Welcome everyone to another edition of the Professional 3 on 411mania.com! I'm Jon Harder and another week of pro wrestling is in the books. So much has transpired within the past week in wrestling and of course, the Professional 3, in its own unique way, will try and put a unique spin on the importance of a certain topic in the sport of kings. And trust me; I hope everyone can dig it.
Before we go any further, check out this week's Hardway Podcast
on TheJonHarder.com, as I interview this week "the Devil's Outlaw" Stockade
, a very talented wrestler for NYWC
and ACE Pro Wrestling
. Sometimes, I truly love the podcast due to the independent nature of the show and I implore you all to check it out. It's truly a grassroots movement with the Hardway.
Also, I love your feedback, so please tweet at me @TheJonHarder
and let me know feedback of any of my projects. I always love feedback, positive or negative.
After last week's P3 on WCW/nWo Revenge, I will not lie when I say I continued to play post-column. Sadly, I got caught for a 12 hour spin straight of playing battle royals and trying to run the gamut on being the #1 points leader for the US championship tournament series. It took me all night, but I got it. It turns out all I needed was the perfect guy to get it done. What made things better is the 25 flying elbows per match I was able to do to get a MONSTER flying rating in the points. There was only one man who could do that and his name is simply the "Macho Man" Randy Savage.
I know that it's a little over two years since the Macho Man passed away at the age of 57. However, his memory still lives on strongly. Randy Savage meant a lot of things to a lot of different people. His wrestling ability was the prototype for the majority of what you see today when it comes to workrate. His character is still one of the top 5 personas of all time. For Christ sake, the Slim Jim slogan is still legendary. Randy Savage ranks up as one of the top 10 most recognizable wrestlers of all time.
Most of all, his wrestling promos are the biggest key to the greatness of the Macho Man. Every single Macho Man interview were strategic and from the heart. You could tell by Savage's personality that every single one was spur of the moment and from the heart. You just can't create art like that. So many of his great promos and moments have been documented on his best of DVD WWE released in 2009; yet there are a few that are never nearly as talked about and should be recognized.
These clips are hilarious and should crack you up as well. The raspy voice combined with just the comedy coming out equals hilarity. Come on, I think you can gather by now that I'm not going to bring the same old thing with the P3. Without further adieu...
THE PROFESSIONAL 3: Underrated Macho Man Hilarious Moments
HONORABLE MENTION: MACHO CELEBRATING WITH THE 1-2-3 KID AND MARTY JANNETTY
OK, you MIGHT have seen this clip before. In a huge upset, the 1-2-3 Kid and Marty Janetty defeated the Quebecers on an early episode of Monday Night Raw in 1994. It was a great underdog story. So what does this have to do with the Macho Man? Simple. As soon as the Kid gets the 1-2-3, the Macho Man literally took off into the ring and started celebrating with the new Tag Team champions. Like a flash 20 seconds later, he was gone. Don't ask me why, I just found that to be the funniest thing at 8 years old and it still holds up today.
1) MACHO MAN AND M.O.M. RAPPING ON LEX LUGER
Many people point to "Be a Man" as the Macho Man's first ever rap single in 2003 (a piece of memorabilia that I proudly own). However, Mr. Savage was a piece of rap history ten years earlier in 1993 as a part of a rap dedicated towards Lex Luger in his run towards Yokozuna and the World Wrestling Federation championship. Macho Man, alongside Mabel, Oscar, and Mo of Men on a Mission, dominated this hip-hop as the last push on the Lex Express's tour towards the championship. Although Luger did not win the WWF Title a week later, this hip-hop song still lives on as an underrated piece of folklore that does not get its props.
On a complete side note, is it eerie that Macho Man did a rap for Lex Luger, amidst all that transpired with a connection between the two? I don't know, but as an over-thinker, it just makes you wonder.
2) MACHO MAN VS WEIRD AL...'S HAMSTER
"Weird Al" Yankovic always has a tendency to be very intriguing. The King of the Parody Song, Weird Al was given an opportunity to host his own CBS Saturday Morning program called AL-TV in September 1997. The final episode that existed before it was unceremoniously cancelled in December of the same clip involved Weird Al being down due to the fact his house was robbed, thus limiting his ability to do a good episode of AL-TV. Suddenly, as a spirit of motivation, the Macho Man busts through the walls to lift up the down Al and to "be creative". After a spirited challenge to a wrestling match, Al circles around and brings his trusty sidekick, Harvey the Wonder Hamster, to the table. This contest proves to be an all-time classic. I will not give out who wins, as I want you to watch the video, but in the end, it ranks up there as one of the funnier things I've seen in quite some time.
3) MACHO KING ON ARSENIO HALL?? YES!!
In February 1990, in preparation for his final WWF championship shot against Hulk Hogan on the Main Event with former Heavyweight Boxing Champion Buster Douglas as referee, the Macho King had a rare public interview on a late-night talk show. During that time period, there was only one show on late-nights that could handle a man quite like the Macho King. Carson? Snyder? Letterman? Nope. The man, the myth, the legend, ARSENIO HALL. He was hip, cool, and had the younger demographic within THE DOG POUND. Put Macho and Arsenio together and you have legitimate magic. This segment is so out there and such a Macho Man style segment, it was memorable. Enjoy it. “Roo, Roo, Roo!” (my attempt at a Dog Pound noise)
What were your favorite underrated Macho Man moments? Write them in the comments or tweet them at me. Bottom line, the Macho Man is among the greats. I truly wished that Macho would have had his last glorious moment in the sun. However, his memory would live on. Plus, if we never had Randy Savage, we never would have had the Macho Midget.
Welcome everyone to another edition of the Professional 3 on 411mania.com! I'm Jon Harder and another P3 is on the docket. So much excitement, I know, but a crazy idea has taken over the realm of my psyche for this week's edition. I am already laying the blame for Nintendo 64. There is a reason. I will get to it in a moment.
Before I do, however, check out this week's Hardway Podcast
exclusively on TheJonHarder.com. I have an interview with Florida independent standout Aaron Epic
. It's a solid interview that highlights Beyond Wrestling
, Resistance Pro
, and even a little Billy Corgan
talk. Also, this coming Saturday in Deptford, NJ, I will be managing my charge Leon St. Giovanni
in a one-on-one battle against CZW's Devon Moore at On Point Wrestling
. If you are in the area, please come check out the show and enjoy some great wrestling. More importantly, enjoy a win for Professionalism.
Lastly, follow me on Twitter @TheJonHarder
and let me know what you have thought of the columns thus far by simply using the #Professional3 hashtag when writing to me. I love feedback, so bring it on and let me know what your opinions are of the P3.
Now, as I alluded to in the opening paragraph, the Nintendo 64 has really taken control of my life over the past week. Digging deep into the boxes of yesteryear, I found my old console and a bundle of my old games. From Mario Tennis and Super Smash Bros to Goldeneye and BLUES BROTHERS 2000 (Yes, especially that piece of crap), the N64 and I have had a great reunion. However, it wasn't until I made the challenge to plug in THIS game, that my column became crystal clear for this week.
WCW/nWo Revenge was a perfect example of a great game hitting at the perfect time. At a time where the Monday Night Wars were hot, when pro wrestling was its peak, this video game set the tone for all that was great about the Nintendo 64 wrestling games. It was easy to control, simple to play, and more importantly, a downright treat to explore. You could fight in multiple venues, utilize weapons, and even compete in 40-man battle royals. Every wrestler had a unique move set to one another. Hell, even with a select few, you could do striking combinations with them.
Any game that is easy to control is a good game for me. Unlike the crazy combination button mashing in WWF War Zone and Attitude, Revenge and its predecessor, WCW vs nWo: World Tour, were simple to understand and grasp. It did not take a rocket scientist to learn how to play the THQ/AKI based video game. Most importantly, this game showed how LOADED the roster World Championship Wrestling possessed in 1998.
