Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Jimbo Goes To The Movies - 'The Crash' (2017) Movie Review

Get ready for The Least Action Hero - cinemadom's first libertarian vigilante takes on the Federal Reserve in the doomsday market collapse thriller The Crash.

By: Jimbo X

Something dawned on me when the Academy Award nominees were announced - Hollywood is literally trying to declare celluloid jihad on middle America now.

Let's take a look at the movies the Academy selected as the nine best of the year that was. With the sole exception of Mel Gibson's Hacksaw Ridge - an absolutely awesome throwback to the wartime dramas of the '50s and '60s, complete with people getting curb stomped on grenades and dudes using bifurcated corpses as human shields against Tojo fire - every last one of the nominees was meant to slight the heartland viewing bloc. Nowhere is this more evident than the 14 nominations bestowed to a movie so full of blow-hard Hollywood leftist gas that they literally named the damn thing after themselves - La La Land

All I can say is sweet Hosanna, this is the WHITEST movie ever made. You thought that ultra vanilla dollop of pure Caucasoidness that was Boyhood was unbearably, excruciatingly white? Well, La La Land is so white, it makes the former grand champion of white suburban cinema look like Shaft in Africa

That a movie THIS unabashedly waspy racked up more than a dozen nominations after all of the #OscarsSoWhite hubbub, it's almost as if AMPAS CEO Dawn Hudson WAS TRYING to stretch her labia out like a Stretch Armstrong doll so she could intentionally spray as much privileged white piss all over the place as possible. It couldn't have been a more racially cognizant "eff you" had the Oscar steering committee retroactively nominated Triumph of the Will in its place.

The rest of the Academy Award nominations really aren't that impressive, neither. Hidden Figures and Fences are both boring, by-the-numbers odes to white guilt that were nominated solely because of affirmative action, while Arrival and Hell or High Water are both rudimentary genre films that got an Oscar bump because of their actors and directors - despite being subpar and/or mediocre works compared to the rest of their respective canons. Manchester By the Sea is LITERALLY just Ben Affleck's brother walking around in the snow being all pouty for two hours and Lion is actually just an extended commercial for Google (no, I am not making that up.) But the one that I find the most interesting from a social psychology perspective is this one called Moonlight

Now, the whole reason Moonlight was nominated is because last year, the Academy decided that they were going to give The Birth of a Nation all of the Oscars so people on Twitter would stop telling them they're racist - but then, the guy who directed The Birth of a Nation was revealed to be a dude who may or may not have raped a white co-ed in college, and because liberals care more about gender than color, that automatically made the flick (in no small part due to self-moralizing blow back from the very same people who were heralding it as the preeminent text of the Black Lives Matter movement just months earlier) a financial and critical flop. So the Oscar big wigs - seemingly randomly - plucked this obscure coming of age drama as this year's substitute Great Black Hope. 

So, what's this heavily hyped Academy Awards underdog about? Well, basically, it's about two gangbanging crack dealers in love, following their romance of the ages as they grow from little seven year-olds checking each other out in their swimming trunks to middle schoolers making out and jerking each other off after geometry class before realizing "no homo" and hitting each other upside the heads with chairs. Then they don't talk to each other for a decade and one of 'em calls the other up to come visit his restaurant in Miami and this causes the main character to have a nocturnal emission and after he visits his drugged-up mama at rehab he scurries all the way down from Atlanta to tell his old butt buddy how much he's missed him and then they spend they rest of the movie hugging and swapping spit on the beach.

The Daily Emerald called it "courageous" and "compassionate." Miami.com likewise used the word "courageous" to describe the film. ThatMomentIn said the movie "is a work that transcends the genre, a film of such power and courage it redraws lines on the map." Writer/Director Barry Jenkins "handles the material with courage," says one reviewer at Blu-Ray.com. And naturally, Twitter is abuzz with suspiciously Caucasoid commentators labeling the film as "courageous art."

Now can someone tell me how exactly Moonlight is a "courageous" film? Hollywood's been celebrating black cinema nonstop since 1990 and praising LGBT cinema nonstop since 2000. There's absolutely nothing we see in Moonlight we didn't already see in Brokeback Mountain almost 15 years ago, with the SOLE difference maker being the melanin levels of the cast. Take out the "down-low" gangsta' love story and you have yourself little more than another awfully generic woe-is-Black-America street-survival yarn. What sort of heroism does Moonlight promote? That simply liking your sex in a different hole is enough to grant you status as a martyr? Of course, you really can't make the characters literal martyrs, because that means having to admit that inner city black culture is immensely homophobic, and anything that calls into question the compatibility of the great intersectional Axis powers is strictly verboten. In a culture that views homophobia and racism as the most unforgivable of social transgressions, making a movie championing gay black men is pretty much the LEAST courageous thing you can do. What's so controversial and daring and brave and bold about saying something 99.9 percent of the mass media zeitgeist already believes is a moral imperative? 

Right there, you can see the greatest rift between the Hollywood and East Coast liberal elites and the rest of the middle class (and lower) American movie-going masses. To the lefties, "heroism" means nothing more than yelling the party line and waving the team colors. You don't actually have to do anything for anybody else to achieve Hollywood's version of "heroism." Simply existing in an alleged "climate" of antithetical ideologies and values by default makes you Oskar Schindler 2017. Throughout Moonlight, the main character doesn't do a SINGLE good deed or display one act of selflessness or altruism. But because he's both gay and black and other black kids at school pick on him, we're automatically supposed to believe he's some sort of messianic figure? Something tells me the Chosen People out there in Movie-World need to re-read the Book of Matthew - Jesus isn't a hero because he got the shit beat out of him, he's a hero because he HELPED a whole hell of a lot of people before getting the shit beat out of him. 

Hollywood - and really, contemporary liberalism - has convinced itself that suffering alone constitutes heroism. This is in sharp contrast to the moral bedrock of Middle America, where courage actually requires some sort of external qualifiers. The West Coast/East Coast identity politics aggrievement machine is dedicated wholly to self - what YOU experience (or perceive to experience) makes you a "hero," they tell the young 'uns - while flyover country (itself, a nice jumble of white, black, liberal and conservative populations, all tied together by common socioeconomic factors) believes that heroism can only come about via selflessness. In fact, the American laypeople consider this so critical to the moral foundation of its youth that Ted Behar's MovieGuide lists "films about selflessness" ABOVE its recommended viewing for "films of faith." Religion is just dandy in the eyes of middle America, but without actually being WILLING to help out others, they're well aware all that time warming the pew is for naught.

Meanwhile, Hollywood values tell you all you have to do is sit on your ass and profess some sort of marginalized status and you ARE noble and courageous. And when THAT is the central message you're trying to instill into the hearts and minds of our gilded youth - one that completely inverts the 300-year old American prole definition of valor - maybe you shouldn't be surprised one iota that box office sales continue to fall and fall and fall some some more.

Even playing a low-rent Stephen Hawking, John Leguizamo remains the most animated thing about the new anti-Federal Reserve libertarian vigilante action movie The Crash

Anyway, speaking of things Hollywood doesn't care about no more, our movie of the week The Crash answers the question Americans of all ages, sizes and ethnicities have been wondering for over a decade now: what exactly happened to John Leguizamo? You know, the guy who played Luigi in that ill-fated Mario Bros. movie and had his own sitcom on Fox for about three minutes in the mid-1990s? The guy who played the morbidly obese Joker ripoff in Spawn and the world's most flamboyant methamphetamine freak in Spun? The dude who despite being very, very Hispanic in appearance, tone and mannerisms was cast by Spike Lee as a stereotypical Italian mook in Summer of Sam and whose big breakout vehicle The Pest crashed and burned at the cinemas worse than Paul Walker's last drag race?

