The Princess Rant on Dark Side of the Ring (Season 2, Episode 7)

All right I am skipping Dino Bravo for now. I just can’t get through it. The first 20 minutes of people describing him like he was the wrestling equivalent of Rocket Richard to the people of Montreal puts me to sleep.

So we’ll get back to it at a date TBD.

Anyway I know I won’t be bored with this week’s episode that will take a deep dive into Dr. D David Schultz and his slap down of long time broadcast journalist John Stossel. Schultz is one of the legendary tough guys and nutcases in the business and an amazing promo. I would put his ability to talk shit up there with any of the greats. His style has been compared to what you heard out of Steve Austin during the earlier, more unhinged phase of “Stone Cold” as compared to the slogan and tagline guy he would become later. He has a tremendous raspy voice, perfect for pro wrestling.

Our narrator (Chris Jericho) talks about the code of wrestling and protecting the business as wrestling heads into a new era.

We meet Schultz, who takes us through some memorabilia in his shed. He has aged well, still has a lot of hair. He calls himself “probably the greatest wrestler of all time…in my opinion.” He was trained by Herb Welch in the early 1970s. 

Jim Cornette describes Welch as a nasty SOB that wanted to beat the crap out of people. He relays a story of Welch rubbing his feces under his arms before matches and putting his opponents in a headlock. Damn. Schultz talks about being too stiff for a lot of the other students. Cornette says Schultz was taught first and foremost to protect the business. He was taught kayfabe, make the people believe it’s real. Schultz learned how to work in the ring and on the stick. 

Schultz goes into his friendship with Hulk Hogan. They used to room together in Pensacola. Schultz said he was living in a van before they were friends. They worked together in the AWA and drew money. Hogan moved on to be the top guy in the WWF and Hogan endorsed Schultz as an opponent. Schultz said that Vince McMahon told him that he wanted to bring him in and you will make good money. 

Hogan and Schultz had some great brawls. The brawl on the Hulkamania cassette is a legitimate **** match in my opinion. Incredible brawl with crazy heat. Their stuff in AWA was very good too. They had great chemistry because Schultz could work his ass off. Don’t let the crazy fool you. He was very good in the ring. Very believable and his flying elbow finisher looked a little different and cooler than a normal flying elbow. 

Schultz was also great as a character. They go into some of his exploits on the old Tuesday Night Titans show and Schultz claims that the famous segment of him with his “family” drew the ire of law enforcement. I doubt that. I mean you could see the “wife” and the “kid” trying hard not to break into laughter during the filming. 

We meet John Stossel. At this point in his long career he was more of a consumer advocate reporter. Trying to expose big businesses, etc.  Wrestling caught his eye because it was being present as a shoot, when it clearly wasn’t. 

Cornette pulls out old newspaper articles from New York-based publications in the 1930s that tried to expose the wrestling business. He said that New York tried to kill wrestling during that era. It was then that the boys realized they had to protect the business. Schultz was all about protecting the business. Stossel said the story came about because he found a survey where about a third of the people at a show thought pro wrestling was real. He didn’t want people to fall for bullshit. He needed a willing participant to help expose the business and he found Eddy Mansfield. 

Mansfield was a guy that made a little name for himself as a babyface in the Florida territories around the early 80s and then in the ICW and Southwest. He was sort of a Tommy Rich look-a-like so he worked in areas where they couldn’t afford Tommy Rich. He claims that he was always one to stand up for the boys and when he made promoters angry, they stopped booking him. He made the threat that he would expose the business if the promoters stopped booking him. They did and he called Stossel.

They showed clips of Mansfield doing the filming with Stossel. He showed him the worked moves and even how to blade, even doing it on camera. Schultz wonders why he wasn’t asked instead of “two wimps”. If you can’t tell by now I love David Schultz. He’s like the crazy redneck uncle that you only saw during extended family events because he was crazy, but he was also hilarious had entertaining stories…and probably brought a hooker with him to the family events. Mansfield claims he wasn’t there to expose the business, he wanted to help the boys get insurance, etc. Cornette and Schultz totally shit on Mansfield for this claimed stance and Mansfield’s promo to the camera doesn’t really help his cause.

Stossel decides he needed to hear the other side and they decide to go to a WWF show at MSG. Schultz claims McMahon told him that this TV crew was here trying to expose the business and he wanted Schultz to take him apart and stay in character. Stossel talked to the Iron Sheik first and the Schultz. Cornette said he didn’t understand why they went to Schultz. Stossel, of course, pushes Schultz with the fake claims and David Schultz…as his character would do…gives Stossel and open-hand slap to the side of the head for challenging him. Oops.

