Tooncrap #17 - All-Star Rock and Wrestling
The ultimate Show-Shilling Experience
Written by: Raymond Gallant
You know what I miss? Besides my own childhood
innocence and The Disney Afternoon, I miss when Saturday Mornings
mattered. The time when every kid would wake up and enjoy 5 hours of
cartoons. Yeah, nowadays we have supposed "cartoon networks", and the
proliferation of the internet has made watching what you want when you
want far easier than in 1985, but dammit, the feeling that these
precious hours mattered is a long gone piece of growing up.
And nothing made this more prevalent than when a new Fall season of
cartoons was coming up. And of course, that meant one thing: Cheesy as
hell Saturday Morning Specials. So instead of a new induction focused on
animation this month, we're going to pay tribute to that lost art of
Saturday promotion by looking at perhaps one of the more insanely
cheesy, but ultimately awesome Saturday morning preview specials ever.
1985 was the year that Wrestling transcended into mainstream popularity
with the success of the very first Wrestlemania. Thanks to the Rock 'N
Wrestling Connection, and the popularity of MTV, soon names like Hulk
Hogan and Roddy Piper were household names. The WWF had conquered
television, but were far from done trying to innovate. And in 1985, CBS
and the WWF would give us "Hulk Hogan's Rock 'N' Wrestling". A cartoon
that, while awesome for its time, aged about as well as Moolah's haunted
So with the cartoon being one of the several shows debuting in the Fall
of '85, CBS would go all out for their fall preview special, and it may
just be one of the greatest hunks of cheese of all time. It's a fine
example of something being crap, but just a treat to watch. Let's see
just how true these words are as we review this thing.
You know shit's going down when this pops up
We open the special outside of a studio to a crowd chanting for Hervé
Villechaize, or, for those who know him as Tattoo... Tattoo. It seems
that this Fall special was originally going to be hosted by Hervé, but
it has been hijacked by, you guessed it...
No, it was the nefarious Rowdy Roddy Piper, who was originally a guest
for the special alongside other 80's time capsule acts like New Edition,
Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Pee Wee Herman, and of course, Hulk Hogan. And
because apparently CBS studios has the worst security in the world, no
one stopped Piper from kicking Hervé out, and taking over the special.
Also, apparently Roddy Piper was mistaken for Ted Turner before bringing
in his own set and just running roughshod.
Hervé arrives, and is more beloved than the Pope of Chili Town. He is of
course not too happy that Roddy crashed his party. In fact, Hervé even
attacks the reporter in a rage. Hervé is not going to take this lying
down, and swears to get his show back.
So, in essence, I'm watching a special where Tattoo from Fantasy Island
is out to kill Roddy Piper? You know, after all the crap I've watched,
be it Madballs, or Dunce Bucket, or Bubsy, I need some fun schlock, and
this looks like it's going to be pure smelly heaven.
And we finally begin with the special, complete with GARY FREAKIN' OWENS
as Roddy's Ed McMahon. Gary tells us the lineup for the special, as
Roddy is there to keep him from mentioning Hervé. Also featured will be
the Roddy Piper dancers, as well as previews for Berenstain Bears,
Wuzzles, Muppet Babies and Monsters, and of course the main course being
Hulk Hogan's Rock 'N Wrestling.
And we finally get our host Mr. Piper, looking as dapper as a man in a
kilt can get. You know, this almost feels like they were trying to sow
the seeds of a legit Piper talk show. Hell, he even starts with a
monologue that is mostly name dropping his guests. As good a talker as
Piper is, it feels more like he's rambling than either doing a monologue
or a heelish promo. He also makes mention that he's in the Goonies, and
asks to roll a clip...
but gets the "Ren and Stimpy: Season Premiere" response.
However, we do get the clip for the "Goonies R Good Enough" music video,
that honestly is still fun to watch, if only for all the cameos from WWF
stars of the mid 80's.
It's time for the guests to finally roll in, with the first being Kareem
Abdul Jabbar. Not much to this interview other than "gosh you're tall
Kareem" and Kareem having no clue who Roddy Piper is besides being "that
guy who cheats all the time". This feels extremely awkward an interview,
and it's all to show a clip to the Berenstain Bears cartoon of the mid
I remember this cartoon only vaguely, but I did read the books as a kid,
so I am familiar with the Berenstain Bears. If I recall it wasn't a bad
cartoon, but nothing truly amazing either. So, more than likely it won't
be fodder for Tooncrap. After the clip is over, I guess that's it for
Kareem, who is done with his interview. Piper bashes Kareem...
To which Kareem answers back by beaning Piper with a basketball. That's
real cute Jabbar, but just be thankful Piper wasn't holding a coconut.
Back to Hervé, who is still quite pissed about having his show stolen.
He bangs on several doors trying to find anyone who can help him out. I
think it's wise for people to avoid him. Tattoo is out for blood.
It's time for the best part of the show... What's that say? "Talk to the
audience"? Oh god, this is always death. And that case is well in point
here as we learn that Roddy Piper actually does have some fans. A whole
two of them, and they hit the ultra combo of not just being over-the-top
Jewish stereotypes, but also appear to be as flaming as Chicago in 1871.
