Something to Wrestle with Bruce Prichard – Episode 69 (Pt. 2)
Recap by: Denny Walker Crum
Air Date: 10/13/17
-Fabulous Moolah has quite the controversial past
-Bob Holly wanted the WWF Championship, then wanted to “beat everybody”
-Rock didn’t like working with Bulldog
-Edge showed up late to the show
No Mercy 1999.
Conrad wants to get started running through the matches. Godfather comes out to a big pop until the crowd realizes there are no hoes with him and he starts to get booed. So Godfather calls them out. Conrad says they haven’t spent a lot of time on the Godfather and asks Bruce if he had any fun “hoe stories” he could share. Bruce says he can’t share any on air. He is joking saying that he’s married and has kids. Conrad clarifies that he isn’t asking for dirt. Bruce pretends to finally get what Conrad is asking.
Bruce says Omaha is going to hate him. The term “Omahoes” comes from the worst hoes they ever got were from Omaha. Conrad asks what makes a good hoe and a bad hoe. Bruce says “you know how to pick hoes.” Bruce asks Conrad if he was to pick out a hoe, what he would look for, like what color hair. Conrad says he was thinking about handles, not hair. He was trying to imply that he thought the conversation was about actual garden tools. They make a few garden tool jokes. Conrad says he would want a rubber grip. Bruce would definitely recommend rubber when dealing with hoes.
Conrad asks Bow the hoes assimilated backstage. Bruce said the hoes were brought in usually later on in the day before they opened the doors so they could practice getting in the ring with high heels. They had a room to themselves called the Hoe Room. They always had an escort/bodyguard. Occasionally a hoe or two would wander off and try to intersperse with the rest of the roster. Conrad mentions the bodyguard. He asks Bruce if he was a shoot pimp or if they went ot Hoes-R-Us and they came with a supervisor. Bruce says they went to Hoes-R-Us and the supervisor would come with them to make sure they were safe and was getting paid.
Conrad says real conversation here, how are the hoes found? Does someone just call around to strip clubs or the yellow pages? Bruce had a good relationship with most of the general managers at strip clubs. He would call them when they booked a town and said he was looking for x amount of girls to be on TV at a certain date and this is what it pays. Conrad asks if any of the women tried to make the opportunity more than a one off. Did they show off any special abilities to try to get position in the company? Bruce says no. Whenever they needed a hoe to speak or take a bump, they would always find a “working hoe.” (Many remember that Victoria AKA Lisa Marie started as one of Godfather’s hoes) Most of them were there to get their hundred bucks and get out.
Conrad asks Bruce which gimmick does he think Charles Wright liked the best: Papa Shango or Godfather. Bruce cuts him off before he can go further and says Godfather. Godfather was the most fun but he personally always liked the absurdity of Papa Shango. He liked being able to do things like having Shango standing in the corner and putting a hex on his opponent and make him do bumps without being touched. He acknowledged it was hokey and horrible stuff.
Conrad asks Bruce if hypothetically he had rolled a fatty with that pimp daddy (did Bruce smoke weed with Godfather?). Bruce says yes immediately. Conrad asks if Godfather had a connection for some Sean Waltman-level good stuff. Bruce says yes. Conrad asks how over Godfather was in 1999. Bruce says go back and watch Charles Kama and Charles as Godfather. Charles was having more fun and that translated well. The Godfather character connected with the crowd and they loved him.The thing you forget with Godfather is that Charles Wright is a bad ass. He is a nice guy and is always smiling, but when people talk about tough guys in the business, he is one of them. Conrad says if you get out of line in a gentlemen’s club in Vegas, you may find out the hard way. (Godfather currently works out there)
Conrad wants to talk about Godfather’s opponent, Mideon. He notes that Mideon used to be Phineas Godwinn. Phineas used to be in love with Sunny. Conrad asks about Mideon’s eye gimmick. Mideon went through a few gimmicks, including Naked Mideon, which he believes they will talk about at some point. Here he is doing a weird version where he is part of Undertaker’s stable and he’s got an eyeball as a calling card. He asks Bruce what is up with that. Bruce jokes that cocaine is a hell of a drug (shout out to Rick James).
Mideon and Undertaker hung out in real life and he wanted to be part of Undertaker’s Ministry. They shaved his head, and legitimately tattooed an eyeball on the back of his head so he could say he’s got eyes in the back of his head. Bruce says there was always something missing with him. He wasn’t a great worker, but was a wonderful human being and a great chef. Conrad wanted to mention that Dennis Knight is a big time chef in Florida that actually has shot a few pilots on the Food Network. But he was no Lou Thesz in the ring.
Conrad says speaking of people who do damage in kitchens, Viscera is here and he has the blue contacts in and the world’s largest jacket. He asks Bruce where they found Viscera’s jacket. Bruce says Omar’s Tent Makers. Conrad says Omar’s Tent and Canvas. Conrad clarifies Godfather’s joke about animals in his promo, saying that Viscera turned down the offer for Godfather’s hoes in exchange for forgetting the match. Mideon points out that he prefers animals and he likes them dead. Conrad asks Bruce who’s idea it was to flat out say Mideon likes to fornicate with dead animals. Bruce has no idea. They made some horrible choices back in the day.
Conrad notes that nothing in this match could happen in 2017. You couldn’t have a character talking about fornicating with dead animals. You couldn’t have a character openly talking about smoking weed, presenting himself as a pimp, or calling women hoes. None of this could happen. Conrad says Bruce mentioned a minute ago that when Godfather would come out, the crowd would say “oh yay, it’s time for some fun.” Let’s s**t on women, celebrate drug culture, and cheer on a pimp and prostitute. It is such a weird time compared to a few years later.
Bruce says last week he texted Conrad and told him how much he enjoyed watching the PPV (In Your House: Badd Blood 1997). This week he texted Conrad out of frustration in the first 30 minutes. It is amazing this was 18 years ago. Conrad notes that the last PPV they covered was 24 months before this one to show how much the company had changed in that time. Bruce said there are parts of it where he just hung his head and wondered what anyone was thinking.
