INDUCTION: The Menagerie – FUNFACT: Carnies Frown Upon Pro Wrestling

39 Submitted by on Thu, 12 May 2016, 20:00

men-0
TNA Impact Wrestling, 2014

A few weeks back, during an induction about the first WWF video game ever made, I dropped in a note about how I am now helping to run The Skycade arcade at The Skyline Drive In in Shelbyville, Indiana.  It’s been a fun endeavor, and I urge everyone to come and check it out when you get a chance.  It’s been a fun way to spread my wings a bit, and more importantly, let games I own out into the wild, so that more than my family and our handful of friends get to play them.  We have a WWF Royal Rumble amongst the five (soon to be six!) pinball machines, dueling Hydro Thunders, and several arcade machines as well.  You want to play WWF WrestleFest?  We got ya covered.

This spring has been a crazy one here in my neck of the woods, with tornadoes and heavy rains being a near daily occurrence.  Thankfully, we’ve had no damage at the drive in.  I mean, if that gameroom were to flood, I think I’d be a total wreck.

Kinda like Mike Knox.

Remember Mike Knox?  The guy who introduced Kelly Kelly, the world’s least effective stripper, to the world in the early days of the WWE version of ECW?

Good times.

Wait, not it wasn’t.  That was completely idiotic.  How have we never inducted that?

And why do I write that exact same sentence in seemingly every induction?

mmrhigherres

Yeah, I don’t know either, dude.

Well, anyway, fast forward a few years as Knox had left WWECW and headed to the more fertile (because they were covered in crap) pastures of TNA Impact Wrestling!  As one of the founding members of the legendary Aces and Eights (another one that we need to cover), the cleverly renamed KNUX had been a force in Dixie Carter’s play land.  Sadly, his merry band of mischief makers was forced to disband following a storyline that felt as though it had been going since the Nixon era.  Left to meander about with no real focus in his life, Knux seemingly disappeared from wrestling.

In the spring of 2014, we would learn why; his family was in trouble, and he needed to head home to help save the ranch.

men-01

A car ride, one really atrocious country song, and far too many extreme close ups of his lower eye socket area later, we learned that a girl named Tanea had gotten a hold of Knux and explained to him that his hometown had flooded.  And that was trouble, as we learned that the high tides had caused ruination of his family’s business:

men-02

The worst carnival you ever did see.

On the plus side, we got a horse staring at us for an uncomfortable amount of time.  You know how WWE likes to leave the camera on wrestlers for too long when they are done talking in an interview?

This horse does too.

men-03

Knux further explains he left home to become a wrestler, a career choice of which his father didn’t approve.

Let me repeat that: his father, who was a CARNIE, did not approve of him being a PRO WRESTLER.

Mrs. Deal!  Get Kizarny on the line!  If anyone would know about this prejudice, I bet he would!

men-04

So Knux makes it back home and HOLYTOLEDOLOOKATTHOSESHORTS.

Wow.

I mean WOW.

The most amazing part is that Tanea is wearing those whilst she is explaining to Knux what a disaster this flood has been for the family.  The way she warbles on makes you believe the family has hit absolute rock bottom.  It wouldn’t surprise me to hear her explain that Pappy Knux died from all the stress.

I wonder what she’d wear to the funeral.

men-05

As we get a pan of the game room, Tanea bemoans the fact that “our money makers don’t make money anymore.”

Yep, I bet that Golden Tee with a missing a monitor and no trackball was just raking in the quarters prior to the flood!

men-06

Teary eyed but undeterred, Knux notices a working jukebox that still played their song.  This simple note began the two on a path back toward being a couple.  In the following weeks, as Knux and Tanea grew closer, their acting somehow became even worse, leading to some of the worst thespianism ever witnessed on television.

Like, legit if Ed Wood had seen this, he’d have asked for a take two.

men-07

So we got to see Knux and Tanea hanging out with friends and family as they bonded.  A particularly touching moment was when Knux noted how he was thrilled that she had learned how to twirl fire batons in his absence.

I would like to note, for the record, that in this sequence, the following dialogue was recited:

“Are you proud of me?” she asked.

