Thursday, January 28, 2016

Jimbo Goes to the Movies: "Creed" (2015) Review

A fun, reverential re-do for the #BlackLivesMatter Generation or just another needless cash grab pandering to identity politics?

By: Jimbo X

It's one of the great celluloid debates: are the Rocky films, inherently, racist?

It's a long-standing conviction, to be sure. Over at Bro Bible, author Neil Bulson described the theory in 2012 about as succinctly as I've heard anyone put it:

"The Rocky movies are, like Hoosiers, basically a white man’s fantasy. Every single one of them is built around the white man triumphing over the black man, who is basically used throughout the series as a symbol for everything that’s keeping the white man from getting his piece of the pie."
But is that really the underlying subtext of the franchise?

Now racism - as we should all be keenly aware of by now -  is a word with a peculiarly malleable meaning. At heart, however, most definitions of racism entail two things: a conviction that one kind of people are generally inferior than other kinds of people and the belief that those allegedly inferior people deserve less humane treatment because of said "inferiority."

With that conceptualization of "racism" in mind, when we look back at the past six Rocky films, it becomes a bit of a stretch to cite any of them as furtive or overt celebrations of Aryan supremacy. In the first (and best, naturally) film, the movie firmly addresses that Rocky is an inferior pugilist compared to a number of ethnic fighters. And as Mickey states, it's not affirmative action keeping Rocky down, but his own sloppiness and unwillingness to listen to others.

The 1976 original introduces Rocky getting his ass kicked by a Hispanic boxer. Later on, he ends up getting kicked out of the gym so a black boxer all of the trainers agree is better than Rocky can hone his craft. And of course, Apollo Creed battered and bruised Rocky for at least 10 of the 15 rounds in their first tilt - and had the climactic bout in Rocky II gone the distance, the Muhammad Ali doppelganger likely would have won another facile decision.

It's not really until part three that we can even discuss the idea of the Rocky mythos being anti-black (or pro-white.) In this installment, the Italian Stallion loses his belt to a trash-talkin', street-brawlin', perpetually angry African American (shame on you if you don't know who I'm talking about, fool) and decides that the only way to win his belt back is to travel to L.A., seek the tutelage of Apollo and more or less learn how to fight black (complete with plenty of high-larious insensitive remarks from comedic relief wino Paulie.) However, the film ends on something of an "ebony and ivory" moment, with Rocky and Apollo putting their differences behind them and starting a legitimate - if not a tad homoerotic - friendship. Then Sylvester Stallone started doing a lot of cocaine, so the next installment had super powered Russians and talking robots in it.

While the much-maligned Rocky V had a white antagonist (who later died from AIDS), the real villain of the movie is George Washington Duke, an obvious Don King expy. While some have argued that the casting represented some kind of anti-black-businessman sentiment, the general consensus in the boxing world is that everybody - white, black, Hispanic and Asian - hate Don King for turning the sport into a clusterfuck of nightmarish financial finagling, thus ensuring mega-fights never happened, boxers remain "locked" into training camps and nobody really had any ability to go out there and make money for themselves anymore. In that, Duke more or less represented corporate interests killing boxing, with the concluding street fight a metaphor for the now obsolete boxing business practices of yore. In Rocky Balboa, the eponymous character was never posited as the equal of African-American challenger Mason "The Line" Dixon (played by real life boxing champ Antonio Tarver, if you didn't know.) Rather, that movie was about Rocky coming to grips with the loss of his wife, coping with widowhood and using a virtually meaningless amateur boxing match as means of physically triumphing over his own sorrow. Tarver's character was never meant to be someone you hated; he was just someone who was there, and at the end of the day, he still kicked Rocky's ass.

In none of the Rocky movies was it ever postulated that the white man was a superior athlete. In fact, in virtually all of the Rocky movies, the black fighters are depicted as far more dedicated, talented and motivated people, whose abilities - physically and mentally - far exceed those of Rocky and it is only through Rocky's near-impossible ability to withstand head shots (and a tremendous amount of puncher's chance) that he's ever triumphed over the likes of Apollo Creed and Clubber Lang to begin with.

Unsurprisingly, Creed - essentially the seventh film in the Rocky saga - is a bit of an apologist take on the character. Here, Sly Stallone's iconic pugilist is little more than background noise, periodically peering out of the shadows only to display his brazen ignorance of modernity (at one point, he is perplexed by what "the cloud" is) and impart his old white guy wisdom and on the series' new central character, Adonis "Donny" Johnson, who as fate would have it, just so happens to be one of Apollo Creed's many illegitimately sired offspring (where do they come up with such outlandish, stereotypical plot points, huh?) 

Donny is portrayed by Michael B. Jordan. He's the guy who played the Human Torch in that god awful Fantastic Four movie nobody wants to remember. He's also the star of Frutevale Station, a critically-acclaimed 2013 movie you haven't seen that was also directed by Creed auteur Ryan Coogler. In a lot of ways, this Creed is the exact opposite of Balboa; despite having a rough start, drifting in and out of juvenile halls, Jordan's character is ultimately adopted by Apollo's widow, who affords him a life of luxury and - dare I say it, privilege - in the hills of Hollywood. Alas, even though Creed, Jr., has a cushy job and a college education, he just can't stop himself from wanting to punch people unconscious, so on the weekends, he treks down to Tijuana and beats up on Mexicans for a couple of pesos. Eventually, the call to brawl becomes so deafening that Creed - who spends most of his free time watching clips of the first Rocky movie on YouTube - decides to quit his well-paying job and train as a boxer full-time. So he goes down to his daddy's old L.A. gym, beats the shit out of one of the world's top boxers but then he gets his ass kicked by the world's top pound-for-pound boxer, an uncontrollable Chav from Liverpool (boy, I wonder if that's the last we see of him?) 

This goads Creed to travel to Philly, where he seeks the training of a certain Italian-American pugilist. Of course, Rocky wants no part of it, but after Jordan tells him he's the secret love child of Apollo Creed, he kind of changes his tune. Since Paulie has died since the last movie, Rocky gives Creed his room, complete with his old porno collection. Rocky purists, however, should be pleased as punch that Rocky's turtle from the first movie remains alive and well.

So, Balboa teaches Creed, Jr. the fundamentals and he wins a fight against this one Hispanic kid that also trains at the gym. It garners him a lot of attention, but oh shit, it also means everybody in the world knows he's Apollo Creed's son now, and he doesn't want to live in his daddy's shadow. However, it also nets him a championship bout in Liverpool against "Pretty" Ricky Conlan, the same guy that whooped his ass back in L.A., so maybe it is not that bad of an arrangement. 

Then it's subplot city. Creed meets this one DJ girl, and she's slowly going deaf and he goes to watch her perform and he almost gets killed by a rapper. Then Rocky takes Creed to an even grosser, slimier gym so he can learn to really fight like a European (sort of a weird role reversal from Rocky III) and we learn Rocky has Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and since that's what killed his wife he don't want any chemo and Creed has to convince him to seek treatment because if he doesn't he'll probably die and nobody will be there to corner him for the big U.K. bout. Oh, and there's a cameo from the guys from Pardon the Interruption,  and fucking STITCH from the UFC joins Creed's camp. 

