30 Thoughts with Al Laiman - History of HAM
By Al Laiman
Dec 20, 2013 - 12:39:53 PM
credit Tom Jenner
IN LAIMAN'S TERMS Facebook Page
Twitter: @AlLaimanLOP, @JadedHope1
Enjoy your Christmas HAM with this column I wrote on that very topic last year. Sorry, my Christmas work schedule has kept me from even seeing RAW yet.
IN LAIMAN'S TERMS: 30 Thoughts... History of HAM
I put out an open request on Twitter earlier today, and said I would fulfill requests. I got two responses. From Mazza, a list of 30 of the hammiest moments in wrestling history. From Hustle, more Jackie. The second, I'll oblige right now... If you leave any comments for her, I will pass them along as well.
There's been talk of doing a wrestling-themed photo shoot, just for all of you and your wonderful responses toward her. So... Yeah, keep that in mind.
Now, with the Hammy Awards just passed... And if you haven't checked out Sheamus literally eating a ham sandwich after kicking Brian Blessed yet... Why not? Mazza suggested compiling a history of HAM. There is your button; you may need it many times during this list. Let me reiterate that these are thirty of my favorite, and not necessarily the greatest of all time. I also made a specific effort to not use anyone more than twice, excluding stables. I hope you enjoy them. Get your bacon cellars ready for Al Laiman's Christmas Special, kids!
FYI, since some people didn't know about this during the Hammy Awards, but most of the names are also links to the moments. Enjoy.
1. Vince McMahon “He’s Gonna Puke!”
As Hustle put it, Vince could have his own 30 Hammiest Moments list, but I digress. This moment isn't even technically from a wrestling show itself, but the documentary Beyond the Mat, where Vince McMahon is helping develop Darren Drozdov's new character, Puke. Not exactly the most attractive gimmick of all time, but what makes this moment is Vince going into commentator mode as if he was calling it live and screaming, "HE'S GONNA PUKE! HE'S GONNA PUKE!" Can you imagine the reaction of the PG-era crowds to something like that? "Next they might be bleeding!" It's safe to say that Vince McMahon can be an extremely large ham when he takes the Mr. McMahon character and turns it up to 11, and this moment made it on the silver screen.
2. Santino Marella “The Honkameter!”
Can you believe there was a time when Santino Marella was doing something other than jobbing to Alberto Del Rio? While Del Rio's had face runs that lasted shorter than title reigns, Santino Marella's goal was to have a CM Punk-like Intercontinental title reign. So his eyebrow, on loan from the Terrain of Testament I'm assuming, came up with the idea of the Honk-A-Meter, which would be a weekly count of how many weeks Marella had the title. Say what you will about Santino's wrestling ability, booking, and finisher, but when the man is given a chance, he can bring the HAM like few others. What a coincidence, a transition!
3. Chris Jericho “Me Want Title Match!”
Chris Jericho returned in 2007 to save us from Randy Orton, and lit him up in a promo that demonstrates Jericho's unique ability to string together words like a song, even while OVER. EMPHASIZING. EVERY. ONE! But that's ham at its finest, and as if that weren't enough, he dumbs it down so that even Orton can understand his personal request to acquire the potential to challenge in a singles contest for his respective championship. Or, in Ortonese, "ME WANT TITLE MATCH!" Then to step it up, he gives visual aids along with each word, and Cookie Monster is one of them. How can that not be on a Ham list? Once again, that could've been hammy enough, but then Santino shows up for a little Ham-on-Ham combat. In Santino's accent that makes Super Mario's sound subtle, he can't say his name clearly enough for Jericho to understand. What then commences is Jericho doing his best Ace Ventura When Nature Calls and listing off all the mispronounced Santino names he can think of, with Santino going right along with it.
4. The Ultimate Warrior “The Cockpit Door!”
Making his first appearance since Sheamus kicked him back to the Terrain of Testament, the Ultimate Warrior is a lock for any list involving ham, and this is one of the hammiest... and strangest... things that have ever existed. Warrior spends half the promo speaking to the wall, which for anyone else would be considered weird, but consider the source. Most of the beginning lines are just random grumbles, and every little word is dragged out like he's William Shattner in a pig factory. Warrior then describes crashing a plane of normals or something, and it sums up any promo that involved the Ultimate Warrior. "What the fuck did I just hear?"
