QOTD #26: Irrational Fear

Off Topic Wednesday!
Today’s Question:
What did you have a
completely irrational fear of as a young child?
We’ll address all this tomorrow. In the meantime, if you don’t
want to stick around for yesterday’s discussion, as always, you can scroll to
the end of this piece, or hit the Comments button to get started right away.

Yesterday I asked about the biggest overhyped bust you could
think of. Somehow, through over 200 comments, we managed to avoid talking about
LeBron James signing with the Cavaliers. Instead, you said:
gail kim, in the sense that i distinctly
remember that she was touted (via the iwc) as being a female rey mysterio when
she debuted. then she proceeded not to be anything like him. it’s not that
she’s not good, nor that she doesn’t deserve the accolades she got for her
establishment of the tna knockouts division, but when the buzz is you’re just
as high flying and innovative as rey in his prime and then you barely have an
aerial arsenal, it’s hard not to wonder where the hype came from
She gets it from her husband Robert Irvine. You might know
him as “like Gordon Ramsay,” without the Michelin Stars or credibility.
Garth Holmberg, C.C.:
This probably isn’t what you mean with
the question, but to me… Zack Ryder. Explanation: I fell out of wrestling for
a while, and started getting into the product shortly after Ryder’s
“burial” (Spring/Summer 2012) and the excessive “omg, Ryder was
over, push him into a bigger role cause he’s awesome” arguments that
followed. I looked around for stuff of his, and the guy screams undercard fodder
for a pushed heel. His in-ring work is painfully average, his catchphrase makes
me want to punch him in the face, and he’s more obsessed with complaining on
Twitter and deciding what his tights should look like than actually improving
as a worker. I don’t like him, and don’t see how anyone else did.
AMEN! I know that any kind of negative talk about Zack Ryder
is seen as a hate crime amongst this crowd, but I cannot stand the guy. His
catchphrase is about the worst thing I’ve ever heard (basically take Ric Flair’s
trademark, and give it to an almost blacked out drunk kid on the Jersey shore).
His personality does nothing for me. Despite having little use for either Cena
or Kane these days, I thoroughly enjoyed Ryder’s public castration. If they
could do the same to Bo Dallas I’d be a happy camper.
Robert Williams: Taz’s WWF run is another good one. But the
videos before he arrived were nice.
I’m willing to go to war for small wrestlers who can bring
the goods ANYTIME, but Tazz was just wrong for the WWF. He stood tall in ECW,
where guys over 6’0” were the exception and not the rule. Unfortunately, him
flinging The Undertaker all over the ring believably was never going to happen.
Eric Von Erich: Super Ninja. With a name like that I thought
for sure that he’d give Ultimate Warrior more of a challenge.
Forget Super Ninja. Put it behind you. Where the ball was
truly dropped was on the SUPER GIANT NINJA.
Extant1979: I would just like to take us all back to the
1980s, where guys like Cpl. Kirchner and Outback Jack got several weeks worth
of hype videos. Outback Jack? That’s the winning gimmick you want to spend time
and money on vignettes for? Outback Jack?
How can bringing a real life Australian cartoon character to
America be considered a bad idea, exactly?
Petrock: The correct answer is Lex Luger in his Lex
Express era. Did they take the bus away from him after he choked at Summerslam?
GREAT answer. The hype machine cannot possibly get any
stronger than this video … Good luck getting it out of your head.
Starscreamlive: WCW hyped the hell out of Seven, or whatever
they were calling Dustin Rhodes. He finally shows up on tv, says fuck this
gimmick, and walks backstage.
To be fair, the gimmick was dropped after the vignette
featuring Dustin standing in a window watching children in the dead of night.
Apparently Turner Standards and Practices made this really outrageous link that
he might be seen as some sort of kidnapper, or sexual predator. Had this been
post-Katie Vick, they probably would have praised them for their tastefulness
in not showing the pedophilia on camera.
MikeyMike, Witness:
Tensai is one that is recent and comes to
mind. When he first started, he was going over JOHN CENA in a Raw Main Event.
They seemed to really want to capitalize on his time in Japan and turn him into
a brute force. They had seen success with Mark Henry in a similar role, so kudos
for at least trying up front. Fast forward what, six months later and he’s
He went to Japan! He’s better than ever! No, he’s not. You
can’t stop being Albert, no matter how much of your back you shave.
Darren: Glacier! Blood Runs Cold! WCW (I think)
started running ads about 9 months before they even had anybody to portray the
gimmick! Not to mention – rather stupidly – doing this smack-dab in the middle
of the now takeover. There was no way POSSIBLE that Glacier could live up to
the hype.
So, I stopped my 1996 WCW recaps right around the end of July.
There were two running themes that had been going on since about April. 1)
Johnny B Badd continued to be heavily featured in the opening to WCW Prime
despite being on competing programming. And 2) OUR WORLD IS ABOUT TO CHANGE!
