Once upon a time, many years ago, there was no such thing as
the internet. Older wrestling fans can recall the days of literally
mailing tapes to each other, and the joy of going to your mailbox
to discover what your pen pal (so named because you actually
wrote to each other via a ball point) had sent you. I'll never
forget the day I received the Memphis TV where Vince McMahon
and the WWF crew had begun 'invading' Jerry Lawler's territory.
Not only did we get awesomeness like heel Doink hitting Lawler
in the face with a pie, but the genesis of the Mr. McMahon character
as he basically used the territory as a trial run for his vile
counterpart. And if you've never seen Howard Finkel as a heel,
you've not lived. His talking about how he was coming from "the
Big Apple" as he literally pointed to said fruit is one
of my favorite "lost" promos of all time.
you are asking what all this has to do with some horrible tape
showcasing hillbillies. Well, there was a time before tape trading
too. There was a time when your only chance to watch wrestling
was to do so on a first run airing or to head down to the local
video store and see what they had for rent. I remember the video
store in my rinky dink hometown, and it had a grand total of,
no joke, TWO wrestling for nearly its first full year of existence.
We got a Hulk Hogan tape. That thing sucked, because even when
I was young (to be fair, I didn't watch wrestling until later
in my teens) I wasn't a fan of his. But that thing was the holy
grail compared to the other tape.
guess what that was?
what we're here to discuss today.
sucked. But it was wrestling, and it was either that or watching
the Hulkster for the 37th time. So I rented it and watched it
multiple times. Did I enjoy these multiple viewings? No. The
question therefore becomes why on earth did I do it? My only
guess, and I do mean ONLY guess, is that somewhere in the recesses
of my mind I realized one day I would be writing about horrible
crap like this, and would have to watch far worse, and thus
needed to steel myself to it.
what? That sounds like some rigamaroled backstory of RD Reynolds,
like if George Lucas decided to give me an origin and it didn't
quite fit (like Yoda giving Darth Vader's kid to his own family
so he couldn't find him) but it kinda made some sense (like
Yoda giving Darth's other kid to Senator Organa so when they
blew up his planet 28 years later/earlier, she'd get upset about
I was just an idiot.
the thing started out ok, because you got that awesome
intro where they talked about the Egyptians, the Greeks,
the Romans, the Indians, and the Japenese practicing wrestling
(and yes, they did use that word) because it utilized
strength and speed. OH! And because it was, and I quote,
should note this is all set to the greatest
background music ever created, which for some reason
is missing when they show it on WWE Classics on Demand.
But don't fret, because we stole it and use it for our
current news segment on WrestleCrap Radio.
know, I could fast forward to the main part of this
show, but I just can't. Man do I still love this intro.
And how couldn't I, considering you get hieroglyphics
of ancient wrestling interspersed with Ken Patera doing
an AWESOME swing neckbreaker?
And yes, I did use "Ken Patera" and "awesome"
in the same sentence. Man I'd love to see THAT move
wait a minute…I think one of those ancient drawings
has two guys doing it in the anus. I will say I had
never noticed THAT before.
we go to "Video Control" with Gene Okerlund
who promises us "great wrestling action."
don't mean to cast aspirsions, but I am suspecting Gene
is not being honest with us here.
More from Gene: "They sing. They dance. And they
can all more than hold their own when it comes to sitting
down at the dinner table."
if you wanted to watch a tape where people sing, dance,
and eat, THIS IS FOR YOU!
up we get Hillbilly Jim getting diet tips from, no joke,
Hulk Hogan. He whips him up some of his special "gasoline",
and urges Jim to down it. "Out of the can and into
the man!" states Hogan.
Oddly enough, he would revise this message to "Out
of the man and into the can" when training Gene
of the Hulkster.
training follows, as Hillbilly is naturally confused
by new-fangled equipment such as dumb bells.
I'd mock this more (and Jim not knowing how to do a
bench press does deserve it), but I can't, since it
is set to the most synth-tastic music you will ever
when I said that background music for the intro was
the greatest ever?
the Hulkster gets Jim into the ring, and he promptly falls
down climbing through the ropes. A precusor of a career
The highlight here would be Hogan telling Jim, and I quote,"Get
that hat off, JESUS!"
Not quite sure why Hogan felt the need to use the Lord's
name in vain there.
Can only surmise he must have REALLY hated that hat.
they do some squats and stuff, then Hogan pie faces the
poor guy and throws his hat out of the ring. Anyway, Hogan
teaches him how to run the ropes.
should note that even trying to run the ropes horribly,
Jim runs them better than say, Mason Ryan.
we get yet more weight lifting, as Hogan tosses Jim's
hat aside AGAIN, not once, not twice, but THREE FREAKIN'
A plea to my fellow Crappers: if anyone ever gets the
chance to talk to Hogan, please ask him why he hated
Jim's hat so much.