It's all a lead-up to the big rematch, and it's a hell of a barn burner, I tell you what. Without giving away the ending, let's just say there is a lot of blood on the canvas in this one, and any time you have large, moderately overweight women in the back row jumping out of their seats and screaming "that's right, hit his ass!" you know you're watching a damned fine cinematic brawl. And the final, final scene is a pretty nice homage to one of the most iconic scenes in the pantheon of Rocky movies, but like I said, I ain't going to spoil it for you.

Overall, I really enjoyed this one. I think Coogler may have set out to make some kind of political statement, but early on he probably realized, "you know, I'm making a fucking Rocky movie, let's cut the political shit and just make something entertaining with a lot of faces getting rocked in slow motion." And in that regard, Creed excels. Without question, the fight choreography in this one is exceptional, containing two of the absolute best boxing sequences I've seen at the movies in a long time. Creed's first pro fight is a dizzying achievement of modern film-making, a super up-close, uninterrupted two-round donnybrook essentially captured in one take. The grand finale is equally awesome, from Creed's slow, first-person perspective walkout to "Hail Mary" by Tupac to the absolutely killer later round montages incorporating Bill Conti's immortal strings (although one REALLY has to second guess why Jordan's recollections of a father he literally never met becomes his driving impetus when it looks like all hope is lost.) 

Of course, some of the nods to the older films come off as cheesy. Probably the worst offense is a segment in which Creed barrels down the streets of Philadelphia, while being escorted by a gang of motor-bike ridin' locals, as Stallone flails his arms from outside his second story window like a retarded Muppet. I mean, I guess it's something you have to do in a Rocky movie, but with anybody other than Balboa hisself doing it, it just comes off as self-parodying.

Probably the weakest link in the movie, however, is the casting of Jordan as Creed's love child. To me, he never really came off as a "real" fighter. As his love interest in the flick actually says in the movie, he just doesn't look "street" enough to be a scrapper. Even after he gets all swoll and stuff, I'm just sitting there like, "yeah, he can't take an actual punch." His acting chops are versatile, to be sure, but toughness is something you can't fake. Stallone looks tough. Wesley Snipes looks tough. Carl Weathers definitely looks tough. Michael B. Jordan, on the other hand, just looks like a guy you had in your college algebra class. Still, he's able to parlay that dorkiness into some pretty memorable moments - including the most hilarious scene in the flick, where he gets pre-fight - and pre-shits - jitters. 

Stallone really doesn't get to do too much. Basically, it is him just mumbling and saying a bunch of prole philosophy platitudes, but as a foil to Jordan's more modernistic alpha male, the character still works. Granted, it's nowhere near as emotional as his performance in his last go at the character in 2006 - which really should have garnered him an Oscar nod - but he nonetheless brings a nice bit of familiarity to the fray ... it's just that, at times, that familiarity becomes a bit too familiar

As far as pathos and connecting with the characters, I didn't feel as invested in Creed as I have the previous flicks. However, it's certainly a more visceral and authentic film than parts 4 and 5, with action scenes that rival the best the series have ever witnessed. As a spiritual successor to Rocky Balboa, it suffers a bit, but as a standalone movie, it holds up on its own rather well. Granted, its hard to accept a boxing movie with Rocky Balboa only serving as emotional support, but once you do, you'll find this one to be a hell of little popcorn offering.

Heading into the picture, my worst fear was that it was going to be a needlessly politicized reboot that merely used the established Rocky iconography as a referential palette. Thankfully, Coogler and Co. decided to steer away from the cinematic activism and attempt to forge their own trail in the wide-open Rocky cosmos. While the film isn't perfect - trust me, there are more than a few groan-inducing moments - as a whole, it does a commendable job paying respects to the previous six flicks without ever feeling like a halfhearted try at emulating what has already proven to be successful. It's similar enough to give you the good kind of nostalgic feels but dissimilar enough to make you appreciate it on its own terms. That, and like any good Rocky movie, it makes you leave the theater wanting to kick somebody's ass - indeed, I almost uppercut an usher on my way out to the lobby. 

In short? Creed is a really, really good mass-consumption movie. Let's just hope that, alike its Rocky forerunner, it too doesn't become bogged down in a marsh of wholly unnecessary - and increasingly by-the-numbers - sequels.

My Score:


Monday, January 25, 2016

Taco Bell's EVEN NEWER Crunchwrap Sliders!

I hope you like semi-spicy, junk-food-laden Hot Pockets variations with contents that resemble vomit!

By: Jimbo X

Even when Taco Bell isn't that great, it's still fairly enjoyable. Granted, the products have a tendency to run together due to their textural and mouthfeel similarities - if you told me to describe the difference between a Sriracha Quesarito and a Daredevil Loaded Griller (any of those motherfuckers), I don't think I could - but who cares if everything on the menu is fairly indistinguishable? What matters is that the Bell, even at their lowest level, is still affordable, filling and gustatorily satisfying enough to warrant indiscriminate nom after indiscriminate nom. Their almost-monthly product variations may not be getting any points for originality, but they score plenty of points when it comes to consistency

When I first started working on this article, I totally forgot that I had already covered the first wave of Crunchwrap Sliders last year. As such, I assumed that I was ordering four all-new products, but in reality, just two of the Sliders you can pick up at the Bell in early 2016 are original items. So if you are wondering about the quality of the two returning offerings - which are modeled after breastaurant sampler menu favorites, thematically - do yourself a favor and click this link right ' chere.

The Sliders themselves are pretty interesting little menu offerings. They aren't quite burritos, but you can't really call them tostados, either. Instead, they remain in this weird fast food interphase, as if a quesadilla and an enchilada were locked inside the teleportation machine from The Fly. That they come in paper pouches more befitting bread sticks just adds to their offbeat uniqueness. 

Aesthetically, they ain't much to look at. They are just slightly toasted tortillas wrapped up in a pseudo-pentagon shape, with a whole bunch of weird shit sealed inside them. They are fairly bulky, though, and their misshapen forms - you ever try to wrap up chunks of chicken and Frito's without the end outcome looking bumpy? - give the Sliders a certain eccentric charm. 

As far as our new dining options are concerned, we've got two new items to chew on. First, let's take a gander at the Sriracha Chicken Crunchwrap Slider, why don't we?

You know, it is a good thing these products are wrapped up tight, because if anyone saw the internalized contents displayed all open-face-like, dry heaving would probably ensue. Make no mistake, this stuff is uglier than homemade soap; the blend of puréed chicken, corn chip fragments and neon orange sauce looks less like something you would eat than something someone has already digested and barfed right back up.

Alas, if you can overlook the fact the product looks like ginger sauce-soaked cat food dumped inside a tortilla, you'll discover a fairly enjoyable fast food offering that is actually quite a bit spicier than most Taco Bell selections. The chicken is a little watery and the Fritos really don't add much at all to the formula, but the sweet chili flavor definitely makes everything come together. It is an odd mishmash of  textures and shapes, to be sure, but all in all, it is not a bad little novelty burrito. 

