It seems like this year, more than any other I can recall, I’ve thought a lot about the early days of WrestleCrap.com. Maybe it’s due to it being the fifteenth year of the site, maybe it’s due to me becoming an old fossil. Could also be my binge watching of Prime Time Wrestling. Whatever the reason, the words “sewer rats” have been embedded into my brain and I wondered just how skimpy the original induction of Bad News Brown’s evil pets must have been.
Imagine my shock when I realized it wasn’t just a rinky dink induction, it was a non-existent one.
How on earth have I never covered this atrocity??
My only guess would be that I could never find any actual footage of this abomination. That was often a challenge with a lot of things I wanted to cover back in the day. Thanks to the glory of YouTube and a great, unnamed man who provided me with years and years of not only Prime Time, but also WWF Superstars of Wrestling and WWF Wrestling Challenge, though, that’s no longer an issue.
This disaster of an idea all started innocently enough – with “Mean Gene” interviewing the heel from Harlem. In fact, I want to step back and discuss this a bit, as Okerlund explained who Brown was, what his motivations were, and in essence, exactly what his character was all about. Brown would then go on to further define his persona, noting that he didn’t want a manager, as they’d just steal his money, and he sure didn’t want a partner, as they’d just stab him in the back. Finally, he hated all the fans.
A simple backstory that everyone can understand. Me likee.
(As an aside, Blade and I often joke off-air about how various WrestleCrap Radio correspondents have more fleshed out backstories than most of today’s WWE roster. Like Mike Check. You may hate that guy (I won’t blame you!), but you have the story behind who he is. Terrible DJ who gets fired from every job, has stupid ideas that cause those firings. On the run from a million women he’s impregnated. Doesn’t like anyone more famous than he is. Has a daughter who is apparently a whizz kid. Compare and contrast that with, say, Cesaro. What’s that guy’s motivation? What’s his background? So yeah, good job here Gene.)
As the two bickered back and forth, Gene let us in on a little secret: it was Bad News Brown’s birthday! Can’t blame you for being incredulous, so here’s the audio proof. Sadly Gene didn’t lead the crowd in signing Happy Birthday to him, but he does offer him a gift. Reluctantly, Mr. Brown opens the gift to reveal…
…something that absolutely horrifies him.
Who knows what it could be.
Wait, I know who knows what it could be: Gene Okerlund!
It’s a rubber snake!
One that Gene gleefully shakes about in the air like a maraca!
Like, seriously, I’ve never seen a man so happy about a rubber snake in my life. What’s the deal, Okerlund?
Oh, and I cannot in good conscience blame Bad News for being angry here – if someone gave me something that cheap for a birthday gift, I’d be ticked off too.
Instead, we learn that Bad News (like Andre the Giant and every other heel in the late 80’s, early 90’s WWF) is absolutely terrified of snakes. Well for a week he was, right up until he met noted Harlem hypnotist Jay “Kingfish” Calhoun, who not only cured him of this fear, but…
All I can say is that I am sad that TNT was off the air by this point, because that would have made for some tremendous television.
Tremendous television that would have likely ended up with a metal salad bowl on Bad News’ head. Apparently those were all the rage with psychologists during the era.
Shortly after noting he’d been cured, however, (one day hopefully) jobber (of the week if Blade ever gets his act together) Mike Vee (middle name Tee, right?) pulled a rubber snake out of his pants which caused Bad News to flee the ring.
Why he’s not cured at all!
He’s nothing but a liar!
Not one to be deterred, Bad News would soon come up with a new plan: he’d go down into the sewers of Harlem and get some rats to stave off Damien. But not just any rats – MUTANT RATS BRED TO EAT SNAKES AND DOGS!
Sadly we didn’t get footage of this incident either. Instead, one week he just showed up on WWF TV with a black box that would mysteriously move and shake, almost as if someone off camera was not so mysteriously moving and shaking it.
But hey, you want realism in your Harlem Mutant Sewer Rat storylines? Then watch this as Bad News feeds the rats a nice juicy steak…
…and gets nothing but a bone after they’ve gnawed on it!
That’s right up there with Papa Shango making Ultimate Warrior’s head secrete black ooze on the WWF z-grade special effect scale! Still, it’s worth it if for no other reason than to hear Bad News cackle with glee that the same fate is going to befall Damien.
While we would very rarely get to see these rats, there were a couple of instances where Bad News would lift them in the air for the world to see. I feel it is my civic duty to note that these mutant sewer rats looked nearly identical to possums. Dead possums I think. I somehow doubt that live ones would hold completely still as they were been shook about by the neck.
Going out on a limb and saying that this angle probably wouldn’t make it to air today.
OH! And for some reason they sounded like pigs. Why this would be I have no clue, but I likewise have no clue why anyone thought this angle was in any way, shape or form a good idea to begin with. Anyway, all of this utter insanity led up to the big match: Jake Roberts with Damien vs. Bad News Brown and his Mutant Sewer Rats.
It was a match that lasted approximately 4 minutes and ended with Brown getting disqualified for hitting Jake with a chair. A thrilling encounter it was not. You will also be shocked to learn that the mutant rats never left their box…and were basically never mentioned again.
I can only assume that, much like snakes and other reptiles, WWF President Jack Tunney must have banned them from ringside.
Unequivocally banned them, of course.