Smackdown Strangeness 2019: Moppy

13-07-2019 00:07

The Scene begins in Fox’s room as he walks in, talking to someone on his phone.

Fox: A celebrity guest, you say? She used to be in WWE? Well, that’s lucky, because this week I’m doing my annual “Smackdown Strangeness” review. Yeah, that’s where I look at a weird storyline from when I used to watch wrestling with my family. Yeah, yeah, this is great. I could always use a good endorsement. I still can’t believe you got someone famous for me to talk to on the blog! Not to be rude, but how much did you have to pay her, anyway? She’s doing this for free? Wow, I can see why they call you the best in the business!

He sees her sitting in his chair.

Fox: Oh, she’s here already, I’m going to have to call you back later. Yeah, yeah, you’re awesome. Live long, stay gold, don’t blow your Netflix deal money in one place. Yeah, bye.

He hangs up and turns to the person sitting in his chair.

Fox: Excuse me, miss. I’m glad you’re here and all. Wait a minute… blond hair… could it be? [Gasps] Oh my God, is are you… Stacy Keebler? [Squees] I had the biggest crush on you! Listen, not to start off on the wrong foot, but that’s kinda my seat…

The person sitting in his seat says nothing.

Fox: [Confused] Uh, hello? Stacy…He turns his chair around to see not a person sitting there, but a mop. That’s right, a mop. With a face crudely drawn on a piece of paper stuck to the head.

Fox recognizes this mop all too well. He looks shocked for a moment, then angry.

Fox: [Picks the phone and calls] I take it all back. You disgust me. You sit on a throne of lies. You’re a fake. You stink. You smell like beef and cheese, you don’t smell like Santa. Your monthly fee? [Sighs, then speaks through grit teeth] Sure, I’ve got your pay, it’ll be in the mail this weekend. Bye.

He hangs up the phone while grumbling about “no good lawyers always screwing you over and bleeding you dry,” then resigns himself to his fate.

Fox: [Sighs] I guess I know what I’m reviewing this week…

*Sighs* Ding, ding, ding. Uncanny Fox here, and I’ve got a special guest here for my second annual Smackdown Strangeness review. *Holds up the mop* This is Moppy, who used to work as a manager for Perry Saturn in the WWE (then WWF) back in 2001. Yes, I know it’s a mop with a face drawn on it, that’s the whole point.

*Sets the mop aside, then continues* But first, a brief recap of the actual person at the heart of this storyline. Perry Saturn, real name Perry Satullo, was a talented Midcarder (not quite a main eventer, yet still reasonably relevant) in both ECW and WCW, before departing to WWF alongside the likes of Eddie Guerrero, Dean Malenko and [Name Redacted] after being dismissed and underutilized by the higher management, forming a heel stable known as “The Radicalz” (with a “Z,” because the late 90’s). Eventually, Guerrero and [Redacted] would leave the group to pursue singles competition, and Saturn would be joined by Terri Runnels, a Diva known as the “Horned She-Devil,” as a valet/girlfriend.

Things hit a snag during an untelevised (or “Dark”) match between Saturn and a rookie named Mike Bell on a 2001 edition of Sunday Night Heat, in which Saturn lost his temper and legitimately attacked the jobber, claiming to have “blacked out” as he did so. As a result, he was punished with a “concussion” gimmick meant to make him look foolish – yet ironically it helped him get over with the fans. Because back then, concussions were funny and not horrible injuries with lasting effects on one’s brain, often leading to things like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy… Uh, and here’s where my wooden friend over here would come into the picture… [Looks over a Moppy, who in turn is looking at him. Nervous, he turns the mop around and continues.]