A lot of people thought going into the match it would be Godfather vs. Viscera because Viscera left Godfather laying on Smackdown. This ends up being the change for the better because we get Mideon instead. In the match, Godfather does a body block into the corner, then the Hoe Train move, and finishes with a schoolboy. Meltzer gives that match ¼ star. After the match, referee Tim White gets mauled by the hoes. Conrad asks Bruce if Tim White enjoyed a good hoe. Bruce says he enjoyed getting mauled by the hoes. Bruce says he’s a good dancer too. Bruce asks who wouldn’t want to get mauled by the hoes? Conrad suggest Pat Patterson. Bruce says you never know.
Conrad asks which character Dennis Knight played that Bruce prefered. Bruce said Phineas.
Conrad notes they haven’t talked a lot about Viscera. Viscera used to be Mable of Men on a Mission. They came in and won the tag team titles and he eventually turns heel and wins the King of the Ring. He headlined Summerslam ‘95 against Diesel. He comes back to the company in the summer of 1998.
How did Viscera returning to the company came about? Bruce says he’s a big bast**d. He thinks he gets a bad rap sometimes. For a big man, he was a hell of a worker. He could move, do stuff, and was underrated for whatever reason. His stuff was convincing and he could cut a decent promo. When he landed on you, it looked like it killed you. Sometimes it did.
With Men on a Mission, people thought that Bobby (Moe) could go in and do all of the work. Years later, when they had Viscera in a singles role, Bruce thought he did a good job. Conrad notes that Nelson died in 2014. He’s not sure when they’ll talk about him again. So he asks Bruce if he has any fun memories, how he was to travel with, or any fun ribs with him. Mabel came to them courtesy of Jerry Lawler. Lawler told them they have to see this tag team. One guy is bigger than a door. They brought them to a television taping and Mabel couldn’t fit through the door in the dressing room.
Bruce will never forget that they got on the subject of colonics. Mabel talked about getting one. When they did this colonic, he held his hands out about 3ft wide and said when they did that, a piece of steak that had been in him for like 5 years came out and it was as wide as his hands. Conrad reminds Bruce that they are on a podcast and we can’t see his hands. Bruce says he clarified it was 3ft long and he was doing the hand gestures for Conrad. Bruce remembers laughing and asks him how he knew it was a steak from 5 years ago and what the hell is he doing looking and measuring things that came out of his ass. Bruce said it was funny to him. Conrad doesn’t know that he will get a good night’s sleep tonight, which takes him to a commercial.
Next up on No Mercy, we get a video package from Smackdown. Triple H is wearing the nasty wound on his face and says he is going to give up the World Title because it doesn’t mean more to him than his life. Chyna is involved and they say something like “I hope you’re happy, Steve.” When Austin looks at Chyna, Triple H attacks him, takes the wound off the face and we are shown Triple H is really the Cerebral Assassin. They then showed us the Heat interview with Triple H. He says the snake tried to bite him, he ripped his head off and threw it in the trash. And tonight, he is going to do the same thing to Austin.
We get a promo from Ivory. Conrad wants to talk about her since they haven’t much on the show. He says she is one of the most underrated female wrestlers and asks Bruce if he agrees. Bruce agrees and thinks that some people snubbed Ivory because of her association with the GLOW girls. She is a hell of a talent. Conrad says she had been in the business for what feels like forever. She started in 1986 and stopped in 2006. She came into the company in 1999.
Conrad asks Bruce how Ivory gets signed with the company. He remembers seeing her in California. She was doing independents and looked great. They were in the process of bringing in new females to bring through developmental. She was someone who had experience and was ready to go. Conrad says she debuted on TV as one of the hoes in January of 1999. By February, she is in a storyline as a love interest for Mark Henry.
By the time No Mercy comes around, she is the Women’s Champion. She is defending against the 72-year-old Fabulous Moolah. Conrad says as Moolah and Mae Young are making their way to the ring, it gives Lawler the opportunity of a lifetime to crack all kinds of jokes.
Ivory comes out next, Conrad says she is phenomenal shape. Conrad says at the time, you had the Attitude Era divas. It was almost like the bikini model time. They wanted to see how little they can get the girls to wear at the time. Ivory had to do a little bit of this. Conrad says she is probably a more legitimate in ring performer than most. Bruce said she was an athlete. And she looked fabulous. Bruce says Moolah also looked fabulous. Conrad says Moolah became the oldest recorded champion in WWE history when she pinned Ivory in just under 3 minutes.
Moolah first won a world title in 1956. No other wrestler on the show that night was even born by 1956. Meltzer wrote there was no heat for the match. He said the wrestling was unbelievably bad. But something about the match made it palatable. Meltzer speculates maybe it was the amazement of watching 76 year old Mae Young take bump after bump. How she hasn’t broken in two is beyond anyone.
The finish saw Ivory hit Mae Young with the belt where she took another bump off the apron, giving Moolah the opportunity to perform the slowest schoolgirl in history. Meltzer gave the match negative 1 star. Conrad says this feels like something everyone would have known was a bad idea. He calls it one of the worst matches in WWE PPV history. Conrad gives a credit to Moolah because at 72, when she was bumping, she was up and down faster than he thought she would be. Bruce asks why it would be a bad idea. The crowd was up for it and seemed to enjoy it. He acknowledges that it was awful. But the nostalgia side of it for Moolah to wrestle in her 40th or 50th year and to be champion was the least they could do for for the contributions she had made to the industry. Bruce says if you know the relationship between Mae and Moolah, Moolah is the dominant one. Mae was the tough as nails, older one. But Moolah always looked like she was taking care of Mae. He notes the little subtleties like Mae trying to hold the belt up at the end of the match and Moolah snatching it from her. Bruce found it funny considering their relationship. They were like a hilarious, old, married couple. The punishment they took in this match, a lot of young guy today couldn’t take it.
