I really like my position here at Wrestlecrap. RD is very kind, encouraging and rather helpful in making my bipolar, anarchic rants sound at least halfway decent and readable. And let’s face it, getting to unleash your venom and frustration on wrestling subjects you have very strong opinions on is very therapeutic. So yeah, this is a pretty good gig I’ve got lined up here.
Was a good gig, I should say. Was a good gig until I emailed RD this week, asking for suggestions on what to write about this week.
“How about Punjabi Prison?” he replied innocently.
“Sure,” I emailed back. “Sounds good!”
What a fool RD played me for. No doubt he was cackling like Dick Dastardly’s dog Mutley on his best day, guffawing at the torture that was awaiting me.
(Note from RD: It was more of a Frank Gorshin Riddler laugh, but yes, I did snicker a bit at you just saying, “Sure thing, boss, no problem!” Naive thing, you.)
Yes, I’ve been through Diva Strip Poker, Black Saturday On TBS, Pinata On a Pole, Dennis Rodman the Babyface Rapist, AND Howard Finkel and Harvey Whippleman rolling around stripping each other.
But THIS is the thing that nearly broke my spirit. THIS almost made me lose my fun writing job and whatever is left of my barely there sanity.
Yes, today I’m going to talk about…
THE PUNJABI PRISON MATCH.
Then afterward, I’m going to go watch my SMW and ECW interviews compilation tape to keep me from standing out on the ledge outside my window.
I can do this.
I can do this.
Ok, so it’s mid 2006, and Undertaker has feuded with everyone under the sun already. Time for some fresh meat for the dead man, and who else could pose a challenge to him but the Great Khali. Now there was no real reason for the two to feud, other than the fact that, you know, Khali is big. Real big. And thus, we get the feud. In fact, I think there must be a clause in The Undertaker’s contract that says he has to feud with all really big guys. I mean, the poor guy had to feud with Mabel and Giant Gonzalez. Compared to those two, this couldn’t be that bad, could it?
Well, yeah, it could.
Khali, or rather Khali’s manager Daivari (because Khali sounds like he’s trying to talk with three Big Macs jammed in his mouth (Note from RD: nah, that’s just his giant teeth. Have I ever mentioned how fascinated I am by Great Khali’s giant teeth?)) challenged The Undertaker to a match at The Great American Bash 2006.
But not just ANY match.
THIS would be the first ever “Punjabi Prison” match.
I should say “first ever on US soil” Punjabi Prison match. I’m sure they have them back in India all the time.
After weeks of build up that never really told us what, precisely, a Punjabi Prison match was (and rumor has it even those in the company had no clue), the day finally came when the bout was scheduled to take place.
But Undertaker, being the impatient undead being he is, decided “screw this never explained and ridiculously named match – I’m going to murder Khali now!”
A fine plan in theory, but one thwarted by the newly-crowned ECW champion, The Big Show, who decides to intervene and beat the crap out of The Undertaker because he is also a very big guy, and is therefore obligated to pound Taker’s ass.
With his fists, I mean!
Wait, that doesn’t sound any better.
A quick jump cut brings us to the the graphic for the match. See, regardless of Taker being “manhandled like he’s never been manhandled before” for the 25th time this year alone, this match WILL take place.
Mad props for whomever designed this graphic, specifically for choosing the pictures of the combatants. Undertaker has a great, “I thought I said NO pepperoni!” look on his face, while Khali looks like he’s got a toothache.
Sadly, Daivari just looks normal. In fact, I think that may be his driver’s license photo.
The usual video package is also shown of Khali being fierce and unstoppable. And what better way to showcase his path of rage than by showing him beating up an ancient Roddy Piper and a pudgy and way way waaaaaaaay past his prime Tatanka (Buffalo).
We also get several shots of him splattering the Undertaker, because showing the guy getting manhandled from different angles always denotes destruction.
What else can I tell you? The guy is un-stop-a-bull.
While the video package takes up a good chunk of PPV time, but not enough, as we soon get the match.
Well, kinda, sorta, as we see Khali heading to the ring with Daivari and his new best friend the Big Show.
Hey, waitaminute…why IS Big Show their friend now? Despite being the ECW champ, he’s not even scheduled for this show.
And remember when this so-called “ECW” was still its own separate entity and had its very own PPVs? And they didn’t work on the ‘other’ brands’ shows?
Boy did that change quick.
Hey look, it’s Smackdown GM Teddy Long. I’m sure he’ll bring some logic to this sordid tale. Sure enough, he does so by scolding the trio for their vicious attack on The Undertaker, and making Show take Khali’s place in the Punjabi Prison Match.
Ok time out. Sure, there’s an asterisk and a “card subject to change” in the fine print, and yes, this will make the match marginally better…but how does this make a lick of sense?
Answer: it doesn’t. In storyline, at least.
Well, in storyline anyway.
The real deal is that Khali had tested positive for elevated liver enzymes, along with several other employees. That would be a strong indicator that Khali was using perfomance enhancement drugs.
We’re never ones to advocate such usage, but if there’s a pill somewhere that enchances Khali’s performace, he should just buy the whole damn factory.
Back to the angle we go, with Big Show exclaiming he doesn’t know anything about a Punjabi Prison match.
Take a number and get in line, Captain Insano.
