James Dixon: I had the misfortune of covering the WWF’s Funniest Moments tape from the early 90s in The Complete WWF Video Guide Volume #2 and it scored a mammoth 1 out of 100. Now while this one probably doesn’t feature the Bushwhackers or the Gobbledy Gooker, I am still fully aware of what the WWF classes as “humour”, so my expectations are at an all-time low going into it.
Imitation (is the sincerest form of flattery)
– Promisingly, we start with The Rock, who is a funny guy. Unfortunately all he does is say a mock prayer in a squeaky voice, apparently as an imitation of Billy Gunn. Rock quickly ends any chance Billy has of getting over as a top guy by belittling him: “I just won King of the Ring, but everyone still thinks that I absolutely suck!” Yep, that was the problem.
– Edge and Christian bring out midget versions of the Hardy Boyz who have tiny little ladders with them, and then midget versions of the Dudley Boyz, who have little kiddie plastic tables. It looks like a funny skit, but we literally see just the entrances of the midgets and nothing else.
– Going back a bit to 1998, we see the quite brilliant DX parody of the Nation of Domination. Again, very little is shown, but we do get Hunter (as “The Crock”) discussing doing a big poo, and Road Dogg with his brilliant D-Lo Brown impression, repeating everything The Crock says. Hunter alludes to Rock laying the smack down on himself, if you catch my drift, and Road Brown chimes in: “You hear that, the brother smacks himself down!” Mizark Henry gets some gentle ribbing too, with Crock asking how he manages to get this pecs to go “all the way around”. I love this segment, so it’s a shame we don’t get the whole thing.
– Pre-Armageddon 2000 the Rock cuts a backstage promo regarding the upcoming six-man Hell in a Cell match. He mocks each of the guys in the bout in his typically amusing fashion. Rikishi is dismissed as a “thong wearing fatty” and his digs at Triple H’s promos are EXACTLY what I have been saying throughout this book. Elongated words, wacky inflection and random out of place pauses, it’s all here. Rocky’s imitation of Hunter is brilliant, and even better that Hunter’s of him in the previous segment some two and a half years prior. After Rock does his best Undertaker impression by rolling his eyes into the back of his head, Chris Jericho hijacks the promo and mocks Rock’s catchphrases for being nonsense and then does a funny send up of him. Rock is unimpressed.
– Back to 1996 with Larry Fling featuring the Huckster and the Nacho Man! I am amazed this made it onto the tape. It lasts all of 5 seconds, with the only footage shown being of Hogan’s muscles creaking as he asks “whatcha gonna do when I walk out on you”. Resentment lingers, it seems.
– More midget madness, this from 2001 with Rock having a promo battle with a miniature Booker T, who does a tiny Spinneroonie.
– The Stooges next, who take their shirts off and pose like Hulk Hogan.
Fun With Food
– No! No! NO! The goddamn Bushwhackers have made the tape! Very, very briefly, but they are on here, making imbecilic noises and acting like pigs. Oh I knew I should have made Lee do this. He never has to do the terrible tapes!
– The original DX back in 1997/98 had an unhealthy obsession with cocks, be it their own or things that reminded them of penises. One such segment, a DX BBQ, sees them get all excited over various large phallic shaped sausages.
– Then the Bushwhackers again. Kill me.
– Backstage at a Thanksgiving party in 2000, JR shows Debra his juicy chicken breasts, while the camera focuses in on her juicy silicone breasts.
– Back in the 90s, Mean Gene Okerlund hosts the WWF at Oktoberfest, and Jim Neidhart does some Morris Dancing. I swear I am not making it up; this really happened! Elsewhere, the Bushwhackers cut some cheese.
– Back at the Thanksgiving party from 2000, Debra asks if anyone wants any pie. Al asks her if it is a trick question, and Funaki says he likes pie, which is met with uproarious laughter from the rest of the roster. I guess you had to be there.
– The Big Bossman cooks Al Snow’s pet dog Pepper and feeds it to him in a hotel room, with a giant winking doggy graphic on the screen in the arena giving the game away to everyone else. Bossman tells Al that it was “100% Pepper”, and Al barfs. Bossman rubs his face in it and comments that Pepper “tastes like chicken”. They would not have got away with this in the PG Era. It’s ridiculous, but it’s no worse than Earthquake cooking Jake Roberts’ snake Damien and making “Quake Burgers”. It’s so silly that it becomes almost perversely entertaining.
– Never entertaining is Dennis ‘Mideon’ Knight, who harks back to his days as a hillbilly pig farmer by shagging a cooked Thanksgiving turkey (while singing “afternoon delights”) and then having a smoke afterwards. “I know the boss don’t like this” he says of his cig, which is the only even slightly funny thing about the whole horrible affair. Thought Katie Vick was the WWF’s first foray into necrophilia? You were wrong! And with added bestiality too!