Conrad says it is worth mentioning that Moolah’s return to the ring caused her to start experiencing dizziness. Her doctor made her wear a heart monitor. Eventually she had to be admitted to the hospital where they found clogged arteries and she had viral pneumonia. She was in intensive care for 24 days of which she was unconscious for 15 of those days. Conrad says she didn’t have the best run of health here. When she was leaving the hospital, she slipped and cracked a couple of vertebrae. She has back surgery in December. Conrad says her return may not have been the best for her health.
Conrad asks what Moolah’s relationship was like with the company and notes she isn’t without controversy. Bruce says Moolah learned from Buddy Lee in Tennessee. Lee trained and booked women and would receive a percentage of what they made. Moolah would go on to do the same thing. Moolah and Vince Sr. had been friends for years. She worked in New York as soon women were allowed to wrestle in New York. Moolah supplied women wrestlers for all of the promotions across the country. Vince held Moolah in high regard.
Bruce says that if you didn’t work for Moolah, you didn’t get a lot of bookings. Back in the old days, the industry was tight and promoters used who they were supposed to use. And the women who went through Moolah’s school would owe her a percentage of their earnings. Moolah was a ruthless business person and tough as nails. When Wendy Richter didn’t want to drop the belt, Vince put Moolah in the ring with her to beat her. Bruce jokes that it was the original screwjob. Conrad clarifies that Vince did that to make sure Wendy would do the job and Moolah was there to handle her if she got out of line. Bruce brings it back to 1999 and says most of the bumps and spots were Moolah and Mae wanting to do them. So if they got hurt doing it, they got hurt doing something that she loved. Those were her terms.
Conrad says there is a lot of negativity surrounding Moolah. He mentions rumors that she would set the female wrestlers up to be exploited sexually. Luna Vachon says when she was 16 and training at Moolah’s camp, Moolah sent her out of state to be photographed by a man. Conrad says that “stuff happens.” There is talk that Moolah didn’t just take her part of the booking fee, she would give the girls just enough to survive. The rumors are that she made the girls become dependant on her. They would live on her property. Moolah would take care of their training, food, and allegedly a lot of substance and sexual abuse. She isn’t this rosey figure that the WWE once positioned her to be. Conrad thinks this is why the WWE women’s tournament was named after Mae Young instead of being named after Moolah. Conrad asks Bruce if he agrees. Bruce says he really doesn’t know. You hear all of that and it could be true. Bruce says to him, a lot of that is rumor and innuendo because he never had anyone talk to him about those accusations personally.
Bruce’s dealings with Moolah going back 30-40 years was always positive. She did have a reputation for getting her cut. You hear other girls talk positive about Moolah breaking them into the business and giving them a place to live. There are two sides to every story. The woman he knew was a sweet woman and a smart business woman. She fought for what she believed in. Bruce called her a “tough old broad” who survived in a “man’s business” for years. Bruce says especially when she broke into the business in the 1950s, when the business was even more male dominated. She didn’t just survive, she thrived.
Bruce says he isn’t sure if any of the negative things are true, he never witnessed them, and he never heard any of that until many years after the fact and after she was gone. As many negative stories as you can find about her, you can find just as many positive ones as well. He chooses to remember those.
Conrad says the rumor as to why none of this came out sooner is that Moolah had the ear of anyone in the business who mattered. And if you went against Moolah, she could blackball you because Vince and other promoters went through Moolah when they wanted to book women. If you wanted to be a women’s wrestler, you had to go through her. So rather than just taking her 25 percent, she would charge them for rent, travel, and food. So their net was tiny. Conrad says the craziest accusation was from Sweet Georgia Brown where she said she was raped, given drugs, and made an addict by Moolah and her husband in an attempt to control her. Conrad says this is something he felt like they needed to bring up because he isn’t sure when it will happen again.
Moolah wins the belt and drops it back to Ivory 8 days later. Conrad asks Bruce if he remembers there being any sort of buzz or if Vince heard stories about some of the rumored seedy behaviour of Moolah. Bruce says not that Vince ever discussed with him. The only things he and Vince ever discussed were widely known, which was her percentage taking. Moolah isn’t the only one who got her “PC.” He says a lot of wrestlers did the same thing. Conrad mentions Gagne. Bruce say a lot of people, if they trained you, they wanted their percentage. Bruce says Moolah probably continued the practice much longer because there wasn’t a lot of female wrestlers. Bruce says in 1987, Vince told her he was bring in Sherri Martel and the Jumping Bomb Angels and other women he weren’t in Moolah’s camp. Vince told her he would be happy to use her girls too, but whatever arrangement she had with them was only between them. They always paid the girls first, not Moolah.
Conrad notes that Moolah and Mae Young lived together in South Carolina. A small professional wrestler named Katie Glass also lived with Moolah for over 40 years. Donna Christianelo also lived with Moolah on and off for 40 years. Conrad encourages the listeners to draw their own conclusions. Conrad say Moolah passed away in 2007 at the age of 84 and Mae Young passed away in January of 2010 at the age of 90. Most famously, Mae went through the table from the top rope by Bubba Ray Dudley.
Bruce says when Mae went off the stage with the Dudleys through a table, Vince was adamant he wanted to see them do it ahead of time. They had a giant crash pad for Mae to go through. Vince was in Bubba’s face and told him that if anything happened to the ladies he would hold Bubba personally responsible. They get everything set up and Bubba, Mae, and Bruce are standing on the stage. Bruce is trying to get the cameras and everyone ready so Vince can see this before they do it. He tells Mae that Vince wants to see her take the bump before they do it live. Mae jumps off the stage and takes a bump by herself without the cameras or anything ready. Bubba looks at Bruce and says he thinks she will be fine. Bruce tells Mae he has to do it again because Vince wants to see her do it with Bubba. They were fearless until the end.
Conrad moves on to the next part of No Mercy 1999. We see a video from Heat where Vince tells Triple H that the match with Austin will be No Holds Barred.
