Tuesday, September 27, 2011

(Retro) Six Minutes - December 16, 2008

Six Minutes
December 16, 2008
Doug Maynard

I had a few minutes to kill in between doing laundry, finishing up the Christmas cards and trying to decide if my Bud Light just tastes great or is less filling, and decided this would be a good time to throw together a brief column.

Yeah, I know. Me? Write something brief? Ha! Save the comments. I know that I tend to ramble a bit at times and generally live by the rule, "Why say in three words what you can say in thirty". But I'll try to keep it somewhat short anyhow. How short? How about "Six Minutes" short, hence the name.

So let's get the ball rolling. Hit my intro, please.

"Six minutes, six minutes, six minutes Dougie Fresh and you're on... on!
The original Doug E. Fresh must be spinning in his grave right about now. Oh wait, he's not dead. That's just his career. Ooh! Sick burn and rim-shot! I'm a bad panda...lol.

So what to speak of? I have a couple of hypothetical questions (always my favorite kind) to answer and a "Top 14" list of characters that Charlie Haas should portray in the future. And I want to speak of Jeff Hardy for a moment too. And if anything else comes to mind while I'm pounding away at this keyboard, so be it. So there you go.

First off, congratulations to Jeff Hardy for being the NEW WWE Champion, as of this past Sunday night at WWE Armageddon. Jeff has been absolutely on fire the past few months and as I said in my "TS" column a few days ago, if the WWE was ever going to pull the plug and give Jeff a title run, now would be the time.

It's a big show of faith by the WWE to give Jeff Hardy, a man with admitted substance abuse problems, who has failed their "Wellness Program" twice and has only one chance left before forced termination from the company, a man who was removed from a flight just a few months ago.... to give a guy with this background, a chance to be the "figurehead" and "top dog" for their company.

But Jeff's work in the ring and his promos have been as good as at any time in his career. He seems to have his head on straight professionally and to achieved that "happy balance" between work and play. So maybe it'll work. Who am I to say any different. I hope so, for Jeff's sake more than anything else.

And on a purely historical note, congratulations to both Jeff and Matt Hardy to be the first set of (legitimate) brothers to both be recognized as "World Champions" at the same time in wrestling history, that I can think of anyhow.

And only the third set of (legitimate) brothers in U.S. wrestling history to both be World Champions - the other two parings being Terry Funk and Dory Funk, both of who held the NWA World Heavyweight Championship back in the 70's... and Jack & Gerald Brisco. Jack was the NWA World Champion for two reigns in the early 70's, while Gerald was the NWA World Junior Heavyweight Champion in the late 70's for a time. That puts Matt & Jeff in some mighty elite company with four of the greatest wrestlers of all time.
Just thinking... when Jeff and Matt started out all those years ago in Cameron, NC, just a few miles away from where I'm sitting right now, who would have thought that we'd ever have both men as singles World Champions? They've done all of us "NC Guys" and all their fellow members of "The Fraternity" proud.

And now, let's move from Jeff and his WWE Championship to a man who I really seriously doubt will ever have the honor of being the WWE Champion, although he has all the talent, the charisma, the skills and the "it" factor. He's viewed by the WWE these days as mainly a comedy act. But to give him credit, he's embraced the role and taken it much farther already than anyone at WWE probably ever predicted and taken himself from the role of an "after-thought jobber" to at least a mid-card role, where he's allowed to get some wins and plenty of TV time.

Of course, I'm talking about Charlie Haas. I was at work the other night and as is usually the case, since I work a monkey-job that doesn't require much thinking, my mind was wandering all over the place. It went to wrestling and Charlie Haas and some of the characters he's portrayed thus far (Beth Phoenix, CHL, Jim Ross, "The Hitman", Mr. Perfect, etc) and I started thinking of characters I'd like to see him imitate eventually. I came up with a list of twelve possibilities. So bear with me as we do a listing of....

The Top 14 Characters Charlie Haas Should Imitate...

14. The Iron Haas: Charlie Haas in curved boots, the whole head-gear thing and waving a flag while cutting a promo in terrible, stilted English and bordering on extreme goofiness. The Iron Sheik probably wouldn't like it and would probably want to "humble" Haas for the parody attempt, but it would be funny to see.

