Hey, anyone remember this? Baiamonte’s Casa #1. Doesn?t feel like a year ago does it? I?d like to say I?ve matured over this past 12 months, but as the previous 51 visits to the Casa have proved, that’s not the case at all.
I struggled coming up with a subject matter for this week’s column, I mean, I knew it had to be monumental and ever so slightly off the wall, but hadn?t I exhausted those two areas over the past 365 days? I?d talked about everything from facial hair in wrestling, to montage videos, all the way through to PPV’s at sea and Ashely Massaro’s vag. Where was I supposed to go from there?
Then it came to me. Like St.Paul on the road to Damascus. A bright light. A neon light. It was the 80’s! Calling out to me, ear cupped awaiting my response. The decade which spawned me was now enticing me to return back to my roots. I couldn?t resist it’s charm, with it’s big hair and snug tie dye t shirt and tights combo. I had to give the 80’s the tribute it deserved. I mean, without the 80’s where would the Casa have been? It would have ceased to exist by week two. I owe my best written work to the decade of decadence and it’s high time I gave back. So here goes.
I didn?t feel I could do the 80’s justice on my own though. It’s too encompassing a mission to attempt to fly solo. So I enlisted a little help. So here’s my crack team of 80’s fanatics who have saddled up for the journey with me. Think of them as my A Team;
Man prancing his way from Canaan, Connecticut (thanks Facebook!), with a whole mess of red hair and a love of PUNCHES~ and all things Akeem, he is the Managing Editor of Wrestleview.com, ladies and gentlemen? ?The Rowdy Republican? Hunter motherf*cking Golden!!!
? And making his way from detentions across Pittsburgh, he is the city’s greatest wrestling based export since Kurt Angle’s sanity, give it up for Wrestleview.com’s resident teacher, ?The Paisan who’s got it goin on? Anthony J. Valvo!
Now, he’s foul mouthed, loves his liquor and his women and is from North Carolina. Ladies and Gentlemen, it can only be the jet flyin?, limousine riding, kiss ste?. Ah who am I kidding? Give it up for Reality From Ringside’s very own Doug Lackey!
Also, from the chat room and forums of Wrestleview, some may call him a rookie, an unknown quantity, a N00b, whatever the . that is. All I know is, I saw what this guy had to say and I thought ?By God that kid’s got it!? Put your hands together for Mr. Rob James!!!
And finally? the special guest member of the team. Not only is he an acclaimed singer/songwriter who has performed a duet with Martha Wainwright on his latest album ?We Don?t Need Money, Honey, But We Got Rain?, but he is also a self proclaimed Casa-ite and he knows how to turn a phrase. Hailing from God’s country of Manchester, England, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, put your hands together for Liam Frost!!! (http://www.myspace.com/listentoliamfrost)
Now that the formalities are over with. Shall we?
I have broken the 80’s down into several important categories and asked each member of the panel to give their thoughts on each. Be prepared. It’s going to be emotional. And AWESOME.
BEST 80’s Theme Music
Hunter: I can’t imagine anyone topping the Fabulous Rogeau’s theme.. I mean they NAME DROP Barry Manilow.
Rob: I have to say Fabulous Rougeau Brothers- All American Boys is the best 80’s theme. It obnoxiously catchy, and gets across the character (insincere, sissy pretty boys) the first time you hear it. Nothing says heel like claiming you?re an all American boy and then singing in French.; and any song that rhymes rock and roll with Barry Manilow will always bring a smile to my face.
Me: ?Real American? is always going to be hard to . with but it’s even harder to . with something quite remarkable that took place on September 24th, 1988 in the ?Deepest Darkest Parts of Africa?. What happened was George Gray made transformed from the One Man Gang and ?went back to his roots? an re emerged as Akeem The African Dream! Complete with the single greatest piece of wrestling entrance music we sports entertainment fans have ever been blessed to hear.
Doug: All of us in Wrestleview are unanimous decision that the best entrance themes come from those who sing their own. While I was torn between Rick Rude’s ‘stripper-like? theme and Demolition’s ?Ax and Smasher, walking disaster? lyrical genius? there is nothing more intimidating than HTM’s claims of being ?cool, cocky and bad.?
