A Walk On The Painful Side Of Wrestling: The Notorious "Item In a Pole Match"
There is no doubt about it, when a gimmick match is presented it is going to be special. After all there is the bound to be something special that will happen in gimmick matches. The promise of blood shed, the sight of carnage, the high spots and the crazy risks superstars will put themselves through is enough to put gimmick matches above ordinary single matches or tag team bouts.
The same can't be said to Item in a Pole matches. There is just something about these pole matches that reeks of absolute suck-ness. I think its unanimous that whenever a Item in a Pole match would come up, its bound to be disastrous
The talent in pole matches are always rather bland and no matter how good the wrestler is, they can never accomplish anything good in a pole match. The was no hardcore.spots and the wrestlers rarely, but most of the times never, bleed. The promise of carnage turns into some of the most embarrassing minutes of wrestling.
And WCW has a lot of them. For some reason they think pole matches are that great. I guess fan reaction was never part of their grand designing booking and creating a storyline.
There is one man that is synonymous to Item in a Pole matches. The man that built the Vince Mcmahon Austin feud, the man who created Degeneration X and the man who created edgy storylines that helped launched the Attitude era.
Yes, no other than Vince Russo. The man definitely has Item in a Pole match fetishes because while he was in charge, he created some of the worst, if not the worst Item on a Pole matches ever.
You don't believe me then lets take a stroll down memory lane and review some of the greatest misses of the infamous pole matches.
WCW Superbrawl 2000
The first Item on a Pole match on the list happened here at a pay per view called Superbrawl. The very awful match up between Big Al and Tank Abbott. Who, you ask? Well I don't know either so we turn to Wikipedia. Yay.
Not many people know Big Al but he was part of the early ECW shows as 911 who was the big guy who strolls Sabu to the ring during Sabu's cannibal gimmick. He is most famous for choke slamming Bill Alfonso in a match once. It was included in the "Rise and Fall of ECW" that WWE released. Knowing that, I would've wished he stayed at ECW but like other ECW guys, they know that the money is in WCW and WWE. So he became Big Al.
The other guy, Tank Abbott, was part of the dying days of WCW and he came in with the company as a legit mixed martial arts fighter who finishes his match with his right hand punch. Unfortunately this was WCW so they screwed that up because later on, he joined the stable "3 Count" who were boy bands. Yes, a guy with a back ground in mixed martial arts was placed in a boy band stable.
And you wonder why WCW closed down.
Anyways, on to the match. It was a leather jacket on a pole match. Tank Abbott's leather jacket. The object of the match is to grab the jacket to win the match. Its easy, right? How can this match be bad.
Oh yeah. If it were that simple.
Leather Jacket On a Pole Match
So the match starts with Big Al asking Tank Abbott to strap their hands together so they can beat the faces off each other. Big Al was able to sell the fists of Tank and it honestly looks like it hurts since he was a mixed martial arts contender. So they battle until Big Al scored a big forearm and that made Tank fall to the ground.
That big forearm was so hard that Tank never get back up. He just lay there like a log and Big Al was taunting the crowd. He then positioned Tank's legs to a ring post possibly driving Tank's groin to the ring post. I would've wanted to see that happened and wonder how Tank would sell the move but i doubt he can sell it. So Big Al didn't do it, mouthing off "Its too good for him" to the crowd.
So instead of doing that, he got back to the ring and attempts to reach for the pole. Again, Tank was there laying like a log when during that time he could've at least try to get up. Big Al then decided not to grab the jacket which was in arms reach. Seriously, he just needed to lift his arms.
Instead, he decided to place his feet on Tank's face. I would assume he was trying to get a heel reaction but he was on Tank's face too long and this legitimately pissed Tank. He threw Big Al off and yelled at him completely pissed. He then began to attack Big Al with fist blows. He got Big Al in a corner and attacked him some more.
At this point, I really wanted a suplex coming from someone even from the referee but there was never going to be one between these two. Oh wait, an overhead take down from Tank. Nice.
He attacks Big Al some more then place him in another corner. He placed Big Al on the top rope and lifted him up on his shoulders. I would assume it would be a painful slam since Tank was pissed so Big Al tried to get off which had him land to the floor.
Tank then. I think, cooled off and climbed for the jacket. He got the jacket and won the match.Good for him.
Tank Still Pissed
So after that wonderful match, you would think its over. Thank God we can continue with the rest of the pay per view. Oh no, you're wrong. It gets better from here because after the match our mixed martial arts fighter is still pissed.
