Pro-Wrestling’s Biggest Misses and Near Misses of the 90’s: The Fake Outsiders

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kbbchyk4When Scott Hall and Kevin Nash left the WWE for WCW in 1996, they made a huge splash, and ignited the Monday Night Wars between both organizations. WCW, for quite some time had the upper hand. Hall and Nash’s (along with Hollywood Hulk Hogan) formation of the NWO and The Outsiders was integral in most of those Monday night victories.

In a flash of desperation, ego, and sheer stupidity, the WWE creative department decided to produce their own version of the Outsiders, to compete with WCW’s original version. This formation led to one of the biggest flops in pro-wrestling history, and arguably the biggest miss in WWE history.

As I mentioned before, the WWE was getting smoked by WCW in the Monday night Neilsen ratings along with Monday Night Football. Despite Tony Schivane and Mike Tenay’s relentless efforts to drive fans away from the telecast with random luchadore facts, or stating that the current match between Psychosis and Dean Malenko was the greatest moment in pro-wrestling history, WCW as a whole was killing it.

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The Real Outsiders

Hall&Nash were laying waste to WCW talent (I could watch Kevin Nash power-bomb Rey Mysterio Jr on repeat. So good) , Hulk Hogan’s heel turn was actually interesting, Ric Flair was stretching out Mean Gene Okerlunds name for at least 30-45 seconds during each interview, and Sting hadn’t transformed into the baseball bat-pointing mime version of the Crow yet.

Meanwhile in the WWE, as the ratings were dropping Vince McMahon and the gang had supposedly found a way to stop the bleeding. According to Jim Cornette (check out the interview below, and sorry about the language), Vince McMahon still owned the rights to the wrestling names Razor Ramon and Big Daddy Cool Diesel. Vince’s great idea was to bring back these two names, but with different wrestlers. McMahon tasked Jim Cornette to find two look a likes and have them fill into their roles. Glenn Jacobs (aka Kane, aka Isaac Yankem) was now Diesel, and Rick Bognar (aka Titan) was Razor Ramon.

Cornette (as he explained in the above interview) watched several Diesel & Razor Ramon matches to get down all of their signature moves and nuances to pass along to Jacobs & Bognar.

A few weeks later after a bizarre heel turn on Raw, Jim Ross introduced the new Diesel and Razor Ramon to the wrestling world as fans stomachs began to turn.

The Fake Outsiders debuted in late September of 1996 and had several not so notable tag team matches together. Fake Diesel and Fake Razor Ramon then feuded with each other. Fans hated them. Many fans believed that WWE was insulting their intelligence by running these clowns out to the ring week in and week out pretending to be Diesel &Razor Ramon. You can actually make the argument that the WWE drove fans to the real Outsiders, in protest of the absurdity they had created with Jacobs & Bognars generic version.

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For what it’s worth, Glenn Jacobs was not completely terrible as Diesel. However, Rick Bognar was atrocious as Razor Ramon. Bognars portrayal of Razor Ramon reminded me of how bad Hayden Christiansen was playing Anakin Skywalker in the Star Wars prequels. Even Jar-Jar Binks had more “machismo” than Bognar. Still not convinced? Check out this Fake Razor Ramon interview, and you’ll have no doubt.

WWE realized almost too late that Jacobs and Bognar’s gimmick wasn’t working at all. In January 2007 they disappeared, along with Jim Ross’ attempt at turning heel. Jacobs as we all know went on to finally enjoy some success as Kane, the Undertakers baby brother. He even won the WWE title from Stone Cold Steve Austin (even though it was just for one night). Bognars contract with the WWE was not renewed, and he had a short run in ECW before calling it quits.

The wrestling world had Vince McMahon and company to blame for this gigantic gimmick miss of an idea, and during the Monday Night Wars, WCW was very thankful for the outcome (well before they were eventually bought out by WWE anyway.)

Check back next week for another edition of Pro-Wrestling’s Biggest Misses and Near Misses of the 90’s!

Follow Matt on Twitter: @SprayBall

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