Scooby-Doo! WrestleMania Mystery

Scooby-Doo! WrestleMania Mystery (2014)

Doo not miss this Scooby/WWE mashup

Scooby-Doo! WrestleMania Mystery

Vince McMahon and the employees of his World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) enterprise have faced a great many challenges over the years. There have been steroid trials, a high death toll amongst performers and competition from other sports entertainment companies. One thing Mr. McMahon has not had to deal with was a blood thirsty ghost bear. Thanks to the newly released direct-to-home video flick Scooby- Doo! WrestleMania Mystery however, McMahon can now say that he has faced and overcome all possible challenges.

Scooby and his owner/best pal Shaggy are enjoying a night of hijinx, playing the latest video game offering from the WWE. After vanquishing a foe, they move onto the bonus level, where the game format inexplicably changes from wrestling, to a Dance Dance Revolution-style rhythm challenge. When Scooby achieves a perfect score, he is greeted with a video message from WWE head honcho Mr. McMahon, informing him that he has won a trip to WrestleMania, which is taking place in WWE City.

WWE City? Yes, in the world of Scooby Doo, WWE is not a traveling show, but its own city, complete with not only an arena, but training facilities, and all you can eat buffet restaurants. If Vatican City can exist, then why not a WWE City. The residents of both cities have their own J.C. which is central to their existence. The WWE’s version is their top star, and one of the heroes of this story, John Cena.

Scooby and Shaggy are eager to travel to WWE City, but their friends need a little arm-twisting, and not the kind that the WWE superstars like to do. Fred agrees so he can snap some photos with his fancy new camera. Velma decides to go so she can compare the WWE to ancient gladiatorial society. Daphne is adamant that she will not go, but changes her tune after taking a gander at the aforementioned John Cena.

So Scooby and pals go to WWE City, enjoy WrestleMania, and everything goes off without a hitch, right? Wrong! You see, WWE City is being terrorized by a ghost bear. Long ago, it was not uncommon for wrestlers to have matches with bears. No, this is not a wacky idea dreamed up for the purposes of this animated film. This actually used to happen. The site that would eventually become WWE City was once host to a match between a masked Mexican wrestler name Sin Cara Grande, who overcame the odds, and defeated the bear. Now after all these years, the bear is back – this time in ghost form, to seek vengeance.

Mr. McMahon is very worried about the bear. Not because he is concerned about the welfare of his fellow WWE City residents, but because he is afraid that something will happen to the extremely valuable WWE championship belt. So, after hearing of the legendary exploits of Scooby and pals, he hires them to be protectors of the belt. But Scooby and Shaggy find themselves in deep Doo Doo when the belt goes missing, and all signs point to Scooby being the culprit.

Justice is not dealt out in a courtroom in WWE City, but rather in the wrestling ring. Scooby and Shaggy must earn their freedom by competing against the WWE’s scariest performer, the nearly seven-foot-tall Kane. In the immortal words of Scooby, “Ruh-roh!”

Along with the voice work of Scooby regulars such as the Matthew Lillard, Mindy Cohn and the legendary Frank Welker, a host of WWE superstars are along for the ride, including John Cena, Kane, Triple H, AJ Lee, Sin Cara and The Miz.

Scooby Doo has had some incredible encounters over the years with stars such as Sonny & Cher, Don Knotts and KISS. Nothing has come close however to the magic created when Scooby first set his four feet onto WWE soil. Scooby-Doo! WrestleMania Mystery is a delight from start to finish. I Scooby-Dooby-Doo recommend that you download your digital copy from Amazon or iTunes, and then also purchase a physical DVD as well. It is important to have a backup, as watching Scooby over the years has taught me that people are always stealing things, and there might not be some meddling kids to prevent them from nabbing your copy of this excellent film.


Blood on the Flat Track: Rise of the Rat City Rollergirls

Blood on the Flat Track: Rise of the Rat City Rollergirls (2007)

Roller Derby film never goes off track

Roller girl Basket Casey is out for blood

This has to be the greatest time of the year for sports fans. The Major League Baseball season kicks off in early April. The NHL playoffs usually begin around this time. There is the continuation of March Madness. But, most importantly, it is the time of year when many roller derby leagues start their seasons.

Originally gaining a huge following in the 1940s, the mostly female sport has experienced a revival in recent years. It is even under consideration to become a medal sport in the 2020 Summer Olympics. This is great news; for while, I have always had the utmost respect for the athletes involved, many have viewed it as fringe sport. Yes, some have thrown it in the same category as jousting, potato sack racing and hide and seek. I don’t like to brag, but I am quite the hide and seek player. I once hid behind a sack of potatoes for 45 minutes before the other players gave up. So if roller derby gets accepted into the Olympics, I feel hide and seek has an outside shot as well, and I could do Canada proud.

The 2007 documentary Blood on the Flat Track: Rise of the Rat City Rollergirls puts the fledging sport under the microscope, and introduces us to the colourful athletes that make up the game. The Rat City Rollergirls league is based out of Seattle, and began to draw huge crowds in their first two years – no wonder, with a roster of competitors with monikers such as: Punchin’ Judy, Cybil Unrest, Bruise Lee, Ann Munition, Pia Mess, Blonde an’ Bitchin’, Darth Skater, Jowanna Ass Kickin’ and Payne Gretzky.