– What could be worse than anything involving Phineas Godwinn? Why, the Bushwhackers of course! They continue to eat like filthy animals, but at least they are not trying to wrestle; the funniest joke of all.
– Food fights occur at Mick Foley’s 2000 Thanksgiving party, which ends with Debra throwing a custard pie in Mick’s face. Another occurs on SmackDown!, a year earlier mind you, only this one is at ringside rather than backstage. It ends in a similar way though, with a pie to the face. The lucky recipient this time is Jerry Lawler, courtesy of a planted fan.
– Val Venis makes some innuendos that wouldn’t be lost on a coma patient, such is their blatancy. I’m not sure what that has to do with dating mind.
– Ah here we go then, as Mark Henry recites some self-penned poetry to Chyna in order to woo her and get her to agree to go on a date with him. Elsewhere, Al Snow sets up Head Cheese tag partner Steve Blackman with a girl he met at his therapy group. Neither of these (completely separate) dates go very well. Chyna acts like an utter bitch towards Henry, telling him she wants to get things over with, while wearing an expression like she just walked in on a McMahon riding her boyfriend. Why agree to the date then, you miserable cow? Blackman on the other hand can’t get his blind date to shut up, and she just talks and talks. Think the band camp girl (Allison ‘Michelle’ Hannigan) in American Pie. Mark Henry tries to get Chyna to loosen up by serenading her, but to no avail. He then busts a move on the dance floor and finally gets Chyna to get on there with him. Speaking of dancing, Al has himself a little go back at Blackman’s date, with poor Steve utterly miserable about all of it. Back to the Henry-Chyna date again, and some dude is hitting on Chyna and won’t take no for an answer. He calls her a bitch so she throws a blatantly fake punch at him (holding his head first and then pulling it big time), then Mark Henry steams in and smashes through everyone else.
– Fast forward in time, and ‘Sexual Chocolate’ has hooked up with Mae Young. They do some mentally scarring shagging under the covers, before we cut to Kurt Angle promoting abstinence while Big Show gives out free condoms. Back to Henry, whose timeline is all over the place here, and we see him get it on with a transsexual. “Oh sweet Jesus, you got a penis!” says poor Mark, before throwing up. He has been in some stunningly bad segments over the years.
– Mankind proposes a union between him and the Rock, which is the formation of the fantastic Rock ‘n’ Sock Connection. Mankind steals his catchphrases and then later backstage asks him if he can do the People’s Elbow. Rock refuses, and tells him to just concentrate on “doing the sock gimmick”.
– More Foley next, this time from his WWF Commissioner run, and one of his ace segments with Edge & Christian. In this one, Christian is struggling to make weight for his Light Heavyweight Title match, so Foley provides him with a chicken suit to wear. It’s a long story, involving Kurt Angle and gold medals. Christian makes himself sick to drop those few extra pounds, which is not a very smart message to send to impressionable fat kids, and finally makes weight. “Hey, my chicken suit!” remarks Kurt as Christian bumps into him.
– Back to the early 90s, Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan visit the zoo.
– In 1999, Mick Foley and Al Snow visit Vegas, leading to some very funny improv between the two. Foley drops a fruit machine and wins a bunch of quarters, so decides to spend them at a strip joint. The girls, used to notes from high rollers, are not impressed, and Foley takes a quarter to the eye.
– More from Gorilla and Bobby, this time on a movie set. Gorilla is devastated that Heenan has shown up and ruined his day, while Bobby gets all jumpy at the sight of a horse because he has “never seen anything move that fast”.
– “Whoa! They call you the Big Show!?” asks Val Venis while staring at Show’s cock at a urinal. Show smacks him into a cubicle for his cheek and calls him a smartass before walking off.
– From Tuesday Night Titans, incredibly enough. Butcher Vachon is Vince McMahon’s guest, and he takes us to footage from the “most bizarre wedding” of Butcher and his wife, which it was. Held in the ring with George Steele eating the buckles, the set falling down and nutcase Dave Schultz slamming the groom, this was 80s WWF at its most wacky. Incredibly, this closed out the very first Coliseum Home Video tape ever released, so they have really been delving into the archives for this tape. Of all the tapes to finally be thorough with!
– A decade and a half later, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon are married but having problems, exacerbated significantly when Steph walks in on Hunter demonstrating a hammerlock reversal to Trish which involves her bending down in front of him. Steph is apoplectic with rage and trashes the room while screaming “I can’t believe you!” over and over again. Everyone was excellent in this, and the Steph-Hunter marriage breakdown and love triangle involving Kurt Angle is something I look back on fondly. Yes, a Steph and Hunter angle and it was actually entertaining! Who would have guessed it?