To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time Leguizamo's been at my local cineplex since Land of the Dead - a movie that came out 12 years ago - and unfortunately, it ain't exactly a performance that'll be garnering the L-Man any "comeback of the year" honors. Here, he plays this paraplegic techno nerd who screams "we're flashing red!" like he's chewing a mouthful of marbles every time his plasma screen monitor lights up, and trust me, he gets to say that a lot since the premise of The Crash is that the Federal Reserve is false flagging a huge economic collapse so all the banks bailed out in 2008 will be able to collect a ton of stocks at rock bottom prices by the end of the week. 

The thing is, there's this one guy in Chicago who they're trying to set up as a cyber terrorist responsible for the attack, but he's not entirely sure whether or not he should play ball with 'em and he spends half the movie weighing his options while walking around this central command station he set up in a random suburban mansion and a nuclear powered sub that supposedly powers 5 percent of the total Internet just sitting out there on Lake Huron because George W. Bush apparently forgot about it one day. And then, on the morning the Feds push the big red panic button (interestingly enough, the film takes place in an alternate reality where Hillary Clinton won the election) and everybody starts getting into fist fights to get to the ATM machine first and France and England are severing diplomatic ties with us and people are going on Twitter to type "we're all doomed" in all capital letters, that's when he's got to make the decision that'll alter the course of humanity forever: does he appease the chairman of the Federal Reserve Board and nuke a virus they intentionally set loose on the New York Stock Exchange mainframes, or does he take another look at his daughter and say "dagnabbit, we can't let the banks KEEP printing money all willy-nilly!" and tell him to buzz off?

This being perhaps the first paranoid libertarian vigilante action movie ever - which means our heroes just sit in front of a computer the whole dang time complaining about the moral ills of fiat currency - I think it's pretty much a given how our Facebook-age John Galt is going to respond. But therein lies the drama, folks - will we at least get one more monologue from the dastardly board chair while he's giving the heads of Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo a tour of an abandoned carnival before then? 

We've got no dead bodies. No breasts. No motor vehicle chases. No kung fu. Gratuitous Hillary Clinton impersonator. Gratuitous Muller yogurt product placement. People getting roughed up by bank officers. Multiple monologues about the perils of low liquid reserves. And if this whole Paulxploitation trend keeps chugging along, something we're probably going to be seeing a whole hell of a lot more of at the movies - Google Fu.

Starring Frank Grillo as the world's first libertarian action hero, whose feats of cunning and courage include briskly getting up from a computer in one room to go check out a computer in an entirely different room; Minnie Driver - yes, that Minnie Driver - whose face looks like botulism city and who occasionally throws paperback books at her husband's face; and Christopher McDonald - yep, Shooter McGavin himself - who at one point explains how the U.S. stock market was based on clowns being chased around by bears back in the late 1700s. 

Directed by some guy named Aram Rappaport, who originally wanted to call it Jekyll Island and had to leave the final product on the shelf for two years before somebody finally came along and wanted to take a look at it. 

Two and a half stars out of four - not a shabby little no-budget post-B-movie thriller at all. Jimbo says give it a gander, if you're living by one of the three movie theaters in North America that's actually screening it.

Monday, January 30, 2017

There Is No 'Muslim Ban,' You Idiots

There is a LOT of media-perpetuated misconceptions about Trump's controversial executive order ... and just about everything your liberal friends have told you about it is flat out false.

By: Jimbo X

You know, liberals don't actually give a shit about Muslims. They same way they don't really care about the substandard living conditions of blacks, homosexuals and Hispanics, they don't give a fuck how crappy an Islamic person's life is, just as long as they agree to vote for their candidates. Democrats don't see Muslims as people - they see them as political weapons, and their only practical purpose is to make Republicans look like Hitler. Beyond that - and their precious electoral points - liberals have no use (nor any cares) for the Islamic community. All the proof you need of this is the deafening silence from the party of tolerance on the scores of Middle Easterners blown asunder by decree of one Barack H. Obama from 2009 to 2016

And that's a major, major mistake on the Democrats' part. Right now, the liberals are all huffed up and pissy about Donald Trump winning the election so they've concocted a gameplan to win in 2020 by forming a coalition of basically everybody who isn't a straight white Christian male. The problem there is that the basic virtues and morals - let alone political wants - of all the disparate special interests groups not only don't gel, they're logically incompatible.

If you've been following the libs' "intersectionalist" strategy, you might notice something fairly peculiar. Like the Teutonic weregild espousers of yore, the Democratic strategists have literally assigned a marginalization points systems to their electoral bread and butter. There very much is a pecking order when it comes to who and what is most marginalized in the eyes of contemporary liberals, and as a result, you get this weird pyramid scheme of self-victimization going on. For those of you who do better with visual aides, I've done you the kindness of drawing up the following pictograph:

So as you can see, not everybody is oppressed equally according to contemporary Democrats, and the more "persecuted" you are - which, really, is just code word for "the most demographically opposite of the aggregate Donald Trump voter" - the more "value" you have as a political cudgel. 

For example, straight men, Christians and white Republicans[*] (ironically enough, the very people who not only founded the Democratic Party but have been the bulk of its constituency for a good 90 percent of its existence) all have the same overall score - which is zero. That means liberals gain zero sympathy points for pretending to defend them from rampant cultural "oppression" and/or "prejudice."

[*] You disagree? Seeing as how the Democratic Party was founded by hyper-nationalist Indian-slayer Andrew Jackson - not to mention almost all of the Jim Crow supporters in the South had a big old "D" next to their names - I don't think there's any way around it.
And if you don't think the modern Democratic Party doesn't have at least a couple of ounces of genetic white supremacist blood swishing around in its capillaries, just look at how ferociously liberals of all colors malign and attack any Republican who isn't a straight white male. The attacks of the left on conservative leaning women, homosexuals and ESPECIALLY African-Americans are far more caustic, vicious and personal - just take a look at what black liberals have to say about Ben Carson. Indeed, defending them from perceived oppression or prejudice actually COSTS the liberals sympathy points - in that, the sub-foundation literally becomes an indefensible grab-bag of social pariahs whom liberals cannot came to the aide of for any reason whatsoever

The rest of the persecution pyramid pretty much explains itself. A black man is inherently a victim of American society just out of principle, according to the Democratic moral orthodoxy, but the same script says white women are even bigger ones, so defending a white woman must always take precedence over defending a black man. However, the narrative posits black women as even bigger victims than white women, so if they are ever in opposition to each other, it's the Democrats' duty to take the side of the victim with the higher point total. And while the Democratic dogma states that black women have it really, really bad, the secular religion also declares transpeople to have it even worse than they do, so if the two demographics are ever in conflict, again, the "persecuted" population with the greater marginalization value is automatically "the right one."

...I think you can see the fatal flaw with this approach already. Building an entire political brand around identity politics won't work if you're going to ask those same people to simultaneously consider their own identity less important than a more "victimized class." When your entire core identity revolves around an ethnocentric persecution complex, something tells me you probably won't be too happy when "your people" don't win the gold at either the summer or winter Victimization Olympics.

