Planet Kayfabe: 2017 Halloween SMARKTACULAR! Submitted by Kayfabe Candyass on 10/31/2017 at 04:29 AM
Planet Kayfabe: 2017 Halloween Smarktacular
By: "KCA" Paul-bearer Matthews | @PlanetKayfabe
The harvest is over. The dawn of Samhain is among us and darkness drapes the afternoon sky. Happy Halloween, Planet Kayfabe readers.
We are halfway through autumn, frost begins to pierce the air, the trees drop their leaves and as reliable as the passing of the seasons you have me and my rage when once again this past Monday night on Raw we were greeted with Stephanie McMahon giving the fans virtual blue balls while ONCE AGAIN she inserts herself in a story line AGAIN to make it all about her AGAIN and dangle the GM's job over the GM's head AGAIN over one match.
Ugh... Reap my soul now, angel of death and free me from this agony on this Earth.
Ahh... That's not what this is about. This is Halloween. You all want to have fun beyond the usual smarky rantings. The true harvester of sorrow today is me and the language of the mad within this edition of Planet Kayfabe is WWE horror hits and misses.
First on my list is MORDECAI
Ahh Mordecai. Remember him? I'm sure you perhaps know him better from his days as Kevin Thorn. The albino Mordecai came to WWE on a crusade to "rid the world of sin". Originally intended to feud with The Undertaker and maybe even be a supernatural Undertaker-ish character for a new generation all this silly take on the Shadow Link version of The Undertaker did was prove that a gimmick like The Undertaker couldn't just be played by anyone and it is Mark Calaway who truly got that gimmick to be perhaps one of the greatest of all all-time.
Mordecai came and went before you could finish praying for his matches to end. This was mid-2004. I know WWE sometimes likes to refer to today as the "reality era", but in 2004 we were well past the age of gimmicks like this ever standing a chance.
Marty Wright entered WWE as a contestant on Tough Enough at the age of 40, which he kayfabed the to company by saying he was 30 and lead to him getting cut from competition. He was instead sent of OVW and like many Tough Enough castaways, ended up having a memorable career as "The Boogeyman".
Even though I just got done saying in 2004 a gimmick like Mordecai wouldn't work, I guess an argument can be made about how well the man sells the gimmick because in the mid 2000's the Boogeyman was over fine as a mid-card fan favorite. Part of his gimmick was eating worms on a nightly basis, but what Boogey is probably most well known for consuming is during his first major feud with JBL.
During a Piper's Pit segment on Smackdown, January 13, 2006, Roddy introduces Boogeyman to the ring, to which the scared 6'7" 300-plus-pound Texan, John "Bradshaw" Layfield throws his "image consultant" Jillian Hall into the Boogeyman while he flees from the ring. That's when Boogey did his usual stalk routine to a frightened Jillian and took a liking to a huge growth on her face. He first licked it, which got a collective groan from the crowd and then bit the growth off her face.
It was hokey and the growth looked much more fake bouncing him Boogeyman's mouth like a dog toy than it ever looked on Jillian's face, but almost 12 years later I remember that segment very well.
Less memorable perhaps is a segment where our current President of the United States orders the worm eating superstar to bring him food backstage before he goes out to the arena.
"What is this -- a rib? What is this?" beats me. Those words were spoken by former color commentator Tazz on the premiere episode of WWE ECW. Yes, the show's premiere. The Zombie came to the ring walking slowly with his arms out like any 7 year old dressed as a zombie will do tonight for Halloween. The Zombie then proceeded to cut a promo as you'd expect a zombie would with a series of moans and groans.
Not only that, it was the first official match for WWE's version of the ECW brand which led to The Sandman coming out and winning after about 20 seconds of head shots with a Singapore cane.
Maybe you know better than I but I can't think that this character made air for no other reason than to establish ECW as a joke. I think Tazz was right in assuming it was a rib. It had to be. If you have never seen this character and I showed you a picture, you'd think it was some weird obscure gimmick drummed up in 1995 that lasted a few months and was never heard of again. Nope. This was 2006. The reaction from the fans is classic. They don't know what to make of The Zombie. Most just stood there. Some laughed. Others threw middle fingers and during his pre-match promo you can clearly see a fan throw his arms up saying "what the hell is this?" with a facial expression that illustrates that he realized he was duped into think this new ECW was going to be anything like the old ECW.
DOINK THE CLOWN:
Doink as the heel clown is what made this hit-or-miss gimmick as hit and one of the more memorable "New Generation" era gimmicks which was an era rife with many corny occupational gimmicks. The character had a decent run originally portrayed by Matt Osbourne playing pranks on fans and other wrestlers and capitalizing on a common clown phobia. Honestly, if you want a full Doink run down, check out Bruce Prichard's podcast "Something To Wrestle". He and Conrad Thompson recently did an entire episode on Doink that's worth checking out.
You may remember Damien from the main event of the first Monday Night Raw were he JOBBED to The Undertaker. Billed from "The outer reaches of your mind" he didn't have much of a run in the World Wrestling Federation.
