WWF

Sunday Chuckle: Bum Gum

I was brainstorming some stories this week when I suddenly remembered one involving best buddy Bob, one of the Jedi masters who instructed me in the ways of rock.

It was early 1986, and Bob and I were gearing up for Wrestlemania II:  Hulk Hogan vs King Kong Bundy in a cage match!  We went to the park and wrestled in the snow.  We pretended to be Hogan while one of the snowbanks was King Kong Bundy.

Another kid from the neighborhood showed up, Billy Seabrook.  Neither of us liked Billy Seabrook.  He wrestled a bit with Bob, who bodyslammed him into a snowbank.  Suddenly Seabrook dropped his pants and said “Look at this!”  There was a piece of poo in his underpants.

Bob started making fun of him for pooing his pants, and that was when Billy claimed it was just a piece of gum that he saved there.

Bum Gum.  I don’t think that’s an actual thing!

 

#376: The Rock n’ Rasslin’ Connection

“Piledriver” by Koko B. Ware

RECORD STORE TALES MkII: Getting More Tale
#376: The Rock n’ Rasslin’ Connection

My dad turned me on to wrestling.  He grew up with golden age greats — guys like Mad Dog Vachon, Sweet Daddy Siki, Little Beaver and many more.  I was raised on re-runs of those old matches (on the rare occasions they were on) and of course Vince McMahon’s WWF.

For me, it all began around 1985.  McMahon had been boosting the WWF with cross promotions into music and movies.  Hulk Hogan became pop star Cyndi Lauper’s “bodyguard”, and she began making appearances at WWF events, until “Rowdy” Roddy Piper assaulted her, kicking off a feud with Hogan that culminated in Wrestlemania I with Mr. T!  It was a fun time to watch wrestling.

WWFThe wrestling characters looked like rock stars.  Some, like the Demolition and the Ultimate Warrior, didn’t look too different from bands like Kiss.  Most of the guys had long hair.  It was easy to see the visual connection.

McMahon released The Wrestling Album in late ’85, capitalizing on his music connections.  Wrestlers were given the chance to sing campy theme songs, while rock star Rick Derringer contributed a legitimate rock track called “Real American” for Hulk Hogan, for which a music video was made.  This was followed by a second album called Piledriver, on which Derringer recorded a heavy metal theme song for the tag team Demolition.

“Real American” by Rick Derringer

Ozzy Osbourne appeared in Wrestlemania II, by the side of the British Bulldogs for the tag team championship. Wrestlemania III, even bigger than the first two, was attended by Alice Cooper in the corner of Jake “The Snake” Roberts. Roberts was facing off against a music-based character, an Elvis impersonator called the Honky Tonk Man. While Roberts lost the match, he and Cooper exacted revenge by dumping a huge python named Damien all over Honk Tonk’s manager, “Colonel” Jimmy Hart (himself a musician – Hart had a Top 5 hit in 1965 with the Gentrys on a song called “Keep on Dancing”).

PILEDRIVERThe next step was a Grammy-style WWF awards show called the Slammy Awards. I caught the 1987 installment, billed as the “37th Annual” even though it was only the second. The wrestlers were given the chance to lipsynch their songs while chaos ensued backstage between “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan and “King” Harley Race. It was plenty stupid, obviously completely fake, and a lot of fun.  I actually watched it again not too long ago and made it all the way through!

The family went to WWF events about once a year.  They were held at the Auditorium, and the seats were shitty, but we did get to see Randy “Macho Man” Savage when he was the champion of the world!  It was Boxing Day, Dec 26 1988.  All my shitty camera captured of him was a red and black sequinned blur.  You can see Miss Elisabeth’s hair and arm holding the ropes for him.  Both these stars are dead now.  Savage was facing off against Akeem (formerly One Man Gang) in a non-title match.  I also have some pictures of “Canada’s Greatest Athlete” Iron Mike Sharpe, and Axe and Smash (the Demolition with manager Mr. Fuji) from the same night.  A magical blur, these pictures are!  Emphasis on the blur.

I don’t follow wrestling anymore, and I haven’t since the 80’s.  If I see an old match from my day, I still stop and watch it.  Just like a good song, an old classic wrestling match sure can bring back the memories.

