Best: All Hail King Bookah
Everything about this picture is great. Sharmell, Booker’s super obvious looking robe, the black guy in the upper left smiling his ass off, Charles Robinson with his hands on his hips.
The best reaction I had rewatching this show was King Booker showing up, and me getting this huge smile across my face and being all OH SH*T KING BOOKER. I don’t know why Booker T doing a high concept reinvention of WWE’s “King” (as well as Abraham Washington’s gimmick of acting proper, then getting pissed and turning street) is such a riot even years later, but something about it is just so damn inspired. The pose with his pinkie up, the horrible accent, the gold tights with the “T” royal crest on the crotch (a letter he fought long and hard to have the rights to, thank you very much). It all works. And yeah, it’s just Booker T and he’s still gonna do what Booker T does, but it makes everything seem more… purposeful?
Sharmell deserves most of the bests, though. She’s one of the most under-appreciated valets in wrestling history, dating back to when she was The Artist Formerly Known as Prince Iaukea’s “Paisley”. Here she nails the ALL HAIL KING BOOKAHHHHH catchphrase in the most annoying way possible and keeps it going throughout the match, not being afraid to look weird and ugly as she contorts her face and shouts at the referee.
She’s an extension of Booker’s gimmick: an average person playing queen. It’s brilliant.
Best: The Ancient Order Of Royal Houstonians
Booker T is always getting into feuds with people over the dumbest things: losing the use of the letter T and throwing in with a bunch of jobbers with military pun names, being upset that Edge got a Japanese shampoo commercial, calling Hulk Hogan the n-word, etc.
I don’t remember a second of this angle (I tend to repress most Kane angles … I didn’t remember that time he murdered Paul Bearer by accident via shoving him off an arena balcony from the top of a tables and ladders construct until I was like three weeks into counseling), but if more things involved city officials being douchebags and getting chokeslammed for it we’d be in a better place. Pretty sure that was the plot of Ghostbusters, wasn’t it?
Next time I’m in Houston I’m going to drive around looking for their lodge. I hope they have that pay-per-view poster of Booker T killing a dragon hanging on their wall somewhere.
Worst: Kane Is Gonna Be The Same No Matter How Far Back I Go, Isn’t He
Since his 2012 return as a welding Fire Rapist, the Best And Worst Of WWE Raw column I run has been full of “oh man this angle Kane’s in is ridiculous and funny but his matches are still punches and boredom”.
That proves true here, as it did in his 2000 Royal Rumble appearance, and I’m worried that no matter how far back I go with these, Kane’s always going to be a really funny, written-by-invalids character rendered unenjoyable to me by uppercut strikes and jumping clotheslines. I can go back to the Christmas Creature and be all HAHA LOOK AT HIM HE’S A WRESTLING TREE I THINK but it’s still just gonna be punches.
Did Kane have a run as a progressive high-flyer in the late 70s I didn’t know about, by any chance?
Best: This Guy Loves His Domino Shirt
One of the major things I took away from watching this show on DVD is that the f**king guy a few rows back has a white t-shirt with DOMINO written on it and he loves it so much.
This is one of at least 100 screencaps I could’ve taken to prove it. I don’t know where he got a Domino shirt (Deuce and Domino are on the show but they didn’t have a shirt, and I know Domino didn’t have his own) and I don’t know why he thinks he has to hold it up to his chin so we could read “Domino” for the entire show, but he got one and he DOES. I can’t tell who’s worse, him, or the kid a few seats over who just mindlessly chops crotch for three hours no matter what’s happening in the ring.
I’m not above call and response in wrestling, but Jesus, at least wait until you’re called before you respond.
Best: Vinnie Jones, Gettin’ Heat
Vinnie Jones (the actor and retired Welsh footballer you may know best as the guy who f**ked up how funny “I’m the Juggernaut, bitch” was forever) has been trolling society in one way or another since like 1984, so it’s not surprise that he’d respond to Michael Cole’s stupid question of “Hi Vinnie Jones, star of The Condemned” with a borderline Ren and Stimpy thing about how HE’S the star of ‘at movie, NOT STONE COLD, and also in real life he beat Stone Cold up.
The crowd didn’t really seem to care (if you remember, we saw the full, director’s cut trailer for The Condemned four times on every show between 2007 and 2009), to the point that I wanted Vinnie to start shoving down Stunts Granny and tearing up autograph books. SKULLDUGGERY? OY DID MORE SKULLS THAN ‘IM I DO