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[1999-11-06-MPPW-TV] Brian Christopher, Doug Gilbert and Tommy Rich

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Brian Christopher and Spellbinder are dressed for a funeral and even have flowers. Kevin Christian mourns with them as well, which is hilarious. Brian somberly reveals that Tommy Rich and Doug Gilbert passed away and today, their lives will be honored. Spellbinder is really good, but Christopher knocks this out of the park again. He reads a Doug Gilbert bio that just has me rolling because it's so embellished.

 

"Doug Gilbert was given the nickname 'Dangerous' when as a child, he picked up the cigarette butt that was being used to heat the Gilbert family trailer and put it in his mouth."

 

Brian is amazing in this. Just incredible. He shoots on Doug a little, and then requests that they bring out their remains. They put Doug's in a vacuum cleaner. Oh, Brian on Rich. "BEER. He loved BEER."

 

They play Taps and the lights go out. When they come back on, Gilbert and Rich are there and clear the ring. This segment is just phenomenal.

 

And then ... it keeps going.

 

Rich is first to talk. He says he's done a lot in his life but he's not ashamed of anything. Rich calls Spellbinder a guy who would only weigh 110 lbs. if he wasn't on steroids. If only that was the biggest potshot in the segment.

 

Doug starts by doing an awesome job hyping their barbed wire match this evening. He talks about how Brian Christopher should play Doug Gilbert every week because it's his best shot of ever getting over. Doug then says if Brian wants to play the family card, he's happy to do it. He explains that the reason Brian Christopher was so successful in Memphis for so long because his dad was Jerry Lawler. Dave Brown sees where this is going and is exasperated. He's just getting started. He talks about Randy Hales smoking crack in the back right now and accuses Jerry Lawler of raping a 13-year old girl. Dave immediately cuts to commercial and this led to Lawler pulling out and Power Pro no longer being a developmental territory. Legend has it Lawler saw this at home on TV and immediately got in his car and drove to the studio.

 

Well, that was all fun.

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I think it was the Peggy & Tommy parody the week prior that really set Doug off. Doug hated Lawler, left a message on his machine threatening to kill him, and had been waiting to tee off on the Lawlers on live tv. Poor Dave was just mortified during this whole thing. I felt so sorry for him. As history tells, Lawler went berserk at the TV station to the point they threatened him with arrest and banishment from the station. It wasn't about a month later, Lawler would be on the rival KAW (now-renamed MCW) TV, with Lance Russell and the WWF developmental guys in tow. Also, Peggy Gilbert was furious over the whole thing as well, especially the infidelity accusations. I guess Randy, stupidly, forgot to clear the whole thing by them. Lawler contemplated suing but decided against it since Doug had nothing to sue for.

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Man Brian's gotta be in the running for MVP of 1999. I died when he mentioned the cigarette line with a straight face. I'm really surprised Doug even showed up after that Peggy and Tommy segment. This segment is legendary for Doug's teeing off but him throwing a vacuum cleaner I don't remember that. He almost took out Downtown Bruno. I'm also surprised Randy didn't go to commercial after Doug said he was smoking crack. I would have loved to had been a fly on the wall when Lawler showed up. Of course right after the segment, Randy told dave that Doug was fired.

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This has all been recapped in this thread, and seeing this all for the first time...wow. Unbelievable. I've been waiting and wondering for weeks now, "Is this the segment where Doug goes off? Or this? Or this one?" Incredibly, this is one of the very best segments of the '99 Yearbook before Doug shows up. That Doug goes off after all we've already seen is like icing on the cake. I've been deliberately avoiding reading up on this incident in detail because I wanted to see it first, and now I can't wait to get into the follow-up from this. This has more layers to it than the most complicated wrestling storyline, proving that truth is stranger than fiction, even in wrestling--just so many aspects to talk about that I can't do it justice. But some as they come to me:

 

- All the shootish comments throughout the year about what a loose cannon Doug is bear fruit in the worst possible way from a PPW standpoint.

 

- All the low blows Christopher and Spellbinder were laying on the Gilberts and Rich...if that wasn't cleared, then Randy Hales is a dumbass. I laughed at a lot of these lines but like the Arn Anderson parody I felt guilty about doing so, not knowing how they were being perceived in real life. Looking back, knowing that they weren't bothering to go over this with Doug anyway, I'm honestly half-surprised they didn't try to evoke Eddie for some more cheap heat.

 

- Just how much of a plan did Doug go into this with? Did he know upon coming back (he'd been touring for IWA in Japan which was why he'd been absent for a few weeks) that he was going to cut loose? Did he cut a traditional wrestling promo to start with (complete with "Tonight in the New Daisy..." hype) just to lull everybody, or did he, in the middle of the promo, decide "fuck it"?

 

- I also wonder if the first bristling by Dave was something that Gilbert took as a bit of a challenge--that he saw how he was able to get a rise out of Dave by outing Lawler as Christopher's dad, and decided to see how much he'd get away with.

 

- Where is Lawler, anyway? He had to leave television due to his mayoral run lest WMC run afoul of equal-time laws, but the election was in early October. It's not a case of Yearbook selection bias, because Observer recaps of these shows don't mention him, either. Why wouldn't he at least be showing up every so often in an emeritus/part-time role, at the very least?

 

- What did Tommy Rich think of all this? Was he complicit? Did he feel double-crossed? Did he stand by Doug? His is much closer to a wrestling promo but he still works in a personal shot at Spellbinder ("If it wasn't for steroids, you wouldn't weigh but 110 pounds!" Dave seemed to like that line.)

 

Just an amazing piece of television, sometimes even for the right reasons. With the Jerry Jarrett/Memphis PERSONAL ISSUES DRAW MONEY philosophy (printed and hanging on Jerry's office wall), the line between shoot and work is sometimes blurred more effectively than Vince Russo or Eric Bischoff or even Brian Pillman could ever dream of. We saw it blur more and more over the course of these segments until finally coalesced into one giant, glorious explosion. #2 Memphis segment of the decade, right behind the Snowman debut.

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Lawler left Power Pro weeks before this. I think it was towards the summer. When he returned in 2000, he mentioned he left because Randy kept putting himself in top feuds of the WWF guys like Angle. This was the final straw that led him to going to KAW in January and forming MCW.

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