Well, for whatever reason, today's Democrats have decided unilaterally that nobody's more persecuted than the Muslims. Defending them, per the great liberal code of honor, takes precedent over defending all other potential democratic voters, including the demographical bloc's sworn arch enemies, the Jews (who, up until recently, were the absolute apex of persecuted liberals ... their annual earnings, naturally, notwithstanding.) 

Why this is the case is pretty hard to fathom. As a whole, Muslims represent less than 1 percent of the total U.S. population - and of those, at least 20 percent are native converts, the bulk of them blackso their electoral impact is rather negligible. Economically, they post lower earnings than the aggregate white family, although they are collecting advanced degrees in astonishingly high numbers. Indeed, according to one 2011 assessment, one out of 10 Muslim heads-of-households had a doctorate in something

But Muslims remain underrepresented in the two industries that mean the most, politically - general business and media. As far as the cash they can kick into the Democrats' coffers, it's not a whole lot - and certainly not enough to consider alienating the ethnic bloc that's more or less the financial backbone of the entire party.

So why prop up the Muslims as the ultimate liberal victims, when the electoral and economic rewards of doing so are so minimal?

Because Democrats desperately, direly, deeply want the Republicans to do the same things to them that the Nazis did to the Jews. They WANT Muslims to be FORCED to register on a national list and they WANT to see them denied the same basic rights as everybody else. The whole reason they give a shit about Muslims to begin with is because they are props that can be used to conjure up Godwin's Law incessantly for the next four (and potentially, eight) years. Literally the only intrinsic value Muslims have for the Democratic Party is that their plight can be used to show just how mean and bigoted the Republican Party is. Their actual plight doesn't mean a damn thing to the liberal big wigs - what's important is how they can exploit their plight in such a way to possibly, maybe get more votes come 2020 (and naturally, collect some cold, hard "walking around money" in the lead up to the general election.) 

Looks like Starbucks' refugee job training program is already off to a rousing start!

Nothing exemplifies this more the recent brouhaha over Donald Trump's alleged  "Muslim Ban" executive order. 

Never mind the fact that the EO doesn't even have the word "Muslim" in it

Never mind the fact that the EO didn't bar people from the six countries with the highest number of Muslim residents - Indonesia (204 million), Pakistan (178 million), India (172 million), Bangladesh (145 million), Nigeria (75 million) or Turkey (74 million) - from entering the country. 

And for those who have tried to pass on the narrative that Trump excluded Muslim-majority nations where he had business interests, never mind the fact that Trump doesn't have investments in Pakistan (96.4 percent Muslim), Algeria (98.2 percent Muslim), Morocco (99.9 percent Muslim), Uzbekistan (96.5 percent Muslim), or Niger (98.3 percent Muslim) - yet none of those countries have travel restrictions placed on them. 

And especially never mind the fact that nationals from all seven countries "banned" by Trump - Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen - were already banned via the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015, which was signed into law by President Barack Obama as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016

And of course, never mind the fact that even IF Trump wanted to enact an actual "Muslim ban," the President has full Constitutional power to ban whoever the fuck he wants from entering the country at any time, thanks to 8 U.S. Code Section 1101 and 8 U.S. Code Section 1182

And please do never mind the fact that Trump struck a deal with the governments of the U.A.E. and Saudi Arabia to house more Syrian refugees just a day after signing the traveling restriction E.O

And please, with sugar on top, never mind the ban is only in effect for 90 days, with the whole point being to set up more intense vetting procedures before allowing additional refugees into the country, with Trump himself saying the visas are going to start flowing like wine around mid-April

But of course, if you tune into CNN or click on over to The New York Times, they're convinced - convinced, Allah damn it - that Trump's about to send every Koran-owner in the U.S. into a concentration camp. Despite the fact such a statement is a bold-faced lie, they continue to circulate "news" of the E.O. under the drumbeat that it directly targets a specific religion, that such a move is beyond the Constitutional powers of the Oval Office and that it's the first step towards a wide scale expulsion of an entire demographical group.

So in other words, they're literally spreading disinformation and intentionally obfuscating the truth in order to create hysteria among the dyed-blue liberal base and their sad-sack sympathizers. For people who sure do like to bring up Orwell's name to attack Trump, it's the liberals themselves who have mastered the art of The Two Minutes Hate - indeed, the "mainstream" media has more or less devolved into nothing but a echo chamber of people screaming just how much they hate Trump (and especially how much they hate the fact that other people don't hate them and they can't just send them to a re-education camp to change their minds) while still having the audacity to claim to be unbiased spectators.

Once you peel back all the hysterical emotional outrage and dig deep into the facts of U.S. immigration policy, it becomes woefully apparent that Trump's travel bans aren't much ado about nothing, they are much ado about something that's already been the case for almost two whole years but nobody said nothing because it was done by somebody they liked as opposed to somebody that didn't

It's all bullshit, kids, just like pro 'rasslin but with worse acting. All of the bleeding heart liberals and their bed buddies in the media want you to hate Trump so bad that they're willing to make shit up and obfuscate the clear-cut truth to get you to think what they want you to think

And unfortunately, I reckon we're going to be seeing a lot more - a whole lot more - over the next decade. 

Get your bullshit detecting goggles on tight, folks - we're going to need 'em.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

My Twelve Favorite Fictitious Doctors

A loving tribute to the non-existent doctorate-holders who've warmed the cockles of all our hearts.

By: Jimbo X

If you have a girlfriend, wife, or anything with a vagina you cohabitate with, you've probably noticed that they really, really enjoy the long-running television program Grey's Anatomy. Indeed, if you were to check your DVR right now, I'm willing to bet at least half of your machine is filled with pre-recorded episodes chronicling the saga of Seattle Grace's fuck-happy surgeons. Over the past year, I've seen Dr. McDreamy get shot by that one pissed guy with a mustache and Izzie cut the LVAT wire at least half a dozen times apiece - another year, and I'll have the entire script of that one episode where the dude with a swastika tattoo doesn't want any minorities to work on him memorized. 

Which got me thinking about the fantastical representation of physicians in modern entertainment. Needless to say, no profession is as romanticized as the doctor, as evident by the deluge of TV offerings like General Hospital, House and such scintillating TLC fare as Trauma: Life in the E.R., Untold Stories of the E.R. and that ratings behemoth, I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant. For whatever reason, modern entertainment consumers - specifically, those porting about XX chromosomes - can't get them enough physician-related melodrama and even looking at my own pop cultural upbringing, it's virtually impossible to escape from the gravitational pull of fictitious health care providers.

Go on ahead - I bet you can name 10 or 12 fake doctors from TV and the movies before you can name two of your state's U.S. representatives. So profound a cultural influence these make-belief physicians have made on our society that there's an entire Wikipedia page dedicated to listing all of the phony surgeons and ENT specialists that have popped up in mass media, and it's actually longer than the Wiki listing of actual real-life physicians throughout human history.

As such, I figured it was way past time I celebrated some of the less heralded fictitious doctors that have snuck their way into the cultural consciousness. Sure, everybody knows about Doogie Howser and House and Marcus Welby, M.D., but what about the imagined physicians that never get their fare shake in the media? Well folks, it's about time somebody righted these wrongs of history: gather 'round the wife and kids and put on your best book-on-tape voice - it's time to finally give these doctored doctors the recognition and respect owed to 'em...

