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WWE No Holds Barred: The Match, The Movie, And The Debacle!

“Why have a Merry Christmas, WHEN YOU CAN HAVE A NO HOLDS BARRED CHRISTMAS?!”- Vince McMahon after snorting two bricks of cocaine.

Am I really talking about No Holds Barred of all things for the Robert Zone? Seriously? Does Gargiulo have some dirty pictures of me and a prostitute that looks vaguely familiar to Stephanie McMahon? *Talks to guy off-screen* He does? Well, shit. Alright, No Holds Barred might be absolutely awful and should only be enjoyed under the influence of uncontrolled substances but the film has some benefits. First, Kurt Fuller chews every piece of scenery he can as Brell, the evil RIVAL channel owner. Seriously, the character is essentially a stand-in for Ted Turner and since I presume that Will Forte wasn’t acting in 1989, he’s perfect. Bruce Dern who would be my pick for an evil Ted Turner type after seeing Diggstown, but that would be a no-go for him since he wouldn’t touch this film with a ten foot pole.

Seriously, I know that people think he’s supposed to be a shoe-in for Vince, but Brell is Billionaire Ted. He’s crazy evil and wants to see REAL WRESTLING with blood and shit compared to those humble people at that other TV channel. The channel head probably has nice kids named Shane and Steph and nice wife by the name of Linda. Seriously, Ready to Rumble making Jimmy King a straight-up inside joke about Jerry Lawler’s personal life is more subtle than Brell. Now you why Vince famously rewrote the entire scrip with Hogan in a hotel room and by god, I would kill to be a fly in that room. The amount of drugs, alcohol and steroids ingested could probably kill six members of 83 Raiders. So, what else is good about No Holds Barred? Joan Severance! That was one sexy woman, my readers and she still looks good for her age. Seriously, hot damn it’s one of the very few redeeming factors in this movie whenever Fuller isn’t chewing shit up. My crush on her would peak when I would inadvertently stumble onto her Playboy spread in 1990 in my grandpa’s collection. Boy that sounded just awful typing that out. We didn’t have Google back in 199 frigging 5 so give me some damn credit. That’s about it besides Stan Hansen showing for about five minutes and being all crazy and rednecky. It’s funny; I had No Holds Barred on a tape with the 1989 Great American Bash with none other than Heavy Metal bringing up the rear. BEST VHS TAPE EVER…if you’re twelve years old discovering animated nudity for the first time. Overall, the film was critical miss barely made enough to be deemed a success and you’d presume that Vince would want to sweep it under the rug.

Then Vince had an idea. It may not be up there with “Mabel: Main Eventer” or even “Kane: Necrophilia Enthusiast” but it was up there in the valley of stupid ideas. Vince would decide to merge reality with the big screen and Zeus would actually come to the WWE to challenge Hulk Hogan. Now you see, Vince needed a hook for his upcoming Summerslam card. The first card made a nice amount of money, but coming off of a rather successful WrestleMania, it could be viewed as a disappointment. In any ordinary case, it would have been Hogan vs. Savage probably in a cage or some type of other gimmick match. Now, if Savage brought Zeus in as muscle to back him up and Hulk beat him up after the match, it would be looked at as not much of anything. Instead, Vince came up with the idea that Zeus would actually wrestle. And do you know what happened?

The fans bought it. Summerslam 1989 drew 20,000 fans to the Meadowlands with a $350,000 gate and 566,591 buys on PPV. Hogan and Beefcake vs Savage and Zeus ended up being a decent watch thanks to Savage and Hogan carrying a good majority of the match. They kept Zeus limited to what he did in the ring so he wasn’t exposed. Hulk slammed Zeus, won the match, assaulted Sherri like any good 80’s good guy, everybody got a good laugh and all was right with the world!

