I love pro wrestling. I should just say that real fast before you read on any further and take this column as an anti-pro wrestling column. Pro wrestling was arguably my first love, specifically the WWF. Want to know how much I loved pro wrestling when I was a kid? My own home state (Oregon) had banned the WWE from having shows in their state for years, so I forced my dad to drive me 3+ hours to Washington State to watch WWE shows. Portland Wrestling was huge in my area, but for some reason it wasn’t on until 2 AM in the morning some years. Therefore, I was forced to fight sleep just to stay awake and watch the show because my fucking VCR couldn’t do timed record. It was horse shit, but I did what I had to do because I loved wrestling.
I started watching wrestling in early 1990. I remember watching Saturday Morning Cartoons and when those were over, WWF Superstars would come on AND OH MY GOD! WHAT THE HELL WAS I WATCHING???? I didn’t know what exactly was happening, but I did know that there were huge dudes fighting each other and spouting off nonsense that made no sense at all, but holy balls did it sound cool?
Imagine your 9-year old self sitting in front of the television screen and seeing this:
That was all I needed to see. I wasn’t quite sure what I had just watched, but I needed more. I imagine that’s what heroin feels like. Well, the WWE in the 1990’s was my heroin. But why exactly? Looking back at things now, I’m not quite sure why I fell in love with the WWE specifically with the cast of characters that they have. To me, wrestling has always been better when there are characters. I don’t want regular dudes with their real names out their fighting each other like it’s a real sport. I need characters man. Characters that you would see in a movie. Characters that are out-of-this-world. A lot of times in wrestling, the wackier the better. And I’m not sure it ever gets any wackier than the WWE in 1990.
Why the hell did I fall in love with the WWE with the characters that this promotion had? Outside of guys like Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, and Ted DiBiase….pretty much everyone else was saddled with a piss poor gimmick. Don’t believe me? Let’s go down the line…..
He’s big. He’s strong. He runs fast. He wears face paint and spouts off a bunch of nonsense when he speaks. I’m not quite sure why the Ultimate Warrior was my favorite wrestler as a kid, but I could’ve done so much better. SNORT!
Randy Savage would actually be pretty normal, if he never spoke on the mic. Much like the Warrior, Savage said some dumb things back in the day. Not only that, but his voice was freaking weird and did you ever see the guy stand still for longer than two seconds? It’s quite amusing to watch sometimes, especially when he was doing commentary on RAW in 1993. The guy had some of the weirdest body mannerisms ever and his reactions were hilarious and not on purpose. OH YEAHHHHHHHHHHH!
“Hacksaw” Jim Duggan
This guy got over because he loved the United States of America and WOOD! FUCKING WOOD! I personally never liked Duggan, but a lot of that had to do with the fact that he seemed like he always had snot running down his nose. Get a tissue dude.
“El Matador” Tito Santana
“El Matador” Tito Santana was apparently one of the best Matadors that ever matadored. The funny thing is, I don’t ever recall seeing him fight a bull so I’m going to go ahead and claim that he’s full of shit. How does a guy go from hanging out with Rick Martel to becoming one of the best bull fighters in the world? Get out of here with that.
Dusty Rhodes wore a lot of polka dots, he loved to dance, and he had awesome theme music. That was about it. Being a nine-year old kid, I had no idea about Dusty’s wrestling past, I just knew the people went crazy for this guy and I DID NOT GET IT! I was so happy when Sapphire screwed him over and joined forces with Ted DiBiase. Over the years, I’ve come to love Dusty Rhodes….but these were different times my friend. Different times.
He’s big. He’s fat. He apparently…..makes….the…..world…..shake? I have no actual evidence of Earthquake ever having been responsible for an actual Earthquake, but the guy was big and he would sit on people’s chests and squash them. Perhaps a better name for him would’ve been “Avalanche”, “Golga”, or hell even “The Shark”? Anything would’ve been better than naming him “Earthquake” without any evidence of him ever actually creating an environmental disaster.
Tugboat was stupid. I honestly don’t remember a thing that Tugboat did outside of asking the WWF fans to send in their letters after Hulk Hogan got taken out by the Earthquake. Don’t ask me how or why, but all of a sudden this new guy named Tugboat became the voice of Hulk Hogan and was his best friend. Even when I was a 9-year old I thought that was stupid. Who the hell was Tugboat? Why the hell should I be listening to a guy who’s apparently a walking boat? Tugboat is easily one of the worst WWE characters of all-time. I never thought I would say this, but thank god for Typhoon.
