R.I.W Wrestling Legend: George “The Animal” Steele

The doors are open at the Rotten Ink Arena, and the fans are pouring in as this “R.I.W Wrestling Legend” update is one that will please the young and old. Our main event is the missing link wild man known as George “The Animal” Steele who in the 80’s was a major star for the WWF, and as you can see at the merchandise table, his shirts and Mine Dolls are selling like crazy. And it looks like in George Steele’s honor they are serving green drinks and food at the snack bar, so let’s grab some green hotdogs and a Mountain Dew and find our seats as this update event is going to be a crazy one. The lights are dimming and the matches are about to start, so let’s get ready to cheer on the one and only George “The Animal” Steele. Oh and we should keep an eye out as who knows if we will see Mine or even if George himself will go wild and run crazy in the crowd!

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George “The Animal” Steele started his pro wrestling career in 1960 and was trained by Bert Rubi and started working the indies around Detroit, Michigan under the name The Student that was a masked wrestler as he wanted to hide who he really was as he was also a high school teacher at the time. During his run as The Student, he would be managed by Gary Hart who also acted as his mouthpiece and would hype of his brute strength. Around 1967 The Student would be no more and he would be called up to wrestle for the WWWF (that later would be WWF/WWE) and would also work a few other NWA territories and would be called George Steele and would be booked as a solid heel who would even challenge Bruno Sammartino for the WWWF World Heavyweight title. He would feud with Bruno and many other of the federations’ top baby faces and would headline matches in Madison Squared Garden and would have a small run against Chief Jay Strongbow before taking a small time away to work more on his crazy wild man persona. And once back George “The Animal” Steele was fully wild and would rip up and eat the turnbuckles, had a green tongue and would have a strange wrestling style that had his arms wiggling around, which confused and worried his opponents. And his heel persona continued and allowed him to feud with the likes of Hulk Hogan, Bob Backlund, Ivan Putski and Jimmy Snuka to name a few. And while he would never win a title, he did get many chances at them as a heel. During this time his interviews would be him loudly speaking a string of words, or yelling much like a young child would who is learning to speak. And I should also note during this time as a heel, he would also capture a few title from smaller NWA companies before he went to the WWF.

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On May 11, 1985 on NBC was the first every Saturday Night’s Main Event, and in the opening match George Steele teamed with Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff in a losing effort against The U.S. Express and Ricky Steamboat. But after the match, George is blamed for the loss and is attacked and this makes baby face manager Lou Albano save him and in this moment Steele went from heel to face. And very quickly George became one of the company’s top faces as fans loved this wild man who would put on silly cartoonish matches. In 1986 George Steele would start to get a crush on Miss Elizabeth, the manager of “Macho Man” Randy Savage, and the two would have a feud and this would last well into 1987 with Steele even managing Ricky Steamboat as he went for Savage’s intercontinental title at WrestleMania III, but in the end Steele would be on the losing end of the feud and would never get the affection of Elizabeth. And keep in mind, Elizabeth was so nice to George and it was Savage, who was one of the company’s top heels, who hated the attention George was trying to get. During this time as well Steele would be getting big wins against such names as Hercules Hernandez, Iron Mike Sharpe, Iron Sheik and Bob Orton Jr. to name a few. In 1988 George Steele would introduce the fans to his stuff doll friend named Mine and he would bring him to the ring to watch his matches as well as would have the doll in his promos. He would be involved at WrestleMania IV and would be in the Battle Royal, but due to a real life knee injury he would just stay outside the ring and annoy the heels in the match. It was also starting to be clear that George was falling down the card and also his health was starting to be an issue and by late 1988 he would retire from the ring for the first time and would become a road agent for the WWF working backstage. He would be let go in 1990 and a short time later hired back, and he would hold that job until around 1997 when he left the company.

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After leaving WWF in the late 90’s as a road agent George Steele would start working the indies taking bookings and appearances. He even returned to WWF for an episode of Monday Night Raw in order to team with Taka Michinoku against Jerry Lawler and Brian Christopher. And again in 1998 he would work for WWF as apart of The Oddities and would leave again in 1999. He would make a big mistake and be a part of the disaster wrestling PPV called “Heroes Of Wrestling” and was managed by Sensational Sherri and would face Greg “The Hammer” Valentine and this was in late 1999. At the start of 2000, he would have a match against Jeff Jarrett on an episode of WCW Monday Night Nitro. His last match took place in late 2000 at an ACW event against Sgt. Medallion. And even late in his career, he was very loved by fans and he helped many indies draw when his name was on the card. But while George Steele’s in ring work came to an end in 2000, he still made appearances for federations in including Impact in 2008 and WWF in 2010. And even all through his time working the indies, he was also working wrestling themed conventions. Sadly George “The Animal” Steele would pass away from kidney failure on February 16, 2017 at the age of 74. As some of you might know, George battled Crohn’s Disease starting around the late 80’s and battled it for much of the rest of his life. He also was an actor in such films as Ruthless People (1986), Ed Wood (1994) and Small Town Conspiracy (2003) to name a few. And he also was inducted into the WWF Hall Of Fame in 1995 and has appeared in a small amount of wrestling video games.

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Growing up through the 80’s and 90’s was a great time to be a wrestling fan as Hulk Hogan was the biggest star in the sport and business was great and so many icons stepped foot into the ring as we also still had stars from the 60’s and 70’s competing. And one older star that I was a fan of was George “The Animal” Steele, the crazy man who would yell, chase around his opponent and would eat the turnbuckles all the while showing his green tongue. And yeah I know what you are thinking and you would be right, George Steele might not have been the world’s greatest wrestler and by all accounts he was just a gimmick wrestler who put on comedy matches, but man when I was a kid it worked. I had the George Steele LJN figure as well as his Bendy toy, and I always wanted a Mine doll and still do want one to this day. The best part of George Steele is that he was a heel that people believed could rip a person apart with his brute strength, and when he turned baby face, he was loved as people thought he was simple and misunderstood and fun loving. And let’s be honest, everyone in the stands and watching at home would mark out when George would eat and rip apart the turnbuckle having the stuffing go all over the ring. Also his cartoonish nature when wrestling, as a face would cause fans to laugh at his odd style of waving his hands around and silly faces that he would make at his opponents. When booked as a heel I have to say that George Steele really did come off as a threat as he would be totally wild and his hairy missing link look seemed to scare the fans as well as would through his baby face opponent off their game as he would wiggle his arms around and come off as a total crazy man. George “Steele” is also a wrestler I would pop for even way after he was winding down his in ring career but when he would show up on WWF or WCW I would cheer as seeing him in the ring brought back memories of my youth. Plus on a side note, Tim Burton and his team did a fantastic job of hiring George Steele to play Tor Johnson in the 1994 cult classic film Ed Wood based on the filmmaker’s life. Also the first ever WWF Ice Cream bar I ever got had George Steele on it and inside had a trading card of George as well! With that said George might not have been the most skilled in ring worker but he sure as hell was a very entertaining one.

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We are now at the point of this review where we will be taking a look at the DVD set and review some of the matches on the discs like always between 4 to 8. I want to thank Coliseum Of Wrestling & Boxing for having this set in stock and also want to thank George Steele for his hard work in the world of wrestling. I also want to remind you that I will only be breaking down randomly selected matches from this set and will be breaking down the match and will be rating the matches on a 5 Star rating system. I also only choose from single matches, as I want to break down the matches that showcase his style. Here is what the stars mean ½ Means a really terrible match, * Means a bad match, ** Means a below average match, **1/2 Means a good average entertaining match, *** Means a good match, **** Means a great match, ***** Means an epic match. So if you are ready, let’s step into the ring with George Steele.

RIW Legend George Steele DVD

Best Of George Steele

Match 1: George Steele vs. Hulk Hogan

As the match starts, George starts by wiggling your hands around and Hogan stops his antics by flexing and stopping George in his tracks and as George gets out of the ring Hogan goes out after him and beats him up as the fans go crazy. Once back in the ring Hogan and George size each other up and neither wants to make a mistake and its George who makes the first move and with a wrack to Hogan’s eyes he takes the lead of the match by working over his eyes and even biting him. George takes the padding off of a turnbuckle and tries to ram Hogan’s head into it before he reverses it and rams Georges into it and then Hogan takes the match momentum and even bites the head of George! The two exchange hits and punches and with the help of brass knuckles George hurts Hogan and keeps using it to keep the Hulkster down. But after a while Hogan has had enough and after Hulking Up and some punches and a big boot to the face of George and when going for the legdrop, Mr. Fuji cheats and trips Hogan and as George distracts the referee he throws powder into the eyes of Hogan blinding him and causing him to fall out of the ring and is counted out and the fans are very mad by this. This is a match that on paper should not work well as both Hogan and Steele are wrestlers who work their own styles with Steele’s really being more of a gimmick and yet the two made it work as they blended both together and really got the crowd into it. No big moves are thrown and nothing really fancy is delivered, but the way Steele cheats and gets the heat from the crowd and the way the fans pop for Hogan at every move really does make the match feel big. I was also really surprised when Steele is the one who gets the win via pinfall. Over all a good match that had a big fight feel and showed that George Steele could have been a big heel even in the 80’s if booked right.

Rating: ***

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Match 2: George Steele vs. Pete Mitchell

George Steele is managed by Freddie Blassie in this match and as soon as the bell rings, the weird movements of George throws of Pete and George moves in and attacks the face and head of Pete even biting him. George then destroys the turnbuckle and keeps his attack on Pete going who is helpless at this point and is just being destroyed. George even tosses Pete out of the ring and Blassie even delivers a kick to him, and George will not let him back in the ring. Once back in the ring George starts working on both arms of Pete stomping on them, and at this point Pete has not even landed one punch or move in the match. George continues beating up and tossing Pete around and in the end with a lifting hammerlock George gets the win when Pete is forced to give up. And after the bell George still beats up on Pete and Blassie loves it. This match is a total squash match and has George Steele destroying Pete Mitchell by just biting, knocking him out of the ring and stomping on him. George looks great as a heel in this match as he is vicious and does not allow his opponent to even fight back and his lifting hammerlock is fantastic looking. Poor Pete Mitchell looks like a total jobber and does nothing in the match besides sell like crazy for Steele. Not much more to say besides this is a very one sided match that while entertaining of seeing George be mean heel, is not much of a match.

Grade: **

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Match 3: George Steele vs. Adrian Adonis

George starts the match by chasing Adonis around the ring and causes him to escape by getting out of the ring. Once back in the ring George charges at Adonis who is able to land a punch first and even chokes him with his scarf, and even uses the ropes to try and take the breath away from George. But with a quick punch to the face George makes his comeback that allows him to unleash a series of stomps and punches. George even slams Adonis on the entry ramp as the fans cheer with joy. But while hurt Adonis is able to land a few punches to the gut of George and then gives a few stomps, but George as well brawls his way back to being the one on top of the match momentum for a moment until Adonis takes back over for a brief moment with some punches. Adonis climbs the top rope and George crotches him and Adonis then elbows the referee knocking him out for a moment, George gets Adonis into the hammerlock and causes him to tap out but there is no referee to see it. George goes to check on the referee and when doing so Adonis rolls him up and gets the pin and the win. This is a brawling match that is kind of bland as Adrian Adonis is very lazy in the match and spends most of its short time resting on the mat or ramp and throwing very sloppy moves. This clearly was during a time when Adonis just stopped caring about the quality of his matches and he and George’s style just did not mix well at all. I do feel that he did sell really well for George throughout the match. George as well does his basic punches and stomps with his lifting hammerlock to Adonis being the most impressive move in the whole match. Over all it’s a very sloppy match that George Steele did his best to try and make it look good and entertaining and while he tried it just was not a good match.

Grade: *1/2

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Match 4: George Steele vs. Greg Valentine

As the match starts, Greg tries to attack George from behind and it backfires, as George is able to see the attack coming and lands a punch to his gut and then starts beating up Greg more and more even ramming his head into the turnbuckle. But Greg makes a comeback after George botches an attempt at a bulldog headlock and Greg drops chops and elbows onto the down Animal and then unloads many elbows onto him as George tries to get up. After trying to land a top rope axe handle that misses Greg finds himself getting beat up by George who is now worked up with some anger and the fans are clearly behind him. And George then goes after Jimmy Hart the manger of Greg Valentine and starts to chase him to the back as Greg ends up going out after George to try and save his manager. And with that George Steele is counted out by chasing Hart around the ring and Greg wins the match via count out. This is another sloppy brawl that showcases two powerhouse wrestlers from the WWF from the 80’s slugging it out and showing once more that when pitted against the right opponent Georges limited move set can work and Greg was a good opponent for him to be working. Greg also does a great job of selling for George and does a good face flop when hitting the turnbuckles. George pretty much does his normal stomping, punching and acting weird while limited the fans love every second of him in the ring. The end being a count out was a little of a letdown but it did at least make both wrestlers look strong with Greg Valentine getting the win and George Steele still looking like a top baby face in his loss as he was not pinned and even was able to scare Jimmy Hart who was a hated heel manager. Over all super sloppy but entertaining for such a quick throwaway match that was clearly just a way to give Greg a win.

Grade: **1/2

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Match 5: George Steele vs. Gorilla Monsoon

We start the match already in progress and Gorilla is down on the mat and is injured as George starts to work over his arm by stomping on it and keeps the pressure on Gorilla and even almost gets a three count on him. George starts working on the shoulders of Gorilla, who then ends up getting out of George’s hold and locks in a big bear hug as the crowd starts cheering for Gorillas comeback, George lands a big punch to his forehead and both men crash to the mat. Once back up George starts using an object to punch Gorilla who is very injured and weak by now, and George almost tosses Gorilla over the top rope and once Gorilla gets back in the beating continues as George uses an object to punch him in the head over and over. And after a sloppy comeback Gorilla locks on a bear hug again and like before George uses an object and the hold is broke and the pair fall to the mat. In the end Gorilla gets ahold of the object and George leaves the ring and gets himself counted out and Gorilla wins the match via count out. This is a very slow paced match and Gorilla Monsoon spends most of the match on the mat sweating like crazy and kind of so-so selling for George who is doing all the work and trying to make this match at least somewhat good. The match has the most basic moves thrown with most of them coming from George who is doing his normal brawling style that is mostly throwing punches. This match is really bad and many spots in the match happen several times making them very uninteresting. Not much more to say then George Steele looks good in the match and does his best to work with a clearly out of shape Gorilla Monsoon and while George has a limited style it was clear Gorilla was even more limited at this time. And really silly that they gave the count out win to Gorilla when they should have given George the win as he was becoming a great heel.

Grade: *

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Match 6: George Steele vs. Mike Powers

As the bell rings, George Steele rushes Mike Powers and lands some clubbing blows and tosses him over the rope and goes after him and rams his head into the rails, and George will not even let Mike back into the ring. Once back in the ring Mike is placed in an arm bar and his arm is even bitten by George. And then George gets Mike into his lifting hammerlock and Mike quits and this give George the very quick win. Wow, this was 100% a squash match as George Steele busts out his brawling moves and his finishing move the hammerlock to make Mike Powers look like a jobber as he is unable to even land one move. The only move that stands out in the whole match is once more George Steele’s lifting hammerlock. And I have to say Mike Powers does a good job of selling for Steele throughout this quick match. Nothing special here but did its job of building George Steele.

Grade: **

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So as you can see while George “The Animal” Steele was a wrestler who had a brawling gimmick style that could get fans to cheer when a face and boo him like crazy when heel and while not a technical wrestler he was one hell of an entertaining one that was one of my favorites growing up cause he made Pro Wrestling fun. And that brings me to this, in 2023 I feel like doing something very fun and will be a major treat for fans of wrestling like myself as I think every month this year I will have a “R.I.W Wrestling Legends” update! Remember back in 2021 we did this same thing for “Horror Host Icons”, but in April, what our household calls WWE WrestleMania Month, I will deliver two updates showcasing wrestlers! Again I know you fans of the squared circle are looking forward to seeing who we cover, now with that said our next update will take us out of the Rotten Ink Arena and back to the world of Star Comics as we go on adventures with Royal Roy one of the companies most popular original characters. So until next time, read a comic or three, watch a wrestling match or two and as always support your local wrestlers. And yes the land that Royal Roy rules over is called Cashelot…just think about that.

Royal Roy Star Comics Preview Logo

R.I.W Wrestling Legend: Papa Shango

The Rotten Ink Arena doors are open and as you can see, it’s really spooky in here as fog is all over and Halloween decorations are hanging all around as this “R.I.W Wrestling Legend” update is about a wrestler who had the power of voodoo on his side and who could put curses on his opponents and make fans look on in fear! And I am of course talking about Papa Shango who terrorized the WWF as well as a few indies in the early 90’s and who is going to be coming down this aisle with his smoking skull and will shock, scare and entertaining this packed house. And while he grab some candy corn and spooky punch from the snack bar and find our seats I am also here to say that from time to time in the month of October we will have some “R.I.W Wrestling Legend” updates about these spooky themed wrestlers. But as you can see, the house lights are going down and the smoke is pouring in so that mush mean Papa Shango is on his way to the ring and our update is about to start.

