Wrestler of the Day – December 1: Maxx Payne

Today is a guy that was much more awesome than good: Max Payne.

Payne started in Japan but didn’t really do much. After a bit on the indy scene, he was brought in to WCW in early 1993 with one of his first major matches coming at SuperBrawl III.


US Title: Maxx Payne vs. Dustin Rhodes

Payne is replacing Ron Simmons. Rhodes just couldn’t have been blander if his life depended on it. Payne is from the State of Euphoria which is one of the best hometowns I’ve ever heard of. The fans are DEAD. I mean no one cares at all and why should they? Every time I look up someone is leaving on the camera side. That should tell you a lot about this epic encounter.

This match is just boring as all goodness as it’s like a Chris Jericho list of holds come to life. Why do people think fans want to see this? Dustin Rhodes was just boring as all goodness athis point but his dad was booking so there we are. After over ten minutes of this mindless crap, Dustin hooks an abdominal stretch and Payne shoves the referee for the DQ. Really? Post match Dustin beats up Payne. This was awful.

Rating: F. What the world did we need to spend ten minutes on this for? You can have short matches you know. It’s not going to kill you. Also, MAXX PAYNE is the best replacement you can come up with? Was Arn Anderson too injured or something? Payne wasn’t much in the ring but he was almost all character, which would come out later.

Off to a better time for him, starting at Beach Blast 1993. This is fallout from Payne blasting Johnny B. Badd in the face with Badd’s Bad Blaster at Clash XXIII.

Maxx Payne vs. Johnny B. Badd

Payne is that punk rocker character that simply wouldn’t go away. I don’t think many people got it which doesn’t surprise me at all. He hit Badd in the face with the Badd Blaster to set this up. Badd is wearing pink and black feathers with a feather mask. I have to be very careful with my jokes here to avoid one of the bosses infracting me for prejudiced remarks. You know the ones I’m talking about.

He’s wrestling in a pink mask here because of getting hit in the face. This is idiotic. There is just a ridiculous number of empty seats. You would think they would upgrade people or something. Payne’s finisher was an armbar which was just odd as all goodness. Badd dives over the ropes to take Payne out. Not that we get to see it or anything but we’re told that’s what happens.

Just to show how stupid Watts was, Badd throws Payne back in and goes for a cross body off the top but has to step down a rope to avoid a disqualification. The problem is that Payne is about 6’6 so Jonny can’t get up high enough to do the move right so it’s more or less a shoulder block for the pin. I hate Bill Watts.

Rating: F Who thought that a guy the size of Albert should use an armbar? The top rope thing was just dumb and it was 5 minutes long. This was awful, mainly because of the booking. Seriously, you have a speed guy against a monster and the speed guy can’t use the top rope. Thankfully Watts was gone soon I think. Actually never mind as later on people use top rope moves and they’re fine. Badd is just an idiot and when Maxx Payne is the smart guy in the match, the thing just sucks.

Here’s the rematch at Clash XXIV.

Maxx Payne vs. Johnny B. Badd

This is Payne’s guitar vs. Badd’s mask, which he debuted after having his face burned by the Badd Blaster at the previous Clash. Payne pulls him to the floor to start and rams Johnny’s back into the apron. Back in and some hard elbow drops knock the feathers off of Badd’s boas. Johnny comes back with some clotheslines but misses a cross body.

Payne rips the mask off but Badd is wearing a second mask. A running clothesline puts Badd down again though and Maxx starts going after the arm. He takes a bit too long though and gets rolled up for two as Badd counters the Payne Killer. Maxx misses a middle rope splash and Johnny gets a cover for the fast pin.

Off to a tag match at Battlebowl.

Ric Flair/Steve Austin vs. 2 Cold Scorpio/Maxx Payne

Ok this HAS to be good right? Austin is about the level of Dolph Ziggler at this point and I’m pretty sure Flair is a face at this point, so expect more tension. BIG reaction for Flair. Austin cost Flair the world title about ten days ago. Well of course he did. Payne’s head looks a bit like Undertaker which is kind of weird to say.

Austin and Payne start us off here. Payne is a grunge rocker more or less with long black hair and metal band t-shirts. He can wrestle though, and we hear about Flair vs. Vader at Starrcade. The fans want Flair here, which is odd as less than 5 years later Austin would be the biggest star in the world. Scorpio comes in while Flair yells at Austin. For those of you that have never seen him, go find some of Scorpio’s early to mid 90s stuff as he’s incredibly fun to watch. Basically imagine Morrison with some meat on his bones and a lack of botches with the gimmick of just being awesome.

The future Stone Cold hits the floor and he still looks weird with a star on his tights. Flair comes in again and just owns all. We shift into a far more traditional and old school style of tagging with Flair and Austin making Scorpio the face in peril. Flair with old school heel tactics never gets old, but since he’s more or less a natural heel it doesn’t make him look evil. That makes no sense to me either so don’t try to make sense out of it.