Then we see the New Age Outlaws making their way to the ring where Jim Ross says they may be the best tag team in WWF history. Conrad asks Bruce at this point if they were at least the most over in WWF history since the crowd was white hot for them. Bruce says the Outlaws were a great tag team. He thinks you can go back and look at teams like the Hart Foundation and other tag teams will be in that argument.
Conrad says next out are the Hollys. Crash is carrying a scale. They are both doing a super-heavyweight gimmick where they claim to be over 400 pounds. Bob and Crash beat the Outlaws by DQ when Bob grabbed a chair and threw it in the ring, but Billy Gunn gave Crash the Fameasser on the chair. Meltzer gives it 2 and ¾ stars. Bruce thought it was horrible. He then says it was okay, just not anything special. Conrad says it felt like a throwaway. Bruce says the audience was sitting on their hands the majority of the match. The funniest part of the match was when JR asked King what “shiznit” is. Bruce says they just kind of got through the match. There was no story to it. There was so much of “let’s get through this night and tomorrow we will start rebuilding.”
Conrad says it is crazy to think that just 4 years after this, Crash Holly would pass away. They haven’t talked much about Crash. He has won the Lightweight Title, European Title, Tag Team Titles, and is famous for the scale gimmick. Conrad asks Bruce if there are any fun Crash Holly stories he can give us.
Bruce says Crash came to them through Roland Alexander. You may remember Roland from Beyond the Mat. He saw Crash as Mike Lockwood with a guy by the name of Vic Grimes. Conrad says there is a name we haven’t talked about much on the show. Bruce said they brought them into developmental. It was tough to figure out what to do with him because he worked as a leprechaun. They didn’t want a leprechaun because they didn’t have Fit Finlay yet. Vince thought that Crash looked like a cartoon character. Bruce said then he was standing next to Bob Holly and he can’t remember if it was Vince McMahon or Vince Russo, but one of them said they could be brothers. Someone said they should be cousins. Bruce said they started them working against each other as fighting cousins and it worked. They looked identical. Crash looked like a cartoon character, the way he walked to the ring and his mannerisms in the ring. He tried to present himself and work like a super-heavyweight. Bruce says the little son of a b***h got over.
Conrad asks if Bruce had anything about Crash and Bob Holly working with each other. Bruce says they hated each other. Their matches were stiff. Bob didn’t like the idea of someone coming in and piggybacking on his name. Bob wasn’t fond of it, but their matches were great because they were really beating the s**t out of each other and it helped Crash get over. Bruce says it was good. Bruce says he answered this question over the weekend, someone asked him what was some of the ideas someone could come up with that he would shake his head at. He will never forget when they were asking talent for ideas, Bob Holly’s idea was (Bruce does a Bob Holly impression) “HEY! I GOT AN IDEA! WHY DON’T YOU GIVE ME THE BELT!” This draws a big laugh from Conrad. Bruce says the follow up question was “okay, then what?” (Bruce does the Holly impression again) “THEN I BEAT EVERYBODY!” Bruce says he loves Bob Holly.
Jarrett vs. Chyna
Conrad says we go to the Good Housekeeping Match that they have covered a lot. Jeff Jarrett vs. Chyna. There is a long video package here where we see all of the times Jarrett puts women in the Figure Four. We also cover the rumor and innuendo about Jarrett holding up Vince for money for this match. Conrad is going to give the cliff notes version of the story for those of you who haven’t heard the Jarrett episode.
Jarrett’s contract expired the night before and he is still the Intercontinental Champion. The contract did not get signed, so now he is leaving. Jarrett is owed money from house shows and PPVs he’s worked and from royalties he is supposed to receive. He is concerned that if he leaves and goes to WCW, he won’t get paid. He asks that he is paid before he leaves. The rumor that he held Vince up for money is not technically true or false. He is holding Vince up for money he is already owed. Vince doesn’t have a problem with it and doesn’t blow a gasket about it. Jarrett shakes everyone’ hands on the way out. Bruce says that is correct. Conrad notes that this is his last match ever in the WWF. He would never say never in the WWE, but it looks like Jarrett is never coming back.
Jarrett loses to Chyna here. Meltzer gave the match 3 and ¼ stars. Jeff is on Nitro the very next night. Bruce finds it funny that Meltzer gave this match 3 and something stars but gives another classic ¼ star. He makes fun of Meltzer by doing some kind of nerd voice. Bruce thought it was solid. He chuckled at the finish. He had forgotten about the finish where Jeff was hitting her with the belt and they reversed the decision because the championship is not a household item. Conrad says but a guitar is? Bruce sarcastically says everybody has an acoustic guitar in their house.
Conrad asks Bruce if there were any creative differences they had to work out or was Jeff willing to do whatever. Jeff was willing to do whatever, he did everything he was asked to do. He went out and put Chyna over. They could have went out there and had a 5 minute match and gotten out of there and not done all of the spots. Bruce thought they did a great job. Conrad says what made him laugh was Jeff coming out with the kitchen sink. Conrad says this is a Vinceism. It is hilarious because he wants the kitchen sink out there. Bruce says that everyone uses the “they used everything but the kitchen sink” phrase. Bruce says he wanted the kitchen sink to be the finish. Bruce does a Jim Ross impression saying “my god! She used the kitchen sink to beat Jarrett!” Bruce thought it would be little more poetic justice for a finish.
Conrad asks what the guys thought of Chyna winning the title. Conrad says it feels like Bob Holly would have an issue with this since he is pitching things like his idea earlier. Now a woman is winning the Intercontinental Title. Bruce says in fairness to Bob, that pitch came several years later. It was just one of his favorite Bob Holly stories. Bruce says everybody liked Chyna. He doesn’t think people thought “oh my god, a woman is getting the championship.” They saw it as the story it was and just another character on the show. Conrad notes she eventually loses the title a few months later to Chris Jericho. Conrad notes that of everyone in the match, the only person in the Hall of Fame is Teddy Long, who was the referee of the match. Bruce says “holla, holla.”