I MUST KNOW.
Screw the Dusty Rhodes-Baby Doll photos, THIS is wrestling's
after many pleas to Hogan, we get Jim's first ever televised
match, against Terry Gibbs, which he wins handily with
a bear hug. The fans are going absolutely ballistic,
which I thought was bizarre, until I saw Hogan outside
the ring cheerleading them.
you ever questioned just how over Hogan was in the mid
80's, you need only know that he had the fans going
absolutely bananas for a Hillbilly Jim squash match.
to footage of Hogan and Jim training in the gym. Apparently,
Hogan is now happy with Hillbilly's progress as he puts
the hat back on his head.
Had I seen this in today's WWE, I would have been certain
that at some point Hogan and Jim would have feuded over
that damn hat.
Jobber of the Week AJ Petruzzi
looks on, Hogan then teaches Jim, and I cannot even
believe I am typing this, CHAIN WRESTLING. And even
more unbelievably, Hogan does this REALLY well.
know that sounds like I am making this up, but I swear
to you I'm not. This is as big an eye opener as watching
Hogan in Rocky III (which I maintain is still a *****
classic) in what Hogan could actually do in the ring
when he felt like it.
Hogan then gives Jim some real wrestling boots.
Jim does not give Hogan a hat to reciprocate.
Madison Square Garden we go for Jim's New York debut against
Rene Goulet. I would likely just fast forward through
this, but I thought I should mention that there are celebrities
in the crowd.
Devito. Not a huge star at this point, so yeah, I can
Piscipo. Ok, him I can see being there too. In fact, I
could see him at ringside today (as part of the ring crew).
PLEASE TO EXPLAIN…
Warhol in the crowd!
Yeah yeah, I know he was a fan and all, but I totally
forgot that was on there and it's still completely bizarre
to see the guy being entranced by watching Rene Goulet
and Hillbilly Jim engaged in battle.
Hulk Hogan isn't there. But don't worry - Gorilla Monsoon
is there to tell us that Hillbilly
needs to get rid of the hat.
can only surmise that Hogan was in Gorilla's earpiece
just like Vince is in Michael Cole's these days.
and speaking of surreal, Jim pulls out a variation of
Randy Orton's draping DDT.
Jim's looks about 10,000 times more devastating.
Jim wins with a bearhug.
the Body Shop we go, with Jesse interviewing Jim. If you've
never seen the Body Shop, it's basically the single most
ghetto Piper's Pit you will ever see. I don't mean that
Jess isn't good in the role (I've always thought Jesse
was great), but that the set itself is terrible. It's
white walls with a couple pictures of Jesse on them.
Still, all is forgiven when Jesse asks what Jim smokes
in his corncob pipe.
Jim introduces us to the next member of his inbred family,
Uncle Elmer, which causes Jesse to appropriately jump
back about six feet in an awesome sell job.
Elmer then cuts an interview proclaiming his love for
get a couple Uncle Elmer matches next, including one
that would probably cause Dave Meltzer to go into convulsions,
Uncle Elmer vs. Big John Studd.
the match is incredibly awful, thankfully it is also
Vince wearing a stetson is always good for a laugh.
Not good for a laugh is Cousin Junior, who is yet another
hillbilly in a seemingly never ending line of them.
And we get no less than three Cousin Junior matches.
Junior didn't last long, either going insane or getting
fired for drugs. Maybe both.
he was replaced somethereafter by Cousin Luke.
I know way too much about WWF's obscure wrestling hillbillies.
up, we get a tag match with Elmer and Junior against Randy
Orton's uncle, the great Barry O and someone else they
don't bother to identify.
Egads, I just noticed that Elmer decided to ditch the
shirt for this, which would be bad enough, but it also
appears that Elmer is wearing no underwear.
heard all the rumors and everything, but even I don't
think I ever realized just how bad a time poor Barry had
in his WWF days.
end of the tape of course is the infamous wedding of
Elmer and Joyce.
no you don't, tape!
already inducted that so
ain't no way I'm watching it again!
the credits in which we give "Special Thanks"
to Vince McMahon!
yeah, the next time you start to bellyache about how there's
no good wrestling to watch in this day of DVDs, YouTube, and
On Demand, do me a favor and punch yourself in the mouth. Because
when I was younger, all I had was this tape.
I rented it over and over and over again.