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Charles Wright started his pro wrestling career in 1989 and was trained by Larry Sharpe and came from background of working for bars and would first start working for Jerry Lawler in the USWA and go under the name The Soultaker and would even capture the USWA Unified World Heavyweight Championship title his rookie year and held it for two weeks. While working for USWA he would also get chances to work a few matches in New Japan Pro Wrestling and this helped him learn more moves and skill sets. The Soultaker would also start working other smaller indie feds during this time and by 1991 he would get the call to come work for the WWF. And when first working for the WWF in Dark Matches and House Shows as Sir Charles and was not a character with a future. But in 1992 Sir Charles would become Papa Shango a voodoo master who would chant curses, wear face paint to make him look like a skull, would carry a skull that would smoke and he even could control the arena lights. Kids in the crowd was scared of this creepy guy as he would be pushed fast from the start and would get wins over name mid-carders and would also be pushed in big stories as he would feud with Ultimate Warrior that had him curse the Warrior and cause him to bleed and vomit black goo. He would also get a WWF World Heavyweight Title shot against Bret Hart at Saturday Night’s Main Event XXXI and even entered the 1993 Royal Rumble. But while he started out being a big heel for the company he quickly found himself falling down the card and loosing matches against names like Tito Santana and Hacksaw Jim Duggan. And by mid 1993 Papa Shango would be faded away from TV and the WWF. But he would be sent back to USWA by WWF as the two companies worked together and Papa Shango would win the USWA Unified World Heavyweight Championship title for a second time. And would even in 1994 wrestle for the German company Catch Wrestling Association as Papa Shongo would go for the company’s world title but would loose. Papa Shango would fade away due to Pat Patterson not being a fan of the spooky character. But during his short run he would have some big matches against some big names like The Undertaker, The Road Warriors, Bret Hart, Ultimate Warrior, Randy Savage, Big Boss Man, British Bulldog, Kamala and Bob Backlund to name a few. Papa Shango really did scare the kids in the crowd and even some adults was spooked by his voodoo ways but his time to scare was short.

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In 1994 Papa Shango would be no more and in 1995 Kama “The Supreme Fighting Machine “ would appear and be a shoot fighter who loved to fight and would feud with The Undertaker and even steal the Dead Mans urn and turns it into a gold necklace and would join the Million Dollar Corporation a stable of heels lead by Ted DiBiase. And Kama was a short-lived character that would be gone by 1996 after entering that years Royal Rumble. Kama Mustafa would return to WWF in 1997 and would no longer have the nickname The Supreme Fighting Machine and would be apart of the Nation Of Domination stable that was lead by Ron Simmons and would have fellow members over the years like The Rock, Mark Henry, D’Lo Brown, Owen Hart and PG-13. And after a good run with the stable he in 1998 would become The Godfather a pimp who would have hos come to the ring with him and the fans would love him and his larger then life persona. The Godfather would be a very popular mid-carder who would be in the WWF Intercontinental title picture from all the way up to 2000 and would even capture the title once. In mid 2000 The Godfather would become The Goodfather and would stop his sleazy ways and join the stable known as Right To Censor and would capture WWE Tag Team Gold along with partner Bull Buchanan. In 2002 he would return to The Godfather character with his ladies and all. But by the end of 2002 he would be let go from the company. From 2005 on The Godfather would make special appearance off and on for the WWF via Royal Rumble matches and even backstage segments. And even in 2007 Charles Wright would start working the Indies as well as doing conventions and at many would be both Papa Shango and The Godfather. In 2016 The Godfather was inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame and still remains a beloved semi retired wrestler.

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Papa Shango almost made two big returns to the WWF over the years but the plans just never seemed to work out. Like in 1994 a plan was in place that would have Papa Shango be the one who put a voodoo spell on Bob Backlund to explain his crazed heel turn, but they decided to bring Charles back as Kama The Supreme Fighting Machine. And in 1997 they had plans to bring back Papa Shango and even update his look and character and once more he was instead Kama on his return. I am not going to lie as I would have loved to have seen either of these returns happen as I feel that the WWF did not fully do Papa Shango justice as the character was really cool and was a favorite of mine in the early 90’s and his feud with The Ultimate Warrior was one I enjoyed. And on a side note I still think WWF could bring back Papa Shango even now and have him involved in a story with The Fiend, and he could even have a none wrestling role and it still would work. But check out the first two pictures below to see what Papa Shango would have looked like in 1997 if he had returned.

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Growing up a wrestling fan I have always liked the creepy and horror themed wrestlers and Papa Shango was one of my favorites as how can you go wrong with a wrestler who looked creepy and would put voodoo curses on his opponents and scare the hell out of the kids in the crowd. I mean he would make black goo pour from peoples heads, make them get sick and puke up that same black goo, he would mess with the arena lights and even set peoples feet on fire! He even once put the black goo curse on Mean Gene Okerlund and caused his arm to have pain and drop the microphone as the goo ran down his arm. And I always marked out for his matches against the likes of The Undertaker, Ultimate Warrior and Kamala. And I even had his Hasbro figure and would play him in the video games on the Sega Genesis. And in these modern times it seems that Papa Shango is finally getting some respect and love as the character was loved by many and hated by many when he first appeared, and now it seems like more people have discovered just how awesome the character was and how much potential he had as they really could have used him as a monster heel and could have had him in the World Title picture. If you can see Charles Wright at a convention at times you can get photo ops and he will dress as Papa Shango complete with smoking skill prop! I should also note that when Papa Shango disappeared off WWF TV I was pretty bummed and when he showed back up as Kama I was disappointed as while I like Kama and The Godfather the best gimmick in my eyes for Charles hands down was Shango. While he is none active for the most part from in ring action I for one hope that he does return at some point to the WWF as I think they could do some cool stuff with him in the over all story arch of The Fiend.

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We are now at the point of this review were we will be taking a look at the DVD set and review some of the matches on the discs like always between 4 to 8. I want to thank Coliseum Of Wrestling & Boxing for having this set in stock and also want to thank Papa Shango for his hard work in the world of wrestling. I also want to remind you that I will only be breaking down randomly select matches from this set and will be breaking down the match and will be rating the matches on a 5 Star rating system. I also only choose from Single matches, as I want to break down his matches that showcase his style. Here is what the stars mean ½ Means a really terrible match, * Means a bad match,** Means a below average match, **1/2 Means a good average entertaining match, *** Means a good match, **** Means a great match, ***** Means an epic match. So if you are ready, let’s step into the ring with Papa Shango.

RIW Papa Shango DVD

Best Of Papa Shango

Match 1: Papa Shango vs. Tatanka

Shango jumps Tatanka from behind just as the bell rings and unloads some punches and throws Tatanka into the ropes but misses a dropkick, given Tatanka a chance to fight back with some massive chops. Papa Shango takes the chops for a short time but once more takes control of the match and even delivers a big jumping head butt that knocks Tatanka down, and allows Shango to keep up his assault and even choke the Native American superstar on the ropes. Shango then gets Tatanka in a nerve hold trying to make him submit and he really digs it in with all his size and power, but as the fans start cheering Tatanka starts to war dance and use his elbows to Shango’s gut in order to break the hold and take the momentum of the match. Tatanka climbs to the top rope and drops a chop to the head of Shango, and is able to get a two count. Shango goes outside the ring and grabs his voodoo stick and tries to hit Tatanka with it as sparks shoot out of the top of it and the referee has seen enough and disqualifies Papa Shango and gives the match to Tatanka. This was a good solid match that was sadly a very lame ending as both guys were being pushed at the time so they just did a DQ ending so neither had to take a pin. The match for the most part is all brawling styles mixed with some moves and a dash of rest holds. While the styles of Tatanka and Papa Shango did not blend all that well they both did a great job to make the best of the match that the fans at the arena seemed to enjoy as they popped for Tatanka throughout. It was also nice to see Papa Shango try and pull off a dropkick and Tatanka’s top rope head chop looked good. And also the commentators did a good job of putting both men over in skill as well as Shango’s gimmick. Over all a good upper mid-card match that had Shango trying to use his voodoo to win and it backfiring and causing him to loose by DQ.

Grade: **1/2

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Match 2: Papa Shango vs. Kamala

Before the bell rings Papa Shango shows Kamala the smoking skull, and as Kamala stares at it and the bell rings Shango makes the skull shoot fire from the top and this scares Kamala who tries to leave the ring and is only being stopped by his manager Slick. Shango then attacks Kamala from behind and even starts biting him, and splashes him into the corner. When Shango whips Kamala into another corner and tries for a splash again Kamala is able to move and makes a comeback complete with a chop to the top of Shango’s head. Kamala misses a big splash and Shango is able to once more take control of the match and attacks the eyes of Kamala and then starts choking him on the ropes. Shango keeps up the attack on Kamala and tosses him out of the ring, and then starts to attack his manager Slick. Kamala sees the attack on his manager and gets back into the ring and is able to save him and then the two go outside the ring and get counted out. First thing I have to say is that Kamala’s selling of looking at and being freaked out by the smoking skull is fantastic! Kamala is such an under rated wrestler and his comedy aspects are great when he wants to be funny. This match is pretty much a brawl as Shango and Kamala throw punches and hit basic movies like body slams and yet for some reason it really works as both guys have gimmicks that mesh well and they play off each other so well. In fact when selecting the matches for this update, this was the one I was most looking forward to. Neither men throw out any moves that standout or are that impressive, but the comedy between the two is what makes this match work so well. I was a little disappointed in the count out ending though. To sum it up, I would have liked for this match to go a little longer and would have had one of them winning the match. And Shango is the prefect heel in the match as he uses dirty moves and trues his best to scare his opponent silly.

Grade: **1/2

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Match 3: Papa Shango vs. Mr. Perfect Curt Henning

Papa Shango jumps Curt Henning as the bell rings and lays in some big punches, and then tosses Henning out of the ring. Shango even rolls out of the ring and attacks Henning before he can even get back into the ring and even once he is able to get back into the ring. Henning makes a comeback and dropkicks Shango out of the ring and then goes out after him even ramming him into the post. Once back in the ring Henning and Shango exchange hits and moves each trying to cut the other off from getting to much momentum. Shango ends up getting Henning in a headlock and cheats to get leverage by putting his feet on the ropes and almost puts Henning asleep with the hold. But Henning is able to get out of the hold and land some big clotheslines, and after a missed move Shango is put into the Perfect Plex and Henning gets the win. This is a good match as Curt Henning was one of the all time best and he was able to work well with the style of Papa Shango who throughout the match looked like a major threat. Henning also really sells for Shango well and makes him look like the monster heel they were building him up to be. The ending was great and having Henning quickly hit the Perfect Plex was a great way to give Henning the win and also not damage Shango in the process. Over all this was a really good match and again have to stress just how good Henning was at this time in making everyone in the ring with him look like a true superstar.

Grade: ***

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Match 4: Papa Shango vs. Repo Man

Before the match its clear that Repo Man is a little scared of Papa Shango as is many of the young kids in the crowd. As soon as the bell rings Papa Shango is all over Repo Man and throws and batters him around the ring before getting an arm bar and working over the wrist joint of his opponent. But Repo Man is able to make a comeback and after a few bit punches he uses a clothesline to take Shango off his feet. Repo Man then gets an arm bar of his own and starts working over the arm of Shango who gets out of the hold by picking him up and body slamming him hard to the mat, and locks in a chin lock on Repo Man who is clearly in lots of pain. Shango breaks the hold and pushes Repo Man into the corner and starts biting him as the referee yells at him. Repo Man tries to make a small comeback but is cut off and after a double clothesline Shango gets mad and grabs his voodoo stick and shoots sparks into the face of Repo Man who in turn grabs his rope and hook and the referee disqualifies both me and neither get the victory. What a strange match for the WWF to have as both men are heels and the fans have no idea who they should cheer as they both work a brawling style with each throwing big punches and hitting your most basic wrestling moves. And because they wrestle a semi same style the action in the ring was solid and it was clear that Shango is who was being pushed and he is in control for most of the match. And Repo Man does a great job of selling as well as acting scared of Shango, and on the other side Shango does a good job of selling for Repo man when he makes his comebacks. But like before the finish is a little of a letdown as once more is a DQ as both men grab weapons and the referee has seen enough and throws it out, it should have had a clear winner of the match. This is a weird booked match but at least a very entertaining one.

Grade: **1/2

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Match 5: Papa Shango vs. Marty Jannetty

From the start of the match Papa Shango out powers Marty and gets him into the corner and starts throwing punches and even works over Marty’s eyes. Shango makes a mistake and tries to axe handle hit Marty who is able to jump kick Shango in the face. Shango then challenges Marty to a test of strength, but Marty is to smart for him and just as they are about to lock up he gets Shango in an arm bar, Shango gets out of the hold and they pull off a chain of moves against each other and Marty ends up back to having the arm bar locked in on Shango. Marty ends up knocking Shango out of the ring and goes out after him, but Marty misses a move and hits the guard railing and this gives Shango the chance to stomp on Marty outside the ring, and then tosses him back into the ring and drops an elbow and stomps on his face and then tosses Marty back out of the ring. Marty gets back in and rolls up Shango for a pin, Shango kicks out and hits Marty with a massive clothesline and is only able to get a two count on the Rocker. Shango starts arguing with the referee and Marty roles him up for a one count. Shango then starts punching Marty who bounces off the ropes and rolls up Shango again and this time gets the three count. What a good match that had to solid mid-card draws entertaining the fans as Marty of course worked a fast pace as Shango brought the brawling style. The two really worked well together and the quick surprise pin was a great finish for the match as if gave Marty a win and also didn’t make Shango look weak in defeat. The crowd was behind Marty and he does a great job of playing the crowd and getting them involved in the match. And the fans do not like Shango as they boo for his moves. Over all really a good quick match and both guys look great and both guys work well together and made for an entertaining match.

Grade: ***

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Match 6: Papa Shango vs. The Undertaker

The bell rings and The Undertaker and Papa Shango stand in the middle of the ring face to face and stare each other down and the electricity is filling the arena and Shango makes the first move and grabs Taker by the throat and backs him into the corner. But Taker then grabs Shango by the throat and backs him into the corner. Once the choke is broke Taker starts landing good hits on Shango and even walks the top rope and clubs the arm of Shango who tries to make a comeback but is body slammed for his attempt, but taker misses a dropping elbow and Shango is able to knock Taker out of the ring who lands on his own feet, but Shango will not let him into the ring. Once Taker gets back in the ring and behind the referee’s back Shango uses his voodoo stick to shoot sparks into the eyes of Taker who falls out of the ring blinded and Shango goes out after him and starts pounding on him and hits him with a chair and even throws him into the steel steps. And once back in the ring Shango continues to beat up on Taker who keeps sitting up and after a serious if big elbow drops Shango waits to see if he rises, and as the manager of The Undertaker Paul Bearer lifts the urn he carries into the air The Undertaker sits back up and hits Shango with a leaping clothesline and then choke slams him and gets the three count and the win. This is a match that features two of the best wrestling gimmicks that were in the WWF at the time as both had horror themes and these two should have had a much bigger feud than they did. I mean imagine a story that had Papa Shango using voodoo to control The Undertaker and turning him into a heel, and Paul Bearer having to figure out a way to get Taker back, but that for another topic. The match is slow passed as both work a brawling style but their styles cause very similar mix very well and The Undertaker does a great job of selling for Shango even when sitting up like Michael Myers from the Halloween movie series. While Shango does great selling and watching The Undertaker as you could tell he wanted to bring him down. The Undertaker walking the top rope in a movie that is now called Old School is great and got a pop from the crowd. In fact the crowd was really into this match and it was clear they wanted The Undertaker to win. The stare down between the two at the start of the match was great and really set the mood for the match and when Shango landed all those elbows and watched to see if Undertaker would sit back up was great creepy heel stuff. A great entertaining match as I enjoyed the story telling in the ring as well as the slow moving brawling action, really do wish these two got a longer and more flushed out feud.

Grade: ***

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Match 7: Papa Shango vs. Bret Hart

This is match is for the WWF World Heavyweight Title. As the bell rings Papa Shango starts landing clubbing blows to the back of Bret and takes control for a moment, but then Bret is able to pull off a monkey flip and hits some big punches and goes for the pin after a flying body press, but only gets a one count and with the kickout Bret is thrown to the outside, Bret slides back in and hits Shango with an atomic drop and then clotheslines Shango over the top rope as the fans go crazy, as Bret dives out and lands a big punch to the downed Shango. Once back in the ring Shango is able to take control of the match when he whips Bret chest first into the turnbuckle, and then start beating up Bret with punches and moves and even gets Bret into a massive bear hug, Bret escapes the move by biting Shango on top of his head, but Shango keeps the momentum in his favor and shows just how powerful he is, and then goes for a never hold on Bret. And anytime Bret tries to make a comeback Shango uses his power to cut it off and stop it. Shango misses a top rope elbow drop and Bret takes over the momentum of the match and keeps hitting Shango with moves and going for the pin only for the Voodoo Man to kick out. But Bret is able to get Shango in the Sharpshooter and Shango gives up and this gives Bret the win. This was a great WWF title match and like always Bret Hart gets a great match out of his opponent with this one being Papa Shango. Bret does a great job of not only flawlessly pulling off his moves, but also makes Shango look like a top heel contender for his title and like the true superstar he is gets the fans really into the match. Shango as well does a great job of hitting massive moves and stays on Bret making it look like the title is in jeopardy of switching hands. And even in loosing Shango still looked strong throughout the match. A really good match and shows that Papa Shango could work with every style of wrestler on the WWF roster at the time as he could work jobbers as well as top of the federation like Hart and have good matches with them all.

