Tag Archives: Survivor Series 1990

The Thanksgiving Miracle Nobody Wanted: The Gobbeldy Gooker

Ahh, Thanksgiving 1990. An Italian family gathering I remember quite well as the entire clan was not only unbuttoning our pants to make room for the 12-course-meal that awaited, but for the beerfest that was assuredly going to happen with the adults in conjunction with the highly-anticipated Survivor Series! And this PPV event brought on by the glorious WWF at the time would both mark the debut of one of the greatest Wrestling Superstars of all time, while also bringing about the company’s greatest blunder- the goddamn Gobbeldy Gooker.

Recently, I went over the great introduction of the phenom, The Undertaker, which marks his 30 years in the WWE. Now, let’s dive into this weird gimmick that really pissed people off. Oh, how I miss the days where we only had men dressed up as giant turkeys to be upset about.

Hey man, I’m just a Gooker trying to make a living!

Well, anyways the WWF promoted this “Big Surprise” they had in store for us that would be revealed at the Thanksgiving Survivor Series via promos and displaying this oversized egg at live events leading up to the big day. So of course, we were all riddled with anxiety, placing bets on what exactly was inside this damn thing.

I’ll never forget the reaction from my family when the moment finally came where Mean Gene debuted this monstrosity. It may as well had been an episode of The Steve Wilkos Show in the Butrico house.

That weird anger, although I certainly understand it, I feel was misplaced. It certainly wasn’t the Thanksgiving surprise anyone expected; or even wanted for that matter. However, over the years Vince McMahon had said this was something more for the kids and not the adults. It seems to me while ol’ Vince might be savvy to what we wanted to see in regards to Wrestling, it’s pretty clear he was kind of out of touch with what us kiddos wanted. I mean, I wasn’t really impressed. I was eight-years-old and more confused than anything. That thing with its protruding golf ball eyes was umm…. a little terrifying actually.

JUST LISTEN TO THOSE BOOS! Looking back as an adult, I feel really bad for this poor guy (later identified as Hector Guerrero) as the blame really falls on Vince and the higher-ups for this debacle. It’s quite clear the trio of Okerlund along with Piper and Monsoon announcing tried to make the best of this now awkward situation. It was and still is, so damn amazingly cringe-worthy.

Courtesy of Scott’s Wrestling Collection

While most of us know by now that Hector Guerrero of the infamous Guerrero wrestling dynasty donned the outfit, it was acknowledged pretty recently that The Undertaker himself was scared to death thinking that HIS debut was going to be not as the iconic dead man, but this awful gimmick instead as he described in Steve Austin: The Broken Skull Sessions:

“So about the time I got my phone call, they were doing this promotion where, on the show — back then they’d do three or four weeks in a row — they had this gigantic egg on the set.  So this egg appears on the show, right? And all of a sudden my mind just starts going like, ‘Aw, man, they’re going to bring me in — now this is how outlandish the gimmicks were back then too — I’m going to be ‘Egg Man.’ I had convinced myself, to the point where my stomach hurt, that I’m going to be ‘Egg Man.'”

I mean, that would have fucking sucked for Mean Mark Calaway.

Instead, Guerrero pulled on the Turkey get-up and according to an interview with Sports Illustrated, he has little regrets about it and seems to have embraced the big Razzie Award of the WWF. He also recalls just how awful and visually limiting that costume really was- I mean, looking at it are we really surprised by that?

The Gobbledy Gooker is called the biggest flop in professional wrestling history, but it wasn’t meant for the adults. It was for the children. Vince wanted to do something noble, which I take my hat off to and respect. But the circumstances were not favorable. I couldn’t see. The eyes were outside and they were bubbled out—it was almost like they drilled holes through golf balls.

I had to get in the egg early before the show. There was a box under the egg, and I had a fan down there to keep me cool. I had a light, I had a monitor, and that’s where I was. As soon as I came out, you heard the boos—the real bad ones, and a lot of them. Gene Okerlund went through our routine, and he worked really hard, even going in the ring with me. I was flawless and didn’t miss a cue, but the stares and looks from the crowd made me feel like the biggest flop in the history of wrestling. That’s just the way the people reacted. I was in a bad situation, and you don’t blame the boss. You blame the performer.

We went to Madison Square Garden two months after the Survivor Series flop. We shouldn’t have showcased the Gobbledy Gooker at Madison Square Garden. I came out cold turkey, and they told me they’d spotlight me when I walked out. The building went black and they shone the lights on me, and all I could see was white. I couldn’t see down, up, left, or right. I tried to feel my way to the ring. I handspringed into the top rope, but I couldn’t see the floor. I landed on my bottom, and then they finally turned the lights on and I went through my routine—cartwheels, high-fives, a little jiggle-jiggle-jaggle, and dances with the kids. I get back into the dressing room, and they were giving me the dirtiest faces. Vince wouldn’t even look at me and then he walked away. I started to undress, and Gorilla Monsoon walked in and said, ‘We finally figured it out. You couldn’t see, right?’ You think? Everything was wrong. They wanted to put me in a spot, but I was blind and couldn’t see.

