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Thursday, December 4, 2014

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Speed on the Beat Reviews: The Infamous Heroes of Wrestling

Hello and welcome to what may be a new feature on Eyes of the Ring, the "Was It Really That Bad?" Review. I am your master of clusterf***, Speed on the Beat. Today, we'll take a look at a PPV considered by many to be the worst of all-time. Yes, worse than December to Dismember. I'm talking about 1999's Heroes of Wrestling.

Now, HoR was supposed to be the start of something great: taking stars who were (at the least) acceptable in the '80s and early '90s and introduce them to fans of the Attitude Era through grudge matches. However, it has become infamous for its highly botched, highly disturbing main event. We shall get to that in due time. So, let's run down the card for this event, per Wikipedia because I'm too lazy to actually look up all the nuances to potentially crap PPVs.

1The Samoan Swat Team (Samu and The Samoan Savage) (with Paul Adams) defeatedMarty Jannetty and Tommy RogersTag Team Grudge match10:00
2Greg Valentine (with Sensational Sherri) defeated George SteeleSingle Grudge match6:37
3Too Cold Scorpio defeated Julio FantasticoSingle Grudge match9:37
4The Bushwhackers (Butch Miller and Luke Williams) defeated The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff (with Nikita Breznikoff)Tag Team Grudge match8:42
5Tully Blanchard defeated Stan LaneSingle Grudge match7:04
6Abdullah the Butcher (with Honest John Cheetah) fought One Man Gang to a double count-out.Single Grudge match7:34
7Jimmy Snuka (with Captain Lou Albano) defeated Bob Orton, Jr.Ultimate Grudge match11:46
8Jim Neidhart and King Kong Bundy (with "Mini Bundy") defeated Jake Roberts andYokozunaTag Team Grudge match16:34

Judging from this list alone, you know we're not playing with a full-deck.

The show opens with a cold open. Our commentators for the night are Dutch Mantel (a/k/a Zeb Colter) and some schmuck named Randy Rosenbloom (who replaced Gordon Solie at the last minute, even though he was still advertised in the in-show ads). Further research tells us that Randy is an NBC-affiliated sportscaster who's best known for his call of the US women's rowing team's 2004 Olympics victory. In other words, he's a less-flashy, potentially less-competent version of Mike Adamle. Randy seems like he knows nothing about wrestling, or not letting paint dry. We toss it over to Michael St. John of USWA fame speaking with King Kong Bundy about his match with Yokozuna. This quickly devolves into a shouting match straight out of Jerry Springer.

After a commercial for the PPV (?), we get some dead air and then the intro for the show, comparing the event to Hurricane Camille. Not to be "that guy," but I don't think I'd want to compare my PPV to a natural disaster, especially one that, oh, I don't know, caused $1.9 Billion dollars (in 1969 Dollars) in damage and killed over 250 people. Wrestling is about hyperbole, yes. But, that'd be like calling WrestleMania XXX the "biggest thing to hit New Orleans since Katrina."

Our first match features the Samoan Swat Team versus Marty Jannetty and Tommy Rogers. I guess we're supposed to believe that one of these guys is Rikishi since he was part of the OG SST, but alas, it's his brother Sam Fatu. Seems a bit racist, but I guess the Anoa'i Family fills in for one another from time to time. Rosenbloom tries to put over Marty's physique (Vince would be proud), but both teams look worse for the wear. Thankfully, Mantel shuts him down. This match goes on for ten minutes and is pretty slow-paced. I don't mind a slow match, but at least keep the botches and the foolishness to a minimum if you're going to do a slow match. 

George Steele comes out groping at Sensational Sherri, which leads into a promo where Sherri is cut off by Steele saying "fight." The match to follow, Steele versus Greg Valentine, finishes in under seven minutes. The crowd looks like they have no idea who Valentine, Steele, or Sherri are. Valentine also looks like he ate his father versus him just retiring. Mantel just continues to go in on Randy, a la JBL and Cole in the golden days of their commentary. Mantel calls out Rosenbloom's apathy towards the chants, his possible lack of feminine wiles in his life, and so on. 

Next up, we get Disco Inferno Fandango Skinny Brodus Clay Julio Fantastico going up against Too Cold Scorpion. Interesting sidenote, Fantastico (a/k/a Julio Dinero) was part of Raven's Gathering in TNA with CM Punk. Randy calls a dropkick a "leg drop," which Mantel tries to cover for, but fails (his "cover" only draws attention to the fact Randy was out of his element). The crowd is dead for the most part. Randy doesn't even try to get better, since he just calls moves "that move" and just seemingly orgasms when looking at the finish instead of saying "hey, 2 Cold just springboarded himself onto Fantastico and scored the pin."

Lou Albano, the "commissioner" of HoR (damn you WWE for making commissioners and GMs a major part of your programming) comes out and tries to put over the event and its sequels. A thought: Albano is introduced as the "new" commissioner of HoR. Who the f*** was the original commissioner?

Sheiky Baby comes out with Nikolai Volkoff to take off The Bushwhackers. I still never get the idea of using Russians as ultra-nationalistic heels when the Cold War has been over for years and Volkoff has kind of embraced more of a kind of face persona over the years. But, whatever. There's nothing really worth watching here, considering you probably saw a better Bushwhackers match on Family Matters and Sheik drops an F-Bomb and insults Hulk Hogan. So...much...stalling, botching, fumbling, bumbling, and just tear-inducing idiocy. This eight-minute match goes on for what feels like hours.

We have four matches to go and I'm already pouring up my fifth drink (of coffee, people). Help me.

Tully Blanchard and Stan Lane go against each other next. There are about six minutes of promo for this match, including in-ring. The promos just about last as long as the match itself. Lane and Blanchard still move well for their ages, but it's still a bit "sad" to watch. They were, at least, able to tell a story unlike the other matches thus far. Some more Rosenbloom-ripping from Mantel and some outside "brawling" and we're brought back in the ring. Tully scores the pinfall.


Jim Neidhart comes out and he sounds like he just came off a bender. He rambles about Jake's snake and we go back to the ring for a match between One Man Gang and Abdullah the Butcher. 

F*** Abdullah the Butcher. Legend or no, the guy's friggin' disgusting and doesn't need to be anywhere near a ring in this day and age. Besides, hepatitis isn't a joke. 

The match is, obviously, colorful.

After they clean up, we get a promo between Jimmy Snuka and Bob Orton, Jr. The voices that you hear in your head at this point are your collective psyches saying "stop...the...torture." Snuka is still pretty agile at this point, so it's cool seeing him go to the top-rope, but for the love of cake, this is just crap. After Snuka gets the win and the audience shouting "Bob is a [homosexual]," we get the main talking point of this horror show.

We begin with Jake's promo about his match.

Jake "The Snake" Roberts is now clean and living well, but this promo shows you what drugs and alcohol can do if you're not careful with them. After this...well, just Google it. 

Closing Thoughts:
This show makes me hate being a wrestling fan, and not even because of Roberts' tirade(s). So, the next time someone gets pissed at WWE for bringing back an old-timer or a part-timer, thank the Wrestling Gawds that at least it wasn't Abdullah the Butcher or The Bushwhackers.

Stay far away from this. Hell, I'd recommend D2D over this crap-pile.


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