Text by RD Reynolds
Let it be known that back in the early days of WrestleCrap.com, I got a lot of hate mail from folks who vehemently disagreed when something they had fond memories of hit the site as an induction. That was always strange to me; did people truly feel that if I wrote something it was cast in stone that it sucked? I always thought the site was about making people laugh, but apparently what I wrote carried a LOT of weight with some folks. Seriously, you should have seen the emails I got back in 2000, profanity-laden (and generally horribly written) emails chastising me for daring to say that Double J, the man who wanted to become a country music star and would do by going through the WWF, was “Crap.”
I always kind of blew them off, as, again, and let me state this as clearly as I possibly can, WrestleCrap.com exists for the sole purpose of making people laugh at the absurdities we’ve all seen in the wrestling business. If folks want to live and die by our inductions as the true barometer of if something was truly horrible or not, so be it.
To be fair, though, there were a handful of inductions that I always wanted to be clear that I didn’t think truly sucked, and near the top of that list would be the one I’m revisiting today: the Repo Man.
Was the Repo Man horrible? No, not at all! In fact, I used to look forward to the guy showing up on TV, because he was always good for a laugh. It was if Barry Darsow, the man behind the Lone Ranger mask, knew the absurdities of being an evil guy who went around getting back property from folks who were behind on payments, and therefore decided to play it so over the top and goofy that there’s no possible way you could take him seriously.
Oh, and I think it’s pretty certain he watched a lot of this guy to prepare for the role:
Not sure you believe me? Then check out Repo’s laugh!
The fact that this was shot at a Dutch angle, just like a Batman villian, just seals the deal.
So yeah, anyway, Darsow, way better known for his run in Demolition as Smash, became the diabolical Repo Man. The idea was that if you were late on your payments, he would come and take your property. Let’s let the man himself explain the gimmick.
Best I can figure is that Vince felt he had an audience of deadbeats, and therefore, his crowds would hate the guy. Comical that Vince would, years later, complain that car manufacturers wouldn’t pay to advertise on his shows. Why would they? You told everyone they couldn’t afford to pay for them, dummy!
The Repo Man…yeah, I admit, he wasn’t crap. He was GREAT. People remember his Lone Ranger mask and the fact he carried a tow rope to the ring, but to me the best part of his outfit was that nasty gray trenchcoat with tires for elbow padding and license plates spelling out his name on the back.
Seriously, look at that. Who the hell would ever think, “You know what would truly accentuate this fine jacket? LICENSE PLATES AND TIRES.”
His gimmick, you see, was that if you were even a MINUTE late on your payments, he had the right to take your property. It started off with standard stuff like cars. For instance, he found one woman who was three days late on her payment. In Repo’s book she wasn’t a lady, she was a car thief.
But it didn’t stop there. Soon enough he was repossessing bikes!
Note I said bikes, as in plural. Not only did he swipe that kid’s Huffy, he also rode out to the interview stage on a ten speed and then told us a story about how the bike’s owner had to study for finals and therefore couldn’t afford the bike and…you know what, let’s just let him tell the story. He’ll do it way better than I can.
You know, I hope I don’t come off as a Richie Rich, but seriously, who has a ten-speed like that on a payment plan?
Then there was the time that a video store was late on their payments for…well, I’m not quite sure. But Repo knew they were late! And one other thing I am VERY certain of: Repo loved Colisseum Video.
I mean, LOVED them.
Cars, bikes, video stores…that was one thing. But the dude didn’t just run around steali…err, repossessing stuff, he would take those skills he learned and use them in the ring. You know, a lot of people remember Royal Rumble 1992 for Ric Flair winning the WWF title (and Bobby Heenan’s awesome commentary), and rightly so. But who could forget Repo’s fantastic showing in the match?
And when he combined his stealth-based wrestling tatics with his penchant for repossession we got what may have been the greatest angle in the history of Monday Night Raw: the time Repo Man discovered that Randy Savage was late on payments on his HAT.
Again, I ask: what kinda douchebag puts his hat on a payment plan? At least look into layaway, Macho!
Sadly, that was pretty much the end of the Repo Man in the WWF, which was a real shame.
Not just because we saw no more car jackings, stolen ten speeds, or Royal Rumble appearances.
No, because most sadly of all, we got no more bedazzled cowboy hat/Lone Ranger mask combos.
Too bad – that was a killer look.