RIP George “The Animal” Steele

In 2011, Harry Slash (who is best known as the guy who composed the ECW theme) came up with an idea to make a sort of This Is Spinal Tap for wrestling. I was still wrestling pretty consistently on the indie scene then and together, Harry and I put together an outline for what would have been a DVD talking about my 60 years in the wrestling business. I told stories about running away from home at age 4 to begin wrestling in Mexico, being a star in Japan, the halcyon days of the 80s and how I invented the minivan.

The best part about this story was that we got genuine legends and stars from the world of wrestling to talk about me as if I really was the legend that I thought I was in my own head.

One of the best interviews we got was from George “The Animal” Steele who passed away today. I’m not going to claim that we were friends or that I knew him well, but in the times I was in his company he was always awesome and quick with a joke. I genuinely would enjoy seeing him when he was booked for appearances on shows I was on.

The DVD never saw the light of day, but I do have some of the footage and interviews that were recorded. So I figured I’d share this little nugget today as a small tribute to a true legend of the business. RIP, sir.

❤ Joe

Daily Cartoon! Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘n’ Wrestling: E.12: “The Last Resort”

Whether you’re too young to remember, or have just simply forgotten, there have been times when it felt like literally everybody loved pro wrestling. This was never more evident than during the mid-1980s when Hulk Hogan reigned supreme over the wrestling world.

Just how popular was The Hulkster? He was the bee’s knees. He was Cyndi Lauper’s date to the Grammys, he was making appearances on talk shows and MTV, he was on the cover of Sports Illustrated and he was even the focal point of his own Saturday Morning Cartoon, Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘n’ Wrestling.

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The show featured a group of WWF (at the time) wrestlers split into good and bad guys just doing normal real life stuff, but their physicality and brawn would always come into play.

As a kid, I remember watching the show and even getting stickers of the animated wrestlers out of the machine near the checkout counter of our local King Kullen supermarket back in the day. There were even toys produced of the wrestlers as their animated selves that I never had because, I suppose, my mom hated me and didn’t want me to ever be happy.

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The cartoon series only lasted two seasons of 13 episodes each (with some episodes having two short stories), but retained a decent cult following despite being forgotten by the mainstream almost immediately. It even had some recognizable names providing voices for the grapplers! Brad Garrett (who became the tall, goofy brother on Everybody Loves Raymond) voiced Hulk Hogan, James Avery (the wonderful Uncle Phil on Fresh Prince and also the voice of Shredder) as the Junkyard Dog and Pat Fraley (who has one of the most amazing voice acting careers you’ll ever see if you read his IMDB) provided the drawl of Hillbilly Jim.

The show had a brief resurrection around 2000 when WWF (or WWE, though I still think we were F at that point) produced three home video releases of Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘n’ Wrestling that sold pretty well and introduced the show to a new audience.

I remember the series being typical 80s cheese, but a fun time because of the characters involved. Even though it wasn’t the wrestlers doing the voices it was cool to see them in situations like racing cars or whatever the hell else they were doing that day.

I may not feel the same when I finish this episode, but let’s find out.

Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘n’ Wrestling : S.1,E.12: “The Last Resort”

Originally Aired: October 26, 1985

Plot:

We get the opening which is titled “Hulk Hogan’s Theme”. It was included on The Wrestling Album, a record released by WWF in 1985 and, was supposed to be Hulk’s entrance music as well, but he liked another song from the album, “Real American”, better and pushed to have that instead. I’d say things worked out OK. Personally, however, I do love “Hulk Hogan’s Theme”. Not enough to wish it was his theme music for all those years of defeating Sgt. Slaughter and the like, but it’s not a horrible song.

We’re met with Hulk and the gang (Wendi Richter, Hillbilly Jim, Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, Andre The Giant, Junkyard Dog, Tito Santana and Captain Lou Albano) boarding a plane so they can visit their friend Tony Torpedo who is opening a hotel. Tito exclaims how excited he is for a week of fun in the sun. Arriba!

When they arrive at the hotel, they’re met by Tony who says the hotel is already in trouble because another hotel offered his entire crew double the money and now his grand opening may double as his grand closing. Hulk comes up with a great idea for Tony to go out and assemble an entirely new crew while him and the gang stay behind and run the hotel until he returns.

We get Hulk and Wendi running the front desk and the others as bellhops which leads to some expected hilarity. The last of the guests at the opening is the Bashar of Budastan which ends up being some royal kid from a Middle Eastern country.

Hulk immediately gets into it with the Bashar’s security because he refuses to bow, but the Bashar is reminded that customs are different in the USA and he calls off the guards.His handlers ask to speak to Hulk privately and tell him that the Bashar is transporting a priceless jewel that he will display for the first time once his completes his journey and arrives in New York. It’s important because if the jewel is lost, this kid can’t be the leader of Budastan anymore. It’s basically the fucking conch from “Lord of the Flies”.

We get the crew being inept at some of the tasks that come with running a hotel, but none more so than Captain Lou being the absolute worst chef ever and causing a flood of spaghetti all over the kitchen.

Of course, the really important jewel is stolen the very first night and the Budastani security team accuses Captain Lou. Hogan bargains with the General to retrieve the jewel on his own so he can free the Cap.

Turns out it was the General who was behind the robbery the entire time so he could take over control of Whateverfakeassfuckingcountry. We get a really high-speed golf cart chase that finally results in the capture of the General and the return of power to the Bashar who says that all the wrestlers will be known as national heroes in Budastan. We get a finally joke and a group laughing scene and on to the credits.

Final Thoughts:

This show is utterly ridiculous. But I fucking enjoyed the shit out of it. Cartoon Hulk Hogan wearing a tuxedo and acting as a concierge? Sign me up! Junkyard Dog teaching the Bashar how to dance? Yessir!

This was a good time. It’s silly, it’s cheesy, it corny, it’s all of the foodies.

There were no villains in this episode, but Roddy Piper, Iron Sheik, Nikolai Volkoff and maybe one or two others that I can’t think of off the top of my head do make appearances throughout the series. You know shit’s gotta get real when those big confrontations go down.

A few years ago, I came across a torrent online that had the complete series and, of course, burned it to two DVDs. To the best of my knowledge, this show doesn’t exist on a real commercial DVD release, but there are a bunch of episodes available in full on YouTube. If you’re a wrestling fan or simply just a fan of the 80s style of cartoons, I think you could do a lot worse than Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘n’ Wrestling. 

I’d imagine most people haven’t even heard of this, let alone seen it, but go look for it and enjoy. It’s fun. Promise.

❤ Joe

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Joe Takes On Demolition!

As mentioned in our latest episode, both of us talked about Demolition who dominated the WWF tag team ranks in the late 80s. I also spoke about Ax and Smash main eventing the first ever live wrestling show I ever went to and the getting the opportunity to wrestle against them myself over 20 years later. So, for your visual enjoyment, here I am as the villainous Maximus Sex Power teaming with Pinkie Sanchez to take the legendary former tag champs in Queens, NY. This took place at an ICW event in Queens, NY in October, 2010. Check it out.

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LJN WWF Superstars Commercial!

On this week’s episode, we spoke about some of the top toys from 1986 including the WWF Superstars line which was made by LJN. These figures were made of thick rubber and were heavy AF. They definitely caused a shit ton of damage when used as a projectile. Although they lacked points of articulation, they were awesomely detailed for the time and featured a great depth of characters from the time. Still sought after by collectors, the line has seen its value jump significantly over the past few years as more people search for a dwindling supply.

Here’s a commercial promoting one of the earlier series of the line.