Whether it be the high-flying Cruiserweights, the pure technicians, the two separate New World Order entities (Hollywood and Wolfpäc), or even Raven's Flock, WCW was packed to the gills with talent. Also, with the customs menu where you could change the attire of all the wrestlers, it was off to the races for me. Trust me, the placing of Hollywood Hogan's attire onto Goldberg and renaming him "Holly Berg" still maintains the greatest character never unleashed onto the world of wrestling. Yet, somehow, the guys I mostly leaned towards using were NOT WCW talent. They were the infamous characters exclusively created for Revenge, and most of all, my go-to-guys.
The creators of WCW/nWo Revenge created two separate rosters of guys for the fictional rosters of EWF (Empire Wrestling Federation) and DAW (Dead or Alive Wrestling). Apparently, the original Japanese wrestlers were created for the game, but due to copyright issues and THQ getting cold feet on using the real counterparts without an agreement, the selected wrestlers from All Japan Pro Wrestling and FMW were switched around to be completely fictional. Yet, these guys, to me, were the cooler guys to utilize in the game. For some reason, taking these wrestlers and having them win WCW championships were fun as a 14 year old Jon. And yet, as an older gentleman now, I STILL think they are awesome. Just the pure concept of something different always drove me to use these characters.
In the spirit of this column, I will now take the time to mention my three favorites within the realm of WCW/nWo Revenge. Without further adieu, I present...
THE PROFESSIONAL 3: Jon's Favorite non-WCW Wrestlers in WCW/nWo Revenge
1) AKI MAN
The most memorable of these characters. Supposedly developed in the likeness of the late, great Misawa, AKI Man looked anything BUT Misawa. Dressed in a full body-suit where the mask was attached to the suit, AKI Man's style was legit to say the least. Mixing strikes with high flying ability, AKI Man was fun to use. He made a cool noise when he won his matches and his double dragon-screw leg whips were especially fun to utilize. Also doubling as THQ Man, AKI Man took his successes from Revenge and was the only one that moved over to the WWF franchise when AKI/THQ signed on with the World Wrestling Federation in 1999, as he was the "crash test dummy" for all create-a-wrestlers when it came to developing a move set for WWF No Mercy in 2000. AKI Man was a legend in the N64 boom of wrestling games and more importantly, he did so with a mask that had NO EYES. What a marvel.
2) HAN ZO MON
Based off Hayabusa, the likeness of Han Zo Mon was seen in WCW vs nWo: World Tour as Hannibal. However, unlike World Tour, Han Zo Mon had free range to fly and demonstrate his high-flying abilities at will. Han Zo Mon also demonstrated the Stardust Press for the first time in any American wrestling video game. Bottom line, Han Zo Mon was a cult favorite of my friends during our times playing Revenge. If you are a fan of cruiserweights, Han Zo Mon is a great one to use against the Mysterios and Juvis. Just my personal preference.
3) DR. FRANK
Should this even be a choice? Dr. Von Frankenstein's greatest creation in a wrestling game is INGENIOUS!!! The monster of the EWF made a huge impact within WCW/nWo Revenge by simply being Frankenstein. Obviously based off the Mary Shelley novel (or Herman Munster, personally), Dr. Frank was a very unique creature. With his wrestling style based off the legendary Jumbo Tsuruta, Dr. Frank made his prescience felt. I never had as much fun as utilizing the Giant Swing as I had with Dr. Frank. It just looked like he was having a lot of fun. Dr. Frank was so simple, yet a great creation for the game.
WCW/nWo Revenge was an incredible wrestling that set the tone for future generations on how games were developed, played, and enjoyed. WCW has been hated for a LOT of things, but this game was not one of them. By far, it is the most influential wrestling game in history.
Now, although my P3 topics are completed, I have decided to at least attempt to tackle one man who is a major secret catch in Revenge that was never supposed to make the final cut. In my opinion, this is a topic that NEEDS a legitimate answer and I'm out for truth. Let's see how this goes...
BONUS DISCUSSION: WRATH
If anyone remembers, in the original WCW vs nWo: World Tour video game for Nintendo 64, Wrath was one of the hidden characters that could be unlocked after winning the DOA league challenge. However, in Revenge, Wrath was not a part of the original roster for the game. It was determined through the maker of the original game, Wrath was going to be included. But due to either a last second switch or to reasons unbeknownst to fans, he was taken out. Yet, the coding of Wrath was still within the Revenge game. So via a Game Shark, which was the ultimate cheat code aid for all video game nerds, and specific codes entered through the Game Shark, Wrath could be injected into WCW/nWo Revenge. I like to call him the ULTIMATE hidden character. He was given Sting's gear, and had some glitches on certain maneuvers (i.e. his front grapple special the Spinning Uranage having no crowd response whenever he delivered it), but Wrath was awesome within the game. He was my WCW champion on numerous occasions...until the game reset and I had to take hours out of my day to get the Game Shark to work to do it ALL over again.
Here is a YouTube video of Wrath's entrance and silence of his finish within the game:
Who were your favorite custom characters in Revenge? Even more so, who were your favorites to use IN Revenge? EVEN MORE SO THAN THAT, what’s your opinion on Wrath being hidden within Revenge? Tweet me @TheJonHarder with your responses. Thanks for reading the P3 and see you next week!!!
Welcome to another edition of the Professional 3 exclusively on 411mania.com! I'm Jon Harder and another great week of professional wrestling has entered the record. I just want to say I truly appreciate all the comments, positive and negative, that I receive for the P3. Last week's article made me truly realize how important it is for the wrestling fan base to establish characters and show off their offbeat personalities to the world. This week might shed a little insight of some more of my unique wrestling tastes.
Before we go any further, please check out this week's Hardway Podcast
exclusively on TheJonHarder.com, as I interviewed New England standout Anthony Stone
. Stone shed some insight onto his Wrestling Is Art
matches against Francis O'Rourke and Kobald in the New England area. Hopefully by the time you read this, the over-achieving underdog will have had a successful winning weekend.
Now, onto this week's Professional 3. Over the past few months within the mainstream wrestling scene, there have been a select few men that have showed their dominance within WWE. They wear black, work together as a unit, and their voice is heard throughout every week of worldwide WWE television. They let their actions do their talking. You guys know who I'm talking about...
Did you think I was talking about anyone else?
Honestly, Heath Slater, Jinder Mahal, and Drew McIntyre are an entertaining trio on WWE television. Fans see these three pseudo-rock stars and think nothing of them. 3MB is considered a "joke" to the WWE Universe. And you know what? They are absolutely right. Slater, Mahal, and McIntyre are the comedy relief for WWE programming. In turn, they are doing their jobs very well.
This group of oddballs makes it work. Of course, three grown men becoming the modern-day air band warriors aren't supposed to be looked at as World champion material. However, they find themselves on television every week as an entertaining act. 3MB aren't supposed to be taken seriously; yet that is the ingenious part of their act. These guys are taylor-made for the kid-friendly WWE audience. In so many words: 3MB is goofy.
This in some semblance, leads into this week’s P3. There have been a plethora of factions in the world of pro wrestling. Some have been dominant (DX, NWO, 4 Horsemen); others have been manipulating (Straight Edge Society, the Ministry of Darkness, Raven's Flock); and some...just never worked (the Corre, the Union, the Revolution). However, in between the cracks of all these wrestling stables, there have been a select few that have been oft-kilter. These groups were so awkward, it was entertaining. Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce to you...
THE PROFESSIONAL 3: Oddball Wrestling Factions
1) THE DESPERADOS
In 1991, Stan Hansen was coming off a series of solid matches against Lex Luger for the WCW United States championship. WCW management decided that to come off the stirring success of that rivalry, "the Lariat" needed to go in another direction. That direction was straight towards a feud OR partnership with the Desperados.
