Out of all the performers we’ve looked at this month – Yoko, Vader and Brock — Sid Vicious/Justice is easily the least talented and, more notably, least essential. That this still puts him somewhere between Lex Luger and Kane on the imaginary List of Such Things at the Palace of Wisdom should give you just as much of an idea of the quality of the first three as the company he currently keeps in the minds of professional wrestling fans.
But, for all the shortcomings Sid had as a performer, and the ignominious ending to his career, Sid was what a lot of people at the time weren’t: a man with a life outside of the business and interests that lied elsewhere (including, rather notoriously, on the softball field). Sid worked when he was supposed, and made good money while doing so. It was just never seemed like it was in his blood to be everything his promoters thought they could sell him as.
Like a slugger who got hot every other season, but could never quite put together a sustained run of dominance befitting his skillset and physical attributes, Sid’s name on a card always elicited varying levels of intrigue. Then he’d strike out swinging in his match, and you’d realize why he wasn’t batting in a more important position in the line-up.
He was still, however, able to create an aura around himself like so much Ken Caminiti. In short bursts, his presence imbued fans with the same kind (and attendant levels) of intrigue that Yoko, Vader and Brock sustained over much longer periods of time. And not all of Sid’s shortcomings were his “fault,” nor were some of them even shortcomings. Some were the simple contextual issue of being able to make a connection with the crowd in one way (as a wildman babyface), but with a character that played much stronger a different way (as a monster heel).
Sid’s promos created a sense of Anything Can Happen craziness that exists almost in direct opposition to the kind of Anything Can Happen craziness that his character exude. While this could have been played in the same way one would structure a narrative around a carnivorous plant, the fact that Sid’s in-ring ability was only half a step above “rhododendron” was always at the core of Sid’s inability to make it to the next level of stardom.
He just simply wasn’t good at wrestling, and no amount of promos or pre-taped backstage segments could hide the fact that when it came time to pay off the story, he was never going to be able to make us care as much as he did when he was making us lose our shit everytime he showed up to hit somebody with a sloppy powerbomb.
The genuinely great moments of his career were relatively few and far between: he main evented WrestleMania 13 with the Undertaker in a match commonly known as “the match that happened after Bret-Austin, but we can’t say for certain because we weren’t totally paying attention.” He had a firecracker feud with Shawn Michaels that saw him win as a kind of rampaging “hero” at Suvivor Series 1996, at least in terms of how the crowd reacted to him nearly killing an old man and then powerbombing the “good guy” and was legitimately as over as anyone in the company for at least half his run in the WWF.
Honestly, though, he was never genuine WWF/E material, lacking the polish and dedication that can often come off “slick”. As we’ll get to later this week, he could never quite hit the notes he needed to when he needed to and he’ll ultimately be remembered as a crazy guy who suffered the single most gruesome injury in professional wrestling history as well.
But at least he’ll always be a Master/Ruler of the World.