What Is He Thinking?! Volume 7 - The Million Dollar Corporation
by Scrooge McSuck
- For as long as I can remember, stables have always been a huge part in the grand scheme of professional wrestling. From the Four Horsemen and the Heenan Family, to the New World Order and the D-Generation X, and in more recent years, The Wyatts and The Shield, there always seems to be a hot new stable tearing up the scene in any given promotion. It's not too hard to do, either: Put guys together, have them kick ass and gloat about it, and give them some championships to solidify this. Lather, rinse, repeat. It's honestly one of the easiest formulas there is, and almost impossible to fuck up...
Unless you try and form a stable with poor workers who couldn't cut promos, or jobbed everyone out on such a regular basis, that they lost all credibility. Today, we will be taking a look at one of those stables. Let's start at the beginning: Ted Dibiase, one of the more under-appreciated performers of his era, and at one time one of the top heels in the WWF, had recently retired from in-ring action. With his ability to cut a promo to draw heat, it seemed like a natural fitting to make him a manager, and thus the Million Dollar Corporation was about to form... and who else but NIKOLAI VOLKOFF to be the first member of such a prestigious stable? I now present to you, the Million Dollar Corporation Roll-Call!
1. Nikolai Volkoff
Despite his prior association with Irwin R. Schyster, leading to Three reigns as a WWF Tag Team Champion, Ted Dibiase's first signing was Nikolai Volkoff, about 3 years removed from his last stint (excluding a one-night return at the '92 Rumble), and around 6 years since he actually meant something to anyone as more than a bottom-feeding jobber. You see, Nikolai Volkoff started showing up at WWF events, front row, in that disgusting suit of his. It was later revealed by Dibiase that Volkoff was broke, and was willing to work for Dibiase to pay the bills. His humiliation on the King's Court included having to wear a Tuxedo shirt and trunks with cent signs on them (in contrast to Ted Dibiase's dollar signs). Volkoff was practically the new Virgil, but without the sympathy. In fact, one of Volkoff's only wins was a Wrestling Challenge exclusive against Virgil. Other than that, Volkoff hung around, working mostly house shows, before fading out of the picture at around the time of WrestleMania XI.
2. "The Undertaker"
It was the 1994 Royal Rumble. Yokozuna, along with the majority of the heel locker room, had drained the Undertaker of his powers by unleashing green smog from his urn, and trapping him inside a coffin. Undertaker would vanish from television, but soon Dibiase was showing up on WWF events talking about bringing the Undertaker back, much like how he introduced him to the WWF back at the 1990 Survivor Series. Sure enough, the Undertaker did return on a special edition of the Heartbreak Hotel. It wasn't until his first match we discovered he was a phony, thanks to Brian Lee, the man behind the impersonating gimmick, did the signature hair flip, revealing to the world that hey, this Undertaker, he might be a phony. This lead to counter-promo's from Paul Bearer about his authenticity, terrible vignettes with Leslie Nielsen, and one of the worst (Co)Main Events in SummerSlam History.
3. Bam Bam Bigelow
Two weeks after the King of the Ring PPV (1994 edition), Bam Bam suffered a humiliating (Count-Out) loss to Mabel. Post-match, while being tended to by his main-squeeze, Luna Vachon, Ted Dibiase came to the ring and made Bigelow an offer he couldn't refuse. Luna was out, Dibiase was in. Bam Bam Bigelow would recieve most of the attention of the group, until his humiliating losses at the Royal Rumble (to that punk, the 1-2-3 Kid) and WrestleMania (to football player Lawrence Taylor) forced Dibiase to fire him and have Sycho Sid kick his ass for being such a loser. Let's just say it now: Bigelow was the ONLY highlight of this stable.
Tatanka had a lot going for him. While he never won a WWF Championship, he celebrated a lengthy undefeated streak, stretching from his debut in February 1992 until October of 1993. Vince McMahon, and all other broadcasters, would remind us of this accomplishment, something that was typically saved for the likes of Andre The Giant. Unfortunately for Tatanka, once that loss came (to Ludvig Borga in a feud that never had a proper conclussion), they started coming at alarming rates. Suddenly, in the weeks leading to the 1994 SummerSlam, he started suggesting that Lex Luger, Made in the USA and all, had sold out and joined the Corporation. The two wrestled a terrible match at Summerslam, Tatanka won, then put a beat down on Luger to solidify his heel turn. Unfortunately (again), Tatanka retained everything about his character: the Indian cry theme music leading into the Dibiase theme, ring attire, and move set, minus the big babyface comeback. In place of that was rest holds and terrible heat generating tactics like pointing at fans in a manner most devious. Tatanka remained a relevant midcard act, even main eventing the 1995 King of the Ring (like that's an accomplishment to celebrate), but soon disappeared, and made a brief return in 1996, jobbing more than ever.