"Dirty" Dutch Mantel will always be known as one of the most gifted talents in the history of the Memphis territory. However, not even Dirty Dutch could save this one. In a series of weird segments, Dutch, alongside the ever dangerous Black Bart and Deadeyed Dick. Yes, Deadeyed Dick. He had one eye, and was deaf. Incredible stuff, folks. Regardless, the entire goal of these segments were to find Stan Hansen and stand alongside him as a trio. Sadly, we never knew if the Desperados ever found "the Lariat", as Hansen quit the company and went to Japan to finish out his career. The Desperados lasted only a few more months in an unsuccessful fashion and just like that, they were out of WCW.
Honestly, as a 6 year old, I found it really funny and to this day, Dirty Dutch will always be a Desperado. Plus, any group with a deaf, dumb, and blind guy will always live onto me. Although they lasted for a short time, no one was as odd as the Desperados.
This one had to be an obvious choice. Now, despite the fact these three were as prominently known as the Blue World Order, Stevie Richards, the Blue Meanie, and Nova were always acting the goof in ECW. In the midst of their parodying everything in 1996, these three men were the epitome of comedic foils. Aligned with Raven through his Nest, Stevie, Nova, and Meanie repeatedly parodied different wrestling acts. They even spoofed the Jackson 5 and KISS (as you can tell from the video above) awesomely. So needless to say, it was borderline shocking when those three men started the Blue World Order and, in Stevie Richards' case, became involved with the main event talent scene. So many oddball moments with Richards, Meanie, and Nova, but in the end, the chemistry was undeniable and the ability to be an oft-kilter faction paid dividends for their legacy in ECW.
3) THE ODDITIES
Was there any more of an oddball pairing than the Oddities? Originally formed by the Jackal (ECW's Cyrus) in 1998 as a disturbing look at the freaks in society, they quickly turned into a fun loving faction due to the lovely Sable. Golga, Kurrgan, Luna Vachon, and the 7'4 Giant Silva were not the prettiest or most cosmetic WWF superstars, but they loved to have a good time. Shaggy 2 Dope and Violent J, everyone's favorite Juggalos, rapped their theme song "The Greatest Show". Hell, the Insane Clown Posse rapped them out at the critically acclaimed Summerslam 1998. George "the Animal" Steele even joined the group as "the Original Oddity". Ultimately, the group disbanded in February 1999, as the Big Show dominated every member of the group on an episode of Sunday Night Heat to prove he was the ultimate big man in the WWF. Despite that, the Oddities were a fun group to have around and a shining example that even fun loving babyfaces could exist in the Attitude Era.
Plus, in a weird way, it introduced to the hijinx of Eric Cartman.
The bottom line is this: every wrestling company has had its fair share of oddball wrestling factions. It is needed in every mainstream company to take away sometimes from the seriousness of blood feuds and personal rivalries.
HONORABLE MENTION: The Prince Justice Brotherhood
Come on, even TNA had that. How could I not mention Super Eric, Curry Man, and "Stone Cold" Shark Boy? These three were odd as Hell together, yet immensely entertaining.
Again, every company needs this. I'm always for oft-kilter stables. 3MB is right on the docket.
Who are your favorite oddball wrestling factions? Tweet me @TheJonHarder
and use the #Professional3 hashtag when responding.
Jon Harder firstname.lastname@example.org
Welcome to another edition of the Professional 3 HERE on 411mania.com! I'm Jon Harder and I'm incredibly happy on the response for the P3 within the last week. That was awesome to see a poll based off my column about Underrated Specialty Matches on the 411 page this week. It means a lot to know that maybe the P3 is slowly starting to take off. I'm proud of the first 10 pieces and it will be NO different with #11, as I plan to showcase another inch of my nerdy wrestling knowledge.
Before we go any further however, please check out this week's Hardway Podcast
exclusively on TheJonHarder.com, as I interview "Brutal" Bob Evans
, the trainer and confidant of "the Prodigy" Mike Bennett. More importantly, Brutal Bob gives some great insight into the hottest independent wrestling territory going today, the New England area. It truly is an informative listen. Also, go check out the Hardway Facebook
page and like it. The first 100 people to like the page will automatically be entered in the contest where one at random will win a FREE Hardway shirt! I'd do a lot of things for a free t-shirt. I think a lot of other people would as well!
Now, it is onto this week's column. A few weeks ago, Zack Ryder posted a little teaser to possibly a re-starting of Z! True Long Island Story. Ultimately, it was just a ruse, but it got me thinking about the infamy of being in the WWE and having an internet web-show.
The main question that kept popping in my mind was simple: Have internet web-shows genuinely elevated talent long-term for WWE? The answer for the most part is NO. Although Zack Ryder received short-term success for his self-made stardom with Z! TLS, he hasn't received the long-term stability others have received at the upper-midcard level, due to his deserved success being "unexpected" and not fitting in the machine's scheme of things. Shows like "Santino's Casa" and "Word Up" with Cryme Tyme was a vehicle solely to keep up the fun babyface stature that both Santino and JTG & Shad had already with the WWE fan base. As I stated in an earlier column, "What's Crackin'" with Scotty Goldman was simply a blip in the radar and was not perceived as anything within the WWE Universe. The JBL & Cole Show is a great little show; however, JBL and Michael Cole aren't necessarily young wrestlers looking for a breakout moment within the company.
By all accounts, every possible attempt at a web-show establishing talent to another level long term has not been there. HOWEVER...there has been one show on WWE.com back in 2008 that has done such. There was one show that showcased next-level charisma, established rivalries, made two men look like an incredible duo, which led to such LONG TERM upper-midcard to MAIN EVENT elevation. The men: John Morrison and the Miz. The show: The Dirt Sheet.
Debuting in February 8, 2008 on WWE.com, Morrison and the Miz, then-WWE Tag Team champions, started the Dirt Sheet, which was a formatted show in which both men would lash out at WWE/ECW talents and ridicule them, while utilizing their unique brand of comedy and modern styling to the forefront. Instantly, you could see the chemistry that Morrison and Miz had with one another, and more importantly, their love for pro wrestling. Howard Finkel, the Hall of Fame ring announcer, even recorded the introduction for their show! So many dated, yet current, pop culture references were a beacon for entertainment on the Dirt Sheet.
More importantly, Morrison and Miz's stock rose. Due to their working for ECW and the ability to work on both Raw and Smackdown with their "business arrangements", the Dirt Sheet hosts were able to wrestle all of the top talent on all shows. Most notably, Morrison and Miz did it all as a tag team. Winning both sets of WWE Tag Team Titles, a pair of Slammy Awards, even taking D-Generation X to their absolute limits.
If it wasn't for the Dirt Sheet, John Morrison and the Miz would not have been able showcase their charisma as well as they could have. If not for the Dirt Sheet, the love of pro wrestling Morrison and Miz have would not been shown through as well as it ultimately was on the web-show. Most importantly, if it wasn't for the Dirt Sheet, Morrison and Miz would not have been elevated to the next level at all.
The Dirt Sheet was the platform, and John Morrison and the Miz made it into a way to get to another level in the realm of WWE.
THE PROFESSIONAL 3: Top Dirt Sheet Moments
1) BUILT UP TAG TEAM TITLES FEUD WITH COLONS
In late 2008-early 2009, quite the budding rivalry was developing between both Raw and Smackdown's Tag Team champions. Carlito and Primo, who won WWE Tag Team championship on September 21, 2008, and Morrison and Miz, who won the World Tag Team championship in December 2008, had a series of classic tag team matches where both set of tag team belts were on the line in two back-to-back Smackdown matches. Feeling the heat from the Colons and possibly the Bella Twins, the Dirt Sheet was utilized blasting the brothers from Puerto Rico, calling them "the colons", as in the rectal area colon. In this clip, the Colons' invaded with their "Cabana", blasting and making fun of both hosts. Quite simply put, it was entertaining web-TV. Ultimately, both teams faced off at WrestleMania 25...in the DVD Exclusive, to unify both sets to the Tag Team championships. Although the Miz and Morrison lost their opportunity to become the first ever Unified Tag Team champions, the Dirt Sheet was a great place to elevate the feud between two great tag teams. More importantly, it put tag team wrestling back on the map.
