At first glance, you may have thought I was profiling everyone’s favorite 80’s Australian pop group this week. Nope, despite the fact that WCW hired almost every musical artist under the sun during their time, they somehow missed the boat on them. Which is not to say this week’s entry doesn’t have it’s origins in pop music. Ahhh, I can see it now. Somewhere in a WCW executive office in 1995, a higher up said, “We need a wrestling version of David Hodo.” At which point I’m sure everybody was like, “Who?!?!”
Yes, a WCW version of David Hodo, better known as the Village People’s construction worker extraordinaire. And if that wasn’t enough, to complete this horror of all horrors, WCW didn’t just stop with one clone, oh no. We got three labourers for the price of one. They have not come “from a land down under,” but they sure looked like that’s where they wanted to go, so to speak. For your enjoyment, here is the legacy of this week’s Jobbers of the Week – Men At Work.
It was late 1995, and young enhancement talents Chris Kanyon and Mark Starr were going nowhere as singles wrestlers. They desperately needed a gimmick to get them over and get them over fast. Since the far superior gimmicks of Hulkamaniac eating sharks and dyslexic bunny-lovers were currently taken, what better gimmick to take up then one that if it didn’t succeed in the ring, they may have to take it up in real life – construction workers. One quick trip to Grampa Joe’s toolshed to get outfitted and presto – instant jobbing tag-team.
Decked out in flannel and jeans, and complete with hardhats and tools in hand, Starr and Kanyon attempted to take over WCW Worldwide with hammer-strength force. One slight problem upon their debut, however. They appeared to have more in common with male strippers disguised as construction workers than the guys framing up the house next-door to you. Kanyon didn’t help matters one bit by ripping open his flannel and teasing the crowd, as well as gyrating his hips in a way that would make Val Venis blush.
Thankfully, Kanyon soon cut out the male entertainment portion of his character, and moved on to doing things more construction-like, like measuring everything in sight with his tape measure. Everything from the height of the ring announcer to the width of the ring-ropes. They even learned the time-honored tradition of wasting man hours by taking time consuming coffee-breaks. In fact, hyped up on caffeine one Saturday Night, they pulled off one of their few victories, against the lowly Armstrong Brothers. An upset over the former champs Bunkhouse Buck and Dick Slater soon followed. Things appeared to be going farely well – perhaps too well – as they entered 1996 and headed towards their shamefilled final destiny.
In ’96, the Men At Work met up with the greatest challenge they would face – the American Males. Forget about what I said earlier about the guys being manly. What would soon unfold on my tv screen was nothing short of a homoerotic nightmare.
Take a look inside this wrestling ring. Is this a shot from a wrestling match, or a joint-bachelorette party for your sister and her gay male co-worker at the local all-male strip club?
Let’s take a look at the boys in some all too frolic-filled wrestling action, shall we. Here we see Marcus Bagwell teasing all the guys, by giving us his imitation of the Heroes Of Wrestling PPV using Mark Starr’s arm.
You wanna know the best way to make your opponent submit? Grab your partner’s sweaty ass, and give him a wedgie. It’s for that extra leverage, you know.
After wearing Bagwell down, Starr selfishly opts for a, shall I say, erect-style pin.
Not a minute too soon, and as was the case in all their matches, the Males get the win. Note how Bagwell cautiously grapevines the testicles, ensuring the hard fought victory.
Geez, after enduring all of that, I think I’m gonna have to watch the best of Jenna Jameson : Volumes 1- 37 to get those hideous images out of my head. Soon after their countless matches with the Males, Starr would leave the team. Injury reasons? For the sake of his heterosexuality? Who knows? Needing a replacement, did Kanyon get the next best prospect available? Hell no. Staying true to the now over the-top Men At Work theme, he went after the the only guy whose last name sounds like a metaphor for a schlong – Mike “Don’t call me weiner” Wenner.
Lacking the chemistry of the originals, the combo of Kanyon and Wenner only lasted a few weeks before they went their separate ways. Following their exploits as construction workers / male escorts, the guys’ careers went in two different paths. Starr and Wenner returned to being just your average plain-tights wearing jobbers for WCW, before totally disappearing. Kanyon soon went under the mask as the creepy Mortis, and then onto a successful career which took him ultimately to the WWF.
In conclusion, looking back at them I noticed something. Men At Work had a lot of tools in their toolbox; hammers, screwdrivers, etc. But they lacked an important one in my opinion – a “straight” edge.