During the coming episodes of Raw and Smackdown, he would suffer blow to the head after blow to the head, in the form of strikes from his opponents and one hilarious mishap on a double date with Terri. Yeah, I’ll admit, I laughed, though after what I just described above I kind of feel bad about it. And as these injuries piled up, poor Perry would grow increasingly absent minded, blurting out random bizarre phrases (“The Statue of Liberty has long legs because she carries a torch,” “Doggies eat applesauce to save the ozone layer”, and so forth), followed by “You’re welcome!” And you thought The Rock came up with that…

But the real kookiness began on the June 19, 2001 of Smackdown, where Saturn took on then-current WWF Hardcore Champion and former fiancé to Stephanie McMahon, Test (who was nursing some broken ribs to go along with the broken heart) in the expected Hardcore Match (no holds barred, pins and submissions count anywhere – even outside the arena itself! – and the use of blunt objects to attack your opponent with is not only allowed, but encouraged). The bout plays out as expected, with Perry pulling out all manner of aluminum trash cans, Stop signs, and kendo sticks out from under the ring to pummel Test with, and in turn be pummeled himself. Along with even more blows to the head, no doubt fueling what is to come. But the match would reach its zenith when Saturn reaches for one of the unused weapons, a mop… only for Test to kick it in his face with his patented Big Boot (pretty much a giant kick to the face, and Test was a pretty big guy after all), breaking it in half and dazing Perry long enough to land the pinfall and retain his title.

Terri (who was at ringside the whole time, cheering for her man, distracting the ref at one point and giving sexy devil horns all the while – that was kind of her thing) slides into the ring to console her boyfriend after such a loss. But Perry seems more fixated on the broken mop that struck him than the outcome of the match, or even Terri for that matter, going as far as to yank the mophead out of her hands to reattach it as Paul Heyman (who was performing color commentary alongside Michel Cole – half the entertainment in a wrestling match comes from the amusing play-by-play, after all) makes a crude joke at ringside about how it’d look like her if Perry tied two balloons to it. Don’t give him ideas, Paul. I mean, you’re a genius, but not now. And this is just the beginning of the madness…

Things would pick up on the June 26th edition of Smackdown, with an impromptu match between Saturn and the Big Show (known for being a giant freak of nature among giant freaks of nature), the latter being accompanied to the ring by the lovely Trish Stratus. In a replay segment before the match, we see Show trying to flirt with Trish, only to flub it up and knock her opened water bottle out of her hand. And that still wasn’t the most embarrassing thing to happen to Trish that year… Ol’ Biggie tries to clean the resulting mess up with a very familiar mop – one that’s been tapped back together, and Perry runs in to grab it out of his hands, insisting that it’s “his mop.” Show pushes him aside, and in a moment of hubris befitting a man of his stature, spitefully snaps the mop against his knee like Bane breaking the Bat, much to Saturn’s dismay.

This uncalled for act of violence against an inanimate object leads to the aforementioned match between the two, and Perry enters the ring alongside Terri, with the broken mop in his hand – a mop that Michael Cole and Tazz note that Perry seems to care for as much, if not more, than his actual girlfriend. The match proceeds with Big Show dominating the smaller Saturn (yeah, they don’t call him Big Show for nothing) until the action spills outside the ring.

As Perry starts to gain the upper hand (Show took a moment to bully Terri, who tried to intervene on her beau’s behalf), Trish gets ahold of the mop, taunting Saturn until the big guy chases after her, determined to rescue his precious cleaning utensil from the clutches of the Canadian beauty. Terri then attacks Trish from behind, prompting Stratus to toss the mop aside and engage in a catfight with the fellow blonde. And what does Perry do while his girlfriend is being shoved to the floor repeatedly? Goes straight to the mop, treating it as if it were a terminally ill family member. His misplaced priorities give Big Show a chance to win the match with his dreaded Chokeslam (imagine a 7-foot-tall giant grabbing you by the throat, lifting you into the air and slamming you to the ground as hard as he can), and as Perry crawls on the mat, he cradles his dear mop, an act that does not go unnoticed by Terri.

Perry’s devotion to the mop would only grow in the coming weeks, as he goes so far as to attach a paper face to it and give it a name: Moppy. And thus the legend sitting beside me was born. [Notices Moppy staring at him again, recoils in shock, then nervously turns her around again and continues] Perry would devote all his time and energy toward Moppy, ignoring both Terri’s attempts to get him to notice her and Paul Heyman trying to recruit him for his then-ongoing war against the WWF (this storyline took place during the infamous “InVasion” angle, where WCW and ECW would join forces in a war against Vince McMahon – and Perry was a former member of both, yet he would remain loyal to WWF for the entirety of the angle. I mean, he was mistreated by WCW during his time there, but then again that didn’t stop Stone Cold from becoming their leader despite them literally firing him over the phone… I’m getting off track here. Sorry).

