Due to the surprisingly positive reaction of my million word review of a TNA wrestling video last week, I'm doing another in my series of "simply describing TNA storylines because it's funnier than doing jokes".
This week: "Stone Cold" Shark Boy
Even if you're not a fan of wrestling (and God bless you if you aren't), you're probably aware of "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. Austin was one of the WWF's biggest stars in the late 90's and his popularity was arguably what caused the slumping WWF brand to turn itself around and beat rival promotion WCW into a bloody pulp in the ratings wars.
Ironically, Austin had been fired from the WCW several years prior for "not being Hulk Hogan or one of Hulk Hogan's friends". He went to ECW for a while (where he developed the character that would later net him somewhere in the neighborhood of 11 trillion dollars) and then onto the WWF where he made it big by drinking beer, giving people the finger, using a lot of profanity and selling shirts branded with his catchphrases such as "Austin 3:16", "Hell Yeah" and "What". For males aged 14-29, he was the definition of "cool" and "badass" and he made a lot of people very rich.
10 years later, possibly retarded/red headed stepchild promotion TNA decided to recreate the magic.
No, really, they literally tried to recreate "Stone Cold" Steve Austin by having another character act, talk and wrestle just like him. And of course, they slapped the gimmick onto the "wacky" character "Shark Boy" so that when people inevitably called them on the shameless ripoff, they could say "lol nah man it's ironic".
So the setup goes like this: Shark Boy is in a coma (how he got in the coma, I don't know. My guess would be a suicide attempt after the magnitude of working at company as godawful as TNA hit him). His wife and kids, dressed in matching Shark Boy costumes naturally, are at his side while Dr. Fishman and Nurse Bass (EL OH EL DO YOU GET IT?! THEY ARE FISH REFERENCES) attend to him.
The situation looks bleak until Shark Boy's friend and perpetual charisma vacuum Eric Young stumbles in. Eric Young has had a million gimmicks in TNA from "bad guy Canadian no one cares about" to "superhero no one cares about" and TNA constantly "pushes" him (i.e. tries to make him an important, well-liked character) despite no one in the entire world caring about him. Legend has it, when he emerged from his mother's birth canal, his parents tried to start a "WHERE'S OUR REFUND *CLAP* *CLAP* *CLAP CLAP CLAP*" chant right there in the delivery room.
Eric deduces that Sharky needs some water. I don't know if the implication here is that he's thirsty or that he can't breathe. I'll go with the latter since we're already up to the gills (haha!) in fish references. Eric (being the barely sentient fuck up that he is) knocks the glass off the table which shatters, bearing an uncanny resemblance to the start of a certain wrestler's theme music. Like a flash, Shark Boy awakens from his coma and starts spouting off "Stone Cold" Steve Austin catchphrases in a voice so eerily accurate, I'm not entirely sure they didn't have Steve phone it in as a favor.
In the following weeks, Shark Boy fleshed out the gimmick (which is to say, copied more things). He got new theme music (a lawsuit-worthy copy of the real thing), started dressing like Steve Austin and even put a fishy spin on everything Stone Cold-related: "Gimme a hell yeah" became "Gimme a shell yeah", his finishing move became a copy of Stone Cold's move dubbed the "Chummer" instead of the "Stunner", instead of flipping people the bird, he'd do some kind of weird shark fin gesture. Heck, he even celebrated his wins with an ice coldbeerbottle of clam juice. Shark Boy 24/7 says he just bit your ass.
And the punchline to all of this mess? This was all like 3-4 years ago and as far as I know, this is still Shark Boy's gimmick. I almost have to admit that if they did this for a couple of weeks as a gag, it'd have been pretty funny throwaway joke but no, of course we can't have that. TNA. Must. Always. Run. Shit. Into. Ground. fffffffffffffffff.
Are you concerned that you may be a character trapped in a Tom Waits song? Be smart and learn the warning signs before it's too late. Also, it's too late. It has always been too late.
I'm haunted by a recurring vision of a skeleton flipping me off. To avoid seeing this terrifying image in bumper sticker form, I pay someone with a blank bumper to drive in front of me at all times.
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