Lee Maughan: And now the second two-episode tape from the 1999 re-release of the series.
S2, E7: Amazons Just Wanna Have Fun
Obviously the title here is an allusion to Cyndi Lauper who, along with her manager and boyfriend David Wolff, is actually credited at the end of every episode for their part in creating the whole “rock ‘n’ wrestling” concept to begin with. ‘Mean’ Gene charters a private jet for the boys to the Amazon basin, but turbulence results in a crash landing deep in the jungle. “Hey Andre, get back in your seat! You’re tilting the plane!” Hulk belts out, assumedly. Andre hasn’t even left his seat. What an asshole.
The gang set out to find help, but Captain Lou falls into a canyon and is captured by the natives, followed by JYD who steps into a noose. Tito is taken next, and Andre falls into a leaf-covered hole in the ground. Finally, Hulk gets drugged and thrown into a bamboo cage with the rest of his pals. From out of the shadows come a group of lady Amazon wrestlers, whose truth stone claims are about to come to harm. The Amazons intend to consult their idol for clues on how to deal with their captives, only to get set upon by two ravenous panthers. Hearing their screams, Andre busts the dudes out of the Punjabi Prison-like structure and the fab five make the save.
The Amazons lead the gang to their idol, which turns out to be the abandoned wreckage of an old plane, conveniently stocked with a working radio. Hulk sends out a distress call before a pair of villains show up and steal a briefcase that they believe contains the world’s only copy of a map with directions to the Temple of Tedra. Only it doesn’t. Amidst the scuffle, the radio gets broken, but JYD fixes it with items from the Amazon’s junk collection, amongst which is the map. The villains return with a smoke bomb and abduct one of the Amazons, who leads them to the temple. The abducted Amazon woman warns them that nobody who enters the temple ever comes out.
Hulk’s crew arrive and they barrel right in, Hulk not being one to listen to good advice. At the centre, one of the villains takes the Jewel of Tedra from the eye of a serpent statue, causing it to vomit a river of pink slime. Maybe it was another incarnation of Vigo the Carpathian? Hulk wrestles away the jewel and gives it to the lead Amazon as the entire temple explodes. Hulk’s group escape with the villains captured under either arm of Andre, but the Amazons and their village disappear completely. Hulk finds a medal from the lead Amazon, confirming that they didn’t just dream the entire escapade, and suggests that they’re “somewhere… where strangers won’t find ‘em.” A helicopter then arrives having picked up Hulk’s earlier distress call, and the gang are flown to safety. The Amazons, presumably, are left for dead. Charming.
S2, E,12: The Wrong Stuff
After a hard day’s work down on Granny’s farm, Hulk and the gang head to the barn to catch the World Series on TV. Changing the channels, a special news bulletin announces two astronauts have been stranded in space aboard the Excalibur shuttlecraft. Officials from NASA soon show up (how coincidental!) just in time to see Captain Lou doing the job for a pig, before announcing they’re sending an emergency mission into space and the guys qualify to be rescue astronauts. Of course they do!
Over at NASA, the gang meet another group who are due to be tested to see which two have what it takes to be sent into space, and of course it’s Roddy’s crew. “The only way you freaks could outclass us is in a dog show!” barks Hogan. What does that even mean? First up in the head-to-head, it’s Wendi and Moolah on the exercise bikes, but Moolah pedals so hard that the bike breaks off its hinges and she goes crashing through a door before backflipping into a lake. Did I really just see that? Next up, Hogan and Piper jump into a gigantic tank of water to see who can hold their breath the longest. That seems like a pretty dangerous test to me, especially to put in a show that kids might try to emulate at bath time. Hogan wins when Piper starts pulling faces and swallows a bunch of water. Andre beats Big John Studd in a test of strength when he breaks the machine, and then Hillbilly and Nikolai attempt to insert their pieces into each other’s holes. It’s a pre-schooler’s shapes game. Hillbilly’s too thick to do it so he eats the shapes, while Nikolai slams the desk in frustration and they all fall into place. What sort of booking is this? The babyfaces have gone three up and it’s the heels who have to come from behind! Last up are Albano and the Iron Sheik who are hanging upside-down in an attempt to test the effects of weightlessness. Sheik tries to take a drink but ends up pouring the water all over himself, and Lou just makes a pig of himself with a cream pie, as usual. Sheik gets in a jab about how unfair the test is since Lou’s always been weightless in the head, so I’d call that one a draw overall, but a moral victory for the Sheik.
The testing completed, the NASA officials announce the two winners – Hogan and Nikolai. When they announced earlier that only two were being selected to go on the mission, I would have put money on it being Hogan and Piper. I guess Nikolai makes sense with the Russians being America’s greatest enemy in the Space Race and all. Hogan promises the stranded astronauts they’re “as good as home”, which seems pretty boastful for a guy who’s only just complete less than a day’s training that consisted mostly of holding his breath under water. Aggrieved, Piper and Sheik plot to kidnap Hulk and Nikolai and secretly replace them, but they’re heels and all heels are idiots, so they abduct the pilots by accident and the rocket takes off without them.
Out in space, Nikolai strikes up a rendition of the Russian national anthem in an attempt to claim the galaxy on behalf of the Kremlin, or something, but his buffoonery causes Hogan to fall out into space without a rope. Luckily for the entire history of wrestling, resourceful old Terry transmogrifies into Robbie Rocketpants and Junior Birdmans the hell back to the orbiting satellite, just in time to rescue the stranded astronauts before the whole thing explodes like a soulless Michael Bay movie. Back at Cape Canaveral, ‘Mean’ Gene asks Hulk what it was like to be the first wrestler in space, which is a pretty insulting question considering big Nikolai went with him!
Summary: Another two rather wacky stories on offer this time out, but it’s the 80s and it’s a cartoon, so what do you expect? Chances are you either fall into one of two categories concerning this stuff – either you grew up on it and love it for its campy, kitschy silliness, or you think they’re the worst cartoons ever made. Obviously the purpose of these books is to be critical of everything we cover and yes, some of the set pieces and plot points are quite frankly ludicrous, but it’s a kids show about a group of adventurous knucklehead wrestlers from an era of gross excess. Come on, how can you not at least love this show for what it is?