The year 1999 was a hard one for Al Snow. For one thing, that was the year Wal-Mart stopped selling his action figure because it came packaged with a toy mannequin head.
See, according to two professors of Communications, the woman’s presumably severed head promoted “the brutalization of women” to young, impressionable boys.
It sounded as silly and ill-informed then as it does now. Fortunately, these days, concerned citizens with worthless degrees target more genuine displays of misogyny…
…such as the fact that Batman’s cape tends to make his ass harder to see in video games.
But it turns out that Al Snow really did carry around a severed head for a brief period in 1999 — although this one belonged to a reindeer and had been stuffed and mounted well before Al took possession of it.
The story behind this week’s induction starts at Backlash 1999, when Al Snow challenged Bob Holly for the Hardcore title in what wrestling experts universally hail as a very long match. And I mean, loooong. Remember when Crash Holly defended the title 24/7, so his whole life was just one long title match? This match felt longer than that.
When Hardcore Holly stole Head the next night and demanded a title shot as ransom, Snow claimed he couldn’t give anybody a title shot because Head was the real champion. This, of course, made zero sense: Al Snow’s mannequin head was not an official participant in the title match and therefore couldn’t win the match or the title. Yeah, yeah, it also didn’t make any sense that an inanimate object could win a championship in the first place, but someone with Al Snow’s experience should at least have known the rules of wrestling, regardless of whether he thought Head was a real person or not.
But under Snow’s logic, before he could defend his Hardcore Title against Hardcore Holly, Al had to “win it back” in a match from Head. This was but the first time Holly would be snubbed in favor of Al Snow’s mannequin head.
So with Holly as the referee…
…Al Snow worked a kayfabe-destroying match against Head…
Between this match and the one where he wrestled himself, Al Snow practically invented the Dramatic Dream Team style of wrestling.
In Head’s absence, Al Snow had started hanging out with his new friend, Pierre.
No, not him. This Pierre had one eye and wore a patch. Uh, and he was a deer head.
And wouldn’t you know it: when referee Holly counted the pinfall (on a mannequin head with no shoulders), it was Pierre who made the cover.
That meant that Al Snow still couldn’t give Holly a title shot, since his hunting trophy was now the rightful Hardcore champion.
If all this sounds like fun to you, your name isn’t Jim Cornette, who could barely hold back his disdain as he recapped the events of the past month with all the bewilderment of a dissatisfied Dairy Queen customer.
Hardcore Holly was fed up with this nonsense, too, taking matters into his own hands by wrapping poor Pierre around the ring post.
With Pierre dead, Al Snow held a mock-funeral in the middle of the ring on Raw and announced that the late Pierre had willed him the Hardcore title. Jack Tunney never would have let that stand.
The good news for Hardcore Holly was that he could now get his much-anticipated rematch against Snow for the Hardcore title. So finely-crafted was this Russo-penned narrative that only war correspondent Michael Coulthard could truly do it justice.
At the pay-per-view, Al Snow sported a black “Pierre” armband and a memorial T-shirt for the “Hardcore Reindeer” en route to victory.
Snow’s luck with friends would only get worse as the year wore on.
First, Snow’s Head got a spike driven right through him (appropriately enough, by Prince Albert).
Then, his dog Pepper was kidnapped, killed, and served to Al as food by the evil Bossman.
And even worse, Mick Foley wrote jokes about Al in his book.
But the biggest slap in the face to poor old Al was that Wal-Mart, the same store that refused to carry his action figure, hung up his dead friend Pierre to advertise their hunting rifles.