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Archive for March, 2012

WWE Films produces violent remake of ’70s sitcom: ‘Lobo With a Shotgun,’ starring Jerry Lawler

March 28th, 2012 2 comments

No need to pull the strap when you've got a loaded shotgun.

WWE Films continues its stranglehold on Hollywood B-movie-type fare with the announcement today of a modern-day remake of the late ’70s sitcom “The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo,” which starred the late Claude Akins as the scheming lawman of Orly County, Georgia. WWE’s “Lobo With a Shotgun” will star RAW announcer and Hall of Famer Jerry Lawler in the title role of Sheriff Elroy P. Lobo, with his base of operations moved to Daytona Beach, Fla.


WWE Divas Kelly Kelly and Eve Torres co-star as undercover bikini-clad deputies working with Lobo to break up a drug ring on the famed Florida beach led by Kharma (Kia Stephens) and The Big Show (Paul Wight).

Central casting: Horror. Gore. Half-naked women. These are a few of Lawler's favorite things.

Unlike the TV comedy, WWE’s version will be “a re-imagined, sexier, more violent take on a camp classic—fun for the whole family,” promised Stephanie McMahon, executive vice president, creative.

OK, not really, but you have to admit that concept sounds better than “The Marine 3.”

The above pic of the King is actually a publicity photo for the upcoming “Girls Gone Dead,” a horror film in which Lawler co-stars as Sheriff Jackson Cole.

The film, which also features porn legend Ron Jeremy playing himself, is about a group of six ex-high school cheerleaders who are stalked by a killer with a medieval war hammer and battle axe during their first spring break from college.

Sounds like a tongue-in-cheek ’80s horror throwback concept. (Based on a true story.)

In addition to his recent cameo in the Dick Tracy comic strip, this has to be another item to scratch off Lawler’s bucket list, as he’s a big fan of the horror-movie genre–not only the classic Universal movie monsters but also slasher films like the “Friday the 13th” series and “Halloween–he even contributed to Fangoria magazine in the early ’80s.

(All one has to do is look at the Ghosts of Memphis Wrestling’s Past to see Lawler’s affinity for outrageous pop-culture characters.)

Laying down the Lawler

Lawler later formed a friendship with Tom Savini, the makeup-effects master behind such splatter films as “Friday the 13th” “The Burning” (which starred a young Jason Alexander as one of the victims) and “Maniac.” Savini, a huge wrestling fan, eventually appeared as a heel on “Jerry Lawler’s Memphis Wrestling” a few years ago, sending in various movie monsters to gain revenge for the late Andy Kaufman, his “old Hollywood friend.”

In the clip below, Lawler explains how he wound up in the film…and explains his weapon of choice if he were a horror slasher.

 

This week in rasslin’ history: Andre the Giant invades Memphis wrestling, squashes Jimmy Hart’s First Family

March 22nd, 2012 1 comment

Giant lineup

A year later, such a phone call would have been impossible. But after a disastrous crowd of 3,834 at the Mid-South Coliseum for his card on Sunday, March 13, 1983, Memphis territory owner/promoter Jerry Jarrett phoned in a  favor to Vince McMahon Sr: a booking date on André the Giant for next Monday night to spark the house.

Realizing that André was more effective as a money-making special attraction when used sparingly in his World Wrestling Federation, McMahon Sr. sought to protect the Giant’s image and livelihood by handling his worldwide bookings to ensure André made the most money possible when he wasn’t working for the WWF.

Despite feeling double-crossed by Jarrett and Jerry Lawler over the infamous “Night a Midget Beat André the Giant” Apter mag story in the ’70s, McMahon agreed to send the big man to Memphis as the King’s partner alongside the masked Stagger Lee (Koko Ware–not JYD) vs. Jimmy Hart’s trio of Bobby Eaton and the Bruise Brothers. Nearly the same main event, with Bill Dundee as Lawler and Stagger’s partner vs. the First Family members, drew the dismal house the previous week. (As a result, Dundee was abruptly switched back heel by next week.) Would André make a difference?

When the match was announced Saturday morning, March 19, Hart turned white as a ghost and burst into hysterics: Literally the biggest attraction in wrestling was coming to a do a number on the nefarious manager and his Family cronies. And when Lawler vowed that André wouldn’t stop until he had flattened Hart like a pancake, the skinny wimp nearly fainted on the air like he’d seen a ghost…or maybe Bigfoot.


The result: 6,162 fans (a jump of 2,328 paying customers) showed up to see Eaton, Porkchop Cash and Mad Dog get bounced around the Coliseum like a Wham-O Super Ball®. It was to be the Giant’s last appearance in Memphis until Vince McMahon Jr. invaded the city in late 1984 with a main event of the Giant vs. “Big” John Studd at the Cooke Convention Center. (Those early McMahon Jr. cards in Memphis bombed big time, drawing about 1,000 fans with big-name main events and very poor undercards.)

Still, while the house was up on March 21, Jarrett and Lawler were likely disappointed in the attendance. As they often did, the two switched booking duties, with Lawler taking over and promptly shaking up the undercard by having The Sheepherders, Jesse Barr and Adrian Street all drop a losers-leaves-town bout the following week on March 28. (Poor young manager Jimmy Cornette lost half of his Dynasty stable in one night.)

Still, while André made only a ripple as opposed to his usual big splash, his appearance was treated with much fanfare, with the Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper featuring photos from the main event at the Coliseum–a rarity reserved for the likes of Andy Kaufman.

 

Special thanks to Mark James at memphiswrestlinghistory.com for the newspaper scans.

Commissioner Goodell suspends Sean Payton; New Orleans Saints introduce new interm head coach: The Midnight Rider

March 21st, 2012 8 comments

Risky Bidness: New interim Saints head coach The Midnight Rider. (AP)

(Associated Press)

Following NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s year-long suspension of New Orleans head coach Sean Payton for his role in “Bounty Gate,” the Saints introduced their new interim head coach at a hastily arranged press conference at a Popeye’s Chicken next to the Superdome: The Midnight Rider.

Bearing a striking resemblance to both Coach Payton and three-times NWA World’s champion Dusty Rhodes, the Rider flipped a silver dollar into the air and magically disappeared out the back door with a 10-piece family meal under his arm without speaking to reporters.

In keeping with the NFL’s minority hiring practices, the Saints claim Stagger Lee was also interviewed, citing his past Superdome experience.

Ironically, an irate Commissioner Goodell immediately placed a bounty on the Rider’s head, vowing if Payton is revealed to be under the hood, the embattled coach will be suspended indefinitely “just like his crony, his stooge Greg Williams” from the NFL. Further, Goodell has mandated that if the Saints win the Super Bowl, the Rider must unmask or forfeit the Steve Lombardi Trophy.


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