Eventually, Terri would put her foot down, and give Perry an ultimatum: either get rid of the “stupid” mop or she’s leaving him. Perry thinks for all of two seconds… before snatching Moppy out of Terri’s hands, telling her “You’re Welcome” and walking off. Now in Perry’s defense, she did insult him quite viciously as she forced him to choose, and her later actions make it hard to feel sorry for her. And there was that whole business with her hitting him in the head with a garbage can lid while they were out on a date. So yeah, in a love triangle between a wrestler, a woman and a mop with a face taped to it, I’m rooting for the mop. I just said that out loud.

Scorned by Perry’s rejection, Terri would join The Alliance (Team WCW/ECW) and ally herself with former ECW top heel Raven (whose stable Perry was actually a part of back in their Extreme days, interestingly enough) in a match against Saturn a couple of weeks later on Smackdown, much to shock and confusion of both Perry and the commentators (Tazz – who spoke on behalf of The Alliance during this angle – didn’t know about her defection until later). And of course, Perry brought Moppy to the ring, dressed in a new hat he bought for her. After Raven and Terri make it down the ramp, Saturn begins the match with a divebomb out of the ring, leading to a brief yet entertaining skirmish that ends with Perry tossing Raven into Moppy (who was posted in a corner) and landing his signature Moss-Covered Three-Handled Family Gradunza (yes, that’s the name of the move, this is a dude that’s in love with a mop, remember) on the nihilistic cult leader-turned C-list Alliance goon (seriously, Raven was underutilized as heck) for the win.

But when Perry turns around to celebrate, he finds Moppy gone, vanished from her perch on the ringpost. He searches frantically and calls out to her, but the mop is nowhere to be found. Okay, I’m just going to spoil the ending: Terri took her. I mean, she had the motive (Perry dumped her), the means (just, I dunno, taking the mop) and the opportunity (I’m guessing while Perry was pinning Raven). But, Perry was brain damaged due to multiple blows to the head, so he didn’t put two and two together yet.

Over the coming weeks, Perry would move Heaven and Hell In A Cell looking for his beloved mop, or as he described her to the police (yes, he actually called the cops), Moppy Q. McMopperson. He searched WWF New York during the entirety of SummerSlam, posted her picture on milk cartons, and even crossed enemy lines to ask The Hurricane (he was a superhero, after all) to help look for her, not that it did much good. All he had to go on was a ransom note promising her safe return in exchange for $100,000, an amount he couldn’t afford on his Midcarder’s salary. And unfortunately, GoFundMe wasn’t a thing yet.

His obsession with finding Moppy started to affect his in-ring performance, much to the concern of then-WWF Commissioner William Regal, since, you know, they were still in the middle of a war against The Alliance during this time, and Hurricane was able to trick Perry into costing Team WWF a match before. In one hilarious skit that I tragically can’t seem to find a clip for, Regal and his assistant Taijiri tried to placate Perry with a fake Moppy they made, but Perry saw through the ruse and lashed out, trashing the Commissioner’s office and crying out for Moppy in dramatic fashion.

And I’ve got to hand it to Saturn, despite the whole angle being a punishment, and he himself hating it and being, by his own admission, “too out of it on drugs at that time” to contribute anything creatively except the ending, he handled this stupid gimmick with such utter conviction that it’s hard not to find it all entertaining. I know my brother and I cracked up whenever he would enter a room yelling “Moppy!” [He sees Moppy looking at him once again, and turns her back around.]

The truth to Moppy’s whereabouts would be revealed on the September 17th edition of Raw, after Perry won a match with Shawn Stasiak (an Alliance member and WCW guy who would appear on and off after the InVasion, only to retire the following year and become a chiropractor) and his valet, Stacy Keebler (yet the third evil blonde chick involved in this angle, not to mention one of the prettiest ladies in all of wrestling). As he celebrated his victory, who else should appear on the Titan-Tron than Terri, telling Perry that Moppy was right between her legs… tied to a log about to be fed into a woodchipper. Which, as I stated before, was Perry’s idea to end the storyline.

