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Wrestlemania 12 Review

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Showing posts with label Stan Lane. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Stan Lane. Show all posts

Thursday, 9 January 2020

PPV REVIEW: Heroes of Wrestling 1999

Heroes of Wrestling 1999 Review - Event logo
October 10, 1999
Casino Magic Hotel and Casino, Bay St. Louis, Mississippi

Heroes of Wrestling has often been regarded as one of -if not the- worst wrestling Pay Per Views of all time.

Back in the day, The Wrestling Observer called it the worst major wrestling event of 1999 and since that time this one-off show has largely been used as the benchmark against which all other bad wrestling shows are judged.

Yet surely no single show could be that terrible...

...could it?

For years, this writer had no idea.

Heroes of Wrestling was one of those mythical shows that I'd often heard about but never actually come across until, a few months ago, I discovered that somebody had uploaded a really poor quality version of it for us all to enjoy endure.

Without further ado then, let's head to the Casino Magic Hotel and Casino in Bay St. Louis, Missippi and find out if this really was the worst of the worst.






Yoko Hates Bundy

We began tonight's broadcast with King Kong Bundy being interviewed about tonight's event, only to be interrupted by former two-time WWF Champion, Yokozuna.

For some unexplained reason, Yoko was very angry with Bundy and tried to attack him, only to be pulled away by a gaggle of officials.

Welcome to Casino Magic

Heroes of Wrestling 1999 Review - Dutch Mantell and Randy Rosenbloom called the event
We were then welcomed to Casino Magic in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi by our lead play-by-play man for the evening, Randy Rosenbloom.

IF you've never heard of Rosenbloom, he's a sportscaster and actor from Southern California who stepped in at the last minute as a replacement for the legendary Gordon Solie.

Solie had been heavily advertised for the show but had unfortunately succumbed to the very same throat cancer which would tragically take his life just a few months later.

His stand-in, Dirty Dutch Mantell gave us a rundown of the card which included such high-profile bouts as Too Cold Scorpio vs. Julio Fantastico and 'Sweet' Stan Lane vs. Tully Blanchard.

With that out of the way, it was down to ringside for our introductions.

Tonight, somebody's gonna get their ass whooped in here tonight

No, that isn't a reference to Mark Henry, but rather to our ring announcer for the evening, Crisper Stanford.

Heroes of Wrestling 1999 Review - Crisper Stanford was the terrible ring announcer
Little -in fact, nothing- is known about Stanford. The only reference to him online relates to this event.

What I can tell you though, is that the man was seven shades of cringe.

This is genuinely, word-for-word what he said to get the crowd excited and open the show:

"Welcome to the Casino Magic in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi where tonight, legendary grudge matches will be settled once and for all."

So far, not too terrible, right?

Just wait, it gets worse.

"So, throw down your toys and get out of the sandbox, play time's over because tonight, somebody's gonna get their assss-whipped tonight in here."

Seriously, it was like a bad Michael Buffer impression from a guy who had clearly been watching too much Spinal Tap.

The Samoan Swat Team (Samu & Fatu w/ Sika and Paul Adams) vs. "Rocker" Marty Jannetty & Tommy Rogers

Heroes of Wrestling 1999 Review - The Samoan Swat Team with their manager Paul Adams
Yes, Marty Janetty really was billed as "Rocker," and no, the Fatu here isn't Rikishi, who I believe was doing his thing with the WWF at the time.

Rather, it's Rikishi's brother, Sam Fatu, better known as Tonga Kid/Tama, who Retro Pro Wrestling readers will have last met teaming with Haku as the Islanders all the way back at the first-ever Royal Rumble in 1988.

Before Fatu and Samu could lock up with their opponents, their manager, Paul Adams, took to the microphone.

If you've never heard of Adams before, don't worry neither has anybody else. He was basically an indie wrestling version of Patrick Bateman from American Psycho, albeit with all the charisma and personality surgically removed.

Give Bateman  Adams his due though, he did manage the rare feat of speaking for a full five minutes without actually saying a single thing.

The basic gist of Adams' promo was that nobody in the audience would dare face Samu and Fatu, but it was delivered in the most wooden, cringe-worthy fashion ever, so nobody seemed to care.

The match itself wasn't all that much better.

