Featuring: Roddy “Hell Comes to Frogtown” Piper , Shane “Divided Loyalties” Douglas , Kurt “Sharknado 2: The Second One” Angle
Director & Writer: Cody “Lucifer’s Unholy Desire” Knotts
“While I wish you would have enjoyed it…I loved reading your review…I laughed and laughed. You have a talent for writing funny reviews (though I would focus less on references to feces..you have a real talent for whit).
Anyways, thanks for the review, even though it wasn’t good.”
Did you know that gods have gods? Yep. You know that old adage “Respect your elders”? Same applies to us, hence the term “Elder Gods”. The elderest of gods, Cthulhu, recently blessed me for my Cthulhumas sacrifices by gifting me with the second highest item on my tribute want list: Pro Wrestlers Vs. Zombies. The highest? Same as it always is: 1985 Barbara Crampton. But, like the little girl who asks for a pony every year (looking at you, Demeter), I’m destined to never get the one gift I really want. Oh well, time to get the disappointment out of my system by kicking the tar out of my silver medal!
By the way, as a lifelong pro wrestling geek, I had a few dozen wrestling related jokes to make through this episode. However, I didn’t want to alienate 90% of my audience, so I’ll be making an effort to stick to the general garbage movie defecation commentary you normally get out of me. Consider it your New Years endowment from moi.
Battling Billy (Michael H. Richmond, whose missing credit I actually had to submit to the IMDB cast listing!) is a professional wrestler. Well, given that performing in high school gymnasiums in front of 15-20 people at a time can’t possibly provided him enough money to survive on, “professional” probably isn’t the right word. Let’s just say Billy’s a wrestler. Period. Semantics aside (not to be confused with “semen ticks inside”, which makes my ebony fur stand on end just typing the words), Billy’s ring name is a big fat blumpkin in the realm of grappler monikers. Given that this was written by an obvious wrestling fan, “Bruiser Billy” would’ve been a much better alias. Not just because “Battling Billy” sounds like some kid’s submission to a Masters of the Universe create-a-character contest, but because “Bruiser Billy” would’ve been a decent call back to Bruiser Brody, whose murder is one of wrestling’s most infamous instances. It’s serious “Diagnosis Murder” type shit. Check out the following link to get the story from wrestling industry mainstay “Dirty” Dutch Mantell, who currently goes by the Tea Party conservative parody persona Zeb Colter in WWE.
Brody’s murder aside, wrestlers like to claim that they’re a brotherhood in the locker room, but they’re really just like any other boys’ club: at each other’s throats the minute money or pussy comes into the picture. Such is the case when Billy crosses washed up (actual) professional wrestler Shane “the Franchise” Douglas (playing himself) by dipping his pen in Dougie’s ink…by which I mean Mr. Battling is tossing his hot dog down Shane’s hallway. Well, not his hallway. I mean the upstart’s fucking the old man’s girlfriend, Taya (playing herself)!
Anyway, catching Tay wrapped around the younger man’s waist like a cheap replica championship belt, Shane doesn’t take too well to the scene. Rather than breaking up with her like an adult though, he instead breaks Billy’s neck during their match with a “botched” tombstone piledriver move. Yep, he kills him with a move called a “tombstone”. No room in the budget for subtlety, I’m afraid.
An indeterminate amount of time later (I guess screen subtitling ended up next to subtlety on the budgetary kill floor), Billy’s brother Angus (Ashton Amhurst) hires promoter Cody Knotts (yep, it’s the director playing himself) and his Extreme Rising wrestling promotion to set up an indie show at an abandoned penitentiary. Anus, errr Angus, insists that Douglas and Taya headline the event, then lets Dog Knotts fill in (yeah, as a man-dog I hear dog knots are pretty filling…) the rest of the card with other has-been grapplers like Roddy Piper and Hacksaw Jim Duggan, still active (just barely) guys like Matt Hardy and Kurt Angle, and some never-weres like what’s-his-name, who’s-it, and you know, that guy. Always wore a shirt? Yeah, him. All of which are self-players as well.
Quick time out. Angus’s ear raping Scottish accent would make Scrooge McDuck and Haggis McHaggis weep with disgust. Someone named Scott Miller gets credit for doing said voice, so Amherst didn’t even do his own lines?! What is this, Horror of Party Beach!? Scratch that. Party Beach‘s monsters were more realistic than the zombies we end up with here. They look like they were made up by a buncha brats during “Bring Your Kids to Work Day” at the Savini School. Blart. Anyway, as we were.