Hector Guerrero

So now that we know all that, do we really have to continue this undefined hatred for the Gooker? I think enough time has passed where we can learn to embrace the whacky Thanksgiving mascot and I for one would love to see the gimmick one more time for Turkey Day via the WWE.

So, let’s partner up with The Bushwackers, Tugboat, and others to show some love for the Gookster this holiday season!

Credit via WWE

Rise of The Dead Man: WWF Survivor Series 1990

November 22, 1990: A day that lives in infamy across the board with wrestling fans. I’ll never forget that fateful Thanksgiving where our stereotypical giant Italian family got together for our fat-fuck annual holiday feast. Italian cold cuts platters, Italian Christmas Soup, the big turkey feast and of course, the mother fuckin’ PPV holiday event of the year: The WWF Survivor Series!

Real talk- To this very day, no WWE event intros can hold a candle to the ones of the 80s’ and early 90s’. If their sole purpose was to rile you up and make you want to suplex your little brother into the mashed potatoes, well then goddammit they did their job!

Credit: greene chloe

Anyway, after the twelfth course of dinner, we all gathered around my grandparents’ oversized Magnavox floor television to witness wrestling mullet glory in all its splendor; with my eight-year-old ass popped squat right in front of this beast. Everyone was pretty excited for the entire program, with levels of exhilaration varying between us over what match we were most looking forward to. However, collectively we WERE VERY ANXIOUS for two things in particular with this Survivor Series: what the hell was in this giant egg that the WWF heavily hyped up the weeks leading up to the program, ( we’re gonna go over this in a separate Thanksgiving article-stay tuned) and who exactly, was this mystery Million Dollar teammate that “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase kept boasting about leading up to the feud group match with Dusty Rhodes and his American Dream Team?

Well, like I said. I’ll NEVER forget the intro made by DiBiase himself once the match was ready to get underway. A very simple introduction, hailing from Death Valley, weighing in at 320 pounds- THE UNDERTAKER. Followed by his signature maniacal laughter, (one that I always got a kick out of). And what came out of those tall, dark curtains leading to the arena was nothing short of a spiritual experience for everyone watching. I WAS IN AWE.

Roddy Piper took the words right out of our mouths: “LOOK AT THE SIZE OF THAT HAMHOCK!!”

The debut of one of the most celebrated wrestlers in history, a man who’d go on to win seven WWF (now WWE) Heavyweight Championships, as well as 21 straight WrestleMania matches, is truly a golden moment in wrestling history. From his entrance alone, we initially expected a slow-moving superstar that relied on gimmick and strength but holy FUCK we were so damn wrong. The very first opponent to get a taste of the PHENOM, as announcers dubbed him later on, was appropriately the legendary Bret “The Hitman” Hart. However, Hart’s teammates Rhodes, Neidhart, and Koko B. Ware all got a graveyard style ass-whoopin’ at the gloved paws of the Deadman- with Koko being on the receiving end of the Undertaker’s signature finisher, the Tombstone. Now again, with a man as large as Mark Calaway (The Undertaker) you can imagine our surprise when this dead-eyed wrestler started moving around the ring like a beautiful ballet with wrestling moves. His agility paired with intimidation tactics was quite remarkable and unlike anything I had personally seen in my short-lived life up until then. And I can personally say with confidence it hasn’t been matched since.

This Thanksgiving marks over 30 years since The ‘Taker stole the show in the WWE and watching his Boneyard Match with AJ Styles this past April, just proves my point all the more. The man is truly a goddamn treasure in the industry and he made a fan for life with me on that very first night in 1990.

And yep- this is my little tribute to the Phenom, OG and traditional style on my right-back shoulder done by husband and soulmate Bradley Pauley at our shop, Last Chance Tattoo . Funny enough, a few years back this picture made it to a tattoo list in Wrestlezone, and I just stumbled upon it accidently. Oh the internet is full of surprises.

Also worth noting, is our seven degrees of separation with The Undertaker that actually includes our shop. Our dear, departed friend MoJo Thomas, who sadly passed away earlier this year, was taught by Doc Dog and Smilin’ Paul of Las Vegas Tattoo Company- who initially was the artist of a few of Calaway’s tattoos! So yes, he was around while the Undertaker was getting drilled on his skin back in the early 90s’ and I am so envious of this. Also, it’s a great story that intertwines a friend I miss dearly and one of my childhood heroes and it had to be said.

Anyway, the debut of this magnificent specimen of a superstar definitely ranks up there as one of my favorite childhood pop-culture memories. So let’s relive it together with the magic of YouTube! Cheers to 30 years of non-stop beautiful, bone-breaking entertainment brought to you by the American Badass!

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