Dr. Dre

Much like Nobel laureate lyricist Ice Cube, "I'm down with Dre like A.C. is down with O.J."

I'm not sure where Dr. Dre got his diploma or even what his field of study was, but I'm pretty sure he was at the top of his class when it came to slinging rhymes. By now, we're all well aware of his momentous impact on hip-hop music, from his days in N.W.A. to his breakthrough solo album The Chronic to "discovering" Eminem, so I'm not going to bore you with the stuff everybody ought to already know. Well, except for the part about him purportedly beating the shit out of a whole lot of women. Apparently, he's just as good at that as he is producing rap music. 

Doctor Doom

Yep. This is STILL the best live-action Doctor Doom we've gotten, some how.

Old Doomy-Doom is easily the best non-supernatural, non-intergalactic villain in the entire Marvel Universe. I mean, he's basically Adolf Hitler with super powers, and that's a hell of a selling point for a bad guy. Outside of the pages of comic-dom, though, it doesn't really seem like anybody's been able to adequately translate the character into other mediums (as the lengthy list of failed Fantastic Four movies, cartoons and videogames indicate.) Still, he's had a few bright spots outside of the ink and parchment realm - I mean, that one Spider-Man arcade game he was in was pretty bitchin', if I remember correctly

Dr. Pepper

If it's good enough to inspire a Savage Garden song, it's good enough for your stomach, ain't it?

For whatever reason, Dr. Pepper is a super-polarizing beverage. It seems to be one of those drinks you either love or can't stomach, and I'm definitely in the pro-Pepper camp. I've long considered it the preeminent cola flavor for autumn (yes, even in bubblegum form), and you can't help but be impressed by the rich menagerie of knockoff sodas the product inspired - indeed, one can't help but wonder which diploma mill "Dr. Perky" got his P.h. D from. 

Dr. Giggles

The worst part? That shit still isn't covered by Obamacare.

There weren't a whole lot of legitimately entertaining big studio horror offerings in the early 1990s, and there were even fewer based on original properties. 1992's Dr. Giggles is definitely one of the few bright spots during what was one of the lowest points in the history of Hollywood horror, and in a just world, Benny the Retard from L.A. Law would have had at least two or three more sequels to apply his hilariously homicidal craft. And if you've never seen it before, the handy-dandy Cliffs Note version is right here

Doctor Dreadful

Yeah, I'm getting vibes from that episode of Diff'rent Strokes, too.

Now here's a '90s relic that only those of us who actually grew up in the era can bandy about as social currency. In 1993, Tyco released its Doctor Dreadful Food Lab in the States, which was basically the same core concept as an Easy-Bake Oven, except instead of making pastries that were actually edible, you got to make this too-sugary-for-human-consumption gummy treats shaped like spiders and roaches. Oh, and also came with this neon yellow skull you could use to make really, really soupy Pixy Stix powder, but you were destined to run out of the proprietary mixing ingredients in like three days and no stores anywhere carried refill pouches so after a week the whole goddamn thing was useless. I got this the same Christmas I got Sonic the Hedgehog 2, so the two icons of '90s nostalgia are forever interconnected in my brain - indeed, I can still taste the "monster skin" every time I enter the Chemical Plant Zone.

Steve "Dr. Death" Williams

You would be shocked just how many people in the 1980s looked like Hacksaw Jim Duggan.

Dr. Death was one of the baddest mother fuckers in pro wrestling history. Even when he was an amateur wrestler, he used to intimidate opponents by coming out wearing a fucking Jason Voorhees mask, and trust me, his horrifying ways only got more out-there once he joined the wacky world of make-believe fisticuffs. The highlight of his career had to be that one awesome match he had against Kenta Kobashi, where he hit the Japanese 'rasslin legend with three consecutive backdrop drivers, when just one was probably enough to constitute "attempted murder" had Kobashi sought to press charges. And as far as his career nadir? Well, getting legit KTFO by one of the Smokin' Gunns on live television is about as bad as it could possibly get for a dude who was scheduled to main event against Steve Austin...

David "Dr. D" Schultz

Because badasses never skip breakfast, that's why.

Oh no, "Dr. Death" isn't the only amazing old school wrestler who also earned his Ph. D. - in pain. Enter "Dr. D" David Schultz, one of the most batshit insane people to ever receive a paycheck from one Vincent K. McMahon. When he wasn't cutting hilariously homophobic promos against Hulk Hogan, he was too busy getting arrested for trying to fist-fight Mr. T for real because he thought it would get him a main event match at WrestleMania. Oh, and he once slapped the living dog shit out of John Stossel, which is more than enough to earn him our eternal admiration and appreciation

Doctor Octopus

If you motherfuckers haven't played the Sega CD version, you're pretty much the video game equivalent of a Christian who's never read the New Testament.

While I've always considered Doc Ock to be something of a B-tier Spider-villain (basically, he's the Marvel Universe's equivalent of The Penguin - a pretty boring character that became memetically popular and therefore must remain an ever-present figure), he has nonetheless fared way better in adaptations than most comic book villains. After all - he was the centerpiece in the best superhero movie ever filmed, wasn't he?

Dr. Butcher, M.D.

Behold, gentlemen: the greatest actor of our times.

Granted, his eponymous 1980 feature film debut (also known as Zombie Holocaust) wasn't exactly a great movie, but you have to give Donald O'Brien plenty of dap for hamming it up in this Italian exploitation, uh, "classic." The dude's delivery is so incredibly stilted that it kinda' crosses over from being shitty to idiosyncratically awesome, especially when he's ramming saws and scalpels through his still plenty cognizant victims. I mean, how in the world can you not love a villain who spits out totally emotionless dialogue like "I've been anxious to experiment with a male Caucasian brain" while drilling holes into people's skulls?

Dr. Mario

Curing syphilis has never been this much fun!

Still the best Mario spin-off ever, and it's not even close. For whatever reason, a lot of people still sleep on how great the original NES game was, despite it a.) being one of the most addictive puzzlers on the system and b.) having the catchiest goddamn music in the history of recorded sound. And he's still my favorite Super Smash Bros. unlockable character ever - I mean, hell, how can you not have a blast throwing pills as projectiles at people like some kind of unscrupulous physical therapist ?

Doctor Robotnik

Y'know, for a fat motherfucker like that to keep pace with Sonic is actually really impressive.

Don't even start with that whole "but his real name is Eggman" bullshit. This here is America, and in America, we call him Dr. Robotnik, goddamnit. I've always thought he was a much better bad guy than Bowser or Ganon, not just aesthetically (even though cyborg Theodore Roosevelt is a fairly inspired character design), but also conceptually. He's a dude that kidnaps all organic life in Sonic-World and turns them into mechanized slaves; that's some pretty heavy shit, when you really start to think about it. I mean, some really heavy shit.

Dr. Loomis

Just how iconic is Donald Pleasence performance in Halloween? So memorable that nobody even remembers he played the greatest James Bond villain of them all ... or was the bad guy in The Pumaman

And of course, no list of great made-up doctors is complete without mentioning Dr. Samuel Loomis, the iconic "Van Helsing" figure from five out of the ten official Halloween movies. Exquisitely portrayed by character actor extraordinaire Donald Pleasence, Sammy Boy chased Michael Myers' stab-happy ass all over the place for nearly 20 years, pretty much holding the entire franchise together with his inimitable, hysterical rants about just how damned evil "The Shape" actually was. In a way, he was more important to the Halloween films than even Michael Myers, bringing to the movies a dignified gravitas that almost single-handedly propelled the sequels above the generic-slasher fold. And if you don't find yourself periodically chirping "Hey Lonnie, get your arse away from there" at random intervals, you sir, have no business residing in our society.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Revisiting the 1996 Royal Rumble!