Grade: ***1/2

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Match 8: Papa Shango vs. Bob Backlund

From the start of the bell Backlund is able to use his speed and technical style to trip up, out maneuver and take down the much bigger Papa Shango who ends up talking the momentum when he beats Backlund in a test of strength. Bob is able to gain control again and this time shows Shango that he as well has power. But Shango is able to land a massive backbreaker and take Backlund down, and then the two battle outside the ring with Shango being the one in control and rams Backlund’s back into the apron, and even back in the ring Shango keeps up the attack keeping Backlund down with a headlock. Even when Backlund is able to use an arm drag to get out of the headlock Shango keeps up his attack not giving him a moment to catch his breath, and after pounding on him locks in another headlock and cheats to get leverage by putting his feet on the ropes. Shango lets go of the hold and starts to torture Backlund a little more, but the veteran out smarts Shango and is able to roll him up with a small package and get the win via pinfall. This was a good match that was for the most part very one sided as Papa Shango was in control for most of the match and just beat the heck out of Bob Backlund and event used submission moves to try and wear the old veteran down, and Shango looked like a beast doing so and really got the fans worked up as they were on the side of Backlund. And speaking of Backlund he does a good job of selling for Shango, getting the crowd to cheer and his for his age at the time showed that he had speed. Bob Backlund was super skilled in the match and while he and Shango have very different in ring style the match comes off very good and both come out looking like the superstars they are. Also should note this was a match of the past meeting the then generation of WWF wrestling.

Grade: **1/2

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Papa Shango was one of my favorite heels in the WWF in the early 90’s and is truly one that I wished would have stuck around as he could have had good matches and feuds with many of the wrestlers at the time and the years after he was gone. I mean I would have loved a full feud with The Undertaker, Ultimate Warrior, Jake “The Snake” Roberts and later Mankind and Vader. While Papa Shango might not be the most skilled wrestler of all time his gimmick, look and skills made him a stand out for me and he was one of the best horror themed wrestlers at the time only behind the likes of The Undertaker. But as you can see the ghosts, goblins and vampires have started to fill the Rotten Ink Arena for the after midnight monster bash so I think that’s our cue to leave, but before we do I would like to tell you that our next update will have us hanging out with Horror Host Icon Sammy Terry as we celebrate Halloween! So until next time read a comic or three, watch a wrestling match or two and as always support your local indie wrestlers. I wonder if the Great Pumpkin will show up for the next update?

Sammy Terry Preview Logo

The Best Retired MLB Mascot Countdown

Welcome back to Rotten Ink! I had such a great time chatting about my top currant MLB Mascots way back in 2021 that I decided that I wanted to revisit the Rotten Ink Stadium and this time talk about those mascots that got retired and replaced over the years in Major League Baseball! Just like any mascot, sometimes they are sent to the Mascot Retirement Home to be forgotten but many are still well loved by fans that remember them. Others fade away as their replacements start to get the memories and attentions of the fans of the ball team. And on the other hand some of these mascots were so despised and are so bad that they needed to be retired as fans, players and even the whole ball club want them gone! So for this update we are going to rank all the retired mascots those gone but not forgotten jesters of the ball field that have brought so much joy to the crowds.

Retired Baseball Mascot Field

Now let me take a moment to say what rules I gave myself when ranking these Mascots as it was both very easy and very hard all at the same time as I think each and everyone of these Mascots are great in their own ways. So here is what I used for my rankings I took my time and watched videos of each mascot doing their thing from on field antics! I looked at how well loved they are by the fans, critics as well as the team they represent. I looked at how well their costumes look as well as their personality. I looked at if they had any limitations in their antics as well as slightly how well they fit the team they mascot for. I as well ruled out teams that try to use real animals as well as fans as their mascots, because those are not true mascots, as we all know and love them. I ruled out my love for the team as just cause I love the team don’t mean they have a great mascot. And most important and taken into consideration is of course my personal like for the mascot again not the team but the mascot themselves. And again remember this is all for fun and I must stress I feel all of them mean something to their fans just like Horror Hosts so they are all important in their own ways. So with that lets find out seats at Rotten Ink Stadium and order a drink and some junk food and lets talk Retired MLB Mascots as I give you my personal countdown from least favorite to my top pick.

# 20

Homer The Brave

Homer The Brave
Team: Atlanta Braves     Debut: 1986     Retired: 1988     World Series Wins: 4

Homer The Brave was a mascot that the Braves used in the 1980’s to replace the super popular Chief Noc-A-Homa and was designed after the teams logo at the time. The Mascot was very awkward and while he did a great job of getting the crowd pumped he also was very limited on what he could due. The Mascot was discontinued pretty quickly as Native American groups disliked the appearance and exploitation of their culture. While Homer The Brave was well liked by the hometown fans as well as the team, they made the wise choice of sending him to the retirement home in the sky. The thing about Homer The Brave is that also in this modern time it’s very hard to find any real information or even videos of him as The Braves really have forced him into their past. So I am not 100% sure if his retired year is right as information on him is limited. Homer The Brave is my least favorite MLB Retired Mascot as I found him to be way too limited and an extremely outdated mindset of turning a culture into a sales tactic.

# 19

Philadelphia Phil and Philadelphia Phillis

Philadelphia Phil & Phillis
Team: Philadelphia Phillies     Debut: 1971     Retired: 1979     World Series Wins: 0

Sometimes in the world of mascots you don’t have to do any silly antics or run around the bases to get the crowd to cheer for the home team or distract the opposing team, you just have the love and respect of your home team and crowd…and I feel that Philadelphia Phil and Philadelphia Phillis did just that in the 70s. You see Phil and Phillis were two revolutionary colonial dressed, large headed sibling characters that were created when the Phillies showed off the there state-of-the-art Veterans Stadium. At first it was odd as the crowd did not know how to take the pair as they just kind of were around and were not doing any antics to get the crowd pumped, and I think this confused fans to why they were there! But what did make them the stars of the show was the “Home Run Spectacular” that would have the pair put on a show compete with a canon going off, the Liberty Bell glowing and even the song Stars And Stripes playing after a Phillies player would hit a home run. But as the decade came to an end so did Phil and Phillies time as the mascots as by 1979 they rang in the country’s bicentennial and then were sent packing to the Mascot Retirement Home. The Brother and Sister duo did make two more appearances in 2003 as they appeared with the Phillie Phanatic for the final year of Veterans Stadium at both opening and final games. While Philadelphia Phil and Philadelphia Phillis might not be that iconic in the eyes of many Phillies fans and in modern times are forgotten, they still made their mark on the sports and the Home Run Spectacular they were involved in was very iconic. While I like the way they look and love the idea of them celebrating our nations bicentennial at the ball park, its also just how simple and lackluster their push to get the crowd behind the team and themselves is why I have to rate them this low. On a side note back in the 80’s and original costumes were sold to fans during a massive ball club stadium sale that had the Phillies selling off many of their Phil and Phillis items.

# 18

Souki

Souki
Team: Montreal Expos     Debut: 1978     Retired: 1978     World Series Wins: 0

You know that a mascot is bad when the team sends him to the retirement home after only one season! Souki is another baseball headed mascot who was a copy of Mr. Redlegs and Mr. Met and his only major change is that he was spaced themed and rocked a great futuristic suit. From what I have looked into Souki was very limited in his actions due to the massive head and that fans hated him as he scared kids and the adults thought he was cheesy and lame. He was so disliked that he was attacked by a father who was mad that the mascot scared his kid with his weird appearance…now you know that things are not good for you when you are being attacked out of hate as they think you are bad at what you do. And with all the bad fan reaction to him the Expos sent him packing after only one season, and this makes you wonder if they would have given him a few more years would he have won the hearts of the fans? Would he have grown to become one of the most loved mascots in sports, a true icon if you will? And would he have been inducted into the Mascot Hall Of Fame? All questions that I am sure would lead us to the answer of NO.

# 17

Bluepper

Bluepper
Team: San Diego Padres     Debut: 1992     Retired: 1994     World Series Wins: 0

Sometimes a mascot just fails to capture the fans and is rejected right off the bate, most of the time when this happens is because the new mascot replaced a beloved one and other times its just cause they are not good at what they do and their antics are annoying and not charming. And for the baseball nosed Bluepper he could not catch a break as the hometown fans were just not into him and would be vocal about it, and no matter how hard he tried it took a very long time for him to start to build a small fan base. As Bluepper was not a bad mascot as he had a silly look and was pretty funny with his antics it was just the fact he was not The Swinging Friar and was not The San Diego Chicken who would make guest appearances at the ballpark. Bluepper was disliked by the older fans who would shout and boo him and the younger fans as well did not take to him as they would punch at him as well as yell at him. While Bluepper was not bad at his job and had an ok look it’s the fact he made no impact in his two years active before retirement is why he is rated this low on my list. I do however want to say that I think if the Padres would have given him a little more time to try and bond with the fans he could have went on for many more years as I feel with some slight changes he could have been really good.

# 16

Crazy Crab

Crazy Crab
Team: San Francisco Giants   Debut: 1984   Retired: 1984   World Series Wins: 8

Lets first say that Crazy Crab was only a mascot for the Giants for one season and he was created not make fun of the MLB Mascot craze and they wanted the fans in the seats to boo the hell out of him as they created on purpose one of the worst mascots of all time, his antics were disruptive and his look was laughable bad…but even though he was created to be hated…he did his job really well and got the crowd to react and pay attention to him as well brought attention to the Giants as people wanted to see what this crabby jerk was going to do next. The fans hated him so much that they would throw things at him and as well would send four letter words his way, the players as well disliked him as even the Giants would throw things at Crazy Crab and at one point players form the Padres talked him that caused the mascot to be injured as well as caused him to file a lawsuit! Crazy Crab was sent into retirement after only one season and would only be brought back for the 1999 at the final game at Candlestick Park. Because he was so hated he also started to get a cult fan following and is still talked about to this day and even has a sandwich at the AT&T Park named after him. For me his antics were great and got the reaction that was needed, but man his look is so cheesy and lame!

# 15

Rootin Tootin Ranger

Rootin’ Tootin’ Ranger
Team: Texas Rangers     Debut: 1970’s     Retired: 1970’s     World Series Wins: 0

The Texas Rangers in the 1970’s brought in a mascot that could not only bring law and order to the field but also the belly laughs from the fans in the stands. Rootin’ is a fuzzy faced yellow pant wearing ranger who was meet by fans with mix reviews, with him at some point winning their cheers and laughs thanks to his antics. He would do what he could to get the fans to cheer the home team to a win and even show support in the losses. A fun Rootin’ Tootin’ Ranger fact is that at one of his early game appearance the heat of the sun got to him and caused him to pass out for a short time in front of fans! While Rootin’ is not a mascot that is talked about in modern times and sadly by most accounts has been forgotten, but for those long time Ranger fans his Tootin’ ways will always live forever in their hearts and memories. I should say for me Rootin’ is a very interesting looking mascot and almost reminds me of a Looney Tune character.

# 14

Chester Charge

Chester Charge
Team: Houston Astros     Debut: 1977     Retired: ??     World Series Wins: 1

The first mascot for the Astros was Chester Charge was a Texas cavalry soldier who would ride around on his horse and do what he could to get the crowd pumped for his team. Chester would entertain the crowd at home games at the start, he would come back and run the bases at the seventh inning stretch, plus an animated version of him would appear on the scoreboard as a bugle blasted he would get the crowd to cheer “Charge!” and this would get the fans truly amped for baseball. Chester Charge while limited not only by the costume but also the powers that be as they would only let him entertain the fans in small bursts he still did a fantastic job at getting people to pop, and brought lots of joy and entertainment to the game. And the weird thing is I am not sure when the Astros decided to retire Chester as his graphics on the scoreboard are still played at the stadium to this day. So I am sure your asking yourself why Chester Charge is this low on my list, well its simple while I like what he did with his antics and can respect the love fans have for him, his look and the fact he was so tied down by the Astros make him just kind of average in my book, again I respect him he just does not capture my attention.

# 13

Mr. Oriole

Mr. Oriole
Team: Baltimore Orioles     Debut: 1954     Retired: ??     World Series Wins: 3

Mr. Oriole is baseballs first costumed mascot and because of him we have all the other mascots in MLB as well as he was who paved the way for my favorite mascot the Oriole Bird! Mr. Oriole was before antics and skits was a thing and was more of an attraction for kids and fans to see in person at the stadium and form what I have gathered he was very much well loved and also at times scared kids who were not use to seeing a mascot like him. The thing about Mr. Oriole is while he is super iconic and really is the godfather of MLB Mascots his lack of bringing the crowds to cheers and laughs hold him back, the fact he really did nothing to get the fans to root for the home team makes him rate this low on my list. In fact sadly due to how long ago he was active not much information is around for him as I am not sure how often they used him and when they finally decided to send him to the Retirement Home. I will say that for the time of the mid 50’s I think the look of Mr. Oriole is great and I would like to see them bring him out of retirement for one last run alongside the Oriole Bird as I see that as a father and son duo.

# 12

Scoop and Clutch

Clutch & Scoop
Team: Los Angeles Angels     Debut: 1990     Retired: 1999     World Series Wins: 1

Clutch And Scoop are two bears who had angel wings as well as halos that were the mascots for The Angels through out the 1990’s that were for the most part well liked, but by the late 90s they had fallen in popularity and used less and less and finally put into the Retirement Home by the end of the decade as the really like monkey called “Rally Monkey” had taken their place as the teams mascot as well as had taken the fans attention. Clutch And Scoop would do some antics and were mostly around to meet and greet the fans at the stadium and they did a great job of that as kids really seemed to dig them and they gained a good fan base who enjoyed seeing them at the games. As you know I am not a fan of cheesy bear looking mascots like Clark of the Cubs, but I must say these two look pretty good and are less cheesy then Clark and have a kind of cartoon meets kids comic book look to them, in fact I would say these two look like a Disney Cartoon come alive. While they are not known for over the top antics and by most accounts have been forgotten I think Clutch and Scoop have a good look to them and while they did bare antics they still helped add to the attraction of seeing a home game.

# 11

Twinkie the Loon

Twinkie The Loon
Team: Minnesota Twins     Debut: 1980     Retired: 1981      World Series Wins: 2

Way before T.C. Bear hit the stadium the Twins had a very short and all around hated mascot called Twinkie The Loon a goofy looking fun loving bird creature who would do his thing to get the crowd pumped for some baseball, and would also just annoy them with his antics. It’s crazy as Twinkie was so disliked that the team as well as fans wanted him gone only after a year active and he was not well liked by young or old fans and to be honest no footage has been released showing his antics, he is not spoken about by the Twins during their history, very few pictures of him are around and for the most part he is forgotten in the world of MLB mascots…but dang it for some reason I really like this Loon’s look as he looks like he is super crazy and would be really annoying on and off the field. I am rating Twinkie this high because of his weird and wired look. One day the Twins should bring Twinkie The Loon out of retirement and allow him to run free once more in the stadium and see if in these modern times fans would warm up to him, plus he might make T.C. Bear work a little harder on his antics as well as could have Twinkie as a sidekick, wait what am I saying I am sure that Twinkie The Loon would be meet with jeers and not cheers if he ever returned.

# 10

Rally

Rally
Team: Atlanta Braves     Debut: 1985     Retired: 2005     World Series Wins: 4

Rally is one of those mascots that was used to try and make fans forget about the previous mascot the Braves had and it kind of worked as Rally was well loved by the fans with many of them still loving him to this day, but there is also the fact that critics and none Brave fans think he was silly looking and annoying and worst of all forgettable! Rally did his job at the ball stadium as he entertained young and old and had some classic antics in his bag of tricks, but one thing that held him back was the fact The Braves did not use him as often as they should so spotting him at a game was rare and this lead to him being out shadowed by Homer The Brave and Homer that would come along shortly after his debut. Forbes loved Rally as in 2008 they gave him the # 9 spot on their best sports mascot countdown! But on the other hand many journalist at the time really disliked Rally and would publish articles about how annoying and bad he was, as they themselves just wanted Chief Noc-A-Homa back. Also a thing that both worked for and against Rally was his red fur and blue Mohawk appearance as many did not know what he was while other would day he was a bear like Muppet looking creature that was inspired by Wally The Green Monster from the Boston Red Sox. While Rally might not be talked about much outside of Atlanta he sure left his mark on the hometown fans. Oddly enough the Braves just kind of let Rally fade and by 2005 he was not seen again.

# 9

The Baseball Bug

The Baseball Bug
Team: Cleveland Indians     Debut: 1980     Retired: 1981     World Series Wins: 2

The Cleveland Indians during the 1980’s season thought that they had the baseball mascot that would take the world by storm and become the biggest and most iconic of all time when they released The Baseball Bug onto their fans…and he sadly was a major failure as he was not well loved and was not liked at all by those he was suppose to entertain. Many fans, critics and players were confused on what he was suppose to be as he was red in color, fuzzy, and a baseball hat over his face and was even yelled at by Indian management for doing his antics to the Yankee players…showing he was doomed from the start. The Baseball Bug was booed by Indian fans, and while he was very good with his antics he could not win them over, the critics still to this day write about how he was a failure and how he made no sense in design and was just bad. But was he really as bad as history tells us? I am going to say nom in fact I myself like his look as it reminds me of something I would see in the pages of MAD Magazine and from what I have read he was very good at what he did as far as antics, it was the fans who would not allow him to get over. The Baseball Bug was good at what he did and I for one know as a kid I would have been a big fan.

