When I hear the phrase “Stretcher Match”, I either think of the epic Sabu Vs. Rob Van Dam match at ECW’s The Doctor Is In (wind up your radiooooo with Dr. Dementoooo)…OR…I think of the crappy God-forsaken match I’m about to talk about today.
You know, I could write a book entitled WCW 1991: 365 Days of WrestleCrap. Maybe we could even make it one of those lame ass desk calendars.
You’ve gotta admit that would be better than looking at a different picture of places you will never, ever be able to afford to visit (let alone live)…
…or cats being tortured by having hats stapled to their heads.
Speaking of torture, 1991 WCW. I LOVE that whole horrific year. An unbelievably cluster-huckey time for the company that’d last until the end of the year when the company creatively picked up steam that’d last well into 1992, only to once again taper off at the start of 1993. Same old story with WCW.
Before I head into the induction, a little background info on the technical masters involved in today’s epic encounter.
Sid Vicious, member of the Four Horsemen and hugely over Monster Heel, had decided the pastures of New York with Vince McMahon were far greener than they were down in Atlanta with Jim Herd, so he decided sign with the WWF. WCW planned his exit by hyping a match with the towering 7 foot Argentinian basketball player turned wrestler, “El Gigante”, wherein the loser of the match would be strapped and carried out on a stretcher.
Remember that stipulation, folks, because it’s important.
The genesis of this “stretcher match” began when Sid would murder his jobber opponents on tv tapings and have his fellow Horsemen, Arn Anderson and Barry Windham, come to ringside in doctor’s scrubs to take the jobber out on a stretcher and have all 3 kill him deader after the match. Yes, Arn Anderson – in scrubs. Why I can just picture him hanging out at the local Life Uniform shoppe, can’t you? I can only assume Flair was backstage snapping the rubber glove for the big finale but that’s neither here nor there.
Back in the old days of 4 PPVs a year, build-up to matches took place at least a month in advance and hype was constant. This “stretcher match” was hyped to the moon and back by announcer Paul E. Dangerously, describing this match-up as a clash of giants that’ll rock the foundation of planet earth. Jim Ross, on the other hand, had a different take, as when Paul mentioned Sid’s name, he bitterly retorted, “Sid’s only got two moves!” Jim Ross, the original Smart Mark. A great way to bury one of the selling points of the PPV before he’s gone. Luckily this exchange took place on the Saturday morning Power Hour program so no one was watching (and a damn shame cause I loved the WCW Power Hour).
Anyways, the match in question took place on May 19th at St. Petersburg, Florida for the very first Superbrawl pay-per-view. The show itself was fine, with some stand-out matches such as Brian Pillman Vs. Barry Windham in a “taped fists” match (long before the Undertaker made taping fists trendy) and a wonderful TV title match with Arn Anderson Vs. Beautiful Bobby Eaton, in addition to a Ric Flair Vs. Tatsumi Fujinami rematch. So far, so good, right?
Well, then let’s start the WrestleCrap parade!
Johnny B. Badd. Yes, a gay heel that looks and sounds like Little Richard. But then he becomes straight, or at least bi-curious, when he becomes a babyface.
I guess conversion-therapy DOES work.
The York Foundation, with a lineup of guys in business suits…because guys with well-pressed business suits and ties are inherently EVIL.
Black Bart, one of “The Desperados” who participated in 10 minute weekly vignettes where they goofed around an Old West ghost town looking for Stan Hansen. You can’t make this stuff up. This is the kinda thing that makes adults start to doubt kayfabe.
We also have Big Josh, the lumberjack from the Pacific Northwest with his 2×4 and his trained walking bears. “Hacksaw Jim Duggan has a 2×4 and everyone loves him! Big Josh will have a 2×4…AND WALKING BEARS!”
Now THAT’s an idea that needs to make a comeback. I bet, say, Gene Snitsky would have become a WrestleMania main eventer if he had walking bears..
While Paul E. Dangerously (wearing the same shirt I wore in 3rd grade) interviews Stan Hansen.
Quick note to Bart and the Desperados. You’re looking for Stan Hansen.
HE’S RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF YOU!
(Note from RD: Not to pick nits, but to be fair, I don’t think the Desperados ever actually said what they were going to do once they found Hansen. Maybe they were literally just looking for the guy.
Therefore, I can only surmise they found him backstage, then patted each other on the back and said, “Good job! We found him!” then went off to have a beer in celebration of accomplishing said (completely pointless) goal.)
And of course I’d be at a loss not to mention the debut of OZ. Complete with smoke machines, Dorothy, Toto, The Scarecrow, The Tin Man and The Cowardly Lion walking down the ramp to a castle set that OZ would emerge from.
I can just imagine the planning sessions for this one.
“Shouldn’t we be using Ted Turner’s money to hire new, exciting talent to compete with the WWF?”
“NAH! More castle sets with monkeys will defeat the WWF!”
If you really want to have some fun, watch this intro and when “The Wizard” continually shouts, “Welcome to Oz! Welcome to Oz!”, see if you can pick up an annoyed fan yelling, “Shut up, bitch!”