Bret vs. Taker for the WWF title! Goldust trying to get gay with Razor Ramon for the Intercontinental title! And in quite possibly the most star-studded Rumble ever, it's HBK, Diesel, Big Van Vader, pre-Stone Cold Steve Austin and ... uh, Takao Omori, for some reason.

By: Jimbo X

Another year, another Royal Rumble. I may not exactly be the biggest contemporary wrestling fan, but I at least check the dirt sheets every January for a rundown of what happens in WWE's signature 30-man, over-the-top-rope elimination spectacular (yeah, I know, sometimes it's more than 30 wrestlers, but don't be a niggling little asshole.) I've already written about what it is, precisely, that makes the Rumble so appealing, so I won't regurgitate my own work. I will, however, summarize its inherent awesomeness as such: a good goddamn, is it fun as shit watching really fat dudes and super muscular steroid addicts toss each other around like sacks of potatoes for an hour straight, especially when it involves counting backwards from 10 every 90 seconds.

By and large, the '96 Rumble is pretty much forgotten, and for obvious reasons. The WWF was at this weird juncture where it wasn't quite the goofy PG-rated cartoon shit of the early 1990s, but it was still a few years away from embracing the so-called "Attitude" era. So we got a few glimmers of both the company's retarded past and its retarded future on this show, complete with one of the strangest Royal Rumble matches ever - both in terms of participants and general booking. 

But hey, don't just take my word for it ... howzabout we go back in time and revisit the whole soiree together?

Alright, we begin the '96 shindig with the first ever Free-For-All event. What's that, you may ask? Gather around, children, old Jimbo's got a little history lesson for 'ya.

You see, back in the day, back before we had 9,000 channel cable packages with no less than 30 different versions of Skinamax, we had this thing called the Prevue Channel, which was this one channel that basically scrolled TV listings for other channels 24 hours a day. The funny thing about it was that just half the screen space was used for the listings (which usually chugged along at a snail's space) so the top half of the screen either rolled promos for PPV movies and events or a random assortment of weird ass commercials (you know, like those "1-800 order now!" ads for Pinkard and Bowden albums on audio cassette and Dorf Goes Fishing videos.) Well, the WWF got this crazy idea to pay to use that top half of the screen for live "pre-show" events that rolled about a half hour before PPVs went live (so yeah, they kinda were a precursor to the UFC prelim fights on Fox Sports) that pimped the hell out of their Pay-Per-View spectacles. In hindsight, it was a pretty innovative move (for fuck's sake, the WWF even released a "Best of Free-For-All" videotape eventually), but at the time, it just came off as desperate pandering (remember, this was around the point the Monday Night Wars were really starting to heat up.) So all that to say - all the shit we're about to talk about for the next couple of paragraphs was sorta' ahead of its time, but at the time, nobody really gave a shit. JUST TO CLARIFY. 

So we get a pretty well done, sorta' spooky promo for the main event (Bret vs. Taker, back when neither of them looked like real-life Randy the Rams ) and we go LIVE to Dok Hendrix (no relation to Michael "P.S." Hayes, I hear) and TODD FUCKIN' PETTENGILL, who was basically the larval form of Michael Cole. Doing the live play-by-play is face announcer Vince and Mr. Perfect.

Our totally free of charge bout is a contest between Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Duke "The Dumpster" Drose. Whoever wins enters the Rumble at No. 30, while whoever loses has to enter at No. 1. 

Dok is in the back with Jim Cornette and VADER, who is making his big WWF debut tonight. The former WCW champ talks about Boulder, Colo. and how he's still "The Prince of Power" even though he's in a totally different promotion. "I'm not here to look good," he says, "I'm here to cause pain." Todd then interviews Jake the Snake, who lets us know his snake is big (LOL, penis innuendo) but not as big as the inner demons he has faced. Well, that's pretty much the kind of thing you expect a dude who smokes crack to say, I guess.

Another Undertaker promo rolls. Perfect says some shit about him being impervious to pain, so there's no way Bret can beat him. Quickly realizing that defeats the purpose of PIMPING A MAIN EVENT, he soon corrects himself and says he really has no idea who's going to win the title and it was "wrong" of him to even consider picking a winner in the first place.

We get a recap of the last In Your House (that was the one from Dec. 1995 that had that awesome but strangely unheralded Bret/Davey Boy main event), where Diesel is all kinds of pissed about not getting a title shot. We get highlights from a Raw interview with Bret saying he doesn't give a fuck about "the dark side" and passive aggressively laughing off the presence of Paul Bearer and his urn. By the way, this was back when Taker was still wearing that awesome skeletal "Phantom of the Opera" mask thingy.

The late, great Gorilla Monsoon, seen here making good use of the WWF's instant replay capabilities for the first - and probably only - time in company history.

Todd's in the back with HHH, back when he still had that terrible British accent. "You tell the fat lady she's on in five minutes," Hunter remarks. Well shit, that's a horrible thing to say about Stephanie McMahon!

Out comes Duke the Dumpster. God, I miss how fake excited face announcer Vince used to get when the good guys came out. "There's no stinking guarantees in the World Wrestling Federation," Duke says. Get it, because his kayfabe profession is working with garbage, which usually stinks!

So, it's a blueblood from Connecticut taking on a sanitation worker. I know Vince is supposed to be some sort of hardcore Republican guy now, but I'll be damned if there wasn't a lot of symbolic, Marxist class warfare going on in the WWF at this time. Shit, at the last PPV, Hunter was having to wrestle a fucking pig farmer ... in a goddamn hog sty match.

HHH, allegedly, was undefeated at the time of this match. We begin with your customary lock-up, with a shoulder block supplied by Duke. HHH reverse that old 10-count corner punch thingy and Vince apologizes for some audio difficulties. Duke runs into the turnpost, feigns an injury and then gets hit with various jumping armbars. Perfect says he's trying to weaken his opponent's arms, because this was back when "ring psychology" was still a thing. Duke escapes, HHH works on an armbar and then he start punching the shit out of the Dumpster, culminating with a really nice looking jumping knee to the face. HHH jumps off the top rope and, of course, Duke puts a leg up and jacks his jaw. Perfect uses the opportunity to make a joke about the New York Jets (they sucked that year, in case you were wondering.) Duke screams like a hillbilly on meth and starts wailing on HHH. He lands a power slam and Vince keeps chiding Perfect by saying "I think I just said that" after everything he says. HHH reverses a suplex and Duke counters with backbreaker. That's when HHH says "fuck it," heads over to the corner, pulls some sort of bludgeoning device from his boot and busts Duke upside the head with it. Naturally, this results in a quick 1-2-3, but hold on, here comes Gorilla Monsoon, who uses instant replay to prove to the ref that HHH cheated like a motherfucker. The Fink announces the decision has been reversed, so Duke enters the Rumble at No. 30 while HHH begins at No.1. Unsurprisingly, he is none too pleased about that and jumps around looking all angry and stuff. 

