Induction: The Rock on Star Trek – The Rock ‘n’ Spock Connection

35 Submitted by on Thu, 22 May 2014, 20:00

UPN television, 2000

In 1999, WWF Smackdown premiered on UPN, instantly becoming the network’s highest-rated program. Thus, it seemed only natural to cross-promote it with Star Trek: Voyager, another series on the network, to increase the latter’s viewership.

Now, I haven’t seen a lot of Star Trek. I’ve only watched a season and a half, and that was of The Next Generation on Netflix. Still, I always had the impression that the series was held sacred not only by its viewers, but by its producers. Maybe it was because TNG was syndicated and not affiliated with any network, or maybe it was because franchise creator Gene Roddenberry was still alive, but I don’t recall seeing Bill Cosby and Felicia Rashad guest-starring as a successful middle-class Betazoid couple with four or five kids and a passion for jazz music…

…nor did the Enterprise ever rendezvous with a diplomatic crew of Alien Life Forms from planet Melmac.

But Voyager? It wasn’t above writing an entire episode around a guest-star playing a thinly-disguised version of a character from another series. And that’s how The Rock ended up on the show.

stv04

No, not “Dwayne Johnson.” I mean, “The Rock,” who, as “The Rock,” may as well have been billed as playing himself.

stv05 

On this artistically-bereft episode, entitled, “Tsunkatse,” Captain Kathryn Janeway is out of the picture, so the focus is put on Jeri Ryan’s character, Seven of Nine, another female character whose prominence on the show owes itself to, well, something different from Kate Mulgrew’s. stv06 
stv07 See, “Klingon” isn’t just a warrior race, it’s also what Seven’s impractically tight uniform does to her breasts.
When the episode begins, we learn that two of the officers have been taking advantage of their time off by watching Tsunkatse, a complicated sport where two guys beat each other up. Seven of Nine, perhaps standing in for the Parents’ Television Council, butts in and calls the matches “crude and pointless.” Shockingly, no raspy-voiced, pompadoured billionaire Klingon tells her that if she doesn’t like it, change the channel. stv08 
stv09 Seven of Nine and a black Vulcan decide to investigate a collapsed micro-nebula during shore leave, but a pervy middle-aged guy tries to convince her to have sex with him in public.
Whoops, that was real life. stv10
stv11 No, instead he invites her to join him on a tour of “Norcadia’s cultural hotspots,” an invitation she rejects, collapsing his own micro-nebula, if you will.
Seven and Black Vulcan (whom Wikipedia tells me is named, “Tuvok”) get abducted on their voyage, and the next sight we see is her getting her rack scanned while an alien comments in astonishment on her “Borg-enhanced physiology.” You know, from her Borg enhancement surgery. stv12 
stv13  It turns out, her abductor is a sleazy Tsunkatse promoter who thinks audiences will love to see her, ahem, enhanced physiology in action. And you thought I was just joking before about an alien stand-in for Vince McMahon.
B’Elanna and Chakotay discuss their bets on the upcoming Tsunkatse card… stv14
stv15 …while The Doctor is disappointed that one of his patients would be interested in the brutal sport. But, replies Neelix, it’s a “wonderful demonstration of athletic prowess.” Also, if he doesn’t like it, he can change the channel.
Despite The Doctor’s moralizing, Neelix and Chakotay are next seen taking in a match between two female fighters. “Bra and panties! Bra and panties!” shouts one spectator in a crown. At least, if I had written the script. stv16
stv17  The audience consists entirely of beings who, despite being completely different species from completely different planets, all have two arms and legs. The spectators make such noise that I wish Bobby Heenan were on this episode. Listen to these humanoids!
The next combatant to enter is none other than The Rock. Supposedly, he’s a Pendari, a race of warriors known for their “superior strength.” Hmm… sounds familiar. stv18
stv19 Do the rest of the Pendari all have impossibly hard heads, fight barefoot, and use running butt attacks on their opponents? Oh well, at least they don’t have The Rock do The People’s Eyebrow.
Oh, dear lord. Why would an alien even have eyebrows, anyway? Oh yeah, and his name in the script is “The Pendari Champion.” stv20
stv21 His opponent, to the surprise of the Voyager crew members in attendance, is Seven of Nine. You know, she always reminded me of a wrestler…
Lud-Big Boobs-a! No, sorry, Freudian slip. I meant… Star Trek: Voyager 1997 Gallery/ Season 4 #745 Photo: Julie Dennis
stv23

Resistance and pollution are futile.

