Season 3, Episode 5
Netflix’s Love was a great anti-romantic comedy series made even better by having their own wrestling episode.
Love is a Netflix original series produced by Judd Apatow. It’s about Gus, a straight-laced, nerdy-looking dude who represses a lot of his emotions and doesn’t do well with confrontations. He’s also kind of a serial monogamist. Gus falls for Mickey, a woman out of his league, who has an alcohol addiction she’s trying to deal with, and doesn’t do well with relationships. The show’s basically about them getting through their shit while falling in love. They both live in Los Angeles, in places they probably could not realistically afford on their own. Well, Mickey does have a roommate. Her name is Bertie Bauer. She’s fresh from Australia, with a sunny disposition and some naiveté mixed in.
In this episode, Bertie’s trying her best to celebrate her birthday, despite never telling anyone ahead of time that her birthday was coming up. Not even her boyfriend, Randy. So she’s left without plans. Chris Czajkowski, a neighbor of Gus and kind of a dork, wishes Bertie a happy birthday on her Facebook page. He follows up his post by telling her to show up to the restaurant he works at because you get free cake on your birthday. She has her cake, eats it too, and seeing as it’s been the highlight of her birthday so far, agrees to tag along with Chris to go do something fun, now that his shift is over.
They end up walking down the corridor of some abandoned warehouse, and before you get too excited, no, it’s not the Lucha Underground Temple. They round a corner, and Chris introduces her to W818 Van Nuys Wrestling. It’s close to Reseda, but not quite Pro Wrestling Guerrilla. It’s basically a half-hearted indie wrestling show inside a warehouse. And by half-hearted, I mean one of those indie wrestling shows where the wrestlers are kind of just going through the motions because it’s not the main attraction. It’s usually a side show to something else, like a music concert, taco fest, or lucha libre art show, and the majority of the fans aren’t wrestling fans. There’s a lot of these in L.A. But W818 is actually just an underground wrestling show. There’s no food trucks, or indie bands, or anything.
Chris and Bertie meet up with the two older bachelors who live in the same apartment complex as Chris, Frank and Allan. Frank busts Chris’ balls some by asking him if he’s finally going to step into the ring tonight. Chris kind of dismisses this and our attention is turned to the action in the ring.
“El Chido” Hector Canales (not named), a So-Cal indie veteran, is taking on Colin Follenweider, who is not a wrestler, but an actual Hollywood stuntman. He’s also wrestling in the same gear as Alex Riley’s Steel Horse character from Netflix’s GLOW. Maybe Colin is his kayfabe brother. Colin’s also Chris’ favorite wrestler. He’s just thrown a dropkick before Bertie is distracted by a woman dressed as G.I. Bro off in the distance. She asks about her. Chris mentions that she’s awesome and goes by the name Mayday Marge. Mayday Marge is actually Lisa Marie Varon a.k.a. WWE’s Victoria and TNA’s Tara, looking pretty badass.
We then get a brief montage of how fun indie wrestling shows can be. There’s more in-ring action, Chris and Bertie chugging beers, Mando Guerrero on commentary (I guess Netflix is contractually obligated to work with Guerreros for any original shows that feature wrestling), Colin performing a lucha arm drag on Canales, Mayday Marge entering the ring, then taking on Gail Kim, and then taking their fight to the outside and, as a result, unleashing Bertie’s blood lust, as she screams “Kill her! Fucking kill her!” I’m not sure who she’s directing this to, but as soon as she says it, Gail Kim takes a terrified old man’s walker and nails Marge in the back. So her yelling definitely didn’t go unheard. Oh yeah, Christopher Daniels is also the referee for all of these matches.
During a break, Chris is chilling off to the side with Bertie. He’s also taken aback by how into the show Bertie seems to be. Which is the dream of every wrestling nerd who takes a potential love interest to a show. Bertie then freaks out when she sees Colin Follenweider walking towards her. Turns out Chris smartened up Colin about Bertie’s birthday, so he came over to wish her a happy birthday. She asks Colin for a picture of him putting a wrestling hold on her which he happily agrees to. He puts her in a sleeper hold and casually tells her, “I call this the sleeper.” Like it’s a move he invented and hasn’t been around for decades and referred to as the exact name he just mentioned. Colin wishes Bertie a happy birthday and goes on his way. She tells him to “Break a leg. Someone else’s.” Which should be the official saying to wish a wrestler luck before a match.
Moments later, Chris and Bertie end up in the backstage area/dressing room. Apparently, you can just do that at this wrestling show, or Chris has an in with them. I’m not sure. He does refer to the wrestler casually sitting on the couch with his Beats on by his name, Rex, and then gets him to scoot over so they can take a seat. Rex doesn’t seem too bothered and actually complies, so I guess Chris is cool with them. I particularly liked this backstage for having a clothes rack with colorful wrestling costumes to choose from, instead of guys dressing out of their roller bags.