Jake “The Snake” Roberts
Jake Roberts loved snakes. That was his character. I’m not sure why anyone would ever love snakes honestly. They are disgusting slimy creatures that like to hide and attack when you least expect it. No one should ever like these things and if you do, there is something extremely wrong with you. That was always my take on Jake Roberts. You have to be a fucking lunatic to like snakes and Roberts was a lunatic. Can you really blame a guy like Andre The Giant for running his ass off when Jake would release these assholes out of his bag? What a stupid character. I’m surprised this is where it stopped. Why didn’t we ever get Larry “The Lion Tamer” Schwartz who would bring a lion to the ring with him and have it chase off his opponents? What about Hank “The Hippo” Smith who would ride a hippo to the ring and make it eat his opponents? WHERE DOES IT STOP MAN? WHERE DOES IT STOP?????
The Bushwhackers were gross. I’m not exactly sure what their gimmick was supposed to be, I just assumed they were mentally handicapped. As a kid, I thought it was neat of the WWE to give these guys a job. After all, the mentally handicapped are faced with all sorts of different challenges in their life, so the WWE giving these guys a job was a pleasant surprise by me. As a kid though, I just didn’t get the love the Bushwhackers got from fans. All these guys would do is come out and move their arms like they were drowning and lick everyone’s face/head. It was absolutely disgusting. What kind of human being comes out and licks a strangers head? You have no idea where that person’s head has been and yet Butch & Luke were more than willing to give fans a tongue shower on their way to the ring. It was gross and stupid…..just like the Bushwhackers.
Mr. Perfect was supposed to be perfect, but he wasn’t. The WWE shot a series of vignettes with Perfect that showed you how amazing he was at sports. He would sink half-court shots behind the back with ease. He would get strikes in bowling with zero effort. He would hit home-runs off of pitchers as if he was Aaron Judge hitting balls off of little leaguers. He was so good at football, that he would throw the ball AND CATCH IT HIMSELF FOR A TOUCHDOWN! The guy was an amazing athlete and he was absolutely perfect…..except when it came to wrestling. The guy who could throw himself touchdown passes couldn’t ever beat Hulk Hogan in the middle of the ring. The guy who could knock 100 home runs in a single MLB season got beat by a relative unknown in the Texas Tornado. You see what I mean? Mr. Perfect was supposedly perfect….at everything but wrestling. Maybe he should’ve been called “Mr. Kinda Perfect”?
I never liked the Texas Tornado. Even as a kid, I could tell Kerry Von Erich wasn’t all there. When I was re-watching some old WWE wrestling a few years ago, I couldn’t help but notice that Von Erich just looked dumb to me. I don’t mean that his appearance looked dumb, I mean it looked like the train was going, but there was no conductor running it. That led me to hit the Google machine where I googled “Is Kerry Von Erich dumb” and lo and behold, I was 100% right. The Texas Tornado was a decent little wrestler, but didn’t have anything going on upstairs. That’s beside the point though. The point here is how stupid his character was, namely his finishing move. You know what his finishing move was? A PUNCH! It wasn’t just any punch though. For some reason, when the Texas Tornado would SPIN before he punched he would hit his opponent with amazing power that would knock them out. I can tell you from experience that’s not a wise move to make in a real fight. If you try to spin before you punch your opponent, you leave yourself open to a number of different counter punches, not to mention it throws off your accuracy to twist your brain around before punching someone. Stupid finishing move for a stupid dude.
You want to know how you piss wrestling fans off? Call them “tax cheats” over and over again apparently. I swear it’ll work.
If I had the chance to sit down with Vince McMahon and ask him just five questions, I think one of those questions would be:
“What kind of drugs were you on when you came up with the Red Rooster gimmick?”
Seriously. The Red Rooster might be my most hated favorite gimmick of all-time. It’s so fucking stupid that it’s good. Terry Taylor was an extremely talented wrestler who probably could have made the WWE some money if saddled with the right gimmick. Vince decided to have Taylor dye a red streak down the middle of his hair and act like a fucking chicken! Was this a brilliant move by Vince or is it one of the dumbest things to ever happen in pro wrestling history? I honestly can’t decide. Help me out here people.
You know we can’t talk about how horrible the 1990’s WWE characters were without mentioning the great Akeem “The African Dream”. Akeem is arguably the most racist gimmick in WWE history (more on that later). The WWE took a white guy who apparently found out he was really African and started doing some pretty damn controversial stuff that definitely wouldn’t fly in today’s PC world. The early-90’s man. What a time to be alive.
Remember a few seconds ago when I mentioned the WWE’s most racist gimmick? Well, here you go.
And there we have it people. Just a few examples of how horrible the WWE’s characters were in 1990….yet I still absolutely love it and I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world. It might have been stupid, but it was OUR stupid!
Thank you for joining me for this journey. Why did I feel the need to write about 1990’s WWE on a Saturday morning? Maybe because it brings me back to a simpler time? A time when the biggest stress in my life was whether or not the Ultimate Warrior would get revenge over that son of a bitch Randy Savage for breaking a scepter over his head at the 1991 Royal Rumble.
PEOPLE DON’T FORGET RANDY! PEOPLE DON’T FORGET!!!!