The sole highlights were Fantastic Tommy Rogers hitting the Samoans with a double DDT and Marty Jannetty diving over the top rope, but to even call those highlights is being polite.

Speaking of Jannetty, I spent most of the match trying to figure out if he was wearing cut-off jean shorts instead of actual ring attire because he was trying to be edgy and alternative (such was the culture during the Attitude Era period), or because he simply couldn't be bothered to get dressed properly.

Not that it mattered.

After a few minutes, Samu drilled Rogers with TKO and this dull, uneventful contest was over.
Your Winners: The Samoan Swat Team

Cutting to a pre-tape, we saw George 'The Animal' Steele and Sensational Sherri Martel checking into a hotel. With Martel fawning all over him, Steele literally tore off her dress as the two went into a hotel room.

Yes, we were supposed to believe that Sherri found The Animal sexy and wanted to do the nasty with him. Maybe it would have been more convincing if Mantell and Rosenbloom didn't talk over the whole thing.

As it was, this came off as a weird segment that totally telegraphed the ending of the next bout.

George Steele is Insane

Back to the show, Sherri gave an interview to our backstage reporter, Michael St. John.

Heroes of Wrestling 1999 Review - Michael st. John interviews Sensuous Sherri Martel and her man, George 'The Animal' Steele"You know, in the pro wrestling business you get to the top by your body count," said Sherri. "And George Steele is CERTIFIABLY INSANE!"

I'm sure there was a link between those two points, but Martel never mentioned it.

Instead, she just showed off her cleavage a bit until Steele himself arrived, proving how insane he was by wrapping his arm around his manager and shouting FIGHT! FIGHT!

In the earlier hotel segment, Steele was shown to be a calm, collected dude capable of holding a conversation with Sherri, but now, the very act of arriving to a wrestling show had turned him into a MAD MAN!

My goodness. I've been a big fan of Sherri's ever since I first started watching wrestling over 25 years ago and I feel bad that she had to put up with this garbage.

Greg 'The Hammer' Valentine vs. George 'The Animal Steele (w/ "Sensuous" Sherri Martel)

'Sensuous' was the name Sherri had first used in WCW when the Turner-backed company realised 'Sensational' was copyrighted by Vince.

Heroes of Wrestling 1999 Review - Greg 'The Hammer' Valentine faced George 'The Animal' Steele
Before the bell, Greg Valentine took to the microphone and told us that his father, Johnny Valentine had been feuding with Steele for years, but now that pops had retired, it was up to The Hammer to settle the score once and for all.

The veteran promised to put his rival in the figure four and walk out with Sherri.

Give the guy his credit, he was true to his word, kinda.

Sherri turned on her 'lover' within the first two minutes of the match, but Steele didn't realise it because he'd stupidly got his shirt stuck over his head. The heel turn was so predictable that the live crowd didn't even react to it.

After getting his vision back, Steele lumbered around and found an International Object and jabbed his opponent with it. Not realising his manager didn't actually like him, he then handed it to Sherri, who -not surprisingly- passed it to The Hammer.

Barely passing as actual pro wrestling, more atrocious inaction followed until Sherri leveled George with a chair, allowing Hammer to pick up the three count.

Seriously, that was Adrian Adonis/Uncle Elmer at Wrestlemania 2 level of terrible.
Your Winner: Greg 'The Hammer' Valentine

Keeping his promise, The Hammer left with Sherri in tow, then returned to the ring to attack Steele as the CERTIFIABLY INSANE legend ate the turnbuckle. This time, Steel no-sold a chair shot and chased Valentine back to the locker room.

Julio Fantastico is Wrestling's Greatest Superstar

Heroes of Wrestling 1999 Review - Michael St. John interviews Julio Fantastico
Out in the back, Michael St John interviewed Julio Fantastico, the man you probably recognise best as Julio Dinero from ECW or possibly TNA.

You know when people who aren't actually involved in wrestling do an impression of a pro wrestler by ranting and throwing in a bunch of cliches? That's what Fantastico sounded like here.

In a cookie-cutter promo, Fantastico claimed to be Wrestling's Greatest Superstar and vowed to win every match he ever wrestled in, starting with his upcoming bout against Too Cold Scorpio.

When St. John suggested that the rookie Fantastico was underestimating his veteran opponent, Fantastico dismissed him and once again asserted his belief that he was the greatest of all time.