Shane’s given a scene with his extended family shortly after, where he indoctrinates his nephew to be a total Franchise mark. It’s supposed to somehow humanize a bloated sack of shit who we already know is responsible for MURDERING another man just because they became Eskimo brothers (look it up). All this interlude managed to do was make me want to slap the Fruit Loops out of the kid’s mouth, but the urge to backhand kids in movies is normal for me. Annoying turds. Once this is over, Shane and Roddy Piper have a scene where we learn that the two are apparently long term buddies, which is fine. My problem with the scene is the mob of children crowded around Piper begging for autographs. It’s not the kids themselves where my problem lies, it’s that nobody under the age of 25 even knows who the fuck Roddy Piper is! Maybe they mistook him for one of the creatures on “Yo Gabba Gabba!”? Sure, slap a kilt on him and replace his head with a bagpipe with huge googly eyes glued to it and I could see this being a thing.
Reunited for the show, Dougie Fresh and Skanky Not-So-Fresh hook up just like old times…which may very well have been anywhere from a few days ago to a few years. Again, it’s not clear how long it’s been since Billy got broke. Meanwhile, Piper makes friendly with a woman named Sarah (Adrienne Fischer), who’s just been hired as the new Extreme Rising head of marketing. Her whole hook for getting hired is that she promises Snotts (who spends their entire meeting feeling her up like he was that creepy uncle that isn’t invited to family gatherings) that she can make their little wrestling organization the biggest in the world…no. In a movie about zombies fighting men in tights, THAT statement is the most unrealistic thing in these entire 90 minutes. Suspending disbelief is one thing, but that’s the kind of crap that requires utter expulsion of your disbelief into the vacuum of deep space. I’ll let the Iron Sheik express my thoughts further on this one:
In a weird bit of idiocy, when the wrestlers’ bus arrives at the prison (nobody can afford their own cars, it seems), they’re randomly offered a chance to “challenge the gods” and “achieve their destiny” by doing combat “in the arena”. Are they performing in an abandoned prison or at Medieval Times?! Before they’re allowed off the bus though, they’re ordered to hand over their cell phones. Horror movie much? Well, that addresses why no one will be able to call for help later when they’re chin deep in living dead. Stupidly addresses, but addresses none the less. No sooner do our faces (wrestling terminology for good guys) get inside, then they’re confronted by Angus’s personal horde of necromanced undead heels (wrestling’s bad guys) and the movie finally lives up to its title. Well, it only took half an hour to get there, so my “finally” may have been a tad unnecessary. Wait a sec. Now that the zombie rampage has already started, what the fuck are they gonna spend the next hour on?! Uh-oh…
Yep, that’s it. The final 2/3 of the movie is really just a series of sequences wherein hordes of zombified extras chase the wrestlers and other cast members, killing them one-by-one, then moving onto the next. Do I look like a shitter? Because I shit you not. The script has to be about 10 pages long. Well, at least they give what they advertise, so that’s something, right? It’s like going into a place called “Ruptured Balls” and not expecting to get your testicles destroyed. They never said it was going to be enjoyable, they just advertised ruptured balls. Just like nobody advertised an enjoyable movie, just one where pro wrestlers go up against zombies. Hey, at least I can admit when my suffering is my own fault!
Sure, at one point Tying Knotts tries to write in that touching zombie movie staple where one of the survivors has to kill his best friend-turned-living dead a la Pete and Rog in Dawn of the Dead. The Romero one, you animals! But given how little time the movie actually dedicates to trying to make us give a shit about any of the cast on a personal level, NO time was spent showing us ANY connection between the two characters in question! Come on, guys. You invite us over to your place for a party, tell us it was a ruse to get us to help you move out of your 5th floor walk-up when we get there, then expect us to do all of the heavy lifting?! Fuck your couch. This is me throwing it through your big stupid picture window. Good luck getting your security deposit back!…and explaining to the cops how your couch ended up smashing your neighbor’s Lexus. I’m out!
