INDUCTION: Basket Case – Boom Crapalappa!

39 Submitted by on Thu, 07 June 2018, 20:00

WCW, 2000

This induction has literally been years in the making.  That doesn’t mean it will be good.  It may be horrible.  But I say that it IS something I have been wanting to do for years and could never do so.  Why?  Because I could never find footage of the legendary WCW superstar known as BASKET CASE.

Basket Case, you are my unicorn.

Rest assured, I knew he existed.  Most folks didn’t.  Want to impress your wrestling nerd friends?  Ask them if they’d ever heard of him.  For sure they’ll say no.  Or they’ll say yes, and you can call them a liar.  As for me, I had vague recollections of him on WCW Saturday Night.  I knew it was future WCW tag champ Mark Jindrak (known today in Mexico as Marco Corleon) as well.  But more than anything, I remember the utter goofiness of the character.  Why it brought to mind other past failures such as…

Abe “Knuckleball” Schwartz!

As I noted in his original induction which I wrote like 18 years ago, this would be Steve Lombardi doing his darnedest to look exactly like Mr. Red.

And failing.  Because Mr. Red was the BOMB.

And Lombardi was well…Lombardi.

Had the Brawler come out with a giant handlebar mustache’d version of Mr. Red, the incredibly awe inspiring Mr. RedLEGS, he’d have gotten a pass from me.

As for his backstory, Vince came up with the character primarily to mock Major League Baseball, who was going through a strike at the time.  You see, because the WWF would NEVER dare go on strike!

I mean, they couldn’t since they weren’t unionized, but still!

There was also The Goon, or I guess according to his chyron, just Goon.  My apologies, I’ve always stuck a “THE” in front of his name.  Don’t I look silly.  I mean, not as silly as the guy dressed up as a hockey player (complete with wrestling boots that resembled skates!), but still!

What is it with me and “but still!” today?

While we lambast Vince McMahonland for their silliness, WCW did get in on the act from time to time as well.  Not only with our induction today, but also with…

“MR. HOLE IN ONE” Barry Darsow!  While I’ve long trumpeted his stint as the Repo Man (in an induction as recent as this one), doing research for this article has given me pause as the mystical time the former Demolition Smash was an EVIL GOLFER was magical indeed.  Having a putting challenge prior to a lock up?  That’s just good form.

While all those have been inducted in the past (and are in the WrestleCrap archives, available here), today we tackle someone who has yet to get his proper recognition.

It may have taken nearly two decades, but today BASKET CASE IS INDUCTED!

Stop right there- don’t look at me and say, “yeah, it’s Mark Jindrak carrying a basketball to the ring.”  Or if you really want to hype up your dork cred, “yeah, it’s Marco Coreleon from CMLL carrying a basketball to the ring.”

Hear me out, because while this character lasted on a month or so, it was absolutely great.

Maybe even better than I remembered.

You see, Jindrak wasn’t just a wrestling basketball player, he was a HEEL wrestling basketball player, a guy who was so evil, so vile, that he earned himself a lifetime ban from the NCAA. What, you think Scott Hudson would lie?

Sadly, in the match the great Jordan Mishkin (he of Headlies fame on this here site) unearthed for me, he was introduced as simply Mark Jindrak.  Doesn’t matter.

YOU’RE FOREVER BASKET CASE TO ME.

Why?  Because I have this (sadly unsigned) publicity shot to prove that he was in fact to be dubbed as such.  Why he was not hailed as such in these bouts is unknown.  I think this is where the cool kids say, “Because WCW.”

I’ll attribute it to an unfortunate clerical oversight.

And can you imagine if this match took place on Nitro?  With Michael Buffer doing one of his overloaded gooftastic introductions?  My skull is bursting at the seams just trying to help my brain contain what could have been.

While Goon (shew, can’t believe I remembered to drop “the” there) would wear wrestling boots disguised as skates, Basket wears actual, honest-to-goodness high tops, looking as though he literally just came off the court after schooling some intramural geeks.  Prior to engaging in fisticuffs, Mr. Case calls a quick time out so he can tie his shoes.