– From RAW in 1994, and joy of joys we revisit something that I described in The RAW Files: 1994 as “maybe the worst thing on TV all year, and not just in wrestling”. It involves Jerry Lawler pratting around in the crowd for ages as some skinny dude with a bad haircut (Mike) asks his incredibly embarrassed girlfriend with a Triple H nose (Andrea) to marry him. Mind you, Lawler had already ruined the surprise by introducing her as his fiancé in the first place. What an oaf. Lawler takes the girl into the ring and starts making bad jokes, before she says “yes”. Thankfully the tape skips the part where Lawler calls Mike’s ex-girlfriend a slut and both of them “dogs”, but does keep in him insulting the poor girl by comparing her nose to that of an elephant. Ever the perv, Lawler goes to kiss Andrea despite her Proboscidean looks, but she dives out of dodge as her new fiancé looks on, livid. I am so glad I got to suffer through that again.
– Yes, the juvenile delinquents get their own segment of the tape. We start with Christmas RAW from 1997, with Shawn Michaels and Triple H in bathrobes. We see some unpleasant mooning interspersed with footage of their network address where the ticklesome trio promised not to swear and do lurid things, while doing exactly those things. Unlike on some of the tapes it turns up on, it is censored here. As is some easy chick flashing her tits to DX Version 2.0. Shame. DX also take to the streets of New York to promote SummerSlam 1998, with Road Dogg having a starring role as he racistly asks a Japanese girl if she has seen Godzilla. She thinks he means the movie, he means the actual monster, and he is thrilled when she says that she has, and asks her how big his foot is.
– We move briskly on to Vince McMahon. The funniest things about Vince are his zany directives (“sports entertainment”, “WWE Universe”, etc) and the rate at which he changes his mind on a whim, but sadly instead all we get is a promo where he talks about his genetic prowess in the groinal department.
– Back in 1998, Vince gets his leg broken by the Undertaker and Kane, resulting in an extended stay in hospital, and thus we see the often replayed piece of footage that spawned the birth of Mr. Socko where Mick Foley tried to cheer Vince up by bringing him a clown and “kissing the boo-boo”.
– Backstage a few weeks later, Vince tells basketball legend Shaquille O’Neill to leave because he doesn’t have a backstage pass, and Shaq mouths that McMahon is an asshole.
– Next Vince turns up in a bar looking for Steve Austin, but he treats the barmaid like shit and gets threatened with a bat. This wasn’t what I would describe as funny, but the next segment where Shane McMahon trains him for Royal Rumble ’99 a’la Rocky is. Vince chasing a chicken and punching the shit out of some meat is both excellent and bizarre.
– Then, Vince pisses his pants in the middle of the ring as Steve Austin holds a gun to his head, which turns out to be a toy. A gun! Didn’t the WWF promise the USA Network that they would never do anything with guns again after the Pillman/Austin angle in 1996? I guess when you are hot you can do whatever the hell you want and get away with it.
– Back to the hospital and Steve Austin, disguised as a nurse, beats the piss out of Vince and clonks him with the funniest weapon shot ever; a bed pan to the head that makes a delightful “zing” noise.
– Back again to the “genetic jackhammer” promo, and Rock calls Vince an asshole before drilling him with a Rock Bottom.
– Austin having just been appointed CEO of the WWF, turns up at Titan Towers and wants to implement some changes to how the receptionist answers the phone, preferring a direct approach: “Who the hell is this? What the hell do you want?”. Austin later fires someone for looking stupid and then suggests a beer drinking contest. When looking through the finances he dedicates some money to Mick Foley’s medical bills and then cuts Shane’s salary.
– The back end of 1997 and RAW next, with Austin beating up a nasty Santa Claus who is cruel to a young dude who looks like a lady. It’s a horrible segment.
– One of the great Steve Austin segments follows, with Austin playing the guitar for Vince McMahon. “This is inspiration man, can’t you feel it!?”. His rendition of ‘Kumbaya‘ is so shockingly bad it’s immense and his wild-eyed reworking of ‘We Are The Champions’ is unreal. But for me, nothing from this heel run comes close to the hug he has with Vince in a parking lot. The facials from Austin here are the best I have ever seen and it cracks me up every single time I see it.
– Deep into his heel run as leader of the WCW/ECW Alliance, Austin brings the “what?” chant into the world. Thanks for that one, Steve. It does mean he doesn’t need another person as a sounding board to promo off of though, because he can now just argue with the crowd or even himself. Great character. Perhaps the greatest ever.
Oops! And Poops!!
– Amazingly, they show the set falling down at SummerSlam ‘89 during a Mean Gene Okerlund interview with Rick Rude and Bobby Heenan. Sadly, Gene’s best John Malkovich impression (“f*ck it!”) is not shown, nor is Jesse Ventura ripping into him with venomous glee afterwards.
– During his heel run, The Rock tries to cut a promo on WWF Champion Mankind, but his voice keeps cracking and he can’t keep a straight face, and in the end just gives up and laughs.