Okay, I’m not out. I’ve still got pissing to piss, moaning to moan and bitching to bitch. While I’m on the topic of failed attempts to connect with the audience on a deeper level, there are a few more that shit the bed just as bad. Think Spud’s big brown breakfast in Trainspotting. These emotional moments resonate about as well as farts muffled by a pillow. Even the “will they die or won’t they?” scenes of manufactured tension end up as botched spots (wrestling lingo for failed moves). You know who’s gonna see the end credits and who’s just gonna wind up as the “meat” in an Arby’s pulled pork. Best example? At one point, Sarah’s overcome by a mob of grabby handed ghouls and struggles on the ground for several minutes as they paw at her. She eventually manages to escape without a scratch though because, surprise surprise, she’s scripted to have a future that doesn’t involve being fast food. Oh yeah, spoiler. Oops. Meh, you’ll get over it.
Speaking of pulled pork, whatever the effects guys spent on their “severed legs and torso” prop, they definitely got their money’s worth. Not based on the quality, mind you, just the number of scenes they use the stupid thing in. Remember that amazing scene where the asshole militant guy in Day of the Dead is torn in half while screaming “CHOKE ON IT!”? It was one of the movie’s greatest moments between his defiant death screams, the graphic realistic violence of the effects work and the fact that PEOPLE WEREN’T BEING TORN IN HALF EVERY 10 MINUTES. Sadly, the blood and gore is what you’d expect from a movie whose budget went to hiring out-of-work ex-wrestlers as its stars. It’s a whole bunch of red kero syrup and the occasional prop internal organs. Real effects zombie makeup and gore are an art. As stated prior, here it’s a shart. Multiple sharts, actually. Unrelenting, left and right, up and down, sharts. If it were to be named after a wrestling company, it’d be TNA: Total Nonstop Assblasters. Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhharts!
Speaking of pulled pork…I mean, speaking of sharts, how about that soundtrack?! The music is generic half-assed metal that brings to mind a garage band trying to emulate Monster Magnet. Then there’s the ear bleeding bagpipe thrash shit. Holy Lucky Charms in a Guinness, Dropkick Murphys it ain’t. On top of that, of all the covers I’ve heard of “Amazing Grace” in my eons, this movie’s end credits easily has the worst. Worse even than when Mike Tyson did it on that clip from the Arsenio Hall Show that never aired. While my ears are still bleeding, let me call out the audio mixing here too, because it’s TERRIBLE! A lot of the lines sound like they were re-dubbed in post, while the music just explodes in your ears at random at a few decibels higher than the dialog. I shouldn’t have to have my stereo remote within talon’s reach when I’m watching a movie to keep the old lady in the tomb downstairs from banging on the ceiling with her broom.
Despite the few exceptions, there’s a general rule in the wrestling business that actors shouldn’t cut wrestling promos and wrestlers shouldn’t act. PWVZ reminds us why that is. Even if this dialogue weren’t…damn it. It’s hard to come up with a dozen different synonyms for feces. It’s just bad, okay? I don’t know how much of it is written and how much, if any, is ad-libbed by the performers, but it’s awful. Anyway, the acting. Mercifully, at least most of the wrestlers only have a few short lines before they’re killed off. The majority of the work comes from Piper and Douglas. At least Douglas lives up to his infamously self-serving real-life personality by fucking everybody else over left and right, letting other people take the fall for his bullshit, and trying to set himself up as the big hero. Not sure if the guy was acting or just being followed with a camera. Very convincing. Fuck you “Dean”.
Then there’s Piper. It’s so depressing to think that Roddy went from They Live to this. Or hell, from Hell Comes to Frogtown to this! The cantankerous Canadian who made his career pretending to be a scandalous Scot (didja enjoy the mind blowing I just put on your brain?) has been through a lot in recent years, beating cancer (as did Hacksaw!) and making appearances on “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”, but the guy’s lost a few steps. It’s a little too hard to believe someone who can barely walk (damn hip surgery…and age) fending off waves of the ravenous dead just because he’s the best actor on the call sheet. Then again, he does have the uncanny and possibly mystical ability to pull a crowbar out of thin air to plant into a ghoul’s head when the need arrives for one scene, so maybe that’s reason enough he would be able to survive. Wish I could pull that trick right now and put it through my computer screen!