2) MIZFITS AND MOFOS
On the thirtieth episode of the Dirt Sheet on August 29, 2008, Morrison and Miz were feuding with Cryme Tyme's JTG & Shad, hosts of the WWE web-show "Word Up", over who had the better WWE.com web-show. To further spice up the rivalry between the two tag teams, "the Shaman of Sexy" and the "Rabbi of Radiance" turned it up a notch, releasing their rap music video "Mizfits and Mofos" to the world. Needless to say, it was a very entertaining rap song, which lit up Cryme Tyme and furthered the innovative use of the Dirt Sheet. Morrison and Miz truly enhanced their characters and their creativity with the rap video and took them to another level. Most importantly, they won the battle of the web-shows hands down.
Be Jealous. (I waited the entire column to get this in. Yes! I definitely need to get out more.)
3) BROADCAST LIVE
The Dirt Sheet started to catch up with popularity so much on WWE.com that ECW on SyFy, the Tuesday night program brought to the world by a WWE's own Extreme Championship Wrestling, wanted it on their program. And on August 5, 2008, the Dirt Sheet kicked off its first live episode on the opening segment of ECW. After badmouthing both Matt Hardy and Mark Henry, who had a match ready for one another at Summerslam 2008, both combatants came out and in separate matters, beat up the Dirt Sheet hosts. Although there was a bit of ripping off Late Night with Conan O'Brien (the best of the Late Night TV shows in my honest opinion), it was a solid way to show that the Dirt Sheet was for real and that Morrison and Miz were on the way up.
BONUS: MIZ AND MORRISON VS COLONS WRESTLEMANIA 25 PRE-SHOW MATCH TO UNIFY BOTH SETS OF TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS
I personally enjoy this last high-profile match that Morrison and Miz had as a team, and it closed off a feud that had been jump started due to the Dirt Sheet build.
Once John Morrison and the Miz split up, both men went their separate ways. Morrison became the Intercontinental champion and had an electrifying array of maneuvers, due to a great training method called parkour. This led to a solid 2 1/2 years in the upper midcard for JoMo, before leaving WWE in 2011. The Miz rose through the ranks, winning the US, Intercontinental, Tag Team, and ultimately the WWE Championship. He even defeated John Cena in the main event of Wrestlemania 27!
To date, this one web-show has truly advanced the careers of both men involved with it. The Dirt Sheet spawned creativity and innovation. The Dirt Sheet also showed that within the system of WWE, you can make it through the internet. John Morrison and the Miz certainly did.
Questions? Concerns? Hate tweets? Tweet me @TheJonHarder
Jon Harder email@example.com
What's happenin' everyone? Welcome to another edition of the Professional 3 here on 411mania.com! I'm Jon Harder and this week's column will be no different than any other P3, as I attempt to stress the unique topics that pop into my mind at any given basis. It truly is the highlight of my week when I get an opportunity to write this column. It brings out my inner-nerd when I dig back into the annuls and dig out small pieces of wrestling history.
I am genuinely pleased with the comments of last week's column. So many different mustaches; so little time. Good News Hughes
was so pleased with the Professional 3 being dedicated to him; he announced on this week's Hardway Podcast
will be "Mustache Week". Of course, Good News loses track of time, so his week of soup-strainers will most likely take 5 weeks. Also this week, Vanessa Kraven
from the Quebec wrestling scene and manager extraordinaire Loudy
from On Point Wrestling
stop by for a few to talk about their careers within the independent scene. Oh, and "Stone Cold" Charles Barkley makes an impact this week.
Now, this week in the Professional 3, I want to talk about an art form that many wrestling fans love, yet many might not 100% fully appreciate: the specialty match. Specialty matches are an attraction that can either enhance a feud or end a long-term rivalry. It truly is like watching the final fight scene of a movie after being emotionally invested throughout an entire flick. You watch little pieces thrown in that lasted throughout an entire rivalry and watch it either succeed again or fail miserably. The Hell in a Cell match is a perfect way to put an ultimate feud to rest. In particular, the Undertaker vs Edge Summerslam 2008 match is a perfect example of what a feud-ender should feel like. It just had that perfect ability to have incorporated everything that the rivalry had for over 18 months.
Not only that, specialty matches can also be used as a spectacle that showcases a group of wrestlers abilities. Death-defying stunts mixed in with an utter display of recklessness to one’s body equal that demolition derby setting. The multi-man ladder match personifies that to a t. Whether it's in FRAY form, Money in the Bank style, or even the multi-team TLC match, if it involves a ladder, insanity will pursue.
Obviously, there are a plethora of "gimmick" matches that have existed in the pro wrestling art form. From the simple yet barbaric cage match, to the leather strap match, to Buried Alive, to EVEN the infamous Dog Poo match with the Rock-N-Sock Connection against Val Venis and the British Bulldog in October of 1999 (yes, even that one), a zillion have existed. Yet to me, there are three in particular that are either not remembered, not respected, or completely forgotten about and most definitely should not be forgotten. SO, as per usual in the spirit of this column, I proudly present...
THE PROFESSIONAL 3: Underrated Specialty Matches
1) TRIPLE CAGE MATCH
In 2000, one of the most ridiculous, yet one of my personal favorite movies came out to movie theaters: Ready to Rumble. The WCW based flick revolved around a "shoot" rivalry between former WCW champion Jimmy King and Diamond Dallas Page, along with crooked promoter Titus Sinclair. The movie built to a climatic Triple Cage match, which were 3 cages stacked on top of one another. The movie was ludicrous, but the match premise was unique. The bottom cage was a Hell in a Cell structure, covering the ring. The second cage, slightly smaller, was filled fence to fence with weapons. The final and smallest cell was strictly used to climb up and grab the WCW World championship at the tippy-top. The Triple Cage was a cool match concept in theory.
There have only been two official Triple Cage matches in the history of wrestling. The first took place on May 7, 2000 at Slamboree where WCW World champion David Arquette (yes, the guy who starred in Ready to Rumble and the 1-800 Collect commercials) defended the title against DDP and Jeff Jarrett. In what can only be classified as a modern miracle, the three had a solid match. In the end, however, Arquette took out DDP with a guitar and helped Jarrett win the match and the championship. (DID YOU KNOW: this was also the match where Mike Awesome threw Kanyon off the top of the second cage to the stage below.)
The other one took place on Monday Nitro in September 2000 as a part of a War Games match for the WCW championship. Unlike the original, the only way to win was to grab the championship from the top and THEN go through all obstacles in reverse before getting to the first cage and exiting through the door to win. At the end of the match, Bret Hart cost Goldberg the opportunity to regain the WCW championship. It was an insane battle, especially on an episode of Monday Nitro.
Regardless, the Triple Cage match has not taken place since. I think the unique specialty match could work in this day and age, especially with the evolution of wrestling style. This concept is vastly underrated and deserves to be seen again somewhere. ANYWHERE.
2) STAIRWAY TO HELL
ECW was the master of putting a new twist on already barbaric matches in the mid 1990s. Examples include the High Incident match, the barbed wire match, and the Gangstas Paradise cage match (i.e. Sandman, 2 Cold Scorpio, and New Jack against Mikey Whipwreck & Public Enemy in 1995). However, Paul Heyman and his maniacal wrestling mind put the ultimate twist to the ladder match by concocting the STAIRWAY TO HELL match.