BLOOD RUNS COLD! Unless this guy was going to come out and literally shoot liquid
nitrogen from his hands and defeat the nWo threat once and for all … he was
probably doomed. The 38 month feud with Mortis probably didn’t help either.
Devin Harris: This is stretching the question a bit but my
answer is Shark Boy. The internet was buzzing about how he was going to change
the business etc. Then he showed up on tv (WCW? maybe ECW) and I was like
“THIS DUDE?!” For realz???
A few people in the thread don’t remember this, but I
certainly do. When he came to WCW Saturday Night, there was a massive smark
following who couldn’t WAIT to have him show what he could do. Not only was his
offense a joke compared to the lucha kings, but within months he was already
unmasked and going under his real name, Dean Roll, while Kevin Nash wondered
aloud on commentary whether or not the show had been booked on a napkin 4
minutes before it hit the air.
eljmayes: Brakkus. Was hyped and then sent out to ECW
before having an uneventful run in the WWE for less than a year.
I remember RAW showing some sort of clip of him, and my best
friend calling me to tell me to “check out this guy’s arms”. Which, hey, were
large and what-not. But when you’re legitimately getting your ass kicked by Los
Boricuas in Brawl For All Action, despite being built like Ivan Drago, then
maybe it’s time to say “this probably isn’t for me.” Thankfully, he did.
Stuart_Chartock: Kizarny really got screwed over – he has ONE
televised match, which was supposedly considered so terrible that the company
lost faith in him instantly. First of all, when does having one bad match count
against someone?
You’ll need to check with Buff Bagwell on that one. I hated
hated hated this gimmick. Seriously, what the bloody hell is this???
James M. Fabiano:
Given how pushed he was at the beginning,
can we put Ryback here too? From future main eventer to partner of Mr.
Perfect’s untalented son.
I knew he was doomed from the minute they decided to put him
in the main event. His entire existence was the winning streak, but he didn’t
have Goldberg’s natural charisma. Because The Rock was pencilled in to take the
title from Punk in January, Ryback could not possibly do the one thing he
needed to sustain his heat; keep winning. Granted, if a winning streak is all
you have, then you’re probably not World Champion material, but he had a sweet
little niche as the mid-card killer; and had they hired Jerry Flynn, he could
have gone on forever.
Andy PG: Sin Cara — seen as Mexico’s biggest draw,
hyped to the moon as a future international star… and in his first match,
Primo slips on the top rope and the finish is blown all to hell. He never
They’ve desperately been seeking the international draw they
lost when Eddie Guerrero passed away, and will hype ANYTHING remotely Spanish
as Mexico’s greatest export. Truth be told, they’re missing a real opportunity
not putting more spotlight on the Spanish Announce Table. The fans have been
chanting for it rabidly for over 15 years, it might do well on its own
international tour.
Adam “Colorado”
Vader in the WWF, he should
have been the next monster heel, but due to various factors (Clique politics
and Vader no longer giving a fuck, mostly), it just didn’t work out.
This probably doesn’t help:
Brendan McDonald:
If we’re talking the worst job living up
to the hype, you probably have to go with old Dwayne’s initial run as Rocky
Maivia. For those who weren’t watching at the time, it cannot be overstated how
big of a bomb he was. This was a guy they wanted to be the future of the
company and crowds were loudly shitting on him even while he held the #2 title in
the company. That seems commonplace now, Bootista and all, but back then it was
unheard of. The fans usually ate what they were given and if they didn’t like
it, the character was either abandoned or turned.
“DIE ROCKY DIE!” was the chant of choice. And you’re right,
he debuted about a year before we really got into the building blocks of the
Attitude Era. The collective universal audience reaction was truly something
else, and neither Rocky nor the WWF had any idea what in the hell to do. By the
time they “turned” him heel, they were about 6 months behind the bloody crowds.
The fact he was able to turn that start into one of the greatest careers of all
time has to be considered one of the finest turnarounds in the history of the
The Convictor: Berlyn. We got months of hype (and some fairly
well-produced vignettes) for the repackaged Alex Wright. But then the Columbine
massacre happened and his debut was delayed for months. When he finally did
debut, Hacksaw Jim Duggan sandbagged him and killed him off as a threat (funny
how Duggan was seemingly never punished for this- unlike when Roma was fired
for doing the same thing to Wright when he was still “Das
Wunderkind”). Ultimately, his bodyguard, The Wall, got the push Berlyn
should have gotten, and Wright went back to teaming with Disco Inferno (FYI,
the Dancin’ Fools/Boogie Knights were always one of my guilty pleasures).
His heat was already fading fast after the Duggan/Bagwell
fiasco, but the following month he faced Brad Armstrong, who was hot off being “the
guy who loses” in Master P’s No Limit Soldiers stable. AND HE LOST. CLEANLY.
