Confession time: I was not planning on writing this induction.
The original plan today was for the 2020 Gooker Winner Retribution to be posted, but that is such a gigantic steaming pile of garbage that it’s taking a bit longer than planned for us to digest and regurgitate it all. Unsure of what to do, Art sent me a link to this here show and suggested I review this, a show in which would be wrestlers get an opportunity to showcase their talents.
I jumped all over that.
I mean, it’s the late 90’s…it’s WWF…it’s MTV. All those things are right in my wheel house, as that was a really fun time as I recall. Will it translate into a fantastic show?
One way to find out!
And off to New York we go, with throngs of fans waiting to get into the MTV studios, which apparently shares its rental property with Pizza Hut, Leo Lindys, and a place called BLOWOUT VIDEO. No idea if that was a chain, a one-off, or what. What I can tell you without hesitation is that if Family Video been called BLOWOUT VIDEO, they probably wouldn’t have just closed all their locations.
Inside we find every single late 90’s stereotype you can possibly imagine: paint splattered on walls, random chain link fences, blurry camera cuts. Why it’s almost a Playstation 1 cut scene brought to life! In the middle of it all is a wrestling ring.
A really horrible, ghetto wrestling ring.
And I say that not only because it has four ropes that looked to be made from old drapes.
We are introduced to our host for the proceedings, one Carson Daly. He was something of the face of MTV at the time, a big name to be sure. But he’s not here alone, as he is soon joined by the WWF’s very own…
..Mankind! Yes, Mick Foley (along with Mr. Socko) is here to judge the proceedings, put the wrestlers through the ringer, and see what these young men and women are able to bring to the table.
A sweep of the backstage looks like someone with WWF Warzone went crazy loading up their memory card with create a wrestlers. You have a USA guy, a Luna Vachon clone, cheetah print leotards, and all the rest.
The promos outside are no less generic, whether it be the Harley Davidson shirt wearing tough guy, the nerd, or a boa-bedecked man who desperately wants to be Joel Gertner’s long lost brother.
They all pale in comparison with this guy who claims to have “the biggest biceps in the business today!” His boastful proclamation is immediately dashed when another guy with arms that dwarf his comes flexing into frame. Eh, keep trying kid!
Speaking of flexing, here’s Val Venis! He is in Chicago for Monday Night Raw, but he stops by to give us a pre-recorded promo. I will say that him starting it with “Helllllloooooo….DALY” made me laugh. The rest is ever Val Venis bit you ever heard, with him telling us he’s not concerned with the wannabes, he just wants the chicks in the crowd to try out for his new movie. “Those auditions,” he growls, “are HARD to COME by!”
This thrills the ladies in the audience, especially the mom in black outfit (who likely brought her daughters in a mini van).
You keep clapping, lady! Those double-entendres have your name all over them!
Carson tells us that they have narrowed down the field of “hundreds” of potential wannabes to just three, and they will be given a full entrance and then 30 seconds to do a promo. “The entrance,” Daly notes, “is the most important part of being a wrestler.”
“Cooking skills are also important,” Foley tells us.
If we’re setting the bar at Iron Chef levels of entertainment, I don’t like our odds today.
Our first entrants would be Hungarian Barbarian and his partner, Mad Whipper Whip. Barbarian comes out screaming, hooting and hollering, while Whip is asking the people…something. I think he was asking if they had glue. As he stares directly into the camera and asks, “Are there people in there?”, I assume he was looking for something to sniff.
He also licks the camera.
Well, that’s certainly unappealing.
All of this appears to be beneath Daly, as he sounds as though he is about to fall asleep. Like I legit thought I was going to start hearing him snore right after monotoning “Well, there’s contestant number 1.”
Foley, for his part, is Foley: somewhat bemused, and ever charming. He states that he kinda likes this pair, specifically as they don’t seem to pay much attention to grooming.
JR Ryder and his manager John “The Sure Thing” Shane are out next. We are told he’s “down with Korn” and wants to “put a headlock on Puff Daddy.” WORD. I guess that was cool back then. Of note, Foley notes he went to college with Shane. “I would have felt guilty for not picking him,” Foley laments.
