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Archive for July, 2010

Attention, geeks: Mattel announces Von Erichs, Randy Savage and Ultimate Warrior for Legends action figures line

July 22nd, 2010 3 comments

Mattel's new action figure already displays more versatility than the real Warrior.

Dig it!: Savage will be released in his WrestleMania VII gear (retirement match vs. Warrior) as part of the Legends “Defining Moment” series.

Received word from the San Diego Comic-Con that the Von Erichs will finally be getting their own action figures as part of the Mattel Legends line, along with the Rockers, Randy Savage, Mr. PerfectRick Rude, Brian Pillman (Hart Foundation version) and the Ultimate Warrior.

Although I’m far too old and sophisticated to buy such things (coughs), I thought I’d pass on the word to collectors, who have for years been frustrated with previous WWE toymaker Jakks Pacific’s  inability to get a deal done with Savage or the Von Erichs. (Not sure what the problem was with Kevin Von Erich and family, but I do know that for years that Vince McMahon was personally blocking the Macho Man figure. Recently, the heat between the two appears to be fading, as Vince last year allowed a Savage DVD to be produced. Wouldn’t surprise me at all to see Savage in the Hall of Fame in 2011 or 2012. Savage even appeared at Comic-Con via video holding his figure and giving a shout-out to attendees.

Mattel already impressed collectors with their initial Legends line, which included The Road Warriors (NWA gear) and Ricky “the Dragon” Steamboat, another WWE/NWA star that Jakks was unable to sign.

Still, I wouldn’t count on seeing an Owen Hart figure from Mattel any time soon, thanks to Martha Hart.

Sink your Claws into these, marks: Mattel has signed the Von Erichs.

Kim Chee sold separately.

The second wave of Legends figures due out next month includes Rick Rude, Kamala and Terry Funk. The third and fourth waves are as follows:

WWE Legends 3:

  • The Rock
  • Mr. Perfect
  • Brian Pillman
  • The British Bulldog
  • Vader
  • “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan

WWE Legends 4:

  • The Ultimate Warrior
  • George “The Animal” Steele
  • Paul Orndorff
  • Hillbilly Jim
  • Demolition Ax
  • Demolition Smash
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Menu for King Lawler’s downtown Memphis eatery revealed?

July 22nd, 2010 18 comments

Shortly after Jerry Lawler’s old menu for Slamburgers–the King’s fast-food joint in 1976–recently resurfaced (see above), speculation about the menu for his new restaurant in downtown Memphis began. (Thanks to my buddy Dave Millican for the menu–he’s the only mark I know who still had one.) According to Lawler’s partner, Joe Cooper, the only known menu item thus far is “The Piledriver”–a sandwich with, you know, the meat “piled high.”

I have it on good authority that the following items are also under consideration. I’d love to hear your suggestions as well. The best submission from my KFR readers will receive a DVD of classic Memphis wrestling from my personal collection–not Corey Maclin’s. (One menu item, “the Big Maclin,” has been scratched because of possible further litigation.)

Randy’s Macho Nachos

Eddie’s Hot-Stuffed Mushrooms

The Artichoke Hold

Heat Wings

Idol’s Heartthrob of Romaine Salad

Funk Salad w/Double Cross Ranch Dressing

The Rock ‘n’ Egg Roll Express

Killer Karl Soup

Mantell’s Stew-Baby

Man Mountain Sausage Links

Tommy’s Wild-Flour Pizza

Brian Christopher’s Grilled “Too Cheesy” Sandwich on Ms.Texas Toast

Handsome Jimmy’s Fried “KingFish” Sandwich (served with Lawler’s Fireball Fries)

Tofu Yamamoto Stir Fry

Lawler’s Backstage Ribs

The Double J Decker

The Sid Delicious

PYT BLT

The San Diego Chicken Salad Sandwich

The Plow Boy Sandwich (a Po Boy, only MUCH bigger)

The Gypsy Joe Manwich (very Sloppy)

Jimmy Hart’s Big-Mouth Burger

Entrée the Giant (Steak, Frites and a Case of Beer)

Kentucky Fried Freebirds (Three-piece meal, served with a shot of Jack Daniels)

