Before tuning into Netflix to watch Jerry Lawler try and beat the crap out of Jim Carrey for not breaking kayfabe in Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond, feel free to revisit Lawler’s earlier Hollywood work alongside Michael J. Fox.
Michael J. Fox plays Michael Chapman, a former child star who’s not quite a cautionary tale, but just as sad. Instead of boozing and drugs, he ends up running a talent agency for children with his brother Ed, played by Nathan Lane. He happens to discover this young street-wise Latina named Angie, who’s also kind of an orphan. He takes her on and she quickly becomes their fledgling agency’s star actor, nabbing spots for Sunburst cookies, and also filling some sort of void that Mikey had in his life, since he’s also kind of a man child type who has commitment issues, etc. Anyway, during Angie’s birthday party, Mikey decides to treat all his pre-pubescent clients to a wrestling show.
We smash cut to the golden locks of Double E, Evil Eye, whipping back as his head bounces off a turnbuckle. As he regroups, The Lobotomizer hits him with a clothesline. Back in the stands, the kids are going crazy unsure of what to make of this cross between athletic performance and theater. Angie tugs on Mikey’s shoulder and mentions that she hates wrestling. Mikey then tells her that Evan, her crush, happens to love it. This changes her attitude, enforcing the notion that women should always compromise their beliefs and change if it means getting a guy to like them. Even though it is Angie’s birthday. Shouldn’t they have done what she wanted to do? Then again, I somehow talked my girlfriend into spending her birthday weekend with me at the first PWG Battle of Los Angeles. But I swear she was just as big a Chris Bosh fan as I was. Point is, this is a website dedicated to the representation of wrestling in mainstream media and not on gender politics in film. But seriously, who could blame Angie for hating wrestling at that point in time? This came out in 1993, and even though Bret Hart was on top for most of it, it was a pretty shitty time for wrestling. I mean, look at who they got to play a wrestler on film, Jeff fucking Jarrett.
In between Evan getting soda for Angie, as a sort of reward for putting up with watching wrestling, there’s a bit where David Krumhotlz, playing a young David Krumhotlz, barfs into Ed’s hat because from now on it’s only “kosher franks” for him.
We then get back to the ring where The Lobotimzer throws Evil Eye into the ropes to set him up for a back drop. It’s a high impact move that always looks great on film. Props to the film’s stunt team for thinking outside of the airplane spin box. He then follows that up with a bodyslam, which yeah, are a dime a dozen in movies featuring wrestling, but it is a staple of the foundation of all pro wrestling move sets. BUT it’s never a damn finisher. That’s right. The Lobotomizer puts Evil Eye away with a freakin’ body slam. The ref counts to three, as does everyone else as they cheer the outcome. Which is weird, because based on his look and actions, you would think The Lobotomizer was the heel, but Evil Eye does have the word Evil in his name.
Either way, right as the ref goes to raise his hand, the Lobotomizer gives him a piledriver, which looks devastating as hell and should’ve probably been used to put Evil Eye away, instead of a damn body slam. But it was Jeff Jarrett eating the pin, so in a way, I’m kind of happy he jobbed to a transitional move. The Lobotomizer then shoves the announcer out of the way, which finally forces the crowd to turn on him and boo. Maybe this was supposed to be a heel turn angle. However, before people can finish booing, he grabs the mic and starts cutting a promo in the most stereotypical wrestler way with, “I wanna tell you something.” Which is good. This is how we’ve been accustomed to hearing wrestlers cut promos in 1993. Even Scott Hall and Kevin Nash had trouble deprogramming Hulk Hogan from talking this way when they formed the nWo in 1997.
So Lobotomizer yells into the mic about how he’s the greatest, an animal, a killer. Then he follows that up with wishing a “happy birthday to Angie Vega from the gang at Chapman and Chapman,” which was an odd choice of words for him to use in the middle of his heel turn promo. He calls Angie down to the ring and Mikey follows because he is her representation, after all. As Mikey does the gentlemanly thing of lifting the top and middle rope for Angie to get through, as you should for any person, man or woman, who’s a non-competing wrestler, The Lobotomizer grabs him by the collar as he asks “Who invited you down here, punk?”
The Lobotomizer has a point. You can’t be too careful with overzealous fans in the world of pro wrestling. He then picks up Mikey in the gorilla press slam position, spins hims around because… I guess all movies that feature pro wrestling are contractually obligated to feature the airplane spin in one form or another. Angie screams at Lobotomizer to put him down, so he complies and decides to throw Mikey onto Evil Eye, which is just icing on the cake for me. Before Angie can run away in terror because she’s obviously too young to know this is all a work, Lobotomizer hoists her up on his shoulder, Miss Elizabeth style, and leads the crowd in singing “Happy Birthday” to her, as a still recuperating Mikey looks up from the ground and happily sings along.
After the cab ride home, Mikey explains that wrestlers aren’t really that mean. They’re just hammy TV actors, which is why they didn’t hurt him. It was out of professional courtesy. Which, he’s kind of right. Unless you’re one of the stars from Jackass, in which case they will literally beat the crap out of you for not taking what they do seriously.
The wrestlers, of course, were USWA/WWE wrestlers, Jeff Jarrett, and Jerry Lawler in a mask. It’s crazy to think that Lawler would forego an opportunity to get his face seen on an actual film released nationwide in theaters. Then again, he’ll always have the Andy Kaufman feud. I guess he decided to throw a bone to good ol’ Double J, despite Lawler getting all the shine in this segment. Which you really can’t blame him for. One of them went on to become a WWE Hall of Famer (which I know really doesn’t say much), and the other went on to create a wrestling company as a front to sell gold.
Star Rating: **1/2