He went back to Big Al and pulled a knife.
He placed it on Big Al's chin and went back to shouting at him. The camera immediately cut but the people already saw the knife and the pissed off wrestler threatening the other guy. Brilliant.
You can't get better drama than this. You can watch the entire match here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngnyMoODND0
The Viagra On a Pole Match
Now this one is just awful. Not because of bad wrestling, when in fact, its actually the solid average performance between Billy Kidman and Shane Douglas that saved this match. The part that made this match truly awful is the title itself. A viagra on a pole match. Truly awful.
The dying days of WCW was really desperate for an audience so they decided to create an angle where Shane Douglas was caught on video tape having erectile dysfunction. Yes, its very edgy.
So the match started and again, its a very good match. Its Sunday Night Heat worthy kinda back and forth action between the two guys. I mean, one is a technical wrestler and the other is a high flyer so there is no way they can screw that match.
Later on Billy Kidman climbed the pole and got the bottle of viagra. Shane suddenly caught Billy and delivered a jaw breaker that caused the bottle to shatter. The plan was for Shane to hit Billy with the bottle with some pills landing in Billy's mouth so the bottle shattering is worst case scenario for this match.
The worse is part is that the match is suppose to finish with a pinfall or submission and that you can use the bottle on your opponent. The referee saw the bottle on Shane's hand and rang the bell. Now, if you weren't confuse by that then good for you. You can actually understand the minds of those WCW creative.
For the rest of the viewers, including me, they were just downright stupefied. Even the announcers and you know its going to be bad whenthe announcers don't understand the match.
What made the viagra on a pole match absolutely horrific is the fact that the announcers did not even try to sell the match as a worth while match. They were joking around and completely devaluing the match and the build up going into it.
Here are some of the more memorable comments during the match. The match was being called by Nitro announcers Tony Schiavone, Scott Hudson, and Mark Madden.
Mark Madden: "This isn't the first viagra on a pole match. Theres been dozen of them through out history including guys like Lou Thesz, Patt O' Connor, John Bubba and Antonio Inoki. Johnny Ace. All these guys who needed viagra who put it on a pole and had to go get it."
Scott Hudson: "Hang in there, Tony."
Tony: "I'm doing my best."
Mark Madden: " I remember the great Antonio Inoki, Muhammad Ali, viagra on a pole match in Japan. It was incredible. Isn't viagra on a pole kinda redundant by the way?"
Scott Hudson: "The viagra is on a bottle. it can be used as a weapon."
Mark Madden: "That's not the only thing that can be used as weapon."
Tony Schiavone: "Now Kidman, he's going up for the bottle of viagra. Boy, I never thought I'd say that in wrestling."
There is more but its mostly sexual innuendos and more jokes from Madden. You can watch the whole match here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvz4hvHr2f0
Judy Bagwell On a Pole
One of the most notorious pole matches ever. A person in a pole match. Judy Bagwell on a pole match that is technically a pole match since the woman was in a forklift but lets not get technical on this situation.
I will say this though. Vince Russo may be one of the best minds in wrestling but that brain was filtered by Vince Mcmahon and given his seal of approval. Now, if ever a seal was broken they immediately sends it back to the factory. When Russo was in WCW all the seals were broken and they still served those ideas to fan. Tainted or not is left to the fans who witnessed some of the most painful wrestling angles to come from a promotion.
Judy Bagwell on a pole match is one of those broken seals that was served to fans.
The match was between Positively Kanyon and Buff Bagwell who were in a middle of a heated rivalry. To intensify the feud, Kanyon began to stalk Buff's mother as a form of mental mind game. Kanyon then kidnapped Buff's mom and this led us here. A Judy Bagwell in a pole match.
My God, how painful this match was. Hyping the match was several promo where Buff Bagwell was looking for his mother and eventually, the match begins.
Positively Kanyon came out first driving Judy Bagwell in a forklift.
"Everybody knows that this match is supposed to be a Judy Bagwell on a pole match but I searched this entire second rate country of Canada....but after searching this entire God forsaking country, I couldn't find a pole that would hold that big fat battle ax." Kanyon exclaims in his promo.
Buff had none of it and run down the ramp the moment he saw his mother. Buff tried to let Judy down but Kanyon was right behind him. They brawled on the crowd with Buff gaining the advantage. Then they brought the action to the ring and delivered a very clean match. I've seen worse matches from Zack Ryder, to be honest.