Up next we get a quick recap of the Razor Ramon/Goldust rivalry and this is just tremendous. We watch Goldust's usher (remember that?) send Ramon gold flowers and semi-lewd photos and Goldust himself reveals he got a tattoo of Razor on his chest. Naturally, this leads to Razor beating the shit out of Goldust backstage on the go-home Raw before the PPV, because fuck, who wouldn't want to beat up some dude that kept sending them shit like that? Pettengill then asks the million dollar question - "will Goldust succeed by using Razor's machismo against him?"

Nice shot of a dude wearing an NBA Jam shirt in the crowd. Shawn Michaels strolls to the ring wearing a silver sequin ensemble that is 20 times gayer than Goldust's get-up. He poses in the ring before an interview, in which he says he's coming into the Rumble whenever he wants and leaving it whenever he wants. Goddamn, you have got to see these gaudy-ass earrings he's wearing. Perfect calls him "cocky" and Vince spits out a really bad fake laugh. "He was born that way," McMahon adds.

Dok is with HHH, who wants to know when the WWF instituted its instant replay rule. After that, we get a quick transitional bumper featuring a bunch of ritzy people beating each other up. Following a brief vignette with Sunny in a bubble bath sipping champagne, we get a five minute long opening promo going over the night's line-up.

And now it's main card PPV time. Jeff Jarrett struts to the ring and we get a recap of Double J beating the shit out of Ahmed Johnson at the last IYH. Ahmed comes stomping to the ring, sort of like a chocolate Ultimate Warrior. We begin with a Johnson hip toss, a headlock from JJ and another Ahmed short-arm clothesline. Johnson follows suit with a scoop slam and elbow smash. Also, he screams really, really loud everytime he hits a move. He gets caught in the ropes so naturally that allots JJ ample time to get a few cheap shots in. We get some outside scuffling once Ahmed is freed and JJ launches his foe into metal ring steps. JJ hit an axe handle smash, and Johnson starts walking around the ring, no selling Jeff's attacks and just kind of - well, vibrating in place. I guess that's his version of "Hulking up?" He hits a huge spinebuster on Jarrett and follows it up with a fucking SPRINGBOARD PLANCHA OVER THE TOP ROPE TO JJ ON THE OUTSIDE. Well, shit, that was actually kinda' impressive. LOL when Perfect says that was from "15 feet down" when it's clear the ring is like, just four feet off the ground. Up next, Ahmed botches a 450 splash (no bullshit, an actual 450 splash) and Jeff looks for the figure four. He has it, but Johnson reverses it and it makes all the leg hurty travel down Jeff's muscles instead (hooray for 'rassling science!) Jarrett runs to the outside, grabs a guitar, climbs atop the top rope and yep, proceeds to El Kabong Johnson to get himself disqualified. Once Johnson comes to, he chases Jeff down the rampway and into the locker room. And that's the last we'll see of either of these two tonight.

So yeah, this means Chuck and Billy was only the second gayest tag team Mr. Ass has been a part of.

We're backstage with WWF tag team champs the Smoking Gunns. They ain't losing to the Bodydonnas tonight, no way, no how. Todd talks with Diesel, who says being in the Rumble is like being a ninth grader left home alone for the first time. He says he ain't scared of Vader because he's "an unproven prospect."

The Bodydonnas (that's Chris "Skip" Candido and Bruce "Zip" Pritchard) come out first with Sunny. Then the Smoking Gunns arrive, much to excited face Vince's contentment. (Although I have to say, I am disappointed they don't shot holes in the arena roof with pistols like they used to.)

Skip and Billy to begin. Double team on Bart. The Bodydonnas clean house and then Billy wipes 'em both out with a plancha to the outside. Skip gets pinballed between dueling Gunn fisticufss. Sunny shakes her ass to distract the defending tag champs. Now it's Bart (complete with a really, really shitty mustache) duking it out with Zip. Lots of chops in the corner, then a gorilla press slam. Per Vince: "You'd have to be Plastic Man to make that tag." Now the ref is confused about who the legal men are. Sunny then distracts the ref and then she takes a bump to the outside. Billy, ever the chivalrous sort, goes to check up on her and - of course, the Bodydonnas take the opportunity to Pearl Harbor him. Then Sunny pops right back up like she was never hurt to begin with. The Bodydonnas keep doing this weird shit were they suplex each other on the Gunns for nearfalls. Skip with a fist drop on Billy. The Bodydonnas run into each other. Billy looking for the hot tag. Bart is in and he fucks up everybody. They hit the Sidewinder (basically, a churched up top rope leg drop) but Sunny distracts the ref again, so the Bodydonnas get another sneak attack in. But it's only good for a two count. Double suplex attack on Bart, Skip gets tackled by Billy and he locks in a roll-up pinfall out of nowhere to retain the title.

Up next we get one of those infamous "Billionaire Ted" skits, and goddamn, is this shit petty. A facsimile of Ted Turner has a boardroom meeting with caricatures of Hulk Hogan, the Macho Man and Mean Gene Okerlund, with the Hulk pastiche stating "at my age, my feet don't leave the ground" and he and the faux Randy Savage getting into a posing contest in lieu of actually wrestling. "The New Generation is on top of the hill," the promo concludes, "not over it."

The Intercontinental title match is next. Razor is in the locker room. He says this is his fourth year at the Rumble challenging for or defending a title instead of participating in the main attraction itself. Goldust comes out first, alongside Marlena (who is making her WWF debut tonight.) Perfect and Vince just keep calling her "Goldust's director" because they didn't know what to actually call her at that point. "This is very, very strange and unusual," comments Vince. The crowd still has not idea how to react to Goldust, and it's marvelous.

Razor comes out fairly calm. Marlena sits in the director's chair and the usher, uh, consoles her, I guess? Ramon flicks a toothpick at Goldust, who licks his fingers all creepily in response. Ramon yanks Dust's arm. Another stalemate. A hilarious moment occurs when Dust ties up Razor in a full nelson and starts rubbing his chest hair. "Is he going to check him for a hernia next?" quips Perfect. Goldust with a hard slap. Ramon retaliates by slapping Dust on the head ... and then his ass.

We get a chase outside. Dust literally hides behind Marlena. Dust is back in the ring and he blows Razor a kiss. The fans erupt when Razor clotheslines the shit out of him. Vince talks about Razor not being able to get any momentum going. Dus rams Razor into the ring steps. Axehandle smash off the top rope as Goldust goes on the offensive.

Goldust with a bulldog and a back body drop. Perfect calls it a "perfectly executed slingshot suplex," for some reason. Marlena blows literal "gold dust" in Razor's eyes. Dust hits a swinging neckbreaker, then locks in a sleeperhold. "If he puts Razor to sleep, he can do anything he wants to him," says Perfect. Vince follows up with a five star riposte - "well, anything can happen in the World Wrestling Federation." 

Ramon gets out of the hold by kicking Dust in his big, golden balls. Razor with a proto-Rock Bottom. It only gets a two. Razor with a fallaway slam for just a two-count. Dust with an eye poke, the he gets crotched on the top rope. Marlena gets in the ring. Ramon signals for the Razor's Edge, but the fucking 1-2-3 Kid runs out of the crowd and hits him with a spinning kick off the top rope, which allows Goldust to score the pinfall and win the IC title.

Without question, the most unsung LGBT rights crusader of the mid-1990s.

