Rock 'n' Wrestling best left in the past
By GREG OLIVER -- SLAM! Wrestling
The recently-released WWF Hulk Hogan's Rock 'n' Wrestling video tapes
are a study in nostalgia.
Way back in 1985, the WWF was riding a mainstream media wave of
attention, and capitalized on the whole Cyndi Lauper-led
rock'n'wrestling connection with a memorable first WrestleMania. And a
not-so-memorable, short-lived TV cartoon series, produced by DIC
Hulk Hogan's Rock 'n' Wrestling is typical Saturday morning pap, nothing
more. The stories are simplistic and obviously aimed at children, and
the animation is routine and dull. There's no real fighting, or even
tension, between Hogan and his buddies and the bad guys, headed by the
dastardly Rowdy Roddy Piper.
But worst of all, having watched the show on occasion as a young teen,
is the jarring realization that - gasp! - the voices of the cartoon
characters are not done by the real wrestlers. So without Piper being
Piper, or Andre the Giant's mumblings or Nikolai Volkoff's 'Russian',
what's the point, really?
What we're left with are the good guys (Hogan, Wendi Richter, Tito
Santana, Junkyard Dog, Hillbilly Jim, Superfly Snuka, Captain Lou Albano
and Andre the Giant) versus the bad guys (Piper, Fabulous Moolah, Big
John Studd, Volkoff, Iron Sheik, and Mr. Fuji). But even then, of the
three tapes -- each with two episodes -- there are only two shows with
both the heels and the faces. Those two are at least semi-entertaining
because of the baddies, but watching 'Hulk and the gang' by themselves
makes me as ill as it did 14 years ago as a youngster rooting for Piper
and Ace Orton.
And don't get me started on the occasional 'comedic' live action segment, usually with Mean Gene Okerlund. Tuesday Night Titans it ain't, which should tell you something.
Call Hulk Hogan's Rock 'n' Wrestling a period piece if you will. (It ran from Sept. 14, 1985 until June 13, 1987 on CBS.) But
while suffering through the brutal Pac-Man-style background music or the
'Hulk, Hulk' intro theme by cheesemeister Jim Steinman (the man behind
Meatloaf's 'Bat Out Of Hell' album) I was wishing more than once that
there actually WERE commercials from 1985 on the tapes as well. Now
THOSE would have stood the test of time!
The three available tapes:
EPISODE 1: SMALL BUT MIGHTY
When Hillbilly Jim's pet raccoon, Mortimer, gets sick, hillbilly
medicine is the cure. The only problem is that the whole gang ends up
eating it! The effects of the medicine lead to an unexpected side-effect
and an adventure with some no good car thieves!
EPISODE 2: TEN LITTLE WRESTLERS
The gang gets invited on a cruise. Everything is fine until each of the
wrestlers starts mysteriously disappearing. It's up to Hulk Hogan and
Rowdy Roddy Piper to get to the bottom of the mystery and foil the
dastardly plot of their host!
EPISODE 1: AMAZONS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN
The gang's chartered plane makes an emergency landing deep in the
jungle. With no radio to call for assistance, Hulk and the gang go in
search of help. Captured by Amazon jungle women, the gang befriends them
to foil the greedy treasure hunters' search for the Temple of Tedra and
its valuable treasure.
EPISODE 2: THE WRONG STUFF
A quiet day on the farm is cut short when the gang is asked by NASA to
help rescue stranded astronauts. Who has what it takes to pass the tests
and go to space for the rescue? Will they be able to rescue the stranded
shuttle before it's hit by a satellite?
EPISODE 1: BUCKET
It's a close encounter for Junkyard Dog when he finds an alien eating
his junkyard. The gang befriends the alien that JYD names Bucket, only
to find someone has stolen his space ship. It's up to the gang to get
the space ship to help Bucket get home.
EPISODE 2: FOUR-LEGGED PICKPOCKET
A horse keeps following the gang around wherever they go. When some guys
come to claim the horse, they steal the Hulkmobile. The gang discovers
the owner of the horse is a little girl, when the crooks kidnap both the
horse and the girl. It's up to Hulk and the gang to save the girl and
foil the crooks.