Before I finish off this episode and wipe its residual remnants off of me with a moist towelette, I wanted to point out that Piper calls Angus a “red-headed stepchild Danny Bonaduche fuckin’ throwback red-headed Carrot Top fuck him reason for legal fuckin’ abortions”. It might be amazing, it might be awful, but whatever it is, there it is. He also declares that Angus is just an “All-American bully”, then proclaims his intentions to thrash him for being as such, despite Piper establishing his entire career on being a bully bad guy character who kicked Cyndi Lauper across a wrestling ring and smashed a coconut over Jimmy Snuka’s face before whipping him with a belt. Such is the inherent hypocrisy of the face turn (what it’s called when a bad guy becomes a good guy).
So Pro Wrestlers Vs. Zombies, a movie I anticipated for the better part of a year. It sucked on toes worse than even I had feared it would. Yet Troma still picked it up for distribution, when it couldn’t hang with Troma originals on their worst days. Hell, Troma’s trailer is better than the movie just by tacking Toxie’s face onto it and making a title card that DOESN’T feel like the Great Muta spewed green mist into my eyes while looking at it. For your perusal:
In closing, I’d like to play a round of The Dozens, strictly for my fellow industry nerds on the wrestling memes boards. The rest of you can skip ahead to the screen cap-caps (captures and captions).
And…go! This movie’s so bad, Kevin Nash tore his quad while watching it! It’s so bad, if it had double d titties, even Dean Ambrose wouldn’t wanna master ’em! It’s so bad, it made Rob Van Dam stop smoking weed and made CM Punk start! It’s so bad, it made Shawn Michaels an atheist! It’s so bad, it doesn’t even need Triple H to bury it, cuz it buries ITSELF! It’s so bad, it must’ve been written by Vince Russo and directed by Eric Bischoff! It’s so bad, it botches more in 90 minutes than Sin Cara did in all of 2013! It’s so bad, it made Terry Funk retire FOR GOOD! It’s so bad, it made Jake Roberts AND Scott (Scotch) Hall relapse! It’s so bad, even Dolph Ziggler won’t sell for it! It’s so bad, it makes The Dead Hate the Living look strong!.. but does nothing for Roman Reigns. Fuck you, Reigns. Your new outfit looks like some shitty Tron cosplay that you couldn’t get to light up. Your “Superman Punch” is a twat move.
Unless you’re a celebrity, a politician, or just rich. Then you can kill people wherever you want.
Looks like somebody just discovered Photoshop’s font options.
Grown men (well, adult men) dangerously throwing each other around for the entertainment of a dozen or so strangers in a gymnasium. Living the dream.
Tea bagging an unconscious guy while flipping everybody in the audience the bird? I see Sammy Hagar’s finished “quality testing” his latest batch of Cabo Wabo.
Your writer-director, ladies and gentlemen of the audience. Just as shabbily thrown together as his movie.
“Taz Jaguar”? Is that your father’s name, or did you take your mother’s maiden name after the divorce?
Black Mass Ceremonial Parkas (white only): just $4.99 this week, only at KMart!
“Forget it, kid. You might as well call me Hulk Hogan because I don’t put ANYBODY over!”
Extreme Rising corporate headquarters. Except on weekends, when it’s the gift shop for the historical reenactment village they rent the space from.
“Come on, Roddy. This guy says he wants to Kickstart a Frogtown reboot and he wants us to star! This could be my big break! I mean, OUR big break!”
To hell with expensive CGI effects. Just paint him green and Kurt Angle could star in the next Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie!
Bet Dennis Rodman wishes he would’ve stay in North Korea.
Apparently these zombies don’t crave brains. They just want to sink their teeth into man asses packed into shiny gold trunks like big ol’ Hershey Kisses.
“Stronger Than Death”? Fuck you, Matt Hardy. We’ll see who’s stronger this Sunday in our steel cage showdown!
“With a name like Smuckers, our zombies HAVE to be good!”
“God damn it, Shane! You are NOT going to die owning me fifty bucks! Gimme my damn money, you asshole!”
Roddy Piper reflects on his movie career decisions and wonders if maybe he’s finally fallen to the point that he should’ve just let the cancer take him.
“You don’t need to spend ten grand on a facelift, baby. I’ll just pull back your face like this, slap on a little rubber cement, and you’ll look ten years younger!”
“Shhhh! Don’t let any of the other guys here you say wrestling’s fake or they’ll piledrive your head into your lungs! It’s a very sensitive subject!”