Cornette, watching the replay, is tickled by this and rightfully says that Schultz didn’t hit him nearly as hard as he could. Stossel gets up, so Schultz slaps on the other side of his head and that was enough for him to get away. Mansfield claims that he told them not to interview Schultz. Whatever. Schultz didn’t think much of it. The guy was rude to him and he slapped him. He had a match with Antonio Inoki. He jobbed of course. Post match Vince tells Schultz to just go back to the hotel and chill because Stossel is claiming he’s in pain. 

Everyone hated Mansfield and he left the south, claiming he had FBI guys to escort him to New York to keep him safe. God this guy is more full of shit now then he was then. He says he shouldn’t have done it, but he’s better off now because pro wrestling was never going to take care of him. 

Vince sends Schultz to Japan, where they immediately do an angle with him beating up a news reporter. It’s scripted this time though. Meanwhile back in the States, the Stossel piece runs and now Stossel is in horrible pain and claims he couldn’t be a good parent. Now here’s a guy who’s spent the last two decades pashawing at the legal system and their willingness to take any old lawsuit and what does he do — file a lawsuit. 

Anyway Vince tries to get Schultz to take the blame, but Schultz says he’s not going to take the fall. I am assuming Vince offered Schultz some money for this, if not Schultz should’ve said exactly what he did. Stossel talks about the WWF doctor claiming he is “holding on to pain because of the lawsuit”. He settled for $280K ($425K was the amount I believe, but taxes and legal fees subtracted) and yes Stossel begins to feel better once a big chunk is in his account. 

We skip to Wrestlemania and McMahon adds Mr. T for the card’s main event. Cornette says yes he was a Hollywood guy, but he looked the part and he could talk and it fit with what they were trying to do. Schultz objected Mr T.’s presence and the money he was getting. Mr. T was at a show in Los Angeles (I think), but claims he didn’t have a physical altercation. Schultz claims that Jay Strongbow fired him, but he went to the ring to watch a match. Strongbow calls the cops to have him removed. That’s Schuitz’s story. Hogan tells a different story, one that Schultz assaulted Mr. T. Cornette said Schultz had to go because he could grasp with the idea of an outsider in the business. 

Schultz says he’s not sure if Stossel or Mr. T got him fired. He then brings up Hogan’s incident with Richard Belzer, but as Cornette points out, Hulk Hogan was the biggest star in wrestling and wasn’t going to get heat. Vince had to pay another settlement to Belzer, at probably a much higher number than the one he paid to Stossel, but Hogan was going to make him that money back tenfold. The sad end is that Schultz called Hogan his best friend in the business until this happened and, well you know Hogan follows the money and the money wasn’t with Schultz. 

Schultz was pretty much blackballed from the business, he seemed like a NATURAL fit for Crockett, and I smile imagining the insults he would’ve come up with for Dusty Rhodes, but they really couldn’t chance it either. He went on to being a bounty hunter and holy shit does the footage for David Schultz bounty hunter look AMAZING. How did we get stuck with a moron like Duane “Dog” Chapman and a stupid family, when we could’ve had Schultz cutting promos and arresting punks? Naturally Schultz is a great bounty hunter because he’s not afraid. And as he said, the first mistake you make is probably the last one. He tells a funny story about chasing a kidnapper down in Puerto Rico and describes it as being in an action movie.

While Schultz is making his money the hard way, Vince has officially re-branded pro wrestling as sports entertainment to keep from having to pay those athletic commission fees and state taxes. Mansfield said McMahon’s move proved what he said from the beginning. New Jersey, under former Governor Christie Todd Whitman, de-regulated pro wrestling and other states follow. Schultz says that people like Mansfield and Stossel robbed him of his future in wrestling. He drives trucks now. Cornette said either Schultz would’ve made a ton of money in the WWF or more likely he would’ve run himself out of the business as McMahon got more clean, cartoon-y and family friendly. The ones that played along got rich and fat, but Schultz wasn’t necessarily that guy. 

Stossel hates that with all the work he’s done, this incident is generally the one he’s most remembered for. Schultz doesn’t hate it as much and is still willing to meet with Stossel and promises he won’t hit him. Stossel replies “fuck you David”. Schultz ends this by saying he doesn’t care what you think of him.

The Bottom Line: Best episode of the second season so far. Mainly because of the characters. Schultz, Stossel, Cornette and Mansfield were all great for TV. Cornette recently went on Twitter and called Stossel a whiny little bitch who got what he deserved. Bret Hart has also went on record saying he appreciated Schultz sticking up for the business.