I don’t follow politics.
I’ve seen good men who have and witnessed their rapid decline, as they get furious about things that they cannot possibly hope to change. Don’t get me wrong, I do vote, but I don’t live and die by the nightly news or checking out The Drudge Report. And to be fair, I don’t even know if that site is still active or whatever; it was just a blog a good friend would constantly refresh multiple times a day and then get angrier and more defensive each time he did. I don’t tend to give life advice here at WrestleCrap.com (who on earth would come here for it?), but I would tell you that getting all worked up over silly things over which you honestly have close to if not absolute zero control is wasted time in this short life.
In other words, don’t waste your life angering up the blood over nothing.
The reason I mention this is due to the fact that as I write this induction, I am once more trapped on an airplane. This time, I am sitting next to a guy very angrily pecking away at his iPhone in response to an email with the subject “CONGRESS!!!!!” I am not one to eavesdrop, but I just happened to glance over and saw it. And he was huffing and puffing as he wrote it.
Now maybe this 20 something upstart heading to Denver was part of Congress and I just didn’t recognize him. That’s possible. I mean, I would be questioning why he was crammed next to me in coach, but it’s possible. As he pounded away in anger, all I could think was, “Why do people waste their lives on politics?”
I then immediately began to write this induction about a pro wrestling coloring book from 24 years ago.
The irony is delicious.
Or at least better than these outdated packs of a half-dozen peanuts they now feed us on flights.
To be honest, I had totally forgotten I even had this particular piece of wrestling memorabilia until I was cleaning up and clearing out WrestleCrap HQ a few weeks ago. It’s a process I call SIMPLIFICATION – loading up and pitching old junk you will never look at again the rest of your life. To the delight of no one, I always do my impression of the hippie from The Simpsons when I tell Mrs. Deal and RD Jr. that’s what we’re doing. You can imagine how much they love hearing that over and over again.
Despite throwing away approximately 1,200 empty DVD cases and other worthless crap, somehow this thing made the cut and avoided the trash can. The funny thing is I really had no recollection of ever having it. It was in a box of old wrestling magazines, and while I collected those with every spare cent I had to my name back in the late 80s (and no, I didn’t pitch those), I never bothered with coloring books. Especially not in 1991, when I would have been twenty-two years old.
I mean, I’m a weirdo, but not a WEIRDO. So I am guessing someone sent me coloring books at some point in the last fifteen years and I just threw them in there thinking I’d look at them again some day.
Well mysterious benefactor of aged yellow coloring pages, TODAY IS YOUR DAY IN THE SUN.
We get a full color shot of Animal and Hawk of the Legion of Doom on the cover, complete with their red and black shoulder pads. I’m sure why they changed from the black and chrome to that goofy color combo has been covered in a shoot interview someplace, but at the time of their arrival in the WWF such information didn’t really exist and all I could think was, “Man, that looks really stupid.”
And now as I look at them, all I can think is, “Man, that looks really stupid.”
It would of course get far worse for Hawk and Animal throughout their runs in the company, eventually paired with a ventriliquist dummy named Rocco (inducted, in the archives) and Hawk being a drunk who jumped off the top of the Titantron in an attemped suicide live on Raw (also inducted, also in the archives). Being cover models on a coloring book ain’t even in the top 50 of things that Vince did to water down their tough guy image.
Opening up to the innards of the tome, we learn that this is illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright. A Google search reveals him to be a rather well known chap having illustrated tons of children’s books, which completely ruins my vision of what an artist named “Cornelius Van Wright” would look like: Colonel Klink from Hogan’s Heroes, madly dipping a giant feathered quill into a tiny bottle of black ink, doing line drawings of Well Dunn.
I should also mention that Well Dunn is in the archives, if for no other reason than it’s not often that I get to mention those of the bow tie and thong persuasion. Also, I really need to drum up some cash for the site’s quarterly hosting fees which are due next week.
Enough of that jazz. On with the show.
Our first page reveals the Bushwackers in all their glory. If you are looking at this and thinking, “Man, RD did a horrible scanning job on these”, eh, guilty as charged. Instead of focusing on that, let’s cast our gaze at the level of detail Cornelius went to on these – not only did kids in 1991 get gnawed off hats, they also got tattoos even I don’t remember. And I had to sit through a LOT of Bushwacker matches and skits in the early 90s when I watched every show they bothered to unleash, be it in syndication (WWF Superstars, Challenge, Spotlight) or on the USA Network (Prime Time, All American).
Vince was seemingly obsessed with getting them on all television shows and video releases, so it’s no surprise that they wound up on four pages here. The hats even get their OWN page! And I think Luke now has more tatoos that he did before. I can’t really make out every one of them, but pretty sure I see a bird, a dolphin, and maybe a squirrel.
