Yes. Mister Ed had a wrestling-themed episode. Sadly, it didn’t involve Mister Ed wrestling against a human wrestler. They could’ve at least used him as part of a grand spectacle of an entrance. Then again, it was 1962 and that sort of thing would’ve probably caused granny plants in the audience to faint.
The 60’s was quite the time for wrestling and sitcoms. Back then, managers actually owned their wrestlers and could sell or buy them like some kind of slave trade. And as for sitcoms, this was a time when neighbors were so close to each other that they could realistically enter into a major financial decision together without hesitation. Thus, Wilbur and his neighbor, Roger, literally buy a human being. The human being in question? Professional wrestler, Tiger Davis.
At first, Tiger’s not much to look at and has trouble defeating his sparring partner. Far from what the WWE eventually made us want out of a wrestler, Tiger isn’t much bigger than Wilbur, but apparently eats like he’s been living on the streets his whole life. Maybe he thought the carbs would help him bulk up, bearing in mind this was before steroids became the supplement of choice of all wrestlers. This backfires and Tiger starts to gain a bit of weight, even though it’s only been a couple of days.
Tiger is also not much of a Tiger, with his good ‘ol boy, aw shucks, demeanor. Even at his fattest (10 pounds overweight), he can’t even sum up the anger to fight off Wilbur while protecting a bag of donuts. How’s he supposed to win a fixed match?
Oh yeah, there’s hardly any interaction between Tiger Davis and Mister Ed, except for a scene in which Tiger keeps slapping Mister Ed’s ass. Don’t worry, there’s some context to it. Ed later tells Wilbur to get Tiger the hell away from him before he ends up with cauliflower tail. Wilbur doesn’t care. Tiger is Mister Ed’s only chance at getting a new saddle if he makes Wilbur some money. Which goes to show how little Wilbur cared for Mister Ed. You’d think a new saddle would cost less than going half in on a human being.
Wilbur and Roger’s wives take a liking to Tiger Davis and offer to get him into shape before his next bout. Before your mind can even go there, the ladies let Tiger join in on their private ballet lessons. I reference a lot of past wrestling-themed TV episodes having influenced Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler, but this Mister Ed episode has to be the one that got the ball rolling. The Wrestler and Black Swan were originally born out of the same concept, in which a ballet dancer falls in love with a wrestler. Mister Ed goes in another direction and transforms the wrestler into a ballet dancer. This idea was probably also ripped off for Hulk Hogan’s Mr. Nanny.
Sure enough, when Tiger finally has his big match, he incorporates all of his ballet training into his wrestling moveset. Not only does he move gracefully around the ring but because being a professional dancer is in no way manly, Tiger’s entire gimmick also involves him acting effeminate and triggering gay panic by spanking his opponent, Apache Kid. Imagine Gorgeous George mixed in with some Fandango, if Fandango actually incorporated dance moves into his wrestling. Which would actually make sense. Tiger eventually puts away the Apache Kid with a dropkick, which is a good indication of the time period, when matches could end with a body slam. Or a dropkick.
Based on this one win, Wilbur and Roger are offered a contract consisting of $1,000 a week for Tiger’s services. However, the money is being fronted by the owner of a ballet company and not some wrestling promoter. You think they’d be happy with the offer because $1,000 is still $1,000 regardless of where it’s coming from. And it would be enough money to get Wilbur the necessary mental health care he obviously required.
Side note: the wrestler portraying Tiger Davis is Ricki Starr, a British grappler who was actually trained in ballet and had a successful career because of it. Again, definitely something Fandango should look into.