So there is already a Beefy Cheesy Nacho Slider out there, but the SPICY BEEFY NACHO CRUNCHWRAP SLIDER ups the ante by, uh, making it spicy? Yes, yes it does, indeed. And not unlike its Sriracha Chicken cousin, this thing looks all sorts of disgusting inside the tortilla. Shit, I'm half-tempted to post an up close photo of an open sore or my latest bowel movement; I highly doubt anyone would be able to distinguish them from the utter grossness of what the foodstuff actually resembles. 

Fortunately, although the product may look like diarrhea spray squirted all over a soft taco shell, the product itself is pretty yummy. This is definitely one of the spiciest Taco Bell products to come out in a long time, with the molten-cheese-soaked beef and Fritos chunks doused in a savory, smoky, Jalapeño ranch dressing that I am pretty sure the company has never trotted out before. Sure, it is no Lava Sauce, but it definitely does the trick. Overall, this thing may be nothing more than just a slight tweaking of a pre-existing product, but hey; at least it is one hell of a re-tweaking, no? 

OK, so these newfangled Crunchwrap Sliders aren't exactly going to set the fast food world on fire. Yes, they are rather formulaic and hardly adventurous remixes, but when the end product is so sinfully delicious, who cares? Simply put, the two newest Sliders - despite looking like rolled up barf - are really, really tasty, and at just one dollar a pop, you can scarf down enough of them to give you gastrointestinal regret for less than it costs to buy a decent spiral-bound notebook. It's classic Bell, through and through; familiar, affordable, aesthetically revolting, probably unhealthy as hell and unquestionably delicious. 

When it comes to drive-thru dining, looks and originality are both vastly overrated. While other fast food giants try to church up their line-up with pretentious, overpriced "premium" offerings, the Bell continues to excel in economical, on-the-go nomming, with these latest Sliders demonstrative of the franchise's formulaic greatness. They may not be the prettiest or most creative foodstuffs out there, but ultimately? I reckon I'll vouch for such satisfying, cost-effective sameness over pricey, ostentatious "innovation" any day of the week.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

This Week in Social Justice Warrior-dom

A fond look back at all the things that had ultra-P.C. jihadists OUTRAGED ... before they forget all about them in just a few days.

By: Jimbo X

#OscarsSoWhite, #ButCriticismSoHypocritical

For the second year in a row, no African-American people have been nominated for one of the big four acting categories at the Academy Awards. This brazen lack of diversity has inspired several black Hollywood heavy hitters to take to the Web and protest, including Spike Lee, who is most certainly not pissy because his satire about Chicago's gun violence epidemic being solved by women going on a sex strike was a box office bust, and Jada Pinkett Smith, who is OBVIOUSLY not being a sourpuss about her husband not getting a nod for putting on quite possibly the worst Nigerian accent anyone in history has or could ever attempt. Despite some unforgivably level-headed anti-protest remarks from the director of Menace II Society and the original Aunt Viv from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, non-entertainment yapping heads  have nonetheless been vocal with their displeasure. On Twitter, The Rev. Al Sharpton compared Hollywood to the Rocky Mountains, stating "the higher u climb, the whiter." Of course, that's more than a bit inaccurate, seeing as how the president of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences is a black woman, and that Paramount Pictures, Walt Disney, Sony Pictures, Warner Bros., MGM and Universal are all run by Ashkenazi JewsOh, and the most powerful man in the Screen Actors Guild, the national movie star labor union? As it turns out ... he's kind of black. Looking at the hard data, even the assumption that black actors aren't earning their fair share of Oscar nods is a load of it; since 2000, black actors - who represent roughly 10 percent of all SAG actors - have received 10 percent of all Academy Award nominations, and they are actually winning them at a rate disproportionate not only to their SAG baseline, but even the nationally representative one. Blacks in total only represent 12 percent of the U.S. population, but they're taking home 15 percent of all acting Oscars in the 21st century. Which sort of begs the question, if it's so bad for Caucasian actors to represent a lion's share of professional actors, then shouldn't we also collectively be outraged by the disproportionate number of black athletes in the NBA and the NFL, or the fact that 20 percent of all Nobel Prizes go to Jewish individuals (despite the fact they only make up 0.2 percent of the global population?) Alas, let's see just how much traction those #SuperBowlSoBlack and #EconomicsSoHebrew hashtags pick up...

Clueless Star Chastised for Chastising BET

Speaking of the #OscarsSoWhite brouhaha, the controversy has given us one of the most hilarious Twitter wars in quite some time. On an episode of Fox & Friends, Stacey Dash - i.e., that super hot black chick from Clueless who is only one-thirds actually black - said it was pretty hypocritical for Melanated-Americans to rip on the Academy Awards when BET and its eponymous awards show seem to embrace ethnoracial isolationism. Naturally, this led to BET and its president Stephen Hill berating her online - to which she responded with a bevy of linguistic knockout blows, stating BET stokes racial embers, encourages segregation and is hypocritical for not wanting ethnic diversity on their own platform. "My problem goes back to the notion that every arena of life needs to break down exactly according to the demographic ratios," she said, "except in those arenas in which black people have decided they want to have their own space." 

A Dozen Children of Slain Black Man Get to Attend College for Free

Last July, Samuel Dubose was shot and killed by a University of Cincinnati police officer. On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day - which I am sure is just a coincidence - the university announced it would pay DuBose's family $4.85 million, give them a personal apology from the university's president, erect a monument to DuBose - who was arrested on marijuana charges no less than 25 times - on campus and, the kicker, grant tuition free undergraduate education to all 12 of Dubose's children - a sum tantamount to half a million smackers. Now, I am no scholar when it comes to affirmative action, but that just reeks of "pending lawsuit" to me. So, uh, if the Dubose kids' can't pass the entrance exam and tank the S.A.T.s - posting scores way lower than the school's bare minimum - do they still get in? And what if they get in and the first semester, they flunk all their classes? Will the university keep financing them as they fail course after course, or will the professors just give them a "C-" and push 'em on out to a diploma anyway? It's no doubt tragic what happened to the DuBose family, but in the long haul, one has to wonder if this "reward" isn't taking the white guilt penance a bit too far. And of course, this means the state of Louisiana is going to give free LSU tuition to the family of the six-year-old autistic child who was shot and killed by black policemen last November, and that the child Dillon Thomas never got to see be born gets his pick between a free Utah or Utah State degree, right? 

A Birthday Cake for George Washington yanked from bookstores

Hey, remember the Scholastic Book Fair when you were a kid, and they rolled out those metal book shelves and you could convince your mama to give you $20 to spend on some overpriced picture book that you read once and never looked at again? Well, one of the more modern Scholastic offerings ain't generating a whole lot of positive press: A Birthday Cake for George Washington, an illustrated book based on old wooden teeth's personal chef, has been pulled from circulation for what some have described as "whitewashing" the abject awfulness of slavery. Following a petition to yank the title off Amazon (which, really, is the modern day equivalent of book-burning), Scholastic officially capitulated and ordered a recall. Interestingly, the book was penned by a half black Iranian and edited by Andrea Davis Pinkney, a black woman and Coretta Scott King Award recipient. Strangely, the furor comes shortly after another illustrated offering, A Fine Dessert, drew similar criticisms for not making slavery out to be the absolute worst thing human beings have ever done to one another. Which means, yes, over the course of a year, we have somehow been able to have not one, but two controversies emerge surrounding children's books seeking to explain American slavery through the central motif of pastries. 

