Um.... Can We Talk About
WCW in the early 1990s was kind of an unusual place.... unusual even by WCW standards.
Under the leadership of Jim Herd, WCW attempted to bring in several family-friendly characters to complete more closely with the WWF. You've probably heard about The Great and Powerful Oz, played by a pre-Diesel version of Kevin Nash. You may have even heard of Big Josh (think the poor man's Hacksaw Jim Duggan, played by a pre-Doink Matt Borne) and some of you may have even heard about Herd's plan to create a humpback tag team, with the idea that nether member could be pinned to the mat because of said humps.
However, the most unintentionally controversial character of that era was The Juicer.
The video above isn't from WCW, but is rather an origin story of sorts. In the late-1980s, Art Barr (who would later go on to much bigger fame as the Los Gringos Locos tag team partner of Eddy Guerrero in AAA), was just starting out in the Portland territory, where his old man Sandy Barr was something of a local legend.
Looking more like a pimple-faced teenager than an actual wrestler, Barr met up with Rowdy Roddy Piper (who was making a rare off-WWF appearance at the time) and after forcing the youngster to take off all his clothes... for some reason.... Hot Rod transformed him into Beetlejuice.
Taking advantage of the 1988 Michael Keaton movie of the same name, Beetlejuice was a huge hit in Portland, portrayed as a hero that kids in the audience could look up to.
Unfortunately, Beetlejuice (oh, shit - I just said his name three times!) ended prematurely, once Barr was charged with statutory rape. Barr later struck a plea bargain and was placed on two years probation, which seems... well, pretty light for a crime of that nature. He also lost his license to wrestle in Oregon -- talk about the ultimate loser leaves town match.
Instead of going to jail or rehab or what have you... Barr went to WCW.
In the above clip, Barr's opponent is JW Storm, a jobber whom I only remember because my brother picked him in our wrestling rotisserie league one year and did not fare well because of that choice.
He's facing The Juicer (I guess Time Warner didn't want to be sued by Tim Burton), who looks pretty much like his Portland predecessor only this time, he's being led to the ring..... by a group of.... children? Called The Juice Patrol?
WHAT THE ACTUAL F*CK, WCW??????
Let's just assume, for the sake of argument, that not everyone knew about Barr's criminal past... or maybe Jim Herd was willing to give a second chance. Whatever. Did NO ONE IN WCW perhaps think that it maybe wasn't the best idea for him to come to the ring like the Pied frickin' Piper with a bunch of school-age children in tow?
Like.... you want to do all the other Beetlejuice stuff? Fine. Let him have baby powder come out of his hair. Let him shoot silly string in his opponent's face. Go nuts. Just keep the kids out of it.
Sure, this was before the age of social media and all that. But I still find it hard to believe that WCW wouldn't have, at the very least, checked the guy's criminal record before hiring him.
In the interests of full and fair disclosure, The Juicer's past eventually caught up to him. Margie Boule, a newspaper columnist for The Oregonian newspaper, launched an investigation into Barr's career. This led to a fax campaign where both WCW and local media where WCW was appearing would receive copies of Boules column.
Eventually, WCW terminated his contract (although he and Guerrero appeared on a joint WCW/AAA PPV production in 1994 as Los Gringos Locos) and The Juicer was never heard from again.
Also.... isn't the name THE JUICER kind of inappropriate?