Sometimes a man gets down on his luck every once in awhile. Things are going great and you think you’re finally on your way and then BAM, Undertaker no-sells your offense.
Thankfully, we men and women have mountains of wrestling videotapes. Come on, you know you do. I have a whole garage full of hundreds of tapes, and I promise once I retire in 40 years, I’ll watch ’em all (which is what I tell my wife to justify the space it takes up).
In the meantime, here is a wrestling fan’s list of what tapes to watch whenever life gets you down.
Best feud for when your boss yells at you: Steve Austin vs. Vince McMahon
Not only was that feud mega-successful and turned around the WWF’s fortunes, it appealed to everyone who wanted flip off and/or stun their bosses, but couldn’t. Seemed like on every Raw, Stone Cold was givin’ Vince a hard time however he could, and the fans ate it up. Vince played the perfect heel, back when it was a novelty for him to do so. Bookers can also learn from this feud and note its slow build, teases, and ultimate payoff at the end. Who would’ve thunk it that such a fundamental booking rule would work so well?
Best PPV for when you have insomnia: WCW Halloween Havoc ’92
This was by far the worst PPV ever produced, in front of the toughest crowd (Philly) for WCW to win over. The opening match with Arn & Eaton was good, but the bad finish and matches that followed were truly pitiful. You’ll never hear a crowd as silent as this one was, and boy did they have reason to be dead. With a WCW title match between Ron Simmons and Barbarian, one couldn’t help but yearn for the days of Flair-Steamboat and see how far the company had fallen. And how about that Rude-Chono match?? The worst news possible for WCW was that this PPV was actually a financial success. The lure of Jake Roberts’ match with Sting, and the awesome buildup of “Spin the Wheel, Make the Deal” led to a huge buyrate increase. Unfortunately, that meant all these new viewers got to see WCW at their worst. Way to go, Watts.
Best PPV for when you’re tired of being an adult: WWF WrestleMania 3
We all know where we were when we saw this show for the first time. I was in the 5th grade, ready to be won over by my favorite wrestler, Randy Savage. After his match with Steamboat, I was hooked for life. While Andre-Hogan paled in comparison, the masses got what they wanted: a body slam and a pin. The huge crowd and generally solid wrestling, before a humongous crowd of Detroit’ers, makes all of us feel nostalgic for our careless youth. To think, I was genuinely sad thinking Piper was going to retire. Boy was I gullible.
Best feud to show your in-laws, relatives, and friends who are trying to kick bad habits: Freebirds vs. Von Erichs
There is nothing sadder than seeing unlimited potential going down the drain, as widows and children are left behind to fend for themselves. Terry, Kerry, Mike, Chris, David, and Fritz are all dead. Aside from Fritz, who was old, simply changing the focus of their lives could’ve prevented all those guys’ deaths. William Regal and Eddy Guerrero are the new role models for wrestlers everywhere, showing that they CAN turn it around and save their lives. I can’t possibly stress that enough.
Best PPV to watch when part of you says that Vince McMahon really is a good guy underneath it all: WWF WrestleMania 7
We kicked Saddam Hussein’s arse in 1991, and Vince made sure to cash in on all the deaths of our American troops. None of us are perfect, but sheesh, even Satan wouldn’t stoop so low. When we inevitably do the same to Saddam again, will Vince have learned his lesson?
Best videos to watch when you hear Vince Russo crow about how great he is: Anything on WCW TV from October of ’99 right on through the bitter end
Best videos to watch when you hear Vince McMahon crow about how great he is: Anything on WWE TV from April 2001 to right about when Paul Heyman started booking SmackDown barely over a month ago.
Best scene to watch when you want your mother-in-law to leave the house: Stephanie slapping Linda McMahon
Any mother who sees that is going to be disgusted and will just want to leave. We know millions of TV viewers sure did. Bye bye.
Best PPV to watch after your best friend backstabs you: WWF Survivor Series 1997
At least you’ll know you’re not the only one who ever got screwed over. To really feel better, watch the footage on “Wrestling with Shadows” where a groggy Vince has just gotten a 5-knuckle-shuffle courtesy of Bret’s fist.