Until Vince got greedy…well more so than usual. Zeus was to not only come back, but Vince was hatching up a new vision: No Holds Barred….FOR REAL! That’s right; we would see Hogan against Zeus and what better of a place than WrestleMania? It was one of the many ideas, but you know just read my article on WrestleMania matches that never happened. Savage would be placed in a feud with Jim Duggan over who is an actually a king and Ted DiBiase was slotted in to the feud. DiBiase had been in a weird spot; aimlessly feuding with most of the mid card guys while the company was waiting for Jake Roberts to clear some legal issues. DiBiase would bring Zeus in as an insurance policy for an upcoming bout with Hogan setting the stage for the Survivor Series. It would be DiBiase, The Powers of Pain and Zeus against the Hulkamaniacs or as I call it: THE GODDAMN SUPERTEAM. Hogan, Jake Roberts and Demolition and that would seriously be my award for most bad-ass Survivor Series team ever. Once again, people lined up for Hogan vs Zeus round two. It drew a nice 426,417 buys, 15,294 Chicagoans came to the Rosemont Horizon who paid $239,917.

Now around this time, Vince realized that the film was going to be a bust or not the super hit he was expecting. In fact, Vince only got a paltry $2.5 million for the video rights and while it did make sixteen million on an eight million dollar budget, it wasn’t a mega hit at all. Vince had a new idea….that would pretty much piss off everybody in the PPV industry in the process. A PPV special that would take place during the Christmas break for all the kiddies: For $11.95 fans could get to see the movie and a special live (Taped actually) rematch from Summerslam 1989…INSIDE OF A CAGE. Oh boy, were the PPV companies pissed. Fans would get the movie plus twenty minutes of build-up, then a steel cage match that you could later get on tape three months later at Blockbuster for $5.99.

Now you have to remember that PPV was still rather fragile in this time period and PPV companies were already pissed about NWA and WWE trying to sabotage each-other previously. For McMahon to even try and air another PPV (What would be third PPV in a row), it was considered oversaturation and that was with the Turner/McMahon war already going. You don’t think that Vince trying to get the Illinois State Athletic Commission to call of SuperClash III since Kerry Von Erich only had one ankle was an act of concern about Kerry? It was because Superclash III was going to be on PPV and could hinder profits for his upcoming Rumble event. Since PPV was still looked at like a special item and rather pricy, most people would only buy one PPV every few months.

Viewers Choice (inDemand now) and Request TV were willing to carry the PPV but they wouldn’t carry the Rumble. Vince would embellish it by claiming that they were considering not carrying WrestleMania either. In-fact, Vince would dedicate the last few moments of the special towards the possibly of the Rumble not being carried and had Hogan cut a promo on those evil PPV carriers. The reality was that Vince got a teeny bit big for his britches and wanted a bigger cut of the sales. McMahon even had Jesse Ventura go on television and cut a promo declaring that he fought for this country and to him it was un-American that fans wouldn’t get the PPV. Yep.

In the end, the WWE and Viewers Choice would come to a deal about a week before the Rumble. It was a deal that would run through 1996 and Vinny Mac would learn when to back down in a fight. Yet, there was another problem during this whole period; nobody was really being built up to face Hogan in this period. You have to remember that the Warrior match wasn’t set in stone for a good while, so Hogan needed an opponent going into WrestleMania. Hulk didn’t want to work with Rude because Rude worked a bit stiff, Earthquake wasn’t ready, Andre was being phased out, Boss Man was being prepped for a face turn, and Perfect was getting there but wasn’t ready. Savage was getting killed off in all of this so you really couldn’t continue the feud. DiBiase who needed some serious rebuilding had also been knocked off and was going to be jobbing to Jake going into Mania was a no-go. Barry Windham was being built up as a threat to Hogan, but the issues with his dad and brother killed that off. Perfect would be picked to be the guy to go against Hogan. In the end, all of these problems would eventually hinder the hand-picked successor to Hogan, the Ultimate Warrior. You know, just read that article too.

In the end, one little PPV special would result in an ugly stand-off between McMahon and PPV companies, and the complete screwing up of the world title scene.

At least we got Kurt Fuller’s overacting.

And Joan Severance.

Can’t forget about that last one.

Robert Goeman has been writing for CamelClutchBlog since 2014 and has written for FiveOuncesofPain and What Culture. Follow him on twitter at https://twitter.com/RobertGoeman. After every article, Robert usually does “Talking Points” on twitter, bringin up points that didn’t make the article.

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Robert Goeman

Robert Goeman has been writing for CamelClutchBlog since 2014 and has written for FiveOuncesofPain and What Culture. Follow him on twitter at https://twitter.com/RobertGoeman.

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