First things first: I never got the whole “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan thing. I had seen almost none of his glory days working for Bill Watts, and when he got to the WWF, well…he uhh…that is, ummm…screw it, like I said, I just didn’t get it. He was really bland in the ring (even by mid 80’s WWF standards) and his incessant HOOOOOOOOO!ing just got on my nerves. In short, when he came to the ring, I either flipped the channel or headed to the concession stand.
Having said all that, I would never induct him into WrestleCrap. He was hugely over and drew a ton of money. While I didn’t care for the guy, it’s obvious that a lot of folks did – his over the top patriotism really seemed to strike a chord with fans. When you add all that up, it’s fairly plain to see that while Hacksaw wasn’t one of RD’s personal favorites, he also could never be defined as “WrestleCrap” either.
Which isn’t to say that Duggan didn’t have some goofball moments I haven’t been dying to write about for years; I just was never able to figure out how to get them on these pages. Thankfully, that all changed this week as I was going through my tape collection, and ran into a WWF Coliseum video from 1989 entitled simply “Hacksaw Jim Duggan.” Nice title. I had never watched it, having picked it up at some point for a buck or two and figuring there might be something funny for the site, once I ever got around to viewing it.
How right I was.
The fun starts before we ever see Hacksaw, as we get, oh yes, an Ultimate Warrior promo. And what’s this? The mad man from Parts Unknown, Arizona has two handfuls of cancer sticks.
My mind swirls with the possibilities; I was hoping beyond hope that he would stick all of them in his mouth at once and attempting to break a world record. I remember seeing an old black and white photo of a fella that did that years ago, and it was very humorous indeed. I could only imagine how much I’d have laughed had that dude been completely jacked with face paint and shoestrings tied around his biceps. I’d probably need to be committed.
Sadly, however, Warrior just smashes them with his meaty digits, eventually going into convulsions and telling kids not to smoke. I guarantee had I seen this as a kid, I would have been so completely horrified that I would have been cowering in a corner, urinating all over myself in fear at the mere sight of Joe Camel.
Next up we have Sean Mooney, 1980’s answer to Todd Grisham. He’s camped out in the old control center, hocking the video release of WrestleMania V. He promises that each and every single copy of the tape comes with, get this, a fabulous digital quartz watch.
And this isn’t just any old digital quartz watch – this one has five – count ’em, FIVE – functions. That’s high tech, baby. According to Mooney, it tells the time, the date, the month, the seconds, and the year.
Wait a minute…what kind of moron needs a WATCH to tell them what freakin’ year it is?
“Dude, how old are you?”
“Hmmm, I’m not sure – let me check my watch!”
We’re ten minutes into the tape when we finally get our first look at good ol’ Hacksaw, complete with 2×4 accessory and Old Glory waving in the background. Wow, it’s like a WWF remake of Patton!
Duggan goes into his standard patriotic ramble, proclaiming that here in America, we don’t have kings and queens.
That would be disproven later in the tape, as we get a brief appearance by Pat Patterson.
First match out of the gate is a showdown between Duggan and everyone’s favorite Rooskie, Boris Zuhkoff. This is from a Saturday Night’s Main Event taping, which didn’t take place on a Saturday, and sure as hell wasn’t a main event. The fact that the match likely took place at night is really the only thing stopping us all from filing a class action lawsuit against Vince.
You’d think this would be a mat classic, and you’d be right, if your definition of “mat classic” entails cross-eyed guys punching a commie right upside his perfectly round head.
And if that’s the case, then you need to hunt down this tape RIGHT DAMN NOW.
Following Duggan’s quick win, we get a look back at the legendary Duggan-King Harley Race feud.
Thankfully, this is before Race died in the storyline at the hands of Hulk Hogan. Well, at least that’s what I got out of it – I very vividly remember the WWF airing shots of Harley floating in the clouds. In fact, I can envision his epitath now:
Here lies good King Harley
Who generally was quite snarly
Can you blame him, really, though?
The King gimmick really did blow
“King” Harley Race
A titantic SHOVING MATCH ensues, and Duggan knocks the seven-time world champion (whom the WWF proclaimed was an “exciting newcomer”!??) on his keister.
