Bad guys have evil plans. Well, that's what they tell us. In the case of wrestling's on-air villains, some had no idea where they were, where they were going, or what to do when they got there. A jumbled mess of ends, means, and in-betweens, these dastardly heels had problems not only keeping their eyes on the prize, but figuring out what that prize is. Who do I mean? Guys like...
Double J Jeff Jarrett
It's the age old story. Boy has a dream. Boy wants to live that dream. So boy gets a completely different dream job in order to achieve his original one. It's the most insane route ever and "Double J" Jeff Jarrett took it. Talk about ass-backwards planning. Insert your TNA joke here.
Jeff Jarrett wanted to be a country music singer. Every week prior to his debut, WWF treated us to vignettes where the winking, golden toothed, Jeff would spell his name for all of us. That's J-E-Double F-J-A-Double R-E-W-T-F...
So you get that, right? He wanted to be a country music singer and planned on using the World Wrestling Federation to do so. Confused? So were we. Still are. How does it make sense for someone to try to get music success by focusing half on wrestling? Shouldn't he have been in the studios rather than working the house show circuit? Jamming with the band instead of chasing Shawn Michaels for the Intercontinental Title? If you want to be a singer, you sing. If you want to be a wrestler, you wrestle. Who would think it's a good idea to take the rasslin' route to Country Music fame?
Even crazier than using wrestling to become a country music star is using wrestling to get top billing as the star...of a movie you already did. That's what Zeus did in 1989 when the character from Hulk Hogan's smash bomb, "No Holds Barred", took human form and entered the WWF ring.
Zeus's real name is Tom "Tiny" Lister. He was in Friday, Sublime's Santeria video, and a ton of other things. In the WWF, though, he was the name of the character he played in the Hogan movie. The whole purpose of Zeus's WWF stint was for him to extract revenge on Hulk Hogan for not making him the top star of the film. Yeah, rather than lawyers or PR, he used a WWF ring to take down the Hulkster and pin him into admitting he deserved top billing in No Holds Barred...or something like that. It was hard to understand. Zeus spoke very slowly and spit all over the place when he did. By the time he started making a point, Mean Gene was already running off to find a tissue.
Point of reference, the amazing piece of theatrical wizardry they were battling over was this...
You might want to wait to see how public reaction is to your movie before going batshit insane, becoming your role, and fighting someone for control of it. It's like Mark challenging Tommy Wisseu for the creative credit of "The Room". It doesn't happen.
The worst part was that Zeus lost all the time. He looked big. He looked bad. But he lost. He lost at SummerSlam '89. He lost at No Holds Barred: The Match/The Movie. He lost every time he wrestled. The Hulkster won.
In the end, Hogan went on to star in films like Mr. Nanny and Suburban Commando. So maybe Zeus didn't lose so badly after all.
The York Foundation
Michael Wallstreet and Alexandra York were made for each other. When these two exploded onto the WCW scene, fans were astonished at how the duo could use a computer program to predict the length of time Michael would take to beat his opponent. But that's what they did. Each time out, Alexandra, years before she'd become WWF's Terri, would punch them into her keyboard and calculate the time of victory. That's it. Ta-da.
Hooray. You're magic.
That's pretty much all they did. No reason for it at all. They weren't even selling the computer program or anything. Nothing. They were just showing off, I suppose. "Hey. Look at what we can do with computers." They were like the IT guy from your office wrestling.
They did have one major goal, though. Take WCW stars, slick their hair, and make them use proper names. They did it with Richard Morton, Thomas Rich, and Terrence Taylor. No one ever explained what the purpose of it all was. I mean, you can clean him up all you want, but Tommy Rich is not about to go corporate just because you change his name. Hell, "Richard Morton" didn't even cut the mullet. Here. Stare at this:
So, yeah. No real reason for the sudden transformation...unless there was some sort of mind control or mysterious spell involved. That would be a hell of a gimmick.
Corporate mind control zombies. WCW should've done that.
But they didn't.
For a stable that was supposed to double as a business, there was no real agenda or bigger picture. I'm sure there were occasional, "We're taking over WCW" threats, but nothing concrete. It was all just "Hey. We have a computer and some hairspray. Who wants gum?"
On a side note, when Terri came onto
ClubWWI.com for an interview, I got to ask her about the infamous computer. She gave a great answer...
"It’s funny that you say that because now I'm literally sitting in front of my computer. My child, this morning, before I made her breakfast, said to me, "Ma. You're on that thing 24/7...It's like your cell phone. You can't go anywhere without it"...It's pretty funny that I get made fun of for being on my computer so much. I guess it's the Alexandra York in me, right?"