And to really make it perfect, have Nikolai Volkoff come to the ring with "The Iron Haas" (or someone imitating him) threatening to sing the "Soviet National Anthem". It would be funny. And although I hate to put ideas in the WWE's head, this would be a great spot for Valdimir Kozlov to come down and really get over as a bad-ass heel as he would be "insulted" by the Sheik / Volkoff imitations and just destroy both of them. Think about it. It would work as great WWE TV.

13. The Haasman: Picture this in Philadelphia or New York. The crowd is pumped and loud. A wrestler is waiting in the ring. And the sounds of "Enter Sandman" fill the arena. Think of the reaction. Think of the pop. And then Charlie Haas, aks "The Haasman" comes through the crowd, kendo stick in hand and drinking beers, wearing a pair of star-spangled sweat pants and a wife-beater t-shirt. It would be surreal to say the least and extremely entertaining for anyone watching. And it would definitely be an "extreme" moment.

12. Baron Van Haas: Just picture Charlie in a skin-cap and robe, wearing a monocle and threatening to "put the claw" on everyone. Talk in the exaggerated German accent that the legendary Baron Von Raschke was so famous for and just ham it up to the extreme. It would be a big treat to all of us old-school fans who remember the antics of the legendary Baron and would give Jerry Lawler a chance to talk about the Baron (who he wrestled several times in the late 80's as the AWA World Champion).

And for a extra kick, if the WWE happens to be in Minnesota, where the Baron still lives and is doing very well in retirement, have the Baron pop up in one of those great "Legends" cameos that the WWE loves so much and either put the claw on Haas.. or better yet, have "Baron Von Haas" face a heel while the real Baron is in the audience. Haas is winning and the heel has a friend interfere and cost Haas the match. They double-team Charlie and the Baron (with a chair) comes from the audience and makes the save for his "twin". And then we get "two claws for the price of one" as "Baron Von Haas" and Baron Von Raschke both claw their opponents and the bad guys end up fleeing the ring. A true "feel good" moment for the old-school fans and I'm sure both the real Baron and Haas would get a kick out of doing something like that.

11. Charlie "The Macho Man" Haasage: We all know that Vince McMahon hates Randy Savage for some reason. We can all speculate on why, but no one knows for sure except for Vince, Savage and possibly Stephanie... it's irrelevant anyhow.

But just picture Charlie coming out in the fringed jackets, the cowboy hats, the shades, and talking like he's been constipated for several years. Think of the pop it would get. "The Macho Man" is just one of those characters that begs to be mocked and imitated. Jay Lethal has done a fair job of it in TNA, but let the WWE have their shot and let Charlie do it. It would be a definite "over the top" moment to enjoy.

10. Koko B. Haas: Charlie has already shown he has no shame or pride and will do anything. So give him loud suit, the glasses, a stuffed bird to wear on his arm and let him come out to the sounds of Koko's music and "do the bird". It would pop the crowd and just be fun. Maybe the real Koko could do a cameo to with this one as well. It would just be fun to see.

9. Junkyard Haas: This one might be considered disrespectful to some, but Charlie doing the mannerisms and antics of the legendary Junkyard Dog, complete with wearing the collar and chain, would be hilarious to me. He could even come out to the Dog's old song from the Wrestling Album called "Grab Them Cakes". If Charlie can do "Mr. Perfect", he can do "JYD".

8. Ivan "The Russian Haas" Koloff: Another "old school" character that today's fans might not get or appreciate, but it would be fun to see. Another "skin-cap" night for Haas as he would imitate the mannerisms and promo-style of the former WWWF Champion. Give him a "Russian Chain" to carry and just let Charlie play it up to the max. I'd love to see it.

7. "Superfly" Charlie Haas: Jimmy Snuka is another character that was so unique and over the top at times, he just begs to be parodied and mocked. Picture Charlie in a pair of leopard-skin tights, a shaggy wig and doing the facial expressions and mannerisms of Snuka. And winning his match with a "SuperHaas" splash. They really need to do it.

Or if they are serious about getting Snuka's son over as a "second generation heel" as they seem to be, they can have Charlie do the "Snuka" parody and Deuce come out and just beat his ass in a totally serious and no-nonsense manner. That would work better for building Deuce and establishing him as a bad-ass than a hundred backstage interviews or promos would.