Ludvig Borg-a!
The Rock doesn’t take Seven of Nine seriously, saying she’s no bigger than a Tarkanian field mouse, which is the stupidest insult he’s ever uttered besides anything with the words, “roody poo.” Come to think of it, if The Rock had vowed to kick his opponent’s Tarkanian field mouse ass or called them a piece of Tarkanian field mouse crap, WWF might have had some more hit t-shirts on their hands. stv24 
stv25 Seven of Nine reluctantly fights The Rock, who wants none of her mercy and levels her with a clothesline.
One of the Starfleet members calls B’Elanna and tells her to beam Seven of Nine out of the pit, which is the nerdiest sentence I’ve ever written on this site. Well, the nerdiest that didn’t have to do with wrestling. It cracks the Top 200, easy. stv26 
stv27 It turns out, she can’t beam Seven out because she and The Rock are both holograms. The fight is being beamed from another location, making this the interplanetary equivalent of an empty arena match.
And we all know how well Rocky does in those.
stv29 This time around, The Rock wins, and with a Rock Bottom, no less.
The Voyager crew communicates with Captain Janeway, who is on vacation — the tell-tale sign than an actor can’t be bothered to spend more than a few minutes in studio for a hastily-written cross-over episode. stv30 
stv31  Back on the Tsunkatse ship, a lizard-man and fellow fighter tends to Seven, who is sporting Marianna Komlo-style bruises on her face.
Despite her loss, Seven of Nine is congratulated by the promoter for popping the ratings and being, as a hated Borg, such a great foreign heel. No, I’m not making this up, minus the wrestling jargon. stv32 
stv33 The promoter is pretty short-sighted, though, next booking Seven in another match, this one to the death, figuring that it will pop the ratings beyond the 3 billion viewers of her first match.
Risking the burial of a top new heel for the sake of a hot-shot angle? Well, this was the Attitude Era.
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stv35  If Vince Russo didn’t write this episode, maybe Vince McMahon did, based on Seven’s talk of “maneuvers” in her training with the Lizard Man. Notwithstanding the instruction, the Lizard Man makes the devastating, un-be-lie-vable revelation that he too has been forced to fight against his will, a fact which hits Seven of Nine straight in the heart-area.
The crew discovers that the fights are being broadcast from a ship flying around the galactic sector (“like a traveling carnival”). At least they didn’t mention, “smoke-filled arenas.” I swear, if a galaxy-wide rival promotion starts buying up the smaller organizations and replaces Tsunkatse with its superior, upscale brand of “sports-entertainment,” I’m going to go Tarkanian ape-s***. stv36 
stv37  Seven of Nine promises Lizard Man not to show her opponent any mercy, but when it comes time for the match, it turns out that, surprise, Lizard Man himself is her opponent. Turns out, he wants to Tim-White himself, and this fight to the death is the perfect venue. The two combatants start their match in front of a live audience of zero, and I think I’ve figured out who the Tsunkatse promoter is supposed to represent.
It’s not Vince McMahon, it’s Verne Gagne! stv38
stv39 Eventually, the Voyager crew figures out that if they can knock out the Tsunkatse ship’s transmission, no one will be able to see the match and there would be no point in the fights continuing. It’s a lesson Vince himself learned well at In Your House: Beware of Dog.
Thanks to some strategic zapping by Captain Janeway (who appears on-screen for another five seconds), the fight loses most of its viewers. But still, the fight continues, and Seven of Nine is prepared to kill her opponent for the benefit of only a handful of spectators — sort of like backyard wrestling. stv39
stv40 Instead, both she and her opponent are beamed aboard the Voyager, ending the fight in a no-contest and sparking chants of “Fire Russo.”
At last, the Voyager crew gets their members back, and the Lizard Man can go back to his home planet.
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Note: Lizard Man died on the way back to his home planet

And as for that Pendari warrior, I’m sure he left the world of Tsunkatse behind shortly thereafter for a career in movies.