What I remember Damien Demento the most for is around 9 or 10 years ago he took to YouTube and began a video blog ranting about various subjects and cutting heelish promos on seemingly anyone from Jim Ross or anyone who smokes pot. Which reminds me, I suggest you go in the depths of NoDQ's YouTube channel and find Jeff Meacham's shoot on Demento.
That's all I really got to say about Mr. Theis. From what I understand he's a bit of a sculptor these days. Okay, that's enough. I feel like a jobber just talking about this guy.
A 2nd generation star, Luna came to the WWF with her unique look and always stood out making her debut at Wrestlemania IX as the valet of Inter-Continental Champion Shawn Michaels. In the age of 'Attitude' and the WWF favored models who are more apt to get Playboy offers but Luna was still a star in the division to a certain degree. At the dawn of the Attitude Era she managed the "Artist Formerly Known As Goldust" dragging him to the ring by a chain leash with a gag ball in his mouth while Goldy kneels to her feet.
Yeah 1997-98 was a pretty crazy period. Long before the WWE marketed and slapped on a hashtag "women's revolution" (originally 'Diva's revolution' but they want you to forget that) she got a pinfall victory over the man, the myth, the legend... Gillberg.
In all seriousness I'd like to see Luna get a hall of fame nod by WWE. I have my doubts because WWE typically only inducts one woman a year and I'm sure they'd prefer a living inductee, but that shouldn't matter. Have two female inductees then. There. I did all the brain work for you, WWE.
The male counterpart in the vampiric power-couple, the former real-life husband of the late Luna. The most memorable thing about the blood drinking wrestler is probably his entrance and his entrance music. Both of which were some of the best of the Attitude Era.
Coming to the ring in Jerry Seinfeld's puffy shirt, he's also known for "The Brood" stable which gave us the early days of Edge and Christian who before they broke out as tag-team stars on their own as joking heels, they were a couple of pseudo vampires following Gangrel as their leader. He along with The Brood were known for their blood baths where the lights would go out for a moment and come back on to show the unsuspecting wrestler soaked in blood as their calling card.
Gangrel had a decent enough run as a midcarder for a few years, but I think a lot of the reason the gimmick is memorable is because the company was so f***ing hot at the time a lot of fans have memories of even the most mid-card of mid-card Attitude Era wrestlers. Gangrel included despite him never winning a championship in WWE or even competing at a WrestleMania during his time.
I'm actually pretty surprised by that. God damn, even one of the Godfather's ho's was Hardcore Champion for a few seconds. Certainly Gangrel was at least over enough to win the PRESTIGIOUS European Championship or something.
The story line brother of The Undertaker and son of Paul Bearer debuted in the WWE at Badd Blood in 1997. 20 years ago this month. Kane is one of few characters in WWE to have such sustained longevity and the man behind the mask, Glenn Jacobs has had a relatively injury free career and has been a reliable big-man for the company for decades now.
Kane was originally brought in just to be The Undertaker's next big monster to slay and nothing more, but the gimmick caught on and the story of Kane being Undertaker's half-brother resonated with fans. It is a wild story involving Paul Bearer, Undertaker's former manager, sleeping with Undertaker's mom and fathering a child who, like Undertaker is a supernatural being who can make fire and lightning appear in any wrestling arena in the world.
Over the years the monster aspect of the character got somewhat diluted and in time Kane showed a more comedic side. That was until 2003 when the monster was reborn when Triple H wearing the most ridiculous blue tights and boots of his career beat Kane on Raw, June 23 of 2003.
The segment is memorable especially if you were a young fan at the time, but really... the scariest thing is Triple H's ring attire. I mean what the f*** was he thinking? I don't think his experiments with blue and sometimes red trunks lasted too long thank f***ing God.
Kane enjoyed a maskless run for the rest of the 2000's and enjoyed his 2nd world title run in 2010. Late the following year Kane made a return to the masked character he portrayed early in his run and it's been an up and down decade so far. The on again/off again monster. Sometimes vicious (like right now) and sometimes for comic relief like with Daniel Bryan in Team Hell No, which despite that not being the Kane most of us want to remember he did have good chemistry with Bryan and good comedic timing. Plus, there has been "The Authority" incarnation dubbed "corporate Kane". The 2010's version of unmasked Kane... Not as cool as the 2003 version for you new fans out there.
The 7 time winner of The Wrestling Observer Newsletter's "Worst Feud of the Year" has had a mixed bag of memorable moments, but the Kane character has survived even the most ridiculous shit that the WWE threw his way and by the time his WWE Hall of Fame induction comes up, I'm sure fans will remember more of his feud with Undertaker and his days teaming up with Big Show and Daniel Bryan and less of Katie Vick and jump-starting Shane McMahon's testicles.
My personal favorite of the '3 Faces of Foley'. Early on Mankind hailed from the boiler room making friends with rats. Before the days of Mr. Socko, sweatpants and karaoke nights with Al Snow, Mankind was an eerie character who was legitimized early on with a great feud with The Undertaker. Most people may only think of the 1998 Hell in a Cell match, but Mankind was one of Undertaker's better rivals.
