Thursday, December 4, 2008

Wrestlers of Yore: P.N. News

Wrestling organizations have had varying success embracing rap music. ECW would blare the song “Natural Born Killers” while the certifiably insane (and only wrestler with four justifiable homicides) New Jack stabbed people with forks and threw them off balconies. The Mid-90s WWF featured the Nation of Domination, who entered the ring to a rap song that included the lyrics “We are the nation coming live and in color / But don’t dis the man or we’ll bum rush your mother.” Most recently, the WWE has struck gold with white rapper John Cena, the only rapper to include the words “three second tan” in a song and the man who who somehow learned "Basic Thuganomics" growing up on the mean streets of West Newbury.

WCW’s response to the surge of gangsta rap? A 400lb white guy from Nebraska dressed in a neon unitard saying “Yo Baby, Yo Baby Yo” ad nauseam. In a related story, WCW is no longer with us.

Paul Neu was born in Omaha, Nebraska on July 9, 1969. A fan of wrestling as a child, Neu trained with Olympic freestyle wrestler-turned-pro wrestler Brad Rheingans (one of the top five most boring wrestlers I’ve ever watched - the man was like a human charisma vacuum in the AWA) and was quickly signed in 1991 by World Championship Wrestling creative director Dusty Rhodes. Dusty, as became his reputation, had some fantastic ideas but had trouble actually executing them with his wrestlers. Dusty knew that he had to tap into the emerging rap music market. So his response was to hire the fresh-out-of-wrestling-school Neu to play the role of “Rapmaster P.N. News.” It was 1991, so having a rapping wrestler, in theory, wasn’t such a bad idea, right?

Unfortunately, Dusty ignored the fact that Neu a) couldn’t rap and b) couldn’t wrestle. Oh, and c) was a generally ridiculous looking human being, especially when clad in neon fucking spandex that made his 400-pound body look like a 600-pound body. Here’s a Christmas tip to all the fellas out there – if your girlfriend ever complains that certain outfits make her look fat, or is displeased with her body image in any way, the WORST possible thing you can buy for her is a neon spandex unitard. I simply cannot stress that enough.

P.N. News was billed from “Motown” and would perform the unfortunate task of “rapping” before every one of his matches. I put “rapping” in quotes, because what it mostly consisted of, as shown here, was Neu somehow screwing up the ability to rhyme three or four verses with each other, and then screaming “Yo Baby, Yo Baby Yo” a lot into the microphone. He would then proceed to have horrible fucking matches, most of which ended with his finisher “the Broken Record.” The Broken Record was a highly technical move in which Neu would climb to the top rope and then belly-flop onto his opponent. Yeah, can’t see how that could possibly go wrong.

News was immediately thrown into a feud with TV Champion “Stunning” Steve Austin (pre-shaved head and Austin 3:16 t-shirts), which culminated in the 1991 Great American Bash scaffold match, in which News and a mulleted Bobby Eaton won the WORST FUCKING MATCH IN HISTORY over Austin and Terry Taylor. Scaffold matches generally suck as a rule, because the wrestlers are pretty much limited to only kicks and punches for what seems like hours until one wrestler falls onto a set of tables. Basically, imagine trying to fight someone on a balance beam. But this one was especially horrid, as P.N. News couldn’t even get the kicks and punches part down right. Wrestling Observer editor Dave Meltzer called it “one of the worst matches in the history of pay-per-view television” and gave the match a negative 3 1/2 star rating. Furthermore, the 1991 Great American Bash is the first and only pay-per-view to receive zero positive reviews in the Observer post-event poll, with 99.2% of subscribers giving the event a “thumbs down” and an overwhelming majority voting that scaffold match as the prime reason why. This, despite P.N. News’ brilliant pre-show commercial:

Neu's WCW career would quickly end after a botched Broken Record legitimately broke the legs and ended the career of The Angel of Death (Dave Sheldon), causing WCW to literally pay Neu the remainder of his contract to never wrestle in their organization again, fearing that he’d fuck up even more and end someone else’s career. And frankly, I don't blame them, as Neu would make the then nine-year-old GHABB,Y immediately change the channel every time I saw him. In fact, I can probably attribute my current DVR-quickness and accuracy to the channel-changing heat that P.N. News brought to the television screen.

In conclusion, P.N. News was an embarrassing yet memorable blip in the annals of wrestling history, combining historically bad dress, wrestling ability and rapping into a giant blob of suck. However, Neu didn’t even come close to having the worst wrestling gimmick in his own family, as that distinction happened to belong to Neu’s cousin, who played Mantaur in the WWF. So when you get together with your families this holiday season, you can at least take solace in one thing: you’re not related to P.N. News and Mantaur.


futuremrsrickankiel said...

I never said you could post that picture of me in the spandex!

A Pimp Named DaveR said...

Am I having monitor issues, or have all photographs/videos of Paul Neu been retouched into a pastel-y, gauzy, colorized-like palate?

I mean, all these pix/vids have the same color balance as a Tiffany video....

Hazel Maes Landing Strip said...

I had no idea that Fat Joe could rap.

boxcar willy said...




I had forgotten everything about P.N. News.... and I wish it had stayed that way.