1991 WCW = COMEDY GOLD.
And because we have plenty more time to kill on this PPV you paid 25 bucks for, Missy Hyatt goes into the men’s locker room for some “interviews”. Andrew Dice Clay says “Hickory Dickory Dock…heh, write your own joke, OH!”
Sadly, she is immediately spanked and chased out by crazed, tobacco-drooling Stan Hansen, still in his polka-dot boxers.
It’s the kinda scene that really makes you miss your abusive redneck step-grandpa.
“After my date with Prince, I went right home.”
(Note from RD: Did you steal that from Hobgoblins on Mystery Science Theater 3000?)
(Note from Kelly: Yes. Yes, I did.)
(Note from RD: Good girl.)
AH! Now we come to the MAIN EVENT of…well, this induction.
Gentlemen and Lady (I know you’re out there, I can hear you breathing), from “Anywhere He Darn Well Pleases”, Sid Vicious!
If I could choose to be from “Anywhere I Darn Well Please”, I’d choose Paul Christy’s apartments.
(Note from RD: I’d go with that apartment complex Lord Alfred and Mean Gene found while on safari. Which, as previously noted, was probably also owned by Paul Christy.)
El Gigante (or “Elegante” as JR calls him, which has to be a stretch as I don’t think this guy would ever be confused for “elegant”) walks out with the stretcher so there WILL be stretchering in this match.
Not to beat this into the ground, but let me once more reiterate, for the record, that the stipulation of this match according to ring announcer Gary Michael Cappetta is that “the loser must leave the ring on a stretcher”.
Got that? Good.
Alright, let’s see if these two follow the typical “Big Guy Match Checklist.”
Collar and elbow tie up where they keep pushing each other into the ropes?
Test of strength?
And so as El Gigante reaches for Sid’s hand, the camera is focused in such a way that it appears that the big (well, bigger) guy is changing out a bulb in the rafters. Reach high, big guy – I think that third one on the left is burned out.
Sadly, lighting maintenance is cut short, as the battle of our two favorite Frankenstein wrestling monsters commences as Sid kicks El Gigante in the gut.
Now that bulb will never get changed.
See, I told you Sid was a monster heel!
Amidst the plodding around, there’s one clothesline and that’s as close as we get to a technical wrestling move because I once saw a clothesline used in a Bret Hart match as well.
They do some corner “fighting” that actually appears to be more of some kind of reverse spooning technique. I’d look up “Argentenian love making tactics” on Google, but I’m afraid of the results. In fact, I think I’ll turn my “safe search” on right now just in case I get snookered one night and decide to see what, exactly, it is these two were attempting to do in that corner.
So Sid does a blind bull charge at Gigante, who leaps into the air with a drop kick!
He basically just leaned back into the corner, and his legs went airborne. For this guy, though, let’s just be charitable and call it a dropkick.
(Note from RD: Good idea, as we will no doubt pick up tons of hits via all those “El Gigante drop kick” Google searches.)
One El Gigante claw-hold finisher to Sid’s face and the referee counts the pin.
This despite both of Sid’s shoulders being clearly off the mat.
Where are those “You Screwed Sid” chants? Doesn’t ref Randy Anderson deserve some Hebner-esque love?
Alright, so Sid lost the match. According to the rules, he’s gonna be strapped to the stretcher and carted off yelling and screaming as only Sid can make fun to watch.
This is gonna be good!
But swervery is afoot! As The One Man Gang and card-carrying Lollipop Guild Member Kevin Sullivan distract and assault El Gigante as Sid slips from the ring, never to be mentioned by Jim Ross or Dusty Rhodes again.
I’d get upset about this, but just think…we’re going to get El Gigante vs. One Man Gang matches!
Wait a minute…if I use this 8 kilobyte JPG as a reference, I bet those matches sucked.
As a consolation to the fans that were gypped out of 20 bucks to see Sid Vicious carted away on a stretcher raving like a madman, El Gigante pushes OMG on the stretcher and gives him those wind-up punches.
“You look tired, El Gigante. Why don’t you take…a POWDER?! MWAAHAHAHAHA!!”
(Note from RD: It would have totally ruled if Sullivan actually said that, preferably on the house mic for all to hear.)
One Man Gang and Sullivan beat up El Gigante with the stretcher and leave the ring.
Scoff if you will at the thought of a stretcher as a foreign object, but Gigante was so big I bet he could have hidden one in his trunks.
And El Gigante gives his “oh fizzlestix, I’ve been foiled” face as Jim Ross and Dusty Rhodes just talk about the potential of an El Gigante and One Man Gang feud, because it’s exciting enough to forget Sid just rolled out of the ring and wasn’t wheeled up to Connecticut as planned.
Yes, exciting El Gigante vs. One Man Gang matches…
…awww, never mind.
Wow was that awful. Easily one of the Worst Match of the Year candidates. In an ironic switcheroo, El Gigante would sign with the WWF 2 years later to become “The Giant Gonzalez” to stink up various house shows and PPVs feuding with The Undertaker. While Sid Vicious would return to WCW around the same time to wear flip flops and plot to blow up Sting’s boat.
Come to think of it, I should also write the 1993 encyclopedia of Wrestlecrap too.
Or maybe a day calendar…