The Stairway to Hell match had the basic gist of a ladder match, in which a ladder was used to climb to grab a coil of barbed wire. Unlike a ladder match, once the barbed wire was pulled down from the ceiling, the match didn't end; IT ONLY BEGUN. The brutality and bodily harm only intensified from that point. The match mercifully ended with a pinfall or submission.
There have only been a handful of these matches in the era of extreme, and for good reason. The first ever match of this magnitude was between the Sandman and Sabu during the fall of 1997 during their legendary rivalry. The damage inflicted by both athletes on each other was inhumane. Simply devastating, at least to me and my tastes. The last known Stairway to Hell took place at Heatwave 2000 between ECW World champion Justin Credible and Tommy Dreamer.
This is not a PG style match to say the very least. It is the violent end to a rivalry and a blessing that a mass exodus of talent have not experienced personally in wrestling. It is such an underrated specialty match and deserves massive props.
3) THE SCRAMBLE CAGE
Ring of Honor has always been the home of revolutionary wrestling. State-of-the-art competition has always reigned supreme in the most influential independent wrestling company in the 2000s. Yet, of all the hard-hitting matches that ever took place in ROH, there was only one truly innovative match that was influential yet career-shortening for every athlete that ever stepped foot in it: the Scramble Cage.
Unlike a normal cage match, ROH officials added an unusual element to their fenced squared circle. In each corner of the steel cage, four wooden planks were added to the top. That one added extra maximized the high flyers chances of doing crazy dives off the top, which was 10-15 feet in the air. It was AWE-INSPIRING to say the very least.
Debuting in Elizabeth, NJ, the first installment in 2003 was simply a "can you top this" affair, ultimately culminating with the earth-shattering double moonsault from Jack Evans from the top to the outside on the arena floor. (DID YOU KNOW: This was also the match where Teddy Hart went absolutely berserk with back flips and such post-match.) "At Our Best" in March of 2004 showcased the end of a long rivalry, as the Carnage Crew ended their war with Special K, utilizing the double team piledriver on Azrieal off the top of the cage through 2 tables as the "exclamation point" ending.
The most controversial Scramble Cage took place at "Scramble Cage Melee" in August of 2004 in Boston, MA, where a dozen men walked into a cage and put it all on the line for the ROH fan base. The ultimate stunt was Mr. Evans topping his double moonsault from 2003 and delivering a 630 to the late, great Trent Acid off the wooden plank through a table. The Scramble Cage Melee was so risky that Gabe Sapolsky, ROH booker at the time, refused to book another match similar to that effect.
HONORABLE MENTION: THE STINK FACE MATCH
I don't think I have to mention how underrated this match type is in the world of wrestling.
My girlfriend will absolutely LOVE my fondness for this specialty match.
So many match types have existed in pro wrestling. Some have lasted the test of time; others have existed for a short time span. However, they are all remembered in one facet or another. I vividly remember these particular specialty matches as brilliant, and hopefully they will get the props they deserve within the context of the P3.
Which are your personal favorite specialty matches that are vastly underrated? Comment on the bottom of this page or tweet me your picks @TheJonHarder
. Thanks for reading and see you next week on the Professional 3.
Jon Harder firstname.lastname@example.org
Welcome everyone to another edition of the Professional 3 EXCLUSIVELY on 411mania.com! I’m Jon Harder and what a week it has been within America. I hate to see this great country go through a lot of carnage with the situations in Boston and Waco. Regardless of which, God bless everyone who got through it and for the injuries and fatalities and the people who are traumatized by what transpired, you are in my prayers to overcome. I hope that this week’s column can be an escape, because trust me when I say that it is my goal this week to get people talking in fun conversations in the comments thread. Hopefully, this will be a few minutes where you can escape from reality.
Before we go any further, check out this week’s Hardway Podcast
exclusively on TheJonHarder.com. We have former BWO original from ECW, Thomas “the Inchworm” Rodman
and CZW’s Joe Gacy
on the show. Two different time periods, yet one fantastic listen. Also, we at the Hardway are running a contest for our fans. If the Hardway Podcast Facebook
page gets to 100 likes by May 1, we will select a winner at random to win a free Hardway t-shirt. Lastly, the Hardway has uploaded two links to streaming audio of 3-5 minute interviews with Jim “the Anvil” Neidhart
and Nikolai Volkoff
. Busy week for the Hardway, but our objective is to keep the ball rolling in a positive direction.
Speaking of the Hardway Podcast, I don’t know if I’ve ever introduced Good News Hughes into the world of the Professional 3. He is not only my sidekick on the Hardway, but a young wrestler as well. Working his way through the independent circuit since 2010, Good News is a complete throwback with his wrestling style. He is old school to say the least. However, there is one thing that ultimately makes Good News stand out above ALL the rest in independent wrestling: his mustache.
That mustache is borderline legendary. Personally, it might actually reach Tom Selleck “Magnum PI” status in a few years. Regardless, Good News’ ‘stache makes him stand out. When I ask him on his reasoning behind having one, his answer is simple: “It’s the personification of being a man.” Unbelievably, I have to agree.
Ever since I was a little boy, I always thought wrestlers with mustaches were cool. Starting with Hulk Hogan’s handlebar and even before that, Scott Hall’s AWA porn flavor-savor, wrestlers with ’staches have put within a different class of their own. Big Bully Busick’s soup-strainer, Triple H’s Lemmy mouth-brow, and Sabu’s face furniture are prime examples of sweet mustaches.
However, this is the Professional 3, and this week, I will discuss my personal favorite 3 mustaches in wrestling’s past, present, and future. Whether creepy, sleazy, dangerous, or outright outrageous, these mustaches will definitely provoke agreement, criticism, and most of all, discussion.
THE PROFESSIONAL 3: Top 3 Mustaches
1) DAN “THE BEAST” SEVERN
Whether or not Dan Severn was a phenomenal pro wrestler, “the Beast” is pound-for-pound the toughest man to ever enter the grappling game. In the early days of UFC, his amateur wrestling helped him win multiple championships. A two-time former NWA World champion, he made the championship “legit” with a shooter’s mentality. However, Mr. Severn possesses one hell of a cookie-duster. No one can deny that. The legitimate toughness combined with the incredible soft-spoken nature shows that Dan Severn is a dangerous man. The mustache only adds to the aura.
2) DUTCH MANTELL (WWE’S ZEB COLTER)
How can we not mention Dirty Dutch? The international legend, who’s been involved with wrestling for over 40 years, has been known for having the most outlandish mustache in the history of the business. Completely symmetrical on each side when it came to length, Dutch’s mustache has lasted the tests of time. Whether as a monster heel in Puerto Rico, Memphis, managing the Blus in WWF, booking in PR and TNA, and back to WWE as Zeb Colter, the lip spinach stayed in its entire outrageous nature. You can’t mention mustaches without mentioning this vile Tennessean.
3) RAVISHING RICK RUDE
Ravishing Rick Rude had it all. The chiseled body, the legitimate strength, the wrestling ability, and the raspy, yet suave voice were all a part of his shtick. However, what put Rude over the top with his act was the sleazy, porn star style mustache. Just take a look at that mouth brow! It truly made Rick Rude look like a vile degenerate; yet, it made him the MAN to the older male audience. Rude’s mustache became synonymous with being Ravishing. In fact, the only time Rick Rude was truly hated in wrestling was when he shaved the mustache OFF in 1992 in WCW! You can’t have a top mustached wrestler list without Rick Rude. Now hit the music.
These are my personal list of favorite mustaches within wrestling. However, there have been many more guys with some very special soup-strainers in the sport of kings that you might prefer over others. Which are your favorites? Comment your favorite 3 ‘staches in the comment section.
Hope this cheered you up after this crazy week. Enjoy your week.
