Independent PPV, 2000
The term, “terrible” is all relative. For example, last week, I inducted Jerry Lawler vs. Roddy Piper, a terrible match with no business headlining a “New Generation” card on a major pay-per-view. If, however, the same match had been put on an independent DVD sold for $1 on the Wal-Mart bargain shelf, then it wouldn’t have been judged nearly so harshly. After all, for a discount video release to cross that Wrestlecrap event horizon from which no match, gimmick, angle, or card can escape, it would have to be a truly special piece of garbage.
And that brings me to this week’s induction. The fledgling Australian promotion i-Generation Wrestling put on their answer to the “Heroes of Wrestling” event in July 2000 entitled, “Rodman Down Under” after the controversial Chicago Bull, nWo member, and unofficial North Korean ambassador who wrestled in its main event. The major difference was that while “Heroes of Wrestling” at least clued fans in to the fact that it would be a very veteran-heavy (emphasis on “heavy”) event, the very name, “i-Generation” suggested something new, youthful, and innovative. Fans were probably more than a little disappointed to find that the actual card featured only 3 male wrestlers under 40 years of age: Johnny Grunge (34), Tatanka (39), and Dennis Rodman (39). Still, at least no one at i-Generation expected fans to pay $20 to watch it on pay-per-view. $19.95, yes, but not 20 bucks.
Oh, I guess I forgot to mention that (just like Heroes of Wrestling) this event did, in fact, air on a pay-per-view basis in the U.S. and Canada, but it’s still a waste of money even in the bargain bin a decade later.
|The show opened up with Ted DiBiase and a second announcer, who were blatantly standing in front of a green screen in a studio a hemisphere away from the action in Sydney. There is actually a German-language version of this DVD, but the production people apparently could not figure out how to cut out the intro by the extraneous commentators (who appear on-screen only that once). As a result, the German announcers ended up not only dubbing over the intros by Ted and the other guy (who, for the record, is named Vince Mancini), but pretending to be their two American counterparts, even calling each other by name throughout the event. The things you find floating around online.|
|Speaking of floaters, the first match was a tables match featuring Public Enemy, whose Johnny Grunge showed up in peak physical condition. “Peak,” that is, if you count a giant pile of pudding as a mountain. Things were clearly awry when Grunge rolled under the bottom rope and got stuck.|
|He then taunted a fan with an obscene gesture that honestly looked more like he was brushing his teeth. Hey, if I ate that many Snickers, I’d brush so much I’d be miming it in my sleep.|
|Don’t think I’m being unnecessarily critical of our hefty ECW alum, though, as the announcers themselves made Grunge’s weight a focal point of the commentary. Ted got things started, giving carte blanche to Vince Mancini to land a few zingers.|
|Poor Johnny couldn’t even take a back bump without making a detour onto his ass.|
|Meanwhile, Rocco Rock, always the innovator, hit Animal with a water bottle as Vince Mancini tried in vain to explain what made Dasani such a dangerous weapon. Remember in 2011 when R-Truth turned heel and the water bottle became the hot new weapon of choice? Thank the Flyboy.|
|The announcers explained that in this table match between Public Enemy and the comparatively svelte Road Warriors, the only way to win was to put both opponents through tables. That didn’t stop the Warriors from making pin attempts throughout the match…|
|…including this one on Johnny Grunge that the referee missed, then finally spotted and started to count. Grunge still couldn’t kick out in time, so the ref just pretended he escaped and called it a two-count. This would have been an outrage if it were possible to win the match by pinfall, which the announcers already explained you couldn’t.|
|Road Warrior Animal won the match for his team, thanks to the fancy footwork of Grunge, who slowly and steadily backed up into the table as Animal slammed his partner.|
|Animal and Hawk thus won the prestigious two-day-old IGW tag team titles, beating the former champions and only other tag team in the whole promotion.|
|We were then treated to the i-Generettes, as promoters at the time assumed that an anorexic dance troupe was as integral to a wrestling show as the ring, ropes, garbage cans, or constant groin-strikes.|
|Seriously, the hardcore match that followed consisted of over ten minutes of low blows and trash can-swinging, which was about the most you could expect at this point in the careers of The Barbarian…|
|…and Ed Leslie (a piece of “beefcake” here referred to as “Brute Force,” but better known to the world as, you guessed it, The Booty Man).