Anthony: Macho Man Randy Savage. I would say Hogan, but I just can’t do it for a couple reasons. However when you hear the “Pomp and Circumstance”, you sense greatness. This theme was great for Savage. It was easy to hum when I was in Catholic school and was always told to stop humming the song. A couple of Mr. V’s detentions happened because I could not.
Liam: Ultimate Warrior. Rock monster. Perfect soundtrack to Mr. Warrior’s over-exuberant ring entrance, He must have tired himself out before he got to the ring, perhaps that’s why his in-ring abilities were lacking somewhat. Or maybe not.
Best 80’s Attire
Doug: DANNY DAVIS! What better way to show that you are biased referee turned wrestler than wearing the most horrendous pair of long tights known to mankind. A regular pair of black trunks and a referee shirt would be satisfactory, but no? Danny wears his credibility on his own pair of chicken legs!
Anthony: Ric Flair. Enough Said. If one could afford his tailor now, you could be the ugliest man in the world and still get laid by all the sexy “cougars” in the world.
Liam: Dead heat between Jay Strongbow and Kamala. Indians are cooler than cowboys, Kamala’s painted moobs are a thing of beauty.
Rob: My pick is Lanny’s little brother Randy ?Macho Man? Savage. With his Teen Wolf like hair and beard, too big for his face sunglasses, matching head band and trunks, and robes so out there it makes Liberaci blush the Macho Man is my choice for Best Attire of the 80’s. Let’s not forget he had the best accessory of the 80’s the lovely Miss Elisabeth.
Hunter: It’s gotta be Adrian Street. He looked ridiculous almost every day. Ridiculous hair, ridiculous make-up, horrible tights, and he was so comfortable looking weird, that he made his wife dress up goofy, too. It’s GOTTA be him.
Me: So much to choose from. Do I go Warrior and his ever increasing wardrobe of tassles or Jesse Ventura and his insatiable lust for robes and tie dye. But for me it can only be one guy’s wardrobe and that’s ?Ravishing? Rick Rude. If you airbrush your opponent’s wife’s face onto the crotch of your pants, you?re a winner in my book.
Best 80’s Punches
Hunter: Jerry Lawler. I mean seriously, the only guy who even comes close is Bill Dundee. That being said, Ron Garvin gets some honorable mentions. Greg Valentine I remember laying some in when the situation warranted it. Terry Gordy was an awesome puncher, too. But Lawler has to win this. They should re-name punches ‘Lawlers’.
Doug: One Man Gang/Akeem. You are an over-400 pound mastodon. Just the wind behind your own fist could knock down any jobber from fifty feet away. But no? One Man Gang/Akeem needs to stomp on the ground with both feet to let you know that his fist means business!
Liam: Stan Hansen, surely? This man went on to punch the shit of Vader’s eye until it popped out in 1990. They must have been pretty good before then right? Go and argue with him, see what happens.
Rob: Jerry Lawler. No matter if he was ?wrasseling Memphis style? or not Lawler punches always looked real.
Anthony: Lawler. Though I don’t like him too much in commentary as much, he was the King of Punches back in the 1980s. So effortless and perfect.
Me: I?ve got to go with the majority and say Lawler too. The guy is to punches what John Holmes was to .ing.
Best Gloriously Awful 80’s Match
Me: Hillbilly Jim, Little Beaver and the Haiti Kid vs. King Kong Bundy, Lord Littlebrook and Little Tokyo from WrestleMania III! Jesus Christ Bundy has a terrible ?Mania history but it’s impossible to hate this match, mainly because everyone who isn?t Bundy in this match is either Hillbilly Jim or a midget. How this gets overlooked by the Hogan bodyslam and Steamboat/Savage is beyond me.
Anthony: Hogan vs. Andre at WrestleMania III. How glorious it was in the 80s. How awful it was now. Glorious then + Awful Now = Gloriously Awful and worthy of a nomination.
