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Jim Sullivan




On NITRO the past couple of weeks, you may have heard Mark Madden say "Spinerooni! Spinerooni!" during Booker T's match. This was in reference to Booker's breakdance-off-the-mat move following his axe kick to the back of an opponent's head.

I'm here to tell you that MY WIFE coined that term.

I hear you saying, "Oh, come now, Jim." Either that or, "Who gives a damn, Jim." Either way, I'm going to relate the story, so you might as well feign interest...

A few of you may have read my stuff before. I did a monday night wrestling review called "Jim's Nitro Notes", which appeared on Joe Collins' website during 1997 & 1998. As you might have guessed from the title, I did the NITRO review, while Joe handled RAW. We got a fair amount of traffic. As I recall, I was peaking out at about 900 hits a week when I folded my part of the column (due to an increasing "real-life" workload).

(It says something about my psyche that I put "real-life" in quotation marks. However, I digress...)

Anyway, here's the chronology of "Spinerooni". Those of you with aspirations towards making a similar contribution to mass-appeal culture should start taking notes.

I began "Jim's Nitro Notes" in November of 1997. It was your standard snicker-and-sneer-at-the-faces-and-cheer-the-villians sarcastic review of TV wrestling. I like to think that, over the course of the column's life, I raised it to a decent literary standard, but that's neither here-nor-there in relation to our story today, I suppose.

One of the devices I used as a regular feature was to quote MY WIFE (always mentioned in capital letters, giving the *ahem* appearance of my being whipped...). Understand that MY WIFE was not what you would call a big-time wrestling fan. If she had her way, at the time, we would have spent every Monday watching "Everybody Loves Raymond". However, I started writing my column and she understood that I needed the TV for that purpose. She would watch "Raymond" in the bedroom, on our non-cable TV, and leave me to make notes on wrestling. This did not stop her from coming into the living room every so often and making incisive remarks concerning the ridiculous spectacle I was watching, and I would, more often than not, incorporate these remarks into my report since they were usually right-on-target.

One night in February of 1998, on one of her trips through the living room, she decided it would be cute to do her own play-by-play of a match involving Booker T. Since, in the words of the late, great Gorilla Monsoon, she didn't know a wristlock from a wristwatch, it was pretty damned funny. When Booker did his breakdance thing, she said, "And there's the spinerooni move!" Knowing genius when it walks up and kicks me in the face, I quoted her in my match recap.

When I showed her that column, she remarked how cool it would be to actually name a wrestling move; to have a term that she coined become the actual announcer-used name for a move. So, I mentioned this desire of hers in my next column, plotting a scenario wherein many writers would use the term as often as possible, until it filtered through to one of the announcers who might use it to impress the "smarts".

Some of the other writers on the 'net DID start picking up on it. Dean Rasmussen (long may his tribe increase!) was the first to use it in his own column. Zach Arnold, Joe Collins, Mike Handy, and Talon all used it a few times. Foremost, along with Dean, was Chris Hyatte. One of his lines is my (and MY WIFE's) favorite. He said: "Spinerooni - it's not just a word; it's a state of mind!"

Well, no announcer picked up on it right away. However, I got a swell surprise on April 7th of '98. The recapper on WCW's official website used the term! The following is a word-for word quote of the historic moment:

"After suffering numerous Disco clotheslines and punches, Booker T struck back with his trademark Spinneroony recovery (helicopter spin off the mat into a spinwheel kick)."

Aside from the fact that it was not spelled as I and others had given it in our columns, this was quite the rush. As a matter of fact, it was downright scary. I hadn't really, in my heart of hearts, thought there was a real chance that it would be picked up by a WCW announcer, but there it was in cold print on their own website, so now anything was possible.

To make this incredibly long story short, my column finished on May 18th of '98, as my voice-over and production work became too much (Thank God!) to allow me to continue putting the time and effort into my wrestling review which I would have felt neccessary for a good product. Some of the guys gave Spinerooni another mention or two, after my demise, but it pretty much died out by the end of that year.

Now, imagine my surprise two Mondays ago, when I'm sitting back watching Booker's match and, completely out of the blue, Mark Madden yells out "Spinerooni! Spinerooni!" (and Tony Schiavone says, "Yes, the... uh... spinerooni..."). I almost dropped a load on my couch, I was so shocked.

I had taped the show, fortunately, so I was able to replay it (many times) for MY WIFE, who was probably even more pleased about it than I was.

I sent a big thank-you to Mark Madden, for giving us the rush. Likewise, I sent some notes to a few folks who helped (Hyatte, Rasmussen, Collins) and missed a few folks whose addresses I no longer could find. To everybody who helped at some point, a big wet thank you kiss from me and MY WIFE.

It still remains a mystery to us how Madden came to use it, so long after the time we thought it was dead and buried. However, it was even more of a thrill because of the time lapse, probably.

As an aside, in case anyone is wondering about legalities, I stated many times in my column that we weren't interested in royalties. We figured that if there were any legal questions, it probably wouldn't ever be used. However, if WCW ever makes a Spinerooni t-shirt, MY WIFE and I wouldn't be averse to a few bucks being thrown our way out of the goodness of WCW's heart...

So, that's how MY WIFE and I came to contribute to popular culture. Now *you* should pick out a wrestler's most-illogical-yet-still-popular-as-all-hell-trademark-move-that-doesn't-yet-have-a-name and do as we did. Who knows what heights you might reach? Spinerooni!

Jim Sullivan

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