As some of you know, my previous net 'gig' was writing for a wrestling site. I don't watch it as religiously as I used to, but I'll never forget trying to rip the sleeves off my black shirts so I too could have the powers of the Undertaker. Somehow, over the course of time, I balanced out the Golden Girls and toy obsessions with a fresh dose of testosterone-laced pro-wrestling viewin', which is undoubtedly the world's greatest form of entertainment. But not for the reasons non-fans think. Was it cool to watch guys get thrown from the top of scaffolds through tables? Sure. Was the ongoing romantic saga of 'Macho Man' Randy Savage and the lovely Miss Elizabeth more dramatic than any soap opera? Course. But the real reason wrestling's so great, and it's not something a lot of fans admit - we watch it to see just how bad it can get.
Hell, for almost a year I did nothing but write about 'how bad it could get'. Nowadays, usually, things are a little more streamlined. Wrestling's popular enough that production values actually have to be paid attention to. But years and years ago, things weren't quite the same. While the WWF, the most successful organization, didn't royally screw up too often, their main competitor, World Championship Wrestling, seemed to have an affinity for incorporating some of the absolute worst 'plotlines' and complete and total mishaps into their daily regime.
I'm not going to go into the specifics of how a multi-million dollar organization like WCW could've done such stupid things, but if you've been told the people running the show were actually a set of three poorly trained, lethargic monkeys, somebody would acutally be covering WCW's ass. That's giving them too much credit. I'll show you why in just a bit.
Today we're going to talk about something called the wrestling 'angle'. It's important to understand, wrestling has very little to do with actual matches - it's all about these angles. Angles are the plot lines, developments, and twists and turns that change the wrestlers' lives for better, or for worse. It can be everything from a new wrestler showing up unexpectedly to try to steal Hulk Hogan's motorcycle helmet, to a tag team breaking up because one of the guys wears uglier tights than the other. In other cases, an 'angle' is much more simple: it's a wrestler's 'get up' - his gimmick.
The gimmick dictates a wrestler's background and demeanor, and in the case of WCW's past (and oftentimes present) ...the results were nothing short of disasterous. Today we're going to talk about what combines to create both the worst wrestling gimmick and the worst wrestling angle into one neat, little package...but first, take a look at some of WCW's past finest. This'll help you understand the tone of the abomination to follow...
One of my personal favorite WCW abominations comes in the form of Giant, Sloppy Guy Covered In Tissue Paper, later renamed The Yeti. This one really supports the whole monkeys-running-the-show theory I earlier suggested. WCW decided to try to compete with the WWF's hit Monday night show with their own version - WCW Nitro. Eventually, they'd be a viable competitor, but not before ending angles such as this. The Dungeon of Doom, a bunch of WCW's worst wrestlers dressed in shitty Halloween costumes plugged their latest edition - something that was stuck in a block of ice in the middle of the arena. As the show closed out, the ice broke, and out came the Yeti!
Of course, WCW's idea of what a Yeti should look like is a little flawed. This is obviously a mummy, or at least a poorly rendered version of one. In any event, the Yeti's only contribution to pro-wrestling was walking into the ring and literally hugging Hulk Hogan. We were supposed to believe that Hulk was being hurt by all this, but unfortunately, the Yeti's great costume prevented him from outstretching his arms that far. The Yeti's only other participation came about a month later in a pay-per-view match, only this time, he was dressed like a ninja and carried a plastic sword. I'm not kidding.
Arachnaman was another choice addition to WCW's roster of extremely ludicrous ideas. Much like Spider-Man, Arachnaman displayed superhuman agility and an outfit that flat out ordered you not to take him seriously. When he came through the entrance way, four people would half-heartedly clap...everyone else would grab the nearest five-year-old so they could claim they didn't come to this lame show for themselves.
Arachnaman wasn't exactly a force in the ring. He won sometimes, causing even more people to get pissed, because that meant you had to hear his horrible theme music twice in one night. But perhaps his greatest crime: Arachnaman came out shooting webs. Only they weren't webs - they were poorly hidden containers of Silly String colored pink and blue.
On the plus side, Arachnaman might've been bad...but he wasn't never really hyped as something we should really care about. Unlike our next case...
Pro-wrestling loves to engage in cute little cross-promotions with movie, sports, and teleivsion celebrities on their shows. Everyone from Mike Tyson to Jay Leno to Chucky from Child's Play has been featured on a wrestling program, and 9 out of 10 times, the results have been completely disasterous. But never to this degree.
Somehow, someone thought it'd be a good idea to incorporate Robocop into the wrestling mix. For weeks prior to an upcoming and assuredly bad WCW pay-per-view, Robocop's imminent appearance was hyped. When the time came for him to come through the curtain, Robocop bent some plastic bars in a cage, allowing good guy wrestler 'Sting' to escape. Then he walked backstage. The end. Great, huh?