5. King Kong Bundy
King Kong Bundy almost received his very own edition of WIHT. You see, the WWF was pushing this new campaign in the summer of 1994, highlighting the "New Generation" of WWF Superstars. Then they brought back King Kong Bundy and made him a top-of-the-card threat, along with other New Generation stars like Bob Backlund. Unlike Backlund, Bundy didn't change his act. He was still a large, boring villain who almost never had a good match. He even retained his goofy "5-count" spot where he would squash a jobber and demand the referee give him a 5-count instead of 3-count. Bundy's notable highlights of this run include pinning Lex Luger to pick up the victory of his Survivor Series team, and being one of many (many, many, many...) people to steal the Undertaker's urn. Bundy's run only lasted about a year, but is a strong example of the WWF's hypocritical nature (Bashing WCW's old timers) and having no idea what the fans wanted.
6. Irwin R. Schyster
As mentioned, despite their previous relationship, Dibiase did not start managing I.R.S. right away. In fact, I don't recall when he started to. Seemed like it just happened one day, and then it stuck. I could go on about how dumb an evil accountant gimmick is, but I liked I.R.S., and he usually had good, if unspectacular, matches. As a member of the Corporation? Let's just look at two of his notable moments under the tutelage of Ted Dibiase: Failure to defeat the Undertaker at the Royal Rumble, and even bigger failure losing to Bam Bam Bigelow in a match intended to put Bam Bam out of action for failing the Corporation. So the failure fired from the Corporation for his failure was successful enough to defeat the man who was supposed to take him out of wrestling for his failures. That's some mind-fucking logic right there!
7. Kama, The Supreme Fighting Machine
Someone must've been watching those early UFC PPV's, because that's the only way to explain Kama (Editor's Note: or else they played "Street Fighter" or "Mortal Kombat"). Formerly Papa Shango, Kama debuted after several vignettes where he used some pretty basic (and mostly poorly executed) mixed martial arts moves, and was instantly put in the Corporation. This announcement came before a match between Bam Bam Bigelow and Bob Holly on an episode of Superstars. I only know this because I taped the match twice as a kid, recording a replay on Mania, forgetting I had already done so the week prior. Kama would join the ranks as ANOTHER man who stole the Undertaker's urn, then melted it down. Kama didn't last long, and was shipped out before being repackaged as a member of the Nation of Domination.
8. Sycho Sid
Sid has to be the poster boy for performers who were totally awesome, but not awesome enough to pay money to see wrestle. After a sudden disappearance in the Spring of 1992 (and a stint in WCW where he nearly killed Arn Anderson, and vice versa), Sid made a shocking return as Shawn Michaels' new bodyguard in the build to WrestleMania. Unfortunately, Sid "accidentally" cost Shawn a chance at winning the match, then laid him out with a trio of Powerbombs the next night. Instead of simply pushing Sid as a force the be reckoned with, it was later revealed that this was all a master plan of Ted Dibase for Sid to become the New WWF Champion. Sid would challenge Diesel to some of the worst main events you will ever see, then was pulled from the SummerSlam card with no explanation, and demoted further into a tag team with our next member...
9. The 1-2-3 Kid
I might as well copy and paste what I said about Tatanka. The Kid had grown stale over time, and a heel turn seemed like a good idea... except he retained the stupid name, he didn't change his appearance, and he wrestled the exact same way, but with a little bit of cheating thrown in to remind everyone to boo him. The Kid mostly worked with Razor Ramon, leading up to a PPV encounter where the loser would be diapered in front of thousands of people in attendance and hundreds more watching on the PPV. Yes, The Kid's most notable moment as a member of the Corproation? Wearing a diaper and trying to look like he was crying.
10. Xanta Klaus
Yes, an evil Santa Claus. Do I really have to say anything more than that?
- By the time Dibiase introduced his final protege, "The Ringmaster", his stable was all but gone. Sid was out with injuries, Tatanka was nothing more than a JTTS, and the 1-2-3 Kid was doing job duty for everyone as he was quickly being shown the door for his personal issues and attitude problems. It seemed only fitting that the Ringmaster, later renamed "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, admitted that he purposely lost his Strap Match with Savio Vega at IYH: Beware of Dog, a loss that had the added stipulation of Ted Dibiase being forced to leave the WWF. After all, why be a member of a stable with such amazing accomplishments like stealing the Undertaker's urn and pinning Lex Luger? Those aren't exactly the most exclusive clubs to be members of.
Was Ted Dibiase's Million Dollar Corporation the worst stable of all-time? I don't know. It's a grey area kind of thing, depending on what you consider for inclusion. Does the Mean Street Posse count as a stable? If so, then they might be the worst. Or maybe the Union, a four-week long stable that was made for the simple fact that everyone involved had nothing better to do. Maybe JBL's Cabinet would top the list, consisting of the Basham Brothers and Orlando Jordan. Hell, we can jump to WCW and think of things like nWo 2000, or a Team Canada consisting of Hacksaw Jim Duggan. Honestly, though, there's one other stable that would easily rank as the worst of all time. A stable so pathetically bad, that it makes the Million Dollar Corporation look like the Dangerous Alliance, but that's a story for another day.
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