6. The Managers (Captain Lou Haasbano / "Classy" Freddie Haasy / The Grand Haaszard / Mr. Haasji / Bobby "The Haas" Heenan): I had these listed separately at first, but decided to combine them as one listing. Just picture Charlie annoying one of his fellow wrestlers and telling them they "need a manager". I'd use Shelton Benjamin since his friendship and history with Haas is common knowledge, but someone like MVP would work well for this too.

Charlie tells them that they need a manager and for several weeks, keeps coming out as different "legendary managers", using their gimmicks and mannerisms to "help" his friend. As Captain Lou Albano, Haas would dress like a slob, maybe have a fake gut and do the whole "rubber bands in the face" gimmick and over the top antics. As Blassie, he would wear the flashy outfits and use the cane frequently. As the Grand Wizard, he could do the whole "turban and glasses" thing. As Mr. Fuji, the "bowler hat" and cane and using the tossed salt to "help" his wrestler. And as "The Brain" a blonde wig, a neck brace, and some over- the-top comments towards everyone.

We're talking about a whole series of promos and matches here as Haas "helps" his friend (usually hurting more than helping) and it would give the announcers a chance to put over some of the characters that Haas is pretending to be and give a history lesson in "Wrestling 101". I'd love to see it.

5. Haaskaw Jim Duggan: No more needs to be said. Duggan is a part of RAW and so is Haas. I'm surprised this hasn't already been done yet. Duggan is a character just begging to be mocked and parodied.

4. CHD: Picture Charlie in the unitard doing the mannerisms and imitating the character of RVD. Give him a pony-tail and a few thumbs to point at himself as Lillian announces his name. It would be over-the-top, hilarious and dynamic to see.

3. "The Nature Haas": If they can do Hogan and Bret, they can do Ric Flair. A fake nose, a glamorous robe, some strutting and maybe some elbow drops on an invisible opponent. And lots of chops followed by the "figure four" for the win. This is how we can tell that HBK, HHH and Batista are still close to Ric and that Vince still has some love for the "Nature Boy", despite Ric leaving the company earlier this year. If they didn't love "Naitch", we would have already seen Charlie in this role. Although I'm probably still one of the biggest Flair fans out there, his character is one that just begs to be mocked and imitated.

Maybe they're holding off for a while until Reid Flair gets better and makes his debut. Coming out of the crowd to defend his father's "honor" against a parody would be an effective way to introduce Reid to the national audience. There are worse ways to make a debut. But I'm thinking that HHH, HBK and Batista are the reason we haven't seen this one yet. Too bad.

2. Haastino Marella: Santino is always great comedy and fun to see. And could you imagine the over-the-top reactions and antics by Santino if he was to come out to the ring to face... himself (or a reasonable likeness)? We've already seen Charlie mock Santino's "girlfriend", Beth Phoenix. And that was hilarious. So the groundwork and history between the two men is already there. This one will happen. It's just a matter of when.

1. C-Fed: The ship may have already sailed on this one since Kevin Federline is no longer "big news" and has actually turned out to be the "good parent" and more likable and stable in his relationship with ex-wife Britney Spears. But during his brief time with the WWE a few years ago, K-Fed was awesome as a heel and from all reports, was extremely well-liked by and very respectful to everyone backstage and would be welcome back at any time.

So if K-Fed ever decides to make a new CD (his last one bombed, but the music wasn't bad and I liked most of it... and I don't even like rap all that much) - another brief run with the WWE might be good. And just to see Charlie in his wife-beater and out there, just being "Federline style white trash" would be fun to watch and see. It'd make for great TV and get plenty of publicity on TMZ and in the national media.. and that would be great as well. I'd love to see it.

So there you go. Fourteen (actually 18, but who's counting) characters that I'd love to see Charlie Haas do an imitation of. Some are too old-school and over the top, even for WWE, but with some of the others, the possibilities are there.

And there are so many great characters in the history that is professional wrestling, this is a gimmick that Charlie could keep doing for years and never run out of fresh material. I named some of the people I'd like to see Charlie Haas imitate. Who would you like to see Charlie attempt to parody? Any suggestions? I'd love to hear them.

And now, moving on...

Here's a question that my good friend, Sakee Wildman, asked her group at Yahoo roughly a year or so ago.. and I answered it then, but I'll do it again because I like the question.

What dream match would you love to see at WrestleMania?

