Fans who watched WWE between 2007 and 2009 – why, I have no idea – may remember the country-fried tag team of Jesse and Festus.
Most fans would recognize big Festus as Luke Gallows of the Bullet Club or the Good Brothers.
What fans might not know is that his partner Jesse, like Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes, and Ted DiBiase, Jr., is the son of a wrestling legend. – in this case, Terry Gordy.
After breaking up his tag team, WWE was determined to make Terry Gordy, Jr. as much of a star as his father was for the company. And the best way to do that was for Jesse…
…to join Legacy? Of course not!
It was for Terry’s Kid to take on a stale, awful gimmick. You do remember that his dad was The Executioner, right?
WWE thought they had a winner of a new comedic gimmick for Jesse: a clueless white guy adopting black culture in a poor attempt to be cool.
Unfortunately, this idea was so played out by 2010 (and, frankly, decades earlier than that) that Slam Master J’s new persona was dead on arrival.
It was during a segment featuring Cryme Tyme that Slam Master J was first inflicted upon the WWE Universe. Cryme Tyme, as you no doubt recall, was an African-American tag team with a twist, and that twist was committing crimes.
On the premiere webisode of Cryme Tyme’s “Word Up”, Shad and JTG, along with Eve Torres, taught the viewers the word, “jackin'”. Whoa now! No wonder this segment was internet-only.
Actually, the word was used in the sense of theft. Cryme Tyme explained that the last thing you wanted to have happen was for someone to jack your swagger…
…meaning to steal your style.
Cue Jesse, who introduced his new urban persona by cutting one of the most annoying promos in history:
“Yoyoyoyoyoyoyoyo yo! It’s ya boy Jesse, AKA Jee-zy. Ya know, Jeezy? Up in ya house, but not too cheesy. A little too sick, but not too snee-zy. Down an’ dirty on the flo’ but not to grea-zy! Jeezy!”
See, the “extremely Caucasian man using black slang” bit is only funny if the Caucasian in question is being 100% serious. Case in point: Mean Gene Okerlund, who will be missed by his homies.
Somebody should have told Jesse not to culturally appropriate, but to instead be culturally appropriate. Uh, yeah.
Jesse was given the creative moniker of “Slam Master J”.
See, wrestling had already had a Rap Master…
…and a Grand Master…
…but never a Slam Master (except for the Saturday Night variety).
Slam Master J now hailed from “The ATL” – I think that’s the nickname black people use for Hotlanta.
Slam Master J made his first in-ring appearance against Charlie Haas, picking up a surprise victory to a mixed crowd reaction:
Some of the fans *hated* it, but most were completely indifferent.
So why did Slam Master J flop when just a decade earlier, Too Cool were massively over?
Well, for one thing, Too Cool got a pretty chilly reception initially. And unlike Slam Master J, they debuted as heels, which was the appropriate thing to do for a team whose gimmick was that of massively annoying posers.
Now take a look at Slam Master J, supposedly a babyface: who would ever want to cheer this dweeb? No cool music, no dance moves, no funky fat man…
…just some moron wearing a jute rug on his head. At least Too Cool got to wear extensions…
…poor Terry Gordy Jr. had to wear his real hair like this, 24/7!
Slam Master J certainly didn’t impress the fans, but he did work real hard to impress Cryme Tyme, even spray-painting Teddy Long’s portrait of Vince McMahon on a dare…
…for which he was punished by being demolished by Kane, to the crowd’s amusement.
Almost as embarrassing as Slam Master J himself was the commentary that accompanied his matches.
Todd and Matt (two names that don’t exactly scream “hip-hop”) debated the finer points of Slam Master J’s gimmick. For instance, was it Slam Master or Slam Masta? The former, rhotic pronunciation was the correct one, said Matt Striker.
The commentators would compete to see who knew more about hip-hop. Once, they argued whether a particular move was “dope” or “fly”. The worst part was that Matt Striker was ostensibly the straight man in the situation, having to put up with the wannabe Todd’s foolishness before quoting old-school rap lyrics to assert his preeminence as WWE’s most authentic black voice.
Yes, this Matt Striker was quoting Run-DMC and Grandmaster Flash.
Hmmm… Grandmaster Flash…
…Do you think he took his name from Slam Master J?
Slam Master J even got his own web series on how to be a G, telling women that going home with him was like eating a Snickers bar, an analogy that ended up being not nearly as lewd as it could have been.
Surprise of surprises, the Slam Master J gimmick wore thin real quick, so WWE put him into a tag team.
Now, Terry Jr.’s dad was part of two notable tag teams: the Fabulous Freebirds and the Miracle Violence Connection. I mention this fact mainly as an excuse to type the words, “Miracle Violence Connection”.
Slam Master J would have no such luck, being paired up with Jimmy Wang Yang. After all, why not stick the white guy who thinks he’s black with the Asian guy who thinks he’s white?
The new duo, when they did make it onto TV, served mainly to put over the Hart Dynasty and provide the announcers with more opportunities for truly dumb commentary. For instance, did you ever wonder whether Jimmy Wang Yang, being partners with Slam Master J, would start saying, “Yo Yo!” instead of, “Yee haw!”? Todd Grisham did.
Slam Master J was not long for television, making only one appearance in 2010 in the pre-show battle royal at Wrestlemania 26, before getting cut from the roster.
As far as WWE was concerned, Mr. Biscuits and Gravy ended up being just another ham-and-egger.