In the summer of 1999, facing lagging ratings, WCW attempted to stay relevant by reaching out to the music industry. Before bringing in KISS and Megadeth to perform live on Nitro, Bischoff and company tried their hand at cross-promotion with hip-hop. Of course, “cross-promotion” was more or less a code word for “we’ll pay you money to hog our TV time.”
|In June 1999, Percy “Master P” Miller signed with WCW, an organization whose previous connections to rap consisted of PN News and “Buff Daddy,” Marcus Bagwell’s new, stupid nickname. The rapper’s joining of WCW didn’t make a whole lot of sense, unless P had heard that they used to be part of NWA.|
|If Master P thought he could stroll into WCW and be welcomed with open arms, he was in for a rude awakening… or in this case, maybe a Perfect Plex. Ring veteran Curt Hennig told Master P that he was a big fan of rap music, so the rapper gave him an autographed CD. If only he had seen the past few weeks of Nitro, where Hennig repeatedly called rap, “crap” and even hijacked the DJ booth on Nitro to sing country tunes (Yes, Nitro had a DJ booth, possibly manned by Oscar of Men on a Mission). I guess Master P, like most wrestling fans, had stopped watching Nitro by that point.|
|It therefore came as no surprise to the audience that Hennig would break the CD apart in his hands. Frankly, P got off easy, as the last time a country music-loving wrestler broke a music disc into pieces, it was Jeff Jarrett’s own gold record on Ahmed Johnson’s head. Ahmed suffered from slurred, unintelligible speech for the rest of his career.|
|Even though nobody had any idea what a rapper was supposed to do in WCW (except collect checks and put over his cousin/bodyguard as a legitimate wrestler), everyone from Mean Gene to Eric Bischoff gushed over Master P’s arrival.|
|A few people who weren’t so impressed were Curt Hennig’s “West Texas Rednecks,” which also included Bobby Duncum, Jr. and the Windham brothers. After they started playing their own song, “Rap is Crap” over the loudspeakers, Master P and his dozens of henchman rushed to the DJ booth, where P vowed to get roddy roddy body body (hootie hoo).|
|Say what you will about Master P’s involvement in wrestling, but the man had a way with words. Just imagine how much more popular the Rock could have been if he had emulated Master P! Compare this tired old catchphrase:
|I don’t know if it was distaste for rap in general or for Master P’s all-purpose nonsense rebuttal, but the fans in Washington, DC were firmly against the rap mogul on only his second night with the company.|
|The next week, Master P made his musical debut with the company. Along with his brothers Silkk the Shocker and C-Murder (who is currently serving a life sentence for… take a guess), P came on stage and shouted a string of gibberish, then blatantly lip-synched his record much to his hometown New Orleans crowd’s apathy. Maybe it’s unfair to call it gibberish without first asking Wrestlecrap’s astute readers if they can make any meaning out of this:|
|“Y’all want those No Limit Soldiers give roddy roddy body body body body! The New World Order is hootie hoo! Hootie hoo!”|
|I think there was something about Roddy Piper and Jesse Ventura in there.|
|Later in the show, Master P took it upon himself to celebrate his little brother Silkk’s birthday right in the ring on live television in the middle of a wrestling show. The wrestling world would not see a more time-wasting display of excess until the WWF program of the same name (WWF Time-Wasting Display™, Saturday nights at 10 on TNN).|
|Fun fact: Silkk would later perform the entrance music for MVP.|
|P’s entourage packed the ring (not that you could see any of them, since everyone was wearing camouflage), but before they could get, in his words, “potty potty roddy roddy,” Curt Hennig showed up to the party to apologize for breaking Master P’s CD and to give a birthday present. Inside the box was a cowboy hat, which Silkk promptly stomped before the other No Limit Soldiers (as Master P’s army of rappers, bodyguards, and Power Plant cadets were called) smashed cake in Hennig’s face. Fans booed the ungrateful Soldiers because apparently a dozen or so guys bullying a ring veteran without provocation was heel behavior. Or maybe it was because Master P was black. Guess which one our rapping guest star blamed for the lukewarm audience reaction.|
|After that fiasco, Master P himself didn’t appear on television again, leaving his all-star crew of wrestlers to handle Hennig’s West Texas Rednecks. While Konnan and Rey Misterio might have had some clout among wrestling fans…|
|…the rest of the No Limit Soldiers consisted of no-names like Chase Tatum, 4×4, and Swoll, whose Wikipedia pages are filled with gross misinformation (namely, the fact that they deserve their own Wikipedia pages).|
|Rounding out the group was “BA” Brad Armstrong, who was not only a former masked member of the Freebirds, but the brother of the Road Dogg, a former country singer in the WWF. What I’m saying is, packaging an Armstrong as a die-hard rap fan was about as believable as aligning Arachnaman with DC’s Justice League.|
|Hey, quit it!|
|Not only was the No Limit Soldiers line-up lackluster, but they greatly outnumbered the West Texas Rednecks, further discouraging fans from cheering them over the underdog country aficionados. It didn’t help the Soldiers’ cause that Hennig and friends’ song, while intentionally terrible, was getting radio play on country stations, or that the traditionally southern WCW audience tended to prefer country over rap. Rather than, gasp, turning the popular country stable babyface, the company killed the feud after a month.|
This angle was one of the most wasteful in WCW’s history, as Master P was paid a cool million, while his bodyguard Swoll made 400 grand as a wrestler. But the foolishness of the spending was exacerbated by the fact that, if Ted Turner’s company wanted to bring someone in to shout “Hootie Hoo!”, they already had Space Ghost and the rest of the Cartoon Planet cast under contract.
Despite Eric Bischoff’s claim that “others in the industry” offered Master P three times the money, I doubt that Vince needed another person to say, “Hootie hoo” when he could just do it himself.
To give you an idea of the kind of consistency that WCW’s bookers practiced at the time, during the same summer as this battle between rap and country (where fans were supposed to cheer the rappers and hate the country singers) WCW hosted a mini-concert by country musician Chad Brock and expected fans to enjoy it. Maybe if they had brought him on TV a few months earlier on Hennig’s side, the audience would have booed the West Texas Rednecks instead of just poor old Chad.
Perhaps the failure of the No Limit Soldiers had nothing to do with country or rap, and everything to do with fans resenting how the spotlight had been stolen by the likes of Master P or Chad Brock, people who had never wrestled a day in their lives.
Or something like that.