This is dedicated to Mikhail T Rotch, Esquire... Nintendork Extraordinaire.
I received a call from Fred la Merveille the other day. Actually “received a call” is not really the right word(s). I was given instructions. I was briefed on my mission. Fred la Merveille has decided that there is nothing more important than his “Croisade” and he has decided to expropriate this column to get his message out.
When We Were Marks
Fred La Merveille, the SLI-USA and the New Crusade
Saturday, October 23rd, 2004. Montreal, International Wrestling Syndicate gala Click Here (smartmarkvideo.com)“Blood, Sweat and Beers”. Mike Burns, owner of Smart Mark Video, is making his second 800 mile trip to Montreal to tape the show. He still has reservations: the wrestlers are talented, the crowd is hot, almost to the verge of being out-of-control, but the booking seems odd. With an opportunity for international exposure, the IWS has decided to build the show around a main event pitting their young champion, Kevin Steen, against a French comedy wrestler, the feud based around the accusation that Kevin Steen isn’t French enough. It seems like a feud that only Quebeckers would care about.
The comedic French wrestler is Fred la Merveille, who proceeds to have the match of his life against Kevin Steen and possibly the best match of Steen’s title run. In fact, Fred is poised to win the belt, when his SLI faction flunky Damian hits the ring and hands in his resignation by kicking Fred in the face as hard as he can. The ensuing feud between the two men becomes one of the major draws for the promotion and makes Damian a star.
As Mike Burns learned that night, you should never underestimate Fred la Merveille and you should never predict what will happen when Fred is involved.
Fred’s IWS career started January 11, 2003 Click Here (smartmarkvideo.com)”Season’s Beatings” with a title shot - one of a series of jobbers brought into the IWS by heel champion the Green Phantom to give him an easy road to defending his title while he avoided Dru Onyx. But a funny thing (literally) happened in the match... Fred, announced as “Wonder Fred”, got the crowd on his side with his drop dead perfect mimicry of the Phantom’s physical mannerisms. Not only did it bring the crowd on his side, it also rattled the Phantom enough to give Wonder Fred a chance to win - until the Green Phantom hit Fred with a tree - again, literally, as the Phantom hit Fred with a decorated Christmas Tree.
It seemed like the IWS had found a new comedic hero, but Fred had other ideas. At the very next show, February 15th, 2003 Click Here (smartmarkvideo.com)”Violent Valentines” Fred swiped the mike and announced to the stunned crowd that beginning immediately, he would be the “language police” of the IWS and that he was no longer to be referred to as “Wonder Fred” but as “Fred la Merveille” The result: Instant Pandemonium. The English IWS had gotten its first truly French heel and nothing would be the same ever again.
On May 17th, 2003 during Click Here (smartmarkvideo.com)“Body Count” Fred la Merveille brought Viking and Damian, the Angry Aryans, to the ring. The pair of repulsive racists had been destroyed the month before with Viking rather famously set on fire. Fred explained to them that their hatred of minorities had nothing to do with the colour of their skin and everything to do with the fact that they didn’t speak French. In an instant, the Syndicat de Lutte Internet was formed. The crowd was galvanized. IWS champions Hi-5, Kid Kamikaze and Beef Wellington, normally hated rule-breakers were suddenly transformed into heroic anglophones as the largely English crowd broke into song: singing the Canadian National Anthem much to Fred’s disgust. Provoking a group of complacent Canadians Anglophones to become patriotic and start singing is the rough Canadian equivalent to an English football riot. (Soccer to you Yanks.)
While the SLI did not win the IWS tag team title on their first opportunity, they did win the title eventually, January 17th, 2004 during Click Here (smartmarkvideo.com)“Praise the Violence”. A strange thing happened on the way to that victory however. The SLI became cool and being cool became faces by default. Right from their first appearance, there had been a vocal minority backing the SLI singing French separatist songs in opposition to “Oh Canada!” Gradually, show by show, Fred’s backers grew until by Praise the Violence, it felt universal.
When the SLI lost their tag team titles and a bitter Damian turned on Fred, it seemed certain that the IWS fans would back Fred. Much to his disgust however, the fans ended up cheering for the violent cool of Damian. Dejected, depressed, Fred came to Philadelphia, July 9th, 2005 for the IWS’ first US show Click Here (smartmarkvideo.com)“Freedom to Fight” in the historic Viking Hall, the former ECW Arena. Fred tried to cut a promo in French and was not only drowned out, it led to a U-S-A chant in support of the very much Canadian Beef Wellington. A lesser man might have broken. Not Fred. In fact, he seemed to gather strength from the animosity and went after Beef with a new-found vigour. Beef won the match, but Fred won the crowd, earning a loud “Please Come Back” chant.
As Mike Burns had found out in Montreal, Fred la Merveille may seem to be a regional character, but once you see him, you realize that his appeal is universal.
Rejuvenated by the Philadelphia fans and revolted by the fans of the IWS, Fred proceeded to dismantle the SLI, piece by piece. What he had created, he would now destroy... attacking his former partner Viking, punctuating the death of the SLI by putting Viking through a chair with a top rope swinging Pedigree.
The question became: What would Fred la Merveille do next?
The answer came September 17th, 2005 at Click Here (smartmarkvideo.com)“Blood, Sweat and Beers”. Just as the year before, Blood, Sweat and Beers would mark a milestone for Fred la Merveille. Ambushing Viking and destroying his valet Elsa Bangz to drive home the point that the past was dead, Fred la Merveille introduced the new SLI, Maxime Boyer and Shayne Hawke, and announced that from now on it was the SLI-USA, unveiling his new inspiration with a cardboard cut-out of George W. Bush. Fred offered his total admiration and support for the U.S. President.