Black Protesters Block San Francisco Bay Bridge to take Stand Against ... uh, something?

To commemorate the life and legacy of a man who copied and pasted his way through college and was told he was "too good" to marry a poor white woman, several protesters decided the best way to honor MLK was to make traffic near the San Francisco Bay Bridge really shitty for a half hour. Two dozen representatives of the #BLM offshoots Black Seed and the Black Queer Liberation Collective staged a stand-in Jan. 18, halting bridge-bound motorists for 30 minutes and creating one of the worst traffic backups to hit the Bay Area since the Oakland Raiders were any good. In a joint statement, the groups said they were blocking the lanes to bring about "divestment of city funds in policing, investment in affordable housing, the resignation of Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, the termination of San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr and Oakland Police Chief Sean Whent and the termination of police officers involved in several recent shootings." The road-blockade tactic has been employed elsewhere, most notably in Atlanta, Boston and Minneapolis. Alas, those demonstrations proved little more than juvenile posturing that failed to bring about any sort of public policy change. Apparently, making people wait even fucking longer in traffic - shockingly - might not be the best way to get people to rally behind your causes. 

Cognitive Dissonance Reigns Supreme When Beloved Black Liberal Writer Attacks Beloved White Liberal Politician

In a Democratic idol smackdown, liberals of all hues of the rainbow are chomping their nails down to bloody red meat now that Ta-Nehisi Coates - the author of the supremely overrated tome Between the World and Me that all of the enlightened types claim to have read but haven't even looked up on Wikipedia - has turned his ire towards Democratic presidential candidate (and horrible mathematician) Bernie Sanders. Writing for The Atlantic, Coates rails against Sanders, simply for the fact that he said he was against issuing reparations to the descendants of slaves (the black ones, not the white ones, and especially not the white ones who were enslaved by Africans.) "One cannot propose to plunder a people, incur a moral and monetary debt [and] propose to never pay it back," Coates states, which in a roundabout manner, also serves as a damning rejoinder to Sanders' fleet of proposed entitlement program expansions. Intriguingly, this has led to a number of Sander's most ardent Afro-American defenders to mercilessly attack Coates - among them, Sanders' ATL BFF Killer Mike. At least one melanated Sanders supporter saw Coates' essay as a furtive endorsement of a certain presidential candidate who, on at least one occasion, has allowed Bill Clinton's sperm to penetrate her Alcatraz-like womb. "To me, it became automatically disingenuous and became a hit piece - a powder puff piece to support Hillary Clinton - because you are trying to make Bernie Sanders go through the hoops you would not dare ask of Hilary Clinton," said renowned African American YouTuber Benjamin Dixon. "Who has asked Hillary Clinton about reparations and wrote an intellectual thought piece from the pen of someone with such political influence in the black community? Nobody."

Dementia Addled Nonagenarians To Be Put on Trial for Crimes Against Humanity

While Germany is currently besieged by a flood of women-hating Muslim rapists victims of American imperialism who are slowly learning and adapting to modern European culture, the Krauts have turned their judicial organs towards ironically rounding up the last of the alleged Nazis and putting them on trial for their atrocious, murderous behavior. Of course, both 95-year-old Hubert Zafke and 94-year Reinhold Hanning served what could only be described as infinitesimal roles in the S.S. - the former was a low-ranking Auschwitz medic and the latter is merely suspected of maybe being a guard at Auschwitz for a year -  and major questions surround their respective mental competencies to stand trial. Sure, it may be nothing more than a charade to make all those terribly confused Huns and Heinies feel a little bit better about themselves (as well as deflect their contemporary worries about an unacceptable target back to the most acceptable target in the history of humanity), but who doesn't ironically love degrading Nazis to the point of subhuman scum? Meanwhile, in less reported Holocaust-themed news, plans were announced for the construction of a luxury resort atop a concentration camp in Montenegro once held by Italian fascists and at least nine Israelis so far have been arrested for their roles in a massive death camp tourism price-fixing scandal

Georgia Judge Resigns After Talking About How People Used to Use the "N" Word

Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Roger Bradley announced his resignation earlier this week, following an investigation that revealed he used the one word no white person can ever say for any reason at any time ever in a hearing last March. Per investigators, Bradley asked Fannin County prosecutor Morris Martin a question about a witness whose neighborhood nickname was "Nigger Ray."  Bradley's alleged in-court statement is worth printing, in its entirety:
"When I first moved up to this county in 1974, I was actually introduced to a fellow who lived right here behind the courthouse and he referred to himself, as did everybody else in town, not in a disparaging manner, as Nigger Bob. That's what everybody else addressed him as, but the comment you just made about one of the witnesses is known as Nigger Ray, but not in a disparaging context, is that a spin-off of the same family?" 
And it was for that unforgivable transgression that Bradley lost his job of 15-plus years. Sigh, if only some high-ranking, African-American legal scholar would just publish a book explaining how the term can be used in "a rich of panoply of contexts" so we could settle this word war once and for all, no

Man High on Marijuana Stabs Grandma to Death, Rapes Own Mother

Kevin Havelow, Jr., 23, of Lower Oxford, Penn. decided to smoke some chiba with one of pals and take his mama's car out for a joyride at one in the morning. When Mama Havelow said she wasn't too keen on having Kevin's pot-smoking pal spending the night, he flew into a dizzying rage, accusing his mom and grandma of "preventing him from having a normal social life, including having a regular girlfriend and smoking marijuana in the house." So how did Mr. Havelow respond? He raped his mother in front of his sister, went into his 81-year-old grandmother's bedroom, raped her, then stabbed her 20 times with a kitchen knife until she was dead. Well, shit ... maybe Reefer Madness was on to something after all!

...and a few headlines that speak for themselves...

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Revisiting the 1991 Royal Rumble!

It's a nostalgic look back at the WWF at the height of its early '90s glory ... and holy hell, are there are a lot of dead wrestlers in this one. 

By: Jimbo X

NOTE: This article is dedicated to the late, great Harry Simon, whose retro-tastic recaps of pro wrestling follies remain some of the most entertaining stuff you'll ever find on the Intrawebs. Thanks for the memories, Captain Clusterschmazz. - THX, MGMT. 

Even though I haven't watched a full pro wrestling event since George W. Bush was in office, a little piece of my heart - the same piece that enjoys eating raw cookie dough and furtively playing Flash-based Sega Genesis games at work - still professes a great interest and admiration of the Theatre of the American Proletariat. As I've said many times before, professional wrestling is pretty much the best stupid thing out there; whereas literally everything else in American society tries to reinforce its own self-importance, 'rasslin is pretty much the only cultural institution I can think of that actually revels in its own asininity and incredulity. In a world cluttered with pretentious bullshit, pro wrestling stands out as the complete antithesis, taking excessive pride in being totally ridiculous and utterly needless nonsense. 