“Yes, I am extremely proud of you,” he proudly stated.

PROUD I SAY!

men-08

Despite their now blossoming love, Knux explains he needs to go back to what he is best at, and that is pro wrestling.  Tanya nods, and says that she not only understands, but wants to join him on the road.

“You want to leave all this behind?” Knux asked.

men-05

ALL OF THIS?

ARE YOU SURE TANEA?

“I’m leaving all of this behind,” she beamed.  “It’s YOU AND ME BABY!”

men-09b

So they hop in the car and hit the road, with Knux explaining that not only does he want Tanea traveling with him, but he wants her in his corner.  Actually, that’s not entirely true.  “I don’t need Tanea,” he philosophized.  “I need Rebel.”

She understood.

She knew what her man needed.  And she was ready.

“You’re gonna get all the Rebel you can handle!”

And there you have it – that’s how the woman half responsible for the worst match of the year got her name!

Knux wasn’t done, though, explaining if they were going to be a success and thus send money back to his carnie old man, they’d need more.

They’d need Crazzy Steve.

Rebel: “Not Crazzy Steve – HE’S CRAZZY!”

Knux: “And….The Freak.”

Rebel: “The Freak?  ABSOLUTELY FREAKING NOT!”

But his mind was made up – they were going to get them.

Could a pro wrestling debut possibly live up to weeks of broken down arcade machines, carnie family drama, and shorts so tight they had to have ruptured fallopian tubes?

Time to cue up the pyro and ballyhoo!

men-10

Next Thursday couldn’t come soon enough.

As circus music filled the air, the motleyist of motley crews made their way to the ring!

men11

First was Rebel, who apparently lost her fire batons on the trip to Orlando.  Boo!  Anyway, she was accompanied by goofy looking stilt walkers, who I dare say looked identical to the ones you see walking around Universal Orlando, which is where the Impact Zone used to be located.

Before, you know, Dixie was evicted.

But hey, let’s not focus on the negative!

men-12

Not when we have Crazzy Steve!  He’s a clown!  Not only does he have face paint, but also balloons and a horn!

He also can’t spell!

That’s how CRAZZY he is!

men-13

Every respectable carnival has to have a muscleman, and this one delivers with THE FREAK!  Why if I didn’t know any better, I’d think that was Rob Terry, who’d been with the company for years and years before this, under the mask!

Taz: “Man!  They must have good gyms at the old circus!”

And finally…

men-14

Knux, who just kinda walked down to the ring.

Sorry, if that’s all you’re doing, NO ANIMATED GIF FOR YOU!

Besides, I need to save that bandwidth for this:

men-15

Rebel’s splits!

Yep, them there’s megabytes well spent.

men-16

In fact, I dare say that if Bryan and I ever get around to writing The Death of TNA, The Menagerie Family Photo should be the front cover.  Heck, it should be the front cover, the back cover, and six full color centerfolds.

And not just because Crazzy Steve is flipping us off.

men-17

Amazingly, not everyone was impressed.  Poor Frankie Kazarian.  Not only did he have to attempt to carry Knux in their debut match, he had to then attempt to get something, ANYTHING, out of Crazzy Steve the following week.

Dude is great.  But he’s not THAT great.

men-18

Eh, seeing him take that bump off that set up, maybe he is that great.

Speaking of greatness, I have to make note of Taz’s call of the action.  I don’t know how he managed to do it, but his “Oh no, the oldest trick in the book right there” is the most amazing display of being simultaneously bored and yet somehow amused in a manner in which he knows he shouldn’t be.

You want to talk underrated announcers in wrestling history?  Taz is up near the top of the list.

Crazzy Steve’s match with Kazarian ended exactly as you’d expect…

men-19

…with the clown pulling down the ref’s pants for the DQ as Rebel hung upside down in the ropes.

Sadly, following a couple weeks of being a featured attraction, The Menagerie just kinda fell into obscurity.  They would wrestle matches here and there, rarely winning, and as TNA’s financial situation became more dire, their entrances became less and less elaborate.  Rebel wound up breaking her arm in a battle royal, and the group more or less vanished in the fall.

