Monday, June 27, 2022

Wrestling Moments: Televised "House" Show- Several Times Between March 18, 1989 and April 1, 1990

Disclaimer- I don't know when this happened, and it was probably more than once.
However, few moments summarize why I enjoy the goofiness mixed with athleticism mixed with behind the scenes connections of old school WWF more than this one.

Other Disclaimer- I knew I would enjoy writing these, but I am having far more fun than the large amount anticipated. Therefore, the length of them will continue to creep up as I fill them with more entertaining (to me) asides. I do hope others are enjoying these, but that isn't the main focus as I am having a ball.

Other Other Disclaimer- I write to keep myself sane and focused, and to make people laugh. There are other things weighing on my mind that would do none of these if I wrote exclusively about them. Before getting back to the fun- make sure you're registered to vote, and vote like the "inalienable" rights and freedoms and also the safety of you and your loved ones are in jeopardy...because they are.

This is a combination of two skilled members of wrestling families, who worked better as heels than faces, and then even better when teamed up.

Lets look at them individually first.

Curt Henning, was trained by his dad Larry "The Axe" Henning.  His son took his ring name from both his father and grandfather, "Curtis Axel." 

Curt was a legitimately talented amateur wrestler. He and his childhood friend Richard Rood ("Ravishing" Rick Rude) both came from a Minnesota high school that produced a ridiculous number of professional wrestlers, and were part of the group Bret Hart referenced in his book that would clear out hotel rooms in order to have shoot (legitimate) wrestling matches to train.

Being impressive at the skill that was supposedly on display was, of course, not enough of a selling point in those sensationalism packed WWF days. Henning was packaged in a series of videos showing his "perfection" at any and all sports. This was accompanied by over the top arrogance, and the high heat drawing heel- "Mister Perfect" was born. 

The questions of "Is it really arrogance if you're that talented?" 
"If he really was that good why did he cheat all the time?" 
are left for the ages. 

It worked! His skill in the ring and emotions on the microphone led to a successful career including a long feud with Hulk Hogan himself for the Heavyweight Championship.

The other half of this combination comes from a second well known wrestling family.  Lanny Poffo is the son of wrestler and promoter Angelo Poffo, and the brother of former Major League ballplayer Randall Poffo who improved his swing by "dropping his elbow." 

Yes his brother is far better known as "The Macho Man" 
Randy Savage.

Aside- No, there were never any indications that they were related. Considering how HUGE family connections are in professional Wrestling, they are also weird. Many sons trained by their fathers wrestled together but were billed as brothers, to hide the older one's age. 
(Like Greg Valentine and his father Johnny.)  
Some relatives' connections are never mentioned, while some families are completely made up. (Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake early on tag teaming as "The Boulder Brothers," or Hillbilly Jim's entire clan come to mind.)  As with any spinners of tales, story comes first. I realize this paragraph is irrelevant to the main topic, and also pointless (like most of my writing)…
However, it was the only way I could sneak in a mention for Hillbilly Jim, who I don't remember any specific moments for, but he was a fun favorite face when I was a young un.

Due to his (unusual for the time) highly aerial style, his ring moniker was "Leaping" Lanny Poffo. Along with that, his gimmick before matches involved writing poems, which he would read and then toss them into the crowd on frisbees. 


As in both 
"really that was his gimmick" 
"the poems were really written by him.")

Poffo was an excellent Jobber. (Someone who uses polished, in ring talent to put over [make look good] opponents that the company had bigger plans for.)

For some reason, a high flying poet was not catching the fancy of the average wrestling fan and he was not getting his own push.

Time for a makeover!

"Leaping" Lanny was no more.  He continued writing poems, but acted a tad more effeminately when he read them, and they were derogatory attacks on his foes, and sometimes the fans. He played up being an intellectual, and smarter than everyone in the audience. 
(Insert your own joke here.) 

The transformation was completed by having him approach the ring wearing a Cap and Gown.  (Interesting choice since his famous brother entered to the graduation march of "Pomp and Circumstance.")
Thus, the heel known as "The Genius" was born!

After The Genius was teamed up with Mr. Perfect, real life modified the story line as it is want to do. Poffo was injured. Rather that taking time off, as anyone who has that kind of physical job (and also health insurance) would have, The Genius became Mr. Perfect's manager.

He did all the normal Heel Manager activities:
Brag about his wrestler (in verse!),
Insult the opponent (also in verse!),
Distract the referee (with his geniusness),
Interfere with the matches (and interviews).

However, due to his "superior intellect," there was an added benefit Mr. Perfect gained to having The Genius in his corner.

Poffo would spend most of the time during the matches writing equations on his metal clipboard. 

The question of: "What exactly is a wrestling equation?" will be left for the ages.

Once The Genius would solve for that day's specific match up, he would call Mr. Perfect over to their corner into a conference and explain the equation's solution to him.

Inevitably, The Genius would follow up with distracting the referee, and Mr. Perfect would take the steel, theoretically equation covered clipboard, study it intently...

and smash his opponent upside the head with it.

We theorized, mixed in with the equations, The Genius wrote,
"Hit him with this!"
On the clipboard.

Then Henning could easily finish his (now incredibly dazed) foe by executing the Perfect Plex.
Aside- Perfect Plex: A snap suplex where Henning would lock up with an opponent facing him, rapidly lift the man completely over his head inverted, and slam his back on the canvas, while landing himself in a bridge that held the other's shoulders on the matt for a pin.
This is yet another "quick and simple" wrestling move requiring phenomenal amounts of strength, agility and timing from each man to both make it look easy and not put one or both of them into a wheelchair for life.
A point I have made and will make again, "fake" is the wrong word for professional wrestling.

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