Kanyon then suplexed Buff and while he was down, Kanyon took one of the turnbuckle pad to expose the metal. That eventually back fired on Kanyon because he was dropped face first on the exposed turnbuckle.
And I think to myself, this match isn't bad. Its OK on my standards. Then.....(next slide please)
No match of this magnitude isn't complete without David Arquette. The OK match, by my standard, suddenly sucked with his appearance but I was laughing my ass off when he came down the ramp.
David interfered on behalf of Kanyon and struck Buff with the helmet he was carrying. This switched the favor over Kanyon but ultimately, it was Buff who managed to turn it around and dragged Arqutte to the ring.
Buff evaded a double team and connected with a double clothesline. He finished the match with a beautiful flying neckbreaker he calls the Blockbuster. He got the pin, the match and more importantly, he got his mother back.
What a touching moment.
I know you want to watch this. So here you go. http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2zof6_buff-bagwell-vs-positively-kanyon-j_sport
Piñata On a Pole Match
Finally, the last match on the list. The most popular Vince Russo pole match happened at WCW Nitro between Silver King vs. Villano V vs. El Dandy vs. Psychosis vs. Juventud Guerrera who happened to be mexicans. Now, I know what you're thinking, a piñata on a pole and a couple of luchadores are in the match equals a very racist segment. Well yeah, it is. It reeks of racism but lets first focus on the match.
Before the match started, there was a promo between these five wrestlers and someone behind the camera. Apparently Juventud is celebrating with a piñata then the guy behind the camera got a brilliant idea. Since mid carders never make a lot of money (the guy said this, not me), he hid a check for ten thousand dollars in the pinata. He said that they will hang the pinata high above the ring and he will give these five wrestlers sticks. "You can beat yourselves with the stick, beat each other with the stick or beat the pinata with a stick." the guy explains.
This match is truly inspired and if you think that was bad, this was also the momentous occasion when Ed Ferrara dressed as Oklahoma decided to do commentary. Oh boy.
The match then started and it was absolute chaos. There was no real direction to this match and you just saw five wrestlers beating each other all over the ring. Then one of the wrestlers was Irish whipped to the ring post where the pole was attached in and the piñata fell off the pole.
The match had a lot of high spots and true luchadore fashion match but all of that was over shadowed by the commentary of Mr. Oklahoma. It was a blatant low blow insult to Jim Ross who works at WWE. Ed Ferrera who wore a cowboy hat and even copied JR's face who is suffering from Bell's Palsy. It was tasteless.
Back to the match, the wrestlers scrambled to put the pinata back on the pole to save the match but it was too late. The crap has already hit the fan. The match mercifully ended with Steve William "Dr. Death" interfered in the match and the match ended in DQ.
Yes, there was stick and it was legal but interference was illegal. Dr. Death decimated the competition and took the ten thousand dollar check. Aw.
Now I cannot go and say that Vince Russo is an awful creative writer. In fact, if put in his shoes, I would crack under the pressure of trying to get audience back from a declining show and trying to please the people above me. Vince Russo brought edge to wrestling having wrestlers do shoot promos and book matches with swerves of heel or face turn.
The reason I can't comprehend is why Vince Russo keeps booking pole matches. Now I don't know if Russo booked this but TNA, not so long ago, held a keys on a pole match between Kurt Angle and Mick Foley. So I don't know about that. This guy is also incredibly arrogant and surprisingly very racist.
I'm going to tell you something right now that you will absolutely not agree with, but I've been a wrestling fan my whole life and I will live and die by this. It's hard enough, believe me, I write this shit, it is hard enough to get somebody over. You will never ever, ever, ever, ever see the Japanese wrestlers or the Mexican wrestlers over in American mainstream wrestling. I'm an American. If I'm watching wrestling here in America, I don't give a shit about a Japanese guy. I don't give a shit about a Mexican guy. I'm from America, and that's what I want to see." Russo once said in an interview.
So you decide and deduce why a piñata on a pole match materialized.
But all in good time. A racist angle going into match, a piñata in a pole match and the commentary of Oklahoma can give you an idea of WCW in its dying days.
But again, people change and I believe after Vince Russo discovered God, he began to preach good things and stuff like that. So its good.
You can watch the piñata on a pole match here: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x4i1p0_pinata-on-a-pole-match_sport
You just walked in the painful side of wrestling and you survived. Congratulations.
Now remember, if there is a good side, there is a bad side and there is the painful side.
Thank you for reading.
Have a nice day.