I’d zoom in, but Johnny Republicrat is already looking at me kinda weird and I dread what a conversation with him would be.
Up next we get the Orient Express, and the first appearance of any actual coloring by our friend. You know, I’ve been scratching my head for the last fifteen minutes pondering what to call him, so we’ll just dub him “Mr. Crayola” and move on.
No wait, The Crayola Kid. Makes him sound more like a babyface. Also shorter for me to type “Kid” than “Mr. Crayola.” With 197 more pages to go, I’m all about efficiency.
Apparently Kid is something of a fan of the Orient Express. “Something” of a fan I say because he could only be bothered to color one half of Akio Sato’s robe. Pat Tanaka and Mr. Fuji? You get nothing.
To which I say, “come on, dude – this is rare terrtory – how often did you see this particular pairing in promotional material and not a masked Canadian as half of the team?”
Heck, they were even great with Kato – go back and watch Royal Rumble 1991. In fact, do that then get a blank sheet of paper and color “I will not discount the Orient Express again” 500 times.
A smiling and rather buff Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart is up next, complete with a TM mark. You know, in case a third grader was illegally running copies at school for his friends. Sadly, the Anvil gets no waxy love, not even a smattering as Sato did.
His partner, on the other hand, got full on multi-stick madness. Seriously, Kid not only colored in the logo as well as the pink and black in Bret’s outfit, he did FLESHTONES for the Hitman. I can only surmise that Bret was his favorite wrestler, and for that I also commend our young (at least I hope he/she/it was young) Picasso as Bret was also my top guy during this time period. The Hitman could do no wrong, even when he recorded horrible songs (you know where) and taught the guys at Midway had to program video games (ditto).
Now we’re talking, as we get my good friend Earthquake John Tenta making an appearance. That’s actually a pretty daggum good representation of John; I think he’d be happy to see that. Heck, I almost want to take it out and color it myself.
I don’t know I can say the same for his partner in crime, who is thankfully labeled as “Dino Bravo”. Pretty sure if that text wasn’t there I would think Raoul Silva, the villain from Skyfall, was really jacked when he was younger and somehow had a WWF run I missed.
Next we get the legendary team of Hulk Hogan and Tugboat, or as I refer to them the “I’m A Tugboat, So Don’t Call Me a Ferry Powers”.
Just kidding, Fred. You know we love you! (And if any of the rest of you don’t know we do, here’s a progrem from last year where Blade & I interviewed this great man.)
And we now get some IN RING ACTION, as Tugger goes airborne with a giant SLAM!!!! Not sure if that is supposed to be a sound effect or the name of the move. Kinda fails both ways.
Also, Dino Bravo has morphed into David Sammartino. Or maybe Adrian Adonis. Like if the two were able to somehow reproduce, that’s what this guy groaning “UHHHH” would look like.
Down goes the mighty Quake to a Hulkster clothesline. I’d be upset they aren’t showing my friend getting the heat on Hogan, but any time I see a giant “FRUMP!” in ink I tend to forgive even the most heinous of crimes.
So the Hulkster and Tugboat are triumphant! Wait, did Hogan wrestle in that t-shirt and bandana? I don’t believe he did.
See kids, continuity problems in WWE are nothing new.
I flip the page and we get, in all its glory, THE WINGED EAGLE BELT.
Hot dang tamale was that thing great. I have no idea what that bird has to do with pro wrestling, but it remains my all-time favorite belt ever. And yes I can say ‘belt’ because I’m an outlaw who plays by his own rules. Just looking upon it makes me kinda sad that I am currently on a plane with no coloring apparatuses (apparati?) in sight, because if ever there was something that was worthy of me spending time channeling my inner 7-year old with metallic crayons, it would be that fine belt.
I am sure you’ve noticed it’s now been several pages and Kid and his coloring sticks have been nowhere to be seen.
But don’t you worry, because on the next page we get…
…whatever on earth this is!
That there picture isn’t worth a thousand of my words, but a thousand thousand thousand of my words.
I was speechless, but RD Jr. immediately started pointing at it, laughing to the point that he had tears running down his face, and screaming “He’s pretty in pink!”
Prettyinpinkandrethegiant.com…I bet that URL’s not taken.
Again, I want to remind everyone this is NOT something >>>I<<< colorized, it was something I found. Dear reader, this is the artistic license our friend utilized on the legendary Andre the Giant:
– pink skin
– purple lips
– green and orange and blue and green again singlet with lines pointing directly at his crotch
– multi-colored shoes that Andre had to have stolen from a visiting circus’ clown tent
That is simultaneously the greatest and most horrifying coloring job I’ve seen in my entire life.
