Name: Percy Robert Miller aka Master P
Occupation: Rapper, actor, businessman, record executive extraordinaire
Hometown: New Orleans, Louisiana
Glory Days: A couple of weeks in June of 1999
Fun Fact: One of the cited reasons for Master P’s direct involvement in WCW being so brief was his apparent unhappiness that the fans in Washington D.C. and New Orleans (his home town) did not react to him as expected i.e. loads of them booed the shit out of him.
Ah, WCW in 1999; that oft-forgotten period between the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. Like WWE, WCW was in a state of flux. However, unlike their competitors, WCW was transitioning in a downward direction.
Like many wrestling fans whose childhood coincided with Hulkamania, I fell out of wrestling in the mid-90s. However, I got back in a few years later when I realised that the industry had matured and become as horny as I had. Rather than a Monday Night War, in the UK the Raw vs. Nitro duel took place a few days later on Friday night. Sky Sports, as it still is today, was home to Raw while Nitro could be found on the British version of TNT, and later Bravo. Having not watched WCW since the days of Sting, Ric Flair, Lex Luger and The Steiner Brothers I was keen to see who the current crop of stars were. Well, apparently the answer to my question was Master P. That’s right, while my re-introduction to WWE featured kidnappings, bloodbaths, sacrifices and Stone Cold Steve Austin wasting a case of beer, my reintroduction to WCW was a rapper I’d only previously heard of via the South Park album wearing camouflage and shouting “hoody hoo”.
Making a grand total of three live appearances across two weeks in June of ’99, Master P netted himself a reported $600,000 i.e. $200,000 per appearance. However, when quizzed about his WCW payoff, P claimed that he was paid “millions”. That said, in the same interview he called pro wrestling a “real sport” so he may have exaggerated just a tad. Other reports had him earning closer to $300,000 in total. Either way though, he was paid a large chunk of money. While we’re on the subject of money, on the June 14th episode of Nitro, Eric Bischoff claimed on commentary that P was offered treble the money from “the competition” but turned it down because he wanted to work with WCW instead. Where the hell did ECW find that kind of cash?!
So, what was Master P paid all that money for exactly? At The Great American Bash on June 13th he, along with a comedic number of his pals, emerged from a limousine and were greeted by Curt Hennig. For context, Hennig, along with Bobby Duncum Jr, was embroiled in a feud with Konnan and Rey Mysterio Jr largely based on the former’s dislike for rap music. It was therefore surprising to see Hennig make nice with P and his No Limit Soldiers by asking for his copy of Da Crime Family to be signed by the 1999 Hip Hop artist of the year. While one cannot say that P, nor his entourage, where entirely warm to this request, he signed the CD and gave it back to Hennig. It was at this point that Hennig snapped the disc and proclaimed rap to be crap, much to the ire of P and his No Limit Soldiers. Later, Hennig again got in the rapper’s face prior to and during his tag match (along with Duncum Jr) against Konnan and Mysterio. When Barry Windham showed up to help Hennig and Duncum, P’s bodyguard, Swoll, jumped the ringside barrier to even the odds. Swoll being put over as much as possible would prove to be a recurring theme over the next few weeks. Mike Tenay even had some facts on hand to share with us after the big man’s run-in. This was somewhat suspicious because how did Tenay know that the former Denver Bronco would get involved and he’d thus be able to recite his carefully researched facts?
The next night we were formally introduced to Master P by Mean Gene Okerlund at a pre-recorded press conference also featuring Eric Bischoff, Rey Mysterio and Konnan. The rapper couldn’t quite remember Hennig’s name so settled for using the term “other wrestler” instead. I know, but it’s better than calling Summerslam “The Summerfest”. P would go on to refer to Hennig as ‘Cowboy’, which is fair enough I guess. On the actual show, P and his two dozen hangers-on were at ringside again for Konnan and Rey’s match against Psychosis and La Parka. However, their post-match celebrations were cut short when Hennig and co. hijacked the DJ booth and played their song, ‘Rap Is Crap’, before running off. The segment ended in awkward fashion when the babyface No Limit lads reclaimed the DJ booth to boos from the crowd. Master P then treated the hostile fans to a few bars of ‘Hoody Hooo’ while Konnan, Rey and Brad Armstrong (yes, Brad Armstrong was deployed as a member of the No Limit Soldiers) tried and failed to look cool. As an aside, Armstrong – who was given the name B.A. – was the spitting image of his brother, WWE’s Road Dogg, from when DX invaded Nitro.
The next week, June 21st, Master P was back and he brought even more soldiers with him. He was even allowed to carry his own segment, at least for a few minutes, which was an in-ring birthday party for his little brother; Silkk the Shocker. Surprisingly the fans actually did sing happy birthday to Silkk, albeit with some help from a plant in the first row who was brought into the ring to lead the singing. Curt Hennig then showed up bearing a gift, so was reluctantly allowed to enter the ring. The gift turned out to be a cowboy hat, which Silkk threw on the ground and stomped on. Hennig then had birthday cake lobbed in his face before being dumped out of the ring. Viewed in isolation this segment really confuses the babyface/heel dynamic but given his past actions, Hennig did deserve this. Later in the show, Hennig, Windham, Duncum Jr and now Kendall Windham got even when they attacked Konnan and Rey during their match with the Jersey Triad. This brought out Master P and the rest of the hundred deep No Limit Soldiers for a mass brawl that also included The Revolution, for some reason.
That was the extent of Master P’s rather expensive involvement in WCW. The feud between the No Limit Soldiers and Hennig’s crew (The West Texas Rednecks) continued for another couple of weeks until Bash at The Beach where Rey Mysterio led the Soldiers to victory over the Rednecks. The angle was dropped swiftly thereafter, in no small part due to most fans favouring the Rednecks over the Soldiers.
While the legacy from Master P’s appearances was supposed to be his ‘cousin’ (I don’t know this for sure, but it has been claimed) and kayfabe bodyguard, Swoll, that’s not quite how things shook out. It is said that P’s motivation (other than the money) for working with WCW was to help Randy ‘Swoll’ Thornton get a job in a big-time wrestling promotion. That he did, and for damn good money. The problem was, Swoll wasn’t very good and disappeared from TV after Bash at The Beach before being released in August. The real legacy from P’s totally forgettable run in WCW was probably providing the inspiration for the ‘Rap Is Crap’ song and tour. Hennig and the boys even performed the song ‘live’ on Nitro. Now those lads are the real wrestling icons.
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