# 8

Homer

Homer
Team: Atlanta Braves     Debut: 1989     Retired: 2017     World Series Wins: 4

Homer is yet another baseball headed mascot that many scream about being a copy of Mr. Met who is in fact just a copy of Mr. Redlegs (but that’s for another time) who I find did a fantastic job of entertaining the fans and interacting with the youngsters and was pretty well loved by all those in the stadium. While once more limited by the awkward baseball head like all those who have came before him, Homer did a great job of working with his limitations and delivering belly laughs and memories to all the fans. Homer over his time as the Braves mascot also went through some head changes as his face went from wild to tame and this helped add some layers to his character. The fans got behind Homer and that’s why he had a long and successful career as the Braves mascot and built a loyal fan base that is going strong even to this day. I think were he shined the most is his interaction with the kids at the ball park as he took his time with them and made them laugh as well entertained them when they could have been getting antsy in the stadium seats. I also have to give Homer credit for replacing the original Homer The Brave and did a great job of making the fans forget him. While many critics and sports paper writers where not a major fans of Homer their opinions didn’t matter as he was well loved and did a pretty good job in his mascot antics. And to be honest I also fought with placing Homer at this # 8 spot as I feel that he could have placed higher as I really do like him and feel he is one of he better baseball head mascots, but I had to leave him here as the others above him have captured my imagination more as well as I think do better on their on field antics. But with that said I would like to see Homer comeback and work alongside Blooper the Braves current mascot.

# 7

Astrojack and Astrodillo

Astrojack & Astrodillo
Team: Houston Astros     Debut: 1980’s     Retired: 1980’s    World Series Wins: 1

The Astros in the 1980’s decided they needed a new mascot and after Chester Charge was retired they decided to bring in two mascots with Astrojack and his pal Astrodillo and they were really fun and were good at their antics and the fans seemed to warm up to them pretty quickly. They did lots of classic bits from running the bases, to silly skits and even rode three wheelers around the park. They would interact with players as well as the house band at the stadium and they would always take time for the fans both young and old. Astrojack was a crazy eyed jack rabbit who was almost the brains of the group and would lead them in the antics, while Astrodillo was a cowboy hat wearing armadillo who for me was the main dude and is why the pair are ranking this high as besides the fact they were really good at entertaining the fans his goofy looking nature and appearance made me a fan. Plus they were the first mascots for the Astros that would go into the crowd and truly interact with the fans. While they were short lived as I could not find a reliable source that would tell me when they debut and were retired I think these two guys were way to short lived and I think they could have and should have been used past the 1980’s and in my mind Astrojack is the crazy brother of the teams replacement mascot Junction Jack. And Astros if you are reading this (yeah I know they are not) you should bring back this pair as secondary mascots who could help Orbit entertain the fans! Long Live Astrodillo!

# 6

Dandy

Dandy
Team: New York Yankess     Debut: 1979     Retired: 1981     World Series Wins: 27

The New York Yankees are one of the worlds most iconic and beloved baseball teams that have super loyal fans and have produced some of he all time greatest players over the decades. But when it comes to mascots they have failed on so many levels and the top two for me is first they do not have an active mascot like none its like they are sticks in the mud of having fun in the stands and having a goofy character entertaining the fans during the downtimes. And second reason they have failed is the fact they never gave Dandy here a fare share and doomed him from the moment he hit the stadium. Dandy was named by fans that wrote in with their suggestions and at first the Yankees put lots of hype around him as they wanted to cash in on the popularity of sports mascots that was sweeping the nation. But just as quickly as they hyped him up the also lost interest in him and would not allow him on the fields during the games, would not have him be seen by the masses as he was forced to stay in the upper section of the stadium, and then the benched Dandy for a bit after Yankee Catcher Thurman Munson passed away from a plane crash, and many said Dandy and he shared the same mustache. And after this plans for Dandy came to an end as the Yankees and the creators of the characters parted ways and Dandy was sent to the retirement home. It’s crazy as poor Dandy never got the chance to fully show the world what he was bringing to the art of mascoting and I truly think the Yankees dropped the ball with Dandy as so many fans never even knew he existed. And it’s also hard to find any real feedback on him as most hate he gets is from fans who never seen him in action and I hear those who did get to seemed to really dig him. To sum it up get your crap together Yankees and bring back Dandy or create a new mascot for the 2022 season.

# 5

Braves Bleacher Creature

Braves Bleacher Creature
Team: Atlanta Braves     Debut: 1977     Retired: 1981      World Series Wins: 4

Something very strange was stocking around the bleachers at Braves games in the late 1970’s, something green with big eyes and a toothless mouth, something that looked like a walking shag carpet with a Braves hat on with the teams names across his chest…he would being creeping around until the early 1980’s before being sent to the Mascot Retirement Home…and I am of course talking about the Braves Bleacher Creature! This mascot was a backup for Chief Noc-A-Homa and would spend his time in the seating sections entertaining kids and fans during games. Form all accounts Braves Bleacher Creature was well liked by fans and the kids just loved him even if sometimes they would get a little to rough and hit with mini baseball bats or try and remove one of his eyes during a game. Braves Bleacher Creature would make many public appearances during his short run as a Braves mascot and while now in modern times it seems popular to call him “Nightmare Fuel” he was very much well loved during his stint with the team. While he was limited in antics Braves Bleacher Creature took his time to meet with the fans and make sure they had fun while doing so. It’s really unclear why the Braves decided to retire him from active duty as he was popular and still had much more to give to fans. The one thing that was said about the Braves Bleacher Creature is that during hot days he would give off a bad odor, making him one of the stinkiest mascots in MLB history. And for some reason his look really captures my attention and I love the cheesy 70’s design. The Braves should have a poll on their website on what mascot was loved the best from their whole history and while Chief Noc-A-Homa would probably win it would be interesting to see where Braves Bleacher Creature stacked up against Homer The Brave, Homer and Blooper.

# 4

Junction Jack

Junction Jack
Team: Houston Astros     Debut: 2000     Retired: 2012     World Series Wins: 1

The Astros wanted to send Orbit to the retirement home in 2000 as they changed stadiums and wanted a fresh start and so the railroad engineer 7ft tall rabbit named Junction Jack was brought in to entertain the fans and annoy and distract the opposing team. And while the fans loved Orbit they quickly warmed up to Junction Jack as he was pretty dang good in his antics that would have him doing skits, dancing and even riding bikes and such. Junction Jack interacted with the fans really well and kids loved getting their pictures with him and laughing at his silliness, he also did his fair share of showing up at public events to entertain as well as promote the Astros and baseball in general. And while Junction Jack had his fans he also had his fair share of haters who thought he was “creepy” looking and other just thought he was way too annoying. I for one like Junction Jack as I think his antics were solid and good, I liked his appearance as I find it to look like a cartoon character come alive and most of all like all he did for the fans at the stadium to bring them a few good belly laughs. But in 2012 the Astros decided to retire him as they changed leagues and with that they got new uniforms as well as brought Orbit back as the teams mascot and with this they forced Junction Jack into retirement. But during his time as the Astros mascot Jack was at least able to appear on some baseball cards as well as other merchandise. One interesting Internet rumor by a YouTuber is that Orbit killed Junction Jack after the debut of the new outfits for the team, he claims that Orbit used a ray gun and shot Jack three times turning him to dust and ending the mascots life…yeah that was just for a comedy video…or was it? But really Junction Jack really was a great mascot that I hope one day will return again to the Astros and show that he still had lots more to give and do.

# 3

Ribbie and Roobarb

Ribbie & Roobarb
Team: Chicago White Sox     Debut: 1981     Retired: 1988.    World Series Wins: 3

With mascot fever running wild in baseball and while under new ownership the White Sox knew it was time for them to get a mascot for the team and then they figured why not two of them!! So enter Ribbie & Roobarb as pair of strange looking creatures that looked like they walked off the set of The Muppets or Sesame Street and onto the ball field, they would do all types of antics on and off the field, they did many public appearances and tried their best to get the fans to laugh and cheer! I mean how could the fans not like these two as they did their best to become the next big thing in baseball, well the fans disliked the pair from the start and even by the time they were sent packing to the retirement home they had only gained some love that was mostly from kids who grew to enjoy the pair. So looking at these two fun guys and hearing that they did a great job of mascot antics I am sure your asking yourself “How Is It They Were Unpopular And Hated?” well their was two main reasons with one being that fans did not understand them as their look had no ties to the team and this caused many to be confused by them running around the field and stands. But the main reason they were disliked and forced into an early retirement was because of a character called Andy The Clown a guy who had performed at White Sox games sense the 1960’s and had became an unofficial mascot and was someone the fans looked forward to seeing at home games. You see White Sox management wanted to for the loved Andy The Clown to no longer show up to the stadium in costume and this not only was heartbreaking to Andy but also pissed off the fans who loved The Clown! And because of this is why Ribbie & Roobarb were beat up by kids and mocked by the adults. To me the pair were great at what they did and had a fun and interesting look they just debuted at the wrong time and for the wrong reason to drive away a beloved fan who dressed as a clown and truly brought enjoyment to White Sox fans.

# 2

BJ Birdy

BJ Birdy
Team: Toronto Blue Jays     Debut: 1979      Retired: 1999      World Series Wins: 2

I think of all the mascots on this list none of them had as long of a career being a MLB mascot like BJ Birdy who for 20 years was a staple at games for the Blue Jays. BJ Birdy was a master of what he did and all his antics and skits were improve as he would react to what fans and players did to create a fun time for all, and because of his style of antics it set him apart from the others at the time. But while BJ Birdy was well loved he also did have some heat from fans as well as the team as at times his antics would anger people and this caused strain between him and the team from time to time, and in fact at times BJ would take shots at the team’s management in his weekly comic strip, that’s right he had his own strip. In 1993 he was thrown out of a game as his antics annoyed an Umpire who had him tossed out due to that fact he felt the mascots antics were disrespectful. While BJ Birdy was going strong his time with the team came to an end in 1999 as the team decided to send him to the Mascot Retirement home as the partnership between the two was just to sour at the time and the Blue Jays had Ace his replacement on the way. While BJ Birdy seemed like he rocked the boat one to many times in his 20 years of being the team’s mascot one can not say that his antics and appearances did not add to the games, plus being around for 20 years and being loved by almost all says lots for the legacy of him. Now I get that his look might not have been the flashiest and had an almost High School Team Mascot look to it, I for one like just how simple it was and it never rendered him from putting on one heck of a show!

# 1

Youppi!

Youppi!
Team: Montreal Expos     Debut: 1978      Retired: 2004      World Series Wins: 0

The Montreal Expos was a Canadian major league baseball team that was created in 1969 and lasted until 2004 before they moved to the United States and became the Washington Nationals and are based out of D.C. and with this changed of nations they not only had a name change but also replaced the team’s mascot and that was the biggest mistake they could have made as they got rid of Youppi! or maybe not as Screech became the Nationals Mascot so we did get a very great mascot that I ranked as my # 4 favorite active mascot in MLB. Youppi! is fantastic and one of the best mascots to grace a baseball field as his antics were funny as hell and he was great with the fans on and off the field as he was well loved and respected. Youppi! could get the fans riled up and cheer of the Expos and he also did a great job of annoying and distracting their opponents as he was the first ever mascot to be thrown out of a game when he pushed the buttons of Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda who complained to the umpires and they tossed him out of the game!! Youppi! has a great look that is fun with his bright orange fur and goofy face and he is also very kid friendly and became an attraction all himself, so you could imagine the sadness fans had when the Expos moved to Washington and Youppi! was sent to the Mascot Retirement Home. Youppi! was in limbo for some times after the move and he was a topic among Canadian sports fans as they missed their beloved mascot and wanted him back. And in 2005 after paying a large six figures amount to the Washington Nationals the pro hockey team Montreal Canadiens rescued Youppi! from the retirement home and he remains as their mascot to this day, and I have to note is still just as funny as before and is just as loved! So you see the tale of Youppi! has a happy ending as he might no longer be in baseball he still is able to do his antics in another sport and is my # 1 best Retired MLB Mascot of all time!

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As you can see Major League Baseball has had some amazing Mascots in their past and many of them I still think should be around to this day as they still had lots of funny antics left in their acts to bring joy to the ballpark. And let’s be honest its an amazing thing that MLB has let Youppi! live on in sports with antics on the NHL ice. But the game is over and the Rotten Ink Stadium is closing up until next year and we are going to leave the world of sports mascots behind as for the next update we will be attending an academy…a Police Academy! That’s right we will be taking a look at the film and cartoon series Police Academy that spawned a comic book series by Marvel Comics! So until next time watch a Sports Game or three, cheer your favorite mascot and as always cheer on your favorite team. See you next time for a goofy time with Mahoney and his friends as they stop crime.

Police academy movie logo preview

R.I.W Wrestling Legend: The Missing Link

Welcome back to Rotten Ink, my micro part of the web, where I share my love for media, from comic books all the way to horror hosts and even sports mascots! One thing that I feel I have been lacking in for my blog is my love for wrestling even though over the 10 plus years that I have been doing this blog I have covered wrestlers that have had comics like The Road Warriors, Kevin Nash, King Kong Bundy, Chyna and Sunny The California Girl as well as my love for Lucha Libre with my Top 60 countdown and even delivered my first “Indie Luchador” update that was about El Incredible Hulk earlier this year! And now I want to present a new update series that I will be calling “R.I.W Wrestling Legends” and will be like my “Horror Host Icon” updates showcasing a wrestler that I have gotten a Best of DVD set of. I will mostly be talking about the wrestler themself and not their personal lives as these update will be all about the squared circle grapplers, will be semi-short and sweet and will highlight why they are a wrestling legend. I will also be covering some modern superstars as well as indie guys and even jobbers! And all of the updates of course will be brought to you from the Rotten Ink Arena that is right next door to the Rotten Ink Theater, both of which are across the street from the Rotten Ink Stadium and a few miles away from Rotten Ink Ranch. The first wrestler I have chosen is one that has always captured my imagination and one that I have always been a fan of, the one and only Missing Link! So let’s find our seats and sit back and relax and talk about this should-be WWE Hall Of Famer ,the green face painted, own hair pulling, head butting madman himself Missing Link.

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Dewey Robertson started training for wrestling in the 1960’s and was trained by Jack Wentworth and Al Spittles.  Like all wrestlers of his time, he started working in the territories, mostly in Canada, and was well liked by fans as he was very much a classic baby face and wrestled that style. Dewey would make his mark on Canadian wrestling and would start a run in America and Australia for a year before returning to Canada as The Masked Crusader whose mission was to make the world of wrestlers have to wrestle a scientific style and was anti brawling and would start a feud with The Sheik who would unmask him and this would also cause Dewey to team with Billy Red Lyons to form the team The Crusaders. In the early 70’s he started to work for federations that had ties to the NWA and would even win NWA Tag Team Gold with partner Dennis Stamp who is known for being the “Not Booked” guy from the documentary Beyond The Mat, and would also later get more gold with partner Billy Red Lyons. Dewey would really have a great run being in tag teams as he was a draw and the crowds seemed to enjoy his style and this would also allow him to wrestle in Japan. Dewey’s career started to gain steam and he would go on to wrestle in Jim Crockett Promotions and would be involved with matches for not only the NWA but also the AWA, Mid-Atlantic and Central States Wrestling and had many great matches with names like Nick Bockwinkel, Harley Race, Ken Patera, Mr. Fuji, Jerry Valiant and Manny Fernandez. But in 1983, Dewey would have a major change to his career and this change would also bring the world of wrestling a true Wildman!

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In 1983 Dewey changed his gimmick to a crazed man that acted weird and was calling himself “Max The Missing Link”! But when he would go to WCCW (World Class Championship Wrestling) in Texas, the territory that was ran by Fritz Von Erich, he would drop the Max from his name and just call himself The Missing Link and would be managed by the dastardly Skandor Akbar and would feud with the Von Erich’s and would be totally booed as the Wildman would try to bring down the likes of Kevin, Kerry and Mike. During this time with WCCW is when his career really started to grow as the area was a hot bed for wrestling, and by becoming The Missing Link, he stood out from the other heels in the territories he would wrestle in. After his stay in WCCW, he would go for a while to wrestle in Championship Wrestling In Florida and once more was a draw due to his odd behavior and crazy look.

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In 1985 he would be signed to WWF and was a heel again that was managed by Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. The amazing part is that his debut was at Madison Square Garden where he beat S.D. Jones in a squash match building in the fans eyes that this Wildman was a threat to all their fan favorite wrestlers. But WWF lead by Vince McMahon had other ideas for The Missing Link as he would spend most of his time beating up jobbers and when he was placed in a bigger match he was on the losing end of it, showing that the WWF used him as an attraction but had no real plans to push him as a mega star as they just didn’t see it in him. He did have matches against an older Bruno Sammartino as well as George “The Animal” Steele with his Bruno match almost getting the WWF banned from Buffalo, New York after Missing Link broke the chairs that the commissioners were sitting in! In late 1985 Heenan would trade The Missing Link and Adrian Adonis to Jimmy Hart in order to get King Kong Bundy under his Heenan Family Stable and he would only stay around for a short amount of time with his last story being that a bounty was on the head of Paul “Mr. Wonderful” Orndorff and Jimmy Hart and The Missing Link went for it and lost, and just like that The Missing Link was gone from the WWF. It’s said that he was Future Endeavored due to a real life drug issue.

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After being let go from WWF The Missing Link would return for a short time to WCCW and would be managed by Percy Pringle who WWF fans would know as Paul Bearer and would later turn Face and feud with the likes of The Great Kabuki and Rick Rude. In 1986 The Missing Link would then wrestle for Universal Wrestling Federation for a short time and then would also go back to WCCW as well as World Wrestling Council and would “retire” for a short time. Missing Link would not give up his in ring career and from time to time would still wrestle a match for indie federations and would also be at wrestling conventions meeting and greeting with fans. He would also write a book, do a few Shoot Interviews, get clean from drugs and alcohol and would travel around speaking about the power of God as well as being drug free. Outside of the ring they say that Dewey was a strange man who enjoyed smoking pot, was a nudist, had a violent temper, tried to stab a booker and later in life had very bad things to say about the WWF. Dewey “The Missing Link” Robertson had been battling lung cancer for a while and sadly lost his battle on August 16, 2007 at the age of 68.