While pro wrestling can rightly be considered weird form of performance art - indeed, I'd consider some of the high-end puroresu and lucha libre contests to border on ballet-caliber beauty - sometimes, even the violent grace of a Kawada/Misawa masterpiece is a bit too intellectual. And when even barbed-wire, exploding ring swimming pool death matches fail to get your retard juices flowing, there's only one resource to turn to ... the Royal fuckin' Rumble

Oh yes, that beloved annual rite, the Rumble. Forget the unheralded artistry and kinesthetic brilliance of performers like Ric Flair and Ricky Steamboat, this is pro 'rasslin in its purest, rawest essence. The epic showcases have sometimes featured as many as 40 grapplers going at it in a survival-pool battle royale where pinfalls and submissions don't mean shit and the only way to prove your superiority is to pick up your opponents by their ballsacks and throw 'em over the top rope like yesterday's garbage. Although the contests largely comprise of huge, indistinguishable masses of flab and steroids vibrating in the four corners of the ring for an hour and half, it's nonetheless about as exciting and engaging as pro wrestling gets. Nonfans will never grasp the inherent greatness of a Shinsuke Nakamura/Hiroshi Tanahashi battle, but by golly, everybody can enjoy the simple pleasures of watching fat and muscular people trying to throw each other to the floor. 

While modern Rumbles have taken on a new-found storyline significance (from 1993 onward, the victor of the contest is automatically awarded a championship match-up at WrestleMania), the older events were about nothing more than pride and honor, to see which wrestlers had the most stamina and longevity and ability to point at the ring ropes and raise their hands in the air, pantomiming dropping some lard-o on his tuckus (which probably  explains why Hulk Hogan won so many of them back in the day.) 

While wrestling purists (read: virgins) tend to cite the 1992 Rumble as the best of 'em all, I'd probably go with the 1991 iteration as my all-time favorite. Back when video stores still existed, I used to rent the VHS copy at least once every couple of months. To this day, I really have no idea why I liked it so much; none of the matches were really that great and the Rumble itself was fairly uneventful. Still, it had that aura, that sense of time and place being absolutely perfect. It was Hogan, Warrior, Savage, Sgt. Slaughter and The Million Dollar Man in their prime, with soon-to-be legends like Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker slowly coming into their own. You could get better matches a few years down the road, but as far as general atmosphere, this was about as good as the WWF really got in the 1990s. 

But 25 years later, does the George H.W. Bush Era magic still linger? Only one way to find out, folks: time to fire up that VCR, hit play, and let the good times roll...

Before we get into the main card, we have ourselves a 30-minute long pre-show hard sell for the PPV, featuring Sean Mooney - who looks and sounds just like conservative gas-bag Sean Hannity - on the mic. He explains the Royal Rumble rules and runs down the Warrior vs. Sgt. Slaughter Championship bout. Eh, I guess I need to give you some background, no? The Ultimate Warrior - who was supposed to be the successor to Hulk Hogan - had been champion for about a year. Alas, he was never the draw Hogan was, and the WWF decided to pull the plug on his championship reign. Instead of having him drop the belt directly to Hogan, however, it was decided that Warrior would lose the title to Sgt. Slaughter - who had been recast as a Saddam Hussein sympathizer, right at the height of the first Gulf War - who, of course, would go on to have his ass kicked by the All-American (and black person hatin') Hulkster at that year's WrestleMania. 

Mooney reads a statement from WWF President Jack Tunney, who says Slaughter's views on the Gulf War do not represent the company, or even Arab people in general ... which is immediately followed by previously recorded footage of the Iron Sheik saying a bunch of menacing-sounding Arabic shit on Brother Love's talk show. 

The Ultimate Warrior - canonically, I think he was supposed to be some kind of intergalactic Indian - responds with a completely indecipherable promo, prompting Mooney to respond with the deadpan remark "some very emotional comments from the title holder." 

After some more hard-selling for the PPV WHICH IS STARTING IN JUST 20 MINUTES YA'LL, Mooney recaps the Rhodes family/Ted Dibiase rivalry. Apparently, it stems from the Million Dollar Man trying to buy Dustin Rhodes' ringside seat on an episode of Saturday Night's Main Event, which by proxy cost Dusty Rhodes a countout loss against Randy Savage. More footage reveals Dibiase referring to Texans as the lowest form of life imaginable, except for his man-servant Virgil. Who is black. 

Sean Mooney, ladies and gentleman. THE Sean Mooney

From there, we get a nice overview of the Barbarian/Big Bossman feud, which was spurred by Bobby Heenan's nonstop insults directed towards the Big Bossmom. We get five solid minutes of Heenan riffing on Bossman's mom, calling her the stat of "Godzilla Eats Cobb County" and the consumer of 90 percent of the nation's beans, which, yeah, is pretty much the best thing ever. Oh, and there is some shit in there about the Rockers and the Orient Express, but really, who has time for that kind of stuff? 

The next ten minutes, we get a rundown of all 30 participants in the Rumble, with a few extended shit-talking segments from the likes of Hogan, Mr. Perfect, Jake the Snake and Earthquake, who is about as intelligible as Don Vito from Viva La Bam. And now? It's time for the pay-per-view portions of the evening, fellas and, uh, fellarettes? 

Oh, and because we are morbid-ass people, I'm going to keep a running tally of all the people featured on the PPV who, as of January 2016, have since passed on to the great canvas in the sky. Think we can accumulate enough after-the-fact corpses to fill up an all-deceased Royal Rumble? 

The show proper begins with a still shot of a waving American flag. Cue the National Anthem, as an instrumental, accompanied by tons of shots of kids in the arena sporting dumb haircuts. 

We get a quick highlight video name checking this year's Rumble participants, who include such illustrious wrestlers as Hulk Hogan, Bret "Hitman" Hart, The Tugboat and Saba goddamn Simba, which even by pro wrestling's lenient standards, is still racist as fuck.

We are coming to you LIVE from the Miami Arena in southern Florida/northern Cuba, as Roddy Piper (CORPSE COUNT: One) cuts a slobbery promo about the first Gulf War. Calling the action alongside him is Gorilla Monsoon (CORPSE COUNT: Two) in a bright red blazer, which he apparently got on loan from Richard Pryor.  

Howard Finkel introduces the New Orient Express, comprised of Pat Tanaka and Kato (who would later go on to portray the WWF's first wrestler citing the Moon as his hometown) and managed by Mr. Fuji (who unbelievably, is still alive.) Their opponents? The Rockers, Marty Jannetty and Shawn Michaels, sporting puke blue, purple and gold britches with confetti-looking streamers glued all over them. 

Fittingly enough, the Express tries to Pearl Harbor the Rockers, but they shake them off. Jannetty ties up with Kato to begin the bout, and secures a traditional headlock takedown. Roddy tells us that's not a submission move, per se; rather, it is meant to apply pressure to your opponents lungs and wear them out. Kato gets an armdrag, and Marty fires back with a scissors roll and a bridging nearfall. Tanaka gets the tag, and in comes Shawn, who immediately goes to town on his foe's arm. Tanka hits Shawn with a flying forearm smash, and its time for an extended chinlock sequence. Gorilla reminds us the winner of this bout gets a tag team title shot against the Hart Foundation. Shawn bangs the Express' heads together, and he follows it up with another chinlock. Cue a "We Will Rock You Chant" from the crowd, which is weird, but still not as weird as hearing the fans shout "Whoomp! There It Is" over and over again at mid-'90s WCW shows. 

