard earned money to hear or read Insider Piper 101 – Volume 2.
The easy way to cure The Sickness is not to get paid to tell the fans at home about something they already know anything there is to know about. Unions, yada yada yada, Bret Hart is like a brother to me, yada yada yada, I started wrestling when I was 5 because life on the streets was worse than pretend to get knocked down by Boris Zuckov, yada yada yada… wanna cure The Sickness?
Start by telling Sylvester Ritter and Tom Billington to get ready for the match instead of spending too much time in the bathroom. It may not be cool in the rigorous, hard men for a hard life-style of the 80s, but it’s still the right thing to do.
And the world shall be a better place.
This column is dedicated to the memories of Stu Hart, Michael Hegstrand, Curt Hennig, Richard Roods, Owen Hart, Brian Pillman, Louie Spicolli and tons others. Call them frats, Heroes or Cons.