5. Charlie Haas “CHL”
Gimmicks that impersonate other wrestlers likely have a limited shelf-life, although one of the wrestlers in thought 6 will beg to differ... Charlie Haas, who was never known for his stunning promo ability, released this little gem against JBL by impersonating the Clothesliner from Wrestlehalla. While many of Haas's impressions didn't get much of a reaction, this one was done to perfection and got the crowd chanting "C-H-L!" which is a testament to both Haas and JBL for selling it like gold.
6. Black Machismo/Larry Sweeney strut-off
At IWC's Super Indy 6, Larry Sweeney was scheduled to face Jay Lethal in the opening round of the tournament. Chuck Roberts came on the mic and announced that Jay Lethal was unable to make it that night, but a suitable replacement had been found. Enter Black Machismo, Jay Lethal's new gimmick impersonating the Macho Man, and one of the few impression gimmicks that lasted a while. What turns up the ham between an over-the-top impression of Randy Savage and my late hammy friend Larry Sweeney? A strut-off, of course, and while non-verbal ham is rare on such a list, it's hard to not include something for which I was sitting one row behind this cameraperson.
7. John Cena “Ham Sandwich!”
After Kurt Angle had a meltdown, John Cena, when it was still cool to like him on the Internet, came on the Titan Tron and literally called him a "ham sandwich!" Kurt was never known for his subtlety, I will say that. Cena then summons his inner 2012-self and enjoys a free show in the Diva's locker room while trying to find out what other wrestlers think about Kurt Angle. Walking into another strange setting with Gene Snitsky trying to get a kink out of Tyson Tomko's shoulder, Cena faces some ham competition with a perfectly-delivered Snitsky trademark. Not to be outdone, Cena then finds The Boogeyman singing "London Bridge" before smashing a clock over his head. Cena's reactions are amazing throughout this whole segment.
8. CM Punk “Cuts a Promo During Royal Rumble!
I couldn't find a good version of this one, but this was at the height of Punk's "Straight Edge Savior" gimmick. Punk spends the better part of four entries in the Royal Rumble trying to piss off old ladies into telling him that he's not Jesus. Spanning several eliminations before being unceremoniously eliminated by the man he would rail against in the infamous worked shoot, it was something unique, over-the-top, and deliciously hammy, especially since it was taking place during an actual match, the Royal Rumble no less. The only version I could find had music dubbed over it.
9. Vince McMahon “Swims in a Beer Bath!”
I'm really surprised I couldn't find a better version of this one. In probably the second-most overplayed moment in WWE history (next to Foley falling off the Cell), Stone Cold sprays beer on the Corporation because... Natty Light really is that bad, I guess. However, the ultimate ham in this segment lies in Vince McMahon, who makes Dolph Ziggler's selling look like The Undertaker taking a forearm chop from Essa Rios. He flops across the ring like he's trying to SWIM THROUGH IT! It's absolutely priceless.
10. Daniel Bryan "Kicks Little Jimmy"
I'll refer you to my explanation of the Hammiest Moment of 2012.
TROOF has had an invisible friend for over a year now, and while sometimes wrestlers have interacted with him during a match, Daniel Bryan took it to the ultimate level of ham. After greeting him, he... KICKED THE INVISIBLE LITTLE JIMMY OUT OF THE RING. What makes it even better? TROOF jumps out of the ring like a puppy just got shot, and freaks out at Daniel Bryan even further. What makes it the best? The white coats come to take him away... Not TROOF, but Daniel Bryan. Easily the most enjoyably over-acted, over-the-top slice of HAM of 2012!
I know I just had it on the list a few days ago, but this is an all-timer right here.
11. Jillian Hall “Sing-Off”
Vickie Guerrero isn't the only recent Diva to assault our ear drums with sounds that make German Shepherds wince in pain. Jillian was quite hammy anytime she tried to badly sing anything, and this was no exception. Anyone who's been to a live event knows that Lilian can rock the American National Anthem, and getting into a sing-off with her was a classic silly heel moment. Not to mention, it answers the age-old question of "Can a Beyonce song get more annoying?" Yes, yes it can...
12. JR “Make Yourself Famous!”
In 2002, Jeff Hardy challenged the Undertaker for the Undisputed title in a ladder match. Even though Taker was facing Rock and Angle six days later, for a while I forgot about that, because Jeff Hardy put on the performance of his career. JR, in a perfect example of how commentators can truly immortalize a moment, got so into the match that he was screaming at the top of his lungs "GO ON, KID! MAKE YOURSELF FAMOUS!" Even looking it up ten years later, it still gives me goosebumps. Consideration could also be made for "GOD AS MY WITNESS, HE IS BROKEN IN HALF!" but I maintain to this day that was a legitimate reaction.