Jon Harder email@example.com @TheJonHarder
Welcome everyone to another edition of the Professional 3 here on 411mania.com! I'm Jon Harder and although last week's P3 was posted a few days late, it's great to see the support all around for the column. The Scotty Goldman stuff was hard to find and do research on within the span of a few days, but it most definitely was worth it. Again, the most unique aspect of this column is that I could write about...ANYTHING. That's the excitement of the P3. And this week will be no different.
Before we go any further, check out this week's Hardway Podcast
on TheJonHarder.com with the LIVE from WrestleCon edition. Guests include Bill Carr
and Smith "Big Game" James
, Tom Filsinger
from Filsinger Games
, the WWE Hall of Famer "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan
, and Fredo Majors
from RIOT Pro Wrestling. Honestly, WrestleCon was such an incredible experience and I would whole-heartedly tell everyone to go to a wrestling convention, especially of this magnitude. So many wrestlers, so much good wrestling, and most of all, just a grand time. With the entire wrestling business literally holding down base in the New York/New Jersey area, it was such an amazing weekend for everyone.
The one spot I truly wish I was able to check out was the WWE Hall of Fame in Madison Square Garden. Everyone who I know went told me it was a great environment to be in and respect the wrestlers and personalities that came before our time. So many great speeches and stories were told, but none were as brighter, according to my friends and confidants, and as funny as the opening act of the Hall of Fame: Mick Foley.
I have always been a huge fan of Mick Foley ever since the early days of his career in WCW. His style was reminiscent of a demolition derby, yet masterful and genius at the same time. Although others were built as "superstars", Foley truly looked like a normal guy living his dream. His promos were second-to-none. His look was a throwback to the brawlers of yesteryear with long hair and a scraggly beard. Most of all, Mick Foley was a master of psychology within wrestling. Foley could seamlessly switch from character to character and make them incredibly distinctive from one another. Some might be partial to Cactus Jack; others might latch onto the Attitude Era's variation of Mankind, but this writer has always preferred the magic of "the Hippest Cat in the Land". That's right. I'm a Dude Love guy.
For some reason, as a 12 year in 1997, there was something cool about Dude Love. He might have had the worst dance moves of all time. He might have looked like a younger version of Jerry Garcia. Hell, he might have been a tad "nerdy". Regardless, I just connected with Dude Love. As a child, it was Mick Foley's biggest dream to make it in wrestling as Dude Love. Dude was suave, hip, a cool cat, and most importantly, a ladies' man. Everything Mick Foley wanted to be was what Dude Love was. The Dude was Mick's alter-ego and as a kid, I believe we all had an alternate person inside of us that we all wished we could be. Maybe it's just me, but the Dude was a dream come to life, and that was something I one day wished to have.
Dude Love had a positive influence on my tastes in wrestling growing up, and although Dude only existed as a WWF superstar for little under a year, I feel it is love overdue to showcase the most underrated "Face of Foley". I PROUDLY PRESENT...
THE PROFESSIONAL 3: DUDE LOVE
1) DUDE'S DEBUT: Winning the WWF Tag Team Titles
Prior to the Dude making his debut, Jim Ross and Mankind had a very in-depth interview series on Monday Night Raw in the summer of 1997. Within the interview, it was uncovered that Mick Foley had dreamed up a character when he was in college that would be the complete opposite of who Mick Foley truly was: Dude Love. Meanwhile, as the interview series transgressed on Raw, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin was in the midst of looking for a tag team partner to face the winners of the WWF Tag Team Championship Tournament. After weeks of annoying Stone Cold as Mankind to be his partner, Austin had enough and beat the Holy Hell out of the deranged superstar.
Suddenly, as Austin, alone, faced Owen Hart and the British Bulldog, the tournament winners, in a main event on Monday Night Raw, a beat hit the PA. A tie-dyed man hit the Titantron and more or less, stated he would team up with Stone Cold and finish the match. DUDE LOVE HAD DEBUTED ON RAW! A dream came true as well, as Dude pinned the Bulldog to win the match and the championships!
2) THE LOVE SHACK
In April of 1998, Dude Love had inexplicably turned his back on his former tag team partner "Stone Cold" and had become the hand-picked corporate wrestler that Vince McMahon wanted to be champion. The Day after Unforgiven 1998, when Dude won via disqualification, "the hippest cat in the land" debuted his new talk show segment, "The Love Shack". Although it was a short term segment on WWF TV, it showed an evolved variation of Dude Love. No longer a "safe-sex symbol", Dude had two very provocative dancers in nothing more than a g-string. Blow-up chairs, a cheesy background, and a lava lamp were all that was needed to make the Love Shack work. It even had its own THEME SONG! Again, it was short-term, for this fan right here, it was pretty cool. I never could be too sure, but Mike Awesome's "Lava Lamp Lounge" in WCW could have been a direct rip-off of the Love Shack. Bottom line, just another way for the Dude to establish his hippie persona.
3) DUDE'S BIGGEST MATCH EVER: The WWE Championship vs Stone Cold Steve Austin
Over the Edge 1998 was a huge night in the Harder household. It was the night that my brother and I were banking on a miracle. Yes, we were probably the only two kids in America that hoped Dude Love would become the WWF champion that night. In a match that seemingly looked stacked in Dude's favor, with Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco at ringside, and Vince McMahon as special guest referee, Stone Cold was a sitting duck. However, as the Undertaker enforced a clean, one-on-one battle, Dude was the victim, taking multiple Stone Cold Stunners en route to a loss for the championship in a Falls-Count-Anywhere match. Both my brother and I went to bed more than a little ticked off, and the Dude left without the championship.
The next night, Dude Love was fired by Mr. McMahon to kick off Raw, and the Dude never wrestled in another match ever again. For almost ten months, I truly felt that Dude Love was something more than just a wrestler. He was an inspiration and proved that dreams can come true. I never thought Dude would appear on WWE television again. UNTIL...
BONUS: DUDE LOVE'S RETURN AT RAW 1000
...the monumental 1000th Raw. Right before Brodus Clay went one-on-one with Jack Swagger; "the Funkasaurus" grabbed the microphone and proceeded to call out his "brother from another mother". All of a sudden, the faux disco beat hit the PA and out walks "the hippest cat in the land"! Dude Love was back! And after Swagger got dominated within 30 seconds, Clay, Cameron, Naomi, and the Dude had a dance-off inside the ring. Dude proceeded to hit us with the "23-Skidoo" crossover knee dance and the fans loved it.
I was 27 years old, grinning like a little kid. Dude Love was back for one night only.
Dude Love might not have been around for a long period of time, but he made an incredible impact on me within wrestling and life. Mick Foley showed that your dreams can come true. Dude Love was supposed to be his fantasy; however, a simple creation as a college student became a cult phenomenon within the World Wrestling Federation. I'm happy to have been inspired by the Dude in a multitude of ways. Now, I know you want to hear it...
Welcome to another edition of the Professional 3 EXCLUSIVELY on 411Mania.com. I'm Jon Harder and TODAY IS THE DAY! It's WrestleMania Sunday! After all the columns written by every columnist and blogger imaginable, including myself, it all comes down to today at MetLife Stadium. However, this weekend has been phenomenal for myself to say the very least.
This is the second day the Hardway Podcast
has taken over WrestleCon
! An amazing experience thus far, especially with all the legends and all around wrestling that was consumed the Con. If you are reading this early Sunday morning and are heading towards the Con in Secaucus, we still have t-shirts, wristbands, and the Best of the Hardway CDs at Good News Hughes
, Leon St. Giovanni
, and my table, so stop on by and say Hello.
Besides my own, there are SO MANY wrestling podcasts and web-series that have graced the internet over the past few years. There are many different types of podcasts: wrestlers conversing with other personalities, promotions utilizing a forum to sell their upcoming events, and fans voicing their opinions on wrestling events. It is a great forum to get your voice heard. However, within the realm of wrestling internet radio, there is only one KING of the wrestling podcast that we all aspire to be. He's the King of Social Media and more importantly, the King of the independent circuit: COLT CABANA.