|In fact, most of the commentary focused on the wrestlers’ multiple groin injuries and how upset “Mrs. Brute Force” would be. I let the constant fat jokes slide in the last match, but this is too insensitive to excuse. We should all know by now that Ed Leslie’s wife left him for some barfly shortly before the parasailing accident (especially after he bitched about it on an early episode of Raw).|
|Barbarian sported tights reading “Faces of Fear,” because the Dungeon of Doom was apparently the period in his career he would most like fans to remember. At least Brutus Beefcake’s run in the unrelated “3 Faces of Fear” predated his involvement in that other group. Come to the think of it, you could call this the worst match ever between two wrestlers trained in “The Dungeon.”|
|Brute Force attempted either a Diamond Cutter or a Stone Cold Stunner and came up with neither.|
|In a shockingly violent moment, the Barbarian won after viciously beating the steel plates out of Ed Leslie’s face. At least I think that’s what’s going on in this picture.|
|The i-Generettes arrived again, this time in Marlena costumes.|
|Next was the women’s match, where Brandi Wine came to the ring with “Sugar Daddy,” better known as Fred Ottman, Typhoon, Tugboat, or The Shockmaster. Just be thankful the WWF didn’t hire Wine in 1996, lest she have been paired up with Jake Roberts during his “recovering alcoholic” gimmick.|
|Her opponent was Sweet Destiny. I don’t know about you, but I find something vaguely suggestive about that moniker, much like “Dark Journey.” Whatever that nickname was supposed to mean, it’s much nicer than what the German announce team seemed to call her. As the name, “Philadelphia C**t” suggested, she was not from Australia, so to make her a solid babyface in the country, IGW paired her with boxer and actor “Aussie Joe” Bugner. He’s from Hungary.
|Now, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with these women’s bodies. I’m just saying that Dixie Carter would never let these two on the air. It’s a shame that women wrestlers like these couldn’t get on TV just because they weren’t super-skinny… or at all competent in the ring, really.|
|See, what followed was a messy ten minutes of hair-pulling and snapmares. If Fabulous Moolah had seen this match sometime between the 1960s and the 1980s, she would have been glad to take the girls under her wing, take a cut of their salary, and job them out to her in arenas throughout the United States.|
|Alas, this was the year 2000, so all this underwhelming action got them was the derision of the fans. Note to the producers of this pay-per-view: if at first you can’t avoid the camera shot of the fans in the front row laughing their heads off, at least edit it out in post-production.|
|The nondescript action in the ring at least gave viewers time to enjoy the signs in the Sydney crowd, such as this one suggesting that this match was better than porn. I mean, have you ever watched a porno with Ted DiBiase calling the action? (Note: This question is purely rhetorical. Do not send me any links)|
|Also on full display was the odd mixture of merchandise shown off by the wrestling-starved Aussie fans. Where and when else would you see an ECW shirt, a guy dressed as Hulk Hogan, and a puppies reference all in the same shot?|
|Here’s a dig at Paul Orndorff, who toured with the promotion but didn’t appear at this event.|
|And here’s a fan decrying WCW while watching a card full of wrestlers the company thought were over the hill. I guess that’s why it sucks?|
|Eventually, Aussie Joe and Uncle Fred (who managed to step into the ring without tripping) had a face-off, which Joe won with a punch to the face. Sweet Destiny picked up a victory, as well.|
|After yet another i-Generettes break, the One Man Gang made his hotly anticipated entrance.|
|Years before John Cena, the Gang had his own “Chain Gang.” Judging by how One Man Gang moved in the ring, I’m guessing that “Hustle” wasn’t one of his central tenets.|
|International champion Tatanka (Buffalo) then arrived to defend his title (which looked identical to the tag team title belts).|
|Halfway through one of the most boring matches ever recorded, the fans started revolting, pelting Gang with bottles outside of the ring…|
|…before showering the ring itself with plastic. That Rocco Rock sure set a bad example.|
|How boring was this match? The photo to the left is actually an animated GIF.|
|After the fans begged for the bout to end…|
|…OMG finally scored a pinfall on Tatanka after a ref bump, thus winning the two-day old championship from the Native American.|
|The i-Generettes danced one last time, with some fans expressing their appreciation with even more bottle-throwing.|
|At last, it was time for the main event, pitting IGW World Champion Curt Hennig against basketball player Dennis Rodman. I don’t understand the logic in putting an athlete from a non-contact sport into the ring with a trained fighter; didn’t i-Generation learn anything from the infamous Ali-Koufax fight in 1972?|
|I also don’t understand the logic in having four title belts in a two-day-old promotion with about a dozen wrestlers on the roster. I mean, WWF Royal Rumble and Raw for Super Nintendo each had 12 wrestlers, but they at least omitted the Intercontinental title.|
|Brutus Beefcake might not have been able to deliver a Diamond Cutter, but Curt Hennig delivered two.|
|Rodman and Hennig engaged in what was billed as an “Australian Outback Match,” which I assumed was a regular match where Vegemite and didgeridoos were legal. In fact, it was your standard no-holds-barred, falls-count-anywhere match, which was a nice change of pace from that boring old hardcore match earlier on the card. “No Rules, Just Right,” indeed.