Rock vs. Bulldog
Next up is a video package showing the history of The Rock and British Bulldog. Rock comes to the ring, but doesn’t bring his Tag Team Championship with him. Rock pins Bulldog in 7:20 seconds. Meltzer wrote that Rock phoned the match in. He had no heat until the signature spots at the end. Bulldog took all of the bumps, but didn’t look good. He had trouble with his powerslam with Rock getting his legs in the ropes to break the pin. Finish saw clean as a sheet with the Rock Bottom and People’s Elbow. Conrad says that he doesn’t know what “clean as a sheet” is. Meltzer gave the match 1 star.
Conrad asks Bruce what he thought of Rock and Bulldog here. Conrad speculates this is not something Rock would have been tickled with doing and more of a throw away spot for him. Bruce says Rock was put in the position to try to do something with Bulldog. Bruce says that he wasn’t the Bulldog of yesteryear. At this point, they had the match booked and had already gotten there. He doesn’t think anyone wa happy with Bulldog and not too long after this, he would be let go. Bruce said it sucked. Other than Rock’s entrance and the finish, the crowd was dead. Davey Boy came out to little or no reaction. The match was sloppy and for once, Bruce agrees with Meltzer.
Conrad says it wasn’t the best match. He mentions they talked about Bulldog’s return in the Unforgiven episode and he wasn’t around much longer after this match. Stu Hart had called Vince and asked him to hire Bulldog. Conrad asks how Bulldog’s relationship with the company ends. Bruce says he was very dependant on drugs at the time. They had an issue where they had to send him to rehab. Bruce says he was off and he thinks it had a lot to do with the demons. They didn’t have the Bulldog of old and it showed when he walked out. He didn’t have the pep in his step. His promos were never something great. And when you try to do something with Rock and it’s not working, you can’t do something with anyone. They cut bait, got him some help, and moved on.
Conrad asks if Bulldog gets fired in person. Bruce says originally, Jim Ross released him. But before that, Bruce and Ross had the discussion with him going to rehab. That is a hard discussion to have with people because when someone is messed up on drugs, they don’t want to admit it. They don’t see it. You don’t see yourself the way that other people see you. Bulldog felt like he was fine, but he wasn’t. He felt like he could function, but he couldn’t. Bruce said they wanted to save his life. So they made the decision to try to get help, but he didn’t share that sentiment. Conrad asks Bruce what Rock said after the match. Bruce says he remembers Rock wasn’t happy with it. They didn’t mesh well and Bulldog was heavy. By heavy Bruce meant that he was heavy to lift and heavy on his feet. Rock wasn’t happy with the match, which is why he wanted to get it over with. Bruce says you can feel it and almost see a look of disgust in the match.
Terri Invitational Tournament
Next up is an interview from Heat with Jerry Lawler and Terri Runnels. They are talking about the Tag Team Ladder Match and how $100,000 would be hanging above the ring. King is getting her to climb the ladder higher and higher. Terri says something like “can’t you see it?” Jerry “Oh, I can see it.” The winners get 100 grand and her managerial services. This was a best of 5 series between Edge & Christian and the Hardy Boyz. This was the 5th and final match of what was called the Terri Invitational Tournament. Conrad asks Bruce what the abbreviation for this was. Bruce says T.I.T. Conrad asks Bruce who’s idea T.I.T was and how over T.I.T was with the boys. Bruce says the original idea was Russo’s. T.I.T is kind of like TNA. Conrad likes it and clarifies that it is a Russo idea. Bruce says yes.
We go to the entrances of Edge & Christian and then the Hardys. The Hardys are accompanied by Gangrel here. They are trying to position themselves as the New Brood. Ross mentions on commentary that this is the first ever Tag Team Ladder Match in WWF history. Conrad says that so many people associate these two teams and the Dudley Boyz with phenomenal match at Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, SummerSlam, and all over the place. But this is the very first one. Conrad asks Bruce who’s idea this was and where does it come from. Bruce says the whole thing was Russo’s. This was an example of so many ways that match was for the brass ring. Bruce thinks that all four guys in this match grabbed that brass ring. They were given a platform on a PPV and they outperformed everyone else on the card.
Bruce says it is crazy that this was 18 years ago and what Jeff Hardy is putting his body through now. Matt looked like a baby in the match. All four guys performed at a level nobody had ever seen. The perspective of the Hardys changed from this cute and cuddly tag team to having to look at them in a different light. They are taking insane punishment, they took their time, and sold. Unfortunately, you don’t see enough of that today. Today you take these big bumps, then get up and go to the next spot. Here, all 4 men took their time. The spots are logical. They made sense and told a story and had the crowd on the edge of their seats. Bruce says it was the best match he had watched in the last 4 weeks. (Better than HBK/Taker in Hell in a Cell?)
Meltzer said it was a must see match and noted that if any of them make it to the top, this would be their first great match. Conrad says all of them have been World Champions. Edge is already in the Hall of Fame and he’s sure everybody else will be as well. Meltzer gave it 4 and ½ stars Conrad says it is going to be hard to top that one, but they would try for the next few years. Bruce says it was a launching pad for all of their careers and encourages you to watch this match if you go back and watch just one match on this show. Bruce is proud of all of them. He says they stepped up and went beyond what anyone expected. He thinks about Michael Hayes (Doo, Doo, Doo) always said these 4 guys had it since day one. Conrad notes that during the match, JR says “Matt Hardy, show me the money!” while it was actually Jeff at the top of the ladder. Then Jeff takes a massive bump off the ladder.
Conrad asks Bruce what wa actually in the bag. Bruce says there was only $42,609 in the bag because that is all they could fit in. They got the rest of the money in the back. Conrad asks what was REALLY in the bag. Bruce says he thinks it was a canvas bag with a sheet inside of it to give it the look of fullness. Conrad asks what the reaction was backstage when they were doing the high spots since it was things nobody had really seen before. Bruce says they got a standing ovation. Everybody was happy that all four guys were okay. Conrad asks if Bruce had a conversation with any of these guys after the match. Bruce just hugged every one of them and thanked them. He was glad nobody had to go to the hospital. Ladder matches always scare him. He hates them from the standpoint of the punishment the talent puts themselves through. He’s known all four guys since they first broke in and was a proud poppa. This leads to a commercial.
