One of the more tiresome aspects of WWE these days is the announce team. With all of the piped-in cliches, bickering, and banter covering everything but the action of the match at hand, it’s enough to make a viewer just mute the audio altogether, even it means not finding out from the crowd whether or not a match is awesome.
So when I heard JBL claim that Jerry Lawler had won the 1994 Slammy Award for “Mouthiest,” I thought he was just making yet another of his baseless claims (like shouting, “Ball game!” during what is clearly a wrestling match). Everyone who stuck with the WWF through the lean years of the mid-90s knows that the Slammy Awards weren’t brought back until 1996, when The King won the “I’m Talking and I Can’t Shut Up” award.
Weeks, perhaps months later, I was browsing Wikipedia when I found this:
It couldn’t be true. If these 1994 Slammys had actually taken place, why had nobody mentioned them for twenty years, only for them to pop up on Raw and now Wikipedia? Was this some kind of conspiracy, perhaps (but not necessarily) involving black helicopters? Nothing made sense about this alleged 1994 Slammy Awards ceremony, which supposedly occurred between the 1987 and 1996 editions (okay, that last part at least made sense).
But, lo and behold, the WWE Network had the final word, including the 1994 Awards among its Slammy programming.
So yes, there was a 1994 Slammy Award show, and let me tell you: everything about it was orders of magnitude suckier than the Slammy Award ceremonies of the past and future.
Instead of an elaborate set…
…we got this bare-bones WWF studio.
Instead of a late-night network spot…
…we got the usual 10am WWF Mania time slot on a Saturday morning.
Instead of outrageous opening musical numbers…
…we got this “Scoop” song.
Instead of black ties and gowns…
…we got ugly jackets and mom jeans.
Instead of statuettes for each category…
…we got this solitary Slammy trophy from the props department, awarded over and over again in absentia.
Instead of Todd Pettengill…
…we got Stephanie Wiand.
And instead of a star-studded cast of presenters and award-winners…
…we got Todd Pettengill.
But the main difference between these Slammy Awards and the ones held in later years was that, rather than thousands of ballots being cast by mail or millions of votes being entered on the WWE App, the 1994 awards were decided by just two voters, the Dynamic Duds themselves, Todd and Stephanie, with an unseen studio engineer breaking the tie if necessary.
Yes, Todd Pettengill and his new co-host Stephanie Wiand (who had been on the job for all of about three weeks) served as judge and jury for the WWF Superstars.
In between second-run squash matches, our hosts would rifle through their fish bowl full of envelopes and announce Slammy winners with all the suspense of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge after a heavy wind.
Not that most of these awards merited any suspense, and yes, that includes the award for “Most Likely to See Jenny Craig,” which Bastion Booger took home (or at least, he would have taken it home, had the wrestlers themselves been invited to the studio, and had Mike Shaw not already left the company months earlier).
Roman Reigns’s cousin Fatu, seen here eating a stick of deodorant, won for Best Etiquette along with his partner Sione.
And all the while our hosts tore through envelopes just as two kids on Christmas morning would tear through a stack of presents.
Speaking of envelopes (and “morning would”), Steph and the Toddster were certainly pushing the envelope when it came to the simmering sexual tension permeating this Saturday morning broadcast.
Don’t believe me? Just listen to this dirty talk between Mr. Pettengill and Ms. Wiand.
Okay, so she was just talking about Irwin R. Schyster’s overactive sweat glands.
But just look at this reaction and tell me Stephanie wasn’t hot and bothered in the otherwise climate-controlled WWF Studio.
Actually, that’s just our co-host in awe at the TV spot where that little brat who played ball with the Randy Savage during the MLB strike tells Bret Hart, “Go get ‘im champ!”
If you ever attended a WWF event in 1994 where Bret came through the curtain without his signature pink shades, now you know whom to blame for robbing you (and all the other good children who didn’t wander backstage where they didn’t belong) of a chance to get the glasses.
Still, you’ve got to think that during the commercial breaks, Todd and Stephanie were off in some other room doing it — by which I mean playing the new WWF Raw video game for Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo, which was new in stores at the time and, by amazing coincidence, also spawned an official strategy video that won “Best Coliseum Home Video.”
In other merchandise-hawking, Todd later showed off the new WWF trading cards, like this one of the 1-2-3 Kid (eyebrows not included).
Bull Nakano won the award for Most Devastating…
…while the competition for the Most Un-be-lievable Maneuver, Most Tremendous Athleticism, and Biggest Capacity Crowd awards was apparently too close to call.
The award for “Funniest” went to Dink, but the most hilarious segment he was ever part of was really carried by Jeff Jarrett. There’s your rightful winner right there!
Speaking of Double J, Todd openly snubbed the country crooner by giving the “Best Entertainer” award to Men on a Mission’s Oscar. Another bad call!
I shall refer you again to Exhibit A:
Here’s the biggest missed opportunity of the program (besides never revealing who won the award for “Dreamiest”): We all know Owen Hart was a two-time Slammy Award winner (or at least a two-time Slammy Award accepter).
But did you know that Owen actually won a Slammy for real back in 1994? If the ’94 Slammy Awards didn’t have a single-digit budget and could afford multiple statues, Owen would have been hauling around three Slammys in the 90s.
Despite a designated tie-breaker, there were a few awards with co-winners, such as the “Smelliest” award, which went to both Duke “The Dumpster” Droese and newcomer Henry O. Godwinn.
Another category, “Best Movie,” saw a deadlock between Todd’s choice, the action flick “Speed”, starring Keanu Reaves and Sandra Bullock, and lame little Stephanie’s choice, “Princess Caraboo.” Believe it or not, there was at least one pairing in WWF history where Todd Pettengill was cast as “the cool one.”
But the judges were unanimous in their pick for best TV show:
There must have been a mix-up in the envelopes, as the “MVP” award should have gone to the Federation’s Most Violent Player, Abe “Knuckleball” Schwartz…
…who was instead announced as the winner of this next award, which clearly should have gone to the Slammy Awards hosted by Todd Pettengill and Stephanie Wiand: