Quick wrestling story because it amuses me.
One of the low level benefits of this WWE 24-7 thing is the random unintentional comedy that pops up where you least expect it. For instance, one of the main features every month is the “Old School” selection where they play a couple of random Madison Square Garden or Boston Garden or Philadelphia Spectrum shows that aired locally in those markets but never anywhere else. First off, the format is kind of fun, because since the shows were used in local markets as blow offs to feuds (in the days before monthly pay-per-views), the match-ups are decent. But since its not a national program, they don’t clog down the show with a million interviews or segments or other crap. Basically, its just match, match, match. Yeah, the wrestling is kinda shitty (as most 80’s WWF was), but you get some cool match-ups, and the occasional unique moment as they try to give just enough hook to bring the arena audience back for the next month. But again, it’s not a regular “program”, so the production values are completely thrown together, to wit: the announce teams. They’re never the same. Depending on what year and what arena, you’re bound to get some bizarre combination of A-list guys like Gorilla Monsoon, Vince McMahon, Bobby Heenan, Jesse Ventura; B-list guys like Lord Alfred Hayes and Gene Okerlund, and completely random C-list guys like Johnny Valiant or Sean Mooney or Jimmy Hart.
So last night, in an attempt to stay awake while my clothes were drying, I punched up an MSG show from late ’91. In addition to seeing what was, I believe, the first *televised* Hogan vs Flair match (which was “eh”), it also included the bizarre triple mix of Vince McMahon, Bobby Heenan and Lord Al Hayes. Now clearly Hayes is out of his league here, and better yet, he knows it. Heenan is a whirlwind, putting over and putting down everybody who’s name is even mentioned. So his Lordship quickly fades into the background and says next to nothing of note for the entire show. Meanwhile, McMahon is still “Vince McMahon, announcer” at this point in time, so he’s doing his best to be the straight arrow play-by-play nice guy. But hints of the Mr. McMahon to come are displayed. During one particularly boring match, Hayes goes silent for at least ten minutes. I mean, he says NOTHING, to the point that you forget he’s even there. McMahon calls a move or something and then finishes the thought with, “You alive over there Alfred?”. The pure randomness combined with McMahon’s clear annoyance that Hayes is doing jack shit was enough to crack me up. But Hayes tops it, as he INSTANTLY pipes up with a very enthusiastic “Yes, indeed!”, to which McMahon sardonically replies, “Well, that’s good.” Al then proceeds to go off on a two minute rant about the match while Heenan and McMahon stand by in stunned silence. Pure genius. It’s the kind of shit you never get today because all the shows “have meaning” and there’s nary a wasted breath.
A little later in the show, Hayes chimes in with a completely ridiculous comment on somebody’s ring strategy and McMahon fires back with this incredulous, “Why on EARTH would you think that?!” Again, cracked me up to the point that I laughed a solid minute plus.
I know, I know, stupid stories both, but I’m telling ya, there’s gems hidden where you least expect it.