Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Mmmmm Beefy

A few years ago wrestling was EVERYWHERE. You couldn't turn on the TV without seeing it in some form or another.
The WWF had a Superbowl commercial, A&E did a week of "Biography" that featured "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and Andre the Giant (among others), "That 70's Show" did a wrestling episode and wrestling themed eateries were everywhere.

Perhaps the best star of that time period was Mick Foley. Mick had wrestled most of his career under the name Cactus Jack. Jack was a mean guy who wore a flannel shirt and beat people up. When Mick entered the WWF in the late 1990s they came up with a new gimmick for him. Mankind.

Mankind was an odd character to begin with. He came out to the ring to piano music and wore a tattered leather mask and a brown suit. He would pull his own hair out and act like a lunatic. Over time someone decided that Mick could also wrestle as Cactus Jack in the WWF and a NEW character Dude Love. Dude was like a bizarre hippy relic who would come to the ring in a tye dyed shirt and bandana.

Then as a result of a bizarre storyline Mankind began to wear a shirt and tie. His catchphrase was "have a nice day!" and he would talk to a sock puppet he wore on his hand.

He called the sock "Mr. Socko".

This isn't the strange part of the story.

Somewhere at Chef Boyardee headquarters executives sat around a table discussing thier newest pasta dish "Overstuffed Beef Ravioli".

EXEC 1: Who should we get to act as spokesman for this?
EXEC 2: Ted Koppel.
EXEC 1: You always suggest Ted Koppel.
EXEC 2: Ted Koppel is always a good suggestion.
EXEC 3: How about that wrestler who talks to his sock.
EXEC 2: Theres a wrestler that talks to Ted Koppel's SOCK?!?!?!?

His body was never recovered.

The ad campaign ran (mostly) during wrestling programs and cartoons. It featured Mankind eating tons of the stuff. The tagline was "mmmm beefy!"

Soon after there were billboards and grocery store standees. Mankind would even say "mmmm beefy" during some of his wrestling matches.

It was a golden age.

Sadly, Mankind was eventually replaced by The Rock who appeared in an uninspired rap video/commercial for the pasta. He even rhymed 'jabroni' with 'ravioli'.

I would have preferred Ted Koppel.

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