Conrad asks what Vince’s reaction to the match. Did he want more or less of matches like this? Bruce says he loved it, but there was always that concern that this time it was too much. Bruce say he went both ways on it. Conrad says it is shocking because they booked so many of these matches after this. He asks where Bruce ranks this particular ladder match. Bruce says it is in the top 5 because it was logical, they took their time, and had a great story to tell. Any time you tell a great story using the gimmick, it adds to it.
Val Venis vs. Mankind
Next up we see a video from Heat. This is where Mankind tries to offer his book to someone under the bathroom stall. Mankind thinks it is someone else, but it turns out to be Val Venis. Val attacks Mankind in the bathroom. Rock comes out for an interview, but Triple H attacks him with a sledgehammer. They carry Rock out on a stretcher and show him in pain refusing to be taken to the hospital.
Venis vs. Mankind. Conrad mentions Bruce teased this last week and says Venis beat Mankind in 9 minutes. Conrad asks Bruce what he thought of the match. It was okay. Bruce says the angle started because Mick walked into a bathroom and Val Venis got caught stuffing his shorts. That was the entire premise to start the issue between Mankind and Val Venis. It was a really big issue for 2 weeks. Then Vince dropped it and didn’t want to go back to the stuffing thing. Bruce says he doesn’t know if it was because Mick’s book coming out and he was doing so many appearance. This was one match and both guys went completely separate ways. Bruce doesn’t know if it was because the original idea was a Vince Russo idea and something Vince wasn’t totally behind. Bruce suggested going back to the stuffing, but Vince didn’t ever want to hear it again.
The conclusion to the match was a testicular claw to beat the guy who’s book you are trying to promote, who you don’t want associated with a porn star who stuffs his trunks, so you take a sock with another guy’s picture on it, grab him by the balls, and beat him. Bruce says this is an example of when people ask why things get dropped or get changed, this is an example of a “holy what the hell?” There was no rhyme or reason to any of it. Things were started and stopped. There was an ending that made no sense. Then Vince decided he didn’t like the former pornstar gimmick anymore. Then we go to Right to Censor. And then next. It was a frustration for Bruce because he liked the Val Venis gimmick. The story they told to get out of it is that he is now with Right to Censor, he cuts his hair, and he’s now against everything he used to be for. There was no real story. Bruce was frustrated with the dropping of storytelling.
Conrad notes Mankind is under the weather and was having a hard time breathing with the mask. He was moving a little slower but still taking all of his trademark bumps. Lawler is trying to advance the storyline because when Mankind reaches into Val’s trunks, they tease he may be trying to pull out the Big Valbowski. Conrad isn’t sure why he would be pulling that out. It turns out to be Rocko, which is Socko with an eyebrow. So it is Rock’s version of the sock puppet. Val gets the win by pinfall when Mankind has Val in the Mandible Claw while Val has Mankind in the Testicular Claw at the same time. They fall with Val landing on top of Mankind for the pin.
Conrad asks Bruce how Mick enjoyed working with Val and says it seems like they would get along well. Bruce says they did get along well. For the most part they had good matches. Bruce mentions the Money Shot and says Val had one of the best splashes in the business and thinks he doesn’t get enough credit for that. Another part Bruce shook his head on is that 2 matches ago, you had a Good Housekeeping match where they used tongs to grab Jarrett’s testicals, and here they are using a Rocko sock puppet to grab Mankind’s testicals and beat him. Bruce notes there is a lot of testical grabbing. Conrad says there was and you had the hoes, pimp, and former pornstar and other guys telling you to suck it. Conrad also mentions the “TIT Tournament”.
Conrad says the book doesn’t get enough credit. He mentions that Have a Nice Day is Mick’s first book. They are plugging it a lot and Mick is trying to get it on TV as much as possible. Conrad notes Mick did not use a ghostwriter. He says it is a huge, 600 page book and debuts at number 3 on the New York Times Bestseller List. It ends up reaching number 1 in December of 1999. This was the first wrestler autobiography of the sort. Conrad notes we get a huge rash of books after this book. Everyone sees success here, there is a big interest in the book world and the boys smelled money.
Bruce says Vince liked Foley’s book. The original idea behind the books was from a woman named Judith Regan. She had a book company named Regan Books. She was interested in doing some work with the WWF and they had a list of talent that they wanted to come out with books. Bruce notes they wanted Austin, Rock, and Undertaker. But Mick got the nod because they didn’t want to give them Austin right away and Foley had an interesting story that they thought would make for a good read. The book company had ghostwriter named Lou Sahadi. Bruce says you may remember that name from David Sahadi. He was David Sahadi’s dad. Lou met with Foley several times. They went over different parts of Mick’s life and Lou tried to write Mick’s book. Bruce says Mick hated it. Mick felt like Lou didn’t capture his life in any way.
Mick then went to Vince and asked if he could write his own book. Vince told him he could try, but he would really like a professional to do it. This was their first outing and Vince wanted it to be a successful one. Foley bought a bunch of spiral notebooks and hand wrote every single thing in that book. Foley would be on planes and would write in these notebooks and hand them off for people to read. It was great being on a plane with Mick because you could read his book ahead of time. Then they had someone transcribe it and type it all out. Bruce says every word in that book is Mick’s own words. it is excellent and the best wrestler autobiography that he ever read.
Next up you see Rock on a table backstage being attended to. Now it is time for the 4 Corner Elimination Match. Kane is out first. Then X-Pac. Then the Acolytes. X-Pac wins the match in a little bit of an upset in 10 minutes and 8 seconds. Meltzer wrote the match had no heat this late in the card. There was something missing with mistimed spots with Kane and The Acolytes. The finish was mistimed badly enough that the crowd was flat for it. After all of the months of building a finish where X-Pac would pin a big guy, the crowd could care less when he did. 1 and ½ star.
