Outback Jack

Outback Jack

A few years ago, an episode of the always-brilliant institution in American popular culture, The Simpsons, featured resident troublemaker Bart Simpson making prank phone calls to an unsuspecting resident of Australia. When Bart ignores the frequent requests to pay the expensive long distance charges, the U.S. government explains to the Simpsons that Australia will forgive the debt if Bart visits down under for a public booting. Apparently, the people of Australia took offense in Bart’s snubbing of their country. I’ll let this quote from that particular episode speak for itself The Simpsons Archive:

(Evan Conover of the U.S. State Department talking to the Simpsons):

“As I’m sure you remember, in the late 1980s the US experienced a short-lived infatuation with Australian culture. For some bizarre reason, the Aussies thought this would be a permanent thing. Of course, it wasn’t.”

This apparent infatuation was not lost on Vince McMahon.

In an attempt to cash in on the success of the popular “Crocodile Dundee” movies of the mid-80s, Vince felt wrestling fans wanted, nay, DEMANDED an Aussie wrestler. So Vince went on his usual high profile expeditions of the 80s to find his next big star. (This of course meant finding any random guy walking the streets with an IQ of 50 and a bottle of booze in a paper bag.) Enter Outback Jack.

Jack was an ordinary looking guy. Not too big, not much of an extraordinary build, and certainly not a threat to the average American male. He wore typical outback garb, similar to that you would find on the “Crocodile Hunter.” He had a big gap of his tooth and wore a “permagrin” smile to show he was just a regular friendly Aussie. That is, a regular friendly Aussie that wrestled crocodiles and drank beer with cows!

That’s right. As was the case with any incoming wrestler, established or not, Outback was introduced to wrestling fans in a series of vignettes. One of these vignettes featured Jack in a drinking contest with a cow! It was just another example of the nonstop hilarity that was 1980s WWF!

As if downing a few cold ones with bovine weren’t introduction enough, the WWF also saw fit to show us Outback Jack driving a jeep…

…taking a shower (??!!)…

…and getting inducted to an aborigine tribe.

And people may complain about how bad the current ring entrance music for X-Factor is. But ask an old school wrestling fan about the sounds of a bubbling swamp with these well-crafted, catchy lyrics , and you’ll see a mad rush to the local CD store to stock up on Uncle Kracker CDs!

And when it came to wrestling skills, crikey! Outback was, well, how do I say this nicely…AWFUL, FRIGHTENING, PUTRID, EMBARRASSING, PAINFUL!!! Pretty much any adjective used by the typical male who just opened the issue of Playboy to find the Chyna pictorial!

Jack was another example of a stumbling oaf that Vince tried to cram down the fans’ throats as a legitimate superstar. He knew few wrestling moves, (which was the standard for anybody in the WWF back then not named Steamboat or Savage). And he had arguably the worst finishing move of all time – a sloppy clothesline followed by a second (usually even sloppier) clothesline to the back of his opponent’s head when he stood up.

It was naturally called the “boomerang”.

As awful as he was, though, the WWF thought enough of him to craft an officially licensed Outback Jack action figure. These figures are extremely rare, and have been known to go for as much as a buck-ninety nine ($1.99 US) on eBay.

Most WWF fans didn’t get to see much of Jack’s “skills” or the “boomerang” as he won his first few matches on Saturday morning WWF programming against the preliminary wrestlers (jobbers) of the day. He soon found himself on the losing end of battles with perennial mid-carders, Kamala and Killer Khan. When fans just weren’t clamoring for this Aussie sensation, the WWF phased out Jack, and the name of “Outback Jack” was never heard by U.S. fans again.

This is probably why nobody ever threw “Stone Cold” Steve Austin a can of Fosters!

Goofy happy music: “Tie me kangaroo down, sport / tie me kangaroo down, sport / tie me kangaroo down…”

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