Looks like somebody wandered away from the Nightmare City set.
And this guy used to be the NWA World Heavyweight Champion.
Bet Roddy REALLY wishes he’d left the house in his kilt today, rather than suffer the undead wedgie of doom!
Anubis will return next time in
“Radio Ga Ga, Eh?”
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All materials found within this review are the intellectual properties and opinions of the original writer. The Tomb of Anubis claims no responsibility for the views expressed in this review, but we do lay a copyright claim on it beeyotch, so don’t steal from this shit or we’ll have to go all Farmer Vincent on your silly asses. © October 1st 2013 and beyond, not to be reproduced in any way without the express written consent of the reviewer and The Tomb of Anubis, or pain of a physical and legal nature will follow. Touch not lest ye be touched.
or “The Tomb of Anubis Pilot Review”
Starring: Roddy “They Live” Piper , Jesse “Predator” Ventura ,
& Shannon “Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death” Tweed
Director: Paul “Crazy Like a Fox: the Movie” Krasny
Writer: none credited (go figure)
[NOTE: This is a review from my previous website. I updated it (slightly), but the majority of the review is intact. I’m posting it as a “pilot” episode of sorts, and I figured what better review to post as a pilot than a review for an actual pilot!]
Ah professional wrestling. Not quite a sport and not quite a soap opera. The spandex clad gladiators of the squared circle have been trying to break the barrier into Hollywood recognition for as far back as I can remember, always with mixed results. 20 years ago, professional wrestling was a pop culture oddity that everyone from the most tornado-ridden trailer park to the most cocaine saturated penthouse would flock to, the biggest annual gala of which was Wrestlemania. Over the years though, pro wrestling has more or less become society’s big heart tattoo with an ex-lover’s name on it. Long time fans either display it proudly and risk being mocked by those around them or try covering it up with a lifetime of big sweaters for the same reason, while the former fans who were only into it while it was popular pretend like it never happened, brushing it off as “something stupid I did when I was a kid” when someone gets a little too close and sees it peeking out from the neckline of their shirt.
Back in the good old days, everybody new the names: Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, Rowdy Roddy Piper, Macho Man Randy Savage, Jesse “the Body” Ventura. Everyone knew who they were and everybody still remembers them today. Of the current crop of wrestlers today though, it’s apparent that Hollywood’s not really interested in hiring glorified stuntmen for their movies anymore. If you walk up to the average Joe and Jane Nobody on the sidewalk and say, “Who’d win in a fight, Samoa Joe or Daniel Bryan? Sheamus or Abyss? Randy Orton or Sting? CM Punk or AJ Styles?”, chances are they’re either ignore you and walk around or pity/fear you, give you a dollar, and tell you they’re going to pray to God for your well-being tonight before they go to bed on their mattress stuffed with hundred dollar bills. If you went up to the same woman who watched the Undertaker and Hulk Hogan match at Survivor Series ’91 or the Shawn Michaels and Steve Austin match at Wrestlemania XIV and you asked her if she prefers WWE or TNA, chances are she’ll think you’re asking her about whether she prefers the Nintendo Wii or tits and asses. It’s true. You can’t even count Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson amidst the dying breed of wrestlers in popular culture anymore, as he’s officially sworn off wrestling in favor of bigger paychecks for less work, with the occasional exception where he comes back for a few big paycheck appearances and to promote his newest digital waste of 2 hours. Can’t blame the guy really, but with his departure there’s really nobody left to pull in the “outside” crowd anymore… well, there’s John Cena, but even as the biggest name in the business today, his crossover appeal is both minimal and very limited.
Anyway, the point of all this is that wrestling was so popular 20+ years ago that ABC was ready to make a weekly buddy cop show with none other than Roddy Piper and Jesse Ventura in the lead roles… no, seriously. The story stars Piper and Ventura as Tricky Rick McDonald and Bobby “the Body” Youngblood respectively. The duo is a tag team who are on their way to the top of the marquee, and a shot at the Tag Team Championships. Before that, they’ll need to get past the ruthless Samurai Brothers to get there. Prior to the big match with their “sounds like the title of an obscure NES game” opponents in question, their boss’s wife pulls them aside and tells them to throw the match, otherwise she’ll tell her hubby that the two of them have been making passes at her and he’ll blackball the duo from the wrestling world forever. Though this sounds stupid now, what with competing wrestling organizations always trying to buy each other’s top talents, back then the WWF was the only game in town, so for wrestling fans it’s not unbelievable to think that one promoter could successfully end the careers of two guys like McDonald and Youngblood. Also, even though it’s been widely acknowledged by wrestlers today that everything is scripted in regards to who wins the matches, this was still at a time when the WWF was adamant on the idea that the outcome of matches were not pre-planned, so you can forgive the lack of logic here. Of course these guys aren’t the type to back down to blackmail, especially not from some skirt, so they go through with the match and chalk up a victory against the Samurais, subsequently getting their asses fired as a result. Cue the basis for a tv series!