There aren't many dream matches left these days due to age, injuries, different companies, etc... but what I would like to see at Wrestlemania is simply this. Vince McMahon in the middle of the ring addressing the 80,000 fans in attendance and the millions watching at home... and just as he really gets going on a roll about how big Wrestlemania is and all of that...music hits. And Vince is interrupted by..

The Disco Inferno...

Just imagine the look on Vince's face as Disco crashes the party and gets on the mic.. claiming that everyone just tuned into Wrestlemania just to watch the Disco Inferno dance. Vince could get mad and play the big blowhard who so frustrated, he doesn't know what to do. Disco could play the buffoon and just be oblivious to Vince's anger. And it'd make a great Wrestlemania moment that no one would ever, ever forget.

Or if that doesn't work for ya, I'll settle for Shawn Michaels vs. Hulk Hogan one more time in a "Career Match" where the loser must retire from the ring forever.... with Hogan doing the J.O.B. in about three minutes...
And the other I want to get to is one that I asked the members of the Yahoo groups of which I'm a member a few days ago. The question was:
If Vince McMahon gave you total autonomy and complete access to the entire WWE video library and told you that you could produce any five DVD sets you want - on anything or anyone wrestling related for future release by the WWE, what DVD's would you make and why?

I've heard many great suggestions for different topics and DVD ideas from the groups and it made me realize just how much, despite all the numerous DVD's flooding the marketplace, is left yet to be done and how many DVD sets are left to be made. I thought about it for a few days and after a lot of adding ideas and then removing them and back and forth internal debate, these are the five DVD sets that I'd most like to put together and see if given total access to the WWE's video libraries and production teams.

Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling: This would be the first set of what I would hope would turn into a series of DVD's highlighting the various territories of the seventies and nineties. I picked the Carolina's first because obviously, I'm from the Carolinas and this is what I grew up on. I figure a three DVD set highlighting the Jim Crockett Promotions from the mid-seventies until Ted Turner bought out the company and formed WCW. Bob Caudle and David Crockett, the long time voices of the Mid-Atlantic era are both still around and could provide analysis and commentary on the stories behind the matches featured and also, several former Crockett stars such as Greg Valentine, Sgt. Slaughter, Ric Flair, Rick Steamboat, Dusty Rhodes, Jimmy Valiant, Blackjack Mulligan, etc. There are so many stars from this era still out there and available to use.

And think of the matches. Just off the top of my head, we'd have Flair - Steamboat, Steamboat & Youngblood versus The Briscos, Dusty versus Tully, Valentine & Flair versus The Andersons, Steamboat & Youngblood versus Snuka & Ray Stevens, Slaughter versus Windham, Mulligan versus Masked Superstar, Flair versus Mulligan in the battle known as "The Hat versus The Robe", Ric Flair versus Buddy Rogers in a "Battle of the Nature Boys", Mighty Igor versus Crusher Blackwell, Nikita Koloff vs. Magnum TA.. and so many more. For a period of about fifteen years, the Mid-Atlantic was the hottest region in the country and for good measure. The stars that passed through were phenomenal. The matches were great. And the booking and story lines made sense.

And if this DVD sold as well as I'd expect it to, I'd move on to DVD sets based on all of the assorted territories. Florida Championship Wrestling, Georgia Championship Wrestling, The Mid-South. Memphis, Stampede Wrestling, etc. Maybe they'd be considered "niche" products, but the appeal and audience is there and DVD's highlighting the different territories would work and sell very well in my opinion.

The Rise And Fall of World Championship Wrestling: This is a no-brainer and needs to done. Eric Bischoff and the WCW powers-that-be need to be given the chance to tell their side of the story and I'd work this from a WCW viewpoint with Tony Schiavone, Eric, Dusty Rhodes and as many NWA / WCW guys providing commentary as possible. I'd be sure to let Vince and the WWE guys get their say in too, but this would be for the WCW fans.

Think about all the great matches and events in WCW over the years. Goldberg versus Hogan. The rise of the nWo. Flair versus Sting. Flair versus Funk. The Arn Anderson retirement speech. Flair returning to wrestling. The cruiserweight matches and cross-promotions with New Japan. The WCW Hall of Fame Ceremonies and the "Legends" matches from Slamboree. There is so much ground to cover that just two or three discs wouldn't be nearly enough, but it'd be a good start.

