was there for the very first WRESTLEMANIA.
Well, not there there, but I was
in the massive pay-per-view audience that
settled into back-breaking metal folding
chairs at gymnasiums and auditoriums around
the world to watch the birth of big-time,
It was in the years shortly
after ROCKY 3 that pro wrestling took to
the outrageous theatrics that now mark its
weekly tv shows and "special"
pay-per-view events that crop up more often
than crabs on a $20 hooker.
Hulk Hogan won audiences over
as "Thunderlips," the steroid-crazed
(oh, did I say that!) clod that throttled
Stallone as a crazed Mr. T looked on. (Hey,
doesn't anyone else miss the crazy, really
angry black version of Mr. T? The guy
that participated in contests to determine
"The World's Toughest Bouncer"?
TV softened that nightmare of every white
bread suburbanite to the point where he
had a cereal, a cartoon show, and coloring
books. Maybe Martin Lawrence should hire
his pr firm.)
Anyway, it didn't take long
for Vince McMahon to see the dollar signs
printed on Hogan's pecs (I'm sure he was
staring hard enough), and pretty soon the
short, wrestler-like Bob Backlund was losing
to the Iron Shiek so Hogan could trot out
his "Real American" schtick till
we all wanted to puke. Pretty soon, the
days of Chief Jay Strongbow and Ivan Putski
looked like a Golden Age compared to the
likes of Mr. Wonderful and Rowdy Roddy Piper
(who, at least, brought a bit of badly needed
humor to the proceedings).
I'll admit that I got sucked
into the whole WWF grind. Next thing I know
I'm ordering KING OF THE RING, SUMMER SLAM,
and each WRESTLEMANIA...till they started
to deliver much less than promised. Sure
enough, the outcomes were telegraphed weeks
in advance as the WWF added show after show
to their already thin line-up. I did get
sucked back in a few years ago, especially
with the ascent of The Undertaker. So, with
the big guy scheduled to take on Brett Hart
(whom I've never had any particular care
for) tonight -- and Shawn Micahels as guest
referee" I might add -- I'm debating
if I should swallow my pride, plunk down
my cash, and get sucked back in to the WWF
I made a list of "Ten
Things to Do Instead of Watching SUMMER
SLAM," and they might help you get
through your own test of wills...
TEN THINGS TO DO INSTEAD OF
WATCHING SUMMER SLAM:
1. Listen to the new MTX
7" over and over again: MTX, of
course, means The Mr. T Experience, a suitable
reference for this topic of the squared
circle. Back on track after the dismal 'Our
Bodies, Our Selves,' Dr. Frank and Co. have
released an EP ('...And the Women That Love
Them'), album ('Love is Dead'), and several
reissues ('Night Shift at the Thrill Factory'
and 'Big Black Bugs Bleed Blue Blood') that
all top the "Indispensible" checklist
here at the Inferno. While gearing up for
their new LP on August 26th, here's the
single "...And I Will Be With You,"
a start-stop-driven piece of pop that starts
off like a Big Country song and trashes
three decades of rock and/or roll in its
wake. And, I didn't even mention the phenomenal
cover of "Don't Go Breakin' My Heart"
courtesy of Dr. Frank and some babe from
the Muffs (an overrated chick band). Lookout
Records, PO Box 11374, Berkely, CA 94712-2374
2. See Hitchcock's VERTIGO
at the Byhum: This one only applies
if you live in Pittsburgh, but you die-hards
could always go out and do that rental thing
the kids are so crazy about. You see, I
grew up around Philly, so a repatory movie
theater that changed flicks on a daily basis
wasn't out of the ordinay...shit, we had
a handful of them. Then I move to Pittsburgh.
Hah! Good luck amigo. Thankfully, the Pittsburgh
Cultural Trust has tapped Richard Rauh (who
ran the 'Burgh's last rep film series) to
schedule flicks at the Byhum Theater on
6th and Ft. Duquesne Blvd. VERTIGO (featuring
the recently departed -- thank God! --
Jimmy Stewart and a sultry Kim Novak) plays
August 3rd and 4th @ 7:30. The series takes
a break until Friday when the pedophilic
Woody Allen rolls into town with EVERYONE
SAYS I LOVE YOU, a musical with Alan Alda,
Tim Roth, Julia Roberts, and Drew Barrymore.
