Welcome to the second installment of WWE Through the Cracks, a weekly look at the underrated and overlooked wrestlers, managers, matches, moves, moments and pay-per-views of WWE history.
This week's focus will be on a stable that successfully managed to be hated unanimously by everyone in existence...
A Stable that Fell Through the Cracks: The Right to Censor
Some ideas are so mind-numbingly obvious that when they work perfectly, it can be hard to acknowledge their brilliance.
On the June 26, 2000 edition of Monday Night Raw, ECW alum and perennial goofball Stevie Richards interrupted a match between Jerry "The King" Lawler with The Kat and Dean Malenko with Terri Runnels.
Each time one of the two superstars was tossed over the top rope, their respective diva would be forced to remove an article of clothing—in strip poker fashion. Having thrown Malenko over three times, Lawler won the match, leaving Runnels to remove her top. Before she could give the crowd a show, Richards, with his long hair trimmed and sporting a tie, "censored" Runnels and ushered her to the back.
In subsequent weeks, Stevie Richards, now referring to himself as "Steven," recruited Bull Buchanan, Val Venis, The Godfather (renamed "The Goodfather") and Ivory to form a stable known as The Right to Censor. Their mission? To rid the WWE of sexual content, gratuitous violence and to provide children with suitable, appropriate role models.
What an absolute no-brainer.
In a time where women were stripping on camera, guys were beating each other to bloody pulps with barbed-wire baseball bats and the biggest name in the company was a beer-drinking, bird-flipping guy who repeatedly assaulted his boss, The Right to Censor were not exactly welcomed with open arms.
In fact, the genius of the gimmick was that a group of jobbers and mid-carders were getting more heel heat than any heel in recent memory. Everyone hated these guys. Everyone. Even other heels hated them. And that was the point.
As surefire as this gimmick was, the performances by Steven Richards as the fanatical, "white socks wearing nerd" who led the group, as well as Ivory's spot-on imitation of an uptight, finger-wagging librarian only added to the level of absolute hatred that they were able to illicit from the fans each night. Coupled with what has to be considered one of the most irritatingly effective entrance themes, this group was instant heat in a can.
Interestingly enough, for an under-card stable made up of journeymen and jobbers, their run on WWF television was fairly successful, capturing the tag titles, as well as an impressive Women's Title run by Ivory. The group won several pay-per-view matches and fought big-name stars the likes of The Rock, Undertaker, Kane, The Dudleys and members of Degeneration-X.
While The Right to Censor disbanded shortly after Wrestlemania 17, their roughly year-long run turned out to be successful for the sheer fact that talent like Stevie Richards and Bull Buchanan were being utilized in a way that allowed them to showcase themselves, with the guarantee of crowd reaction.
The RTC's ability to generate monumental heel heat, their over-the-top, "love-to-hate-them" character and their ability to put on entertaining matches with big-name stars makes The Right to Censor one stable that deserves all the credit in the world.
(Insert joke about PG Era here).