It’s kind of a special day this time around so today we’re going to look at something a little bit different. What that is….well actually I have no idea, as I’m going to do something that goes completely against my better nature and just talk about whatever random wrestling topics come to my head. There is no intentional connection to these things and I’m just going to pick a completely random topic and go on from there in an idea which could go horribly wrong.
You know what segment (as horrible and goofy and rather stupid as it was) was pretty awesome? The time when the One Man Gang went to the inner city and found out that he was African, turning into Akeem. This was one of those segments that would ONLY fit as a product of the times but it was so goofy and so over the top that I loved every bit of it. Yes there are all kinds of problems with it and people would be fired over it today, but there is something so over the top and ridiculous about it that I can’t help but laugh at it every time I see the thing.
Sidenote: I got to meet One Man Gang at WrestleCon and asked him about the segment, which he adamantly denied was a parody of Dusty Rhodes and the American Dream. That would certainly seem to be the case (large guy who dances and is nicknamed a Dream) but he was rather firm that it wasn’t the case, saying that he and Rhodes worked together and made a lot of money doing so, meaning there was no reason to mock him. That’s a bit hard to get my head around, but fair enough if that’s what he says.
Anyway, the reason that something like this worked out so well is because they put in the effort to make it work. This isn’t the kind of thing that was going to work if they did it from the arena or a studio somewhere. Make it look like you are putting in the time and work to get something out of it and see how far it can go. If nothing else, having a segment that takes place in the same area that so many others do isn’t going to be memorable because everything flows together. This was out in a street somewhere and….well ok that isn’t the only reason why it worked so well but it certainly helped.
Speaking of something that had some effort included and started off well but didn’t exactly pan out, we have Van Hammer (I told you not to try and connect these things). This was as early 90s of a character as you could have had, with the Heavy Metal moniker and guitar playing that would have looked horrible either a few years earlier or later. Van Hammer popped up in WCW in 1991 and wrestled on and off in WCW until 2000, which is a rather nice run.
As a younger kid during Van Hammer’s run, he was one of the most awesome things I had ever seen and was the second coolest wrestler in all of WCW (after Sting of course because….well because he was Sting). What mattered with Van Hammer was all about the presentation, because there is no reason to expect him to work well in the ring. As usual, what matters is getting fans’ attention and blowing their minds, which is what Van Hammer did very well for at least a few months before the bottom fell out. That’s more than a lot of wrestlers get to do so well enough done.
Speaking of something going well enough, the late 1980s were such an amazing time in tag team wrestling. You can pick either the NWA or the WWF and you have such an incredible lineup with one outstanding team after another. Just look at something like any iteration of the Crockett Cup in the NWA or either of the tag team Survivor Series matches in 1987 or 1988. The amount of talent in there is so remarkable (though some of that might have to do with a few teams jumping from one promotion to the other) and it is the kind of thing I really could go to see again.
I know that is easier said than done, but how in the world do we not have more great teams today? Of course a lot of it has to do with Vince McMahon not being interested in having a tag team division of any significance, but there are so many wrestlers out there today with nothing to do. Why not throw some of those people together and see what they can do as a team?
It’s not like WWE doesn’t know how to do it either, as you see someone like Chad Gable and Otis. Now no they aren’t likely to be the next British Bulldogs or Midnight Express, but it’s a lot better than Otis carrying around a lunchbox and Gable being called Shorty G. as the only note of his character. This time around though, they have been thrown together as the Alpha Academy, which is at least something less embarrassing. I know that’s not exactly a high bar to clear, but it’s certainly an upgrade and when you spend a year being a short joke, it’s something better.
Speaking of things that should have been better, how in the world did TNA screw up James Storm back in 2012? They had him inside the cage against Bobby Roode for the World Title in his home state of Tennessee and he…..loses? On a fluke when he Last Calls Roode out of the door to keep the title out of his hands? In a company that has so many head scratch inducing moments, that has to be one of the worst.
That should have been the kind of thing that taught the company something, but it certainly didn’t seem to be the case. No instead they managed to keep screwing things up, as just a few months later, Aces and 8’s started up. What started off as a pretty awesome concept turned into the latest TNA slog, which went on way too long and focused on a bunch of people who weren’t exactly interesting in the first place.
I mean, how in the world do you look at a major stable like this and go with D-Von as the first reveal? It’s not like there was a lack of options to pick from and the big reveal is….the less interesting half of a tag team? Sure it’s a legendary tag team, but this was the best thing they could do? I’m really not sure who decided this was a good idea, but I’d assume it’s some combination of….well ok it was Dixie Carter/Hulk Hogan/Eric Bischoff. Why bother with the sarcasm when it’s that obvious?
Finally (because it’s the only way to finish), how awesome is the Black Mass as a finisher? It’s about as basic of an idea as you can get in wrestling. As Bobby Heenan said, “HE KICKED THE MAN IN THE HEAD”! It is something you can do to everyone at any time and looks great no matter how many times Aleister Black (Yeah remember him?) uses the thing. Black Mass is one of the best finishers going today and, assuming Black actually gets to ever get back in the ring because of what his wife did to get on WWE’s nerves, it should take him rather far.
I’ve been watching wrestling for about thirty three years now and it is something that I love more than almost anything else in life. There are more things to talk about it than in almost any other form of entertainment and this was a short form trip into the random wrestling areas of my brain. You can pull out as many wrestling ideas and stories as you want to, because wrestling really is the gift that keeps on giving. Even if it’s something like Van Hammer, because it should always be Van Hammer.
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.
Keep up with the LATEST WRESTLING RUMORS! Click here to sign up for the exclusive Wrestling Rumors daily newsletter, delivered right to your inbox.