James Fabiano asked for this when Scott posted an email about the show recently, and when I say he asked for this he really asked for this!
As a note, I do like the theme tune for the show, a reworking of Bonnie Tyler’s Ravishing, but it wouldn’t have worked half as well as Real American did as Hulk’s entrance music.
I thought I’d have a looked at some of the episodes that split the twenty minutes in two and have two stories, rather than drag myself through a whole episode. This show got a very brief run on ITV in 1991 or 1992 in the UK off the back of the popularity of wrestling here at the time. I didn’t like it and could see right through the especially cheap and tacky nature of it, but I’m hoping like the Laff-A-Lympics reviews from a few weeks ago that it gives me some good material to work with in spite of that.
Promising start, as this segment is written by Larry DiTillio, who was one of the lead writers on He-Man and She-Ra and Beast Wars and a legend in the animation writing industry. Mean Gene Okerlund is getting harassed by Roddy Piper and Iron Sheik in the canteen for putting over Hulk Hogan all the time, so Hulk and Andre send them on their way. He also mentions, as Gene was of course prone to do, that he’s just bought a new house that needs a deep clean, but he doesn’t have time as he’s heading to Canada to announce at an event there. Strangely, Hulk and Roddy and all their buddies AREN’T booked on the card, so was Scheme Gene moonlighting for Verne Gagne? I can’t tell you here, but if you call the hotline…
Anyway, Mr. Fuji, the sneaky Jap that he is, has been listening in on this and tells Roddy that Hulk and company are going to take care of the place while Okerlund is out of town, so the heels decide to fuck stuff up – sounds like the typical Fuji rib. When Gene gets back, he’s not too disappointed at the state of the place, because he gave them the wrong house number. The place Roddy fucked up is the Chief of Police’s house (and it looks like a mansion as opposed to the cottage Gene has), so he chases them angrily.
Some overall comments: Neil Ross has a good grip on Gene’s cadence. Charlie Adler tries for Hot Rod’s antic schtick but misses completely, probably due to the lack of drugs. Aron Kincaid is great as the Iron Sheik, actually including his verbal tics and idiosyncrasies while still sounding like an Arabian Sky Lynx. Jodi Carlisle plays both Wendi Richter AND Moolah, so they both sound alike. The premise of the episode is totally goofy, the music is terrible, and the animation is very poor, with some random deeper lines on some parts of the character designs. You’ve also got some characters wearing their wrestling gear, some wearing normal clothes, and some wearing a mixture of both. But, I can’t imagine Vince was especially bothered to watch it and give his “GREAT SHIT!” critique on it.
Andre’s Giant Problem
And this segment is written by Jeff Scott, so not promising. Andre gets a letter from his mom announcing that she’s coming to visit (TODAY!) from France, but he hasn’t ever told her that he’s one of the most world famous wrestlers of all time, so rather than be honest the so-called good guys spin a yarn that he’s a chef instead, without any effort to cover up that they’re still wrestlers. She turns up, they wreck a bakery that they’ve hired for the afternoon (because presumably she was only staying a few hours and HAD to visit him while he was at work), Jimmy Snuka gives the Superfly splash to some dough, Tito and Hulk have a food fight, a robber turns up, and then the mom takes him down because she’s been having wrestling lessons back in France. Absolutely redarted.
I did mention it was Jeff Scott writing this, didn’t I?
I was surprised to hear a muzak version of Another One Bites the Dust passing by as JYD prepared some tarts. In addition to other animation oddities, Captain Lou only has his trademark goatee on his chin. In an epilogue, which is actually intended as a preview, the real Gene interviews the real Hulk in a segment that’s far more exciting and fun than the actual animation, although they end up talking about a completely different segment than the Andre one (it’s one involving a gorilla, but not Gorilla Monsoon, for shame).
Cheaters Never Prosper
A new episode, including this segment and the next. Sheiky Baby’s nephew Ahmed and the Iranian baseball team are coming to the US for the Junior World Series. Wendi Richter’s cousin Kevin is captain of the US team. Sheik tries to coach Ahmed on how to Cheat To Win (“It’s not how you play the game but whether you win or lose!”, he says, channelling Jesse the Body). Ahmed objects, but Nikolai is already hard at work coming up with lead-filled baseball bats, magnetic baseball, yo-yo strings and launchpads on the home plate. The grown-ups end up replacing the kids (totally defeating the object) and the heels win with chicanery, but Ahmed is disgusted and gives Kevin the trophy instead. How humble(!). Kid needs fuckin’ humbling!
Driving Me Crazy
Last one for now. Nikolai drives Sheik’s Sheikmobile everywhere for him, but is a terrible driver, so Sheik enlists Bobby Heenan to give him driving lessons so he can pass his test. If he can get him a pass, he’ll hire the Brain as his new manager in place of Ayatollah Blassie (that would’ve actually made a brilliant pairing in real life just for the promos!). I don’t know who they got to play Bobby, but he does a pretty decent impression of him.
Sheik is an even worse driver than Nikolai, though, so Bobby comes up with a scheme to help him pass his test via remote control. Nikolai fucks it up by playing with some kid’s remote control aeroplane and the signals get crossed, sending Sheik and the driving instructor into a tree. Back to Nikolai as a driver for now…
The animation is actually a lot better on this one with the cars and vehicles, suggesting they used a Japanese studio to produce this segment. Of the four segments overall I liked this one the best, probably because of the small cast. I could’ve seen Bobby Heenan Gives the Iron Sheik Driving Lessons as a mildly amusing skit on a Coliseum Video.
The Bottom Line: Don’t go out of your way to watch this show, even as a historical curiosity. I found myself getting mad just recapping the episodes at times with how stupid they were. Not sure who this was supposed to appeal to, but I imagine it didn’t attract anyone.