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The Missing Link is one of those wrestlers that to this day wrestling fans talk about as he made such an impact on fans who grew up watching this Wildman in the ring. Growing up I knew of Missing Link thanks to the old wrestling magazines my brother Bryan had as well as all the young reader books based on wrestling that were released at the time, and he had always caught my attention as his wild look and green face made him standout. Wait, I almost forgot that he was also featured on the WWF Wrestling Album that we had as kids as well! And sadly back when I was a kid, YouTube was not a thing and in order to watch matches of Wrestlers you had to find old VHS releases or track them down on the grey and trade tape market, and that’s how I first seen a very small amount of his matches when I was a teenager as I was a tape collector and use to buy so many wrestling tapes, and guys like Missing Link and Tiger Mask were on my buy and trade lists. The thing that always made me a Missing Link fan is that for the most part he was a horror themed wrestler who acted like a crazed wild man in the ring, but also could wrestle with the best of them as he was super skilled and a topnotch performer. I feel that Missing Link does not get the credit he deserves when it comes to his in-ring work as I think he could get a good match out of just about anyone and yet could also have brawls with the best of the brawlers. It’s a shame that in real life Missing Link lead a life of drugs and alcohol and made him very bitter toward the WWF. After you read this update, do yourself a favor and head to YouTube and look up Missing Link matches and you will see what I am talking about.

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We are now at the point of this review where we will be taking a look at the DVD set and review some of the matches on the discs like always between 4 to 8. I want to thank Coliseum Of Wrestling & Boxing for having this set in stock and also want to thank Missing Link for his hard work in the world of wrestling. I also want to remind you that I will only be breaking down randomly selected matches from this set and will be breaking down the match and will be rating the matches on a 5 Star rating system. I also only choose from singles matches as I want to break down his matches that showcase his style. Here is what the stars mean: ½ means a really terrible match, * means a bad match,** means a below average match, **1/2 means a good average entertaining match, *** means a good match, **** means a great match, *****means an epic match. So if you are ready, let’s step into the ring with Missing Link.

RIW Missing Link DVD

Best Of Missing Link

Match 1: Missing Link vs. Mike Jackson

The Missing Link looks crazed and is jumping around the ring and poor Mike Jackson looks like a lamb lead to the slaughter as when the bell rings Link goes after him causing him to have to dodge the attack. And Mike Jackson then goes on the attack landing some amazing drop kicks and causes Missing Link to roll out of the ring in frustration, but once back in Missing Link goes on a rampage and manhandles Mike who tries to mount a small comeback before Mike eats two diving head-butts and is pinned in what clearly was a squash match. This match was clearly a way for Mid South Wrestling to put over Missing Link and showcase his crazy brawling style as well as to allow his character to grow in the eyes of the fans, as they kept bringing up that Missing Link has never been locked up in a asylum! Over all, a fun quick match that had Link make quick work of a jobber.

Grade: **1/2

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Match 2: Missing Link vs. Rip Rogers

When the bell rings both Missing Link and Rip Rogers look ready for a fight, but sadly for Rip Rogers he is no match for Missing Link who dominates the start of the match and is wrestling both as a brawler as well as landing some very classic holds and moves. Rip tries to make a comeback with punches and elbows, but its short lived as Missing Link quickly takes back the match and ends it by putting Rip Rogers in the camel clutch and causes him to tap out! Another squash match to showcase the skill and character of Missing Link, this match besides talking about him never being in an asylum they also talk about him never being in a cult…weird.

Grade: **1/2

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Match 3: Missing Link vs. Junkyard Dog

This big feel main event TV match has Missing Link having to test his power against the fan favorite Junkyard Dog who is jumped from the start before the bell even rings by the Wildman. Missing Link unloads on JYD hitting him with his flying head butts and even puts him in the camel clutch trying to end the match and put as much damage on the Dog as he can. But Junkyard Dog still has plenty of fight in him and the pair exchange hits and movies before JYD gets the tide to change in his favor and uses his head butts and power moves to hurt and keep Missing Link at bay. When Link gets the match back in his favor he makes a big mistake when he misses the second rope diving head butt and JYD uses that mistake to hit his finishing move The Thump and gets the three count and the win. A very slower paced match with lots of rest holds and mat work, but one I really enjoyed as it held a classic wrestling feel. I would also say that Missing Link does most of the work in this match and their styles clash really badly, but I feel that is what makes this match so interesting. I will say I do wish for less stalling.

Grade: ***

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Match 4: Missing Link vs. Magnum T.A.

Another big feel match as Missing Link takes on Magnum T.A. and the match starts very technical with both showing each other their classic skills and neither are getting the upper hand. Finally the Missing Link nails a dropkick that also allows him to use his falling head butt to hurt Magnum, but as Missing Link climbs to the second rope to deliver his flying head butt he is caught in midair and slammed by Magnum T.A. who gets the three count! This is a short match but is really good as both Link and Magnum showcase their skills and both are very technical in the match. Little shocking on how fast Missing Link looses, but its clear Magnum T.A was being built up as a top star. I would have given a higher star count if the match had been a little longer.

Grade: ***

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Match 5: Missing Link vs. Mr. Wrestling II

The two start off at a very slow pace and exchange holds with Mr. Wrestling II doing many stall movies like headlocks and sizing up his opponent as Missing Link tries to push the pace the veteran keeps the speed that he wants and that’s slow and gets the Link in more rest holds. Much of the match is also Mr. Wrestling II threatening to hit Missing Link with his Knee Lift finisher and Link acting scared of it and being frustrated by Mr. Wrestling II’s antics. And even when Link gets the upper hand Mr. Wrestling II is able to turn the tide back to his favor. Finally Missing Link hits an atomic drop and after missing the head butt from the second rope, Mr. Wrestling II nails Link with the Knee Lift and gets the three count. This was a strange match that was filled with lots of rest holds, a wrestling legend moving in slow motion, a wrestling legend doing almost comedy spots and Missing Link doing the job when he should have won, what a weird slow match.

Grade: **

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Match 6: Missing Link vs. Kerry Von Erich

The match starts with Kerry and Missing Link exchanging moves with Kerry dropkicking Link out of the ring and once back in they exchange moves again with Kerry always slightly getting the upper hand. Kerry is showing that he is the more skilled wrestler as even when Link deals out some damage, he is able to fight back as the crowd lose it and cheer for everything Kerry does. Finally Missing Link is able to hurt one of Kerry’s knees as he head butts it over and over and this gives the heel a chance to work it over and cause Kerry pain and puts him in danger of loosing the match. As Kerry fights back, Missing Link’s manager Percy Pringle III smacks Kerry with his cane and causes a DQ and after the bell Kerry hits the Link with a tornado punch and knocks him out of the ring and Link and Percy head to the back. A great WCCW match that was a way to showcase the power of Kerry Von Erich as well as the strangeness and raw power of Link and a finish that didn’t make either look bad. I think Link and Kerry’s styles worked well together and seeing Link take the Tornado Punch as the end was really cool. Solid TV match for sure and I would like to see more matches between these two.

Grade: ***

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Match 7: Missing Link vs. Jack Victory

Jack Victory tries to start the match off hot by throwing massive hits at Missing Link who does not feel the effects and makes Jack pay for his attack and man handles him throwing him around and landing big hits. Jack is able to make a small comeback and lands some big moves on Link that stuns him for a short bit but a head butt turns the tide in favor of Link once more. The Missing Link lands a great jumping dive onto Jack and then lands a great head butt that knocks Jack out of the ring. Link wins the match after a second rope diving head butt. But after the match, Link’s former manager Percy Pringle III and Rick Rude attack him as he is out of their stable and they want him to pay for leaving, Link is saved by valet Sunshine. This was a squash match that was a way to show the turn of Missing Link from Heel to Face and the crowd are really behind him. Jack Victory does a great job of selling for Link as well lands a few great moves showing that he was not a total jobber. Plus I think Link and Jack worked well together even if it was a throwaway match. Good stuff and WCCW clearly knew how to book Missing Link right.

Grade: **1/2

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Match 8: Missing Link vs. Rick Rude

This match is a total grudge match as Missing Link has Sunshine in his corner and his ex-stable mate and world champ Rick Rude has Percy Pringle III and all sides want to win! When the bell rings Missing Link takes it to Rick Rude and does a great job of keeping Rude on the defense as he lands massive hits and moves to the champ. But Rude only takes the beating for a short time before taking control and unleashing a flurry of punches and moves on Link. Once Link is able to find his energy the two exchange blows and the tide goes back and fourth with each getting the upper hand on each other for small bits of time. Rick Rude is able to get some chin locks on Link and this is draining the big man of strength, but thanks to the fans cheering and Sunshine’s support he is able to break free and start to fight back. But Percy interferes with the match and causes Rude to be disqualified and Missing Link is given the victory. After the bell Link and Rude fight as Percy tries to attack Sunshine, but in the end Link and Sunshine stand tall as the crowd goes crazy for them. What a great match as Rude and Link had great chemistry against each other and they had the fans rabid by the end of the match. Link showed that while he is a Wildman he still can wrestle a very solid match with the right opponent, Rude is great as a heel as his in-ring skill was top notch and his heat with the fans is how all heels should be booed and hated. Great storytelling as well with Sunshine being the beauty that is help taming the beast, only downside is the DQ finish as they should have allowed one to score the pin. To sum this one up a great match and another example of why World Class Championship Wrestling was a great company and is truly missed today by fans of wrestling.

Grade: ***

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The Missing Link, as you can see, was a great wrestler with a great gimmick who would have been a great opponent for the likes of The Undertaker, The Fiend, Kane and Abyss in more modern times. I mean imagine a match at a Wrestlemania that would have The Undertaker taking on Missing Link with the streak on the line that would have been a great one as both men could show that they could wrestle behind the personas. Missing Link also was a great one to start off my “R.I.W Wrestling Legends” updates as he is a wrestler that I have wanted to talk about for a while but never had the chance to. And this will be the first of many of these updates to come as I have been hard at work selecting who is to come in future updates and there are some really fun ones coming up. For me The Missing Link will always be a great wrestler that I am a fan of and as I have said before in this update, WWE needs to wake up and put him into the Hall Of Fame. Well the Rotten Ink Arena is closing and it’s time for us to leave, but before we do I would like to let you know that our next update for Rotten Ink’s Ten Year Celebration will be a look at a Horror Host Icon that is known as Baron Daemon! So until next time, read a comic or three, watch a wrestling match or two and as always support your local wrestlers.

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Indie Luchador Files: El Increible Hulk

The Independents of Lucha Libre is filled with some of the most amazing wrestlers, who have all types of characters from famous monsters to ones based on popular movies, TV shows and comic books. And these unsung tecnicos and rudos of the ring really do deserve to get their time in the spotlight as no matter how big or small their runs were, they had fans who loved to cheer or boo them.  Here at Rotten Ink I am going to showcase them as part of my new update theme I am calling “Indie Luchador Files”! You see, I am going to showcase one Indie Luchador at a time and will try and showcase their career as well as a little about the men behind the mask.  Now keep in mind, many of these Luchadors have very little information and history about them, so I am going to dig deep and find all I can about them. So to start off the first of the Indie Luchador Files I chose a Luchador that is based on one of my all time favorite superheroes The Hulk, and the Luchador is El Increible Hulk! So sit back, grab your air horn and let’s head to the Rotten Ink Arena and chat about an Indie Luchador!

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So before we head into the short bio of El Increible Hulk,B I want to thank every website, blog and person who helped in making this update possible. I want to also thank El Increible Hulk himself for being an interesting and cool Luchador who inspired the idea of these blog updates! Also last year I did an update called “RWI Top 60 Best Luchadors” where I listed well my Top 60 favorite Luchadors so make sure to give that a read as well. So if you are ready, let’s let this Hulk Smash his opponent!

El Increíble Hulk

El Increible Hulk
Started: 1970’s?      Companies: Indies      Active: Unknown     Seen Live: No

I want to start off by saying that sadly not much is known about El Increible Hulk as he was an indie wrestler in Mexico and his history in the ring was not that well preserved, so I have looked all over the world wide web and even spoke to a few of my friends who are Luchadors in order to try and get any and all information about him. El Increible Hulk, also known as “Hombre Increible” and “El Hombre Verde,” was Victor Zamora behind the mask and was a staple at Mexican indie promotions during the 1970’s and 1980’s as he was inspired by the popularity of the Marvel Comics The Incredible Hulk as well as the American television series of the same name as well based on the comics. He would at times team with Frankenstein and he was a main draw for many of the indie promotions he would work for. He was such an attraction that many of the posters and flyers would feature him in order to get the fans to attend the matches. El Increible Hulk would be a part of several bet matches that included him losing his mask twice and alerting the fans to who he was.  He lost his first to his onetime partner Frankenstein. But while he lost his mask in the bet matches, he would still to work the indies wearing it, and he also ended up working for AWWA and having several matches in the Azteca Stadium and was a brief member of the Superlibres that had a tent headquarters next to the stadium! During his run in AWWA he also would capture a title and once more show that he was a draw even for a bigger promotion. So what ever became of El Increible Hulk? Is he still working the indies today under another character? Did he ever make it to CMLL or AAA and capture any gold? Sadly all these questions I could not find the answer to, and it’s a shame as it would be very cool to find out what ever became of Victor Zamora aka El Increible Hulk.

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El Increible Hulk is truly one of those Luchadors who gave his all in the ring and over time has been pushed back to just a memory in the minds of his fans, and that’s a shame as at this point in time no known matches of his can be seen via the internet to bring back his glory days in the ring as well as introduce a whole new group of fans to him. I really would love to find some of his matches and watch and see his in ring style to find out if he do more power moves or if he was a fast and technical grappler. Plus I would love to know if El Increible Hulk is still out there looking for his next match as like so many Luchadors that are older, I would guess he could still put on one hell of a match! I also wonder what Marvel Comics thought of this Luchador? I am sure they had zero clue that he was in Mexico being a draw for Lucha Libre fans at indie events. Readers, did you ever see El Increible Hulk live at a Lucha Libre event? If so leave your memories of it in the comments below. Before I wrap this update I want to close with I really do wonder what has happened to Victor Zamora, the man behind the mask, and I wonder if he ever had kids did they become a Luchador? One day I hope to find out these answers. Well for my next update I will be leaving the world of Lucha Libre to enter the world of cartoons as I will be taking a look at one of my favorite all time Looney Tunes characters with an update all about Daffy Duck! So until next time, read a comic or three, go to an indie wrestling event or two and as always support your local Horror Host! And remember the next update will be a zany good time with the world craziest and grumpiest duck!

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The Best Active MLB Mascot Countdown!

Baseball is America’s favorite past time and a sport that is embedded into our culture and has driven collectors markets for decades with trading cards and even autographs. Growing up in Waynesville, Ohio almost all my male classmates and even some of the females collected baseball cards, showing that the appeal of this sport in the 80’s and 90’s was strong. In town we had a place called Bill’s Baseball Den that had tons of classic ball cards as well as new packs from the industries top companies like Topps, Donruss and Fleer. I can remember going to a few Cincinnati Reds games back then along with my father, brother and my dad’s close friends and seeing the likes of Barry Larkin and Eric Davis doing their thing, as well as seeing Mr. Red their then-mascot…and at those Red’s games is where I discovered that baseball was fun to watch live…but also that Mascots for sports teams are amazing! And when planning updates for 2021 I knew that I had to cover MLB Mascots and then knowing how many of you readers love when I do a countdown this just seemed like a no brainer to do. To me, mascots are a major part of baseball just like hot dogs, peanuts and beer are part of the experience.

Now let me take a moment to say what rules I gave myself when ranking these mascots as it was both very easy and very hard all at the same time as I think each and every one of these mascots are great in their own ways. So here is what I used for my rankings: I took my time and watched videos of each mascot doing their thing from on field antics all the way to videos on their social media. I looked at how well loved they are by the fans, critics as well as the team they represent. I looked at how well their costumes look as well as their personality. I looked at if they had any limitations in their antics as well as slightly how well they fit the team they mascot for. I ruled out any sidekick mascots and only rated the team’s main mascot. I as well ruled out teams that try to use real animals (looking at you Angels) as well as fans as their mascots, because those are not true mascots, as we all know and love them. I ruled out my love for the team – just cause I love the team doesn’t mean they have a great mascot. And most importantly is, of course, my personal like for the mascot again not the team but the mascot themselves. And again remember this is all for fun and I must stress I feel all of them mean something to their fans just like Horror Hosts so they are all important in their own ways. So with that, let’s find our seats at Rotten Ink Stadium and order a drink and some junk food and let’s talk MLB Mascots as I give you my personal countdown from least favorite to my top pick. Oh and I want to also take a moment to say shame on the following teams for not having a Mascot at their ball park” New York Yankees, Los Angeles Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers, get it together and bring in a mascot.