Who was my favourite, you ask? André Roussimoff, better know as André the Giant. Known for his huge size and equally huge heart, the Giant used to wrestle and defeat multiple opponents at the same time. Author of the Princess Bride, William Goldman said, “André was one of the gentlest and most generous people I ever knew.” For those reasons, he always will be my favourite wrestler.  Second to André would be his friends in Demolition, Axe and Smash, who you can see in the pictures below battling the Powers of Pain.

“Demolition” by Rick Derringer

MOVIE REVIEW: The Running Man (1987)

Mick Fleetwood and Dweezil Zappa appear in this cheesey 80’s classic!

RUNNING MAN FRONT

THE RUNNING MAN (1987, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, directed by Paul Michael Glaser)

It’s hard to believe that, as goofy as The Running Man is, it came so close to predicting what aspects of our society would be like in the future. We still have a few years before we hit 2019, perhaps we are right on track for our 2019 to match this version!

The Running Man is loosely (and I mean, very very very loosely) based on the novella by Richard Bachman, otherwise known to his “dear readers” as Stephing King. Where the King book involved a desperate man who needs money to buy medicine, and a game where he can travel anywhere in the world, the movie scales things back. Ah-nold, at his one-liner best, is Ben Richards, a former pilot who disobeyed orders and refused to fire on an unarmed mob. He is imprisoned but escapes, and is now about to appear on “The Running Man”, a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week television show (hmmm, Big Brother?) and fight for his life. The prize is a full pardon for your crimes, a loss means death.

This story was recently ripped off in a lil’ smash hit movie called The Hunger Games.  Perhaps you’ve seen it, or a 13 year old girl wearing a Peeta shirt?

Society is now a police state (hmmm?) and the people are distracted by endless game shows on television (hmmm?). News is heavily censored and “edited for television” (hmmm?). Ben Richards’ crime of disobeying orders has been spun by the networks — they show a fake video of him firing on the unarmed crowd, earning himself the nickname “The Butcher of Bakersfield”. Now he will have the chance to win his freedom on The Running Man, but the odds are well stacked against him. By his side, also fighting for their lives, are two captured freedom fighters.  These guys are hoping to use their capture to find the source of network transmissions.  Then they could jam it, and broadcast the truth of what the world has become….

The Running Man is not a great film. It’s an 80’s Arnold film.  If you’ve seen one, you know what you’re getting.  Lots of action. Arnold must battle “Stalkers” on The Running Man. Much like the gladiators on American Gladiators, these stalkers will do everything they can to stop Arnold from winning. They include:

* Sub-Zero, as played by Professor Toru Tanaka (weapons include hockey stick blade and exploding pucks)
* Fireball, played by Jim Brown (flamethrower, jet pack)
* the opera-loving Dynamo (who has a punk-rock-looking suit that can fire electricity; sings)
* Buzzsaw (so named for his use of chainsaw and motorcycle)
* the retired Captain Freedom (Arnold’s friend Jesse Ventura)

The show is run by Damien Killian (subtle!), played by former Family Feud host Richard Dawson. Nobody could have played this role better than Dawson. While playing a game show host was not a stretch for him, Dawson was absolutely flawless in the role. Other famous names include Yaphet Kotto (Alien) as another Running Man contestant, Mick Fleetwood as former-musician-turned-freedom-fighter named Mic (I like to think Mick is just playing the future version of himself) and a very young Dweezil Zappa.

The blu-ray disc has enough bonus features to keep you going after the film has ended, including audio commentaries and featurettes. The audio is really nice, mastered in sweet, sweet 7.1 surround. When Arnold is in that little pod heading down to The Running Man’s play area, the sound was awesome. If you have 7.1 at home you need to check this out. I really enjoyed the sound.

If you like other cheesey Arnold Schwarzenegger movies such as Total Recall or Commando, add The Running Man to your collection. If you like movies with a stirring plot and dramatic acting, avoid at all costs. Regardless of your feelings on this film, do try to read the book. I have always felt that a remake of this film, following King’s book, is well overdue.

3/5 stars