Conrad enjoyed the match. He liked seeing how stiff JBL could be at times. And it is always fun seeing X-Pac work with bigger guys. He X-Pac saying he wanted to take on Kane and Kane acting like it was laughable. Conrad thought it told a good enough story. Meltzer didn’t agree. What did Bruce think? Bruce asks what the hell the match was for. Conrad tells Bruce it is his show, he booked it. Bruce says that’s his point. He says it was thrown together. It was just another casualty of Russo having things booked and it wasn’t all the way thought out when he left. There wasn’t enough of a story for him or the crowd to get into. The crowd was “deader than Kelsey’s nuts.” It was a decent match and all four guys worked hard. But the audience just wasn’t involved in it. They didn’t really give a s**t who won or who lost and some of the eliminations were so damn fast you were shaking your head and wondering what just happened.
Conrad says Kane and X-Pac were an odd pairing and asked whose idea it was. Bruce says it was a Russo idea. They were the odd couple. They were actually able to function as a team. Bruce says the original idea is they had Tori as kind of a love interest with Kane, then put her with X-Pac. But the idea was people would wonder how Kane and X-Pac could work, then they became successful.
The Main Event
Next up there is a video package from SummerSlam to now, building for Steve Austin and Triple H. Triple H comes out with a sledgehammer. Vince comes from behind to try to grab it from him, but Triple H decks him. This allows Austin to get the jump on Hunter and they start brawling through the crowd. Conrad notes Austin really enjoyed fighting through the crowd and asks Bruce to confirm that. Bruce says that they did. He credits Pat Patterson for Austin fighting through the crowd a lot. Pat was the agent on a lot of these matches. He liked to do wild things. Austin’s character was a kick ass type wrestler. His character really had a reason to do a lot of those matches. Pat liked to changed things up last minute to make it No Holds Barred. Pat would lay a match out to make it the best it could be and then go back and change the rules to fit what he wanted to do in the match. Steve brawling all over the place and the issue he had with Triple H at the time gave reason for a brawl around the arena.
Bruce says the spot with the crane camera made him laugh. Conrad describes the spot. Austin spins the crane camera around and Triple H takes a bump off of it. The crowd popped huge. Bruce says the problem with it is the first angle you saw, we saw Hunter get his hand up. If they used they had laid out originally, which was the actually crane camera, it looks like it took Triple H’s head off. Bruce says overall, the match was terrific. Conrad says the finish saw Rock, who was seemingly on his deathbed 20 minutes ago, come out with his ribs taped up and carrying a sledgehammer. He tries to hit Triple H, but Triple H moves so Rock accidentally hits Austin. Triple H gives Rock the Pedigree and pins Austin. After the match, Austin gives chase to Triple H and they brawl again. Eventually there is another low blow and Chyna grabs Triple H, throws him in the limo and they leave. Austin is left laying on the concrete furious. Meltzer calls it an excellent main event and gives the match 4 stars.
Conrad says they talked about the rumor on the Unforgiven episode that Austin didn’t want to put Triple H over at SummerSlam. Conrad asks Bruce if he remembers this finish being some sort of negotiation, or was everybody happy with it because there was so many shenanigans? Bruce says everyone was happy with it because it had all three major components. It had Rock coming out and gave him and Austin something to go back and forward with. It had Triple H ending up with the championship. And Steve is still on the chase. It accomplished everything they wanted. It got everybody’s story out there. It intertwined all three stars.
Conrad says that is going to bring a close to No Mercy 1999. He asks Bruce how he would rate the show. Bruce says thumbs down overall. It was a two match card, the Ladder Match and main event. Conrad thinks the Ladder Match overshadowed the main event and asks if Bruce would agree. Bruce agrees.
Conrad says it is time for the fan participation part of the show. Someone says Jerry Lawler intentionally screwed up his lines with Terri so they would have to keep doing takes and he could keep looking up her skirt. Did Bruce produce this and if so, did he know that King was doing this on purpose? Bruce did not produce this, but would not be shocked at all that King would do something like that.
Conrad says they got lots of questions about the two fans who sat in the front row in fluorescent jackets. It seems like they were at a lot of shows that year. He asks Bruce if there was anything he could tell us about them. Bruce says they called them the Fluorescent Fans and he believes they are from Baltimore. They came to all of the live events, PPVs, and TV tapings. They always got those tickets in the front row, opposite the hard camera and wore the fluorescent stuff so they could be seen. They were really nice people.
Conrad says here is the type of questions they need from fans and asks Bruce if Godfather ever found a use for his leftover voodoo ooze in his new profession. Bruce thinks he found ways to produce new ooze.
Conrad asks Bruce if there was any particular reason that THQ picked the name No Mercy for their Nintendo 64 video game. Bruce says the WWF was usually the ones who picked the names of the games. It was done to help promote a PPV brand that they have.
Conrad says Edge has talked about being late to this show. He asks Bruce if there was a backup plan if he didn’t make it and what was the feeling in creative about him being late. Bruce says they knew he was going to be late. They felt like he was going to be there. They felt confident he was going to be there, just late.
Conrad asks what it would sound like if Paul Heyman sang Triple H’s theme song. Bruce says he doesn’t know the words to Triple H’s theme song. He then does his Heyman impression saying “give me another question. Feel free to volley now.”
Conrad asks what Cornette would say about Miss Kitty’s outfit. Bruce does his Cornette impression saying “it’s tighter than…” then stops and says he doesn’t know. Conrad says Bruce is really good today.
Foley wrote in Foley is Good that Russo and Ferrara wrote months of TV before they left for WCW and it was said to be a bunch of garbage, including Mankind asking Rock to marry him. Conrad asks Bruce if he remembers if any of those stories were true and what other ideas were scrapped. Bruce says Russo had the TVs written for the week that he left and that was all Bruce knew about and that was all Vince McMahon had.