Jimmy the Geek brings out his protege next, Boogaloulu. Or maybe it’s Boogla Lou Lu. Or maybe it’s all lower cased and crammed together, boogaloulu.
Hard to tell what is MTV trying to be cool and what’s a typo.
As the two stand side by side, we see that the Jimmy is about a foot and a half taller than Boog. That’s always a bad look. The manager should be someone who you can buy properly cowering behind his thug. It’s honestly one of the reasons I know I failed as a manager – being 6′ 5″ doesn’t really work in the ‘wimp’ role at first glance (even though I totally am a wimp).
I mean, there were 7,873 other more pressing reasons I flopped, but that’s on the list to be sure!
Mick apparently feels the same as I do, as he instantly tells them they are out of the running.
What a rip – they didn’t even get to wrestle or cut a promo!
Even losers who didn’t even get to the finals got to do an interview. Some of them even in front of a sparkly background. Looks like at this Kid USA – someone obviously hit their neighborhood CVS on December 26 and picked up the leftover tinsel. Maybe that gave him the nod to do it.
Regardless, the Geek and boogaloulu? No such luck.
Talk about a harsh competition.
Daly (who appears to be dozing off): “Awesome.”
All I can say is if you are also looking to take a nap during this induction I got three words for you:
MONSTER TRUCK MADNESS!
YES! We get a commercial featuring Kevin Nash PLAYING VIDEOGAMES. By golly, just look at the way he handles that controller! Why it’s almost like he has absolutely zero idea what he’s doing!
I’ve played my fair share of crappy N64 games, and this one looks right up there with all the worst things about the system: slightly blurry graphics, minimal draw distance, and more fog than London in December! (And please save the hate mail – I played a lot of great games on there too.)
Back to the ring we go, as we are introduced to the contestants’ opponent in the main event: a mannequin.
That’s right – the guys aren’t wrestling each other, they’re doing practice drills on a misshapen dummy.
Remember when you used to Rock Bottom your Tonka Wrestling Buddy?
Now imagine doing that on MTV in a crappy ring while Mick Foley looks on and Carson Daly is nodding off.
Oh, and you are given a whopping thirty seconds to showcase your talent so don’t wear out your welcome.
I should also note that despite being explicitly told to be creative, in that half minute span Barbarian and Whip hit no less than three leg drops.
Why that’s not creative at all!
Ryder for his part goes completely crazy, hitting a clothesline, a powerbomb that broke the dang thing in two, then a completely nonsensical super twisting cartwheely flipamajig right onto the mannequin’s anus.
Somewhere I can picture a young Matt Jackson saying, “I bet we could kill the business doing stuff like this. Nick, let’s get to it!”
(Save the hate mail there too – I’m a huge Bucks fan.)
Back to Chicago we go, where The Rock shows up and tells Carson Daly he’s an idiot. Feel free to send hate mail on that, I’m on Rock’s side, Daly sucks. Also, Britney Spears keeps calling the Rock but he won’t return her calls since she’s underage.
He truly is a role model!
Finally, after 27 grueling minutes of no wrestling, very little promos, and honestly, a heaping helping of nothing, it’s time to decide who the winner is. Considering the only thing of any interest has been Ryder’s D-level display of gymnastics, thinking it’s gotta be him.
But no – it’s actually these two, which Foley announces with as much enthusiasm as ordering a Filet-O-Fish combo at McDonald’s. Even Whipper Will or whatever his name is looks shocked.
Look, I’m not saying this show sucked or anything but…oh who am I kidding, this show sucked. It’s a real stinker of a show (do NOT go out of your way to find this and watch it) saved by only two things, the first of which is someone on here did go onto some level of fame:
Yes, the ECW Musketeer was on here! I mean, he got dissed by Foley and Daly (“I don’t fear the Musketeer!”) but he was there.
Second, during the end credits we see thank you for, and with the Good Lord above as my witness and I am not making this up…
…Killer Kowalski and…
…Fruit of the Loom!
Too bad the old Fruit of the Loom gang didn’t show up for a run-in.
I am 100% positive the purple grape guy would have won the whole thing!