Julio Fantastico vs. Too Cold Scorpio

Heroes of Wrestling 1999 Review - Scorpio vs. Julio Fantastico
This was the best match on the card up to this point, but that's really not saying very much.

Scorpio came to the ring brandishing a replica of The Big Gold Belt which was never explained by anyone. I like to think Scorpio just thought 'f- it,' and decided he was the champion.

Once the bell rang, the two went at it with what started out as decent wrestling but soon disintegrated into a half-arsed, by-the-numbers routine that looked scripted and was devoid of any actual emotion.

At one point, Fantastico went to dive onto Scorpio on the outside but somehow messed it up so badly he ended up skinning the cat instead. It looked ridiculous, especially when he backed up and clearly just did the spot over.

More back-and-forth happened until Scorpio hit Fantastico with two Tumbleweeds from the top rope and scored the three.
Your Winner: Too Cold Scorpio

Captain Lou Albano had joined the commentary for this match. After Scorpio's win, Rosenbloom produced a document which announced that Captain Lou was the new Commissioner of Heroes of Wrestling.

The legend was so overwhelmed by this announcement that he practically started weeping on Dutch Mantell's shoulder while calling Heroes of Wrestling 'The Greatest Organization Around' and 'The Greatest Production of All Time.'

Man, how much were they paying this guy?

King Kong Bundy is Irate

Since his last attempt at a promo was interrupted by Yokozuna, King Kong Bundy got a do-over,  promising that he was going to hit Yoko with the Avalanch and pin him for the five count.

It was a fairly generic 'Angry Big Man' promo, but at least it was effective in generating interest about their match.

The Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff (w/ Nikita Brezhnikov) vs. Luke & Butch

Man, this is getting painful to watch.

Heroes of Wrestling 1999 Review - Nikolai Volkoff sings the Russian National AnthemAs the former Bushwackers made their way to the ring, Randy Rosenbloom called them "Luke and Dutch."

This was far from his only cock-up of the evening. In the earlier Scorpio/Fantastico bout, he called a dropkick and 'leg drop' and made countless errors throughout the show.

Speaking of errors, whoever decided that having The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff compete in an actual match made one of the biggest errors ever committed in pro wrestling.

The two were so old and past their prime that they couldn't really do much of anything.

At one point, Koloff picked up one of the Bushwhackers and then, instead of slamming him to the mat, kind of just gently lay him down as though lying a newborn baby down in their crib.

Before any of that, however, the two foreign heels had to work the crowd a bit.

Volkoff sang the Russian National Anthem before Iron Sheik did his Persian Clubs routine and then randomly cut a promo on Hulk Hogan and Bob Backlund, neither of whom were appearing here tonight.

Naturally, the crowd responded to this with loud "USA! USA!" chants that they would keep up for the rest of the match. Once the bell rang, these pro-USA chants were encouraged by New Zealanders Luke & Butch.

Honestly.

This was a terrible train wreck of a match, ending with a win for the Bushwhackers when the heels messed up and Volkoff accidentally blasted his own partner with an International Object.
Your Winners: Luke & Butch

Afterward, Sheik and Koloff almost came to blows, but were encouraged to hug it out by their manager, a random dude in a Russian military outfit who was apparently called Nikita Brezhnikov.

Tully Blanchard Has a Flashback

Heroes of Wrestling 1999 Review - Tully Blanchard - Man ChardIn true Horseman style, Tully Blanchard arrived earlier in the day in a limousine. Happy to be there, Blanchard was about to give an interview to Michael St John. Yet before he could say anything, he was attacked by Sweet Stan Lane.

Later, Blanchard cut a compelling promo that proved to be the best thing on the show up to this point.

The former Brainbuster was unhappy. Now long retired, he had hoped that Heroes of Wrestling would be a bit of fun, but, like everybody watching it, those hopes had been dashed.

Getting really intense, Blanchard claimed that the attack by Lane had given him a flashback to his most violent battles with the likes of Dusty Rhodes and Wahoo McDaniel and that he was going to channel all the rage and anger built up inside him into taking out Sweet Stan.

This was very good stuff.

Tully Blanchard vs. Sweet Stan Lane

Heroes of Wrestling 1999 Review - Sweet Stan Lane faced Tully Blanchard
As bad as this show was, it, of course, makes perfect sense that the most solid match on the card was also one of the shortest.