Shawn applies a sleeperhold. While the ref's back is turned, Kato sneaks in a cheap shot. Tanaka responds with a nice leg sweep, and Roddy reminds us about the WWF's policy on open-handed punches only. Shawn hits a moonsault - remember, this was back when NOBODY did any twisty-looking shit - and it is time for a good old fashioned, four-man donnybrook. In a great sequence, the Rockers hit stereo dropkicks and follow them up with dual suicide slides to the outside. For early 1990s WWF, this is actually some fairly intense stuff. 

So Kato crawls back in and Michaels almost gets a near-fall. Jannetty gets the tag, and we default to a lengthy headlock sequence. Shawn goes back in, hits a high suplex, and the Orient double teams him. Shawn is dropped throat first on the top rope, and Mr. Fuji uses the downtime to whack 'em once with his cane. And remember, that's one of those Japanese canes, and God only knows what kind of super-hard wood they make their shit out of. 

Tanaka with more throat chops. USA chant. More chopping from Tanka, and one of of those weird leapfrog jumping attack thingies on Shawn's kidneys. Jannetty breaks up the pin attempt. Tanaka still working the throat. There is an extended nerve pinch sequence, which prompts Piper to ironically state "there's no gas shortage here." 

Kato gets the tag. Gorilla talks about how well the Express is cutting the ring in half (proverbially, not physically.) Tanaka crescent kicks Michaels. Double clothesline nets a two-count for Tanaka. It's a classic "Memphis-style" tag bout now, with one of the good guys getting the dogshit beat out of him be them evil foreigners, desperately in need of the hot, redemptive tag from his hyper eager-partner. Of course, Marty gets the tag and cleans house with a million billion scoop slams and dropkicks, but he only gets a two-count on a Kato power slam. 

Michaels and Tanaka brawl on the outside. Jannetty gets a backslide pin, but Kato reverses, but who gives a fuck, because he only gets a two-count. Michaels trips up Kato, Jannetty gets another near-fall. Double kick from the Rockers. Michaels goes up top but Tanaka kicks him off. A slingshot from Kato allows Tanaka to brain chop Marty. But Shawn comes in at the last second, allowing Jannetty to secure a sunset flip pin out of nowhere. It's pretty rudimentary stuff by today's standards, but for the time, that was actually some pretty hot shit, especially considering the slow as molasses stuff that comprised 85 percent of most WWF matches. 

Mooney is in the back with the Macho Man (CORPSE COUNT: Three), who said Sgt. Slaughter will give him a title shot if he wins the championship tonight. As insurance, he's hired the Sensational Sherri (CORPSE COUNT: Four) to go out and "bait" the Ultimate Warrior (CORPSE COUNT: Five) into giving him the same guarantee. 

So Sherri is on an interviewing platform with Mean Gene, with a picture-in-picture in the bottom corner of the screen showing Savage watching intensely. She challenges the Ultimate Warrior to give the Macho Man a title shot, labeling him "yellow" from the top of his head to the bottom of his toes. Sure enough, this prompts the champion to come out, rocking some super patriotic regalia - including  red white and blue tighty-whities and a Chuck Norris-caliber red and black leather jacket. 

Ahh ... were would the wrestling world be without pandering to the lowest common denominator?

All right, I guess I should've mentioned the historical context of this way earlier. You see, this PPV aired right before Operation: Desert Shield kicked off in Saudi Arabia, which was the predicate for Operation: Desert Storm (aka, that time George H.W. kicked the dogshit out of Saddam Hussein, but for some reason, never finished him off.) As such, the hyper-patriotic pro-wrestling fan base was stirred up into a militaristic tizzy, and the WWF was totally stoked to keep the pro-USA/killing brown foreigners sentiments a-raging. As anyone who recalls my recap of WCW's "Dixie Dynamite" card would remember, the fake-fighting business was more than eager to keep the jingoism rolling, even though the actual fighting was more or less over and done with by March '91.

So back to Sherri - who looks like Cher, if Cher did a lot of heroin - as she attempts to seduce the Warrior by touching his chest, rubbing his "big, wide back" and complimenting his "wonderful hair." After he rebuffs a smooch, she gets down on her knees and begs him for a title shot ... not at all looking like she's about to give him a BJ or anything. 

So, Warrior hocks a loogie on the floor, starts shaking like Michael J. Fox getting electrocuted and screams "NO!" much to the crowd's delight. After he pounds his chest and leaves, Savage goes BERSERK in the locker room, breaking all kinds of shit and threatening to kick the champion's ass right then and there. 

Up next, we've got the Barbarian - some sort of steroid-addled, time-displaced Viking warrior who wears antlers and a fur pelt - taking on the Big Boss Man (CORPSE COUNT: Six), whose canonical day job is jailing' sum bitches in Cobb County, Georgia. Oh, and the whole reason they are scuffling is because the Barbarian's handler, Bobby Heenan, won't stop saying hilariously mean things about Boss Man's mama. 

A lock-up to begin. Boss Man gets the best of an early exchange. Barbarian takes a tumble to the outside and gets a good eye-rake in, which he follows with an ax handle smash. Boss Man (we will just call him "Boss" to save bandwidth from hereon out) catches him and tosses him over the top rope (which, as we all know, would've gotten him disqualified had he done such in rival company WCW at that point in time.)

Piper says these are among the two best athletes he's ever seen, meaning Piper in his storied career has seen at least two wrestlers before. Barb gets a suplex. Boss is down, but not out. A roundhouse right sends Boss reeling to the outside, and oh snap, he gets his leg tied up in the bottom two ropes, allowing Barb to tee off on him. Barb untangles Boss and slams into a metal ring post, back first. He wails on the canvas, and Heenan gets a few free kicks in while the ref is distracted. 

Boss rolls back in and Barb continues to stomp him. Boss sells a backbreaker like his back really is broken. Cue an extended bear hug sequence, with Boss slowly starting to fight back. And check this dude in the front row with an air-brushed denim Warrior jacket and a sweet mullet (hell, he might even be a young Eddie Guerrero, for all I know.) More elbow drops from Barb, but they only net a two-count. More bear-huggery. Piper says Boss needs to try to leverage out of the hold by doing something to Barb's crotch. He instead headbutts him and takes a chunk out of forehead. Rather dirty tactics for an alleged "face" and law-keeper, eh, Boss Man?

So Boss gets an enziguri and a near fall. Now Boss is totally on the offensive. Barb with a two count on a roll-up attempt. A slingshot, uh, shot, sends Barb to the ropes, with a two-count on the follow through. A double knockdown following a clothesline-thingy. Barb lands a top-rope clothesline, but Boss gets his foot on the bottom rope to interrupt the pinfall. Boss retaliates with a sidewalk slam, and Barb ripostes with an eye poke and weird piledriver-looking thing. He goes up top again, but Boss reverse the cross body on the mat and picks up a three count out of nowhere. 