No one had higher on-air goals than Eric Bischoff. No one. He didn't want to win the World Title from Hulk Hogan.
He was by Hogan's side during his title reign. Nope. No title chasing for Uncle Eric. He wanted to see his New World Order overtake World Championship Wrestling completely. He dreamed of the planet snowing black and white as far as the eye could see. In the end...
Eric Bischoff won.
In one of the most memorable time periods in wrestling, the N.W.O. actually, by and large, won their war. With a recruitment program second only to the "Free Sex with Hot Girls Club", Bischoff was able to get everyone from WCW to eventually put on the letters.
You name them - they were in.
Soon there was nothing left. The N.W.O. had their own pay-per-view and themed Nitros. This was it. It was bizzaro universe - one where the bad guys had squashed the heroes. This was the world Gorilla Monsoon had warned us about.
That's when something funny started to happen. With no one left to fight, as was expected, people splintered off from the group. That would have been fine...if Eric had copyrighted his N.W.O. name and logo. But no. Instead, everyone became an N.W.O. There was the black and white, the red and black, N.W.O. Hollywood, The One Warrior Nation (OWN), The Latino World Order (LWO), The Blue World Order in ECW, and many more years later. It was a big mess.
Jason Hervey really dropped the ball here. If only Bisch had thought ahead and realized that marketing was important, he would have been able to control the flow of new members. Instead, everyone had a World Order by mid-2000 and Bischoff could only sit back and watch his creation destroy itself on TV.
The sad thing is no one else was.
Harvey Wippleman didn't know what he wanted. He just liked showing up to work.
Many remember Harvey as the man who managed Sid against Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania VIII. That he was. But wait, there's more.
He was also the man who managed...
Big Bully Busick
What do all these people have in common?
Nothing. They have nothing in common.
He also had some weird thing for ring announcers. During his brief reign of bullying with Big Bully Busick, he tormented ring announcer Mike McGuirk. Years later, he went after ring announcer Howard Finkel in what can only be described as a string of incredibly disturbing Tuxedo Matches.
Why did he do all this? Did he want to be a ring announcer himself? No. No reason. Just bored.
Then in 1992, he hit pay dirt and acquired the services of Sid Justice. The massive villain made a habit of putting wrestlers on stretchers and sending them to the ER. This prompted Harvey to bring a doctor's kit to the ring and call himself "Dr. Harvey Wippleman". Yes. He was now a doctor for some strange reason and his routine consisted of listening to the squashed foe's heart after the bout. There was really no point to any of it and it seemed like someone in the office just said, "Yeah. Leave him alone. He likes his doctor's kit. He's not hurting anyone. Let him play if he wants. He's so cute. That little scamp with his doctor's kit. Come here, Harvey. You want a pretzelstick?"
Wippleman also won the WWE Women's Title, refereed for a bit, and sang the theme song for Bertha Faye. This guy did it all, but it was all over the place. He was fun to watch, but if the on-air WWE careerof Harvey Wippleman were an answer on a quiz show, the host would respond with this...
Jim Ross is a WWE Hall of Famer. He's captivated fans and created memories. But he also has no idea how to go about getting his job back.
Now, if you worked at Friendly's, serving ice cream, and were fired, what would you do to get rehired? You might talk to the manager, call corporate, or even reapply, right? Right. Now, how many of you said, "Build my own ice cream counter and set it up inside Friendly's right next to their ice cream counter and try to sell my own ice cream"?
No one? Well, maybe some of you, but there are some nuts in every group.
Anyway, that's what Jim Ross did.
Now I know the argument will be that J.R. was trying to prove to WWF brass that he was better than the current announce team, but hadn't he worked there for years? Wouldn't they already be aware of his announcing ability? You don't really need an audition reel when the company you're submitting it to is the same company on most of it.
So, yeah. Made about as much sense as barbeque sauce on a bowl of Captain Crunch, but he went through with it. The real damage had already been done. You see, J.R. wasn't just intent on coming back to commentate. He was dead-set on revenge. He explained it all in this 1996 Raw promo where he admitted to driving stars Kevin Nash and Scott Hall to WCW in an effort to destroy the World Wrestling Federation:
To anyone familiar with revenge, let me ask you - what is the point of chasing the real Razor and Diesel away if you plan on filling the role with able-bodied wrestlers anyway?
All you had to do was get rid of them. Revenge over. Why have fake stand-ins? Doesn't that only help the company you're trying to hurt by bringing them two new stars (one of which would go on to be Kane) to continue the merchandising revenue left behind by Nash and Hall? Did Jim get cold feet halfway through and decide to do some good? If so, why the big spectacle on Raw? Fans were left confused and eventually Ross went back to being our happy-go-lucky Monday Night Homeboy.