Now, all I'd really have to do is show you the guy's picture. Our story could end there, and that'd be enough. It's that bad. Unfortunately, when you compile what this guy did to what he looks like - you will honestly never see anything worse. Before we begin, let's take a look at today's culprit....
Where do I begin? Or more appropriately...do I even need to? Take an obese guy with zero wrestling ability. Put him in tight jeans. Add a shredded up cape. Spray-paint a Star Wars Stormtrooper helmet silver and throw it on his head. Here's your end result: the shittiest idea for a pro-wrestler in history. He is...The Shockmaster. Words can't describe the fantastic lore that surround this guy in the circles of wrestling fans. To this very day, people refuse to believe that the Shockmaster existed. But he did. Oh, and how he did. The Shockmaster needed to make a memorable entrance into the world of pro-wrestling. And yes...my god...it certainly was memorable.
'Bad guys' Sid Vicious and the tag team known as Harlem Heat were set to take on Sting, Davey Boy Smith, and a mystery partner in a six-man tag match. As the hour drew close, it was time for the good guys to unveil their secret weapon. In one of the most amazing sequences in television history...we met the Shockmaster.
During an interview, Sting prepares to present their mystery partner to the bad guys. Sting's famous quote: 'All I have to say is...our partner is going to shock the world because...he is none other than...THE SHOCKMASTER!
Shock the world? DEFINITELY. All of the sudden, the set begins glowing, and all heads turn right. What happens next is, by no stretch, the greatest thing you'll ever see.
Two torches are set ablaze, placed really poorly. I say 'placed poorly' because it encouraged the cameraman to zoom in on this particular part of the set. That ultimately turned out to be the worst mistake of his life. If you'll take a look at that second picture above, you'll notice a small hole begin to form in the wall. The chain reaction to follow will be etched in your memory circuits till the day you die.
THE SHOCKMASTERS TRIPS AND FALLS THROUGH THE WALL. In pro-wrestling's finest entrance ever, the guy portraying wrestling's first competitior with electric powers somehow manages to not only trip and fall, but trip and fall straight through the wall, flip flopping onto the floor like a fish out of water. A dead silence casts over the wrestling commentators. A dead silence casts over the audience. The only person who really knows what's going to happen next is the Shockmaster, and amazingly enough, he actually finds a way to top making his debut by crashing through a wall.
THE SHOCKMASTER LOSES HIS HELMET, REVEALING THAT HE'S NO SUPERNATURAL ENTITY AFTERALL!!!! In an unprecedented blooper, the Shockmaster manages to stumble so badly that his cheap Stormtrooper helmet flies two feet in front of him, thus revealing that the guy playing him was none other than Tugboat of WWF fame years prior! While the announcers scramble to come up with anything to say besides 'holy shit' or 'I quit', Shockmaster's doing a little scrambling of his own...to hide his true identity!
Thankfully, Shockmaster manages to get his helmet back on. Unfortunately, one of the cardinal rules in wrestling is that the show must go on. Now, while common logic would dictate that everyone employed by WCW should at this point pounce on the cameras in an effort to destroy them, the Shockmaster has to actually finish off this segment.
And I mean that in the loosest sense. Like a giant sloth who'd just been hit by a truck, Shockmaster slowly makes his way over to the other wrestlers, desperately trying not to pass out from the pain one feels after crashing face first through a wall onto the floor. Meanwhile, the other guys are trying desperately not to laugh. Some fail, including the announcers. To make matters even worse, the script called for Shockmaster to verbally threaten the bad guys, who at this point look like they just watched an entire marathon of The Three Stooges while under the influence of nitrous oxide. Then the unthinkable happens: Shockmaster Speaks!
Now I know what you're thinking...Shockmaster has a very good reason for sounding like that and saying such idiotic things like 'you want a piece of me?'....after all...guy just went through a wall. But what you don't realize is that what you're hearing isn't the Shockmaster - it's a really bad dub job by the very wrestling booker who dreamt up this angle, Ole Anderson, talking from the backstage area!
Graciously, the story ends here. Shockmaster didn't last very long after his debut. On the off-chance that a fat guy wearing a Star Wars mask would catch on, the whole falling through the wall thing would really cancel out any potential success. Don't think this was as bad as it sounds? Don't take my word for it...see it for yourself!
Later, WCW would transform the energetic Shockmaster into a fat construction worker who, amazingly, had even smaller success.
So, those of you who haven't considered pro-wrestling a viable form of entertainment, this just proves how wrong you are. Did George ever break through Jerry's door shirtless and wearing a yellow Yoda mask on Seinfeld? Nope. And we've got WCW to thank. This incident, while globally famous, is only beaten out by one other pro-wrestling angle, this time coming from the good organization, the WWF:
If you don't know who that guy is, consider yourself very lucky.