A nice comparison between the Undertaker in 1992 versus the biker-Taker in 2002. It’s almost hard to remember the time when he walked to the ring with the makeup.
The Rock and Mankind Play Wrestlemania 2000 - Incite Magazine #1 - December 1999
As much as I would have loved to read an article about the two wrestlers talking smack to each other, these photos appeared in a feature that’s just a regular interview with The Rock. The whole thing is done with the WWF Superstar in character, so there are a handful of great moments included like this one:
“Do you play video games against the other WWF Superstars?
I pretty much play solo when I travel, but there are a lot of guys who bring their own Playstations on the road with them. D’Lo Brown is big into videogames. So are Mark Henry, Brian Christopher, and Kane. There was one time when we had a big video game tournament in New York. The Rock was up there laying the smack down on everybody and then Stone Cold showed up. We threw in Knockout Kings in the Playstation and The Rock knocked him out in a record 32 seconds. But who knew Stone Cold was going to play as Roberto Duran? Austin just got up off the couch and walked out of my hotel room muttering something about ‘No mas, no mas’.”
There should be more documentaries about what it’s like backstage at wrestling events when the wrestlers are just being normal dudes out-of-character. I know it would hurt the goofy facade that is professional wrestling, but I’ve always found the backstage stories to be the most interesting.
The Undertaker - Entertainment Weekly #481 - 4/16/1999
I saved this one for last as it could very well be my favorite shot of a professional wrestler. It’s one thing to get a clear shot of The Undertaker during my favorite incarnation of the character but to make this wrestling icon, to make The Phenom pose in full attire inside of some run-down locker room shower is just too bizarre.
I also enjoyed reading his dislikes as I’ve heard from a couple of sources that he does not like people to talk to him whenever he’s lifting weights. The man owns a ranch nearby and used to frequent a gym in South Austin, and it was well-known amongst everyone there that you were to NEVER disturb the Undertaker when he was working out (which would usually take place during ungodly morning hours).
Mark Calaway just wants to be left alone, people! Stop staring at him and his hot-ass wife!!
The Rock - Entertainment Weekly #481 - 4/16/1999
Ha! I completely forgot about the brief period of time where The Rock’s finishing maneuver was re-branded, The Corporate Elbow! So, so silly.
Also, that’s a neat sign of foretelling from “The Great One” with his line about Hollywood. It would be another two years before The Rock made his way into a summer movie blockbuster with The Mummy Returns and another eight before he starred in the charming and underrated, The Game Plan.
Seriously, everyone needs to go rent that latter film! The Rock dances in ballet tights to ELO’s “Mr. Blue Sky”, and Roselyn Sánchez looks amazing in it! Pick it up at your local Wal-Mart discount bin today and thank me later!
“The Ninth Wonder of the World” Chyna - Entertainment Weekly #481 - 4/16/1999
I posted this photo a couple of weeks ago without the write-up, but I felt like it should go back up again to complete this whole feature. Like I mentioned already, it’s extremely difficult to remember the period where Chyna was this brutal enforcer and bodyguard for D-Generation X. Her foray into the world of porn has pretty much black-listed her from ever being mentioned in the current world of the WWE, and it’s a shame that the company stays away from even uttering her name or her accomplishments.
I didn’t expect Chyna to show up at RAW #1000 for the D-Generation X reunion, but I was kinda surprised to see that WWE.com never once brought her up in any of the DX retrospectives.
“The Nature Boy” Ric Flair - Entertainment Weekly #481 - 4/16/1999
It’s interesting to read that Mr. Flair is a fan of mystery thrillers and that he only went to the University of Minnesota for one year. Wikipedia explains exactly why “The Nature Boy” didn’t stay in college and where his professional wrestling life began:
“Flair won the state private school wrestling championship and was recruited to the University of Minnesota on a football scholarship, where he played alongside Greg Gagne, the son of Verne Gagne. Flair dropped out of college before receiving his degree, and he then worked as a bouncer at a nearby club, where he met Olympic weightlifter Ken Patera, who was preparing for a ring career at Verne Gagne’s wrestling school. Patera introduced Flair to Verne Gagne, who agreed to take him on as a member of his training class.”
Also, someone should let Flair know that although Braveheart is based on a real person, the movie is a fictionalized take on William Wallace’s life.
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin - Entertainment Weekly #481 - 4/16/1999
I’ve always like the fact that “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and I share an undying love for The Hottest Band in The World™ — KISS.
For reasons unknown, the WWF released an compilation album in 1998 called Stone Cold Metal. The album featured some of the Texas Rattlesnake’s favorite rock and metal artists (all on one disc!), and the painted quartet shows up twice as both “Detroit Rock City” and “God of Thunder” are included.
Sidenote: You’d think such a thing like Stone Cold Metal would just have been laughed at by consumers, but this four-star Amazon review by Michael Bocchinfuso AKA “The Phantom” says it all:
“I got this CD when it first came out. I bought it more so cause I saw “metal” and “Stone Cold Steve Austin”, and since Im a fan of both, I figured it’d be good.”
Like shooting fish in a barrel.
Mankind - Entertainment Weekly #481 - 4/16/1999
I’m not too sure what disturbs me more — the fact that I’m five years away from being Mankind’s age whenever he held the WWF Championship or the visual of Mama Foley’s Baby Boy giving a Mandible Claw to the person who crucified Jesus H. Christ.
“35,000,000 Wrestling Fans Can’t Be Wrong” - Entertainment Weekly #481 - 4/16/1999
Like I mentioned last Friday, Entertainment Weekly did a nice piece on the two wrestling giants of 1999 and even profiled characters from both companies. WCW ended up getting kinda screwed as the magazine did full head-to-toe shots of everyone they featured expect for Scott Steiner and Goldberg above. Since the only other WCW superstar that the magazine took photos of was Ric Flair, the official wrestler tally is 5 to 3 in WWF’s favor.
Despite my annoyance at this perceived dig against my favorite wrestling company, the photos are excellent time-stamps of a time when the business was king. Today, I’ll post them all today complete with their appropriate write-ups that Entertainment Weekly gave each character.
“WCW vs WWF: How Did Wrestling Get So Big?” - Entertainment Weekly #481 4/16/1999
During the time when professional wrestling ruled the nineties, Entertainment Weekly did a great job at looking at both the WWF and WCW and explaining how the ratings skyrocketed and profiling the wrestlers that make up two mega-companies. To give you an understanding of when this piece ran, here’s a bit where it discusses the storylines that were happening at that time:
“Try to keep up: Recently, WCW’s Hollywood Hulk Hogan brainwashed Flair’s son, David, into joining his renegade splinter group, the New World Order. Meanwhile, on the WWF, Mark “Sexual Chocolate” Henry was bamboozled into receiving an off-camera Lewinsky from a drag queen; and WCW’s Big Poppa Pump kidnapped the wife of nemesis Diamond Dallas Page, then returned her by tossing her from a moving limo.”
Ah, yes — I can barely remember the simpler time in this country’s life when you could describe a blow job with the term “Lewinsky” and everyone got it.
Overall, it’s a fun write up that’s been archived over at Entertainment Weekly’s website, if anyone wants to read it. Come back here next week for scans of all of the photos from the magazine.