I’m going to stall the review for a moment (as I’m oft to do) by addressing the incredibly bad writing of this show, starting here with the entirely uninspired characters. Wow, Tricky Rick and Bobby “the Body”, what a long way from Rowdy Roddy and Jesse “the Body”… you’re telling me these writers couldn’t even stray far enough from their WWF characters to give Ventura a nickname other than his actual nickname?! At least they changed Piper from Rowdy to Tricky, but Ventura’s nothing more than “the Body”?! How hard is it to turn that into something like “the Stud” or “the Hunk”? The slacker approach to character naming doesn’t end here though. Check this out: the Samurai Brothers’ manager is played by real life wrestling manager Harry Fujiwara, a.k.a. Mr. Fuji. How far from the norm do our mysterious unaccredited writers deviate from the true life path here? Mr. Fuji becomes Mr. Sake… they couldn’t even drop the “Mr.”?! I guess writing TV pilots is easier than writing 5th grade science fiction considering my English teacher gave me an A+ and these guys lost their jobs. However, if this was all instead a marketing scheme by Vince McMahon that the characters in the show are contractually obligated to resemble their WWF counterparts as a way to better advertise his product on national television, I apologize to the writers… for now. Back to work.
So, no longer allowed near a wrestling ring and having no prior work experience other than lifting weights and pretending to beat people up, it’s a recipe for wackiness when Rick and Bob try to integrate themselves into the blue collar working world. Whether it’s moving pianos or playing padded assault victims to a women’s self-defense class, things don’t look favorable for the guys’ wallets. On top of that, it looks like they may soon be evicted from their apartment (yes, they even live together…) if they don’t come up with a way to make money fast. Inspiration comes in the strangest of forms though, when the boys break up a robbery at their local grocery store and get the perfect idea: they’ll join the police academy! Hey, it worked for Bubba Smith, right?
Yes, before Trish Stratus was doing “Armed and Famous”</a>, two other wrestlers thought it’d be a good idea to become legitimate peace keepers. Though they struggle a bit, the boys make it through basic training and earn their shields. They look too damn goofy in police uniforms though, so it’s written into the script that Ricky and Bob-O will be working undercover… okay, time for interlude numero dos!
I gave the show’s writers a temporary pass for the name change thing, citing that it’s very possible Vince McMahon was being a dick about the whole thing and insisted that only the slightest changes be made so audiences would better recognize his performers and, thus, his product. However, I can’t blame McMahon for the unbelievably stupid rationale behind making two former professional wrestlers into undercover police officers! You want to make them cops, that’s fine, I can live with that. It’s made more acceptable when it’s revealed that Youngblood (mirror Jesse Ventura’s real life history) is a former Navy Seal. But, doesn’t it kinda defeat the point of being “undercover” when you’re also one of the biggest former names in professional wrestling and everybody knows who you are!? Gah, brain fire! Brain fire! Put it out! PUT IT OUT!
Like I was saying, while in the academy, Ricky and Bobby meet seen-to-be officer Ray Tyler. Ray becomes their bumbling comedy sidekick and the show’s general big talker, meaning he’s always the one who acts like he’s in charge until a genuine authority figure comes around and turns him into a brown-nosing weasel. A necessary evil in the TV dichotomy. He pops up from time to time to either try and butt in on some of our heroes’ glory or to get pushed around and have his status in the force threatened by Youngblood and McDonald’s antics. Speaking of which, the dynamic duo’s first assignment is witness protection. It seems that a dog walking veterinarian named Leona (Shannon Tweed!) witnessed a mob hit in a parking garage while our boys were running through basic training. The rest of the pilot revolves around Ricky and Bobby protecting Leona, beating up mob goons with their old wrestling tactics (I guess they forgot they have guns… as do most of the mob goons who seem to have had some in-ring experience of their own), getting suspended from the force for screwing up their job, running around looking for Leona, beating up more mob goons and saving the day so Leona can testify and put a crime boss away. It all ends with the two adopting a formerly injured dog and Roddy Piper on the floor in the last of what would be many questionably homoerotic situations, naked with the exception of a towel around his waist while laughing and playing with his new best friend while Ventura and Tweed look on. Kinda creepy in its own way really… Then again, being married to Gene Simmons, I’m sure Tweed’s seen 100 times weirder shit in her days.