The Veggie B. Fine (vegetarian sub)

The Fargo ‘Furter (served on a Fabulous Bun)

The Superstar’s Vegemite Sandwich

Chili Moondog (guaranteed to hit the Spot)

Promoter’s Special: Eddie’s Main-Event Marlin

Sam’s Sea Bass w/ a sidekick of Michael Cole Slaw

Fire-and-Flame Grilled Chicken

Sonny King Crab Legs

The Assassins’ Killer Fries

Sheepherders’ Pie (You bloody Yanks will love it…or else)

The Stomper’s Mongolian BBQ

The Small Package (kids’ burger)

Dave Hash Browns

Lance’s Banana Nose Split

Hot Grudge Sundae

King Kong Bundt Cake

Brickhouse Brownies

Grapple Pie (served on a Superstar Graham-Cracker Crust and topped with Irish-Whipped Cream)

Koko’s Cream Pie

Big Red Velvet Cake

Cherry Von Erich Pie

Dutch’s Dirty Martini

Joe’s Lumberjack and Coke

Kat’s Milk

Guy’s Coffee

Wolfie-D-Caff (served in a hubcap you can take home)

J.C.’s Iced Mocha

Booker Tea

Stagger Tea (sweetened with brown sugar)

 

 

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Raising Kane: The long, strange trip of Glenn Jacobs, from the Christmas Creature to WWE World champion

July 20th, 2010 6 comments

Season's beatings: I heard him exclaim, 'ere he drove out of sight, "Miserable Christmas to all and to all a good fright."

Soon after I put on my referee gear–starched Polo buttondown, black Dickies pants and Doc Marten lowcuts–in the dressing room (i.e., a high-school basketball team’s locker room) in Osceloa, Arkansas, in December 1993, I walk over to the heel side to go over the finishes for that night’s card. Since the home team’s and visitor’s locker rooms aren’t connected, I’ll have to relay the finishes between the boys.

On the heel side, I notice Glenn Jacobs, a huge, muscular guy with with bushy, curly hair sitting anxiously near manager Bert Prentice. Kevin Lawler, Jerry’s son, approaches Jacobs, a relatively unknown addition to the USWA roster, who had worked the territory a few months earlier as part of a tag team with a Russian gimmick. The young Lawler hands a brown-paper grocery bag to the rookie, who appears to be in his mid-’20s, saying, “Here it is–go ahead and put it on.”

Jacobs reaches into the bag and pulls out what appears to be an oversized green outfit belonging to Santa’s hugest helper. The fresh-faced behemoth smiles as he studies the costume, with its subtle, new additions. Glenn’s mother, a proficient seamstress, had measured her son and sewn the outfit a week or so earlier, based on a design conceived by Kevin, who is an exceptional artist just like his dad. Mrs. Jacobs then mailed the costume to Kevin, who applied the finishing touches to his Christmas creation.

Kevin had devised the gimmick because the area was short on main-event heels, thinking that it might help a greenhorn get over with the fans despite his lack of name recognition. Kevin had a stack of comic-book-inspired gimmicks at the ready, hoping to catch on with the WWF one day in a creative role. Memphis had a long-standing history of outrageous gimmicks, so his Christmas heel idea wasn’t as ridiculous as it may sound today–yes, really.  (Granted, it’s no Xanta Klaus, but….) Jerry Lawler had loved the design, but wondered aloud to Kevin, “Yeah, but who can get under the hood?” His son immediately thought of Jacobs, whom he had been impressed with in his Memphis debut–despite Glenn’s apparent affinity for the works of Lenin.

With his outfit on, the hereby-christened Christmas Creature’s menacing candy-cane-striped arms and the ominous gold tree trimmings wrapped around his mask, chest and legs make him seem like a Christmas tree plucked from the haunted forest in “The Wizard of Oz.” Despite Glenn’s size, the costume makes him look like one of those less-than-threatening villains that Spider-Man used to fight on “The Electric Company” or in the pages of the kid-friendly “Spidey Super Stories.” (Which always featured Easy Reader on the cover, aka Morgan Freeman, saying, “This comic is easy to read.” Not exactly Frank Miller’s “The Dark Knight.”) 