Conrad says with X-Pac getting the win over the big men, could this have been the jumping off point of Pac getting a run with the I.C. title. Bruce says he did, didn’t he? He thinks it was another opportunity for X-Pac and Kane. But he thinks this was where we saw X-Pac branch off into singles.
Conrad says someone wants to know if Triple H ever accidentally connected with the sledgehammer. Bruce says yes, all the time.
Conrad asks why Big Show wasn’t on the card. Bruce doesn’t remember specifically. There just wasn’t a place for him to begin with. This was something they were trying to get through to regroup. When Bruce was watching the whole thing with Foley in the stall, his first thought was it was Big Show in the stall instead of Venis. Bruce can’t really answer that one because he doesn’t remember where they were going with Big Show at the time.
Conrad asks how far they considered pushing Val Venis. Bruce says there was talk at one time to push Val. There were those who felt like Val could have been a top guy. Jim Ross and Vince McMahon both felt like you could only go so far with the pornstar gimmick. Bruce thought Val could be a top guy and compete for the WWE Championship. If you’re going to be edgy, then be edgy and go for it. But don’t create those characters if you can’t push them to the moon.
Conrad asks whose idea it was for Hunter to use the sledgehammer. He notes that now it is kind of iconic. Bruce thinks it was either Triple H or Vince McMahon. They were looking for something different that nobody was using. It was supposed to be a one-off. Now it is his signature.
Conrad asks how hurt Austin was. Bruce says this was a time where Austin always had nagging injuries. He notes Austin had just came off of a knee injury. Austin used to joke that he had to put his Forrest Gump knee braces on to run to the ring. Bruce thinks Steve worked hurt a lot because it is what he loved to do.
Conrad asks why so many angles were done in the bathroom at this time. Bruce says Vince loves bathroom humor. He does his Vince impression saying “PUT HIM IN THE BATHROOM AND WE’LL HAVE A FART SOUND! THEY’LL LOVE IT!” Vince loves bathroom humor.
Conrad asks if Gangrel would have done better in the company had he not came in with a vampire gimmick. Bruce doesn’t think he would have went as far without the gimmick.
Conrad asks Bruce if there is anything else he wants to cover on No Mercy 1999. Bruce got a lot of questions about Bulldog wearing jeans to the ring. It was something Bulldog wanted to do. He didn’t wear them every single week, he wore tights from time to time as well. This particular PPV he wore jeans to try to look different.
The night after No Mercy, Raw in Columbus, OH draws $312,000 with 10,843 fans. Only 1,400 shy of a sellout. The show opens with Rock doing a promo about his title match with Triple H. Austin comes out and says he deserves another shot because Austin costed him the match. We would also see Mae Young challenge Moolah to a match and they have to do a bit of a pull apart with them. Mark Henry sees a 4th sex therapist. The Hollys win the Tag Titles from Mankind and Rock when Triple H does a run-in and pedigrees Rock.
Conrad says the news coming out of the show comes out of the Observer. Meltzer wrote that there are no plans to use Shawn Michaels on TV for the foreseeable future. He has heat with most of the top guys and management. A lot of it stems from his web chat where he complained about Austin as champion not putting over Triple H cleanly at SummerSlam. Conrad asks if Bruce remembers this. Bruce says Shawn wasn’t difficult to deal with, he was just an a**hole and went into business for himself. At the time, Shawn just didn’t want to do anything. So he would do controversial things and just wonder what the WWF would do now. He thinks Shawn liked having that heat. He got what he wanted.
Conrad says around this time, a Canadian newspaper reported the WWF had luke warm interest in buying the Canadian Football League’s Toronto Augrunaunts. Conrad asks if Bruce remembers there being any discussion about this before the XFL. Bruce says they were looking to buy a Canadian football team.
Conrad brings this up because it hope it will win a poll one day, the initial evaluation of the WWF stock before it went public with 17 percent of the company being put on sale to the public at $137 million would make 100 percent of the company worth $806 million. That would make the remaining 83 percent of the stock owned by the McMahons worth $669 million dollars. By the end of the first day of trading, the McMahon family stock would have been worth on paper about $1.56 billion. But that was back down at the end of the day to $1.23 billion. Conrad says the company’s stock at this point in 1999 is worth $1.7 billion dollars. This is the hottest the company has ever been. Conrad says going public changed the company, the industry, and the McMahon family forever. Bruce says definitely. It changed a lot of people’s lives.
They lay out poll choices for the next week. Doink ends up winning.
Conrad plugs the bonus episodes incentives for liking their Facebook page. They plug their shows, merch, and social media.
The show ends with another flashback to the WrestleMania XV episode.
Rating: 7/10. I enjoyed this show for the most part. Some of the jokes fell a little more flat than they wanted. But I enjoyed hearing about Bruce’s take on what happened in Detroit. The insight into the U.K. PPVs was really cool. I had no idea about the rumors surrounding Moolah. But, given that the tournament was called the Mae Young classic, I think there may be some truth to it. I found the Terry Taylor story to be very interesting. And Bob Holly suggesting that he wins the belt is hilarious. The actual show of No Mercy 1999 wasn’t very newsworthy. The Ladder Match was a classic. The main event was good. The rest is forgettable. But the stuff going outside of the show was very interesting. I would recommend listening, even if you have to listen in doses.
No Mercy card at 1:26:06
Moolah’s dark past at 1:54:30
Reactions to Chyna being champion at 2:16:24
Tag Team Ladder Match at 2:22:47
Foley’s book at 2:40:01
Twitter questions at 2:50:50
Denny Walker Crum has been watching wrestling for as far back as his memory will allow. He is a radio personality at a hip-hop radio station in his hometown of Toledo, Ohio. He has done stand-up comedy and starred in several independent, local films. Wrestling has always been his first love. He also performs as a wrestling manager for an Indy promotion based in Toledo. He most famously was body slammed onto thumbtacks and stinkfaced by Rikishi in the same night. Follow Denny on Instagram and Twitter @Dcrum26