INDUCTION: Bad News Brown’s MUTANT SEWER RATS – Because That Sounds Way More Ominous than “Bad News Brown’s Black Box”

36 Submitted by on Thu, 05 November 2015, 20:00


WWF, 1990

It seems like this year, more than any other I can recall, I’ve thought a lot about the early days of 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 wizkid. 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…


made Bad News Brown SMILE!

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 ragewith 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.


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36 Responses to "INDUCTION: Bad News Brown’s MUTANT SEWER RATS – Because That Sounds Way More Ominous than “Bad News Brown’s Black Box”"
  1. Ian Feuerhake says:

    I remember this. Jake and Bad News had a match at the Tampa Sundome, with the black cage. Can’t remember the outcome, but who cares. Probably the reason why it took so long to include this is because I usually don’t think of Bad News Brown when I think of Wrestlecrap. Great character who never got his due in WWF. RIP

  2. Sean Bateman says:

    That match had the Boddman as the referee AND the official time of that match at Summerslam 1990 was four minutes and forty four seconds.

  3. Alfonzo Tyson says:

    Bad News Brown went to a hypnotist named “Kingfish” Calhoun at about the same time Dusty Rhodes had a black woman valet named “Saphire”. Obviously Vince watch waaaaaaay to much of “The Amos and Andy Show” when he was a kid, although this might explain his view of Black wrestlers at that time.

  4. The Doctor of Style says:

    I chuckled at Bad News’s reference to Bossman’s insignia. With the Stars and Bars coming down all over the place this year, maybe Bad News would’ve been a face in this day and age, and Bossman the heel!

  5. The Doctor of Style says:

    Maybe Mene Gene was so pleased by his rubber snake because it was the same smiley snake Jake Roberts used to taunt the Ultimate Warrior when he turned on him. That little snake’s good cheer is contagious!

  6. Scrooge McSuck says:

    I forgot all about this angle. Still… I don’t know if it’s worse than what Bad News had to put up with when feuding with Piper in his angle that came immediately before this.

  7. #OPC says:

    Reminds me Steamboat’s kimodo dragon fighting Damien.

  8. TK says:

    I still remember this angle from my childhood and hey a shaking box was enough to spook me back then-then again when I saw the rats all I could think was to the Princess Bride and the Rodents of Unusual Size. Those things could give you a pretty good Inferno match today. Bad News Brown indeed as someone noted was a missed opportunity as I do recall some good encounters with Bret Hart in the WWF and outside it for Stampede Wrestling. Good stuff as always covering even the Wrestlecrap that sometimes seeps into the cracks and get missed on first glance.

  9. The Gil-Monster says:

    Thank you, thank you SO much for posting this. This was my all-time favorite angle in all of wrestling. I can’t tell you how unsuccessful my YouTube searches have been as I typed “Harlem sewer rats” to no avail. You guys have me made so very happy!

    Comedy gold. A guy is going to sic two hundred pounds of opossums on a Burmese python. That’s roughly fifty possums that are going to hiss at Damien, and then fall limp to the ground in unison. Fifty possums playing dead at Summerslam would have made great pay-per-view.

  10. "The Big Cheese" Paul Kraft says:

    How was this not inducted in the last 15 years?

  11. MistaMaddog says:

    Oh man, when I saw this I was laughing everytime Bad News Brown talked about his “sewer rats” never showing them. And when he did they were dead (looking) possums… Between this and Piper’s blackface, Bad News Allen deserved better.

  12. Larry says:

    Bad News actually had a pretty awesome finisher, which was an ensiguri (sp?), back when nobody was using this move like a lot of wrestlers do now. Too bad they gave it the name “ghetto blaster”, which sounds horribly racist now.

  13. Desmond Warzel says:

    “I somehow doubt that live ones would hold completely still as they were been shook about by the neck.”

    Actually, holding still seems to be their reaction to almost any unusual event. I was in my yard one night after dark and saw what I thought was a white plastic grocery bag on the ground. I nudged it idly with my toe and found myself kicking a possum, which had stayed stock-still at my approach and didn’t move a muscle even though I’d just kicked it in the ribs. I left it to recover, and when I came back later it had gone.

    Every possum I’ve ever observed in the wild has behaved similarly. All it takes is simple human proximity to send them into catatonia. They’re really wound pretty tight.

  14. Jozzy Von Rokkenstein says:

    Where do you all think the classic Gorilla Monsoon term, “He’s playing possum…” came from??? Ol’ Gorilla was an intelligent fella!

  15. MattC says:

    The image of Mean Gene gleefully shaking his snake will stay with me for some time, I fear.

  16. Brad says:

    Jesse: Look at that, he don’t want no friends, he don’t NEED no friends
    Gorilla: He doesn’t have any friends…
    Jesse: Yeah and he’s happy that way, look at how happy he looks.
    *Bad News scowling and pushing past the fans*

  17. Greg says:

    You know, I don’t think Bad News was ever a face. Everybody in wrestling switches from time to time, but for BN, I don’t think it was physically possible for him to even BE a face.

    • TMM says:

      For the record Bad News worked at some point as a face in Stampede , his character though was not as misanthropic at he was in WWE/WWF

  18. Gag says:

    I really hope they didn’t kill possums just for this stupid angle. With any luck they were either already stuffed or were live possums that Brown just knew how to hold correctly without distressing them. More likely the first option. Either way this was moronic.

  19. sanefan says:

    As much as Bad News experienced a lot of WrestleCrap in 1990, nothing could compare to the crap he had to suffer through in a match with Andre the Giant!

  20. Landvogt says:

    FYI, Cesaor is also a member of the swiss army (he probably cuts his steak with a swiss army knife) and former rugby player that was banned from every rugby league he played in because of his aggression issues and violent tendencies, just like the Goon was in hockey. He can curse in five languages which he’s fluent in, too.

    That was his original backstory when he debuted, at least, not sure if it’s still valid and what role him becoming a real American and later semi-Canadian played in it. 😉

    In his German TV segments (LandvogTV), Cesaro calls himself the “Landvogt”, which was some sort of medieval provincial governor.

    • DTownsend says:

      Well apparently Cesaro is now the Swiss Superman which sounds cool but seems to only involve jobbing to Kevin Owens on a regular basis.

      Back to Bad News Brown……as a kid I never cared for him. Wasn’t really old enough or wise enough about the world to appreciate his character. He was dangerously close to being a tweener by accident seeing as how he didn’t like anyone……faces, fans or even other heels. Seemed like every Survivor Series he was in he was eliminated because he walked out on his team.

      Now looking back, yeah, what a waste of a good character and a good wrestler. Really was like the black Stone Cold or maybe Stone Cold is the white Bad News Brown.

  21. Andrew says:

    In this clip, , you can see that the possum is alive.

  22. John Cameron Traderat says:

    Actually, if you corner a possum and get it angry enough, it will attack with teeth sharp enough to pierce Kevlar.

  23. President Clinton Dempsey says:

    WWE dropped the ball on Brown. He was ahead of his time. Think of him as a cross between Austin and Bam Bam Bigelow with an Olympic career to boot as well as a legit background as a Harlem tough guy. Took no shit from anyone apparently, even got into Andre’s face. Too bad his age and WWE’s ever-prevalent folksy racism prevented him from even being considered as a main eventer, especially once WWE entered into competition with WCW, got its roster to be a bit more multi-cultural and went “edgy”, which would’ve fit Bad News’ character perfectly though at the expense of Stone Cold ever existing.

  24. Lycanthrokeith says:

    Mutant Sewer Rats.

    So…Master Splinter?

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