Retribution was the big story of this week’s Monday Night Raw as the team showed up to open the show, cleared the arena again, and unmasked (kind of) as a group of wrestlers whose names feel like they belong in a bad Final Fight knockoff. It didn’t go well and then went even worse as the night went on. There are all kinds of things that can be said about them, but since I’ve been talking about Retribution a bit too much lately, we’re going to look at something completely different.
As you might have been able to tell, I’m a pretty big wrestling fan. Like many others, I have a collection of wrestling memorabilia, but a lot of it is pretty run of the mill stuff. I have the VHS of WrestleMania 3 signed by Hulk Hogan thirty years to the day of the event, a WrestleMania X7 baseball jersey, the original Hulk Rules shirt, an autographed bottle of Jim Ross’ ketchup, a menu from the Ribiera Steak House in Tokyo, various autographed books, and Superman #155 from 1962 featuring Antonino Rocca throwing Superman out of a ring, among various other things.
One of the things at the top of my bookshelf of wrestling memorabilia (the big one of the three that I have) is a collection of playing cards of various wrestling themes (Jeff Hardy, Shayna Baszler, WrestleMania, WCW/NWO and WWF among others). This is part of a larger collection of playing cards that I keep, which currently includes 138 different decks, with probably another five or six lining the shelves by the end of the week.
The playing cards are not just wrestling related, as I have everything from Disney to Star Wars to Marvel to DC (yeah I’m a stereotypical geek in a lot of ways), but I also have some weirder ones like Famous Authors, the California Recall Election, The Dog (a bunch of photos of dogs), Jimmy Stewart (my favorite actor), a bunch of cartoon sloths, Unshaven (a deck of famous people with notable beards and mustaches) and perhaps the oddest of them all: former NFL head coach Mike Ditka’s Hearing Lab, a hearing loss clinic outside of Chicago.
You might know this one:
While I have a bunch of cards that are there for obvious reasons (Star Wars, Disney, Marvel etc.), one of my favorite things to look for is a deck that makes you wonder why this exists. Stuff like the Ditka’s Hearing Lab, Hammer’s Hardware (a hardware store from Duluth, Minnesota) or a deck of cards with a different Spam recipe on each card would all fit into this category and that’s what we’re going to be looking at today.
A minor story from this week saw WWE releasing a collection of wines featuring Undertaker and Ultimate Warrior (for the low price of about $120 for two bottles). This raised so many questions that I didn’t know where to start. First of all, as someone who has never had a drop of alcohol in my life, is that what a bottle of gimmick wine goes for these days? I could get the better part of a year’s worth of milk for that same price.
Second….why does this exist? I know that there are going to be fans out there who are going to buy it and that’s all well and good. I have no problem with WWE making money or fans buying what they want to buy, but why are we seeing Undertaker and Ultimate Warrior wines? Other than the occasional beer in a promo, have either of them ever been known to drink on camera?
There was going to be a Steve Austin beer at one point and the Bellas have wine because….well they have to have something I guess, but Undertaker and Ultimate Warrior wine? Join us next week for the Henry Godwinn chess set and the Beverly Brothers lawnmowers. Both are must haves and would compliment the Dungeon of Doom typewriters and Terry Funk’s rock/folk album from Japan. One of these things actually exists and I’ll let you guess which one.
Then there is…whatever this is:
That being said, there is one wrestling item that I remember seeing advertised way back in 1999 and for the life of me I would pay serious money to actually own it. For those of you too young to remember, a gimmick that wrestling companies would run back in the traditional pay per view days would be “send in your cable bill proving you purchased this show and get a free gift.”
Now usually you would get something like a shirt or a piece of jewelry or a poster of the show or something like that. It wasn’t something that was going to be some kind of a big collector’s item or even anything that out of the ordinary, but it was still a cool little thank you from the company and a way to possibly see which locations had fans buying the show. This went on for years, but there was one thing that I refused to believe existed even after I saw the ad.
The give away for purchasing WCW’s Great American Bash 2000 was….a Hulk Hogan inflatable raft. Hogan was featured on the show in a match against Billy Kidman (WCW was weird in 2000), but only about 80,000 people bought the show, meaning there were not going to be many rafts floating around in the first place (you can imagine how few people actually sent in their cable bills).
Where do you even start with this? The first question I have should be the simplest of all: who decided that we needed a Hulk Hogan inflatable life raft? Like, of ALL THE THINGS that you could put in something like this (a Hogan shirt, a Hogan bandanna, a Great American Bash poster, Hulk Hogan shampoo (yes it exists and yes I have some) or almost ANYTHING ELSE), they picked an inflatable life raft.
Great American Bash 2000 was held in Baltimore, Maryland, a known beach and swimming location, on June 11, 2000. Maybe waiting less than a month later for Bash At The Beach 2000, where Hogan “won” the World Title at a show in Daytona BEACH, Florida, would have been a better idea, but that wasn’t what WCW was all about in 2000. No no, the one way to save this show was to move those rafts, because…well honestly I have no idea, but it does sound better than a main event of Jeff Jarrett defending the WCW World Title against Kevin Nash with Ernest Miller as guest referee.
And yes this is real:
It’s one of those things that truly boggles my mind and I would pay a good deal of money to own one. Why you ask? Well why would someone drop $60 to own a bottle of wine featuring Ultimate Warrior’s logo? Wrestling fans, like anyone can be for that matter, are weird creatures who are going to spend a lot of money on something they care about. I’ll spare you the details of what I’ve been willing to drop on some of the things in my collection, just like my wife dropped various heavy objects on my head when she found out how much they were.
Wrestling is a weird place with some of the things that it comes up with but it can also be fun. Just like some of the things we see on a wrestling show that make us tilt our heads a little bit, there are things that the company sells us that might do the same. Like for instance the WWE toaster, WWE slow cooker and WWE waffle maker. Who in the world is going to buy those things? I mean aside from me of course as they are on their own shelf. I love this kind of stuff and maybe that’s why WWE keeps pumping it out, as weird as it is.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books. Get the latest and greatest in professional wrestling news by signing up for our daily email newsletter. Just look below for “GET EXCLUSIVE UPDATES” to sign up. Thank you for reading!