There’s also a pretty hairy wrestler behind Chris who’s getting dressed for his match as Chris asks Bertie about her decision to leave Australia. Bertie tells Chris that despite having a long-time boyfriend and a decent job at a flower shop, after eight years enough was enough and it was time for a change. As she tells this story, the hairy wrestler is just casually oiling himself up. And it reminds me of how it’s the attention to the little details that make or break these wrestling episodes
Bertie mentions that despite the change in scenery, she’s already kind of fallen into the same kind of comfortable situation. This sparks a conversation about Randy, who Chris assumes is what Bertie is referring to. She tries to play it off that she’s not really talking about him, although to be fair, Randy’s part of the reason why Bertie’s not out there experiencing new things. Which she wants to keep doing, like tonight’s wrestling outing. In fact, she wants to “jump off the top turnbuckle of life.” Which is a great saying that should be on a motivational poster underlining a picture of the “Macho Man” Randy Savage performing a flying elbow drop.
Chris agrees that he too wants to take more chances and try new things. For example, he mentions that he’s been coming to this wrestling show for months and hasn’t wrestled once. Which I didn’t realize was a thing that’s expected of fans that attend W818. Or I’m not sure if Chris really understands how getting into the wrestling industry works. It should be noted that Chris moved out to Hollywood to become a stuntman, which probably explains why one of the wrestler roles was given to Colin Follenweider. Bertie urges Chris to try it out and asks if anybody needs an opponent for tonight. By now, Rex and the wrestler who was oiling himself up have left. But as luck would have it, Keith the Cremator, played by WWE’s Brodus Clay/TNA’s Tyrus, happens to walk by as she continues asking.
Cut to Keith wrestling Lil Cholo, a.k.a. Mr. Cisco/Mala Suerte from Lucha Underground. Unfortunately, the Cremator nickname is just that, Keith is not out there wrestling in Undertaker type attire. Keith Irish whips Lil Cholo into the corner, then gives him a running splash, which he signals for with a loud “Cremator time!” A table is propped up during different angles throughout the match, but never gets used. Keith gives Lil Cholo an exploder suplex and the bell just rings as Lil Cholo drags himself to the outside. Maybe it was a Last Man Standing match. While Keith celebrates, Chris yells out, for all to hear, “Hey Keith! You suck! Big time!” This is enough to rile Keith up. Bertie sells the angle by shouting out that all of this is unplanned. Chris then leads the crowd in a chant of “Keith the Cremator sucks!’
Keith has had enough and challenges Chris to get in the ring. Chris takes him up on his offer and heads for the ring. Once inside, Chris immediately goes through the Hulk Hogan motions of ripping off his shirt and flexing for the crowd, as Keith just stands by side-eyeing him in disapproval. Chris then goes into Ric Flair mode, strutting across the ring, wooing. Then he ties it all up with some shaking of the ropes à la Ultimate Warrior. I guess if it’s your first time in the ring, and you’re not sure if you’re going to be able to perform again, you might as well bust out every wrestling taunt you know and cheese it up for the crowd.
Chris then steps up to Keith and gives him a chop across the chest. It does nothing. Keith reciprocates with a chop of his own and Chris, being the aspiring stuntman that he is, sells the shit out of it with a Ric Flair/Old Man Flop face first drop to the mat. Keith lifts him up and sends him into the ropes for a follow up clothesline. Keith picks him up again, this time by his face, which doesn’t go unnoticed by Frank as he laughs out loud yelling, “He picked him up by his face!” This time Keith sends Chris into the corner, and signals for his Cremator Time splash. Keith runs towards him, but Chris gets his foot up in time to catch Keith in the face with it.
Just then, “What a Day for a Daydream” by the Lovin’ Spoonful starts playing. And we get one of the better and more unusual songs selected for a wrestling montage. While Keith is dazed, Chris scales the second rope and leaps onto Keith. Keith catches him with ease and positions him for a running powerslam. The song is then abruptly cut off as Keith slams Chris onto Chekov’s Table. The crowd reacts accordingly, losing their mind, including Bertie, Allan, and especially Frank. However, Chris sells very little as he nods to referee Christopher Daniels that he’s totally fine. He then comes to his senses and starts holding his back as he rolls out of the ring and heads over to Bertie and the old guys to tell them how amazing it all felt. Frank points out some blood on Chris’ forehead, which pumps Chris up even more. Which is weird, since he took the entire table bump on his back.
Chris and Bertie make it to the back again, where Bertie puts a band aid over Chris’ wound as she comment on how cool he looks. Chris is still coming down from his high, but can’t get one of the jerk waiters he works with out of his mind. Since he was his motivation for kicking ass tonight. Or at least, attempting to. Chris laments that the waiters all seem to think he’s a joke since he came out to L.A. to be a stuntman and hasn’t really gotten close to achieving that dream. Bertie tries to get him to see the bright side of things as he did just get put through a table.
Chris then mentions that he has three months left on his lease and is thinking of moving back to Chicago, and not having to pay $2,300 a month in rent. Bertie’s jaw practically drops upon hearing that. I guess she pays less than that for her half of the apartment in Silverlake. Also, if Chris is able to swing $2,300 a month in rent on a Smoke House waiter salary then I need to apply there soon. Bertie reasons that he should make those last three months count and give being a stuntman a real shot, and in turn she’ll try doing something cool and new too. As she finishes saying this a wrestler passes through and begins undressing, giving Bertie a glimpse of his bare ass. Chris explains that kind of stuff happens in there sometimes. Which she’s totally cool with.
And that’s where the wrestling portion of the episode ends. Not a bad take for a show where probably most of the creators, producers, and writers aren’t wrestling fans. Spoiler alert: Bertie ends up leaving Randy for Chris.