Audible sigh. Can you guess why we’re talking about this this week? So yeah, as bad as it was, what happened at WWE World Wrestling Entertainment WrestleMania 2: WrestleMania Backlash is no new thing. Wrestling has been trying to borrow some of the shine of movies, it’s much cooler older entertainment brother, for decades. Hell the entire main event of only the second ever SummerSlam was built around Hulk Hogan fighting Zeus, the main villain from Hulkster’s new movie No Holds Barred, and it didn’t stop there.
Triple H with his high-larious robo-poncho at Mania 31, cool Triple H, cool, to Hellboy showing up to wrestle in All Japan Pro Wrestling in 2019. No chill in this business, wrestling will show its ass at the mere sniff of cross-promotion. Some movie collaborations haven’t been terrible, Hugh Jackman I guess, that’s fine, others… oh no…OH NO. I’m Adam, hailing from PartsFunknown and here are the 10 Worst Movie Tie-Ins In Wrestling History.
Army of the Dead
Let’s get it over with shall we. What a load of undead b******s, and genuinely the only actual bad thing on the card. Seriously, Backlash might just have been the best WWE PPV of the pandemic, HOT TAKE. Were it not for the fact that, to shill Big Dave Batista’s Big New Zombie Heist movie Army of the Dead, WWE spliced zombies into the Thunderdome crowd, and you know what, if they’d left it at that, that’s borderline charming, wouldn’t be the first time webcam footage of a slavering cretin appeared in that crowd, but alas no, WWE had bigger plans for the night.
The Miz, who was WWE Champion three months ago and Damian Priest who seems to be WWE’s current pop culture liaison for some reason, wrestled with a bunch of actors in zombie makeup around the ring, and the Miz sold it, and I hate that they made him do it. I hate that the main wrestling company in the world is written in crayon. John Morrison did some parkour before getting [checks notes] killed and eaten, and then The Miz lost the match before getting…killed and eaten. Damien Priest won, but had to shoot the Army of the Dead logo into the ceiling and what happened to you Damien Priest, you used to be cool.
And speaking of cool. Who’s the cat that won’t cop out, when there’s danger all about? It’s Shaft. Whenever anyone tries to tell you that WWE was cooler in the attitude era, point them in the direction of the June 15, 2000 episode of Smackdown and the storyline that ran through the episode of Patterson and Brisco searching New York for Crash Holly and his hardcore title.
Who does Crash run into but John Shaft and his woman, who is the only one who understands this complicated man. John Shaft. Yup that’s real Samuel L Jackson playing fictional John Shaft, talking to real/fictional crash holly and man it’s weird. Anyway Shaft agrees to be Crash’s bodyguard delivering a weak slap to Patterson and Brisco and what better way to promote a movie about a cool dude with attitude than having him mixing it up with the fucking stooges. Has wrestling ever been cool. Guy, it might not have ever been cool.
This is…complicated. So The Wrestler, starring ancient wooden lion Mickey Rourke is a sombre movie about an industry that, in its heyday, left people physically spent at 50, washed up and addicted to adrenaline at best, and dead at worst.
It brought Roddy Piper to tears when he watched because he recognised the wreckage that the business used to leave it its wake, which makes it just super weird that WWE leapt in to help promote the bleakest possible look at their world, and did so by having Chris Jericho smack the s**t out of three old wrestlers, including Roddy piper, at WrestleMania 25, only for not a real wrestler Mickey Rourke to hop into the ring wearing his ‘so you want to start taking peyote in the desert’ starter kit and do his best Shane McMahon impression at Chris Jericho.
On the surface, a heartwarming tale about celebrities being better at fighting than trained athletes, but tonally it’s bleak, like if the guy who made supersize me screened the film’s premiere at the world’s biggest McDonalds.
Ooh some of you are gonna disagree with me on this, and yeah I can kinda see it. The Undertaker vs Underfaker storyline heading into SummerSlam 1994 was a big plate of ham and cheese, but it was the kind of new generation silliness that give people a nostalgic twinge. Going back to re-watch it though, nah it’s pretty bad, sorry about that.
So the story in brief, at the Royal Rumble 94 the man with the Funereal Disease fought Yokozuna in a casket match in which he died and ascended to heaven. Yes. Undertaker vanished for months, before WWE started a storyline of people seeing the Deadman at the deli, bringing in none other than Frank Drebin of the Naked Gun movies to help crack the case, just in time to promote Naked Gun 33 ⅓ that had come out earlier in the year.
Cue Leslie Neilsen looking for ‘Taker backstage at SummerSlam, and lots of subpar Naked Gun one-liners that honestly aren’t as good as you remember. Leslie Neilson holds up a closed briefcase so he says, the case is closed. That’s it. That’s the whole joke.