Oh yeah, and what ever happened to that collapsed micro-nebula?

Written by

A wrestling fan ever since the days of Wrestlemania IX, Art graduated from college in the same building where Art Donovan called King of the Ring 1994. He currently runs the "How Much Does This Guy Weigh?" blog, where he reviews New Generation-Era Monday Night Raws and Hasbro WWF figures. Email at: art@wrestlecrap.com
35 Responses to "Induction: The Rock on Star Trek – The Rock ‘n’ Spock Connection"
  1. "The Big Cheese" Paul Kraft says:

    BRAVO! I generally don’t like any Trek series that isn’t TNG, but this was a great induction, Art!

  2. Jerichoholic Ninja says:

    Sorry Art, I love every induction you do, but I refuse to read this one. This was a decent episode and The Rock actually did a passable job in it. When a non-fan watches and ridicules things out of context, you can make even the greatest TV show seem ridiculous.

    If the standard for induction is “any TV episode a wrestler appears in, regardless of whether fans of whether that episode was good to fans” then you could induct just about anything a wrestler does.

    • Jacob the Carpetbagger says:

      Sorry, wrestlers are ridiculous in everything that is not wrestling and then they are still pretty ridiculous. Even if it was a good episode, the peoples eyebrow and rock bottom are super cheese whiz.

    • Paul says:

      Sorry, but this IS wrestlecrap. It’s ridiculous to plagiarize the wrestling character directly, and the storyline is corny as hell. Whenever TV writers try to write about the wrestling business, it never works out.

    • Stephen says:

      You’re missing out. Art’s comparisons to wrestling were some of the funniest stuff I’ve ever read on WrestleCrap.

  3. Doc Arkham says:

    Ah, Jack Ryan – the man whose need to schtup his wife in public lead directly led to America’s first black President…

  4. The Doctor of Style says:

    And Trek wondered why it got hard to take it seriously anymore. This episode is like a 13-yr-old’s fan fiction. Except at least he wouldn’t put the Rock in Barry Horowitz suspenders.

    For once, Mulgrewe was probably glad to be mostly absent!

    Oh, and my weekend is ruined, now that I’ve suffered that Cosby/Wesley photoshop. Another reason to hate Wesley Crusher!

  5. Brad says:

    Anyone else find that picture of Wesley Huxtable terrifying?

  6. DeweyDTruman says:

    Now it’s been a long, long time since I watched Voyager, and I don’t remember much (mostly because it was pretty bad from what little I do remember) but wasn’t the whole premise that the crew and ship was stuck like ten bazillion lightyears away from earth? How can you just “go on vacation” like that?

    Oh whatever if it wasn’t The Doctor it wasn’t worth paying attention to on that show.

  7. WrestleTrekker says:

    You know, if they were going to include WWF on Star Trek, why just do The Rock? Have EVERY alien that Seven meets on the planet be a Wrestler! Have the guy running the thing be played by Vince! Let the Champion be Stone Cold! Don’t just say, “Oh, hey, The Rock is in it! WWF STARK TREK CROSSOVER WOOT!” cause it will seem cheap. Wrestling fans were disappointed by the Rock’s 2 minute cameo, and Star Trek fans… well, it was Voyager, we expect potentially good things to be crap.

    • Saint Stryfe (@saintstryfe) says:

      Not to spoil a probable future induction, but Big Show also turns up on “Enterprise” as an Orion (those green skinned guys – the females of the species that Kirk was always boning) slave trader.

  8. BaltoJim says:

    A collapsed micro-nebula is what The Rock ended up with after Mankind did that palleted keg stand on him.

  9. Andre R. says:

    I am one of those people that likes both pro wrestling and Star Trek. And I feel no shame or guilt about it either. I like them both, for different reasons. And I have to say that for Voyager being a substandard spinoff of the original series compared to my favorite (TNG), this episode was especially bad. There are really only two things I liked about it: frequent Trek guest star Jeffrey Combs as Penk, the Norcadian who captured aliens and forced them to fight in the Tsunkatse matches, and Penk’s ship. I thought they were both cool.