The women of the Rat City Rollergirls are tough and fast as anyone who has knowledge of the sport would expect. The one thing I didn’t know is how many different hats (or helmets) the competitors must wear. Not only are they the featured talent, but they take care of many of the behind the scenes tasks. Putting together the programs, booking venues and assembling the track are just a few of the jobs these women take on. You wouldn’t catch athletes from some of the other major sports getting their hands dirty like this. I’d like to see LeBron James try to use Microsoft Publisher to design an advertisement for a Miami Heat game. Baseball star Alex Rodriguez may have plowed many fields, but he’d be hopeless trying to mow the grass at Yankee stadium.

Not only do the women have to manage many different aspects of the sport, but they also have a lot of other things on their plate. You might be surprised to learn that multi-million-dollar roller derby contracts do not exist. So these women have to juggle their derby responsibilities, their day jobs, relationships, and sometimes their children. Incidentally, child juggling is also one of the sports being considered for Olympic inclusion in 2020.

Hopefully if the inclusion in the Olympics does happen, the deserving women of roller derby will be given more coverage by the major sports media outlets. It is really in a unique position, being perhaps the only female dominated sport. Unless you consider wet t-shirt contests a sport. And I do. Major sports media outlets don’t want to cover that, either, no matter how many professionally written letters I pen.

Blood on the Flat Track: Rise of the Rat City Rollergirls is a terrific documentary that will give you a whole new appreciation for the stars of a quickly rising sport. It really showcases the camaraderie that exists between the athletes (even those on rival teams), and the bumps and bruises that these women endure. It will all be worth it though once Syphilis Diller, Wikibleedia and Susan B. Agony become household names.

Body Slam

Body Slam (1987)

Wham, bam, thank you, Body Slam

The Tonga Kid and Roddy Piper

It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I most certainly do not feel fine.

Every four years, the world gathers to witness the majesty of the summer Olympic Games. But the world’s biggest stage will never be the same after it was announced that starting in 2020, in all likelihood, wrestling will no longer be an Olympic event.

That’s right, wrestling, one of the oldest sports known to man will not be a part of future Olympic games. However, they will still award equestrian medals – presumably to horses, since they are doing all the work. No fretting, Popeye, as sailing will still be included. As will synchronized swimming. Not to mention the other 30 or so variations of swimming which are included in the event. Who cares how you are getting from one end to the other, as long as you do it? How much hardware does Michael Phelps need?

Olympic wrestling had provided some incredible moments, like the time in 1976 when France’s Andre The Giant tossed Japan’s Mr. Fuji completely off the wrestling mats and into the third row of spectators en route to capturing the gold medal, while his mother Stella The Giant looked on in tears. I’ll never forget the 1984 Olympics when U.S.A. representative Hulk Hogan (accompanied by Ronald Reagan and Sylvester Stallone) single-handedly ended the Cold War with his victory over the Russian Bear. No, that was not a nickname. Russia’s wrestling team that year was captained by a grizzly bear.

Sadly, many have forgotten these moments. If you do a quick Google search, you’ll be hard pressed to find any recollections of these events – hell, you might even find contradictory information.

Thankfully, wrestling will always live on through film. Legendary films such as Nacho Libre and No Holds Barred should be viewed by the International Olympic Committee before any rash decisions are made. As should the film I’ll be taking a look at this week – Body Slam.

Dirk Benedict (The A-Team, Battlestar Galactica) portrays M. Harry Smilac, a music promoter who has seen better days. He has one floundering act, and is up to his ears in debt. However, in a case of art imitating life, the worlds of rock ’n’ roll and wrestling unite to raise Smilac’s career out of the doldrums.

In a case of mistaken identity, Smilac signs Quick Rick Roberts (“Rowdy” Roddy Piper) and Tonga Tom (Sam Fatu, a.k.a. The Tonga Kid), thinking they are musicians. The only beautiful music these two are making is inside the wrestling ring, where they are top contenders to the prestigious tag team championship.

Once he realizes his mistake, Smilac decides to stick to his guns, because music simply wasn’t paying the bills. But Smilac is not exactly welcomed into the wrestling business with open arms. Legendary professional wrestling manager Captain Lou Albano takes on the challenging role of legendary professional wrestling manager Captain Lou Murano. Captain Lou is a despicable character whose Cannibals team puts Smilac and his tandem on the shelf.

Now injured and basically blackballed from the major leagues by Murano, Smilac decides to take his wrestling duo on the road with his only musical act. The Rock ’n’ Wrestling connection is a huge success, leading to a winners-take-all battle between the forces of good and evil.

Body Slam is a beautifully acted and tremendously written look at what the stars of sports entertainment really go through. It is everything the 2008 film The Wrestler should have been. Wrestling icons Bruno Sammartino and Ric Flair make cameos. As does renowned comedian Charles Nelson Reilly, and Billy Barty, the greatest under 4-foot tall actor who ever lived (sorry, Tom Cruise). For the second time in his career, Dirk Benedict was a member of an A-Team as part of this stellar cast. Body Slam will have you pinned down on your sofa for its entire 89 minute duration.