WWF Slammy Awards 1996
by Scrooge McSuck
- This seems like an unusual video to recap, but it's also one of those weird, random things WWF would do, especially considering the point of the "Slammy Awards" was to promote their music albums that weren't getting major publicity from real outlets. The last Slammy Award special to air was in 1987, so it's safe to say the fan base at the time had no clue they held them before this one.
Fun tidbit: On an episode of WWF Mania in the early months of 1995, Todd Pettengill and Stephanie Wyand gave out "Slammy Awards" for the typical topics, admitting that the only people who voted were themselves, and incase of a tie, one of the production members. Being the only person to watch Mania at the time, I'm sure I've just blown at least one persons mind.
- Anyway... Vince McMahon and Jerry "The King" Lawler are hanging around at a broadcast position, while Todd Pettengill acts as our M.C./Host, a role he no doubt felt very comfortable with. Pettengill's opening medley combines wrestlers and pop-culture references. To name a few of them, he sings about Goldust to the tune of the Addams Family, Sunny and her "Double D's" to the main theme from Beauty and the Beast, Diesel to the tune of Pink Floyd's "Another Brick In The Wall", and last but not least, The Warrior to the tune of Mickey, including the line of the night, "How much did it cost McMahon?". Todd ends it all with a "Screw You Ted Turner" and tells us that Whoopi Goldberg was unavailable and Billy Crystal too expensive, so we get him. A surprisingly entertaining opening bit.
- The Godwinns and Hillbilly Jim present the Award for Best Buns, including a sound-bite from the Undertaker saying "Nice ass." Well, that's something you don't expect to hear from him, especially during the Mid 90's. The nominees... Goldust, Sunny, Yokozuna, Shawn Michaels, and Razor Ramon. thankfully the heterosexual male demographic spoke up for this one, giving the award to Sunny. She offers to show the goods, but ends up being a huge tease. The WWF actually used this as a plot device for the upcoming Tag Title Tournament Finals between the Godwinns and Body Donnas. I can imagine the creative meeting. "I got an idea, let's have Sunny show her ass to the Hillbillies. That will sell tickets."
- Ted Dibiase and an incredibly unenthusiastic "Stone Cold" Steve Austin (freshly renamed and probably trying to get the character over) present the Award for Best Slammin Jammin' Entrance. The nominees... Diesel, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels (with clip from him swinging off the roof of the IYH set), The Undertaker, and Goldust. Typically I would say Undertaker, but Shawn wins it. I should also point out that there's a house band playing muzak versions of the wrestlers theme music. Shawn thanks the Kliq and teases a big entrance at WrestleMania XII. That would be the zip-line dropping him a good 100 rows away from the ring, by the way.
- Vince McMahon hypes a 900-Hotline for a Hall of Fame Bound Award, with the nominees being a host of former (or current) WWF Champions: Bob Backlund, The Undertaker, Yokozuna, Diesel, or Bret Hart. As of this writing (August 2013), 3 of those 5 are in the Hall of Fame, with the remaining two no doubt being inducted in years to come.
- MR. Bob Backlund and Some Corporate Shmuck Present the Stick a Fork in Him Award for best Finishing Maneuver. The nominees are... Bret Hart's Sharpshooter, The Undertaker's Tombstone, Diesel's Jacknife, Ahmed Johnson's Pearl River Plunge, and Yokozuna's Banzai Drop. What, no Sweet Chin Music? Shocking. Bret Hart wins, giving Lawler a chance to take a few shots at Helen and Stu, who are in attendance.
- Todd promotes the Award for Best Music Video, and throws us to one of the nominees: Shawn Michaels' "Tell Me a Lie." As much as I want to call it some corny shit, this was a well done video package to get some sympathy for his big babyface comeback at the 1996 Royal Rumble. It's the 1997, Lost Smile Version I spit on.
- Jim Cornette and Clarence Mason are up to present the Award for the Crime of the Century. The nominees are... The Kid Fast Counts Razor Ramon, Sid Attacks Shawn Michaels (Night After WM XI), Vader Assaults Gorilla Monsoon, Diesel Jacknifes Bret Hart Post-Match at Survivor Series, and Owen Hart Takes Credit for Shawn Michaels' Collapse. Vader's beat-down on Monsoon wins, and rightfully so. Having someone go out there and brutally attack GORILLA MONSOON was a big deal.
