If there’s one thing in wrestling that seemingly never plays out in any positive way, it would be the infamous MYSTERY man gimmick. Partner, opponent, thing coming out of an egg, whatever, it almost always bombs. In fact, as I prepared to write about the infamous WCW Mystery Man of WCW in 2001, I took a good day or two to think back on any advertised mysteries in wrestling that turned out to be something positive.
Here’s the total list that I could come up with:
– Undertaker’s debut at Survivor Series 1990
Not much of a list, I admit, but that’s honestly all that popped into my head. I was tempted to add in Rick Rude’s debut in WCW at Halloween Havoc ’91, but seriously, he was hyped up as, and I quote, “The WCW Phantom”. Didn’t help that he showed up in front of a haunted house that appeared to be a 3rd grade art project, featuring tombstones reading such notable things as “BEAR: HE WAZ FULL OF HOT AIR.”
What, you thought I was joking?
Look, I’m sure that there have been some good surprises over the years I’ve forgotten, so comment away on all the ones my feeble brain can no longer remember. No matter how many you note, rest assured for every Undertaker unveiling we get 10 Gobbledy Gooker unveil…err, hatchings. And trust me, the one we’re inducting today is on the Gooker end of the scale.
To set the table, it’s the end of 2000 and your WCW World Champion is Scott Steiner. Any random YouTube search will tell you Steiner is easy pickings for comedy, but over the years I’ve grown to admire Big Poppa Pump as a performer. I think it’s because he delivers baffling promos while at the same time looking like the most horrifying man alive. That’s a winning combination to me. On top of that, you get the bonus that he appears to be a true mad man.
And that is something so sorely missing in wrestling today: a lunatic. Want to know how badly we need that? In recent years, one of the biggest stories in wrestling was CM Punk dropping a ‘pipe bomb’ interview. People were thrilled a guy was saying something they thought he wasn’t supposed to.
When Steiner was around, folks were thrilled by a dude possibly doing very bad things he wasn’t supposed to PHYSICALLY.
I mean, seriously, just look at this guy:
Even when he appears to be completely calm, he scares the living daylights out of me.
In storyline, Ric Flair, WCW’s CEO, was peeing his pants at the sight of Steiner as well. So much so that he determined that to bring him down, he’d need to stack the odds against Steiner in a three-way match at the WCW Sin pay-per-view against fellow heel Jeff Jarrett and Sid Vicious. After a week or so, Flair decided even that wouldn’t be enough to bring an end to The Big Bad Booty Daddy’s reign of terror, so he made it a four-way with a mystery man, who proceeded to attack Steiner backstage.
But not just any mystery man – THIS mystery man!!
Yes, a mystery man wearing the most ghetto costume imaginable, just a black outfit covering him head to toe with what at first glance appeared to be stripes of white duct tape.
Oh, and he also looked to weigh approximately 500 pounds.
Like most pretty much everything WCW at the time, it was anything but impressive.
But Mystery Man was Flair’s ace in the hole, the man the Nature Boy was banking would help Sid Vicious to stop Steiner. So you can imagine Flair’s dismay when a week later, as Jarrett was battling Vicious, Mystery Man showed up and attacked…
I was going to write, “Why that makes no sense”, but this is late era WCW we’re covering today, so it’s almost more likely for that to be the case. Any guesses as to whom Mystery Man was this night?
Here’s a hint: Mystery Man had attacked Steiner the week before.
So yeah, of course it’s Steiner this week.
The following week, Flair came out and explained that Steiner was not in fact REALLY his Mystery Man. Sadly, he did not explain how Steiner created the exact same outfit that his non-Steiner Mystery Man was sporting. Too bad, that would have made for great television. Instead, we were told how “The Real Deal Mystery Man” was coming to Sin. No doubt this statement, combined with the fact that Sin was to take place in Indianapolis and the gentleman behind the mask ran like a Weeble led to rampant speculation that the mystery man was in fact RD Reynolds.
Spoiler Alert: I was not the WCW Mystery Man.
I also decline to state whether talks took place for me to be so.
But yeah, all this led to Sin and the big four way match. Except, this being WCW, it starts without Mystery Man as Flair comes out and explains that his boy wasn’t coming out quite yet. Instead, a brutally atrocious brawl breaks out with Sid throwing punches the likes of which you’ve not seen since your six year old brother popped you in your four year old mouth for eating the last of the Captain Crunch.
All of this is overshadowed by the complete and total lack of logic in the match as Jarrett tries to help Steiner win, then Steiner tries to help Jarrett win. Again, the title is on the line here so your guess as to why these men would help each other win is as good as mine. Finally, Sid takes control and as he does so, decides for whatever reason to go to the second rope. He leaps into the air to give Steiner a boot to the face (why would that need further air support?), and in the process lands and snaps his own leg like a twig…and for once, I am glad that the crack WCW production crew missed the shot. They would replay it on Nitro, but I won’t do a gif of it, because it is way, WAY too gruesome. If you want to see it, Google it yourself ya weirdo creepy goon.
So poor Sid is writhing in agony as Scott lays in what are thankfully the worst kicks you ever did see. While this is happening, the announcers are literally BEGGING for Mystery Man to get down the aisle. After what feels like an eternity, he finally nonchalantly meanders down to the ring and…
…attacks Sid, giving Steiner the belt. Why? Who knows. Who cares.
And the in the crapper, Mystery Man unmasks as Road Warrior Animal.
This is usually where I try to come up with some punchy one-liner to end the show, but honestly, anything I write can’t possibly top that image with “Copyright 2001 WCW” plastered on it.
If you’ve enjoyed this induction, you’ll love the new Death of WCW: 10th Anniversary Edition, penned by myself and Figure Four Weekly‘s Bryan Alvarez. Learn all about it by clicking on the cover below!