But this is the same company who at the same show put the First Family over
Revolution, and pretended that this somehow amounted to a push for Team
Will1225: Mordecai was a guy that I loved the hype
vignettes for and he lasted all of I think six weeks.
What exactly was Mordecai supposed to be? An Albino Bray
Wyatt, dressed like a Klan member? Was he supposed to be a rebellious former
Church Serving Boy who was still programmed to carry the cross every time he
stepped into an aisle with many onlookers?
Adam Moore: Issac Yankem was the stupidest damn thing
Jerry Lawler’s evil dentist who happens to have bad teeth.
Racist Albino Choir Boy Bray Wyatt is starting to sound a whole lot better.
BooBoo1782: Actually, how about Barry Windham as the
Stalker? If you go back to Mick’s first book, they wanted to merchandize him
out the wazoo, they did those vignettes, designed a whole look for him, and he
just fell FLAT.
Windham returned to the WWF during the tail end of their “let’s
try GIMMICKS” era. Garbage Man had already been taken. So had Plummer. Still,
jotted down on a notepad was “The Stalker” who hailed from “THE ENVIRONMENT”,
and Windham happily accepted it in the name of collecting a paycheque after two
years of inactivity. Windham didn’t have anywhere near enough name value to tell
Vince “I’m not so sure about that one”. Thankfully, he quickly discovered his
true calling as Justin Hawk Bradshaw’s Totally Not Gay mustachioed buddy,
Blackjack Windham.
The bulges say “Just Friends!”

Jared Bellow: Can we really forget Sean O’Haire either?
But I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know.
I loved Sean O’Haire. Loved him like Windham loved Bradshaw.
I thought he had the complete package in WCW, and couldn’t wait to see his
return in 2003. Then came the hype packages. Oh my god. The promos were different.
Edgy. Left you wanting to see the next one. Then they paired him with Roddy Piper???
In some sort of B-level feud with Hulk Hogan during his Mr. America phase?
After the great start, they had no idea where to go, and it turned out that O’Haire
simply couldn’t bring it in the ring on the big stage. Then Piper got himself
fired, and O’Haire was left as the nearest casuality. Palumbo and O’Haire never
making it in WWF was really unfortunate.
Andrew Nystrom: Nathan Jones. The guy had a bunch of hype,
but when they realized he couldn’t wrestle worth a darn, they kept pushing back
his debut, then he had two matches before being taken off TV, then returned as
a Paul Heyman guy, and was around for two more months before leaving for good.
His cause wasn’t helped by his lactating breasts.
Crikey Mate Down
Under Aussie:
KENTA, he should have
been WWE Champion yesterday listening to some of the people here, and Meltzer.
Remember this very astute post in 2 years from now when his
trademark is either:

Spitting mist
Defending the IC Title against Kofi Kingston on
Has recruited several other Japanese guys and
they are decidedly evil and bow a lot
therealnitzilla: Kronic. Thought they were supposed to be the
next Demolition then they just fizzled. I guess the rumor was they worked stiff
on the wrong guy, but it seemed mystifying at the time.
I remember these two clowns being talked about the Internet
for months ahead of time as WCW’s best new idea. Unfortunately, the stink of
SNOOCHIE BOOCHIES wasn’t going to get washed off them fast enough to have any
kind of a chance.
Curtis Williams: I think the Miz fits this. Here’s a guy
who’s painfully average in the ring and good on the mic when he’s a heel(Then
again, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was just playing himself), yet the only
reason Vince keeps trying to make the guy happen is because he was on a reality
show 15 years ago.
I think the real reason he’s kept around is because he’s a
safe company guy, who does the media work and interviews without needing to
worry about him going off and stepping out of line. Guys like Miz and Kofi are
pretty much set for years.
So, Glacier was my pick; but I wasn’t shocked to see about a
dozen of you take him as well, so I’m going to go another way.
Shane Douglas, WCW, 1999. The Internet was buzzing about how
great he was in ECW, that as long as they kept his stupid Franchise character
they were set. Then he shows up, makes friends with Chris Benoit, Perry Saturn,
and Dean Malenko. And their gimmick is to stand in the ring, like sad desperate
indy wrestlers desperately trying to get a catchphrase over that’s never going
to work, chanting “REVOLUTION REVOLUTION REVOLUTION” instead of letting the
FANS do it.
For some reason, despite this nonsense, Douglas felt he had
enough leeway to accept his release along with the rest of the Revolution guys
in the winter of 2000 … only to come crawling back because Vince didn’t want
anything to do with him. Somehow, his incessant bitching gets him put into a
feud with Ric Flair (feud point: Douglas calls him DICK FLAIR), a place he had
no business being.
He was an awful wrestler, an awful person, and quite
frankly, I could do without ever having to hear him speak ever again. He couldn’t
live up to the hype, because he was never worthy of it in the first place.
And with that – let’s call it a day. Hopefully your day is
Franchise Free, much as mine will be. ‘Til tomorrow.