Stick with the play-by-play, Jimbo. Evil J.R. was "bowling shoe ugly".
There was no manager that seemed less involved in things than General Adnan. Bearing a resemblance to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein during the first Gulf War, Adnan came over to the WWF and joined Sgt. Slaughter in supporting Iraq. Slaughter had switched sides from the USA to the enemy country because...uh, I don't know. He was getting it on with an Iraqi girl maybe? Not sure. They weren't clear.
Anyway, Slaughter did all the talking. General Adnan did all the nothing. At times, he appeared lost and confused like an elderly man in his slippers trotting down the frozen food aisle at Target.
His main job, it seemed, was to speak Arabic briefly, then wave his arm in the air and yell things off-microphone. It was all very mesmerizing. He also didn't speak English, so for all we know he could be begging us to help him find his way home. We had no idea. Check out this infamous promo featuring Slaughter burning a Hulk Hogan t-shirt. It looks as though the General is trying to remember his grocery list in his head.
Adnan Al-Kaissie, who played the role, was a well respected performer around the world. But in his WWF stint, he was furniture. They could have replaced him with a midget in a Saddam Hussein mask..
In elementary school, music class was fun. We learned Christmas Carols and played on the piano. Then, when I hit Junior High, our 7th grade music teacher decided to start the first class with a 30 minute lecture on tonal patterns. It was kind of jarring. Then, from the back of the room, a kid raised his hand with a question. The exchange went exactly like this:
"Excuse me. Isn't this music class?"
"Yes it is."
"Then shut up and sing."
That story is 100% true. A short while later, Vince Russo would become wrestling's version of my 7th grade music teacher.
Vince Russo in WCW begged every single week to get fired.
Not (just) through his off-air work, but through his on-air words. Strictly speaking about his TV character alone, never before had someone come out and complained so vehemently about his job in public. He was a TV writer who had gone mental. Politics and pressures of writing wrestling shows has made him go over the edge. Every promo went something like this:
He did it to Hogan, Flair, and anyone else he could. It made you wonder if anyone in WCW's fictitious "board of directors" room had an opinion about the man they hired to write their shows going on TV to air dirty laundry and fight the hired talent. I'm not sure who WCW's human resources person was at the time, but I'm sure the brass would have something to say if he showed up with a mic on Nitro screaming about how "that piece of s**t Goldberg doesn't hand in his travel invoices on time". It made no sense.
A casual fan had to ask himself - why doesn't this guy just quit? He quit WWF. Why can't he quit WCW? If you hate it, go. So there's that. Also, if the on-air idea is that Vince Russo is upset with people like Ric Flair because Flair won't step aside and let him push young talent, then you have to wonder why Russo doesn't just fire him? If he doesn't have the power to, why won't the people in power do so? If there are people in power who don't want Flair fired, then the question you have to wonder is why are they hunky-dory with Russo attacking Ric's children and shaving his head? To quote Seinfeld, "Who are these people?"
This is, of course, discounting the whole question of how someone in creative can be inside a wrestling ring during a show he's written playing the character of the person who wrote it. Hurts your head, right? That's just messed up. I thought of about 200 ridiculous examples of TV shows doing this, but you've heard them all already. You know it's silly. Even people who don't watch wrestling know it's silly.
Oh, and the kicker? He won the World Title and then gave it back.
No endgame there at all.
Just doing things because you can. The sign of any great heel with no agenda. They say he who does not learn from history is doomed to repeat it. So a few years later, TNA had him do it all over again with "Sports Entertainment Xtreme." Of course they did.
Ted DiBiase...oh Ted DiBiase. So much money. So little planning.
In 1987, The Million Dollar Man burst upon the WWF scene and immediately set his sights on Hulk Hogan. Their battle was so epic that it was even written into the chart-bottoming hit "If You Only Knew" on the Piledriver album. Ted wanted Hulk's belt and he planned to get it. So he purchased Andre the Giant from Bobby Heenan (that fountain of misinformation) and set off to take the gold from Hogan's waist.
He boasted in interviews that he'd buy the belt once Andre won it. Then, on February 5, 1988, he did just that. With the help of temporarily-evil twin referee Earl Hebner, Andre pinned Hogan and then, to quote the Giant, he "presented that world tam-team championship to TED DIBIASE!"
Mean Gene was shocked. Gorilla Monsoon was speechless. Vince McMahon was all bent out of shape in his little yellow suit. Then, Jack Tunney checked in. The WWF President declared that by handing over the title, Andre had forfeited it. The strap didn't go to Ted.