After she taunts Perry some more about how he “could have had both her and Moppy if he played his cards right,” Raven proceeds to mockingly “argue” with Moppy in a squeaky voice not unlike Mr. Bill, assuring her that he would never put her through the woodchipper… right before he slaps duct tape to her mouth and turns the machine on. As he shoves the log Moppy’s tied to into the chipper (and presumably asking himself how he went from literally crucifying people with barbwire to this), the machine stalls, forcing him to humorously make some more “panicking Moppy” noises to fill the dead air until it picks right up again and sends poor Moppy to a shredded death, as Paul Heyman laughs cruelly and Saturn can only watch helplessly from the ring. He would run off to the backstage area to save her, but he was already too late.

Perry would get the chance to avenge Moppy in a match against Raven at 2001’s Unforgiven Pay-Per-View, besting the bird-named man in a quick five minutes. But it was still no consolation for the loss of Moppy. He would soon be sidelined with an injury shortly afterwards, then released from WWF around the time it changed its name to World Wrestling Entertainment. After two years on the independent circuit, he would be forced into retirement after a gunshot wound he suffered in an altercation with a pair of attempted rapists led to an addiction to methamphetamine, which in turn rendered him homeless. Fortunately, he recovered from both his addiction and financial situation, although, in a cruel twist of irony, he did in fact suffer from head trauma. Wow, uh, this really took a bad turn here…

As for everyone else, Terri would take over as the host of the WWF recap talk show Excess shortly after the angle and remain in the company until 2004. And Raven would remain in the midcard until his release in January of 2003, finding work at the then-fledgling TNA, before branching out into stand-up comedy and even helping to write a Spider-Man issue titled “The Last Shoot,” which is about, fittingly enough, the wrestler who Spidey once beat in his first appearance. And, I’m assuming, it does not end in ol’ Bonesaw threatening to “b*tch-slap” Spider-Man and take his girl Mary Jane. Sadly.

This angle… is just so stupid that you can’t help but love it. I’m sorry, I know I grumbled about having to spend the review with Moppy, but I just smile every time I think back on it. Knowing what I know now about the whole thing being a punishment and what Saturn went through afterwards kind of puts a downer on things, but the way he carries himself throughout this whole silly storyline, despite hating the whole thing as I mentioned before, brings it from forgettable to memorable. Not to mention Raven’s role in destroying Moppy at the end, especially his mock-argument with the mop before duct-tapping her mouth and sending her through the woodchipper. And aside from the whole head-injury aspect, which is more Harsher in Hindsight then anything, there’s nothing really negative to say about it. It’s all just innocent, stupid fun.

Well, that’s it for my Smackdown Strangeness review for this year. Next week, I’ll be…

He notices that Moppy is staring at him again.

Fox: [Gets freaked out, then annoyed] Alright, that’s it! [Grabs Moppy] I’ve been turning you around this whole review, and you keep turning back somehow! How are you doing it? Huh? ‘Cause I know I’m not doing it!

He shakes Moppy furiously.

Fox: Are you real?!? Are you alive?!? Huh?!? HUH?!? ARE YOU ALIVE?!? ARE YOU ALIVE?!? HOW’D YOU GET OUT OF THE WOODCHIPPER?!? HOW’D YOU GET OUT OF THE WOODCHIPPER?!? ARE YOU REAL?!? TELL ME! With the Polynesian Demi-God voiced by Dwayne Johnson as my witness, I WILL BURN YOU!!!

There’s no response, and Fox calms down.

Fox: What am I doing? I’m yelling at a stick! [Tosses Moppy aside] I must be losing it. Those Digimon Adventure Tri reviews must have worked me harder than I thought. *Sighs* I should do something easy next week, something short and sweet. Something like…

He looks at his “To Review” shelf and sees the copy of The Star Wars Holiday Special that was mailed to him before.

Fox: [Gulps, then shakes his head] But I’ve already reviewed that… [Realizes] Not all of it…