Flair and Austin of course go at it which doesn’t last long. TEXTBOOK suplex by Flair. Just absolute perfection there. Austin with a top rope elbow of all things for two. He was a totally different wrestler once Hart broke his neck. In a stupid looking move, Scorpio just kind of falls down, sending Austin stumbling into the corner. Flair and Payne come in and Flair can’t do anything. A running knee in the corner misses and the Figure Four ends it to a big pop. That’s basic psychology and again it works.

Rating: B-. See, THIS is how you do one of these things. There was a simple story here of two guys making something work and just doing their thing on Scorpio while keeping the bigger and stronger guy out. This was a very simple style, but there is one important thing it had going for it: it worked. Best match BY FAR up to this point and likely of the whole show.

Here’s a brawl at Starrcade 1993.

Cactus Jack/Maxx Payne vs. Tex Slazenger/Shanghai Pierce

Payne is a grunge rocker while Slazenger and Pierce are big Texans with Pierce wearing a mask. They would wind up in the WWF as the Godwinns if you remember them. Cactus is fresh off a world title feud with Vader and is one of the hottest stars in the company. Payne and Shanghai get things going and collide in the middle of the ring, sending both guys staggering back a bit. Pierce takes him down with a running shoulder block and let’s stop to look at each other.

Maxx slams him down, causing Shanghai to bring in Tex. Jack gets the tag as well and they stare at each other a bit more. Cactus takes him into the corner but walks into a right hand to slow him down again. A boot to Tex’s head puts him down again and it’s back to Payne. Maxx hits a BIG clothesline to take Slazenger down as the match continues plodding along. Tex charges out of the corner and hits a kind of bulldog to take Maxx down. Off to Shanghai who is immediately caught in a belly to back suplex for no cover.

Back to Cactus who pounds Pierce down before charging into the heel corner. Everything breaks down and the Cactus Clothesline puts Jack and Pierce on the floor again. Slazenger goes over the top to the floor as well, so Payne backdrops the 300lb Jack over the top onto Tex. Back in the ring and Maxx puts on the Payne Killer armbar but Tex makes the save. A double clothesline puts the Texans down and it’s back to Cactus. He ducks a Pierce clothesline which winds up hitting Tex, allowing Cactus to hit his double arm DDT on Pierce for the pin.

Rating: D+. This wasn’t horrible and it was a step above the other tag match, but man alive this show isn’t doing anything well right now. These four guys are all big and mostly slow, which made for a dull and slow match here. Cactus was insanely popular though and kept the crowd interested in the match for the most part.

One more Clash at XXVI.

Nasty Boys vs. Cactus Jack/Maxx Payne

The Nasty Boys are Tag Team Champions but this is non-title. Payne has turned face and joined Jack in a team of strange looking human beings. Jack and Maxx are nowhere to be seen and still aren’t here after a break. They finally come through the crowd and jump the Nasty Boys to start a big brawl. Jack sends Knobbs to the floor and drops the elbow off the apron to the back. Sags comes out and gets slammed and elbowed as well.

Maxx works over on Knobbs in the ring as this is one sided so far. Jack comes back inside and hits a running forearm and it finally settles into a regular match. Jack and Maxx slam Knobbs’ face into the mat and Payne stays inside against Brian. Knobbs rakes the eyes and brings in Sags who walks into a belly to belly for two. Back to Knobbs who gets a boot up in the corner, allowing Jerry to trip Maxx from the floor. The Nastys take over with Payne being sent to the floor for a chair shot to the back from Jerry.

Back in and a double clothesline puts Payne down again and Cactus gets knocked off the apron. Payne comes back with a double clothesline to drop the champions and the hot tag brings in Jack. Everything breaks down and the Cactus Clothesline puts both Nastys on the floor. Back in and Jack hits the double arm DDT on Knobbs but Sags breaks it up with an elbow. Payne breaks that up with an elbow of his own and puts Jack on top for the pin.

Rating: C-. Not a terrible match here but they weren’t playing to their strengths. Payne was a good choice as a face but didn’t have a ton of skills to back up his character. The teams would wind up having some great matches when they stopped trying to wrestle and just went with the insane brawls.

Here’s the rematch at SuperBrawl IV.

Tag Titles: Cactus Jack/Maxx Payne vs. Nasty Boys

Naturally we get the big match intros which mean nothing here. Payne was annoying and not that good. Jack is of course epically awesome. Some very hot blonde is at ringside. I’m pretty sure Cactus and Payne are the faces here. They again try so hard to make someone, Payne in this case, a big deal and it still doesn’t work. The fans are dea here despite the company trying to push Cactus as a big deal.

Two to one says the champions keep their belts. Payne was one of those guys that never did anything but was supposed to be a big deal anyway. He’s more commonly known as Man Mountain Rock in case you didn’t know that one. Who thought this was a good matchup anyway? Cactus comes in for the hot tag to clean house and the match picks up a bit.

