Note to Self – More than a contender

Brian Murphy

The New York Yankees said goodbye to hallowed Yankees Stadium by missing the playoffs for the first time in what seems like decades. The Tampa Bay [Don’t Call Me Devil] Rays are in the postseason for seemingly the first time ever. I’m not even allowed to mention the Chicago Cubs because one word and they might realize they haven’t collapsed yet.

In football, the mighty, mighty New England Patriots got waxed by the Miami Dolphins, who have been the league’s doormat the last two years, thanks to a gimmick offense that thoroughly confused the Pats and their supposedly genius head coach. Powerhouses like the Indianapolis Colts, the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the San Diego Chargers all look very flawed and beatable. Ohio and Missouri residents are on death watch after the St. Louis Rams, Kansas City Chiefs, Cincinnati Bengals and the Cleveland Browns are a combined 0-12.

So what do I want to focus my column on this week? A reality TV show, of course.

Country Music Television, the channel that brought you My Big Redneck Wedding, strikes again, this time with a can’t miss hit called Hulk Hogan’s Celebrity Championship Wrestling set to debut Oct. 18.

The premise is fairly simple – take famous people and attempt to turn them into professional wrestlers. If Ric Flair can wrestle at the age of 917, then surely whoever Hollywood picks off the boulevard can at least fill his shoes, right? I mean, everyone knows wrestling is fake and the matches are predetermined, so why even tune in?

Here’s why – while companies like World Wrestling Entertainment do, in fact, script whether Triple H gets to keep the belt when he goes up against John Cena at Wrestlemania, they still have to get in the ring and put on a show. Wrestlers might learn how to fall in a way to absorb the impact and minimize damage, but last time I checked falling on your head still hurts. Getting powerbombed through a table still leaves a mark. And just ask me brother what it feels like to get hit upside the head with a chair. Lord knows the poor bastard should have brain damage the way I used to torture him growing up.

So needless to say, the idea of watching someone take Screech to the woodshed for trying to single-handedly kill the Internet by releasing a sex tape is immensely enjoyable. The mere thought that Dennis Rodman might botch a top-rope maneuver and spend the rest of his days drinking his meals through a straw sends me to my happy place and while Tiffany might not have done anything to upset me, she does, on a larger scale, represent shitty bubblegum music. That’s reason enough to crack open a cold one the first time someone stomps a mudhole or opens up a can of whoop-ass on her.

Here’s what CMT has to say about their upcoming juggernaut:

Ten brave celebrities come together to learn, train and compete in competitive wrestling while being eliminated one by one each week based on judges’ selections and head-to-head matches with one another. World champion wrestler Hulk Hogan, former president of World Championship Wrestling Eric Bischoff and professional wrestling manager Jimmy Hart judge the celebrities on their performances throughout various challenges which include mastering complex wrestling moves, trash talk to intimidate the opponent and working a live audience. On the road to transforming them into wrestlers, the cast will be coached by former professional wrestlers Brutus “the Barber” Beefcake and Brian Knobbs.

The Hulk Hogan’s Celebrity Championship Wrestling cast includes:

  • Danny Bonaduce – television and radio host, reality star and actor The Partridge Family

  • Todd Bridges – television personality, actor Different Strokes
  • ButterBean – super-heavyweight boxer
  • Trishelle Cannatella – television personality, reality star Real World: Las Vegas
  • Dustin Diamond – television personality, actor Saved by the Bell
  • Erin Murphy – television personality, actress Bewitched
  • Dennis Rodman – five-time NBA champion
  • Frank Stallone – actor, singer, Sylvester Stallone’s brother
  • Tiffany – chart-topping ’80s pop singer
  • Nikki Ziering – actress, Playboy playmate

The celebrities will be faced with exhausting challenges and elimination matches that will lead up to the heart-pounding finale that will determine the winner. The contestants will be divided into two teams, then taught the same set of moves to create the most exciting wrestling match against one another in an attempt to win over the judges and a live audience. Hogan, 12-time world champion, will be just as tough on the cast as he was on his challengers in a match, and each week the celebrity who doesn’t bring their A-game will be thrown out of the ring. Ultimately only one will become the celebrity all-star wrestling champion.

Seriously, what’s not to love? I haven’t watched wrestling in years, but this is enough to get me to tune in, just to see celebrities get their asses kicked and there’s always the off chance that a former WWF wrestler finds his way onto the show in hopes of becoming semi-relevant again. So whose the favorite coming into the show?

Right away we can eliminate all four of the female contestants. Can you see the show handing a former 80’s pop singer their championship belt in season one? Neither can I, so Tiffany is out. Cannatella spends too much time on her back to actually mount any offense, so she’s done. Ziering gets paid to stand around and look pretty, not to actually do any heavy lifting, so she’s only to be viewed as eye candy. Murphy is 44 and learning wrestling for the first time. Nuff’ said.

Bonaduce, Diamond and Bridges might have a chance, if for no other reason than they’ve all participated in similar degrading reality TV. All three won their bouts on Fox’s Celebrity Boxing, so all three are capable challengers. Stallone is a black-sheep brother, so he’s got to have some built in rage. Rodman has actually done this before, playing a part-time sidekick to Hogan and the N.W.O. guys back when WCW still existed.

But honestly, there’s only one way this can end, and that’s with ButterBean victorious. I mean, have you seen the YouTube clip of him annihilating Bart Gunn at WrestleMania? He’s going to hit Screech so hard Kelly Kapowski is going to feel his pain. And this time, there’s no chance he’ll be … wait for it … saved by the bell.

Brian Murphy is an award-winning sportswriter who also goes by the name Homer McFanboy. Contact him at murf@homermcfanboy.com.

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