Raw, June 9, 1997 Mankind had a now legendary sit-down interview with Jim Ross. One of the best moments of Mick's career which ended with Good ol' J.R. taking a Mandible Claw for his troubles who sold it like a champ. I swear the first time I watched this and later when I re-watched it on Mick Foley's 2003 DVD featuring this segment I thought JR was legitimately choking while the suddenly sympathetic Mankind says "he's gonna need some help" as if he snapped out of a sudden rage to wake up and see what he had done.
As the Attitude Era rolled on and Mick changed characters like socks he found his niche in the age of Attitude with Mankind. When you think of Mick Foley in the Attitude Era, you likely think of Mankind and Mr. Socko where he was his most over as a babyface despite being an incredible heel years prior. You got to see Mankind's softer and more comedic side and he was every bit as popular and then some as he was as the scary bad guy who took ridiculous bumps.
As one of the top babyfaces in 1999 Mankind was probably my favorite wrestler. So much so I dressed as him for Halloween on more than one occasion because I was just that much of a mark I didn't care if walking around with a sock on my hand cost me a few dates for the remainder of the school year.
The Mankind character, though has since made a couple cameo appearances, came to an end during his feud with Triple H, which may be my favorite of Mick's entire career, where he removed the mask and the blood-stained white shirt to reveal the classic black Cactus Jack shirt. It was a great moment, but even back then I wanted to see Mankind get a proper send-off rather than being portrayed as Mick's lesser persona to the more blood thirsty vicious Cactus Jack. I remember as a fan when Linda McMahon brought back Mick Foley to compete in the main event at Wrestlemania 2000 and Mick came out to the 3 chord riff Mankind music hoping that Mick would wrestle the match as Mankind. Instead he wrestled as Mick Foley which at the time was only the second match he had done so. Looking back I still feel that would have been a fine send off. Wrestling that match as Mankind. Taking a pin and removing the mask as he waves to the crowd.
Maybe it's just me speaking as a huge fan of that character, but let me know how you feel in the comments because for over 17 years now, that has bugged me that the character that made Foley a world-wide superstar never got that farewell moment and never will.
Of course I save the best for last and someday a long-form column on the Deadman alone will probably come your way. From Death Valley and making his debut at the 1990 Survivor Series Pay-Per-View, The Undertaker is undoubtedly WWE's best horror themed gimmick but probably the best WWE gimmick of all time. Undertaker came into a colorful era of WWE as a mortician dressed in black scaring the shit out of a bunch of bratty little marks on the floor seats of the arena.
The Undertaker has been through many incarnations over the years and they've all been memorable for generations of fans. The man who portrays the Undertaker, Mark Calaway, has had an incredible career and is one of the most respected figures in the business by fans and peers alike. No one could have pulled off the character better and over the years Calaway never became complacent. He regularly reinvented the character to fit with the times.
The most drastic change came in mid-2000 when The Undertaker now without his familiar Funeral March theme and his black hair, in place of a more humanize character coming out to Kid Rock and Limp Bizkit songs while riding a motor cycle with flowing natural red hair before it was eventually cut short.
It seemed all throughout this run, fans wanted the old Undertaker back. Every year I remember fans waiting for the original Deadman to hit the lights and slowly walk to the ring again. He did just that at Wrestlemania XX in 2004 even with a returning Paul Bearer as his manager and has been the classic Undertaker since. Fitting that the tagline of that year's Wrestlemania was "where it all begins... again". It is funny because in later years fans began to become nostalgic for the "American Badass" gimmick and would call for Undertaker to return to that version of the character. Those years had some good moments and maybe some fans wanted the old Undertaker back so bad that they didn't fully enjoy those American Badass/Big Evil years.
The Undertaker's Wrestlemania win streak became one of the most over titles in WWE. In my opinion it should never have ended. The Streak itself was a draw for Wrestlemania and it seemed like any year when WWE ran a poll on their website or Facebook asking fans which match they were looking forward to the most, the "Streak" match was always it. When Brock won, we got some good shots of now classic fan reactions, but not much else. Brock was already a made star and all of Undertaker's Wrestlemania matches since haven't felt as special. I really feel the lost much more than they gained. The Streak felt special even though its a total work and then it was gone.
What did feel special was at this past year's Wrestlemania when after a loss to Roman Reigns (if you haven't heard it's his yard now, I guess) he stood alone in the ring and removed his gloves, his hat and his coat and rarely broke character to kiss his wife at ringside as he left to close the show which felt like the end of The Undertaker.
I don't know if that was his farewell or if after all that drama he will just have another match at next year's Wrestlemania. The greatness of The Undertaker and his impact on the business goes without saying though. It's a gimmick and name even the most casual fans know and even the most casual fans who stopped watching 20 years ago still remember. The WWE has always been about promoting "larger than life" superstars and Undertaker truly was and still is that and there will never be another.
Thanks again for reading Planet Kayfabe and joining me for this special Halloween edition as I run down some spooky gimmicks of yesteryear and today.
If you have a question, comment or suggestion for a future column let me know in the comments section below or follow me on Twitter @PlanetKayfabe
Have a great Halloween everyone! For NoDQ.com I'm Paul Matthews -- see you here next time.