I assemble the Creature and Prentice to lay out the finish, repeating Jerry’s instructions nearly word for word, including the King’s usual sound effects when discussing a finish: “OK, so you overpower him for about 10 minutes before the King makes his comeback. ‘Boom, boom, boom,’ you’re punching him and putting the boots to him. He’ll make his comeback–boom, boom, boom–he grabs a headlock. You shoot him into me–‘boom’–I take a bump. Now here comes fuckin’ Bert Prentice into the ring. Bert grabs Lawler, holds him by the arms–‘boom, boom, boom’–you get a few licks in. You run off the ropes to give him a big fuckin’ punch, Lawler moves out of the way–‘boom’–you hit Bert. Lawler rolls you up for a schoolboy, I come to my senses and 1, 2, 3. OK…got it?” With probably only six months of bouts under his belt, the rookie thinks about the sequence for a few seconds and quietly nods.

Despite the fact that Lawler was able to carry the rookie to a decent bout, with the Christmas Creature getting over as a big time heel with the two Jewish kids in the audience that cold December night in 1993, little did I realize at the time that I was working with a future two-time WWE World champion. 

Floss...or die.

 The  journey for Glenn Jacobs from the baddest Yuletide baddie since the Grinch to Kane, the new WWE World champion, was anything but smooth, with plenty of embarrassingly bad gimmicks and angles along the way. After the ’93holiday season, Lawler turned Jacobs into Doomsday (after the DC Comics villian…a heartless promotional tactic to capitalize on Superman’s death) before Jim Cornette gave him with the Unabomb gimmick (playing off the hysteria of the infamous Unabomber) in Smoky Mountain Wrestling months later in 1994. It wasn’t long before Lawler helped Jacobs get into the WWE, this time as the King’s evil, sadistic dentist, Issac Yankem, DDS. Just when Jacobs must have thought it couldn’t get any worse, Vince repackaged him as the “new Diesel,” a gimmick which saw him wearing the same outfit and copying the limited repertoire of Kevin Nash, who had left the Former Fed for greener pastures in WCW. 

Luckily, the Undertaker needed a baby brother to feud (and, eventually, team) with, so Kane was finally born. Despite Kane’s cool, creepy hood, the gimmick appeared to die initially, as fans had been trained at that point to dismiss masked guys as underneath talent in the WWF. But with Jacobs’s solid ring work and the commitment by the Undertaker to help get him over as a rival–as well as Vince chokeslamming Kane down our throats with a relentless push–the big lug finally got over as the monstrous threat he was destined to be. 

Kane was awarded a quickie WWF title reign, winning the belt from Steve Austin at the 1998 King of the Ring in a First Blood Match. (Obviously, Vince Russo booked the finish, which saw “blood” drop the ceiling, covering Austin and enabling Kane to steal the win, per the stipulation.) But this was at the peak of the Monday Night Wars, with the World titles of WWE and WCW changing hands regularly to pop a rating, so Kane dropped the title back to Stone Cold the very next night. The Kane character would go a little over 12 years between WWE World title reigns, practically unheard of in the business. 

Just like Kevin Nash...without the bum knee, laziness, egocentricity, lame jokes and overall bad attitude.

 While it’s easy to question the decision to book Kane (who has been stale off and on at different points) to win the strap from Rey Mysterio at last Sunday’s NO WAY OUT, the character is currently as over as anyone right now, thanks less to a somewhat intriguing angle and more so to injuries and the resulting thin SMACKDOWN! roster. He appears to have one last great feud left with the returning Undertaker, with the storyline that Kane is the culprit who left the Dead Man in a “vegetative state” (which I assume is similar to Mr. Guy Coffee’s condition in his role as commissioner for Jerry Lawler’s Memphis Wrestling). Over the years, the character has survived the “rape” of Lita and subsequent miscarried bastard child, the Katie Vick angle, and losing his mask–and a bit of his mystique in the process–at the hands of Triple H. Through it all, Kane has maintained a near-the-top spot in WWE for more than a decade–not an easy task. 

Glenn Jacobs has certainly come a long way from his days working as a Christmas tree in Memphis. 

 

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