If you had to sum up Tag Team with a single word, you’d be hard fought to figure out something more suitable than “campy”. There’s so much cheddar being thrown around here that it’s hard to figure out how much of it was intentional and how much was just really shitty “Hey, that’d be a cool thing to have!” moments between the writing staff. The show definitely nods to the absurdity of the pseudo sport on which it’s based though, the most obliging of which being the introductory scene in which a young fan visits Youngblood and MacDonald in their locker room (okay, so just anyone can waltz around back stage at a wrestling event and wander in and out of dressing rooms as they please?!), apparently unhappy with their current professional monikers and questioning why they would want to give up their former show aliases as “the Lizard Brothers”, to which MacDonald replies that “the green scales and the ears just weren’t us”. You think that two wrestlers dressed like lizard men is a bit much to swallow? You obviously haven’t seen the darker side of wrestling my friend…
Beyond the little touches like that, the rest of the wrestling stuff sucked. I don’t mean “sucked dick like a crack whore” sucked, I mean “sucked a conga line of hobo dicks like a drugged out trailer park whore with a Hoover for a mouth” sucked! It’s painful to watch as the cheese is ramped up to heart attack levels at such moments as Piper and Ventura jumping off of structures to land on people or coming up with their own catch phrase, “Body slam!” or, the coronary that finally killed the moose: Ventura is pinned to a tree by a thug with a rake, desperate for some help from his partner. Seeing the emergency state of his pal, Piper sees Vantura’s hand outstretched and, in a slow motion moment that makes “Baywatch” look like Hamlet, Piper leaps through the air and tags his buddy’s hand WWF style before saving the day… HE FUCKING TAGGED THE GUYS HAND!!!!! ARGH!
As far as the rest of the show goes, Ventura and Piper are actually pretty good actors, even when being Full Nelsoned with a bad script. They’re fun to watch. The only problem I have with the two is the frequent shirtlessness going on here. You half expect them to go knocking on their neighbor’s door and asking for a cup of shirt because they’re fresh out. You could make a drinking game out of the number of scenes they show up shirtless in or wearing a towel, all in a mere 45 minutes! In fact, if anybody wants to buy a copy of this off of me, I’ll include the rules for the “Tag Team: Get Tagged!” drinking game with it!
The pilot actually tested well enough that a regular series was given the green light by ABC execs. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) the idea was scratched a mere 24 hours before shooting of the first episode and “Tag Team: the Series” was not to be. Both stars went on to somewhat better things though. Piper, beyond wrestling, enjoyed a career as a b-movie star in flicks like Hell Comes to Frogtown and They Live (where he fought Keith David in the greatest fight scene ever), while Ventura would become a bad movie tough guy himself before ending up the Governor of Minnesota of all things. As far as Tag Team goes though, let me put it this way: Cheese is good. I like cheese. Cheese goes great between two slices of bread or melted on top of a taco (except for the pink kind). Cheese is great when eaten by the cube or in peelable cylinder form. Cheese can even be good for you in moderation. In that regard, there’s too much cheese in Tag Team. It clogs my arteries of tolerance and it gives me a cinemasochism heart attack. Ingest your movie dairy products in moderation my friends, so you can avoid that groaning agony in your chest. It’s fun up until the point where it just gets to be too much, and at those times it becomes flaming daggers in your chest.
