Watching the opening title credits for Quantum Leap made me nostalgic for 80’s and 90’s cheesy TV opening credit sequences. I’m sure I’m not the only one who pines for the days of edited footage from previous episodes with terrible music and actors turning at the right time just as their name is displayed across the screen. Why else would WWE.com decide to reimagine Raw as a 90’s sitcom? Other than that bit of nostalgia, I don’t know much about Quantum Leap other than it used to be on after Monday Night Raw back in the day. Having watched this particular episode I kind of want to binge on the entire series courtesy of Hulu Plus. Then again, I’m sure the other episodes cannot compete with Scott Bakula time traveling to 1950s professional wrestling as a kayfabe Russian heel.
Quick shout out to Marty DeRosa. The Colt Cabana to Colt Cabana’s CM Punk. A comedian out of Chicago who hosts the Wrestling with Depression podcast and stars in the hilarious YouTube series Worst Promo Ever with Colt Cabana. Had it not been for him I would’ve never known that this episode of Quantum Leap existed. Thank you, Marty.
Dr. Sam Beckett finds himself in the middle of a tag team with his “Ruskie” bro against The Executioners. Neither of which was The Executioner from WrestleMania I who fought Tito Santana, or the one who fought The Undertaker in a horrible match at an In Your House pay-per-view. With little wrestling experience, but a black belt in karate apparently, Beckett nails one of The Executioners with a well-placed spinning kick to the dome. The ref counts to three, even though Becket never pins him, and the show already loses points for credibility. Nevertheless, the Russian brothers win and cut a promo on the tag team champs, The Shiloh Boys. One of which happens to be Terry Funk, as Carl Shiloh.
Beckett finds out the harsh truth about pro wrestling as soon as he hits the locker room. The most devastating of which is that his Russian brother, Ronny Sammis, isn’t actually Russian. Nor he. They’re just a couple of country boys trying to make good in this wild world of rasslin’. He’s also surprised to learn that the matches are fixed, except for championship title matches. Which is fucking crazy. If only real wrestling was like that. Maybe then John Cena wouldn’t have become a 15-time world champion.
Lamar the Promoter, as he’s actually billed on IMDB.com, is incensed that Beckett shot on The Executioner and feels like the Russian brothers are trying to strong arm him into giving them a title match. Beckett continues being the worst rookie ever by incurring the wrath of one Terry Funk AKA Carl Shiloh. Although to be fair, Shiloh’s wife, Sherry, is kind of whorish. Which is basically the same storyline WWE has been using for their Divas for the past 18 years. Carl doesn’t take kindly to playing the William H. Macy character from Boogie Nights and warns Becket to stay away from his wife.
But it’s not all bad news because before Beckett can even jump in the shower, his mother and manager, Lottie Sammis, breaks the news that The Mongolians got drunk and ended up in jail, which frees up that number one contender spot for the tag team titles. Beckett’s time traveling Great Gazoo in human form, Al Calavicci, shits on the parade by telling Beckett that Ronny’s expected to die during the title match due to heart failure.
While trying to fend off Sherry’s advances and avoid getting his ass handed to him by Terry Funk, and trying to convince his dumb ass brother and mother that Ronny’s not well, we learn that back in the 50’s pro wrestlers traveled together like gypsies and set up camp wherever they saw fit. Everybody keeps ignoring Beckett’s warnings about Ronny’s health, including the promoter, and more surprisingly, the doctor.
The Battling Ruskies go through with the match, but not before Beckett makes a bet with Ronny that if they win he has to check into a hospital for a more thorough exam. Lamar throws Beckett’s plan out the window by telling them they have to throw the match because it wouldn’t look right for a couple of communists to win the world tag team belts on American soil. Wish Vince McMahon upheld such values. It would’ve saved us from that horrible Sgt. Slaughter title run in 1991.
Carl Shiloh shows up in what could be the best get up Terry Funk has ever worn, and that’s including his Chainsaw Charlie gimmick, and agrees that the match should stay a shoot. Because he’s Terry fucking Funk and he wouldn’t have it any other way. Beckett’s plan is put into motion and he starts the match with the intention of never tagging out so that Ronny can live. Which is all well and good except that it means getting the shit legitimately beat out of him by Carl Shiloh. And only Carl Shiloh as we never see him tag his brother in once either because fuck him, it’s not like he was being played by Dory Funk Jr. And both brothers seem to be okay with it. Shiloh continues pummeling Beckett for an hour and hits him with everything he’s got, including a patented Funk piledriver.
Beckett ends up putting away Shiloh with the “crowd-pleasing” sleeper hold. Shiloh passes out and the referee counts his shoulders down 1-2-3. No holding up of the arm or letting it drop three times. What the fuck? Either the writers got their shit mixed up when it came to wrestling rules, or I haven’t watched enough of 1950’s wrestling. Then Beckett’s suddenly transported to another time and place where people in HazMat suits and gas masks are crawling on their stomachs frantically yelling at him to get down. And, surprisingly, he complies without shitting himself.