We go to the back, where Sean Mooney is interviewing that dastardly turncoat Sgt. Slaughter and the Iron Shiek, who cuts a promo in what I assume to be Farsi. (Which, as it turns out, is the language of Iran and NOT Saddam's Iraq, but hey, who's counting?) Slaughter calls his adversary the "Ultimate Puke" and promises that his winning the title will cause "turmoil like you've never seen before," and that Warrior's weeks, days and hours have ceased being numbered. This leads to a Mean Gene interview with the Warrior, he says he only takes orders and doesn't give them. Then he says something about a grain of sat and a foxhole leading to defeat and that only demented people would follow Slaughter. 

So, Slaughter saunters to the ring with Sheik waving the Iraqi flag. Piper uses the time to discuss the merits of the First Amendment and that while he doesn't like Slaughter's politics, he certainly believes he has the right to express his unpopular opinion. A kid holds a sign that reads "Gomer is a traitor," which makes me ponder how the hell a six-year-old circa 1991 knew who Gomer Pyle was. Dudebros pump fists for the Warrior when he comes out, with kids throwing their little wrestling buddy dolls in the air like they just don't care

As expected, Warrior comes out swinging, clotheslining everybody for AMERICA, dammit. He breaks the Iraqi flag pole over his knees and rips the flag itself in half, much to the crowd's jubilant, jingoistic, delight. 

Warrior beats Sgt. with the flag remnants, choking him with the fabric and shoving the cloth in his mouth. The match begins proper, with Warrior whupping that ass with clotheslines every which-a-way. Out comes Sherri, whom Warrior chases to the back, only to get Pearl Harbored by Macho Man, who pummels him with a guard rail and sneaks off back to the locker room. 

Warrior stumbles towards the ring, as the fans chant "USA." Sgt keeps breaking up the count-out so he can win the belt (titles can't change hands, per wrestling convention, unless its by pin fall or submission.) Warrior starts to slowly "Warrior Up" - you know, all that shaking the ropes and "raising the roof" retarded shit he does. It's a short comeback though, as Sgt. goes back to working the back with elbow drops and stomps. WHICH MEANS IT IS CAMEL CLUTCH TIME, MOTHERFUCKERS. But Warrior's feet are dangling outside the mat, so the ref waves it off. Warrior starts dancing around like a possessed Injun and clotheslines Sgt. a million billion times before finishing him off with a flying shoulder tackle. But dabnabit, here comes that wicked Sherri, whom Warrior gorilla press slams to the outside onto Macho Man. 

That allows Sgt. to attack Warrior from behind. Macho whacks Warrior with a scepter, which allows Sgt. to pick up the easy three count. A loud "bullshit" chant ensues once Sgt. is announced as the new World Champ. Warrior storms back to the locker room to chase down Maho Man, while Sgt. celebrates his title win with the Iron Sheik. Without hyperbole, this is a greater travesty than the Holocaust. 

Presumably, Gorilla's shades give him the same enlightening worldview Piper experienced in They Live

Up next, we've got a throwaway bout between Koko B. Ware and The Mountie (accompanied by Jimmy Hart, of course.) Piper throws a shoutout to Michael Nelson for "kicking butt" in the Middle East, and promises to buy the returning troops a big glass of "skim milk, and maybe something else." 

Monsoon said the Mountie uses "mounted police submission tactics," which apparently includes the art of holding the back of one's head and pressing down on their nose like a ketchup dispenser. He slams Koko's head into the ring post and starts goose-steeping. Piper says "damn it," but quickly amends himself to "dog gone it." Yeah, not much more to say about this one - The Mountie wins, in case you were wondering. And you don't.

Sean Mooney is backstage with Macho Man, with Warrior trying to break the door down. At the announce desk, Piper and Gorilla recap the Warrior/Savage feud, and what the ultimate outcome of Slaughter's victory means for the WWF. 

Mean Gene is in the back with Slaughter and Sheik, the latter of whom is probably high on cocaine. Unlike other military leaders, Sgt. says he has no boundaries, and that as maggots, we are all summarily dismissed from the interview. This is followed by a lengthy pre-taped segment, featuring fans outside the arena talking about how much they support the troops.

Now it's time for a million-trillion Royal Rumble promos. Hogan said he is going to military bases all over the U.S. to encourage the troops, because the D.O.D. shot down his proposal to tour the Middle East so he could presumably Atomic Leg Drop the Republican Guard.  To recap the hype videos: Jake the Snake hates Rick Martel, Earthquake is all jumpy and hates Hogan, Greg Valentine want to use his "hammer" to crash down on 29 other people and Jim Duggan is literally retarded. 

More hard-selling from Piper and Monsoon. Piper talks about having dinner with Virgil, which once again involves discussion of "skim milk." Backstage, Mooney interviews "The Million Dollar Man" Ted Dibiase and his tag team partner, Virgil, who is literally his slave. And yes, Virgil just so happens to be an African-American. In the year 1991. 

Anyway, they are taking on the father and son combo of Dusty (CORPSE COUNT:Seven) and Dustin Rhodes, who would find greater success in the ring portraying a homosexual, anthropomorphic awards statue.  There's a lot of animosity between Virgil and Dibiase, with the abusive Dibiase perhaps pushing his man-servant a bit too hard as of late. Regardless, they begin the contest by attacking the Rhodes' from behind, with Dustin landing a sweet drop kick on Virgil, who is immediately chided by his "master." Ted gets the tag and proceeds to beat the dog shit out of Dustin, until Dusty gets the tag and locks the Million Dollar Man in a sleeperhold - which is promptly broken up by Virgil. 

Dustin gets back in and a dropkick finds its mark on Ted. Virgil breaks it up, and Piper - in defense of the American prole - said he enjoys riding a jet ski more than he does a yacht. Dibiase slams Dustins' leg against the ring post, and Virgil unintentionally strikes Ted. Dibiase responds be beating the holy hell out of his own partner. Dusty comes in and starts wailing on Dibiase, but Ted is nonetheless able to weather the storm and secure a flash roll-up pin out of nowhere for the victory. 

Post-match, Dibiase criticizes Virgil, telling him to go get his Million Dollar belt - canonically, Dibiase is so rich he had his own damn belt made just for him - and wrap it around his waist like a good pickaninny. Virgil, instead, throws it to the mat. Dibiase tells him to think of his poor ass family and mama. And Virgil smashes him in the face with the strap, as "the capacity crowd" goes wild. 

And we have one last round of hype videos before the Royal Rumble proper kicks off. Hulk dedicates the Rumble to the troops, mispronounces the word "firepower," and can't remember who Saddam Hussein is. Yeah, you need to YouTube this shit

Having a black wrestler come out carrying a spear and wearing a loincloth. Yep, nothing insensitive about that whatsoever!

For those of you requiring an overview of how the Royal Rumble works, it's pretty simple. Two men start scuffling in the ring, and every two minutes, another entrant enters the fray. The only way to win is to toss your opponent over the top rope to the mat below, and the last man standing once all 30 men have entered is the winner. 

Entrant number one is Bret Hart. Entrant number two is Dino Bravo (CORPSE COUNT: Eight), so it's basically an all Canadian jamboree to get things rolling. 