– Next, Psycho Sid! He can’t say the work “sceptics” and asks JR if they can go again, but is quickly informed “we’re live pal”. It’s one of many excellent Sid moments they could have used. The man was a veritable goldmine for bloopers.
– After that, Trish beats up Steph McMahon and rubs her face in cow shit. I approve. After a brief Brother Love segment with Roddy Piper (and by brief I mean 3 seconds) and Gorilla and Bobby dressed as Love and The Genius, we go back to the subject of poo. The Rock directs Mankind to pick some up with a poop-a-scoop (also off the cuff telling some dogs to be quiet in a funny piece of improv) before we go to Head Cheese milking a cow. Blackman ends up with milk in the face, so belts the poor beast with his nunchcuks to get even.
– Sean Stasiak can’t hit his lines for a pre-tape promo for Steve Austin Appreciation Night, and constantly breaks down laughing. He shows more personality screwing up than he ever was allowed to as a performer.
– Rock wanted Mankind to pick the dog shit up for a reason; so he could Rock Bottom the British Bulldog into it! ” the dog poop, the dog poop, the dog poop!” bellows Michael Cole, who apparently needs his batteries recharging as he has got stuck in a loop. Well, that’s the price you pay for hiring robots to do human jobs.
– Elsewhere in a different era, Bobby Heenan gets hurled through a window during a Western bar fight.
– A really classic understated moment next, as Rock cuts a promo alongside Rock ‘n’ Sock partner Mankind, only to have his sunglasses fall off midway through. Mick Foley thinks on his feet and picks them up, prompting a huge pop from a crowd thrilled to see two guys out there having fun and being entertaining, and Rock tells Mick: “The Rock thanks you for that”. You couldn’t have scripted something like this.
– Back to Steve Austin, who visits Vince McMahon’s (real) office and dumps a few barrels of manure in there. Why didn’t they just use a fake office instead of having to go through that clean up job?
– The first thing shown? Isaac Yankem pulling teeth! Erm, odd choice.
– The next thing shown is Bubba Dudley putting Mae Young through a table, which again doesn’t really strike me as a “funny” segment at all.
– The next one gets a little closer, with Pat Patterson attempting a low blow on Chyna during a match, and her no-selling it and looking at him with incredulity. To be fair to Pat, he can’t be blamed for double checking, no-one really knew for sure with Chyna at this point. Chyna gets her revenge by slapping on a double testicular claw on both Patterson and Brisco.
– At SummerSlam 1999, Billy Gunn reveals a fat chick prior to his “Kiss My Ass” match with The Rock, and tells him that he will be kissing her ass rather than his when he beats him. For a heterosexual man, how is that worse’? Maybe it is worse for Billy… Obviously it all backfires, and Rock reverses Gunn’s attempts to make him kiss her ass during the match, and Billy ends up eating it. The big chick enjoys it. “The Rock just put Billy Gunn’s face in that large woman’s ass” says JR, in one of his more unlikely match calls.
– On RAW, Mr. Yamaguchi promises “I choppy choppy your pee-pee” to Val Venis, who had been diddling his wife. Kaientai then kidnap him and Yamaguchi uses a samurai sword to commit the act. It is only later revealed, and not on this tape, that Venis got “stage fright” and his dick was saved.
– Then more Isaac Yankem, which segues nonsensically into Bret Hart against Jerry Lawler at King of the Ring 1995. It’s a terrible match, but the finish is shown here because it involves Jerry Lawler kissing both his own and Hart’s feet.
– Then, the Bushwhackers return to lower the tone further, doing a spot of lingerie shopping… for their mothers!
– You know what else is funny? People dying. Yes, the Big Show’s father’s funeral is next, hijacked by the Big Bossman who drives away with the casket. Did someone on the writing team have a vendetta against Bossman in 1999?
– Oh Jesus it gets worse, with the “Miss Rumble 2000” swimsuit competition from Royal Rumble 2000 shown next. Yes, the one where Mae Young gets her large saggy puppies out for the world, and then wins the competition. A new low for the WWF and what a way to end.
Summary: It’s one of the most bizarre tapes I have ever seen. The pace is astonishing, with a new clip every minute or less and some of them are horrific (anything involving the Bushwhackers specifically), but all are over so quickly that nothing rankles or annoys. I was very happy to see such a diverse mix of footage from various eras, with things from 1985 through 2002 featured, including some that I would never expect the WWF to champion (namely bloopers, because they hate admitting to mistakes and production gaffes). I was expecting a horror show here, but it was far from that. It was, to my immense surprise, rather entertaining. Obviously there is nothing to really get your teeth into due to the breakneck pace, but as something to put on for an hour and be amused by, it does the job wonderfully. Incredibly, this is recommended!