# 27

Billy The Marlin
Team: Miami Marlins     Debut: 1993     POP: Yes     World Series Wins: 2

Poor old Billy finds himself in the last place spot.  Since he was introduced in 1993 all the way to this day, I have always found him to be the least interesting mascot in the MLB as his antics and style are just bland as is his over all appearance.  Whenever I watch a game, he never is one that makes me wonder what he is up to during halftime. But while Billy The Marlin might not be my favorite mascot, he does have a very big following in his home state of Florida and even has his own fan club for youths. But while Billy is a lovable mascot, he also has a “dark side” aka some silly mishaps that includes firing a t-shirt into the crowd and knocking out an older man when the shirt hit him in the eye or so the old man claims. Also during a 1997 parachute stunt his head was blown off by high winds and was found 2 months later near the highway. But even with those silly mishaps, Billy is well loved for sure, he just is not for me. Oh yes and he has also gotten his own baseball cards from Topps over the years. When USA Today did their countdown, Billy was ranked # 15.

# 26

Southpaw
Team: Chicago White Sox     Debut: 2004     POP: Yes     World Series Wins: 3

The White Sox is one of those iconic teams that started in 1900 and their original mascot was Andy The Clown who was later replaced by Ribbie & Roobarb who in turn were ousted by the animated White Sox Wolf…but his time as well was numbered by Southpaw who took over in 2004 and is the team’s mascot still to this day. Southpaw is a green furred monster who looks like a Muppet and cartoon character and is really solid at entertaining the fans during White Sox games and is a master of silly dances and silly pranks on players and fans.  But that’s kind of the thing about Southpaw, he just is kind of average all around and does not have a presence like the other mascots on this list and that’s why he ranks so low in my eyes. Southpaw has been on ball cards from companies like Topps and USA Today ranked him # 23 on their list.

# 25

Lou Seal
Team: San Francisco Giants     Debut: 1996     POP: No     World Series Wins: 8

While Forbes and Hulu will tell you that the iconic Lou Seal is one of the best mascots the MLB has to offer, I sadly disagree as his antics are fantastic but the character’s over all look is very bland and does not capture my attention nor imagination like the others that will be making up this list. But while I might not think the look of this sports mascot is the best thing going, those who go and see a Giants game are highly entertained by Lou who tries to appear at almost very home game and brings smiles to the young and young at heart. A fun little fact is that Lou Seal got his name from a contest that allowed fans to name the character before his debut in 1996 and a total of six fans all wrote in with the name “Lou Seal” and so the name was picked and all those fans got invited to the game when he made his on-field first appearance. Also Lou Seal and the man who wears the costume were one of the subjects followed on the Hulu show called “Behind The Mask”. And for those wondering, yes, this massive seal has graced some baseball cards. USA Today ranked him their # 6 best MLB Mascot.

# 24

Dinger
Team: Colorado Rockies     Debut: 1994     POP: No     World Series Wins: 0

Dinger is the Rockies # 1 fan and has warmed his way into the hearts of the fans that pack the ballpark to watch the game and see his antics, and he has became a icon in the minds of the kids who love watching the purple dinosaur do his thing to cheer on his team. Dinger is a purple triceratops and his name is slang term for home runs, and for those wondering why he is that type of dinosaur its cause many fossils were dug up in Colorado and this caused the ball club to choose a one to be their mascot. Dinger during a game can also be found in the stands interacting with his fans and even at times doing his best to distracting the opposing team in order to try and give his team an edge to win. Dinger is a fun mascot who is very much beloved by Rockies fans and while he is low on my list he is a great mascot for baseball and brings the smiles and joy to fans at the stadium. USA Today ranked him # 8 of their top MLB Mascots.

# 23

Clark
Team: Chicago Cubs     Debut: 2014     POP: No     World Series Wins: 3

The Chicago Cubs is a ball team that always seems like the underdogs that have you rooting for them, and crazy enough they always have great players they just never seem to get the wins they need…and for me their mascot Clark just does not bring the home runs when it comes to look and sideline antics, and over all has a very generic Party City rented suit look to him. But while I find Clark to be dull and boring in look he does bring the joy to fans of the Cubs and many younger fans look forward to seeing him and his silly ways and for that I have to give him respect. Plus Clark is a newbie in the baseball mascot world so he still has time to grow as a character and I am sure will become a major icon over time. I love that he was created when fans wanted more friendly things at Wrigley Field for kids to do and Clark was born to greet them before, during and after the games. Over all while Clark is just kind of silly looking and still green when it comes to being a thought about mascot, he is quickly building a fan base and helps add the fun times of attending a Cubs game. And yep, he has graced some baseball cards. Clark was rated # 22 on USA Today’s countdown.

# 22

T.C. Bear
Team: Minnesota Twins     Debut: 2000     POP: Yes     World Series Wins: 2

Another bear mascot with a very generic rental store look, but T.C. Bear has more history to his look as he is based on the old Hamm’s Beer Bear, mascot of Hamm’s Brewery that was on original sponsor for the Twins. And his name T.C. of course stands for Twin Cities and he stepped into the role of mascot when the original was sent to the Mascot Retirement Home in the sky the original was named Twinkie and was a Loon. One thing that sets T.C. apart from Clark is that he has a more classic mascot look to him, and while they both are great at entertaining on the sidelines and in the crowd I give T.C. the slight edge as I find him to turn it up when needed. Going on over 20 years as the teams mascot makes T.C. Bear a major part of the Twins game experience and like all other MLB mascots he has a major hometown following and has graced many baseball cards. And for his USA Today rating they gave him the # 26 spot.

# 21

Raymond
Team: Tampa Bay Rays     Debut: 1998     POP: No     World Series Wins: 0

So Raymond here is a strange looking creature that is said to be a “Seadog” that lives at the ball field and loves to show support for the Rays as well as entertain the fans during the game. Raymond is a very cool, cartoonish looking mascot who has a great act when it comes to entertaining the fans, and like all mascots not to mention helps bring the laughs to the crowd. Raymond over the years has gotten the respect from such sites as GameOps and USA Today who ranked him # 14 on their Mascot countdown. One thing that makes me enjoy Raymond as well is that he looks like a friend creature in some photos while others he kind of looks mean! Raymond is a great mascot and The Rays have done a fantastic job of bringing the laughs with him, and yep also got the baseball card treatment.

# 20

Ace
Team: Toronto Blue Jays     Debut: 2002     POP: Yes     World Series Wins: 2

Ace is a mascot for Canada’s only pro baseball team and he took over the role in 2002 from the teams original mascot named BJ Birdy who was forced into the Mascot Retirement Home by the ball club who wanted something new and fresh for fans to see while at home games, and this did not go over well with fans as Birdy was well loved and they did not want a new mascot as they were all very happy with the old one! And when the Blue Jays asked the fans to help name one the new replacement they got flooded with bad names as fans were not happy. But while at first fans where not happy Ace did what he does best and that’s entertain, bring the silly laughs and fill the fans with home team pride and has won their hearts over with time. Some fun facts about Ace is that he has graced baseball cards, his original name for a short time was Slider, his beak was changed from grey to blue, he wears team # 0 and his look was created by Sugar’s Mascot Costumes based in Toronto Canada. For me I see what Ace had to face in order to win his own towns respect and he does a great job of pulling off his antics and that’s why I respect the little feathered guy. USA Today ranked Ace at # 20 in their countdown.

# 19

Rangers Captain
Team: Texas Rangers     Debut: 2002     POP: Yes     World Series Wins: 0

Who don’t love a horse that attends baseball games in Texas and jumps around swinging flags and entertaining you during the slow parts of the game! Rangers Captain is truly one cool and total “American” style mascot who loves baseball and also bringing the laughs to fans in the bleachers. When watching moments on YouTube of Rangers Captain doing his bits its great to see the fans face light up with smiles as they see him, and that goes for young and old as its clear he is well loved by his hometown fans. For some reason many outside of Texas fans have a weird dislike for Rangers Captain as they say that he is silly looking, stuff of nightmares and even generic…but I for one when watching him do his thing have nothing but respect for him as he is great at what he does and that’s bring on the laughs during a Rangers ball game. Some fun facts about Rangers Captain is that the number he wears 72 is the year that the Rangers relocated to the Dallas Metroplex, and he has many change of jerseys that follows the teams change in uniforms. Rangers Captain has graced Topps baseball cards and ranked # 18 of mascots of Major League Baseball.

# 18

Slider
Team: Cleveland Indians     Debut: 1990     POP: No     World Series Wins: 2

When the Cleveland Indians showed their new mascot Slider to the fans in 1990 they seemed a little confused as they replaced Chief Wahoo and Tom E. Hawk with this strange bright colored Muppet looking creature that just seemed out of place. And like many new mascots that took the place of beloved ones it was a little rough for Slider to win the hearts of the fans…but like all good mascots put in this position Slider worked his butt off and used his silly and funny skills to win them over. Slider is known for his dance movies and while he is a part of the Ohio sports family he also seems to have a feud with Cincinnati Reds secondary mascot Gapper who is also a fuzzy Muppet like creature. While Slider here might look very silly he does have the moves to get the attention, and has become a staple for fans who attend Indian games. But while Slider is super goofy he did have a bad mishap in 1995 when he fell off the outfield wall during an American League Championship Series game and tore ligaments in his knee, ouch! Slider is loved here in Ohio now and has graced some baseball cards and was ranked a very low # 25 by USA Today on their countdown. Slider got the honor of being inducted into the Mascot Hall Of Fame in 2008.

# 17

Blooper
Team: Atlanta Braves     Debut: 2018     POP: No     World Series Wins: 3

What can be said about Blooper, the newest mascot on this list, besides I have not seen so much anger and confusion over a mascot in my life.  This poor guy has gotten so much hate from not only MLB fans but also the media! But what really matters is not what none Atlanta Braves fans think and what does is how the home team fans feel about him and they seem to have opened their arms and love him now! This cartoon character looking mascot has all types of ways to make fans laugh and pop that include driving go-carts around, covering players heads under his shirt, dancing around, using a toilet paper gun, taking fake falls and even given out free snacks to fans by stealing it from the venders! And again I think Blooper came at a time of high critical social media and like others on this list he had to fill the shoes of retired former Brave mascots Chief Noc-A-Homa and Homer The Brave and that is hard work to do for any mascot. Blooper has had a small amount of baseball cards made with his image and ranked a # 27 on USA Todays list making him in last place for them. While Blooper does seem like a cheap imitation of the Phillie Phanatic and seems to recycle many of the other mascots bits, I think Blooper over the years will grow into his own and will find the respect of MLB fans.

# 16

Stomper
Team: Oakland Athletics     Debut: 1997     POP: Yes     World Series Wins: 9

The Oakland A’s has always been a ball club that has had a tie to Elephants in their logos and in 1997 they unleashed Stomper into their fans and he quickly became a staple for those at the stadium. Stomper is a great mascot as he does all the classic bits from messing with the other team, dancing around, pulling fun pranks on players and fans and even has taken part in Mascot races and boxing matches. By all accounts Stomper is a top notch mascot that embodies the ball clubs spirit and legacy not to even mention he has all the hometown fans and mascot critics loving him. While I feel that he is an icon in MLB mascot history and has graced baseball cards over the decades…I shockingly do like and respect Stomper and his legacy and abilities, but I do find other mascots in baseball to be better and more fun for me and that’s why Stomper is only at # 16 for me. USA Today however gave him their # 10 spot.

# 15

Mr. Met
Team: New York Mets     Debut: 1963     POP: Yes     World Series Wins: 2

Okay I know many of you are ranting right now on how “low” I ranked Mr. Met on my list and I get it as Forbes placed him at # 1, USA Today had him ranked at # 2 and many sports fans say that he is truly the best mascot in baseball history…its just I disagree and that’s why he is only # 15 on my list! So let me first point out why Mr. Met is so iconic to fans and first is that he is a fun looking mascot with a friendly looking baseball for a head, he does a fantastic job of getting the crowd railed up and cheering The Mets on, he is great with the fans and is an attraction in his own right when fans attend a game they look forward to seeing him and lastly he truly is a pop culture icon and is in the Mascot Hall Of Fame (2007 class). Now for my reasons of not being super high on my list is that he is limited in his antics as the giant baseball head makes him unable to pull off normal mascot bits, while his look is fitting for the Mets I do feel that he lacks any real character in appearance as I do feel his actions do have lots of character and to be honest I also I have to say that he just is a clone of Mr. Redlegs (Cincinnati Reds) who was created 10 years before him. One funny Mr. Met moment is when in 2017 a fan recorded the beloved mascot given him the middle finger after a loss for the Mets, that’s right the three fingered icon figured out how to give a rival fan the bird…awesome! Mr. Met of course has graced baseball cards as well as has been on many TV Shows as well as commercials. Keep in mind while Mr. Met is only # 15 for me I still love this mascot and 100% think he is an icon of American culture.

# 14

D. Baxter The Bobcat
Team: Arizona Diamondbacks     Debut: 2000     POP: No     World Series Wins: 1

I feel that D. Baxter The Bobcat is a harshly judged mascot in MLB and for some reason people dislike the characters look and a few even use the word “creepy” when describing him and that word I feel is over used in the internet culture when talking about mascots in not only sports but also fast food. Baxter is great at what he does and his costume allows him to move around way more freely then many of his peers and pull off some great antics and goofy style stunts. His interaction with players and fans is great and he knows what to do to get a laugh, plus he also uses go-carts, costumes, props and other items to enhance his antics. Baxter also does classic dances and in my opinion has a great look for a mascot plus he is fitting for being Arizona’s mascot as bobcats are native to that state plus his name is a play on the teams name and old stadium’s name. Over all I think Baxter is a great mascot who does thinks that many of his fellow baseball mascots cannot do and that’s why he gets my respect. And yep if you are a fan you can get him on many baseball cards and USA Today ranked him a very low # 24 on their countdown.

# 13

Paws
Team: Detroit Tigers     Debut: 1995     POP: Yes     World Series Wins: 4

The Detroit Tigers when selecting a mascot new that Paws was the winner, well cause he himself is a tiger! Paws is a very classic looking mascot and while his costume does look a little cheesy and generic, its that simple look that in my opinion works so well as he comes off looking very friendly and also just fits the ball clubs family friendly nature. Paws brings to the table of antics silly dances, costume changes, and even does silly skits to get the laughs. Paws is also very well loved by his home town crowd as he always makes time for them to takes pictures or even give high fives and most important gets them fired up to cheer for The Tigers. Paws to be is a great traditional mascot who is fitting for his team and brings all the entertainment he needs to in order to put smiles on the faces of fans. Paws has of course been on baseball cards for collectors, and USA Today of course rated him really low on their list given him the # 19.

# 12

Mariner Moose
Team: Seattle Mariners     Debut: 1990     POP: Yes     World Series Wins: 0

Who don’t love watching a silly moose dance around and do goofy things for a laugh, well the people of Seattle do as their mascot Mariner Moose does just that. Mariner Moose is a mascot who does what he can to get the crowd to laugh and cheer for the home team and is well loved by the fans as they enjoy his antics and style of funny crowd hyping. The Mariner Moose character was created by a young boy when the Mariners wanted a mascot and held a contest, and he was selected from over 25,000 submissions! Mariner Moose’s trademark was roller skating while being pulled by an ATV in the outfield this lasted until 1999, and with a switch of fields Mariner Moose started himself to drive the ATV around to the delight of the fans. Mariner Moose has built himself up as being one of the most popular and well loved mascots in Baseball and fans even have their own ways for cheering him by using their hands as antlers to their heads and Mooing! But while this Moose has graced many of baseball cards over time he did have a bad accident while being pulled by the ATV the lead to him breaking his ankle! Mariner Moose is a true very cool mascot who makes appearances all around Seattle as well as even in Nike Commercial along side Ken Griffey Jr.! USA Today gave the # 11 spot on their MLB Mascot countdown.

# 11

Wally The Green Monster
Team: Boston Red Sox     Debut: 1997     POP: Yes     World Series Wins: 9

Wally The Green Monster is a mascot for one of the world’s most popular teams in baseball and he himself has climb to become one of the worlds most loved characters in the sport. Wally is named after the 37-Foot wall in left field at Fenway Park and he himself is said to live at the ballpark inside that very wall as you see Wally is a big mark when it comes to hits and ones that could have and should have been homeruns, but are not cause of his wall home. Wally The Green Monster is great at entertaining the fans and will do what he needs to do to get the laughs, and most important he his top notch to the fans and makes sure that they get that special moment with an interaction with him. Of course the kids in the stadium really love seeing Wally and over time even the adults have come to love him as he leads them in sing alongs and does silly things to entertain them during the seventh-inning stretch. Wally’s look is also great and will remind you of not only a Muppet but also just a classic style 80’s cartoon character and this helps his appeal to ball fans my age. Wally also wins extra points as he ties into the team as the Left-Wall that is painted green is one of the biggest legends of Fenway Park and Wally being the one who has lived inside it for over 50 years makes his legacy also apart of the teams history. Wally of course has graced ball cards and USA Today ranked him # 3 on their list and to be honest I can see why!

# 10

The Swinging Friar
Team: San Diego Padres     Debut: 1958     POP: Yes     World Series Wins: 0

For some reason The Swinging Friar has always captured by attention and sense I have been a kid I have been a fan of his look and style and love that his look fits in with the name of the team The Padres. And the cool part about him is over the years his look has changed but his style and name has stayed the same. The Swinging Friar has been a very super popular mascot for Padres fans and really has been with the team forever even starting when they were just a minor league team and followed them up to the pros! Swinging Friar is great with fans and everyone loves meeting him and getting a picture with him and his main attraction is when he swings a giant bat that pops the fans and is his trademark bit. He also at times will change his robe to fit a theme night held at the stadium, helping add to his community love. The Swinging Friar has of course graced baseball cards and ranked # 4 on USA Today’s baseball mascot rankings. Not sure why but I really do dig The Swinging Friar and have lots of respect for his legacy in baseball history.