Best wrestlers to watch when you want to lose weight: Dusty Rhodes, Yokozuna, and Big Show
Dusty just looks terrible. Yoko lost his battle with his health (dually tragic since all that excess weight helped him get over with fans in the first place). Big Show is just a lazy bum who is blowing more chances than he deserves. Do yourselves a favor and dust off that treadmill you have sitting in the garage. And repeat after me: If someone offers you a 10-year contract, take it and run. Well in Big Show’s case, take it and walk (while huffing and puffing).
Best angle to watch when your teenage punk neighbor gives you lip: Undertaker kicking David Flair’s ass at an OVW show.
Forget Neighborhood Watch. When other people’s troubled teens annoy me, I just wish Undertaker would come through the door and beat the crap out of them. And after watching this past week’s WWE TV, I wish Vince McMahon would come through the door and fire Undertaker on the spot.
Best wrestlers to watch to remind you to use sunscreen: Hulk Hogan and DDP
You want a leather face? Go sunbathe. Yeah a tan looks great now, but it will come back to bite you in the rear. Your old, wrinkled, sagging rear.
Best PPV to watch after getting fired: WWF WrestleMania’s 8 and 12.
Ultimate Warrior proved that as long as you meant something at some point in your life, someone will always give you a second, and third, and fourth, and fifth, chance.
Best promotion to watch to kick your gambling habit: NWA TNA
Do you wanna see people lose thousands of dollars by the week? Tune in Wednesday nights, and you’ll quickly learn to save every penny you have.
Best TV show for when a relative has just died: The Raw in May of ’99 after Owen Hart died.
Lots of insiders were critical, but I thought it was tremendous television. All the guys spoke from the heart and I’m not afraid to say I break down whenever I watch it.
Best TV show for when you’re sick of terrorists: The SmackDown on 9/13/01
Again, many were very critical, but I loved the show. Well, except for Stephanie’s segment. But how is that any different than SmackDown today?
Best videos to watch after you’ve made a bad bet: The XFL
No matter how much money you lost, it can’t compare to what WWFE and NBC lost on that fiasco. And if Dick Ebersol ever interviews you for a job, you’ll automatically have an advantage.
Best TV show to watch after you’ve been lied to: WWE Confidential
You’re now in the mood to sort through some real b.s.
Best segments to watch when you realize you don’t get enough sleep: Paul Heyman’s interviews
Paul Heyman is a major asset to WWE, but would you want to look like him? Keep getting 4 hours of sleep per night, and you will. For the rest of you, go to bed on time and count your ZZZZ’s.
Best video to watch after not receiving that award you were sure you were a lock for: the WWF Slammy Awards 1987
They’ll make you realize what a joke awards are anyway.
Best show to watch when a bunch of wrestling fans are over your house: WCW All-Nighter
In the mid 90s, WCW aired a 6-hr show with nothing but classic Flair matches, among others. This show was a real treat, and it was funny how they goofed on a party-pooping Chris Cruise.
Best show to watch after totaling your car: That Raw where Austin poured cement all over Vince’s corvette.
Misery loves company.
Best matches to watch with a major migraine: Raven vs. Tommy Dreamer from mid 90s ECW
Now you’ll appreciate just how much those chair shots hurt. Then you’ll realize how stupid the wrestlers are for taking those shots, and how stupid WWE is for allowing them to continue.
Best TV announcer to watch to prevent your kids from dropping out of college: Joel Gertner
Folks, the Quintessential Studmuffin is the prototypical example of short-term planning gone awry. Dropping out of an Ivy League university to gig at ECW spot shows might seem cool to your friends when you’re 20, but you could burn cash with the bums on 42nd Street and achieve the same results. At least he has friends in high places. One phone call from Paul E. and this guy’s on SmackDown the next day.
Best reason to invest in your 401(k): Take your pick among the dozens of former big stars working the indie circuits for peanuts all because they blew their money on drugs, booze, and ex-wives during their big runs on top.
Best game show to watch after flunking an exam: Booker T on “Weakest Link”
This will make just about anyone feel smart.
Worst show to watch after ACING an exam: Booker T on “Confidential”
All that brain power, and he’s got one of the most beautiful homes I’ve ever seen. But hey, you just aced an exam. Now you can join the thousands of unemployed MBA grads who have banks across the land foreclosing on their homes. Can you dig that, sucka??