Dave Meltzer of The Wrestling Observer notes that reader Jason Singh reminded him that 24 years today, Koko B. Ware was filmed lip-synching for the “Piledriver” video, the title cut from one of those treacherous wrestling albums of the ’80s, as part of a 4-hour-plus TV taping typical of the era.
During these marathon tapings, they usually filmed nearly 20 squash matches, along with live interview segments like Piper’s Pit. Newspaper ads usually lured people in with promises to be “seen on TV” and a hot dark-match main event, sometimes headlined by Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper, Jake Roberts or Randy Savage, to prevent the audience from bailing early to give the appearance of a full house, even for the crappiest of lineups, on its syndicated shows like “Superstar” and “Wrestling Challenge.”
Apparently, Meltzer had the misfortune of attending this particular show at San Francisco’s Cow Palace.
He writes: “…They filmed the ‘Piledriver’ video for Koko B. Ware and had him lip synching in the ring. I remember that. What a disaster. They made Ware do it three times and the crowd didn’t like it the first time, and downright hated it the second and third time. I think Ken Patera tore his triceps that night. This was a long night, more than 20 matches, I think they taped four hours of television and then Hulk Hogan beat Killer Khan in the main event. The crowd was still hot for the main event after all that.”
The end result made a strong case for a nationwide ban–not just limited to the Memphis territory–on the hold of the same name.
Like all the great wrestling managers, I was trained in the art of outside interference, mastering such techniques as distracting the referee, striking opponents with my Cole Haan shoe, and tossing medicated powder into the eyes of unsuspecting grapplers–all to give my champions an edge.
Although it appears easy on TV, powder can be tricky, as you want to blind your foe with a direct hit to both eyes, making them easy prey.
I was fortunate than most managers entering the sport, as I was a tremendous baseball pitcher at Germantown High School, so I had success with the powder in my managerial debut…leading to the fastest pinfall loss ever in Jerry Lawler’s career.
Ironically enough, however, by the time I became the King’s manager in 1996, my interference backfired in this Lawler bout with Koko B. Ware, leading to the second piledriver I suffered in my career. The moral of this story, kids: Please don’t try this at home.
Ah, silly me. When discussing the Hall of Fame credentials of Koko Ware, I overlooked his 1993 World heavyweight championship run in Memphis. Then again, the so-called “Unified” title changed hands more times than Missy Hyatt’s ass over the years, so I suppose it was easy to overlook this career-changing title victory. (Say what you want about Jerry Lawler’s attire in this clip, but the man looks comfortable in his color-coordinated Browns gear/Zubaz.) For the record, I don’t believe there was a single main event in Memphis post-1989 that didn’t end with a ref bump. (I should know–I was bumped during plenty of ‘em.) Frank Morrell has already been rendered unconscious in this clip, but I’d bet my old “candy-apple red Mitsubishi Eclipse sports car” (which I used to brag about on the air after I turned heel–ridiculous) that Lawler had Ware in a standing side headlock when he was thrown into the official. Just a hunch.
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