# 9

Bernie Brewer
Team: Milwaukee Brewers     Debut: 1973     POP: Yes     World Series Wins: 0

For many Baseball fans things like hotdogs, peanuts, Cracker Jack and beer go hand and hand with a good time at the ballpark and one mascot really brings the bound of baseball and beer together and that’s Bernie Brewer who’s massive grinning face just screams let’s get drunk, do some silly stuff and have a good time while doing it! Bernie over the years besides being playful with the players and fans was known for sliding into a giant beer glass when a Brewer would hit a home run at a home game, and the fans just ate it up! But over time the giant beer mug slide turned into a slide to a giant home base plate. Bernie does a great job sitting in his own private dugout and getting the crowd to cheer on the Brewers and is one of the ballparks top attractions. Some fun quick facts about Bernie is that he has graced many baseball cards, was forced into retirement in 1984 but by 1993 the fans got their wish and he returned, he was based on a real life fan named Milt Mason who camped out on the scoreboard until at least 40,000 fans would attend a game and was up there for 40 days. Bernie is a fun mascot with a great history of entertaining fans and is an icon that I hope is around forever. USA Today ranked Bernie their # 13 spot.

# 8

Orbit
Team: Houston Astros     Debut: 1990     POP: Yes     World Series Wins: 1

Orbit is a master of being a funny, silly and entertaining mascot and knows just how to work the fans to get that laugh! Orbit was the team’s #2 mascot after Chester Charge but to me, he is the most fitting as he his a green alien that plays on the fact Houston was a main hub for NASA back in the day and why not have a baseball loving alien be your teams mascot…am I right? Orbit is super popular and well loved by Astros fans that when the tried to retire him in 2000 with Junction Jack and the fans were not pleased as they did not connect with Jack like they did Orbit, and by 2012 after fans outcries they brought him back home as the mascot where he belongs…now don’t get me wrong, Junction Jack also had his fans he just could not replace the love the fans had for Orbit. The thing that makes Orbit so special is the fact he knows what to do to entertain the fans and that could be silly pranks all the way to his famous silly dances and the fans just eat up his silliness.  Do yourself a favor and look up some of his bits on YouTube to see just how good he is at his job. One thing Orbit is also known for is being thrown out of a game in 1996 after making gestures at the umpire after some bad calls, showing that Orbit is a true fan of the team he represents. Orbit is a cool looking alien with green fur, baseball antennae and has of course been on baseball cards for collectors. USA Today on their countdown gave Orbit the # 17 spot and I feel that is way to low for this guy.

# 7

Fredbird
Team: St. Louis Cardinals     Debut: 1979     POP: No     World Series Wins: 11

Another bird mascot swoops in and takes the # 7 spot and what’s cool about this guy is that he was unleashed the same year I was born! Fredbird is a true icon of mascots and when it comes to antics he brings all the classic bits to the fans the Cardinals as he greets and entertains the kids and young at heart, gives out free t-shirts and merchandise, dances around the stadium and his classic move is called the “beak-ing” where he places his mouth on fans heads and that is the highlights for many fans in the stadium. He also is seen swinging the team’s flag on field during wins, has young women that help him in his antics that are called “Team Fredbird”, he has been a cohost on a kids show on local St. Louis TV, makes hundreds of public appearances at events and most important is one of Baseballs most known and iconic mascots. Fredbird is a true topnotch mascot who brings the fun to the field, and for me his cheesy look just adds to his awesome over nature. Has graced ball cards and USA Today ranked him # 16 on their list.

# 6

Sluggerrr
Team: Kansas City Royals     Debut: 1996     POP: Yes     World Series Wins: 2

Sluggerrr is a very cool looking mascot as he is a muscle bound lion who has a crown for the top of his head and for some reason has always caught by attention as I think he really is one of the coolest looking mascots in Baseball. Sluggerr is an attraction at the Royals games as he does what he can to entertain the crowd by swing around the teams flag, getting the crowds to cheer and even firing free hot dogs into the crowd via a cannon, and speaking of the Hot Dog Cannon at one point Sluggerrr was taken to court over hitting a fan in the eye with a hotdog…or so the guy claimed. Sluggerrr is a mascot who is slightly limited by his costume, but does a great job to work around its limitations and really does a great job of bounding with the fans. And I am sure you longtime baseball fans also get that his name is a reference to a powerful batter and to me that name fits for this characters look, and then his crown being Royal and the Lion is said to be the King Of The Jungle so Sluggerrr to be fits like a glove as the face of this ball club. Sluggerrr has made appearances on cards and USA Today placed him at # 12 on their countdown list. Not going to lie I am a fan of Sluggerrr and think he really is one of the best mascots in baseball based on his look and connection to the teams name. Oh and Sluggerrr was put into the Mascot Hall Of Fame in 2019 showing that he is truly a great sports mascot.

# 5

Mr. Redlegs
Team: Cincinnati Reds     Debut: 1953     POP: Yes     World Series Wins: 5

The Cincinnati Reds is not only my local team but are also my favorite team in baseball and over the years I have caught many live games, watched many on TV, listened to several on the radio and heck even one of my friends works for the team! And their mascot Mr. Redlegs is a true legend in our area and is well loved and truly is an attraction when heading to the stadium. Mr. Redlegs has a baseball for a head, has a thick mustache, dresses in the reds old style uniform and was the team’s original mascot and was so popular that he was reintroduced in 2007 after decades of being retired. Mr. Redlegs is great with fans with kids loving him and always wanting high fives and pictures with him, and to entertain and get the laughs he will have races, wave flags, fire water guns, dance and even drive around on a ATV. But while he really is a true icon in Ohio, I have to point out the flaws of Mr. Redlegs and the major flaw is the same thing that effects the likes of Mr. Met and that’s his costume is to top heavy and limits what he can do when it comes to antics! One other thing is that sometimes Mr. Redlegs gets lost in the shuffle at events, as he is joined on the field and stands by Mr. Red, Rosie Red and Gapper all who are as well Reds mascots. But even with his limitations I am a fan of Mr. Redlegs and he is one mascot that I have seen live many times and he has always delivered the fun entertainment. Mr. Redlegs has of course been on baseball cards for fans to collect and USA Today placed him at their # 7 spot for best baseball mascot. See this is proof that so much has went into this rankings as if I was going on just my love for the team the mascot is tied to would have put Mr. Redlegs at my # 1 spot. Ok I have to also tell a funny Mr. Redlegs accident story as in 2008 while driving around on a ATV he fell off the vehicle and the baseball head fell off exposing the actors real head, and a few days later Mr. Redlegs was seen wearing a neck brace to embrace the embarrassing moment and turn it into a funny joke…classic silly comedy stuff.

# 4

Screech
Team: Washington Nationals     Debut: 2005     POP: No     World Series Wins: 1

Call me crazy but for some reason I really like Screech who is the mascot for The Nationals and is so fitting as he is a bold eagle that is our nations bird and the team is out of Washington! Screech by all accounts is very generic looking in appearance and once more suffers from the rented suit from Party City look, but for some reason it just works for him and adds to his awesomeness for me. Screech is great with kids at home games and as well interacts with the fans making him a fan favorite of his hometown crowd. Screech is great with his antics to make the crowd pop and will dance around, does gags, pulls pranks including the classic pie to the face of a “fan”, waves the teams flag and is really great at what he does. And the thing is that fans seem to pop for his antics showing that he really is apart of the Nationals game experience. It’s crazy that such a cheesy mascot has become one of my favorites but he really has captured my attention and is one I hope sticks around for centuries to come. Many ball cards have features Screech and USA Today placed him very low at their # 21 spot, showing that for some reason people show him no respect as while writing this update and doing research I noticed many people seem to be hard on him, but to them I say he his my # 4 favorite!

# 3

Pirate Parrot
Team: Pittsburgh Pirates     Debut: 1979     POP: Yes     World Series Wins: 5

The Pirate Parrot is another MLB mascot that made his debut the same year I was born and this funny guy has been a fan favorite for decades now and is truly one of the best of the best when it comes to getting laughs from his antics. The Pirate Parrot is green in color and when he first was hatched, he was more mean in nature and wore sea pirate gear and hats and was leaner, but later he gained weight and traded the real pirate gear for team gear and became more of a goofball looking to get that laugh from fans. The Pirate Parrot is super popular among fans and is embraced by them as he has become one of the best in the business at messing with the other teams players as well as annoying game officials. The Pirate Parrot does all types of antics during a game from shooting free hotdogs into the crowd via a cannon, pulling classic and silly pranks, leading the crowd in cheers and songs, dancing around the dugout and field and just being a total goofball! No joke when watching the Pirate Parrot do his thing I crack a smile and he makes me laugh, and that’s why I think he really is one of the all time greats as his antics really are funny and its crazy that he is not in the Official Mascot Hall Of Fame yet! But while the Pirate Parrot is an icon in my eyes he has had his bad press as back in 1985 the man in the suit was using drugs while playing the character and even was a middle man for hooking up players with cocaine…he was fired and a new guy was hired to be the character. The Pirate Parrot of course has been on trading cards and USA Today put him at their # 9 spot on their countdown. No joke get this guy in the Mascot Hall Of Fame already!

# 2

Phillie Phanatic
Team: Philadelphia Phillies    Debut: 1978     POP: Yes     World Series Wins: 2

When people talk about the best arena/stadium mascots of all time, the top of almost everyone’s list is the Phillie Phanatic as he really is iconic and considered one of the best in all of sports. What sets the Phillie Phanatic apart form the rest of the mascots on this list is he was truly the first fuzzy creature to grace a ball field and brings pure joy and entertainment to everyone at the stadium from the cotton candy seller all the way to the first baseman. The Phillie Phanatic is a master of the art of entertaining the crowd and is no joke a true icon of Sport Mascot history and is one of the most loved in any sports! The people of Philadelphia love the Phanatic so much as he really is a major icon of the state and is well loved by young and old as his antics at the ballpark bring so much joy. But because he is so good at his job this has also lead to some drama for the Phillie Phanatic, who is the most sued mascot in sports history as some fans claim injuries from his antics as he also has also really angered players and managers of the teams the Phillies are playing as they find some of what he does to be disrespectful to them. But to be honest those who try and bring the drama are just sticks in the mud and will never bring The Phillie Phanatic down. The Phillie Phanatic was one of the first Sports Mascots to be inducted into The Mascot Hall Of Fame way back in 2005. And in USA Today’s ranking he took their # 1 spot and I can truly understand why as The Phillie Phanatic is awesome!

# 1

The Oriole Bird
Team: Baltimore Orioles     Debut: 1966/1979     POP: Yes     World Series Wins: 3

Hands down for me the best MLB Mascot is The Oriole Bird, and he has been my favorite since I was a kid as his look as always put a smile on my face and I loved that he has the colors of Halloween with black and orange. The Oriole Bird is a mascot who has as well mastered the craft of entertaining the fans and messing with the opposing team. The Oriole Bird brings lots of A-Game material to his antics as he not only dances around all over the ball field, he interacts with players and fans and does a great job with the youngsters, does funny skits that he as well can be the butt of the jokes, of course he does the “beak-ing” spot, hiding baseballs in his mouth, but he is also known for shaking his tail feathers at the crowd and players that always seems to get a pop from the fans. While the walk around mascot did not show up until 1979 (hey that’s the year I was born!) his smug smiling face has been on the teams cap sense 1966 making him a truly iconic and long lasting mascot of the sport. Another thing about The Oriole Bird is he looks like he is always having a blast wherever he is, be it at the stadium or at a public appearance, and it’s crazy as he also seems to always be able to show emotion with the face, and that’s hard to do for sure. Another thing I am going to point out is that The Oriole Bird also does it right when it comes to social media as he posts on his sites and keeps people laughing and builds that bound with his fans. USA Today ranked him at the # 5 spot on their countdown list and The Oriole Bird made it into the Mascot Hall Of Fame in 2020, and his induction was long overdue. And for me The Oriole Bird really is the best MLB Mascot and that’s why he has taken my # 1 spot on this countdown list!

This list was a blast to put together and was a great excuse to watch old YouTube videos of these mascots in action as well as gave me even more reasons to watch more Baseball games…as its crazy in my old age I am starting to become a full fledge baseball fan. And if you are wondering my top 4 favorite teams are the following in order Cincinnati Reds, Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Indians and Toronto Blue Jays. Plus I have to be honest the Reds and Orioles are on the same level as I love the Reds cause they are my home team and I have history with them by attending games and collecting the team sets and the Orioles are a team I just enjoy watching. I also have to give a shout out to The Dayton Dragons, a Class A team that I use to live by their stadium and have caught games of from time to time. And because I had a great time writing this Mascot Countdown I may just do more on future updates as I could cover Retired MLB Mascots, NFL Mascots, NHL Mascots, College Football Mascots and even Fast Food Mascots…but we will see if you readers enjoy this one. For my next update we will be continuing our look at iconic Horror Hosts and for the next one we will be talking about Gorgon The Gruesome of Nightmare that aired in Texas. So until next time, read a comic or three, watch a sports game or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next time for a Gruesome Nightmare!

Wrestling’s Original Sunny Days!

The world of Pro Wrestling over the ages has been filled with many great companies with WWE being the top and companies like IMPACT, AEW, Ring Of Honor, AAA, New Japan, NWA, CMLL, All Japan, Rock Star Pro, Wrestling Revolver and MLW as well delivering top notch wrestling to fans worldwide. Not to mention companies like AWA, WCCW, WCW, XPW, GWF and ECW all companies that are gone now but also brought so much to the table when it came to Pro Wrestling. But one federation brought female wrestling to the front and that federation was GLOW who had such talent as Little Egypt, Babe The Farmer’s Daughter, Corporal Kelly, Draculetta and Matilda The Hun to name a few. And this update is about one of the female grapplers from GLOW, the fan favorite Sunny The California Girl! This will be a short and fun update as her career was very short lived. So let’s get ready for some singing Knock, Knock jokes and see how well Sunny goes from the ring to the comic pages.

Gorgeous Ladies Of Wresling (GLOW) started in 1986 and was a pro wrestling federation that was made up of all female talents and was owned by Meshulam Riklis and was the brainchild of David McLane. Back in the day McLane worked for WWA and pitched his idea of a female run wrestling federation to owner Dick The Bruiser who turned down the idea as he thought that it would not work in their base area of Indianapolis. So after thinking about it, McLane decided to try it again and ran an ad in Hollywood and got a massive amount of responses. After casting and training done by Mando Guerrero they decided to hire wrestling veteran Princess Jasmine to wrap up the training as well as be a member of the roster with a name change to Pepper. GLOW would go on to then lock a TV deal as well as find a location for their events that was at the Riviera Hotel And Casino in Las Vegas. Most of the wrestlers on the roster were models, actresses and athletes who wanted to use this as a way to rocket their careers. And with the TV deal also came the signing of Sylvester Stallone’s mom Jackie Stallone who played the fake Owner of GLOW on screen. The live events for GLOW were used for the TV Show and over all it did well lasting 4 seasons and ending its first run in 1990. Glow would try and make a comeback in 2001 under new ownership, and it as well only lasted a short time. And in 2017 the wrestling federation became a show on Netflix that will air its fourth and final season this year. While GLOW is ranked among the worst wrestling federations, it still delivered some good matches and interesting female grapplers for viewers to enjoy.

Sunny The California Girl started her wrestling career around 1986 and was originally a model, actress, and athlete and worked as a councilor. Growing up watching pro wrestler and being pushed by her father, she join the new federation called GLOW. Sunny was known for her singing of knock, knock jokes and was one of the popular grapplers in the ring. She had a bubbly and easy going personality and a classic 80’s style female wrestler in ring work. While she was never a true main eventer she still put butts in the seats and worked hard to climb the rankings. After GLOW closed in 1990, she never did go on to work for the likes of WWE or WCW and would only make small appearances mostly at GLOW reunion shows. While she might not have been the biggest name in women’s wrestling nor was she ever a champion, one thing is for sure those who watched GLOW all loved Sunny and her cheerful jokes and in ring style.

So as you can see, both GLOW and Sunny The California Girl had a very short run in the world of Pro Wrestling, but both managed to make their marks in the industry. And now I think it’s time to dive into the comic book based on Sunny that was released by Squared Circle Comics. I got it via their Kickstarter to fund it. I would like to remind you that I grade this issue on a standard 1-4 star system and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and it’s art and story. So if you are ready to step into the squared circle with Sunny, let’s see what this bio comic has in store for us.

Sunny The California Girl  # 1 *1/2
Released in 2019     Cover Price $8.00    Squared Circle    #1 of 1

Patricia Summerland was born in 1964 and was raised by her Aunt and Uncle with her cousins being like her brothers. Patricia was very athletic growing up and competed in so many sports, and while swimming, her never back down nature left her drowned and flat lined for four minutes before she was brought back my paramedics. With a new outlook on life she took up a modeling career and during this time as well she learned about her real parents and was angry and set on a life of partying in the LA scene. But once back home, she was pushed by her Uncle to tryout for a new wrestling league called GLOW and after some hard work she was selected for a roster spot and took the name Sunny The California Girl with her character being based on actress Jayne Mansfield. Her first match was a tag team bout that took place on a Nevada gambling boat where she lost due to her opponents cheating. Her biggest feud was with Big Bad Mama, a wrestler who used her voodoo powers to beat Sunny in their big match. In 1988 Sunny’s father fell very ill and she took time away from the ring to visit him on his death bed, and once he passed she attempted to return to GLOW, but the federation had closed and so ended her in ring career in 1989. While retired, Sunny wants the world to know that she could come back to the square circled any time and could once more try her best to climb the ranks of any federation that hires her.

