I have never really been a fan of watching sports on television, except for the Winter Olympics, as some of the events there are cool. And, just think, they're only a year away!
I try to stay awake for basketball games, but I end up falling asleep during the first five minutes. I don't like hockey, which may force me to turn in my Canadian citizenship right there...but given the recent events including the recently ended lockout, there may be others left with a bad taste in their mouths. And baseball...I actually don't mind baseball that much, but I wouldn't exactly go out of my way to purchase a ticket and sit in a ball park chomping down on Cracker Jacks in hopes of catching a ball.
(Besides, I hate Cracker Jacks.)
And, then there's the “sport” that millions of people tune into each week. The “sport” that is almost as much of a soap opera as “General Hospital”.
I'm talking about the WWF...or, is it called the WWE now? I honestly don't know.
You'll probably have noticed that I have put the word “sport” in quotation marks up above. There is a reason for it. The reason behind it is the fact that if you ask any random person on the streets about what they think about wrestling as a sport, some will likely tell you that wrestling isn't a real sport.
To be honest with you, I'm not entirely sure that I can agree with that statement. There are thousands of high schools all across North America that have wrestling teams, and some people are lucky enough to get college scholarships through wrestling. Just ask A.C. Slater from Saved By The Bell!
Oh, wait...we can't. He's not real. Well, take it from me, I'm sure that a lot of people can claim that they had their college tuition paid for through a wrestling scholarship.
(Of course, just to be on the safe side, I did Google it, and found links HERE, HERE, and HERE to back up my claims.)
So, as far as I am concerned, if a college is willing to honour a scholarship for people who wrestle, then as far as I am concerned, it is a real sport.
Of course, this leads to my next debate.
A lot of people seem to have the belief that the “Wrestlemania” events that are featured on Pay-Per-View television is...well...as fake as a three-dollar bill. They claim that the storylines that play out within the ring are completely fabricated, they claim that the moves are choreographed so that the wrestlers themselves aren't hurt...and I've even heard of the theory that body doubles are used in the ring instead of the actual wrestlers themselves!
As far as I'm concerned, I am kind of on the fence. Do I believe that the feuding and the fussing is 100% fake? Well...maybe not one hundred per cent. But it's not exactly the real thing either. I think that like the best sitcoms and dramas out there, the WWE is guilty of making conflicts more dramatic than they need to be. And, I'll also be the first to admit that watching clips of wrestling matches on television, some of the wrestlers can get a bit...um...hammy?
On the other hand, I do believe that the injuries that the wrestlers receive in the ring are completely real. It's kind of hard to fake a bloodied nose or a broken wrist on the fly.
So, do I find wrestling to be fake? In some ways, yes. In others, no. So, I guess I'm a maybe?
Whatever your stance is, it's cool. But, you won't believe how passionate some wrestling fans get when defending it. Which is fine, because I believe that if you are very passionate about something, you should stand up for it.
I still remember being a member of an Internet forum that had a man who had a major obsession with wrestling (and S Club 7, if you can believe it). He went on the Sports sub-forum and posted everything he could about the subject of wrestling. He got so post crazy that a separate sub-forum for wrestling had to be created to accommodate him.
Oh, and you didn't DARE tell him that wrestling was fake, for he would launch into a rather lengthy diatribe filled with insults delivered with a condescending tone!
Again, it's cool to be passionate about something...but don't lower yourself by bullying other people who don't share your opinion.
So, I'll be the first one to admit that I am NOT a wrestling fan. But I do have something rather ironic to share.
I may have disliked wrestling...but I loved this cartoon...a cartoon that will be the feature for today's blog.
Ever hear of a cartoon known as “Hulk Hogan's Rock 'n' Wrestling”? Believe it or not, the cartoon ran for two seasons between September 1985 and June 1987! And for whatever reason, I loved it. I still have some rather vague memories of sitting on the couch watching it on television while eating English muffins with Cheez Whiz spread on top of them.
(Weirdly enough, I don't eat that much Cheez Whiz now...maybe it's kind of symbolic of the seemingly bad taste that I had as a four year old boy!)
Anyway, the cartoon series (produced by DiC Entertainment) did not really put as much emphasis on actual wrestling moves and maneuvers. Instead, the show became more of a good vs. evil type program, where Hulk Hogan and his “Faces” (otherwise known as the good guys) did everything in their power to try and stop the “Heels” (also known as the bad guys), who were lead by Roddy Piper.
Okay, so why don't we watch an episode of the series to get us all in the mood before we go any further. Just click HERE and HERE. I'll wait for twenty-one minutes or so. Promise.
Okay, you watched it, right? As did I. And, one thing that I'll say is that my tastes have certainly matured over the years, as I really don't like it as much as I used to. On a purely retrospective angle, I do appreciate the WWF (as it was known at the time) trying to branch out to attract an audience that might have been too young for the actual wrestling matches on television.
The show was unique in that it blended animated segments with live-action segments. The live-action segments always featured the real-life wrestlers that were drawn into the television cartoon. And, to be honest, I didn't really care for the live-action segments, as some of the wrestlers looked very, very scary to me as a little boy! I much preferred the cartoon versions better, as they didn't scare me as much.
Here's the catch. The animated characters were NOT voiced by the wrestlers themselves. This made sense, since a lot of the wrestlers were fully booked with wrestling matches and appearances at charity events. So, voice actors were hired to play the wrestlers instead.
Would you believe that Hulk Hogan was voiced by Brad Garrett of “Everybody Loves Raymond” fame? Now that I watch the episode that I posted, I can sort of hear a little “Robert Barone” in the Hulk!
Here are some of the other voice actors in the series, dividing them up into good vs. evil.
Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka – LEWIS ARQUETTE
Junkyard Dog – JAMES AVERY
Wendi Richter – JODI CARLISLE
Captain Lou Albano – GEORGE DiCENZO
Andre The Giant – RON FEINBERG
Hillbilly Jim – PAT FRALEY
Tito Santana – JOEY PENTO
Rowdy Roddy Piper – CHARLIE ADLER
The Iron Sheik – ARON KINCAID
Nikolai Volkoff – RON GANS
The Fabulous Moolah – JODI CARLISLE
Big John Studd – CHUCK LICINI
Mr. Fuji – ERNEST HARADA
Yes, Jodi Carlisle played both a good guy and a bad guy! Talk about being conflicted!
The animated show did have its inconsistencies within it. For one, the cartoon depicted Hulk with a full head of hair (in real life, Hogan was beginning to lose his). But because of the lengthy production time to produce a full 13-episode season, sometimes the show fell behind with what was actually happening in the WWF at the time. Some of the “good guys” actually became bad guys in the ring! But, hey, as a four year old boy, I didn't know any better!
In fact, I have to admit that I did find Wendi Richter kind of cute...in both human and cartoon form.
But again, I was four years old at the time. My idea of cute back then was a teddy bear.
At any rate, I'd call the cartoon kind of a fun little distraction. But I don't think it will ever be rebooted any time soon.
At least, we can only hope.