In a match one year and one month from their debut, we were given an update on their whereabouts, with Mike Tenay telling us the word on the street was that the Menagerie had gone back to the carnival.

men-05

You know, the one that was broke.

One can only hope that all the money they made was enough to repair that Golden Tee.

I hear that’s a real money maker.

Written by

Yeah, you know...the WrestleCrap guy. Been here since before day 1, I have. You can hang out with me on Facebook. (I'm on there quite a bit) or follow my exploits on Twitter (I'm on there not quite so often). Thanks, and Keep on Crappin'!
39 Responses to "INDUCTION: The Menagerie – FUNFACT: Carnies Frown Upon Pro Wrestling"
  1. PlasticDiverGuy says:

    Send some of that rain up to Alberta.

    You should hire Robert Conrad for your carnival. A quarter will allow you to try to knock a battery off his shoulder.

  2. Jeff B says:

    FREEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAKKKKKKK!

  3. Matt McGovern says:

    Josh Mathews said they went back to carnival life. Even though I think Tenay was at the end of that.

  4. Vince B says:

    With how generic WWE music can be (thanks for f***ing nothing, CFO$!), hearing something weird and off-beat like the Menagerie theme is welcome. I like it.

  5. Erich says:

    It may not have been great (or good, or tolerable, or…), but I still give TNA kudos for at least trying to give an interesting story to some of their midcarders.
    Plus my god, that Rebel gif never could have happened otherwise.

  6. Mister Forth says:

    Steve likes that it was recently found to be helpful to have someone spit mist into his throat.

  7. Tony Farrar says:

    I think that the freak stole the Narcissist’s gear, and Lord Humongous’ hood.

  8. Scrooge McSuck says:

    A stable of unbalanced freaks has potential. I mean, Kevin Sullivan made a living of it throughout his career, and almost all of it was actually some good stuff (obviously not the Dungeon of Doom). This… ew. The Menagerie is up there with the League of Nation for most worthless stables in recent memory.

  9. Nicholas Nutter says:

    I loved this gimmick. I knew it was never going to set the world on fire (unless Russo managed to book a recreation of the Hartford Circus Fire in the Impact Zone…) but this was genuinely fun to watch for the WTF factor. Never knew they had a detailed backstory; must’ve been during the two months we didn’t have cable.

  10. Jim says:

    Brownie points for the performers trying but definitely Wrestlecrap worthy. Gah, those intro vignettes were so bad even before Rebel’s acting. TNA tried to make Knux the relatively normal leader but he was just rather uninteresting.

    1- Perhaps I imagined it, but I swear that there was a backstage segment where Crazzy Steve and the Freak debuted coming out of a box (and something coming out of a box = money in wrestling).

    2- I believe the Crazzy Steve match was Kaz’s last match in the company; what a way to go out.

    3- Can’t believe you didn’t include this hideous segment with the BroMans (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGG-1uQv8Z0) a few weeks later that I believe was largely responsible for Bryan Alvarez launching a one-month boycott of reviewing Impact on his show.

    Thanks for the induction.

  11. AK says:

    I am decidedly torn..

    I like Melina’s split entrance more but I find Rebel more physically attractive.

    Oh and I think they missed an opportunity with the horse. I’m sure the Pale Horse has long been retired but they definitely could have built this horse to be its son/daughter? I doubt Vince would care if they even infringed on the Gimmick. To be fair, even if Vince owns the rights to it, he didn’t come up with it.

    Ah who am I kidding? Once the Horse 3:16 shirts started rolling out, Vince would sue the whole lot of ’em.

  12. OPC says:

    I wonder who had it harder off for the money, that carnival, or Dixie?

    Also, Tanea HAD to have those short shorts. I mean, it was either that or flood pants, and only Milhouse can rock those! Everything is coming up Milhouse!

  13. John C says:

    Ruptured Fallopian Tubes, isn’t that what Scotty had to fix on The Enterprise every episode?

  14. TheDude says:

    While I get why this was inducted, this was still one of my favorite things from TNA. And from the ashes of this came Decay. Happy panda.

