Heroes of Wrestling

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Heroes of Wrestling
Information
Promotion Heroes of Wrestling
Date October 10, 1999[1]
Attendance 2,300
Venue Casino Magic[1]
City Bay St. Louis, Mississippi[1]
Pay-per-view chronology
N/A Heroes of Wrestling N/A

Heroes of Wrestling was a professional wrestling pay-per-view event that took place on October 10, 1999 from the Casino Magic hotel and casino in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, USA. The event was meant to be the first in a series of pay-per-views that would feature popular wrestling stars from the 1980s and early 1990s. Plans for the franchise were abandoned following the event, which suffered from a poor buy rate and several controversies, most notably a disastrous main event featuring an inebriated Jake Roberts.

Overview[edit]

Playing off the resurgence in popularity of pro wrestling at the time, Fosstone Productions president Bill Stone conceived a series of events consisting of wrestling stars from the 1980s and early 1990s fighting one another in a series of "dream matches". Stone booked the initial pay-per-view with the intent of having three more, run on a quarterly basis, if the initial target of 40,000 buys was reached.[2]

Although the event was heavily promoted, it was only purchased by 29,000 households. Additionally, the event itself was generally regarded to be of poor quality: Wrestling Observer rated it the worst major wrestling event of 1999,[3] with its editor Dave Meltzer giving a rating of "absolute zero" to a tag team match featuring Luke Williams and Butch Miller facing Nikolai Volkoff and The Iron Sheik. Meltzer's colleague, Bryan Alvarez of Figure Four Weekly, has repeatedly referred to this match as the worst he has ever seen and rated it "minus more stars than there are in the universe"[4]

Another match on the card that proved problematic was the singles contest between former Horseman Tully Blanchard and Stan Lane of Midnight Express fame. While most professional wrestling matches are scripted, the men appeared visibly unaware of the intended outcome of the match, resulting in several false climaxes to the fight as each man attempted to "win": Blanchard kicked out of what was supposed to be a finishing maneuver by Lane, who began celebrating his "victory" before realizing the fight was still going on. Later, Lane failed to kick out of what was not intended to be a finishing pinfall until after the referee had stopped the match.

Controversy[edit]

Color commentary[edit]

Minor controversy initially erupted at the beginning of the broadcast due to a last-minute change of commentators. Gordon Solie, a well-respected figure in the wrestling world with several decades of experience delivering play-by-play, had been advertised as one of the event's commentators. Shortly before the event, Solie fell ill with the throat cancer to which he would succumb nine months later. No announcement was made of the change before the show, and neither Solie nor his illness were ever mentioned during the broadcast. Solie's replacement, Randy Rosenbloom, delivered what would come to be regarded as some of the poorest color commentary ever given at a professional wrestling event.[5] Rosenbloom repeatedly made mistakes during the broadcast, such as misidentifying wrestlers' countries of origin, and having to be repeatedly corrected on basic wrestling terminology by his broadcast partners Dutch Mantell and Lou Albano, such as when he called an arm drag performed by Marty Jannetty a "reverse slam takedown". A particular source of criticism was Rosenbloom's inability to identify a simple dropkick, repeatedly calling the maneuver such things as a "flying kick," "flying leg kick," and "leg drop".[6]

Jake the Snake incident[edit]

The show is nominally remembered for its' conclusion, originally slated to be a double-main event pitting Jake Roberts against Jim Neidhart, and King Kong Bundy against Yokozuna. Roberts' problems with drug and alcohol addiction had been well publicized in the preceding years, and his booking in the main event was meant to capitalize on the resurgence in popularity he had enjoyed as a result of his attempts at sobriety. Roberts' return to the ring was meant to be the high-point of the evening, and the match responsible for generating the most publicity. However, Roberts suffered a relapse prior to the show and consumed a significant amount of alcohol before arriving. Prior to his match with Neidhart, Roberts had been scheduled to cut a promo in which he would taunt Neidhart. Due to his level of intoxication, Roberts' promo instead consisted of a slurred, incoherent rant consisting largely of wordplay based on the event's casino setting. One particular segment of the rant would go viral after it was posted on Wrestlecrap:

"You don't want to play cards with me because I'll cheat. Okay? I cheat. You wanna play 21? I've got 22. You want to play blackjack? I've got two of those, too! You wanna play...Aces and eights, baby? I got too many of those, too!"[7]

After the interview, Roberts staggered to the ring with his trademark snake. However, upon reaching the ring, Roberts put the snake down and attempted to return backstage; he then reversed course, returned to ringside, and began greeting fans. Before entering the ring, Roberts grabbed a female fan and had her rub her hands on his bare chest. Later, Roberts removed the snake from its' bag and simulated masturbation with it. The event's producers cut to wide-shots of the crowd during the incident, so that at-home viewers were unaware what was happening in the ring. Roberts eventually collapsed in the middle of the ring with the snake draped over his body; the prone Roberts then began to attempt to kiss the snake.

In an effort to salvage the match, promoter Bill Stone decided on the fly to combine the main events into one tag team event and sent Bundy to team with Neidhart and Yokozuna to team with Roberts. Stone then went to ringside himself to consult with the wrestlers. Bundy pinned Roberts by hitting him with a splash after Roberts had staggered and fallen around the ring several times, despite Roberts not being the legal man in the ring.[8] Yokozuna and Stone attempted to salvage the event and Roberts' reputation by trying to goad Roberts into attacking Stone, making his behavior appear scripted. Roberts was too inebriated to realize what was happening and remained oblivious to Yokozuna and Stone's attacks. Yokozona then hit a Samoan drop on Stone to make the entire series of events appear scripted; while Yokozuna attacked Stone, Roberts began to disrobe in the middle of the ring and the producers cut the feed immediately thereafter.

Results[edit]

No. Results Stipulations Times
1 The Samoan Swat Team (Samu and The Samoan Savage) (with Paul Adams and Sika) defeated Marty Jannetty and Tommy Rogers Tag Team match 10:00
2 Greg "The Hammer" Valentine (with Sensuous Sherri Martel) defeated George "The Animal" Steele Single match 06:37
3 2 Cold Scorpio (c) defeated Julio Fantastico Single match 09:37
4 The Bushwhackers (Butch Miller and Luke Williams) defeated The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff (with Nikita Breznikoff) Tag Team match 08:42
5 Tully Blanchard defeated Stan Lane Single match 07:04
6 Abdullah the Butcher (with Honest John Cheatum) fought One Man Gang to a double count-out. Single match 07:34
7 Jimmy Snuka (with Captain Lou Albano) defeated Bob Orton, Jr. Single match 11:46
8 Jim Neidhart and King Kong Bundy (with "Mini Bundy") defeated Jake Roberts and Yokozuna Tag Team match 16:34
  • (c) – refers to the champion(s) heading into the match

Other on-air talent[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]