Believe it or not, long before the XFL was even a twinkle in Vinnie Mac’s eye, he had a passion for football. One need look no further than the fact that the WWF featured both a heel hockey player (The Goon) and a heel baseball player (Abe Knuckleball Schwarz), yet no gridiron bully, to see that the WWF’s overlord had a soft spot in his heart for all things pigskin.
In fact, he even presented a tribute of sorts to college football on January 1, 1996. Going head to head with the Orange Bowl (which Florida State took in a nail biter over Notre Dame), the WWF presented the first ever (and to date, last ever) Raw Bowl, a football-themed gimmick match featuring the top teams in the promotion.
Let’s take a look at the bout’s contestants: representing gay rodeo clowns nationwide are Billy and Bart, the Smokin’ Gunns. The two are numbers 44 and 38 respectively. See, they have those numbers because they are GUNS. Yee haw!
Owen Hart (#1 – God I miss Owen) and the mighty Yokozuna (#641 – his weight, natch) are next, accompanied by Mr. Fuji and James E. Cornette.
And here comes Razor Ramon, sporting number 4 (either the number of times he held the IC belt or the number of beers he had in the 10 minutes proceeding the match, take your pick) and Savio Vega, wearing number uno. Vince helpfully explains means that UNO means ONE.
Thanks, Mr. Obvious – I never made the connection.
As our heroes are making their way past the cheerleaders and down to ringside…err, I mean…the GRIDIRON…they are interrupted by a dude in a movie usher suit, apparently under the employ of Goldust.
He gives a gift to the Bad Guy: a box of long stem gold roses. Ramon, in a homophobic rage, destroys the flowers.
No doubt, somewhere Merlin Olsen was wept silently.
McMahon and the King, though, were anything but silent, as they This launched into a bizarre and rather unsettling tirade of football/sexual innuendo.
Thanks, but I’d rather not hear about Goldust’s ENDZONE.
Finally, we have the 123 Kid (wearing, yep, 123) and #0 Sycho Sid (hey, don’t blame me – that’s how the WWF spelled it), brought to us from Ted DiBiase U.
The two stop on their way to demonstrate sexual techniques Sean Waltman would later perfect in his epic porn adventure “1 Night in China.” The difference being, of course, that Sid was nowhere near as manly as Joanie Laurer.
Well, at least that’s what Blade tells me.
Onto to the match!
The Raw Bowl was basically a four way tag team elimination bout that took place inside a ring with a canvas resembling a football field. The only real difference was that each team was entitled to one time out, thus allowing them to escape a pin or catch a breather.
And get this – the winning team would receive the coveted Lombardi Trophy! Woo hoo!
Of course, it wouldn’t be much of a football game without a homecoming queen, and sure enough, there was one sitting beside the King. As Lawler peered into the ring with his binoculars, she was given the opportunity to talk.
Put away the glasses, kids – this broad’s voice is LETHAL.
Silliness aside, the match itself was actually pretty dag gum good. Everyone had their working shoes on. While the bulk of the match was handled by the Smokin’ Gunns (and Billy was so good here that I can’t believe it’s the same guy that stunk up rings from pretty much 1999 on), everybody was “on.” Not only did Owen look sharp, but Yokozuna – YOKOZUNA! – was moving like his giant ass was on fire. Heck, even SID VICIOUS broke a sweat!
Sadly, all this physical exertion caused the big guy to fall down, with his legs inexplicably lifted straight up in the air.
You think I’m trying to be funny, but I swear to you I’m not (what you see to the right is actually an animated GIF).
No joke, he just laid on his back for like 15 seconds straight with his boots staring at the lights.
Finally, Billy mounted him (ewww) and scored the pinfall, thus giving the Smokin’ Gunns the prestigious Lombardi Trophy!
The STEVE Lombardi Trophy, that is, presented by the Brooklyn Brawler himself!
The faces were none too impressed with their prize, and pummeled the Jobber of the Millenium into oblivion.
You want to know what the difference is between WWF 1996 and WWE 2005? If this had taken place today, Vince would have saved the trophy and auctioned it off on WWE.com, no doubt delighting in watching me, Blade, and Madison deplete our bank accounts as we outbid each other, all just so we could put a cardboard cut out of the Brooklyn Brawler’s head on our shelf.
Vince McMahon: “Razor Ramon, pummeling Goldust’s usher, who appeared to be presenting him with a box of flowers.”
Jerry Lawler: “He punted him! ”
McMahon: “Razor did not appreciate that at all! And look who’s in the endzone!”
Lawler: “You know what McMahon? I think we just witnessed an illegal forward pass.”
McMahon: “Well, certainly an incomplete one, as we see the remnants of the gold colored roses. You have to question Goldust’s playbook as of late.”
Lawler: “I think Razor was way out of bounds!”
McMahon: “Let’s just hope that Goldust stays out of scoring position tonight!”
McMahon: “King – what are you looking at?!”
Lawler: “Hey Ashley, what do you think of the action so far?”
Dingbat Blonde with HORRIFYINGLY HIGH PITCHED VOICE: “It’s crazy, I love it, it’s wild!”
Lawler: “Did you hear that McMahon – she said she loves me!”
McMahon: “You better watch your illegal procedure.”
Lawler: “What do you think of my jersey, huh?”
DBWHHPV: “It’s my favorite color, I love it! My favorite number, too!”
McMahon: “Backfield in motion if I ever saw it!”
Steve Lombardi: “I hate to break up the party boys, but I give you the pleasure of receiving the famous Lombardi Trophy!”
Billy Gunn: “That’s Vince, you idiot!”
Lombardi: “Who do you think taught him everything he knows?”
McMahon: “Steve Lombardi?! The Brooklyn Brawler?!”