Before the bell, Sweet Stan Lane took to the microphone to do his own ring introduction. Tully Blanchard arrived on the scene and the two went at it in a basic, no-frills kind of match which still managed to outshine just about everything else on the card.

The most hilarious thing about this match was that the company were trying to get over Stan Lane as some kind of Ladies Man Adonis type figure.

To that end, they kept cutting to the shots of various women in the crowd, but all the women looked totally bored, miserable, or just outright confused.

After seven minutes of decent action, Lane hit Blanchard with a belly-to-back suplex but kept his shoulders on the mat. Tully got his up at two and that meant he won the match.
Your Winner: Tully Blanchard

Lane attacked his rival afterward, but Blanchard fought back with a suplex and sent The Fabulous One packing.

Out in the back, Michael St John interviewed Jim 'The Anvil' Neidhart, who had King Kong Bundy with him for some unexplained reason.

Neidhart was his usual crazy self as he insisted that he didn't really have a problem with Jake Roberts, but would fight him anyway later on in the show.

"Don't worry about that snake," said Bundy. "We'll take care of it."

One Man Gang vs. Abdullah The Butcher (w/ Honest John Cheatum)

Heroes of Wrestling 1999 - One Man Gang faced Abdullah The Butcher
This was garbage in every possible sense of the word.

Despite not being billed as one, this was a basic No DQ match in which almost nothing happened.

Prior to the bell, we were shown an angry, pre-recorded promo from One Man Gang in which he just shouted a lot without saying much of anything. He then spent half the match wrapping Abdullah The Butcher up in a chain.

The other half of the match saw Abby jabbing OMG with his trademark fork.

Both men bled a lot and then got counted out.

It was awful.
Double Countout

The two continued to brawl for a long while afterward. Gang even blasted a security guard with a chair.

When Card Games Go Bad

Heroes of Wrestling 1999 - Cowboy Bob OrtonUp next, Randy Rosenbloom told us that, despite "feuding since 1984," Cowboy Bob Orton and Superfly Jimmy Snuka had agreed to put their differences aside and play a game of cards with Captain Lou.

However, things went awry when Snuka and Albano accused Orton of cheating. To make him pay for this terrible crime, Snuka attacked Orton while Albano hurled abuse at him.

That was a pre-taped bit. Cutting back to the show, Michael St John interviewed Captain Lou and Snuka about the latter's upcoming match with Orton.

Albano ranted and raved about how badly Orton was going to get his ass kicked. Meanwhile, Superfly just kind of stood there, arms by his sides, staring off into the distance. In fact, I'm not entirely sure that he didn't have his eyes closed and was taking a quick standing power nap.

Offering a retort, Randy's dad cut a promo of his own, claiming that he hadn't cheated, but was now angry anyway and would beat sup Superfly.

Cowboy Bob Orton vs. Superfly Jimmy Snuka (w/ Captain Lou Albano)

Heroes of Wrestling 1999 - Cowboy Bob Orton faced Jimmy Snuka
I've seen other reviewers call this the match of the night and 'the least sucky thing on the show,' but I'm not buying it.

The whole thing clocked in at just under 12 minutes, at least half of which saw Bob Orton lock Jimmy Snuka in an armbar while the crowd chanted homophobic slurs at him.

The other half was just dull and uneventful.

Snuka won with a crossbody, even though it would have taken just as much effort to hit his trademark top rope splash.
Your Winner: Superfly Jimmy Snuka

Out in the back, a clearly hammered Jake 'The Snake' Roberts slurred his way through what would have otherwise been an awesome promo.

“If you're in a casino, you should gamble," he began. "Let me tell you something, Anvil, you don’t want to play cards with me, because I’ll cheat. Okay? I cheat. You want to play twenty-one, I got twenty-two.

Heroes of Wrestling 1999 - Jake Roberts cuts a drunken promo
"You want to play BlackJack? I got two of those too. You want to play Aces and Eights? Well, I got some of those too. The bottom line is this. You do not gamble with me. When you walk into a casino, when you want to gamble, the main thing you must do, is this, you must accept losing. I don’t accept losing, and neither does Damien. Damien, my friend! My friend Damien is right here.