Hunter: Wow. There’s so many good matches from that era, but there’s some awesomely awful ones. Bruiser Brody was awful at almost everything except hussing and looking his part. He had a swath of stinkers. He had one with Antonio Inoki where they got so sick of no-selling each other, that Brody just bailed from the ring, went out into the crowd and just ‘hussed’ for like four minutes straight. But the winner, I mean c’mon. You can’t get more awesomely bad than Memphis putting on Freddy vs. Jason.
Liam: Any Ultimate Warrior match, although back then I probably wouldn’t have said it…he looked awesome. This was a really obvious choice, but they were bad.
Doug: Anything involving The Bushwhackers. Maybe it’s because I?ve grown older, wiser, and lost the naivet? and innocence of my youth? but someone needs to convince me that the ?Battering Ram? head-butt was actually a viable finisher. Seeing these two use their collaborative powers to coordinate such a devastating maneuver was about as swift as watching Brutus Beefcake trying to read ?War and Peace?.
Rob: I don?t know if this counts but I am taking Andy Kaufman and any of his intergender matches. Were they good matches? No not really, but if there’s one on I can?t help but watch and laugh and that has to count for something. As far as I know, Andy never had any formal wrestling training but the man was a natural wrestling showman. Everything about his was so gloriously terrible that he was awesome.
Best 80’s Beard
Hunter: Well now you’re playing with fire here. Steve Kearn and Stan Lane certainly rocked the Kenny Loggins beard and that was amazing. You had Bruiser Brody’s who’s beard looked like a bird’s nest. Harley Race’s beard is probably more of a 70’s beard, but he rocked a 70’s beard in the 80’s which makes him incomprehensibly manly. Jimmy Vallient was freaking awful, but he had braids in his beard and Shaska Whatley had a good one going too. But I’d have to say this award goes to Jimmy Garvin, who not only had an awesome beard, but equally awesome hair that LOOKED like it could have been his beard. I mean seriously… So Jimmy Garvin.
Liam: Big John Studd’s beard was something to aspire to, for many a man. A beastly, hirsute son of a gun. I salute you, sir!
Rob: When I think 80’s beards many come to mind; The Million Dollar Man, Bruiser Brody, the Andersons, Jim Neidhart and Jake the Snake but the best beard has to be Captain Lou Albano. A beard that screams silly fun of the 80’s. From the Trade mark rubber bands, to his beard being a plot point in the old Hulkamania cartoon the late Captain beard was almost a character its self.
Anthony: Bruiser Brody. The beard is glorious by stature, more manly than Chuck Norris’, and sadly taken away from us too soon. RIP Bruiser.
Doug: The Missing Link. Just as all of us were confused on who or what exactly The Missing Link was? his beard was just as confused. It didn?t know if it wanted to act as a goatee or Fu Manchu, straight or curled? what amazed me the most is what not necessarily Link’s confused beard but his stupefying hairstyle. I guess when you are missing that one piece of the genetic puzzle to be considered human, your follicles are the underlying characteristic to show that discrepancy.
Me: It’s got to be The Moondogs for me. Not only were they manly for having homeless beards but they combined the beards with chewing on bones (and no that’s not an innuendo). From what I can remember they did a whole lot of grunting too. No speaking, just random noises whilst they punched and scratched and battered their opponents half to death before more bone chewing and beard scratching. Phenomenal.
Best 80’s Gimmick
Liam: The Iron Sheik, still hasn’t broken from it. Also had to get him in here somewhere for his solid and totally unintentional current day comedy skills. Pissy pants + best Hogan trash talk of all time = one epic win.
Anthony: Ted DiBiase. When I was a kid and saw this gimmick, I could not stand it. However, now that I saw the beauty of this gimmick, it makes me want to do the same stuff if I ever was a “Million Dollar Man”. I could so see myself kicking a basketball away from a kid to avoid paying him.
Me: George ?The Animal? Steele made being a retard cool way before Eugene. Fat ? check, hairy torso that made him look like he was wearing a sweater ? check, bald head and googly eyes combo ? check, discoloured tongue and penchant for biting turnbuckles ? check and MATE!
