Well, I'm back after a busy couple of weeks setting up a few conventions and trade shows in Downtown San Diego. Although all pale in comparison to Comic Con, the fact is we get some huge shows out here, and some one's got to put them together. I actually have a couple more that I'll be doing over the next three days, hence the reason I'm posting now.
Over the last few weeks, I've been going crazy with wrestling nostalgia. I've picked up some DVDs lately, namely The Best of Monday Night Raw: 1993-1994 and Greatest Superstars of the 1990's. It's funny to see how much Doink the Clown, of all wrestlers, was such a big part of the WWF back then. I'm not saying he was a bad wrestler. In fact, his matches were pretty good. It's a shock, I guess, because a character like that should not have succeeded. I mentioned before that Doink was a bit of a badass. He would do wild things, like hit Crush with a car battery, or throw pies at kids sitting in the front row. He did whatever he wanted to do, and after a while, fans couldn't help but root for him. It was also interesting to note how much they put over Scott Hall, Sean Waltman and Jeff Jarrett on these DVDs. Perhaps an olive branch has been extended?
Of course, not all bad gimmicks are as lucky (Do I really need to bring up the Shockmaster again?). But in the cartoony world of the early-90's WWF, the really goofy gimmicks like Doink, the Repo Man and Papa Shango didn't really seem out of place. In WCW, however, where they prided themselves more on the "sports" side of sports-entertainment, the goofy crap seemed really uncalled for. Given the success that the WWF has having in those days, you couldn't really blame WCW for trying to follow suit. Unfortunately, nobody ever really seemed to put much thought into the gimmicks and angles before throwing them at a paying audience (anybody who sits through a TNA show every week probably knows where I'm getting at here).
I could go on for hours about some of WCW's biggest Flops. Flops like the Dynamic Dudes, skateboarders who didn't skateboard or Van Hammer, a guitar player who couldn't play guitar, although he sure knew how to carry one around. And let's not forget about P.N News, a 300lb. white rapper who, well, just plain sucked. Poor Brad Armstrong was actually one of the most talented wrestlers to ever work for WCW, but for one reason or another he was always saddled with terrible gimmicks. His most infamous was Arachnaman, a Spiderman ripoff that was actually shelved after Marvel comics threatened legal action. His next gimmick? The Candyman, where he came to the ring passing out candy to kids at ringside. You know, I was always taught to never take candy from strangers. And they don't get any stranger than a man in red and white striped tights passing out candy. Of course, all of these pale to the sheer horror that is this little dandy below.
Behold the power of OZ!
For those of you who aren't wrestling fans, that's Kevin Nash. Oz was his first major singles gimmick, right after his run with the Master Blasters (a future post). The little man in the mask calling himself the Wizard is Kevin Sullivan, he himself a purveyor of wrestlecrap. Basically, Ted Turner owned WCW. He had also just purchased the MGM film library. The Turner brass felt that a good way to promote the newly acquired library was to create wrestling gimmicks based on movies, which wasn't new. The Mad Max movies had inspired dozens of wrestlers. This time however, it didn't work very good. The whole thing was just plain weird. In addition to goofy entrance music and the drooping backdrop, there was also the fact that the neon green tights and and silver hair made Nash look ridiculous (when he first showed up in TNA with his now naturally gray hair, I though he was doing Oz again). The contact lenses he wore also didn't help. If anything, it made Nash look like he was on an acid trip, which is how most people who witnessed this thing no doubt felt. Oz didn't last long, and Nash eventually became Vinnie Vegas, a New York thug. When that didn't work, he headed north the WWF, became Diesel, and went on to become a big star. He then returned to WCW as one half of the Outsiders with Scott Hall, thus launching the Monday Night Wars. These days, he works for TNA, probably bracing himself for the eventually bottom falling out. Ted Turner, meanwhile, figured that perhaps creating a new cable channel was a better way to promote his new film library. And thus Turner Classic Movies, or TCM, was born.
Well, I think I've wasted enough of your time for this week. I'll be back next time with some new comics and, I promise this time, a recap of the Aftercon. Y'all take care now, LATER!