No no no – you tie your shoes AFTER the match in celebration!

Did Bret Hart not teach you anything?

Finally, it’s time for the match to start, and we get what may well be my favorite spot  to take place in a wrestling ring EVER, as Basket Case circles his foe…

…and then throws his ball right on top of Reno’s noggin.

While flinging a leather ball right in his foe’s bald cranium is the first thing you see (and then laugh at for 5 minutes straight if you’re anything like me), don’t miss the minor details.  It’s very clear Basket is walking around with the ball, so I have no question Reno had a good idea how to thwart this.  However, Reno was thrown off his game plan by Case pointing at his feet.  This causes Reno to rightly look down and become susceptible for such an attack.

Better yet, the referee ALSO looks down.  No idea what BC may have said, but I bet it was clever.  Something like, “Hey, look down!”

Why has no one tried that since?

In this match Reno was able to rebound (ha, see what I did there?) and take advantage, forcing Basket to head to the outside, where he attempted to shake off the damage.

And by “shake off”, I mean pretend to drain a three pointer.

Which apparently hurt his wrist.

Maybe he quit basketball not because he was banned, but rather because he wasn’t very good at it?

So our hero gets back in the ring, and takes over on offense which he celebrates by…

…doing another jump shot.

Hmmm…maybe I’m starting to understand why this gimmick didn’t last very long.

And then we get ANOTHER one less than a minute later.

WE GET IT – YOU’RE A BASKETBALL PLAYER!

And obviously, not a very good wrestler, as you got pinned by a guy…

…who did this drop kick.  Holy crap.

Somewhere Jim Neidhart is saying, “that drop kick sucked.”

Of course, Jindrak would improve, and honestly, improve GREATLY.

In his WCW days, he wound up with the world tag team titles with Sean O’Haire as part of the Natural Born Thrillers.  Following that company’s collapse, he found himself in WWE, where he was very nearly a major star.  Get this – he was originally planned to be the heavy in Evolution – in fact, vignettes were filmed with him in that role.  Instead, he lost the part to this guy:

Yep, in an alternate universe, Drax the Destroyer could have been played by BASKET CASE.

Man, I’ve never been so depressed thinking of what could have been.  I don’t think anything will ever cheer me up.

Ha ha ha!

“Hey, look down!”

You look down too – we have an important announcement below!


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39 Responses to "INDUCTION: Basket Case – Boom Crapalappa!"
  1. Art0Donnell says:

    Think Jindrak resents Batista getting the spot in Evolution? Basket Case don’t hold grudges.

    • Autrach Sejanoz says:

      You, sir, have won the internet for the day.

    • Rolltide2000 says:

      I like to think that theres an alternate universe where Mark Jindrak has a leading role in Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers.

    • Rolltide2000 says:

      I like to think theres an alternate reality where Jindrak has a leading role in Guardians of the Galaxy and Infinity War.

  2. Christopher Haydu says:

    Good induction, RD. It’s nice to see another gimmick written up. In mail bags eighteen years ago you mentioned inducting the Bushwhackers. When is that induction going to happen?!!!!!

  3. Raging_Demons says:

    That basketball shoy reminds me of a scene in “The One and Only”

    Henry Winkler’s wrestler character at the time was that of a Nazi German symphathizer (Note this movie wa set after orld War II) and he was dressed like a Nazi soldier complete with one o those German helmets. Winkler’s characters would disrobe to get ready for the match, he takes the helmet off, and WHAM! Winkler would knock the guy out fast by using the helmet as a weapon for the pin & win.

    That basketball shot right there now’s my new favorite

    • Premier Blah says:

      Mr Demons! Get Dave Meltzer on the phone to talk about 70’s Carl Reiner films!

    • Enhancement Talent 3 Mark II says:

      I have yet to see that film. But Piper says in his book that Judo Gene LeBell got him cast in that. LeBell told Winkler to smoke Piper in the head as hard as he could with the helmet – said it hurt like hell.