Cole and JBL then express their “shock” repeatedly, not by saying the fans who expected to see the match they thought they were getting are being screwed out of paying for something they aren’t getting. Just Cole’s “it’s gonna happen because Big Show interfered!” and JBL’s cries foul because he’s not prepared.
Yes, he’s not prepared to call Big Show vs. The Undertaker.
Maybe when he saw those guys in the ring in the past, he decided his time was better spent checking the stock market on his Blackberry?
And now finally, we get the rules of the Punjabi Prison, courtesy of Michael Cole. Somehow, as he explains the rules, they make even less sense than when we didn’t know the rules.
I don’t think Cole was the guy to do the job here.
Honestly, that’s like having Miss South Carolina explaining it. He might as well just say, “Rubber bagels silver booger jogging tissue box cell phone estrogen”.
Thank goodness I have Babelfish programmed on “Idiot to Normal” and have deciphered the rules.
See, the bamboo prison isn’t one prison, but TWO structures, one inside the other.
And there’s 4 doors in the first cage that the ref will keep open for 60 seconds at a time.
But after the third failed attempt in exiting one door, it will be padlocked and unusable.
The winner of the match is the one that escapes the second outer bamboo prison.
Everybody Got That?
Big Show comes out, staring at the structure up and down, putting on his best “fear” face, as you can see.
Terrified, he is.
That or he’s just thinking, “They use bamboo for prisons in India? Seriously, BAMBOO?! Next time I’m in that country, I’m breaking every single law I can think of.”
And here comes Taker, complete with 10 minute entrance.
You know, normally I’d complain about that thing being so long, but tonight I’d be happy with it being three times as long and us running out of PPV time.
Sadly, that’s not the case here, and teh match begins with a flury of slow-mo punches and stomps. Two minutes into it, both guys are completely gassed.
We get all the token “I’m climbing up the wall slowly, don’t grab my foot, oh no, he’s got me!” spots and I am already bored out of my skull.
Bored to the point, I should note, that I began pondering the possibilities of throwing two of the talentless ‘WWE Divas’ into this thing. They could call it the Poontang Prison.
(Note from RD: Wow, you must have been bored. And please – don’t give this company any ideas.)
The commentary isn’t helping here either, as the banter between Cole and JBL makes me wanna mute the TV and put on some Yoko Ono albums as comforting background noise. Some of the real doozies are when Cole exclaims that Big Show is “choking the life from the deadman”. YA GET IT?! And when Big Show gives Taker a clothesline ONCE in the match, Cole describes it as “like running into a freight train!”
How about you try that out for us, Michael?
This is just like a regular blue cage match with the big gaping holes (and no, RD, I’m not making 2 diva area jokes in a row) where the door would be opened then shut when one person dragged the other one back in.
And when the door is closed after the 60 second mark, RD gongs the match from Wrestlecrap HQ.
In case I’ve not made my point yet, this match is horrifyingly BORING.
Imagine Apocalypse Now in slow motion.
(Note from RD: I can’t even contemplate being so bored that I would even come up with the concept of of watching Apocalypse Now in slow motion.)
Seriously, if YOU can sit through every bit of this and not think, “I really have to clean my bathroom”, then you have a will of solid iron. Or you’re simply a complete lunatic.
After about 30 minutes of the slowest in-ring action you’ve ever seen, both guys finally get outside cage 1 and are in cage 2 for some more slow brawling. The riskiest move comes when Undertaker leg drops or drop kicks Big Show onto the table placed conveniently in cage 2. Well, there goes your other hip, Taker.
Finally, Taker climbs up top and jumps into Big Show’s arms, busting out of cage 2 and Taker lands on the ramp first and is declared the winner.
Khali and Daivari then come out and climb the cage on the other side.
Who knows. Maybe they were having flashbacks to recess and the monkey bars.
Mercifully THIS match is over but there would be yet ANOTHER Punjabi Prison match on PPV at No Mercy 2007. This time Khali would participate but now his opponent was Batista (or as I call him, “Basketball Jones” because of his penchant for the round bouncy object).
(Note from RD: I don’t care the reason, hence forth Dave Batista is to be referred to as “BASKETBALL JONES” by anyone affiliated with this site.)
I can’t even believe I am writing this, but the second match, the one with Khali and Batista Basketball Jones, was somehow BETTER than the first.
Note that I am not saying that it was any good at all, just that it was better. Kinda like being bent over the toilet throwing up and nearly choking from alcohol poisoning is better than getting hit in the face repeatedly with a brick.
So yeah, that’s the Punjabi Prison. I pray we will never see this thing again, but as long as Khali is around, you can rest assured we’ll see it from time to time. You’ve been warned.
As for Taker and Khali, they would have their long-awaited match on an episode of Smackdown that was so awfully worked that it had to be edited down and random shots of the audience had to be substituted for certain poorly executed moves. These guys are still employed by the WWE and Stevie Richards, Al Snow and Nunzio are no longer with the company. There’s absolutely no justice in this world.
That about wraps it up for now. Just wanna wish you guys a super Happy Turkey Day and remember, Turkey contains enough tryptophan to knock you on your sorry Thanksgiving ass so don’t overdo it or you’ll pass out on Aunt Maybelline’s glass top table during the football game.