I can only assume Kid had worked on this so hard that upon putting the finishing touches on Andre’s lips, he collapsed in a heap for the night. No other explanation as to why he didn’t go all out utilizing every color in his box of 64 to tint and shade the 8th Wonder’s name.
In comparison, the LOD look downright normal. Then again, I guess ANYTHING would look downright normal to what I just saw. These guys got nearly every square ink of the page colored, so Kid must not have been as offended as I was by the Road Warriors’ neutering.
I should also note that the skin tones on the LOD are right, which isn’t the case when we turn the page and get…
…Shawn Martian and “Jaundiced” Marty Janetty!
Sorry, I mean…
Again, Kid didn’t just slop colors in there; it’s obvious great care was spent on this, utilizing his fine motor skills to ensure everything was inside the lines. He didn’t scribble in green, he painstakingly MADE Shawn green and Marty yellow, going past their forearm party streamers and coloring in their hands.
That’s dedication to his craft!
But not so much that he bothered to color them on the next page.
Not even when Shawn (or maybe Marty) is WOP’ing a headless foe.
He also didn’t color in Bobby Heenan. Can’t blame him, as for some reason Van Whatshisname dressed The Brain in what appears to be a western getup. Bobby never wore a BOLO TIE, geek. Get it right!
Jimmy Hart, on the other hand, looks alirght. Nothing great, but nothing horrible. Kid obviously agreed as he gave him this half-hearted attempt.
Let’s call it 2 1/4 Akio Sato stars.
We get our first diva up next.
Ok, that’s a lie, as the term “diva” was never used by this company until someone old and perhaps fossilized heard it in passing around 2005 and decided that would be something cool to call the women despite the fact that it is a rather deregotary term. Anyway, it’s Sensational Queen Sherri and she looks Jemtastic.
I mean, I never watched Jem (really), but if I did, I bet she would look like that. And she looks way, WAY better than she did in real life here. Like smoking hot. Nice job, Cornelius!
While I applaud Corny, I hate but kinda need to knock Kid again, as this was a real missed opportunity. I mean, this was YOUR chance to reenact that SummerSlam when she showed up as CATFACE and you passed on it.
She even has her hands clawed and ready.
Randy Savage gets a bit of love. I should say more than a bit, as Kid goes very fine and ornate, shading in the Macho King’s crown and sunglasses to great effect. His robe is also a rainbow wonder; somewhere Joseph is thinking, “Now THAT is an amazing technicolor dreamcoat.”
I also like that he started coloring in the background shock effect under Macho’s armpit, then just gave up before completing the task. I bet he was thinking, “Nah, not worth it. What I’ve done will suffice in 24 years when RD reviews my work.”
Whoa, a BARBARIAN appearance?
Complete with ANTLERS?
…GET THEIR OWN PAGE????!!!!!
I feel like I’ve just been gifted a Halloween outfit.
Thanks, Random WWF Coloring Book from 1991 (that is actually “WWF Tag Team Superstars”)!!
Hawk and Animal make another appearance but Kid can only bother to color Animal this time and not even finish the job on his face paint. I’d ponder why, but my brain is too busy attempting to solve the riddle of why Barbarian was in a book of tag teams with no partner whatsoever.
Was Warlord really that busy?
We get a Power & Glory sighting next. I’m sad that Kid didn’t scribble in “Herc & Jerk”. Gorilla Monsoon would have appreciated that.
For historical purposes, Paul Roma would leap from a blank coloring page with Hercules to a member of the Four Horsemen less than three years later.
FOUR HORSEMAN PAUL ROMA.
Let that sink in a bit. And then read this. It’s about Paul Roma.
I’d again criticize Kid for his lack of effort coloring in Paul Roma, but he redeems himself with the final page in the book featuring…
CRAZY INSANE MARTIAN BROTHER TO SHAWN MARTIAN ULTIMATE WARRIOR.
I really should have reserved…
…because we need that right there.
I mean, seriously, we get…
– Iceburg Lettuce green skin
– Brick red hair
– Mud brown face paint
– Apple red lips
and most disturbing of all
– GREY MOUTH AREA
No idea why it’s grey.
No idea why it’s so horrifying.
But it is.
And remember, this man had a feud with Andre the Giant in the WWF. Hopefully the Andre we saw above.
I may not sleep for a week as I contemplate this.
The back cover offers us other WWF coloring books that we will enjoy. Not might enjoy, WILLenjoy. It is a COMMAND. And among those would be a title dubbed “Ultimate Warrior WILDFIRE”.
Mystery Crayola Kid, if you are out there and you have that one, please send it my way.
I can only imagine what you’ve done with a blank Tommy Rich canvas!