13. AJ Lee "Frolicks in a Kane Mask"
Another one from the Hammy Awards...
For a long time, I was under the impression that this had the Ham of the Year locked up. One of Kane's most amazing talents is the ability to emote such facial expressions while under a mask, and it's absolutely priceless. This was in the middle of the love triangle, and even the commentators I think legitimately didn't know what to say.
AJ was one of the brightest parts of 2012, this was the pinnacle of her run this year. With her recent heel turn and pairing with her male ham equal Dolph Ziggler, 2013 is looking especially porcine.
14. The Rock “My Name is Billy!”
This was a Sunday Night Heat episode where The Rock would unknowingly start one of his most famous catchphrases. As Rocky imitates Dolph Ziggler's first incarnation, he prays to the sky and as JBL calls him Bob, he replies in a falsetto, "But my name's Billy!" Rock responds with a thunderous "IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT YOUR NAME IS!" The Rock had one match with Billy Gunn, and he continued his main event run while Billy Gunn... Became a part of the Factgime, eventually.
15. Batista “Basketballs Don’t Hold Grudges”
Dave Batista's best attempt of an Ultimate Warrior "what the fuck was that?" moment... Do I really need to add any more?
16. Christian/DDP "The Self-Help Tantrum"
Near the end of DDP's WWE run, he became a ham sandwich of his own right with over-emphasized facial expressions and a self-help attitude. He was like Simon Dean, only people paid attention. Christian fell into a losing streak and started throwing a temper tantrum like a five-year-old in the cereal aisle every time he lost. DDP, being the fine helping fellow he was, helped him overcome this and Christian finally won a match. He promptly turned on DDP and this set up their WrestleMania encounter. When DDP got his WrestleMania victory, Christian reverted back to his whiny self, and DDP rubbed it in with his self-help dose of HAM in the wound.
17. R-Truth “A Box of Spiders”
Earlier in 2012, TROOF damn near created the HAM award with his crazy homeless guy antics, and the best thing that could be expected of him was a live mic. RAW delivered, and gave us an Elimination Chamber debate. TROOF started treating it as if it was an election, and he promised to trade Vicki and Dolph to Smackdown for "Hornswoggle and a box of spiders." Dolph traded back some signature snark, but it was no match for TROOF, who was on his game this night. It's a shame they don't let him loose like this very often.
18. Mae Young “Has a Hand”
I wish I could find a video of this. It was one of the weirdest and most disturbing things I've ever seen. It turns out that Mark Henry, known at the time as "Sexual Chocolate," had an affinity for older women. GTV (remember that) caught him in bed with Mae Young, and it was announced soon after that they were having a baby. What transpired was Mae Young being shown giving birth with the Stooges Brisco and Patterson looking on, and they pulled out a hand. Yes, that actually happened.
19. The Hurricane/The Rock “Tiny Ding-a-Ling”
In 2003, The Rock made a heel turn, and regained a lot of his swagger. He was gold on the mic and was headed strong into a WrestleMania match with Stone Cold Steve Austin. While this was going on, however, one superhero was determined to confront him on his betrayal of the fans. This was the second of those segments, and easily the best. These two have a Hamfest that involve The Rock overselling Hurricane's insults with ridiculously funny facial expressions, and Rocky even managing to hold back the People's Strudel with an "eeeeeeasy, big fella."
20. Kane “What’cha Gonna Do”
For those who are used to Kane's dishes of ham, let me give you a bit of context. At this point in time, Kane had never really shown any flair for humor or outgoing catch phrases. So when Kane walked into the room with The Rock and Hogan, we were expecting some typical Kane short-spoken emphatic threat. What transpired... Was legendary. Kane burst into an impression of both The Rock and Hulk Hogan, using both of their catch phrases, and The Rock's facial expression was once again priceless. Kane leaves the room and at the time, nobody had been expecting it, and wasn't sure it had really just happened.
21. Slow-Motion Wrestling
This is something I've seen on more than one Independent show, and it's used either as an intentional comedy spot, or to fuck around because they don't care. Sometimes it's a little of both. Regardless, when it happens, hammy overselling and ridiculousness ensue, even if it does virtually break kayfabe in the process.
22. Team Hell No "Anger Management"
One more from the Hammy Awards. You know this one had to be included.