It didn't go to Andre. It went into a tournament at WrestleMania IV.
Problem? Ted DiBiase had told us all about his plans to buy the title since his debut with the company. We all knew he was planning to purchase it. Why else is he hanging out with Andre the Giant?
No. Bobby Heenan and Jesse Ventura argued the case on commentary but alas, no.
The decision stood and Ted DiBiase - who spent "millions of dollars" on all this - had never checked to see if buying a championship was something he could legally do. No lawyers. No paperwork. No title. No duh, Teddy.
This, sadly, was only one of many bizarre decisions Ted made through the years. For starters, he tried to buy Hercules as his slave and brought him in front of a live crowd before bringing up the idea. Needless to say - no slave.
He hired The Big Bossman to retrieve his Million Dollar Belt from Jake Roberts. Then he paid Bossman's manager, Slick, in front of him. The Prison Guard became enraged at the thought of a bribe and you had to wonder why Slick didn't wait until Mr. Holier Than Thou Cobb County was in the showers before talking about his fee.
He brought in a star named Xanta Klaus...right after Christmas. Tanked. I mean, come on. It's a Christmas theme. By January, we were all over it. Three weeks ago, we'd all sit around and watch the beautiful tree in my house. Today, I'm like, "Damnit. I gotta take down that stupid friggin' tree. Hate you, tree."
He once paid a jobber to wrestle another jobber in his place and was shocked when his jobber lost. It's as if he never saw the show before.
Oh, and one of my personal favorites -Ted DiBiase hired a fake Undertaker and tried to pass him off as the real one. The only problem? If you're going to do that, you have to kill the real Undertaker first. Stake throught heart dead. Otherwise, where was this supposed to go? It seemed as though he thought the real Undertaker would just sit at home and say, "Ehhhh. I could go fight this guy and clear my name, but this coffin is just so comfortable."
No endgame. No game at all. Money can't buy you planning, I suppose.
Mr. Fuji didn't plan anything. Most of his managing career seemed like decisions just fell into his lap and he'd roll with it.
A prime example of this was in 1987. Fuji managed the increasingly volatile team of Bob Orton and Don Muraco. When the duo finally beat each other up, Fuji lost them both. No one remained with him. Even the announcers pointed out how "Fuji didn't get custody of either man". Why? Seems odd, right?
Guess he figured, "Let chips fall where may, boy-san. Ah ha ha ha!"
Gets odder. At Survivor Series 1988, the treacherous Demolition, Ax and Smash, turned on Fuji. They left him in the ring, formally firing him as their manager. Later on, fan favorites the Powers of Pain, Warlord and Barbarian, came from the back and helped Master Fuji to his feet. In what can only be described as "Whatever The F**k" Business Decisions 101, he left with them. That's how Mr. Fuji does business. If he can see you, you're his.
His protégés tended to tread water d
espite his top secret muscle drink:
From the Orient Express to Killer Khan to Kamala - they all just were, well, there. Finally, though, after years of trying, Fuji made the big time when he found this guy.
In a stunning piece of managerial prowess, Fuji signed Yokozuna and brought the massive Sumo Champion to the WWF. In record time, Yoko had squashed Jim Duggan, won the Royal Rumble, and captured the WWF Title. It was the great victory that Zuna achieved at WrestleMania IX over Bret Hart that put him on the map. After all these years, Mr. Fuji was finally the manager of a World Champion. What would a man with such a managerial mind do in the light of such a great win?
Beach bash with a keg?
Wings at Hooters?
A sexy party?
Nope. But if you guessed "challenge anyone from the back to come face his exhausted 600 pound Yokozuna for the WWF Title immediately", you were right. As the panting Yoko tried to regain his breath, Fuji put his new title on the line right away. It took all of five seconds before Hulk Hogan gobbled up that spotlight opportunity and, thanks to the help of Fuji accidentally blinding his new champion with salt, won the belt. Way to go Fuji. Take a look:
After the stunning showing of managerial prowess, WWF officials declared the title win valid because "the verbal contract was binding". So there it was. Months later when Yoko regained the WWF title from Hogan, Fuji went out and hired Jim Cornette as their "American Spokesman". That was a good move on his part. Of course, it was years before Jim would be accused of making "terrorist threats" against TNA. Still better than what Mr. Fuji did.
And I'm not even mentioning the time he laughed along while his client, The Berzerker, tried to murder comedy player Jameson on the set of Prime Time Wrestling. If I was Berzerker, I'd call my lawyers and demand to know what type of advice I'm getting for my dollar.
Yup. No endgame. He laughed a lot though, so it didn't seem to bother him.