Hunter: God, so many. Lord Humongous being a blatant attempt to capitalize on the success of Mad Max was pretty great and it really helped a lot of guys launch a career… kind of. You can’t really argue that Adrian Street was anything other than atrociously ahead of his time as well. And of course, Memphis using APOCALYPSE~.
Doug: Red Rooster. There’s just something about Terry Taylor that screams? cock.
The One Moment That Defines 80’s Wrestling
Anthony: The one moment that best sums up the 80s was one man: Ric Flair! Though I can’t stand him now, he truly was “The Man” of the 80s.
Hunter: I always come back to the Jim Duggan vs. Ted Dibiase all Stips match from Mid South. Absurd gimmicks, hot crowds, wild brawling, baseball bats, incredible outfits, the whole nine yards. I mean most people think Hogan-Andre and no doubt about it, it was a big moment and probably the peak of popularity for wrestling in the US, but I always come back to that Duggan-Dibiase match as being THAT 80’s match that didn’t just define everything about the Mid South promotion, but the 80’s wrestling scene as a whole.
Liam: Savage and Steamboat at Wrestlemania III. Savage breaks Steamboat’s larynx at SNME. The Dragon returns and they tear the house down at WM III, stealing the show from Hogan and his pansy ass bodyslam.
Rob: The best way to sum up 80’s wrestling for me is like a fun wonderful toy box. Now that I?m grown up I can go back to that toy box and not only find old toys but new ones I missed out on (in other territories) to enjoy.
Doug: Any of Bobby ?The Brain? Heenan’s interviews with Gene Okerlund.
Heenan was the reason I became hooked to pro wrestling. It wasn?t the action in the ring or the wrestlers? characters, it was Heenan’s hilarious promos and interviews. If you need a good laugh, go to YouTube and watch his interviews? they are works of spontaneous comedic genius. Below is the transcript from a Heenan/Okerlund segment circa 1985?
?I do not have a devil of a time controlling The Missing Link? Sometimes he takes the wrong turn. It could happen to anybody. Have you ever gone up the wrong aisle? Gotten in the wrong car? Left out the window when you heard the bell ring, uh huh?
?Well I?m going to tell you something about The Missing Link and Ivan Putski? Now the COW Palace? I don?t particularly like the COW Palace here in San Franscisco? Because I don?t particularly like the aroma of animals, that’s why. I don?t like cows. I don?t like livestock. But Putski should feel right at home. He’s going to think he’s back home with mom and dad. Well as much as it is the outdoor scent to you? (noise in the background from equipment falling)?
?Now, Link, put that down! (Heenan pointing to the side) Okay, stop it now!?
Me: Only in Memphis and only in the 80’s could an ?Orchestra Pit? Match take place. The combatants were Jeff Jarrett and ?Dirty? Dutch Mantell and every bodyslam, punch, chop and suplex were accompanied by a full ochestra providing extra sound effects. How any feud ever reaches the point where a match has to take place inside an orchestra pit is beyond even my imagination, but Memphis somehow made it happen, and somehow made it entertaining, which to me, sums up the 80’s in a nutshell. Check out that guy’s xylophone work by the way. Outstanding.
And so my friends, that brings us to the end of Year One inside the Casa. It’s been a colossal year and I?d like to thank Anthony, Hunter, Doug, Liam and Rob for all taking part in this prestigious landmark column. Their contributions are all hilarious and fantastically nostalgic. I?d also like to thank Adam Martin for never complaining when my columns are emailed to him a lot later than he would no doubt prefer. And of course I?d like to thank all my readers who have continued to come back week after week. I?m truly grateful to all of you. Especially Rocky Junior, who I?ve got to say is without a doubt my Number #1 fan, all the way from France, he never fails to email me his thoughts on the Casa so thanks Rocky and I?m glad you?ve enjoyed this first year.
So onto Year Two. I?m officially a sophomore. I can?t wait to tear this new year a new arse hole. Are you all with me? I hope you are!
Until next time,