"You don’t want to see this, do you? Let me show you something (*camera pans down to the snake in a bag on the floor*). I tell you what Anvil, go ahead and roll the dice. Mr. Cameraman, get your ass back up here. Hello? I’m talkin’ to you. Get that camera back up here. That’s what you should worry about Anvil. The bottom line is this, when the DDT comes, then the snake comes out. Worry about the DDT. DDT! DDT! DDT! DDT! DDT! DDT! THINK ABOUT IT!”

Even when he was plastered, Roberts could still deliver a promo better than most of today's current roster.

Jim 'The Anvil' Neidhart vs. Jake 'The Snake' Roberts

It's amazing that out of the four men involved in tonight's main event, only one of them is still alive and it's Jake 'The Snake' Roberts.

Heroes of Wrestling 1999 - Jake Roberts drunk
The man the announcers mistakenly referred to as a former Intercontinental Championship staggered to the ring clearly in no fit state to compete.

Seriously. Roberts's appearance here makes Jeff Hardy's Victory Road 2011 low point look like the model of good sobriety.

Reaching the ring, Roberts tried to open the bag to let Damien the Snake out, but was so blitzed he couldn't do it. Instead, he stumbled backstage then stumbled out again, sans shirt, and molested a female fan at ringside.

Eventually, the Master of the DDT made it into the ring for his first appearance in a Retro Pro Wrestling review since WWF Royal Rumble 1997.

As you can imagine, the match was a disaster, but, to his credit, Jim Neidhart did at least try to carry it.

For a few minutes, he basically wrestled himself in close proximity to Roberts, but things only got worse.

After failing to open the snake bag earlier, his snake actually started to slither out unexpectedly, so Roberts grabbed it, shoved it between his legs and started to feign masturbation with it.

This in a crowd full of children.

Next, Roberts went to the mat, not entirely on purpose, and started to lick the snake's face.

As the match reached its most disastrous point, King Kong Bundy made his way to the ring. He and a Mini Bundy (a random fat dude with a bald head who looked like Bundy) conferred with Neidhart to discuss the new finish, after which Jim went to the ring and slapped Jake in a chin lock.

Not long after, Yokozuna and his enormous ass waddled out to the ring, making this a tag team match.

Yokozuna & Jake 'The Snake' Roberts vs. Jim 'The Anvil' Neidhart & King Kong Bundy
Seriously, Yoko had ballooned since we last saw him at WWF Survivor Series 1996. Weighing an estimated  760 lb (345 kg), the poor guy looked so big it was amazing he could even move.

Not that he did very much.

Instead, despite apparently having a huge rivalry with King Kong Bundy, he interacted with his originally scheduled opponent for all of ten seconds then spent the rest of the time on the outside while Jake took a beating.

Seriously, they changed this to a tag team match because Jake Roberts was in no fit state to wrestle, but then he finished the bulk of the match anyway.

In the end, Jake did make the tag to Yoko, but then he fell over and King Kong Bundy pinned him anyway.
Your Winners: Jim Neidhart and King Kong Bundy

It wasn't over yet.

In the ring, Yoko got hold of Mini Bundy and held him in place while the crowd chanted for a DDT. Roberts either couldn't or wouldn't deliver, so a frustrated Yokozuna shot the guy off the ropes and hit him with a Samoan Drop.

Jake then draped his snake over the guy and the show just faded to black without a word from the announcers. When it came back on a few seconds later, it was to the tragic sight of a massively overweight Yokozuna leaning over to check on a fallen, drunken Jake 'The Snake' Roberts.






So, was Heroes of Wrestling really as bad as people say it was?

No, it was a hundred times worse.

There was very little to like about the show, and the main event was just a sad sight to behold.

If you really hate your own life, this is a good way to torture yourself, otherwise avoid it. Not even morbid curiosity makes it worth putting yourself through two and a half hours of torture.

I'm just glad Jake was finally able to get back on the road to recovery, though I think the biggest tragedy here is Yokozuna.

The guy was so overweight that something bad was bound to happen sooner rather than later. Indeed, he passed away a year later, making this atrocity of a show the last PPV he would appear on.



1999 events reviewed so far
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Retro Pro Wrestling

New reviews of classic WWF/WWE events recalling every moment from Wrestlemania 1 - 30. You'll also find reviews of WCW, ECW, TNA and the occasional indie event, along with a look at old school magazines, merchandise and more.