I’m a fan of professional wrestling. I can’t defend it. It’s bad, awful even, almost all of the time. I know. But when it’s good, it’s really good. We’re talking edge-of-your-seat, arms-in-the-air, we’re-eating-supper-in-the-living-room-tonight good. I can’t convince you of that though. If you don’t “get” pro wrestling, the last thing you want to do is watch it, no matter how enthusiastic I am. I can appreciate that. I’m the same way with Glee. For that reason, we’ll skip over my recap of the 1989 Great American Bash (you’re welcome). Instead, let’s watch clips loosely related to wrasslin’ and laugh. Because if there’s one thing that all of us — wrestling fans and, ugh, everyone else — can appreciate, it’s kitschy, time-killing online videos. United Nations take note.
There’s an incestuous cycle of celebrity in Hollywood: Directors want to be producers. Actors want to be directors. Musicians want to be actors. Everybody wants to be a musician. You’re not cool until you can play guitar, you’re not an artist until you can cry on command and you’re not powerful until you’re making artists cry. I get it.
Pro wrestlers, like their Hollywood counterparts, have personal demons, drug issues, marital struggles and even head-shaking side projects.
At some point in his or her career, every pro wrestler wants to be something else (an actor, a businessman, a dedicated husband and father), which is why this exists:
That’s MVP — Montel Vontavious Porter for the uneducated (educated) — former prisoner, ex-WWE wrestler and featured player (alright, cameo) in the criminally underrated MacGruber. When he’s not wrestling, expressing his uncomfortable opinions on Chris Benoit or live Tweeting Japanese earthquakes, he’s making music.
Maybe it’s the abuse — a wrestler’s body pays a great physical toll — the difficult life spent on the road, a lack of job security or ridicule from mainstream media, but, at some point, a wrestler has to branch out. The list of wrestlers who have retired and respectably faded into obscurity isn’t long, while the list of 60-something wrestlers who’ve run short on cash is growing. Maybe that’s why Hulk Hogan took up “acting,” why Mick Foley is doing standup comedy in sports bars and why a wrestling legend is appearing on Canadian reality TV. It’s definitely preferable to wrestling in front of Juggalos in the middle of the night.
MVP, and I’ll give him credit for trying, is doing music. And it’s not bad. It’s not great, but, in my estimation, he’s far exceeded the standard set by his peers.
This is Jeff Hardy’s fault. Hardy is the brother of Lita’s ex Matt. He’s also had some recent legal issues, none of which are related to his crimes against the English language or good taste. On the track, Hardy steals Orgy’s essence while boasting about his professional accomplishments. On paper that sounds fine (see harmless), but in practice it leaves me asking, “Peroxwhy?-didn’t-you-do-something-else, Jeff?”
I like Chris Jericho. A lot. I’ve read both of his autobiographies (the guy has done a lot of living for a man barely over 40), but if he’s not going to wrestle, I’d rather he stick to reality TV, assaulting fans or simply singing karaoke. Sorry, Stuck Mojo fans.
Kamala was sometimes intimidating and sometimes friendly, but he was always a Ugandan Giant (Look at the stars on his chest! The moon! The clovers … woops.) Longtime wrestling fans already know that Kamala had, ugh, a unique range, while fans in Memphis got an early glimpse at his musical inclinations. But, in the late 90s or early 2000s (I can’t remember), Kamala’s Isaac Hayes-inspired voice and love of Casio keyboards took the Internet by storm. Now if only the Internet would take his website by storm. It’s good to know that the guy who programmed the Space Jam website in 1996 is still getting work. And I’ll support that, because flashy, easy-to-navigate modern websites — not unlike a speedy, athletic in-ring prowess — are overrated.
Jimmy Hart’s music contributions to the pro wrestling world are numerous. He composed theme songs for both the WWE and WCW and certainly had a licence do so. As a former member of The Gentrys, a somewhat notable act from the 60s, he was the kind of guy wrestling promoters love: Someone with marginal mainstream notoriety who displays a genuine interest in the business. It’s the same attraction that got the star of Summer Catch a gig writing for the WWE. Sometime in the late 1980s, the WWE backed a full album from Hart — Outrageous Conduct — featuring the not-so-outrageous song above. It’s not bad, by wrestling standards, only it’s the fresh sound of the 80s coming from the guy who thought Cinnamon Girl needed a dash of AM radio in 1970.
There are others, but I’m not linking to anything — music, TV or pornography — that Chyna did while hopped up on pills. I’ve also purposely excluded songs written for wrestling-related albums or TV shows. Those were intended exclusively for wrestling fans, who have a high tolerance for garbage:
And, yes, Randy Savage made a rap album, but you don’t kick a man when he’s
Originally published October 5, 2011, on another (dead, dead, dead) blog.