Graveyard Match

Graveyard Match

It seems not a week goes by when I don’t get an email from someone who attempts to explain to me how Vince Russo is actually a good booker, and how not all his ideas are complete and utter crap. To the Russonians out there, I will give the devil his due. Russo has come up with some decent ideas that have lead to some enjoyable television over the years. However, for every one of those moments, it seems there are 537 disasters.

One of the things Russo supporters are fond of saying is that he always gives young talent a chance to shine. True enough – during 2000, Vampiro received a major push, securing wins over major superstars such as Sting. The flip side of that coin, however, is that he did so in a series of ridiculous gimmick matches, like the HUMAN TORCH match in which the Stinger got lit on fire and was thrown forty feet to an inflatable cushion below.

With the Stinger deep fried and resting comfortably atop his Craftmatic Adjustable Air Mattress, Vampiro was in need of a new opponent. And he found one in the Kiss Demon.

I’ve covered the Demon before in these pages, but a here’s a brief history lesson for those new to the kingdom of ‘Crap. The Demon was the brainchild of KISS guitarist Gene Simmons, who felt that a wrestler based on the band could put a few extra bucks in his pocket. After Vince McMahon passed on the idea, Simmons went to WCW and Eric Bischoff not only bit on the idea, he swallowed the hook, writing Simmons a check that was rumored to be in the seven figures. In exchange for the cash and presumably royalties on any Demon merchandise, KISS would appear on WCW TV and do a mini concert.

The Demon was originally played by Bryan Adams (Crush/one half of Kronik) and later by Dale Torborg, both of whom pretty much sucked. It should be noted, however, that per their contract, WCW was forced to give the Demon at least one main event match, and they did so at SuperBrawl 2000, dubbing the fourth match on the show (pitting Demon against the Wall) a “special main event.”

I give you all of this backstory to illustrate the fact that the Kiss Demon was an insanely bad idea, and played to whatever the polar opposite of perfection is by all involved. Therefore, Vampiro going from feuding with Sting to feuding with the Demon was a pretty significant step down. Making matters far worse was the fact that Russo had pretty much lost his mind by this point, and decided the feud would best be settled in wrestling’s first ever Graveyard Match!

Yes, the bout actually took place in a very spooky cemetary. The whole thing was like something out of Scooby Doo, although, come to think of it, the show with a talking dog may have been a wee bit more realistic.

The object of the match, according to commentator Tony Shiavone, was to leave the graveyard and return to the arena. Now I don’t know exactly where the Ocean Center is in Daytona, but most venues I have been to don’t have a cemetary within like 20 miles. Using Tony’s logic, this match would be less a wrestling bout than a marathon.

One of the myriad problems of having a match in a dark wooded area is that is lighting. In order for the fans at home to be able to see much of anything, Torgborg was given a big torch, and referee Charles “Li’l Naitch” Robinson was given a flash light. Of course, since Torborg lost his torch early in the encounter, much of the match is obscured in darkness, which, come to think of it, may not be such a bad thing.

I should note that fellow WrestleCrap inductee Asya also came along for the ride, because she was Torborg’s real life girlfriend and you all know how much Russo loves SHOOTS. All of this led to a bunch of badly acted and scripted nonsense.

After several minutes of hide and seek, Vampiro lept at his foe from a tree. Well, at least that’s what the announcers claimed, as it was so dark that I couldn’t even get a decent video grab of the shot! The two wandered around the area hitting each other with tree limbs, before Vampiro disappeared into the night once again.

As he attempted to once more locate his adversary, Demon happened upon a tranquil lake.


Vampiro emerged from the pond just like the Creature from the Black Lagoon and dragged Demon down into its murky depths…

…leading to the most vicious game of Marco Polo you will ever see.

After more horseplay than any respectable YMCA lifeguard would ever allow, Vampiro again snuck away, this time hiding himself in a casket.

Not quite sure why a graveyard would have coffins just lying around. Maybe it’s one of those new self service cemetaries I’ve been hearing so much about.

Finally, Vampiro picks up a tombstone (made of solid cement, according to Tony) and offers Demon a choice: join me or die!

Demon declined Vamp’s generous offer, and got the headstone upside his head for his trouble. Color commentator Mark Madden was confused as to whether it was the block that exploded or Demon’s head.

I was confused as to why Madden still had a job.

With Demon KO’ed (but head still intact, much to Madden’s relief), Vampiro shoved him into the casket…

…then dumped the casket into the open grave.

How about that – it was a self service cemetary after all!

In a final act of stupidity, Vamp then set the grave on fire.

Oddly, we never saw either man again that night, which probably led Tony to draw the conclusion that the match was a no contest.

So to all those of your Russo supporters out there, please do me a favor. Take your mouse, and guide it up to the FILE menu, then click on SAVE AS and store this page on your hard drive. And the next time you get the urge to write me, re-read this entry.

Thanks – I appreciate it.

KISS Demon (with acting so wooden you might mistake him for a sequoia): “Asya, stay back.”

Asya (in evergreen mode herself): “No, I’m going with you.”

Demon: “Fine. Charles, you watch out for her.”

Charles Robinson: “OK.”

Vampiro: “Moment of truth, Dale! (RD: Ooooh, he called him by his real name – this must be a SHOOT.) Are you ready to live or die? You gonna join me?”

Demon: “NEVER!”

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