Hollywood Backlot Brawl

Hollywood Backlot Brawl

In 1996, with Wrestlemania XII just around the corner, Scott Hall declared his intentions to go to WCW after that year’s big event. Normally, this would mean a simple change in booking. Instead of Razor Ramon beating Goldust to regain his Intercontinental Title, he would just lose the match, putting over the champion and leaving the company without the title.

This time around, however, WCW represented a real threat to the Federation, so Vince McMahon, the same mature and level-headed businessman who brought the world The Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior, decided not to simply job Hall out, but to drop him altogether from the biggest show and biggest payday of the year. It wasn’t that bad of a plan, as not only would it serve as a lesson to anyone else who wanted to jump ship to Atlanta (metaphorically; Atlanta has no seaport), but it would diminish Hall’s worth to WCW.

Judge for yourself how effective that was.

Once Vince got Scott Hall’s notice, he made The Bad Guy take a drug test. It was a long shot, I know, but somehow the plan worked; Hall failed the test, and Vince used it as an excuse to suspend him for six weeks. That meant no Wrestlemania for Razor.

Drugs are totally incompatible with the Razor Ramon character.

Complicating things was that acting President Roddy Piper had already filmed a segment on Monday Night Raw announcing a match between Ramon and Goldust in a special stipulation match. Not a tuxedo match, although I did once create a video package for such a match (but it was just too hot for WWE’s 2012 campaign to rid the internet of embarrassing footage).


No, it would have been a special Miami Street Fight to be broadcast “via satellite” during the Wrestlemania telecast. Obviously, this segment never aired, and a replacement was cooked up at the last minute.


Vince needed Goldust in a match, and he also really wanted fans at the Arrowhead Pond to have to watch a match on a video screen, so he quickly put together the Hollywood Backlot Brawl, where Goldust would wrestle Piper himself. Yes, that would hypocritically push a star of the Old Generation into the spotlight while the Federation ripped WCW for doing exactly that, but Vince had already booked Jake Roberts and Ultimate Warrior into matches on the card, so why not?


After Goldust expressed his desire to be a very special guest in Piper’s Pit (if you catch my drift), the man in a skirt decided he had had enough of the Bizarre One’s homosexual shenanigans, and the Backlot Brawl was on.


Goldust arrived in his gold Cadillac and was greeted by Roddy Piper who, having already wet down the entire lot to make it slippery, wet down the car with a fire hose, too. You know, just in case Goldust had wanted to do some aerial moves off the hood or something.


The actual brawl was pretty decent. Sure, it may have been filmed the day before and featured a whole lot of camera cuts, but for once, that part made sense, since they were supposedly at a film set with lots of cameras…


…instead of, say, an empty backstage area.

sting vs dogs close up

And at least the time of day didn’t change from shot to shot, like in WCW’s “King of the Road” match pitting Barry Darsow against Dusty Rhodes’s son, Dustin. Whatever happened to that guy?


Roddy tossed Goldust around the lot, making the biggest mess of anyone’s catering in Federation history (until the 123 Kid got hold of Sunny’s chicken salad a few weeks later).


Goldust eventually got back into his car, ran Piper over, and fled the scene…


…causing Piper to hop into his white Ford Bronco to chase him down. It’s too bad this match didn’t take place in 1994, when OJ Simpson had his famous low-speed chase in LA with the same car, but alas, that kind of topical humor has a short shelf life, and besides —


Oh dear. Six months after the OJ verdict, and twenty months after the infamous Bronco chase on the LA freeway, WWF decided that there was still comedy gold to be mined from the Simpson trial (which, you may have noticed, had nothing whatsoever to do with Roddy’s or Goldust’s gimmick).


And so throughout Wrestlemania, we got these snippets of old news footage presented as if it were Roddy Piper in hot pursuit of Goldust. And the announcers had no idea why this footage looked so familiar!


Finally, both men’s cars arrived at the arena, where Goldust escaped in a bone-dry body suit that showed no signs of being hosed down by Piper just an hour and a half before. He must have changed while driving.


Roddy chased Goldy into the ring, where the Intercontinental Champion got the upper hand. And you know what that meant!


Yes, sexual molestation. First, there was this, uh, unusual set-up to a piledriver.


Then, there was the standard mounting and sensual chest rubbing.


And finally, there was this big ol’ smooch.


That last one set off Roddy, who went nuts…


…in a manner of speaking. He continued attacking his opponent’s testes…


…before moving on to spanking.


Next, he stripped off Goldust’s body suit to reveal a bustierre…


…then, for reasons unexplained, kissed Goldust flush on the lips…


…the second-most baffling behavior Hot Rod ever demonstrated at Wrestlemania.


Roddy then pantsed Goldust and dragged him around the ring. Yes, on a night when Marlena, Sunny, and Sable were all in the arena, it was Goldust who ended up in a thong and fishnet stockings. For the record, it took approximately 8 months from his first appearance to transform from “androgynous” to “gay” to “transvestite.”


A knee to the groin later…


…and Marlena covered up Goldust, who ran for higher ground (although, after this display, pretty much anything would have been considered, “higher ground”).


Roddy became the unofficial winner of the match, which never had a referee — I guess Judge Ito turned down the gig. Still, a victory over the Intercontinental Champion was pretty good for a guy in his forties who had already retired multiple times.

In fact, Piper was so thrilled with beating a champion in an embarrassing non-title match at the company’s biggest show of the year that he jumped to WCW to do it again at Starrcade.


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