We hear from Shawn Michael's "physician," who says he is well enough to compete (remember, 'cause he got kayfabe concussed by Owen on Raw a couple of weeks earlier?) After that, we get the prerequisite Rumble hype promos, with comments from Owen, Jake the Snake, Jerry the King, BARRY HOROWITZ, Vader and, of course, Shawn Michaels. Vince and Perfect go over the Rumble protocol, and the 1996 shindig is an all-go.

HHH is out first. Number two is Henry O. Godwin, with a slop bucket en tow. Get it? He's a hog farmer and his initials are literally "H.O.G." Anyhoo, he hits a lot of power moves and then it's time for the No. 3 entrant - BOB FUCKING BACKLUND. Cue the best moment in life ever when Baklund just punches the everloving shit of HHH.

Entrant No. 4? Jerry Lawler, whom the crowd calls "Burger King," although "accused pedophile" would probably rankle him more. King grabs the slop bucket and everybody runs out of the ring because they don't want pig shit thrown on them. HOG retrieves the bucket and dumps its contents on the competitors on the outside. Perfect says it's like a Gallagher concert at ringside.

"Start your engines," face Vince says, because entrant No. 5 is Bob Holly, back when he had a sweet mullet and was pretending to be a race car driver instead of just some regular bleach blond asshole. (And yeah, it's technically only supposed to be "blonde" when you're talking about a chick, so hey, you learned something today.

As an aside, I do love watching Backlund beat the fuck out of everyone.

No. 6 is King Mabel. "Talk about a heavy favorite," Perfect declares. "You will have to call AAA to get Mabel out of the ring."

Tag team partner Mo accompanies him. Hey, what exactly was the eponymous mission of Men on A Mission, anyway?

No. 7 is Jake the Snake. He unbags a boa constrictor in the middle of the ring and everybody exits, except Lawler who gets the snake all over him and shit.

No. 8 is DORY FUNK. "He brings a lot of experience," Perfect drolly states.

Lawler hides under the ring. Good lord, watching Bob Backlund and Dory Funk engage in fisticuffs on a PPV in the year 1996 is all kinds of surreal.

No. 9 is Yokozuna, now sporting a beard. Backlund gets dumped immediately and he starts fighting Mabel. Holly hits HOG with a hurricanrana and then is ass splashed by Mabel.

No. 10 is the 1-2-3 Kid (a.k.a., X-Pac.) But he's being chased by Razor Ramon. Gerald Brisco, of all people, shoos him back to the locker room.

No. 11 HAS to be the single obscurest Rumble entrant ever - Takao Omori, who Vince describes as "the Wildman from Japan." He gets no pop whatsoever. "Not a great deal is known about Omori," Vince states in response to the deafening silence.

Jake punches the shit out of Yokozuna. No. 12 is Savio Vega, who immediately hits a spinning wheel kick on Mabel. Yoko eliminates Mabel and Jake eliminates Omori. Perfect said he just dialed up the Superstar Line and you will not believe who the next entrant is. 

Well, No. 13 is Vader. He pummels Bob Holly, eliminates Funk and beats the dog shit out of Vega in the corner.

No. 14 is DOUG GILBERT from the USWA. Perfect says he won a tournament in that promotion for a spot in the Rumble. Vince just sort of blows it off, because mentioning other promotions existed at this point in time was a big kayfabe no-no. Also, I am legally obliged to link to that interview where Doug Gilbert said Jerry Lawler raped a pre-teen anytime his name is mentioned.

Vader eliminates Jake. HOG gets eliminated, but I have no idea who dumped him out.

Yep. Nothing says "we're hip and with the times" quite like Dory goddamn motherfuckin' Funk.

No. 15 is, and I quote, "one of the SWAT Team members," a fat Pacific Islander wearing shitty face makeup. Boy, what a way to put a guy over - don't even bother giving the motherfucker a name.

Vader chokeslams the living hell out of Gilbert and then he eliminates him and the nameless SWAT guy. Vader and Yoko get into it, which is kind of a big deal since both wrestlers are supposed to be fighting under Jim Cornette's banner.

No. 16 is  the other Samoan SWAT motherfucker and what do you know, he don't have a name, either. Both come into the ring at the same time and you can't tell which is which and they double team Vader but Vader beats the fuck out of both of them. Bot SWAT members get double tossed by Vader and Yoko, so yeah, that's right, fuck 'em both.

No. 17 is Owen Hart. Perfect says he has the best "martial arts kick in the WWF," which I think is a reference to his enziguri. Vega eats back to back corner splashes from Vader and Yoko, who are kinda' working as a team now. 

No. 18 is Shawn Michaels. Vader eliminates Savio. There's a hilarious moment where HBK beats up on HHH. Vader and Yoko get into it again and Cornette begs them to stop fighting each other. Michaels eliminates both of them while they trade blows and then he gets rid of X-Pac.

No. 19 is Hakushi - you know, that Japanese fellow with all of that kanji written on his back. Vader and Yoko continue to scrap on the outside. Vader comes back into the ring and beats up on HBK. He gorilla press slams him out of the ring, but of course, it doesn't count as an elimination. A whole bunch of referees come out and force Vader to leave.

No. 20 is Tatanka. Bob Holly and HHH are still both in there. Owen eliminates Hakushi.

No. 21 is Aldo "Justin Credible" Montoya. Perfect says he is wearing his jock  on the wrong part of his body. Fuck, that is some stupid ring attire, all right. HBK crawls under the ring and yanks out Lawler, who has been hiding under the canvas for about half an hour. 

Tatanka eliminates Montoya and HBK drags Lawler into the ring so he can formally eliminate him. 

No. 22 is Diesel, who immediately eliminates Tatanka. He and HBK get into it. Perfect keeps talking about how big that "payday" at WrestleMania is. Michael skins the cat a million billion times. I'd be awfully concerned if I were the WWF marketing department - animal torture is a sign of an emerging serial killer, after all. 

No. 23 is "Kama, the Supreme Fighting Machine," which is what the WWF called Charles Wright in between him portraying Papa Shango and The Godfather. He was part of Ted Dibiase's "Million Dollar Corporation," and my apologies if you remember how shitty a storyline that was.

Vince keeps talking about all of HBK's concussions. Well, you wouldn't be hearing that kind of talk on WWF programming these days, for sure. 

No. 24 is some guy named "The Ringmaster." He immediately goes after Bob Holly. Foreshadowing alert: Vince refers to The Ringmaster as "cold and calculating." You mean like a Stone, Vinny Mac?

Michaels is still doing all that barely hanging onto the rope shit.

Austin ... I mean, The Ringmaster ... knees Holly out of the ring.

No. 25 is Barry "Horrible-Witz" (credit: Mr. Perfect), who comes out to the Jewiest music ever. Diesel launches HHH out of the ring. He was in there for close to 50 minutes.

No. 26 is Fatu and his music is pure shit. "Only Ray Rougeau at the Superstar Hotline knows for sure" who is coming out next, according to Vince. Hart teases suplexing Michaels out of the ring, but he doesn't actually do it.

No. 27 is Isaac Yankem. His music is just the sounds of dental drills whirring.  Barry is eliminated by Owen. Hart hits HBK with that dreaded enziguri. HBK eliminates Owen, but because they were doing one of those split screens the camera crew missed the entire thing.

No. 28 is Marty Jannetty, the Guinness World Record holder for most squandered second chances in history. Kama punches HBK. He dangles off the top rope but doesn't fall over. Jannetty and Michaels go at it and knock each other down with a double clothesline. Just imagine the alternate reality where Jannetty became Michaels and vice versa.