On a sidebar though, let’s go back to the pre-review rant. Where do I stand on the whole tattoo situation? Wrestling was introduced to me by my dad and my grandpa. I have good memories of watching the pay-per-views with my family as a brat and going into school the next day to regale my friends with results from every event. Everybody else wet themselves over Wrestlemanias, but for me the best times of year were always January and Thanksgiving. January was the Royal Rumble and on Thanksgiving, after we’d eaten our meal and given the Tryptophan a chance to burn through our brains, it was time for Survivor Series. Both were unique for their specialty matches (the R-Squared for it’s 30 man battle royal and Double S for it’s 4/5/6 man tag team elimination matches) and always appealed to a kid like myself who was just waiting to see mash-ups of guys who otherwise would never have wrestled against each other, either through company politics or because they just wouldn’t have garnered the fan reaction the office big wigs thought they would.
Anyway, my grandpa died a few years ago from Leukemia. He’s not only the one who introduced me to wrestling and cultivated that love throughout my childhood, but he was the only person I knew besides my friend George who still watched wrestling. With him gone and George having graduated to being a full-time family man, I’ve got nobody. Despite that, and despite the brush off I get from everybody else around me when they hear that I still follow the stories, I stick with it. The easiest excuse would be to say that it’s to honor my grandpa, but even though that’s panty peeler for the sentimental gals out there just looking for an excuse to get laid beyond the socially unacceptable obvious reasons, it’s not really the point. I like to watch wrestling.
Yes, I know it’s “fake”, in that the feuds are written by shlubs in the background, but so is every Hollywood blockbuster or TV ratings grabber. I know that they’re not really hitting each other “that hard” and that they’re just selling everything to make it look good. But you know what? These men and women are more athletic than 98% of the “real” athletes in the world today. They don’t get paid the kinds of bloated salaries that these ungrateful pricks in baseball or basketball do, but they’re out there jumping off of shit and putting their physical well-being on the line 365 days a year. They don’t get an “off season”, they more often than not work through every holiday, and they’re putting their bodies through torture that leaves most of them broken when it’s all said and done, addicted to pain killers, alienated from their families and the rest of society, waiting for Vince McMahon to ring their phone and give ‘em one last shot in the spotlight. If you’re one of those dick cheeses that still thinks wrestling is a joke and the people involved are nothing more than pretty boys who can’t act their way out of a wet nut sack, then go watch Beyond the Mat or read any autobiography by Mick Foley and see if you don’t respect them afterwards.
Hmmm, once again it seems like a simple review has turned into a soap box session of defending a lifestyle choice on my part, so let’s try to end this on a joke. Here’s a good one: An Irishman walked into a bar, hoisted his bad leg over the barstool, pulled himself up painfully and ordered a shot of whiskey. The Irishman looked down the bar and said, “Is that Jesus down there?” The bartender nodded and the Irishman told him to give Jesus a whiskey too. Next, an Italian with a hunchback came into the bar. He shuffled up to the barstool and asked for a glass of Chianti. He also looked down the bar and asked if that was Jesus sitting down there. The bartender nodded and the Italian said to give JC a glass of Chianti too. Last, a redneck swaggered in dragging his knuckles on the floor and hollered. “Barkeep, set me up a cold one. Hey, is that God’s Boy down there?” The barkeep nodded, and the redneck told him to give Jesus a cold one. As Jesus got up to leave, he walked over to the Irishman and touched him and said, “For your kindness, you are healed!” The Irishman felt the strength come back to his leg, and he got up and danced a stereotypical jig to the door. Jesus touched the Italian and said, “For your kindness you are healed!” The Italian felt his back straighten and he raised his hands above his head and did a cartwheel out the door. Jesus walked toward the redneck and the redneck jumped back shouting, “Don’t touch me, I’m drawing disability!”.
Oh those wacky hillbillies.
The Moral of the Story: Wrestlers can act. It’s part of their job. It’s the writers who are always faking the talent…
“So it’s agreed: no “e-i,e-i-o” jokes and no Rod Liefeld jokes.”
I don’t even know that kid and I already want
to smash a bottle of Old English over his face.
Little known fact: this moment is what
inspired Vince McMahon to create the XFL.
“‘Damn near killed ’em’! Don’t you get
it!? Come on! ‘DAMN NEAR KILLED ‘EM!'”
Homo-eroticism Level: Negligible
Homo-eroticism Level: Sitcom Misunderstanding
Homo-eroticism Level: Bukkake Party Grandpas!
In a pilot featuring Shannon Tweed,
there were way too many instances of the
wrong cast members ending up shirtless…
Anubis will return next time in “Jeffrey Combs Dies at the End!”
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