Whether he's "Classic" or "Boom Boom", Colt Cabana has taken the independent wrestling scene by storm. He wrestles practically every weekend, has had multiple successful web-shows - Creative Has Nothing For You and Worst Promo Ever - on YouTube, has completely revolutionized how to market oneself on social media, and most importantly, has mastered the wrestling podcast called the Art of Wrestling. Colt is living proof that "funny equal’s money" and that comedy within the wrestling realm is a successful venture.
However, on the major level, Colt Cabana is not a household name. Save "the Shoot" reference from CM Punk in 2011, Cabana's name has barely been uttered on national television. Yet, someone "resembling" Colt had a cup of coffee within the WWE Universe. You might know well, internet fans. You might know this person as SCOTTY GOLDMAN.
Scotty Goldman only had 4 official matches on WWE television, but he, for a short time, made a bit of an impact on the WWE Universe on the grassroots level. The internet crowd (the YouTube generation) loved what he was doing, yet the major players (the older crowd) didn't "get" Goldman, hence his release in 2009. However, this nerd has found a way to wrangle up 3 pieces to make up the BEST OF Scotty Goldman. Without further adieu...
THE PROFESSIONAL 3: The Best of Scotty Goldman
1) WHAT'S CRACKIN'
In late 2008, WWE.com was chalk full of web-shows. The Dirt Sheet, Santino's Casa, and Word Up were the name of the game on the official website of WWE. However, one show in particular took the internet by storm, particularly of the die hard internet wrestling community. What's Crackin' with Scotty Goldman debuted on January 14, 2009 and developed a cult following on WWE.com. According to Colt Cabana's shoot with AIW, What's Crackin' received as many views as the Dirt Sheet with John Morrison and the Miz, and Goldman was virtually NEVER on TV, which says something about the internet fan base Cabana had. His web-shows were unique and never unfunny. And although the last episode was known as Good as Goldman, What's Crackin' was vastly underrated and got Scotty Goldman recognized in the WWE Universe. Personal opinion: He was two years too early with the true major following with a web-show, as Zack Ryder got that honor in 2011. Regardless, Scotty made an impact with What's Crackin' and quite possibly spawned the social media dominance Cabana has today.
2) SCOTTY GOLDMAN'S DEBUT VS BRIAN KENDRICK
On August 15, 2008, Scotty Goldman made his WWE debut on Smackdown facing The Brian Kendrick. Although The Brian Kendrick was on quite the roll, undefeated in singles competition on Smackdown, combined with having Ezekiel Jackson as his muscle and steamrolling his way to Unforgiven in the Championship Scramble match. However, Goldman made his impact well, utilizing his comedy and British styling for the short time he had. The biggest impact was his 30 second promo as he headed towards the ring. True comedy. Regardless, Goldman looked to be on his way to becoming a midcard fixture on Smackdown...but things happen.
3) FCW MATCH VS KIZARNY
During his stay under WWE contract, Goldman was mainly known to the Florida based FCW, the WWE developmental territory during that time period. Goldman was perfecting his craft as a unique character and this match with Sinn Bowdee demonstrates just that. Funny to see that both men were released within weeks of each other. The bottom line: Scotty Goldman had so much potential and FCW only perfected his craft.
BONUS PICTURE: THE SCOTTY GOLDMAN POKER CHIP
Yes, this was his only official piece of WWE merchandise.
Colt Cabana took whatever he was given and developed it into what his career is today. He is a total international ambassador to the world of independent wrestling. He is a mini-mogul in his field. If only WWE knew what they had in Scotty Goldman. He was a great talker, unique wrestler, but most of all, he had IT. Colt Cabana is an inspiration to everyone attempt to make money in independent wrestling.
Enjoy WrestleMania 29, guys. See you next week on the Professional 3.
Jon Harder firstname.lastname@example.org @TheJonHarder
Welcome to another edition of the Professional 3 HERE on 411mania.com. I'm Jon Harder and I hope this edition of the P3 invokes conversation as my other columns have as well. It's great to see this column bring positive looks at wrestling's past instead of utitlizing a negative perspective at what I write.
There is one item I definitely wanted to discuss. In a lot of the comments, I've seen a repeated question asked about whether or not the 3 topics I list in my columns are in any particular order. The answer is surprisingly NO. When I write my columns, I normally get a vision in my mind of what to write about and whenever I decide to go into the next number, I just throw it in. My goal isn't to necessarily list things in order, but to mention them in my own collected manner. Hopefully, this clears up the confusion. If nothing else, I've probably confused you more. Either way, good grief.
Before I go any further into the P3, I wanted to invite you all to check out this week's Hardway Podcast
on TheJonHarder.com, as I bring THIS IS YOUR LIFE, GOOD NEWS HUGHES
! to the table. Trust me, this is an episode that should be listened to. This is STANDARD Hardway material.
Also, the Hardway Podcast will have a table at WrestleCon
April 6 and 7 in Secacus, NJ at the convention. We have so much going on and if you read this column or listen to the Hardway, stop on by and say Hello. Your support is endless and it would be awesome to see some of your guys say Hello. We have a lot of activites that will be happening around our table, including a LIVE Hardway with 1/2 of the NYWC Tag Team Champions Bill Carr
, so come on down to WrestleCon and check out the Hardway Podcast!
Now then, when it comes to pro wrestling for me, I feel as if it has inspired me in a totally different way than other people. Growing up, pro wrestling has practically molded my life. Having a tough childhood and not a lot of real happiness inside it, watching wrestling was my escape. The characters, the stories, and the matches especially were a work of art to me. Utitlizing my passion, I watched everything I could get my hands on. Wrestling truly was a venture out to where the most incredible athletes could dominate and tell an amazing story in the ring.
Thank God for me, I had the opportunity to enjoy the plethora of mainstream wrestling in the 1990s with WWF, WCW, and ECW. Seriously, there was so much wrestling that I had to scour through. It truly was an amazing time to be a wrestling fan. And surprisingly, it was these years of wrestling that molded me into what I prefer today in this great sport. But out of all the matches that developed into my love of unique wrestling, it was these three in particular that did the trick.
Part of me wanted to add this little nugget to the list...
But I felt I needed to be a little serious with my choices this week. On a side note, I was a Max Moon fan for the times I read about him in PWI back in 1992 and 1993. The Repo Man, well, at seven years old, renting WrestleMania 8 from Video Vault, was comedy fodder, especially when Big Boss Man popped him in the junk and was called a thing with no genitalia by Ray Combs from Family Feud. Regardless, it was a fun little match.
The Professional 3: Jon's Top Wrestling Matches
1) Michninoku Pro 6-Man Tag: ECW Barely Legal, April 13, 1997
In 1997, my father had a VHS of the first-ever ECW pay-per-view. Until 1997, my only real ECW exposure was watching stuttering Buh Buh Ray Dudley dance with the Public Enemy off ECW TV back in 1995. However, once my eyes were laid on this pay-per-view and I was HOOKED. Barely Legal had EVERYTHING thrown together in one. Brawling, technicalism, a grudge-match of the century, and drama were the order of the day, but the final piece was state-of-the-art wrestling. The six-man tag with the guys from Michinoku Pro really caught my eye. High-flying, cool costumes, and the Blue World Order. Just seeing the Great Sasuke was incredible. Ultimately, this match got me extremely interested in ECW and Japanese wrestling as a whole. More importantly, this high caliber match might possibly have been the kickstarter of the fast-speed wrestling you see today on the independent circuit.