    • kmtown says:

      If I recall, the recipient of the helmet shot was none other than Roddy Piper.

  4. #OPC says:

    I like to think that MVP stole his “Ballin!” spot from Basket Case.

  5. Cuthbert says:

    I had initially not noticed the shoe point happen, so this had an even higher difficulty of stupidity, since to me it looked like the guy lowered his head for the distinct purpose of getting hit in the head.

    And that’s a great dropkick. Needs to be more of a thing.

  6. Gerard says:

    there are plenty of other examples of wrestling borrowing from other sports
    bullfighting–el matador tito santanna
    mma–kama the ultimate fighting machine
    boxing-brawl for all
    auto racing-sparky plugg
    football–pacman jones
    those are just off the top of my head bet there are plenty of others that have been tried out in the indie leagues like tennis, pool even bowling!!

    • Si says:

      It was only his backstory rather than his character but when Cesaro was introduced to the main roster the story given was he was a rugby player who had been thrown out of the professional leagues for being too violent. It wasn’t even something they could build on any more than it being a badly defined anecdote, and rugby isn’t even a major sport in Switzerland (it’s huge in France but, well, that’s not Switzerland)

    • Jim says:

      In my indie days, one of my opponents/partners was a guy called “The Captain.” He wore a cricket uniform and came out to the music from sports program “Wide World of Sports,” predominantly a cricketing program. His weapon of choice, as face or heel,was a cricket bat, and he used a clothesline in the corner where he would run up as if he was a fast bowler and cream guys, even going so far as to clench hs fist and rub his crotch first, just like a cricketer.

      He was probably the best and most over mid carder I was ever in the ring with. Lesson; sports gimmicks can work, you just have to do them properly.

  7. Jay says:

    Although, with Jindrak taking Batista’s spot in Evolution, that shot of HIM kicking the basketball instead of Dave would be more poignant.

    They could’ve have ran a whole storyline about how the ball sold him out “back in the day” and Mark was only getting revenge.

  8. Jay says:

    That shot of Batista kicking the basketball makes much more sense if they would’ve went with Jindrak.

    They could have run a whole angle about Jindrak getting ‘revenge’ on his previous ‘partner’ in another ‘promotion’.

  9. gerard says:

    there are a bunch of other wrestlers who used gimmicks based on other sports like
    bullfighting-el matador tito santanna
    autoracing- sparky plugg
    boxing- brawl for all
    mma- kama the ultimate fighting machine
    surfing- the dynamic duos
    sumo wrestling- yokozuna
    and thats just off the top of my head. i bet that there are wrestlers who have tried skiier tennis or pool as gimmicks

  10. Alfonzo Tyson says:

    It’s always nice to see a good old-fashioned “gimmick” induction. Doesn’t seem like we get a lot of these lately. Would love to see The Dicks, The Heart Throbs, Kwee Wee and a lot of TNA gimmicks inducted!

  11. El Atomico says:

    Wow, you’re right, I have no recollection of this gimmick. Looks kind of fun, though!

  12. TortureRackOfDoom says:

    On the subject of evil “athletes from other sports,” Don Callis and Lance Storm revealed on an episode of Killing the Town how (the) Goon character was allegedly originally meant for Chris Jericho, of all people. No word on whether the “The” was attached.

    More importantly, the “Hole in One” Darsow character was apparently a creation of Scott D’Amore, who proposed the character while trying to get a job in WCW. The character’s name was utterly amazing, though– CHIP BIRDIE. Oh, what could have been.

    • funky cm says:

      Darsow’s golfer character was initially named “Stewart Pain” , but was changed after PGA golfer Payne Stewart died in a plane crash

  13. nomangang says:

    I was all excited to read this induction, only to be sorely disappointed to see that Jindrak came to the ring carrying a basketball instead of a wicker basket containing his horribly deformed twin brother.

  14. CF says:

    Not sure which is more lame — this gimmick, or watching an actual basketball game…. 🙂

    I’m surprised Russo didn’t come up with a “basketball hoop on a pole match” — knock down one’s opponent, then shoot a basket to win a title belt….