Greg "The Hammer Valentine" draws slot three. He eliminated Dino Bravo and beats up Jimmy Hart for good measure. Entrant no. 4 is Paul Roma, a.k.a. the shittiest Horseman ever, alongside his manager Slick, who I totally forgot was still employed by the WWF that late into the 1990s. 

Bret headbutts Valentine's ass for no reason. No. 5 is the Texas Tornado, Kerry Von Erich (CORPSE COUNT: Nine), back when he still had a leg. And, uh, was all alive and stuff. No. 6 is Rick "The Model" Martel, and No. 7 is none other than SABA fucking SIMBA, who is bodybuilder Tony Atlas literally portraying a spear-chucking bushman from the African jungle. 

Tornado puts "The Claw" to Roma. No. 8 is Bushwhacker Butch, and Martel eliminates Simba. 

No. 9 is Jake the Snake, who makes a beeline for Martel. Jake gets a huge ovation when he beats the fuck out of the French Canadian model with short-arm clotheslines. No. 10 is Hercules (CORPSE COUNT: 10), who teams up with Power and Glory partner Roma to pound on the Butch. 

No. 11 is Tito Santana. Roma is eliminated trying to send Jake over the top rope. No. 12 is The Undertaker ... accompanied by Brother Love and not Paul Bearer ... who immediately eliminates Bret. No. 13 is murder suspect Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka. Taker eliminates Butch. 

No. 14 is the British Bulldog (CORPSE COUNT: 11), who allegedly drugged his wife's OJ so he could anally terrorize her. No. 15 is Smash from Demolition. Martel eliminates Jake. 

No. 16 is Hawk (CORPSE COUNT: 12) from the Legion of Doom. Half the ring gangs up on him. No. 17 is Shane Douglas, rocking the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Creamsicle orange underwear. Superfly and the Texas Tornado are eliminated.

No. 18 is ... nobody. Well, that's some shit. No. 9 is Animal from L.O.D., who rescues his tag team partner from the Taker. Monsoon lets us know whoever had the 18th spot has officially forfeit his spot in the Rumble. A double L.O.D. clotheslines eliminates the Taker, but Hawk gets dumped immediately afterwards. 

No. 20 is Crush (CORPSE COUNT: 13) of Demolition. He helps Smash double team the Bulldog. No. 21 is Jim Duggan. Piper tells us the Rumble requires a lot of strategy, and that if he were in that motherfucker, he'd be going after the guys who have been in the match the longest. No. 2 is Earthquake (CORPSE COUNT: 14), who immediately eliminates Animal.

No. 23 is Mr. Perfect (CORPSE COUNT: 14). Brilliantly, he takes his sweet time ambling to the ring. Although he is assailed by Duggan as soon as he steps through the ropes, he manages to eliminate Hacksaw in no time. 

No. 24 is Hulk Hogan, who gets a huge ovation because its a good 25 years before we all knew he was a racist. He eliminates Smash and tangles up with Earthquake, who teams up with Hercules to pound the Hulkster.

No. 25 is Haku, rocking some awesome rainbow britches. Valentine is eliminated after 44 minutes in the bout. Martel chokes Hulk with his tattered shirt.

No. 26 is Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart, who for some reason, never tag-teamed alongside Gred "The Hammer" Valentine. Quake tosses Santana, and Perfect tries to eliminate Hulk. Quake ass smashes Douglas, and I laugh a hearty laugh. 

No. 27 is Bushwhacker Luke, who is instantly eliminated by Earthquake. No. 28 is Nasty Boy Brian Knobbs, who once lost the physical tag team belt while smoking weed with Willie Nelson. Hercules is eliminated. No. 29 is Warlord, who was basically Goldberg before Goldberg was Goldberg. Hulk eliminates Crush, then drops Warlord. 

And the final man in? Tugboat. Apparently, Savage was supposed to be No. 18, but he got scared Warrior would come after him and kick his anus. And with all of our contestants in, it is time for things to get really rocking.

Douglas is eliminated. You know, the whole bout, Monsoon kept putting him over, talking about him being a hot up and comer. I wonder what went wrong there?

Down to the final ten. I think. Quake steps on Perfect, and Piper apologizes for saying "living hell." Hulk eliminates Tugboat and Perfect gets dumped by the Bulldog. 

Martel eliminates Anvil and Bulldog gets rid of Haku. Our final five? Hulk, Quake, Bulldog, Martel and Knobbs. Bulldog eliminates Martel, who was in the contest for 53 minutes. Quake and Knobbs eliminate the Bulldog and double team Hulk.

Following some ass splashes from Quake and a few elbow drops from Knobbs, Hulk HULKS UP and double clothelines both of those motherfuckers. He boots Knobbs clean out of the ring and Hulk starts unloading on Quake ... for the troops

Hulk punches out Jimmy Hart and Quake reverses a body slam attempt by the Hulkster. Quake retaliates with another elbow drop onslaught. The fans chant for Hogan, and he HULKS UP again. He no sells Quake's punches and hits the big boot and a body slam. Then he dumps him to officially win the 1991 Royal Rumble.

Cure "Real American," as the Hulkster does his iconic poses and shows off some of the fans' posters, including one that reads "Peace in the Middle East" and another stating that Saddam and Slaughter will both surrender. Piper screams "God Bless America," Hulk waves Old Glory, says his prayers to the man upstairs and this one is all over, folks. 

Relevant then, and relevant now, brother. 

Well, that was some stuff, wasn't it? As little more than a set-up for WrestleMania VII, it wasn't a half-bad PPV, especially considering the timeframe. For those wondering where we went from there, the Hulkster did indeed whoop Slaughter's ass and take back the World Heavyweight Championship, and Warrior exacted his revenge against the Macho Man in a now-classic "loser-most-retire" match (in which Savage stayed retired for all of eight months.) While Virgil didn't win his independence from Dibiase, he did earn himself some new-found self-respect, and with it, the eternal friendship of one Rowdy Roddy Piper. And oh yeah, Jake the Snake and Rick Martel fought each other with burlap sacks over their heads in a match that more or less consisted of them running into the ring posts and stretching their arms out like Frankenstein for ten minutes. All in all, it very well may have been the best $39.99 you could have spent on anything in the year 1991

While nothing on this card was Ric Flair/Ricky Steamboat in their prime-quality 'rasslin, overall, it was a pretty entertaining little show, with a way better than average for the company tag team opener and a satisfying, all-star clobber-a-thon featuring all sorts of grappling giants and titans of the squared circle, many of whom have since gone on to that great wrestling ring in the sky. Yes, it is antiquated and outmoded and and corny and cheesy and sometimes groan-inducing, but this Rumble maintains a sense of temporal quaintness, serving as a time capsule for not just early 1990s U.S. pro wrestling, but really, early 1990s American popular culture in general. 

As a cultural relic, I'm not sure what kind of relevancy this two and a half-decade old PPV has, but certainly, it has some sort of vintage value. It's dumb and it's semi-offensive and you can't help but scoff at how lame parts of it are, but as a whole? It's hard to not walk away from this show with a big, dopey grin on your face. And in the end, isn't that the whole point of 'rasslin - and really, the entire entertainment industry - to begin with?