This is far less of a match and far more of a fight, which makes sense given that the second most talented guy in the match is freaking Brian Knobbs. HOKEY SMOKE Foley got knocked from the apron to the exposed concrete and landed on his HEAD. He’s got to have a freaking concussion. He has to. So the idiot Sags kicks him in the head. Keep in mind, you can see them TONIGHT on Impact!

They have to bring up Lost in Cleveland after that. That’s a story we’ll cover someday. Think of the dumbest angle you’ve ever heard of. This is worse. This feels like one of those bad ECW matches that they have a bad name for putting on time and time again. The rematch would be far better but that’s not saying a lot. This thing needs to end, like NOW. Payne gets his armbar (yeah that’s his finisher) on Knobbs but Sags gets a guitar shot to him for the DQ to end it.

Rating: D. It’s an ok brawl but a terrible match. The Cactus bump was great but just another reason why Foley isn’t going to know his name about three years from now. Still though, this could have been far worse but it was boring as all goodness. Why have these guys try to wrestle?

Here’s the last WCW match and Payne’s best by about a million miles.

Tag Titles: Nasty Boys vs. Cactus Jack/Maxx Payne

This is a street fight with falls counting anywhere so call it a hardcore match. This match is more or less epic as they more or less kill each other for about 9 minutes. I’m fired up for this. They don’t even make it to the ring. Well at least Cactus and Brian don’t. How weird is it that Cactus was probably the more normal of those two men? Cactus hits Knobbs in the face with half of a pool cue which at least isn’t metal so it’s a bit more believable.

They have two referees here which is smart for a change. There’s nothing here but violence and they’re living it up out there with it. This is a freaking war with the cameras having issues keeping up with it. Now I know I have a reputation for hating these things, but a few things to keep in mind here. Number one, the stuff they’re using isn’t incredibly over the top. There are chairs, trash cans, a pool cue (a bit of a stretch but not really) and various things they find in the arena.

There aren’t scissors or screwdrivers etc. Second, this is the culmination of a big feud between these guys. Payne and Knobbs are fighting in a souvenir stand in case you were wondering. But yeah, this isn’t just a random brawl for the sake of having a random brawl. They had built this feud up for months but it kept ending in a DQ. The story makes sense to end like this.

Third, these guys can actually work decent matches without weapons. I’ve yet to see Sabu or New Jack do so. Finally, there aren’t any ridiculous spots here to suck the life out of it. There’s no scaffold or whatever. They’re just beating the tar out of each other and you get the feeling that they want to kill each other. Good freaking night.

Foley was covering Jerry and Knobbs came from nowhere with a shovel (Jack’s trademark at the time so it makes sense) and just blasts the heck out of him with it. Sags takes the shovel and with Cactus on the ground, he just smacks the heck  out of Jack’s head with it kind of like a conchairto. Payne goes through a real table after it anyway, before it was a clichéd spot.

Rating: A-. This was freaking AWESOME. Like I said though, there were a lot of differences here that made the thing far better than your typical brawl. The main thing was the amount of brutal spots and the total lack of stopping. Watch this match as it’s just freaking awesome. This was brutal now but back then this was EPIC.

Payne would head over to the WWF after this as Man Mountain Rock, which was basically a more kid friendly version of Van Hammer. We’ll start things on Raw, January 30, 1995 in his debut.

Man Mountain Rock vs. Charlie Hunter

Rock plays his guitar before we get going. Unfortunately it’s not the awesome WWF logo model. Hunter’s shoulders have as much effect as you would expect on a guy that weighs nearly 400lbs. Rock hiptosses him down and drops a big elbow, followed by a big splash. A gordbuster ends Hunter quick.

Since that was his first WWF match, we’ll wrap it up with his last one, from Superstars on September 9, 1995.

Jean Pierre LaFitte vs. Man Mountain Rock

Now we get the WWF guitar. LaFitte is a pirate who steals stuff from fans, as well as Bret’s jacket. Rock runs him over with some shoulders and a clothesline sends Jean out to the floor. Back in and Jean avoids a charge, allowing him to tie Rock up in the ropes. That goes nowhere so Rock tries a slam, only to have LaFitte fall on him for two. The huge Rock’s sunset flip doesn’t work but he grabs a nice overhead belly to belly. He misses a middle rope splash though and Jean ends him with a swanton called Le Cannonball.

Rating: D. This really wasn’t much to see as the styles clashed badly. LaFitte wasn’t much more than a bad gimmick and Rock was way too fat to do much at this point. That suplex looked good though and he still had enough charisma to carry him through a bad match. Still though, not a good way to end his career.

Payne was a guy that was all character and very little in ring abilities. The fans dug him though and the WWF guitar was just freaking cool. He was much better when he was brawling instead of trying to have a match, but that still doesn’t mean much. If nothing else, check out that Spring Stampede street fight, which is considered one of WCW’s best matches ever.

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