When Kane and Daniel Bryan couldn't get along, AJ had them sent to anger management therapy. What ensued was several weeks of extremely comical ham between the two that perhaps was highlighted by Kane's description of his childhood and a duel "SHUT UP, HAROLD!"
I hope this team stays together for a long time. An honorable mention goes to their recent exclamation-off with Ric Flair.
23. DX “Impersonating the McMahons”
When DX reunited in 2006, some of their old antics weren't quite clicking like they once had. One major exception to this was when Triple H and Shawn dressed up as Vince and Shane McMahon. H mocked McMahon's silly over-the-top voice, and Shawn danced around like a buffoon, obviously parodying Shane-O's "Money" entrance. The best part of it is when he won't stop dancing and H does an overly-hammy "STTTTTTTTTTTTAAAAAAAAAHP IT!" Then commences... STAND BACK!
24. JBL “He Eats Pizza”
This is one of the most ridiculous things I've ever seen in a wrestling ring... and I love it! They were in Japan, and JBL was feuding with the Big Show when he still remembered that he was allowed to have a personality. So JBL goes after him with a tranquilizer gun, but supposedly shot himself with it. So... And I'm not kidding here... He drags an inflatable Godzilla to the ring and has a six-minute conversation with it, constantly referring to the fact that Big Show eats pizza. If you watch no other clip from this list, this one needs to make it into your realm of knowledge.
25. Cryme Tyme “Wrestlemania 23 Party”
Back at a time when JTG was occasionally on the winning side of a match, the team of Cryme Tyme ended up throwing a party at WrestleMania, and a bunch of cameos joined in, including Sgt. Slaughter, IRS, Handmother Mae Young, Dusty Rhodes... And it was all capstoned by Ron Simmons. It was just so random and over-the-top that you couldn't help but laugh.
26. Shawn Michaels “Not Controversial”
When Triple H informed Shawn Michaels that someone thought they weren't controversial enough, HBK went super ham sandwich and started superkicking everyone backstage. When Shawn wanted to, he could really enjoyably overact. I don't have the full segment, but the only thing that ruined this was afterward, Triple H says "I don't know if it's controversial, but it sure is funny."
27. Big Show “Impersonating Hulk Hogan”
You wouldn't know it right now, but Big Show is a really humorous and fun-loving individual. He also went through a time where he imitated other superstars, including Val Venis one time, but unfortunately he forgot to wear something under the towel. One thing that Show can do really well is Hulk Hogan's voice, which I actually saw him do at a house show in 2003. When Show is allowed to be interesting, I really enjoy his work. When he's a heel, he's the cure for insomnia.
28. Larry Sweeney "Bigger Pop Than Jesus"
This is a little-known one that only a few people know about. Larry Sweeney came out for commentary during a match on IWC's Call To Arms in 2007. To this day, I do not remember what match it was or what happened, but I do remember Larry Sweeney hamming it up to the point that he said that if he came out for a match with Jesus that he would get the bigger pop. It still makes me laugh to this day, and I haven't had that DVD in years.
29. The Rock N Sock Connection “This is Your Life”
In the highest-rated segment in WWE history, Mick Foley was trying to appeal to the too-cool-to-smile Rocky, and tried bringing out names from The Great One's past for his birthday, although it wasn't even his birthday. Rock kept finding reasons to make the guests leave. Mick Foley trying so hard to impress Rock, and Rock deadpanning everyone, especially about "bringing a piece of that POON-TANG HAM!" They've attempted to remake that moment several times, but it'll never match the original. Part two is on the side.
30. Shawn Michaels “Impersonates and Overselling Hulk Hogan”
Strange that two Hulk Hogan impressions make this list, but this one is untouchable ham. First, Shawn Michaels impersonates Hulk Hogan on Larry King, and it's priceless.
Shawn Michaels Impersonates Hulk Hogan
You can tell he's clearly having fun, especially after the ensuing heat that took place due to Hogan going back on the arranged deal. When Shawn Michaels found out about that, he got Hogan back in a way that may be the all-time greatest ham in wrestling history...
Shawn Michaels Oversells Hulk Hogan
This is one of the most entertaining, hammy, over-the-top, ridiculous, awesome "fuck you's" in the history of the world. The sell of the big boot before the leg drop is so ridiculous that you'd think you were watching a Marx Brothers routine or a Roadrunner cartoon. It is glorious ham, and the epitome of the Large Ham I give out every week.