- Todd shills a brand new show on the USA Network called "Pacific Blue." Never saw it, don't care enough to look it up. We get clips that don't do much to garner much interest, either. Three of the stars of the show come out to present the Award for New Sensation of the Squared Circle. the nominees are... Isaac Yankem D.D.S., Ahmed Johnson, The Body Donnas (ignoring Tom Prichard being in the business for nearly two decades...), Savio Vega, and Goldust. Ahmed Johnson wins in an obviously fixed field. Talk about someone who should've been a big deal but ended up never amounting to anything. I still laugh at stories of Ahmed using Pro Wrestling Illustrated's ranking system as a serious argument for how over he was.
- Billionaire Ted is our next presenter, but for some reason the graphic on the screen lists him as former MLB Player George Foster. Huh. (Editor's Note: a really bad joke about Ted Turner winning a "George Foster Peabody' Broadcasting award) He says the Huckster is still tied up and recovering from the attack with a high heel shoe, and Nacho Man misses his flight being delayed at the hair-club for men. Anyway, he's presenting the Award for "I'm Talking and I Can't Shut Up." The nominees are... Dok Hendrix, Brother Love (yes, he really did make a brief comeback in December of '95), Jerry Lawler, Jim Cornette, and Jim Ross... wait, why Jim Ross?! Everyone else is clearly an annoying heel. Ugh. Ted doesn't bother opening the envelope and declares Lawler the winner. Lawler accepts the award proudly.
- Mr. TV Trivia and Some Bimbo give out the Award for Best Threads. The nominees are... Ted Dibiase, Goldust, Hunter Hearst Helmsley, Shawn Michaels, and Mr. Perfect. I'm calling shenanigans on these options. Shawn Michaels, the only babyface listed, wins, and gives his Slammy to the lady in charge of creating his outfits. How nice of him. We stay with these two presenters for the next Award, The Blue Light Special for Worst Dressed. The nominees are... Jim Cornette, Harvey Wippleman (in a clip from nowhere close to 1996. Looks like 1992), Henry Godwinn, Brother Love, and Dok Hendrix. Cornette "wins", and cuts an awesome speech, taking offense to the decision.
- Todd tells a bad Bob Dole joke and introduces Goldust, a man who has seen the Birdcage 16 times. Hey, I liked that movie! The nominees for "Greatest Hits" are... Double J smashes a Guitar on Ahmed Johnson, Diesel Puts Bret Hart Through a Table, Yokozuna Executes a Double Banzai Drop, Duke Droese bops a Jobber with his Trash Can, and Undertaker pulls Diesel through the canvas. Undertaker wins and puts over the match at WrestleMania XII against Diesel. That was a pretty cool finish, even if it made Bret Hart look terrible.
- Next Music Video hyped: Bret Hart's You Start The Fire. I prefer the video from 1992 featuring Tom Petty, but this one wasn't too bad, either.
- Some Guy From the USA Network (Rod Perth) gives out the Award for Minds Behind The Mayhem. The nominees are... Paul Bearer, Jim Cornette, Ted Dibiase, Sunny, and Mr. Fuji. I guess Marlena didn't count, as she was technically described as Goldust's "director" at the time. Sunny wins, because the male managers were a dying breed and Sunny was getting pushed hard for her sex appeal.
- Vince McMahon is up next to present the Lifetime Achievement Award to Classy Freddie Blassie. Decent video package trying to sum up his life in two-minutes, but the REAL interesting tidbit is a brief appearance of Linda and Stephanie McMahon, a good three years before they meant anything to the WWF audience. They're neither mentioned by name or openly acknowledged, but a smart eye would recognize them.
- Mankind is coming to Monday Night Raw, next week. I remember those introduction vignettes being quite interesting, and the character actually delivered on the expectations set, even with how bizarre they were.
- The Bushwhackers, a.k.a Marching Morons, waste time acting like fools, because they are going to present the Award for Most Embarrassing Moment. The nominees are... Henry Godwinn slopping Ted Dibiase, Razor Ramon puts a Diaper on the 1-2-3 Kid, Jerry Lawler Kisses his own foot, Skip Loses to Barry Horowitz, and Hunter Hearst Helmsley being dropped into the Hog Pen. Lawler wins, and throws a hissy fit like Cornette, only this time his microphone cuts out, he slips on the steps, and Todd slaps a Burger King sign on his back. Sounds juvenile, but this was entertaining compared to the death the Bushwhackers portion felt like.
