Since this weekend is Mother’s Day, I felt that it would only be appropriate to pay tribute to a woman that is near and dear to every ‘Crapper’s heart. Not since Mrs. Fletcher falling and breaking her osteoporosis-ridden hip on those old “I’ve Fallen And I Can’t Get Up” Life Alert commercials, has one woman been more beloved for her hazardous-for-her-health mishaps. It is with great pleasure that I bring to you our special Mother’s Day “honorary” Jobber Of The Week tribute to the often imitated, never duplicated – Stunt Granny.
The year was 1998. The sport of pro wrestling had reached levels of mainstream popularity that hadn’t been seen since the mid-80’s. In addition to wrestling shows dominating the screen, another thing started to happen that year on the tube. Reality television came out of the womb and started to rear it’s ugly head. One of the most anticipated “behind the scenes” specials of the year was NBC’s attempt to cash in on the wrestling craze, entitled Exposed: Wrestling Greatest Secrets Revealed. It promised to rip the lid off the sport and show people just how the business works, by revealing facts and situations never before seen by the general public. Well, that was a laugh. The secrets they revealed were hardly secret. In the end, NBC just pooped out a generic overview of the basic workings of the business. But they did deliver on one promise. They gave us something we’ve never seen, alright. Well, except maybe for a few wrestling fans who have a tendency to t rip acid on a regular basis while watching Raw. World, say hello to NBC’s Stunt Granny.
As NBC was running down the list of “secrets,” they informed everybody about the wrestling term, “plant,” in reference to people placed in the crowd by the promotion to interact with the wrestlers. And then they introduced us to the most famous plant of them all – the Stunt Granny. There she was…the Stunt Granny..and this would be her moment of glory. As the masked NBC wrestler Colossus made his way to the ring, he would be met by our aging goddess. And she was pissed. Why, who knows? Maybe earlier in the afternoon Colossus had played a round of frisbee golf using Stunt Granny’s Golden Girls: Season One dvd box set. Whatever the reason, Granny got up in the masked goofball’s grill with the fury of a women half her age. Colossus’ response? He grabbed her and shoved her to the ground with the all rage of your average abusive nursing-home employee. The “fans” in attendance were shocked. People at home were enraged. How could a wrestler do that to a helpless woman? Ha ha, you foolish marks. That’s no woman…that’s the Stunt Granny.
In order to ward off complaints by members of the National Association Of Retired Citizens who may have been viewing, NBC quickly reminded us that she was a plant. Heck, they even showed us exclusive backstage footage of Stunt Granny getting herself ready for the match by putting on kneepads.
While the footage of Stunt Granny in action had to be classified as a success, the ratings of their special were anything but that. But that would not deter the folks at NBC in their quest of milking the current wrestling boom. With the vengeance of a resurrected Mr.Brell, the NBC executives were quick to put together another crappy cash-in wrestling special. This time, it would be the sure-to-be-a-smash, made-for-tv movie – The Jesse Ventura Story. And to be sure it succeeded, they had to be sure to have a special guest star. Who could it be?
Barry Darsow? Well, although I was pleased as punch to see my favorite wrestler make his motion picture debut in a cameo in the film, his appearance was severely overshadowed by the NBC television return of, yep, you guess it – the Stunt Granny.
Knowing that she was the only thing worth mentioning in their previous special, NBC did the only thing they could do to make the movie work. They would give the people what they always wanted. They gave us….
THE STUNT GRANNY vs. JESSE “THE BODY” VENTURA
Perhaps due to her bump on her previous appearance, Stunt Granny was now confined to a wheelchair. The lord may have taken away her legs, but damnit, no one was gonna take away her now-trademarked feistyness. Displaying all the spastic characteristics of an elderly woman who had just drank her daily dose of Metamucil after it was laced with PCP, Stunt Granny wasted no time confronting Ventura. In a doomed-from-the-start attack, she attempted to vanquish the future governor by attacking him with her purse. I give her an “A” for effort, but Jesse quickly ended the confrontation by grabbing her wheelchair and throwing her straight toward exploding pyro, ultimately crashing off the edge of the WCW Nitro ramp in which the scene was filmed on.
And that was it….she was gone. The Stunt Granny was never seen again. Well, if you’ll gonna go out, might as well be in a blaze of glory, crashing and burning in your wheelchair. We may have lost her way too soon, but cheer up kiddies, after all she was the ultimate “plant.” It turned out she ended up resembling an actual “plant” plant. It was as if after her demise – metaphorically speaking – it appeared her Stunt Granny seeds filled the air, and and soon brand new Stunt Grannies began sprouting up in wrestling federations everywhere. Whether it was Mae Young and the Fabulous Moolah in the WWE getting slammed through tables, or Judy Bagwell getting manhandled in WCW, the age of old-woman abuse was born. And the movement Stunt Granny started in 1998 is still going strong today. In recent years, we’ve witnessed NWA-TNA’s 80 year-old ticket-taker Sarah Lee get roughed up. Over in Vinnie Mac land, who could forget about Linda McMahon getting tombstoned by Kane, or JBL giving Eddie Guerrero’s mom a heart attack that made her flop around on the mat like a fish out of water for ten painful minutes. These are the moments the Stunt Granny inspired. This is her legacy. She’s gone, but in every senior citizen who gets piledriven through the mat, a little bit of the Stunt Granny lives on.
This Sunday, as you celebrate Mother’s Day with the most important lady who’s ever been in your life, tell your Mom how much you love her. Tell her thanks for giving birth to you and for all the nice things she’s done over the years. Treat her to a nice, fancy dinner. Then, right before you guys get up to leave the restaurant, pick up the nearest chair and smash it over your mama’s head. Do it for the memory of the other woman in your wrestling-loving life. Do it for the Stunt Granny. Heck, your mom just might like it.
In fact, you just might be shocked and surprised to find out that she’s…well …
Salem the cat: “She’s a stunt granny…how’s that for piledriving Miss Daisy?”