Stampede still a ring-a-ding dong dandy!
By DAVID VEITCH -- Calgary Sun
It was like the return of an old friend.
An old friend who jumps off the high rope, kicks you in the chops, then
takes your limp, toothless carcass and pile-drives it on a concrete floor when
the referee is not looking ... but an old friend nevertheless.
Yes, Stampede Wrestling is on the air again, every Saturday at noon on The
Judging from yesterday's inaugural broadcast, it's not better than ever.
Aside from new faces, new graphics and a new theme song -- goodbye orchestral
overture; hello hair metal -- Stampede Wrestling is the same as ever, which is
good news for all those tune into wrestling to watch, well, wrestling, and not
soap-opera plotlines or bulbous, gravity-defying boobs. Old-fashioned isn't
always a bad thing.
Yesterday's show was akin to watching the first episode of a new series,
when character development is still in its early stages. The villains have yet
to build up their resumes of nefarious schemes, most of which will surely run
along the lines of: Distract ref; hit good guy over the head with a folding
You'd have to watch a John Waters movie to find characters this eccentric:
Crazy Horse Eddie Mustang, a harmonica-blowing Neil Young-wannabe in tights,
and my personal early favourite, Principal Pound, a former school principal
(supposedly) who walks around with a strap and administers his own brand of
corporal punishment ... with emphasis on the word "punishment." Great stuff.
I'd join his fan club any day.
Alas, the managers are all pimp suits and hot air. At this stage, not one
seems capable of reaching the heights of weasel-dom attained by the immortal
As well, some of the schtick is long passed the best-before date. The fact
villain Tiger Khan riles the crowd by acting like some super-nationalistic
East Indian -- he has a hold called the Calcutta Clutch -- still leaves the
unsavoury taste of racism in one's mouth. This sort of stuff should have been
retired with The Great Gama.
New host Mauro Ranallo does an admirable job but, let's face it, no one can
fill the big, big shoes of Ed Whalen, whose Whoa Nellies, Ring-a-ding Dong
Dandys and Malfunction at the Junctions are sadly missed. He may return to
host the Mat Classics segment, which unearths archival footage from the Hart
family vault. It's a nice touch, reminding audiences of a time when Stampede
Wrestling was an unassailable institution. Now it's a David, competing against
the Goliaths that are the WWF and WCW. I know which one I'm rooting for.