No. 29 is the British Bulldog. His wife Diana - whom accused Davey Boy of drugging her orange juice so he could sodomize her - is ringside. Bulldog eliminates Marty and Fatu and The Ringmaster both get dumped.

No. 30, obviously, is Duke the Dumpster. Imagine "a garbage man goes to WrestleMania," Vince quips. Shit, I would LOVE to see someone fantasy book the Fed with Drosse as the World Champ. Hell, I might even pay to read it.

Bulldog and HBK fight on the outside and Owen Pearl Harbors HBK. We're down to our final six. Yankem and Drosse get tossed. That makes it Bulldog, HBK, Diesel and ... Kama.

Michaels eliminates Bulldog, Diesel dumps Kama and HBK superkicks Diesel right over the top rope to win it all. Diesel slowly sulks back to the locker room and beats the fuck out of the Bulldog on his way. He gets interviewed by Dok but his response is totally inaudible. HBK dances around in the ring and at one point mimes showing his bush to the crowd. Diesel stares him down. He lifts his hand really high in the air and HBK jumps up to high five him. Cue "Sexy Boy" and another couple of minutes of very, very homoerotic dancing. 

And the gongs signify that the Undertaker is on his way to the ring. Diesel gives him the big stink eye on his way down the aisle. He pushes Paul Bearer and Diesel kicks in the face. He and Taker trade blows for a while and Diesel says "I ain't afraid of the dark" as the refs push him back into the locker room.

Huge ovation for the Hitman when he arrives. He gives his shades to a kid with Down syndrome, which automatically makes me think of that time another youngster with Down syndrome tried to climb into the ring during a Shawn Michaels/Steve Austin match and Vince kept referring to him as a "Special Olympian" as a euphemism for mental retard

Perfect says it is Hart's 43rd PPV match and some shit about Taker not being able to feel pain. Taker appropriately enough no sells some of Bret's punches early and chokes the shit out of him in the corner. He throws him into the adjacent corner and continues to wail on em, Nelson Muntz style.

Bret does his patented sternum-first turnbuckle bump and Taker slaps on an iron claw variation while Vince describes his mask as "a facial appliance." From there we have a LOOOONG choking segment with Bearer repeatedly throwing Hart's foot off the rope. 

Taker does that tightrope axehandle smash thingy. And he chokes Hart some more (or, as Perfect would say, "methodically wears him down.") Hart connects with a mid-range clothesline off the top rope. Hart dumps him over the top rope. Taker lands on his feet but Bret wipes him out with a plancha, followed by some very nice punches in bunches on the ground.

Taker picks up Hart and runs him back first into a metal post. Hart retaliates by slamming Taker into the same metal post, which is immediately followed by Taker booting Hart right in the left nostril.

You know, because just throwing the motherfucker off is physically impossible.

Taker slams Bret into the guardrail and Bret responds by launching Taker into the metal steps on a reversal of an Irish whip. Now Hart is just kicking the shit out of Taker's knees, adding injury to injury by doing that old school leg twist submission thingy. Hart keeps kicking Taker's leg and jumping on his ankle. He hooks in the figure four, but Taker flips it over and reverses the pressure (fun fact: this does not work in real life.) Taker gets pushed into the corner and Hart twists his ankle. Hart tries to yank off Taker's mask. Fans chant "rest in peace" while Bret continues to kick the shit out of Taker's knee. Paul Bearer distracts the ref so Taker can do heelish shit like throw Bret into chairs and other ringside accoutrement. Taker hits Hart with a chair and Hart retaliates by kicking the fuck out of Taker's legs while the crowd boos like crazy.

Hart secures a takedown and pulls Taker's legs between the ropes and slams his ankle against the post over and over. Now Taker is up - but hobbling - and he tries to scoop Bret up for the Tombstone but he flips out over the top rope. Bret hits Taker with a proto-Stone Cold Stunner right on the top rope. Taker throws Bret against the ropes and when he puts his head down like a retard he just DDTs the fuck out of him. Taker is back up and Bret starts headbutting his spine and Russian leg sweeps that undead nigga."How do you beat Frankenstein?" Perfect remarks. 

Hart lands an awesome, downright killer-looking bulldog, but Taker is right back up. Hart lands the backbreaker and the top rope fist drop. Hart gives a big thumbs down gesture and sets up the Sharpshooter. Except Taker chokes him before he can lock it in and knees him in the solar plexus. A double clothesline puts both men down, but not quite out.

Hart is up first and he successfully rips Taker's mask off. Taker chases Hart around the ring and then Bret elbow smashes his foe in the corner. Taker then eats several "exposed corner" bumps, but oh shit, Taker just landed the Tombstone out of nowhere! He has Hart pinned. One, two ... and motherfucking Diesel jumps into the ring and yanks out Taker. The bell sounds and Taker is declared winner by disqualification - although, as we all know by now, championship belts can't change hands on a DQ. Diesel and Taker scuffle. Hart gets back up and showboats in the ring for a bit. We get a quick video recap of the PPV we just watched, and that's all she wrote from Fresno-town, amigos y amigas.

Well, it's pretty easy to see why this is one of the less heralded Royal Rumbles. The undercard was fairly enjoyable, although the sports-entertainment tomfoolery quotient was probably a bit higher than it should've been. HHH/Duke, Ahmed/Jarrett and Gunns/Donnas were all [**] range bouts, but the Goldust/Ramon affair is probably worthy of placement in the [***] canon based on the sheer entertainment factor alone. The Rumble itself was really forgettable, with WAY too many C-listers in the fray and a very anticlimactic ending. At times, it felt like a carbon copy of the '95 Rumble, only without the high drama of Shawn Michaels being in there from bell-to-bell. Also, you REALLY have to question the booking of the final four - I mean, shouldn't Vader have been one of the last dudes left in the ring? Hindsight is always 50/50 I know, but there are so many scenarios that would have been so much better in the long haul than just having Shawn Michaels super kick a motherfucker out of the ring right after he got done doing all the heavy lifting. The main event was a bit of a letdown, but it's clear no one knew how to book the damn thing to begin with. It's almost like they sort of wanted to do the Survivor Series '95 main event redux, but since the match couldn't have a clean finish, there really wasn't much of a point to building anything special out of something that was meant to fizzle out, anyway. Still, it was an interesting bout to watch, with Hart basically trying to break The Undertaker's legs for 20 minutes, so I'd consider it a semi-decent [***] range effort, all things considered. But sheesh - that run-in ending was just the pits

The aftermath of the Rumble, of course, was HBK supplanting the Hitman as the company's top face for the remainder of the year. With Razor and Diesel WCW-bound, the WWF definitely found itself on the losing side of the Monday Night Wars, with the white hot N.W.O. angle coming *thisfuckingclose* to putting Vinny Mac and Co. out of business for good. Granted, the same year also saw the ascension of Steve Austin and the introduction of some dude name Rocky Maivia, and well - we all know what ultimately became of World Championship Wrestling. All in all, it's an interesting glimpse at the WWF at its most important transitional period ever, but unfortunately, there's not really a whole lot of content herein that I'd consider worthy of going out of your way to see. There are worse Rumbles out there, I suppose, but by that same token? There's a whole hell of a lot of 'em that are vastly superior, too.