SLI-USA! Fuck Yeah!
Fred Gestures to His Inspiration George W. Bush. In the background, Maxime Boyer. In the foreground, Shayne Hawke.
Fred has made it clear (to me at least) that he intends to do more than pay lip service to this declaration, that he will work to help George W. Bush. It is as a result of this that Fred has decided to tackle the most pressing issue facing the U.S.A. today: the violence and pornography taking over video games.
Fred began his research into this disturbing topic in the great state of Florida. “La Floride” is a place with a special spot in the heart of Quebeckers. Fred was heartened to discover that in this place where George W Bush’s renaissance of American Democracy began that the opposition to video game violence and pornography was alive and well. Leading the charge, attorney Jack Thompson is trying to achieve through litigation what appears impossible to achieve through legislation. Holding video game creators to the same standards as cigarette manufacturers.
As part of a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of two police officers and a police dispatcher who were killed by Devin Moore “who obsessively trained on Grand Theft Auto: Vice City to kill them,” Mr. Thompson wrote what he called “A Modest Proposal” offering $10, 000 to any video game creators prepared to base a game around Devin Moore’s crimes. (Presumably, it would include an eating babies mini-game.)
Fred reports to me that the video game industry responded to this cunning and original piece of satire with typical and bloody literalism - creating the game in a matter of days. Naturally, Jack Thompson refused to pay the $10, 000. At which point, Jerry Holkins and Michael Krahulik of http://www.penny-arcade.com a popular web-comix/game review site, made a charitable donation on Jack Thompson’s behalf towards the Entertainment Software Association Foundation. Naturally, this throughly un-American behaviour has Fred shocked and appalled.
Fred la Merveille calls upon Mr. Holkins and Mr. Krahulik to act like Real Americans and to cease these criminal acts of charity immediately. (Actually, I pointed out to Fred that making a charitable donation can’t actually be illegal. Fred’s response, “Ben ca devrait etre par example!”)
Fred informed me that he continued his research into the depravity of the video game industry. Shocked by Grand Theft Auto which he described to me as “un facon de s’entrainer pour tuer des policiers! C’est dangereux ca! Quelqu’un peut me tromper pour un policier!”
But it was while playing a seemingly innocent game from a gentler time that Fred found how deep and how long-standing this moral decay extended. While playing a two player version of Super Mario Brothers (with Marc le Grizzly) Fred discovered a secret Easter Egg at the end of the game. Once having saved the princess, she expressed her gratitude to the Plumber brothers in a pixelated menage a trois... a Luigi/Mario sandwich with Princess filling, if you will. Disgusted by this plumber on princess on plumber action, Fred made the decision that the only way to bring the video game industry to its senses was to target its mascot: Player Uno.
I feel I should explain who Player Uno is.
Not the best picture of Uno, but it does show off his snazzy gear with the classic 8-bit Nintendo joystick on the pants.
The Secret (Albeit Geeky) Origin of Player Uno
You may remember the Great North-Eastern Black-Out about three years ago that was originally blamed on a faulty transformer in Canada, before they tracked the fault back to the States (somewhere in Upper New York state... or Ohio, I forget.) Anyway, not largely reported was what happened in Ottawa. When the black out hit Ottawa it was preceded by a massive power surge that had some unexpected effects...
The day of the black out there was a fan convention for the original eight bit Nintendo machine. The organizers managed to gather exactly 512 of the original machines, still in perfectly working order. A massive tournament was in the process of being played when the power surge hit, frying - nay melting - all of the machines and knocking unconscious close to one thousand Nintendorks in the process. (Their name not mine, I swear.)
When they regained consciousness...
They found an unconscious Mountie and a slightly smoking, twitching masked figure... who turned out to be Player Uno. The Mushroom Kingdom’s resident super-hero. With the heart of Little Mac from Knockout, the mystique of Shy Guy from Super Mario Brothers 2 and the courage of Simon Belmont from Castlevania, Player Uno was reportedly the bastard son of Amazon from Pro Wrestling and Samus Aran from Metroid. Glimpsed rather than seen in the eight-bit games, Player Uno could be found in a comic book in Luigi’s pocket, in a headline on a newspaper, in the marquee of a movie theatre.
The assembled Nintendorks immediately adopted Player Uno and carried him off to a triumphant dinner of Cheetos and Jolt Cola, leaving behind the unconscious body of Sergeant Renfrew of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Brainstorming for a way for Player Uno to make a living, the assembled Nintendorks decided that it would be only proper for Player Uno to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a professional wrestler
This, then is the beloved mascot of the gaming industry that Fred la Merveille will face in Montreal this Saturday, October 29th, during IWS’ Devil’s Night. Fred considers this no less than a battle for “l’Ame de l’Amerique!” And when Fred is forced to become violent, when he is forced to destroy Uno, when he is forced to cripple Uno, to discard him into the recycling bin like the ancient decrepit gaming system that he sprang from... this too will be the fault of the Video Gaming Industry...
And another triumph for George W. Bush and his French disciple, Fred la Merveille.
(edited by CRZ on 26.10.05 1233) "Don't Blame CANADA, Blame Yourselves!"
Big show at OVW tonight. No, I'm not going to go all nuts like some of the online reviewers and claim each week's taping was the greatest wrestling show in the universe, but it was definitely a fun show this week.