This wrestling bio comic in my opinion is very loose and does not pack much of a bite, let alone really let us into who Sunny is and what she had done for the world of Pro Wrestling. In fact the comic has very little dialogue and does a very poor job of telling us readers anything really about her at all in and out of the ring. The issue’s story briefly touches on Patricia Summerland as she rises from model to wrestler and her part in GLOW before retiring just as quickly as she began. The little tiny amount we get to know about Sunny shows that she was a hard worker who grew up loving and respecting wrestling, she also was a family person who loved her adoptive parents. There is not much to say about this comic besides it pretty lackluster and that’s a shame as I enjoy all the other Squared Circle Comics I have read up to this point. The cover for this issue is pretty cool and eye catching for fans of Sunny. The interior art is solid indie art done by Rich Perotta who seems to be the company’s in house artist. Over all this is a so-so comic and I would say if you are a fan of GLOW and Sunny The California Girl give this a read, otherwise I would stay clear. Check out the art work below to see the style of Perotta.

While this Squared Circle comic was not very good, I do recommend them as they have done some great issues based on classic wrestlers like Bruno Sammartino, The Rock & Roll Express, Hacksaw Jim Duggan and The Fantastics to name a few, and yes many of these will be getting an update here on Rotten Ink. But for my next update I am going to leave the world of pro wrestling behind and will be taking a look at the world of short lived and overlooked superheroes as Black Bow and his friends will be the topic. So until next time, read an indie comic or two, watch a wrestling PPV or two and as always support you’re local wrestling federation! See you next time for an unknown hero good time.

The Baseball Hustle Of Pete Rose

Welcome back to the Rotten Ink Ballpark, a place we will be showcasing a comic book that is based on the legend of Cincinnati’s Mr. Charlie Hustle himself, Pete Rose of Reds’ fame! Baseball is considered America’s favorite past time, and while it’s still a popular sport, it has slipped quite a bit and has never bounced back after the strike that happened in 1994-1995 when players demanded higher pay and the player pay cap, making many fans upset over the greed and the lack of games because of this strike. My dad has been a baseball fan for a long time and enjoyed listening to the games on the radio, watching them on TV, playing the sport at school and with friends as well as collecting the trading cards (that his parents would later throw in the trash – including cards that became worth lots of money).  As he got older got married to my Mom and they had my brother and me, he ended up even taking us to Red games as well as minor league teams like The Columbus Clippers and watched games on TV and even collected Topps cards alongside us. But sadly while it was a fun time bonding with my Dad, I just could not get into baseball and found the game kind of boring and things like comics, horror films and video games more interesting. One thing I will say is that while my Dad is a jock, he never has judged me for not liking sports like he does and even bought me Captain America comics and VHS as well, even horror films like Hellraiser III, when I was a youth. As I’ve gotten older, my Dad and I watch MMA, boxing and NFL Super Bowl together and have a great time. But back to baseball – when I was a kid, my favorite players were Eric Davis and Barry Larkin, and I can remember trading baseball cards with my neighbor Kelly who was a very cool and sweet person, and going to Bills Baseball Den in Waynesville and Bookie Parlor in Kettering to get cards and packs. It’s odd to think that while I barely watched the game, I still spent time and effort collecting cards for sport stars that I knew very little about, but I think that was part of the MLB magic, that it was able to make a strange monster kid like myself want to buy trading cards.  Plus I think it came down to trying to fit in with friends and having a good time opening packs with my dad, mom and brother at the kitchen table. This update is for my Dad and friends like Josh Weinberg, Nick Wiget and all the others who love this classic sport and respect all that Pete Rose has done for it. This update will be about Pete Rose, baseball and my ties to this game.  So get your ball glove ready and your cap on because we are here till the bottom of the 9th and we are ready to hit a Rotten Ink home-run!

Pete Rose Card 1Pete Rose Card 2Pete Rose Card 3

To talk about Pete Rose we must first talk about The Cincinnati Reds, and I am going to do my best to get the facts right and give that ball team the respect it deserves in a quick yet fun manner, so here’s a crash course on the history of the Reds! In 1869 a baseball team called the Cincinnati Red Stockings was the team that would morph into the Reds and did so in 1881 and became a American Association team in 1882.  In 1890, they joined the National League and became a true pro baseball team. The team has won five World Series in the years 1919, 1940, 1975, 1976 and 1990 and have played in many home town ballparks like Crosley Field, Riverfront Stadium and Great America Ball Park they currently call home. In 1970-1976 under the manager George “Sparky” Anderson, the team went under the nickname The Big Red Machine and had lots of big name ballplayers on the team the included Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, Joe Morgan, Tom Seaver and Lee May to name a few.  The team won two World Series and it became one of the biggest most popular times for the team in it’s rich history. Another big time for the Reds was in 1990 when they went wire to wire and won the World Series with players like Barry Larkin, Eric Davis, Chris Sabo, Paul O’Neill and the pitching team nicknamed “The Nasty Boys” who were Rob Dibble, Norman Charlton and Randy Myers.  This team was managed by Lou Piniella. The Reds are still going strong in 2015, and while they have made it to the play-offs many times over the past few years, they have not been able to make it to the World Series, but if you ask guys like Josh Weinberg they will tell you that this year is the year they will take it all and if not, the next year or maybe the next year…yeah, you get the point.  Fans of the Reds are very loyal and have tons of respect for their team even if they do lose. So while this team has such a rich and amazing history, this tiny write up is just some of the highlights.  If you want to learn more about The Reds, check out the team’s Wikipedia or read a book based on the ball club. I should also note that the team’s mascot is Mr. Redlegs who is a baseball headed ball player.  For most of his time on the team Mr. Redlegs rocked a mustache, but when I was younger he had none and was a pretty popular mascot at school in Waynesville. Over all while I might not be a big watcher of sports, I can still respect and cheer for our home state teams and hope that sometime very soon The Reds once more become champs!

Mr Redlegs 1Reds LogoMr Redlegs 2

I am by no means an athlete.  When I was younger, I was okay at playing football and basketball, but I could have been the worst of the worst when it came to neighborhood baseball and could have had the worst batting average among my friends! One summer my dad bought us a wiffleball bat and ball.  We would play in the backyard, and it would almost always be me and my brother against our parents in a battle of home-runs hit over the roof of the house; we lost almost all the games. In the neighborhood, we would play baseball at Brad Burns’ or Mike Cessna’s house, and I can remember that being a lot of fun as all the kids from around would come and play, and even Mike’s dog Barney would join in on the fun! At my grandparents’ house I would play ball with my brother Bryan and cousins Nathan, Stephen and Tony.  While some times this was pitching, most of the time it was T-Ball. In school, we played baseball in gym, and I can remember one time we where playing outside and I so wanted to impress the girl I had a crush on my whole tenure in Waynesville and was hit in the head with softball from a pitch thrown by Ryan “The Bull” Jones.  The impact made me blackout for a second and I fell to one knee, but I was lucky and was able to shake it off! I should have probably gone to the nurse after it, and for months after I had massive headaches that would come and go, but that didn’t bother me as much as the fact I looked foolish in front of her! So as you can see my baseball “career” was very lame and filled with defeat and heartbreak!

Wiffle Bat and Ball

So at this time I think I am going to ask one of my best friends and one of the biggest Reds fans I know, Josh Weinberg, 5 questions about his love and respect for the Reds. I have known Josh for so many years now and from the first day I met him, he has always worn Cincinnati Reds and Bengals shirts, hats and jerseys as well as Ohio State gear so when writing about Pete Rose I knew I had to have my pal involved. I mean he is the guy who bought VHS tapes from a Goodwill Outlet that had the Reds winning the 1990 World Series.  So here we go, 5 Questions with Josh Weinberg!

Josh Weinberg Reds Fan

Me:  Welcome back, Josh, to Rotten Ink.  You are a legend among my friends I write about here on my slice of the web.  So how long have you been a Cincinnati Reds fan?

Josh: I have been a Reds fan since 1990, the year that they swept the Oakland A’s in the World Series. Ever since then I was hooked. I remember being at my dad’s shop listening to the games.

Me: Always cool to hear how sports brought families together.  Who are your 4 top favorite players for the Reds of all time?

Josh: My top 4 Reds players of all time are simple number 1.) Barry Larkin 2.) Chris Sabo 3.) Jose Rio and (4 Sean Casey.

Me: Barry Larkin and Eric Davis would be two of my favorites too.  Did you every play baseball for school or Little League? If not, have you ever thought about it?

Josh: I played little league growing up as well as umpiring for kids’ leagues. I had to stop because I could not keep up my grades.  Such is life.

Me: Those pesky grades and school standing in your way of being a baseball legend! So how many Reds games have you been to in your lifetime thus far?

Josh: I have probably been to between 20 and 30 games in my lifetime. With many more to come.  My ultimate is going to opening day.

Me: That’s way more games then I have been to.  If I am lucky, I think I have been to 4 or 5.  Last question for you Josh, should Pete Rose be in the Baseball Hall Of Fame, and why or why not?

Josh: Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame for one single reason: the hall is about what you did on the field not what you did off the field. He is the hit king, Charley Hustle, and deserves to be in the hall. There are plenty of things other players have done back in the day and are in now. If he had not lied about it, he would be in.

Me: I agree Pete should be in for all he has done for the sport! Thanks Josh! Do you have any closing words for the Rotten Ink readers and fans of the Reds?

Josh: Last thing I have to say is Go Reds! One of these days they will win it all again…hopefully before I die!

While I don’t think they will do much this 2015 season, sometime soon I am sure the Reds will rise to be champs again!

Reds Bumper Sticker

Pete Rose has also been involved in another sport, Pro Wrestling, where he had a feud with the Big Red Machine Kane that spanned a few WWE WrestleMania’s as well as earned Rose a spot in the WWE Hall of Fame! Pete Rose at WrestleMania XIV was the guest ring announcer for a match between The Undertaker and Kane and for some reason became the target of Kane who gave the ball player a tombstone pile driver before the match even started. The following year at WrestleMania XV, Pete Rose wanted revenge on Kane and dressed as the San Diego Chicken to attack the wrestler from behind.  This did not work as once more Rose was knocked out with a tombstone pile driver, and Kane went on to wrestle his match against Triple H. At WrestleMania 2000, Pete Rose once more tried to get the upper hand on Kane and after his tag match against DX, Rose tried to hit Kane with a baseball bat but was choked slammed! After this, Rose did a commercial for WWE No Mercy PPV and was inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame by Kane in 2004. Pete Rose in 2010 was a guest host of Monday Night Raw and set a match between Kane and Shawn Michaels, after Kane lost he once more attacked the aging ball player. After this appearance, Rose has been mentioned on air as well as did an interview for WWE.COM on Kane’s attacks on him. While Pete Rose never wrestled a match for WWE, during his appearance he made some great moments in wrestling and it was nice to see a baseball player of his caliber not take himself too seriously.

WWE Kane and Pete Rose

So from the ball field to the wrestling ring, Pete Rose has proven time and time again that the man is a legend and is a very interesting person who has worked for his fame the hard way by given 110% every time. He has also proven that he is a marketing machine as his image has graced the likes of RC Cola cans, collector drinking glasses even one from Gold Star Chili, action figures from the Starting Line-Up a series made by Kenner & Hasbro, comic books, trading cards, collector coins, video game for Atari 2600/7800, TV Commercials, t-shirts among many other products and goods! The ones I remember the most are the video game for Atari 2600 that was a solid cheesy baseball game and the Starting Line Up figures that looked nothing like him and had very little articulation. But if you were a Rose fan, the world is filled with enough collector items to keep you very happy!

Pete Rose Drinking GlassPete Rose Starting LineupRC Cola Pete Rose

As I have stated before, I am a Monster Guy who loves comic books and this year (2015) I have gone through a stage where I am reading lots of 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s Spider-Man comics.  I am talking Amazing, Spectacular and Web Of and have gotten issues all over from Mavericks all the way to Lone Star Comics and many of the issues are coming bag and boarded to protect and keep the issue safe. Well one of the WORST places that bag and board their issues has to be Half Price Books as they clearly use the cheapest bags and boards and some of the worst tape in comic collecting history! When trying to open your comic the tape sticks to the plastic bag and rips holes in the bag and can even bend your comic as you try to get it open.  This has caused many annoying late night readings of Spidey and lots of curses toward these cheap bags. Also when writing this update, I was listening to Billy Idol’s 2014 release “Kings & Queens Of The Underground.”  It’s a pretty solid album.  While it’s by no means a classic, I still am glad that Billy is making music as he has been one of my favorite music artists sense I was a kid alongside Alice Cooper, Motley Cure, W.A.S.P. and Cinderella. In fact one of the best birthday presents in my adult life that I ever got was from Juliet as she got us close seats to Billy Idol at Fraze Pavilion in Kettering in 2010! The best tracks off this CD are the title track Kings & Queens Of The Underground and Eyes Wide Shut. The odd part about this disc is that almost all of the songs are ballads and not the fist pumping tracks one would expect from Billy Idol. So a special thanks goes to Marvel Comics for Spider-Man and Billy Idol for helping me while writing this update. I should also thank The Angry Video Game Nerd as I had episodes playing on the TV while I wrote and Billy Idol’s CD was done.  So I think it would be safe to say that Idol and AVGN acted as the soundtrack to this update and Spider-Man entertained my mind before I went to bed almost every night.

Billy Idol cd and Spiderman Comics

It’s Masstar Comics turn at bat, and I can’t wait to see what this bio Comic is like. I am wondering what direction they will take with his suspension from the sport and what kind of stories off the field they will share. I have never heard of Masstar Comics, and this will be my first read for one of their comics so this should be interesting. I want to thank a vendor at Peddlers’ Mall for having this comic at their booth as well as thank Jason Young for taking me there to look around. Oddly during our time at the Peddlers’ Mall, Jason and I found lots of Pete Rose merchandise and after that Mavericks even ended up putting out boxes of Rose’s ball cards, making me think that it was my calling to do this update. I should also remind you that I grade these issues on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So let’s see if Masstar can slide into homebase as they team up with Pete Rose and Rotten Ink to bring you this fun read at the ballpark, oh and um can I get some peanuts and a hotdog…and maybe one of those foam oversized hats?

Pete Rose 1

Pete Rose  # 1   **1/2
Released in 1992     Cover Price $2.50     Masstar Comic     # 1 of 1

Pete Rose or Pee Wee as his father called him was a young man who grew up in Ohio and was a fan of sports with baseball being his passion with football coming in second. His mother and father encouraged him to try harder at everything he did and thanks to his Uncle who was a baseball talent scout he was able to get a tryout for the Cincinnati Reds in 1960 by being put into the minor leagues and he once more busted his butt in order to impress the scouts and to get better at the game he loved. As he became better and better he finally catches the eye of Reds couch Freddie Hutchinson who hires him as second base man and allows him to prove that he has heart, but this upsets the older players who act as if Pete is not even alive and his only friends on the team are Frank Robinson and Vada Pinson who as well were ignored by teammates cause the color of their skin. Rose was not a super star from the start but season after season he became better and better and even turned up the intensity in the way he played and would go on to win the MVP Award for the year 1973 and in 1975 and 1976 he helped lead them to World Series wins. In 1979 Pete Rose turned down a contract from The Reds and took one from the Philadelphia Phillies and had some solid good seasons with them. Rose returned to The Reds in 1984 after a short time with the Montreal Expos and back with the Reds he broke hitting records and even became the teams Manager. While things looked great for Rose in 1989 it all came crashing down as he was accused of illegally betting on baseball games and the MLB Commissioner banished him from the game he loved.

Pete Rose is a ball player that is beloved by fans and has a mixed reaction from players and higher ups within the MLB all for his gambling issue. But this comic does a great job of making Rose a likable underdog who proved that hard work and support from your loved ones can make you a superstar of whatever your profession is. This bio comic follows Pete Rose from a youngster playing ball with his friends all the way to playing for the Reds coaching them and being banned from the game that he loves. The plus side to this comic is that the story is very fast paced and highlights all the major events in his life without dragging along, but the downside is the fact most major events are done in a couple of panels and don’t show much of his friendships nor rivalries with his fellow Reds and that’s a letdown. It was interesting to see why Rose left the Reds to play for Philadelphia and even more so how when he first joined the team all the older players didn’t like him so they ignored him and treated him like he was a ghost. The comic ends with Rose being suspended from baseball and leaves it making it look like he never bet on baseball when in fact he did and lied about it for years. The cover is pretty eye catching and shows Rose through the years as the art inside is pretty well done and makes Rose look like he should and is done by John Tartaglione who you can tell had fun drawing this comic. Over all this was a fun Unauthorized Bio comic on an iconic baseball player and was well worth the read and purchase. Check out the art below done by Tartaglione.

Pete Rose Art 1

We made it to home base and scored the winning point thanks to Pete Rose and Masstar Comics, and along the way I found a new respect for baseball and now understand the appeal it has for all its fans, as it’s a sport that is filled with a rich history and gives people pride in their favorite team and something to talk about around the water cooler at work. While I may or may not ever go see a Reds game again at the stadium I still have the good memories of going to them with my Dad, brother Bryan and my dad’s best friend John in my youth. Well our next update is going to take us out of the ball field and into the world of self-defense as I am going to take a look at an Atlas Comic based around the secret world of the martial arts called The Hands Of The Dragon! So make sure to come back for that one but until then enjoy the summer and read a comic or three.

Hands Of The Dragon Logo