Fallen Angels: This would be a series of DVD's based on profiling some of the superstars of the past who might be be quite big enough to warrant a full set of DVD's to themselves, but have a story that's worth telling. They had all the tools and skills and were headed towards the top of their professions, but for whatever the reason, they didn't quite make it and had their "wings" clipped far too early.

Do these as a "Behind The Music" style documentary and be sure to provide at least between five to ten matches for each person as well as the documentary part, which could run between an hour to ninety minutes. I would make these into three disc sets as to cover three stars at a time and make it into an ongoing series to allow as many wrestlers to be profiled over time as possible - with maybe one release every couple of months. And for the first DVD, the debut episode of this DVD series, I'd pick as my wrestlers to profile Magnum TA, "Flying" Brian Pillman and "The Handsome Half-Breed" Gino Hernandez.

This may not be quick to sell out, but it would pay off in the end for the WWE and allow wrestlers who otherwise might never be able to get more than a footnote mention a chance to be profiled. And it would be programming for WWE to use for their 24/ 7 Network or sell to other networks as original programming to make addition revenue for the company.

The Rock & Wrestling Era: A look at the entire "Rock & Wrestling" phenomena that occurred in the mid-eighties with Hogan, Richter, Cyndi Lauper, the MTV connection, etc. Show the matches that took place on MTV (Richter beating Moolah), throw in the Cyndi Lauper videos that featured wrestlers, maybe do some interviews with Captain Lou Albano, Wendi Richter and Cyndi Lauper. Throw in the video of "Land of 1000 Dances" by the WWF Superstars. And look at the other attempts to incorporate rock & roll into wrestling with the Freebirds down in Texas doing the whole "Badstreet" angle with the Von Erich's, the AWA's attempt at WrestleRock, etc. This one could be a lot of fun to make and watch.

And finally...

Shake Your Booty: The Greatest Hits of the Disco Inferno: Think about it. Three discs and over ten hours of nothing but promos and dancing by Disco Inferno. After all, Disco told us for years that the only reason we were wrestling fans and watched wrestling was just to see the Disco Inferno dance. Maybe he's right? Heh! Heh! Maybe not! I'm joking, OK. Much as I loved to watch Disco dance and cut his promos (and wrestle - he was / is greatly under-rated as an in-ring performer), I think a whole DVD might be a little much. So we'll tweak this just a little bit and change it to...

What The... A Look At Wrestling's Strangest Characters And Moments: A three disc DVD set with looks at characters such as Disco Inferno, The ECW Zombie, The Boogeyman, The ShockMaster, Evad Sullivan, Norman the Lunatic, Eugene, Santino, etc. who were primarily comedy characters. And looking at different events like the "Billionaire Ted" skits, the Chucky promos on WCW Nitro, The Yeti, Sting teaming with Robocop, etc.. pretty much if it was dumb, made no sense, and made you scratch your head and go "What the....??", it belongs on this skit.

We could have one entire disc of nothing but wrestling personalities telling stories of the most stupid gimmicks they've ever seen. And think about some of the situations we could talk about - Judy Bagwell as half of the WCW Tag Team Champions, Al Snow wrestling the Big Bossman in the "Kennel From Hell" match, Brisco and Patterson in their drag queen hardcore match, David Arquette as the WCW World Champion, Tank Sinatra, the whole "fingerpoke of doom" with Hogan and Nash, etc.

Stupidity has always played a major role in wrestling and for every great match or great angle, there is always two to three times as many OK angles and a good number of totally whacked angles as well. Let's give the morons and the head-scratching moments their due and a DVD set to watch just for giggle purposes.

And there you go. My answers. Maybe I kind of pushed it a little bit with the answers since at least two of my picks were the starts of entire series of DVD sets, but I think that all of these I mentioned would sell well, make money and have an audience out there just waiting for a chance to see them.

And I guess that's enough from me today. A new "Tossing Salt - Worldwide News" will be up this weekend. And I might be back tomorrow with another column. Or I might not. Guess we'll have to wait and see on that. But that's enough of me for now anyhow.

Comments and questions can be sent to Doug28352@yahoo.com. Come visit me on MySpace at www.myspace.com/salt_palace. Add me as a friend too. You know you want to.

I'm Doug and now, my "six minutes" are up. I'll see you next time. Have a great week and please, always be a fan.

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