|Perhaps in homage to the Brute Force-Barbarian match, when Dennis and Curt weren’t punching each other, they were hitting each other with trash cans and stomping each other in the groin.|
|Whoever booked this pay-per-view must have had some serious psychological problems, as nut-shots were used about as frequently at this event as simulated sex acts would be at WWA: Inception.
|Another thing that bugs me is that the announcers constantly referred to Hennig as “Henning.” I can understand the German announcers messing up that name, since they couldn’t even pronounce their own assumed names, but the real DiBiase had no excuse.|
|At one point, Dennis went tumbling through a table where the Australian announcers were seated. The American announcers who dubbed their commentary over the original team did their best to ignore these guys, but you can occasionally hear the old commentary creep through. For instance, when Hennig put Rodman in the only hold of the match, the microphones picked up the Aussies saying, “Camel clutch, camel clutch. He’s not giving up.”|
|This wouldn’t be a big deal, except that in post-production, the company evidently lifted the sound from other parts of the match and layered it on top of the original crowd noise to make the fans sound louder than they actually were. No one would have noticed, except that at certain times, when, say, Curt Hennig is chopping Dennis Rodman, you can still hear an Australian announcer saying, “Camel clutch, camel clutch. He’s not giving up.”|
|Although the no-DQ match started off with a title belt to the head and continued on with trash can shots and low blows galore, Dennis Rodman shoved the referee out of the ring, drawing a disqualification in the no-holds-barred main event. Hennig never even got to hook “The Worm” in his patented fisherman’s suplex. Hee hee… ho ho… I’m just incorrigible, aren’t I?
|Wondering why that one act caused a disqualification in a no-DQ match is a bit like wondering how Meatloaf could do anything for love, but he wouldn’t do that. There’s just no good answer, so you should just stop asking.
|The fans showed their appreciation for Rodman…|
|…but Curt Hennig retained his World Championship…|
|…which looked exactly like the tag team belts…|
|…and the International belt. If I didn’t know better, I’d swear that the promotion just bought the two tag team belts and then loaned them out to the other two champions to wear to the ring.|
Anyway, for those keeping score, the show featured a tables match with multiple pin attempts, a hardcore match where every strike was directed at the wrestlers’ soft bits, an International Title match between two Americans, and a no-DQ match that ended in disqualification. About the only match that delivered what it promised was the women’s match. Unless…
WWA’s Inception pay-per-view in 2001 flopped in part due to its roster being made up of people left unemployed in the wake of the deaths of WCW and ECW. i-Generation Wrestling’s “Rodman Down Under,” on the other hand, was held in the summer of 2000, when there were three major promotions, thus explaining the meager and aged group of wrestlers presented on the show.
Perhaps the most damning criticism of the event I can offer, however, is that Roddy Piper vs. Lawler, last week’s induction, was far and away better than anything on this pay-per-view.
If there’s one consolation for Australian wrestling fans, it’s this: In 2000, they got an abysmal pay-per-view. In 2001, they got a merely awful pay-per-view. This upward trend means that fans down under are due for a great pay-per-view event some time in the 2030s. Sydney, put your bids in now for Wrestlemania 53!