    • Art0Donnell says:

      Now there’s an idea.

    • Jim says:

      Which would be between the two tallest wrestlers in the company, and feature run ins by half the roster, excluding only the people with actual basketball experience. The final run in, leading to the finish, would be by a football player, who would turn on his partner for no reason.

  15. John C says:

    At the Death of WCW panel I would suggest just showing this footage and without saying a word walk off stage and do the jump shot gimmick. I believe the only other person in wrestling that respnded so quickly to having balls thrust in their face would be Missy Hyatt.

  16. RobVanDamIsABallerina says:

    And the next week on Nitro, everyone was wondering if Basket Case was going to side with the n.W.o.

  17. E-Squared says:

    You know, I have absolutely no recollection of this, and this is coming from someone who actually watched WCW Saturday Night at times. Then again, I don’t remember ever seeing Glacier as Coach Buzz Stern.

  18. gerard says:

    there are several other wrestlers who have used other sports as a gimmick like :

    bullfighting—el matador tito santanna
    autoracing- sparky plugg
    surfing- dynamic dudes
    sumo wrestling- yokozuna
    football- pacman jones

    and i’ll bet there are a whole pile more that i can’t recall right now. these are just 5 that i have thought of off the top of my head

  19. CP says:

    You bring up Batista, who you gave the nickname of Basketball Jones to awhile back…could you imagine the team of Basket Case and Basketball Jones? Early 2000s WCW would ve definitely been conducive to that…

    Or maybe a stable with Jindrak, World Class Chip Minton, and any other athletic themed character they had?

  20. Jimbolian says:

    I gotta respect a guy who used the same tactic from the Three Stooges wrestling short where Curly tells his opponent his shoe’s untied and tries to hit him.

  21. Lee W. says:

    The paradox of the crossover sportsman gimmick: it’s supposed make a wrestler look like a proper athlete but if said wrestler doesn’t look like as if they’re any good at the sport in question nothing could make them look faker.

  22. Gouki says:

    Gonna amp up my wrestling nerd cred here… the first WLW (Harley Race) show I went to was in California, Mo in about late 1999 or 2000. A bunch of guys I’ve never heard of were there. Among them: Reno, Mike Sanders, Chuck Palumbo (who, on a side note, I originally thought he was Sick Boy from Raven’s flock. I chatted him up, he was super polite and chill about it! I asked him when Scott Hall would show on tv again, and if he was right, I’d swear to forever be his fan. He said 2 weeks, and I’ll be damned if 2 Monday Nitro’s later Hall was on TV!) and Mark Jindrak, who at the time was called Basket Case. They sat in the back of the gym we were in, and booed the faces and cheered the heels. The Barbarian was there as well, along with 3(!) clone characters! A guy who, I can’t remember his name, was a combination of the Bubba and Devon Dudley, Shiek Stone (who reminded me of The Shiek) and the Luminous Warrior, who was an obvious Ultimate Warrior clone. Either way it was neat, and later on through WLW I got to meet a TON of Pro Wrestling NOAH wrestlers, including Mitsuharu Misawa!

  23. Christopher Piatt says:

    I do remember Jindrak coming out as a basketball player on Saturday Night and the other C level WCW programming but I don’t ever recall seeing the Basket Case named ever used. I don’t recall seeing all the basketball shenanigans in the matches I saw. I was actually impressed with Jindrak when I first saw him.

  24. AdamX says:

    Way late but Reno and Jindrak did end up being team mates in the Natural Born Thrillaz later that year.

  25. Ze Frenchie says:

    So, there have been gimmicks about baseball, hockey, golf and basketball, but not football? I don’t get it, especially when half the lockerroom at various times use to be players…

  26. Jobber4Life says:

    I think the gimmick was probably “basket Case” Mark Jindrak and they shortened it to Mark Jindrak or just forgot to call him basket case, I dunno. Funny, even though cagematch.net is quite an extensive database, they seem to be missing the Jindrak/Reno match!

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