    And there is one other Trek/wrestling connection that exists: The Big Show was in an episode of Enterprise as an Orion slave master, but I never saw that one. He was perfect as an Orion, as they are large and strong, as well as green-skinned. And the women are babes. They are the “slave girls” that even non-Trek fans are aware of. Yep!

  10. Anonymous says:

    I’ve never been a Star Trek fan except for the 2nd and 4th movies, but SHEE-IT did the series turn to absolute crap after The Next Generation. Say what you like about the franchise in general, but at least the original series and TNG were written by competent writers and treated with respect by the producers. The whole series became a joke once it went to Voyager and beyond.

    • CDM says:

      DS9 starts out rough – VERY rough – but gets watchable by Season 3 and good by Season 4 and stays that way. It’s pretty much a test-run for the Battlestar Galactica reboot since Ron Moore did both. But yes, Voyager (other than it’s pilot) and Enterprise (despite some glimmers of hope in Season 4) are crap.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yeah, DS9 was kind of a middle ground between the quality of the first two series and the crap that came after.

  11. Premier Blah says:

    http://sfdebris.com/videos/startrek/v932.php

    Or if you prefer for some reason

    http://blip.tv/sf-debris-opinionated-reviews/voy-tsunkatse-review-6565079

  12. Bickel says:

    Should have done big shoe as the Orion slaver on Enterprise. That episode sucked and some poor fools had to cover his acreage in green makeup

  13. VintageGamer says:

    I’m sorry, Art, but there’s only ONE Black Vulcan and that’s THIS guy!

    http://img4.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20090711221242/superfriends/images/0/0b/Bv_5.png

  14. Down With OPC says:

    From what I’ve heard, Star Trek fans tend to derogatorily refer to this as, “that wrestling episode.”

  15. Justin Henry says:

    May the force be with The Rock, amirite?

  16. Mr. Stanek, international best-selling author says:

    Thank you for “Lizard Man died on the way back to his home planet.”

  17. -_- says:

    So, you get the other character’s names right away but just settle for “Black Vulcan.”

    Okay. Did it just sound funny when you said it out loud?

    • randomname says:

      It’s a reference to the Super Friends, where Black Vulcan was a black super hero with electric powers… in his pants.

  18. Vealchop says:

    It doesn’t matter if you live long and prosper.

  19. Mweyer says:

    Did love a recap site for “Voyager” where the guy goes full on wrestling mode for this.

    “FINALLY…THE ROCK…HAS COME BACK TO NARCODIA PRIME!”

    “Okay, the Rock’s first line wasn’t that well delivered. I think having to speak in the first person is throwing him off a bit.”

  20. Peter says:

    Pretty transparent episode, but they actually had a couple of good conversations about the enjoyment of bloodsports from a supposedly ‘enlightened’ future humanity. Really your like/dislike of this one comes down to how stupid you think it is to have an alien version of the WWE blended with UFC. Love the induction.

  21. Poop says:

    This makes me sad. Star Trek started out as basically being a Socratic exercise, putting people in a future setting and using logic to come up with what they (or rather WE) would do in that situation. That’s why it remains so popular, and the Next Generation understood this. Star Trek Voyager basically just said screw the nuance and critical thinking, we just need more laser battles and fight scenes. Even the new movies are closer to the original spirit of the show, they philosophise at least to a token degree.

    This episode probably isn’t any better or worse than the rest of the series, it was all terrible and a complete embarrassment to Star Trek.

  22. johnnyfog says:

    VOY’s going through something of a renaissance now. The gen-Y kids who grew up watching it (many of them female), and the crossover fans from Orange is the New Black.

    As a Trek series, it’s not great. But as late-nineties sci-fi, it’s on par with everything else that’s on. SG-1, for instance, at least had the freedom to be tongue-in-cheek; whereas Trek always seemed to be trapped within its own aesthetic. It had to be blocky and bland because previous sets were blocky and bland.

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