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SLAM! WRESTLING: Guest Columnist

SLAM! Sports
SLAM! Wrestling







Wednesday, October 7, 1998

SLAM! Wrestling Guest Column

"Hey, did that just happen?"

By VINNIE BARTILUCCI -- For SLAM! Wrestling

For me, the most fun in wrestling is when they can fool me. When Mr. Smart Fan gets fooled, even for a second into believing that what I'm seeing is real, it feels real cool, like I've just been caught by an ingenious practical joke. For a minute or two, I'm a mark again, and it's a fun feeling.

The first example I can think of in recent memory was LT and Bam Bam Bigelow at Royal Rumble. Bam Bam had just lost a match, and LT, a guest at ringside, was riding him for the loss. Bigelow lost his temper and got into a shoving match. Now the thing that really sold it was the reaction by the announcers. All you heard was Vince McMahon's headphones drop, the camera cut to the logo, and someone forgot to cut off Jerry Lawler's mic, cause all you hear him say to someone off camera was "he's not here...he's not here..." It was chaotic and it had you thinking. When the picture came back, McMahon looked a wreck, Lawler looked worse. McMahon gave a hasty and curt apology to LT. It was great.

Of course, it was a work, and after RAW the next night everybody knew it. But when it happened, supposedly exactly three people knew about it; Vince, Bam Bam and LT. Everybody else was supposed to think and act as if it was a shoot. Bam Bam and LT were even barred from the after event party, to keep it looking real.

There's been a few since--Shawn's drop after Owen's head shot, and twice during the Hell in a Cell match when you were damn positive Mick Foley was dead. Here on SLAM! we even had the theory posited that the whole Ric Flair episode is the greatest work in history (the pieces seem to fit, I'll grant you, but I can't give Bischoff that much credit). But a few weeks ago we had one of the best in a long time.


"Would I pay to see Jerry whip Jim Carrey's ass? Oh hell YEAH!!! "
Jerry Lawler and Jim Carrey.

It was a classic, it was an eerie recreation of history, and I don't think we'll ever get the whole story. I've heard several different versions of the real story...

1) Jim and director Milos Forman were in on it, in an attempt to get some real anger and violence out of Lawler. Supposedly cameras were rolling for the attack.

2) Jim and Jerry were in on it, in an attempt to get publicity for the film.

3) Only Jim was in on it, he wanted to stay in character so much he wanted to really feel the pain of the neck injury.

4) Nobody was in on it, it really was Jim going too far and Jerry lost his temper.

Andy Kaufman was a master at this--he took the joke so far even the people who were in on it don't know what was going on. Jerry has never and will never admit what was planned when he fought Andy in Memphis. (Though supposedly the script has a scene where Andy says he has to return to Hollywood and must end the feud, and Jerry says, "Well, for one night at least we made people think wrestling was real.")

Yeah, a recent RAW tends to lean towards the idea it was all a work, with Jerry claiming he wanted to talk to Carrey on the air. Would I pay to see Jerry whip Jim Carrey's ass? Oh hell YEAH!!! But would they do it now, while there's interest or later when the film comes out?)

My opinion on the matter? I haven't the slightest idea, and I couldn't be happier about it.

Vinnie Bartilucci is from New York. He can be emailed at vinnieb@2020webworks.com

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