2) Intercontinental Championship: "Macho Man" Randy Savage vs Ricky Steamboat - WrestleMania 3, March 29, 1987
Now, although this match was before my time, I first viewed this match in 1993 on my dad's beta-max player. Yes, my old man had WrestleMania 3 on Beta. The Macho Man and the Dragon put on one Hell of a show that day. So much passion and drama built into the match. I didn't realize then, but now I know that this match truly inspired my love for the story of a match. It had everything. It was fast-paced, it had drama, and it had George "the Animal" Steele. Most of all though, it had me hooked. So many incredible pinfall attempts and counters. In front of 93000 people, Randy Savage and Ricky Steamboat had the PERFECT match. The Intercontinental championship became a true WRESTLING championship to me from that point. This match still holds up and most importantly, STILL rules.
3) Broad Street Bully Match for the WCW Tag Team championships: Cactus Jack and Kevin Sullivan vs the Nasty Boys - WCW Slamboree, May 22, 1994
I remember this as my first ever LIVE pay-per-view experience. My parents ordered this event for me back in 1994 and I loved everything about Slamboree. Johnny B. Badd vs Stunning Steve, Lord Steven Regal vs Larry Zbyszko (NOTE: That three match series for the WCW Television championship is an epic series and is a MUST WATCH), and Sting vs Vader was on the show, but it was this match that woke me up to hardcore wrestling. At the time, I thought Cactus Jack was insane. This match didn't change my opinion. With former Philadelphia Flyer Dave Schultz as the referee, I just remember watching in awe on how nuts this match was. After ten minutes of barbaric action, Cactus and Kevin Sullivan won the WCW Tag Team belts. Three seconds later, Cactus let out the loudest, most awkward scream of all time and instantly had me rolling on the floor. To this day, I burst out laughing on how out of place that was. Regardless, this match showed me that Mick Foley was tough as nails and someone very different.
Though I definitely watched a thousand different matches over my lifetime, none were as important as these three. They took my breath away then and still do to this day. What are your three all-time favorite matches that molded you into a wrestling fan? These were mine and hopefully, you get a kick out of them too.
Thanks for reading the Professional 3. If you come to WrestleCon, stop by the Hardway Podcast table and tell me your thoughts of the column. Have a good one.
Welcome to the fifth installment of the Professional 3 here on 411mania.com! I'm Jon Harder and I've really appreciated all the positive and negative feedback I've received towards the P3. On a side note, after last week's Jack Tunney column, "irrehensible" will never be used in one of my columns. Too much controversy revolved around that word, especially with a discussion with my girlfriend and I. Bottom line, you guys were right and I was wrong.
Before we go any further, please check out this week's Hardway Podcast
on TheJonHarder.com, as Good News Hughes
and myself host the State of the Hardway Address, which is a lead in for WrestleCon
and a live interview there with former WWE developmental contracted competitor Bill Carr
. Also, we want everyone to be ready for next week's episode, THIS IS YOUR LIFE, GOOD NEWS HUGHES! For more information on how you guys can be involved with this particular episode, check out http://bit.ly/TimLife
to get involved. We want ALL the "praise" in the world for the Last Survivor of Old School.
Now, we are DEFINITELY in WrestleMania season. People are talking about the greatest and worst WrestleMania moments of all time. Certain people have discussed WrestleMania's top 3 opening matches. (AHEM). Regardless, people are going back and into the archives to check out WrestleManias of old. However, there was one match from WrestleMania's past that truly caught my eye. A match that was literally a blip on the radar at the second of two back-to-back WrestleManias in Atlantic City, WrestleMania V. Right before the Mega Powers Exploded, Bobby "the Brain" Heenan, wrestling's greatest manager, faced off with the one...the only...RED ROOSTER.
After that short of a match and what ultimately came down to fruition with the legendary bird based character, I have to say it: I HATED THE RED ROOSTER. Terry Taylor literally showed no passion for that character during the Rock-N-Wrestling Era. Even if it wasn't the greatest of characters, there could have been more passion behind the Red Rooster. The Rooster should have been snuffed out immediately. Surprisingly, after that 30 second contest, I started to laugh and think about the Professional Taxidermy Company. Leon St. Giovanni
and I, in Inter Species Wrestling
, are taxidermists. While LSG is the hunter and gatherer of the crew, I am the Nigel Thornberry, the one who looks for rare game and in search of a victory. We implore the Snuff 'Em -N- Stuff 'Em strategy. It has worked in the past, and most definitely in the future, it will work for us in bigger and badder ways.
Yes, that is what my life has come down to.
Despite my rant, I immediately started to think about what would happen if the Taxidermists were able to exterminate the Red Rooster from the WWF in 1989. We probably would have saved Terry Taylor's career for starters. In fact, dare I say, LSG and I would be heroes to the WWF audience back then. Better yet, there could have been a plethora of animal based characters all over wrestling that we could have exterminated once and for all...
Which leads to this week's Professional 3. This week, I have taken the time to go back into the annuls of the crazy and daring gimmicks of yesteryear and find out what animal based characters existed. I then decided on my least favorite ones and use them in this week's P3. So without further adieu...
THE PROFESSIONAL 3: Worst Animal Based Gimmicks
1) BATTLE KAT
Brady Boone was a journeyman in the world of professional wrestling, working primarily as an underneath wrestling in the WWF in the late 1980s, until he received his big break in 1990. Trying to match the great success of Tiger Mask in Japan, Brady Boone became Battle Kat, a high flying athlete underneath a unique costume. The topper: a furry cat mask. I'll be completely honest: I dug Battle Kat as a kid. He was much different than all of the other WWF Superstars in 1990. He could fly, do cool moves, and wear a mask. However, despite being undefeated, Battle Kat lost the last of his nine lives and was released in 1991. Sad, but sometimes, that's the way it works sometimes. Brady Boone was a talented competitor, but Battle Kat just didn't pan out the way it should have.
2) YELLOW DOG
After SuperBrawl 1 in 1991, Brian Pillman lost a Loser Leaves WCW match against Barry Windham and was forced to never be seen again. Approximately a few weeks later, a man who a similar body type and style to Flyin' Brian made his WCW debut...the Yellow Dog. Fighting out of the Kennel Club, the Dog was accompanied to ringside by...a yellow dog named Man's Best Friend. Crazy as it sounds, it was. The Yellow Dog was one of Jim Herd's failed attempts to create a gimmick in his reign at WCW. The Dog was ultimately euthanized and what seemed like literally the next day, Flyin' Brian returned to WCW. There are just some ideas you can't make up. At least he wasn't this one.
3) GOBBLEDY GOOKER
What more can you say? The biggest bust in wrestling history. After hyping up for months that a giant egg was going to hatch at the 1990 WWF Survivor Series, fans bared witness to the hatching...of a turkey. The Gobbledy Gooker was born at Survivor Series and unleashed a reign of terror onto the WWF...for about 10 minutes. The Gooker disappeared but always lived on in infamy. WrestleCrap named its yearly awards after the Gooker. Mean Gene made fun of the incident at his 2006 Hall of Fame induction speech. So much mockery as taken place because of this character; however, there are two notes that have never been discussed about the Gooker.
1) The original idea was for the Gobbledy Gooker to be the official mascot of the Survivor Series from that point on.
2) IT MADE SENSE. A bird hatched from an egg. Come on, at least it wasn't a swerve.
Now, those are my personal WORST animal based characters. But before I close it out, what was my favorite of all time?
TERRIBLE TED THE GRIZZLY BEAR
Yes, I know it was an actual animal, but it was established as an actual wrestler. IT WORKED THE TERRITORIES! Georgia, New York, San Francisco, and most notably, Stampede Wrestling. Bret Hart has told stories about the bear licking the feet of the Hart children when Ted lived in the basement of Hart House. Most importantly, Terrible Ted was exciting for the fans who wanted to see something different and entertaining. Things like this are missing nowadays in the sport i.e. the carny feel. This was something that was a special attraction and would really strike a local fan as a MUST SEE event. Terrible Ted was one of a kind and he really made the most of his career.
Columns like this make me love wrestling, both the good AND the bad. See you next week.
Jon Harder email@example.com @TheJonHarder