What the World is Watching

Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction

“The Wrestler”
Season 2, Episode 4
02/13/1998

In Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction, Star Trek: The Next Generation’s William Riker presents dramatizations of stories that are beyond our comprehension, yet challenge us to determine whether they’re real or fake. Can you name a better topic for this discussion than professional wrestling?

What the World is Watching highlights a wrestling episode from a non-wrestling show and explores that particular episode’s use of the tropes most commonly associated with wrestling episodes. Does that make sense? You can watch this episode on Crackle.

The Wrestling Episode
This particular episode’s premise centers on the unlucky, and deadly, date of Friday the 13th. All the stories shown take place on that fateful date, including this wrestling segment. You’d think the wrestling promotion would capitalize on this by giving the wrestling event a catchy title to celebrate that fact, but nope. The promotional poster simply announces Friday the 13th Wrestling.

This card is also the last for “Dazzling” Demolition Dirk, a jobber booked to go out on top because that’s what’s best for business. However, somebody realizes their mistake right before the match and changes it back to Moammar winning, Dirk’s arch-rival. This doesn’t sit well with Dirk and he decides he’s still going to win. A few minutes into the match, Dirk goes into business for himself and after 30-plus minutes of action finally beats Moammar. Before Dirk can celebrate his victorious last match, the ringside doctor pronounces Moammar dead. Then follows that up by saying he’s been dead for at least 20 minutes.

The Tropes
Does one of the show’s main characters have to wrestle?
Seeing as the host has nothing to do with the stories, other than present them and reveal whether they’re fact or fiction, no. But the main characters in this story happen to be two actual wrestlers, Demolition Dirk and Moammar, The Pharoah of Phear.

Are they filling in for another wrestler?
No, but Demolition Dirk is trying to fill the role of “wrestler who wins.”

Did they enter a contest to wrestle for prize/money?
Pride is on the line for this bout. It’s Dirk’s last match and he wants to go out on top.


Is the wrestler an actual professional wrestler making a cameo appearance?
Demolition Dirk is none other than Terry Funk, playing up an altered version of his actual Chainsaw Charlie gimmick. Only here he’s switched out the chainsaw for a jackhammer. You might recall Funk from other wrestling-themed episodes and movies, such as Quantum Leap and Paradise Alley. The Funker is one of the more prolific wrestling actors of his era. The other guy is Nils Allen Stewart, who wrestled for a bit but was more successful at playing henchman roles in movies, like Cop & 1/2. He’s still currently working as a Hollywood stunt coordinator.

Is there a masked wrestler present?
No. The only headgear worn is a hard hat, a pharaoh headdress, and a novelty-sized wig.

Is the wrestling predetermined or legitimate?
It’s predetermined, but Dirk decides to go ham on Moammar and murder him mid-match.

Was an airplane spin performed?
Yes, kind of. As you can see from the picture above, Moammar scoops up Dirk for what’s clearly a body slam. But he spins around once before dropping him. However, Dirk’s manager Tony, who’s providing narration, calls it an airplane spin. Guess he was more of a handling logistics than strategizing wrestling holds type of manager.

Other Observations

  • Yes, that is Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi in a ridiculously giant wig as Moammar’s manager.
  • Legendary funnyman, Jack Carter, also makes an appearance as Dirk’s manager. He does a hell of a job narrating the worst-case scenario life of a pro wrestler. This is also his second wrestling episode appearance. His first was on the WCW episode of Baywatch.
  • Gene LeBelle Referee Bingo. The go-to referee for filmed wrestling matches makes a cameo.
  • Terry used the patented Funk finisher, the spinning toe hold. Always cool to see wrestlers incorporating their actual wrestling holds in movies or TV shows.
  • Spoiler: The story was indeed fiction. There’s no way a wrestler could carry a dead guy for 20 minutes to a passable match. Maybe five minutes. Depending on the wrestler. The one that’s alive, not dead.

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