It's time for our next guest... kinda. I guess Hogan had better things
to do than spend time on a Saturday Morning Special featuring a show
with his name on the title, but we do get some great semi-coked up Hogan
shillery for "Hulk Hogan's Rock 'N Wrestling", much to the chagrin of
I've talked previously about Hulk Hogan's Rock 'N' Wrestling, and my
opinion still stands. The animation is dull, and the stereotypes, even
for wrestling, feels way over the top. Again, what made the show worth
watching was the live action segments featuring Gene Okerlund and the
many WWF superstars of the mid-eighties. So those are still fun to
Naked Lou Albano and All.
Piper is none too pleased by the Hulkster's insults to both him and his
fan club, and wrecks the footage in a kilted rage.
But never mind that shit, it's time for a New Edition performance. I
could make some really witty Bobby Brown joke here, but I'll hold my
tongue since all the good ones have been excavated already. Meanwhile,
Hervé is still ready to snap some necks.
Turns out Hot Rod isn't the most gracious host, as not only does New
Edition not have enough chairs for the 5 of them, but he feels that
rather than giving them fine accommodations, or even really talk about
their music other than, of course, why there's no bagpipes in their
band, he'll just drink and eat in front of them instead, and pulls a
Johnny Cage example of friendship by giving them all pictures of
himself, which they rip up. Some show of gratitude. So, what was this
whole thing for? To show a clip of the Wuzzles.
You know, that one 80's Disney cartoon everyone seems to forget? The one
where all the animals have mixed up DNA, presumably from all the sex?
It's kind of like Spliced...
Except I don't want to kill something after watching it.
And if things couldn't get any more bat shit, we suddenly have Roddy
Piper and a thankfully clothed Captain Lou Albano performing a scene
from King Lear. Because you know, that Shakespeare was every 80's kid's
biggest hero. It's actually pretty funny for overly awkward comedy. But
if you think Piper and Albano doing Shakespeare was absurd enough, make
Here comes Pee Wee!
While the play comes to a close, Hervé may have the solution as to who
can help him regain his show. And before you think we're gonna see Hulk
Hogan and Hervé Villechaize rough shit up, I'll let you down easily, for
it is not the Hulkster.
It's time to interview Pee Wee Herman, which is less interviews, and
more getting under Piper's skins with Pee Wee's infamous insults. This
eventually culminates in Pee Wee and Piper doing a sock puppet
interview. Though, Piper should be concerned where Pee Wee's feet have
been to put on them socks. At least this puppetry shtick actually ties
in with the cartoon clip for Muppets, Babies, and Monsters.
Yeah, I'm guessing most recall the Muppet Babies, since it was a beloved
80's cartoon. However, in the 2nd season of the show, Jim Henson gave us
Little Muppet Monsters, which was a live action show. They put both
shows in an hour block known as Jim Henson's Muppets, Babies, and
Monsters. However, it turned out that nobody really cared much for the
monsters portion of the show, and it was cancelled after only three
episodes. So, if you thought that everything Henson touched was gold,
then you are sadly mistaken.
Next up, Roddy brings out Captain Lou to finally clear the air of all
their heat with one another. And if you think this is all a set up...
You'd be right. I'd normally give you a prize, but seeing Captain Lou
flail on the ground is prize enough for anyone. This is also time used
to shill Dungeons and Dragons, Land of the Lost, and the Charlie Brown
and Snoopy Show, which were three shows that returned in the fall of
Next up is a performance by Patti LaBelle. It's for the most part a
pretty decent little performance, but the selling point comes in big
When Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Pee Wee Herman, and Roddy Piper join in to
dance. I have seen many a thing with these old eyes, but I think this
tops em all. While this is going down, Herve is at a payphone, but
thankfully not signing Maroon 5. He's got someone coming to help him
even the odds against Piper.
Patti is being interviewed by Piper, and it's mostly the same as the New
Edition interview with more chairs, and no food. Though the whole "use
more bagpipes" inquiry is brought up once more. Patti's shillery is for
CBS Storybreak. You know, I have very little recollection of Storybreak,
so I can't really comment on it if it was good or bad.
It's time for the main event of the show, as Piper's issues with Cyndi
Lauper are still ongoing. He claims to have invited her to the show, but
she declined. So Piper found Faye Flamboyant, the winner of the Cyndi
Lauper Lookalike contest, who is here to give Roddy his much needed butt
But before Piper can rant and rave at the audience some more, Cyndi
Lauper and Hervé arrive to take the show back. Cyndi apologizes the the
crowd and the guests for being a part of this debacle, and there's a new
special being taped in the other studio. I'm sure it would be fun to
see, but of course the home audience is not invited. The audience that
their cue, and leave with Cyndi and Hervé.
With the exception of Roddy's fan club of course, as the special comes
to an end.
And that's the All-Star Rock 'N' Wrestling Saturday Spectacular. It's
for the most part a pretty dumb special. The guests had no real
connections to the cartoons being promoted, it felt really awkward in
places, both intentional and not, and while Roddy was entertaining, it's
clear why he didn't quit his day job in the ring.
But for how crap it is on paper, it is still a fun watch. The entire arc
with Hervé Villechaize was entertaining, the awkwardness warrants plenty
of laughs, and while Piper makes Pat Sajak come off as a better talk
show host, he's still as entertaining as always. In the end, this is
worth a watch, especially if you are a fan of 80's cheese. It's the kind
of crap that doesn't anger you, but you know isn't some masterpiece of
television. It's just a shame not all crap can be this great.