Lee Maughan: This is the fifth tape from the 1999 re-release of the 80’s cartoon series, with this featuring three rather than the usual two episodes.
S2, E5: The Foster Wrestler
On their way to a big match at the Bombay Arena in India, Hulk and the gang are collected by a driver named Boobar and whisked off to the village of Bangpoor. Stopping off for water along the way, a baby elephant takes a shine to Andre. Arriving at the village, the group meet up with Tito’s foster kid, Raji, but something seems amiss. Raji’s family appear gaunt, frail and hungry despite Tito having sent them food and supplies for over a year, and their crops aren’t growing. Raji explains that all they’ve received from Tito are letters and pictures, suggesting their shipments have been hijacked by someone. Hillbilly offers to show the locals how to farm and Captain Lou cooks up veggie burgers for everyone as Hulk’s crew head out to find who’s responsible for the interceptions.
At the docks, Andre, Superfly and JYD hide in wooden crates and get driven away in a large delivery truck, with Hulk, Tito and Wendi in hot pursuit. Meanwhile, the baby elephant is abducted by poachers. Back to the chase, the truck makes it all the way back to Bangpoor without stopping after driving behind a waterfall, with Boobar’s car taking a shortcut over a bridge. Inspecting the truck, Hulk and Raji find Andre, Superfly and JYD all to be missing, so Hulk goes to speak with the driver. When he notices a different guy behind the wheel, the driver pulls away, unaware that Raji is still aboard, so Hulk, Boobar and all give chase yet again.
Over at a secret cave warehouse behind the waterfall, a group of captive elephants are moving boxes of contraband supplies around when the baby elephant discovers Andre and the boys, leading to the crooks capturing the trio in a large net, locking them in a box, then dumping them in the river to die. Heavy stuff! Luckily, they’re picked up by a troupe of elderly elephants, whom they ride back to the cave. In the meantime, Hulkster and his team encounter trouble with a hungry tiger and a rapidly collapsing bridge, with the knock-on effect that they discover tyre tracks that lead through the waterfall and into the cave.
The boys round up the black marketeers but are forced to let them escape when Raji emerges from the back of the truck, gets his foot caught in a rope, and almost gets crushed by a working elephant. Locked in, Hogan’s heroes comes face to face with the bad guys riding a horde of elephants, only for Andre, Superfly and JYD to arrive in the nick of time for an all-elephant showdown, which the babyfaces naturally win. Moments later, Boobar arrives just in time to pass out from exhaustion, having run all the way to the cave nonstop from Bangpoor. Back on the farm, Uncle Andre feeds milk to the baby elephant while cradling it in his arms, which is bizarre given that the elephant was already shown in an earlier scene to be much bigger than him. I guess that’s inconsistent 80s animation for you.
S2, E2: Muscle Madness
Throughout Rock ‘n’ Wrestling’s entire 26 episode run, precisely half of the episodes were actually split into two smaller stories, though this is the first time one of those micro episodes has made it onto any of these commercial tapes. This one comes from the second of season 2’s episode 2.
Bumping into each other whilst out shopping for gym equipment, Hulk and Roddy both notice a poster for the upcoming Miss Muscle contest and volunteer Wendi and Moolah respectively for the big showdown. Both ladies are hesitant at first until being told the other called them a wimp. Nikolai and the Iron Sheik are sent to sabotage Wendi’s training while Roddy suggests Moolah’s best chance of winning is to cheat. Mr. Fuji then lies to Moolah about Piper making fun of her weight, which results in Moolah bodypressing Piper over her head. “What did I tell you? She’s now lifting a dumbbell!”
At the contest, Wendi posts a score of 29 out of 30 for her physique (which hardly has any muscles on it at all) before Moolah bags a clean sweep with 10 out of 10 across the board, despite the notable handicap of one of her muscles bursting. A passage of time takes us to the weightlifting portion of proceedings, with Wendi failing at 250lbs but Moolah succeeding thanks to some strategically placed magnets, and she takes the trophy.
But wait! Fuji is such a fool that he accidentally knocks the magnet over and the weights roll onto the emcee. Moolah naturally can’t lift them without any assistance but Wendi Hulks Up to finally bodyslam… er, I mean, lift the weights on her second attempt, so the judges disqualify Moolah for cheating and give Wendi first place instead. Perhaps that decision was what really triggered the infamous Madison Square Garden screwjob between Wendi and Spider Lady? Furious, Piper threatens Hogan who sticks up for Wendi by saying she could beat Moolah in any kind of sport. Piper suggests bowling and Hulk accepts, only for Wendi and Moolah to scald both guys, and they all agree to forget it.
S2, E4: Big John’s Car Lot
Another micro episode, this one the first half of season 2’s episode 4, which was backed with an episode called Big Top Boobs, which I believe was an intimate, behind-the-scenes exposé of Sable’s Playboy pictorials.
Wraparound: Bobby Heenan shows Gene Okerlund how to extort money from an ATM, but gets himself arrested in the process. Okerlund of course keeps the pile of cash for himself. Hey, they don’t call him “Scheme” Gene for nothing!
John Studd’s father’s car lot business is failing so Piper’s club show up to lend a hand. With Studd Sr. out of town (why he’s gallivanting off despite being on the verge of bankruptcy is never adequately explained), Piper and the boys start lying to innocent customers about the quality of the cars, having been offered a 50/50 commission on any sales. Studd the elder soon returns and can’t believe the amount of money the boys have made, but all of the customers return, demanding their money back for the shoddy motors they’ve had pawned off on them. All except one that is, a priest who bought a convertible from the lads for just $20 but wants to return it because having cleaned it up, he’s realised it’s a rare convertible worth $50,000. Papa Studd scalds his son and promises to split the cash with the bible thumper.
Summary: The shorter episodes on offer here will perhaps make the show a little more palatable for some, although The Foster Wrestler did have a moderately intriguing plot (at least by Rock ‘n’ Wrestling standards). Muscle Madness had some decent gags but clearly not enough to carry a full length story, while Big John’s Car Lot was rather unusual in not even featuring title star Hulk Hogan, nor any of the babyface clan.