I’ve read and reviewed every WWE comic book under the sun. From WWF Battlemania to World Championship Wrestling to the Chaos Comics stuff to WWE Heroes. As it is, the only thing I haven’t talked about yet is the 2-issue Undertaker/Rey Mysterio team-up sequel to WWE Heroes because I’ve been waiting for the seemingly canceled follow-up where John Cena is a gladiator trapped in the past. Yes, I just typed that.
Anyway, I figured I had seen it all. I had seen the worst that World Wrestling Entertainment’s checkered past could show me. Then one day, a guy by the name of Tato changed all of that. He had some old WWF Magazine issues and had been looking through them for laugh fodder. He ended up striking oil when he got to early 1997.
Now, first let’s take a quick look at what WWF was like during that time. They were setting up for Wrestlemania 13, the Wrestlemania with the worst PPV ratings in the company’s history. Shawn Michaels was so much of a backstage dick that rather than lose the title against Bret Hart, he milked an injury, claimed to have “lost his smile” and put us in a situation where Sycho Sid was the champ set to defend the belt against the Undertaker. Also, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin had been gaining a lot of momentum as a popular antagonist, constantly badgering honorable good guy Bret “The Hitman” Hart. Wrestlemania 13 would be the show to switch Austin into the company’s most popular good guy.
Of course, the company couldn’t know that Austin would catch on so strongly and help bring forth a new, lucrative era to the WWF. As it was, they were moving closer and closer to bankruptcy at the hands of World Championship Wrestling and their hit storyline with the New World Order. WWF was desperate and desperation can lead to some really unfortunate ideas.
In some issues of WWF Magazine, they’d show an ad for… something. Here are the two released.
Yep. They’re coming. I don’t know what they are, but they seem to have distracted Mankind from his psychedelic surroundings and what appears to be a melting ice cream bar in his hand. It looks like Steve Austin’s on Mars and while he has no trouble breathing, he’s bundling up due to lack of shirt. The more I look at the second one, the more I’m focused on whatever that is behind Austin. Is it a drill? A monster? A tree of some sort?
Of course, you can always tell quality when they use three exclamation points. That’s pretty freaking loud.
Who is coming? Who better than KROZOR?! Once you’ve gotten over the art of the above images, you might be wondering what the hell a Krozor is. Look no further than this snippet of an essay former WWE employee Kevin Kelly wrote up about WWE focusing on young viewers.
As bizarre as the concept of wrestling targeting kids, it’s been tried before. After the New Generation nearly bankrupted the company and then turned into the Attitude Era, the company tried to go back and target kids again. It was a laughable disaster. To anyone inside the Walls of Titan reading this, go to someone who’s been with the company more that ten years and ask if they remember “Krozor”? Let’s take you back to early 1997 and the Company Meeting held at a non-distinguished hotel in downtown Stamford, which is the worst town I have ever been in.
Jim Cornette and I sat in the back of the room as some old guy, who was an outsider hired for large coin, got up and began a video presentation. The audio on the tape was unmistakable. It was the theme from 2001-A Space Odyssey. Yes, Ric Flair’s theme! And right as WCW was stomping us in the ratings! So, of course, Corney and me both let out a “Whoooo!” at the right point of the song. 400 people in a room and two assholes gotta ruin it! Goddamn that was funny!
Jimmy and I are practically pissing our pants we are laughing so hard as the preview of “Krozor” rolls along. Apparently the Undertaker is going to be in space and fight monsters or some nonsense in this comic book. There was more but it’s hard to focus on the screen when you are crying from laughter. The preview ends… stunned silence followed by polite applause. It was awkward, like if your babysitter asked you and your wife to review her newest porn movie. You feel obligated to like it but it was wrong on so many levels.
Wow. Okay, let’s dive into this.