Everyone knows WWE’s fascination with having a roster filled with guys who are the kids of folks who made their living in the pro wrestling business. In fact, it seems these days it’s nigh on impossible to get a shot in the company without a “Junior” or “The Third” slapped on the back of your surname.
Which begs the question: why isn’t the Maestro conducting musical mayhem on Raw or Smackdown?
What’s that? You thought the Maestro was just some goof with wacky hair and a baton he waved around as he conducted an orchestra of bored wrestling fans? You didn’t know that his great uncle was, in fact, the ORIGINAL Gorgeous George? What, you just thought he came up with going as “Gorgeous George III” after have one too many?
Not the case. Yes, Robert Kellum, who started out as “Robbie Eagle” first as a jobber in WCW in the early 90s, had wrestling in his blood, and if you ever saw him before his WCW stint, either in Smokey Mountain or the USWA, you could see that. So it made perfect sense that eventually WCW would come calling.
But this being WCW, it wasn’t Kellum’s in-ring skills they were after.
It was his name. Or rather his great uncle’s name, to which he inherited the rights. So they bought the rights to the name “Gorgeous George” (more on this later) and Kellum was given a job as a mid-carder during the Vince Russo heyday as “The Maestro.”
No, not that Maestro, Kramer.
No doubt you are asking why Kellum didn’t just work as Gorgeous George III in WCW. As the story goes, while working for Carlos Colon’s World Wrestling Council in Puerto Rico, “Macho Man” Randy Savage asked Kellum’s permission for his brother Lanny Poffo to use the ring name “Gorgeous George” in WCW.
Unfortunately the negotiations fell through and Lanny Poffo, despite being paid six figures a year by WCW, did not compete once for the promotion. As RD has said in the past, there’s a good reason why Lanny Poffo was called “The Genius.”
Imagine Kellum’s surprise when he later found out that the name “Gorgeous George” was now being used not by Savage’s brother, but his stripper girlfriend turned valet, Stephanie Bellars!
No doubt George Wagner, who worked so hard for his name and the reputation attached to it, was spinning in his grave like he was going through a revolving door at these turn of events. Kellum allegedly threatened a lawsuit, which was averted thanks a WCW constract for Kellum courtesy of Eric Bischoff.
And thus the Maestro came down from the heavens.
Literally. They lowered the guy, along with his new valet Symphony (portrayed by Alicia Webb, who you won’t remember as Ken Shamrock’s ‘sister’ Ryan in the WWF) on a platform from the ceiling while he “played the piano.”
And you wonder how WCW lost $60 million bucks in 2000.
Yes, he’s a Liberace piano-playing pre-Adorable Adrian Adonis-looking heel music conductor.
Oh, did I mention he wrestles too?
Not content with just having one crappy gimmick on display for the guy’s debut, he would take on fellow WrestleCrap inductee The Artist Formerly Known as Prince Iaukea.
If you ever got drunk or high one night and wondered, “What if Liberace wrestled Prince in WCW?”, this is kind of what it’d look like.
Only a little more touchy-feely.
And no, putting your hand in front of your face does not make you invisible, no matter how much you don’t want to be in the match, Michael.
John Cena, take note.
Despite this being his intro match, the Maestro is dispatched by the Artist.
Not that any of it matters, because the Artist was then obliterated by Jeff Jarrett.
You know, when I recap Vince Russo booked stuff, it’s like I just write about random people doing random things in random order that make no, but undoubtedly completely random, sense.
And whatever happened to Russo being the outspoken champion of all over-looked lower mid-carders?
Was Jeff Jarrett, who had been pushed for years, really in need of the rub that clobbering the Maestro would give him?
Next up,. The Maestro wrestles Evan Karagias. Yes, Karagias, not Courageous, because misspellings are COOL. Sadly, the Maestro just missed out on this being a WCW Cruiserweight match, as Karagias had just dropped the belt to Madusa.
Yes, Madusa Micelli/Alundra Blayze.
Yes, I know she’s a woman.
And that woman lost the title to yet another WrestleCrap inductee, Oklahoma, which was a guy parodying Jim Ross.
Didn’t I already mention this was during the Russo regime? Were you expecting it to make sense?
Gotta (not) love it.
The Maestro also spent exactly 3 seconds in the ring with Jim Neidhart’s young clone Tank Abbott, when Tank punched him out and was declared the winner, due to the “shoot fight” rules.
As to be expected, the audience showed their appreciation for that match with a loud round of boos, right before we cut to Norman Smiley and Meng-ku as they threateningly stare each other down.
Again I say it.
Hmmmm…so far, The Maestro doesn’t seem to be getting much respect in WCW and seems to be just hanging around, getting squashed and ignored.
Unfortunately, The Maestro’s most notable moment would come at Superbrawl 2000.
For weeks prior to the match, Ernest “The Cat” Miller would talk about how he was tight with “The Godfather of Soul” himself, James Brown. Of course, there was zero proof of this, and everyone thus knew he was full of crap and it was just a way to get heat.
So imagine everyone’s surprise when during the midst of the Maestro cutting a robotic and probably racist promo…
…the real James Brown shows up to interrupt and dance and sing!
The Maestro promptly has a seizure and faints.
I can’t blame him – I’d have passed out too, thinking about how much money WCW pissed away by bringing Brown in and having no one believe he was going to show up.
Surprisingly, The Maestro hung around in WCW for a little while longer until David Arquette’s WCW World Heavyweight title reign proved to be too much for him and he soon left the promotion when his contract ran out. He now competes on the Independent Circuit as “The Stro” and you can visit his website at http://www.thestro.com
As RD will be back next week for his annual non-wrestling Christmas movie induction, I guess that’s my last induction of 2009. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and New Year (don’t forget to watch The Twilight Zone marathon on SyFy!) to you all!
And I’d like to take this opportunity on behalf of Wrestlecrap.com to extend my condolences and sympathies to the family and friends of Eddie “Umaga” Fatu who passed away last week at the age of 36. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.