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Tuesday, January 5, 2016

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WIRTB Review: Mae Young's...Baby

By Johnthan "Speed on the Beat" Speed

You knew it was coming. As soon as True said "Eyes on the Ring Attitude Era Week," you knew it was coming. Welcome to WIRTB Review, where I review the crap so you don't have to. Let's be honest: the Attitude Era, while giving us classic moments and matches, was full of crap and, to say the least, kind of distasteful moments. There've been few moments that fit that mold more than the Mae Young/Mark Henry angle.


A bit of backstory. Mae Young is one of the most-accomplished women's wrestlers in history (not really for her championship wins, but for her hand in broadening the reach of women's wrestling). But, in 1999, at the height of the AE, WWF brought in Young along with The Fabulous Moolah as, in so many words, an old biddy duo who were there more to incite "aw gross" reactions, since, ya know, old women doing things young women'd do was pretty in style at this time (see "Rapping Granny" for more on this phenomenon). Moolah wrestled while Young got all jiggy with it...

So, with that said, it's no surprise that Mae Young got paired with Sexual Chocolate himself, Mark Henry, and somehow, because Attitude Era circa 2000, got preggers by him. You've got to hand it to the WWF at the time, though. They weren't afraid to commit to a story, no matter how out-of-hand it was. But, with all this lunacy already amidst, was this angle--and its eventual payoff(s)--really that bad?

Well, for one, younger, less-knowledgeable fans, got exposed, quite literally, to Mae Young. Here was a woman who was so tough, she let Bubba Ray Dudley powerbomb her two weeks in a row. And finally, fans could see what their parents may've been talking about when it came to Mae's resiliency. She also was able to get a second life getting over as the ol' freaky biddy. Third, the angle was friggin' stupid. Beyond stupid. Stupid to the point that Vince McMahon and Company were gleefully trolling us, but we still ate it up because Mizark's a sex fiend, Mae's a sex fiend, and freaky bastards get freaky and freaky shit happens. However, it was oddly funny, and I hate pregnancy angles in wrestling (see "Lita and Kane," even though the punted baby thing was also funny in an "ok, I know this is a fake baby. So it's sick as hell, but still kind of funny" sort of way).

I feel that the angle worked ONLY because Mae Young, Mark, The Dudleys, and creative went full-tilt with the angle, fully embracing its lunacy, implausibility, and kayfabe-shattering stupidity. Had there been even a small amount of hesitation, it would've fallen flat in the water. I mean, the fact that they even featured The Hand Baby as a pre-teen on RAW 1000 took the cake.

Was it a great angle? Hell, no. It, as I said, was friggin' stupid. But, it was at least entertainingly stupid--unlike, say, some of the stuff we see in wrestling today.

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