(There's a sentence I was sure I
would never write!) Check in next Sunday
for the complete August schedule and our
3. Cook dinner. This
is probably one of my favorite Sunday night
endeavors, and I can't wait until the weather
cools off just a bit. There's nothing quite
like a Lemon-Roasted Chicken with Sausage
and Sage Stuffing that leaves my mouth watering
all day and my fingers picking away at leftovers
all week. Maybe I'll pick something fresh
from our garden and consult The
Hungover Gourmet for some culinary ideas...
4. Catch a rerun of THE
SIMPSONS and KING OF THE HILL: I always
tell people that they could take every network
but FOX off the air and I wouldn't really
care. Sure, I might miss DREW CAREY, but
at least I'd have my 90210, MILLENIUM, and
these two Sunday night classics (I won't
even mention NFL football that concentrates
on my beloved NFC). I'll readily admit that
THE SIMPSONS hasn't been up to its usual
standards in the last two seasons, although
there have been some memorably classic episodes.
KING OF THE HILL, on the other hand, proves
that Mike Judge's BEAVIS & BUTT-HEAD
was no fluke (we never thought that in this
household), and KOTH clocks in as the single
best sit-com of the year...Bobby Rules!
"Why is there skin on my
5. Play some NHL '97 on
Sega Genesis: Sure, the tv commercials'll
try and convince you that Sega Saturn is
the superior system for enacting your bone-crunching,
ass-kicking tendancies, but I beg to differ.
In fact, I believe that NHL '96 and '97
are the cream of the crop when it comes
to sports simulations (I better, since I
doubt they'll make an NHL '98 for the dwindling
market). Hell, there's nothing better than
delivering a brain-crunching, helmet-high
cross-check to the skull of some namby-pamby,
sphincter-winking scoring machine that don't
know the first thing about double minors
(and believe me, my teams write the f'in
book on double minors!).
6. Read some zines or start
your own: Zines are getting plenty of
news these days, but I'm sure that'll pass
once the news media has something else to
latch upon. Granted, Jim Goad (of ANSWER
ME! fame) has a hardcover book out,
but how many folks are gonna pick up something
called REDNECK MANIFESTO before they realize
it ain't no joke? I'd suggest picking up
a copy of VEX, a mag that bills itself
as "Movies & Whatever." VEX
only comes out twice a year, but the wait
is well worth the effort. Past issues have
focused upon "OJ's Trash Cinema"
and an "All Director's Issue"
(both still available) that included everyone
from Robert Wise to William Girdler. You
can grab the new VEX, complete with the
"A to Z Guide to Gorilla Filmmaking,"
a guide to the world of "The Zoophile
Movie Underground," and a look at G.
Gordon Liddy's Media Life by sending $4
to PO Box 319, Roselle, NJ 07203. If it's
Sunday and you can't get your hands on an
issue, visit their web
site. Or, maybe you can start your own
zine. It doesn't take any fancy computer
or software. Hell, our first effort was
done on a 128K Mac with a dot matrix printer...and
that was 11 years ago! Today, there's a
zine for most everything...maybe there isn't
one for the thing you're an expert on...
7. Surf the Sickest Places
on the Web: You'll be amazed at what
can be found when you randomly search the
web. Go to Yahoo!
and stick in words that you think will never
have any links. Start with stuff like "enema,"
"pregnant," or "trout."
You'll be surprised what you find. (Adults
8. Clip Coupons: I
went to the grocery store tonight and saved
no less than 25% on my order. And we're
not talking about cheap shit here, I'm talking
about fresh pasta, scallions and light cream
(for my Zuke Soup), and a bunch of veggies
and cheese (free 'cause I filled out a survey).
Your friends may scoff at this sort of anal
retentive behavior, but I swear by the power
of the coupon. If nothing less it gives
me extra cash for beers.
9. Rent PRIVATE
PARTS: Until AUSTIN
POWERS comes out on video this is the
funniest video release of the year. Luckily,
Howard has kept the promotion of this more
subdued than the theatrical release. Thank
God! I don't think I could've taken another
series of four-hour infomercials!
10. Have sex. Do I
have to tell you people everything?