- Sunny's Music Video is hyped next. As I mentioned, she was getting pushed hard because of her sex appeal to that important male demographic of puberty and beyond, and the video is mostly her lounging around in bikini's and short skirts. Not that I'm complaining...
- For some reason that just can't be explained, we get The Buddy Rose Blow-Away Diet Fo-Infomercial, with new dialogue dubbed in by Jerry Lawler. Why the hell was this dug up and dusted off? It's an OK bit, but has no place in the WWF at this point, and most fans probably didn't even know who Buddy Rose was. Hell, I barely knew who he was.
- Hunter Hearst Helmsley, His Well-Managed Hair, and His Bimbo are out to present the Award for Squared Circle Shocker. The nominees are... Mr. Backlund declaring his run for President, Barry Horowitz's 1st win ever (for all intents and purposes), Goldust's Premiere, The 1-2-3 Kid Sells Out, and Shawn's Collapse. Shawn wins, but Owen Hart accepts the award because he was responsible for it. His victory speech hammers home how proud he is of the situation, really hamming it up. "I'd like to thank nobody but myself!"
- Mr. Perfect gives out the Award for Master of Mat Mechanics. I guess you couldn't find a more PERFECT person to present the award. Har Har! The nominees are... Shawn Michaels, The British Bulldog, Bret Hart, Owen Hart, and the 1-2-3 Kid. I don't know why the Bulldog is on here, but the WWF really was a weak company in 1995 in terms of match quality. Perfect takes credit for the winner's abilities, and surprise, surprise, it's Shawn Michaels. He dedicates the award to Jose Lethario, his mentor that he wouldn't allow a single spec of the spotlight during their relationship throughout 1996 and '97.
- Dok Hendrix presents the Award for Best Music Video, despite only showing 3 of the 5 nominated. The nominees are... Bret Hart's You Start The Fire, the Ultimate Warrior (just his hype video for his return), Shawn Michaels' Tell Me a Lie, Sunny, and Jeff Jarrett's "With My Baby Tonight. Odd choice for a fifth, but what else was there? They were reaching with that stupid Warrior choice. Bret Hart wins, to my surprise. He accepts with one of his children, possibly Blade.
- Jim Ross comes out to present the Award for Match of the Year. The nominees are... Lawrence Taylor vs. Bam Bam Bigelow (WrestleMania XI), The Hog Pen Match at In Your House #5, Bret Hart vs. Diesel (Survivor Series), The Wippleman-Fink TUXEDO MATCH, and the Ladder Match at SummerSlam. I know 1995 was a weak year, but what the holy fuck are the Hog Pen and Tuxedo Matches doing on this list?
Was it illegal to give someone more than one option? The Ladder Match wins, with Shawn Michaels accepting thanks to Razor being in rehab or whatever the fuck he was doing at the time.
- Gorilla Monsoon gives out the Award for "Hall of Fame Bound." The same award that was shilled on a 900-Hotline throughout the broadcast. Who knew they would know the results, especially because this was likely taped in advance. Maybe by a few hours, but this most definitely had to be pre-recorded, thanks to the perfect timing. Bret Hart wins, and gives ANOTHER speech about how he's retaining at WrestleMania.
- Interim President Roddy Piper and his son our out to present the final award of the night: The Award for the Leader of the New Generation. The nominees are... Diesel, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Razor Ramon, and The Undertaker. What about Stone Cold? Shawn Michaels wins, because he had to win every other award that was presented.
Final Thoughts: Although my attention started to fade near the end, with a run-time of about an hour and 50 minutes without the commercials, there was some nice comedy moments spread throughout to make light of such an idea of an Award Show dedicated to a Wrestling Promotion. The important thing to look at is whether or not this looked like a fun show, and it's safe to say it was. The talent seemed like they were having a blast (except Kevin Nash, who apparently was sitting next to Billionaire Ted), and it moved at a brisk enough pace to never really slow down and get too boring. Todd Pettengill definitely stole the show, with Jim Cornette, Jerry Lawler, and Owen Hart adding to the highlights of the show. If you're into a wrestling award show, give this a look. It's definitely something different.
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