Even if you’ve never seen a pro-wrestling show, I’m pretty sure you can guess at the identities of the four men who gave “Macho Warrior” Ric Hogan his name, his purpose, his reason for being. Picture, if you will, an island where a redneck Dr. Moreau fuses together his favorite professional wrestlers to create new, undefeatable, unaccountably popular spandex-clad warriors. The formula, on paper, looks perfect:
Arguably, you’ve got the four biggest moneymakers in the history of wrestling on the operating table (well, probably not Warrior, but his reputation was as such at the time), four dudes who headlined Wrestlemania after Wrestlemania, who have won the hearts and minds of millions of fans, casual (Hogan/Warrior) and die hard (Savage/Flair) alike. This, however, is what you get:
That, right there, is “The Macho Warrior” Ric Hogan: A fat, creepy looking dude with cheap sunglasses and a cheaper bandanna. He wears a t-shirt that says “MACHO WARRIOR RULES” and a pair of Zubaz, because dudes as large as the Macho Warrior are legally prohibited from wearing a pair of trunks like, you know, Ric Flair, Randy Savage, Hulk Hogan or the Ultimate Warrior. Not that I have any problem with the Macho Warrior’s girth–I’m a big supporter of fat dudes in wrestling, be they the awe-inspiring likes of Big Van Vader and Bam Bam Bigelow, the somewhat lesser dudes like Earthquake and Tugboat, or newcomers like Brodus Clay and Tursas. But unlike those guys and countless other Big ‘n Tall wrestlers, the Macho Warrior, well, he’s got the whole world against him, as evidenced by this handy list.
1. Nothing he ever did was destined to work out. The Macho Warrior was a joke wrestler in a joke territory and, as such, will likely go down in history as a dude whose gimmick has been seen on YouTube by maybe 1,000 people. That’s not his fault, per se, but it’s telling. Check out this video of the Macho Warrior’s debut:
Twenty years before this, the USWA was putting “Macho Man” Randy Savage on the map. Before that, the territory was briefly in the national consciousness as the home of the ultra-hot Jerry Lawler/Andy Kaufman feud. Here, the USWA was pretty much a vanity project–it’s only reason for being seemed to be as an excuse for Jerry Lawler, wrestling’s own creepy uncle, to hang out with Hooters girls and participate in some of the worst wrestling ever committed to tape. It didn’t help matters much that other wrestling companies with more prolific TV deals were featuring better wrestlers and more diverse storylines, but rolling with a guy like Macho Warrior as a champion of any sort kind of proves that you’ve given up as a company.
2. He’s awful with his character. I mean…he implements the “Macho” and the “Hogan” just fine…
…but, really, we’re talking about a guy capable of, at best, a 4th grader’s imitation of any given wrestler. If ya SPEAK like I’m WRITIN’ in a graaaavelly voice, BROTHER, you’re only doing half the job, dig it? There’s two other wrestlers smashed into the guy’s name, and both are rife with comedic potential (if wrestling’s your thing, and you find humor in it). Putting my nerd hat on, I came up with this:
YOU KNOW SOMETHING, MEAN GENE? I’ve been styling and profiling so long, as ordered to do by my WARRIOR GODS, that I sometimes forget that I’m human, BROTHER. YEAH! Everywhere I go, there are long limousines, beautiful girls, AND ALL THE SLIM JIMS I CAN SNAP INTO, DIG IT? Now Brian Christopher, brother, he’s been going around town worrying about PG-13, BUT HOW DO YOU NOT LOOK INTO THE EYES OF THIS WARRIOR…how do you not look at my 24-inch pythons and not tremble in fear? I’m a kiss stealing, wheeling, dealing son of a gun, Mean Gene, and I’m RIDING THE EDGE OF A LIGHTNING BOLT, BROTHER! So whatcha gonna do, brother, WOOOOOOOOO, when the Macho Warrior Ric Hogan snaps into you? OH YEAH! *SNORT*
Also, there are so few occasions in life where it’s appropriate to wear a sequined robe, and the Macho Warrior sure blew his.
3. He’s terrible in the ring, but that doesn’t really have much merit on him as a character. Again, though, this is a somewhat missed opportunity, as all four men he’s parodying have very particular tics and very well-known finishing moves. Not that I expect a huge dude like Ric Hogan to climb the top turnbuckles and hit a Savage-style elbow drop, but Flair’s figure four leg lock and Warrior’s running splash could/should have been part of the equation.
4. His ring gear:
“Macho Warrior” Ric Hogan, as funny as I actually think the character is, is one of those guys who non-wrestling fans look at with contempt, prompting the typical response of “Oh, that fake stuff?” with the head shake and the “please get the hell away from me” stare. Most wrestling fans probably aren’t fans of the Macho Warrior, either, but that’s beyond the point: He’s a relic of a two year period where wrestling really was a live-action cartoon, where the action was so fake and the gimmicks were so over the top that all but the most dedicated nine-year olds turned their back on the stuff. Granted the Memphis territory wasn’t exactly rolling in money, as evidenced by the 50 or so people crammed into a news station to watch the so-called wrestling, and granted Ric Hogan’s not quite on the same level of badness as big league flops like the Ding Dongs or Phantasmo, but were I a kid flipping through the channels in 1995, Ric Hogan’s the sort of dude who’d convince me to never watch wrestling again.
But I don’t live in Memphis and I never saw Ric Hogan cut a path of destruction through the USWA on Saturday Mornings. All I’ve got are a handful of YouTube clips of some big dude trying to live his dream, and if they’re unfortunately hilarious now, consider this: Ric Hogan was working for a WWF feeder league, and he was one bright idea away from getting called up to riff on his four namesakes on live television. In a way, Ric Hogan’s an awful character because that never happened.