WWF Magazine in the mid-1990's was a truly a work of art. It was a time when the company was still very much PG (think "The New Generation" era) and on the verge of being seriously challenged by the kids at WCW, so they weren't on their A game at this point. Sure, they had Bret Hart and The Undertaker among a few other headliners, but the marquee value the WWF name had in the mid-80's was sadly long gone.
But at that same time, that 'down in the dumps' mentality afforded the magazine a bit more creativity and fun than it normally had throughout its 30-year run. Just look at the cover: my favorite King Kong Bundy in a Santa Claus outfit, stuffing the nerdy Jamison into his Santa sack, while Ted DiBiase looked on approvingly? Um.... how about YES PLEASE! If this isn't the very definition of "art," I don't know what is.
Oh..... and did I mention Vince Russo (quite literally) had the book here? No, Vinnie Ru wasn't writing the federation's storylines just yet, but he was in charge of the magazine. As a result, his fingerprints are ALL OVER the publication!
But first.... WWF Magazine began with a rare lifting of the ol' kayfabe veil, as they admit that Vince McMahon isn't just an announcer on "the Federation Television Network" ($9.99?), but he's actually a top-ranking executive within the company! SHUT. UP.
Sure, me and my buddies all knew about this already - it wasn't like anyone outside the WWF structure was making this out to be a secret - but it was still kind of cool to hear them actually admit it in the pages of their own magazine.
Against this backdrop, McMahon is talking about steroids, the loss of Hulk Hogan and other topics to a sportscaster named "Chet Coppock", which sounds like the best sportscaster name EVER.
Next, we have an interview with The Undertaker's manager Paul Bearer, who discusses his client's favorite food ("COLD CUTS!"), Madonna ("Her career has been DEAD for years!") and other hilarious one-liners.
But wait.... who's interviewing him? Could it be a young Vince Russo? Why yes - Vicious Vinnie has his back turned to the camera, but it's definitely him.
Here he is in another photo from the same issue, talking to "Double J" Jeff Jarrett about his up-and-coming career in Las Vegas or somesuch crap.
Believe it or not, Russo wrote pieces in this issue as "Vince Russo", "Vic Venom", "The Informer" and "Editor". Hell, I'd be shocked if he didn't write the merchandise catalogue copy, too.
Remember the work of art from the magazine's front cover? Turns out, this wasn't just your typical "King Kong Bundy dressing up as Santa Claus because he's a hell of a nice guy" story -- there was actually something to it.
According to "Season's Beatings", Jamison (probably Vince Russo under a pen name) is getting ready for Christmas and hoping that his girlfriend Alundra Blayze gets him something nice. But the editor of WWF Magazine (Russo!) asked the former Bobby Heenan Show fixture if he'd interview King Kong Bundy.
No problem. Jamison and "Buns" go back quite a ways and so Jamison doesn't see how hilarity could possibly ensue out of this situation.
After getting berated by Bundy's manager "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase, Jamison walks into a washroom (it seems The Walking Condominium is otherwise occupied) and begins acting Bundy a series of inflammatory questions about his choice of Santa Claus outfit, his bald head and what the future Canadian Bulldog's World LJN Wrestling Figure Hall of Famer plans to do over the Xmas holidays.
In a shocking turn of events, Bundy stuffs Jamison into his gift sack and then flushes his head down the toilet. Who would have seen that coming?
But hey, you stupid marks didn't pay $2.95 ($3.50 in Canada) to hear about Jamison and a toilet - you want intrigue and controversy.
Try this on for size: WWF President Jack Tunney (who, in reality, was known to answer the office phones at the Toronto wrestling office at the time) is caught taking a bribe from none other than "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase! DiBiase is in this month's issue so much, you'd think his surname was Russo.
And while the photographer managed to take some very incriminating photos that looked like the unflappable Tunney taking DiBiase's dirty millions, neither party seemed to notice the flash bulbs that no doubt would have gone off if the two were being photographed in a parking lot late at night.
Another popular section of WWF Magazine in the mid-1990's was "Pin 'Em Down", in which stupid mark fanboys allegedly sent questions in to their favorite WWF superstars.
No offense, but I've got to call bullshit on this one. Let's say you're a fan and you're sending in a letter to the magazine. It costs you real money (the cost of a stamp) because e-mail more or less didn't exist back then. So you have ONE chance to ask your favorite wrestler a question, and you ask Razor Ramon "what kind of motor oil you put in your hair"? You ask Tatanka "why he's an embarrassment to all Native Americans"? You ask Ted DiBiase.... well, anything..... with the possible exception of "will you give me some of your money?"
I'm sorry, but these questions are clearly plants or flat-out fakes. No offense to "Rafael Guzman" of Puerto Rico, but I'm thinking he never existed. Just like DiBiase et all didn't really answer the question, these pretend people didn't really ask it. Dare I say the author of both was actually..... Vince Russo? Muhuhuhahahahaha!
Last but not least.... we have a comic book on the inside back cover about "Scoop Sullivan: Squared Circle Superhero", a nerdy cub reporter that reminds me WAY too much of a journalism-school friend I have who is also nicknamed Scoop.
Often times, Sullivan would run into trouble because Bam Bam Bigelow or someone was harassing him and he'd have to turn into a jacked-up superhero, but in this month's edition, he's back to being a teenage punk working for the school paper, which someone expects Sullivan to score an interview with a WWF wrestler (has Scoop even seen their PR department before? They'd shut that shit down before he even got in front of them.)
Anyways, Scoop happens to randomly bump into Bob Backlund on the street and, heck, Mr. Backlund just can't say no to the kid. So he starts reciting big words (as was his gimmick at the time) and Scoop begins sweating and eventually reaches for a towel.
Backlund sees the towel and is reminded of how his manager Arnold Skaaland threw in the towel some 11 years earlier, causing Mr. Backlund to flip out.
Um..... who wrote this crap???
Say no more.