  15. AlantheEmpire says:

    I think I know where those broken arcade machines lived – back in the day, in Orlando there was a shopping mall that did next to no business called Festival Bay. It had a small arcade, but they got a massive unit for it, so behind the working machines, there was a whole workshop of other broken stuff that the proprietors were working on. That appears to be the carnival site. Total distance from the Impact Zone to this place, under 10 miles. I’m impressed, although I’m not sure which company is in the bigger hole financially.

  16. Kurt says:

    I’m sorry RD, but that stable produced Rebel. Who produced DAT ASS. thus, it’s not WrestleCrap.

  17. Doc 902714 says:

    “…with the clown pulling down the ref’s pants for the DQ as Rebel hung upside down in the ropes.”

    Phantasio did the same thing during a match back in 95 but never got DQ’d

    Shame TNA.

  18. King Of Kings says:

    Taz: “Man! They must have good gyms at the old circus!”

    Where have I heard this before? Oh yeah! Batista’s debut on Smackdown as Deacon Batista second to Reverend Devon.

    Taz: “Man! They must have some good gyms in church huh!”

  19. Chris says:

    Steve’s a talented guy. I’m happy for his current success

  20. Geoff says:

    Randomess at Dixie’s best. Rebel hanging upside down on the ropes for reasons unknown, Crazzy pulling down the ref’s pants and then rolling around the ring laughing his “ahem” ass off, the ref bawling out Freak for something not involving the match and the actual wrestler in the match, Knux, was nowhere to be seen.

    Also Rebel maybe better looking than Melina but Melina perfected the splits. Can’t knux that. I’ve always loved Melina, she may have had some bad matches but she tried her hardest to become a great wrestler like Lita and Trish. But because Vince always looked down on that division she was always overlooked. I miss Melina.

  21. "The Big Cheese" Paul Kraft says:

    TNA would like to thank Blip of Blip’s Arcade for the use of his fine establishment for these vignettes.

  22. Dan Borowski says:

    Regular reader, first time commenter. Thank you for all the laughs you’ve provided me through the years. Being a broke-ass radio guy, I thought the least I could do to try and repay you was to leave a 5-star review on the Skyline although I’ve never been. Thanks again, RD. I truly hope you find success with your Skycade.

  23. Rodolfo Rodríguez (That Lucha Guy) says:

    Come on, The Menagerie was an awesome thing! I mean, of course it was horrendously handled but I still think it could have reached something. Besides, they had the coolest entrance theme!

  24. Sean Bateman says:

    And now Rebel/Tanea gave us that hideous match against the big nipple vampire in Dixieland. Thanks, TNA.

  25. Geoff says:

    I think the Oddities had a better entrance theme song. Come on who doesn’t want to come out to ICP?

  26. Geoff says:

    If Blip’s arcade is in Indiana, then I’m sure Blip is the drunk dwarf in the corner.

  27. AdamX says:

    I hated Steve at first but I’ll be damned if he didn’t mess around and make me a fan with this Decay business. Especially with it bringing Rosemary to our tv’s on a weekly basis.

    As for Knox, I loved his intelligent psychopath gimmick but he was fired before it really took off.

  28. JimbobJones says:

    This is more of the same for TNA.

    The potential was there, but the payoff, as usual, sucked.

  29. Shockwave says:

    I’d visit that arcade, it looks more fun than attending a TNA event. Heck, helping them repair the machines would be more fun!

  30. El Atomico says:

    To each his own, but I really liked the menagerie.

    • RD Reynolds says:

      I always used to write on FB “I love the Clown Show” whenever they were on. Dug the music. Dug Rebel.

  31. Porter "Budsgrand" Sultzbaugh says:

    “So Knux makes it back home and HOLYTOLEDOLOOKATTHOSESHORTS.”

    Or Beautiful Lack thereof !

  32. Anonymous says:

    Wasn’t this a nominee for a Gooker?

  33. hywel says:

    good to see this, i was actually in school with “the freak” rob terry.

  34. Jim says:

    At the moment, several Menagerie items still available at shoptna.com, including a Menagerie shirt ($5) and a Rebel poster (in a red, white, and blue bikini rather than the shorts).

    Glad that Crazzy was able to survive and form a tag team with Abyss.

leave a comment