Hacksaw then steals his robe and crown, which prompts Howard Finkle to announce that the winner of the match is, and I am quoting here, Hacksaw “King for a Day” Duggan. If the Fink says it, then by golly, it’s gospel to the folks here at the Crap.
Believe it or not, I really did love this angle, if for no other reason than the fact that each week it seemed Duggan was dragging something else out to the ring. First he had a board. Then a crown. Then a robe. He was like a bag lady or something. In fact, I really think he’d have gotten over to Hogan-esque levels if they’d have referred to him not as Hacksaw “King for a Day” Duggan, but rather as Hacksaw “Fred Sanford for a Day” Duggan. He could have even replaced his trademark “tough guy” with “ya big dummy!”
Just when I thought this tape couldn’t possibly get any better, here comes footage from the Slammy Awards. Yes, the SLAMMY AWARDS.
Hacksaw and his date, Board, announce the nominees for best dressed.
Sadly, despite being decked out in his Sunday best, Board didn’t win.
Neither did Demolition, which may have been an even bigger crime. Suffice to say when Blade or Madison get hitched, I know what I am wearing to the wedding, complete with face paint and slicked back hair. Well, if I had any.
Amazingly, Duggan’s nemesis Race takes home the prize, because apparently wearing a cape with ring trunks equates to being well dressed. Who knew?
Race and manager Bobby Heenan accept the award, and as usual, “The Brain” saves the day as usual by calling Duggan “Woodpecker Breath.”.
Now that’s a fashion statement
Duggan knew a choice slam when he heard one, and immediately attacked both Race and Heenan. Sadly, Heenan is thrown out of the picture and next to a donkey. Why there was a donkey (and later a llama!) is anyone’s guess.
Heenan’s absence did little to stop the carnage, as Hacksaw and the King continued to brawl for what appears to be the next seven years. I know, I know, I said the tape was only 90 minutes long. Don’t ask me how they did it, just accept the fact that this brawl was so long that it was somehow able to disrupt the space-time continuum.
Slammy MC (imagine being able to put THAT on your resume) Gorilla Monsoon interrupts the footage of the brawl to inform us that Brutus Beefcake is on stage delivering the award for, and I swear to God above I am not making this up, “BEST HEAD.”
The mind reels at what, precisely, that award would entail.
Hacksaw’s next feud was against the only man on earth somehow slower than Harley Race, Andre the Giant.
Upon Duggan’s challenge to the Giant, Andre laughs right in his face, thus providing the tape with its sole awesome moment.
You’d think a match between Duggan and a waaaaaaaaaaaaay past his prime, basically immobile Andre would be atrocious, and you’d be right.
However, it is actually even worse than that, as the announcers for this Boston Garden encounter are Superstar Billy Graham and Rod Tronguard, who spends half the match telling us that in Ireland, they don’t call him Jim Duggan, they call him Jim Doogan. He also labels Andre “the Reluctant Dragon,” which may be the single most bizarre reference I have ever heard in my entire life.
Memo to Rod: if you’re intent on paying homage to incredibly obscure Disney flicks, and you’re obsessed with Duggan’s Irish heritage, the obvious choice would be to quote The Gnome-Mobile.
The match continues on at a snail’s pace, finally winding up with Andre trapping our hero in a surfboard-esque maneuver.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words.
This animated GIF is certainly worth considerably more than that.
To wrap things up, we get not just one, but two, count ’em, TWO Brother Love-Jim Duggan confrontations. All this plus Dino Bravo and Frenchy Martin, too.
One quick, uneventful, non-Rod Tronguard announced Bravo-Duggan match later, the tape sadly reaches its conclusion.
Too much Crap…head…threatening to explode…
Well, 90 minutes later and I still don’t know why Jim Duggan was so popular. I just know that he was. On this tape, the crowd was absolutely insane for the guy, and I am 99.99999% sure there was no sound sweetening done. He was just flat out over.
When I look back at everything, it appears the crowd loved Duggan (or Doogan, if you’re some Irish-type fella, I guess) because he was goofy, he was fun. In fact, it was kind of like the WWF as a whole at the time.
Maybe his popularity isn’t so hard to explain after all.