Season 4, Episode 17
For those of you who actually had something going on Friday nights, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch was part of ABC’s family-friendly TGIF lineup. The show was about a teenage witch named Sabrina who lives with her two aunts who are also witches, and just one sister shy of a Sanderson trio.
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 Hulu.
The Wrestling Episode
It is revealed that the family’s 500-year-old talking cat, Salem, has an estranged daughter that is getting married. Yes, before he was cursed to live the remainder of his life as a cat, Salem was a deadbeat dad. Maybe him turning into a cat was just a long con to avoid paying child support. Despite his absence, his daughter, Anabelle, asks him to be a part of the wedding. He agrees, but talks Sabrina into performing his father of the bride duties because he’s a cat and still a deadbeat. The absence of her father apparently left Anabelle socially inept and without friends, so she asks Sabrina to also be her maid of honor.
As if handling father of the bride and maid of honor duties for a regular wedding wasn’t stressful enough, Sabrina also has to deal with Wiccan wedding rituals. These include blowing up a giant balloon, carrying a sapling down the aisle, and wrestling the father of the groom. They really Disneyfied every aspect of being a witch for this show. Even the wrestling ring in place for the father-in-law match lacks any kind of witch aesthetic, and instead opts for the traditionally American red, white, and blue ring rope motif because deep down, all witches are still red-blooded Americans. The match is for the bride’s right to marry the groom, which is technically already happening. This should’ve been a “loser pays for the wedding” match instead.
Sabrina’s opponent, and father of the groom, is Xavier “The Avenger” Prescott, who wastes little time going to work on Sabrina. He slams her to the ground and goes for a Jerry Lawler-esque fist drop off the second rope. Sabrina teleports out of the way because anything goes in wrestling matches taking place in out-of-this-world realms. Sabrina turns things around by eye-gouging Prescott, then stepping on him like she’s Andre the Giant even though she’s one-sixteenth his size. She then makes the rookie mistake of playing to the crowd and gets gorilla press slammed into the same crowd because of it.
Back inside, Prescott continues the assault on his undersized, teenage opponent. Salem, coming to terms with the fact that Sabrina is more of a daughter to him than his actual daughter will ever be, finally mans up and helps out for once in his life. He lunges at Prescott for all of two seconds before also being tossed outside. He then gets tossed right back inside, this time gouging Prescott’s eyes. The momentary distraction allows Sabrina to roll him up for the pin. Bonus points to Sabrina for hooking the leg. No careless pins here.
Does one of the show’s main characters have to wrestle?
Yes, Sabrina the Wiccan teenager has to wrestle an adult man.
Are they filling in for another wrestler?
Technically, Sabrina is filling in as both maid of honor and father of the bride. In this case, the father of the bride also has to double as a wrestler.
Did they enter a contest to wrestle for prize/money?
No, she was coerced and guilt-tripped into it with nothing to gain out of it.
Is the wrestler an actual professional wrestler making a cameo appearance?
Yes, Billy Gunn, of Degeneration-X fame at the time, and of Daddy Ass fame now, 23 years later. Despite being billed as Xavier “The Avenger” Prescott, he’s pretty much dressed as Billy Gunn, despite the various lips and Mr. Ass logo missing from his tights. He’s basically cameoing as Billy Gunn under a different name.
Is there a masked wrestler present?
No, but there is an Ass Man.
Is the wrestling predetermined or legitimate?
It’s as legit as it can be when marriage is at stake.
Was an airplane spin performed?
No, but a tilt-a-whirl slam was performed on Sabrina and that’s pretty close. There also wasn’t a Billy Gunn Fame-Asser (Famouser?) cameo. How are you going to be a wrestler guest-starring on a TV show and not get your shit in?
- Despite never being known for his mic skills as one half of the New Age Outlaws, it was weird that Billy Gunn doesn’t talk, or at least make menacing growling noises, until after he loses in which he laments the fact that his other son was also beat and he now has “gypsies” as relatives.
- In a bit of art imitating life, Xavier Prescott also has two sons. As a reference point, the Ass Boys were 9 (Colten) and 6 (Austin) when this aired.
- This episode aired in 2000, making Billy Gunn 37 years old at the time, meaning he must’ve been a young teenage daddy ass to have a son of legal wedding age. And speaking of age, former SNL member and now crazy lady, Victoria Jackson, his soon-to-be daughter-in-law, was 41 years old when this aired.
- Whoever catches a wrestler being tossed into the crowd is supposed to marry next.
- Billy Gunn has no weak points.
- Salem, who I’m assuming in the canon of family-friendly witch programming, is the grown-up version of the talking Thackery Binx from Hocus Pocus.
- This wasn’t Melissa Joan Hart’s only foray into the world of pro wrestling. She once got into a Twitter “feud” with Kevin Owens back in 2015.
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