Not sure you’ve heard, but sources have told this reporter that the forever long NFL lockout is finally over, and that football is back. For folks like myself, Blade, Justin, Jed, and the rest of the WrestleCrap crew, this is great news, as we are all huge football fans. Whether it be cheering for the Colts (me), the Eagles (Justin), the Raiders (Jed), or the lowly Lions (Hobo), it gives all of us here something to completely overreact, become needlessly emotional about, and most of all, piss away a lot of valuable time in the process.
Why spend time helping the local homeless shelter when we can scream at a television screen featuring men playing a game and being paid millions to do so?
So yeah, football is an obsession for us. But we’re not alone; last year’s Super Bowl was watched by 111 million people. Rest assured, you won’t be seeing any goofy WWE “Did You Knows…” telling you that Raw beat that number.
Unless they added up all of them for the year. Which I could totally see them doing.
Anyway, football is king in America, and that is a fact even Vince acknowledges. To that end, in 1999, he and the WWF decided that should capitalize on their own popularity at the time by presenting an empty arena match featuring the Rock vs. Mankind during the Super Bowl’s halftime. Dubbed “Halftime Heat”, the company hoped to expose their product to more than just the hardcore wrestling audience, and wanted something different to show them.
It was different all right.
Now don’t get me wrong. There are a lot of folks out there who remember this match, and think it was great. For instance, here’s a conversation I had with Justin this week prior to starting work on it:
Look at sad faced Justin. Breaks your heart, right?
He’s not alone. There are a ton of folks who thought this match was something great, the very antithesis of WrestleCrap. And to be fair, it may be the highest rated segment of anything we’ve ever inducted, garnering a whopping 6.6 rating.
A 6.6 rating – not just on a Sunday night, but on a freakin’ SUPERBOWL Sunday night.
And it had Rock vs. Mankind, two of the greatest performers I’ve ever seen.
So how could this possibly warrant an induction?
Well, because the match pretty much sucked.
Actually, that’s not entirely fair. Not the part about it sucking – it did, as you will soon see.
Rather the part about it being a match.
I’m not entirely sure it was one. It was more a series of backstage brawls, spliced together into one long segment, complete with goofy sound effects, bizarre announcing, absurd weapons, and the single stupidest finish I’ve seen in 25 plus years I’ve been watching pro wrestling.
If all that doesn’t add up to “WrestleCrap Induction”, I don’t know what does.
We get introductions from Kevin Kelly and Shane McMahon, complete with cheers.
Cheers in this EMPTY ARENA MATCH.
I know a lot of folks like Shane (I actually view him as the most sane of the family, which is probably why he got the heck out of the company), but just this one clipmade me remember just how grating he was during this time. If I had to listen to that for the entire hour, I may have punctured my ear drums with a power drill.
Fortunately, it wasn’t to be Kevin and Shane announcing, it was to be Vince…excuse me, MISTER McMahon, to handle those duties.
And so they start going at it, inside the ring, punching and kicking and all that jazz.
Maybe it’s just me, but just hearing this (with Mick in full Iron Mike Sharpe audibilization mode) with no crowd sounds sounds like a gay porn of some sort.
And SPEAKING OF…the crowd, weren’t they just here scant moments ago, cheering Rock’s entrance?
What happened to them?
Yeah, I don’t know either, dude.
(YES! Three inductions in a row!)
The action spills outside ring, where Mick rams Rock’s head into the ring bell, eliciting a very delighfully clear DING!
That may be the first time they ever did that. I know I always love it when they add in sound effects on Smackdown.
Helps take me right out of the match.
This leads to more brawling around ringside, as Mick…hey, what are those two guys doing on the floor?
Right there, to the left, see them?
Who are they?
What are they doing?
Did someone lose a contact?
To quote Stevie Ray: Suckas gots to know!
Thankfully, our combatants avoid the human trip hazards and take the fight to the ringside seats as Vince talks about how great Rock is, stating specifically that Rock is handsome.
Handsome, he says.
Rock grabs a headset, does a very abbreviated version of his schtick, and gets pummeled by Mankind.
You know, if this match didn’t remind you of an anal invasion before, it sure does after Vince talking about how hot Rock is and the noises the boys are making at the end of this clip.
Up the stairs we go, as Vince explains what the WWF is.
According to Vince, WWF = Action + Adventure + One Life to Live + Road Runner + Hollywood + Broadway.
Pretty sure anyone who wasn’t asking “What the hell am I watching?” before that description would for sure be after hearing it.
And after seeing Rock brutally attack Mankind by throwing him into COTTON CANDY, I may change that to “WHY the hell am I watching?”
Things take a turn for the better as Rock socknaps Mr. Sock and promptly throws him in the over. Then he throws Mick into the oven.
I wouldn’t even bother to mention this, but we get SIZZLING sound effects!
Noting the success of his cotton candy attack, Rock decides to continue with the fluffy onslaught by hitting Mick with, no joke, a loaf of bread…
…and then Mick pounds on the Rock with a giant bag of popcorn.
You know what would have really been great? If we would have gotten sizzling AND bell dings when Mick hit Rock with the popcorn.
At the very least, we should have gotten a popcorn popping effect.
Or maybe a run-in by Orville Redenbacher.
I think the stupidity of this match has started to affect my brain.
To catering we go next, as the arch rivals throw more bread, plastic cups, and lettuce at each other.
Rock finally downs his foe with picante sauce to the eye. As Mick is rolling around, Rock screams “It’s mild!”
Ok, I give credit – that was funny.
Mick staggers out of catering and into a backstage corporate office.
I think it’s an office.
With that wood paneling, we may have time warped back to the Reynolds household, circa 1974.
Anyhoo, this is all just an excuse for a phone to ring and Rock to answer it. Which leads to the highlight of the whole stupid match: “Well, whaddya know, the phone’s ringing. How convenient!”
That was really funny too.
Why was I inducting this again?
So let me try to explain this one. The fight winds up in a loading dock, with various barrels, crates, and crap. Considering what we’ve seen thus far, unless one of those things is full of Q-Tips, you’d be wise to not expect them to come into play.
Sure enough, they don’t. Instead, Mick locks in the Socko Claw, and leaves Rock laying.
Does he cover him and get the pin?
Instead, he gets on a forklift, lowers the cargo onto Rock’s lifeless form, and…
…wins the WWF title in the single stupidest finish in wrestling.
And no, I don’t care that GIF is approximately 27 terrabytes and takes 3 hours to load.
Stupidity of this magnitude must be preserved (in all its 256-color glory).