Worst: WWF New York + The Coach + Linda McMahon
Additional true story: Back in 2001, I went to Madison Square Garden for the WWF’s post-9/11 tribute to New York City firemen. Rock vs. Austin was the main event. The less cool memory of that trip is that I paid a visit to WWF New York and ate an entire plastic bucket of hot wings. It was the worst. The place was set up like the most bare-bones Ripley’s Believe It Or Not ever, where the entire experience is “hey, wanna see how big Andre the Giant’s hand was? Okay cool, now give us 25 dollars for this McDonald’s play bucket full of horse meat”. I have a WWF New York magnet on my fridge now.
Now quick, name the two least entertaining WWF characters who have made more than 30 appearances on WWF television. If you said “Linda McMahon” and “Jonathan Coachman”, you’ve won! Here’s a souvenir cup of “Pibbo”, half Mr. Pibb, half Mello Yello.
I’m trying to think of the best thing either of them has done. I guess Linda’s shining moment was kicking Vince in the balls at Wrestlemania, which was pretty cool in an afterschool-special-you-can’t-believe-is-making-this-point sort of way. Getting tombstoned by Kane and selling it with a neckbrace despite the fact that she clearly had her face buried in his brimstones and missed the stage surface by like four feet was pretty good I guess. Coachman’s greatest moment is being at point-blank range when Too-Fat-For-TV Vader tried to get out of the ring on Raw and fell on his ass.
Best: Brian Christopher, The Most “Eliminated From The Royal Rumble” Wrestler Ever
oh hey, is a royal rumble happening
Brian Christopher is all of the following:
1. The guy I’d answer with if an SB Nation-style “who is the most ____ player ever?” situation about being eliminated from Royals Rumble. Because seriously, look at him.
2. A guy I’m glad isn’t around anymore, because he’d contribute at least two paragraphs about racism to every Best and Worst column.
3. Somehow the less talented guy in the popular late-90s WWF wigger tag team.
4. Having a great life.
The other guy in the picture is
1. The real deal
2. The actual most “misused” wrestler in WWF history, and when someone asks you that you should say “D’Lo Brown, probably” instead of Colt Cabana
4. Extremely sorry for that thing he did to Droz
Guess which person lasts longer?
Best: Rikishi, Shoot Bad-ass
Somebody call my mama!
Enter: the original Funkasaurus, Rikishi Fatu, the guy from the streets makin’ a difference who just happens to be a legitimate, dynamic, fat Samoan bad ass. He’s remembered mostly as the guy in the diaper who stuck his butthole in peoples’ mouths, and sure, doing that sorta makes him deserve the reputation, but rewatching shows like this it’s not hard to remember why he was so popular — in addition to being a fun-lovin’ wacky dancing guy, he was also a 400 pound guy who would karate kick you in the face and suplex you to death. I’m in no position to say what push he deserved or whether or not turning him heel and making him run over Steve Austin in a car because RACISM~ was a terrible idea (it was), but dude is the best here.
He gets the “early guy who would win if he’d come in later” role in this Rumble, showing up and eliminating all the refuse, including a Headbanger and that awkward, older version of Christian when he and Edge were trying to figure out if they were vampires still or what.
Best: The Climax Of Too Cool
The most unbelievable moments of the show, besides someone diving off the set and the barbed-wire-and-wooden-spikes bloodbath and the nude old weather-balloon-titted lady, is how over Too Cool is. You remember it for the New Age Outlaws, but some strange combination of timing and a well-booked Rumble finds Rikishi, Grandmaster Sexay and Scotty 2 Hotty doing their Funkasauric dance routine in the middle of Madison Square Garden and EVERY SINGLE PERSON is on their feet clapping along. Lawler can’t believe the reaction on commentary, and I know Lawler well enough at this point to know that when he repeats something like four times he’s desperate for a response because he really means it. Rikishi started off as a mindless savage and was given a gimmick where he was basically an extra on ‘A Different World’. Taylor and Christopher started off as the funny gay tag team who was gonna get married and wore pink helmets when they rode mopeds the ring. Here, they are Gods. It’s probably the greatest moment of their lives. You know, besides having children or whatever.
Rikishi dumps them both after the dance routine, but they stay friends. Rikishi is pretty stupid for having done that, because he eliminates the next three guys by himself, and if he’d had his two pals in the ring with him he might’ve won the whole damn thing. This may or may not be the plot of Step Up 4.
Worst: Time To Get This Thing About The Headbangers Off My Chest
I’ve been needing a place to say this for years: I hate the Headbangers. HATE them. Part of it was how bad they were at wrestling (Beaver Cleavage, New Jersey Fun Haver Chaz and “Low Down” are all examples of this), but it was mostly because they were called the “Headbangers” and had ABSOLUTELY GOD DAMN NOTHING TO DO WITH HEADBANGING. They came out to a drum machine, wore skirts, painted their faces and had no hair. They never even banged their heads. I encourage you to watch any of the 80,000 episodes of Headbangers Ball and tell me if one dude, ONE DUDE who looks like f**king Thrasher shows up. He’s wearing a CONE BRA for Christ’s sakes. Anybody got a picture of Cliff Burton in a cone bra?
They should’ve just called the “The Punks”. Or better yet, “the late 90s punks who think Green Day is cool”. Or better still, “old billionaire’s idea of youth culture”.